The influence of the Israel lobby in the US is most clearly visible when that country engages in massive onslaughts on Palestinians that threaten to arouse widespread anger and disgust. Then it whips into action to blunt criticism in the US media and prevent any action against it. As Palestinian casualties in Gaza mount to over 300, one fifth of whom are children, and the destruction of a hospital, the Israel lobby has its work cut out for it.
On the domestic front, the main tactic to neutralize Congress is to get it to pass resolutions giving unconditional backing to whatever action Israel undertakes. It then leverages this support on the international front to get the US to oppose any UN Security Council action condemning its actions. The third leg is to ensure that US mainstream media coverage always sticks to the narrative that Israel is a plucky little country defending itself against a ruthless enemy that seeks to eliminate it.
As Philip Weiss writes, Israel lobby money and the threat to actively campaign and financially support opponents to anyone who opposes such measures buys a lot of influence in Congress and has proven successful in keeping Congress in line. So like clockwork, on Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that was backed by the major Israel lobby group AIPAC. All the so-called liberals in the US Senate (including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and Al Franken) and most in the House are PEPs (Progressive Except for Palestine). Warren, usually willing to speak to the media to advance her message, has been ducking questions about Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
The point of such congressional resolutions is to send the signal to the media and the US public in general that to criticize Israel is to risk alienating members of Congress. And sure enough, now a CNN reporter Diana Magnay has been yanked out of Israel for reporting on Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza for tweeting something that might offend them. But after protests after the first yanking, NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin has been returned to Gaza.
But that is how the media filter works. Even if Mohyeldin has been returned, the message sent to all journalists is clear that they criticize Israel at their peril because it could be a career-ender. They then start to self-censor, which is how one achieves conformity without having to give them orders. It was such self-censorship that made even talking about the Israel lobby taboo in the US until John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt forced the issue into the open with their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.
It is by such means that Israel gets cover for its actions in the US while the US and Israel are increasingly isolated in the world.