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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

AIPAC-Boosted, Dual Israeli-American Citizen Appointed to #2 in-charge at the Federal Reserve!!

Stanley Fischer: AIPAC's Fed Candidate on Iran Warpath

By Grant F. Smith, Director of Research, IRmep

The rushed campaign to insert Stanley Fischer straight from his position leading Israel's central bank into the number two spot at the Federal Reserve has allowed little time for research into the appointee's career or for informed public debate about his record. 

Like the failed recent Obama administration-Israel lobby pincer move to ram approval for U.S. military strikes on Syria through Congress, avoiding such due diligence through velocity may actually be the only means for successful Senate confirmation.
Some of Fischer's accomplishments—from co-authoring a seminal textbook on macroeconomics to handling economic crisis at the IMF have—not surprisingly—been recalled by his many supporters.  Other doings that shed light on Fischer's controversial attributes—such as overhauling how U.S. aid and trade packages are delivered to Israel—have been mostly ignored.  Appointing an openly dual Israeli-American citizen into the most important central bank in the world could be a watershed moment.  While the doors of federal government have long swung open for Israel-lobby appointees focusing most—if not all—their energies on advancing the interests of a foreign state, any who were actually Israeli dual citizens have traditionally kept that a closely-guarded secret. Fischer's long-term boosters, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), likely want to accustom Americans to openly dual citizens circulating between top roles in the U.S. and Israeli governments.  A closer examination of Fischer reveals that average Americans have good reason to oppose his appointment, because his lifelong achievements for Israel have imposed high costs and few benefits to the United States while making peace more difficult to achieve.

Stanley Fischer was born in Northern Rhodesia in 1943. He studied at London School of Economics and received a PhD in economics from MIT.  He taught and chaired the MIT economics department and co-authored a leading macroeconomics textbook with Rudiger Dornbusch. Fischer joined the World Bank in 1988 and became the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1994. He oversaw emergency bailout lending and austerity programs over Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil and Argentina. High flying Citigroup—under the helm of Sanford "Sandy" Weill—recruited Fischer in 2002. There he rose to become vice president with a seven-figure pay package. 

Fischer not only been an ardent supporter of Israel, his professional efforts began when he took sabbatical leave to Israel in 1972 and 1976-1977.  He was a visiting scholar at the Bank of Israel in 1980.  

More importantly for Israel, Stanley Fischer won an appointment to the Reagan administration's U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Discussion Group that dealt Israel's 1984-1985 economic crisis.  In October of 1984, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres arrived in Washington asking an initially reluctant Reagan Administration for an additional $1.5 billion in U.S. emergency funding—over and above the already-promised aid $5.6 billion aid package.[i]  The help amounted to U.S. taxpayers funding each Israeli citizen $1,650.  Another key component of the plan called for a largely unilateral lowering of U.S. tariffs and trade barriers to Israel, a program initially called "Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel" but later repackaged and sold as America's first "free trade" agreement.  

Over time the FTA reversed a previously balanced U.S.-Israel trading relationship for one that has produced a cumulative deficit to the U.S. that passed $100 billion in 2013.  Seventy American industry groups opposed to the give-away in 1984 were disenfranchised when Israeli Economics Minister Dan Halpern and AIPAC illegally obtained a classified compendium of their industry, market and trade secrets to use against them in lobbying and public relations.  An FBI espionage and theft of government property investigation was quashed before it could narrow in on those inside the U.S. government who delivered the secrets to Halpern

The U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Discussion Group fundamentally transformed U.S. aid to Israel forever.  Before the Reagan administration, most U.S. aid to Israel took the form of loans that had to be repaid with interest.  

After the input of Fischer's team, subsequent U.S. aid was delivered in the form of outright grants paid directly from the U.S. Treasury—never to be repaid or conditioned when Israel took actions the U.S. opposed.

Like many of Fischer's later IMF austerity programs, the Joint Discussion Group initially announced that strings attached to the aid would make it temporary.  Secretary of State George Shultz insisted during a 1985 address to AIPAC that "Israel must pull itself out of its present economic trauma . . . . No one can do it for them . . .our help will be of little avail if Israel does not take the necessary steps to cut government spending, improve productivity, open up its economy and strengthen the mechanisms of economic policy. Israel and its government must make the hard decisions." [ii]  Shultz wanted to make the huge American cash transfer conditional on major Israeli economic reforms, but intense AIPAC lobbying in Congress threatened to make the State Department influence irrelevant.  In the end, Congress delivered aid without Israeli sacrifices, such as selling off bloated state-owned industries and spending belt-tightening.  The proposed privatization of $5 billion in state enterprises threatened too much bureaucratic "turf" and too many jobs, so Israel put them on hold.  Fischer apologetically characterized the Likud years as a "wasted opportunity by a government that should have known better."[iii]  Not until 1996 were Fischer's proscribed economic remedies adopted by American neoconservative consultants to Benjamin Netanyahu as minor points in the "Clean Break" manifesto for Israeli regional hegemony. They remain among the few unimplemented tasks in a plan that called for military action against Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon...Finish reading @Source