According to a July 2018 Independent article, Noam Chomsky said that Israel interfered in US election(s):

Veteran activist Noam Chomsky has accused Israel of “brazenly” interfering in US electoral politics in a way that vastly outweighs any efforts that may have been carried out by Russia.

The only example he cites is Netenyahu addressing congress without informing President Obama.

“Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies - what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015.”

Is there any validity to his claim of "interference"? Does the government of Israel, directly or through agents, take part in US politics so as to prevent or alter US policy, without the invitation of the US government and contrary to the benefit of the USA. Is this "interference" greater than that of other countries of comparable size and wealth?

If so, why is Russian interference getting so much more attention than it?

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    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 8:31

3 Answers 3


The Russians are accused of organized participation on social media using accounts that are pretending to be American citizens of various ethnic groups. These accounts attempted to encourage violence, civic disobedience, and the election of specific candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Jill Stein. Some accounts also purchased advertising, again without disclosing their affiliation. It is illegal for foreign entities to purchase such advertising.

The Israelis are accused of openly favoring certain policies and criticizing politicians who were blocking those policies. Note how Chomsky says, "even to the point". This suggests that he felt the most serious act was that speech.

It is of course possible to call both those things interference, but only one of them is based on deception, fraud, and illegal acts. It is unsurprising that that one gets more criticism and investigation.

It's also worth noting that the real criticism tends to regard the pro-Israel lobby of United States citizens. From your source:

The coalition includes groups such as the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) a US-based pro-Israel lobbying group this year has spent $1.75m to promote pro-Israel policies.

This would be a group funded entirely by US citizens. Some may or may not be Israeli citizens as well.

Such groups are powerful, so people who disagree with them find them offensive. But these groups are legal and aboveboard. Some people may wish that they were illegal, but they aren't.

  • 3
    Everyone seems to be walking "past the sale" of this point, but I'll insist that speech (even deceptive speech) in a political context is not illegal and should not become illegal even if it is speech by foreigners. A conversation is not worsened by ideas introduced by foreign voices. However coarse or dissonant they maybe, these voices can introduce perspectives worth considering or popular misconceptions worth debunking. If we clamp down on speech because we don't like its source, we risk accepting Putin's proposed premise that public speech is a state action rather a people's right.
    – grovkin
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 7:06
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    @grovkin While I agree with the sentiment, I think you’re missing the distinction. Or else I’m misunderstanding and don’t actually agree. It’s not illegal for foreign entities to say whatever they want about politics in another country. They can even say it in the country in question. It’s purchasing advertising that’s illegal. Effectively, say whatever you want, but don’t pay others to say it for you.
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 13:20
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    @grovkin, It's never been about about foreign voices or opinions -- much of America likes those, always has, probably always will. It is about malevolent propagandist foreign impersonations of native voices, with those en masse impersonations forming a kind of forum-based DOS attack. Such actions are also both wrong and criminal when done by Americans in America. Intent and likely outcomes are key, which is why Sacha Baron Cohen is admired, and the minions of IRA are despised.
    – agc
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 3:46
  • @Bobson from what I understand, the ad buy was a very small part of what's deemed to be "interference". $100k ad buy on Facebook. The main objection seems to be people chatting under assumed names and identities. Such interaction is such a staple of the Internet that it is almost understable that any conservative voices are accused of being Russian bots. Since we have walked passed the sale on one such accusation, it seems like a convenient slur to make against all conservatives. This is the price we pay for allowing of silencing of foreign voices on the Internet: our own freedom of speech.
    – grovkin
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 5:40
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    @grovkin, Anonymity is not impersonation. Impersonation for entertainment, satire, as fiction, or artistry is legal in the US, within certain reasonable boundaries. Impersonation for fraud, harassment, defamation, DOS attacks, et al is not legal.
    – agc
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 18:04

Fundamentally, no. Talking when you are asked to talk does not rise to the level of interfering in a conversation. The fact that it is a political conversation does not change this principle.

Addressing a US Congress after being invited to address it is perfectly legitimate. US Congress controls who addresses it and a President should not interfere in this to maintain the separation of powers. Should someone claim otherwise, I'll preemptively mention that no, it does not rise to the level of conducting diplomacy because Congress has no power to enter into any treaties.


The claim of "interference" with "US elections" by any party is ridiculous. "US elections" do not occur in a clean room or vacuum. Opposing parties and individuals and interests within the same party are constantly trying to influence other parties in all activities. There is nothing novel about the claims that nation states attempting to "interfere" with another nations' elections within the realm of geopolitics.

What is missed in the analysis of the reports are analysis of the reports themselves.

The inference is that U.S. citizens are dullards, capable of being influenced by articles, advertising, etc. to the extent that would change their mind based on the would-be "interference". Which is not the case. Or, might be the case. In fact, the inverse is true; the U.S. interferes with other nations' constantly far more than any other nation could even come close to achieving - by military, economic, other means.

Thus, for a comparative analysis, one could gather the claims of U.S. "interference" in other nations' and the present single (or, just for inclusive mention at the OP of Isreal), or at most two nations which are claimed by popular media to have attempted to "interfere" with a U.S. election.

The result will clearly illuminate the political confidence game being played by the ruling classes on the People, or not.

To begin, we can list Iraq, Afghanistan; randomly reference the Iran-Contra scandal; which amount to three.

No, the U.S. election was not "interfered" with any more than any 15 or 30 second advertisement sponsored by a U.S. lobbyist or PAC "interfere"s with an election.

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