Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader yesterday blasted the U.S.-Israel relationship, and said the White House is being manipulated by Israel like a puppet, just as a new poll showed Nader to be disproportionately popular among Muslim voters.

“What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government,” Nader said. “The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show.”

Nader was speaking at the Washington release of a survey of American Muslim voters commissioned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations which showed the majority of Muslim voters, 56 percent, supported the Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry, and 26 percent favored Nader, more than five times the percentage Nader has received in nationwide and statewide polls.

Strikingly, only 2 percent of Muslim voters said they would vote for President George W. Bush, even though 55 percent of those polled said they had cast their vote for him in 2000. Fourteen percent remained undecided.

Nader said the U.S. government, “if it was really interested” in negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, should work closely with the Israeli peace movement.

Nader alluded to his support of the recent “accords” illegally negotiated between discredited Israeli politician Yossi Beilin and Palestinian civilian Yasser Abed Rabbo, which would give the Palestinians, while still waging its violent intifada, a state in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and the possibility of millions of “refugees” returning to Israel proper.

“It is time for the U.S. government to recognize that this is not just a local conflict anymore,” said Nader. “It is not just a regional conflict anymore. It is a conflict that is producing flashpoints throughout much of the world and endangering U.S. citizens in those countries, U.S. businesses in those countries, U.S. workers in those countries, and endangering our own national security here. It is time for the U.S. government to stand up and think for itself.”

Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told WND: “Nader condemns our support of Democratic Israel that is being brutalized by anti-American Palestinian dictators while he ignores the billions of dollars the U.S. gives to the anti-Semitic dictatorship of Egypt that continuously sends arms to Palestinian terrorists.

“With these statements,” Klein added, “voters get to see the true Nader. And one must now question Nader’s commitment to democracy and to our fighting of terrorists and the regimes which support them.”

Nader, who also says the Bush administration has eroded civil liberties since Sept. 11, 2001, is struggling to get on state ballots ahead of the November election after the Green Party, who backed him in 2000, decided he would not be their nominee this year.

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