The Israel lobby is just icing on the imperial cake

Israel/Palestine
on 111 Comments

Readers of this site know that co-editor Weiss is religious about the Israel lobby as the driver of American policy in the Middle East. David Green is an Illinois activist who disagrees. His response to Weiss’s latest claim re the lobby:

As a leftist critic of U.S. foreign policy, I subscribe to the long-term historical analyses of people like William Appleman Williams, Gabriel Kolko, Walter LaFeber, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky. These policies, since at least 1898 and especially since WWII, have been driven by the imperative to incorporate as much of the world and its resources as possible into a system that is to the benefit of broad corporate interests. Clearly, the rise of a military-industrial complex, with its own interests, has accompanied this process.

In this context, there are several general things to say about the Israel Lobby. 

First, the Lobby clearly hasn’t challenged or undermined these central economic interests, whatever the internal conflicts among those interests; that is, the control of oil proceeds apace, with Israel’s support as a “cop on the best” in the Middle East.

Second, the Lobby (a lot of privileged people) itself represents aspects of various economic interests–in both the U.S. and Israel, especially in relation to the military-industrial complex in both countries. 

Third, the Lobby’s propaganda and influence in the media does the same thing that all mainstream propaganda does–obscures the nature of those economic interests, substituting instead moralistic rhetoric and evoking fear of the “other.” The fundamental nature of our resources wars cannot be acknowledged. While the Lobby has taught the mainstream media a thing or two about obfuscation and mendacity (I guess), they haven’t exactly invented any new techniques. All of the cultural superiority and moralizing that now goes along with Jews, the Holocaust, Israel, and the Islamic world is in no way of a different order than propaganda from Walter Lippmann’s “manufacture of consent” against the Hun (WWI) to the present. 

More specifically, I am responding to Nir Rosen’s assertions at a public appearance, assertions that are based on his journalistic experience. I have the greatest respect for Rosen’s work, but I have no way to evaluate his conclusion that he is “under less condemnation” for criticizing the American occupation (Iraq, Afghanistan) than Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and that Rosen’s editors are more accepting of the former. These are vague generalizations based on personal experience, and even if they were copiously documented, I don’t see how they would lead to any conclusion regarding the relationship between the Israel Lobby and those editors or media outlets, especially in relation to the mainstream media.

Regarding the mainstream media, it would never for a minute have occurred to me to even try to detect anything more than trivial or anecdotal differences among the dehumanization of Arabs in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Palestine, given the varied circumstances of occupation, war, and colonization. Further, I would have no idea how to relate any such alleged media differences to the influence of the Lobby, other than to state the obvious point that the Lobby focuses more intensely on Israel/Palestine.

Let’s not forget that the millions of Iraqis that have been killed or died “un-natural” deaths as a result of U.S. policies over the past 20-30 years dwarfs the number of Palestinians killed (even since 1947), however brutal and intensified Israel’s control of the Palestinian people. That’s because Iraq is where the oil is, and a lot more people also happen to be there. Lies are lies, whether they involve genocides, expulsions, occupations, or wars. I don’t see any aspect of the mainstream media, regardless of the influence of the Lobby, telling the substantive, non-trivial truth about any of this. It simply can’t, by its very nature, even think of attempting this, and the Lobby–for all its creativity–is just icing on the cake; not to dismiss the icing, especially for Jews themselves, especially liberal Jews, who in their own ironic way, from Martin Peretz to Eric Alterman, need to hear more clever and sanctimonious lies in order to keep the faith (forget about Peretz for a while, and see Alterman’s depredations in this week’s The Nation). 

It is further claimed that we are willing to deal with Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban, and not with the Palestinians. But on the one hand, we have to deal with the Iraqi insurgents/Taliban, because dealing with the puppets wasn’t/isn’t working in our “interests.” But the point is to recruit better puppets. We have “only permanent interests, not permanent allies.” On the other hand, we do in fact also deal with the Palestinian puppets, until they get uppity. It’s not at all clear that it is in our “interests” to have a just settlement in Israel and Palestine (as opposed to ramming a Bantustan down their throats). Until then, the American/Israeli divide-and-conquer strategy is not an accident, and indeed is not exactly a new tactic in the annals of colonialism.

In any event, I don’t see how these differences in geopolitical conflicts, history, strategy, and tactics among these various countries can possibly be attributed to the determining influence of the Israel Lobby. As Chomsky repeatedly says, it’s not that we hate the Palestinians; they’re just not politically important enough to care about; they have “negative rights.” But certainly, the Lobby will keep demonizing Hamas until the pragmatics change, just as they changed with Arafat.

It’s also claimed that Obama ran in opposition to the Iraq war, but couldn’t criticize Israel’s assault in Gaza in 2008-09. I don’t however see Obama as a principled opponent to the Iraq war; it was a political ploy to disarm the antiwar left. All of this should now be obvious, and for Obama it “worked.” Obama is down with the whole USFP program, including Israel. In political and strategic terms, both in relation to capitalism, election, and re-election, he actually truly (that is, calculatedly, greedily, cynically) supports Israel as an occupying, hyper-militarized but subservient ally, which again is vital to U.S. interests in the region. The Lobby hasn’t made him do it.

That’s because Obama is a skilled politician in a capitalist country and leader of the world’s only superpower. The influence of the Lobby could only possibly explain relatively marginal decisions and behavior. The air of American geopolitical control of the region is the air he breathes (read the Audacity of Hope), and that air doesn’t go uncirculated around Israel and Palestine. Nor is it clear where American interests stop and Israeli interests start, especially in relation to our inter-locking military-industrial complexes. 

It is asked “how come liberals in the mainstream can criticize U.S. policy but not Israel?” But they indeed criticize both, but in ways that don’t challenge the assumptions regarding the interests of either, and the relationships of those (elite, corporate) interests to those of “average” (no less impoverished) citizens of those countries. In fact, some op-ed columns critical of Israel (Rashid Khalidi, for example) are more profoundly critical than anything one will see regarding our wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, no less our policies in Latin America (what Lobby prevents support for Chavez?). Such criticism of Israel is of course carefully contextualized to “let off steam” (and support claims to a superficial “balance”) while not challenging the fundamental, implicit context created by the NYT, etc., both in its reporting and on its opinion pages.

As I’ve repeatedly said, to over-estimate and misconstrue the power of the Israel Lobby is a profound analytical mistake that leads to damaging strategic and tactical mistakes by failing to confront the reality that U.S. foreign policy fundamentally supports Israel as part of elite, corporate, and military-industrial economic interests; and thus failing to respond realistically and effectively.

Capitalism is complicated, but it all revolves around profits and violence in support of those profits. The future of the Palestinian people depends greatly on Americans dealing with their own politicians and their own government. This is not to say that the Palestinians should have to wait until we overthrow capitalism (although that would be nice); but it’s important to recognize from which enemies will have to be gained strategic and tactical victories; and only with the help of popular, public support, which has grown dramatically in recent years, and is now being frittered away by emphasis on the power of the Lobby.

However, none of this diminishes the need for aggressively countering the Lobby’s tactics and lies, especially in relation to Jewish institutions, which I’ve been doing on a regular and incessant basis in Urbana-Champaign for the past 12 years. Nor is any of this a general brief against BDS tactics that focus on our own responsibilities, such as those in the land of Caterpillar.

Zionism is indeed an “anachronistic ideology,” and Jewish institutions should be directly challenged in their assumed and subservient support of it. As a formerly affiliated Reform Jew, the inbred arrogance and racism is of course appalling. Nevertheless, I would re-iterate that American support for Israel goes well beyond Jewish institutional support, and that Palestinians and their American supporters, Jewish or otherwise, shouldn’t have to wait for these “anachronistic” (I guess), but at another level crassly self-interested and corrupt institutions, to get their acts together in order to have an effective movement.

The truth is, they never will, except in a radically changed political environment, and those who support the Palestinians have to seriously consider de-emphasizing what are essentially reactive and ineffective tactics based on the fallacy that Jews dictate American policies toward Israel.

David Green ([email protected]) is a 60-year-old Jewish-American who lives in Champaign, IL.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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111 Responses

  1. MHughes976
    October 24, 2010, 10:45 am

    This is the Marxist-Leninist view of international relations, in which the heartland imperial power, unable to create peace and stability at home and desperately in need of cheap raw materials in order to bolster an insecure economy, exports conflict or at least constant fear of conflict to the outer world.
    Lobbies and interest groups promoting and encouraging international tension and fear will of course be part of this system, like the Navy League in Edwardian England, perhaps. The ML view doesn’t deny this but it does not agree with the liberal view that these groups are going against true and legitimate national interest since it does not recognise that there can be any such thing as the true and legitimate national interest of an aggressive imperialist power. The only real interests are class interests.
    To my mind the ML view is a bit too abstract. I agree that in some senses the idea of ‘what’s good for the Jews’ or ‘Jewish control’ are always confusing and misleading when you try to define them, ie think in abstract terms.
    On the other hand we face the concrete fact that suffering is being multiplied every day in Palestine in part by the very effective efforts of organisations that claim to reflect and defend Jewish interests and rights and by their success in persuading people of their claims made on the moral level. I think that these claims have to be countered in their own terms, since otherwise they will continue to have their dire effect.
    Facing power being used badly we certainly should not, I agree, start denouncing that power in racist terms. On the other hand we should not refrain from discussing this particular, concrete misuse of power and the arguments actually used in its defence because we are interested only in the comparatively abstract question of the world power structure.

    • Evildoer
      October 24, 2010, 1:26 pm

      David,
      I agree with the general tenor of your practical conclusion. The Zionist lockdown should be confronted directly, but the “analysis” of the US in terms of contending ethnic and national interests is destructive in addition to ridiculous. The arguments of Weiss that you criticize, you are far too nice. They are not arguments at all, more like “hey! it’s raining! The God of Thunder is taking a leak”.

      But unfortunately you follow Chomsky into an analysis of imperialism that is almost theory free. While this is not as damaging as magical thinking, it is still a measure of the intellectual decline of the left. Chomsky has no framework for “imperial interests,” which means that whatever imperial agents write in classified correspondence ends up not only as evidence of capitalist interest but also as the building blocks for a (non) theory of capitalism. Some people accuse you of Marxism-Leninism below but the problem it is neither. To start from capitalism means that just as the press declaration of oil executives cannot be trusted, neither can CIA briefs. The latter do not articulate capitalist interests but translate them to the language of the state bureaucracy. Just because the CIA wants to control oil does not mean that oil companies want to control oil, and even that doesn’t mean the controlling oil is “a capitalist interest”. Interests are vectors of systems. If you want to understand oil companies you start from the cycle of the commodity, M-C-M’, not from what the CIA says about oil resources. You start from looking at how firms make profits today (which is somewhat different than in Marx’s day), how these profits interact with the actions of state agents, and then how the interaction between the two is controlled and how they interface with the political space through such concepts as hegemony and ideology.

      Not doing the empirical homework you end up with blatantly wrong factual claims, such as Israel being the “cop on the beat” which happened for the last time during Black September, (and then Israel tried to show that it can do that again in Lebanon 2006 and got beaten up and sent home by Hizbullah) or that Iraqis died to get at the oil beneath them, which makes no sense at all, as some people point out in the comments although for the wrong reasons. And you treat the superstructure, in a vulgar marxist way, as “icing on the cake.” But there can be no cake unless you can keep the people baking. So how to do that, which is about the role of the press and in general representations, which is most of the work of the lobby, that’s not icing, that’s a crucial aspect of capitalism.

  2. bob
    October 24, 2010, 10:50 am

    the control of oil proceeds apace

    Every time I see this explanation, i see a person who has a complete lack of understanding oil as a fungible commodity (You buy it from someone else) and one who uses confirmation bias to disregard hard evidence.

    I’ll have to simplify it. Say if the US could (it can’t) shut off all Middle East oil to China. Now, under WWII’s economic system vis-a-vis oil, this resembled an old colonial style. Your access meant less access to someone else. At least, that’s the way it was under colonialism just a few decades previous. This was right after WW2, we weren’t sure how the global economy would change, but it’s changed dramatically since then. In order for our military presence in the ME to give us some kind of “strategic leverage” against China or even Europe, we would have to use our military to actually close off the valve to China, as if that kind of thing were even possible.

    The catch is, is that an embargo would cause slight inconvenience but would be easily be circumvented with a reshuffling of suppliers. In other words, China would get it from somewhere else, and those people would be able to buy up the freed up suppliers.

    An even greater oversight from Zinn and Chomsky is that you cannot control secondary sales! There is nothing stoping a country selling China their primary sales and having shipments go as normal.

    Israel’s support as a “cop on the best” in the Middle East.

    Israel has never attacked anyone for the US. Conversely, the Israeli-US relationship acts as a enormous unifying agent for a region that is normally divided against itself. its divide and conquer, not unify a whole region against you.

    • Max Ajl
      October 24, 2010, 11:30 am

      Control over oil is about control over prices and profits.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 11:59 am

        Guess who doesn’t instability for that reason? Oil experts. The saudis like it at about 80/bbl, and are very worried about it going higher.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 12:13 pm

        If you can explain why you think your first link is relevant I will respond. All I see is a welter of mis-understanding and contradiction: “”It will be chaos. . . . I can’t really see it,” said Abdulsamad al-Awadi, an oil trading consultant and former executive at Kuwait Petroleum. “Having been in the marketplace for almost 30 years, I can’t see a scenario for it, or precautionary measures” that oil companies could take. “There are no precautionary measures.””

        What could that possibly mean? I mean that seriously. Do you think oil company execs are going to say to the paper, “well, massive instability as long as it’s short-lived can result in a windfall so we don’t care about that; what we care about is massive long-run instability, which would cause other energy sources to come online. but in short- medium- and long-runs some instability keeps oil prices high which means profits without fear of substitution?” Or do you think they are just going to emit gobbledygook like that in the quotation I extracted?

        Oil companies want to maximize profits; obviously, a part of maintaining long-run profits is preventing a substitution effect. Look at the last 40 years of oil prices and check if prices rose to 80/bbl or more without instability of some sort or another in the Middle East. The question is not whether or not they want instability. Don’t get it twisted. They do. They want instability within limits.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 1:09 pm

        If you can explain why you think your first link is relevant I will respond.

        When you claim “maximize profits,” you don’t actually support your premise.
        Thats when I show to you how varied that is for companies or nationalized entities like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

        What you cannot do is demonstrate how oil companies are pushing for this. Without this, your points are baseless.

        What you absolutely can demonstrate is how pro-Israeli interests have been pushing for this for two decades.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 1:24 pm

        We need a preview button.

        Beyond your problem of establishing credibility for your argument and demonstrating proof for it (then claiming contradiction), all you have is speculatory gestures. Thats the problem with this argument.

        Why disregard the actual people who fought for, planned, and won their war? To push some speculation? I’m not interested in it.

        I notice how pointing out how oil fungibility as a huge oversight for Chomsky has been skipped over, as well. Chomsky seeks to simplify and speak for an oil market he has no understanding of, and try to come up with a simple and easy answer based on an outmoded system. Or, as Shahak says

        But such simplistic theories, backed by his memory and ability to pick isolated examples (sometimes from a long time ago like his stock example of Eisenhower in the case of Israel while ignoring everything else from 1967 on) can appeal to [the] young who look for certainty and also for those who don’t want to [be] engaged in actual work and so find substitute for it in crude and useless display of emotion. “

        Let the hard direct you, not force items to fit your hypothesis.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 1:31 pm

        I don’t have to support it. A whole book was written about it.
        link to books.google.com

        (1) You did not explain the relevance of your first link.
        (2) Analyzing Saudi Arabia is more complex than simply calling it a nationalized entity
        (3) Apart from the fact that a book was written on it, the notion that it isn’t a reasonable baseline of analysis that oil companies are pushing to maximize profits is strange. I will not re-invent the wheel for you. They have legal obligations to maximize profits. The dispute is over how to do so, in both short- and long-runs. These are truisms, they don’t need to be footnoted.
        (4) Other truisms are that it is very clear that there has been recurrent instability in the M-E, that it’s impossible that policy-makers have been unaware of the connection between instability and rising prices, or the connections between rising prices and rising profits. The debate is over who is served by different levels of instability. That is the way to look at this question.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 1:41 pm

        It is baffling to me what Chomsky has to do with an exchange between “Max Ajl” and “bob.” I am not interested here in what Chomsky says or doesn’t say, I’m interested in what you say and what I say.

        This argument is not “gestures,” it is a well-defended thesis that comports well with what we know of how the world works. That I won’t and don’t outline it at great length in a comment post is not due to lack of evidence or because I am speculating. (If you want to dispute the correlations I outline in general terms please do so but be advised that it will be impossible). I do not dis-regard the “actual figures.” I do not dis-regard the Lobby. I do not dis-regard Israel. What I do is try to re-work the role of these agents into the framework of a broader system. That system is capitalist imperialism. If you are “not interested in it,” then that’s fine. Good afternoon, goodbye.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 2:34 pm

        I don’t have to support it.
        Groan
        A whole book was written about it.
        Exactly where in that book shows direct connections to people pushing for and getting war in Iraq or arguing for one in Iran?

        Exactly.

        (1) You did not explain the relevance of your first link.

        Again.

        When you claim “maximize profits,” you don’t actually support your premise.
        Thats when I show to you how varied that is for companies or nationalized entities like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

        What you cannot do is demonstrate how oil companies are pushing for this. Without this, your points are baseless.

        What you absolutely can demonstrate is how pro-Israeli interests have been pushing for this for two decades.

        The dispute is over how to do so, in both short- and long-runs. These are truisms, they don’t need to be footnoted.

        You don’t feel a need to support your argument. Got it.

        It is baffling to me what Chomsky has to do with an exchange between “Max Ajl” and “bob.”
        I’m using that as a tie in. Both you and Chomsky are similar in selectively pushing data to fit simplistic and speculative paradigms

        But such simplistic theories, backed by his memory and ability to pick isolated examples (sometimes from a long time ago like his stock example of Eisenhower in the case of Israel while ignoring everything else from 1967 on) can appeal to [the] young who look for certainty and also for those who don’t want to [be] engaged in actual work and so find substitute for it in crude and useless display of emotion.

        Let the hard direct you, not force items to fit your hypothesis.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 2:50 pm

        Also, while your “source” is bereft of direct connections relevant for things like the Iraq war, even finding this would not discredit what we know about the direct people who fought and won this war

        In other words, you do not get to wipe away evidence that is correct.

        Ill post this here, as its relevant.
        ——————-
        Also, while looking, note how a book on petro-dollars and weapons has zero, none, nada, mentions of JINSA.

        Almost thirty years ago, a prominent group of neoconservative hawks found an effective vehicle for advocating their views via the Committee on the Present Danger, a group that fervently believed the United States was a hair away from being militarily surpassed by the Soviet Union, and whose raison d’être was strident advocacy of bigger military budgets, near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control and zealous championing of a Likudnik Israel. Considered a marginal group in its nascent days during the Carter Administration, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 CPD went from the margins to the center of power.

        Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a shadow defense establishment during the Carter Administration, so, too, did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they’ve managed to weave a number of issues–support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general–into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

        Thats uncomfortable information for someone trying to pass a materialist view with no direct connections, say, for the last 20 years. Of course, it was written in 2002, when this information wasn’t really synthesized yet, so i’ll not fault the author too hard.

        However, I will fault you for trying to pass this off as some sort of rebuttal.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 8:07 pm

        Bob,
        You people would not know honesty if it hit you in the face. I wrote, “I don’t have to support it. A whole book was written about it.” You interspersed, “groan,” when the evidence I supplied was a book. Your are dishonest. Stop being dishonest. Then you had a hissy-fit about the book not “show[ing] direct connections to people pushing for and getting war in Iraq or arguing for one in Iran.” Why would it do that? Was that the “it” we were talking about? No. The “it” was about maximizing profits and fomenting instability–the book’s topic. Can you follow, or shall I start parsing sentences for you, or perhaps offering dictionary definitions of each word so that you don’t get so flustered? You say my point is baseless. I wrote, “the notion that it isn’t a reasonable baseline of analysis that oil companies are pushing to maximize profits is strange. I will not re-invent the wheel for you. They have legal obligations to maximize profits. The dispute is over how to do so, in both short- and long-runs. These are truisms, they don’t need to be footnoted.
        (4) Other truisms are that it is very clear that there has been recurrent instability in the M-E, that it’s impossible that policy-makers have been unaware of the connection between instability and rising prices, or the connections between rising prices and rising profits. The debate is over who is served by different levels of instability. That is the way to look at this question.” and the evidence was a book documenting that connection. your response was that the claims above, which hardly need a book (are you unaware how corporate charters work?) were “baseless.”

        You see people arguing for two wars and in one case a war happened and in the other case it didn’t and from that you draw causal inferences about their power. Which one of us, exactly, is “speculating,” or using “simplistic” paradigms? There’s a big difference between simplistic and simple. Simplistic is thinking the Lobby is as powerful as you think it is. I use the simplest tool available. I look at who profits and who is close to policy-makers, I look at their affiliations, I write cognizant of the power of the weapons industries and the oil industries, especially in Republican White Houses; I write aware of the fact that their interests are always taken into account although sometimes they lose out to other lobbies; I write aware of the correlations between conflict in the M-E and oil prices; and I write aware of the fact that power is more powerful when it is hidden, and when imperialism is able to hide in the Israel Lobby and you have people like you and Avi falling for the bait, thinking you’ve achieved the height of analytical sophistication by muttering about “mechanical materialism” when we try to understand how the empire operates, they’re doing a pretty good job.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 9:07 pm

        [Ajl's long post with no direct proof and loaded with insults]

        Thanks for making my point.

  3. bob
    October 24, 2010, 11:01 am

    As I’ve repeatedly said, to over-estimate and misconstrue the power of the Israel Lobby is a profound analytical mistake that leads to damaging strategic and tactical mistakes by failing to confront the reality that U.S. foreign policy fundamentally supports Israel as part of elite, corporate, and military-industrial economic interests; and thus failing to respond realistically and effectively.

    One, you are trying to marginalize literally reams of hard data by establishing a spurious paradigm based a no longer existing oil system.

    Worse, this falls under the ongoing and running trope that sees Israelis as people lacking agency for bad actions. If bad things happen, its really someone else’s fault– from blaming an action that ‘forces’ them into the uncomfortable event. Mark regev trying to explain that Israel eas ‘forced’ to respond to Gaza, or Zinn and Chomsky saying Israel’s bad actions are forced by a US.

    Never mind that theres a whole laundry list of Chomsky’s failures in creating this decades long paradigm and then trying to downplay and dismiss hard and direct connections, like neoconservatives fighting over oil interests in the Iraq war.

  4. Polly
    October 24, 2010, 11:03 am

    The counter to any belief that the lobby has an inordinate amount of power is either that it’s extremely complicated (as in this piece) or that it’s based on an irrational hatred of Jews (a la the Dersh).
    I’m not certain that you’re wrong, but there are other arguments far more compelling.

    • bob
      October 24, 2010, 11:19 am

      Besides ignoring the nature of a fungible oil market, Chomsky makes a series of errors.
      link to leftcurve.org
      link to counterpunch.org
      One of the most glaring errors, beyond confirmation bias or contorting citations, is his dismissal of congressional pressure on the executive.

      worst crisis in US-Israel relations since 1975 when Pres. Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger publicly blamed Israel for the breakdown of negotiations with Egypt over withdrawing from the Sinai. As a consequence, Ford announced that he was going to make a major speech calling for a reassessment of Israel-US relations. Although hardly the powerhouse that it has become today, AIPAC, the only officially registered pro-Israel lobby, responded to the threat by getting 76 senators to sign a harsh letter to Ford, warning him not to tamper with Israel-US relations. Ford never made the speech and it would not be the last time that AIPAC got three quarters of the US Senate to sign a letter designed to keep an American president in check.
      March, 1980, President Carter was forced to apologize after US UN representative Donald McHenry voted for a resolution that condemned Israel’s settlement policies in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem and which called on Israel to dismantle them. McHenry had replaced Andrew Young who was pressured to resign in 1979 after an Israeli newspaper revealed that he had held a secret meeting with a PLO representative which violated a US commitment to Israel and to the American Jewish community.
      June, 1980 After Carter requested a halt to Jewish settlements and his Secretary of State, Edmund Muskie, called the Jewish settlements an obstacle to peace, Prime Minister Menachem Begin announced plans to construct 10 new ones.

      etc. etc.

      Blankfort’s long string of critiques against Chomsky’s paradigm is often on what Chomsky ignores and downplays to assume that 50 years or so of US policy is governed by the same principle. Blankfort highlights how Chomsky uses very old information and misapplied sources to maintain paradigm. Chomsky needs this Cold War information, as it represents a change from the colonial oil system mentioned above.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 9:05 pm

        Do you people even read the primary documents you want to characterize? Here’s the NYTimes from that day: “The United States, according to Israeli officials, has made it abundantly clear that in private contacts that it believes that Israel should give up the passes to facilitate a new interim agreement. The alternative, American officials are quoted here as saying, is the reconvening of the Geneva Conference where Israel will face the combined demands of all the Arab states for a return” to the Green Line. If you are forced to argue the power of the Lobby at this specific conjuncture rather than assuming it, you see that Ford in 1975 was not calling for a full withdrawal. Nor was Carter in 1976 when he vetoed the SC Resolution calling for it. The question becomes, why? Maybe because they didn’t care about “stability” but rather wanted “instability.” Also in 1975 most Americans supported sending military hardware to Israel. Was that functional for the empire? Sure, if it wanted “instability,” carefully managed instability. Does that make sense? It does if you assume that factions of American capital benefited from instability rather than stability, as I’m arguing, and it looks precisely like the Lobby amidst its letters and blustering was legitimizing and lubricating these processes, while also enabling Israel to continue to be intransigent–in fact, pushing it to be even more intransigent than it otherwise would have been, the bit that M-W get right. You then make the reasonable assumption the Ford, Carter, and Kissinger were attentive to the interests of those factions of capital, while Ball, consistent with his opposition to Vietnam, was attentive to the interests of what Michael Klare calls the “traders,” those who saw what we now call globalization as the route to American/imperial prosperity.

        But this type of argument isn’t what’s welcome here. Instead, you pick out bits of history to force it into a Procrustean analytical bed all the while building in your assumptions into your arguments rather than proving them.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 9:07 pm

        That should be a Ford veto in 1976, not Carter.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 9:44 pm

        But this type of argument isn’t what’s welcome here.

        You know what is welcome? Speculate less and provide direct connections, specify the persons, and prove how they made it happen.

        Do that, and its more than willing to join the party of other hard worked for evidence.

      • annie
        October 24, 2010, 10:24 pm

        Procrustean analytical bed? ouch, those are fighting words.

      • Max Ajl
        October 25, 2010, 8:47 am

        I’m sorry, is that English? I repeat:

        Do you people even read the primary documents you want to characterize? Here’s the NYTimes from that day: “The United States, according to Israeli officials, has made it abundantly clear that in private contacts that it believes that Israel should give up the passes to facilitate a new interim agreement. The alternative, American officials are quoted here as saying, is the reconvening of the Geneva Conference where Israel will face the combined demands of all the Arab states for a return” to the Green Line. If you are forced to argue the power of the Lobby at this specific conjuncture rather than assuming it, you see that Ford in 1975 was not calling for a full withdrawal. Nor was Carter in 1976 when he vetoed the SC Resolution calling for it. The question becomes, why? Maybe because they didn’t care about “stability” but rather wanted “instability.” Also in 1975 most Americans supported sending military hardware to Israel. Was that functional for the empire? Sure, if it wanted “instability,” carefully managed instability. Does that make sense? It does if you assume that factions of American capital benefited from instability rather than stability, as I’m arguing, and it looks precisely like the Lobby amidst its letters and blustering was legitimizing and lubricating these processes, while also enabling Israel to continue to be intransigent–in fact, pushing it to be even more intransigent than it otherwise would have been, the bit that M-W get right. You then make the reasonable assumption the Ford, Carter, and Kissinger were attentive to the interests of those factions of capital, while Ball, consistent with his opposition to Vietnam, was attentive to the interests of what Michael Klare calls the “traders,” those who saw what we now call globalization as the route to American/imperial prosperity.

        You want to argue that the Empire/MIC/oil industry does not benefit from instability in the Middle East but don’t look at its profits when instability rages in the Middle East. you want to claim Israel or a given war is bad for those interests when Israel promotes regional instability and wars tend to lead to massive profits. you want to claim that core governmental officials are unaware of the needs of the people financing their campaigns and that dominate sectors of the economy, and then huffily demand “evidence” as though anyone is in a rush to de-classify or print out in the first place oil company and arms execs urging that the M-E remain a violent place. what we know is that they are systematically close to executive and congressional politicians, that they fund their campaigns, and that they profit off wars. but “profit” is insufficient; on this thread we need to quote the Delaware state law that discusses corporate charters. I repeat: the above is evidence. What is being argued above is a systematic brief for correlations between instability and profits in the MIC and oil industries. look at actual profits and look at actual policy, then turn on your brain and think, and think about the benefits that accrue to power when instead of talking about it we deal with its publicist.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 9:00 am

        You want to argue that the Empire/MIC/oil industry does not benefit from instability in the Middle East but don’t look at its profits when instability rages in the Middle East.

        Lets skip the strawmen above and focus here: I want to point out to you that you haven’t come close to providing direct information to support your information.

        Speculate less and provide direct connections, specify the persons, and prove how they made it happen.

        Do that, and its more than willing to join the party of other hard worked for evidence.

      • Max Ajl
        October 25, 2010, 11:32 am

        you literally neither know how to read, to be honest, or to analyze power, do you? analyzing power involves speculation because it does not operate out in the open. that speculation is based on fundamental methodological choices and fundamental assumptions. the assumptions are that corporations seek to maximize profits and that the American government takes the interests of corporations in mind when constructing policies. the fundamental methodologies involve linking profit statements and policies. lobbying sometimes contributes to policy-making, sometimes it does not, but the major policy-makers have established links to the MIC and the oil majors, have for the last 40 years. I cannot “prove how they made it happen” because there is no proof, there are reasonable inferences to be drawn based on the methodologies outlined above.
        here is an example.

        The Lobby-armacore-petrocore nexus is on a serious binge. Newspapers are reporting that the arms deal with Saudi Arabia has swollen to an estimated 60 billion dollars, the largest such deal ever made. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration is seeking Congressional approval to sell Saudi Arabia 84 F-15s and to upgrade 70 of them. The American defense industry will also sell the Saudis three kinds of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks, and 36 Little Birds. Alongside these sales, the administration is discussing upgrading the Saudi navy. That deal is potentially worth 30 billion dollars, and involves littoral combat ships, meant for close-to-shore combat, and blue water warships.

        The word from US officials is that Israel is happy with the sales because the planes will be bereft of the long-range weapons systems that would presumably pose a threat to Israeli security. The Israelis will also soon be purchasing the F-35. “We appreciate the administration’s efforts to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, and we expect to continue to discuss our concerns with the administration about the issues,” commented Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the US. What’s the role of the Lobby here? Seems straightforwardly despicable. It secured the several billion dollar wing deal for 800 of the 3200 F-35s, a little bit of financial lubrication that in effect diverts American taxpayer money into Israeli Aerospace Industries, an Israeli-state-owned industrial defense firm. We know what the Lobby does when it Lobbies. But what about everyone else?

        Also straightforward. Potentially 60 billion Saudi Arabian petrodollars get pumped into the American military-industrial complex, creating tens of thousands of jobs in multiple states alongside massive profits, simultaneously quieting down labor, Congress, and associated commercial and industrial interests that will benefit from the reverberations of that economic activity in both the economic and political spheres. The labor leadership can quaver about how these arms sales serve the interests of working people, Congress can cower behind the need for jobs in a recession. Meanwhile, articulate sectors that might otherwise put 2 and 2 together can be relied upon to shut up. Fragments of the liberal-left intelligentsia will quiet down due to ideological support for Israel and their skewed understand of its self-induced defense “needs,” while they will be loath to get too testy about the money flowing to Saudi Arabic, quietly aware that the dictatorship is not an enemy of Israel, although its population certainly is—or at least, an enemy of a bellicose, occupying Israel.

        All of this, of course, is advertised as being in the “national interest,” as State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said yesterday. A remarkably flexible concept, useful for just about anything except telling the truth. In this case, the national interest is “to maintain security and stability in the region”: odd to pour in the weapons that could fuel regional conflagration when the goal is “stability.”

        The question should never be, “Is There an Israel Lobby?” or “Is It Powerful?” Those are silly questions. The question is why other sectors of capital connive with and tolerate that Lobby. Easy answer, no? An order-of-magnitude larger amount of money flows into their coffers than “they”—but in reality, American taxpayers—lose to the Israeli defense industry. Furthermore, other sources report that a Lockheed Martin spokesman said Israel’s industrial participation agreement with the company is based on the country’s desire to eventually buy 75 F-35s.* Looks like things may even out eventually.

        The F-35s aren’t scheduled to be delivered until 2015, which means any radar-evading properties they may have that would enable them to dodge Iranian radar wouldn’t help them if bombardment of Iran is incipient, clarifying that sober planners understand that Iran does not pose an existential threat to anyone, although its latent potential as a regional power that refuses to follow US orders is a constant threat—thus explaining imperial destabilization, as probably occurred during the post-election fracas in June 2009.

        But the threat of military action against Iran provides a reason to pump up defense spending, keeping a constant excuse in place for that spending while American domestic infrastructure crumbles. People are kept scared and, scared, are prevented from asking questions about the distribution of American government cash. The Lobby does push hard for war, but other sectors of domestic power push against it—usually, the Pentagon, generals with their eye on the empire’s overall interests. Somehow that the Lobby hasn’t gotten its war with Iran is taken to be proof of its overweening power, while the hundreds of billions in post-2003 oil profits that have flooded American oil companies due to the “War for Israel” are deliberately, perhaps myopically, ignored. In this case, I think that the threat of war with Iran is functional for American oil companies, something they could not be unaware of. If there actually was war against Iran—which there could be, the Lobby’s chicanery combined with domestic political dynamics could bring it about, although I doubt it—oil prices would go too high, and there would be energy substitution, people would seek other sources of energy, eventually leading the way to another crash in oil prices. Such a crash would be disastrous for the oil industry, which has enormous fixed capital costs and will have to pump that oil even at a slight loss, or simply cap its wells, equally damaging since the investment will be standing physically idle, unable to generate profits.

        And if that war happens, the retaliation from Hezbollah will be fierce. Rockets will pummel Tel-Aviv and other Israeli population centers. There will be massive destruction across the Middle East, and Israel will not be spared. And because of the Lobby’s justly perceived role in bringing about the war, anti-Semitism will skyrocket. This is a very oddly-named “Israel/Zionist/Jewish Lobby” that is so bad for Jews, Israel, and Zionism. Alongside talk of the Lobby, we need to talk about political economy. So why can’t we talk profits, oil, weapon shipments, the military-industrial complex, and imperialism? Why is contextualizing and actually analyzing the Lobby taken to be tantamount to denying it? If there are answers, I would like to hear them.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 12:08 pm

        analyzing power involves speculation because it does not operate out in the open.

        Or you could, you know, look at the actual people who pushed for and got the war, since it is very out in the open.

        No, pretend thats “less important” so some speculative paradigm. Paradigms, of course, litter the graveyard of defunct social science thought. Its crazy to see people make the same mistakes.

        Me? I’ll wait until you have something concrete to contribute. You don’t as of now, and you need to accomplish that. Otherwise, you are no different than the people who baselessly speculate that “the Jews” are the “real” and “secret” problem. Only coming up with direct connections and specific people, with care to not conflate moves us away from that pitfall, and frankly, I’m not going to follow you along that epistemological nightmare.

        Come back with hard linkages. If you have none, come back with another long empty post that tries a few strawman arguments and ad hominems – you know, like you did above. I won’t respond to its emptyness this time.

      • Max Ajl
        October 25, 2010, 1:14 pm

        Bob,
        You seem to be unable to follow what this sub-thread is and isn’t about. The sub-thread where big oil’s interaction with Iraq War II where Gabriel Ash explains to you how big oil benefited from that war and how it interfaced with policy-makers and made policy is below. This sub-thread is about general methodology and systemic correlations. The historical example that I brought up was the Ford administration. I repeat. We know that petroleum and arms industries were major funders of the Ford campaign. We also know from Sale, Domhoff, and Kolko of the systematic inter-relations between the arms industry, the oil industry, and the government, especially in Republican administrations. We infer that policymakers were aware of these facts and acted upon them in reasonable ways. Then we discuss the course of policy at what the kiddies take as a major inflection point, repeatedly cited and re-cited: the Ford speech after which 76 senators signed a letter bla bla.

        Then you insert the following:
        Here’s the NYTimes from that day: “The United States, according to Israeli officials, has made it abundantly clear that in private contacts that it believes that Israel should give up the passes to facilitate a new interim agreement. The alternative, American officials are quoted here as saying, is the reconvening of the Geneva Conference where Israel will face the combined demands of all the Arab states for a return” to the Green Line. If you are forced to argue the power of the Lobby at this specific conjuncture rather than assuming it, you see that Ford in 1975 was not calling for a full withdrawal. Nor was Carter in 1976 when he vetoed the SC Resolution calling for it. The question becomes, why? Maybe because they didn’t care about “stability” but rather wanted “instability.” Also in 1975 most Americans supported sending military hardware to Israel. Was that functional for the empire? Sure, if it wanted “instability,” carefully managed instability. Does that make sense? It does if you assume that factions of American capital benefited from instability rather than stability, as I’m arguing, and it looks precisely like the Lobby amidst its letters and blustering was legitimizing and lubricating these processes, while also enabling Israel to continue to be intransigent–in fact, pushing it to be even more intransigent than it otherwise would have been, the bit that M-W get right.

        Then, noticing the correlations, which can be shown for other administrations, you make a theory out of it consistent with empirical history. That’s when this comes in:
        link to books.google.com

        Now, you may continue to use big words you culled from social science 101 all you want. The story about the Ford administration is that above. the causal theory is in the link above. the way that theory plays out in Iraq War II is explained to you below. you can start putting the puzzle-pieces together, or you can insist that everything is explained because we know that neo-cons and Zionists pushed for Iraq War II, as though that actually explains why Gulf War II happened–that is, why other sectors of capital tolerated the push for a massively expensive war. this is what you aspersively refer to “speculation,” bobby, but what it is trying to make sense of reality beyond the blathering of Blankfort and the contorted I-R theorizing of M-W. it is not my decision as to whether or not you choose to understand this slice of social reality or the world in general. that’s your choice. choose.

      • Evildoer
        October 25, 2010, 6:40 pm

        Max,
        unfortunately you (and I) sometimes seem unable to understand that some of the students here are still struggling getting through “my pet goat.” Maybe next year. Did you actually use the word methodolology?

  5. kapok
    October 24, 2010, 11:19 am

    The author has a point. We see the I-Lobby as all-powerful but that may be because it is so much in our faces. The mining, chemical, firearms lobbies are working their magic as well. Anyone of them is at least as powerful as the I-lobby.

  6. Citizen
    October 24, 2010, 11:38 am

    Mr. Green: There was no “special relationship” with Israel before 1967 (as Daniel Pipes for one, among many, has stated). Since then it has become ever more special in all the ways constantly discussed and data-sourced on this blog since the creation of MW. Why is that, given all the truth you say about
    US foreign policy since 1898 and the myriad greedy corporate interests behind it exemplified by the growth of the Military-Industrial-Security Complex Ike warned us about as he departed the oval office? For 69 years,
    normal arms-length relationship, then 43 years of increasing enmeshment unlike we’ve ever had with any other nation. Why? Just icing on the predatory cake at the imperialistic party? Oil might explain Iraq, though many oil men would point out if it was oil access and stability we wanted, we should have left Saddam in charge. The USSR has been gone for quite awhile. Our greedy corporate interests couldn’t go elsewhere than Israel to make more cake and the icing too? Yes, they could–and with far less damage to our image in the world. Any government and any corporation views its image as paramount. But Uncle Sam doesn’t care about its image in the world when it comes to unconditional support for Israel right or wrong. I think you have a large mote in your eye. AIPAC et al is not just another lobby up on the hill. Many people who should know have so stated, both US and Israeli people–all this has been repeatedly documented on this blog as well.

    • bob
      October 24, 2010, 11:50 am

      >*Oil might explain Iraq*

      Big oil interests were lobbying to trade with Saddam. Saddam wanted to trade with them. Big oil interests thought following the neoconservative plan in Iraq was totally foolish.

      You have a neoconservative plan, with a whole cadre of people with huge ideological attachments to Israel. Oil people? No. Cheney himself (the person who people like to bring up as a counterweight) was completely against the neoconservative plan in the 1990’s – calling an Invasion of Iraq a quagmire and arguing against sanctions.

      The Washington Post Washington, D.C.: Sep 6, 1990. pg. a.36

      Israel’s American supporters, who have long tried to get the Bush administration to pursue a tough line against Iraq, are now deeply uneasy about the shape U.S. policy on the Middle East is taking, fearing that the United States’s new Arab alliances will lead to a tilt away from Israel.

      Israel’s advocates still support the administration’s response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and welcome moves that could weaken Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. “We remain completely in support of what they’ve done in the gulf,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “That’s an issue on which there’s complete consensus.”
      ……………
      For the Israel lobby, there is a bittersweet quality to the current situation. For months before Iraq invaded Kuwait, Israel’s backers stood almost alone in warning the Bush administration about the dangers Saddam posed to stability in the Middle East. Saddam’s invasion effectively won the argument for the pro-Israel forces and produced the anti-Iraq policy they were seeking. But that policy is now taking a form that leaves Israel’s allies anxious.

      Alfred H. Moses, chairman of the board of governors of the American Jewish Committee, cast the concern as a question. “Will the emphasis in the future be more on protecting oil in the gulf than on protecting Israel in the Mediterranean?”

      The last sentence is key. Since Truman, you see this argument against supporting Israel based on oil concerns. This extends onward to decades.

      • Citizen
        October 24, 2010, 12:16 pm

        Thanks for the supplement, bob. Any clue why Chaney, with his intense interest and knowledge of the oil business, changed his tune to sing PNAC songs? Wonder what ever happened when he attended that special meeting for top oil strategists that has remained secret to this day.

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 12:46 pm

        Citizen,

        I’m sure you’re aware of the following information, but I just want to put it out there as it’s relevant to this discussion.

        2001 Cheney: Former board chairman of Halliburton. No-bid contracts. KBR.

        link to halliburtonwatch.org

        1993 Cheney: link to youtube.com

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 12:48 pm

        *Correction: That should read “Might prove relevant”. I don’t know if it is, though.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 1:12 pm

        Woodward and others talk about it, on how 9/11 changed him personally and he drank the neoconservative kool-aid.

        When he was Haliburton’s boss, he was contrary to the whole concept of sanctions and against the whole concept of regime change.

        Moreover, using Haliburton as some sort of oil representative itself is ludicrous, as groups like Exxon were lobbying to trade and Shell Oil’s CEO, James Baker, etc. were against the war.

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 1:31 pm

        bob October 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm

        Woodward and others talk about it, on how 9/11 changed him personally and he drank the neoconservative kool-aid.

        When he was Haliburton’s boss, he was contrary to the whole concept of sanctions and against the whole concept of regime change.

        Moreover, using Haliburton as some sort of oil representative itself is ludicrous, as groups like Exxon were lobbying to trade and Shell Oil’s CEO, James Baker, etc. were against the war.

        Good, so the oil angle doesn’t hold water.

        I find it quite telling that neither Green, nor Ajl are able to provide sound evidence in support of their claims. I see no statistics, no thorough research, nor examples. In other words, they seem unable to quantify AIPAC’s influence or its lack of influence.

      • Max Ajl
        October 24, 2010, 2:03 pm

        Avi,
        I provided links on the other thread, I provide them here. I discussed profit considerations against instability, the substitution effect, etc. You write about the “ability” or “inability” to quantify AIPAC’s influence but I actually write about the profits of American MIC firms, Israeli MIC firms, cross-connections between the two, their relations to war in the M-E, the F-35 deal, fomented instability in the M-E, Saudi Arabian weapons purchases and on and on. What’s “revealing” is that when presented with evidence, you appear not to have clicked through to the links to actually read it.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 2:35 pm

        I find it quite telling that neither Green, nor Ajl are able to provide sound evidence in support of their claims. I see no statistics, no thorough research, nor examples. In other words, they seem unable to quantify AIPAC’s influence or its lack of influence.

        Happens every time. They skip your direct connections, argue for you to focus on their speculations, then claim that your direct connections are somehow less important to a hypothetical scenario of possibility.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 2:37 pm

        Ajl
        I provided links on the other thread

        That book has exactly what direct connection for big oil pushing for war in Iraq?
        Last two decades?

        Exactly.

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 2:42 pm

        Avi:

        Also, while looking, note how a book on petro-dollars and weapons has zero, none, nada, mentions of JINSA.

        Almost thirty years ago, a prominent group of neoconservative hawks found an effective vehicle for advocating their views via the Committee on the Present Danger, a group that fervently believed the United States was a hair away from being militarily surpassed by the Soviet Union, and whose raison d’être was strident advocacy of bigger military budgets, near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control and zealous championing of a Likudnik Israel. Considered a marginal group in its nascent days during the Carter Administration, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 CPD went from the margins to the center of power.

        Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a shadow defense establishment during the Carter Administration, so, too, did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they’ve managed to weave a number of issues–support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general–into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

        On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war–not just with Iraq, but “total war,” as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, “regime change” by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents–be it Colin Powell’s State Department, the CIA or career military officers–is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East–a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.

        Amazing, no mention of Neoconservatives spinning the pentagon towards their ideological slant? That would hurt the Books empty foundation and materialist perspective.

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 3:47 pm

        Please, bob. Let’s avoid such influential groups and such convincing arguments. Let’s stick to spurious arguments, eh? ;)

      • bob
        October 24, 2010, 4:52 pm

        :)

  7. clenchner
    October 24, 2010, 12:53 pm

    Absolutely:
    “The truth is, they never will, except in a radically changed political environment, and those who support the Palestinians have to seriously consider de-emphasizing what are essentially reactive and ineffective tactics based on the fallacy that Jews dictate American policies toward Israel.”

    In other words, let’s not follow AIPAC into the swamp of fantastical over-emphasis on Jewish power. That’s a myth propagated to serve the interests of a sliver of ruling class interests to strengthen it against other slivers.

    It’s noteworthy that while the US has a very strong ‘Jewish lobby’ European countries have nothing that compares (in large part because of proportional representation.) And yet, those European countries, platitudes aside, more or less confirm and round out US-Israeli strategies.

    It’s especially noteworthy that many of the respectable post fascist formations in Europe have decided to include Jews, defend Israel, and oppose Muslims. There’s not a trace of philo-semitism in that move. It’s all about imperial power, real and imagined. The existence of a Jewish lobby is incidental in most of Europe.

    • Avi
      October 24, 2010, 1:16 pm

      More nonsense from the resident “expert”. Are you witty’s son, by any chance?

    • clenchner
      October 24, 2010, 1:39 pm

      Avi,

      The way that you go after individuals on this blog with ad-hominem attacks is destructive. It sets a tone of hostility towards folks with whom there is a disagreement. Me saying so won’t change you, but there’s a kind of impact that results from simply affirming what is decent.

      By ad-hominem attacks, I mean the scare quotes and suggesting that I might be Witty’s son or follower. It’s mean-spirited and I invite you to treat people online – and in real life – as you would wish to be treated.

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 2:07 pm

        Scare quotes? No. Those are sarcasm quotes.

        As for the rest of your post, you might have a valid point if you didn’t insult the reader with your repeated claims which you have already been called on, and refused to answer. Here, yet again, you cry foul about your alleged mistreatment, hence dodging the debate, entirely. I know you find it inconvenient to have to explain your ambiguous language, but do try.

        And finally, I’m not going after anyone. So don’t feel the need to play the victim card yet again. That righteous indignation is nauseating.

        Be honest, explain yourself and provide supporting facts and very few, if anyone, will “attack” you. Otherwise, quit wasting so much space.

      • annie
        October 24, 2010, 10:19 pm

        ‘”Sex, yacht and videotape” ..hey clencher, what do you think of the ‘Sex Scandal Involving Billionaire Jewish Leader’ w/ ‘ ‘human trafficking of minors”? he is a big corporate guy. thus far it is not making any traction in the press here. wonders never cease. Mashkevitch founded the Euro-Asia Jewish Congress . news reports say ’20 businessmen
        and prostitutes were arrested on suspicion of taking part in wild orgies.’
        . minors we’re there. and politicians. in fact that last link is titled ‘”Sex, yacht and videotape”. his wiki page says

        He also has the ear of some highly placed Israeli
        government leaders. For instance, in 2002, Mashkevich had a private meeting with then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.[4] In apparent consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, he asked his personal friend Kazakh President Nursultan Nazabayev to intervene with Iran concerning Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah.[4] Also, while in Israel, Mashkevich “several times rather
        closely cooperated” with Kazakh Ambassador, now Deputy Foreign Minister, Kairat Abdurakhmanov.[5]

        Mashkevich is one of the owners of Alferon Management. Based in London, Alferon Management has acquired mining operations in different places: Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kosovo, Russia, and other countries.

        wiki is the source that says ‘human trafficking of minors’ . it has a nice ring to it. the UK telegraph says he denies everything, of course. “He was on board,” said Roman Spektor, the Kazakhstani billionaire’s spokesman…..Ten people, including two
        women, were arrested. Tevfik Ari, a New York real estate mogul and friend of Donald Trump, was among those detained.

        ouch, that’s a hella way to do business. it’s lucky nobody would ever consider using sex tapes w/minors to blackmail politicians. otherwise it might compromise democracy.

  8. yourstruly
    October 24, 2010, 1:22 pm

    When geopolitical + economic considerations (ie Empire USA’s ruling the world) dictate that this special relationship with Israel either be abandoned or downgraded (as per what happened to U.S.-Taiwan ties after Nixon went to the Peoples Republic of China), the Israel Lobby will see its influence reduced, just as the Nixon-Mao tse Tung get together shrank the influence of the Nationalist China Lobby down to size. This, no matter how many articles appear on MW that it’s all about the tail wagging the dog.

  9. Avi
    October 24, 2010, 1:26 pm

    David Green,

    Why don’t you be honest with everyone and just come out and say it. Is it too difficult for you to admit that the Israel Lobby is the tail that wags the dog? Are you afraid of blowback in the form of anti-Semitism should that information become widespread in the United States?

    Everyone who cares to know understands that AIPAC operates best in the proverbial shadows. At least AIPAC officials have been candid and honest enough to admit that much.

    • clenchner
      October 24, 2010, 1:49 pm

      Avi,

      As a sometimes facilitator for groups, there’s kind of a handy taxonomy of destructive behaviors that harm conversations. Among them: assigning motives to others, accusations of dishonesty that cannot be proven, and claims that what is true is self-evident, not subject to honorable disagreement. In adults, these are just negative traits. In arguments, they are flags that weaken any thesis. On a blog they are signs of a degraded conversational culture, especially when the moderator chooses to absent herself.

      It’s a shame, as the information presented is often of high quality.

      • Avi
        October 24, 2010, 2:11 pm

        Clenchner,

        It’s quite telling how you do not see yourself.

        You are first asked nicely to explain your deliberately vague language.

        You avoid responding.

        Then you put forth another ambiguous and generalizing statement.

        You are then pressed on the point (That’s what you call “attack”).

        And then you finally respond with righteous indignation.

        You aren’t fooling anyone, sweetie. And that Mark Regev-like demeanor isn’t help you much.

        Show some honesty and take off the mask of polite discourse behind which you hide so well.

    • yourstruly
      October 24, 2010, 1:53 pm

      The blowback already is beginning, but it’ll remain marginal until it’s time for U.S. politicos to switch try to switch horses in the middle of the stream, as per what happened some thirty years ago in regard to U.S.-China relations. There’s still a chance that said blowback will remain peripheral, which is that the justice for Palestine movement prevails over the Zionist lobby.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    October 24, 2010, 1:48 pm

    RE: “the imperative to incorporate as much of the world and its resources as possible into a system that is to the benefit of broad corporate interests” VS the “Israel Lobby” – Green
    MY COMMENT: I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. At the risk of borrowing from Doug Feith, I would say there is a “mature symbiotic relationship” between the two.

  11. MHughes976
    October 24, 2010, 3:14 pm

    I don’t see how it can be denied that there are organisations that consider themselves Jewish and are an important mechanism for maintaining the status quo in the ME. Their arguments are believed, their money is welcomed.
    The question I think is whether their success is in spite of American and Western national interests or in some sense because of those interests. It’s clear enough that in some ways it would be better for us if we had better relationships with the people who supply us with oil. It would be better – less demoralising – for us and better for our credibility if we did not have to defend indefensible injustice. To this extent the lobby works against our interests and is in some way corrupting us and eating into our rationality.
    On the other hand we have to ask whether it could ever be in our interest to let the Islamic world be as united and powerful as its populations and oil holdings might have made it. They would be as one of us – were we ever ready for that? Setting them at sixes and sevens might have, might always have had, its attractions.

  12. homingpigeon
    October 24, 2010, 3:28 pm

    As I’ve said before, disasters, whether airplane crashes, floods or the one that occupies Palestine are multi-causal. There is a confluence of events and it is academic normally to dwell on which is the most important and least significant factor. However going to the extent of dismissing the power of the lobby in favor of blaming the bulk of the problem on corporate elites and the capitalist system is really off the mark. There is simple test: How many Zionist politicians or ranking functionaries have been removed from office because they disagreed with a particular corporate program? Name a few. On the other hand how many politicians and functionaries who are loyal servants of the empire and capitalism have been smashed by the Zionist lobby? I can name a few: Chas Freeman, loyal servant of oil and the empire, did not oust the neo-cons. The neo-cons ousted him. The Arabic speaking Colonel who had taught Arabic at West Point? He did not oust Feith. Feith ousted him. Politicians? They can disagree over which corporation they like or dislike but how many dare disobey the lobby and survive? Precious few. Seriously, I’d like the dismissers of the Lobby and blamers of corporate imperialism as the sole culprit to give me an example of where anyone in the imperial structure was able to win a power struggle with someone supported by the Lobby.

  13. MRW
    October 24, 2010, 3:46 pm

    David, you start with the assumption that Iraq is all about oil, and that’s the reason the US went to war there. (I don’t buy it, BTW) Take that assumption away, and add the early-70s Kissinger made with the Arabs to buy our debt (just like the Chinese are doing today) if he increased the price of oil to help them pay for it, and you have a different geopolitical conundrum, and yes, it does involve Israel’s ideas of regional grandure.

  14. Citizen
    October 24, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Blast from the past (2002) laying out some reasons why corporate America should raise its voice against the Israeli actions: link to counterpunch.org

  15. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 24, 2010, 5:10 pm

    As a latecomer to this thread, but certainly not the topic, I will only raise a few points that seem to have been missed, not in their order of importance.

    The first is that anyone who believes or would have us believe that AIPAC is synonomous with the Israel Lobby clearly doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. AIPAC is one of the most important organizations within the American Jewish establishment that is involved in shaping US Middle East policy but it is not only NOT the only one, if it was it would be the subject for much discussion.

    Working with AIPAC and putting Israel’s interests first and foremost are several score of other Jewish organizations, large and small, that function at every level of our national political scene, and whose founding mission, while not specifically Israel related, have made maintaining unconditonal support for the Jewish state their primary task. Add to that the more than 150 Jewish federations and community relations councils which exist wherever there is any concentration of Jews and the thousands of synagogues of every category of Jewry in which support for Israel is at the top of the agenda. NO other “lobby” or “special interest” has anything like this and it is this national network, backed by funding from wealthy and not so wealthy Jews that makes the operation so formidable and able to influence US policy on issues concerning Israel.

    Most prominent are the ADL–we all are aware of Abe Foxman, but how about the American Jewish Committee? It’s the Jewish establishment’s foreign policy arm or state department which has set up institutes in Latin America, Africa and down the street from EU headquarters in Brussells, all of which have managed to escape the notice of Chomsky and the mechanistic Marxists like Green, Ajl et al, but not the heads of states and military officials in countries throughout the globe with whom David Harris, the AJC’s executive director regularly meets and conducts his pro-Israel lobbying and horse trading. And he and other AJC officials have been doing this for decades.

    He also meets and exchanges information with the pro-Israel lobbies in countries where are there are other influential Jewish communities such as the UK where each party as an official organization WITHIN PARLIAMENT pledged to Israel’s support. (The person, above, who wrote that pro-Israel lobbies are not important in Europe doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but why should he, after all, when the dominant message on the “left” is pure Chomkyism?)

    Bob has brought up JINSA. It was founded in 1976, the year after Ford had threatened to reassess Israel-US relations and to demand that Israel withdraw to the 1967 border. Although AIPAC and the Jewish establishment forced Ford to back down, the fear that a future US president might actually choose to rewrite the “special relationship,” was a key factor which led to the formation of JINSA, whose obvious goal was to make the military industrial complex of both Israel and the US so intertwined that no president could come along and break them. They have succeeded and other than an article that appeared in the Nation by Jason Vest a few years back, it has been totally ignored by Chomsky and those who channel him. (Mondoweiss readers should see what they have been missing by checking out http://www.jinsa.org.)

    For those wondering what caused Cheney to switch, perhaps it was because JINSA decided to make him one of its’ men of the year and made him a member of the JINSA board which he served on before running as Bush Jr.’s VP. Former NSC Advisor Brent Scowcroft, who like Bush Sr. and Jim Baker, also opposed the current Gulf War (another Chomsky and Chomskyist unmentionable), said that he couldn’t recognize the new Dick Cheney.

    Let us not forget CAMERA and HonestReporting, the two Zionist media bird dogs that go after any newspaper, TV or radio program that publishes or says anything overly critical of Israel and is able to get so many emails or visits to an offenders website that it is brought to a halt.
    I am not sure but I can’t recall anyone being subjected to such pressure of fired for attacking the arms industry, the drug companies, or the oil companies, but I am sure that David Green and Max Ajl have their names handy.

    Let’s not forget the money which is the grease that makes the whole pro-Israel network function and get its way. In 2000, the last time it compiled such a list, Mother Jones published the names of the top 400 individual donors to both political parties. Seven of the top 10, 12 of the top 20, and at least 125 of the top 250–where I stopped counting–were Jewish and 75% of their money went to the Democrats. What was curious was that after I wrote about it in an article that appeared in the CounterPunch book, “The Politics of Anti-Semitism,” the list was dropped from the Mother Jones site and such a compilation was not attempted in 2002 or 2004. Just a coincidence, of course. Haim Saban was way down on the 2000 list but in 2002 he gave $12.3 million to the Democrats, the same amount he gave to Brookings, the last “independent” think tank, to found the Saban Center for the Middle East which put poor old Brookings in the same lineup with the Washington Inst. for Near East Policy, (AIPAC’s spawn), the American Enterprise Inst. and the Hudson Inst., one and all of which are dens of influential Israel Firsters who are almost exclusively the talking heads one sees and hears on both Fox and NPR.

    There is more, of course, much, much more, but I will end with a question? The fact that Obama has been humiliated and repeatedly so by Netanyahu is a FACT that has been noticed by media not only in the US but throughout the world. It would be hard to argue that the inability of the White House to stand up to Israel has not negatively affected the way that Obama is viewed globally and that US imperial interests, as viewed from the imperialist perspective, have not been damaged (yes, that’s the good) as a result. And, as anyone with their eyes open and their head clear, should be aware, Obama is not the first US president to be subjected to such humiliation. As Uri Avnery wrote back in 1991 (!) in response to the failure of other presidents to get Israel out of the occupied territories:

    “What happened to all those nice plans?” asked Avnery in Ha’aretz., March 6, 1991:
    “Israel’s governments have mobilized the collective power of U.S. Jewry-which dominates Congress and the media to a large degree. Faced by this vigorous opposition, all the Presidents, great and small, football players and movie stars folded one after another.”

    • Citizen
      October 25, 2010, 2:59 am

      Thanks for sharing, JB. Recall Colin Powell’s remarks about JINSA?

  16. Donald
    October 24, 2010, 5:12 pm

    I’m bemused by the argument here. It’s obvious that the Israel lobby has a huge influence on our Middle Eastern policy and it’s also obvious that the US has a long history of supporting dictators and mass murderers all over the globe. But there’s no particular reason to think that rich powerful people all have exactly the same opinions on how to maintain their power and wealth. So there are sometimes clashes between the oil lobby and the Israel lobby. I’m not sure the Iraq War is one where there was much of a clash–there seems to have been a moment in early 2003 where many US elites thought we could thoroughly cow the entire Arab world with a display of force. Obviously the Israel Lobby was in favor of this, but I don’t think they were the only ones. I seriously doubt Dick Cheney personally gives a damn about Zionism. If he joined them it was for his own cynical reasons.

    We obviously support Israel to the extent that we do because of the Lobby, but I think there’s also some degree of truth to what Chomsky says–back in the Cold War days the US foreign policy elite saw all “radical” Arab nationalists as threats to American “interests” and when Israel humiliated Nasser in the 67 war that was perceived as a good thing. Within the Arab world the US preferred the monarchies in Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the radicals in Syria and Egypt (since then, of course, Egypt has been moved over into the “pro-US” camp). Israel crushed and humiliated the secular Arab nationalists and the US rejoiced.

    If there were no Israel Lobby we’d still be supporting dictators in the Arab world. It’s what we do–democracy scares US elites, unless they are sure the choices of the voters can be confined to within strict limits.

    • Citizen
      October 25, 2010, 3:02 am

      Yes, look how quickly the democratic election of Hamas was attacked by USA-Israel. And how Hamas is ignored today though obviously it should be at the peace table.

  17. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 24, 2010, 5:22 pm

    P.S. This just in my email box:

    AJC Hosts Top German Officers on Israel Visit
    link to ajc.org

    October 22, 2010 – Berlin – A group of German military officers will visit Israel from October 23-29 to learn about Israeli security issues and Mideast peace initiatives. The program is part of AJC’s partnership with the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr. (see link for entire story)

    CORRECTION: Lines 7 and 8 in my post should read:
    policy but it is not only NOT the only one, if it was it would NOT be the subject for much discussion.

  18. yourstruly
    October 24, 2010, 6:32 pm

    What’s clear to me is that the Israel lobby plays a major role in perpetuating the settler-state’s special connection with the U.S., in part because of a convergence of interest between the elites who run Empire USA and the Israeli government. Furthermore, that the most effective way that justice for Palestine movement can serve its cause is by attacking whatever credibility the Israel lobby still has among the American people. That’s where a significant Jewish presence within the movement will be helpful, as this will make it difficult for Zionists to intimidate both Jews and non-Jews by calling them either antisemites or self-hating Jews -“How can I be anti-Jewish when so many of my fellow protesters are Jewish? So perhaps we can put side this is it the tail wagging the dog debate until BDS has captured the public’s attention such that support for Israel plummets. If, then, in the face of this turnabout, it maintains its special connection with Israel, that’ll be indisputable evidence that, indeed the tail’s wagging the dog,. Meanwhile, everyone, how’s about our going all out & full speed ahead with BDS?.

  19. Keith
    October 24, 2010, 6:55 pm

    DAVID GREEN- I’m glad to see you posting at Mondoweiss. I think your perspective provides balance to the lobby-centric orientation of many of the commenters. You have no doubt noticed a certain hostility to your views, as well as a rigidity of analytical thought. This is particularly true
    for the “oil is fungible” crowd who tend to dismiss empirical reality in favor of free market dogma, which maintains that somehow market forces have miraculously evolved to the point of rendering imperial violence and force projection irrelevant by definition.

    These folks are fond of asserting that the magic of the market would somehow redirect oil supplies and shipments so as to render any US interdiction impossible, hence, the Middle East energy reserves are irrelevant to their analysis. They seem not to have noticed that the same
    imperial configuration which has established bases and deployed troops also established and maintains these very same markets, and that economic and coercive control work in concert to achieve imperial objectives.

    They have also tended not to notice that oil is no more fungible than iron ore, or food grains, or any number of raw materials and manufactured products. Since practically everything is “fungible” (as they define it), force projection is an anachronism, the over 750 US bases worldwide serve no
    conceivable purpose, and the US empire does not exist except in the mind of anachronistic thinkers who dwell excessively on what State Department planners say, and on the consistent contours of US foreign policy, and the implications of the facts on the ground. They are dismissive of imperial geo-strategy even as they claim that others ignore the power of the Israeli lobby.

    There is a tendency at Mondoweiss to claim that those who argue in favor of significant US geo-strategic input into US Middle East policy are attempting to blame the US for Israeli machinations, hence, apologists for the lobby, perhaps crypto-Zionists as well. I would suggest that those who tend to blame Israel and the lobby as the primary source directing US Middle East policy are de facto apologists for the US empire. Their view completely ignores the long history and relative consistency of US geo-strategy, firmly rooted in the stable institutions of domestic power. They also fail to note that the Israeli lobby is more accurately thought of as the Zionist lobby which has integrated itself into the imperial power structure. American Jewish Zionist elites are patricians of empire.

    I could go on, but this is a comment not a post. Once again David, I hope that you can continue to post and add to the discussion. Regrettably, judging by the 43 comments so far, rigid bias continues to reign supreme, and Noam Chomsky irrationally demonized.

    • bob
      October 24, 2010, 9:19 pm

      This is particularly true
      for the “oil is fungible” crowd who tend to dismiss empirical reality

      This gave me a chuckle. People using the “oil” argument without understanding how the system works, forgetting that it has changed from a colonial structure, then trying to use old sources to make a neo-colonial argument complaining about ignoring reality. You’re projecting.

      Fact: The oil market reshuffles and shipping is cheap
      Fact: You cannot control secondary sales in the oil market. Say Russia or Brazil buys the oil, and lets China buy it from them in a transaction that takes a minute. The tanker goes on without redirecting.

      This drives a critical stake in this argument and you either have to blow it off or acknowledge you’ve been using confirmation bias to force a narrow paradigmatic view.

      You use terms like “imperial geo strategy” but can you specifically define who these people are and give hard evidence to their material and ideological concerns – and more importantly- evidence of what they’ve pushed?

      You use statements like “apologizing for US empire” but you ignore how it was a group of ideologically motivated people who got us into Iraq.

      These folks are fond of asserting that the magic of the market would somehow redirect oil supplies and shipments so as to render any US interdiction impossible

      Reality has a known anti-Chomsky bias.

      • Keith
        October 24, 2010, 11:24 pm

        BOB- Perhaps you could go into the oil market a bit more. Who established it? Is there an exchange like the New York stock exchange? Where is this exchange located? Who guarantees the safety of the traders if and when they disobey the Godfather? Who is going to protect the tanker crews when they disobey empire?

        You refer to colonial times when individual nations controlled specific oil producing states for the economic benefits to be derived. After World War II, the US assumed responsibility for the world capitalist system, dominating the Middle East thereby securing for the West access to these oil reserves. This represented a sort of collective neo-colonialism, with the US as the head Godfather. You imply that somehow this resulted in a reduction in the ability to control the oil? That the US,
        NATO, and other allies no longer can impose their US guided collective will on the area? That the “market” functions outside the institutional framework of power?

        As for US geo-strategy, government planners have for many years concerned themselves with formulating foreign and domestic policies which serve the interests of the US power elite, those who control the wealth of the nation. These planners do not identify individuals, nor do they pander to one sector, rather they fashion a policy which seeks to maximize the wealth and power of the collective. There is a rich declassified record of their policy decisions as well as numerous analysis how and why they do what they do. Although Noam Chomsky was a pioneer in popularizing actual US foreign and domestic policy decisions (as opposed to popular mythology), others have done likewise with similar results. Gregory Harms, who had a somewhat recent, well
        received post on Mondoweiss, has written a book titled “Straight Power Concepts in the Middle East,” which discusses this very issue. Since Harms is not Chomsky, perhaps you would be more open to what he says.

        Finally, you, along with others in the anti-Chomsky cult, continue to vilify Noam Chomsky in a shameful manner. It is not as if your point can’t be made without reference to Chomsky, who is depicted as a cross between Leo Strauss and Professor Moriarty. Norman Finkelstein’s views on the lobby are close to Chomsky’s, yet how often is he referred too? Having denigrated Chomsky, others are then said to be “Chomskyites” who “channel Chomsky.” This is a disingenuous attempt to conflate dissenting opinions with one person, rather than independent judgements at variance with your own.

      • tree
        October 25, 2010, 1:58 am

        Keith,

        You really don’t know what you are talking about with regards to oil. You admit as much but yet you are still clinging to a conspiracy theory of a subject on which you acknowledge your ignorance. Maybe you should learn more about the global oil market to test whether your theory holds up.

        In the meantime, here’s a news piece you might find illuminating.

        China reaps benefits of Iraq war

        How did this happen if the “Godfather” didn’t approve it? And if Big Oil controls the Godfather how did they let this happen, especially if they were pushing for war in order to control Iraqi oil? Maybe your Godfather concept is faulty?

      • tree
        October 25, 2010, 2:04 am

        And if you are going to use the term “anti-Chomsky cult”, then you are throwing stones in a glass house by demeaning those you think are demeaning Chomsky.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 5:30 am

        [Long reply with no attempt to define “imperial geo strategy, who these people are and give hard evidence to their material and ideological concerns – and more importantly- evidence of what they’ve pushed]

        Figures.

        Lots of strawmen in there too, like “anti-Chomsky cult.

        Hey, Keith, I’ll say it again, Chomsky and you make a huge erroneous oversight here.

        Fact: The oil market reshuffles and shipping is cheap
        Fact: You cannot control secondary sales in the oil market. Say Russia or Brazil buys the oil, and lets China buy it from them in a transaction that takes a minute. The tanker goes on without redirecting.

        Keep on speculating about a fantastical world system that left a long time ago.

      • Keith
        October 25, 2010, 11:47 am

        TREE- First of all, thanks for the link. I click on and what do I see? “Iraq, however, has emerged as one of Beijing’s best hopes for oil in a world where cheap, reliable sources of new crude are
        increasingly harder to obtain.” Reliable sources harder to obtain? How can that be, what with oil being “fungible” and all? Why would China even be seeking to establish relations with the oil
        producers when the new, improved global oil market would take care of their every need? I suppose that I will need to study up on all of the recommended references to even be able to begin
        to understand these apparent contradictions.

        I must say that you have a unique perspective. It would never have occurred to me to describe reference to a consistent history of US foreign policy and imperial geo-strategy as a “conspiracy
        theory.” I consider the establishment of military bases, the support of client regimes, the use of economic sanctions, coups d’etat, and assassinations to be an application of imperial policy, not a conspiracy. That things don’t always work out as planned, as in Iraq, is not that surprising. As I indicated previously, strategic planners don’t pander to any one sector of domestic power, hence, “big oil” doesn’t determine US geo-strategy, which is more concerned with long range power accumulation than short term profits.

        As for the anti-Chomsky cult, you honestly don’t feel that the ongoing, repetitive anti-Chomsky references on this thread are excessive and unjustified? Perhaps you should go back and reread
        them, including a count, particularly from Jeffrey Blankfort and Bob. Chomsky: theory free and no framework. Laundry list of Chomsky failures, series of errors. Chomsky: old information.
        Escapes Chomsky, pure Chomskyism, unmentionable from Chomsky. Reality is anti-Chomsky. Jeffrey Blankfort almost never misses an opportunity to take a swipe at Noam Chomsky. Since Norman Finkelstein’s views on the lobby are similar to Chomsky’s, why not beat up on Norman for a while? Of course, that wouldn’t do, would it? Apparently, there can only be one Great Satan to motivate the cadres.

      • tree
        October 25, 2010, 1:19 pm

        Keith,

        Reliable sources harder to obtain? How can that be, what with oil being “fungible” and all? Why would China even be seeking to establish relations with the oil
        producers when the new, improved global oil market would take care of their every need?

        No offense intended, but this is just another indication that you don’t understand what you are talking about. The fact that oil is a dwindling natural resource, which is referred to in the article, has no relation to its fungibility. Here, this might help you understand “fungibility”.

        Why would China even be seeking to establish relations with the oil
        producers when the new, improved global oil market would take care of their every need?

        Same problem with your statement here. Oil producers are one component of the global oil market. The market is not some invisible or magic template laid on top of the elements, including oil producers, that are a part of it. There is no “Godfather” that traders or oil tanker crews need worry about angering. This is what I labeled as your conspiracy theory. You have little understanding of what you are talking about and yet you want us to believe that the US acts as Godfather over all oil transactions, and that US oil companies are responsible for the Iraq War, despite the fact that none of them pushed for it, or were interested in it, and despite the fact that none of the US oil companies were interested enough in the oil contracts in Iraq to bid for them because of longstanding industry wide fear of instability cutting into production, raising costs and diminishing supply. That is what the article I linked to addresses. I’m sorry that you aren’t able to glean that from the article, but, again, I think that only points to your lack of knowledge on the subject.

        I’ve got no problem with your assertions about US foreign policy supporting imperial designs. That is not what I am referring to as a conspiracy theory. Its your misunderstanding of the reality of the oil situation and your insistence on the lack of true independent agency on the part of Israel and the Israel Lobby that I am arguing against.

        As for the anti-Chomsky cult, you honestly don’t feel that the ongoing, repetitive anti-Chomsky references on this thread are excessive and unjustified?

        No, I don’t. Perhaps because I agree with some of those criticisms, although I do agree with him on some issues. (I think most critical posters have similar feelings.) I find his insistence on the US as the Great Satan to be a big hole in his thinking. I don’t find any of the words you cite as “demonizations” to be anything more than sometimes vociferous disagreements with his position on the Lobby. I do find calling people cult-members and “cadres” as demeaning. Hence I referred to your glass house.

        I’ve found that there are many things that most of the posters here agree on but everyone here has their own unique outlook and there is a variation in thought. Personally, I find your “demonization” argument too similar to the hasbara crowd’s insistence that any criticism of Israel is “demonization”. No one called Chomsky “The Great Satan” except you, in an attempt to diminish his detractors. I get that you are attached to his theories, but that doesn’t mean you have to unfairly lash out at his critics because of that attachment. It doesn’t serve your argument at all.

      • Citizen
        October 25, 2010, 3:15 am

        PNAC and its implementation and the calls for its continuing road map clearly indicates the nexus between influential zionists here and in Israel–has this been, and is it now a sound investment? Warburg, who deemed calculation of risk the main thing to focus on, would not think so. What we have instead is a long-term investment by Madoff, so to speak. Eventually, too late, it too will come to light.

    • tree
      October 24, 2010, 11:08 pm

      Keith,

      I would suggest you read two books by Stephen Green, “Taking Sides” and “Living By the Sword” as well as Donald Neff’s “Fallen Pillars”. They are replete with historical examples wherein the actions of Israel were detrimental to US interests, imperial, capitalist or otherwise. Israel knew this and did what they wanted to do, regardless of US interests. And as silencenolonger pointed out downthread, there was no capitalist profit to be gained by American business with the overwhelming Congressional condemnation of the Goldstone Report. No oil interests were served by this condemnation.

      These folks are fond of asserting that the magic of the market

      The term “magic of the market” is usually used only by those who don’t understand the specific market conditions that apply. Bob has explained them to you. There is no “magic” to them.

      To the extent that money runs the US government and US politicians, and that extent is becoming overwhelming, we have only our selves to blame. But Israel is responsible for all its actions, and it is no puppet of US interests, imperial or not. And since the US foreign policy is a captive of domestic money politics, the money doled out, and hasbara invoked, by the Israel Lobby is a significant determiner of US Middle East policy. To insist it is not is to be ignorant of historical fact. (This is why I suggest reading the books I mentioned.)

      One last comment. I don’t see Chomsky being irrationally “demonized” here. I particularly hate the way that term is overused. Some people, myself included, disagree with Chomsky on this issue. There is nothing particularly “rigid” about that disagreement. I simply think that he seriously underplays the significance and independence of Israeli actions, and thus excuses one guilty party in order to place all the blame on another. Its wrong and counterproductive to correcting the problem.

    • homingpigeon
      October 24, 2010, 11:50 pm

      It’s not an anti-Chomsky bias. Noam is a good guy who has done lots of useful work. He’s just wrong on his denial of the power of the lobby.

  20. David Green
    October 24, 2010, 7:00 pm

    I can’t respond specifically or at any great length because I’m on a short break, and I’m not sure I have anything more to add from my original points other than to re-iterate them. These are fundamental differences regarding how people view the world in terms of global capitalism, “interests,” etc. I appreciate EvilDoer’s comments, as always (and refer readers to his writings on the Lobby issue), and he may turn out to be largely accurate in his criticism after my more serious reflection. I also, of course, appreciate Max Ajl’s input, especially in relation to the important work of Nitzan and Bichler.

    At bottom, the world that Jeff Blankfort lives in is completely foreign to anything I can grasp or understand–just like that of 9/11 truthers, or for that matter, Daniel Pipes. But these profound economic/historical/analytical/philosophical differences, and their relation to strategy/tactics, should be much more prominent on this influential blog. That was my original complaint, and I’m thankful to Phil for the opportunity to make my points in a “non-reactive” way.

    Beyond that, I will continue to challenge my local Israel Lobby to participate in public discussion of these issues; my role in such discussions would not, obviously, be to convince them that they are running U.S. foreign policy to the detriment of most individuals. It will be to convince the audience that Israel’s behavior is profoundly unjust and immoral, and always has been in relation to the Palestinians. That’s a substantively different tactic than explaining to people that Israel’s behavior is not in their (average U.S. citizens) “interest.” If we can’t be persuasive on these terms, then there’s no point in being persuasive at all.

    • Donald
      October 24, 2010, 9:02 pm

      I mostly agree with your final paragraph and to the extent that I understand this issue, I think I’m in general agreement with you, but have a slight disagreement with this line–

      “explaining to people that Israel’s behavior is not in their (average U.S. citizens) “interest.” ”

      Actually, there is one very specific way that Israel’s behavior (and our own country’s behavior too) is not in the interest of ordinary Americans–our brutality and our support for Israel’s brutality makes it more likely that we will be subjected to terrorist attacks.

      • Citizen
        October 25, 2010, 3:31 am

        Donald, that too caught my eye. David Green ignores, so to speak, the enabling, psychologically and materially enmeshed mother enabler as if she has nothing to do with her spoiled and dangerously errant son’s behaviour. Mom herself, of course, is on welfare–US taxpayers have every right to be very concerned; they have a huge stake in what Israel does–as you say, blowback is not fiction. Even the lame Petreus told us our troops are endangered by Israel’s activity in the Middle East, and the 9/11 Commision determined the attackers motivation was US foreign policy, most specifically, US rubber-stamping of Israel right or wrong. David Green has an odd take on what is in the average Americans interest; he seems to suggest average Americans should not be concerned with US foreign policy or what their taxes pay for and how it affects perception of their country around the world–at least when it comes to anything Israel.

      • Evildoer
        October 25, 2010, 6:52 am

        Donald,
        I think you miss the core issue because everybody is speaking in telegrams.

        Interests exist in relation to system. The “interest” that the “lobby theory” extols, whenever it really comes up, is not just the interest of ordinary Americans, but specifically an interest that is common to ordinary Americans and US elites and corporations. for example, Blankfort assures us that Israel’s weapons industry steals jobs from Americans (that is, the without the lobby, the profits that come from killing people abroad could be shared more broadly by ordinary Americans), and the “fungibility bobs” claim that the lobby harms oil companies, and the upshot is that the instability Israel creates harms both oil companies (that lose contracts) and ordinary Americans.

        These theories get economic relation wrongs. Oil companies are the chief winners from Middle East wars. They are also self-contradictory. If indeed ending support for Israel will reduce conflict in the Middle East, that would lead to less money for weapon manufacturers, and less jobs for Americans (not to mention that selling support for Palestine to ordinary Americans through the benefit of killing people in afghanistan is repulsive).

        But the bottom line is that the “lobby drives policy” theory is the basis for a proposed alliance between “ordinary Americans” and WASP elites against an allegedly foreign evil that harms both.

        (There is something pathetic about begging elites to recognize what is really good for them, as though they are too thick to know their own interests, but that conceit has been a constant feature of right-wing populism; the emotional structure of populism is that of the children calling upon their father to defend them from the bully and put everything in order.)

        The theory that Green proposes is rough on the edges, see my criticism above, but his politics are rooted in the axiom of the left, that progressive politics works through building alliances between ordinary people in different places AGAINST elites. So of course I agree with you, and I believe Green agrees, that ordinary people have an interest in driving the lobby out of town. We, people, have an interest in peace. We have an interest in a decent society, in which everyone has a place. We have an interest in living full lives, not stunted to increase Wall Street profits. We have an interest in preserving our planet. We have an interest in simply being decent and being respected by others for being decent. That’s evident, and the institutions of the lobby play a part in frustrating all these interests. That is evident. The question is the nature of this interest we have, and the kind of political alliance and vision within which this interest takes shape and the strategies for defending them take shape.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 7:35 am

        “fungibility bobs” claim that the lobby harms oil companies

        There was a large fight between people like Philip Carroll and others against the neoconservative plan to privatize the Iraqi oil industry to crush opec. “Big Oil” lost this. Mush later, the Iraqis also thought this was a bad idea, and they went with non US companies, like China, Malaysia, and the Dutch on their long term oil contracts.

        In the mid 1990’s groups like AIPAC and Bronfman defeated the Oil Companies (and Cheney) on passing the Iran sanctions act. US oil companies were Iran’s biggest customer by far.

        “In fact the US oil lobby was not behind the push for regime change in Baghdad”

        Bronfman leads lobby against Conoco deal with Iran

        Wall Street Journal
        Jun 18, 1996. pg. A24, 1 pgs

        The measure, which the House is expected to approve today with the Clinton administration’s blessing, infuriates some of the U.S.’s closest European allies. Last week in an undiplomatic outburst, the European Union’s top executive turned to President Clinton during a joint news conference to complain that it wasn’t “justifiable or effective for one country to impose its tactics on another.”

        But for Aipac, known formally as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the measure isn’t just a way to fight international terrorism. It offers the chance for a comeback of sorts, a badly needed way to burnish its own image. Aipac isn’t a political-action committee; it is the chief U.S. lobbying group for Israel and is financed by private fund-raising in this country.

        Aipac staffers insist that it is business as usual — they are working on Capitol Hill to promote Israel’s interests. But the group’s interest in Iranian terrorism at least partly reflects a recent dilemma. Over the past few years, Israel’s active pursuit of peace with its Arab neighbors and warm ties with Washington made Aipac’s mission less clear. The group no longer needed to mobilize its troops to thwart U.S. arms sales to Arab states or vilify Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Instead, American Jews were divided over issues such as the future of Jerusalem and the prospect of a Palestinian state.

        “The consensus surrounding Israel has diminished and this, among other things, has reduced somewhat the centrality of Aipac in the American Jewish community,” says Benjamin Ginsberg, a Johns Hopkins University professor who writes on American-Jewish politics.

        Aipac’s funk began in 1992 when Israeli voters elected the Labor Party’s Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister, ending 15 years of dominance by the hard-line Likud bloc. On a visit here, Mr. Rabin met privately with Aipac’s top leaders, many of whom are conservative and cozy with Likud. The new prime minister read them the riot act, gruffly telling Aipac officials that he would conduct foreign policy directly with the White House and that they should stay out of the way.

        Shocked and searching for a way to remain relevant, Aipac hit upon the perfect vehicle — Sen. Alfonse D’Amato. Since 1993, the New York Republican had been offering sweeping Iran sanctions bills. Despite the general animosity toward Tehran, the bills languished in Congress. Aipac recognized that all that was needed was an organized effort to refine the legislation and push it through. The lobbying group decided to become the locomotive.

        When the Republicans took over Congress in early 1995 and Sen. D’Amato became chairman of the Banking Committee, the bill’s fortunes — and Aipac’s — were about to change. The administration regularly attacked Iran’s support of international terrorism and urged its allies not to do business with Tehran. Then, thanks partly to an Aipac research paper shared with the White House, the administration learned to its embarrassment that U.S. oil companies were Iran’s biggest customers by far.

        In March of last year, to show its resolve, the White House intervened to stop Conoco Inc., the energy unit of DuPont Co., from going ahead with plans to help develop two Iranian oil fields. But casting the spotlight on Iran also gave Sen. D’Amato’s bill momentum. Soon, the administration was conducting separate discussions with the senator’s office and with Aipac.

        Sen. D’Amato’s bill focused on imposing U.S. penalties on foreign companies for trading with Iran. (The bill also includes sanctions against Libya, though Iran remains Aipac’s principle focus.) But the administration, believing such a sweeping bill would violate international trade law, suggested another approach: it would punish foreign companies that in the future invested at least $40 million in Iran’s energy sector, which is vital to its economy. The sanctions would include barring U.S. Export-Import Bank support on sales to those foreign companies and would ban such companies from receiving loans of more than $10 million from a U.S. financial institution. The administration hoped such an approach would be less offensive to America’s allies. Aipac, recognizing the broader appeal of such a measure, signed on. So did Sen. D’Amato. The bill moved through the Senate with no opposition.

        Next, Aipac prepared for a tougher fight in the House, where powerful interests traditionally oppose so-called secondary boycotts. In a world-wide campaign closely coordinated with Sen. D’Amato, Aipac and the New York Republican helped raise the stakes by publicizing pending business deals involving foreign firms and Iran.

        In February of this year, for instance, the Australian Jewish Review published an article saying that Broken Hill Proprietary Co., Australia’s largest company, was about to sign a $1 billion deal with Iran. A few days later, the Australian Financial Review’s Washington correspondent wrote a similar report, including a letter to the firm by Sen. D’Amato. The company, under pressure, denied that such a deal was pending.

        Meanwhile, the House International Relations Committee approved a bill that included certain trade sanctions and was tougher than Sen. D’Amato’s measure. But GOP Rep. Bill Archer of Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that also has jurisdiction, strongly opposed trade sanctions.

        With the two House committees at loggerheads, Aipac played the key role of go-between, sitting with Ways and Means staffers in the office of Thelma Askey, staff director of the panel’s trade subcommittee, to try to resolve differences. In recent weeks, Aipac won support for a measure favored by the International Relations Committee that could lower the investment threshold to $20 million after a year if other nations don’t agree to join the U.S. effort against Iran. But Aipac failed in efforts to extend sanctions to banks that finance energy deals in Iran. The Senate is expected to accept the House’s version of the final bill.

        Ironically, the recent election victory of Israel’s hard-line Likud party, which is likely to stall peace talks, could create tensions between the U.S. and Israel — and re-energize Aipac’s basic mission. “If Clinton tries to put pressure on Israel,” says Morris Amitay, a former executive director of Aipac, “he’ll find that Aipac will be working with a lot of people in Congress, particularly the Republican majority, who will be happy to take on the White House.”

      • Evildoer
        October 25, 2010, 8:36 am

        Where did you get the idea that big oil lost the fight against the privatization of Iraqi oil? Can you buy an Iraqi oil field? Where? How much? Iraqi oil wasn’t privatized, the national Iraqi oil Company was reconstructed and put in charge of Iraqi oil, and the people who advocated privatization were sacked by Bush.

        Capitalism is an adversarial system. Oil companies compete, and sometimes they get in conflict with other components of the system. That changes nothing from the simple math that oil company profits are a function of oil prices, which show a remarkable correlation to middle east conflict. Now, if you don’t understand the difference between losing a profitable contract and losing the environment that keeps the money flowing, that is probably why oil companies will not hire you to lobby Congress for their interests.

        But as I told Jeff, I’ll say to you too. Keep sending them your CV. You just never know.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 8:59 am

        Where did you get the idea that big oil lost the fight against the privatization of Iraqi oil?

        They lost to the neoconservative plan drafted by Ariel Cohen. See link “In fact the US oil lobby was not behind the push for regime change in Baghdad” above. Later, the Iraqis werent having anything of this neoconservative plan, fought hard against it, and went with China, Malaysia, Dutch etc. companies

      • Evildoer
        October 25, 2010, 10:19 am

        Bob, the earth is not flat, and Iraqi oil wasn’t privatized. With your level of reading comprehension one can find evidence of anything anywhere.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 12:11 pm

        You: Evildoer: Iraqi oil wasn’t privatized.

        Me: Later, the Iraqis werent having anything of this neoconservative plan, fought hard against it, and went with China, Malaysia, Dutch etc. companies

        The Iraqis put a stop to that nonsense from the neocons/Cohen.

      • Evildoer
        October 25, 2010, 12:42 pm

        Nope. The US changed the team, scrapped the neocon plan, put oil executives in charge, and they rebuilt the oil ministry according to the OPEC template of a state oil company with long term service contracts. These are the facts. The rest is you bad interpretation.

        The only success of the neocons in Iraq was to drive oil prices to the sky, which made XOM the largest capitalization company in world history. This too is a fact. Of course, the oil executives just “sat and wept” “by the rivers of Babylon” all the way to cashing their stock options.

        Financial literacy: F.
        Reading comprehension: F.

      • bob
        October 25, 2010, 5:36 pm

        The only success of the neocons in Iraq was to drive oil prices to the sky

        The neocon plan was explicit to drop prices and to crush opec. See Ariel Cohen.

        Nope. The US changed the team

        The US hasn’t let go of the Iraqi Oil Law, and its been fought tooth and nail by Iraqis, the strong Iraqi oil union, Local tribal leaders, and many attacks were launched over it.

        In response, the major winners were state-owned firms from Russia, Japan, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Angola, and—of course—China. The Malaysian national company, Petronas, set a record by participating with six different partners in four of the seven new contracts the Maliki government gave out.

        XOM

        US companies were big losers in all this. You’ll see the Dutch, Russia, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Angola, and—of course—China

        Reading comprehension: F.

        A guy who makes claims like it was the US’s choice to try to push and fail (still failing) a privatization model thats been softened and bribed, and one thats lost out on the long term contracts to various other countries??

      • Evildoer
        October 26, 2010, 2:47 am

        Yes Bob, The Neocon plan was an explicit plan to “drop prices” and it worked didn’t it? Brilliant, these Jews. How they get everything they want! But of course, we always should believe what people write in the newspapers, because they never lie and there are never processes at work that the newspapers don’t write about. I know that because I read it in the Washington Post.

        XOM is really fsucked, isn’t it? After all, it just won the contract to develop the second largest oil field in Iraq. But who cares! Asia Times says it lost big time. Hell, isn’t it in bankruptcy already? Actually, the stock beat the S&P 500 by 20% for the last year, and over 75% for the last decade, but why should I care? Asia Times says XOM lost it pants in Iraq, so it must be true, because anyway we have no clue about what matters to people who own XOM.

        We all know that the Iraq war wasn’t a 100% success for US corporations. There was resistance. Some things didn’t work. The war might even have negative unintended consequences. That is the absolute FINAL proof that the war was forced on the US against the interests of its elites, isn’t it? By this logic, one is surprised that you haven’t yet found the Jewish Lobby that drove Hitler to invade Poland. After all, nobody ever bites more than he can eat. Maybe you just don’t read the write papers.

        You should work your way through “my pet goat.” Slowly.

      • bob
        October 26, 2010, 5:11 am

        Evildoer: The only success of the neocons in Iraq was to drive oil prices to the sky,

        Evildoer: The Neocon plan was an explicit plan to “drop prices”

        Speaks for itself

        Evildoer: XOM is really fsucked, isn’t it? After all, it just won the contract to develop the second largest oil field in Iraq.

        Huge misrepresentation on your part. XOM is sharing a portion of the development with.. Dutch Shell, Russia’s Lukoil, Norway’s Statoil, China National Petroleum Corporation, Italian Eni, and Malaysia Petronas — just on that field. Plus its limited by time and portion.

        They don’t “get” the oil as its been so crudely put. The Iraqi govt. will pay $1.90 per barrel produced. The companies also have to put up billions of their own money, too.

        What people like you don’t want to get at, is what was Exxon actually lobbying for before the war? I’ve mentioned to you the fight that the oil industry lost over privatization and keeping it nationalized.

        With the oil and gas industry generally marching, and lobbying, in lockstep, it is often hard to separate Exxon and Mobil from their rivals. While somewhat different in their approaches, both companies are big supporters of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade association that spent $3.7 million on lobbying in 1997. They often join industry coalitions created to lobby about a specific topic — the lifting of sanctions to oil-producing nations like Iraq, for example, or the ability of American oil companies to swap oil with Iran.

        The “big oil” companies just can’t get what they want here.

    • tree
      October 24, 2010, 10:20 pm

      It will be to convince the audience that Israel’s behavior is profoundly unjust and immoral, and always has been in relation to the Palestinians. That’s a substantively different tactic than explaining to people that Israel’s behavior is not in their (average U.S. citizens) “interest.” If we can’t be persuasive on these terms, then there’s no point in being persuasive at all.

      I’ve got to disagree with you on this point. Call me Pollyanna if you will, but I believe that convincing the average US citizen that Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians is unjust and immoral will convince a majority( or at the very least a political-tipping plurality) of those citizens that Israel’s behavior is not in their interest. This worked in the civil rights movement in the South, in the opposition to the Vietnam War, in the fight against South Africa apartheid, in the withdrawal of US support for Marcos in the Philippines, and to some extent in opposition to our covert support for the Nicaraguan Contras.

      The average US citizen does not want to believe that he or she is supporting an unjust or immoral action. IF you can convince them that is what is happening, then the support for such activity will dry up.

    • Avi
      October 25, 2010, 1:03 am

      David Green,

      Have you read the book The Israel Lobby?

      Would you care to refute some of the claims and the conclusions made throughout by both authors?

      • Citizen
        October 25, 2010, 3:34 am

        Avi, it seems he has not read The Israel Lobby. He likely has not read The Transparent Cabal either.

      • maggielorraine
        October 26, 2010, 6:27 am

        I was thinking the exact same thing.

      • VR
        October 26, 2010, 10:39 am

        Avi, even though I cannot speak for Mr. Green on “The Lobby” volume, I can say that I have read M&W’s book several times, including the footnotes. They do a fantastic job on describing the lobby and its activities. As far as lobbies go it shows the prominence of the entity which one cannot deny, but I think someone has to be rather clueless if one does not look at its activity and does not see many overlapping activities that other lobbies have been involved in.

        Secondly, when one reads a book of any sort, you have to also read carefully the absence of certain information, and one of the glaring missing elements is that of US policy and even the fuller form of Western hegemony going on long before US “leadership.” It shows the US as a bumbling idiot stumbling through its policy, heavily influenced and being misled – sort of a lumbering gentle giant who has been led astray – patently ridiculous.

        Third, I must say that it is interesting that we have the appearance of the same crew on this site which cannot cognitively work their way out of a paper bag. Sheer dishonesty in arguments (with both, as an example, Mr Green and Max Ajl – seemingly incapable of reading the links provided while pontificating aimlessly and pronouncing some sort of sordid victory with skewed “evidence” absent from studied reality. Than the standard appearance of the “grand daddy” of this truncated train faulty reasoning, Mr. Blankfort with his spurious announcements of “victory” when no contrary arguments have even been recognized or answered.

        Fourth, the dismissal of a working economic policy from the framework of global and regional dominance, and political realities. The failure to realize that states may change as far as form but never as function, even as the very economic foundation crumbles domestically beneath the feet of the people as a the few prosper (as always since the inception of this country). However, what else is new? LOL It is all so patently ridiculous.

  21. David Green
    October 24, 2010, 7:09 pm

    I would just add, on 2nd thought, that referring to me as “Marxist-Leninist” says more about the speaker than about my perspectives. None of the individuals named in my first paragraph are remotely that, and of course neither am I. But it says something about the nature of this debate that such things get said. The Palestinians don’t need all of their supporters to be leftist. But they do need all of them to be cognizant of the role of global capitalism in relation to their plight. That implies being neither a Marxist ideologue (if there is such a thing anymore), or using Marxism as an epithet.

    • Avi
      October 25, 2010, 1:25 am

      David Green

      The weakness of your argument is its reliance on the examination of the absence of an all influential Israel Lobby. Meanwhile, both Walt and Mearsheimer provide specific examples of The Lobby’s omnipotence.

      As a Political Scientist myself, I found myself feeling as though your article was written by a first year freshman.

      I’m fairly certain that you will take this as an insult, not as observation. But, it is meant to be an observation, nothing more. In other words, a sound foundation is missing from the article.

      Allow me to elaborate:

      Ray McGovern and Chas Freeman, for example, both write well-reasoned and analytically coherent articles.

      They understand and are able to competently analyze economic, geopolitical and cultural factors. They understand how those factors come together to shape national strategies.

      That’s what I’m looking for in your article, but do not find.

    • MHughes976
      October 25, 2010, 3:54 pm

      If it says something about me, it says that I have some interest in the history of this subject.
      I didn’t mean ‘ML’ as an insult, just as a description of where anti-capitalist theories of international relations, particularly in respect of the origin of wars, were developed. Lenin’s ‘Imperialism’ is an influential contribution to the subject, deserving some respect even among those of us who disagree with it. Lenin probably owes less to Marx at this point than to JA Hobson, who was a progressive but not a Marxist thinker and a leading opponent of the South African War.
      I don’t see how capitalism in its domestic or international forms can be discussed without reference to Marxism, historically the most important critique.
      As I mentioned, I’m not a Marxist myself. But the state of the world being so bad, we do have to ask ourselves afresh whether the Marxists had a point – don’t you think?

  22. yourstruly
    October 24, 2010, 7:25 pm

    correction …..if then, the U.S. government maintains its special connection with Israel, ………

  23. gloopygal
    October 24, 2010, 8:57 pm

    Just chiming in to say that I don’t think this POV should be so readily discounted. Sometimes I fear that this “tail wags the dog” mentality is a bit too single-focused. The U.S. is the infinitely more powerful country, and Israel could not exist without us. So how can they be controlling us? Israel must be doing what America wants it to do. It may be a bit harder to grasp the notion that free-market capitalism is behind all of our attacks, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine to Venezuela to Haiti to the working class here at home, but it deserves to be explored.

    • Citizen
      October 25, 2010, 3:37 am

      Is it hard to grasp PNAC, Clean Break, noting the originating date and what has been transpiring since then?

  24. silencenolonger
    October 24, 2010, 9:46 pm

    The reason AIPAC is a powerful lobby is money 40-50% of money for Democrats come from Jewish organizations and a small 20% to Republicans.
    If AIPAC wasn’t as powerful as suggested why was the Goldstone Report rejected by over 300 members of Congress. What possible capitalist interest was there in essentially a human rights issue. Israel has a mission in the ME, one not set by the US but by themselves. That is to be hegemonic power in the region. If the US was calling the shots there would be no settlement building in the West Bank. Recently, Alan Hart veteran ME Journalist with the BBC and long time friend and confidante to many Israeli leaders came to this conclusion as to why Israel gets its way.
    link to alanhart.net
    I found myself wondering why really it is that American presidents will not use the leverage they have to try to call the Zionist state to account for its crimes when doing so would clearly be in America’s own best interests.

    I’m beginning to think that the awesome influence of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress is not the complete answer. And the question I am asking myself is this: Could it be that all American presidents know there is nothing nuclear-armed Israeli leaders would not do if they were seriously pressed to make peace on terms which they believed in their own deluded minds would put Israel’s security at risk? Always in my own mind is what Prime Minister Golda Meir said to me in a BBC Panorama interview and from which I quote in my book – in a doomsday situation Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.”

    If it is the case that American presidents are frightened of provoking Israel, the conclusion would have to be that the Zionist state is a monster beyond control and that all efforts for peace are doomed to failure.

  25. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 24, 2010, 11:38 pm

    The statement by Golda Meir, what Seymour Hersh described as “The Sampson Optiion” in his book on Israel’s nuclear weapons industry is, unfortunately, one repeated by many Israelis, among them my sister’s late brother-in-law who emigrated from Beverly Hills to fight in 48 with the Haganah and joked about finding the unwashed dinner plates of Palestinian families who had fled in fear before the colonial marauders still on the tables as they entered their homes. This way of looking at their fellow humans is fundamentally no different from the racist comments regarding non-Jews recently expressed by the Sephardic rabbinic leader Ovadia Joseph and permeates every aspect of Zionist culture.

    It is quite likely that there is an element of fear and apprehension in Washington and other capitols over what the Israelis might do next, and the notion that they don’t do anything without authorization from Washington as we hear from Chomsky is belied by the fact that Chomsky has also written and spoken about the likelihood of Israel using the bomb if pushed into a corner.

    I notice that none of what should be called the Chomskyites or Chomskyists, including David Green, have elected to respond to any of the statements of fact that make mincemeat of their position, and none, including Chomsky have ever presented a logical geopolitical reason why the expansion of Israeli settlements somehow is beneficial for US global interests of which I am as well aware as anyone who has posted here. It should be clear that taking a position that the Israel support network/the American Jewish establishment is instrumental in shaping US Middle East policy does not mean for a minute that otherwise the US would be spreading love and joy in the region. But it is certainly likely that the US would once again have made an accomodation with its old ally, Saddam, and would not have launched a bloody and costly war that has given it no more, and perhaps, even less control over that country’s oil resources. That war, it should be remembered, was pushed inside and outside of government primarily by individuals, most of whom happened to be Jewish, who had longstanding ties to the Likud Party as well as family connections in Israel.

    It hasn’t come up yet on this thread, I suspect (since I haven’t read every post) that it is the Israel Lobby/American Jewish establishment along with its Christian allies that is pushing the US to attack Iran or give Israel permission and assistance to do so. Do those who downplay the power and influence of the Zionist network really believe that an attack on Iran is in the US interest?

    The sad fact is that while our joke of an anti-war movement has not even shown awareness that such an attack is a real possibility, we must count on those in the Beltway, within the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies who know what a catastrophe such an attack might engender, to make sure it doesn’t happen. They have succeeded so far without any help from us. That’s one of the ironies of history that is beyond some people’s understanding.

    • Citizen
      October 25, 2010, 3:50 am

      JB, you may recall that the only objection Israel had to Bush Jr’s proposal to attack Iran was that he should slay Iran first; an understanding was reached–attack on Iran would be next, one step at a time; with that promise, Israel joined the superpower US bandwagon. But shock and awe didn’t work as planned, the war didn’t pay for itself; it’s still going on going on a decade later–Shrub changed his mind because of this, and did not attack Iran. But the neocon zionists have not given up, hence the constant beating of war drums and pressuring of Iran. The Clean Break isn’t clean yet, has not been fully accomplished. Also, re the Samson Option–the US saved Israel’s tukus in 1973 and a major reason for doing so was fear Israel would use its nukes, which Israel has today only because JFK happened to be killed at a convenient time. Thanks to Jack Ruby, nobody seems to exactly know why.

      • Citizen
        October 25, 2010, 3:52 am

        oops, there i go again. I mean Bush Jr’s proposal to attack Iraq.

    • Evildoer
      October 25, 2010, 8:09 am

      including Chomsky have ever presented a logical geopolitical reason why the expansion of Israeli settlements somehow is beneficial for US global interests of which I am as well aware as anyone who has posted here.

      Not being a “chomskyte” I don’t feel like defending him. He’s just your punchbag and I hope you keep getting hours of fun and fulfillment from punching him. However, allow me to point that the limited scope of the question is itself illogical. Why stop with the US? Why not ask why the Lobby itself support the expansion of the settlements? After all, some of the hardest core Zionists oppose that expansion. Where is the logical explanation for the Lobby’s support for the settlement? And if we touch that, why is Israel itself supporting settlement expansion? after all, can’t Israel’s elites see that it is self-destructive? (clue, they do. Almost every PM since Rabin has said so.) Isn’t that exactly the point made by M&W, that the extremist advocacy of the Lobby harms BOTH the US and Israel?

      At least M&W, in their quest for respectability, are led to that silly conclusion of their thesis, which must be that the Lobby is essentially a medical problem, since there is simply no rational explanation for its existence. You avoid that only by stopping your curiosity at the grass of the Capitol.

      Your question assumes that everything that happens in the empire happens because it was willed by the masters. It’s like challenging the theory of evolution by asking for an evolutionary explanation for why my left toe turns inward. That’s not how power works. Absolute power is a matter of fantasy. Power doesn’t give orders and receives reports. It shapes the terrain in which the people make decisions, and then improvises to maintain its advantage in relation to these decisions.

      The settlements can only be understood as an Israeli issue. The settlement expansion is driven by the internal logic of a settler society, in which the social antagonisms among the settlers are temporarily resolved by being exported on the back of the natives, because that is the cheapest option. The Israeli elites, despite being as clairvoyant as M&W, and despite gaining very little directly from that expansion, have been unable to stop it, because it is systemic to Israeli society.

      To stop Israeli settlement expansion means to restructure Israeli society. It would be a daunting task, with unpredictable risks and success is not guaranteed. The patient might die (we both aren’t going to be devastated by that, but that is obviously not the position of policy makers.) Furthermore, because of the close alliance of Israel to the US, restructering Israel will also require restructuring the US, although to a far lesser degree. Nevertheless, the dividends need to be very high to justify such restructuring. The US elites have therefore, quite rationally, from their point of view, not embarked on that mission. There is no doubt that this is partly because the meaning of that mission was explained to them by their allies, and because, in my opinion, even though they would prefer to reach a formal apartheid agreement with Salam Fayad and Saudi blessing–and I’m not sure that they do, it is quite possible that they do not–they don’t prefer it to the point of taking the risk. And no doubt part of the work of the lobby is to dissuade people form thinking that it might be a good idea. It’s an essential component of the mechanism. But the bottom line is that is the accepted wisdom now that it isn’t a good idea. You claim that it is a good idea. To me it seems, judging by the latest figures from Wall Street, that the elites of the US are doing great, and will probably not hire your counsel.

      But you should keep sending them your CV. You just never know.

  26. Avi
    October 25, 2010, 1:54 am

    The power of Perceptual Illusions.

    Perhaps what’s needed is a thorough summary of the Walt and Mearsheimer research on the subject.

    There is no point in these back and forth fragments of information being exchanged, especially from readers who assume that they have all the information needed to reach a sound conclusion on the matter.

    I might just take up the task of summarizing it in the very near future so we can put this debate to rest once and for all.

  27. Avi
    October 25, 2010, 2:10 am

    Edited link.
    ———

    The power of Perceptual Illusions.

    The visual information captured by our eyes is interpreted by our brains.

    Now, consider for a moment that the information needed to make an educated decision on a given topic is subject to the same perceptual illusions.

    Knowing that reality and perception can often differ significantly, would you consider the possibility that you may lack the information in question?

    Perhaps what’s needed is a thorough summary of the Walt and Mearsheimer research on the subject.

    And I might just take up the task of summarizing it in the very near future so we can put this debate to rest once and for all.

  28. Citizen
    October 25, 2010, 4:17 am

    In 1967, the year the US “special relationship” was born according to Daniel Pipes among other opinion-makers both US and Israeli, the men of the USS Liberty representing the United States were attacked for two hours, causing 70 percent American casualties and the eventual loss of our best intelligence ship. As the only exception to one of the the strictest rules in recorded US history, Congress, to this day, has failed to hold formal hearings on Israel’s attack on this American ship. No official investigation of the attack has ever permitted the testimony of the surviving crewmembers who were muzzled by their own government. link to uss-liberty.com
    How does American imperialism explain this?

    • Citizen
      October 25, 2010, 4:19 am

      Hard not to note the US has gone to war for incidents much more ambigous and petty than this.

  29. Kathleen
    October 25, 2010, 7:23 am

    “Let’s not forget that the millions of Iraqis that have been killed or died “un-natural” deaths as a result of U.S. policies over the past 20-30 years dwarfs the number of Palestinians killed (even since 1947), however brutal and intensified Israel’s control of the Palestinian people.”
    “Let’s not forget” The military has basically ignored the numbers and the MSM has gone along. Up until recently. Ever hear Rachel Maddow, Keith, or anyone else ask hard driving questions about why “we don’t count” the dead in Iraq? The American public do not want to know and the frightening thing is that the majority do not give a rats ass.

    “It is asked “how come liberals in the mainstream can criticize U.S. policy but not Israel?” But they indeed criticize both”

    What MSM outlet are you listening too? This is bullshit. Did you hear anyone in the MSM (MSNBC (Rachel Maddow), Diane Rehm Neil Conan, CNN whisper about the Goldstone Report, the UN Report on the executions on the Mavi Marmara? Total Silent. The MSM is silent.

  30. Citizen
    October 25, 2010, 8:13 am

    The US military and IDF are “family.” Just another reason why our Israel First policy is not just another simple thread in our corporate profit first rope-a-dope:

    link to ifamericansknew.org

  31. janisary
    October 25, 2010, 6:22 pm

    Something that I have been considering in making sense of the interrelation between global capital and Israel lobby has been the rise of finance capital. Finance sector has risen from a relatively small base to become the preeminent sector of capitalism. In the US the proportion of total corporate profits made in the case has gone from somewhere close to 5 percent in 1980 to 40% by 2007 (before the financial crisis began). We know that the expanding finance capital, and declining industrial capital, has defined the US economy since 1980 onward. This segment of capital includes numerous blind supporters of the Israel lobby; it is their actions that really connect global capitalism with the lobby. In other words, even if in other areas global capitalism is depredatory without the lobby; in case of Israel it is depredatory because of a confluence of forces between the strongest segment of global capital–finance capital–and the lobby. Rather than the debate being about mutually exclusive parties, it becomes a debate about the overlapping interests of the two hooked together by Zionists in the finance sector who think their support, as irrational as it may seem to be against the systemic stability of capitalism, for Israel and the lobby is rational for them and for the larger system. This perspective does not exclude neither Chomsky nor Blankfort’s positions.

  32. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 25, 2010, 11:45 pm

    janisary makes a good point about the connections between finance capital and the Zionist “lobby.” Those connections also exist between the “lobby” and the dons of the communications industry and of commercial real estate who are among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party and to a lesser, but significant extent, to the Republicans. This is another factor which separates the Israel support network (ISN) from other “lobbies” or “special interests.” The overlap between the wealthy of these major industries and the ISN can not matched, I suspect, by any other corporate lobby or special interest and this is one the key sources of its power.

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