Clueless in Washington and Tel Aviv

Israel/Palestine
on 32 Comments

Virginia Tilley’s post, “Why the U.S. will not ‘do something’ about Palestine,” analyzing the complex relationship between US hegemony and the Israel lobby, was sobering and spot on. A couple of points are worth further clarification and elaboration.

I’m not so sure that the “Palestinian movement” was or is under any illusion that, if only “the U.S. really knew what was going on, it would ‘do something,’” presumably become fair-dealing and help end Israel’s occupation. I never had perceived this about either Palestinians or Arabs. If anything, after decades of such US-Israel spectacle, they were convinced of the opposite, that the US will do nothing—but support Israel and undermine them. The PA elites and Arab leaders of course waited forlornly for the US to “do something,” but as American-dependent clients working against the interests of their people, there was no other route for them. They were simply hoping that, if they were to throw themselves at American mercy, convince Washington by talking to it, the US, rewarding such staunch “allies,” would assume a truer mediating role. For the people, “do something” is an exclamation of the US’s hopelessness regarding Palestine, not naïve hope, a frustrated exasperation at how the Americans could resignedly watch the Israeli occupation indulge in brutality day after day, then defend it. The Palestinian public is probably one of the most informed of any publics anywhere. Generally, they understand it’s about lobbies and imperialism and Arab autocrats, the activists (which I suppose would mean every Palestinian), quite sophisticated analysts. Palestinians have virtually tried everything, many times, to end the occupation but crushed by power from all sides. Next, and soon, may be a mass campaign of peaceful protest and resistance.

Which brings me to a second point of elaboration, comprised of two elements: (a) the causes, and definition, of US “hegemony” and (b) Dr. Tilley’s suggestion that US dominance will last a long time—which may not be in tune with the convincing analysis that economic calamity and retrenchment are much nearer than we might think.

First regarding “hegemony,” to me a descriptive more than causal term. I think of it as the (self-defeating) imperialist drive to dominate the world’s political and economic order, a determination to pry the world open to American trade, investment and commercial dominance to maintain the artificial, debt laden American standard of living, the American consumer’s thirst for cheap imports, oil, and credit. It is fundamentally about expanding global capital, finance, and production, of capitalism’s need for an ever-expanding market. American empire is not identical to the old politically and territorially based empires directly subjugating and exploiting other peoples, swallowing them up in an imperial union. It is an empire without territorial limits or frontiers, its presence and control delimited only where global market expansion—the globalization of production, trade, and finance, aka, globalization—does not reach. Militarism and the national security state are the instruments for maintaining this order, and America’s policy elites, institutions and bureaucracy are an immovable object in the face of which American presidents are helpless. Richard D. Wolfe offers the most compelling argument that America’s economic problems are structural and long term, an overproduction crisis of capitalism and stagnant wages that began in the mid-1970s, after 150 years of expansion of production, labor, and wages.

The second element, regarding decline, is that, in fact, there is an emerging consensus—Andrew Bacevich, Chalmers Johnson, Immanuel Wallerstein, Johan Galtung, Ivan Eland, Alfred McCoy, to name just a few—that it may occur in the next 10-15 years (Galtung projects 2020; Johnson says imperial collapse arrives with the speed of a FedEx package). Indicators include the severe erosion of the US industrial base and social infrastructure especially education, job losses, and loss of technological and manufacturing competitiveness. The net effect of profligate spending in the cause of empire and domination that costs us (in treasure, blood, economic exhaustion) far more that it nets or benefits, are massive borrowing and growing trade deficits, probable fall of the dollar, skyrocketing prices, major drop in standard of living, and potential government bankruptcy. The sad reality is that elites, animated by fantastic ideas about how the world works, pursue them to the cost of their nation’s well being. The economic damage is self-inflicted, the economic, social, and political problems self-made, and they cumulatively beckon the coming crisis. Our elites are clueless and American culture does not easily accept the reality of becoming one among many powers. The other side of American genius is folly of character, the hubris thing and that urge to power that seems to grip all great states. It may be that scientific and technological advances, such as in materials science, will generate another period of economic expansion and thereby delay collapse, but I think the structural problems are not going away. When crisis finally comes, dependency on US power, trade, technology, armaments, etc. will disappear overnight as others will fill what it cannot not.  That’s the way of the world.

Now to the third point I wanted to make. Whatever theory one chooses to explain the US-Israel relationship—imperial dominance, national security state, oil, Israel lobby, hegemonic stability theory, containment, mutual Western-Islamic antipathy, Islamic extremism, cultural or shared values, Holocaust guilt—the depth, effectiveness, and pervasiveness of Israel’s influence in American politics, the reflexivity of US support, is obvious and puzzling, even bizarre. Some argue that Israel serves as America’s gendarme and base for US power while others say it’s all the lobby. The argument that Israel is a projection of US power and pursuit of global primacy is generally true, that is, US behavior flows from American historical, ideological, cultural, and economic foundations, but this explanation is incomplete, confused by the fact that the US and Israel have become indistinguishable. The “Israel lobby” has an enormous influence over US Middle East policy not only because of its own organized domestic power, including the mass media’s sanitizing everything related to Israel, but also because of the confluence with it of American of imperial hegemony. This convergence ebbs and flows; when it ebbs, American Zionists ensure its unrequited flow even at the detriment of American interests. The US-Israeli alliance converges and is mutually reinforcing.

What are the implications of all this? I’ve always argued that change will only come with a transformation in the configuration of power. Optimally, these include US retrenchment leading to domestic pressure that puts the US before Israel and weakens the lobby overnight; Arab democratization whose foreign policies reflect popular will; and the critical tipping point of demographic changes in Palestine-Israel. I anticipated the US factor and Palestinian-Israeli demography but not the changes sweeping the Arab world. It suddenly seems the three are converging with rapid speed.

Despite all this, and just as Dr. Tilley said, change will not come voluntarily, certainly not from wisdom or true self-interest, and I’m referring to both the US and Israel. While the American elite is rushing headlong towards ruining this great nation, the Israeli Zionist elite has not even begun to internalize the implications of these changes. Their goals are unchanged. (a) Colonize Palestine, separate Jew from Palestinian, wall/imprison the Palestinians, before all three variables change the strategic environment critically and permanently. (b) Obstruct normalized relations between the US and the Middle East. (c) Fragment Arab states and societies through wars and covert violence and destabilization. (d) Exasperate, encourage, and provoke the threat of Islamic, al-Qaida type terrorist violence against the West, especially the US. (e) Maintain military primacy and monopoly over WMDs, the weapon of terror. (f) Obstruct/ignore international law. One factor, Arab revolt for democratization, undermines the Israeli argument of a common Muslim enemy out to destroy and takeover the West. They continue, oblivious, on their colonialist, nationalist-militarist suicidal path and mentality, enabled by the West, Washington, American Zionism, and the American religious right.

The most urgent action Israel can take is immediate withdrawal from the Palestinian occupied territories, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon’s Shebaa farms, enter into a comprehensive peace (including Syria and Lebanon) based on two states and resolution of the refugee issue, and offer full equality to Palestino-Israelis. If not this, if colonization of the West Bank is institutionally, politically, and bureaucratically irreversible, and it is, if in such a small place the separation of the two peoples along national lines is equally impossible, then there is only one thing to do: grant citizenship and equality to all Palestinians and turn Israel into a liberal democratic state.

The best, most urgent decisions America should make is end its two wars, close down all its military bases around the world, from Japan to Europe, slash its military budget at least in half and reduce its nuclear arsenal, through mutual treaty with the Russians, to a tiny number of warheads, cease encircling Russia, stop aid to Israel and force it to make peace. Deal with the debt and deficit problems, infrastructure, and a sound industrial policy. (Here’s a really scary thought: conservatives and neocon allies retake the White House in two or six years and cause mayhem, of course hastening, like George W. before them, the date of America’s reckoning.)

The following paragraph is unrelated to Virginia Tilley’s article: Zionism emerged in the 19th century because of anti-Semitism, the influence of ethnic nationalist movements, and colonialism. However, judged by Israel’s actions rather than words or declared intentions, it seems the colonial facet dominates. Israeli liberals’ insistence that pre-state Zionism was a romantic, heroic movement corrupted after the 1967 occupation is fundamentally flawed. Israel’s colonization constitutes an unbroken thread, both internally and in the occupied territories as it separates Palestinians, privileges Jews, and demolishes any trace of Arab Palestine. I suppose that, fundamentally, originating as foreigners, they simply cannot and will not accept or fit in with indigenous people and culture. But we must not get giddy and strident in our statements regarding Zionist Israel’s sociopolitical end and its transformation into a progressive, liberal state for all its citizens. It is not South Africa. Threats, violence, declarations about impending demise are foolish and frighten ordinary Israelis, making them feel besieged. That is wrong on a number of counts. It’s better to appeal to reason, common sense, self-preservation, decency and humanity, peaceful coexistence, reaffirmation of life, regardless of how futile and impossible that may seem now, regardless of Israeli violence and brutality.

Morally, Israel as a Zionist state merits no support. However, what I care about are the current victims, the Palestinians, the potential victims, Israeli Jews, and most of all the wellbeing of this country, whose “friend” accelerated its misfortunes.

(21 February 2011)

32 Responses

  1. pineywoodslim
    February 22, 2011, 9:45 pm

    Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful post.

    “It’s better to appeal to reason, common sense, self-preservation, decency and humanity, peaceful coexistence, reaffirmation of life, regardless of how futile and impossible that may seem now, regardless of Israeli violence and brutality.”

    Initially of course, that’s always the preferable course, but history has shown that with Israel, it just doesn’t seem to work. Would you support something like BDS?

    Also, you mention earlier that the best course for the US would be to “force” a settlement on Israel. That seems to contradict somewhat your idea of Israel being amenable to reason and common sense.

    PM Olmert has written that the current Israeli path will lead to the end of Israel. It doesn’t appear to me that the statement was received by the current Israeli government as “self-preservation”, “reason”, or “common sense”.

    • Issa Khalaf
      February 22, 2011, 11:11 pm

      pws, yes i would and do support BDS and all other forms of nonviolent resistance and pressure. israel is not amenable to and does not show signs of reason, despite the changing environment, and probably won’t until it’s too late, pretty much like the US. my concern is shrill and clamorous voices escalating fear and insecurity and causing outbreak of violence in light of popular revolutions occurring in the arab world. israelis cannot extricate themselves from their addiction to absolute power, but overtime i’m hoping that increasing number of israeli voices will get louder about its suicidal path. the US forcing israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories while reassruing it of absolute american and western support for its security is of course central to american interests and is not the same as fear of the arab enemy overtaking it.

  2. pabelmont
    February 22, 2011, 10:14 pm

    USA’s ideology-based oligarchy (rule by a congeries of generally cooperating BIGs — BIG OIL, BIG GAS, BIG COAL, BIG BANKS, BIG PHARMA, BIG AGRI, BIG MILITARY, and of course BIG ISRAEL) means that the USA is ruled without anyone of importance or having power at the steering wheel. There is no-one looking at the future 10 or 20 years “out” because all the industries (and all the electoral politicians) have a very short time-line, looking for profits in 1-year or so. Therefore, we have an education system which says, class size of 20 kids is too costly, so have class size of 60 and insert a testing scheme to get rid of teachers who do not make improvements. It’s a fake, uninformed by a plan or even a desire for a successful educational system. So we manufacture ourselves, almost deliberately, into a third-world country, a country who’s young don’t know how to read or figure or think (or get rid of the oligarchy). As I may have said elsewhere, it wouldn’t be so bad to be ruled by a king or dukes and barons, if they had more than the brains of a toad.

    And so we have global warming washing over us and we elect politicians who want to save money by cutting the EPA’s budget and forbidding action on greenhouse gases. (“Hey, boy, pull your finger out of that dike,” they say, let’s let in the sea.)

    • Antidote
      February 23, 2011, 12:27 am

      “it wouldn’t be so bad to be ruled by a king or dukes and barons, if they had more than the brains of a toad.”

      Would King Obama deliver change we can believe in? We’ll never know, obviously, but it’s an interesting scenario. Plato’s Republic comes to mind. Tricky. Is the US more secular than Iran?

      “In the 1920’s, Ayatollah Khomeini followed his tutor to Qum, where he completed his studies, worked as a teacher and became interested in Islamic mysticism and Plato’s ”Republic,” which may have helped shape his vision of an Islamic state led by a philosopher-king.”

      link to query.nytimes.com

  3. annie
    February 22, 2011, 10:25 pm

    another excellent analysis by mr. khalaf .

    • Citizen
      February 23, 2011, 4:22 am

      Yes it is; I wish it would “go viral” in the American Street, which it won’t, although I will do my part to spread this word around the social network.

  4. Psychopathic god
    February 22, 2011, 10:33 pm

    J Street’s major conference starts this weekend in DC. 2000 people, keynote speaker Dennis Ross, lobbying congress is part of the agenda.

    If J Street REALLY wanted to do something effective and pro-peace pro-American, they would have demanded that their fellow Jews in the Republican Jewish Committee cancel the showing of “Iranium” that is planned for tomorrow evening.

    • annie
      February 22, 2011, 10:35 pm

      jstreet’s keynote speaker is dennis ross?

      • Psychopathic god
        February 22, 2011, 10:38 pm

        yup

        it’s just another demonstration of Jewish power and a fund raiser.

        sick of it. sick and tired of it.

        Here’s what Israeli Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni wrote to us on the eve of our conference, which will start this Saturday night:

        “Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible. Recent momentous events in the region serve to highlight the unsustainable nature of the status quo and the need for initiative and courage in Israel’s pursuit of peace and security with the Palestinians and across the Middle East.” (Read Livni’s full letter on our special conference website.)

        Exactly right. With change sweeping over the Middle East, what a perfect time for 2,000 pro-Israel, pro-peace activists to gather in Washington to send an unmistakable message to our political leaders that now is the time for bolder American leadership to achieve a two-state solution.

        Online registration for J Street’s conference officially closes tomorrow night at midnight. This is your last chance to register online. Please join us in shaping history this February 26th – March 1st in Washington, DC.

        Click here to learn more about the conference, view the schedule, check out speakers, and register online before it’s too late.

        If you miss the online registration deadline, you can still register at the door. Just come directly to the Washington Convention Center — 801 Mount Vernon Place NW in Washington, DC — on Saturday evening starting at 5:30PM. The conference will open promptly at 7:00PM.

        Here’s what to expect starting on Saturday night:

        We’re closing in on 2,000 attendees, including 500 students. The conference will be the largest gathering of pro-Israel, pro-peace activists ever.

        The White House is sending its chief presidential adviser on Middle East peace efforts, Dennis Ross, to speak at the conference. [1]

        We’ll get fresh insights from Bernard Avishai, who just wrote The New York Times Magazine cover story on how close former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came to making a deal a few years ago. [2]

        Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, and American activists, scholars, and leaders of all political leanings will give us their expert analysis — including on the uprisings across the Arab world and what it means for the peace process, Israel, and regional stability. Click here for the full speakers list.

        We’ll bring together the pro-Israel, pro-peace family — thousands of advocates, student leaders, political activists, old friends, new faces, and 30 participating organizations.

        Our Gala dinner will honor two tireless advocates for peace and human rights — former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan and founding J Street board member Kathleen Peratis. Click here to learn more about the Gala dinner.

        We’re setting up congressional meetings now so that you can lobby your representatives in person — telling them exactly why you support a bolder, more assertive approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      • annie
        February 22, 2011, 10:44 pm

        bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds bds

      • fuster
        February 22, 2011, 11:34 pm

        jeepers, annie, I thought the chicken clip was funny.

      • Chaos4700
        February 23, 2011, 2:56 am

        You’d probably have been laughing on that hilltop at Najd Sderot while hospitals and schools were exploding under a rain of Israeli bombs in Gaza. Your sense of humor leaves something to be desired, fuster bluster.

    • fuster
      February 22, 2011, 10:54 pm

      why cancel the showing of “Iranium” that is planned for tomorrow evening?

      is there something wrong with the movie that makes it unfit to be seen?

      • Cliff
        February 23, 2011, 12:27 am

        It must be full of so much truth-telling!

      • Chaos4700
        February 23, 2011, 2:54 am

        It’s a pack of lies and media distortions about WMDs in Iraq Iran? Seriously, the Republicans have done this shell game before. Are another 5,000 American troops going to be sacrificed on the altar of necon warmonger for you guys? (Well — more than that if you try to take on Iran. The US military cannot sustain a third war against a country that actually can defend itself.)

      • Citizen
        February 23, 2011, 4:26 am

        There’s a better show waiting for a larger audience, fuster: “USIzzyReal.”

    • Antidote
      February 22, 2011, 11:59 pm

      “If J Street REALLY wanted to do something effective and pro-peace pro-American, they would have demanded that their fellow Jews in the Republican Jewish Committee cancel the showing of “Iranium” that is planned for tomorrow evening.”

      The Iranian embassy objected to the screening of the anti-Iranian, islamophobic film at the National Archives in Ottawa. While censorship of anything anti-Israel has become the official government policy, the Canadian Heritage minister got really, really angry about “a foreign government” trying to interfere with free speech, democracy and open debate in Canada, and ordered the screening, which had been cancelled by the Archives:

  5. fuster
    February 22, 2011, 11:49 pm

    but it didn’t help answer my question. has anyone here seen that movie or knows why it shouldn’t be seen by adults?

    I read something about the Iranians complaining about it and telling the Canadians that they must not screen the thing, but can’t even imagine that Iranian governmental displeasure amounts to cause.

  6. Avi
    February 23, 2011, 12:27 am

    I’m not so sure that the “Palestinian movement” was or is under any illusion that, if only “the U.S. really knew what was going on, it would ‘do something,’” presumably become fair-dealing and help end Israel’s occupation. I never had perceived this about either Palestinians or Arabs.

    That’s certainly true.

  7. internationalcause
    February 23, 2011, 12:32 am

    “Whatever theory one chooses to explain the US-Israel relationship…”

    I am pretty sure that a large part of the connection, in addition to holocaust guilt, includes the significant buy-in to the lie, perpetrated by Hitler, that Jewish is a race and not a religion. (See internationalcause.wordpress.com.) We honestly don’t know why we are “pro-Israel” because the myth has been passed down and the reality has not been thought out.

    “They continue, oblivious, on their colonialist, nationalist-militarist suicidal path and mentality, enabled by the West, Washington, American Zionism, and the American religious right.”

    True…John Hagee and his ilk are cheerleaders for the US-Israel relationship in hopes of creating conditions perfect for the “end times.”

  8. fuster
    February 23, 2011, 12:41 am

    Antidote

    —-While censorship of anything anti-Israel has become the official government policy—-

    is that just the usual bullshit or is there some official Canadian documentation?

    • Antidote
      February 23, 2011, 11:49 am

      There’s plenty of documentation, Fuster

      Nov 2010:

      “Watching and listening to Stephen Harper’s bizarre and unnerving speech about anti-Semitism and Israel raises the question as to whether or not the man is mentally fit to be prime minister.

      In effect, Harper has taken the position of being Israel’s defender no matter what – in other words, this commitment comes before his duty as prime minister, before his duty to represent Canada’s interests abroad, before his role of elected representative. Harper is a defender of Israel no matter the consequences for Canada.

      […]

      Harper’s disturbing performance sends a clear message: Canada is prepared to sacrifice relations with all other countries if it has to defend Israel. Coming off the rejection of Canada for a Security Council seat, Harper deems determined to islate himself even more, and Canada along with him.

      Harper’s speech was given to the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism an international pro-Zionist group whose sole task is to redefine anti-Semitism to mean virtually any criticism of Israel. It claims members from 40 countries and is holding its second conference – the first was held last year in London, England. The Canadian contingent is called the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA).

      It is unofficial but had members from the four major Canadian federal parties until the Bloc members quit the organization last spring citing the “the inequality of opinions presented before the Coalition,” and “the refusal of the Steering Committee to hear groups with opposing viewpoints.”

      Harper expressed the position of the organization perfectly – a position designed to counteract the global effort to de-legitimize the Israeli apartheid state. He said:

      “Harnessing disparate anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel…We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is.”

      This declaration of the “new anti-Semitism” is pure hogwash and everyone stating it or using it to attack critics of Israel knows it. For one thing, thousands of North American and European Jews regularly attack Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank. Of course, Zionists refer to these humanitarians as “Jew-hating Jews,” a clever bit of racist spin but far from the mark.

      Israel’s flunkies have to come up with something to attack because the evidence is clear – actual incidents of anti-Semitism have been on the decline for years. Something had to be done to make it look otherwise. Harper claims anti-Semites, instead of actually targeting Jews here, attack them by criticizing Israel. The pretzel-like twisting of that argument is obvious. We are being asked to believe that thousands upon thousands of Canadian human rights activists are closet anti-Semites and have to limit their anti-Semitism to attacking Israel.

      Like most of Israel’s hard-line supporters, Harper claims that no one is saying Israel can’t be criticized: “Israel, like any country, may be subjected to fair criticism,”

      But in fact Harper is saying Israel cannot be criticized. He has had ample opportunity to make “fair criticism” but virtually never does. (The single instance I am aware of was a very mild rebuke over continued construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.) He has never mentioned the brutal assault on Gaza which killed over 1200 civilians, called the wanton destruction of Lebanon “a measured response” and backs Israel in all of its patently phony “commitments” to negotiating peace while deliberately taking positions that no Palestinian leader could possibly agree to.
      The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism was originally going to issue a report last March. Then it was May. It was been delayed several more times and was supposed to be released at the meetings being held this week. It still hasn’t surfaced. On the organization’s web site it still says “…we will be presenting a report of its findings in the late spring of 2010.” The group seems to have been inactive for sometime.

      It was expected to call on the government to formally criminalize criticism of Israel. But perhaps its authors are beginning to realize that a document calling for the criminalization of free speech might not be the brightest idea they have ever come up with. Making a speech about the “new anti-Semitism” is one thing. Having it in a report, on permanent display for the whole world to see, is another. Personally, I hope they publish it. It might just be the last thing they do.”

      link to communities.canada.com

      see also:

      link to theglobeandmail.com

      article on and 2 short interviews (CBC and Press TV) with British MP and pro-Palestinian activist George Galloway being accused of supporting terrorism (Hamas) and banned from entering Canada in 2009:

      “Jewish organization on US terror list advised Canadian government to ban MP George Galloway

      By Scott Weinstein, Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)

      An organization the FBI, the U.S. State Department and U.S. courts have branded a ‘terrorist organization’ has given advice to the Harper government that led Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to barring a British MP from Canada.

      A Kenney spokesman said Kenney first heard about British MP George Galloway’s visit from a Jewish Defense League letter, and contacted departmental communications staff at Citizenship and Immigration to prepare media lines.

      The Jewish Defense League, categorized by the FBI as a “right-wing Jewish terrorist group”, was founded by US ultra-Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968. The Jewish Defense League (JDL) wrote to the Canadian government March 16 asking it to ban Galloway. Mr. Galloway is scheduled to speak in four Canadian cities from March 30 to April 2 on “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar”.

      In the late 1960s, Kahane also founded the Kach political party in Israel, which along with Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives) were declared terrorist organizations in 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet.”

      link to canpalnet-ottawa.org

      link to youtube.com

      I completely agree with the Canadian Heritage minister (clip posted above) that Canada has an efficient and well funded police force that can deal with security issues that may arise during controversial talks and screenings (Iranium at the National Archives). But he gave no such advise to Mohawk College in Hamilton before or after the college admin. decided to charge a high security fee — shortly before the already scheduled talk by Norman Finkelstein and in response to ‘warnings’ they had recieved at the last minute, thus forcing the event to be relocated and hosted by a local church. There were no security issues.

      Iranium is not a documentary, but ‘Bomb Iran’ war- and fear mongering propaganda. It makes bogus claims such as Iran sponsoring the terrorists charged with the 9/11 attacks. If a similar film was made about the looming threat of Zionist fundamentalists increasing their hold on the Israeli government and army, prepared to blow up the globe, or Zionists being behind the 9/11 attacks, in order to save Eretz Israel at any cost and bring about the WOT and/or Armageddon, and the Israeli embassy objected to such a screening, there is no way the Harper government would order the film to be shown at the National Archives. You can watch Iranium here:

      link to viddler.com

      I would file it under incitement to hatred, paranoia and war. It belongs into the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa as an example of how to prevent peace. But not in the documentary series of a prestigious Canadian institution like the National Archives.

      Oh, and here is the latest scandal arising from Harper’s absurd pro-Israel stand — cutting funds for Kairos

      link to ca.news.yahoo.com

      http://www.thestar.com/article/941611–walkom-bev-oda-free-speech-and-harper-s-fixation-on-israel

      link to rabble.ca

      Hope this helps

  9. Citizen
    February 23, 2011, 4:46 am

    Issa, RE: “The best, most urgent decisions America should make is end its two wars, close down all its military bases around the world, from Japan to Europe, slash its military budget at least in half and reduce its nuclear arsenal, through mutual treaty with the Russians, to a tiny number of warheads, cease encircling Russia, stop aid to Israel and force it to make peace. Deal with the debt and deficit problems, infrastructure, and a sound industrial policy. ”
    The USA oligarchy will continue war; the declared enemy “terrorism” offers endless opportunities; as focus shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan, it will shift again, yet the dynamic will continue because it’s the agenda of the complex Ike warned us about and the agenda of AIPAC. The oligarchy will not drop the 750 military bases, no matter the cost to increasingly impoverished US citizens–it’s a bipartisan cornerstone of our two-party system (originating during Nixon’s airlift to aid Israel in ’73, when only Portugal afforded transit connection). Our debt/deficit problem won’t change its stripes–Obama’s finance “reforms” didn’t even reinstate the chinese wall between commercial and investment banking, yet the big banks were bailed out; Wall St continues unabated same as the US dollar printing press and our highest court validating corporate bribery as the essence of a free democratic system responsive to “the people.” Big corporations that never die now legally are “the people,” same as the impoverished and dying Joe & Jane Sixpack. Industrial power is in the hands of corporations mandated by their government-licensed charters to maximize profit for their respective shareholders, who have life spans of seconds dictated by computerized algorithms and highly risky stop orders, etc.

    • Citizen
      February 23, 2011, 5:13 am

      PS: Our Supreme Court seems to think its OK to pounce upon any free speech with Homeland Security jackboots if in your wildest imagination the citizen victim can be said to be aiding or abetting “terrorism.” Certainly our Congress does. STASI come lately.

  10. suzannedk
    February 23, 2011, 5:38 am

    Reading today of the sealing and burning of a Mosque yesterday, of the newly homeless seven member Palestinian family forced at gunpoint to demolish their own home just finished, looking for a tent, then reading of the burned tents of Palestinian families evacuated from homes, burned while they slept, one feels that the Tilley posting was another excersize of angry intellecuals talking to one another. A similar feeling when one goes on to read that yesterday a Palestinian village after an attack by Israeli soldiers has skunk water poured over it’s homes, then where the water sources are, by Israeli planes. The young male Settler who steals vital U.S. supplied weapons from an Israeli Army depot and gets 100 days of community work as ‘punishment’. Then one reads of the daily harassment of school children to and from their classes., of the concerted attacks on hospitals and hospital staffs as their supplies dwindle. Virginia does not live there. We who read Palestine Today, do. The eruption of the Middle East is proof Palestine’s salt-sown (fields, lives, sown with salt, die) world mirrors the lives of billlions…who have had enough. Arguments and explanations have no place here, there is no room on the blood soaked streets for them.

  11. suzannedk
    February 23, 2011, 7:16 am

    Clueless is a contradiction in realties. Neither city is clueless. Neither country is clueless. Seeming so is foreign policy

    Getting the intellectuals to make endless defining arguments in worthy and well known publications is bread and butter for the forces on the ground to futher the agenda of genocidal abuse.

    The 13 year old Palestinian boy who was arrested for throwing stones at the forces that steal Palestinians home and fields and futures, then he is pissed on by the solders, taken to court after imprisonment, his humiliation never even mentioned “as they would make it worse for him”.
    A Mosque sealed and demolished to make way for a basketball court for Settlers’ sons, done in another area to be stolen.

    Neither The U.S. Secretary of State, Mrs. William Clinton, nor Prime Minister B. Netanyahu are clueless. Both are very enraged at the very idea of a democratic Middle East. Egypt as such a country would change the foreign policies of all the West and of U.S. NATO colonies. Outright Western ownership of Mid-East oil would be in grave doubt. Cluelessness is merely a ploy.

  12. Issa Khalaf
    February 23, 2011, 11:56 am

    suzannedk, i know and i know and i know. every palestinian has intimately known forever. the outrages, the suffering, the children, the slow, methodical genocide are interminable. clueless is, to me, a metaphor that, regardless of how clever or powerful the oppressor thinks he is, all his plans and evil deeds will come crashing down in a horrible way, unfortunately probably taking his victims with him. that’s clueless, that’s blind, arrogant, self-possessed human folly of the worst kind. (i.k.)

  13. delilah
    February 23, 2011, 3:31 pm

    It is inevitable, as described in this article, that US power will wane (as have all other empires throughout history) and that it’s client state Israel will go the way of the Crusader States of medieval times. It is so very unfortunate that Iraeli polititians will not recognize this, and continue to inflict murder and maltreatment on Palestinians while the process goes on. Hopefully the emerging Egyptian government will follow the clear inclinations of the Egyptian people, and start the process of local downfall.

  14. Virginia Tilley
    February 23, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Thanks to Issa for a very intelligent response to my blog comment. This is just to endorse your analysis and elaborate a little.

    The term “hegemony” is, of course, an old term in international relations parlance and isn’t specific to the US or even European colonial powers: it simply means the capacity to dominate international rules and norms. This power can be direct, through colonialism, or indirect, as in the post-colonial era where imperialism is often used as the descriptor. In any case, we would assume that the US hegemonic period is inherently limited and most agree that it has peaked. The question now is how fast, and for what specific reasons, it will decline. You give a very cogent summary of the causes and I too think the US is doomed as the world hegemon for these same reasons. And I wouldn’t disagree that a precipitous decline is quite possible or even likely. However, I think the US is likely to sink more slowly for several structural reasons. These include its ongoing leadership in technological innovation research (although not development any more), which still gives it leverage over software, military and hi-tech hardware licensing; the country’s sheer economic size: and, again, the military dependence its foreign policy has cultivated over the past half century. Other major economic powers are indeed rising, but China isn’t rising as dramatically as some have measured it and still lacks the US influence in the UN and elsewhere. So, even if absolute strengths among various powers change, as they are doing, US influence will not fade in direct relation, I think. But this is obviously a matter of debate.

    The real risk is that people will confuse international opprobrium of US foreign policies with US weakness. Dislike and denunciations by themselves will do little to US hegemony. Even combined with true democratic revolutions, the structural relations between the Middle East and the US/Europe will be sustained for some time, for sheer lack of alternatives, and continue to steer events more than many people would like. Sudden reorientations of alliances, trade, etc., are very difficult to orchestrate these days. This isn’t to say that new regimes in the Arab world won’t insist on, and get, more latitude of action.

    I don’t actually see us disagreeing about Palestinian political views. I base my own impressions on conversations at all levels of Palestinian society, from exile elites to northern West Bank fellaheen, and I recognise the same gamut of despair, cynicism, “forlorn hope”, elite booklicking, etc. Still, we both seem to see Palestinian attitudes as one of deploring the Zionist lobby for leading the US astray, or deploring the US leadership for being led astray, and hoping that that will somehow change through persuasion or placation. This view has fostered both false hopes and passivity. I hope that’s about to change.

    The one point on which I disagree with you is regarding your call for Israel’s withdrawal from the OPT. I don’t see how, rationally, we can expect this: nothing on the political or geographic landscape suggests the configuration of power and events that would allow it. I think we have to consider instead the overwhelming evidence that this is not going to happen and face the consequences: that a true democratic movement is the only way forward. I fear the evidence suggests something else: that the longer this shift is stalled, the harder and more violent that struggle for equality is likely to be.

  15. Issa Khalaf
    February 23, 2011, 9:49 pm

    You’re right, Virginia, there are those countervailing variables that, one can argue, work against the idea of an inevitable, on-the-horizon sudden shrinkage of US power and hegemony. Joseph Nye, for one, insists on this, that those prognosticating US collapse are dead wrong. And of course how the Arab “revolutions” unfold and whether they’ll have dramatic or even appreciable effect on US-Middle East relations, or more precisely, US ability to run the show without heed to authentic regional interests, remains to be seen. I think we agree that the signs of decline, however, including weakness of the US-imposed Middle East order, are evident, certainly beginning to be.

    I don’t think we disagree that Israel will not withdraw, even, as outsiders may see it, such a move is for its own good and long term survival, and in fact hurriedly pursues its colonization and dispossession of the Palestinians with violent ideological determination. That is the premise under which I understand Israel’s actions. I’m under no illusions. By calling on Israeli withdrawal, as on the US to take specific actions to avoid an even more calamitous economic crisis than otherwise, is merely to underscore that the path the duo is on is, finally, self-destructive and perhaps violent to others. Thanks for your comments. (i.k.)

  16. CK MacLeod
    February 23, 2011, 11:05 pm

    However, I think the US is likely to sink more slowly for several structural reasons. These include its ongoing leadership in technological innovation research (although not development any more), which still gives it leverage over software, military and hi-tech hardware licensing; the country’s sheer economic size: and, again, the military dependence its foreign policy has cultivated over the past half century.

    You’ve both left out the most durable basis of relative U.S. wealth and power: geography.

  17. Clif Brown
    March 1, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I found both Virginia’s essay and Issa’s response thought provoking but unmentioned in either is that the United States is already financially broke, only continuing to act as if nothing is wrong by the fact that the dollar is the international unit of exchange while China and Japan, who are America’s creditors, don’t call in the debt. The British Empire collapsed quickly after WW2 because the U.S. provided a safe haven for those wishing to flee the pound.

    Is there any evidence of any empire in history willingly scaling back? Do empires have epiphanies? No, as Jared Diamond reminds us in his book Collapse empires just keep on keeping on.

    Another topic unmentioned and the only bright spot I see for change is the young generation of Jews, primarily in America, where they are free of the brainwashing that goes by the name of Israeli schooling in history, complete with indoctrination trips to Poland to put the proper spin on the Holocaust (see the movie, Defamation). Young American Jews have entry to every nook and cranny of the American system, be it political or economic and from there they can have quite an effect without fear of the increasingly absurd charges of anti-Semitism.

    The settlers are eagerly blowing away the remaining tatters of Zionism as a heroic effort, their single-minded expansionism telling the true “Story of Israel” that has been there all along, covered with the shelter of the Holocaust, now evaporating as those of that generation depart this world.

    Each generation has a chance to see things anew. The U.S., for all its faults, does allow the individual to investigate for him/herself more freely than anywhere else on the planet.

    So my equation is simple
    Young people who are Jews + independent thought that Judaism promotes in the U.S. + U.S. freedom that allows individual freedom to thrive = change.

    Jewish fanatics in the U.S. flock to the settlements, while those fanatics who remain make, along with such AIPAC boys as my own Senator Mark Kirk, increasingly absurd statements that, like the boy crying wolf, raise questions in the minds of rational people. Within Judaism in the U.S., things are going to give, are giving, along generational lines, and I don’t see it going in Israel’s favor.

    P.S. and as I write, more CO2 pours into the atmosphere. Change is coming.

Leave a Reply