Why the U.S. will not ‘do something’ about Palestine

Israel/Palestine
on 314 Comments

People are always getting US foreign policy wrong. For over two decades, people anxious about human rights violations in the Middle East, especially Israeli occupation, have regularly asked me, “When is the US going to do X, Y or Z?” When is the US going to put real pressure on Israel? When is the US going to live up to its rhetoric about democracy? When is the US going to stop supporting Arab dictators? The answer was always “never” but the question kept coming. 

Especially among the Palestinian movement, the illusion was that, if the US really knew what was going on, it would “do something”. Vast amounts of activist work went into publicizing atrocities and trying to get the US foreign policy establishment to notice so it would “do something”. Of course, US analysts already knew what was going on and the US was not going to “do something”—for one simple reason: it was getting what it wanted from the situation—Israeli cooperation as a regional power and Palestinian political passivity. Yet the naiveté about US leverage and motivations persisted and political paralysis was the result.

Now that the people of the Middle East have had enough and taken power into their own hands, they are still getting US policy wrong. They are outraged that the US position has seemed wobbly, uncertain, vague or vapid and they are especially angry with President Obama. The US veto of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements (the last nail in the coffin for the “do something” crowd, hopefully) was greeted with scandalized denunciations, although it was always predictable. Even perceptions that US regional standing is withering, which it certainly is, have led people to get the US wrong. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas believes that diminished US regional power will prevent it from vetoing a UNSC resolution recognizing the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. This is entirely wrong.

There are three fundamental truths about US foreign policy that it is high time people in the Middle East grasp more fully. 

First, the US is a world hegemon. Even with its credibility sinking and other powers rising, like China, the US comprises about one-fourth of the entire world’s economy by itself, controls most of the UN as well as the IMF and World Bank, and has vast influence over states everywhere. This factor has two effects that matter here. One is that US will not stop acting like a hegemon until it isn’t one anymore, which is still a long way off, and no political hegemon in history has ever acted altruistically. Especially, no hegemon has ever simply backed out of the affairs of a long-standing client and tossed its own hard interests to the wind in the name of human freedom. Human rights and democracy are optional to hegemons: they matter only where they impact the hegemon’s realist interests. And the driving interests of any hegemon are wealth and security: to abuse the phrasing of a famous Jewish philosopher, “the rest is commentary”. To expect a hegemon to behave any other way is futile fantasy.

The other inescapable effect of US global hegemony is global dependency on the US. It’s not just that no country in the world is immune from US economic clout, including both trade and technology (such as licenses for essential telecommunications and the like). More directly pertinent to Middle East events is that militaries the world over (with very few exceptions) are dependent on US spare parts to keep themselves running. The US need only cut off the spare-part spigot and the military forces of states around the globe will find their planes, ships and tanks dead in the water. Asking any state’s military to paralyze itself this way is futile. This dependency on US prerogatives is recognized by many today and indeed cited as the evil foundation of US global influence in propping up dictators. But it also means that the US has back-channel contacts around the world that are not part of the public rhetoric, and this is being overlooked. Second, the US is a democracy. Be warned, all ye lands: democracy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for good governance. It too can be hijacked by unprincipled populists to serve graft, inefficiency, corruption and greed, and this is what has happened in the US. For decades, the Christian right wing has infiltrated the US school system through its effective veto over school textbooks. Among other debilitating effects, this suffocating influence by religious bigots has furthered rampant popular ignorance both about domestic affairs and the rest of the world. Ignorance has made a large minority of the voting public bizarrely gullible to Republicans lies, nativist xenophobia and wild distractions—such as hysterical accusations that universal health care would result in “death panels” or that Islamic radicals are about to take over the Arizona legislature. Washington politics today reflects the terrible clout of this pro-rich sabotage of public debate. Real debate on urgent public issues is mostly impossible because it is derailed by fear-mongering about bogus threats. The old compromise climate in Washington and Congressional inter-party deal-making—the very heart of politics, “the art of the possible”—is infamously crippled. This dysfunctionality in Congress impacts both domestic and foreign policy because the US constitution places severe limits on presidential power: no president can govern without the will of the Congress. Today, with the right wing clamping down, latitude for policymaking by a liberal president is especially confined.

Previously, US presidents had relative freedom of action regarding foreign policy, which the US Constitution grants to the Executive branch. But here we face the third fundamental truth: the Zionist movement has sunk its bloody talons into US politics (and European politics) to a degree unprecedented for a hegemon in the modern world. As US professors Mearsheimer and Walt have famously warned (along with many others), Zionist lobbyists effectively control the Congress today on anything regarding Israel: partly through hard money and the real or imagined leverage to remove representatives from office, and partly by playing on the severe ignorance of Representatives and Senators about the way the world really works (fostered by the crappy school system). For some ninety percent of Congresspeople, the only country they have visited outside the US is Israel, on Israeli-government-sponsored propaganda tours. They are, as a consequence, dupes as well as tools of pro-Israel forces. As the president cannot pursue foreign policy without at least Congressional acquiescence, regarding the budget, this influence hamstrings any president regarding Middle East policy. The Zionist lobby has done the same in most of the fifty American states, so political influence outside of Washington cannot be brought to bear on Congress to correct the situation. Israeli intelligence, which is brilliant, has also persuaded the US security establishment of its indispensability to the point that US intelligence is regularly hijacked by Israeli lies (as the shameful nonsense about “Curveball” freshly highlights). 

Worse, bullying and screaming by pro-Israel fanatics in the US media has converted all attempts at sensible debate about Israel-Palestine to circular arguments over distracting myths, which about twenty percent of the US electorate, wallowing in ignorance about the world, can’t follow. Hence a hefty proportion of the electorate remains saturated with endemic Israeli-Zionist and Christian-Zionist propaganda about sweet vulnerable Israel nobly defending the only democracy in the Middle East against backward anti-Jewish Arab hordes. Thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of the Arab peoples in the streets over recent weeks, this clamp on the American imagination about Arabs has been severely jolted. Let us hope it is fatally damaged. But popular US Zionism remains a problem that filters up to the White House through many channels, further steering policy on the Middle East. As a consequence of these three factors—hegemony, democracy, and Zionist-lobby subversion—Obama is circumvented in all options by the Democratic Party that he nominally (temporarily) leads. That party is dominated in Washington by a hard-core foreign policy party establishment that is (a) always compromised on foreign policy by lobbying by the military-industrial complex (and its individual members’ own personal financial investments in the security industry); (b) constrained by the Zionist lobby from taking any position objectionable to Israel; and (c) blind to its effective betrayal of true US national interests, due both to its venality and its members’ actual ignorance about the world. The Republic elite establishment is, of course, still poisoned by neoconservative lies that were disseminated during the nightmare era of Bush the Younger. But the Democratic establishment, reshaped by the Bill Clinton era, is also saturated with overt Zionists, pro-Israel propaganda and overt political dependency on the Zionist lobby. This bloc is emblemized by the gullibility of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has appalled people otherwise prone to support her since her earliest years as an independent politician, when she so shamelessly sucked up to Jewish-Zionist votes while campaigning for the Senate in New York State that she was lampooned by embarrassed Jewish late-night television comedians. Obama is surrounded by these people and their networks: just getting objective information is very difficult—although now, thankfully, a little easier because of the mass Arab uprisings and scandalised commentary now splashed across the world’s mainstream media. (See an interesting piece in the New York Times about the White House’s “Nerd Directorate”.)

On top of this, outsiders may not fully appreciate the special vulnerability that Obama faces as the country’s first black president. Of course, this factor is widely known but its depth is often not grasped. Here those disgusted with him might usefully pause from fascinated focus on Middle East uprisings to take a closer look at Washington politics—e.g., cruise the “Politics” section of the Washington Post over two or three days—to get a handle on it. His skin color alone sends about 20 percent of the electorate into racist heebie-jeebies. While the world sits glued to visions of Middle East democracy struggles, a horrifyingly large portion of US voters is still fastened like mad-eyed ferrets on Fox News debates about whether Obama was really born in the US and whether he is in fact a Muslim. The debasement of US politics is signalled by the horrible fact that idiotic Sarah Palin—a cartoon of a politician—is actually a serious force in US politics. 

The result? President Obama is one of the most politically besieged presidents in modern times. The US economy is in emergency straits: he is battling to preserve even truncated health care reforms and faltering worker’s rights to decent wages against a torrent of unprincipled Republican lies and manipulation. He will lose all those battles if the Zionist lobby undertakes to undermine him. In any case, a US president is not as powerful as people think. The seeming latitude of Bush the Younger to radically alter US foreign policy—the neoconservative hijacking of US foreign policy to attack Iraq—was born along by the pro-Zionist tide created by the three factors above. Any effort by Obama to swim the other way runs smack against that tide. And all presidents must have their party establishment behind them. If Obama loses the Democratic party elite, he will fail on every agenda he now has on his desk, and he will lose that elite if he takes on Israel’s settlements or any other Israeli crimes. If he attempted a full-scale change of policy on Israel, Obama’s frail political boat would sink directly into the drink – and take his domestic agenda with it. Hence the Israel’s stranglehold on US foreign policy is translating into a fatal vulnerability by the White House regarding both foreign and domestic policy. Hence Obama spent 50 desperate minutes pleading with Abbas not to make him veto the UN Security Council resolution on settlements. US domestic policy is being held hostage to Israel’s foreign policy.

So what does this mean for people scandalised by US policy in the Middle East? First, don’t expect foreign policy of the US hegemon to stop being concerned for stability (economic and security) and Israel. The concern for “stability” will never change—hegemons don’t change their spots—and the ruinous fixation on Israel won’t change until some catastrophe alters the US domestic electoral environment regarding Israel, which will be triggered by events outside the US if it happens at all. Second, don’t expect Obama to wave a magic wand and transform US foreign policy by himself. Every speech he makes—sincerely, I believe—about democracy in the Middle East is instantly undercut or contradicted by the foreign-policy establishment of Clintonian Democrats on which he depends for everything and he has very limited options to transform that establishment. Finally, recognize that namby-pamby public statements by the White House are not the full substance of US involvement in Middle East dramas. The White House has actually contributed quietly but powerfully to the relatively peaceful transition in Egypt by using all its backroom contacts—especially personal contacts between US and Egyptian military officers—to help preclude the open military repression that we now know Mubarak ordered unleashed and Egyptian generals were debating. The US is doing the same, hastily if late, in Bahrain. This isn’t close to what people want from the US but it has certainly reduced the death count. (Consider what is happening in Libya, where comparable hegemonic influence is missing.)

Rather than look to the hegemon to abandon and undercut its former dictator clients, we must look to the lesson of recent events. If there is any single glaring lesson from the present tectonic shift in Middle East politics, it is that the peoples of the region have immense power to transform the situation themselves. As a hegemon, the US is in fact neutral about human rights abuses; Obama and others may personally care about human rights, but as a state actor on the world stage the US is, again, concerned only about stability favourable to its trade and security. When the people themselves make repressive regimes unstable, then the US will back whatever measures restore that stability. Where democracy promises to make countries more stable, the US will support it. People in the streets, in other words, will reshape US foreign policy through their power in the streets and not by futile appeals to the hegemon’s (nonexistent) better nature.

The exception, of course, is US policy regarding Israel, where US policy is entirely destructive to stability. And this brings us at last to the lesson for Palestine—and this lesson is glaring: stop expecting the US to “do something” to change the status quo in Israel-Palestine. Corrupted by the Zionist lobby, US policy about the Palestinians and Israel will change only after the Palestinians transform their movement to demand full democracy and so compel the same overwhelming global sympathy that Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and other Arab countries are now reaping. When they do this, Zionism will stagger and fall under the weight of its own lies. For the main Zionist lie is that stability can be achieved through racist partition of the country (on its own terms). In fact, stability depends on justice, and justice and racism are contradictions in terms. As in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, South Africa and everywhere else, only one road leads to real freedom in Palestine: absolute rejection of ethnic/sectarian supremacy in any form, full democracy, unity, and equal rights for all. May the Palestinians seize that banner and shout it out on al-Jazeera and Twitter and Facebook like other peoples in the region. May they take to the streets in their millions, insisting on full rights in their own country, send several hundred thousand people over the hideous Wall with signs saying “We are coming home!” and restore justice to the land. I hope they do this soon, for their own sakes, and not wait for any party or “authority” to lead the way. But I must admit to praying they do it soon also for the sake of US politics, foreign and domestic. For, through a strange twist of fate, US foreign and domestic policy has become intertwined in ways that make the future health of my home country just as dependent on the vision and determination of the Palestinian people on their own liberation.

About Philip Weiss

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

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314 Responses

  1. Oscar
    February 20, 2011, 10:02 am

    Brilliant clear-eyed analysis, Virginia, though admittedly quite depressing. You articulately explain why the US will continue to do nothing for the Palestinians, except provide a smoke screen for continued land grabs and human rights abuses.

    Your theory about Congresspeople by and large not being sophisticated and the ability of the Lobby to influence their conduct demonstrates why Congress has a 9 percent approval rating. Virtually every move made in Congress these days seems to be against the interests of the voters, regardless of whether it’s Dems or GOP. For example, why hasn’t there been a Congressional hearing on the Patriot Act and whether it’s worked more effectively to erode American liberties than it has to prevent terrorist activity?

    • Ellen
      February 20, 2011, 10:42 am

      It is the truthful reality.

      As your comments on Congress: Maybe citizens of the USA will demand a government accountable to its own citizens. “Don’t vote. It only encourages them.”

      We could start by removing money from the legislative process, declaring financial contributions to be interfering with due process and to be coercive.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 1:18 pm
      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 1:40 pm

        OMG!

        “The film presents the dangers Iran now poses to America, the Middle East and the rest of the free world and the options being considered to combat these threats.

        This video will be presented to Congress in a Capitol Hill Screening on February 8. ”

        I’d like to know what Congress people attended the freak show.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 2:47 pm

        you — WE — should all be aware of the people who are behind the Republican Jewish Coalition: first name on the Board of Directors list = Sheldon Adelson, Bibi Netanyahu’s ‘angel’.

        Board Members, Republican Jewish Coalition.

        David Frum is also on the board of directors of Republican Jewish Coalition, a curious thing since Frum, a Canadian, is also a founding principal of NoLabels, an organization whose stated intent is to increase “civility” between the Republican and Democratic parties, to wring out the bickering — and wring out independent voices like Ron Paul, who is picking up steam in his challenge to the twin darlings of zionists: control over US finance/Federal Reserve, and Israel.

        We Americans have been cheerleaders, so far; sitting on the sidelines encouraging young Iranians, Egyptians, Gazans, Palestinians, Bahrainis, Tunisians to shed their blood to oppose governments that WE have participated in imposing upon them.

        It’s really time for Americans to show some balls.

        I think we can start in pretty simple ways — here’s one:

        According to wikipedia, these businesses/people financed No Labels: Financing

        As of November 24, 2010, No Labels had raised over $1 million[6]. While the group will not publish the names of contributors, The Wall Street Journal reported that three backers were Andrew Tisch, Ron Shaich, and Dave Morin[17]. Andrew Tisch is the Co-Chairman of Loews Corporation. Ron Shaich is the Founder of Panera Bread. Dave Morin was an executive with Facebook[18].

        Perhaps Panera, and Loews, and even Facebook, and certainly Sheldon Adelson’s Nevada gambling casinos, should taste boycott. Their money is being used to destroy the independence and autonomy of as many as 100 million people in the Middle East. Is it so much to ask that Americans STOP patronizing businesses that contribute to the moral degradation of the United States AND to the economic and political deprivation of so many in the Middle East?

        As MRW pointed out a few days ago, Eben Moglen offers alternatives to the privacy-breaching characteristics of facebook and other social media.
        BOYCOTT
        Panera
        Loews
        facebook
        Sheldon Adelson’s gambling houses

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 5:19 pm

        A very very creepy bunch that has nothing at all to do with so-called American values.

        Yes, facebook is another creepy enterprise.

        And do not forget that the State Dept. internet freedom initiative is a tied into Narus, which is now owned by Boeing and started by Ori Cohen, and other Israeli internet security experts.

        We are all watched and screwed.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 5:36 pm

        “…facebook is another creepy enterprise..”

        Oh, I so agree… no way would I have a facebook page.

  2. Donald
    February 20, 2011, 10:11 am

    This is the first article I’ve ever seen that made me sympathize a little with Obama. But I have no reason to think he’s really any different from the people he chose to work in his Cabinet. What matters in the end is what he does.

    I agree with the conclusion–I hope the Arab people succeed in taking control of their own destiny. They’re the ones who can teach us something about democracy.

    • Sumud
      February 20, 2011, 12:49 pm

      I get your sympathy Donald, and I also think “situation is no excuse”.

      I’m not even American but I hate the fact he’s not patriotic enough to do battle with the Israel lobby. His job is to serve and protect Americans, right? So do it. He should be prepared to fight to the death for America (ie being a one-term president) and he is not, and he’ll probably be a one-term President anyway, so disappointed are his base.

  3. Ellen
    February 20, 2011, 10:39 am

    So much, so well said. A hegemon will be a hegemon and always act to protect itself as such. It has noting to do with what is “right.”

    The ongoing deterioration and hijacking of the US political institutions is a threat to US Hegemony. This may motivate positive change.

    Israel will of course act to protect itself. But there are growing realizations, even within Israel, that it is on a unsustainable and ideologically driven path that will lead to its own self destruction. There are emerging voices in within Israeli and Israel-European press hinting that changes in the ME can be only good for the future security of Israel. (no such voices to be heard in the US MSN….yet.)

    That it is up to the Palestinians people to unite, transform and demand democratic powers for themselves. This will lead the way home.

    Ms. Tilley, thank you for your commentary.

    • Taxi
      February 20, 2011, 1:39 pm

      We’ve been hearing about these ‘emerging voices from israel’ for sixty four frigging years and we just don’t believe it anymore.

  4. Madrid
    February 20, 2011, 10:47 am

    This essay is incorrect. The US is not as powerful as Tilley makes the country out to be. There are lots of weapons manufacturers in the world– from France to Italy to Russia– and for basic weapons that are needed to defend a county, those countries make better lower cost, easier to maintain weapons than the stuff that the US makes. The world is not dependent on the things Tilley says it is dependent on.

    The world IS dependent on US finance and capital, but that will be temporary.

    The US is not all powerful, and very soon we will all see the limits of US power, which begins with economic power. When the economy is a facade, which our economy is–and when an economic situation is so terribly dependent on one thing– in our case oil– sooner or later it will be contained, and the country’s power will be contained as well.

    Also, the Israel lobby is not as powerful as people make it out to be– Suzan Rice was shitting bricks on Al Jazeera trying to explain her veto decision– that fear comes from knowing that the US is losing its empire before our eyes.

    • Donald
      February 20, 2011, 10:52 am

      That may all be true, Madrid, but for the moment countries with a lot of US hardware in their arsenals need US spare parts. Egypt, for instance.
      Sadat switched from Russia to America as his arms supplier. Possibly Egypt might switch to someone else, but right now the Egyptian military is tied to us.

      • Chaos4700
        February 20, 2011, 11:03 am

        …and once China finishes reverse engineering all that hardware, our empire is f*cked.

      • yonira
        February 20, 2011, 12:13 pm

        Usually when technology is reverse engineered it isn’t as good. Also how is Egypt going to pay for these reversed engineered spare parts? China isn’t giving the Egyptian military billions/year.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 12:15 pm

        Yes, I was surprised Madrid didn’t mention China.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 12:27 pm

        I don’t think you are thinking the argument through. Egypt isn’t the only county China is going to sell its ‘cut-price’ hardware and weapons to.

      • yonira
        February 20, 2011, 3:17 pm

        China is already selling their ‘cut-price’ hardware and weapons globally. The Russians are always a huge player in the weapons trade. Nothing compares to the products made buy our defense companies though, especially air planes and advanced electronics.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 3:35 pm

        I thought this site looked interesting.

        link to globalissues.org

        Russia is definitely a big player.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Also, I heard somewhere — I think it was on the Thom Hartmann Show that the US wouldn’t be able to make any of its planes if China decided to stop supplying the US with a number of important electronic components?

      • MRW
        February 22, 2011, 7:15 am

        Yonira,

        Nothing compares to the products made buy our defense companies though, especially air planes and advanced electronics.

        You think so, hunh. The Russians make missiles we have no deterrent against, like the Sunburn and Onyx. The Chinese have stealth submarines that peaked up over the water surface 2-3 years ago right outside our ships and we had no idea they were there. Israel steals our defense inventions and sells the plans to China; it gave all of Pollard’s info to the Russians.

    • Sumud
      February 20, 2011, 11:13 am

      I agree w/ much of what Virginia Tilley says in this great piece but on the issue of the durability of US power I’m with you Madrid.

      Via Tom Dispatch:

      The Decline and Fall of the American Empire: Four Scenarios for the End of the American Century by 2025

    • Walid
      February 20, 2011, 11:18 am

      Great article with messages for American and Arab audiences. Virginia is right about the Arabs expecting the impossible from the Americans but 80% of the Lebanese are already aware of that fact and are doing something about it and other people in Egypt, Bahrain, etc are also catching on very fast. I was shocked by some new information provided such as:

      “… For some ninety percent of Congresspeople, the only country they have visited outside the US is Israel, on Israeli-government-sponsored propaganda tours. ”

      Considering how close the Canada and Mexico are to the US geographically, socially, economically and militarily, it’s surprising that 90% of Congressmen haven’t been across either borders. I think that there is much more than 20% of Americans that don’t have a clue of what’s going on in the world around them and I’d guess the number is closer to 80%. It’s no wonder Americans take people like Palin and Huckabee seriously.

    • kapok
      February 20, 2011, 2:14 pm

      Yes, and those 700+ world-wide military bases are just amusement parks, hmm?

  5. Potsherd2
    February 20, 2011, 11:01 am

    Sound analysis. Starry-eyed optimists should take note.

    the ruinous fixation on Israel won’t change until some catastrophe alters the US domestic electoral environment regarding Israel, which will be triggered by events outside the US if it happens at all.

    This statement, I believe, is the key. While the Zionist lobby has a stranglehold on Congress, the same is not the case with the American people, whose nativist suspicion is still active. At some point, Israel will overreach to the detriment of the US ($10/gal gasoline might be enough to do it) and the agents of AIPAC in Congress will be driven from office as traitors.

    At this point, the US won’t have to “do something” about Israel, because doing nothing to support it will be quite enough.

    • yonira
      February 20, 2011, 12:07 pm

      The over-throw of the Bahrain government by the Iranian backed ‘revolutionaries’ will be the only thing raising gas prices over 10/gal. Or will that be Israel’s fault also?

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 12:42 pm

        Proof?

        Other than the imbecile notion that Shia muslims are robots with no desire for civil rights, who pray facing Tehran rather than Mecca, I mean.

      • Taxi
        February 20, 2011, 1:44 pm

        Who’s a nice little fear-mongering, lying propagandist then?

        Ding ding!!!

        You win a prize if you say: yonira.

        (boy do I feel sorry for you)

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 1:46 pm

        lol, you crack me up.

      • yonira
        February 20, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Taxi,

        are you married? do you have kids? how many cats do you have?

      • Taxi
        February 20, 2011, 2:16 pm

        heheheheh yonira, still TRYING to use personal info for attacks cuz you got no logical or moral leg to stand on?

        I can’t help it that I feel sorry for you – right now I’m squinting and squeezing hard to shed a true tear for you.

        Woaah…. hang on… goodness it worked! Sniffle and sniff…. yeah.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 2:54 pm

        in fact, idiot, Iranians and Bahrainis are most often at each other’s throats. Bahraini’s, essentially a former colony of Iran’s, have a long rivalry with Iranians. Affinities are not as simple as fitting people into some convenient Orientalist typology according to categories like Shiite or Sunni. If you don’t believe me, one indicator would be to look at the way the Bahraini football fans (and the team itself, which was comprised of Shiite and Sunni players) carried the Saudi flag around the stadium in a fit of joy after knocking Iran out of the World Cup.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 2:36 am

        The extent to your Glenn Becktitude is disturbing.

      • thetumta
        February 21, 2011, 9:45 am

        It will definitely get the Saudi’s attention and maybe influence the thrust of their foreign policy! Perhaps a rapprochement with Iran? The US and Europe will surely follow. Say Goodbye.

    • Ellen
      February 20, 2011, 12:14 pm

      Be prepared for this and cut it off at the pass before it appears:

      Once and if ever the destructive Agents of AIPAC are driven from office as traitors, the squealing cries of the “anti-Jewish” canard will be shouted from the roof tops of the Capitol dome.

      But the political organizations AIPAC and JINSA have really nothing to do with Jews and are using Judaism for Zionist ideologies and the hijacking of US resources to nurture and protect Zionism.

      So best to drive from office as being dupes and stupid. Forgive them and let them go.

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Jews, I’m afraid, are going to be in the way of the antiZionist backlash when it comes. And not so innocently, not when so many of them continue to support the Israeli state. People ought to listen when they’re told that the activities of Israel are generating antisemitism. Yes, it’s going to happen.

        There are really only two alternatives: for Jews to step forward with the founders of this site and denounce Zionist crimes, or for them to increase their efforts to quash all forms of free speech. So far, we see which alternative most US Jews have chosen.

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 1:04 pm

        No, no a third way.

        Let’s not give emotional anti-anything room. (Modern day Jews are generally not necessarily a Semitic people, so we can start with not using false language adopted at the start of the Zionist enterprise, and begin to set things straight)

        No imposing collective guilt onto any group. It is simply stupid. That way any truly anti-Jews have no room.

        Forgive them because they are brainwashed dupes and do not know what they are doing.

        Understanding starts with forgiveness.

      • Taxi
        February 20, 2011, 1:50 pm

        Forgive them?

        Did they forgive the Germans? Just asking.

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Ellen, your proposal may be morally correct, but it’s unrealistic. I’m not looking at what should happen but what probably will.

        Antisemitism lies like a dormant virus beneath the political soil of the US. It’s just another variant of the xenophobia that is now being manifested as Islamophobia, a process driven in large part by Zionist Jews who don’t understand what they’re rousing from its shallow grave.

        The monster doesn’t really care who it blames, it only wants a target, something to pin the woes of “real Murkins” on. And real Murkins are in for a lot of woes in the upcoming decades. What will happen when they start to see the control exercised by a minority of rich Jews over their government?

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 2:20 pm

        Well….yes. Your scenario is based on the realities of human nature. But I have hope, otherwise I do not know if I could get up in the morning.

        One hope is this: That honest and smart non-brainwashed voices within the Jewish communities will stopped being snuffed out. More and more Jews are getting sick of the Israel Idolatry around them.

        There was this interesting commentary recently written by Allan C. Brownfeld

        Israel Is Not the Homeland of American Jews

        “Sadly, because the organized American Jewish community has embraced the philosophy of Zionism, which holds that the State of Israel is indeed the “homeland” of all Jews, and that all Jews should make “aliyah,” or emigrate to that state — and that those who do not do so should, at least, make Israel “central” to their practice of Judaism, it is necessary to clarify the real nature of Jewish life in our country at the present time. ….”

        link to acjna.org

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 7:07 pm

        “Be careful what you wish for.”

        American Jews may be driven from this country and forced to take “refuge” among their enemies in the mideast. This was the exact fate feared by the Jewish community when the Zionists first made their proposal, that it would be an excuse to expel the Jews from the countries where they were living.

        Ironic that it will turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    • Sumud
      February 20, 2011, 12:19 pm

      While the Zionist lobby has a stranglehold on Congress, the same is not the case with the American people, whose nativist suspicion is still active. At some point, Israel will overreach to the detriment of the US…

      “… and the citizenry will finally become aware of it”, is how I’d have ended that sentence Potsherd. The detriment already exists, but until the last few years had been largely hidden from view. Walt & Mearsheimer changed that with their essay and book, and Grant F Smith wrote about Israel’s industrial espionage harming the US economy is his book Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, as well as his ongoing work at IRMEP about the historical and current activities of the Israel and the Israel lobby in the US. Most recently he’s been looking at the nuclear material Israel stole from the US at NUMEC in the late 1960s (first link at he IRMEP site).

      On the zionist lobby stranglehold not extending as far the people, I have to cite again the Gallup poll on Egypt that Salon published, citing 82% of Americans were sympathetic to the protestors:

      Americans support the Egyptian protesters

      This must terrify zionists; it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to realising the enemy of the Egyptian people are America and Israel. It obviously bothered johnny-come-lately Bill Maher who was all smiles with Mona Eltahawy then decided he didn’t want to talk about Egypt after all, just about how awful arabs and muslims are. To her credit she rose above his baiting, did some quick work and pushed back hard during the roundtable session later on the show. Maher was at it again a few days ago, again with the beheadings, downtrodden muslims women, versus fabulous civilised America. This time instead of a Mona Eltahawy to push back, Tavis Smiley did and then, even better: in a Code Pink moment an audience member actually stood up and started yelling, opening with:

      Have you ever seen what a hellfire missile does to a muslim women?

      Check it out here, the heckler is a little easier to hear if you have headphones on.

      Americans, I would expect a non-stop barrage of anti-arab and anti-muslim propaganda to hit the airwaves shortly: soft news, documentaries, jerks like Maher and more Geller-style batshit crazy – whatever it takes to make Americans stop thinking of arabs and muslims as human and get back on the Israel-as-victim train. Feel like heckling Maher yourself? Remarkable coincidence >> I just happen to have his twitter address handy:

      Twitter: Bill Maher

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 1:09 pm

        “…Americans, I would expect a non-stop barrage of anti-arab and anti-muslim propaganda to hit the airwaves shortly: …”

        It looks like Huffingtonpost (under new ownership?) has already started — No news on Bahrain exploding — but we get this:

        Female Foreign Correspondents’ Code Of Silence, Finally Broken
        link to huffingtonpost.com

        Those dirty arabs — subtle but there.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 1:25 pm

        Oh and Libya!

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 1:34 pm

        Gonna get worse at Huffpo now that AOL owns it. The plan is “to sell content at a profit, get ahead of the next business wave.”

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 5:36 pm

        Huffpost is now a worthless news aggregator based on depraved sensationalism. That is the model.

        Valuable commentary is leaving fast. Bloggers other than tripes (my made up word) and trolls are the only ones left

        Is that media value?

      • Sumud
        February 21, 2011, 1:40 am

        I stopped reading HP over a year ago over their moderators which were hypersensitive to anything that could even vaguely be interpreted as anti-semitic, and careless about the anti-arab/islamophobic comments spread daily by about a dozen zionists. Even worse, complete inaction from HP over two of those zionists running a website with a hit-list of supposedly anti-semitic HP’ers and instructions for others on how to get them banned permanently. While a minority of those on the list actually were making anti-semitic comments (and deserved to be banned), the bulk weren’t, merely being vocally pro-Palestinian or anti-zionist. This website violated HP’s Terms of Service, yet those zionists are still active on HP today…

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 3:52 pm

        I remembered an article new-ish Mondoweissers might not have seen before, on the question of the detriment Israel has caused the US over the years. From WRMEA, a 2003 article:

        The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion

        The mind boggles what the figure would be now, especially if you had to factor in at least partial costs of the Iraq invasion and occupation.

      • Antidote
        February 20, 2011, 6:26 pm

        Maher is such a moron and ignoramus, I hardly made it through his BS. He should wrap himself in an American + Zionist flag just so people know where this fake liberal is coming from.

        There is nothing more cynical than to berate Muslim men for sexism and find nothing wrong with starving or blowing up hundreds of thousands of children in front of their helpless mothers in order to bring down some new Hitler whom US political and corporate interest have built up in the first place.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 7:58 pm

        Bill Mahr:

        A man who hates Muslim men, and has a real problem with women who have sagging breasts. He can be funny sometimes — but boy, does he have some strange phobias.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 8:28 pm

        Sand ~ I noticed a new hashtag on twitter in the last few weeks:

        #sixwordnovels

        Check out some of these six word novels here. Some dreadful, some great. Your comment brought me to this #sixwordnovel of my own:

        Bill Maher: A man who hates.

      • Linda J
        February 21, 2011, 1:37 am

        I saw that clip! Horrible. I just twitted him 3 sets of statistics on domestic violence in this country. I know he will say “they didn’t cut women’s heads off.” At least I know he knows now that men everywhere have problems treating women with respect. Thanks for the twit address.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 12:33 am

        ” I know he will say “they didn’t cut women’s heads off.”

        And if you find such cases, which no doubt exist, he will say: “but it wasn’t the same kind of medieval knife the barbarian Muslims use”, and hold up this (fake) picture:

        link to i.ytimg.com

  6. pabelmont
    February 20, 2011, 11:26 am

    Beautiful analysis.

    The part about spare-parts for military equipment is particularly interesting. To paraphrase, “Buy my airplanes or let me give them to you. And now, do what I tell you (this is your hegemon speaking!) or no more spare parts!” (BTW, is there reason to doubt — as I persist in doubting — that US-supplied war-planes would “work” against Israel? Aren’t there all sorts of gadgets withing the software on military aircraft which could interfere with recognition of Israeli planes as “enemies” or else interfere with shooting at them?).

    The clear message here is that nations pulling away from the USA should buy aircraft from China, Russia, even France and perhaps UK) to break this particular hegemonic “hold”. Hasn’t Turkey already begun to do such things?

    • Walid
      February 20, 2011, 1:14 pm

      Pabelmont, countries can buy arms elsewhere only if the US lets them. Other supplier-countries like France, the UK, and even Russia will deliver arms to countries that the US tells them they can.

      • piotr
        February 21, 2011, 9:17 am

        Russia plays a more subtle game here. After we supported Georgia when Georgia attacked Russians, they almost immediately sign a large contract with Syria for modern anti-aircraft systems and other goodies. They definitely supply India and Venezuela, and they sold their most advanced systems to China.

        And USA not only did not find a defense against the most advanced Russian anti-ship system, we cannot even replicate it. But Chinese have now submarines armed with Sizzler, so if they decide to attack Taiwan, they can destroy our aircraft carriers.

        It seems to me that now “advanced electonics” are becomming a mature technology, so it will not be possible to keep our latest planes and ships invulnerable (and that goes for Israel too).

        Our hegemonic power is rather quickly eroding.

  7. Richard Witty
    February 20, 2011, 11:28 am

    You had me until you got into your “May they take to the streets in their millions, insisting on full rights in their own country, send several hundred thousand people over the hideous Wall with signs saying “We are coming home!” and restore justice to the land. I hope they do this soon, for their own sakes, and not wait for any party or “authority” to lead the way.”

    I believe strongly in the right of Israel to self-govern as a Jewish majority state, and your urge of popular revolution threatens it. It extends WAY beyond the legal affirmation of title and residence rights implied even in unecessarily maximalist interpretations of “right of return”.

    I also disagree with the extent of power that you ascribe to the Israel lobby. I observe that US foreign policy is firmly supportive of Israel’s existence, and will not change from that, and justly so. As exagerated as some people express the “Arab horde” theme, it is NOT without some truth. Relative to the big Arab empire, and it is an empire in ways, Israel is a rebel, an exception to the homogeneous.

    It DESERVES protection. It does not deserve protection of its expansion.

    The statement that Israel and Israelis should assimilate, is the weak and frankly racist position from my understanding.

    • Sand
      February 20, 2011, 12:11 pm

      “…I believe strongly in the right of Israel to self-govern as a Jewish majority state,… “

      The two-state solution is ‘dead’ — truly it is! I think you and Bernard Avishai will be the last to acknowledge that fact.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 4:01 pm

        Sand — and baby makes three: Gershom Gorenberg has been promoting his latest book, “Accidental Empire,” in speaking engagements that are focused on promoting the two-state solution. TSS would involve removal of all but the settlements closest to the “green line,” — a confusing concept since Gorenberg’s talk also emphasises and demonstrates with graphics and a snapshot of the document that ERASED the green line. Gorenberg acknowledges that “removal of the settlements will not be easy and will likely result in violence.”

    • Ellen
      February 20, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Are you aware of what was done to the US State Department in the 40′s and 50′s? What happened there?

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 4:10 pm

        Ellen — US State Department was purged of “Arabists” in 40s and 50s — deliberately, and by influential Jewish persons.

        The purge was not complete, however, until the late 90s –

        Jewish News Weekly: Jews Now Flocking to Foreign Service Careers in US History was made recently when Martin Indyk was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

        Indyk’s appointment comes on the heels of Stuart Eizenstat’s swearing-in as undersecretary of state for economics.

        Indyk, a former official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the first Jew to serve as ambassador to Israel, is also the first Jew to serve in the top Middle East policy post.

        Not since Kissinger has an American Jew had such a strong say in U.S. Middle East policy.

        Taken alone, Indyk’s meteoric rise from academia to the State Department’s seventh floor is quite a feat. But Indyk now is just one of more than a dozen American Jews in top State Department positions that were once off-limits to Jews. Among the others are:

        *Dennis Ross, who heads the U.S. peace process team as special Middle East coordinator and counselor to Albright.
        *Daniel Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Egypt.
        . . .
        *James Rubin, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, spokesman.

        In addition, Jewish career foreign-service officers and political appointees hold the post of current or immediate past ambassadors to Switzerland, Brazil, Nepal, Romania, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Morocco and Malaysia.

        Gone are the days when so-called Arabists determined U.S. policy in the Middle East.

        A new term, “Jewish Arabists,” has cropped up in right-wing circles to describe their view of the Jews who lead the Middle East peace process team.

        Many credit the Indyk-Ross peace team with silencing charges that Jews cannot serve U.S. interests when conflicts arise with Israel.

        Ironically, Arabs are now complaining of a Jewish bias. After a rough patch in the peace process, the Palestinian justice minister accused the United States of a “Zionist conspiracy.”

        Eizenstat vehemently refutes the charge.

        “The peace process is not being made by Jews; it’s being made by Americans,” Eizenstat said in a recent interview. “Any suggestion of bias is totally inappropriate and inaccurate.”

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 6:05 pm

        The purge took many forms and not only in releasing employees or closing down departments and reducing funding. “Suicides” were high. Look it up.

        My father worked in the Truman administration. My Uncle for State. My uncle died with a bullet to his head on December 24th. at a US military facility in Kansas in the 1950′s. He had four very small children. Before the war, he was a consular attache to the Ottoman terrories before WW II. Upon his return he was supported to do a PHd. at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Princeton. We think his thesis subject (that US support of the establishment of a Zionist State would not be in the long term interest of the Unite States) killed him.

        I am sorry to post this.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 6:17 pm

        i recall you posting that @ JWN ellen. you wrote some other information also. your uncle was not the only one as i recall. how old were you when you were informed of the suspected reason for his death?

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 6:59 pm

        I do not have a twitter account. I was an adult and it was in my late Aunt’s notes she wrote many years before. And yes there were numerous “suicides” in State during those years.

        The real point is this and in support of Tilley’s commentary. All Institutions and States are hegemons and will do everything to protect their prosperity and survival. They are not “friends” and not moral. They will do very terrible things to destroy any perceived threat to their existence.

        And Americans must realize that perceived threats to the Zionist state have been annihilated even within our own country. This is normal. This is what governments do. It is their job — to protect the perceived interests of their country.

        And that is why any Jew must thoroughly reject Zionism. It is not Judaism.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 7:10 pm

        sorry ellen, i should have been clearer. i meant helena’s blog just world news. that must have been devastating for your family.

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 7:30 pm

        Hi, yes, Helena has an absolutely great blog. And yes it still really is. Very much so. Thanks.

    • Sumud
      February 20, 2011, 12:36 pm

      Meh.

      Again with the motherhood statements Richard. I asked you yesterday, and I’ll ask again. It’s no good for you to just say “I’m for two-states” and mouth platitudes about peace, love and mung beans. What is your proposal to actually bring this Palestinian state into existence?

      Calling a single state with equal rights for all racist is absurd, and it demonstrates the racism is, in fact, in you. Only a supremacist could be offended at the prospect of an Israeli jew having the same rights as a Palestinian.

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 1:39 pm

        Hem.
        Yeah, Sumud, once again Dick Witty obviously displays his racism for all of us to see, and doesn’t know it.

    • RoHa
      February 20, 2011, 7:03 pm

      ” the right of Israel to self-govern as a Jewish majority state.”

      What does that right derive from? It seems to me it can only derive from the rights of the people of the state. But the people can only have a right to do something which is morally right. And maintaining a Jewish majority state seems morally wrong, since it necessarily rejects the human worth of non-Jews. (In your terms, it is a rejection and devaluing of “the Other”.)

      So it seems there is no right of Israel to self-govern as a Jewish majority state.

    • Koshiro
      February 20, 2011, 7:11 pm

      “It extends WAY beyond the legal affirmation of title and residence rights implied even in unecessarily maximalist interpretations of “right of return”.”
      According to your warped logic, as soon as any Palestinian – or for that matter, anybody else – makes it into Israel by whatever means, he is a fact on the ground and removing him would be cruel ethnic cleansing, right?

      “The statement that Israel and Israelis should assimilate, is the weak and frankly racist position from my understanding.”
      Ah, that indirectly answers one of my earlier questions. So you are well aware that Israeli settlers will never integrate themselves into Palestinian society, and yet insist they can stay. So, sabotage it is then.

    • pjdude
      February 21, 2011, 3:01 am

      I believe strongly in the right of Israel to self-govern as a Jewish majority state, and your urge of popular revolution threatens it.

      so you belive in the right of foriegn born conqurors to rule their conquests. thee is no right to jewish self rule. first religions never have that right

      It extends WAY beyond the legal affirmation of title and residence rights implied even in unecessarily maximalist interpretations of “right of return”.

      only in the epicaly messed world of your haed does a fake right you made up to protect jewish conquests supercede the very real rights of palestinians and what you call maximalist interpertations is merely what the law demands and thanks for putting in quotes. it shows you for the bigot you are. in your head only jews have rights as such. Your a thug witty and you game is going to die out soon enough a the miserble crime of a state you support will fade away.

      I also disagree with the extent of power that you ascribe to the Israel lobby. I observe that US foreign policy is firmly supportive of Israel’s existence, and will not change from that, and justly so. As exagerated as some people express the “Arab horde” theme, it is NOT without some truth. Relative to the big Arab empire, and it is an empire in ways, Israel is a rebel, an exception to the homogeneous.

      right which is why truman said the reason he supported Israel was more jewish voters than arabs

      I observe that US foreign policy is firmly supportive of Israel’s existence, and will not change from that, and justly so.

      a child’s argument. this is how things are so they will never change. the US support of ISrael is not just. it is also against are interests. evenually the palestinian narative will take hold and ISrael will go bye bye

      It DESERVES protection. It does not deserve protection of its expansion.

      no it doesn’t Israel deserves to be destroyed so a palestinian state can exist in all of palestine.

      The statement that Israel and Israelis should assimilate, is the weak and frankly racist position from my understanding.

      as a person who makes up rights for you favoured group and denies real ones for your victims you really don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to calling people out on their bigotries. and by understanding you mean lack there of right?

  8. HRK
    February 20, 2011, 11:35 am

    Why is the author linking unconditional support for Israel and being opposed to any more immigration (in the authors opinion, “nativist xenophobia”)? I’m opposed to immigration (both illegal and at this point even legal) and I don’t support U.S. policies (especially our de facto policies) w/regard to Israel.

    You’ve heard of the thesis statement?

    If you want to debate immigration, then let’s debate immigration. (How dense do you want our country to be? What is the value of nature? Are unskilled workers flooding northward going to help or hurt the working people already here? Is multiculturalism a strength or does it most often lead to ethnic factionalism and friction?) If you want to write about the U.S. and our out-of-control love affair with Israel, then let’s stick to that.

    • pabelmont
      February 20, 2011, 12:22 pm

      These are good points. As a “liberal” or “progressive”, I’ve often been “shot down” for attempting to recognize that the solution to world over-population (and local over-population) is not emigration to the USA but correction of societally-induced local-over-population due financial imbalances (say in Mexico, but also in the USA!) on the one hand, and over-population due to the straight-out excess of people over food-production (and this is exacerbated by growing populations everywhere, on one hand, and diminishing arable land used for food production, on the other — the latter from urban sprawl, desertification, land-used-for-ethanol-production, over-production-of-animal-protein-which uses-multiples-of-vegetable-protein, and many other factors).

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

        I think you definitely need to stick in family planning there too. A bigger issue as you are not just pushing against governments, but religion and gender inequality — but we’re talking about a whole other subject — I agree.

        Fox News solution — ban abortion and get white US women to have more ‘white babies’.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 4:44 pm

        John Perkins, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” argues that subsistence cultures, if left alone, can survive and thrive on their own metrics and values. It’s only after “advanced” capitalist economic processes are imposed on subsistence cultures, for the exploitive benefit of the capitalists, that the subsistence culture eventually fails and destroys the culture entirely. This happens because sooner or later the capitalist imposition extracts all it wishes to– or can extract cheaply — from the base economy, but by that time, the subsistence base of the economy has been destroyed, it has been ‘addicted’ to a dollar economy. Pull the dollar rug out from under the economy, which will inevitably happen, and the whole society collapses.

        This is one of the major reasons Iran is so determined to resist US-Israel hegemonic intentions. Iran has been there — been destroyed a couple of times by first, British, then US & Israel capitalists within its government & economic structures. Under British, most of Iran was a vassal; in its post-WWII relations with US/Israel under Pahlavi, a severe class gap occurred. Rafsanjani tended to affirm the wealthy; Ahmadinejad tries to run a more distributive state, extending electricity, education, subsidies, etc. to the poor and rural in Iran.

      • piotr
        February 21, 2011, 11:08 am

        I have a secondary conjecture: it is somewhat rational for an oil-rich country to provoke economic sanctions.

        So called “oil curse” is that it is hard, with currency being strong because of oil export, to have competitive non-oil economy outside real estate and financial services. In other words, to create jobs. Sanctions force import substitution, provided that you have access to some technologies, and I think that it is exactly what Iran is doing. The domestic industries can be a bit obsolete, but they produce and employ.

        By the way of contrast, Saudis do not have “real economy” and have hard time employing their young people. Not that Iran does not have unemployment, but Saudis have several times larger export per person.

        Thus oil-rich countries should opt out of “world free market” to some degree. And close political alignment with USA makes it hard.

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 1:41 pm

        Yes, they are very good points. Thanks HRK & pabelmont. I agree.

  9. spikeocool
    February 20, 2011, 11:35 am

    This is a very depressing article to read on Sunday morning because it spells out in full detail the reality of the Middle East situation which we really knew existed. The US has for years been controlled by Israel. I’ve often noted how many Congressmen (and state legislators) have made the mandatory trip to Israel, almost as if it is an obligation of holding office or a religious duty like going to Mecca.

    Here’s three basic rules: Rule 1: Israel will determine what the US will do in the Middle East; Rule 2: The only way anything will change is when the US is unable to affect the results like in Egypt. Rule 3: The US will always try to work for results detrimental to Arab and Musliim states.

    Israel will continue to gobble up land in the West Bank and Palestine because it needs the land to grow its population. Rule 1 means the US will allow it to happen. Rule 2 and 3 meant that if there is anyone in the Arab (or Muslim) world that thinks the US will do anything to benefit them if it adversely impacts Israel is as ignorant as those Congressmen who have only visited one foreign country, Israel.

    • Psychopathic god
      February 20, 2011, 4:20 pm

      It’s not just Congress.

      Notice that a non-Jewish American can have a say ONLY if a Jewish persons sponsors/endorses/acts as the gatekeeper? Think about the Leveretts’ “RaceforIran” blog — would anybody listen to them AT ALL if Hillary Mann Leverett were not Jewish? Would Flynt Leverett have been invited to appear on Charlie Rose sans Hillary?

      As Jeff Blankfort has pointed out, the people who surrounded “Scoop” Jackson — the original neocons — exploited his office and persona to advance their zionist agenda, and he went along to advance his (unsuccessful) ambitions to gain higher office.

      Pennsylvanians broke their backs — and wore out some shoe leather — to remove Santorum from the Senate, but before he could even challenge Santorum, Bob Casey was taken on THE tour to Israel, his genitalia and sentiments checked for appropriate commitment to Israel/zionism. The Jewish Weekly reported that his tour guides said, “Casey will be a friend to the Jewish people,” whereupon he became a viable candidate.

      that
      sucks.

      If a Pennsylvanian has a concern that they want Casey to think about, they can forget it if they’re not Jewish. You cannot get past the threshold in Casey’s office without a Jewish minder. That’s the fact of it.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 5:03 pm

        E.g. Like an AIPAC Intern?– I’ve definitely met one of those at a Maria Cantwell event.

  10. Michael S
    February 20, 2011, 11:54 am

    From the Wikileaks cables, November 2009:

    “Amos Gilad acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME (Qualitative Military Edge) concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region.”

  11. Sand
    February 20, 2011, 12:24 pm

    This is a great post!

    “…Every speech he makes—sincerely, I believe—about democracy in the Middle East is instantly undercut or contradicted by the foreign-policy establishment of Clintonian Democrats on which he depends for everything and he has very limited options to transform that establishment…”

    I think it’s interesting that Sec. of State Clinton is now ‘openly’ hooking her herself up with the neocons (who are never successful) with the reinstatement. of Marc Grossman. This does not bode well.

    • Psychopathic god
      February 20, 2011, 4:22 pm

      I think it’s interesting that Sec. of State Clinton is now ‘openly’ hooking her herself up with the neocons (who are never successful) with the reinstatement. of Marc Grossman. This does not bode well.

      Haim Saban owns Hillary Clinton.
      nothing more to say.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 5:05 pm

        Yep — it v. much looks like it.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 5:14 pm

        Hillary is truly thick in with the Lobby. At first because she wanted to get back into the White House, but now I think she also enjoys sticking a knife, or two into Obama. Sec. of State was never really good enough for her — she wanted more power.

        And, now with her picking Grossman — Anyways, over at Sibel Edmond’s blog — remembering that the Wilson’s supported Hills doing the primary — a blogger also made this interesting observation.

        “…Let’s not forget another curious fact. As of this date, Grossman was NEVER named or included in the Wilsons’ civil suit over her outing and Edmonds was never contacted BY the Wilsons’ attorneys. This despite the fact that I personally sent an e-mail to Melanie Sloan, their attorney and also head of Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as well as buttonholing Plame four years ago at her book signing in Alubuquerque about the issue…”

        link to boilingfrogspost.com

        And look where Melanie Sloan is now.

  12. Kathleen
    February 20, 2011, 12:38 pm

    “For over two decades, people anxious about human rights violations in the Middle East, especially Israeli occupation, have regularly asked me, “When is the US going to do X, Y or Z?” When is the US going to put real pressure on Israel?”

    I have heard people (mostly goyim) asking these questions for forty long years.

    And still to this day one administration after the next has done little to nothing to stop the ever expanding ILLEGAL settlements.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 1:47 pm

      That’s because the Americans need to grow a backbone like the new Egyptians & Tunisians on the scene. Why it’s even growing in Libya! And looks like the Palestinians have now inhaled the prevailing wind: 3000 Palestinians protest in Ramallah over US veto at UN – Monsters and Critics.com link to bit.ly
      18 minutes ago

      I think our own annie grasped Ms Tilley’s point about the Palestinians holding the keys to the future world a couple weeks ago here. Something about “The Palestinians holding up the world.” Logical, because Israel is holding it down. And the USA is the powerhouse involved as between these two small groups of people.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 1:59 pm

        awesome 3000 Palestinians protest in Ramallah over US veto at UN

        Some the demonstrators changed ‘Get Out, Obama!’ in the Al Manara main square of the city.

        our own annie

        ;) yes i am.

  13. Martinji
    February 20, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Great article, apart from the romantic and utterly false notion that the United States seeks ‘stability’.

    The USA seeks subservience. Economic, military, and political subservience from every nation it touches. ‘Stability’ is a euphemism that we shouldn’t propagate.

  14. Sand
    February 20, 2011, 1:02 pm

    This paragraph I think is so important — and believe you have hit the nail on the head.

    “…The US economy is in emergency straits: he is battling to preserve even truncated health care reforms (which the Lobby & and its follows in Congress (including democrats) threatened to scupper) and faltering worker’s rights to decent wages against a torrent of unprincipled Republican lies and manipulation (it goes much deeper — Wall Street (which controls both parties) doesn’t want US wages to go up). He will lose all those battles if the Zionist lobby undertakes to undermine him. In any case, a US president is not as powerful as people think. The seeming latitude of Bush the Younger to radically alter US foreign policy—the neoconservative hijacking of US foreign policy to attack Iraq (and via Hersh, and now seeing Grossman come on board, they are obviously still around) —was born along by the pro-Zionist tide created by the three factors above…”

    It’s depressing, but what you say is true.

    Also, the Republicans may well take the Presidency next — with the Citizens United case, the control of the MSM, and those “mad-eyed ferrets who watch Fox News and will vote for the candidate they are told to vote for.

    So, do we force ourselves to vote Democrat when we know full well the party has been overpowered by a foreign entity that does not care about domestic matters, and is more than willing to use its leverage to destroy anything meaningful so it will get its way over Israel? I’ve said this before — it seems we have only two alternatives at the moment – vote Democrat which will allow fascism to take over the US slowly, or to not vote at all and bring in the Republicans who is bring in fascism swiftly and forcibly.

    Again it’s depressing, but I really can’t see a way out — with all the corruption on our (supposed) side. I mean Melanie Sloan going to work (probably always did!) for the Lobby, and now Alan Dershowitz saying he will work for Julian Assange . You can imagine the deals Dershowitz is making. I bet he would love to get his hands on some of those wikileak cables — pertaining to Israel), saying he can pull strings back in the US if Assange is extradited to the US. I bet he can.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 2:21 pm

      It’s a problem. One’s vote is truly meaningless given the situation. Neither of the two main parties cares about many of us, though both sides speak ideological logic that has truth in it for any thinking individual, and neither side, once in power, delivers results really consistent with their respective rhetoric. We all harbor inconsistent values when taken in pure form–that’s why being human is a struggle, a privileged curse unknown to animals or machines. Nonetheless, real core campaign finance reform would go a long way towards at least making us individually much more aware of the ramifications of what we think we want. I don’t see this happening unless it comes from the grass roots and they seem to be dead on the issue. They only seem to know pop entertainment, sports, consumer products, the need for a job, and for many, their hand-me-down God in the sky.

  15. Danaa
    February 20, 2011, 1:05 pm

    Great analysis and one with which I agree for the most part. Especially with regard to Obama as a president who is so hemmed in from all sides, that his personal preferences and inclinations are largely immaterial. For example, much has been made of Obama’s weakness during the great health reform debatess, the way in which he had to make compromises unpalatable to his own progressive base, just to get this much watered down version through the powers-that-be (which include but are by no means limited to congress). Virginia’s analysis serves to highlight the built-in obstacles that would weigh down any president were he tempted to do the really ‘right thing”.

    I especially liked the part tying together of US’ domestic and foreign policy agendas, where the latter – through debilitating zionist lobby influence – serves as a tripping mechanism for the former. That’s been one of my own favorite angles for quite a while now.

    If anything, there’s just one element missing from this cogent – if depressing – commentary, and that is the financial/economic perspective (I know, it’s implied, but…). US hegemony, it would seem, is propelled on the wings of a deeply entrenched neoliberal philosophy, one that elevates the interests of “wall street” (cf., the financial oligarchs) above almost any other consideration. This is, IMO, the most disturbing element behind the machinations of empire, because as empire slowly disintegrates of its own dead weight, the global corporatocracy it helped usher upon the planet will live on, continuing to suffocate individual freedom and prosperity, long after the hegemonic stranglehold of the US on the world has been curbed. Alas, well after the Egyptians win a measure of the yearned for democracy (and I believe they will) what’s awaiting the good people of Egypt just around the corner is global plutocracy, which at its essence, effectively reduces all human lifeforms to”free” economic agents, also known as “consumers”. Viewed against this toxic global economic backdrop, Obama is as much a captive as is Israel itself (see the article in Haaretz couple days ago about the Israeli oligarchs’ poisoning every aspect of the country’s politics – have the link somewhere, will provide).

    Yet, being an eternal opssimist, I also believe that as dire as the neoliberal global corporate scenario is, its power is also its Achiles Heel, kind of in the same way Victoria suggests, though on another level. People around the world can and will eventually rebel, once they perceive the promise and/or reality of the “good life” fading in front of their eyes. I believe that, in part, the Tea party movement is a gut-level reaction to the real threat of declining economic fortunes, and with it, the goodies that come from being a citizen of the empire. The specifics of the reaction are, to be sure, ignorant and ill-informed of causes and effects, but the movement itself is deeply populist, hence its emotional (and often not so reasonable) overtones. As time goes on, and the screws continue to tighten as a result of advancing scarcity of resources, the tea party – and it’s progressive coffee party counterpart)s) – will likely morph into other forces, the former into something even more destructive (scary, that), the other into deep fatalistic apathy flailing about with much gut wrenching wonky-tonky (even scarier).

    Such gloomy spectacles are all the more reason we should lend our collective support to labor’s fight in Wisconsin. It may not be obvious (yet), but on a deeper level, the displays of labor fighting back now can play dividends for the Palestinian fight later, probably in unexpected ways. Yes, it’s all in the future, but still, nothing like making seeing the oligarchs getting a bit nervous for curtains to fall back a bit, perhaps just enough to let new, hetherto hidden, roads be glimpsed.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 2:44 pm

      Danna, yes. But, a (relatively) small point: unions, born as an absolute need for the most basic dignity and survival of those born poor, have a downside too. The featherbedding union caused the downfall of the great American railroads like the NYC just as much as the exploitive capitalists, working hand in hand with the federal government. The current state of the result, the federal railroad is sorry indeed. The teachers’ unions also have a downside. You can look at the car industry too. And so on. Neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on looking only for their own relatively narrow agenda when compared to the good of the whole, the good of “We, the people.”
      In Wisconsin, while its non-unionized private employees fight its governmental employees to see who gets to be taxed less or more for the oliarchy’s agenda, the top 1-5% just get richer, and pay proportionately much less for their own continually more privileged position, and the income gap grows like Topsy for those who treat the whole world as their garden,riding around without borders in their eternal (often) international corporate machines.

      • Danaa
        February 20, 2011, 5:31 pm

        Appreciate the correction, Citizen. I do realize that unions can indeed go medieval with their own narrowly defined self-interest. On several occasions I’ve actually had a beef with a certain Teachers’ Union for that very reason – the tendency for an inwardly looking parochial self interest, which ends up hurting teachers, as much as children, n ot to mention society at large (assuming ‘society’ cared to look past its bread and entertainment phase). Much has been written about the tendency of almost any human collective to degenerate into self-centered mind-set – be they unions, religions, clans or boy scouts. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that I find clannishness in all its forms quite offensive (and that would include the indomitable Mondoweiss family were ‘it’ to suddenly go all cliquish – mercifully an unlikely outcome given the fine if somewhat queroulous individualistically diverse eclectics assembled here. It does and did happen to some pre-eminent blogs, no?).

        It’s just for now, I feel we can’t be too purist about the issues of the downside of unions becoming too powerful for their own good. Especially because there’s a larger battle being fought, with public employee unions representing merely the opening salvo of the ravenous oligarchy, which is no doubt trying to stick a knife deep in the belly of one particularly well-organized pocket of the citizenry. When and if the times comes, we can take on the unions too were it clearly in the common good. This is sort of how I also feel about the battle for women’s rights in the muslim world. There’ll be time enough for that, once ‘we’ succeed in establishing some modicum of respect for human rights in certain parts of the world (women being first and foremost human too – first we should try to keep them alive…..so they’ll be able to fight for their rights another day).

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 7:30 pm

        Thanks, Danaa. I don’t disagree with you on this. I assume you feel the same way about the rampant fraud going on with people playing the
        medicaid and medicare system? Can’t miss it if you watch the Judge Judy show–she picks it out immediately due to her 25 years in NY family court. No capitalist exploiters appear before Judge Judy, just common grifter types sans the really lethal ivy league credentials of the big boys and girls.

  16. yourstruly
    February 20, 2011, 1:12 pm

    or why the u. s. of a. dare not do nothing about palestine

    a possibility is that doing nothing best serves empire’s interests -

    “full speed ahead

    no matter the impending doom”

    somehow a privileged few always manage to stay on top

    what up to now

    it’s all been about

    justice this year in palestine

    post-miracle on the nile

  17. Sumud
    February 20, 2011, 1:20 pm

    I think the time is drawing near for the one-state struggle to begin, but not quite yet. I’d like to see a few more ME autocrats overthrown first, just so Americans really understand how the dreadful governments are all US-backed, something the rest of the world already knows.

    When the PA is disbanded, Americans will rapidly come to understand Israel is no different than Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, KSA, Jordan etc. in the way they treat their citizens, likely they’ll see that Israel is much worse. In the last decade Israel killed up to twice as many Palestinians as Saddam killed Kurds in the gas attack on Halabja.

    A pause before one-state also gives *us* more time to grow BDS. A reminder: Israeli Apartheid Week 2011 begins in early March. This is the seventh year and apparently new cities are being added to their calendar daily. Last year there were events in ~55 cities around the world I believe.

    The website:
    Israeli Apartheid Week

    Their twitter feed:
    Twitter: Israeli Apartheid Week

    ..and the hashtag for discussing/promoting is simple and short: #IAW

    Look to the ME revolutions for inspiration, and get to it folks!

    • fuster
      February 20, 2011, 1:41 pm

      That one-state struggle didn’t work out so well in 48.
      And did you mean ..
      –Israel is no different than Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, KSA, Jordan etc. in the way they treat their citizens, likely they’ll see that Israel is much worse.–

      citizens? or non-citizens?

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 2:08 pm

        And ever since 48, Israel has done everything possible to prevent a two-state solution from coming into being.

      • fuster
        February 20, 2011, 2:45 pm

        no Pots, not at all since 48. that’s utter bullshit.

        It was the other side demanding war right up until the Egypt and Israel signed a treaty and that didn’t sit too well with a lot of other folks in the area.

      • andrew r
        February 20, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Had the Zionists not committed ethnic cleansing and observed the UNSCOP partition boundary, not only would Israel have started with a Jewish majority of 55%, Jaffa would not be part of Tel-Aviv.

        There is no way Israel would have been a Jewish state with a two-state solution as envisioned by the UN. The Jewish Agency and the Haganah did not accept it.

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

        fuster – absolutely since 48.

        Golda Meier went on a secret diplomatic visit to King Abdullah of Jordan before 1948 and made a deal to give him the West Bank to block the formation of a Palestinian state.

      • RoHa
        February 20, 2011, 7:17 pm

        Bollocks, froggy.
        Israel assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte to avoid peace talks, rejected peace deals in Lausanne in 1949, and kept going.

        Uri Avnery (who knows a lot more about this than you do) gives good accounts of the process.
        link to antiwar.com
        link to mediamonitors.net

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 1:18 am

        RoHa

        I don’t believe that Avnery said that Israel assassinated Bernadotte in the link that you provided.

        Thanks but you should go scratch up some more bollocks.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 2:38 am

        Since 1947, actually. That’s when Zionist militants started storming Palestinian villages and emptying them of their occupants. Over their dead bodies, when necessary, even.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 3:23 pm

        Who are these non-citizens you refer to fuster? After 43 years of military occupation – the longest in modern history – Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are de-facto citizens of Israel.

      • fuster
        February 20, 2011, 6:08 pm

        Sumud—– making up stuff about de facto citizenship is a dumb idea.

        They’re living under an oppressive occupation and trying to call them citzens is nonsense, and might even be disrespectful of their experience.

        If some Israeli government official tried saying that the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were “de facto” citizens of Israel, I gotta beliece that everyone here would puke.

        No better if you do it.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Why do you say is it made up?

        I didn’t say “citizens of Israel”, I said “de-facto citizens”. Looking at the wikipedia entry on de facto i see the word de-facto is used uniquely here (Australia) to describe common-law marriages, ie long-term relationships with cohabitation, where the same laws are applicable to the de facto couple as would be used for a legally married couple. I can’t remember how long before a cohabiting couple is considered legally de facto here but it isn’t long, less than five years.

        Ask every Palestinian 43 years of age in the and under in the OPTS what government has controlled their territory for their entire lives and what do you think they’re going to say? Not the PA, rest assured.

        You might be right about disrespecting their experience though, perhaps a better word would be “subjects” or “serfs”, since the word “citizen” conjures up the image of people with rights. Or how about “dhimmi” since the ‘problem’ with Palestinians for Israel is that they’re not jewish? The only stumbling with that is that jews and christians are accorded far more respect and rights as “People of the Book” under islamic law (sharia), than Palestinian muslims and christians have been under the occupation of the “jewish state”.

      • fuster
        February 20, 2011, 9:27 pm

        Sumud, I think that you’re still trying to mix different thinga and say that they’re the same. Common-law marriages have nothing to do with citizenship.

        Nations, including Israel, have written laws defining citizenship.
        Here’s an example (probably long-ago amended) of Israel’s

        link to israellawresourcecenter.org

        The Palestinians living under the occupation are indeed subjects

        Israel does have citizens who are not Jewish, as I’m sure that you know.

        The people subject to the occupation and the non-Jewish citizens of Israel are different groups.

        When you talk about the treatment of religious minorities under sharia law you make a good point about how sharia offers a sort of crummy package of rights and obligations to conquered people and it might be a better deal than the people under occupation are getting.
        But that was guided by a different idea. The intent was that the conquered people were forever going to be living under the laws of the conquerer.
        It was a permanent status of religious discrimination that was contemplated and the only path out was to convert.

        Whatever the deal in the territories now, Israel (maybe dishonestly) doesn’t claim the region as permanent sovereign territory and doesn’t claim that the people in them will forever be subject to Israel law and control.

        The deal for non-Jews in Israel is that they may acquire full citizenship in territory that Israel considers permanently Israel and non-Jews comprised about 25% of Israeli citizens.

        I might suggest that you compare dhimmi rights to the rights of permanent residents.

      • Sumud
        February 21, 2011, 2:23 am

        fuster ~ have a read of the WP entry on de facto I linked to above. The term is broader than relationships, and I mention those merely to illustrate the point that here in Australia, de facto situations have legal ramifications in less than 5 years.

        That Palestinians in the OPTs aren’t citizens of Israel is little more than a technicality, when you consider the majority of the population have lived their entire lives under Israeli occupation. They may not be de facto citizens in a legal sense, but they are in a moral sense.

        Without specifying the tipping point, the Ehuds and others have said the status quo in the OPTs will lead to an apartheid situation. Several years have passed and the grim warning has gone unheeded. It’s reasonable to claim Israel has no intentions of ever ending the occupation, because it foolishly believes the current situation is sustainable. While I agree dhimmi rights are best compared to those of permanent residents (as long as you include Palestinian Israelis in that grouping), I just can’t ignore the longevity of the occupation.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 2:39 am

        So only Jews get automatic citizenship in Israel, as far as your concerned, fuster?

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 11:11 am

        Chaos, I don’t get a vote on who gets citizenship in Israel any more than I do about who gets citizenship in any country other than my own.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 11:25 am

        Yes, Sumud it has been too long and lives have come and gone and the occupation continues.
        It must end.

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 4:05 am

        Are you Jewish, fuster?

    • yonira
      February 22, 2011, 3:00 am

      Hate week already, ahhh my favorite time of year. Lets us see what Jews are really dealing with.

  18. hophmi
    February 20, 2011, 1:27 pm

    “For the main Zionist lie is that stability can be achieved through racist partition of the country (on its own terms)”

    Not true. Zionist posits that Jews deserve self-determination, nothing more, nothing less.

    This is another in a series of blame-the-Jews screeds that is neither original nor compelling.

    • Taxi
      February 20, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Oh yeah right Hops, why don’t you finish the frigging sentence and put us in the whole picture:

      “Zionist posits that Jews deserve self-determination…” ON SOMEONE ELSE LAND!!!

    • Ellen
      February 20, 2011, 2:00 pm

      Jews, like others enjoy self determination.

      “We believe that although Israel is the birthplace of our faith, it is not the place of our national affiliation.

      As American Jews, we believe that our nationality is American. We are tied both geographically and emotionally to the United States and to its values of democracy, freedom, liberty and justice. We believe we can be Jews and Americans. ”

      link to acjna.org

      Zionism is a sham, at the expense of others, and an enterprise that has usurped Judaism. It is, indeed, the Golden Calf.

      • Richard Witty
        February 20, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Anti-Zionism is a sham, and is in fact racism.

        Individual Jews get to determine freely if they desire to live an essentially assimilated life, maybe with Jewish family and religious community, or live in a society that is a Jewish nation.

        For those that it is more important to live in Israel, in a Jewish majority state they can now. For those that it is more important to live in a multi-cultural setting, US, Europe, elsewhere, they can.

        To state that Jews can NOT live in a setting where they are familiar, not foreigners, is a form of racism.

        Hard to say it, but true. We have enough imposition of social norms that fit some but don’t fit others. One shoe size only. I personally have flat feet and standard shoe sizes don’t fit me.

      • Donald
        February 20, 2011, 3:11 pm

        “Anti-Zionism is a sham, and is in fact racism.”

        Richard thinks it is racist to deny his group the right to ethnically cleanse others in order to form their own state.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 3:19 pm

        i know, and he just called me rude!

      • Richard Witty
        February 20, 2011, 3:33 pm

        Criticize policies then.

        You do know the difference?

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Nobody said that Jews cannot live in a setting where they are familiar, not foreignors, Witty. You can worship the Golden Calf all you want with my blessing so long as you fully support the universal values of
        democracy, freedom, liberty and justice (while you fully benefit from those American values). But you don’t. Either one’s values are universal and so to be applied so, or they are not. A state without equality before the state law de jure and de facto is unAmerican. Ellen understands this. You don’t. You claim special privilege, in effect, dispensation from our common creator from whom we get our inalienable rights, and the results of your claim are in–ask any Palestinian what they are.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 4:07 pm

        Richard’s mental gymnastics (where up is down and equality equals racism) demonstrate what a giant folly Israeli zionism is.

        Of course jews have a right, if they so wish, to live in a jewish nation [ghetto], but you have to question the wisdom of whoever decided the best place to try and do so was in an already populated muslim-majority area. Why not just save up and buy some large tracts of land from a state willing to sell land with sovereignty? The rate things are going with these ME revolutions zionists could probably approach the Sauds in a few months and put in an offer on a portion of the Empty Quarter – then we’d all get to see how zionists make deserts bloom…

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 4:09 pm

        Who said Jews cannot live in live in a setting Jews only! Or Jews who are the majority?
        No one anywhere or ever said that.

        In fact there are many of such settings for those who seek jewish exclusivity, if that is what one wants.

        Did I hit a nerve?

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 6:09 pm

        in the era of the Crusades, which presented many lucrative opportunities for the Italian city-states, Pisans, also, enjoyed a significant economic boost by serving the ‘carriage trade’ — shipping goods and fighters to the ‘Holy Land’ to recapture the holy ground where Christianity was born.

        Savvy ship’s captains figured out ways to make money on the return trip; rather than sailing an empty ship from the Levant back to Italy, they tried to find a valuable cargo to haul.

        Now, the people of Pisa were very pious. Dumb, but pious. They believed that a person who died on the Holy Land would get to heaven quicker than a person who had not died on the Holy Land. And since, in addition to being pious and dumb, Pisans and the citizens of other Italian city states, like Genoa, hated each other and were constantly trying to out-do the other, Pisans figured that if they shipped dirt from the Holy Land back to Pisa, then Pisans could be buried in Holy Land soil and get to heaven before folks from Genoa or Verona, etc. So ships captains filled their hulls with dirt from the Holy Land, sailed it from the Levant to Pisa, and dumped it around the cathedral complex and . . . and the site for the Tower of Pisa.
        Which is why the Tower of Pisa leans.
        Moral of the story: when you build something on a foundation of hate, it will never stand straight and true.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 6:21 pm

        is that a true story pg? sometimes i am a gullible person, are you pulling our legs?

      • fuster
        February 20, 2011, 6:40 pm

        hard enough to dislocate.

      • RoHa
        February 20, 2011, 7:25 pm

        “Individual Jews get to determine freely if they desire to live an essentially assimilated life, maybe with Jewish family and religious community, or live in a society that is a Jewish nation.”

        So should Australians have the right to determine freely whether they can live in a society that is a Jew-free nation?

        Should stamp-collectors have the right to determine whether they can live in a stamp-collector nation?

        Why do Jews get this choice?

        “To state that Jews can NOT live in a setting where they are familiar, not foreigners, is a form of racism.”

        To say that Australian Jews are foreigners sounds pretty racist to me.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 8:40 pm

        So should Australians have the right to determine freely whether they can live in a society that is a Jew-free nation?

        In other words:

        So should Nazis have the right to determine freely whether they can live in a society that is a Jew-free nation?

        To say that Australian Jews are foreigners sounds pretty racist to me.

        Agree. The ghetto mindset must be abandoned, and the extent to which it is historically a self-fulfilling prophecy examined.

      • annie
        February 20, 2011, 2:24 pm

        thanks for the link ellen.

      • Kathleen
        February 20, 2011, 2:46 pm

        “usurped Judaism” been doing it for over a century now.

        Lots of golden calf devotees on Wall Street. Greed fuels their engines

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 3:33 pm

        Yes, Ellen, you are an American–your religion is not a criteria, and neither is mine.

      • Ellen
        February 20, 2011, 6:21 pm

        My religion belongs in my home, temple, church, mosque ….whatever. But no where else. Not in the public arena or public policy. That is a foundation of the United States and all the whores in Congress parading religion for votes and dollars are …..well, I do not use that language in public.

      • pjdude
        February 21, 2011, 3:05 am

        he basicly just admitted that jews were not a nation and it shows a real understanding, i think, of self determination in that its not a right for ethnic groups but of people in a territory.

    • Potsherd2
      February 20, 2011, 2:06 pm

      Zionism posits that no one except Jews deserves self-determination.

    • Sumud
      February 20, 2011, 3:27 pm

      Zionist posits that Jews deserve self-determination, nothing more, nothing less.

      Great! One-person/one-vote with equal rights for all = self-determination. Problem solved!

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 3:29 pm

      No hophmi–you are impliedly blaming the Palestinians for existing on their land– the Zionists chose to believe the Palestinains were not there, and are not there, as in the Zionist lied motiff, ” a land without people for a people without land.” You can put up as many walls on said land, and as many walls in your head, as you want–and the Palestinians will still be there. They’ve been around for a long time, same as the Jews.

    • andrew r
      February 20, 2011, 4:50 pm

      I’m Jewish and live in the USA. So I don’t have self-determination? The government is oppressing me as a Jew?

      You need to step outside the bubble, hophmi. What you come up with is ridiculous.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 11:15 am

        andrew r,

        things in eastern europe or the countries of the Middle East where not the same for the Jews as things now are in the USA.

        Jews surely were oppressed.

      • andrew r
        February 21, 2011, 7:37 pm

        Uh fuster, no shit sherlock. Hophmi is saying Jews have no self-determination without a Jewish state.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 8:00 pm

        Eastern Europe sixty-odd years ago, yes, fuster. Your information is out of date.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 8:14 pm

        Chaos, as out of date as my info maybe, it’s not just about Eastern Europe. Hell of a lot of Jews were living and getting screwed over in the Middle East.

        To this day, the Jewish citizens of Saudi Arabia have it pretty rough.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 9:04 pm

        About as rough as Palestinians have it in Hebron, I’d say.

        Anyway, your “Arabs hate Jews” meme isn’t going to gain any traction around here. We don’t believe that Jews need to live a privileged, isolated existence from the rest of humanity.

  19. Sand
    February 20, 2011, 1:52 pm

    “Zionist posits that Jews deserve self-determination,”

    No Zionists posit a “Jews Only” Shangri-La stuck in the middle of a desert where it uses force to suck the resources and life blood from the surrounding peoples who are not Jewish. Madness but there it is.

    • Sand
      February 20, 2011, 1:55 pm

      desert if the edit didn’t work.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Sand ~ once you hit the update button on the pop-up edit window and it processes and closes, if you then refresh your browser window it will load your newly-edited comment. This is especially handy if you mess up some html and want to confirm you fixed it…

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 5:17 pm

        Thanks :) — Actually I’m just happy this site has a edit function.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 8:04 pm

        Me too. It’s a relatively recent upgrade for the site. I thought it was a unnecessary feature when it was being discussed a few months ago but use it regularly, love it.

        If you’re using html for links or formatting I still find this html sandbox handy just to check I’ve got it right before submitting a comment:

        link to witbytes.com

        One minor drawback, it doesn’t show ‘returns’.

      • Virginia Tilley
        February 22, 2011, 3:31 pm

        Very interesting posts, everyone. As I’m travelling, I’ll confine myself to a little bit of response to Jeremy who rightly points to some apparent inconsistencies.

        First, regarding the Palestinian hope that accurate information might sway US policy to be less unilaterally supportive of Israel, I can’t document this from the road but I’d suggest that the activities and records of the last 30 years of pro-Palestinian activism supports ny assertion. Certainly the Palestinians have seen that the US fully supports Israel, but until very recently they have assumed that this was because Israeli lobbying and the Zionist monopoly on information in Washington was so good. They believed that if Washington were confronted with their real situation then surely the leaders of the land of the free would be appalled and do the right thing. (The PA has translated this into a performance ritual: it serves US interests assuming US rewards. Wrong.) This isn’t to deny that this hopeful view coexisted with rampant bitterness and cynicism, of course. But bitterness is still linked to a sense of helplessness in the face of the US’s immense power that I now associate with the “US first” camp: the view that, because nothing is possible in the Middle East “peace process” unless the US allows it, then the US has to change its policy before any real change can happen. My point is that, as in the global effort to defeat apartheid in South Africa, the US will change its policy only after a great deal else has happened and the Palestinians in fact have the power to change the conditions in which US policy is made.

        As to Israel’s cooperation with US foreign policy, I’m glad Jeremy’s given me the opening to clarify this (I’ve written more on this in my book). There’s no doubt whatever that Israel has been a close and much-valued ally for US foreign policy for decades, having obtaining this strategic role during the Cold War. Like the Shah’s Iran in Central Asia, apartheid South Africa in southern Africa, the Nicaraguan Somozas in Central America, etc., Israel positioned itself as the pro-Western anti-communist regional power in the Middle East. In this role, it used its regional knowledge, military might, brilliant intelligence services, and hi-tech surveillance techniques (as well as dirty tactics like killing and poisoning people) to ensure the containment or defeat of pro-Soviet pan-Arab socialism and later the “Islamic threat”. This intimate relationship generated strategic cooperation between the two countries in gobs of ways. Those of us with longer memories and who’ve worked in other parts of the world remember, for instance, Israel’s vital role as America’s ally in Africa and Latin America. When the Reagan administration came under Congressional pressure not to support the bloody Guatemalan dictatorship in the 1980s, the US and Israel agreed secretly that Israel would step in. Israel then set up the intelligence monitoring system in Guatemala that allowed the military dictatorship to find and murder its opponents by the thousands. During the same period, Israel’s man in Panama ran a complicated cocaine/guns network throughout Central America in coordination with US intelligence to defeat the leftist guerrilla movements. Israel’s state development agency, which was developed originally by the Mossad, got into developing countries all over the world and fed back security information to Israeli and US security strategists. Meanwhile, Israel sold arms all over Latin America, channeling them from the US. So it’s been a dense relationship for a long time: hence the billions in US aid every year for Israel to buy US arms and hi-tech equipment. (For a good overview of the cold war period, see Cheryl Rosenberg’s earlier book – sorry for no title but, again, I’m on the road.)

        All this is still going on as Israelis advise the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. To this day, Israeli advisors are all over the Middle East and Africa, as well as Central Asia, and their agents operate everywhere (yes, in the latest liberation movements, too) providing a filtered version of events to US intelligence that is often far superior to US intelligence capacity — although, of course, just as easily manipulated to suit Israel’s wishes. The Egyptian Omar Suleiman/Israel/US network has hit the Internet in recent weeks – just a sample.

        Has this extensive cooperation been destructive to US interests? Of course it has! Many smart people have analysed in great detail why it has in fact been ruinous for US interests in the Middle East and my piece here repeats that view. But the fact that it’s a destructive alliance doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a dense and long-standing one. Now it has become a trap, linked directly to that crumbling of hegemony that Jeremy mentions. Here I think Jeremy might be misreading me. I fully agree that US influence is withering, a problem tracing directly to its dysfunctional relationship to Israel. But it remains vast in global terms, by virtue of the country’s economic clout and long-standing ties to militaries around the world and this leverage will not decline very much very soon. (We may recal that many people around the world were furious about the US war on Vietnam, too, where US military action took some million Vietnamese lives: US global power was arguably much greater two decades later. Public outrage over US policies just doesn’t impact US economic and military might all that much. Which isn’t to say that the US isn’t facing some new and serious rivals to its influence, but those are economic.) Regional disgust with US policies in the Middle East will, however, open the way finally to dumping the “do something” fixation on the US as the arbiter of events in Palestine. The real arbiters of events there are the Palestinians themselves, once they fully realise it.

  20. Jeffrey Blankfort
    February 20, 2011, 2:06 pm

    This is a very interesting and well thought out analysis but there are several points with which I disagree. The first is where Virginia writes: “Especially among the Palestinian movement, the illusion was that, if the US really knew what was going on, it would “do something”. Vast amounts of activist work went into publicizing atrocities and trying to get the US foreign policy establishment to notice so it would “do something”. Of course, US analysts already knew what was going on and the US was not going to “do something”—for one simple reason: it was getting what it wanted from the situation—Israeli cooperation as a regional power and Palestinian political passivity.”

    First, I don’t believe such an illusion exists or has ever existed among the Palestinian movement, in general. The PA have accepted it since the days of Arafat and Abbas’s betrayal at Oslo because it made them rich and insured they would not be assassinated by Israel which began paying $8 million a month into Arafat’s private bank account after the agreement was negotiated. Again, there is no evidence that I am aware of that the Palestinian people, either in occupied Palestine or the diaspora, ever believed the US was anything but a full supporter of Israeli policies.

    Secondly, when she refers to the US benefiting from “Israeli cooperation as a regional power,” she offers no evidence of this and, in fact, contradicts herself later in the article when she accurately describes the power of the Zionist Lobby in the US in determining US Middle East policy. Clearly, yesterday’s veto by the US of the resolution denouncing Israel’s settlements as illegal, coming at a time when revolution is sweeping Arab North Africa and the Middle East, will prove extremely damaging to key interests in the region from any perspective excluding those of the American Zionists who have no problem in putting Israel’s interests first.

    I agree with those who see the US global empire and its determination to remain the world’s hegemon cracking at an ever increasing pace. In just the last few weeks, apart from the uprisings sweeping or threatening to sweep from power, Washington’s key regional allies, Hezbollah and its Christian allies have defeated the US in Lebanon, Turkey has announced it is tripling its trade with Iran, both Russia and Germany have said they will not support further sanctions on Iran, and in Pakistan, a private US mercenary working for the Embassy is being held on a murder charge and if he is released, as demanded by the Americans, would likely bring down the government there in a revolution that would not be peaceful. Either way, the US loses. Moreover, anyone who thinks that events in Iraq and Afghanistan are helping to maintain US hegemony should take another look.

    Finally, while Obama is in a difficult position and subject to racist invective quite apart from anything he has done or not done, I have no sympathy for the man who coming into office with a groundswell of popularity and carrying many people’s hopes, immediately betrayed those hopes by appointing representatives of the key economic players who had paid for his election and turned his back on the American people in more ways than I can list here. We all know them. By pretending to be something different, which his background shows that he never was, he brought people into the political arena who previously had stayed away because they believed it wasn’t for them. He has now proved that they were right and it was something I knew and predicted he would do the night he was elected. He has also managed to euthanize what remained of the anti-war movement while expanding the war in Pakistan and Yemen. In other words, he has been a disaster, not just for the US but for the entire world.

    • Sand
      February 20, 2011, 3:01 pm

      “…Secondly, when she refers to the US benefiting from “Israeli cooperation as a regional power,” she offers no evidence of this and, in fact, contradicts herself later in the article when she accurately describes the power of the Zionist Lobby in the US in determining US Middle East policy…”

      Hmm… maybe Virginia can come back and expand on her point?

      I can’t speak for her, however, if you come in from the angle that she’s talking about the ‘US’ neocons/PNAC’ers in power — that were benefiting from Israel being a cooperative, regional power — then I thought it made sense? Israel always being able to kick a spanner in the works when it looked like any Realist strategy had a chance to surface — Israel threatening to use their nukes, threatening to use their power over Congress, and providing the US-based neocons false intelligence when they US needed it?

      Again, maybe Virginia can come back and explain?

    • Taxi
      February 20, 2011, 3:06 pm

      Sober and sobering, Jeff!

  21. yourstruly
    February 20, 2011, 2:15 pm

    the true jew

    always siding with the slave

    never with the slavemaster

    even (better, especially) when the slavemaster happens to be a co-religionist

    that until the last chain is broken

    none of us will be free

    • yourstruly
      February 20, 2011, 2:35 pm

      the palestinian being a slave, as a result of jewish settlers occupying her homeland, since having one’s homeland be under foreign occupation is a form of enslavement

  22. CK MacLeod
    February 20, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I agree with the overall thrust of the analysis if not with all of its emphases or the way that some are taking them. The main takeaway, it seems to me, is that we should fully expect the United States to act conservatively in regard to international relations, and we shouldn’t overrate the ability of any one person, even the president, to re-shape U.S. grand strategy. That strategy is as much a logical response to materially favorable geopolitical circumstances and world-historical processes as the product of some conscious and unlikely effort to change or control them. Wishful assumptions about an American empire falling apart, or about some better world order or non-order replacing it, may rely on false portrayals of the nature of that empire – what it’s based on and what holds it together – but that doesn’t mean that re-adjusting the U.S.-Israel relationship can’t fit within the overall imperial or neo-imperial strategic framework, or even become necessary to it.

  23. annie
    February 20, 2011, 2:47 pm

    thanks virginia

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Yes, I hope she comes back and responds to Jeffrey and CK M; I think some of her likely explanation is that her article assumed the reader would distinguish those at the helm of our American imperial ship, and those rowing blindly as directed, invisibly chained together in the bowels of it. OTH, starting with Truman, who defied our whole State Department by recognizing Israel just to get elected via Zionist moneybags, there’s definitely truth to the fact our government does not always act in the best real strategic and economic interests of the USA. Our rubber-stamping of Israel’s wishes is the biggest example in USA history.

  24. Keith
    February 20, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I liked the first couple of paragraphs, but that’s about it. The rest of the post appears to me to be a great big apologia for Barack Obama that is totally disconnected from reality. Obama represents elite interests, particularly Wall Street, his biggest campaign contributors. He was specifically supported because as an articulate black man it was felt that he could better finesse the harsh economic medicine which finance capital intends for the rest of us beginning with Blacks and other lower income groups. That there are constraints on progressive Presidential actions is undoubtedly true. That Obama is a secret progressive is a pipe dream. The Obama you see is the real Obama, there is no other. The financial bailout, and how it was handled, is having catastrophic results, and foreshadows worse to come. Now that Obama has a Republican majority in the House so that he can “triangulate” ala Clinton, it’s going to be truly grim.

    “We’re dealing with a MAJOR transformation within the financial system, and the most massive upward transfer of wealth in history. It is also the most serious crisis the world has ever faced.” (Michel Chossudovsky)

    • Donald
      February 20, 2011, 3:25 pm

      “The rest of the post appears to me to be a great big apologia for Barack Obama that is totally disconnected from reality.”

      Probably so–I think Obama surrounded himself with Clintonites because that’s who he is, whatever impression he might have given to misguided supporters in the 2008 primaries. But I think there is a broader point here–if Obama really were an idealist and had tried to go against the power structure on Israel and health care and other issues, he’d have been torn apart.

      Anyway, it doesn’t much matter if Obama really is a secret idealist in his heart.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 4:32 pm

        William Kristol selected Sarah Palin using the same techniques a casting director for a Hollywood agitprop movie would us.

        Barack Obama was selected in the same way.

        Goodbye Norma Jean.
        “Seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when the rains came in.”

      • Keith
        February 20, 2011, 5:27 pm

        DONALD- “Anyway, it doesn’t much matter if Obama really is a secret idealist in his heart.”

        Actually, it does, for two reasons. First, if Obama was, in fact, an idealistic man of the people, he never would have appointed Geithner to Treasury and Barnanke to the Fed. The financial bailout was in fact a financial coup d’etat. Obama didn’t have to do what he did. The people were massively opposed to a bailout, but Obama was Wall Street’s man, and he took care of them even as he stiffed the rest of us. I had no illusions about Obama, however, even I didn’t expect him to be this bad. Second, while I tend to emphasize systemic factors, the notion of Obama as a “white knight” can color your analysis and actions in a counterproductive way. Virginia Tilley, for example, is defending a guy who should be subjected to the angry denunciations of a roused citizenry. Finally, if you think that Obama is basically a good guy entrapped by outside forces, why change Presidents? Why not continue to vote for the representative of neo-liberal globalization and debt servitude? Obama is part of the problem, act accordingly. The protester on the “Which Countries” thread with the sign reading “One World, One Pain,” gets it. How many commenters on Mondoweiss get it? Not Virginia Tilley, that’s for sure.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 4:37 pm

      Keith is right to hone in on the fact Obama’s selected consultants and appointees, and those he retained in office regarding the Wall St, Fed Reserve, and Treasury necklace, is a clear sign he chose to wear that necklace–nice for that crowd but heavy hanging as an anchor on the American masses, as sure as it is a companion sign that Goldman Sachs was one of the, if not THE biggest, donor to both Obama’s and McCain’s campaign chests. The cabalistic Fed Reserve and henchman IRS were created literally in the middle of the night over the Xmas holidays of 1913 and both creatures serve their plutocratic masters. He didn’t even push to re-erect the wall between commerical and investment banking that was put up after The Great Depression. Did he even do his economic and monetary homework? If he did, his choice is even worse.

  25. suzannedk
    February 20, 2011, 3:00 pm

    The article about why the U.S can do nothing to resolve the Palestinian crisis with Israel that drove them to appeal to the United Nations is interesting, almost an apology put forth as a detailed, factual, lesson on power. A further comment on that specific power goes to the pre-beginnings of the country of Israel. At the time, the desperate Jewish search for a stable homeland was focusing on South America. A group approached the U.S. to see if they could help. At the time the group was considered a foreign entity and so not legally eligible for federal help of that or any of kind.

    They appealed to Truman. Powerful, he asked what they could do for him.
    Something like “Help him win the presidential election.” He looked into it and found that the British who were in charge of Palestine would offer the Jewish/Zionist foreign entity land for colonising. Britain being European, Truman became only the go-between. The effort to dissuade Truman from setting up such an illegal agreement was fierce, one argument being that to do so would insure that the cultural gulf between the European Jewery and the Arab/Muslim Palestinians could cause a thousand years of wars between the cultures. A second argument was that the Zionist/Jewish group was a foreign group totally ineligible for U.S. help, a third being that Palestine did not belong to England to be able to give away it’s land for colonization. Many problems of great import.

    Truman was a Midwest politician from the most powerful political machine in the country at that time. As he did with Japan later about dropping the atom bombs during peace negotiations, he said it was a done deal. He won the elections.

    So, there have been identity problems, authenticity problems, from the very beginning. Though they are never ever mentioned, they are still there.
    Perhaps why Helen Thomas was fired as she stated this on camera not too long ago in much briefer form. Or, to put the still very present dilemma in a simpler way, if the house is burning down and all say it is not, only ashes are what one will soon have. I think Obama’s veto was perhaps quite unwise, considering. Suzanne, Amsterdam NL

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      February 20, 2011, 4:30 pm

      Tilt. There was never any serious effort on the part of the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish state in South America although some floated the idea of setting one up in Patagonia. Herzl, who had no obsession with Palestine, thought it might work in Uganda and he wrote Cecil Rhodes to get his playbook for establishing Rhodesia. This proposal was universally rejected by the first Zionist Congress and he never, apparently, heard back from Rhodes. In any case, the target was Palestine from then on. Most of the rest of Suzanne’s history is equally muddled but her conclusion emerges unscathed.

      • Citizen
        February 20, 2011, 4:45 pm

        True, Jeff. A side note: if memory serves, the English settlers in Uganda/Kenya voiced their unanimous disapproval of the Zionist project being placed there to their government, and the idea was equally dissed by the big English majority at home. The Zionists who argued for Uganda were interested in saving Jews from the pogroms going on at the time in the land of the Czars–any place, quick; these Jews were won over to favor Israel at that first Zionist Congress.

      • RoHa
        February 20, 2011, 7:42 pm

        East Africa was not a land without people, and I’m pretty sure the Kenyans and Ugandans would not have been too happy about having a Jewish state dumped in their midst. (They weren’t entirely happy with the British being there or bringing in Indians.)

        The fact is that there really wans’t anywhere to put a Jewish state other than Birobidjan.

        Jews may have wanted one, but there is no rule that says that people, even Jews, must get what they want unconditionally.

        Jews may have needed one, but there is no rule that says that people, even Jews, must get what they need unconditionally.

        And if getting what is wanted or needed affects other people and denies them their rights, that is a condition which can annul the force of the wants or needs.

      • yonira
        February 22, 2011, 2:21 am

        Blah Blah Blah Roha, they have one now, so….. neener neener neener…..

        The thing is, sure it might not have been fair, but it is 60 years later, all you guys seem to do on here is whine about it. Like my Zayde used to say….. shoulda, woulda, coulda.

        The Palestinians shoulda accepted the partition, they woulda had a state, and they coulda been a thriving nation like Israel is right now.

        no amount of monday morning or arm-chair war-mongering from a 1/2 world away is going to change that either.

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 3:50 am

        Zionist militants were dead set on waging all-out genocide on Arab villages both within and without the partition. They even shot civilians who were trying to return home, yonira.

        The Palestinians were never given a chance to accept or reject the partition. Heavily armed foreign terrorists were already beating down their doors and dragging their fathers and sons out to be shot so that the glorious judenreich could be granted a “pure” Jewish majority.

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 4:08 am

        So we can already tell you have about as much loyalty to the United States as those college friends of yours who abandoned us to join the judenreich. Boy, must you have been listless before you spontaneously decided to become Jewish a few years ago, yonira.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 5:02 pm

        suzanne’s timeline is waaaay off.

        Arthur Ruppin had built Tel Aviv by ~1910, and by 1913, three or four waves of European and Yemeni Jews had migrated to Palestine (one or two large contingents returned to their homelands).

        In that same time period, per Wikipedia, the closest Harry Truman was to national office was the Kansas National Guard:

        After graduating from Independence High School (now William Chrisman High School) in 1901, Truman worked as a timekeeper on the Santa Fe Railroad, sleeping in “hobo camps” near the rail lines;[16] he then worked at a series of clerical jobs. He worked briefly in the mail room of the Kansas City Star. Truman decided not to join the International Typographical Union. He returned to the Grandview farm in 1906 where he remained until entering the army in 1917.[17] During this period he courted Bess Wallace and proposed to her in 1911. She turned him down, and Truman said he wanted to make more money than a farmer before he proposed again.[18]

        Woodrow Wilson has far more to do with the creation of Israel in Palestine than does Harry Truman. see Salim Yaqub, United States and the Middle East: 1914 to 9/11:

        many of the seeds of U.S. policy and its dilemmas were planted during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.

        It’s fascinating to view, with the benefit of hindsight, the later ramifications of issues like Wilson’s endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, and its collision with the concept of national self-determination Wilson advanced in his famous “Fourteen Points.” Or the decisions made at the 1920 San Remo Conference when Europe’s victors (with minimal U.S. participation) divided the Ottoman Empire’s non-Turkish areas into “mandates” to be temporarily administered by France (Syria and Lebanon) and Great Britain (Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine) until ready for independence.

        Of all the Arab nations east of Egypt, only Saudi Arabia was to receive immediate independence, and the decision caused shock and dismay throughout the Arab world.

        Truman’s contribution to the chaos that is US foreign policy was relied on by George Bush, according to W’s recent tome.

        Andrew Bacevich explained the origins of many of Truman’s foreign policy enactments that remain to haunt US in this fascinating discussion with Evan Bayh, who convincingly played the role of a horse’s ass, and David Brinkley: link to c-spanvideo.org

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 6:50 pm

        It was reportedly Wilson’s close friend, Judge Louis Brandeis, America’s leading Zionist, who was instrumental in persuading Wilson to enter the war on the side of the Brits when they were on the point of losing to the Germans and it was as a reward for that help that Lord Balfour issued his proclamation.

        This was borne out in documents produced by the Zionists themselves as well as by a speech by PM David Lloyd George (who had previously served as the attorney for the British Zios) and by documents published after the war in a book called “Palestine Papers 1917-1922″ by Doreen Ingrams and published by Geo. Braziller in NY in 1973 which I have but do not appear to be on line.

        There is no other reasonable explanation for why the British presented themselves with a major headache which is all the Jewish settlers were for the British. The notion that the Brits intended Palestine to be their imperialist outpost in the ME is nonsense since they already had bigger, less controversial ones in Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. In 1948, the Brits had had enough of the Zionists. The question is when will the Yanks have the balls and brains to say the same thing.

      • Richard Witty
        February 20, 2011, 8:04 pm

        There were many reasons for the Balfour Declaration, including Weizman’s contribution to the British war effort, obligations of the British government to Jewish bondholders and contributors, to hopes of a Jewish brigade in WW1 to complement the Arab brigade led by Lawrence, to hopes of the development of Jewish institutions in Palestine as an unconditionally friendly pathway to dominance in the levant.

        Similar promises to Balfour had been confirmed by the French prior to Sykes Picot, and the San Remo meetings.

        The US entering the war came after Balfour, though you are right that Brandeis and others encouraged Wilson to enter the war.

        Other prominent British Jews opposed Zionism and fought the Balfour declaration.

        The promises of the Balfour Declaration were muted by conflicting promises made to Arab powers, and nearly reneged in the 1920′s white paper, restricting immigration and qualifying all prior promises.

      • RoHa
        February 20, 2011, 8:04 pm

        The Balfour declaration may well have been a reward for help in getting the Americans into the war, but it is not accurate to say the British were on the point of losing to the Germans.

        The Americans did not enter the war until 1917. The war was, at that stage, pretty much a stalemate. Germany failed to take Paris early in the war, and from then on Britain was not on the point of losing.

        The American forces were a great help, once they learned how to fight. (They insisted on ignoring all the tips the British tried to give them, and first tried the tactics of 1914. Contrary to popular belief, the British did, in fact, change their tactics as the war progressed. And they introduced tanks.)

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 10:25 pm

        thanks for the background, Jeffrey Blankfort, and for mention of sources.
        Richard Hawkins wrote a fact-packed article in the journal American Jewish History about the role Samuel Untermyer played in ‘introducing’ Brandeis to Wilson, and to surrounding Wilson with other ardent zionists such as Henry Morgenthau Sr.

        Jonathan Schneer spoke at the Carter Center, about the Balfour Declaration recently. Schneer dives into the tall grass to explain details of Haim Weizman’s tactics and motives, including, says Schneer, Weizman’s use of the antisemitic canard that “Jews have vast, ‘subterranean’ financial power,” “which we all know is untrue,” insisted Schneer. But Schneer never mentions that the Balfour Declaration is addressed to Lord Rothschild, head of the London branch of the Rothschild banking network that, according to Niall Ferguson, had more power than kings over the war-making activities of European states.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 10:30 pm

        Until Russia withdrew from the war, t on the side of Britain and France, the Zionists stayed on the sidelines because of their hatred for the Czar and his treatment of Russia’s Jews and they were reluctant to contribute money to their cause.

        Since the Zionists were also very active in Germany as well as Britain and the US.,before Balfour, they were trying to get the Germans to make a similar statement. Had Berlin done so, this would have then, no doubt, led the Zionists to support them against the British and the French. That nay seem remote in retrospect but it wasn’t so then.

        Weizmann himself has denied that the Balfour declaration had anything to do with his contributions he had made as a physicist to the British, nor were its obligations to British bondholders or as a payment for Jewish war volunteers.

        The declaration had, in fact, been worked over for months by Zionists in both the US and Britain, and its very real consequences were clear to the British. What was important, apparently, was to get rid of the British prime minister, Herbert Asquith, who was not friendly to the Zionists and get him replaced with someone who was, David Lloyd George who I mentioned had been their lawyer since 1903. Coincidence, no? Probably not.

        A number of leading British Jews did oppose Balfour, concerned that it would raise issues of dual loyalty but they, apparently, did not have the ear of the US president.

        Once the US decided to go to war, the journalist Walter Lippman and the father of modern PR, Edward Bernays, the nephew of Freud, got together to sell the war to the American people and another lanzman, George M Cohan penned the song, “Over There!” which put the public in the right move to participate in one of the greatest slaughters of young manhood in recorded history.

        If the British had accepted a German peace offering two years earlier much of that slaughter would have been avoided. There would have been no Balfour declaration, no Versailles Conference, no unjust punishing of Germany, no Hitler, no holocaust, and no Israel. So it goes.

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 11:14 pm

        Cohan was Irish, not Jewish.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 1:10 am

        You are right, Potsherd. For some reason I had assumed for years that he was Jewish, even when I was singing the song as a child (long after WW 1). He did marry a Jewish woman, Esther Levey, in 1899, but I doubt that had much to do with his song writing decisions. Actually, there were quite a number of Irish and Irish-Americans who were not about to support the Brits who ran a colonial occupation over them which lasted 400 years.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 1:29 am

        We are frequently told that Jewish financial power is a myth and it is nothing more than the perception of that power that has been used by the Zionists to advance their political ends, and we hear the same about Jewish political power. The idea that either one is a myth is, in fact, the myth, but has been suggested so many times that those who have no way of knowing the truth are convinced.

        There was a time when a scion of the Rothschild family controlled the banking of all the major countries of Europe and and bankrolled the imperialism of their day, so it was no accident that, as you mention, Lord Balfour addressed his letter to the ranking Lord Rothschild in London whose philanthropy was instrumental in building the Zionist settler colony. And we can be assured that the British government did not deal in myths but knew quite well who had money and who didn’t.

        In the US, while Jews regularly make up 25% of the Fortune 500, they are more inclined to donate to politicians as well as social causes than are their wealthy non-Jewish counterparts. In fact, Bill Gates, in his early years, did not consider donating to grubby politicians but after the government, pushed by Congress, went after him a couple of times he learned how the game is played.

      • Richard Witty
        February 21, 2011, 6:35 am

        Zionists were appealing to the Turkish as well, and also to the Germans for similar commitments to a homeland in Palestine, definitely playing one side against another to extract promises.

        As did Arab leaders for similar ends (though they were largely oblivious to the Sykes-Picot dealings as was everyone, and oblivious to the machinations of Zionists.)

        You express such speculative revisionism.

        The reality of Jewish suffering was REALITY. That some Brits felt sympathy for their suffering and actively engaged to endeavor to change their conditions is a GOOD thing.

        If …..

        Sure, if….

      • yonira
        February 22, 2011, 2:51 am

        So basically the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust JB? There are some sick puppies on this site.

        Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust.

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 3:52 am

        The reality of Palestinian suffering is REALITY. So are the pogroms that your friends and family are committing on the West Bank. I hope your son’s still in France, and that he stays there.

  26. MHughes976
    February 20, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I very much hope that Virginia will comment on the comments here. I can’t see my way round the contradiction, often discussed, between saying that it is in the true interests of the United States to promote Israel as supreme regional power and that Israel needs an immense effort of influence and lobbying to keep the United States on side in spite of its true interests.
    Or between saying that the Fox News cohorts are deluded/irrational and that the policy they support is in the best interests of the United States, which would surely make them rational: more rational, even, than those US citizens who desire to see this policy changed. Both these points can’t be true, surely?

    • annie
      February 20, 2011, 4:13 pm

      MHughes, i think Virginia Tilley could be in south africa. i recall the last time she wrote an article she came back later and responded to many of the comments. i just think her time zone is different than ours.

      • MHughes976
        February 20, 2011, 4:48 pm

        Thanks for information! – Martin

    • CK MacLeod
      February 20, 2011, 4:46 pm

      MHughes, it’s not so much a “contradiction” (in the sense of a paradox) as a disagreement between two or more schools of thought on how to secure U.S. interests and on what those interests really are. Even if you take a mostly cynical, geopolitical or realist view, there is an argument for maintaining the Israeli alliance, and, even if there was an argument for de-emphasizing it or preparing to withdraw from it, there would still be a raft of serious concerns about how exactly to go about extricating ourselves from it. And then there’s the traditional presidential/hegemonic prerogative to wait for the most opportune moment, force the adversary to act precipitously…

      • MHughes976
        February 21, 2011, 12:14 pm

        Well, one could anxiously debate which proposition was true and what true national interests are. That would be a problem rather than a contradiction. But it still seems to me that Virginia asserts both, which amounts to a contradiction or paradox. She makes the US a ruthless hegemon whose interests require the existence of Israel and a manipulated polity forced to act against its interests by Israeli influence. Both these can’t be true.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 21, 2011, 12:29 pm

        They can surely both be true if one accepts that multiple relatively autonomous groups combine and re-combine to make policy in the U.S. – that the U.S. is run by a system that is in turn shaped by evolving interests under objective influence, not by a single, uniform will. Even countries run by dictators or narrow cliques undergo divisions of opinion. Even a single soul can sustain contradictions.

        The psychoanalytical concept of over-determination applies quite well to national political decisions. Why we think we do something and the real reasons we do something may be very different, or they may merely be coordinated, as I’m sure you’re well aware. We tell ourselves one thing, we know something else, both are true enough, and both lead to the same destination anyway. That’s also why, somewhat paradoxically, geopolitical explanations that look to enduring and objective factors have such great appeal.

      • Philip Weiss
        February 21, 2011, 12:58 pm

        the opposite of You’re being reductive is,
        You’re mystifying

      • MHughes976
        February 22, 2011, 4:56 pm

        I must say that I find CK mystifying at this point.
        Virginia could say a) that supporting Israel is unconditionally in US interests and that the lobby, reminding the US of its own genuine interests, merely overdetermines what is determined already. But in that case it follows that b) the lobby is a truth-telling organisation and there is something right, assuming that national interests are important, about the opinion of the Fox News crowd. In fact Virginia seems to assert a) and deny b), which is contradictory.
        Should we say that US interests change from time to time – though Virginia seems not to say this at all – and that there are periods of genuinely identical interest and periods of conflicting interests and that the US is lobbied into harming itself in those periods only? I’d say that this is a fundamentally contradictory position: there can’t be periods of truly identical interest with someone whose interests will, if it comes to the point, always dominate yours.
        We could say that the rulers, rather than the interests, of the United States change from time to time and that some of them judge that there is no difference between US and Israeli interests, while some of them really judge it in the best interests of the US to rein Israel in, but still cannot do so because of lobby lies. This may be true but doesn’t tell us which judgement is right. They still can’t both be. And it still seems to me, with all respect to her, that Virginia asserts both. I’d like to hear more from her if she could stand all this logic-chopping.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 4:52 pm

      Cold war mentality, setting in as soon as Germany surrendered, was a consideration, but not as much as some argue, and it’s not like Truman’s State Dept hadn’t factored that in when they stood as one against recognizing Israel, and it’s certainly been no consideration at all since the USSR fell–yet the same policy remains intact; indeed it has flowered–much against the USA’s best interests, under the smoke clouds fanned by the new communism, that is, Islamophobia–the war on “terror.”

    • dbroncos
      February 20, 2011, 10:36 pm

      Israel doesn’t promote Americas security interests in the ME. Didn’t we learn this in the Gulf War? Israeli troops were not among our allies in that war, we didn’t stage our troops from Israeli territory, Arab states financed the war and we paid Israel $10 billion to not get involved. When a serious threat to our most important security interest in the ME (oil) emerged it wasn’t the ‘cop on the beat’ that helped us out. Israel was a liability not an asset.

      • fuster
        February 20, 2011, 11:27 pm

        You seem to be unaware of why it was that Israel didn’t attack Iraq during the Gulf War and you should find out why that was, dbroncos.
        Failing to mention the reason makes your comment a bit silly.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

        They were busy turning their guns on Palestinian civilians, for starters.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 2:01 pm

        But they hardly ever seem to kill a lot of them, Chaos. Arab heads of state such as Saddam Hussein or Hafez Assad, or these days, Gaddafi, turn the gas and the guns and the cannon out with much more vigor and kill so many more.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 2:20 pm

        Israel wanted to bomb Iraq after the first Scuds arrived but the Bush administration refused to give Sharon the coordinates over Iraq that would be necessary for the Israeli pilots who were actually sitting in their planes to take off any carry out their mission.

        The Bush Sr. administration was the last one not cowed by Israel but it did end up being forced by the Israeli Occupied Congress (IOC) to pay an additional $650 million to Israel for staying out of the war, a fact never mentioned by [fill in the blanks].

      • Philip Weiss
        February 21, 2011, 3:16 pm

        guess you went to the wrong dern neighborhood then to colonize?

      • Taxi
        February 21, 2011, 3:34 pm

        Jeffrey,

        You forgot to mention israel’s other condition to change the status definition of zionism at the united nations from ‘racist’ ideology to ‘jewish’ ideology.

        Bush guaranteed this change of definition and so it was changed.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 4:09 pm

        My neighborhood is kind of nice. Lots of people from the Caribbean and Pakistan coming to colonize of late.
        Most tidy and house-proud they seem. Lots less trash in the street even if the Sanitation Department isn’t improving.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 4:38 pm

        Ah so, the Nakba denial begins in earnest, again.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 4:45 pm

        Jeffrey, quite a high pile you’re pitching.
        Scuds arrived, but never mentioned where by [fill in the blankfort]

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 8:30 pm

        Bush supported the overturning of the UN resolution (Dec. 91) equating Zionism wth Racism (frankly, a toothless resolution) after he had been shocked by the vicious attacks on him from within the Jewish community and within the Republican Party for having targeted the lobby at his Sept. 12 press conference.

    • Virginia Tilley
      February 22, 2011, 7:08 pm

      Hi M Hughes – Hope I’ve answered this in my response to Jeremy, above. Saying it’s been the policy isn’t the same as saying it should be! I don’t think at all that it’s in the “true interests” of the US to support Israel the way it does: I think my piece says pretty clearly that it’s the opposite. But to be realistic, we should possibly not be surprised that a global hegemon would work through regional allies. VT

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 9:58 pm

        Virginia, I think you are referring to me when you respond to “Jeremy” because no one by that name has posted on this thread. Quite apart from that while it is not surprising that a “global hegemon would work through regional allies,” and Turkey and Egypt are examples of that, I am curious as to what service for the US Israel supplies in the region? Aside for a single moment in the midst of the Cold War when in 1958, has Lebanon ever been considered a major US foreign policy concern, or is it only that now because Washington has been pressured into making Israel’s enemies our own that American are fed Israeli propaganda about Hezbollah and never told that for several years it has been in alliance with the largest Maronite Christian party in Lebanon?

        What is curious is that since the end of the Cold War, Israelis across the political spectrum (and I have the quotes from the Israeli press) have acknowledged that Israel is no longer a strategic asset for the US and that ways have to be found, say the Likudniks, to keep the illusion alive, such as putting more pressure on the US Congress. We can certainly say, not only in looking at Washington and the US media, but on what is left of the Left and on this website that they have effectively pulled it off.

  27. CK MacLeod
    February 20, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Come to think of it, the title of the piece may be contributing to misreadings: In my opinion, it should probably be “will not,” not “cannot do something” – and could possibly be further qualified with something like a “for now.” The U.S., via the president, “could” in theory try any of a range of different “somethings.” Upon closer examination, given the current correlation of political forces, dramatic statements and acts may generally look highly counterproductive to Obama – destructive of whatever’s left of his agenda, more helpful to his political adversaries, and not just in relation to Israel. So, in all likelihood, he’s not going to to turn his presidency into a martyrdom operation.

    However, I think it’s certainly believable that at some point, after careful preparation and at the right moment, the O Team might engineer a Nixon Goes to China moment coincident with, but perhaps not primarily focused on, a significant distancing from Israeli or at least Likudnik policy.

    • Philip Weiss
      February 20, 2011, 4:09 pm

      what you smokin ckm?
      did you see security council vote. he couldhave abstained even

      • CK MacLeod
        February 20, 2011, 4:39 pm

        As I said on the veto thread, PW, even if, contrary to consistent and repeated prior public statements, the U.S. had been prepared to abstain (in effect voting in favor), the current world-political conjuncture would have made such a turnabout even less likely. But even if thing were calm in that region, O and any president has to think several moves ahead – not just about the intrinsic justice of the gesture, but about dealing with its aftermath and following through.

        A more realistic peace movement or far left strategy might be aimed at creating greater space for O, or anyone else, to maneuver, or to seize opportunities as they may present themselves. Say, for instance, instead of lambasting Rice for her demeanor or whatever it was that bothered people, or O for being lily-livered, why not take the admin’s strongly worded statement and amplify it? Decry the veto, but start framing the whole situation for the public in terms of the costs to the U.S. of Israel policy and the inevitability of a divergence if Israel doesn’t change soon, even despite the best efforts of loyal and well-meaning totally patriotic O and Hillary to hold the alliance together etc., etc.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 7:45 pm

        This is a case of “who will bell the cat.” It is all well and good to “start framing the whole situation for the public in terms of the costs to the U.S. of Israel policy and the inevitability of a divergence if Israel doesn’t change soon” but exactly how do we reach the public when the main means of communicating with them are essentially controlled by the other side and “our side’s” main public voice, Amy G’s”Democracy Now!” has succumbed to the disingenuous analysis and wishes of (“I don’t write about it. “I don’t talk about it”) Noam Chomsky and does not allow any criticism, much less open discussion of the Israel Lobby on her program. Maybe people can start there and demand an end to DN!’s censorship of the subject.

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 8:14 pm

        “our side’s” main public voice, Amy G’s”Democracy Now!”

        Chris Hedges is the same way — I heard him speak in Seattle about his book:

        “Death of the Liberal Class,” about the takeover of U.S. liberal organizations and institutions by the corporate state…”

        However, he never once spoke of the Zionists who often collude with the corporate world in campaign $$$ and have taken over many of our liberal organizations, government institutions, think tanks, and universities driving their own agenda above liberal and progressive interests.

        Very disappointing.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 20, 2011, 8:19 pm

        “exactly how do we reach the public” is a larger question that probably exceeds the bounds of this thread and almost certainly exceeds “Democracy Now!,” since I doubt that any appreciable segment of the public is or ever was aware of the existence of DN! I think that any substantial change in U.S. policy will probably be driven by external and objective factors, may seem one or two steps behind events up to the very moment an administration feels the ground has been prepared, and will almost certainly fail to satisfy the dreams and wishes of most MW commenters.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 20, 2011, 10:03 pm

        just finished listening to a 65 minute lecture about the Balfour Declaration by Jonathan Schneer.

        Schneer emphasized that “Haim Weizman bluffed the British,” by “playing the antisemitic card in a very clever way: he convinced the British that they were correct to believe what we all know is untrue,” that Jews had a very powerful “subterranean” international finance network. “Of course, we all know this is untrue,” repeated Schneer.

        What Schneer did NOT say in the 65 minute course of his discussion of the Balfour Declaration, is that the Balfour document was addressed to “Lord Rothschild,” Walter, eldest son of Nathan Rothschild and head of the London branch of the Rothschild family’s five-branch European banking empire.

        In his two-volume biography of the Rothschilds based upon his study of the Rothschilds’ private papers, Niall Ferguson writes that in the period in question, the Rothschilds had more power than any monarch or government leader in the world. Whether or not a nation went to war rested on the willingness of the Rothschilds to finance the enterprise. If a war was waged, as the first world war was, it had to be because the Rothschilds endorsed –and underwrote–the project.

        A few years prior to the Balfour Declaration, Jewish financiers Schiff and Warburg, two of zionism’s major supporters (in addition to the Rothschilds) had participated in the activities that led to the creation of the Federal reserve system and fractional banking, in the United States.

        Other Jewish financiers, namely, Samuel Untermyer and the Guggenheims, were enormously influential in creating the US income tax system, and Untermyer argued on both sides of regulating/not regulating security transactions in the US stock exchange.

        Jewish bankers dominated Berlin in the era of the Balfour declaration, where they exercised a far more than trivial impact on the German economy, at a time when Germany was contending with England for ‘superpower’ status — much to England’s dismay.

        So what purpose does Schneer think he is serving when he passes along such obviously incomplete information to an audience who is led to rely upon his credibility as an authority and a profession educator and historian?

      • Potsherd2
        February 22, 2011, 8:25 pm

        How? With money. A LOT of money.

    • MHughes976
      February 20, 2011, 5:00 pm

      Obama’s eventual memoirs and the excuses they contain will be interesting. I think Virginia’s point is that there will never, could never, be a right moment from the United States (or the United States under lobby control; that’s where I find her at least ambiguous) point of view to depart by even an inch from a policy that gladdens Likudnik hearts.
      I agree though that ‘will not’ would have been better. What she describes with such eloquence and disgust is the inflexible disposition of what she sees as a triumphant will.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 20, 2011, 7:30 pm

        I noticed that someone changed “cannot” to “will not.” As for the rest, that’s already happened, MHughes – departures from pure Likudnik-friendly policy – and under both Republican and Democratic administrations. A strong partisan of the Israeli right can produce a whole list of items on which the U.S. supposedly has sold Israel out. Just go through the Caroline Glick archives if you have the stomach for it (though my theory is that Glick is actually one of the strongest anti-Zionist writers ot all, since the bottom line of almost every column she writes is the hopelessness of Israel’s position).

        If Israel gets us involved in another war or if oil goes through the roof or if something else happens to turn American public opinion… Well, there used to be a very strong and popular China Lobby, too.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 10:02 pm

        CK, Carolyn Glick sees US betrayal where it is non-existent. She is one of those American Jews whose racism against blacks was welcome in Israel and that tinges her venomous screeds even more so since Obama became president. To describe her as anti-Zionist, even in jest, is to miss the point: she represents a substantial part of Israeli and somewhat less (I hope) of American Jewish thinking.

        The Israel Lobby and the China Lobby are not in the same league. The latter never had an organized constituency in every American city, did not control or sell its bonds to the labor unions and half the states in the country. It did not even begin to own Congress. Yet it was far more important when viewed in the arena of US global interests than Israel ever was (and, if the truth be admitted, it never was).

        Would anyone, even the most extreme Zionist, let’s say Carolyn Glick or closer to home, Richard Witty (LOL) hophmi or eee, argue that Israel is anywhere as near as important to the US as China is today? Or important at all? And yet, one hears almost nothing but abuse of China in the halls of Congress and thinly veiled threats against it from the Executive Office. This to a country that holds a trillion dollars of our debt and which could crush our economy overnight should it decided to do so. Something to think about, is it not?

      • CK MacLeod
        February 21, 2011, 12:10 pm

        I wouldn’t underrate the China Lobby too much, Mr. Blankfort, especially when you consider its role, or the role of its direct successors, in getting the U.S. involved in its two biggest and bloodiest military operations since WW2. Media and politics had a much different infrastructure in those days. The fact remains that political realities that seem impervious to change can evaporate once their time is up.

        I see that others have addressed the role of Israel in U.S. strategic calculations. I’ll just say again that until you’ve defined U.S. strategy, you can’t accurately assess Israel’s importance. Those who see the maintenance of the current world system under U.S. leadership – or, if you prefer, hegemony – as a good and necessary thing are likely going to reach different conclusions than those who see the fastest possible escape from that system, for the world and for the U.S. itself, as a primary objective. Within each group, there will be further differences.

        Under the theory implicit in the top post, U.S. elites will respond conservatively regarding an arrangement that seems to guarantee their power, prestige, and privilege. The public may be even more reactionary. Even if we conclude that Israel no longer serves the purposes it once did, or even if we conclude that it never served the purposes it was supposed to, we may still be rationally reluctant to take risks, exchange current burdens for unknown uncertainties – possibly much worse problems than having to endure some bad PR from time to time.

        William F Buckley used to suggest that we just make Israel the 51st state, and, though he was joking, he wasn’t overrating the commitment to our fellow democratic capitalist outpost in a cruel and dangerous world etc., etc., by very far. From this perspective, asking what strategic purpose Israel serves is almost like asking what strategic purpose Vermont or North Dakota or you or I serve. It becomes a strategic end in itself.

        Over time, however, if Israel continues to mismanage its relations to the Palestinians, its other neighbors, and the rest of the world, and continues to raise the costs of alliance, and continues to slide into illiberalism, then it will undermine the sense of “family.” The potential – still only a potential – of a more democratic Middle East also may undermine Israel’s position. If and as 9/11 and the War on Terror recede further into the past, especially if some kind of accommodation with Iran becomes possible, if a new regional balance can be set up as we extricate ourselves from Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing the U.S. to revert to a more easily sustainable “offshore balancer” role, then we will more or less naturally reconfigure our relationship with Israel. However, I think that Israel’s symbolic and historic weight is such that it will remain a lot more difficult merely to turn our backs on the whole situation, even if from some abstract, narrowly “realistic” calculation, it seems like it ought to be in our interests.

    • fuster
      February 20, 2011, 5:50 pm

      CK, some people understand political leverage and some are looking for a moral statement.
      some people think that the PA pushed this measure because they wanted some kind of moral blessing from the UN (as if they haven’t had any), others think that the PA needed this as a means toward gaining some political space.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 20, 2011, 6:24 pm

        I agree, frog, that the PA had its own reasons to push, and to turn down the U.S. offer to support a non-binding resolution with the same content. But I think that American and Palestinian interests may actually have converged on doing the empty gesture this way. The PA gets to play independent from America. The Admin goes on record as Israel’s last-resort defender, pacifying the Lobby, but with a strong statement against Israeli policy, setting up potential freedom to maneuver if the situation erodes further as a result of Israeli intransigence.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 9:10 pm

        No Palestinian will believe that the PA has any independence from America, as long as it has the same leadership and remains on the US dole. The PA has had no legitimacy among the Palestinian people and even less after the publication of the 17,000 documents that were taken from Saeb Erekat’s office which exposed to the Palestinians the depth of collabaration with the Israeli occupiers on the part of Abbas and Fayyad. Erekat has now resigned and the other two only remain in their positions because they are protected by a group of armed thugs from Fatah who have been trained by the US and Jordan. Abbas’s term expired in January 2009, but only the Palestinians seem to care about that and not very much at this point.

        Most recently, the PA tried to suppress rallies in support of the Egyptian uprising after Abbas had joined his colleague Netanyahu in sending a message of support to their good friend Mubarak. He also had tried, you will all recall, to suppress the Goldstone Report. (Did I ever mention he was the main negotiator and signatory to the Oslo agreement.) He is, by any definition, a traitor to his people and is, very likely, on the Israeli payroll. If they were giving Arafat $8 million a month, not for the PA, but for his private account immediately after Oslo and for at least five years, would not Abbas qualify as well for Israel’s payroll?

        Had Abbas agreed with Obama and withdrawn the resolution it is doubtful that even the PA militia could have saved him. Had the US not vetoed the legislation we might have seen Obama choose to “spend more time with his family” and not seek a second term thereby enabling Hillary to become the first woman president.
        She may become that anyway.

      • Richard Witty
        February 20, 2011, 11:11 pm

        And, with no legitimacy there at least may be the prospect of Palestinian sovereignty somewhere on the planet.

        Under “civil uprising” or other militancy, there is far far less prospect.

        You want nothing but loudly.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 4:40 pm

        Witty, take your goddamn fingers out of your ears (or eyes as the case may be) and LISTEN (/READ).

        Seriously, nobody does more to demonstrate that the two-state solution is impossible but your intransigence.

  28. David Green
    February 20, 2011, 4:17 pm

    “It too can be hijacked by unprincipled populists to serve graft, inefficiency, corruption and greed, and this is what has happened in the US. For decades, the Christian right wing has infiltrated the US school system through its effective veto over school textbooks. Among other debilitating effects, this suffocating influence by religious bigots has furthered rampant popular ignorance both about domestic affairs and the rest of the world.”

    Like an analysis that makes the Lobby into a powerful and alien body, this sort of analysis makes “right-wing populism” into a powerful and alien body in the United States. Our country is governed by wealthy and powerful elites who don’t care one way or the other about religion, and not as much as advertised about Israel in any dogmatic sense. Both Christian and Jewish Zionism serve geopolitical ends.

    • Citizen
      February 20, 2011, 5:01 pm

      What’s the Christian Right’s equivalent of so many of our congressional folks genuflecting to AIPAC annually, and so many going on junkets to Israel? How many Christian Right folks are in so many highly strategic appointment places in our federal government? And how many hold the power seat on our strategic congressional committees? How many Christian Right folks hold key positions and opinion slots in our MSM? How proportionate are these, if any, to their numbers in the general population? Case closed.

  29. Jeffrey Blankfort
    February 20, 2011, 4:39 pm

    Ah, David Green, as might be expected, rushes to the rescue of the Zionists, but now it is both Jewish and Christian, no sectarian be he.

    Pray, David, tell us exactly what geopolitical end required the US to stand alone in the UN Security Council yesterday and veto that resolution..

    • David Green
      February 20, 2011, 6:22 pm

      Jeffrey, as you well know I know, Zionists bear the share of responsibility for our alliance with Israel and its strategic centrality to Middle East policy. The geopolitical end that required the UN veto was the same that requires support for the Saudi monarchy, or that in Bahrain. U.S. elites can’t tolerate genuine self-determination in the region, including Israel, if it should come to pass that a majority of Israelis decide to get on with their lives.

      At least when it comes to Zionism, there are elite groups, including those who call themselves Christian or Jewish, who materially benefit from the relationship. When it comes to the liberal bogeyman of “right-wing populism,” there are just a lot of disgruntled and relatively powerless people, some of whom would be inclined, like you, to blame the Lobby, because they retain their patriotic naivete about those who run our country–it must be the Jews that make them do it. Among the Tea Party rank–and-file, you probably don’t hear much about Israel, except to (rightfully) complain about taxes that support it.

      Jeffrey, maybe you should attend a Tea Party meeting and see if you can’t come up with some recruits for the Lobby thesis. You might be pleasantly surprised, in a bizarre sort of way.

      Bottom line, if you are genuinely opposed to American foreign policy, then you have to genuinely question the nature of American “interests” in the ME.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 20, 2011, 8:48 pm

        David, it is not hard to make the geopolitical argument that defense of the Saudi regime is essential to maintain the flow if its oils and the profits of the oil majors and while there are many who are disgusted with the Saudi regime there are far fewer, even among its harshest critics, who would say that the world should boycott Saudi oil.

        Bahrain, as we know, plays a key role in the US regional strategy, serving as the home to the 5th fleet and its position across from Iran
        makes it a key location for an American base which the current uprising may or may not put in jeopardy.

        But Israel? You have yet to answer the question as to what strategic, geopolitical role it plays for the US and, at this moment, to the degree that Washington was obliged to embarrass itself before the entire world and particularly the entire Middle East by its veto.

        I agree with you that there are groups that not only call themselves Jewish and Christian but actually are Jewish and Christian and who profit both in terms of money and political power from their support for Israel but they don’t operate in a vacuum. The Jewish groups and individuals are the major funders of the Democratic Party and have been for years and those Democratic presidents and candidates who have gotten on their bad side, such as Jimmy Carter and George McGovern paid for it both in the funding department and later at the polls. While the Christian Zionists are not in the same league as their Jewish counterparts when it comes to campaign contributions, they do vote and vote heavily in Republican districts which more than makes up for it.

        That’s not to say the Jewish donors ignore the Republicans. No sirree! They are equal opportunity contributors and every politician from either party that happens to sit on a committee that has anything to do with Israel and is willing to sell themselves, they are more than happy to gobble them up and there is a long documented track record to prove it.

        As for those who agree with me that the Israel Lobby is, when it comes to US Middle East policy, one of the major problems and concerning Israel/Palestine without a doubt the major problem, I do not need to attend a Tea Party meeting. I think you will find that most of the posters to Mondoweiss are in agreement with me and that only a handful including the Zionist trolls and the ego encapsulated VJ/Vared would agree with you. Nice company, David, and you are welcome to it.

        As for your concluding sentence, of course I question US imperial interests in the Middle East and everywhere else and I oppose them. Unlike you, however, I am able to honestly recognize why those particular interests exist.

        You might think about your posts a little more carefully before you press the Submit button. They tend to give you away.

      • andrew r
        February 21, 2011, 2:23 am

        “But Israel? You have yet to answer the question as to what strategic, geopolitical role it plays for the US and, at this moment, to the degree that Washington was obliged to embarrass itself before the entire world and particularly the entire Middle East by its veto.”

        You probably know that Israel was part of the anti-Soviet bloc during the Cold War. Washington viewed it much as Saudi Arabia and Iran. And it showed some merit in the six-day war. Of course it outlived its usefulness in this respect.

        However, Israel is an alien entity in the region. Supporting it makes most of the regular people mad. What they think doesn’t matter to the beneficiaries of the MIC. So if there’s a reason to support that entity, it’s going to happen. I find it interesting that the US can embarrass itself by standing alone at the UN; how about allowing American subsidiaries to flourish in Hitler’s Germany or bombing Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo. When did the power in this country care about the regular people outside?

        What’s really over-the-top is the lobby thesis to explain the occupation of Iraq. It should be clear to everyone that the USA does military occupation and has since 1776. It doesn’t need a foreign lobby to push it into one.

        So yeah, I’m with the posters who say there are other factors in our foreign policy, even if it seems like a major pratfall compared to acts of imperialism that make sense. No one is saying the lobby does nothing. It’s involved alright. It’s just one component. And to portray that notion as crypto-Zionism is just a witch-hunt.

        Then there’s the indirect role of Israel in the profitability of the oil majors. As Nitzan and Bichler found, the 1973-74 oil embargo imposed an artificial scarcity that brought up the rate-of-return for the oil majors over the Fortune 500 average.

        Another use for Israel is a middle-man for weapons transfer. It was used in Iran-Contra and other Latin America states to bypass domestic restrictions.

        Most of all, it’s no big secret that the military aid goes right into US firms. Even though 25% of it goes into Israel, there’s the fact of cooperation between Israeli and American firms (Like General Dynamics and Rafael) or even ownership between the two countries. Elbit is one of Israel’s defense R&D majors and has a whole subsidiary in the US. The MIC can’t easily dump Israel.

      • David Green
        February 21, 2011, 10:13 am

        So, you resort to guilt by alleged association. Jeffrey, it’s been gone over ad nauseum on this website and elsewhere, by Max Ajl, Gabriel Ash, and others just exactly what the material interests are in the U.S. alliance with Israel. Also, you don’t score points by being condescending. Jeffrey, you’re arguments are not wrong just because it’s you making them, but you sure don’t inspire confidence.

      • MHughes976
        February 21, 2011, 12:18 pm

        ‘Ad nauseAm’ from nausea.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 1:54 pm

        What troubles me is that those like you, David, and like Max, Andrew here, Gabriel, Zunes, and, of course, Chomsky, is the almost passionate manner in which you rush to attack anyone who points attention to the oversized influence of the Jewish establishment in the formulation of US Middle East policy and who provides unimpeachable evidence of that influence.

        Anxious to divert our attention by pointing to the links of the Israel arms industry with the Military-Industrial Complex, they fail to note that forging those ties has been one of the The Lobby’s (see JINSA) great accomplishments. They are dwarfed, however, when compared not only to the MIC’s overall profits but also by its sales to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

        Readers will notice that the Lobby’s apologists never refer to its control over Congress or the amounts of money it expends in maintaining it, or why Obama felt pressured to embarrass himself and the US before the world by vetoing the UN Resolution. That he did not do so willingly was obvious from the text of Ambassador Susan Rice’s explanatory statement but the damage to the US image was done.

        This is not simply an academic argument. The failure of the Palestine solidarity movement to challenge liberal Democratic members of Congress “who are good on every other issue” but support Israel to the bloody hilt, is attributable to the movement having swallowed the “Israel is a strategic asset” line that has been peddled by Chomsky for the past three decades and spread throughout the movement ever since. Obviously, if Israel is supported because Washington considers it an asset, why bother with harassing members of Congress who support it?

        I’ll close with the opinion of Uri Avnery, written for his Gush Shalom site on 2/19:

        “The vote in the U.N. shows the entire world unanimous in regarding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as manifestly illegal and a major obstacle to any chance of peace. It is clear to the entire world that there is no point to negotiations while the State of Israel is daily creating accomplished facts in the territory which is the subject of negotiations.

        “President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, too, are well aware of this. They gave unconvincing excuses for their act of imposing a veto on a highly justified and needed resolution, which all other countries supported. These excuses cannot hide the one and only reason for this illogical vote: the intervention of the government of Israel in American politics, using the power of the so-called “Israel Lobby” in the U.S. Congress.”

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 2:05 pm

        Andrew, this is a pretty silly post and, frankly, not worth the time answering. I have made my arguments on Mondoweiss and elsewhere and if you or anyone else want to sink your teeth into them here are a few links:
        link to ifamericansknew.org
        link to leftcurve.org
        link to leftcurve.org

      • andrew r
        February 21, 2011, 3:47 pm

        Jeff, how do you think the lobby has control of congress? How do you think JINSA is able to forge ties with the MIC?

        Right now we’re seeing a good indication of Israel’s worth — As insurance against native unrest. Imagine if US arms development had a stake in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, et. al. For obvious reasons, Israeli defense workers are not going to strike and otherwise do plebeian things that would disrupt business, like, say, converging in large numbers at the city square or attacking a police station. That’s why targeting systems and armored vechicles are jointly developed with Israel while the Arab states are merely the customers.

        We’re not saying, no, don’t look at the lobby, just the MIC. We just don’t the buy the proposition that the lobby is bribing our govt. to shoot itself in the foot. Someone is gaining from the special relationship aside from the tribalistic Jews and their creature comfort.

        By the way, Uri Avnery is openly Zionist in that he still wants a Jewish state in the 1949 armistice line. This has nothing to do with his arguments, just something you should keep in mind as you recruit Green and others into the enemy camp.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 9:02 pm

        Andrew, if you think that Israel is about to intervene on Washington’s behalf because of what you refer as “insurance against native unrest,” you obviously know next to nothing about the history of the US-Israel relationship. Israel has never lifted a finger on the US behalf although Chomsky and others like to say it was instrumental in blocking Syria from coming to the assistance of the PLO in Jordan in 1970, allegedly convincing then Syrian president Atassi to pull back some tanks that had crossed the Jordanian border, ignoring the less well known fact that such assistance was opposed by the head of the Syrian air force, fellow by the name of Hafez al-Assad, who not only disliked the PLO, he also did not support the Palestinian struggle.

        A few months after Black September, al-Assad staged a coup against Atassi and proceeded to throw hundreds of pro-Palestinian Syrians in prison and to dismantle al-Saika, a Palestinian group that had been supported by Syria’s Baath Party.

        If you knew anything about Israeli society you would know that strikes have been very frequent and its arms (NOT defense) workers have been no exception. This, like the rest of your arguments, appears to be desperate attempt to protect the Lobby and since you brought it up, I see your tribalism showing.

        The reason the Lobby shapes our Middle East policies is because it owns the Democratic Party in all but name and gives enough to key Republicans to keep them on board. That its policies don’t generally conflict with the MIC although they have in the past, re the AWACs fight in 1981 which the Reagan administration barely won, does not mean that they are the ones dictating policy. I can produce evidence for my case but as of yet none of you guys have produced anything as solid for yours.

        I am well aware that Avnery is a Zionist and I have written a couple of articles critical of his positions, such as opposing BDS against Israel, one that he shares with Chomsky. But unlike the latter, Avnery was one of the first to point the finger at the Lobby and he is not alone among Israel’s critics. Others who have expressed the same opinions are Akiva Eldar, Gideon Levey, Ilan Pappe, the late Tanya Reinhart, among them. That’s pretty good company. Here’s Eldar today:

        “The decision by 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barack Obama, to veto a resolution urging Israel to refrain from activities deemed subversive to peace efforts represents a victory of domestic politics over foreign policy in the world’s leading superpower. The lame excuse that denunciation of construction in the settlements would harm “the peace process” constitutes a victory of opportunism over morality.”

      • David Green
        February 21, 2011, 11:20 pm

        “Obviously, if Israel is supported because Washington considers it an asset, why bother with harassing members of Congress who support it?”

        Obviously, Jeffrey, this is a perfect time in history to let our representatives know–demand that they understand because we understand–that supporting “strategic assets” in order to pursue policies that are in the economic interests of narrow elites and to the detriment of everyone else–both here and abroad–is no longer feasible. Given that there’s a democratic movement in Egypt and elsewhere that puts us to shame, and that in fact it was Mubarak crying “conspiracy” about the Zionists, we might learn from their example and not divert ourselves by blaming the Jews for our own failure, as a people, to run our own country in the genuine public interest. There are plenty of powerful forces standing in the way of that, including rich and powerful Jews, who are rich and powerful primarily on the basis of being white, male, capitalist Americans. But it’s not going to strengthen our democratic hand by acting as if everything would just be hunky dory if it weren’t for Jewish influence. It isn’t Jewish influence, for example, that has persecuted Haiti since 1804. Which Lobby is responsible for that?

        Jeffrey, you seem to think that our plutocratic, cynical elected representatives are going to act in the public interest if we just get the Israel Lobby off their backs. Given our grievances on all fronts, that’s just a ridiculous and counterproductive thing to emphasize. We will need to tell the truth in all of its gory details, and we will need lots of phsically-present bodies to make all the various points, and relate them in a coherent way that people will understand (because at some level, a lot already do).

        Your emphasis on the Lobby undermines any semblance of that. It’s not analysis, it’s exaggeration and distortion born of decontextualization and ahistoricism.

        I’m afraid we’re just going to have to go ahead and have the revolution without you.

      • Max Ajl
        February 21, 2011, 11:28 pm

        Jeff, you are customarily illogical, and inconsistent. In this comment, you write of the “oversized influence of the Jewish establishment in the formulation of US Middle East policy.” In the one below, it’s “the Lobby shapes our Middle East policies is because it owns the Democratic Party in all but name and gives enough to key Republicans to keep them on board.” So which is it? There are two different analyses. The first is closer to the truth, although it is still bizarre (what would be an appropriately sized influence? Do you think any influence is appropriate?)

        We oppose the lobby. But we analyze it using materialist tools (hint: the US and Israeli privatized MICs are difficult to analytically separate from one another due to the degree of cross-ownership, except for the fact that the main production lines are kept in the US–wonder why that is? The all-powerful Lobby can’t manage to rip those production lines over to Israel? Odd. Note that between 2000 and 2008 there was about 80 billion in foreign direct investment from the US to Israel, and 44 billion or so from the Israel to the US. Who owns what again?) Now, how that came to be so is a different question. Zionism established a white settler colonial state in Palestine to be a rampart against Asia, with support from American Jews who were “Zionists” who didn’t want to live in Israel but supported the colonization to protect their class interests, threatened by a left-wing Jewish immigration to America. You are aware of this history, I hope. That played out subsequently with people like Bronfman putting their money where their Zionism was, and getting the goods in return: massive returns on their investments. still think “ideology” is the driving force here?

        But none of this matters, in a sense. What matters is tactics and strategy. What do you propose? Seriously? How do you wish to debate these matters? You write, “Obviously, if Israel is supported because Washington considers it an asset, why bother with harassing members of Congress who support it?”

        But what does that even mean? Washington does consider it an asset, precisely because of the nature of Zionist state formation, because of what it did in ’67, the favors it did for America through the 70s and 80s in places other than the Middle East, etcetera. Now, it may not be useful as a strategic asset, it may be, who knows and who cares? The fact is that whatever the case may be, the Special Relationship has become institutionalized with many stakeholders, including people across the capitalist class. The question is how to challenge them. That’s by making the stakes of maintaining the system higher than the costs of changing it. We have plenty of allies in this regard–every person who experiences elevated gas prices because of the low-grade conflict Israel engenders in the region, meaning every American, and especially poorer Americans. Yes, those whose tax money is diverted through the conduit of Israel to the American upper-class through the MIC. Yes, the Americans who would be far better off with transition to a genuine peacetime economy instead of the constant subsidy to high-technology through the Pentagon system. That is called leftist politics: organizing those people, and making their self-interest align with their morality. It’s not so hard, Jeffrey. Join us.

        The other option isn’t pretty: breaking the Lobby sufficiently so that Mearsheimer’s “offensive realism” can be put in place alongside a two-state prison for the Palestinians. That’s what your and Phil’s “realism” dictates. You ally with power, you don’t get to choose the outcome. Power does.

      • annie
        February 21, 2011, 11:44 pm

        Washington does consider it an asset, precisely because of the nature of Zionist state formation, because of what it did in ’67, the favors it did for America through the 70s and 80s in places other than the Middle East, etcetera. Now, it may not be useful as a strategic asset, it may be, who knows and who cares?

        i care. could you parse this out for me a little? when you say Washington does consider it an asset, precisely because of the nature of Zionist state formation what do you mean? when you say Washington does consider it an asset….. because of what it did in ’67, the favors it did for America through the 70s and 80s in places other than the Middle East, etcetera what do you mean specifically and how does that apply to why israel is an asset for the US today.

        but most of all how is it that Washington does consider it an asset although it may not be useful as a strategic asset? what other kind of asset are you referencing?

        thank you.

      • Max Ajl
        February 22, 2011, 12:03 am

        Annie:
        Israel was founded as an expansionist Zionist state. The 1967 war was a result of how Israel was founded, and that war was deeply appreciated by the powerful circles in Washington. Most of the services Israel rendered to Washington and American elites were from 1967-1990, including arms-dealing to Latin America, circumventing congressional human rights restrictions, as well as to South Africa, also circumventing the sanctions regime, and arming regimes fighting independent nationalism in Africa. As a result of those services, Israel was rewarded by America. See the second half of this review for the story. That ongoing flow of aid, of which Israeli MIC took a cut, contributed to Israel having an outsize arms and high-tech industry, as entrepreneurs, Israeli and American Jewish, started setting up institutions to lobby for strengthening those ties. Those institutions are a big chunk of what we talk about when we say “the lobby.”

        Starting in the early 90s, American capital started buying up and investing in the Israeli MIC. There were also flows in the reverse direction.

        Now, the question of whether or not it is an asset — meaning, very abstractly, if the rest of the capitalist class without investments in Israel would consider it an asset without the presence of the lobby — is an open question. The American MIC is openly allied with Israel, and the energy companies do fine due to Israeli belligerence, although they do have occasional spats, which someone will trot out shortly. Mearsheimer and Walt say no, Israel is useless as a strategic asset. That’s coming out of an ongoing argument between elites about how to manage empire in the Middle East — using Israel, or using Mearsheimer’s “offensive realism” and “off-shore balancing.” That’s fine, but the argument isn’t about justice, it’s what policies in the Middle East would look like with or without the lobby.

        In any event, even if Israel is useless as an asset, the relationship is deeply embedded through links between the Israeli and American MIC. This institutionalization of that relationship is most of what the lobby is. The question is to what extent this matters. Not at all clear, because the lobby must be combated either way. It must be taken down. The question is who will do so, and how. I will not put my writing or my organizing behind Mearsheimer’s off-shore balancing, nor behind the administration of empire by technocrats. Israel makes imperialist capitalism in the Middle East happen, but it would happen without Israel, too. Saudi Arabia is not a dictatorship to protect Israel. It’s a dictatorship to keep its oil wealth flowing to American coffers.

        This leads directly to what kind of alliances we should wish to build, and with whom. The notion that damaging the lobby enough to enable the imposition of a two-state prison by American fiat, captured in a hostile Jordanian-Israel military alliance, is a severely foreshortened horizon. That’s the horizon towards which talk of realism and our national interests orient us.

      • annie
        February 22, 2011, 12:15 am

        thank you Max Ajl. appreciated.

      • Avi
        February 22, 2011, 12:52 am

        In any event, even if Israel is useless as an asset, the relationship is deeply embedded through links between the Israeli and American MIC.

        Are you implying that Israel is keeping the American military industry afloat?

        What are these “links”? Please quantify them if you want to be taken seriously. Do you have any statistical data to support the claim that Israel has what amounts to a military industrial complex in the global armed forces market? I’m not referring to small arms sales, I’m referring to exports to state-actors, as well as research and development.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 1:31 am

        David, me think that thou protesteth too much. You are simply not able to face the truth and while in some cases such refusal to do so when it comes to the Lobby may be attributable to faulty Marxist analysis, I suspect your obsession to shift attention away from the Lobby’s (not “the Jews”) responsibility is an evidence of an unhealthy tribalism.

        By protesting at the doors and on the floors of the offices of liberal Democrats who constantly take the Israel/AIPAC line would not be asking them to turn their backs on a “strategic asset” but on a country whose agents have bled the US treasury in the name of ethnically cleansing and then occupying the land of another people and they will no longer be able to get away with it.

        I don’t, BTW, blame the Israel Lobby for every crime of the US and your introduction of that issue is irrelevant to this discussion.

        I should add that in the 40 years that I have been working on this issue, the Israel Lobby has been far from my biggest problem. It has been folks like you who I wrote about a few years ago in an article entitled “The Israel Lobby and the Left:Uneasy Questions:” link to ifamericansknew.org

        Whatever your motive, David, I view you as being clearly engaged in providing damage control for the Zionists. Frankly, I don’t see you on my side of the barricades and I am sure the feeling is mutual.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 2:19 am

        Max, I’ve already argued you with you and while you’re much more intelligent than David, you are still finding ways to avoid dealing with the power of The Lobby and you, too, seem to be obsessed with providing it with damage control within the ranks of the Left.

        Do you really think your materialist arguments had anything to do with Obama’s decision to veto that resolution, more than his need to make sure that the big Jewish donors that helped him get to the White House will help him remain there? Do you know the history of Jimmy Carter’s run for re-election? Of George McGovern’s run against Nixon when, realizing he had turned off the Jewish spigot, he made a fool of himself kissing their asses at the end of the campaign when it was far too late. Obviously not because they do not fit in with your encapsulated materialistic analysis (and I say that from one who once suffered from the same malady).

        Your reading of history of Zionism is also problematic, as indicated when you write:

        “Zionism established a white settler colonial state in Palestine to be a rampart against Asia, with support from American Jews who were “Zionists” who didn’t want to live in Israel but supported the colonization to protect their class interests, threatened by a left-wing Jewish immigration to America.” Where did you come up with that nonsense? Do you really thought that the Zionists goal was to set up a European rampart in Asia or is that what you extrapolated from the famous Herzl quote when he actually was thinking about Uganda? And then, from where, exactly, was that “left-wing Jewish immigration” supposed to come? Is that why the majority of American Jewish communists avidly supported Israel (in Los Angeles, in 1972, the comrades demanded that a photograph that I had taken of young Palestinian women in a Jordanian refugee camp be removed from a calendar published by the People’s World before they would either buy or sell it. )

        Then you write: “Washington does consider it an asset, precisely because of the nature of Zionist state formation, because of what it did in ’67, the favors it did for America through the 70s and 80s in places other than the Middle East, etcetera. Now, it may not be useful as a strategic asset, it may be, who knows and who cares?”

        What kind of a materialist would write “who knows and who cares?” If Israel actually was an asset, and I have yet to see proof that it was to the degree that it merits the support that it gets, that would be a good explanation for why Washington supports it. But if it isn’t, we have to look for other reasons. It is interesting to note that at a time when Israel was said to be an asset, the first and only president to declare it to be such was Ronald Reagan. Nuff said.

        Making people believe that Israel is a “strategic asset” has long been one of AIPAC’s main objectives and ironically, or paradoxically, the only other sector of American society that agrees with it has been the American Left with our friend Chomsky leading the way. As the late Israeli general, Matti Peled, once wrote, the notion that Israel was a US asset was only raised when Washington and the American Jewish community leadership had to find an excuse to maintain support for Israel following the surprise election victory of the former terrorist Menachem Begin as prime minister in 1977. Were you aware of that?

        And please, Max, do not pretend to offer me instructions on organizing and if you wish to lead, do so my example. I would guess that I have organized more protests and successful ones than most of the folks on this list (and that, admittedly, is partially due to my age) but I should note, on my own behalf, that during the first Intifada, when the PLO was split and the local PSC was dysfunctional, I organized virtually every protest against Israel during the first Intifada and got over 3,000 signatures on a petition to have support for the Palestinian Intifada be one of the demands of the Spring Mobilization in 1988 when the organizers, the Trotskyist Social Action canceled a general meeting of the Mobe to avoid a vote being taken on the issue.

        With the Labor Committee on the Middle East, I was able to get a number of resolutions supporting Palestinian labor rights passed by unions not only in California but across the country. At a Labor Notes conference in Detroit, I brought a Palestinian trade unionist to speak and he had a 1000 people stamping their feet and cheering for Palestine. And all this without any organizational support from the traditional materialist Left.

        I could tell you more, Max, but please don’t patronize me with this “Join us” crap. It’s time you checked your ego at the door along with your fucked up analysis.

      • andrew r
        February 22, 2011, 2:53 am

        If you knew anything about Israeli society you would know that strikes have been very frequent and its arms (NOT defense) workers have been no exception. This, like the rest of your arguments, appears to be desperate attempt to protect the Lobby and since you brought it up, I see your tribalism showing.

        Although some of what I was going to say is obsolete, a clarification is in order: Israeli workers won’t strike except in a way that can be contained and cooled off and in no way part of massive upheaval. That’s not to say it can’t happen, only that the Zionist project has been designed from the beginning to pacify workers with militant nationalism and defer the hard labor to the lower caste (Yemenites, ’48 and ’67 Palestinians, Asian guest workers). So while my homework has been mostly on the early settlement period, it’s safe to guess the order has not been threatened by worker militancy among European Jews, yet. It’s also safe to guess that Israel would be preferred over the Arab states for R&D and auxiliary production due to its colonial nature.

        link to wsws.org

        Here’s a partial and non-exhaustive list of why I don’t find the lobby view persuasive:

        - The notion of anyone owning congress (or the democratic party) in all but name strikes me as absurd. It assumes you could outbid the lobby and get a BDS congress. Now, if you screw with investor assets in Israel, more than AIPAC will be out to slash your throat. And you’ll never get the funds without playing the capitalist game to begin with; by then you won’t want to challenge the MIC, Israel or not.

        - No comparison with other situations. Why did it take an Israel lobby to get us in Iraq as opposed to Vietnam and Panama.

        - Too many holes. One blaring gap is the lack of explanation for the lobby’s ability to buy congress. And how did congress lose the noble patriotism that would prevent selling out to a foreign interest? Why the contributions and rallying to bring in Clinton when he settles for containment of Saddam?

        - Self-contradictory. You say in this very thread, “The Bush Sr. administration was the last one not cowed by Israel but it did end up being forced by the Israeli Occupied Congress (IOC) to pay an additional $650 million to Israel for staying out of the war, a fact never mentioned by [fill in the blanks].” In your “War for Israel” bit, you say this: “From the perspective of the Israelis and, one must assume, the lobby, it is better that American and foreign soldiers do the shedding of blood, Iraqi and their own, rather than those of Israel, the world’s fourth ranked military power,” and later, ‘A dozen years earlier, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, AIPAC leaders acknowledged that the lobby “had worked in tandem with the [first] Bush administration to win passage of a resolution authorizing the president to commit U.S. troops to combat.”‘ So why did Israel need a bribe to refrain from breaking the coalition against Iraq by joining a war it expected others to fight?

        If anything, you’re telling us to look only at the power-relations of Israel’s fanatic supporters in govt. + Jewish establishment and pretend the MIC is standing by through all this.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 2:54 am

        Max, attacking the Lobby should not be conflated with a two-state solution and it is disingenuous for you to suggest in the last paragraph that it is.

        When you describe the services that Israel did for the US in the 80s, it should be clear that none of them could not have been successfully carried out had not the Lobby been able to keep silent those members of Congress who would regularly criticize US foreign policy.

        Thus, while there were a sufficient number of liberal Democrats to block $15 million of aid to the Contras, these same members of the House said nary a word when Israel provided them with weapons even when the congressmember were aware of it. The same thing happened in Guatemala when Carter cut off aid and the Israelis rushed in to fill the gap. Do you think Israel could have done that if the same members of Congress who had complained about US policy had raised the issue on the House floor? Do you think their silence was due to their actual desire for Israel to do America’s dirty work, or was it, perhaps, fear of the Israel Lobby?

        When the Black Caucus refused to penalize Israel for selling arms to South Africa was that because they secretly supported the apartheid regime or was it due to their fear or need for funds from the Lobby? You tell me. If when Ron Dellums, the darling of the liberals and the left pulled the plank out of the anti-apartheid legislation that would have penalized Israel for its arms sales to South Africa, the anti-apartheid movement had made a fuss, is it not likely that it would have become a big story and Israel would have been forced to cut back or be penalized? But the movement didn’t want to embarrass that enormous fraud and they pretended they didn’t know what he had done.

        Of course, there were folks in the anti-apartheid movement, as there were in all the other solidarity movements that still had a hard-on of the loving variety for Israel, and they also kept silent as I wrote about in my article “The Israeli Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions.” In the end, they, too, were part of the Israel Lobby and not an unimportant part. Be careful that you don’t end up in their company.

      • David Green
        February 22, 2011, 11:56 am

        Jeffrey, I hate doing bona fides, it’s so immature, and should be unnecessary for anyone interested enough to read this site. But I’m the only affiliated (now formerly affiliated) Jew in Urbana-Champaign to have publicly and consistently criticized Israel in principled terms, including criticism of local rabbis, Jewish Federation, Hillel, Chabad, and Jewish Studies on Campus. I’ve done it with articles in local papers, letters to the editor, and at public meetings, including, for example, a vehement intervention with Yossi Klein Halevi in 2004. If there was ever a persona non grata in the local Jewish/Zionist community here (other than Francis Boyle, who’s not Jewish), that would be me. But honestly, I only wish that I had been more firm and adamant from the start, instead of hoping to “dialogue.”

        I don’t do it, to be honest, out of any sense that Jews should live up to some ideal. I do it because of where I happened to land in the world, and how I’m built.

        So please, at long last, just have the decency to acknowledge that there are differences in analysis/strategy/tactics on this issue. Stop being so arrogant and condescending. And stop insulting me.

        Here’s the letter I had published in the student paper alast week (the only letter they’ve published addressing Egypt):

        This is in response to the DI editorial “Time for Egypt to determine its future” (2/15), which failed to address the origins and possible consequences of this uprising. While it has indeed been time for a long while, it’s important to understand why it took so long. It hasn’t been for a lack of popular movements in Egypt toward democracy, especially labor movements.

        It has for four decades been deemed in U.S. “interests” that Egypt be governed by dictators, including Sadat and Mubarak. These “interests” have primarily to do with control of Middle Eastern oil, and with Israel’s militarization and intimidating role in the region. These interests make “friends” out of brutal dictators. The primary beneficiaries of the U.S.-Israel alliance are the Persian Gulf states and their autocratic rulers, especially Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Mubarak was able to exploit “free trade” to become the richest man in the world.

        Our leaders only supported democracy in Egypt when there was no other choice. They will continue to support the interests of global capital over those of Egyptian workers. In Egypt and all the “unstable” authoritarian countries in the region (and the world), the U.S. will continue to support repression over self-determination unless the people, through physical actions of solidarity, provide no other option.

        It’s been correctly noted that this was a domestic uprising, not specifically directed at the U.S. or Israel. But the implications for both of these aggressive countries are clear, and that is why Israelis continued to support the Mubarak dictatorship to the bitter end. It’s not about the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt, which it won’t. It’s about overwhelming and desirable support in Egypt for Palestinian liberation and self-determination. Events in Egypt should provoke long-overdue reflection about Israel’s alleged commitment to democracy, as well as our own.

        Here’s the letter I had published in the local paper two weeks ago (the only letter they’ve published addressing Egypt):

        Those who support Israel (ignoring Lebanon) call it “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But when an overwhelmingly secular, democratic, and gender egalitarian uprising occurs in Egypt, they frantically look for reasons to dismiss it, predictably raising the bogeyman of Islamic fundamentalism.

        Two such recent commentators in the New York Times were honored local guests. Yossi Klein Halevi, invited by the Program for Jewish Culture and Society in 2005, states “it is just a matter of time before the only real opposition group in Egypt, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, takes power.” David Makovsky, who spoke at Hillel in 2008, writes that this scenario “will mean hunkering down, and will invariably lead to an Israeli-Islamist confrontation.” Makovsky recommends support for torturer Omar Suleiman.

        The truth is that the popular and democratic Egyptian uprising threatens the balance of power within and among several authoritarian regimes: Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Yemen, and (most importantly) Saudi Arabia. All of these regimes collaborate with American hegemony in the region, and rule on the basis of cronyism, corruption, fear, demonization, and violence. Over decades it has been deemed in American economic interests to materially support them; calling them “moderates” mitigates neither their brutality nor our cynicism.

        There will be no sincere support for democracy in Egypt from sanctimonious hypocrites at any level of Jewish institutional life—religious, secular, or academic. Given their unprincipled support for Israel and its occupation of Palestine, and for violent American policies in the region, this was utterly predictable.

      • Max Ajl
        February 22, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Jeff:
        Tactics and strategy come out of an analysis, and lead to a vision. These all should line up. If you have a vision of a two-state prison, then ally with realists and the fraction of the government that wants to impose a two-state prison by American fiat. If you don’t, line up with the left with a vision of the removal of regional dictatorships, social justice in the region, and a democratic federated vision of Palestine. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. This is not about “attacking the Lobby” not being “conflated with a two-state solution.” I attack the lobby. So do you. So does Avnery. So does Pappe. So does Hart. Hart and Avnery want a two-state prison. I don’t know what you want. Pappe wants one democratic state. My views are known. The question is strategy and alliances. Since you refuse to respond on those central points (you do have some answers, I suspect, although you won’t utter them publicly) this dialogue can go nowhere. If you think it’s a problem that the left won’t talk about the lobby, you think about how to make it do so, or you abandon it and simply shut up about it and go post on Shamirreaders. Phrasing the issue purely in terms of racialized categories will not get you entrée into the left. Reworking the concepts in the terms of materialist analysis will. If that matters, help. If not, be quiet.

        You write that “When you describe the services that Israel did for the US in the 80s, it should be clear that none of them could not have been successfully carried out had not the Lobby been able to keep silent those members of Congress who would regularly criticize US foreign policy.” This is exactly the point, this is what the lobby has done: neuters leftism by hiding imperialism under Israel, the “anti-Semitism” discourse, and the Holocaust Industry. It mobilizes tribal loyalty behind goals very much amenable to materialist analysis: crushing leftist movements in Latin America and Africa. Israeli and American elites alike benefited from this. You write, “Do you think their silence was due to their actual desire for Israel to do America’s dirty work, or was it, perhaps, fear of the Israel Lobby?” I’m confused – do you think members of congress who got there because of massive campaign financing from capitalists once there were not supposed to follow capitalist dictates, namely crushing the Sandinistas? And that if America couldn’t send the weapons, they were happy for Israeli assistance, with the left quieted because of the Zionism of some of its leadership?
        Israel, the lobby, and empire are not incommensurable ways of interpreting the world. The lobby is shorthand for a section of the elites that participates fully in making empire happen, and weakening it would in turn make empire weaker. That’s clear enough.

        Your problem is that you think that the members of congress who criticized US policy did so because they had the gumption, because of their idiosyncratic bravery, because you can’t see the dynamic between capital pushing congress one way and popular pressure pulling it another. Having removed that dynamic from your analysis, you insist on counseling power that it should be managing empire more efficiently. Your business. If you expect Amy Goodman to line up behind that vision, I have a kibbutz to sell you in Gaza. There, I can you tell, they are not so dumb to not know who their allies are.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 1:18 pm

        re MIC and security industry links

        Jeff Halper has written and spoken about this extensively, also Naomi Klein

        one example

        link to counterpunch.org

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 8:38 pm

        Both are thoughtful and well written letters, David, but they don’t provide any guidance on what those who read them can do about it. Was the second letter published in the same paper or a Jewish publication because it makes it seem that doing is something is a Jewish responsibility and not that of all Americans?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 9:27 pm

        Max, first I should say in defense of those who dismiss as “realists,” had it not been for the work of John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt, not to mention in the indominantable Phil Weiss, we would not even be having this discussion/debate regarding the Lobby and you would not feel obligated, nay, obsessed, to have the last word in in subordinating it in the name of “materialism.”

        It is not that I am not still a “materialist” myself, in some ways, in that I believe that in politics, like in most walks of life, who pays the piper calls the tune and that one cannot explain the actions of Congress without examining who funds it.

        You may think that Israel’s ties to the US MIC is the grease that generates the 400 to 6 votes for virtually every piece of legislation or resolution that AIPAC proposes because of the profits that accrue to the MIC while I can present evidence that is the money that is donated to both the Democrats and to an important but lesser extent by American Jews that that is the determining factor. I will just cite two examples:

        In 2000, the last year Mother Jones ran the MoJo 400, which was the list of the top 400 individual contributors to both parties, 7 of the top 10, 12 of the top 20, and at least 125 of the top 250 were Jewish with 75% of their money going to the Democrats and the rest to the Republicans. Do you think that information is irrelevant? Was there something wrong with me pointing that out in an article I wrote a half a dozen years back that was included in a book, “The Politics of Anti-Semitism,” published by CounterPunch? Evidently, somebody thought so because that list is no longer available on the Mother Jones site and it wasn’t published in its magazine.

        Another example that I have mentioned before was that of Haim Saban donating $12.3 million to the Democrats in 2002 which was jiust a million and a half less than the MIC PACs gave to BOTH political parties that same year He also gave the same amount of money to Brookings to establish the Saban Center on the Middle East, rendering that once relatively independent think thank into another version of WINEP, AEI and the Hudson Inst. and the steady source for talking heads on the Sunday morning talk shows. Do you think their agenda is indistinguishable from that of the rest of corporate America and the fact that all of those institutions are controlled by “warm Jews,” what the other side considers to those who put Israel’s interests first, is irrelevant and has no place in a discussion of the subject.

        Your attempt to respond to my questions was not very convincing, to wit:

        To my question regarding the silence of members of the US Congress who opposed US aid to the Sandinistas but were silent when such aid was provided by Israel and I asked, “Do you think their silence was due to their actual desire for Israel to do America’s dirty work, or was it, perhaps, fear of the Israel Lobby?” you responded, “I’m confused – do you think members of congress who got there because of massive campaign financing from capitalists once there were not supposed to follow capitalist dictates, namely crushing the Sandinistas? And that if America couldn’t send the weapons, they were happy for Israeli assistance, with the left quieted because of the Zionism of some of its leadership?”

        Exactly, while there was a national campaign to halt funding for the Contras, it was not so great as to cause Congress to cancel that assistance. If that were true, and they followed the public will, they would have stopped funding the Iraq war especially when it as widely acknowledged that stopping such funding was one of the reasons Obama was both nominated and elected.

        Also, while I had no particular admiration for the Democrats of that day, to say that when Carter halted arms sales to Guatemala because of massive human rights violations, that Carter and the Democrats were pleased that Israel would go in there and provide not only the intelligence but 98% of the weaponry that the army used to massacre the Indians of the highlands who were no more threat to American capital than they are today. The same with Israeli arms sales to South Africa. The members of Congress kept their mouths shut, at least, in public, because to have criticized Israel would have put their careers in jeopardy. Perhaps, you should sit at the feat of Jim Abourezk, the former senator from South Dakota, and let him tell you how Washington works because, frankly, Max, you don’t seem to have a clue.

        As for one state vs. two states, that’s a discussion I usually stay away from because we over here will have no input and our time could be better spent pushing BDS or exposing the Lobby. But if you want my opinion, we should start calling it one state right now, from the Jordan to the Med, and that that state is as undemocratic if not more so than was apartheid South Africa.

      • Avi
        February 22, 2011, 11:44 pm

        So, Max, you don’t have the information that I asked you to provide. In that case why do you continue to pretend as though you have a valid argument?

      • Max Ajl
        February 23, 2011, 10:52 am

        Jeff:
        It would be helpful if you could stay on topic and respond to arguments made, not arguments unmade. The issue is not whether or not the lobby exists, because it does. The issue is not whether or not it is powerful, because it is. The issue is specifying and delimiting its role in US policy-making. That requires understanding how policy is made generally, and specifically, in the context of a general analysis. The left’s analysis, I should remind you, is basically materialist in spirit. If you want the left to talk about the lobby – which it should – you will need to make the argument in materialist terms, consonant with a general left orientation towards critical analysis in the service of social justice. Stick to racialized categories and idealist analysis and you will be ignored outside of select circles. We are not talking RCP vulgar Marxist polemics, but integrating race and ethnicity into a broader analysis. It is not we who are hostile to the role of tribalism, race, and ethnicity, but you who get hysterical when the MIC is mentioned. So moving towards synthesis is not a choice for me to make. That’s a choice for you to make. In particular, your speculations that only “Israel-Firsters” pushed America into Iraq will be convincing to almost no one, not because they’re crypto-Zionists but because the notion that the oil companies were unaware that the war would propel their profits to the stratosphere when every other Middle East war has done exactly that is ridiculous. You may proceed and consider your enemies idiots, dupes, or the victims of Jewish power. The rest of us will be trying to get a sense of the size of our enemy in the spirit of knowing how to take it down.

        So you can blather about the 400 to 6 votes in Congress and the role of Jewish money, but I have nothing to apologize for, because I’m well aware of the power of the lobby and the role of Jewish money in funding the parties. Those of us looking for an analysis of how the system works that goes a little deeper than your scrapings will want more information, though. In particular, we will be interested in how the Special Relationship has become institutionalized and embedded. Now, you have no particular interest in that and seem devoted to brandishing your resume. (Congratulations. It’s for Langley?)

        This paragraph: “while there was a national campaign to halt funding for the Contras, it was not so great as to cause Congress to cancel that assistance. If that were true, and they followed the public will, they would have stopped funding the Iraq war especially when it as widely acknowledged that stopping such funding was one of the reasons Obama was both nominated and elected.” I literally could not understand. No one has argued that Congress ever follows the public will (hence Chomsky and Finkelstein’s endless citing of polls for American support for a two-state solution is so irrelevant). Congress’s default is to follow the will of money, which is corporate, but also ethnic, a large part of how support for Israel became so hegemonized across the Democratic Party.

        In part, I think our problems stem from a basic disagreement about the nature of congress, capitalism, America, and power. You can go read Paul Street if you think Obama was elected to stop “such funding” for the Iraq War. He promised no such thing. His job was to raise liberalish hopes and give them aesthetically pleasing outlet, while confusing sectors of the left. You are welcome to your confusion, but the rest of us were not so confused. Obama knows where his money comes from. You need to stop beatifying presidents — Bush I for his bravery in challenging the lobby, Carter for halting arms sales. They are all scoundrels. If you in any way support social justice in Palestine, you will know that the Bush I/Shamir disagreement was over the timing of loans to induce Israel to the table in Madrid, the pre-cursor to the disastrous Oslo Process. I’m sorry, do you support the Oslo Process? You simply cannot make sense of these things with your combination of impressionism, conspiracism, adulation of leadership, and nostalgia for olde American democracy.

        You don’t think the communist organizing in the Indian highlands was perceived as a threat to American capital? Go read Greg Grandin, then go read Leslie Cockburn, and then read Michael Schaller and John Dower on the domino theory in East Asia to put it in comparative perspective. The point is to keep the system under control, because once it starts fraying –Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya – it frays fast. Israel played a part in that, and set up institutions and alliances – the lobby – to ensure it continued support even when it is arguably no longer useful for securing the system, and especially the big prize, Saudi Arabia. The lobby plays and played a big part in turning any criticism of Israel’s role as asset (placing to the side the debate over whether it is still useful in its role as an asset) into a career-killer, so Israel’s services to capital went unscrutinized, even within an ostensibly anti-capitalist left. I am not sure how analyzing the lobby as a capital institution is to render it invulnerable to scrutiny. That makes no sense.

        Now, you may rant about Abourezk and how I should sit at his “feat” all you wish, but what you seem intent on missing is that the lobby debate you and Phil are having is the offshoot of a debate between imperial intellectuals over how to manage the empire. I recommend Peter Gowans on Mearsheimer’s “offensive realism.” As has been said to you again and again and again, no one is calling for ignoring the lobby. We are suggesting reframing it, not as a unit of analysis separate from the conduct of empire, but a component of the elites that makes empire happen and arguably more violent than it would otherwise be. If your work is to be in the service of more efficient empire, so be it. If in the pursuit of that goal, platitudes about Israel destroying what’s left of our democracy are comforting, so be it. If in thinking about that goal, fantasies about our “national interests” and Israel’s grievous harm to them are helpful, so be it. Personally, I’d recommend opening your mind to a synthesis. But I keep on thinking other things are at stake: mostly, the small, low podium you’ve secured for yourself. I have news for you: this is not the Blankfort Show. There is work to do. Get on it Jeff.

      • andrew r
        February 23, 2011, 2:57 pm

        Avi, do you care to take a stab at the holes I’ve been poking in Jeffrey’s argument that he utterly ignores? Like how Israel had to be bribed to stay out of Gulf War 1991 which it supposedly pushed for? And that the lobby forced Bush I out due to the loan guarantees, which probably delayed neocon control of the White House?

        I gave two examples of what you seem to be looking for: General Dynamics makes the vehicle, Rafael makes the armor and the subsidiaries of Elbit in the USA. Aggregating this stuff into a picture is a lot of work; at this point I grasp the subject in bits and pieces, though it has more merit than making Israel a special case of a small state controlling an empire from the outside which raises a lot more questions than answers vs. Max Ajl’s theory.

        Nitzan and Bichler already demonstrated in their work that the major energy conflicts of the cold war – 1967, 1973, 1980-88 and 1991 – boosted the rate of return for the major oil companies (Chevron, Texaco, Royal Dutch, BP, et. al), although the Iran-Iraq war was only effective for a few years. The White House has an interest in keeping the conflict going on without a one-way nuclear exchange. Israel’s major value comes as a source of instability, a way-station for arms and fresh assets for neoliberal investors to scoop up. The latter alone may not do it, but the former two hint at how the industry of death machine making is so tied together. The imperial depravity of the cold war and the privatization afterward created a system of entanglement that might end in catastrophe, might be overthrown in upheaval, but it doesn’t boil down to interest groups bribing the govt.

        By the way, I took the trouble to read Blankfort’s own articles that he linked and he doesn’t explain what role if any of the lobby in Afghanistan, and he probably doesn’t buy the cheer ‘America was attacked’ anymore than I do. Another hole that needs to be filled.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 23, 2011, 10:36 pm

        Max, it seems to me that you are the one who has become slightly hysterical, dimly perceiving in yourself, etc., and my posts are not rants although they may sound like that in your ears in the manner that someone to whom someone tells the truth in an ordinary tone of voice tells the truth-teller to stop shouting. I am sure you know what I mean.

        One of our points of disagreement is who is the audience we want to address. You, obviously, believe it is the Left, or what remains of it since one of the reasons for its virtual disappearance from American life has been because the Left, the materialist Left and the not-so-materialist Left, only talked to itself.

        One of the phenomenon that distinguished the Left from those in comparable Western countries in even its headier days, during those wonderful 60s, was its alienation from the rest of American society, an alienation of which, in truth, it was proud and proof of its cultural superiority to the masses who, for example, liked to watch Monday night football or NFL football on Sundays.

        Now, of course, all of the Western Left have fallen on hard times. The old reliable ideological guideposts have taken a beating. In The Soviet Union and the so-called “socialist” East Bloc, those who were far more schooled in Marxist-Leninism, the meaning of historical materialism, the class struggle, and dialectics than any of us, and who had been imprisoned and fought the Nazis, too boot, ended up making a pretty sad mess of every society they came to run and, not surprisingly, there has been relatively little discussion about why that happened. In China they are learning how to beat the capitalists at their own game and Vietnam has become a source of cheap labor. In Cuba, the regime fears what might happen if their citizens had access to the internet and what we like to think of as inalienable political rights. I assume you get by now what I’m saying: Analyzing the way the world works through purely a materialistic sieve does not necessarily produce the rights answers.

        So, I will be the first to admit, I no longer spend any time, at least off the computer talking to what remains of the Left, aside from personal friends. I am more interested in talking to ordinary Americans, if I may use the term, who are not political junkies but who are more than able and sometimes willing to respond to the truth when they are exposed to it. And, I tell you, it has been much more rewarding. You might try, but as a friendly aside, go slow with the jargon.

        As for Obama, the people voted for him because they wanted a change from the Bush administration and because they believed his commitment to end the war in Iraq while not wanting to hear that he did not plan to do the same with Afghanistan and would extend the war in Pakistan.

        He was chosen to run and win over McCain and Palin (who was added to ticket, I believe, to guarantee Barry’s win) because only he could get away with bailing out Wall Street and putting the US further trillions in debt. Had the Republicans won, and they very likely would have if Romney had run as VP, they would have had a hard time selling the bailout to their base which has a visceral distaste for Wall Street and the Democratic base which a Democratic president usually euthanizes, would also be in the streets protesting. The PTB of both parties also thought BO would put what was lacking in GWB, a human face on US imperialism.
        The result, domestically, has been the Tea Party and a war to the death against what remains of unions, while overseas, the US has expanded its wars to a degree unprecedented in its history. In accomplish all of this, the Zionist Lobby played an important role but one that was largely consistent with other corporate forces.

        I am not, BTW, trying to ignore the MIC connection. I have written, probably before you became involved in the I-P issue, that this connection followed in the wake of Gerald Ford’s holding back a shipment of F-15s from Israel for six months in 1975 and threatening to “reassess US-Israel relations” following Israel’s refusal to retreat from areas in the Sinai it had taken in the 1973 war.

        This so troubled Israel and it agents in the US that in the following year they formed JINSA, the Jewish Inst for National Security Affairs the goal of which was to see to it that the militaries and arms industries of Israel and the US would become so entwined, that no president could come along and threaten, as did Ford, the “special relationship.” JINSA, succeeded, of course, beyond its wildest dreams, thanks to the fact that those in the Palestinian solidarity community and the leading intellectual critics of Israel–we all know their names– never once mentioned it…..and still don’t. Max hasn’t either but that’s no surprise. He probably will tell you that the MIC was just another example like any other of the organic coming together of mutual corporate interests. MW readers should check out http://www.jinsa.org.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 24, 2011, 1:51 am

        Israel was not really bribed to stay out of the Gulf War. It was the Lobby that had secured sufficient votes to override Bush’s intended veto of the $650 million in additional aid that Congress had bequeathed to Israel for doing nothing.

        As I wrote in the Middle East Labor Bulletin in the Summer-Fall ’91 issue, “An attempt by Tim Valentine (D-NC) to eliminate the grant was turned down by a 397-24 margin. “I do not believe the majority of Americans share the wish of Congress to grant the Israelis an additional appropriation of funds at a time when we are struggling under the weight of a recession he told his colleagues.”

        In the same article I wrote, “Efforts to push Israel to the negotiating table are describe as ‘a new assault on Israel, ‘ (Washington Jewish Week, 3/7/91), ‘Bush does not wish Israel well and.. [Israel] has to be protected from a hostile administration (WJW, ibid), ‘Bush has declared a diplomatic war on Israel’ (Forward 3/15/91), ‘Baker once again showed his incompetence in dealing with Israel’ (No. Cal. Jewish Bulletin, 6/10/91…”

        There is much more in that article and virtually every issue of the MELB that was published between 1988 and 1995 to back up my position that largely relied on articles in the Jewish press to which, you might say, I religiously subscribed. Very rarely did this information get into the mainstream press.

        Bush Sr. was no friend of Israel. When it bombed the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, then VP Bush called for sanctions against Israel and he called for them again in 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon. Each time he was overruled by Reagan and Sec of State Haig. It is curious, while Chomsky, Ajl and others on the Left maintain that Bush was a supporter of Israel, Israel and the Lobby felt quite the opposite and Moshe Arens, Israel’s Foreign Minister even wrote a book about it, entitled “Broken Covenant, American Foreign Policy and the Crisis between the US and Israel.”

        The very revealing book did not get widely circulated and I only learned about it when my sister bought it as a “remainder” at a book store. It is still available for almost nothing on line and I recommend it to anyone who is concerned about this issue. I once wrote to Chomsky asking if he had read it, and he replied that he hadn’t and wasn’t interested in doing so. I suspect that will be your reaction as well as Max’s.

        For those who still hold on to the myth that the current Iraq war was one for oil and point to profits that the oil majors have made as proof, how do you and they respond to the fact that all the major oil contracts under the new Iraqi government have gone to China, Russia, Malaysia and other companies not controlled by US capital. Also, how do you and they account for the fact that Poppy Bush, Baker and their NSC advisor, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all of whom had closer ties to the oil companies than anyone in the Bush administration including Dick Cheney opposed the war publicly? The answer is that folks like you, tribalists, or faux Marxists, ignore it, since you don’t have good answers.

        While the Israel Lobby did not formally support either of the Gulf Wars, they were instrumental in launching both of them. Another article in the Washington Jewish Week by Larry Cohler at the time (91) described the behind the scenes role that officials at AIPAC had played to get key senators to switch their votes. That the WJW ran that article very upset Steve Rosen over at AIPAC and both Cohler and the editor of WJW were soon history.

        One of the key factors that led Congress to finally approve the attack on Saddam was the testimony of the daughter of a Kuwaiti diplomat who Israel Firster Tom Lantos had testify to his fraudulent “Human Rights Caucus” pretending she was a nurse who had been in a pediatric ward at a Kuwaiti hospital when the Iraqi soldiers came in, picked up 20 incubators, dumped the babies in them on the floor, and took them back to Iraq. The fake nurse was so convincing that Amnesty declared the act a war crime without seeking confirmation. Of course, it never happened but it was enough to get the votes to go to war.

        One other error in Max’s last comment needs correction here, that Bush Sr’s Madrid conference in 1991 was intended to produce the Oslo agreement in 1993. Nothing could be further from the truth since Bush was seeking an overall regional settlement. The Israelis and their lickspittles Arafat and Abbas produced Oslo as a way to circumvent what the Bush administration was trying to do at Madrid. It helps sometimes to have been alive and paying attention when these things come about because those who write the history of this particular issue cannot be trusted and that applies to the folks on the other side as well.

      • David Green
        February 24, 2011, 9:59 am

        Both letters are intended to make it clear that our government, allegedly accountable to the people, supports dictators to the bitter end, for material reasons. On that basis, folks in a democratic society can decide what to do about it, with their words, their relationships, and their bodies. Without correct analysis, they can only do the strategically/tactically appropriate thing by accident.

        In most of my letters (News-Gazette, Daily Illini), I make a special point to chide local Jewish institutions and their leadership in particular. I remind them that they support dictators, occupaton, oppression, violence, and murder. I have a history of doing this, and I continue to do this because nobody else locally, Jewish or non-Jewish, will. They know me and I know them.

        I do this partly because they claim to represent Jews, or “Jewish interests”, but they really don’t, and even if they do, that would reflect poorly on Jews. I do this mostly because, as a human of Jewish background and some training, I would like to encourage other Jews to behave like humans. I would also like other humans to hold Jews accountable to human standards. But I don’t give a crap about any idealized notion of Jewish moral behavior.

    • andrew r
      February 20, 2011, 11:43 pm

      “Ah, David Green, as might be expected, rushes to the rescue of the Zionists, but now it is both Jewish and Christian, no sectarian be he. ”

      See Jeff, this is why every time you write a decent post, I remind myself not to take you seriously. Zionism is a specific ideology and you either adhere to it or don’t. Here you are using it like Mitchell Palmer and “reds” or any given use of “terrorist.” You are flagging someone as the enemy when they have a different analysis from yours.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 1:22 pm

        David Green has been like a broken record in shifting both attention and blame from the Israel Lobby even when its control of the US Congress and its influence over the White House has never been more obvious. If someone is running cover for the Lobby, he or she might as well be working for it whatever his or her motives. You apparently are part of the same club. Your comparison of my critique of the The Lobby and of Green with Mitchell Palmer’s prosecution of alleged “Reds” after WW 1 proves it. How come you have no objection to Green suggesting that criticism of The Lobby is reserved for the Tea Party?

      • David Green
        February 21, 2011, 11:25 pm

        By the way, the revolution will have to come from the “extremes”, left and right, Chomsky and Ron Paul. That isn’t mentioned enough on this site. Jeffrey’s beloved Lobby-intimidated Congressional fakers will have to own up to the corruption of the corporate two-party system. Jeffrey will probably go down fighting for his notion of their eternal innocence.

      • annie
        February 21, 2011, 11:48 pm

        the revolution will have to come from the “extremes”

        revolutions don’t generally come about unless the masses are in on it. if you make them poor enough they’ll get extreme all right.

      • Avi
        February 22, 2011, 12:32 am

        David Green February 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

        By the way, the revolution will have to come from the “extremes”, left and right, Chomsky and Ron Paul.

        So, it’s going to be a two-man revolution?

        I don’t know what’s more delusional and naive, expecting a Jewish State to treat all its citizens equally — like Slater often proposes — or that professor Chomsky will somehow change his mind and finally come out against the Israel lobby, acknowledging its decisive influence on US foreign policy.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 1:09 am

        David, I don’t know how to politely point this out with others looking on, but I think you’re missing a few cards from your deck, unless, course, you’re auditioning for the Comedy Channel. The notion that Chomsky represents the extreme Left or that Ron Paul the extreme right and that a combination of both would lead an American revolution is truly bewildering as is, for different reasons,. your last sentence.

      • David Green
        February 22, 2011, 11:40 am

        Chomsky and Paul (Znet, antiwar.com) represent different approaches to challenging the corporate MIC state, and all the authoritarianism that goes along with it. And Jeffrey, I’m a lot smarter than Max–just ask him.

        I know you haven’t heard about this “left-right” alliance thing, but it’s all the rage, and hopefully will become more so. It means redefining “national interests,” the notion of which you cling to in order to oppose Israel while supporting U.S. hegemony.

        And by the way Jeffrey, you’re utterly clueless.

  30. Justice Please
    February 20, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I guess this has already been pointed out, but:

    “Human rights and democracy are optional to hegemons: they matter only where they impact the hegemon’s realist interests.”

    That’s the whole point with I/P. Israeli crimes and Palestinian statelessness DO in fact impact Americas realist interests! Even top military guys like Petraeus admitted this.

    It WOULD be in this hegemon’s realist interest to enforce at least minimum Palestinian sovereignty.
    But it isn’t in the interest of the military-industrial complex, Zionists and crazy Christians. All of whom give jack shit about the US national interest.

  31. stevelaudig
    February 20, 2011, 6:00 pm

    “Especially among the Palestinian movement, the illusion was that, if the US really knew what was going on, it would “do something”. Vast amounts of activist work went into publicizing atrocities and trying to get the US foreign policy establishment to notice so it would “do something”. Of course, US analysts already knew what was going on and the US was not going to “do something”—for one simple reason: it was getting what it wanted from the situation—Israeli cooperation as a regional power and Palestinian political passivity.”

    Behavior is truth. The U.S. “is” doing something. Exactly what it wants to do. The untruths are spoken and written.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      February 20, 2011, 6:29 pm

      Do you really think, Steve, that the Obama administration wanted to veto that resolution? Is that why the president spent 50 minutes on the phone trying to convince Abbas to withdraw the resolution so the US would not have to exercise that veto.

      If there was ever clear cut evidence that the government of Israel and its agents in the US are in control of our Middle East policy, that was it, because that decision not only impacts on the Israel-Palestine conflict it might be said that at this moment in time it will have even a greater impact on US policy in the region where Obama will be simply viewed as Bibi’s bitch. That’s my term for him. They may use something worse but equally deserving.

      • David Green
        February 20, 2011, 7:13 pm

        You think Obama’s phone call was a sign of his good will toward the Palestinian people? You think that a result of not exercising the veto would move the Palestinians closer to self-determination?

      • Sand
        February 20, 2011, 8:19 pm

        Exercising the veto would have certainly isolated Israel.

        Also, brought some overdue justice. Israel would obviously play the victim card — but would look absolutely pathetic doing so.

      • David Green
        February 21, 2011, 11:41 am

        And why would it be in U.S. “interests” to isolate Israel? And when has our government ever supported justice for the Palestinians?

      • Sand
        February 21, 2011, 1:47 pm

        In the “US Interest” — are the operative words.

        Because you are coming from an Israeli/support of ethnic-cleansing point of view it makes sense that you wouldn’t understand.

        Seriously! It’s about time the blinders come off. Also, it’s about time the UN went in and had a look at “Israel’s” nukes.

      • Antidote
        February 21, 2011, 5:50 pm

        Good question, David. The UNSC vote has confirmed Israel’s isolation, and the US veto just spells out the same old US policy with regard to the settlements: we are against the settlements, but we will do nothing to force Israel to comply with international law and the ‘peace process’ . Who will? Why? And how?

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 6:24 pm

        The United States government isn’t against the settlements. We fund them, we arm them, we do business with them and we play sleazy defense lawyer for them. I don’t care what kind of double talk comes out of the Administration’s mouth — they bend over backwards in support of illegal Israeli settlements.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 21, 2011, 6:24 pm

        Are you really that dense, David? Absolutely not. What in my post led you to think that. Obama was counting on Abbas to save him from having to veto the resolution but Abbas couldn’t oblige because had he done so, he would have had to pack his bags and head into Israel to that special village that houses former Palestinian collaborators.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 12:40 am

        Are you “that dense” not to consider the possibility that Obama was affording Abbas the opportunity to save face (after the disaster of the Palestine papers) by defying the pro-Israel POTUS, and restore himself as a credible broker of Palestinian rights? And that Abbas played along?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 8:25 pm

        Well, antidote, it seems that you and Mr. Green are by yourselves in not looking at the veto as another humiliation forced upon the spineless Obama by Israel and the US chapter of the Ziontern, and in suggesting that Obama would place himself in such a position to save the already discredited Abbas make me think you are almost totally ignorant of what is happening there as well as here.

      • fuster
        February 21, 2011, 12:07 pm

        Bad jeffrey, very bad jeffrey.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 1:14 pm

        It’s like you have nothing better to do than random trolling.

      • hophmi
        February 21, 2011, 2:44 pm

        Most of what Jeffrey writes is bad, fuster. He’s a little bit obsessed with the Jews.

      • Chaos4700
        February 21, 2011, 4:42 pm

        Seems like the Wicked Witch of South has sent out the flying slander monkeys in force, or something.

      • fuster
        February 23, 2011, 1:22 am

        I was referring to that bit about Obama being a bitch.
        I’m not generally familiar with Blankfort’s thinking or writing or whatever.

      • Antidote
        February 21, 2011, 6:02 pm

        “Is that why the president spent 50 minutes on the phone trying to convince Abbas to withdraw the resolution so the US would not have to exercise that veto.”

        How do we even know that this was the intent and content of that phone call? Because it was in the news?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 22, 2011, 1:12 am

        Antidote asks how I know “the president spent 50 minutes on the phone trying to convince Abbas to withdraw the resolution?” The answer is pretty simple. Both sides acknowledged it.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 12:37 pm

        The report was that Obama tried to convince Abbas to withdraw the resolution or change it to force a freeze on settlement expansion. It is a common strategy to make proposals the other side cannot accept. For Netanyahu, a settlement freeze was too much, for Abbas too little. He can only go for 67 borders or might as well pack his bags. Obama has restored credibility for Abbas and handed him a victory at the UN – despite the veto which Abbas may (as he announced after the vote) override at the UNGA. This clearly puts pressure on Netanyahu, who is not in good shape right now – domestically or internationally. See Haaretz article on Netanyahu looking more and more like Mubarak. See also Palestine papers on PA strategy to topple Netanyhau. I think Obama has the same goal.

        There can also be little doubt that the unanimity of the vote (except US) came as no surprise to Obama. Surely, he could have twisted some arms to vote on his side

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 12:45 pm

        Surely, he could have twisted some arms to vote on his side

        On the Security Council? I doubt it. The other members of the SC consider Israel to be our baby. They aren’t going to carry the dirty diaper for us.

        The UK is already under enough heat from their own people for the extent of the American torture program they’ve commiserated with, and France has to worry about accommodating its new status as a multi-ethnic nation — partiality to Israeli crimes would only damage the razor’s edge of secularity that is in vogue there presently.

        China and Russia are just standing back and laughing their asses off at the show.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 1:44 pm

        All Obama had to do is scare the wits out of Merkel about the possibility, however remote, that German (and other Nato) soldiers may have to be deployed on the WB to evict Jewish settlers from their homes. Another scare, not only for the Germans, are the substantial funds needed to compensate settlers for the loss of their illegal properties. The Israelis have made it clear that they expect the international community to cough up some serious cash for this peaceful approach to the settlement problem.

        Why does everybody assume the enforcement of a unanimous vote would be a piece of cake? Does anybody expect the Israeli government will suddenly decide to respect a UNSC resolution because of a unanimous vote? Both Russia and Germany (and China, possibly) are not keen on sanctioning Israel because it would further hurt their export industry (Merkel, for instance, is under increasing pressure from the industrial lobby, who has the ear of her coalition partner, about sanctioning Iran – they are fed up with it)

        Pressure from the population fed up with Israeli intransigence and the plight of the Palestinians? Don’t think this has any impact, or Merkel would try to cash in on her support for the resolution. Nothing about that in the German press. Totally hushed up. Only Obama’s veto was reported. Don’t know about how this is played elsewhere.

        What I see, rightly or wrongly, is this: the message delivered is that the entire world condemns the obviously illegal settlements, including the US, and yet nobody, thanks to Obama, is forced to finally act on this conviction. Except, perhaps, the Israeli government, under the looming threat of possible sanctions and obvious international isolation.

      • dbroncos
        February 21, 2011, 10:34 pm

        Americans are bound to Israelis due to a confluence of important factors: The Israel Lobby, Christian Zionists, the MIC, the perception that Israel is a reliable partner and that the Arab states are not, and just plain prejudice on the part of politicians and citizens alike. For politicians and journalists who are invested in their careers this means that supporting Israel comes with benefits while criticizing Israel entails risks -including losing one’s job. There is no reward for any politico or pundit who supports equity and freedom for Palestinians except knowing that ‘I did what was just’.

      • Antidote
        February 22, 2011, 12:44 am

        I think that’s a fair assessment of the situation. I would add that a great many, if not most Americans don’t care one way or another about Israel, and none of this affects their vote for one candidate or another.

  32. VR
    February 20, 2011, 6:26 pm

    I think all of the talk about what currently moves a hegemon is quite useless, unless you intend to target what moves it. So instead of sitting here and commiserating about the “years and years” it is going to take for it to erode, that we start to bring it down – now. A few points have been touched here, but no remedy, once again, has been given.

    I do not care who does the chore of describing what is transpiring, the fact of the matter is whether you realize it or not you are also colonized – both mentally and economically co-opted, whether it is under the rubric of a gross dictator or corporations. If you like further explanations, with a bit being done to reverse the consequences listen to this –

    THE SYSTEM SHOULD END

    In my opinion something is being done, as an example in Egypt, but it does not aim deep enough because it will leave the root intact. If you do not threaten the life blood of this nothing will transpire, you can be assured of that, and all can wait for the wheels to fall off after the carnage is complete and the elite retire in complete victory while the people burn.

    You keep talking about democracy as it is conceived or operating now, and talk about it being subverted – it is not subverted, but it is functioning as the “representative” nightmare demands, totally isolating the people and exploiting them to the fullest. People talk about “citizenship,” but if you practice citizenship as defined by the system you accomplish nothing. If you want to call something democracy I recommend it be completely and deeply participatory – and not within the confines of the circular and circumventing definition made for you, by those who know whats best for you, as citizenship.

    Apparently you are not moved enough to do anything of consequence, so I might as well encourage those who are willing to do what is necessary – you can retire to what you think you have till it magically disappears. Find comfort in your temporary and tenuous personal peace and comfort. If you cannot recognize the reality of your position at the outset, you will never be able to follow a course to do anything substantive regarding your condition.

    What you are holding onto is an ephemeral dream that never existed, and unless you unwind yourselves from this delusion (with dreams of “regaining?” Regaining what! What you never had?) I don’t care what you want to believe in, as far as I am concerned it is a bunch of fairy tales -

    STOP HOLDING ON AND DO SOMETHING

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      February 20, 2011, 7:15 pm

      Vared/VJ always has more than enough words to tells us what we should or shouldn’t be doing to change the system and while demanding silence until we figure it out and embark on the path. The Egyptians, he acknowledges, are doing something, but patronizingly, as is his style, they didn’t “aim deep enough. Has anyone besides me noticed that he has yet to lean over to tell us what he has been doing?

      • VR
        February 20, 2011, 8:40 pm

        Mr. Blankfort, the issue is not what “I” have been doing, it is what is being done. What is being done is a symptom of what you think is wrong. A person takes a aspirin if they think they have a bad headache, they certainly do not do that if they think they are having a stroke – to tell a person to take an aspirin when they are suffering from a stroke is a quack remedy, if they self-medicate they have made a deadly decision, the one who proscribes this as a “professional” is a quack.

        You cannot even begin to approach a remedy if you do not live in reality. There is nothing “patronizing” about my assessment about what is happening in Egypt (and I agree with the majority of what Samir Amin is saying), if you read my last two posts on my site you will find facts – deal with the facts. The attempt to try to cast what I am saying as “patronizing,” done in the “wrong spirit,” or whatever is an excuse. Asking me what I am doing has nothing to do with what is currently transpiring, or what we could do to stop this systemic process – it just becomes another low mark in you repeated use of ad hominem quips when you cannot answer a cogent point. I am trying to get to the heart of the issue, I could care less what you think about me.

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 8:50 pm

        VJ spends most of his posts telling the rest of us how much more stupid and ignorant we are than he is, which is really persuasive.

      • VR
        February 20, 2011, 10:04 pm

        The ad hominem echo was really helpful Potsherd2, it is no problem, I just consider it the extent of your ability to contribute. Actually a good portion of what I do agree with can be seen in the statements of Samir Amin who has contributed too the World Social Forum and is greatly respected, perhaps I over-estimated the extent of a response to truly critical thinking – my mistake.

      • VR
        February 20, 2011, 10:37 pm

        Here is a link for you to follow, if you want some idea of where I am coming from. Don’t say I never gave you anything –

        E-JOUSSOUR.NET

      • VR
        February 20, 2011, 10:58 pm

        “Of course things could change if the working class and peasant’s movement moves in. But this does not seem to be on the agenda. Of course as long as the economic system is managed in accordance with the rules of the “globalization game”, none of the problems which resulted in the protest movement can be really solved.” Samir Amin

        THE MOVEMENT IN EGYPT

      • Potsherd2
        February 20, 2011, 11:05 pm

        Link, shmink – the lazy man’s substitute for argument.

        All you do here is insult other posters and put up your endless links.

      • Taxi
        February 20, 2011, 11:28 pm

        I like the link.

      • VR
        February 21, 2011, 9:52 am

        That was an interesting response Potsherd2, before I was accused here of writing virtual books. I do not have time for niceties, too many people are dying all over the world, and to use a well worn out phrase – you can’t handle the truth – I am talking about the bottom line. If you want to see what I have written you can go to my site to read, you will have to go through numerous posts (start with the last 4), I don’t think the authors of this site would appreciate all of what I think in one swoop. I am already paying the price for what I believe, they do not just come after you but your entire family, and I do not need to elaborate. Start with –

        BEATING THE NEOLIBERAL BEAST GLOBALLY

        I could unpack these points for you (link), but it would be brutal.

      • Sumud
        February 20, 2011, 9:21 pm

        I hadn’t so much considered that Jeffrey, but: however sensible his ideas are, I do not feel encouraged to engage with him when he fairly consistently opens with (to paraphrase):

        “you’re all wrong and I’m gonna tell you why.”

        This does come across as somewhat patronising, and a bad way to discuss good ideas. Or rather, it is the lack of discussion that is the problem. VR would be better off to respond to individual comments with which he has issue rather than his current attitude of “me vs. the MW commentators”. You might not think that is your attitude VR but that’s how it comes across, to me anyway.

        I also have to ask VR to work on his website: there is a Flash issue that makes it consistently crash using Safari (I mentioned this last week but I don’t think you saw it), and PLEASE dump the coloured text on a black background. It is extremely hard on the eyes and reminds me of the web in 1997.

      • VR
        February 20, 2011, 11:21 pm

        I’ll try to clean up the site color Sumud, as far as the flash goes, Safari does not incorporate all of the advances in flash as of yet – I will try to use more universal methods.

        As far as “me vs. the MW commentators,” I have to tell you this is quite a bastion of conventional thought and assumptions, and there is little to no room made for critical thinking. I think the subjects, and the models (for the most part) they are set on is meant to ignore or shut down true revolutionary thought. As long as they persist on thinking that there is going to be some magical formula which is set on some sort of “reform” package they will be sorely disappointed. As long as they truncate the real issues which face the people suffering in the world with boogie men rather than a systemic whole that must be undone, nothing of consequence will occur. Than again, maybe they will not be disappointed, because perhaps all they want is mutual banter and nothing more – and the site will grow in popularity along with others of like kind – and be absolutely harmless to the powers that be.

      • Potsherd2
        February 21, 2011, 10:31 am

        VR doesn’t say “you’re all wrong and I’m gonna tell you why.”

        He says, “you’re all wrong but I’m too self-important to bother to tell you why.”

        I’m perfectly happy to see reasonable arguments why I might be wrong on some issue, but VR’s bad attitude doesn’t lead me to believe he owns any.

      • VR
        February 23, 2011, 12:00 am

        “The movement is that of urban young, particularly holders of diplomas with no job, supported by segments of the educated middle classes, democrats. The new regime could perhaps make some concessions – enlarge the recruitment in the State apparatus – hardly more.

        Of course things could change if the working class and peasant’s movement moves in. But this does not seem to be on the agenda. Of course as long as the economic system is managed in accordance with the rules of the “globalization game”, none of the problems which resulted in the protest movement can be really solved. “

      • VR
        February 23, 2011, 12:14 am

        Of course, all of this is –

        A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        February 23, 2011, 9:39 pm

        VR, I am not sure of the size and the degree of political activity among the Egyptian peasantry but I do not recall any revolution that has ever been led by the industrial working class. The revolutions in China and Vietnam were carried out by the peasantry. Unfortunately, they are not the ones that write the history and the workers were later given the credit.

        This dichotomy between workers and peasants, course, was created by men who were neither, intellectuals led by Marx who had a romantic view of industrial production and what they believed was its potential and a disdainful view of those whose labors put the food on their plates. Sad, to say, nothing much has changed in the way that most Marxists, who also happen to be neither industrial workers or peasants, view the world today, and your comment reflects that.

      • VR
        February 25, 2011, 1:45 am

        Oh sure Mr. Blankfort, that is what my aim is, in fact let me show you who I am –

        HERE I AM!

        ha ha!

  33. fuster
    February 20, 2011, 6:32 pm

    —It WOULD be in this hegemon’s realist interest to enforce at least minimum Palestinian sovereignty.
    But it isn’t in the interest of the military-industrial complex, Zionists and crazy Christians. All of whom give jack shit about the US national interest.—

    I think that the hegemon has made a couple of stabs at negotiations aimed at establishing a sovereign Palestinian state

    • Chaos4700
      February 21, 2011, 2:42 am

      …by putting the most sophisticated weapons in the hands of the world’s most vicious, unscrupulous terrorist rogue nuclear state? Really?

      • fuster
        February 22, 2011, 5:30 am

        Iran hasn’t yet gone nuclear.

      • Chaos4700
        February 22, 2011, 6:21 pm

        I wasn’t talking about Iran. The Iranian government is pretty oppressive to its own people, but they aren’t the ones hijacking ships in the Mediterranean or conducting air raids against schools and hospitals.

    • Cliff
      February 22, 2011, 6:25 am

      ZioFrog, really wants us to believe his bi-polar rantings. Funny!

  34. Linda J
    February 21, 2011, 1:53 am

    Virginia Tilley says: “But I must admit to praying they do it soon also for the sake of US politics, foreign and domestic.”

    She has just described the ignorance and venality of Congress and the stupidity of the people of the U.S., yet she wants to save U.S. politics. She gives Obama too much credit for caring a whit about people here (or anywhere). Searching his soul is not something anyone but him can do. We just have to go by what he does. And he has done a lot of rotten things, not just this veto. Torture, drones??

    We need to unwaveringly demand human rights and justice from those who represent us, just like the people of Egypt and Tunis and Palestine do. That is the only thing that will save our politics.

    • Virginia Tilley
      February 22, 2011, 7:16 pm

      And that is exactly what I mean, Linda. Holding government accountable to the will of the people, with careful protections of minorities against what can sometimes be the “tyranny of the majority” (e.g., white supremacy), is the only way to have decent government. The necessary, although not sufficient, condition. – VT

  35. suzannedk
    February 21, 2011, 5:06 am

    Mr Soros made a good point last night about Fox news presenting propaganda as if it is reality news is an extremely dangerous excercise in power. This was also done by Hitler, among other dictators. I suggest that Virginia Tilley’s article falls into that catagory as well. As does the Israeli Lobby constant electioneering, sheparding U.S. support for it’s genocidal policies. An inward focused culture, America gives it’s power to the Lobby
    with open hands. U.S. power is not stolen.

    Palestine Today is a daily paper of Palestinian/Israeli news. I had converted to Islam before 9/11 and one of the Palestine Today compilers became a convert a bit later. She began sending me that list, maybe in 2003-4. It took me two full years before I could read the list from cover to cover as it was and still is so filled with Israeli criminally insane activities. Now the Settlers burn the tents of Palestinian families thrown out of the family homes and orchards as the famly sleeps inside the canvas. Prior to that I.D.F. soldiers were shooting toddlers in the skulls and/or pregnant mothers in the belly (uterus). Palestinians. Rachael Corry was run over not once by accident, but three (3) times on purpose.

    In that context, against a backdrop of millions of enraged Arab and Muslim civilians revolting against Western policies that impoversh, humiliate, stealing their oil wealth and futures, imprisoned dying Gaza their metaphor, President Obama’s United Nation’s lone veto stands as a stark gauntlet of war thrown in the oil rich sands of the whole Middle East. Israel is the spearpointof the War Empire, no more, no less. It’s carefully promoted madness will continue to be fully supported for this reason.

    Israeli foreign policy has been U.S. foreign policy for many years. That is no accident, no blunder of history. The ‘new’ mega-nation is going for the empire status it craves before the world warming chaos hits. Empire predating the atom, never mind. The weather chaos will simply be used to magnify empire. Carefully managed, incredible thefts will be ever so much easier. Dutch orinial Rembrants anyone as Netherlands sinks into the North Sea?

    I read so much that never seems to see the empire moves, the deliberate chaos-making ploys as the world’s largest military power expands to cover our globe. European archives are being both deleted and rewritten. An embarressed European Union, watching the horror of living in erupting captive Arab/Muslim countries, is needed to support the U.S. War Empire. That lone iron gauntlet insists on approval. Is such approval in the E.U.’s best interests? Millions of Middle Eastern refugees from western wars of oil live in Europe. Does not approval endanger us intimately?

    Fox Speak is expanding with the the U.S. run NATO colonies, with it’s vast fleets of ships and planes…trying to make sure at any costs that the E.U. remains it’s captive yes man. While so many argue fine points that no longer matter, or soon will not.

    Is it in the best interests of America to mirror the foreign policy of a tiny nation that hates and fears every one of it’s neighbors? To both mirror it and defend it’s criminal insanities? Suzanne

  36. Sand
    February 21, 2011, 1:51 pm

    “…She gives Obama too much credit for caring a whit about people here…”

    I’m by no means making excuses for him… But, he’s not our only problem — The US government consists of a court of vipers — each wanting to overthrow the other — all having little concern about how the American public are hurting. That’s one thing I’ve learned — It’s all so very dark.

    And Ellen, I’m really very sorry you had to learn the hard way.

  37. MRW
    February 22, 2011, 5:42 am

    Jeffrey, great posts!

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