Israel's Role [Re: Israel and the US War on Iraq: A Lethal Warning to US ClientStates: Behave or Else]
M. Junaid Alam
redjaguar at attbi.com
Wed Feb 26 15:33:00 MST 2003
Actually, I don't find the article very convincing at all in proving
that America's foreign policy in the Middle East as it concerns Israel
has a one-directional flow. Moreover, it is a straw-man, slightly
confused argument, because no one is arguing that Israel controls US
foreign policy because of this detached, robotic mechanism called the
"pro-Israel lobby". Because what is Israel, anyway, but a state
financed, created, supported and subsidized largely from the outside? It
is more accurate to speak of _Zionism_ and US foreign policy.
First of all, only select portions of the article deal directly with the
chain of command in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Some of that is just
quotes strung together - for example, in the section about Israel
becoming militarized. The rest is just endless quoting of Chomsky--how
is that convincing, when we know Chomsky has always taken the view that
Israel is just an outpost of the U.S.?
The historically-rooted explanation about Arab nationalism is nothing
new. And in the modern political context, it also doesn't make sense,
either. Arab nationalism is dead. Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise.
What is the largest aggravating factor of Islamic fundamentalism and
anti-Americanism in the Arab world? Israel. You call that fulfilling a
function of imperialism?
The article states:
"Israel's job in America's "overall framework of order," in
Henry Kissinger's phrase, was to guarantee that those conservative
Arab governments were protected from their most dangerous enemy --
their own populations. Israel was to be the final bulwark against the
dangers that would be posed to US control if "domestic radicals" came
to power in one of the oil-producing states..."
Today, these "own populations" are enraged in the first place because of
Israel. According to the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, in their weekly
magazine, the one issue--above all others--that concerns Egyptians is
Palestine. This, in a background of war in Iraq, poverty, and economic
collapse. So today, Israel is the leading cause of the anger that gives
the conservative regimes their headaches in the first place.
The author then cites Chomsky's three "recent" examples of how the U.S.
really calls the shots:
""--The Bush #1 case involved $10 million in loan guarantees, which
Israel was using (illegally, but with US connivance) for settlement
in the territories. The Shamir government was doing it in a brazen
way that annoyed Baker-Bush. Bush suspended the guarantees, ...
Israel returned to the preferred Labor-style hypocrisy ('thickening
settlements,' 'natural growth,' etc.) and all was well. "--In 2000,
Israel's highly militarized high-tech economy was counting heavily on
a huge sale of Phalcon air war technology to China. The US didn't
like it. Barak said Israel would never back down. Clinton told them
quietly, 'Sorry, no.' End of story. "--Sharon's siege of Arafat in
Ramallah was interfering with Bush administration efforts to garner
support for the war on Iraq. The orders came quietly from Washington.
Case #1: settlement in the territories. This is a bloody joke. The
manner in which a pathetic $10 million dollars of loan guarantees was
used for settlements is utterly meaningless. In the last 10 years,
Israel has created dozens upon dozens of settlements and outposts in the
Territories by bulldozing homes, building roads, setting up military
fortifications, and so on. So how does the Shamir government, over two
decades ago, changing the _official jargon_ used to justify settler
expansion illustrate that Baker-Bush bossed around the Israelis?
Case #3: Sharon's siege of Arafat. As I recall, Bush's demand went
unheeded. There was a fiasco over how "immediate withdrawal" turned into
several days, and then weeks, as the meaning of the term became the
subject of ridicule in the pro-Palestinian left.
And consider this: Chomsky says the orders "came quietly from
Washington" because the Bush administration was trying to "garner
support for the war on Iraq." Well hell, the Israelis _want_ a war on
Iraq--this way they can get rid of not just Arafat but the Palestinian
people. How is that a concession on Israel's part by any definition of
the word? It is a bloody gift.
As another example of how Israel is merely in the image of its master,
the author continues:
"Chomsky refers to Israel as "virtually an offshore US military
establishment." An Israeli journalist recently described the country
as "an army with a state, not state with an army," and that army is
"almost an offshoot of the Pentagon," Chomsky adds. He points out,
"Unfortunately for Israel, it's coming to resemble the US in other
ways. It approximates the US in having the highest inequality in the
industrial world, and its social welfare system, once impressive, is
visibly declining. It may end up being almost a caricature of the
worst features of American society. These are consequences of the
choice of confrontation and dependency rather than peaceful
integration into the region, fateful choices decades ago."
This is really stretching it, because all these different elements are
strung together in almost one sentence. I don't see how this could
possibly show how Israel is a mere client state. The fact of the matter
is that it is the US which is adopting Israeli practices and jargon,
including torture and illegal detainment.
I think the author's own inclusion of the following tends to undercut
As Kurt Nimmo explained in CounterPunch, "...the idea of killing
Saddam Hussein and inflicting depredation on the Iraqi people is not
a Bush idea (it can be argued Bush has no original ideas of his own)
-- the current scheme was a roughcast devised by Likudite Richard
Perle. In 1996, Perle (and Douglas Feith) wrote 'A Clean Break: A New
Strategy for Securing the Realm,' which he presented to then Israel
Prime Minister Netanyahu. The plan called for not only eliminating
Hussein and installing a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, but also for
trashing the Oslo Accords, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza, and overthrowing or destabilizing the governments of Syria,
Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Perle's master plan for Likud
regional dominance ... was crafted for the Jerusalem and Washington,
D.C.-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
More than anything this illustrates that the intellectual input for the
war drive partly came from Zionist think tanks inside and outside of
The author concludes:
"The conservative columnist Robert Novak said on Meet the Press in
December that the extremists in the Bush administration never wanted
inspections in Iraq: "This is really about change of regime in Iraq
and change of the political outlines in the Middle East more to
Israel's benefit. That's what this has all been about, and since it's
very hard to sell that to the American people, they have done it on a
weapons of mass destruction basis." With the proviso that "Israel's
benefit" here means the enhancement of the role that US foreign
policy provides for a militarized Israel -- hardly to the benefit of
the people of Israel -- the comment seems about right."
So Israel's role as a militarized conquering nation is more securely
guaranteed by Washington waging war - true indeed. But how does this
secure America's own imperialist role? As an imperialist power, the US
has installed friendly regimes in the Arab oil-producing and non-oil
producing countries, containing a quarter billion people of the same
religion and common ethnicity. How does supporting a country of six
million, with no oil, which holds openly racist policies towards Arabs,
guarantee the security of American oil? Again, the historical reasons no
longer apply-nationalism and the USSR are dead. It doesn't appear
credible that Israel's military power is anything more than a liability
to America controlling the oil flow in the Middle East.
Whatever the case may be, it is wrong to look at the situation through
the lens of economic determinism. The war drive is not just abstractly
about oil with another client state called Israel happening to benefit
from the situation. I think it is more accurate to say that the world
system which produced and supported Zionism as the newest vanguard of
Western colonialism is being sucked into the consequences of having
established it in the first place. Lord Balfour said in 1917 that
establishing a homeland for Zionism was "of far profounder import than
the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that
The descendants of those dispossessed Arabs happen to strongly disagree,
and moreover they happen to be increasing rapidly in number. Therefore
the Zionist project is in danger because it was born in sin, as a
colonial settler state which can't sustain itself demographically.
What is 'total war' and the openly proclaimed mission to invade the
Middle East by "dealing with" Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, but a
recognition of this dilemma? The Israeli outpost solution to Arab
nationalism has become the Israeli outpost instigator of Islamic
extremism. But as the intellectual and political links and ties between
the outpost and America have already fused and solidified, there can be
no question now of neatly removing the contradictions Israel has
engendered by sidelining Israel. Therefore we will remove the
contradiction by removing its other side, namely the Arabs.
In order to save the outpost, it has become necessary to destroy the
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