[Marxism] Re: Israel lobby controversy

M. Junaid Alam alam at lefthook.org
Tue Apr 4 20:17:23 MDT 2006


"How about the Moroccan lobby in relation to US support re Western 
Sahara? Fundamental, right? [etc etc]"

Congratulations for totally ignoring the fact that Israel is not a 
normal state like France or whatever. It is a settler-state, formed by a 
people with deep, conflictual, and inextricable ties to the Western 
world, and smack dab in the middle of the Muslim world. You have to be 
pretty daft, really, to talk about Israel as if it's just another state 
like Morocco, instead of a Jewish state, and therefore with a totally 
different, more intimate relationship and history with Western societies.

To talk about Israel as if it's just some other country out there, 
instead of something umblically tied to Christian and European history 
and society, is just plain ridiculous. How many "Moroccans" do you know 
on the Wall Street Journal editorial page? How many fund schools like 
Harvard and threaten to withdraw said funding? How many Moroccans 
supply, as the W Post pointed out, 60% of the campaign funding for the 
liberal party? Louis posted a couple months back here a Nation book 
review about minorities in various societies who either through 
persecution or unique circumstances, came to excel and perform superbly 
in unique niche areas. I can't find it at the moment unfortunately but 
it names a few different societies, including some in East Asia, where 
an ethnic minority becomes known for excellence in trade, etc.

 In our context, take a look at the Sulzbergers and WWII. This Jewish 
family owned the NYTimes and took a cowardly editorial approach to the 
Holocaust, relegating most reports related to it on page A6, next to 
other articles that were utterly not even 1/1000th of the importance. In 
the documentary film about this, some of the staff around then conceded 
that there was a general sentiment in which it was "understood" that 
this was how it was going to be. One staff said something similar to the 
effect that "some things you just know, you don't need to put it on 
paper." So the rationale was that in the political climate of 
anti-Semitism, the owners didn't want to illuminate the Holocaust, 
because they didn't want Americans to think the war was being fought 
"just" to save Jews (apparently not a good enough reason).

Today, the political climate is quite the opposite - ultra-Semitic. 
Jewish racism is obviously openly celebrated and accepted and ritualized 
and defended through moral blackmail, in the specific form of Zionism. 
So what would be so surprising if prominent and rich Jews who strongly 
support Israel take political and financial measures to materialize that 
emotional investment? Indeed there is nothing surprising at all, most of 
it is very open, like the funding of illegal Jewish settlements by 
wealthy American Jews. Or the creation of a rag like the NYSun. Or the 
prominence of those Jewish intellectuals who abandoned the left and now 
fill the AEI and New Republic. And on it goes. So really, the lesson is 
quite simple: there is nothing inherently wrong with an ethnic group 
being overrepresented in some field, because it doesn't lead to any 
"cabal" overrunning state interests. However, when the *overall climate* 
is conducive to a certain course of action, in which the leading members 
of the group feel themselves to have a stake, obviously their role can 
be decisive.

It really takes on an impressive amount of ignorance to imply, through 
this rhetorical quesiton-spamming session, that denouncing US policy in 
Cuba or freedom fries or whatever elicits the same reaction as 
criticizing Israel. Maybe on Mars, but not here.

Another standard point made is:
 
"If Israel became a less important factor in US foreign policy, the 
Israel lobby would decline in influence accordingly. Surely the Israel 
lobby is powerful only because Israel plays a very important role in US 
foreign policy in the Middle East."

What a curiously mechanistic argument. Why do you assume it flows only 
one way? To invert your fomulation: If from an objective standpoint 
Israel became a liability to US imperial interests, the Israeli lobby - 
far from 'declining' like some kind of damn inevitablity predetermined 
by  law - will fight like hell, tooth and nail, to make Israel appear to 
be indispensable to US interests and silence all who say otherwise. 
Isn't that the whole purpose of a lobby? The tobacco lobby is obviously 
inimical to the interests of American productivity and healthcare, but 
it didn't just shut down when it realized its products cause cancer. 
Similarly, Israel plays zero "important role" in US foreign policy in 
the ME now, except that it pisses off hundreds of millions of people 
around the Muslim world. The Cold War and the funding of South American 
militaries, and all that shit, it's over. Ended. Gone. I don't know why 
people get blabbering on with those old rationales. Israel's 
intellectual defenders have made a new role for it, which is to cause 
problems for the United States that it wouldn't otherwise have by 
inflaming tensions with Muslims. The fact that the most virulent 
peddlers of the Clash thesis are also the staunchest supporters - and 
overwhelmingly right-wing Jewish intellectuals, as a matter of fact - is 
telling. Israel is kind of like the gangster who demands you pay a 
protection fee to protect you from himself - except in this case it's to 
protect you from those who are angry at you precisely because you 
support the gangster in the first place. Ironically it was Chomsky who 
pointed out a perfect example: in the 1980s when the Saudis made a broad 
peace offer to Israel, the Americans considered it a decent idea. Israel 
flew some fighter jets over Saudio oil fields to send a message to 
Washington, and the plan was scrapped. Some "client state" isnt it?

It's mindblowing this basic kind of stuff needs to be pointed out when a 
war like this one is going on. All the realist guys, the State Dept., 
the GWI administration, in fact all the intelligence reports, predicted 
the outcome in Iraq that is now a reality. We all know the 
administration deliberately twisted and filtered the evidence to conform 
to their war-making interests. So why all the vulgar-Marxist nonsense 
about inevitability and cold rationalities? There was nothing rational 
about the neoconservative program. The head of the CIA himself, Michael 
Scheuer, not exactly a bastion of anti-imperialist sentiment, has been 
saying exactly this since day one.

And it's doubly absurd when you look at Chomsky's argument, that 
American interests to secure oil tower far above anything the pro-Israel 
lobby promoted. How do you propose to say the war has secured oil 
interests?  Iran can cut off oil supplies and cripple the market, Chavez 
is making a windfall and a hell of a lot of political capital, the US 
has no stability for the center of the oil region of the world. How can 
Chomsky call that "secure"? He said "The US has substantially maintained 
control" of the oil resources. How is that evident from Iraq where 
insurgents slash open and blow up oil pipelines every month? Does anyone 
even remember the fact that on the eve of the war the major energy 
corporations were not exactly thrilled with the venture?

And finally:

"Another problem with genuine scholars over-estimating the power of the 
Israel lobby is that it gives succour to every nut-house right-wing 
conspiracy-theory merchant who sees the hand of 'The Jews' behind the 
ills" of the world. We don't want to give these nutters any help!"

This is what I call changing the truth in order to fit political 
parameters. Yeah, so the anti-Semites can use genuine facts for a 
disingenuous cause. Therefore, we lie about the facts to deprive them of 
their cause? Newsflash: they don't need facts, their cause and belief 
system does not depend on facts anyway. Besides that, this is a totally 
dishonest and cowardly way of analyzing the world. Most likely in NYC 
that white girl was raped by that black bouncer, based on the evidence 
so far. Since this event fits in with white stereotyping of blacks as 
sex-hungry lusting after white women, now what, we say the rape didn't 
happen? Marxists letting KKK ideology dictate how they decide to 
approach a set of facts: remarkable. Meanwhile, while some play this 
politically-correct game, the real white supremacy (the smart ones who 
now call themselves evangelists) and the real anti-Semites (those Arabs 
are Semites, you know) are the ones who, unlike David Duke and other 
clowns, are actually killing people and destroying lives. But I guess 
all that takes a back-seat to what David Duke and some other retarded 
hicks in Alabama spout to gain press coverage.










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