[Marxism] James Petras: The Tyranny Of Israel Over America

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Thu Mar 30 10:22:11 MST 2006


Faux radicalism  derives its primary strength from concentrating 
hatreds on putatively anti national forces which are imagined to have 
insidiously worked their ways into the national body.
Fascism rejuvenates the national body through expulsion of anti 
national threats. It is axiomatic that it is easier to fight 
foreigners than one's own ruling class.

We are seeing yet again the left's attraction to national socialism. 
In the rants against illegal
aliens and the Israeli lobby.

It's hopeful though that important thinkers such as Massad and 
Chomsky have presented
reasoned criticism.


Junaid wrote:

>There is no "objective, material" reason for
>the US to support Israel. There are superstructural reasons, residue
>from what was once buttressed by objective material conditions (Cold
>War), a residue that has hardened, been reinforced, and locked into
>place so as to become policy. That residue is (a) demonization of Arabs
>and Islam, resulting in a sense of 'Judeo-Christian' solidarity against
>the Other,

This suggests that material advantage can be sacrificed for 
ideological, in particular religious, reasons, not that the shadowy 
power of the Israeli Lobby lurks behind US moves in West Asia.

For your argument to work you would have to prove that the Israeli 
lobby is the material force behind the demonization of Arabs and 
Islam.

Yet Islam was demonized by Christianity even before it was a 
threat--say around 1000 AD as European feudal arrangements needed 
justification with the tapering off of invasions. The hatred of Islam 
did not begin with Israel. Moreover, Arab nationalism was indeed a 
threat to US imperialism in the Cold War context. Political Islam 
became a public enemy as a result  of the Iranian hostage crisis, not 
as a result of Israeli propaganda.


Israel may benefit from American and  Western hostility to pan 
Arabism and many forms
of Political Islam because in this context Israel appears a more 
reliable military partner and a closer ideological brother, but I 
don't see how Israel can be said to be driving American foreign 
policy.
Israel was a faithful ally in the Cold War, and there seems to be 
some honor among Cold Warriors.
Bush for example reappointed Elliot Abrams and Negroponte. Old 
friends are not forgotten; they are rewarded for loyalty again and 
again. Harriet Miers for example.

   And it's not clear to me at all what kind of logistical support 
Israel provides today to the US. I certainly did not get an in-depth 
analysis from Mearscheimer and Walt's analysis. And I doubt that even 
they have the intelligence to give an accurate account of the complex 
military relations between Israel and the US.


Israel may now be indulged (to the horror of the Palestinian people), 
but it's not in the driver's seat. And you don't refute Chomsky's 
point that the US has at times hemmed in Israel, e.g. arms exports to 
China. And that US policy towards pan Arabism and Arab nationalism is 
similar to other like phenomena where there is no claim of Israeli 
influence.

I do feel that the American left is being encouraged to slip into 
anti Jewish demonology
as an explanation for American frustrations in the Arab world just as 
American blacks are
being encouraged to turn their energies against illegal immigrants.


Rakesh


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