[Marxism] Comment on Bricmont and Johnstone on AIPAC

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Sep 15 11:43:17 MDT 2013

List members might be interested in Moshé Machover's comments on Jean
Bricmont and Diana Johnstone's latest, 'The People Against the 800 Pound
Gorilla' <


Their basic thesis is that AIPAC determines US policy in the Middle East
against real US interests. This is the same "tail wags dog" thesis argued
by Mearsheimer and Walt -- except that the latter are more sophisticated,
and stress that the Israel lobby is much wider that AIPAC and includes many
more Christians than Jews. They also don't belong to the left, but are
bourgeois political "scientists".

According to this thesis Israel is the most powerful state in the entire
world, as it can compel even the US to do its bidding, willy-nilly!

The flaw in this thesis is: why do the decision-making political elite and
dominant big-business interests in the US allow this alleged manipulation
of US foreign policy if it is really so much against their interests. If
big business -- the MIC, oil companies etc -- were really against this,
they could surely muster enough resources to counter AIPAC. To defend
themselves against the charge of antisemitism, they could easily find
enough Jews to help refute this charge.

The answer is that Israel is really an important strategic asset for the US.

Bricmont and Johnstone consider and refute various alternative explanations
as to why the US seems to do what is in Israel's but not US interest. But
they omit to mention the two most evident points.

1. Israel, possessing by far the strongest military force in the region, is
also the most deeply committed to US dominance in the Middle East. Unlike
other ME states, its commitment to the US is independent of which party is
in office, and is not threatened in the foreseeable future by a popular
anti-US internal opposition. It is therefore most reliable as US regional
Rottweiler. No other ME state is in anything like this position.

2. Specifically, in the case of Iran (and hence its allies Syria and
Hizbullah), what B&J fail to consider is the Mafia principle: in order to
maintain credibility, any display of disobedience and insufficient
compliance must be severely punished and made an example of. So, with
respect to Iran the strategic interests of Israel and US imperialism
coincide. Israel jealously guards its regional hegemony (as main junior
partner of the US), and is committed to prevent any regional state becoming
a credible rival. The US is interested to preserve its credibility as the
the dominant power, and punish any disobedience.

Note, that it was the credibility issue that Obama stressed in his last
speech before he climbed down.

The role of AIPAC and the (much wider) Israel lobby is however very
important: it is to silence dissent and prevent challenge in the press and
Congress to US policy that is in the interest of the dominant part of the
US ruling class, but would otherwise be quite unpopular.

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