Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Great & Fake Oath
Monday, 5 October 2015
" A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.
A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.
The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.
Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspapers with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?
Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand hand breeds slavishness on the other, Men and women — both are losers. Women adapt themselves to full the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women. In the beginning there were strong men who killed the animals and brought home the food — and the dependent women who cooked it. No more! Only the roles remain –waiting to be shaken off. There are no “human” oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity. On one hand “slavishness,” one the other hand “pigness.” Six of one, half dozen of the other, Who wins?
Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love — with-out being dependent? How do you be gentle — without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?
And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?
The man is bitter.
“You lied to me,” he said. (She did).
“You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words.” (They are).
“But in reality,” he said, “If you ever love me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I’m not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me — just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn’t have the guts to tell me that. You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father, or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old, or your husband. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person — as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me — and that’s a piggy thing to do.”
And she said, “You wanted me not as a woman, or as a lover, or a friend, but as a submissive woman, or submissive friend , or submissive lover; and right now where my head is I balk at even the slightest suspicion of that kind of demand.
And he said, “You’re full of _______.”
And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything) or never ever saw each other one more time. "
Holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure;-thus did they guide all mortal creatures.
Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order... "
And when he had called them together, he spake as follows - ..." *
And they practised all the pursuits which we yesterday described as those of our imaginary guardians. Concerning the country the Egyptian priests said what is not only probable but manifestly true, that the boundaries were in those days fixed by the Isthmus, and that in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes; the boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropus on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left. The land was the best in the world, and was therefore able in those days to support a vast army, raised from the surrounding people. Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore.
Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left.
But in the primitive state of the country, its mountains were high hills covered with soil, and the plains, as they are termed by us, of Phelleus were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last the traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying.
Outside the Acropolis and under the sides of the hill there dwelt artisans, and such of the husbandmen as were tilling the ground near; the warrior class dwelt by themselves around the temples of Athene and Hephaestus at the summit, which moreover they had enclosed with a single fence like the garden of a single house. On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children's children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose.
Where the Acropolis now is there was a fountain, which was choked by the earthquake, and has left only the few small streams which still exist in the vicinity, but in those days the fountain gave an abundant supply of water for all and of suitable temperature in summer and in winter. This is how they dwelt, being the guardians of their own citizens and the leaders of the Hellenes, who were their willing followers. And they took care to preserve the same number of men and women through all time, being so many as were required for warlike purposes, then as now-that is to say, about twenty thousand. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. And next, if I have not forgotten what I heard when I was a child, I will impart to you the character and origin of their adversaries. For friends should not keep their stories to themselves, but have them in common.
To his twin brother, who was born after him, and obtained as his lot the extremity of the island towards the Pillars of Heracles, facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him, Gadeirus.
Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon.
To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him.
Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. And of the fifth pair he gave to the elder the name of Azaes, and to the younger that of Diaprepes.
All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea; and also, as has been already said, they held sway in our direction over the country within the Pillars as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia.
And beginning from the sea they bored a canal of three hundred feet in width and one hundred feet in depth and fifty stadia in length, which they carried through to the outermost zone, making a passage from the sea up to this, which became a harbour, and leaving an opening sufficient to enable the largest vessels to find ingress. Moreover, they divided at the bridges the zones of land which parted the zones of sea, leaving room for a single trireme to pass out of one zone into another, and they covered over the channels so as to leave a way underneath for the ships; for the banks were raised considerably above the water.
Now the largest of the zones into which a passage was cut from the sea was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land which came next of equal breadth; but the next two zones, the one of water, the other of land, were two stadia, and the one which surrounded the central island was a stadium only in width. The island in which the palace was situated had a diameter of five stadia. All this including the zones and the bridge, which was the sixth part of a stadium in width, they surrounded by a stone wall on every side, placing towers and gates on the bridges where the sea passed in. The stone which was used in the work they quarried from underneath the centre island, and from underneath the zones, on the outer as well as the inner side. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. Some of their buildings were simple, but in others they put together different stones, varying the colour to please the eye, and to be a natural source of delight. The entire circuit of the wall, which went round the outermost zone, they covered with a coating of brass, and the circuit of the next wall they coated with tin, and the third, which encompassed the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum.
About the greatest action which the Athenians ever did, and which ought to have been the most famous, but, through the lapse of time and the destruction of the actors, it has not come down to us.
Tell us, said the other, the whole story, and how and from whom Solon heard this veritable tradition.
He replied: - In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity for their foundress; she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes call Athene; they are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them. To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old. On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened. Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.
Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied, that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us. When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient.
The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer does not prevent, mankind exist, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed-if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples. Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves.
For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.
Solon marvelled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens. You are welcome to hear about them, Solon, said the priest, both for your own sake and for that of your city, and above all, for the sake of the goddess who is the common patron and parent and educator of both our cities.
Chomsky Slaps Israel Lobby Theory as ‘Marginal Irrelevancy’
One thing I haven't mentioned from the Yale debate last week of John Mearsheimer's argument that we end the special relationship with Israel was, Where was the left? The rightwing was pro-Mearsheimer. So were the Progressives, humorously. The sole Arabist in the debate was an Independent. Another Independent was pure lobby, as was the Conservative party–the neocons.
Well, the Left was pure Chomsky, and it argued against Mearsheimer.
David Porter said that while he could quarrel with nothing Mearsheimer said about Israel's behavior, he disputed the cause: "Israel's problems with the Middle East often derive from our problems in the Middle East." We invade countries, we bomb Arabs. We do "crazy things" on our own every day. They're just imitating us.
Mearsheimer summed up Porter neatly. He's saying, "Israel is basically our Rottweiller." Yes, the U.S. does foolish things in the Middle East. But our "special relationship" with Israel is one dimension of the problem, and an important one. Let's go after it.
I thought of Porter today when I read the great Noam Chomsky's a piece on Counterpunch about the U.S. support for Georgia vis-a-vis Russia. He takes the Porter line, and so he never even mentions the neocons and Israel, both players in the Georgia debacle, and seems to dismiss the idea of the Israel lobby as an "irrelevancy." You will see that he treats U.S-Georgia-Russia in strict and classic imperialist terms:
Clinton doctrine that Washington has the right to use military force to
defend vital interests such as “ensuring uninhibited access to key
markets, energy supplies and strategic resources”… derives from standard principles formulated by high-level
planners during World War II, which offered the prospect of global
dominance. In the postwar world, they determined, the US should aim “to
hold unquestioned power” while ensuring the “limitation of any exercise
of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with its global designs. …
goals are deeply rooted in stable institutional structures. Hence they
persist through changes in occupancy of the White House, and are
untroubled by the opportunity for “peace dividends,” the disappearance
of the major rival from the world scene, or other marginal
That I think is a clear reference to the Theory of Faction and religion that you get on this blog: that the Israel Lobby and neoconservatives have played havoc with the American national interest out of concern for a foreign state. I think Chomsky has made himself somewhat irrelevant in this debate by failing to see this. He is a highly logical man with a materialist view of history. Notwithstanding his own Zionist phase as a young man, he doesn't seem to see religion as an important factor in society or international relations. Chomsky's a seer, I've been gazing at his star since I was a kid, and am honored to have an email of his on this blog. That said, it was fascinating to me how little attention Porter got at the Yale debate. People went right past his argument. They know religion is a significant factor; they have grown up amid the orthodoxies of identity politics.
by Noam Chomsky
ZNet, March 28, 2006
I’ve received many requests to comment on the article by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (henceforth M-W), published in the London Review of Books, which has been circulating extensively on the internet and has elicited a storm of controversy. A few thoughts on the matter follow.
It was, as noted, published in the London Review of Books, which is far more open to discussion on these issues than US journals — a matter of relevance (to which I’ll return) to the alleged influence of what M-W call “the Lobby.” An article in the Jewish journal Forward quotes M as saying that the article was commissioned by a US journal, but rejected, and that “the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful that he and co-author Stephen Walt would never have been able to place their report in a American-based scientific publication.” But despite the fact that it appeared in England, the M-W article aroused the anticipated hysterical reaction from the usual supporters of state violence here, from the Wall St Journal to Alan Dershowitz, sometimes in ways that would instantly expose the authors to ridicule if they were not lining up (as usual) with power.
M-W deserve credit for taking a position that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies and denunciations, but it’s worth noting that there is nothing unusual about that. Take any topic that has risen to the level of Holy Writ among “the herd of independent minds” (to borrow Harold Rosenberg’s famous description of intellectuals): for example, anything having to do with the Balkan wars, which played a huge role in the extraordinary campaigns of self-adulation that disfigured intellectual discourse towards the end of the millennium, going well beyond even historical precedents, which are ugly enough. Naturally, it is of extraordinary importance to the herd to protect that self-image, much of it based on deceit and fabrication. Therefore, any attempt even to bring up plain (undisputed, surely relevant) facts is either ignored (M-W can’t be ignored), or sets off most impressive tantrums, slanders, fabrications and deceit, and the other standard reactions. Very easy to demonstrate, and by no means limited to these cases. Those without experience in critical analysis of conventional doctrine can be very seriously misled by the particular case of the Middle East(ME).
But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. I’ve reviewed elsewhere what the record (historical and documentary) seems to me to show about the main sources of US ME policy, in books and articles for the past 40 years, and can’t try to repeat here. M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.
The M-W thesis is that (B) overwhelmingly predominates. To evaluate the thesis, we have to distinguish between two quite different matters, which they tend to conflate: (1) the alleged failures of US ME policy; (2) the role of The Lobby in bringing about these consequences. Insofar as the stands of the Lobby conform to (A), the two factors are very difficult to disentagle. And there is plenty of conformity.
Let’s look at (1), and ask the obvious question: for whom has policy been a failure for the past 60 years? The energy corporations? Hardly. They have made “profits beyond the dreams of avarice” (quoting John Blair, who directed the most important government inquiries into the industry, in the ’70s), and still do, and the ME is their leading cash cow. Has it been a failure for US grand strategy based on control of what the State Department described 60 years ago as the “stupendous source of strategic power” of ME oil and the immense wealth from this unparalleled “material prize”? Hardly. The US has substantially maintained control — and the significant reverses, such as the overthrow of the Shah, were not the result of the initiatives of the Lobby. And as noted, the energy corporations prospered. Furthermore, those extraordinary successes had to overcome plenty of barriers: primarily, as elsewhere in the world, what internal documents call “radical nationalism,” meaning independent nationalism. As elsewhere in the world, it’s been convenient to phrase these concerns in terms of “defense against the USSR,” but the pretext usually collapses quickly on inquiry, in the ME as elsewhere. And in fact the claim was conceded to be false, officially, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Bush’s National Security Strategy (1990) called for maintaining the forces aimed at the ME, where the serious “threats to our interests… could not be laid at the Kremlin’s door” — now lost as a pretext for pursuing about the same policies as before. And the same was true pretty much throughout the world.
That at once raises another question about the M-W thesis. What were “the Lobbies” that led to pursuing very similar policies throughout the world? Consider the year 1958, a very critical year in world affairs. In 1958, the Eisenhower administration identified the three leading challenges to the US as the ME, North Africa, and Indonesia — all oil producers, all Islamic. North Africa was taken care of by Algerian (formal) independence. Indonesia and the ME were taken care of by Suharto’s murderous slaughter (1965) and Israel’s destruction of Arab secular nationalism (Nasser, 1967). In the ME, that established the close US-Israeli alliance and confirmed the judgment of US intelligence in 1958 that a “logical corollary” of opposition to “radical nationalism” (meaning, secular independent nationalism) is “support for Israel” as the one reliable US base in the region (along with Turkey, which entered into close relations with Israel in the same year). Suharto’s coup aroused virtual euphoria, and he remained “our kind of guy” (as the Clinton administration called him) until he could no longer keep control in 1998, through a hideous record that compares well with Saddam Hussein — who was also “our kind of guy” until he disobeyed orders in 1990. What was the Indonesia Lobby? The Saddam Lobby? And the question generalizes around the world. Unless these questions are faced, the issue (1) cannot be seriously addressed.
When we do investigate (1), we find that US policies in the ME are quite similar to those pursued elsewhere in the world, and have been a remarkable success, in the face of many difficulties: 60 years is a long time for planning success. It’s true that Bush II has weakened the US position, not only in the ME, but that’s an entirely separate matter.
That leads to (2). As noted, the US-Israeli alliance was firmed up precisely when Israel performed a huge service to the US-Saudis-Energy corporations by smashing secular Arab nationalism, which threatened to divert resources to domestic needs. That’s also when the Lobby takes off (apart from the Christian evangelical component, by far the most numerous and arguably the most influential part, but that’s mostly the 90s). And it’s also when the intellectual-political class began their love affair with Israel, previously of little interest to them. They are a very influential part of the Lobby because of their role in media, scholarship, etc. From that point on it’s hard to distinguish “national interest” (in the usual perverse sense of the phrase) from the effects of the Lobby. I’ve run through the record of Israeli services to the US, to the present, elsewhere, and won’t review it again here.
M-W focus on AIPAC and the evangelicals, but they recognize that the Lobby includes most of the political-intellectual class — at which point the thesis loses much of its content. They also have a highly selective use of evidence (and much of the evidence is assertion). Take, as one example, arms sales to China, which they bring up as undercutting US interests. But they fail to mention that when the US objected, Israel was compelled to back down: under Clinton in 2000, and again in 2005, in this case with the Washington neocon regime going out of its way to humiliate Israel. Without a peep from The Lobby, in either case, though it was a serious blow to Israel. There’s a lot more like that. Take the worst crime in Israel’s history, its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 with the goal of destroying the secular nationalist PLO and ending its embarrassing calls for political settlement, and imposing a client Maronite regime. The Reagan administration strongly supported the invasion through its worst atrocities, but a few months later (August), when the atrocities were becoming so severe that even NYT Beirut correspondent Thomas Friedman was complaining about them, and they were beginning to harm the US “national interest,” Reagan ordered Israel to call off the invasion, then entered to complete the removal of the PLO from Lebanon, an outcome very welcome to both Israel and the US (and consistent with general US opposition to independent nationalism). The outcome was not entirely what the US-Israel wanted, but the relevant observation here is that the Reaganites supported the aggression and atrocities when that stand was conducive to the “national interest,” and terminated them when it no longer was (then entering to finish the main job). That’s pretty normal.
Another problem that M-W do not address is the role of the energy corporations. They are hardly marginal in US political life — transparently in the Bush administration, but in fact always. How can they be so impotent in the face of the Lobby? As ME scholar Stephen Zunes has rightly pointed out, “there are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does AIPAC [or the Lobby generally], such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races.”
Do the energy corporations fail to understand their interests, or are they part of the Lobby too? By now, what’s the distinction between (1) and (2), apart from the margins?
Also to be explained, again, is why US ME policy is so similar to its policies elsewhere — to which, incidentally, Israel has made important contributions, e.g., in helping the executive branch to evade congressional barriers to carrying out massive terror in Central America, to evade embargoes against South Africa and Rhodesia, and much else. All of which again makes it even more difficult to separate (2) from (1) — the latter, pretty much uniform, in essentials, throughout the world.
I won’t run through the other arguments, but I don’t feel that they have much force, on examination.
The thesis M-W propose does however have plenty of appeal. The reason, I think, is that it leaves the US government untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility, “Wilsonian idealism,” etc., merely in the grip of an all-powerful force that it cannot escape. It’s rather like attributing the crimes of the past 60 years to “exaggerated Cold War illusions,” etc. Convenient, but not too convincing. In either case.
The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions
By Jeffrey Blankfort
Photojournalist and Middle East Analyst
Issue 27, May 2003
The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions
Who Makes up the Lobby?
It was 1991 and Noam Chomsky had just finished a lecture in Berkeley on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was taking questions from the audience. An Arab-American asked him to explain his position regarding the influence of America’s Israel lobby.
Chomsky replied that its reputation was generally exaggerated and, like other lobbies, it only appears to be powerful when its position lines up with that of the “elites” who determine policy in Washington. Earlier in the evening, he had asserted that Israel received support from the United States as a reward for the services it provides as the US’s “cop-on-the-beat” in the Middle East.
Chomsky’s response drew a warm round of applause from members of the audience who were no doubt pleased to have American Jews absolved from any blame for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, then in the fourth year of their first Intifada.
Jeffrey Blankfort was raised in a Jewish non-Zionist family. He produces radio programs on three stations and has written extensively on the Middle East. He was formerly the editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and co-founder of the Labor Committee of the Middle East. His photographs of the Anti-Vietnam War and Black Panthers Movements have appeared in numerous books and magazines.
In February 2002, he won a lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which was found to have had a vast spying operation directed against American citizens opposed to Israel’s policies in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza and to the apartheid policies of the government of South Africa and passing on information to both governments.
What is noteworthy is that Chomsky’s explanation for the financial and political support that the U.S. has provided Israel over the years is shared by what is generically known as the Israel lobby, and almost no one else.
Well, not quite “almost no one.” Among the exceptions are the overwhelming majority of both houses of Congress and the mainstream media and, what is equally noteworthy, virtually the entire American Left, both ideological and idealistic, including the organizations ostensibly in the forefront of the fight for Palestinian rights.
That there is a meeting of the minds on this issue between supporters of Israel and the Left may help explain why the Palestine support movement within the United States has been an utter failure.
Chomsky’s position on the lobby had been established well before that Berkeley evening. In The Fateful Triangle, published in 1983, he assigned it little weight:
The “special relationship” is often attributed to domestic political pressures, in particular the effectiveness of the American Jewish community in political life and in influencing opinion. While there is some truth to this it underestimates the scope of the “support for Israel,” and it overestimates the role of political pressure groups in decision making. (p.13) 1
A year earlier, Congress had applauded Israel’s devastating invasion of Lebanon, and then appropriated millions in additional aid to pay for the shells the Israeli military had expended. How much of this support was due to the legislators’ “support for Israel” and how much was due to pressures from the Israel lobby? It was a question that should have been examined by the left at the time, but wasn’t. Twenty years later, Chomsky’s view is still the “conventional wisdom.”
In 2001, in the midst of the second intifada, he went further, arguing that “it is improper — particularly in the United States — to condemn Israeli atrocities,” and that the “US/Israel-Palestine conflict” is the more correct term, comparable with placing the proper responsibility for “Russian-backed crimes in Eastern Europe [and] US-backed crimes in Central America.” And, to emphasize the point, he wrote, “IDF helicopters are US helicopters with Israeli pilots.”2
Prof. Stephen Zunes, who might be described as a Chomsky acolyte, would not only relieve Israeli Jews from any responsibility for their actions, he would have us believe they are the victims.
In Tinderbox, his widely praised (by Chomsky and others) new book on the Middle East, Zunes faults the Arabs for “blaming Israel, Zionism, or the Jews for their problems.” According to Zunes, the Israelis have been forced to assume a role similar to that assigned to members of the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe who performed services, mainly tax collection, as middlemen between the feudal lords and the serfs in earlier times. In fact, writes Zunes, “US policy today corresponds with this historic anti-Semitism.” 3 Anyone comparing the relative power of the Jewish community in centuries past with what we find in the US today will find that statement absurd.
Jewish power has, in fact, been trumpeted by a number of Jewish writers, including one, J. J. Goldberg, editor of the Jewish weekly Forward, who wrote a book by that name in 1996.4 Any attempt, however, to explore the issue from a critical standpoint, inevitably leads to accusations of anti-Semitism, as Bill and Kathleen Christison pointed out in their article on the role of right-wing Jewish neo-cons in orchestrating US Middle East policy, in Counterpunch (1/25/03):
Anyone who has the temerity to suggest any Israeli instigation of, or even involvement in, Bush administration war planning is inevitably labeled somewhere along the way as an anti-Semite. Just whisper the word “domination” anywhere in the vicinity of the word “Israel,” as in “U.S.-Israeli domination of the Middle East” or “the U.S. drive to assure global domination and guarantee security for Israel,” and some leftist, who otherwise opposes going to war against Iraq, will trot out charges of promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the old czarist forgery that asserted a Jewish plan for world domination.5
Presumably, this is what Zunes would call an example of the “latent anti-Semitism which has come to the fore with wildly exaggerated claims of Jewish economic and political power.”6 And that it “is a naive asumption to believe that foreign policy decision-making in the US is pluralistic enough so that any one lobbying group can have so much influence.”7
This is hardly the first time that Jews have been in the upper echelons of power, as Benjamin Ginsberg points out in The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State; but there has never been a situation anything like the present. This was how Ginzberg began his book:
Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely 2 % of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times.8
That was written in 1993. Today, ten years later, ardently pro-Israel American Jews are in positions of unprecedented influence within the United States and have assumed or been given decision-making positions over virtually every segment of our culture and body politic. This is no secret conspiracy. Regular readers of the New York Times business section, which reports the comings and goings of the media tycoons, are certainly aware of it. Does this mean that each and every one is a pro-Israel zealot? Not necessarily, but when one compares the US media with its European counterparts in their respective coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the extreme bias in favor of Israel on the part of the US media is immediately apparent.
This might explain Eric Alterman’s discovery that “Europeans and Americans differ profoundly in their views of the Israel/Palestine issue at both the elite and popular levels, with Americans being far more sympathetic to Israel and the Europeans to the Palestinian cause”9
An additonal component of Chomsky’s analysis is his insistence that it is the US, more than Israel, that is the “rejectionist state,” implying that were it not for the US, Israel might long ago have abandoned the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians for a mini-state.
Essential to his analysis is the notion that every US administration since that of Eisenhower has attempted to advance Israel’s interests in line with America’s global and regional agenda. This is a far more complex issue than Chomsky leads us to believe. Knowledgeable insiders, both critical and supportive of Israel, have described in detail major conflicts that have taken place between US and Israeli administrations over the years in which Israel, thanks to the diligence of its domestic lobby, has usually prevailed.
In particular, Chomsky ignores or misinterprets the efforts made by every US president, beginning with Richard Nixon, to curb Israel’s expansionism, to halt its settlement building and to obtain its withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.10
“What happened to all those nice plans?” asked Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery. “Israel’s governments mobilized the collective power of US Jewry — which dominates Congress and the media to a large degree — against them. Faced by this vigorous opposition, all the presidents; great and small, football players and movie stars — folded, one after another.”11
Gerald Ford, angered that Israel had been reluctant to leave the Sinai following the 1973 war and backed by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, not only suspended aid for six months in 1975, but in March of that year made a speech calling for a “reassessment” of the US-Israel relationship. Within weeks, AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), Israel’s Washington lobby, secured a letter signed by 76 senators “confirming their support for Israel, and suggesting that the White House see fit to do the same. The language was tough, the tone almost bullying.” Ford backed down.12
We need to only look at the current Bush presidency to see that this phenomenon is still the rule. In 1991, the same year as Chomsky’s talk, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir asked the first Bush administartion for $10 billion in loan guarantees in order, he said, to provide for the resettlement of Russian Jews. Bush Sr. had earlier balked at a request from Congress to appropriate an additional $650 million dollars to compensate Israel for sitting out the Gulf War, but gave in when he realized that his veto would be overridden. But now he told Shamir that Israel could only have the guarantees if it freezes settlement building and promised that no Russian Jews would be resettled in the West Bank.
An angry Shamir refused and called on AIPAC to mobilize Congress and the organized American Jewish community in support of the loans guarantees. A letter, drafted by AIPAC was signed by more than 240 members of the House demanding that Bush approve them, and 77 senators signed on to supporting legislation.
On September 12, 1991, Jewish lobbyists descended on Washington in such numbers that Bush felt obliged to call a televised press conference in which he complained that “1000 Jewish lobbyists are on Capitol Hill against little old me.” It would prove to be his epitaph. Chomsky pointed to Bush’s statement, at the time, as proof that the vaunted Israel lobby was nothing more than “a paper tiger. It took scarcely more than a raised eyebrow for the lobby to collapse,” he told readers of Z Magazine. He could not have been further from the truth.13
The next day, Tom Dine, AIPAC’s Executive Director, declared that “September 12, 1991 is a day that will live in infamy.” Similar comments were uttered by Jewish leaders, who accused Bush of provoking anti-Semitism. What was more important, his friends in the mainstream media, like William Safire, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer, not only criticized him; they began to find fault with the economy and how he was running the country. It was all downhill from there. Bush’s Jewish vote, which has been estimated at 38% in 1988, dropped down to no more than 12%, with some estimates as low as 8%.14]
Bush’s opposition to the loan guarantees was the last straw for the Israel lobby. When he made disparaging comments about Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem in March, 1990, AIPAC had begun the attack (briefly halted during the the Gulf War). Dine wrote a critical op-ed in the New York Times and followed that with a vigorous speech to the United Jewish Appeal’s Young Leaders Conference. “Brothers and sisters,” he told them as they prepared to go out and lobby Congress on the issue, “remember that Israel’s friends in this city reside on Capitol Hill.”15 Months later, the loan guarantees were approved, but by then Bush was dead meat.
Now, jump ahead to last Spring, when Bush Jr. forthrightly demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdraw his marauding troops from Jenin, saying “Enough is enough!” It made headlines all over the world, as did his backing down when Sharon refused. What happened? Harsh criticism boomed from within his own party in Congress and from his daddy’s old friends in the media. George Will associated Dubya with Yasser Arafat and accused Bush of having lost his “moral clarity.”16 The next day, Safire suggested that Bush was “being pushed into a minefield of mistakes”and that he had “become a wavering ally as Israel fights for suvival.”17 Junior got the message and, within a week, declared Sharon to be “a man of peace.”18 Since then, as journalist Robert Fisk and others have noted, Sharon seems to be writing Bush’s speeches.
There are some who believe that Bush Jr. and Presidents before him made statements critical of Israel for appearances only, to convince the world, and the Arab countries in particular, that the US can be an “honest broker” between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But it is difficult to make a case that any of them would put themselves in a position to be humiliated simply as a cover for US policy.
A better explanation was provided by Stephen Green, whose Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with Militant Israel, was the first examination of State Department archives concerning US-Israel relations. Since the Eisenhower administration, wrote Green in 1984, “Israel, and friends of Israel in America, have determined the broad outlines of US policy in the region. It has been left to American Presidents to implement that policy, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and to deal with the tactical issues.”19
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but former US Senator James Abourezk (D-South Dakota) echoed Green’s words in a speech before the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee last June:
That is the state of American politics today. The Israeli lobby has put together so much money power that we are daily witnessing US senators and representatives bowing down low to Israel and its US lobby.
Make no mistake. The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators’ love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that at least $6 billion flows from the American Treasury to Israel each year. That money, plus the political support the US gives Israel at the United Nations, is what allows Israel to conduct criminal operations in Palestine with impunity.20
That is a reality that has been repeated many times in many forms by ex-members of Congress, usually speaking off the record. It is the reality that Chomsky and the left prefer to ignore. The problem is not so much that Chomsky has been wrong. He has, after all, been right on many other things, particularly in describing the ways in which the media manipulates the public consciousness to serve the interests of the state.21 However, by explaining US support for Israel simply as a component of those interests, and ignoring the influence of the Israel lobby in determining that component, he appears to have made a major error that has had measurable consequences. By accepting Chomsky’s analysis, the Palestinian solidarity movement has failed to take the only political step that might have weakened the hold of Israel on Congress and the American electorate, namely, by challenging the billions of dollars in aid and tax breaks that the US provides Israel on an annual basis.
The questions that beg asking are why his argument has been so eagerly accepted by the movement and why the contrary position put forth by people of considerable stature such as Edward Said, Ed Herman, Uri Avnery and, more recently, Alexander Cockburn, has been ignored. There appear to be several reasons.
The people who make up the movement, Jews and non-Jews alike, have embraced Chomsky’s position because it is the message they want to hear; not feeling obligated to “blame the Jews” is reassuring. The fear of either provoking anti-Semitism or being called an anti-Semite (or a self- hating Jew), has become so ingrained into our culture and body politic that no one, including Chomsky or Zunes, is immune. This is reinforced by constant reminders of the Jewish Holocaust that, by no accident, appear in the movies and in major news media on a regular basis. Chomsky, in particular, has been heavily criticized by the Jewish establishment for decades for his criticism of Israeli policies, even to the point of being “excommunicated,” a distinction he shares with the late Hannah Arendt. It may be fair to assume that at some level this history influences Chomsky’s analysis. But the problems of the movement go beyond the fear of invoking anti-Semitism, as Chomsky is aware and correctly noted in The Fateful Triangle.:
[T]he American left and pacificist groups, apart from fringe elements, have quite generally been extremely supportive of Israel (contrary to many baseless allegations), some passionately so, and have turned a blind eye to practices that they would be quick to denounce elsewhere.22
The issue of US aid to Israel provides a clear example. During the Reagan era, there was a major effort launched by the anti-intervention movement to block a $15 million annual appropriation destined for the Nicaraguan contras. People across the country were urged to call their Congressional representatives and get them to vote against the measure. That effort was not only successful, it forced the administration to engage in what became known as Contragate.
At the time, Israel was receiving the equivalent of that much money on a daily basis, without a whimper from the movement. Now, that amount “officially” is about $10 million a day and yet no major campaign has ever been launched to stem that flow or even call the public’s attention to it. When attempts were made they were stymied by the opposition of such key players (at the time) as the American Friends Service Committee, which was anxious, apparently, not to alienate major Jewish contributors. (Recent efforts initiated on the internet to “suspend”military aid - but not economic - until Israel ends the occupation have gone nowhere.)
The slogans that have been advanced by various sectors of the Palestinian solidarity movement, such as “End the Occupation,” “End Israeli Apartheid,” “Zionism Equals Racism,” or “Two States for Two Peoples,” while addressing key issues of the conflict, assume a level of awareness on the part of the American people for which no evidence exists. Concern for where their tax dollars are going, particularly at a time of massive cutbacks in social programs, certainly would have greater resonance among voters. Initiating a serious campaign to halt aid, however, would require focusing on the role of Congress and recognition of the power of the Israel lobby.
Chomsky’s evaluation of Israel’s position in the Middle East admittedly contains elements of truth, but nothing sufficient to explain what former Undersecretary of State George Ball described as America’s “passionate attachment” to the Jewish state.23 However, his attempt to portray the US-Israel relationship as mirroring that of Washington’s relations to its client regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, has no basis in reality.
US involvement in Central America was fairly simple. Arms and training were supplied to military dictatorships in order for their armies and their death squads to suppress the desires of their own citizens for land, civil rights and economic justice, all of which would undermine US corporate interests. This was quite transparent. Does Israel fit into that category? Obviously not. Whatever one may say about Israel, its Jewish majority, at least, enjoys democratic rights.
Also, there were no Salvadoran, Nicaraguan or Guatemalan lobbies of any consequence in Washington to lavish millions of dollars wooing or intimidating members of Congress; no one in the House or Senate from any of those client countries with possible dual- loyalties approving multi-billion dollar appropriations on an annual basis; none owning major television networks, radio stations, newspapers or movie studios, and no trade unions or state pension funds investing billions of dollars in their respective economies. The closest thing in the category of national lobbies is that of Miami’s Cuban exiles, whose existence and power the left is willing to acknowledge, even though its political clout is miniscule compared to that of Israel’s supporters.
What about Chomsky’s assertion that Israel is America’s cop-on-the-beat in the Middle East? There is, as yet, no record of a single Israeli soldier shedding a drop of blood in behalf of US interests, and there is little likelihood one will be asked to do so in the future. When US presidents have believed that a cop was necessary in the region, US troops were ordered to do the job.
When President Eisenhower believed that US interests were threatened in Lebanon in 1958, he sent in the Marines. In 1991, as mentioned, President Bush not only told Israel to sit on the sidelines, he further angered its military by refusing to allow then Defense Sectretary Dick Cheney to give the Israeli air force the coordinates it demanded in order to take to the air in response to Iraq’s Scud attacks. This left the Israeli pilots literally sitting in their planes, waiting for information that never came.24
What Chomsky offers as proof of Israel’s role as a US gendarme was the warning that Israel gave Syria not to intervene in King Hussein’s war on the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Jordan in September 1970.
Clearly, this was done primarily to protect Israel’s interests. That it also served Washington’s agenda was a secondary consideration. For Chomsky, it was “another important service” for the US.25 What Chomsky may not be aware of is another reason that Syria failed to come to the rescue of the Palestinians at the time:
The commander of the Syrian air force, Hafez Al-Assad, had shown little sympathy with the Palestinian cause and was critical of the friendly relations that the PLO enjoyed with the Syrian government under President Atassi. When King Hussein launched his attack, Assad kept his planes on the ground.
Three months later, he staged a coup and installed himself as president. Among his first acts was the imprisonment of hundreds of Palestinians and their Syrian supporters. He then proceeded to gut the Syrian sponsored militia, Al-Saika, and eliminate the funds that Syria had been sending to Palestinian militia groups. In the ensuing years, Assad allowed groups opposed to Yasser Arafat to maintain offices and a radio station in Damascus, but little else. A year after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, he sponsored a short, but bloody intra-Palestinian civil war in Northern Lebanon. This is history that has fallen through the cracks.
How much the presence of Israel has intimidated its weaker Arab neighbors from endangering US interests is at best a matter of conjecture. Clearly, Israel’s presence has been used by these reactionary regimes, most of them US allies, as an excuse for suppressing internal opposition movements. (One might argue that the CIA’s involvement in the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and Abdel Karim Kassem in Iraq in 1963, had more of an impact on crushing progressive movement in the region.)
What Israel has provided for the US to their mutual benefit have been a number of joint weapons programs, largely financed by US taxpayers and the use by the US of military equipment developed by Israeli technicians — not the least of which were the “plows” that were used to bury alive fleeing Iraqi soldiers in the first Gulf War. Since high levels of US aid preceded these weapons programs, it is hard to argue that they form the basis of US support.
Another argument advanced by Chomsky has been Israel’s willingness to serve the US by taking on tasks which past US administrations were unable or unwilling to undertake due to specific US laws or public opinion, such as selling arms to unsavory regimes or training death squads.
That Israel did this at the request of the US is an open question. A comment by Israeli minister Yakov Meridor’s comment in Ha’aretz, at the time, makes it unlikely:
We shall say to the Americans: Don’t compete with us in Taiwan, don’t compete with us in South Africa, don’t compete with us in the Caribbean area, or in other areas in which we can sell weapons directly and where you can’t operate in the open. Give us the opportunity to do this and trust us with the sales of ammunition and hardware. 26
In fact, there was no time that the US stopped training death squads in Latin America, or providing arms, with the exception of Guatemala, where Carter halted US assistance because of its massive human rights violations, something that presented no problem for an Israeli military already steeped in such violations. In one situation we saw the reverse situation. Israel provided more than 80% of El Salvador’s weapons before the US moved in.
As for Israel’s trade and joint arms projects, including the development of nuclear weaponry, with South Africa, that was a natural alliance: two societies that had usurped someone else’s land and saw themselves in the same position, “a civilized people surrounded by threatening savages.” The relationship became so close that South Africa’s Sun City became the resort of choice for vacationing Israelis.
The reason that Israeli officials gave for selling these weapons, when questioned, was that it was the only way that Israel could keep its own arms industry functioning. Israel’s sales of sophisticated weaponry to China has drawn criticism from several administrations, but this has been tempered by Congressional pressure.
What Israel did benefit from was a blanket of silence from the US anti-intervention movement and anti-apartheid movements, whose leadership was more comfortable criticizing US policies than those of Israel’s. Whether their behavior was due to their willingness to put Israel’s interests first, or whether they were concerned about provoking anti-Semitism, the result was the same.
A protest that I organized in 1985 against Israel’s ties to apartheid South Africa, and its role as a US surrogate in Central America, provides a clear example of the problem.
When I approached board members of the Nicaraguan Information Center (NIC) in San Francisco and asked for the group’s endorsement of the protest, I received no support. NIC was the main group in solidarity with the Sandinistas and, despite Israel’s long and ugly history, first in aiding Somoza and, at the time of the protest, the contras, the board voted well, they couldn’t vote not to endorse, so they voted to make “no more endorsements,” a position they reversed soon after our rally. NIC’s board was almost entirely Jewish.
I fared better with GNIB, the Guatemalan News and Information Bureau, but only after a considerable struggle. At the time, Israel was supplying 98% of the weaponry and all of the training to one of the most murderous regimes in modern times. One would think that an organization that claimed to be working in solidarity with the people of Guatemala would not only endorse the rally but be eager to participate.
Apparently, the GNIB board was deeply divided on the issue. Unwilling to accept another refusal, I harassed the board with phone calls until it voted to endorse. Oakland CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) endorsed. The San Francisco chapter declined. (A year earlier, when I had been quoted in the San Francisco Weekly criticizing the influence of the Israel lobby on the Democratic Party, officials from the chapter wrote a letter to the editor claiming that I was provoking “anti-Semitism.”) The leading anti-apartheid organizations endorsed the protest but, again, after lengthy internal debate.
The protest had been organized in response to the refusal of the San Francisco-based Mobilization for Peace, Jobs and Justice, (Mobe), a coalition of movement organizations, to include any mention of the Middle East among the demands that it was issuing for a march opposing South African apartheid and US intervention in Central America.
At an organizing meeting for the event, a handful of us asked that a plank calling for “No US Intervention in the Middle East” be added to the demands that had previously been decided. The vote was overwhelmingly against it. A Jewish trade unionist told us that “we could do more for the Palestinians by not mentioning them, than by mentioning them,” a strange response which mirrored what President Reagan was then saying about ending apartheid in South Africa. I was privately told later that if the Middle East was mentioned, “the unions would walk,” recognition of the strong support for Israel that exists among the labor bureaucracy, as well as the willingness of the movement to defer to it.
The timing of the Mobe’s refusal was significant. Two and a half years earlier, Israel had invaded Lebanon and its troops still remained there as we met that evening. And yet, the leaders of the Mobe would not let Tina Naccache, a programmer for Berkeley’s KPFA, the only Lebanese in the large union hall, speak on behalf of the demand.
Three years later, the Mobe scheduled another mass march. The Palestinians were in the first full year of their intifada, and it seemed appropriate that a statement calling for an end to Israeli occupation be added to the demands. The organizers, the same ones from 1985, had already decided on what they would be behind closed doors: “No US Intervention in Central America or the Caribbean; End US Support for South African Apartheid; Freeze and Reverse the Nuclear Arms Race; Jobs and Justice, Not War.”
This time the Mobe took no chances and canceled a public meeting where our demand could be debated and voted on. An Emergency Coalition for Palestinian Rights was formed in response. A petition was drawn up and circulated supporting the demand. Close to 3,000 people signed it, including hundreds from the Palestinian community. The Mobe leadership finally agreed to one concession. On the back of its official flyer, where it would be invisible when posted on a wall or tree, was the following sentence:
Give peace a chance everywhere: The plight of the Palestinian people, as shown by the recent events in the West Bank and Gaza, remind us that we must support human rights everywhere. Let the nations of our world turn from building armies and death machines to spending their energy and resources on improving the quality of life — Peace, Jobs and Justice.
There was no mention of Israel or the atrocities its soldiers were committing. The flyer put out by the unions ignored the subject completely.
Fast forward to February, 2002, when a new and smaller version of the Mobe met to plan a march and rally to oppose the US war on Afghanistan. There was a different cast of characters, but they produced the same result. The argument was that what was needed was a “broad” coalition, and raising the issue of Palestine would prevent that from happening.
The national movement to oppose the extension of the Iraq war has been no different. As in 1991, at the time of the Gulf War, there were competing large marches, separately organized but with overlapping participants. Despite their other political differences, what the organizers of both marches agreed on was that there would be no mention of the Israel-Palestine conflict in any of the protest literature, even though its connections to the situation in Iraq were being made at virtually every other demonstration taking place throughout the world. The movement’s fear of alienating American Jews still takes precedence over defending the rights of Palestinians.
Last September, the slogan of “No War on Iraq - Justice for Palestine!” drew close to a half-million protesters to Trafalgar Square. The difference had been presciently expressed by a Native American leader during the first Intifada. “The problem with the movement,” he told me, “is that there are too many liberal Zionists.”
If there is one event that exposed their influence over of the movement, it is what occurred in the streets of New York on June 12, 1982, when 800,000 people gathered in front of the United Nations to call for a ban on nuclear weapons. Six days earlier, on June 6th, Israel had launched a devastating invasion of Lebanon. Its goal was to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization, then based in that country. Eighty thousand soldiers, backed by massive bombing from the air and from the sea were creating a level of death and destruction that dwarfed what Iraq would later do in Kuwait. Within a year there would be 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese dead and tens of thousands more wounded.
And what was the response that day in New York? In recognition of the suffering then taking place in his homeland, a Lebanese man was allowed to sit on the stage, but he would not be introduced; not allowed to say a word. Nor was the subject mentioned by any of the speakers. Israel and its lobby couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Twenty-one years later, Ariel Sharon, the architect of that invasion, is Israel’s Prime Minister, having been elected for the second time. As I write these lines, pro-Israel zealots within the Bush administration are about to savor their greatest triumph. After all, they have been the driving force for a war which they envision as the first stage in “redrawing the map of the Middle East,” with the US-Israel alliance at its fore. 27
And the Left? Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a long-time activist with impeccable credentials, assured the Jewish weekly, Forward, that United for Peace and Justice, organizers of the February 15th anti-war rally in New York, “has done a great deal to make clear it is not involved in anti-Israel rhetoric. From the beginning there was nothing in United for Peace’s statements that dealt at all with the Israel-Palestine issue.”28
Who Makes up the Lobby?
It is important to note that the Israel lobby is much more than AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), which primarily focuses on Congress and directs funding from Jewish PACs and individuals to those politicians it considers to be deserving. Its other more visible components are the biggest Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress, but there are also a number of others, not the least of which is the extreme right wing Zionist Organization of America, which at the moment is extremely influential in Washington.
All of these organizations form part of the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, whose current president is Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of the NY Daily News and US News and World Report. Its job is to lobby the President. At the grass-roots you have hundreds of local Jewish federations and councils that cultivate the support of city councilors and supervisors and select the more promising among them to run for Congress, assured that they will be solid votes for Israel.
While not officially part of the lobby, since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the AFL-CIO has been one of its most solid cornerstones. It has provided millions of dollars for pro-Israel Democrats; it has blocked all international efforts to punish Israel for its exploitation and abuse of Palestinian workers, and it has encouraged its member unions to invest millions of dollars of their pension funds in State of Israel Bonds, thereby linking their members’ retirement to the health of the Israeli economy. Over the past year, the lobby has cemented ties with the Christian evangelical right, which gives it clout in states where there are few Jews and access to hundreds of thousands of new donors toIsrael’s cause.
– Jeffrey Blankfort
- Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, South End Press, 1983, p. 13.
- Roane Carey, Ed., The New Intifada, Verso, 2001, p. 6.
- Stephen Zunes, Tinderbox, Common Courage Press, 2003, p. 163.
- J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power, Addison-Wesley, 1996.
- Bill and Kathleen Christison, “Too Many Smoking Guns to Ignore: Israel, American Jews, and the War on Iraq,” CounterPunch (online). http://www.counterpunch.org/christison01252003.html
- J. J. Goldberg, ibid., p. 158.
- ibid., p. 159.
- University of Chicago, 1993, p. 1.
- Footnote, The Nation, Feb. 10, 2003, p.13.
- The Rogers Plan, introduced by Nixon’s Secretary of State William Rogers was accepted by Egyptian President Gamal Nasser but turned down by Israel and the PLO, since at the time the Palestinians had dreams of returning to the entirety of what had been Palestine. Under the plan, the West Bank would have been returned to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt.
- Ha’aretz, March 6, 1981.
- Edward Tivnan, The Lobby, Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy, Simon & Schuster, 1988.
- Z Magzine, December 1991.
- Goldberg, op. cit.
- Washington Jewish Week, March 22, 1990.
- Washington Post, April 11, 2002.
- New York Times, April 12, 2002.
- International Herald Tribune, April 19, 2002.
- Stephen Green, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with Militant Israel, William Morrow, 1984.
- Al-Ahram, June 20-27, 2002. 21. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books, 1988.
- Chomsky, op. cit., p. 14.
- George W. Ball and Douglas B. Ball, The Passionate Attachment, America’s Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present, Norton, 1992.
- Moshe Arens, Broken Covenant, Simon and Shuster, 1995, p. 162-175.
- The New Intifada, p. 9.
- Los Angeles Times and Financial Times, August 18, 1981.
- Bill and Kathy Christison, op. cit.; Robert G. Kaiser, “Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy,” Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2003; p. A01
- Forward, February 14, 2003