Why blame the pro-Israel lobby more than the US ruling class?

Annoymouse's picture

 

The article below applies very powerfully and appropriately to the
investigations and ideologies within the 9/11 Truth movement that seem
to place a great amount of emphasis and orientation on the role of the
pro-Israel lobby within the US
. The effort, of course, is to assign "blame" for 9/11, and for many other situations.

Everything in the article below that
refers to US policy toward "the Palestinians" and toward the "Middle
East" applies equally to the State-sponsored acts of terror of September
11
, the wars catalyzed by those events, and the erosion~suspension of the US
Constitution in their aftermath.

Given the incontrovertible truth that the Apartheid regime of Israel would not survive more than a month if
it were not for the daily infusion of weapons, money and
political~diplomatic support it receives from the US ruling class and
US Government, it's truly a mental~emotional phenomenon to see what
staying power resides within the idea that supposedly reality "is the
other way around', that the supposedly benevolent US has been "taken
over" by the pro-Israel lobby and it is "being run" for Israeli
interests.

And yet, that idea, that meme - the exact homologue of the idea that
benevolent Germany had supposedly been taken over by the Jews, from
which "take over" German patriots were called to "liberate" Germany via
the Nazi Party - is constantly spreading throughout the ranks of the
9/11 Truth movement with hardly any opposition. And with great
popularity.

Please study the article below. Like most political materials of
value, its significance can be appreciated better through slow study,
through dialogue with friends and comrades, and with honest research.
Best of all, as with every description or discussion of reality, the
truth or not of its contents can be experienced throught direct hands-on involvement in the political process with other colleagues and comrades.

Your comments and feedback are welcome. Many thanks to "caroltheartist"
of the Action Greens group for bringing this to our attention.

Thanks,

Petros Evdokas
petros@cyprus-org.net
http://petros-evdokas.cyprus-org.net/Another-sort-of-Introduction.html
~~~~~~~~~~

RePublished from AL-AHRAM newspaper in Cairo

(link below)

 

Blaming the lobby

As someone who has been facing the full brunt of the might of the
pro-Israel lobby in the US, the author explains the deceit behind
blaming the lobby for US policies towards the Palestinians and the Arab
world



 

In the last 25 years, many Palestinians and other Arabs, in the
United States and in the Arab world, have been so awed by the power of
the US pro-Israel lobby that any study, book, or journalistic article
that exposes the inner workings, the substantial influence, and the
financial and political power of this lobby have been greeted with
ecstatic sighs of relief that Americans finally can see the "truth" and
the "error" of their ways.

The underlying argument has been simple and has been told time and
again by Washington's regime allies in the Arab world, pro-US liberal
and Arab intellectuals, conservative and liberal US intellectuals and
former politicians, and even leftist Arab and American activists who
support Palestinian rights, namely, that absent the pro- Israel lobby,
America would at worst no longer contribute to the oppression of Arabs
and Palestinians and at best it would be the Arabs' and the
Palestinians' best ally and friend. What makes this argument persuasive
and effective to Arabs? Indeed, why are its claims constantly
brandished by Washington's Arab friends to Arab and American audiences
as a persuasive argument? I contend that the attraction of this
argument is that it exonerates the United States' government from all
the responsibility and guilt that it deserves for its policies in the
Arab world and gives false hope to many Arabs and Palestinians who wish
America would be on their side instead of on the side of their enemies.

Let me start with the premise of the argument, namely its effect of
shifting the blame for US policies from the United States onto Israel
and its US lobby. According to this logic, it is not the United States
that should be held directly responsible for all its imperial policies
in the Arab world and the Middle East at large since World War II,
rather it is Israel and its lobby who have pushed it to launch policies
that are detrimental to its own national interest and are only
beneficial to Israel. Establishing and supporting Arab and other Middle
East dictatorships, arming and training their militaries, setting up
their secret police apparatuses and training them in effective torture
methods and counter-insurgency to be used against their own citizens
should be blamed, according to the logic of these studies, on Israel
and its US lobby. Blocking all international and UN support for
Palestinian rights, arming and financing Israel in its war against a
civilian population, protecting Israel from the wrath of the
international community should also be blamed not on the United States,
the studies insist, but on Israel and its lobby. Additionally, and in
line with this logic, controlling Arab economies and finances,
dominating key investments in the Middle East, and imposing structural
adjustment policies by the IMF and the World Bank which impoverish the
Arab peoples should also be blamed on Israel, and not the United
States. Finally, starving and then invading Iraq, threatening to invade
Syria, raiding and then sanctioning Libya and Iran, besieging the
Palestinians and their leaders must also be blamed on the Israeli lobby
and not the US government. Indeed, over the years, many pro-US Arab
dictators let it leak officially and unofficially that their US
diplomat friends have told them time and again how much they and
"America" support the Arab world and the Palestinians were it not for
the influence of the pro- Israel lobby (sometimes identified by the
American diplomats in more explicit "ethnic" terms).

While many of the studies of the pro-Israel lobby are sound and full
of awe-inspiring well- documented details about the formidable power
commanded by groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) and its allies, the problem with most of them is what remains
unarticulated. For example, when and in what context has the United
States government ever supported national liberation in the Third
World? The record of the United States is one of being the implacable
enemy of all Third World national liberation groups, including European
ones, from Greece to Latin America to Africa and Asia, except in the
celebrated cases of the Afghan fundamentalists' war against the USSR
and supporting apartheid South Africa's main terrorist allies in Angola
and Mozambique (UNITA and RENAMO) against their respective
anti-colonial national governments. Why then would the US support
national liberation in the Arab world absent the pro-Israel lobby is
something these studies never explain.

The United States has had a consistent policy since World War II of
fighting all regimes across the Third World who insist on controlling
their national resources, whether it be land, oil, or other valuable
minerals. This extends from Iran in 1953 to Guatemala in 1954 to the
rest of Latin America all the way to present-day Venezuela. Africa has
fared much worse in the last four decades, as have many countries in
Asia. Why would the United States support nationalist regimes in the
Arab world who would nationalise natural resources and stop their
pillage by American capital absent the pro-Israel lobby also remains a
mystery unexplained by these studies. Finally, the United States
government has opposed and overthrown or tried to overthrow any regime
that seeks real and tangible independence in the Third World and is
especially galled by those regimes that pursue such policies through
democratic elections. The overthrow of regimes from Arbenz to Goulart
to Mossadegh and Allende and the ongoing attempts to overthrow Chavez
are prominent examples, as is the overthrow of nationalist regimes like
Sukarno's and Nkrumah's. The terror unleashed on populations who
challenged the US-installed friendly regimes from El Salvador and
Nicaragua to Zaire to Chile and Indonesia resulted in the killing of
hundreds of thousands, if not millions by repressive police and
militaries trained for these important tasks by the US. This is aside
from direct US invasions of South East Asian and Central American
countries that killed untold millions for decades. Why would the US and
its repressive agencies stop invading Arab countries, or stop
supporting the repressive police forces of dictatorial Arab regimes and
why would the US stop setting up shadow governments inside its
embassies in Arab capitals to run these countries' affairs (in some
cases the US shadow government runs the Arab country in question down
to the smallest detail with the Arab government in question reduced to
executing orders) if the pro-Israel lobby did not exist is never
broached by these studies let alone explained.

The arguments put forth by these studies would have been more
convincing if the Israel lobby was forcing the United States government
to pursue policies in the Middle East that are inconsistent with its
global policies elsewhere. This, however, is far from what happens.
While US policies in the Middle East may often be an exaggerated form
of its repressive and anti- democratic policies elsewhere in the world,
they are not inconsistent with them. One could easily make the case
that the strength of the pro-Israel lobby is what accounts for this
exaggeration, but even this contention is not entirely persuasive. One
could argue (and I have argued elsewhere) that it is in fact the very
centrality of Israel to US strategy in the Middle East that accounts,
in part, for the strength of the pro-Israel lobby and not the other way
around. Indeed, many of the recent studies highlight the role of
pro-Likud members of the Bush administration (or even of the Clinton
administration) as evidence of the lobby's awesome power, when, i t
could be easily argued that it is these American politicians who had
pushed Likud and Labour into more intransigence in the 1990s and are
pushing them towards more conquest now that they are at the helm of the
US government. This is not to say, however, that the leaders of the
pro-Israel lobby do not regularly brag about their crucial influence on
US policy in Congress and in the White House. That they have done
regularly since the late 1970s. But the lobby is powerful in the United
States because its major claims are about advancing US interests and
its support for Israel is contextualised in its support for the overall
US strategy in the Middle East. The pro- Israel lobby plays the same
role that the China lobby played in the 1950s and the Cuba lobby still
plays to this day. The fact that it is more powerful than any other
foreign lobby on Capitol Hill testifies to the importance of Israel in
US strategy and not to some fantastical power that the lobby commands
independent of and extraneous to the US "national interest." The
pro-Israel lobby could not sell its message and would not have any
influence if Israel was a communist or anti-imperialist country or if
Israel opposed US policy elsewhere in the world.

Some would argue that even though Israel attempts to overlap its
interests with those of the US, that its lobby is misleading American
policy- makers and shifting their position from one of objective
assessment of what is truly in America's best interest and that of
Israel's. The argument runs as follows: US support for Israel causes
groups who oppose Israel to hate the US and target it for attacks. It
also costs the US friendly media coverage in the Arab world, affects
its investment potential in Arab countries, and loses its important
allies in the region, or at least weakens these allies. But none of
this is true. The United States has been able to be Israel's biggest
backer and financier, its staunchest defender and weapon-supplier while
maintaining strategic alliances with most if not all Arab
dictatorships, including the Palestinian Authority under both Yasser
Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Moreover, US companies and American
investments have the largest presence across the Arab world, most
prominently but not exclusively in the oil sector. Also, even without
the pathetic and ineffective efforts at US propaganda in the guise of
the television station Al-Hurra, or Radio Sawa and the now-defunct Hi
magazine, not to mention US-paid journalists and newspapers in Iraq and
elsewhere, a whole army of Arabic newspapers and state-television
stations, not to mention myriad satellite television stations celebrate
the US and its culture, broadcast American programmes, and attempt to
sell the US point of view as effectively as possible encumbered only by
the limitations that actual US policies in the region place on common
sense. Even the offending Al-Jazeera has bent over backwards to
accommodate the US point of view but is constantly undercut by actual
US policies in the region. Al-Jazeera, under tremendous pressure and
threats of bombing from the United States, has for example stopped
referring to the US occupation forces in Iraq as "occupation forces"
and now refers to them as "coalition forces". Moreover, since when has
the US sought to win a popularity contest among the peoples of the
world? Arabs no more hate or love the United States than do Latin
Americans, Africans, Asians, or even and especially Europeans.

Finally we come to the financial argument, namely that the US gives
an inordinate amount of money to Israel -- too exorbitant a cost that
is out of proportion to what the US gets in return. In fact, the United
States spends much more on its military bases in the Arab world, not to
mention on those in Europe or Asia, than it does on Israel. Israel has
indeed been very effective in rendering services to its US master for a
good price, whether in channelling illegal arms to central American
dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s, helping pariah regimes like
Taiwan and apartheid South Africa in the same period, supporting
pro-US, including Fascist, groups inside the Arab world to undermine
nationalist Arab regimes, from Lebanon to Iraq to Sudan, coming to the
aid of conservative pro- US Arab regimes when threatened as it did in
Jordan in 1970, and attacking Arab nationalist regimes outright as it
did in 1967 with Egypt and Syria and in 1981 with Iraq when it
destroyed that country's nuclear reactor. While the US had been able to
overthrow Sukarno and Nkrumah in bloody coups, Nasser remained
entrenched until Israel effectively neutralised him in the 1967 War. It
is thanks to this major service that the United States increased its
support to Israel exponentially. Moreover, Israel neutralised the PLO
in 1982, no small service to many Arab regimes and their US patron who
could not fully control the organisation until then. None of the
American military bases on which many more billions are spent can claim
such a stellar record. Critics argue that when the US had to intervene
in the Gulf, it could not rely on Israel to do the job because of the
sensitivity of including it in such a coalition which would embarrass
Arab allies, hence the need for direct US intervention and the
uselessness of Israel as a strategic ally. While this may be true, the
US also could not rely on any of its military bases to launch the
invasions on their own and had to ship in its army. American bases in
the Gulf did provide important and needed support but so did Israel.

AIPAC is indeed powerful insofar as it pushes for policies that
accord with US interests and that are resonant with the reigning US
imperial ideology. The power of the pro-Israel lobby, whether in
Congress or on campuses among university administrators, or
policy-makers is not based solely on their organisational skills or
ideological uniformity. In no small measure, anti- Semitic attitudes in
Congress (and among university administrators) play a role in believing
the lobby's (and its enemies') exaggerated claims about its actual
power, resulting in their towing the line. But even if this were true,
one could argue, it would not matter whether the lobby has real or
imagined power. For as long as Congress and policy-makers (and
university administrators) believe it does, it will remain effective
and powerful. I of course concede this point.

What then would have been different in US policy in the Middle East
absent Israel and its powerful lobby? The answer in short is: the
details and intensity but not the direction, content, or impact of such
policies. Is the pro- Israel lobby extremely powerful in the United
States? As someone who has been facing the full brunt of their power
for the last three years through their formidable influence on my own
university and their attempts to get me fired, I answer with a
resounding yes. Are they primarily responsible for US policies towards
the Palestinians and the Arab world? Absolutely not. The United States
is opposed in the Arab world as elsewhere because it has pursued and
continues to pursue policies that are inimical to the interests of most
people in these countries and are only beneficial to its own interests
and to the minority regimes in the region that serve those interests,
including Israel. Absent these policies, and not the pro-Israel lobby
which supports them, the United States should expect a change in its
standing among Arabs. Short of that, the United States will have to
continue its policies in the region that have wreaked, and continue to
wreak, havoc on the majority of Arabs and not expect that the Arab
people will like it in return.

* The writer is associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University Joseph Massad . His recent book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question was published by Routledge.

From:
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/787/op35.htm