By James Petras
“The Government of Israel has insulted the Vice President of the United States, and spat on the face of the President… they wiped the spit of their faces and smiled politely… as the saying goes: when you spit in the face of a weakling, he pretends that it is raining” — Uri Avnery Israeli Jewish journalist 13/3/2010.
“We (Israel) possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets … most European capitals are targets of our air force … the Palestinians should all be deported. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago, (January 2010), it was 33 percent and now according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent”. Martin Van Crevel Israeli, professor of military history at Hebrew University at Jerusalem and top adviser to the Israeli Armed Forces, March 2, 2010.
When Israel announced a major new Jews-only building project of 1600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, it was not only “spitting in the face” of visiting Vice President Biden, it was demonstrating its power to humiliate America and Americans. Netanyahu was sending a message to world: Israel backed by its billionaire-financed Presidents of the 51 Major American Jewish Organizations, leads the US by the nose. The Jewish State can make an agreement with the White House one day and revoke it the next (with characteristic arrogance), US public opinion be damned. No sooner did the Obama Administration react to this most public show of impudence with Biden privately telling the Israeli Prime Minister that, “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.“, than Netanyahu openly called on the “American Jewish community” (the major Zionist organizations) to come to the defense of Israel and its claim on all of Jerusalem. And respond they did: turning the insulted victim (America) into the bully and blaming the US, not the Israeli government, for the “crisis” and for the breakdown of Israel’s agreement not to expand colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian land. As we shall describe, the entire Zionist power configuration in the United States (with a few notable exceptions) defended Israel’s effrontery and condemned any attempt by the US government to peacefully resolve a conflict, which threatened US lives, economic interests and prestige. This just confirmed world public opinion, which sees an American electorate willing to be humiliated by this economically insignificant state.
The Bigger Issue: Beyond the Biden – Netanyahu Caper
Whatever the insults and crimes of the moment, the conflict between Israel and the US is not about Netanyahu’s hyper-arrogance or a new series of Jerusalem land grabs, or even the frothy spittle on Vice President Biden’s face. It is, in essence, about the relation between states or, better still, the relation between peoples where one group (Israeli Jews and their powerful one percent fifth column agents in the US) exacts tribute and imposes wars in its own interests on another group (the US tax payers, soldiers, workers and businessmen). It arrogates power, not merely yesterday or today, but for the last 50 years.
In a broader historic context, the public humiliation of Vice President Biden in Tel Aviv pales in comparison to the Israeli’s cold blooded sneak attack, which killed and wounded over 200 American servicemen on the USS Liberty in June 1967. An arrogant and homicidal Israel humiliated the US through this attack, confident that then-President Lyndon Johnson would not retaliate but would even silence the survivors from ever telling their story to the American people. When Netanyahu calls on the “Jewish Communities” in the US he is not referring to the majority of American Jews. He, in fact, is addressing the Zionist power configuration whose strategically-placed members designed and promoted the Iraq war policy, which has caused the deaths and mutilation of thousands of US soldiers as well as over one million Iraqi civilians. In essence, the US soldier victims of the invasion of Iraq lost their lives, limbs and sanity for the interests of the Zionist “homeland”.
It is not merely that American Zionists defend the illegal construction of another Jews-only neighborhood in the middle of Palestinian East Jerusalem; the announcement was calculated to humiliate the visiting US Vice President. It’s not just a matter of US Zionist support for Netanyahu’s sabotage of a US peace initiative; nor is it about the unconditional ZPC support for Israeli crimes as they were being denounced by the United Nations and the peoples of the world. The fundamental issue is that the ZPC in the United States is turning our country and its people into defenders of Israel’s sordid crimes, casting the American people as accomplices to ethnic cleansing and degrading our moral sensibilities before the whole world.
Today and Yesterday: Castrating America
Netanyahu’s symbolic spitting in Biden’s face was a calculated act of grave significance. It marked out Israel’s ‘will to power’ – its willingness to publicly humiliate US leaders and flaunt its power over the US before the world. Israel exposed US impotence in the Middle East and beyond. This incident has world-historic consequences for anyone who is not blind. The US is a declining power, which cannot create a secure environment for its soldiers, corporations and citizens anywhere in the Middle East or beyond. No European, Asian, Latin American or Muslim country can look at the US and its citizens without thinking, “Here is a country at the feet of Israeli leaders and at the throat of Israel’s designated ‘enemies’. It is an understatement to say that the US, as a nation and as a people, has “lost prestige”.
Israel has a long and ignoble history of sabotaging peace talks in favor of grabbing land. From its very foundation, Tel Aviv undermined peace offers through unprovoked military attacks. Israel, along with Britain and France, launched a full-scale surprise invasion of Egypt to grab the Suez Canal, after it had promised to consider Egyptian President Nasser’s proposal to negotiate. In more recent times, as soon as Arafat agreed to formally recognize Israel as a state and sign a peace agreement, Jewish tanks and jets attacked the West Bank killing hundreds and surrounding Arafat’s headquarters for months. At the same time it increased the number of the Jews-only settlements in the West Bank ten fold to accommodate over 500,000 fanatical paramilitary Jewish settlers. When the elected Hamas administration implemented a unilateral cease fire, Israel launched a major military assault, ultimately devastating Gaza and killing 1400 mostly unarmed Palestinians.
Israel’s actions, past and present, including land grabs, Jews-only apartheid roads and settlements and military invasions of Palestinian refugee camps and towns have destroyed the possibility of a negotiated peace agreement, which would compromise the Zionists’ vision of an ethnically-cleansed “Greater Israel”.
Given this spiteful history, it not surprising that Israel’s current apologists claim that the current land grab to build more Jews-only apartment blocks in Jerusalem is “nothing new”, that it is “part of our history”, that Jews “need the living space” and that “three thousand years of Biblical history tells us that all this land is ours” (quotes from the Daily Alert, March 15 -17, 2010, official mouthpiece of the Conference of Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations).
The humiliation of Biden was not the first time that Israel acted publicly to embarrass the Obama Administration. In his first meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu openly rejected any freeze in new settlements. Indeed, Israel escalated its settlement building right after Obama addressed the Muslim-Arab world in his ‘Cairo Speech’.
What is behind Netanyahu’s perverse behavior and his US supporters’ overweening arrogance? How can the US media, hundreds of Congressional Representatives and all the leading Jewish American organizations, support an extremist racist regime, which attacked and humiliated our country with impunity? How can the American Zionists side with a foreign country over issues detrimental to basic US security interests and not be viewed as traitors by other Americans?
In the first place, Netanyahu has the support of 80% of the Israeli-Jewish population as he pursues the policy of evicting the Palestinians and expanding exclusively Jewish settlements on occupied lands despite US President Obama’s ‘peace overtures’. Humiliating the visiting US Vice President on a ‘peace mission’ from Obama only increased Netanyahu’s popularity with Israelis.
Secondly, this impudent projection of Israeli power over the reputed American ‘superpower’ appeals to the self-image of the far-right religious settlers whose leaders form the backbone of the current governing coalition (especially the Shas party).
Thirdly, insulting a gentile President and Vice President would find approval among the supporters of Netanyahu’s gangster Foreign Minister, Avi Lieberman and with the tough Eastern European Hasidic youth who routinely spit on elderly Christian monks and priests in their ancient Armenian and Greek quarters of Jerusalem.
It might seem strange for Israelis, who face increasing isolation throughout the Middle East and are condemned throughout Europe for their brutal colonial crimes, to glorify their thuggish leader as he heaps contempt on their most important military ally and economic supporter, its elected leaders and its citizens. Accumulated Israeli political resentment against world condemnation for their war crimes found an emotional outlet by identifying with Netanyahu’s antics: His relentless brutality against the ‘Untermenschen’ of Palestine and his willingness to openly defy the US Administration, even as Israel extracts $3 billion dollars a year from the Americans, re-enforces their sense of superiority. It is clear that Netanyahu’s totalitarian policies have a mass popular base among Israelis and his swaggering arrogance faithfully reflects the national psyche of Israel.
Netanyahu and his ministers calculated that no matter how hard they squeeze the hapless US taxpayers, themselves caught in the a profound economic crisis, and no matter how often the Israelis threaten to provoke a wider regional war and cause more American soldier casualties, they can always count on the unconditional support of the Zionist Power Configuration in the US to promote Israel’s interest. The entire US mass media applauded the Great Humiliator and even attacked the few American public figures as they (at least temporarily) defended American dignity against Israeli insults. The major Zionist leaders all rushed to support Israel’s humiliation of the US and to denigrate its critics. An endless parade of US politicians, editorial writers, columnists, opinion-makers, “think” tankers, and TV commentators demonstrated their special loyalty to Israel against an American president who was timidly seeking a negotiated peace in the Middle East.
The recent ‘conflict’ between Israel and America over peace in the Middle East –brought on by a crude Israeli provocation – exposed far more profound issues: At the center of power in America, there is an influential group of power-brokers willing to exploit and humiliate the American people in the service of a foreign power. In the past, patriots would have called them ‘traitors’.
Netanyahu’s Hubris ‘Rebuked’
In response to the official Washington show of anger, Netanyahu issued a half-hearted “explanation”: The problem was not the policy of building new settlements in violation of their agreement with Washington; the problem was the timing of the announcement. It was a regrettable “error” by a minor functionary in the Israeli Interior Ministry who made his announcement right after US Vice President Biden had finished groveling at Netanyahu’s feet and was busy pressuring the Palestinian Authority collaborators to rejoin the ‘peace’ charade sponsored by Washington. According to the Israeli media and their US mouthpieces it was a public relations breakdown, not a matter of strategic political and military significance affecting the US in the Middle East. In other words: With Biden out of Israel and collaborator Abbas back at the ‘table’, any announcement violating the “freeze on settlements” would be merely an Israeli “internal policy” and a “continuation of past practices”.
Netanyahu Comes to Washington: Backhanders for Obama, Cheers from AIPAC
Netanyahu, fresh from spitting on Vice President Biden in Tel Aviv, administered a series of humiliating ‘back-handed’ slaps in the smiling face of President Obama, right under the glaring lights of the mass media in the US capital.
Bibi Netanyahu delivered a rabble rousing speech to over 7,000 cheering Zionists at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC. He asserted Israel’s will to construct Jews-only housing throughout occupied Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank, repeating Israel’s illegal claim that Jerusalem was the undivided capital of the Jewish people. He then demanded and secured a two-hour meeting with Obama, despite his arrogant insult against the US Administration. Adding further humiliation to the already weak US President, the Israel government announced another Jews-only housing project in Arab East Jerusalem to be built on confiscated Palestinian property. This announcement, just hours before the planned Bibi-Barack meeting, carried an additional threat that the White House charade of ‘peace negotiations’ would be put off the table if the Americans protested this new round of illegal construction. Netanyahu, demonstrating his utter contempt for the White House and the America people, went straight to the Zion-colonized US Congress and secured the House Majority leader Pelosi’s ‘unconditional support…’ for Israeli expansion. And, as if to celebrate its victory and establish its own definition of ‘peace’, the Israeli military assassinated four un-armed Palestinians, two impoverished job-seekers and two young teenage protesters.
Loyalty to the Israeli masters was evident when thousands of Zionists fanatics jumped to their feet and cheered Bibi Netanyahu’s crude repudiation of the American efforts to protect its soldiers’ lives by promoting a peace initiative. Hillary Clinton’s call for a ‘peace settlement based on two states for two people’ was met with dead silence. The entire Zionist-dominated media and all the leading Jewish organizations backed an unprecedented series of humiliations directed against the elected US Administration and the American people. Netanyahu’s demagogic display of Israeli power over the US Congress and the American mass media and his crude willingness to degrade US political leaders in the nation’s capital mocks the very notion of the American people having any voice in their nation’s policies and subordinates America’s military high command over issues of war and peace in the Middle East.
For Pelosi and the Zionized Congress, the thousands of campaign shekels from the AIPAC crowd to fund their re-elections are far more crucial to their careers than the lives and limbs of thousands of US soldiers lost to an agenda of Israel and its domestic Fifth Column.
Israel’s Arrogance Prejudices US Interests
Israel’s leaders not only raised their domestic prestige by undermining the US Administration’s peace initiatives, they also managed to extract billions of dollars from the US taxpayers. The humiliation of the Obama regime derailed efforts by the Pentagon and the State Department to regain influence and credibility among the conservative Arab regimes, non-Arab Muslim nations and among hundred of millions of Muslims around the world. This humbling of the US Administration by a sneering Netanyahu further jeopardizes the work and security of American businessmen and officials operating in the Middle East and undermines relations with their Muslim and Arab counterparts.
There will be major setbacks for the US in its efforts to gain support for its wars in the Middle East and South Asia and its propaganda campaign to discourage young Muslims from joining the anti-US resistance in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The symbolic image of Vice President wiping away Israeli spittle during an official visit will encourage thousands of young Muslims to resist US occupation, which they view as promoting Israel’s agenda. If an economically insignificant Israel state can defy the superpower, why can’t they? The logic is simple: The greater the Israeli land-grab, the more submissive the Obama regime, the more extended and profound the hostility of the Muslim people against the Americans, the more emboldened the armed resistance movements and the greater the number of dead and maimed American soldiers stuck in wars promoted by the Zionists.
While the losses of American soldiers in the Middle East have never figured in Tel Aviv’s policy moves, nor influenced the activities of its Fifth Colum in the USA, these losses do affect millions of American families and over 200 million American taxpayers. Even an occasional American General finds the courage to point out that Israel’s colonial dispossession of the Palestinian people has prolonged the war, tied up hundreds of thousands of US troops and undermined the capacity of the US armed forces to successfully operate on multiple fronts to promote US imperial interests.
When the head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Petraeus’ team of senior officers, identified “Israeli intransigence” as “jeopardizing US standing and the lives of American solders in the region (Middle East)” in a briefing before the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on January 16, 2010, Petraeus met an onslaught of severe questioning from the ZPC. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullens received the same rebuke from the powerful Israel-Firsters. This was not the first time US military and security considerations were subsumed to Israel’s agenda. Only two years earlier in 2007, the ZPC denounced and successfully buried the annual National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) prepared by 16 US military and civilian intelligence agencies, which had concluded that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons and did not pose a major threat to the US, in favor of Israeli disinformation arguing the opposite. And the same ZPC has been taking the Obama regime to task for daring to criticize Netanyahu.
Over 300 members of the US Congress signed an extraordinary letter supporting Israel against their own Administration, pledging their commitment to “the unbreakable bond that exists between [U.S.] and the State of Israel“. Hundreds of congress men and officials joined the over 7,000 participants at the March 2010 AIPAC conference to cheer Netanyahu and witness the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hail the leader of the Israeli settler state – who had pledged “to continue building in all of Jerusalem just as it does in Tel Aviv”.
General David Petraeus, whose senior officers had expressed his concern about Israel’s policies undermining US military interests to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullins, was no match for the AIPAC. The CENTCOM commander contacted his Israeli counterpart General Gabi Ashkenazi to repudiate his own criticism of Israeli policies and, in effect, pledge his unconditional support to the Jewish state even when it jeopardizes US troops.
In January, General Petraeus correctly identified how Israeli intransigence had damaged US interests and operations in the Middle East, infuriated Arabs and ultimately increased attacks on American troops. But in March, the politically ambitious General hastened to retract his briefing before the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There are few more cravenly disloyal spectacles in US military history than this bemedaled American general prostrating himself for the Zionist lobby.
And yet, for a brief moment, a few desperate anti-Zionists leftists, looked to General Petraeus and Admiral Mullen as potential allies against Israeli-Zionist control of US policy in the Middle East. They ignored the fact that these are the commanders in charge of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and were preparing to confront Iran. Petraeus’ difference with Israel was over specific policies as they undermined the smooth operations of the US war machine in the Middle East and his ‘recantation’ before the Israelis has certainly thrown cold water of this romantic fantasy of a ‘nationalist’ US General.
The tradition of ‘civilian supremacy’ in the US ensures that the military will never confront the issue of Zionist control over the Congress and White House. Petraeus’ briefing will be soon forgotten and the General’s subsequent repudiation is an eloquent example of the grotesquely opportunistic nature of the American high military command.
When civilian leaders point out how Israel’s oppression of 5 million Palestinians jeopardizes American lives and interests in the Middle East, the Zionist power configuration deflects attention from Israel and blames the US (and its ‘permissive’ society) for having instigated the growing Islamist movement, Arab hostility and attacks. When American military leaders, strategists and intelligence officers assert that Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians is a leading cause of regional conflict based on their decades of field expertise, the arm-chair Generals among the Zionists re-interpret this straightforward identification of Israeli policy with attacks on American interests and troops as “another point of view”. In the meantime the ZPC rounds up the usual Congressional or White House Israel Firsters to “disown” their own military.
Israel’s narrowly conceived colonial policy, the eviction of massive numbers of Palestinians and the land grabs to construct Jews-only colonial settlements, undermines US authority in the Middle East among its allies. Israel’s brazen willingness and ability to openly bash President Obama, thoroughly discredits the contention among liberal Zionist apologists like Noam Chomsky that Imperial Washington is “in command” of Western policy in the Middle East and is acting on behalf of much broader Euro-American interests.
In a wider context, Israel’s arrogance damages attempts by US private investors to broker oil deals for multi-national corporations. Arab oil countries, which see themselves as threatened by a regional militarist power like Israel, with its colonial expansion and hegemonic ambitions, are unlikely to cooperate with the American, especially when the superpower is impotent to curb Israel’s worst excesses.
Israeli Colonial Ambitions and US Strategic Interests
For Israel and its Fifth Column backers none of the US strategic concerns are as important as the Jewish state’s colonial conquests and its regional projections of power. Nor are the interests of the American people given much consideration when they come in conflict with Israeli expansionist colonial goals. The ZPC never considers or even discusses the fact that Americans have suffered major losses as a result of Israel’s relentless pursuit of military-driven power in the Middle East.
Israel’s primary goal of grabbing land and dispossessing Palestinians goes against the post-colonial ethos of the American people, who experience increased hostility overseas. The only beneficiaries of Israel colonial expansion are the small but powerful 51 American Jewish Zionist organizations which identify with and are loyal to the Israeli state.
Israel’s unilateral military aggression and threats against neighboring countries, including Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and its cross-border covert assassinations, most recently in Dubai, are of great importance to Israeli militarists as Israel projects power in the Middle East. The self-esteem of Israel’s militarized citizens is directly linked to their policy of aggression and assassinations without regard to national sovereignty. On the other hand, Israeli power projections have undermined the US efforts to diplomatically expand its own sphere of influence and negotiate multi-billion dollar military sales, trade and investment agreements in the Middle East. The fact that Israeli policies have jeopardized millions of jobs for American workers is an issue of no importance to the Jewish state and its affluent Israel First backers in the US.
Israel’s invasion of Lebanon forced the pro-US Harari faction to form a coalition with the anti-imperialist Hezbollah political-military movement. Israel’s attempt to impose its will on Lebanon through its bombing campaign, torpedoed US diplomatic and political efforts to consolidate its influence with President Harari.
Netanyahu’s successful bullying of Obama and Biden simply reinforced the ties between the pro-Western Lebanese and the anti-colonial Muslim left, in the face of Washington’s incapacity to constrain the Israeli ‘wildmen’ or resist the ‘internal rot’ eroding an independent American initiative: Better to join forces with Hezbollah, which after all fought Israel to a standstill in 2006.
Israel’s loyal accomplices in the US government have caused enormous damage to the US economy and threaten even greater loss of American lives, as the Israel seeks to direct US policy toward Iran. Under the forceful and aggressive direction of Israel Firsters and the powerful Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Stuart Levey, every major US oil and gas company, bank, petroleum exploration and drilling firms and countless other business concerns have given up hundreds of billion dollars in lucrative economic trade an investment deals in the interest of Israel, which has extracted over $60 billion dollars of US taxpayer money and handouts and aid during the last decade.
Iran, which backed the US imperial attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, provided the US military with far more strategic assistance than all the Israeli advisers, ‘experts’ and contracted ‘interrogators’ in Baghdad and Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’ put together. Despite the US recognition of Iranian assistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran is demonized as ‘the enemy’ by Israeli agents within the US because Tehran opposes Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Israel’s Fifth Column churns out hundreds of articles a month demanding brutal economic sanctions against Iran and a pre-emptive military blitz aimed at destroying the Iranian economy and a nation of over 70 million. Every US military commander in the Middle East has acknowledged that an attack on Iran will expand the war, cut vital shipping of oil in the Persian Gulf plunging the world economy into recession, and threaten the lives of scores of thousands of American soldiers. They also are aware that the prospect of thousands of American casualties would not deter the 51 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, the AIPAC-controlled US Congress members, or the likes of Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey from promoting or provoking a war with Iran. The leading Israel-First advocates for war with Iran are unconcerned with the inevitable thousands of US military casualties and the millions of American jobs lost, as they promote the expansion and supremacy of “Greater Israel” in all its arrogance and glory throughout the Middle East.
Zionist Power Configuration: How Dare You Resist Humiliation!
Is it any wonder that, when visiting American leaders are openly insulted by the racist regime of Prime Minister ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu, American Zionists automatically side with Israel and condemn those who protest in defense of American dignity?
The Daily Alert, principle bulletin of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, provides a useful compilation of the articles, editorials and government documents, defending Israel against the US Administration’s efforts to seek diplomatic solutions. From March 15 – 19, 2010 the Israeli-ZPC juggernaut released a remarkable propaganda offensive, vividly underscoring the immense power of the Zionist power configuration in the US. As soon as the White House publicly rebuked Prime Minister Netanyahu for insulting Vice President Biden during his official visit to Israel, the Zionist power configuration, claiming to speak for all the “Jewish communities”, came out in defense of Israel and attacked the Obama Administration. A barrage of articles, editorials and press conferences materialized overnight, with the usual parade of zombie-like Congressional mouthpieces parroting the Zionist line and applying direct pressure on the White House. This multi-prong Zionist offensive, under Netanyahu’s direction, was successful in persuading the White House to return to its characteristic belly-crawl: Clinton, Biden and the rest of their gang retreated, reasserting the US “unconditional defense of Israel”, declaring the ‘non-existence’ of the crisis and asserting the ‘rock solid’ American relation with Israel. The chain of command is revealing: The Israeli state orders the Zionist power configuration into action; the mass media disseminates the line; Congress marches lock-step for the Zionists and the White House retreats. Delighted with their success, Zionist propagandists roll out their own polls claiming the US public support for Israel — a public saturated with Israeli manufactured and American Zionist trumpeted propaganda. Clearly what such “polls” measure is the effectiveness of a monolithic mass media campaign.
The propaganda tactics utilized in this blitzkrieg media campaign involved placing blame on the insulted victim and attacking “the Administration for sparking a full blown crisis” (Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2010). It went on to denounce the US Administration officials for “condemning” and “pushing” Israel (Washington Post, March 15 – 19, 2010). Other publications accused President Obama of ‘playing into the hand’ of Arab extremists and “fanning the flames” ,(Fox News and Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 2010). It was the US President, who had been “hindering the peace talks” by “encouraging Palestinian intransigence”. Haaretz, the Israeli’s liberal newspaper, which has published articles critical of the Israeli Occupation, released a series of articles, opinion pieces and editorials by ‘experts’ and ‘military strategists’ accusing the US Administration of “orchestrating the crises” (March 14, 2010) and called for the Israeli government not to ‘grovel’ by apologizing to the US Vice President (March 15). CBS claimed that “Obama was pushing the US-Israeli alliance to the brink” (March 15). And on March 17, the Boston Globe accused Obama of “aggravating Israel’s mistake”. AIPAC methodically contacted its usual Congressional flunkeys to denounce the White House for rebuking the Israeli government.
By March 19, the Washington Post had published over a dozen diatribes calling for US acceptance of Israel’s settlement expansion. Zionist think tanks and front groups with deceptive names, like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, blamed the displaced Palestinians for sabotaging “the peace process” by protesting the accelerated Israeli land confiscation and settlements (Scripps – Howard and Fox News, March 18, 2010). Predictably, the New York Times provided a slightly liberal gloss by calling for reconciliation and an end to the crises, while never mentioning the public Israeli humiliation of Vice President Biden or considering how Israel’s latest grab of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem might endanger US lives and interests. The Times ignored General Petraeus testimony before Congress and his briefing, critical of Israeli policy, before the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while giving prominence to Netanyahu’s “peace talks” (March 18, 2010).
A few fissures have appeared in the pro-Israel monolith: David Axelrod, Obama’s chief adviser, condemned Netanyahu’s provocation as an “insult”; New York Times top columnist, Thomas Friedman, described the Israeli leaders as “drunken drivers”; and a leading US rabbi called for a building freeze in Jerusalem. These few liberal Zionist critics were overwhelmed by scores parroting ZPC ‘talking points’: Bronner and Sanger of the New York Times, Walter Mead of American (SIC) Interest and Goldberg of the New Yorker, among others.
The craven capitulation, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was inevitable. On March 16 Secretary Clinton declared that, “we have an absolute commitment to Israel’s security. We have a close unshakeable bond between the United States and Israel and between the American and Israeli people”. To prove her fealty to Israeli and Zionist interests, Clinton became featured speaker at the APAC Conference, March 21 – 26, 2010, sharing the platform with a triumphant Bibi Netanyahu.
Israel had to openly humiliate the US as a show of its power. Given Israel’s strategic domination of the US political system and the ZPC control over mass media and their enormous wealth, a Zionist-controlled administration, like Obama’s, would have to capitulate. Israeli and US Zionist pressure forced the American leaders to subordinate their international image and national self-respect and accept the unlimited expansion of Jews-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, no matter how this might undermine US standing in the region and jeopardize US troops. By ‘whipping’ the Obama Administration into line, Israel has set the stage for the launching of its top priority: Forcing a direct US military confrontation with Iran in Israel’s strategic interests. It is clear that the entire ZPC will stand with Israel as it promotes its militarist agenda against Iran, regardless of the consequences to the United States.
It has been proven beyond a doubt by the recent events, that the ZPC has the ultimate say with the Obama Administration, against the advice of top US military officials and against the basic interests of the American people. In plain English, we are a people colonized and directed by a small, extremist and militarist ‘ally’ which operates through domestic proxies, who, under any other circumstance, would be openly denounced as traitors.
Can the ZPC be defeated? They are the “most powerful lobby in Washington”, to whom Presidents, Administration officials, Generals and Congress people must submit or risk having their careers ruined and being ousted from public office. Meanwhile,outside of the United States, the international community openly despises Israel as a brutal, racist colonial state, a war criminal and chronic violator of human rights and international law. The Middle East Quartet, made up of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, has condemned Israel’s plan to build another 1,600 homes exclusively for Jewish extremist settlers in Arab East Jerusalem. The Quartet demanded “the speedy creation of a Palestinian state and the end to provocative actions”. But the ‘Quartet’ is powerless to stop Israeli plans. The Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations tell their followers that global “anti-Semitism” motivates the ‘Quartet’. The huge AIPAC “Hail Israel” Conference in Washington D.C. in late March celebrated the triumph of unfettered Israeli expansionism.
Nevertheless, some Israelis are beginning to express unease. After their initial euphoria over Netanyahu’s slap-down of Biden and face-up to Clinton, there is growing fear of Israeli being ‘weaned’ away from the American treasury and losing their unfettered access to the US latest military technology. A poll published on March 19 in Yedroth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s biggest dailies, revealed that 46% of their readers responded that the government should freeze settlement building in East Jerusalem, much to the chagrin of the US Israel Firsters, who might in other circumstances, have labeled these Jews anti-Semites.
Fissures in the Zionist monolith are beginning to appear. These would deepen if and when the American public realizes that Israel’s’ dispossession of Palestinians is raising havoc with American lives and with American interests in a vital part of the world populated by 1.5 billion Muslim. As more issues arise, the critical choice between following the lead of the ZPC in pledging unconditional allegiance to Israel and enduring its provocations and humiliations, or standing up for the dignity, basic interests and integrity of America, will have to be made. More fissures will appear and the AIPAC and other members of the ZPC will be seen for what they are: Swaggering bullies acting on behalf of a foreign power.
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of 64 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles.