FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

‘Web of Weirdness’: US and Israeli Codependent Relationship is Not Just about Money

“We must look back twenty-five years to realize how far Israel has fallen in world support,” wrote famed Jewish scholar, Harvard sociologist, Nathan Glazer in 1976.

In the last forty years since Glazer wrote his piece, which was uncovered and transmitted by Philip Weiss, Israel’s global support has fallen much further. The country that once appealed to both United States’ capitalism and the Soviet Union’s socialism is now militarily powerful but, otherwise, politically isolated on the international stage.

The misleading perception that Israel is a ‘beacon of light’ among nations has worn off. Worse, the last time this phrase was uttered at an international level, it was made by Geert Wilders, a Dutch populist right-wing politician perceived by many to be a racist and an Islamophobe.

Yet, the more isolated Israel became, the more its dependency on the United States grew.

“Supporting Israel is not in America’s interests,” Weiss wrote. “In fact, Israel is a strategic liability for the US. That makes American Jewish influence the ultimate pillar of Israel’s survival.”

Although Zionists often speak of a historical bond between the US and the Jewish people, nothing could be further from the truth.

On May 13, 1939, a boat carrying hundreds of German Jews was not allowed to reach American shores and was eventually sent back to Europe.

That was not a foreign policy fluke. Three months earlier, in February 1939, members of Congress rejected a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish children to come to the US to escape the war and possible extermination at the hands of the Nazis.

Not only did Congress shoot it down but the public had no interest in the matter either, as allowing Jews into the US was quite unpopular at the time.

Fast forward nearly eight decades, things have changed in name only.

While most American Jews continue to support Israel, they are opposed to the administration of Donald Trump, which they rightly perceive to be dangerous and hostile to all minorities, Jewish included.

However, Israel does not seem to have much qualms with the new administration. On the contrary, the most ardent Israeli Zionists are particularly pleased by Trump’s clique of reviled politicians.

Mere days after Trump won the US Presidential election, American Zionists moved quickly to ensure Israeli interests were fully guarded by the new administration.

The Zionist Organization of America wasted no time, either, by fraternizing with individuals accused of having anti-Jewish agendas. ZOA’s annual gala on November 20 hosted none other than Steve Bannon, a leader in the so-called ‘alt-right’, otherwise known as white supremacy in the US.

Under his leadership, Breitbart, seen as a major platform for the alt-right, fueled anti-Semitism (needless to say, racism of all shades), argued Alex Amend and Jonathan Morgan in AlterNet.

Watching top Israeli officials and leaders of the Jewish community in the United States hosting – ever so enthusiastically – Bannon at ZOA’s annual gala appeared perplexing to some.

But Bannon’s ties with Zionists go back to well before the rather surprising Trump election victory.

In an article entitled: “Steve Bannon’s web of weirdness: Meet the bizarre billionaires behind the president-elect’s chief strategist,” Heather Digby Patron named a few of these ‘bizarre billionaires’.

They included, Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing billionaire with a gambling empire, who is ‘singularly focused on the state of Israel.’

Adelson’s relationship with Bannon (and Trump) has well preceded Trump’s victory, and seemed to take little notice of the fact that Bannon and his ilk were viewed by many American Jews as frightening, racist, anti-Semites with a menacing agenda.

Adelson, however, cares little for the true racists. His obsession to shield Israel’s militant Zionist agenda trumped all other seemingly little irritants.

But the gambling mogul is not the exception among powerful Zionists in the US, and, despite official Israeli rhetoric, Israel does not make political decisions based on the collective good of the Jewish people.

Writing in ‘Mondoweiss’, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network explained: “From Russian Tzars to the Nazis to Mussolini to the colonial British Empire to the Christian Right – Christian Zionists; (The Zionists’) embracing of Trump and renowned reactionary political strategist, Steve Bannon, is no exception.”

Israeli commentator Gideon Levy agrees.

In an article published by ‘Haaretz’ on November 21, Levy wrote, “When friendship for Israel is judged solely on the basis of support for the Occupation, Israel has no friends other than racists and nationalists.”

Thus, it is no surprise that Adelson is funding a massively rich campaign and lavish conferences to combat the influence of the civil society-powered Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), while plotting against Palestinians using the same American elements that consider the word ‘Jew’ a swear word in their own social lexicon.

By putting Israel and Zionism first, these rich individuals, powerful lobby groups, hundreds of think- tanks, thousands of networks across the country and their allies among the religious right, are now the main wheelers and dealers in any matter concerning US foreign policy in the Middle East and Israel’s political and security interests.

With no empirical evidence, however, Israel still insists on linking American interests to US support of Israel.

Speaking in the White House on February 15 at a joint press conference with President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, cordially thanked Trump for his hospitality, then uttered these words: “Israel has no better ally than the United States. And I want to assure you, the United States has no better ally than Israel.”

But it was only half true. The US has indeed been a stalwart supporter of Israel, offering it over $3.1 billion in financial assistance each year over the last a few decades, an amount that dramatically increased under President Barack Obama to $3.8 billion. Coupled with hundreds of millions more in all kinds of financial, military assistance and ‘loans’ that were mostly unaccounted for.

The cost of Israel is not only financial, but strategic as well.

Since World War II, the US has vied to achieve two main foreign policy objectives in that part of the world: control the region and its resources and prop up its allies, while maintaining a degree of ‘stability’ so that the US is able to conduct its business unhindered.

Nevertheless, Israel remained on the war path. Wars that Israel could not fight on its own, required American intervention on Israel’s behalf as was the case in Iraq. The outcome was disastrous for US foreign policy. Even hardened military men began to notice the destructive path their country had chosen in order to defend Israel.

In March 2010, General David Petraeus, then Head of the US Central Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a testimony that Israel had become a liability for the US and that it has become a challenge to the ‘security and stability’, which his country aimed to achieve.

Although recent polls have shown that younger Americans – especially among Democratic party supporters and young Jewish Americans – are losing their enthusiasm for Israel and its Zionist ideology – the battle for the US to reclaim its foreign policy and a sense of morality regarding Palestine and the Middle East is likely to be long and arduous.

More articles by:

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
January 23, 2020
Richard Moser
Ten Best Messages for Waging Peace
Thomas S. Harrington
The Catalan Crisis Threatens to Reopen a Debate That the EU’s Power Brokers Thought They Had Long Ago Quashed
Martha Rosenberg
SARS-Like Disease Could Become a Pandemic
Ron Jacobs
A Cesspool of Constitutional Nonsense-Impeachment in the Senate
Gaither Stewart
One Hundred Years: the Proletariat in Search of a Class
Nick Pemberton
Final Phallus
Russell Mokhiber
PBS Public Editor and the Disease of Contempt
Thomas M. Magstadt
The Myth of the Free Market
Mandy Smithberger
How the Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder in Contract After Contract
Russell Rickford
The Paradox of Populism
Howard Lisnoff
Action Research: Acquiescing to the Awful
George Ochenski
Comes Now the Winter of Our Discontent
Binoy Kampmark
Diminishing Returns: Calculated Misery in Air Travel
Nick Licata
Do Republicans Have More to Lose Than Democrats in the Impeachment Trial?
Dean Baker
The Myth of China’s Population Crisis
John Kendall Hawkins
Steal This Whistle
January 22, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Media and the Military Mindset
John Davis
The Real Megxit Deal
John O'Kane
The Obama Legacy: Reform Versus Revolution
Kenneth Surin
The “Evolving” Scotty Morrison From Marketing
Martin Billheimer
“The Cops & the Klan Go Hand in Hand!”
Thomas Knapp
Executive Power: Alan Dershowitz’s Imagination Versus the Constitution
Jacob G. Hornberger
Egypt and the Destruction of Civil Liberties in America
Justin Podur
The People of Colombia are Cracking the Walls of War and Authoritarianism
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson
Our Final Decade to Get Climate Policy Right
Jonah Raskin
Terence Hallinan: Fighter for the People and for the Legalization of Marijuana 
Colin Todhunter
Challenging the Flawed Premise Behind Pushing GMOs into Indian Agriculture
January 21, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Warmonger Cotton Accuses Antiwar Think Tank of Anti-Semitism
John Feffer
Trump Makes Space Great Again
Patrick Cockburn
The US and Iran’s Perpetual Almost-War is Unsustainable – and Will End Badly
James C. Nelson
Another Date That Will Live in Infamy: 10 Years After Citizens United
Robert Fisk
Iran Will be Changed Forever by Admitting Its Great Mistake, Unlike the West Which Ignores Its Own Misdeeds
Dean Baker
Did Shareholders’ Benefit by Paying Boeing’s Fired CEO $62 Million?
Susan Roberts
The Demise of the Labour Party and the Future For UK Socialism
Binoy Kampmark
Janus-Faced on Climate Change: Microsoft’s Carbon Vision
David Levin
The Teamster Revolt Against the Hoffa Era
Victor Grossman
Defender and Spearheads
Russell Mokhiber
BS Public Editor and the Disease of Contempt
Tiffany Muller
Get the Money Out of Politics: 10 Years After Citizens United
Laura Flanders
Iowa is Not the Twitterverse
Graham Peebles
Education: Expanding Purpose
Elliot Sperber
Handball in Brooklyn 
January 20, 2020
Paul Street
Trump Showed Us Who He Was Before He Became President
Eric Mann
Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Ipek S. Burnett
MLK and the Ghost of an Untrue Dream
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail