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The Collapse of the American Myth – an Opportunity for the Israeli Left

Photo by Diego Torres Silvestre | CC BY 2.0


American Dystopia

Israelis typically view the United States of America with awe, hope, but also arrogance as a friendly country that backs Israel through thick and thin, supports Jews and other minorities worldwide, leads the “free world” and serves as a bulwark in pursuit of freedom, justice and prosperity.

But as many realize, this idealization is a result of propaganda. Not only does the US fail to hold up to that fantasy, it is the exact opposite: a dystopic, capitalist, conservative empire, which is chauvinistic and racist, chokes its own civilians and leads the world in exporting misery, violence, exploitation and corruption.

The American dystopia currently threatens what little remains of democracy and decency within it: the public sector is on a perpetual diet and about to starve, health care is a privatized mess, public education is deteriorating, now on overdrive under Betsy DeVos, fascism is present both in the streets and in the White Housethe military and police keep expanding at the expense of the commons, inequality is the worst in the industrialized world and independent and leftist media are silenced and repressed.

In addition, as a response to its decline and as an act that represents its abandonment of any presumption of progressiveness, the current American administration has chosen to accelerate humanity’s collective psychotic drive over the cliff – it has decided to withdraw from the Paris climate agreements. In other words, America has deserted all logic and decency, and embraced a policy that promotes more money for the mega-wealthy at the expense of the most vulnerable people on earth.

Trump – captain of the Titanic

In the surprise of the century, Donald Trump, a reality TV star and serial sexual harasser, was elected as the 45th President of the United States. Thus, it is unsurprising that he has become a global laughing stock and national embarrassment who generates a long list of scandals with his ignorance, buffoonery and unprofessionalism.

All those who believed that Trump would be some sort of “anti-establishment” President who would de-escalate and even reduce American military adventures worldwide, were foolishly misguided. Since the beginning of his presidency, and fortified by the clear encouragement of the media, Trump seems to be on a mission to start a war as soon as possible. In fact, Trump received the full range of establishment support only when he initiated unprovoked military attacks, such as launching 59 Tomahawk missiles on Syria, or dropping the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan

At the top of Trump’s list of military targets are countries that challenge the dictates of American Imperialist hegemony: Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. The populace of the latter recently showed support for the accomplishments of the Bolivarian revolution and against the Washington-funded right-wing opposition.

With a capricious president who unifies a coalition of conservative and far-right supporters, the US resembles the Titanic after its collision, amidst its speedy decline into the ocean’s abyss. The only question is, who will the sinking empire drown along with it?

And in the meantime, the alternatives for a moral global leadership are unattractive: Russia led by Putin is a conservative country with imperialist aspirations and connections to the ascension of right-wing forces worldwide, Europe is in freefall due largely to the import of American-style neoliberalism and military escapades, communist China is isolated and estranged and the socialist movement in South America is under serious threat of survival.

Israel

Israel is financially, diplomatically and politically dependent on the US and has for years adopted the American neoliberal vision, especially since the ascension of Benjamin Netanyahu to power, Trump’s ideological twin. The bromance between the two leaders has been the wet dream of both Jewish and Christian-Evangelical Zionists, a dream that is quickly morphing into a nightmare for the Middle East, and perhaps the entire world.

But the decline of the American empire and the ascension of extreme right-wing elements are not just a reason for grave concern, but also a golden opportunity for the global Left in general, and the Israeli Left in particular, to present a real alternative.

Leaders of the Israeli left would be wise to once and for all condemn the decades-long destructive American-Israeli cooperation. This acknowledgement must be accompanied by the understanding that the crimes of the Netanyahu regime and the Israeli right are an expression and a direct continuation of the Zionist fantasy of a “Jewish state”, which was equally promoted by Israeli “left-wing” governments led by the Labor party.

The Zionist ethnocentric vision has always been a tool for western colonialist interests in the Middle East, more recently American, and can never be incorporated into a leftist approach that strives for equality and justice.

The Israeli left must abandon Zionism and the destructive dependency on the US as strategic steps that would prove to the world in general, and neighboring peoples in particular (especially Palestinians), that it is prepared to adopt a new vision that is not based on religion, race or nationality and alternatively seeks true incorporation into the region. This new vision would embrace Jews in Israel not as rulers, jailers and oppressors, but as equals. What’s more, this change would include an acknowledgement of the crimes of Zionism also perpetuated on Jews who were forced to abandon their identities in favor of an artificial Zionist collective one.

As a result of this perceptual change, Israel as an American clone – capitalist, settler-colonialist, racist, chauvinistic, militaristic and corrupt – would forever sink with the American empire. A reconstructed, independent Israel, which truly integrates into the Middle East could rise from the abyss.

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Yoav Litvin is a Doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience.  

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