The Mutually Reinforcing U.S. and Israeli Empires

Image by Nils Huenerfuerst.

The U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s annihilation of Gaza – torrents of heavy weaponry, diplomatic and political cover, and vast majorities in Congress swearing fealty to Netanyahu’s extremist regime – is usually attributed to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the powerful domestic pro-Israeli government lobby, organized in every Congressional District, with its abundant campaign cash and its many personal contacts in Congress and the Executive Branch.

This is only a partial explanation of the US-Israel alliance. A far more formidably entrenched factor is that Israel and the U.S. have overlapping Empires – one in the Middle East and the other globally – with deep common purposes. Here are some examples of how these empires operate in tandem.

Both Empires violate international laws with impunity. The U.S. sends special forces, drones, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, anywhere and anytime it wants – especially the case of Iraq and Afghanistan. National boundaries and sovereignty mean nothing. Similarly, Israel completely dominates the Middle East militarily, bombing, sabotaging, and killing whomever it wants in neighboring countries. It has attacked Lebanon and Syria routinely with its air force, artillery, and invaded Lebanon on the ground, prompting feeble responses it always labels “terrorism.”

Both Empires consider every military operation defensive. They say they never conduct offensive attacks, but when they do, they invariably describe them as self-defense. Israel slaughters Palestinians decade after decade in the Palestinian territories while claiming self-defense. With the second most modern military in the world, backed by the U.S., Israel invades, engages in nightly destruction of Palestinian homes, seizes Palestinian land and water for their colonies, imprisons thousands without charges, including women and children, inflicts collective punishment, operates many checkpoints and imposes embargoes, sieges and blockades. All of these unlawful actions are claimed to be taken in the name of self-defense.

The U.S. has 750 military bases in over 80 countries, 26 military installations in the Middle East, runs the provocative NATO military alliance, and digs into the South China Sea. All this is also claimed to be done in the name of self-defense.

Both Empires have collaborating military-industrial complexes and are major arms exporters. As the chief innovator in weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. and its companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing welcome feedback from the Israeli military on how their weapons fare in its attacks. Palestine has become a major testing ground for the most super-modern surveillance technology. (Check out the book, The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World by Antony Loewenstein, 2023).

Both Empires wield “force projection” as atomic bomb powers, though Israel refuses to join the non-proliferation treaty.

Despite their many wars and raids on defenseless populations, both incurred a rare counter-attack (9/11 & October 7) when advance warnings by advisors were ignored (GW Bush and Netanyahu) and military defenses were AWOL. After being attacked, both Empires went berserk and responded with massive killing of civilians by overwhelming invasions.

Both Empires lie repeatedly regarding their tactics and strategies. Recall Rep. Ron Paul’s terse recognition that Bush and Cheney “lied us into invading Iraq.”

Both Empires control the United Nations Security Council with the U.S. veto shielding whatever Israel does. Both occupy or control land that is not theirs, violating international laws.

Both Empires violate their legal duty as occupiers to protect the civilian population’s well-being. Both have restricted humanitarian assistance and critical civilian imports – Israel savagely in Gaza and Palestine, and the U.S. in Iraq under Bill Clinton. Both decline to estimate their aggregate civilian casualties.

Both Empires’ leaders, Biden and Netanyahu, profess to practice their respective religions, though they are violating the basic precepts of both their religions in implementing their violent wars.

Both Empires spend little time pressing for ceasefires, peace negotiations, and the stability of peace treaties. They find such restraints as unacceptable curbs on their freedom to wage war.

Both Empires, contrary to their fundamental juridical documents, in the case of the U.S., our Constitution, operate as elected dictatorships in conducting military and foreign policy. The Congress and the Knesset become supine and surrender to the Executive and, for Israel, the ruling executive coalition. In the U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court has long ruled that no citizens of our country, not even individual members of Congress, “have legal standing to sue” the U.S. government for either initiating illegal wars or engaging in additional illegal tactics like torture or corruption.

To remove the challenges from “We the People” against a lawless government, the Supreme Court has endorsed the “state secrets” doctrine. It authorizes the government to demand the dismissal of constitutional claims, in federal court, based on killings, torture, kidnapping, or otherwise by alleging the defense would require disclosure of national security information.

The Israeli Supreme Court doesn’t worry about the Israeli military machine.

Both Empires have a so-called free mainstream media that mostly toes the Empire party line and knows its permissible place in the overall profit-making power structure. Both have a small independent media that is still able to dissent, however futilely, though the U.S. has no counterpart to the outspoken Israeli newspaper HAARETZ.

There are some differences between the two Empires. Israel attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 171, and mostly got away without consequences. (See, The Intercept article: Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret by Miriam Pensack).

Prosperous Israel persuades the U.S. Congress yearly to provide Israel with billions of dollars, mostly for military arms, and is about to get an additional $14.1 billion – the Biden genocide tax on Americans – as Netanyahu’s terror state continues intensifying his Palestinian Holocaust. (The reported casualty toll is lethally undercounted. See the March 5, 2024 column: “Stop the Worsening UNDERCOUNT of Palestinian Casualties in Gaza”).

If Biden’s people privately object to some Israeli off-the-wall slaughter of courageous journalists, United Nations staff, aid workers, patients in hospitals, and the starvation of babies, Netanyahu can softly say to Biden and Blinken, “Joe, Tony, why don’t you take up your complaints with OUR Congress.”

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!