By James Petras
The Israeli Agenda openly defended, publicly practiced and aggressively pursued by the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) has greatly influenced the US Presidential elections and the likely future course of Washington’s Middle East policy.
The strategy of Israel is the complete Zionization of Palestine, the takeover of land, water, offshore gas (estimated to be worth $4 billion dollars) and other economic resources and the total dispossession of the Palestinian people. Tel Aviv’s tactics have included daily military assaults, giant walls ghettoizing entire Palestinian towns, military outposts and controls undermining commerce and production to force bankruptcy, poverty, severe deprivation and population flight.
The second priority of the Israeli colonial state is to bolster the Jewish state’s political and military supremacy in the Middle East, using preposterous arguments of ‘survival’ and ‘existential threats’.
The key postulate of Israeli Middle East policy is to destroy or intimidate the principle adversaries of its Zionization of Palestine and its expansionist Middle East policy. In pursuit of that policy, it invaded southern Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah, bombing neighborhoods and critical infrastructure in Beirut and other cities, and also bombed Syria as a provocation.
Earlier the Israeli state played a major role in directing the ZPC in formulating US war policy toward destroying Iraq as a viable nation. Recently Israel, through the ZPC in the US, has engaged in a comprehensive, intense and highly charged political, diplomatic, economic and military campaign to isolate and ultimately destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran as a political counterweight to its ambitions in the Middle East (“Israel: Iran building Nuclear Arms”, Aljazeera February 12, 2008).
The principal propaganda tool of the ZPC and its Israeli patrons is to claim Iran represents a ‘military threat’ to Israel, Iraq, the Gulf oil producers and the US. This outlandish charge is repeatedly made by ZPC ideologues.
According to the 2008 edition of the International Institute of Strategic Studies Military Balance, Iran’s total defense spending for 2006 was nearly 55% less than Israel despite having ten times the population of the Jewish state and facing hundreds of US- supported terrorist incursions across its borders. Per capita, Israeli military expenditures were 17 times more than Iran ($1,737 per Israeli – not counting US direct military assistance – versus $110 for each Iranian citizen). It is widely acknowledged that Israel has over 200 nuclear weapons capable of striking Iranian population centers while Iran has none. Israel receives over $3 billion US dollars a year in direct US military aid, including the most advanced offensive military technology – while Iran receives no foreign military aid and has little defensive technology. According to US Budgetary Hearings, from 2009 to 2018 Israel will receive a $30 billion dollar package of direct foreign military financing from the US, while Iran will receive nothing from any foreign state.
Contrary to Israeli and ZPC propaganda, the Gulf States, Iraq and many US military commanders do not consider Iran a military threat, but rather a factor in stabilizing the volatile situation. The Gulf States invited Iran to their annual meetings; Iraqi government leaders meet with Iranian officials on trade and security and Saudi Arabia is following a similar course by inviting Iranian leaders to Mecca for the Hajj.
After the destruction of the secular republic of Iraq, the job of the ZPC has been to push for greater US military aggression against Israel’s perceived adversaries – Iran being the prime target – by massive falsification of the actual correlation of military forces between Israel and Iran.
Intervention in the US Presidential Elections
The second task of the ZPC in pursuit of Israel’s agenda is to ensure no major political candidate debates or questions Israeli genocidal policies toward the Palestinians and its military ambitions in the Middle East. In the US Presidential election of 2008, the ZPC’s role is to ensure that all major candidates endorse, support and promote the Israeli political agenda, despite its policies (see Gideon Levy, “The Lights have been turned off”, Haaretz February 4, 2008) and repudiation of international law. The ZPC has imposed on all Presidential candidates Israel’s bellicose posture toward Iran, and its explicit policy of liquidating Hamas political leaders. According to Israeli Minister of Housing and construction, Zeev Boim, “all members of Hamas political leadership are involved in terrorist acts against Israel…so they must be liquidated.” (Israeli Army Radio- Galei Tzahal, February 9, 2008 cited in Haaretz).
The third task of the ZPC is to use their strategic positions in the White House, Treasury, Pentagon and State Department to undermine Iran’s economy, politically isolate it and provoke internal and external confrontations.
Israel 2008: Theory and Practice of Genocide
Israel has totally shredded any and all verbal commitments made at the Bush-organized Annapolis Middle East Conference in November 2007. It is building 1000 new housing units in “Palestinian” East Jerusalem. It allows 100 new settler posts to occupy Palestinian land. It has attacked and killed Palestinian civilians, police and supporters of its ‘negotiating partner’ Abbas throughout the West Bank. Israel retains its 300 checkpoints throughout the West Bank, undermining travel, transport, trade and medical treatment. Jewish colonial settlements expand, further encroaching on Palestinian land, under the flimsy pretext that the peace process only precludes whatever Israeli officials designate as ‘new settlements’, in effect isolating and reducing Palestinian East Jerusalem into a walled enclave.
Israeli leaders have intensified their military assaults on Gaza, killing nearly 800 and wounding over 1,000 Palestinians since the elected Hamas government took effective control over Gaza in 2007 (‘IDF to step up Gaza Assassinations’ Haaretz February 13, 2008). Worse still they have imposed the genocidal strategy of starving 1.4 million residents of Gaza into submission, practicing the internationally outlawed practice of collective punishment against civilians in order to incite them into overthrowing their elected government. Israeli officials have publicly embraced and defended their totalitarian policies of cutting off electricity generation in the Gaza Strip, thus drastically reducing or eliminating the supply of safe water, halting all sewage treatment, electricity for hospitals, refrigerators, food and vaccine storage, home, school and business lighting. The Israeli Supreme Court has approved this policy of mass, brutal collective punishment of over 1.4 million civilians. (Haaretz February 2, 2008). They have imposed a tight blockade on food and medical supplies resulting in what the United Nations officials and international human rights groups have called a humanitarian disaster of unprecedented magnitude with widespread disease and famine becoming a reality. The Israeli Army blocks even the movement of sick and critically injured children. The Israeli judicial system led by its Supreme Court judges has ruled in favor of the power cuts, bombing of generators and water treatment plants and blockage of food, providing an unprecedented ‘legal’ framework for genocide.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations have publicly defended Israeli genocidal policies and the ZPC has been successful in securing the support of both major US political parties and presidential candidates for Israeli collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.
Deliberate State Genocide
Israeli policymakers claim that their totalitarian tactics are a ‘response to ‘rocket attacks’ by Palestinian ‘terrorists’. In fact there are no attacks from the West Bank – not a single rocket attack throughout the past two years. Even more significant, Israel has repeatedly rejected Hamas offer to sign a joint comprehensive long-term ceasefire involving an end to rocket fire in exchange for an end to Israeli military air and tank assaults. All Israeli leaders have categorically rejected Hamas cease-fire offers and have refused to even negotiate with or recognize the duly elected Hamas leadership.
Israel has affirmed its policy of political extraterritorial assassinations of democratically elected political leaders irrespective of rocket or other attacks as part of its strategy of practicing international state terrorism against the Palestinian people, in violation of international law.
In summary, genocide and state terror at the service of ethnic dispossession and racial-ethnic colonial settlements is the openly stated, judicially sanctioned practice of the Israeli state. There is no basis for speaking of a Jewish, Zionist or Israeli ‘conspiracy’ against the Palestinians. State terror is practiced openly and publicly defended by the Supreme Court while international law is publicly dismissed as irrelevant to the extent that it infringes on the freedom of action, expansion and ‘security’ of Jewish territorial ambitions, military superiority in the Middle East and Israeli influence over US Middle East policy.
As Israeli policy makers clearly embrace totalitarian policies, engaging and justifying international assassination of adversaries and the collective punishment of over 1.4 million civilians in Gaza, their political, academic and journalistic apologists rely on unadulterated vituperation and paranoid screeds against Israel’s critics in the US. The now deceased super-Zionist Congress-person Tom Lantos (Democrat California), accused ex-President Carter of being filled with ‘venom’ for comparing the oppression of the Palestinians to South African Apartheid. Zionist zealot, Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law (sic) at Northwestern University, claims that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to Israel’s violent seizure and settlement of Palestinian lands (Daily Alert February 15, 2008). Alex Safian ‘refutes’ Professors Walt and Mearsheimer’s classic study of the Israel Lobby in the United States as ‘a fraud’. Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, refers to Israel’s privileging of Jews over Palestinians in the Occupied Territories as ‘the poisonous myth of Israel’s Apartheid’ (National Post-Canada cited in the Daily Alert February 15, 2008).
The violent vituperative language follows the deep frustration that Zionist leaders feel in failing to stem the growing rejection of Israel’s totalitarian politics. Their belief that no one should ever attack Israel’s colonial and racist policies leads them to blind rage, blacklisting, censorship and vicious character assassinations. Israel’s expansionist and militarist policies, in violation of international law, are accompanied by a powerful tendency among mainstream Zionist leaders to reject international law, vilifying the United Nations and insulting the International Court of Justice.
Pro-Israel Western leaders adopt Israel’s paranoid style of politics and translate it into the American political discourse. Zionist zealot and head of US Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, engages in widespread internal espionage of US citizens in violation of constitutional protections. Zionist fanatic, US Attorney General Michael Mulkasy, refused to investigate the illegal, but widely acknowledged practice of torturing suspects in US custody, including water-torture (water-boarding), considering this internationally outlawed torture to be ‘acceptable under certain conditions’. The most egregious example of Israel’s political and intellectual degeneration is found in the logic of its chain of enemies. Israeli military targeting starts with attacking the Palestinian armed resistance; then it extends to their family members, neighbors, their homes, schools, workshops, offices and fields. It implicates civilians, ambulances and food distribution outlets. It proceeds to target the entire community, a whole people, with round-ups of all males less than 45 years of ages. Paranoia leads to verbal assaults of overseas European and US critics of Israeli crimes against humanity. Israeli death squads cross borders and assassinate political leaders, train terrorists in Iraq, Iran, Colombia and elsewhere to weaken countries, regimes and groups, which politically support the Palestinian struggle for independence and sovereignty.
Accompanying the Israeli policy of permanent global war and paranoia are the entire leadership of the Zionist Power Configuration in the US. The ZPC’s introduction of the Israeli paranoid style of politics in our country becomes one of the biggest threats to American freedoms and our desire to avoid Israeli entrapment in another brutal war in the Middle East.
The Zionist Power Configuration: 2008
In the face of the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe imposed by Israel’s food and energy blockade of Gaza, and its thorough repudiation of the terms of the Annapolis peace negotiation the Zionist power configuration had its work cut out for it in selling the Israeli genocidal agenda as a defensive, justifiable policy of a peace-loving democracy. The second task of the ZPC was to overcome the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran which refuted Israeli and White House propaganda painting Iran as a nuclear threat. The Israeli state propaganda machine went on an all out assault of the NIE, claiming to have superior knowledge of hidden Iranian research programs – without providing a shred of reliable evidence. Once the Israeli state defined its position to the NIE, the entire leadership of the Conference of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO), all the major Zionist- controlled propaganda centers (‘think tanks’) and an army of Israel-First academics (self-styled ‘intelligence experts’) and ideologues deluged the print and electronic mass media with attacks on the NIE report, echoing and citing the rhetoric and claims of the Israeli state. The White House and Congress (with few exceptions) followed the line of the ZPC, downplaying and distorting the NIE, escalating their bellicose rhetoric and pressure for sanctions on Iran in the UN Security Council and among the EU and NATO countries. The success of the ZPC in sustaining US confrontational policies against Iran, and forcefully selling the Israeli policy to the US political elite even against the findings and report of all the US intelligence agencies is a measure of the decisive power of the ZPC over US Middle East policy. Never in the entire history of the US has a small and economically insignificant foreign power wielded so much influence over Washington in a strategic region through its overseas representatives over and against the advice of America’s entire intelligence establishment.
The key to Zionist power is its ability to leverage and multiply its influence through non-Zionist congressional, media, pension fund managers, state and municipal officials and a host of trade union, academic and other notables and civic organizations. Strategically placed Zionists focused on the single issue of Israel, bring to bear the economic and organizational resources of their 1 million affiliates, supporters and media publicists on targeting policy makers in all relevant fields. The propaganda value of having non-Zionists with a mass organizational base carrying out Israeli policies is immense. Leveraging the ‘others’ allows the pro-Israel liberal ideologues to obfuscate, downplay and dilute the real power of Israel and the ZPC in the making of US Middle East policy. As a consequence, we find what I call ‘mish-mash’ analyses which argue that “The Zionist pro-Israel lobby (sic) is only one of many groups and interests influencing US Middle East policy”. In other words, Zionist leveraged politicians are given a degree of autonomy and attributed a set of interests, which effectively hides Zionist initiatives, pressures and tactical leverage.
In 2008 Zionist direct and leveraged power is manifested in several decisively important areas of US politics, especially in foreign policy.
ZPC and the Presidential Elections
All of the major presidential candidates have slavishly followed the most extreme pro-Israel positions promoted by the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations. John McCain, the Republican front-runner declares his unconditional support for Israel’s territorial expansion, settlements and genocidal policy toward Gaza. According to the Jewish weekly, The Forward (February 13, 2008), “On Israel,…McCain has been uncharacteristically conventional. He offers unqualified support, expressed in years of public statements…” The same article emphasizes how in 2006 McCain capitulated to Zionist pressure in a matter of days by recanting his position on Israel returning to its 1967 borders: “I’ve never held the position that Israeli should return to the 1967 lines and that is not my position today.” On February 7, 2008 McCain defined US-Iranian policy on strictly Zionist terms: “Those (Democratic) senators won’t recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally Israel in the region.” (McCain’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, February 7, 2008, quoted in Haaretz Februaru 10, 2008). In 2007, McCain happily echoed Israeli demands to bomb Iran with the vulgar and sinister new refrain to an old Beach Boys rock song… “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb…Bomb-bomb Iran”.
Clinton and Obama
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have supported every major position and demand of the ZPC: Both have pledged unconditional support for Israel; they have backed Israel’s genocidal policies against Gaza, the expansion of settlements and the total takeover of Jerusalem. Hillary Clinton urges recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – contrary to the United Nations, the European Union and even the Bush Administration’s position. Zionist ideologues are among the top foreign policy and Middle East advisers of all three top contenders for their party’s presidential nomination. The public record reads Zionist decisive influence over the next US President’s Middle Est policy. The only possible deviation is Obama’s statement that he is willing to negotiate with the Iranian government – a policy that the Bush regime, in part, already practices at a lesser official level via meetings in Iraq. For his minor discrepancy from the Zionist war rhetoric toward Iran, Obama was chastised by Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the CPMAJO (Haaretz January 18, 2008). To compensate for talking too much about ‘change’, Obama went out of his way to blame the civilians living in Gaza for the Israeli campaign to starve them into surrender and called on them to revolt against their democratically-elected Hamas government. The ZPC is the only major national political-social apparatus, which engages in a comprehensive, persistent and intensive campaign to direct US foreign policy into a full-scale (diplomatic, military and economic) confrontation with Iran.
Silencing Potential Critics
Almost every major centrist, leftist or progressive journal, weekly magazine, radio and web site has refused to discuss the singular influence of the ZPC over the Presidential candidates’ Middle East policy – a further indication of the reach and influence of the ZPC. The best indication that the ZPC is not ‘just another lobby’ as Mearsheimer and Walt claim, or a simply another bellicose neo-conservative current of opinion, is found in their slavish adherence to the Israeli state’s policies, even when they blatantly defy and repudiate the rightwing policies of President Bush. At Annapolis (November 2007) President Bush called on Israel to cease building new settlements in order to further peace negotiations. Exactly three months later Israel announced plans to build over 1,000 (1,250) new Jews-only homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem (BBC News, February 12, 2008). The Daily Alert propaganda sheet of the CPMAJO immediately endorsed the Israeli position and set in motion its major lobbyists, op-ed ideologues and media ‘experts’ to justify Israel’s crass repudiation of its agreement with President Bush.
Rather than confront this flagrant, highly public, unilateral and shameful Israeli repudiation of its agreement with the White House, President Bush , Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Gates all played ‘Mickey the Dunce’. White House press secretary, Dana Perino, claimed she had not seen the report about Israel’s plans to build new apartments in East Jerusalem – though it was ‘news’ in all the mass electronic and print media. In fear of the ZPC, Perino responded as if the entire affair was simply a problem for the Palestinians: “But obviously, there is no doubt that an announcement of that sort (building 1,125 new Jews-only segregated apartments) would make the Palestinians concerned” (Santa Barbara News-Press February 12, 2008).
Zionist Power: Treasury Department
Within the government, the principal architect and key operative of the US worldwide campaign to strangle the Iranian economy is a top Treasury Department official, Stuart Levey, a zealous Zionist. Levey has successfully browbeat the reticent, persuaded the gullible and teamed up with co-thinkers who control state, municipal and private pension funds to withdraw investments from any enterprise which deals with Iran. Levey is a major architect of the Treasury’s economic sanctions policy, which Washington has promoted in the United Nations Security Council. Levey’s policies have succeeded in blocking Iranian private bank transactions. They have received the support of the White House and the National Security Council despite the NIE report, which found that Iran was not engaged in a nuclear weapons program. Mohamed El Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency have confirmed the position of the NIE (Associated Press, February 23, 2008). Unlike Levey, the NIE and the IAEA are agencies, which are not influenced by the Zionist power configuration.
Nevertheless, the Israeli demands (pushed by the ZPC) for further sanctions based on unfounded claims of continued nuclear arms programs trumps the NIE and IAEA intelligence findings. The White House, France, England and Germany demand new and harsher sanctions against Iran. Never in the history of Israeli influence over US Middle East policy has the pro-Israel power configuration so much influence as it has today: The US government (President to Congress to Presidential hopefuls) repudiate its own intelligence agencies in favor of the ‘intelligence’ claims of a foreign power. Never has the US Treasury Department been so influenced by Israel Firsters, like Stuart Levey, Daniel Glaser and their colleagues in putting the interests of Israel above and beyond the interests of the major US and European oil companies.
At every AIPAC meeting since 2004, in every publication of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations over the past 5 years, in each and every state and citywide conference of Jewish community councils, every effort has been made to promote US military action or economic sanctions against Iran. In fact, the ZPC escalated its campaign against Iran after the NIE was published and intensified their campaign in favor of Israel’s fabricated ‘intelligence claims’ (Daily Alert, November 2007 – February 2008). The dual power position of Israel Firsters in key policy positions and civil society defines their influence over US Middle East policy.
The International Dimension
The US ZPC has been immensely aided in securing its bellicose anti-Iranian agenda by the appointments of prominent Zionists to key foreign policy positions in England and France. David Milliband, the British Foreign Minister, has close family ties with illegal Jewish settlers from Britain colonizing the occupied West Bank. During a visit to Israel, he spent several days with Israeli officials and an evening with his relatives, while totally ignoring the issue of the 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza suffering from Israel’s genocidal blockade. Milliband has been a fierce defender of keeping the ‘military option on the table’, heightening economic sanctions against Iran and is an unconditional supporter of Israel’s brutal policy preventing the shipment of food and fuel from reaching the suffering people of the Gaza strip.
Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister is a lifelong zealous Zionist who, upon taking office, pronounced himself in favor of a military attack on Iran ‘if negotiations fail’. As the new Foreign Minister, Kouchner went to US occupied Iraq and praised the occupation and puppet ‘government’ despite the over 1 million civilian deaths and 4 million destitute refugees which has resulted from the invasion and occupation. Kouchner (appointed by French President Sarkozy – under pressure from the Zionists), like president Bush gave strong backing to any Israeli ‘military pre-emptive action’ (offensive military assault), though a strong negative reaction from the French public forced him to tone down his overt support of Israeli military actions.
With such powerful political allies and co-thinkers in the American, French and British governments and the controlling role of the ZPC over US policymakers in the United Nations, it comes as no surprise that Israel received no reprimand for its daily murders and abductions of civilians and Palestinian officials in Gaza and the West Bank. The Zionist power prevents the UN from even applying its own basic international principles to prosecute crimes against humanity, including torture and collective punishment. Since its founding in the late 19th century and its spread to the US, especially after WWII, organized Zionism has never been so influential in so many spheres of government and had so much control over US Middle East policy as it possesses today.
The Show Must Go On
Not only does the ZPC directly influence US policy against Palestine, Iraq and Iran, but it has extended its campaign against ‘third parties’, countries like China which have economic relations with Sudan (a Muslim nation with an independent foreign policy which supports Palestinian rights). To an overwhelming degree, the propaganda campaign behind the “Darfur genocide campaign’ is the Israeli state and its political apparatus in the US, namely the ZPC. Most of the media celebrities, led by prominent Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, have engaged in an exercise of selective moral indignation – supporting Israel, while ignoring its starvation blockade of Gaza, supporting the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq while attacking China for its ‘immoral’ oil contracts with the Sudan. The CPMAJO has focused on the Darfur ‘genocide’ because by doing so it favors the brutal separatists in southern Sudan, armed and advised by Israel, as a means of depriving pro-Palestinian Sudan of a large oil rich region in the south of the country. The Darfur campaign deliberately and systematically excludes any mention of the Israeli Supreme Court’s approval of Israel’s food and fuel blockade and deliberate prevention of the movement of medical personnel in Gaza and the West Bank, its approval of Israel’s practice of torture (‘forceful interrogations’), armed assaults on the vital infrastructure and civilian population centers of Gaza.
Hollywood’s Darfur sideshow is a sham propaganda effort at selective humanitarian concern, which does not deviate a millimeter from the official line promoted by the Israeli state and publicized in the US by the Daily Alert, the principle bulletin of the ZPC.
ZPC: Scorecard for 2008
From January to the middle of February 2008, Israeli had killed, wounded and arrested nearly a thousand Palestinians, mostly but not exclusively from Gaza. Over half of those killed, arrested and wounded were unarmed civilians, the rest include Hamas and PLO security officials, militia members and anti-colonial resistance fighters. Of the 700 primitive rockets and shells launched from Gaza, not a single Israeli Jew was killed and fewer than a dozen suffered serious bodily harm. Only a contract farm laborer from Ecuador died on the Israeli side from the rockets.
In a speech to Jewish-American leaders in mid-February, Prime Minister Olmert spelled out the gist of Israel’s totalitarian strategy. According to the BBC News (February 18, 2008) “Mr Olmert said, ‘Israel had a free hand to respond and attack anyone who has any kind of responsibility. This applied to everyone, first and foremost Hamas.” The entire leadership of the major Jewish organizations, whole-heartedly approved the use of unrestrained and unlimited violence (a ‘free hand’) against the entire Palestinian population (‘any kind of responsibility’), which would include individuals who transport, feed, educate, shelter, vote for or interact with Hamas, their family members, friends, neighbors – 99% of the residents of Gaza. Giving priority to targeting ‘first and foremost Hamas’ includes several hundred thousand voters who elected Hamas in free and democratic elections.
The ZPC has succeeded in securing the near unanimous US Congressional support for Israel’s mass arrests and daily assaults on Gaza, even when a few mass media outlets published photos of Israeli colonial soldiers parading eighty arbitrarily arrested Palestinian civilians bound and blindfolded to notorious Israeli interrogation centers (BBC News February 18, 2008) for unlimited detention with no legal guarantees against physical and psychological torture.
The ZPC has swamped the US mass media with praise of Israel’s cross border assassinations, such as the international political murder of Hizbullah leader, Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, Syria (Daily Alert February 15, 2008). Reproducing articles from the Israeli press (Jerusalem Post, Haaretz) and Zionist think tanks and weeklys (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, New York Jewish Week, YNET News, CAMERA, New York Sun, and Middle East Strategy at Harvard) the Daily Alert has provided legitimacy to international assassinations by official state-directed death squads thereby extending the violence and counter-violence throughout the world. This is a fact recognized by the US FBI and Israeli officials. Heads of the Israeli international secret police, the Mossad, openly acknowledge the role of Israeli assassinations in provoking terrorist reprisals by putting a world-wide alert to Jews to avoid Islamic and Arab countries as well as locations where “there is a high concentration of Israelis” (Prime Minister’s Office, reprinted in the Daily Alert February 15, 2008).
The Israeli practice of staging international assassinations of opposition leaders in major cities will not only invite retaliation against Israelis and Jews but also endanger sites in the US and EU, for tolerating these acts of state-sponsored terror. In other words, Israeli terror invites terrorist counter attacks like September 11, 2001. Israel, by provoking a new round in the Palestinian ‘war through global terror’ and the US and EU by embracing an Israeli car bomb assassination in Damascus endanger Western lives everywhere. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, their publicists and op-ed ideologues in the mass media are opening the entire Western world to terrorist attacks. By supporting Israeli terror and increasing the chance of Muslim reprisals, the ZPC strengthens the repressive structure of a growing police state in the US. (The ‘professional’ killing by Israeli operatives of a major figure in Damascus, Syria raises the question of the role of Israeli operatives in the as-yet unsolved series of car bomb assassinations in Lebanon – given Israel’s desire to maintain a state of internal tension in that country.)
The brilliant and precocious Ivy League academic apologists of each and every act of official Israeli state-sponsored international terror apparently dissociate these acts of assassination from likely reprisals in our country and the consequent further destruction of our remaining precarious democratic freedoms.
Could it be that Zionist American intellectuals welcome more US police state agencies and laws in order to prosecute a rising number of Americans who are critical of Zionist influence over the American political process? They might do well to recall that police state structures and laws could be used against them in the future.
Except for a small, courageous and isolated band of Anglo-American-Canadian Jewish intellectuals and academics, all the mainline Jewish organizations raised not a single question, let alone criticism regarding Israel’s role in instigating international terror.
From the beginning of the year, the ZPC has intensified its campaign to strangle the Iranian economy through US-promoted sanctions in the UN. They raised the ante in demonizing Iran as a military-nuclear threat to Israel, the US and the Gulf States. Almost a third of every issue of the Daily Alert (from January 1 to February 20, 2008) is devoted to reproducing propaganda pieces from Israeli officials claiming the Iranians are a nuclear threat and are advancing toward nuclear war. They repeat Israeli propaganda about an ‘existential threat to the survival of Israel’. The CPMAJO never mention that Israel has a current Middle East monopoly of over 200 nuclear weapons and missiles.
Since most leading US Zionists believe that they will not have another President as servile to Israeli interests as the current President Bush (a doubtful proposition) they are pushing hard to find a pretext for a US attack or an Israeli strike backed by Washington before Bush leaves office. While the White House has raised its bellicose rhetoric and aggressively pursued new sanctions, Washington and its backers in the ZPC have failed to isolate Iran. In late 2007 and into 2008, Iran has met with top Iraqi politicians in Baghdad and Teheran, reached agreements with US military officials to stabilize Iraq, addressed the Gulf Cooperation Council at their annual meeting in Doha, while the Saudi monarch invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to fulfill the Hadj pilgrimage in Mecca in December 2007 ( Al Jazeera, February 16, 2008). In other words the ZPC’s militarist anti-Iran strategy has succeeded in isolating the US form its conservative Gulf allies, split US civilians and military policymakers and cost major US and EU oil companies over $20 billion dollars in lost Iranian oil contracts. While the ZPC, via its influence in the mass media and contributions to the leading presidential candidates, has shaped elite opinion in defense of Israeli genocide in Gaza and war policy toward Iran, it has failed to ‘turn’ the great majority of the American public opposed to Middle East wars from favoring the prompt withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and condemning the officially acknowledged use of torture in detainee interrogations.
Cracks in the Zionist Monolith
There are even some cracks in the ZPC monolithic control of public debate on the Israeli colonization of Palestine and the disastrous role of the pro-Israel power configuration in formulating US domestic security and war policy. Despite the Daily Alerts reproduction of at least a dozen vitriolic, histrionic, ad hominum attacks on Professors Mearsheimer and Walt and their book on the Israel Lobby and former President Jimmy Carter’s book on the Israeli apartheid policy against Palestinians, the issues they raise have circulated widely and continue to influence millions of Americans. Jewish critics, both secular and religious, Zionist and anti-Zionist (especially the younger generations), are publicly challenging the pretense of the mainline Jewish organizations’ claim to speak for the Jewish community with regard to Israel and US Middle East policy.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a primarily anti-Zionist Jewish organization, has joined with the province of Ontario’s biggest public sector trade union in denouncing Israeli colonial policy in Palestine and challenging Zionist dominance of the Jewish community and influence over the Canadian trade union movement.
Major protestant denominations in the United States, including the Presbyterians and Methodists are supporting divestment of US companies aiding Israel’s brutal colonial rule in the West Bank and Gaza. In the first week of February, the student government at the London School of Economics voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of divestment campaign against companies supporting Israeli occupation. A growing number of universities organized well-attended teach-ins throughout North America, protesting Israel’s apartheid regime and policy, despite vitriolic attacks from prominent Zionist academics.
Top US military commanders, active and retired, have taken initiatives that directly contravene the ZPC dictates on Iran by praising its cooperation in stabilizing Iraq and playing a critical supporting role in overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The major intelligence agencies in the US report on Iran’s absence of a nuclear weapon development program, contradicting the propaganda line of the Administration. This has struck a powerful blow against the ZPC warmongers and their Israel-First agents in the Treasury Department (Levey, Glaser), the National Security Council (Elliott Abrams), the White House (Joshua Bolton), State Department (Wolfowitz) and Pentagon (Shumsky).
We are engaged in a life and death struggle against war, terror and genocide – against Imperial and Zionist brutality. As the ZPC push for a military confrontation with Iran before Bush leaves office; as the ZPC back Israel’s policy of economic blockades to starve the people of Gaza, assassinate its leaders and shred all public order in Gaza; as the ZPC back Israeli state-sponsored extra-territorial murders (likely to provoke new terror retaliatory attacks in the US and EU and the end of democratic freedoms in America); and as the ZPC actively support the shredding of constitutional and judicial liberties of American citizens and residents and the expansion of a repressive security state, we should recognize the following:
In the final instance, in fighting the ZPC, we should be aware of powerful enemies in high places, acting against the interests of our country. But we should recognize we also have enormous support among the American people and even tactical allies among some officials in the military and intelligence community. We have a new generation of active dissident Christian, secular and Jewish critics of Israel and the ZPC, as well as billions of supporters among Muslims world wide, among secular Arabs and the majority of citizens in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Above all, we are defending our own, hard-won democratic freedoms, our own families’ and communities’ security from Israeli-provoked terrorist attacks and, even more important, our right to develop policies in the interest of the American people, free from the dictates of Israel and its agents.
-James Petras is a professor emeritus at Binghamton University. His latest books are The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press 2006) and Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers ,Zionists and Militants (Clarity Press 2007)