Tuesday, March 13, 2012

495 Occupy AIPAC sides with Edward Said, and against Chomsky, on the Jewish Lobby

Occupy AIPAC sides with Edward Said, and against Chomsky, on the Jewish

(1) As Occupy AIPAC approaches, Chomsky insists that US is targeting
Iran, not for Israel but for defiance of the Empire - Peter Myers,
February 29, 2012
(2) Chomsky website search 120229
(3) Ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous - from Occupy Aipac
(4) Chris Hedges to Speak at Occupy AIPAC
(5) The drumbeat for war will reach a fever pitch at the AIPAC
conference - from Occupy Aipac
(6) Mossad Chief Set AIPAC Founder's First Public Relations Priorities
-- Declassified FBI Files (from Occupy AIPAC)
(7) Occupy Oakland protesters attack Sacramento rally
(8) Letter to Editor: Occupy movement should denounce Occupy Oakland
(9) Search in Google News for Chomsky "occupy AIPAC" yields just 2 hits,
neither relevant
(10) 1st hit: comment by Chomsky on Assange, but not on Occupy AIPAC
(11) 2nd hit: criticism of Chomsky: Harry Clark on the Jewish Left
(12) Jewish Lobby is America's Last Taboo - Edward Said, New Left Review
(13) Chomsky says US retains control of Israel (Feb '12): American
decline in perspective, part 2
(14) Iran targeted by US for spreading instability (not because of
Lobby) - Chomsky (2011)

(1) As Occupy AIPAC approaches, Chomsky insists that US is targeting
Iran, not for Israel but for defiance of the Empire - Peter Myers,
February 29, 2012

Occupy AIPAC runs from March 2-6; it's the brainchild of Kalle Lasn,
Anarchist inspirer of OWS.

Trots participate too. They like violent confrontations, and some
Anarchists do too - thus the recent violence in Sacramento (item 7). But
Kalle Lasn has maintained civility overall.

The New Left has, thus far, taken a Chomskyist stance on the West's wars
against Islamic countries - blaming them on the Empire, on the Oil
motive etc - anything but Israel.

Occupy AIPAC marks a welcome break from that. For the first time, the
New Left is publicly recognizing the power of the Jewish Lobby, that it
has been the motive force behind these wars, and that it is pushing
America into war with Iran.

Nevertheless, Chomsky still denies the power of the Lobby, as shown in
two major articles: item 13, published just two weeks ago, and item 14,
published in 2011.

Edward Said, also of the New Left, took an anti-Chomsky position in his
denunciation of the Jewish Lobby and its manipulation of the American
mind (item 12). But Said could not marshal forces on the street - until now.

Items 2 to 6 are taken from the Occupy AIPAC website. They mark a clear
break from the Chomskyist position.

Chomsky addressed Occupy Boston a few months ago. A search in Google for
Chomsky "Occupy Boston" yields 769,000 hits.

But Chomsky has had nothing to say about Occupy AIPAC. A search today in
Google News  for Chomsky "Occupy Aipac" yielded just 2 results, neither
relevant (but the second, an article about the Jewish Left, is
interesting, and is included as item 11 below).

(2) Chomsky website search 120229

I searched Chomsky's website today. It's a big website spanning ten years.

Aipac only 7 hits - the most recent July 2010, blaming Christian
Zionists instead of the Lobby

Vanunu 0 hits

Holocaust Industry 0 hits

Shahak - 9 hits, only as a Human Rights activist, no mention of his
books on Jewish religion & Jewish Fundamentalism

(3) Ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous - from Occupy Aipac


10 Reasons Why the Israel Lobby AIPAC is So Dangerous

February 28th, 2012 · Posted by Occupy AIPAC!

Medea Benjamin

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of the most
powerful lobby organizations in the country. AIPAC's clout helps fuel a
never-ending cycle of violence in the Middle East.

Here are ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous.

1. AIPAC is lobbying Congress to promote a military confrontation with
Iran. AIPAC – like the Israeli government – is demanding that the U.S.
attack Iran militarily to prevent Iran from having the technological
capacity to produce nuclear weapons, even though U.S. officials say Iran
isn't trying to build a weapon (and even though Israel has hundreds of
undeclared nuclear weapons). AIPAC has successfully lobbied the U.S.
government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran, including
trying to cut off Iran's oil exports, despite the fact that these
sanctions raise the price of gas and threaten the U.S. economy.

2. AIPAC promotes Israeli policies that are in direct opposition to
international law. These include the establishment of colonies
(settlements) in the Occupied West Bank and the confiscation of
Palestinian land in its construction of the 26-foot high concrete
"separation barrier" running through the West Bank. The support of these
illegal practices makes to impossible to achieve a solution to the
Israel/Palestine conflict.

3. AIPAC's call for unconditional support for the Israeli government
threatens our national security. The United States' one-sided support of
Israel, demanded by AIPAC, has significantly increased anti-American
sentiment throughout the Middle East, thus endangering our troops and
sowing the seeds of more possible terrorist attacks against us. Gen.
David Petraeus on March 16, 2010 admitted that the U.S./Palestine
conflict "foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S.
favoritism for Israel." He also said that "Arab anger over the
Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships
with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy
of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other
militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support."

4. AIPAC undermines American support for democracy movements in the Arab
world. AIPAC looks at the entire Arab world through the lens of Israeli
government interests, not the democratic aspirations of the Arab people.
It has therefore supported corrupt, repressive regimes that are friendly
to the Israeli government, such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Events now
unfolding in the Middle East should convince U.S. policy-makers of the
need to break from AIPAC's grip and instead support democratic forces in
the Arab world.

5. AIPAC makes the U.S. a pariah at the UN. AIPAC describes the UN as a
body hostile to the State of Israel and has pressured the U.S.
government to oppose resolutions calling Israel to account. Since 1972,
the US has vetoed 44 UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel's
actions against the Palestinians. President Obama continues that policy.
Under Obama, the US vetoed UN censure of the savage Israeli assault on
Gaza in January 2009 in which about 1400 Palestinians were killed; a
2011 resolution calling for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank
settlements even though this was stated U.S. policy; a 2011 resolution
calling for Israel to cease obstructing the work of the UN Relief and
Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees; and another resolution calling
for an end to illegal Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and
the occupied Golan Heights.

6. AIPAC attacks politicians who question unconditional support of
Israel. AIPAC demands that Congress to rubber stamp legislation drafted
by AIPAC staff. It keeps a record of how members of Congress vote and
this record is used by donors to make contributions to the politicians
who score well. Members of Congress who fail to support AIPAC
legislation have been targeted for defeat in re-election bids. These
include Senators Adlai Stevenson III and Charles H. Percy, and
Representatives Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, and Earl
F. Hilliard. AIPAC's overwhelmingly disproportionate influence on
Congress subverts our democratic system.

7. AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel by labeling critics
as "anti-Semitic," "de-legitimizers" or "self-hating Jews." Journalists,
think tanks, students and professors have been accused of anti-Semitism
for merely taking stands critical of Israeli government policies. These
attacks stifle the critical discussions and debates that are at the
heart of democratic policy-making. The recent attacks on staffers at the
Center for American Progress is but one example of AIPAC efforts to
crush all dissent.

8. AIPAC feeds U.S. government officials a distorted view of the
Israel/Palestine conflict. AIPAC takes U.S. representatives on
sugar-coated trips to Israel. In 2011, AIPAC took one out of very five
members of Congress—and many of their spouses—on a free junket to Israel
to see precisely what the Israeli government wanted them to see. It is
illegal for lobby groups to take Congresspeople on trips, but AIPAC gets
around the law by creating a bogus educational group, AIEF, to
"organize" the trips for them. AIEF has the same office address as AIPAC
and the same staff. These trips help cement the ties between AIPAC and
Congress, furthering their undue influence.

9. AIPAC lobbies for billions of U.S. taxdollars to go to Israel instead
of rebuilding America. While our country is reeling from a prolonged
financial crisis, AIPAC is pushing for no cuts in military funds for
Israel, a wealthy nation. With communities across the nation slashing
budgets for teachers, firefighters and police, AIPAC pushes for over $3
billion a year to Israel.

10. Money to Israel takes funds from world's poor. Israel has the 24th
largest economy in the world, but thanks to AIPAC, it gets more U.S.
taxdollars than any other country. At a time when the foreign aid budget
is being slashed, keeping the lion's share of foreign assistance for
Israel meaning taking funds from critical programs to feed, provide
shelter and offer emergency assistance to the world's poorest people.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign
government, has influence on U.S. policy out of all proportion to the
number of Americans who support its policies. When a small group like
this has disproportionate power, that hurts everyone—including Israelis
and American Jews.

 From stopping a catastrophic war with Iran to finally solving the
Israel/Palestine conflict, an essential starting point is breaking
AIPAC's grip on U.S. policy.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of www.codepink.org and
www.globalexchange.org. She is one of the organizers of Occupy AIPAC,
which will take place March 3-5 in Washington DC.

(4) Chris Hedges to Speak at Occupy AIPAC


February 27th, 2012 · Posted by Occupy AIPAC!

We are excited to announce Chris Hedges will be our closing speaker!

Chris Hedges was the Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times. He
is an Arabic speaker and spent seven years in the region, including many
months in the Israeli occupied territories. Hedges, who was part of a
team at the paper that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for their work on
global terrorism, is an outspoken critic of Israel's treatment of the
Palestinians as well as a fierce opponent of the Iraq war. He left the
New York Times after being issued a formal written reprimand to stop
speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a restriction
he refused to accept.

Hedges has authored nine books including the best sellers War is a Force
That Gives Us Meaning, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the
War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph
of Spectacle and Death of the Liberal Class. His newest book, Days of
Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he wrote with the graphic illustrator
Joe Sacco, is due out in June.

(5) The drumbeat for war will reach a fever pitch at the AIPAC
conference - from Occupy Aipac


All Out for NO WAR ON IRAN during AIPAC Convention - from Occupy Aipac

February 10th, 2012 · Posted by Occupy AIPAC!

No War On Iran!

The drumbeat for war will reach a fever pitch when AIPAC, with 10,000
attendees, holds its annual policy conference on March 4. The bellicose
stance of keynote speaker Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will
push our nation closer to a catastrophic war.

Come show that the American people demand "Diplomacy, Not War." We'll
have an open mic, so if you have a personal story or message that you
want to share about Iran, come prepared to speak your mind.

When: Sunday, March 4th, 11:00am – 2:00pm

Where: Mt. Vernon Place (corner of Massachusetts and 9th)

Take action now: sign this petition calling on President Obama to Take
War With Iran "Off the Table"!

(6) Mossad Chief Set AIPAC Founder's First Public Relations Priorities
-- Declassified FBI Files (from Occupy AIPAC)


WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

Declassified FBI files reveal details of the founder of the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) early coordination with the
head of Mossad and the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs. The 198-page
file, released under the Freedom of Information Act to the Institute for
Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), is now on the Internet at:

According to the FBI, on July 18, 1949 Mossad founder Reuven Shiloah and
Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett ordered AIPAC founder Isaiah L. Kenen to
implement urgent public relations strategies to boost Israel's economic
and military might. At that time Kenen directed the Israeli Ministry of
Foreign Affair's Israel Office of Information (IOI) in New York which
was tasked with receiving encrypted cables from Israel for decoding and
placement into prominent U.S. print publications such as Reader's Digest
and Cosmopolitan. According to the formerly secret FBI report, IOI
established a network of such offices.

Under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Kenen and other
Americans working at IOI's were required to disclose foreign funding and
guidance. All IOI circulated propaganda had to display mandatory
foreign-agent declaration stamps of origin from the Israeli government.
The IOI was cited several times by the Justice Department for
circulating undeclared propaganda.

Under growing law enforcement crackdowns, Kenen negotiated his departure
from the IOI in 1951 according to his autobiography. "Israelis began
looking for a lobbyist to promote the necessary legislation … would I
leave the Israeli delegation for six months to lobby on Capitol Hill?
There were other questions. Should I continue my registration as an
agent of the Israel government? Was it appropriate for an embassy to
lobby? Embassies talked to the State Department, and American voters
talked to their congressmen." Kenen founded and grew AIPAC amidst
ongoing 1950s-1970s clashes with the U.S. Department of Justice over new
FARA orders and illicit use of foreign funding in U.S. lobbying. AIPAC
was later investigated by the FBI over theft of classified government
property and for circulating classified U.S. national defense and
confidential business information. As AIPAC grew IOI's became redundant
and eventually closed down.

Today AIPAC faces growing demands that it be re-registered under FARA
and disclose activities coordinated by the Israeli government. AIPAC is
currently lobbying for a lower and more ambiguous threshold of "nuclear
capability" as the trigger for a U.S. attack on Iran. SOURCE Institute
for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

(7) Occupy Oakland protesters attack Sacramento rally

Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 22:49:39 -0800 Subject: Violence in Sacramento
From: Archer Frey <archerfrey@gmail.com>

{comment - AF} On 27Feb12 a 100 strong mob from “Occupy Oakland”
traveled over 80 miles to interrupt an authorized, permitted assembly on
the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Basically the
MSM put the now well know PC spin on the happening.

{comment - Peter M} These protestors are probably Trots. They're really
a militia. Their violence gives the Occupy movement a bad name.


Two officers injured, three arrested as protesters clash near state Capitol

By Hudson Sangree, Steve Magagniniand Torey Van Oot

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 - 12:14 am

A mini-melee broke out near the state Capitol on Monday, with at least
two officers injured and three people arrested, after Occupy Oakland
protesters and others hurled objects at police and a group claiming
thousands of whites have been killed by blacks in South Africa.

The protest by South Africa Project, started out relatively calmly in
the day. At about noon, dozens of members walked a lap around the
Capitol grounds, then took up position on the south steps for a
three-hour protest of what they called "White Genocide in South Africa."

Their literature cliams that as of December 2011 more than 3,000 white
farmers of European origin had been murdered in South Africa in racially
motivated attacks. Since the end of Apartheid, more than 30,000 whites
have been murdered, said coordinator Michael Myers, an electrician from

At the same time, a multi-ethnic group of about 100 protesters, held
back by police on horses, chanted "White is the Enemy, White Supremacy!"
and "Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. You Nazi F--ks Have Got To Go!."

The South Africa Project protesters denied the charges that they are
white supremacists. "For some reason, when a white person tries to stick
up for an issue based on race, the''re automatically labelled racist,
Neo-Nazi Klan members," Myers said.

The group's website, however, later proclaimed the demonstration a
success and chided "those of you who call yourselves White Nationalists"
who didn't participate.

At the rally, another member of the group made an anti-Semitic comment.
Jimmy Marr, a protester from Springfield, Ore., said he represented
"white people who don't have a guilt complex and have a way of
communicating outside the Jewish media."

For much of the day, the groups shouted back and forth at each other as
officers kept them separated, said California Highway Patrol spokesman
Sean Kennedy.

"I heard yelling from both sides," he said. "It was mutual."

The South Africa group had a permit to protest on the Capitol steps, but
the counter protestors, who did not have a permit, had to stay on the
sidewalk, authorities said.

At about 3 p.m., extra CHP and Sacramento police officers were called in
to escort the South Africa protesters to their vehicles in a parking
garage at 10th and L streets.

The officers kept the counter-protesters - including those who arrived
marching under a banner that said "Occupy Oakland" – on the opposite
side of the street. Some wore dark bandanas over their faces.

"It's the wild, wild west m-----f---ers!" they chanted. "The system is
racist, you are all disgraces."

As the groups approached the parking garage, the counter-protesters
hurled bottles, rocks and paint-filled "eggs" at the officers and those
they were protecting, according to Kennedy and Sacramento Police
spokeswoman Officer Laura Peck.

One CHP officer, sitting on a large draft horse, rode into the crowd of
counter-protesters while other officers tried to apprehend those they
suspected of throwing objects. The group scattered, with police in pursuit.

One CHP bicycle officer chased down and tackled a fleeing suspect, but
appeared to be injured after the man was handcuffed and taken away.
Sitting on the sidewalk, the officer had blood on his chin and pointed
to his knee, as if to indicate he was hurt.

Another CHP officer held his hands over his face while colleagues put
their hands on his shoulders. An ambulance driver said the officer had
been pepper sprayed.

Kennedy said Monday evening that at least two CHP officers suffered
minor injuries and at least three counter-protesters were arrested by
the CHP for resisting arrest. Another counter-protester was arrested
earlier in the day, he said.

Peck said no Sacramento police officers were injured, though some were
doused with paint, and they made no arrests.

The ruckus snarled traffic. It also disrupted service on light rail's
Blue Line from 3-4:30 p.m., a Regional Transit spokeswoman said.

As news of the event spread, organizers of Occupy Sacramento said in a
statement that they were not involved.

"Occupy Sacramento adheres to a strict non-violence policy," the
statement said. "We do not fight police, even if they are the
perpetrators of violence, as they have been at Occupy demonstrations."

One Occupy Sacramento protestor at the scene, who goes by the name of
Faygo, said it was after the Occupy Oakland protesters arrived that
things got rowdy.

"I can't really blame Oakland," he said. "They deal with a lot of police
brutality, so a lot of them have a lot more animosity toward the police."

"It just takes one person to throw a stone," he said, "and you've got

(8) Letter to Editor: Occupy movement should denounce Occupy Oakland


Letter to Editor

Occupy movement should denounce Occupy Oakland
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 - 11:02 am

Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 - 12:04 pm

Re "Two officers injured, three arrested as protesters clash near state
Capitol" (Capitol & California, Feb. 28): What does attacking police
officers have to do with defendding the 99 percent? Isn't it time for
the Occupy movement to dissociate itself from Occupy Oakland?

-- Greg deGiere, Sacramento

(9) Search in Google News for Chomsky "occupy AIPAC" yields just 2 hits,
neither relevant

Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 16:31:40 +1000
Subject: Chomsky "occupy AIPAC" in Google News Wed 29/28

2 hits. The first has a comment by Chomsky on Assange, but not on Occupy

The second is a criticism of Chomsky by someone else.

ie Chomsky is not in the news over Occupy AIPAC - he's sdaid & done nothing.

On the other hand, Chomsky "occupy Boston" has 769,000 hits in Google -
he spoke there, some months ago.

Transformational Politics: Be Part Of The Evolution – OpEd
Eurasia Review - 13 Feb 2012
By Clive Hambidge 'Julian Assange' said Noam Chomsky 'should be
congratulated for .... growing and vocal public protest (Occupy AIPAC)
and opprobrium, ...

Liberal Citizenship, not "Jewish Identity"
Dissident Voice - 14 Feb 2012
... I think there is some bastard-ism in Chomsky's analysis and in the
New Yorker magazine's. ... 109 Code Pink is organizing Occupy AIPAC in
early March.

(10) 1st hit: comment by Chomsky on Assange, but not on Occupy AIPAC


Transformational Politics: Be Part Of The Evolution – OpEd
Written by: Palestine Chronicle

February 14, 2012

By Clive Hambidge

'Julian Assange' said Noam Chomsky 'should be congratulated for carrying
out the responsibilities of a citizen in democratic societies, where the
population should be aware of what their selected representatives are
doing and planning.' ... one would agree with Noam Chomsky that we must
try on a daily basis, and with some stringency, to "capture one
significant aspect of a highly complex reality." ...

(11) 2nd hit: criticism of Chomsky: Harry Clark on the Jewish Left


Liberal Citizenship, not "Jewish Identity"

by Harry Clark

February 14th, 2012

An abiding feature of the Palestine question in the United States since
1967 has been a "Jewish Left," which combines Jewish affirmation with
criticism of Israel's occupation of the territories it conquered in that
war. A 1973 anthology of writings from the "Jewish radicalism" movement

{quote} In the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War of 1967, an
upsurge of Jewish consciousness hit the campuses, and a new voice—what
we call the 'Jewish Left'—appeared. Young Jews began to make demands for
'Jewish studies' programs, to publish Jewish underground newspapers, to
criticize Israeli policies while defending Zionism against Arab and
pro-Arab attacks, and to confront the Jewish Establishment for 'selling
out' to the 'American dream' while ignoring the needs of the Jewish
community.1 {endquote}

Thirty years later, journalist Esther Kaplan described "the old school
of Jewish activism on Palestine…organizations from Breira in the 1970s
to New Jewish Agenda, International Jewish Peace Union, the Road to
Peace and Women in Black in the 1980s and early '90s."2

These activists followed "the star of identity politics"; they felt
personally implicated by Israel's deeds, saw a strategic role for
themselves, and felt that changing the views of the US Jewish community
was possible and necessary.3 After the second Intifada (Palestinian
uprising) began in 2000, Kaplan found all this "anachronistic."4 She
described new organizations such as the International Solidarity
Movement, and the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement (BDS), and
concluded: "We Jews can join in—many of us will—but we don't own this
movement any more."5

Yet the Jewish Left has thrived. It is not uniform, and exists in more
and less sophisticated forms, but it is noticeable. It is the subject of
a new book by David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights:
Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel.6 Landy is the former head of the
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and earned his PhD at Trinity
College, Dublin. Landy's main focus is the British "Israel-critical
diaspora Jewish movement," in his careful phrase.7 He notes that the UK
movement became important only after the second Intifada, while
elsewhere in Europe and Australia, movements arose only after Israel's
assaults on Lebanon in 2006, and especially on Gaza in 2008-9. Obviously
that is not true in the US, whose movements' "size and dynamism" make
them the most important case.8

In his introduction, Landy states that this movement seeks "to challenge
Zionist hegemony among fellow Jews and to challenge Israel, speaking as
Jews…who oppose Israel" so that we "do not conflate the two."9 This
formulation at once raises questions, beginning with the meaning of
"Jew." A religious definition is clear, as one who practices Judaism,
but a secular definition is not; in fact, secular Jewish nationality is
precisely what Zionism claims, and what many in Landy's movement claim.

Landy's background is Jewish, but he states that being a "movement
activist is more important than shared Jewishness."10 He also notes that
many people of Jewish background are "active in society-wide
groups…rather than specifically Jewish ones," so that his study
understates diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel. More important, the
choice to work in "society-wide groups" sets a universalist benchmark to
judge the choice to work in Jewish groups. The book is a sustained
critique of identity politics, yet Landy does not fully comprehend his
subject, in part because the UK movement, his main focus, is not the
most illustrative example, which is in the US. Still, Landy's rigor and
honesty inevitably raise wider questions, and his book is a welcome

In his first chapter, "Understanding and researching the social
movement," Landy argues that the movement "seeks to re-cognize what it
means to be a disapora Jew," and also notes "the constraints and traps,
as well as the opportunities that identity contestation offers."11 Landy
defines the movement theoretically using Pierre Bourdieu's formula of
"[(Habitus)(capital)] + field = practice". "Habitus" is "'a system of
durable, transposable dispositions'" acquired in upbringing from which
an individual "generates schemata" in different spheres of life.12
"Capital" is "'good, services, knowledge, or status.'13 "'Fields denote
arenas of production, circulation, and appropriation'" of capital.14
Social life is a struggle over "field-dependent capital." Participating
in a field means accepting its "doxaor realm of undiscussed and
undisputed paradigms."15 Thus while "the unnameability of Palestinians
has been successfully challenged" within the Jewish field, "other
silences, such as on the Palestinian right of return, have to an extent
been reproduced."

Landy's second chapter discusses "The conflict over diaspora Jewish
identity." He notes that "identity has replaced ideology as the idiom of
modern politics," and that "diaspora identity is commonly deployed to
create some sense of bounded racialized identity."16 Diaspora identity
is thus "a concession" to the "hegemonic language" and "illusio of the
field." Diaspora is viewed "perhaps as thecondition of authentic Jewish
existence and imbued with qualities of alterity, heterogeneity,
hybridity and (usually) universalism."17 This outlook, "while often
critical of Israel, effaces Palestinian subjectivity," and "creates a
false symmetry with Palestinian refugees" by confusing "symbolic chosen
exile and actual forced exile."18

A claim that "Jews are uniquely univeralistic subjects" arises from
concepts like Marxist Isaac Deutscher's "non-Jewish Jew."19 Landy
"wonders what the term 'non-Jewish Jew' means absent these specific
social connotations," i.e., the traditional Polish Jewish upbringing
that Deutscher rejected. Landy forgets today's activists who choose to
work in "society-wide groups" rather than Jewish ones, even as he finds
them often as stifling as Deutscher's traditional background. Landy
notes the "link between Jews and justice," citing the rabbinical
injunction tikkun olam, conventionally interpreted as "heal the
world."20 This leads to claims of pre-Zionist Jewish innocence, and that
Zionism is actually assimilation to Christian values. He finds the term
"Jewish prophetic" much over-used, a "flag of convenience" which becomes
an "ideological and even racial construct."21 Despite all this
"diasporist ideas with all their problems are a motivating force for
Jewish Israel-critical groups."

Landy's third chapter, "The Jewish field and its dissidents," discusses
"community" in the traditional "sense of community as a small-scale,
organic, bounded arena."22 Landy accepts today's Jewish self-definition
as "ethnic" even as he finds "ethnicity" a problematic concept, and
finds Jews among the least "ethnic" in their societies. He refers to a
"religiously linked ethnicity," a "religio-cultural concept called
Jewishness."23 He seeks to account for the power and patronage in
organized Jewish life, and recalls Bourdieu's notion of "field" in order
to avoid making "assumptions about its authenticity or normativity."

 From this ambiguous foundation, Landy surveys the Jewish field, or
fields. With national variations, he finds the inexorable forces of
liberal society at work, and enduring Zionist allegiance, despite
criticism. Jewish populations are declining more or less from
assimilation and exogamy, with secular disaffiliation from religion,
from communal organizations, and from other Jews. In religion, the
center is outflanked by traditional Orthodoxy, syncretism of liberal
Reform and Christianity, and non-denominational spirituality. A
diasporist culture of "'new forms of synagogue…festivals, books and
films'" accompanies alienation from, and criticism of, Israel most
strongly among the young. Yet "disillusion and disidentification" can
lead "to withdrawal," not change.24 In Britain, it "is not true that
most Jews aren't 'really' Zionist."25 In the US, an "ageing Zionist
leadership" still controls a "robust institutional framework.26 However,
former points of unity, Israel and Holocaust, are now points of
dissension, allowing "Israel-critical movements" to arise in the "Jewish

Landy surveys these movements, since the second (al-Aqsa) intifada began
in September, 2000. In Britain, the conventional Jewish Israel-critical
strategy of "reach[ing] out to the community" failed, being depicted as
"one-sided," which confirms "the success of Jewish communal controls at
repressing dissent."27 Overall, the events of the past decade have
radicalized the Israel-critical groups within the Jewish field, and
institutionalized them in the general movement, following en bloc the
Jewish individuals omitted from his study. Landy finds in the US "the
most dynamic national Israel-critical Jewish movement.28 Landy notes the
limitations of J Street's "community-based criticism," and the past
"pusillanimous position" on BDS of Jewish Voice for Peace.29

Landy's fourth chapter, "Activists between the universal and the
community," discusses the emergence of Israel-critical Jewish activists.
"In the USA, this process of coming out against the Occupation or
against Israel has been compared to, and sometimes experienced as more
difficult than, coming out gay or lesbian."30 Human rights discourse is
useful against Zionists, but also has "decontextualizing qualities"
which undercut "the political aims of oppressed peoples and their
struggles.31 Activists often adopt a position of "strategic Jewishness"
and may even experience a "return to Judaism. 32 Most agree that
"community is the locus of Jewishness" and it thus follows that
interventions "should be done with respect.33 Ultimately, "engagement
with the community constrains as well as enables Israel-critical
activism."34 Landy's last two chapters seek to reconcile this tension.

In "The terrain of activism," Landy acknowledges charges that Jewish
Israel-critical groups want mainly to "feel good about themselves…or
'heal the Jews'…rather than affect the outside world," are perhaps
"backdoor Zionists" or otherwise act in "bad faith."35 Landy argues that
their concern is to be effective, and offers the debate over BDS
(boycott/divestment/sanctions) as an example. Groups that feel that a
reformed "community" can help Palestinians find boycott ineffective, for
the opposition it arouses, while those who view the community as less
important than the larger world find it successful and useful. Landy
does not dispel suspicion of the opponents, who apparently oppose a
broader, non-Jewish movement like that against apartheid South Africa.

A common view is that Jewish criticism of Israel discourages
anti-semitism, but one activist questioned its importance in the
Palestine solidarity movement. In support of one who did not, Landy
could only cite Israeli ex-patriate jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, for
comparing US organized Jewry to the Elders of Zion.36 Atzmon was in good
company, with comedian Jon Stewart, the late Israeli academic and
activist Tanya Reinhart, and veteran Israeli politico Uri Avnery.37 A
related view is that speaking "as a Jew" breaks the link between Jews
and Zionism. Landy notes that this can also "strengthen the idea of a
primordial link" and make Jews "gatekeepers" of criticism, but in the
end accepts such ploys. The view of one interviewee that "solidarity
with Palestinians has to be taken out of that [Jewish] ghetto" is an

Landy's final chapter is "Rooted cosmopolitans: participants and
Palestinians." His activists have adopted this position "to counter the
characterization of an actor as being a rootless cosmopolitan," with no
"real stake in the local [Jewish] field and therefore…of no
relevance."39 Landy's concern is that this self-conception "leads to a
lack of contact and denial of political subjectivity of Palestinians"
which "hampers movement effectiveness in achieving change.40 Landy
argues that relating to Palestinians is a general problem for the
Palestine solidarity movement; his chief example is western feminist
criticism of Palestinian men and women.

Jewish activists have special difficulties. Some are jolted by political
trips. "'I felt bad for being so concerned with my own Jewishness…Here
that concern feels selfishly stupid. The people of Gaza are persecuted.
Full stop.'41 Jewish groups, however, are limited by heavy reliance on
Israeli interlocutors, and their desire to appeal to Jewish diaspora
public. They tend to cast Palestinians as victims without agency and in
need of charity, even as they deprecate solidarity groups as uncritical.

Landy errs in chapter two when he labels Deutscher a "Eurocentric" who
replayed "the Zionist-Bundist debates of his youth."42 Deutscher was a
Communist, never a Bundist, and implicitly shared the Palestine
Communist Party's struggle against Zionism and British imperialism in
the 1930s. The international PCP was torn apart in 1943 by the rising
Arab-Jewish struggle over Palestine; after the war Deutscher accepted
Israel, but did not consider himself a Zionist, and was acutely critical
until his death shortly after the June 1967 war. Landy also overlooks
classical Reform Judaism's strictly religious version of the "Jewish
prophetic," and Marc Ellis's religious notion of exile, though he is
surely correct about their secular misappropriation. While tikkun olam
is now interpreted as a call for social justice, it began as a
prescription for social order.43

Landy is correct to qualify today's Jewish "ethnic" self-description. A
century ago, many cities in western Europe and North America had
districts where life was scarcely distinguishable from cities in the
Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire. No amount of academic
theorizing about ethnicity can equate Yiddish immigrant society and
contemporary "Jewish identity." A more fruitful branch of social theory
is race theory, in the modern sense of race; e.g., "whiteness," as a
social construction.44 Few social artifacts today are more wilfully and
assiduously constructed than "Jewish identity," beginning with Zionism.

Zionism is not "Jewish nationalism." That term is reserved for political
movements which arose in Jewish quasi-national conditions in the Pale of
Settlement, where Jews spoke Yiddish, and were a high plurality,
especially in the cities. Such movements included the socialist Bund,
and the bourgeois Autonomist movement. Zionism, which proclaimed a
"people" speaking a vernacular language that did not exist, in a land
they did not inhabit, a people descended from biblical "history," a
people alien to their societies, no matter how acculturated or
assimilated, is not nationalism, but race doctrine. "Because it defines
Jew not by religious observance, language, place of birth, or culture,
but by descent, Zionism is an ideology of race."45 Unsurprisingly, the
biblical studies, archaeology and historiography that purport to show a
"Jewish people" have been totally demolished.46 In modern terms, the
"Jewish" national group in Palestine can only be Israeli Hebrew,
potentially a secular nationality open to all, as Boas Evron argued in
Jewish State or Israeli Nation in 1986.47

Diaspora Zionism, the "Zionism of Jewish peoplehood," is also race
doctrine, ipso facto, no less wilfully and assiduously constructed.

{quote} We Jews form a unique entity, neither wholly a nation, nor
wholly a religion, though part of us share a common faith, and all of us
derive from that faith. We are a group without a common language, and
with little that binds us as a common culture. What makes us a group
today? It is our international character and concern; we are men and
women who care deeply about what happens to Jews throughout the world.
It is our historical heritage; we are men and women who together come
from somewhere. It is our destiny; we are men and women who share a
common fate…We are made a group…by our fathers and mothers and theirs,
who constituted a people on earth, and who brought us into the world to
carry on the existence of that people.48 {endquote}

Obviously, the racial construction of "Jewishness" excludes personal and
family history. In principle it also excludes Judaism, the academic
study of Jewish and Judaic subjects, and cultural and philanthropic
activity. Racism begins when such activities are undertaken in the name
of the Jewish people, in support of its social and political claims, or
when such claims are opposed in the privileged terms of Jewish identity
politics. This critique is immanent in Landy's strained attribution of
Jewish "ethnicity" to contemporary diaspora Jews, and in his critique of
Jewish identity politics as, essentially, a regime of privilege. He
cites one description of "ethnic community" as "an ideological claim: 'a
categorical identity that is premised on various forms of exclusion and
construction of otherness.'"49

The Left Jewish field in the US maintains its own doxa and illusio, some
that Landy criticizes and some he misses, as shown by the views of
Jewish Voice for Peace, the largest US group. JVP's web site states that
"Jewish ethics guide us to a belief that Israeli Jews and Palestinian
Arabs are of equal importance and deserve equal rights; members are
inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social
justice."50 The group has a new rabbinical council, but does not
identify itself as religious. Landy criticizes this self-attribution of
the universal on several grounds. One must add that in modern terms
there is only Judaic religion, or secular citizenship; accepting secular
"Jewish ethics" and "progressive Jewish tradition" as more than personal
allusion and illusion, as collective social traits, lets identity
politicians turn Jewish identity into a universal category, and claim
identity prejudices as civil rights.

JVP claims that "[b]ecause we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy
in voicing an alternative view." Moreover, "Israel claims to be acting
in the name of the Jewish people, and it is up to us to make sure the
world knows that many of us are opposed to their actions."51 In Landy's
terms this "'queers' Jewish identity" from the Zionist norm, "enabling
others to speak [critically] about Israel/Palestine."52 He acknowledges
that "such practices can strengthen the idea of a primordial link
between Jews and the Jewish state…whether…through criticism or through
support." 53 For JVP it makes "the community" the normative locus.

While Landy testifies to the Zionist obduracy of the Jewish field in
Britain, and Esther Kaplan states that "no effort tough enough to
overpower that [Israeli] government's belligerence will ever emerge from
the American Jewish community," JVP national director Rebecca
Vilkomerson states: "We are trying to create a space in the Jewish world
where we can express our criticism as Jews without needing to apologize
for ourselves."54 Deputy director Cecilie Surasky seems anguished most
of all by the hostility of official Jewry. "'It's very painful to do
this work and it's very hard…I do not use the word McCarthyite
lightly.'" "Jewish organizations in San Francisco have 'banned us [JVP]
from the Jewish public square.'"55

JVP pursues a Potemkin politics of "Jewish debate," notably by
organizing debates on BDS, with interlocutors who advocate arming and
funding and supporting Israel politically to the hilt. J Street, the
"pro-peace, pro-Israel" lobby, advocates "maintaining Israel's
qualitative military edge" as "an important anchor for a peace process"
along with "robust US foreign aid to Israel".56 JVP debated BDS with J
Street at Princeton University, in defense of a campus BDS measure.57 A
second debate was organized at J Street's annual meeting in 2010, for
the express purpose of discrediting JVP.58 A debate in Boston pitted
Vilkomerson against a liberal hypocrite and a neoconservative, the range
of Jewish communal opinion.59 JVP's first attempt was to invite the
Jewish Federation of San Francisco to debate; naturally the Federation
didn't show.60 This activity is like asking Murder, Inc. to plead guilty
to manslaughter, when it commits first degree homicide with impunity.
Posing the real question—should Israel be coerced by withholding US
support—would reveal communal obduracy and dispel the illusion that it
can be reformed.

Another disadvantage of Jewish sanction of criticism of Israel,
according to Landy, is that it can lead to Jews determining what is and
is not acceptable. Landy claims that activists "are alive to the problem
of becoming 'certifying authorities.'61 Again, JVP seems to regard this
not as a problem, but an opportunity. On the origins of US policy, JVP

"Interest groups within the United States, such as the Christian Zionist
lobby, the arms and aerospace industry lobbies, and right-leaning Jewish
organizations, have a vested interest in maintaining the Occupation."62

This is narrowly true, but very misleading. Israel exists today because
the nascent Zionist lobby captured US policy 1944-48 and secured
official patronage for a Jewish state, over the opposition of the
military and diplomatic establishments, and amidst elite concern that
national security was being affected by partisan politics.63 Today's
fundamentalist Christian supporters of Israel were far over the horizon,
and US arms sales to Israel were proscribed.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign
Policy, call Christian Zionists a "an important 'junior partner'" for
whom Israel is not the sole or most important issue, and who do not have
the lobbying ability, policy analysis and financial resources of the
American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.64 Nor are Christian
evangelicals united behind Israel. A film for this audience, With God on
Our Side, looks "at the consequences Christian Zionism has on the local
people in the Middle East, especially the Palestinians," and leads
thoughtful Christians "to question some of the things they had always
just taken for granted."65 Mearsheimer and Walt also show that US
military aid is designed to benefit Israel, often to the detriment of US
arms manufacturers.66 They further note that "American Jews are the
lobby's predominant constituency."67 All organizations represented in
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
strongly support the present US-Israel relationship, including arms
sales, making all of them "right-wing."

JVP's constrained view of history is abetted by its "core principles,"
including "human rights, and respect for international law." Landy
emphasizes the inadequacy of the rights and law discourse. "Palestinians
need the right to seek redress within the framework of their loss, not
futile demands by outsiders that their occupier acts illegally…'a rights
discourse entails the renunciation of the frame, the historical
context.'"68 That context is the conquest of Arab Palestine by Zionist
Israel, now a century old. International law and human rights are
important, but omitting Zionism is like describing the Nazi conquest of
Poland and the Judeocide as violations of League of Nations collective
security, and the minority rights clauses of the Versailles Treaty,
without mentioning Nazism.

JVP's liberalism does not include opposing Zionism. On Zionism, JVP only
states that its "members hold a wide variety of views on many issues
involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This diversity has been a
great source of strength for JVP."69 It is also a source of confusion
and ignorance. JVP's "Israel-Palestine 101" material leads the reader
carefully away from, not toward, insights like Boas Evron's noted above,
away from any fundamental critique of Zionism. One "primer" states:
"Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, is a modern political movement. Its
core beliefs are that all Jews constitute one nation (not simply a
religious or ethnic community) and that the only solution to
anti-Semitism is the concentration of as many Jews as possible in
Palestine/Israel and the establishment of a Jewish state there.70 The
innocuous claim of "modernity" contradicts the common view of Zionism as
reactionary and pre-modern because it opposes assimilation and
integration of Jews. JVP accepts secular Jewish identity, and accepts
Zionism as a "solution to anti-Semitism." Yet that secular identity was
also upheld by racialist anti-semitism, of which Zionism was a fraternal
twin, a role which included major cooperation with Nazism.

Zionism's antithesis, liberal society, has proven the overwhelmingly
successful "solution to anti-Semitism," but that doesn't interest the
authors, Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, American academics in Middle East
Studies. They present Zionist and Arab claims to Palestine as if they
cannot be adjudicated. Zionist claims are based "on the biblical promise
to Abraham and his descendants" and "on the fact that this was the
historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel." Arab claims are based
on "continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years, and the
fact that they represented the demographic majority." They note that
Arabs "reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the
basis for a valid modern claim," as if this were a partisan view, not
international law and common sense.

Beinin and Hajjar argue that Jews needed "a haven from European
anti-Semitism," as if a Jewish state in Palestine would obviously and
necessarily have prevented the Judeocide. The great majority of Jews in
Germany and Austria managed to emigrate before war began.71 Most
European Jews were not in Germany, but in Poland. One historian has
estimated that "had the gates of Palestine been open in the
1930s…[i]nstead of 140,000 Polish olim during the entire [interwar]
period, there would perhaps have been half a million who went to
Palestine. (To be sure, even that figure would not have solved the
Jewish question in Poland.)"72 Had the Nazis conquered Palestine, it
would have been a death trap, not a refuge. The Judeocide happened
because Hitler and Nazi Germany committed it, not because there was no
Jewish state; the Zionist movement in any case always subordinated
rescue of Jews to its political aims in Palestine.

Beinin and Hajjar acknowledge Orthodox religious anti-Zionism, but
cannot name liberal, secular anti-Zionism. "Some Jews…opposed Zionism
out of concern that their own position and rights as citizens in their
countries would be at risk if Jews were recognized as a distinct
national (as opposed to religious) group." For Beinin and Hajjar
liberalism was apparently only an obstacle to Jewish collective destiny,
not a positive program. Overall, their "primer" concedes most of the
critical history of Zionism in Palestine, while defending Zionism in
subtle and unsubtle ways.

Even as Israel commits genocide and foments wars, it demands recognition
as the state of the Jewish people. Rejecting Zionism, not merely "the
occupation," as bellicose racialism, is a moral imperative, not a
debating point. A sovereign Jewish state in Arab Palestine is inherently
violent and unnatural, as the record amply shows. Full peace will arrive
only when the Israeli Hebrews become another minority in the Arab and
Muslim world. The historic Jewish communities would naturally revive,
and Hebrew Palestine would become a source of Jewish tradition, and of
cosmopolitan detachment, for the Islamic world. That is the only moral
future for Zionism, whatever the path.

The "strategic asset" view of the US-Israel relationship is a staple in
Left Jewish thought, as developed by Beinin and others.73 The "asset"
view, which denies or deprecates the relationship between US policy and
organized US Jewry, is the most important example of the gatekeeper
effect noted by Landy, the most important question of all, and must be
considered at length. Mearsheimer and Walt deprecate Israel's "asset
value" even during the Cold War; Walt states that Israel has been a
strategic nemesis, an instrument of imperial decline, from the 1990-1
Gulf War to today.74 Israel's US supporters were a decisive factor in
the 1991 Gulf War. Israel had traditionally cultivated Iran against the
Arab states, in its "periphery" doctrine, which did not change after the
Iranian revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979. During the Iran-Iraq war,
Israel's US supporters tried assiduously to orient US policy against
Iraq, most conspicuously in the Iran-contra affair. After Iraq invaded
Kuwait in 1990, the congressional war vote—52 to 47 in the Senate, 250
to 183 in the House—was the closest since the War of 1812, amidst dire
predictions of casualties, and deprecation of war aims.75 "Some of the
ten Democrats in the Senate and eight-six in the House who supported the
use-of-force resolution did so because of their overriding concern for
the fate of Israel."76 The ultras, chiefly Jewish neoconservatives,
argued for attacking Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but were
frustrated when Bush limited the campaign to expelling Iraqi forces from
Kuwait. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was elaborated in a 1996 study,
"Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," published by an
Israeli think-tank, but written by US neoconservatives for the new
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.77 The replacement of Saddam
Hussein's regime by a Hashemite monarchy was proposed, as part of a
broad assault on Israel's "enemies," including Hizbollah in Lebanon,
Syria and Iran.

When Clean Break was written, Iran had surpassed Iraq in Israel's
demonology. The US policy of "dual containment" of Iran and Iraq was an
incentive for Israel to participate in the Oslo "peace process."78
Crippling sanctions were imposed on Iraq, over the opposition of the US
oil companies.79 US-Iran trade of $5 billion was first banned by
executive order, then prohibited outright by legislation. Business
interests protested vehemently and later organized unsuccessfully
against the legislation.80 Several Clean Break authors became part of
the George W. Bush administration, making it then "a policy manifesto
for the Israeli government penned by members of the current U.S.
government.81 Afghanistan was targeted immediately after 9/11, but the
invasion of Iraq followed in March, 2003, accompanied by fabrications
about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and a connection with al-Qaeda.

The 9/11 attacks themselves were directed above all against US patronage
of Israel. The "notion of payback for injustices suffered by
Palestinians is perhaps the most powerfully recurrent in bin Laden's
speeches."82 Bin Laden's concern for Palestine is attested by statements
from his mother about his teenage years; by accounts after Israel
invaded Lebanon in 1982, to drive out the Palestine Liberation
Organization, and intimidate Palestinians in the occupied territories;
and from his first public political statement in 1994. "Speaking just
before the 2004 presidential elections, bin Laden himself voiced
amazement that Americans, deceived, he supposed, by their government,
had yet to understand that he had struck America because 'things just
went too far with the American-Israeli alliance's oppression and
atrocities against our people.'"83 The perpetrators of the 1993 bombing
of the World Trade Center garage, which killed 6, shared that view.84

Israel's long march to war on Iran is the ultimate strategic nemesis, a
nightmare from which we cannot seem to awaken. AIPAC forced renewal of
the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act in March 2001, over strenuous objection by
business interests. Iran provided vital cooperation during the US attack
on Afghanistan in late 2001, but the ultras spurned further contacts.
After the US crushed Iraq in the spring of 2003, Iran proposed, through
Swiss auspices, an extraordinary "grand bargain" of critical
concessions, in return for improved relations, which the ultras also
spurned. The ultras have also thwarted US "realist" initiatives, such as
a 2004 study by the Council on Foreign Relations urging dialogue with
Iran; the 2006 Iraq Study Group proposal of a gradual US withdrawal from
Iraq, in consultation with Syria and Iran; and the December, 2007
National Intelligence Estimate, a consensus of the 16 US intelligence
agencies, which deprecated Iran's nuclear potential.

The ultras' relentless campaign against Iran informs US policy in
Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. The "major domestic supporters of an
accelerated war in Afghanistan are the neoconservatives," wrote Stephen
Sniegoski in 2009. Stabilizing Afghanistan "would involve broadening
Iran's role in Afghanistan" making it "virtually impossible for the US
to treat it as an enemy.85 The ultras "will be advocating a hard-line
interventionist position towards Libya, in large part, because they see
that such an endeavor can facilitate U.S. military intervention in
Iran."86 The US is presently attempting to overthrow the Assad regime in
Syria, ally of Iran and patron of Hizbollah in Lebanon, by exploiting
popular protest. Manifestos such as "Which Path to Persia?" and "Toward
a Post-Assad Syria," from many of the Clean Break authors, prepare the
way.87 Recent history is following 1982 proposals by Israeli strategist
Oden Yinon to balkanize the entire Arab world into ethnic and religious
statelets which Israel could easily dominate. Such ideas long predate
Yinon's article in Zionist thought.88

The Iran campaign has entered a more ominous phase. AIPAC legislated
sanctions on foreign firms dealing with Iran's central bank, a
requirement in oil sales.89 Iran threatened to block the Strait of
Hormuz, and held naval exercises.90 Trita Parsi warns that the
"temperature between the West and Iran has increased
dramatically…military confrontation is a rising probability."91 Iran has
become an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, while Netanyahu, US
neoconservatives and GOP elements are plotting to prevent Obama's
re-election.92 Roger Cohen in the New York Timeswarned Netanyahu against
attacking Iran to influence the election.93 The US has cancelled
military exercises with Israel and has warned Netanyahu against an
attack.94 Israel insists that any attack is "far off," and things are
hanging fire more precariously.95

In the vulgar Marxism favored by the Jewish Left, this is all a
capitalist master plan to seize "oil" and "resources." Yet the
capitalists, including the oil industry, opposed sanctions; indeed the
ultras vilify business for selling out Israel. Capitalism requires
access, not sanctions, and enough peace for trade and investment.
Politics and ideology are separate domains from economics, and
capitalism is a protean system that can exist under different regimes.
Capitalist Germany had interests in eastern Europe under the
Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Federal Republic
during the Cold War, and in the unified Federal Republic of today. The
Nazi period, and the invasion of the USSR, resulted not from a sudden
interest in Russian oil and wheat, but because German elites embraced a
dictatorship and its fanatical ideology, which led them to total war and

Zionism is playing that role for the US today; it is turning western
Asia into the "eastern front" of the US empire, comparable to the
eastern front of the Third Reich. Like the Nazi crusade against
"Judeobolshevism" and the Judeocide, the US eastern front is the site of
our most depraved ideologies and deeds—Islamophobia, the "war on
terror," the "clash of civilizations," crushing attacks on Arab
societies, beginning with Palestine, with more horrors threatening
daily. As the 1930s wore on, Hitler consolidated his rule, outflanking
elite conservatives. The struggle between the ultras and the realists
over US foreign policy is like the struggle between Nazis and non-Nazi
conservatives in the 1930s; it cannot be said that today's realists are
winning. The Zionist agenda of total war, which includes 9/11 and its
disastrous blow to civil liberties, is the essential axis of the
emerging US dictatorship.

Obviously, Israel did not invent the US empire and its military Moloch,
which gave Osama bin Laden his start against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The empire also overthrew the elected government of Iran and installed
the Shah in 1953, which led to the Islamic revolution 26 years later.
Nor has Israel invented the rivalry of Iran and the Arab Gulf states, or
the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam, or Arab monarchies, or
other features of regional politics. However, Israel's anti-gentile
racialism, its boundless irredentism, and its overwhelming influence on
the US government, have turned normal politics into an existential
crisis, and national interest into an endless war for existence, with
pyrrhic victories for winners and total destruction for losers.

Against this world-historical catastrophe, JVP offers ahistorical
legalism and anti-occupation; strategic asset; and—the last refuge of
the scoundrel on this topic—anti-anti-Semitism. "As Jews, we can make
the distinction between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation
of that issue to shield Israel from legitimate criticism. [A]s long as
even legitimate criticism of Israel is blocked by accusations of
anti-Semitism, it is the responsibility of Jews to stand up for
universal justice. [W]e also believe that actual anti-Semitism is alive
and well and is mostly misunderstood both on the Left and in the

JVP publishes an anti-anti-Semitism manifesto, its contribution to a
literary genre on the Jewish Left.96

Reframing Anti-Semitism begins by discussing "the Holocaust" as the
cardinal event in Jewish history and Jewish consciousness. "Holocaust"
means "burnt offering," as in a religious sacrifice; historians prefer
non-emotional, descriptive terms such as "Judeocide."97 JVP has no
interest in criticism like that of Marc Ellis, who discusses the
"Holocaust and redemption" syndrome long used to defend Zionism, or of
Norman Finkelstein, who describes how a rich "Holocaust industry" shakes
down governments and financial institutions. JVP has its own use, to
define "illegitimate" and "legitimate criticism of Israel," and to
trivialize and caricature claims of Zionist influence as "Jewish
conspiracy theories," and thus prima facie evidence of "anti-semitism on
the Left." For US policy, JVP adduces the usual alternate suspects,
Christian Zionism and the arms industry, and tragicomically compares the
Jewish role to that of medieval Jews who were channeled into exploiting
the peasantry while serving landowners and nobility.

One article charges the Allies with responsibility for the Final
Solution for focusing on defeating the Nazis instead of saving Jews, as
if there were a choice. "Arguably, the decision to do nothing else to
save the victims' lives can be seen as culpability akin to violence."98
Historian William Rubinstein, in The Myth of Rescue, doubts that more
Jews could have been saved "by any action which the Allies could have
taken at the time, given what was actually known about the Holocaust,
what was actually proposed at the time, and what was realistically
possible."99 He implies that the "failure to rescue" critique mainly
expresses Jewish chauvinism after the June, 1967 war. "This great and
profound change in the perception of the Allies and their leaders arose
fairly abruptly between the late 1960s and mid-1980s."100 Rubinstein
also reviews immigration policy and anti-Semitism in the democracies in
the 1930s.

The JVP writers in Reframing Anti-Semitism generally concede that Jews
live freely today, but still find pervasive anti-semitism in subtle and
unique forms, and find it perpetually immanent in gentile attitudes. JVP
holds an essentialist view of gentiles as inalienable anti-Semites,
actual or potential, which is the inverse of anti-Semitic essentialism
about Jews. Two thoughtful articles attempt to deal with Jewish
chauvinism, in limited ways.

Rightward of JVP, the liberal temper is shown by the "pro-peace,
pro-Israel" J Street, fulsome funders and armourers of Israel. Another
example is Peter Beinart, whose widely cited 2010 article denounced "the
failure of the Jewish establishment" to preserve "humane universalistic
Zionism."101 Beinart warned of the disaffection of young, liberal
American Jews, and of the future domination of communal life by the
blindly pro-Israel Orthodox. The "humane univeralist Zionism" has never
existed, and pro-Israel fanaticism arrived long ago, seen today in the
Iran war drive and the plotting of Obama's defeat. Beinart is a step
back from the late Tony Judt, who called for a unitary democratic state
nearly a decade ago.102 The danger is not anti-Semitism but the
opposite, overweening Jewish power and confidence, which make the
US-Israel relationship immutable.

JVP's outlook expresses maximum Jewish advantage and minimum Jewish
obligation, a lawyerly plea bargain on behalf of Jewish identity. This
is due to an exaggerated sense of Jewish entitlements, and to
anti-gentilism. Philip Weiss, co-editor of the influential web site
MondoWeiss, has written candidly about the Jewishness of today's
establishment, about the anti-gentilism of his upbringing, and about
anti-gentilism in the Left. The "bastards, the goyim in power, they
always received the full measure of our scorn…the bastards had unbroken
pedigree in my family's cultural/political memory from Coolidge to
Hoover to Dulles to Eisenhower to Nixon to Reagan, right on up to the
Bushes and the Koch brothers. These were the real powers in political
life; and I think there is some bastard-ism in Chomsky's analysis and in
the New Yorker magazine's." Yet: "We are wealthy and privileged in
America…we are not excluded from the real sources of power. To believe
otherwise is a piece of nostalgic self-service."103

Anti-gentilism encourages the idea that gentile criticism is, or must
inevitably be, about more than Israel. Endless repetition of the truism
that it's not anti-Semitic to criticize Israelmakes anti-Semitism the
overriding concern, and conceals the mortal dangers of Zionism, come
what may in Palestine, in the Gulf, in Washington, or on 9/11. JVP's
"Muzzlewatch" web site seeks to expose "pressure, intimidation, and
outright censorship of critics of US-Israeli policy," anodyne terms for
fanatical attacks like those on 11th-grader Jesse Lieberfeld for his
prize-winning essay criticizing Israel.104 Perhaps the fact that they
are Jewish, and are also directed at gentiles, prevents JVP from calling
such attacks Jewish racism. Racism is instead reserved for gentile
attacks on Jews.

Landy speaks of his UK subjects "'queering' Jewish identity." JVP claims
that "[b]ecause we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy in voicing
an alternative view," and affirms the "responsibility of Jews to stand
up for universal justice." This accepts Zionist essentialism about
"Jews." Secular "Jewish identity" cannot be "queered" from the outside,
nor can it be the basis for "universal justice," because it is a Zionist
invention, based on anti-gentilism. For Ahad Ha'am, one of its chief
inventors a century ago, "assimilation, not antisemitism…threatened the
Jewish people most compellingly."105 Thus Ahad Ha'am disowned one of his
daughters when she married a gentile, despite the husband's conversion,
since "for nonreligious Jews like himself…'a goy remains a goy'" who
could not "'change [by his conversion] his soul from within.'"106 "The
State has no daughters,'" Ahad Ha'am said sternly, and saw his daughter
once in the remaining 15 years of his life.107

Freedom is absolute and normative, not Jewish identity. The possible
disappearance of the group through assimilation is a trifling price to
pay for freedom and its benefits. While "Jewish Israel-critical
activity" may have a role in assisting people of Jewish background to
understand Israel and Zionism, mature awareness, and general public
awareness, cannot be so limited. "Universal justice" cannot be achieved
on Jewish terms, but only with the rest of humanity. JVP members should
declare that Zionism has no claim on Jewish identity or gentile
conscience, proclaim themselves liberal citizens, and join their fellow
citizens in opposing Zionism, in the US and Palestine. Any Jewish
Israel-critical activity must be subordinated to that. Any hypothetical
anti-Semitism can be opposed only in concert with others, not by Jewish
separatism. Precedents are the people in Landy's study who work in
"society-wide groups" and "the New York activist group JATO [Jews
Against the Occupation]" which "now exists more or less as a paper
organization, since many members have joined Adalah-NY, the wider
boycott organization in New York.108

The chief concern of US citizens must be the US-Israel relationship and
its arming, funding and political support of Israel. BDS is adopted
because the formal political process is owned by the "Israel lobby,"
which precludes coercing Israel by reducing US support. A narrow legal
focus on particular actions and companies may sometimes be useful in
pressing BDS, but asking "who profits from the occupation" implies that
profits of Motorola and the like are driving US policy. This is naive if
not deliberate obfuscation. Broader BDS campaigns like cultural and
academic boycott can stigmatize Israel, and US support for it, like
apartheid South Africa. Whatever the approach, reliance on BDS cannot
obscure the fact of US support for Israel and its sources.

The Washington-based US Campaign to End the Occupation says nothing
about Zionism. It has never organized a demonstration against the annual
AIPAC meeting, which the president and most of Congress attend, though
it did showcase a small Jewish demonstration. This is due to the
"strategic asset" and anti-anti-Semitism dogmas of JVP, which has shared
personnel with the Campaign. It was up to scrappy Code Pink to organize
Move Over AIPAC in 2011, which the Campaign, and JVP and others
"endorsed" but did little about, except to oppose Helen Thomas's
presence.109 Code Pink is organizing Occupy AIPAC in early March.110.
Every year energetic and courageous campus activists organize "Israeli
Apartheid Week," which dramatizes the facts on the ground. Showing their
origins requires Anti-Zionism Week.

Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign
Policy, insist that the "Israel lobby" is just another interest group
doing its job, when Grant Smith has shown that it has always operated on
the margins of legality.111 Mearsheimer and Walt accept Israel as a
Jewish state, rather than discussing it as racist.112 These emphases
reflect in part their total lack of support from elsewhere in the
culture, notably the Left.

The tentativeness and limitations of criticism of Israel in the US show
that a general movement against Zionism is the only way of even
addressing the issues and marshaling such resources as we have.

Today, Jewish identity is made to seem as timeless and monumental as the
Grand Canyon, but it is really a big sand dune blown up by chauvinist
winds since 1967. In the 1940s, American Jews rallied to the Zionist
call, established the state of Israel—and that was that. Ant-Semitism
declined rapidly, and Jews began to enjoy their just desserts in liberal
society. Holocaust and Israel were not the complexes they later became.
Three historians of US Jewry have called the two postwar decades a
"golden age."113

The New Left, which began in the late 1950s, had many Jewish members,
though not a majority. Nonetheless, "Jewish issues in these years…were
publicly invisible."114 Anti-Semitism was not a concern, Jews were
prosperous, and Israel was neither threatened nor threatening. "The New
Left was the most 'American' movement since the early Socialist party at
around the turn of the century…made up almost entirely of native-born
Americans," and "also more American than its predecessors in terms of
its ideology and dominant themes." This broad appeal was important to
Jewish and non-Jewish members alike. Thus, like "their cosmopolitan
Jewish predecessors in the pre-World War I Socialist party and in the
student movement of the 1930s, the Jewish New Leftists did not desire to
be tied to particularistic primordial groups and identities. They wanted
instead to be part of a universalistic movement."115 The contrast with
today's Jewish Left could not be sharper, and compares unfavorably to
the Jewish religious debate over the Judeocide in the 1960s and later.

One school in the debate held that the "'Voice of Auschwitz… commands
the survival of Jews and Judaism. Because Hitler was bent on the
destruction of both, it is the duty of the Jews who survived Hitler to
make sure that they do not do his work, that they do not, by
assimilation, bring about the disappearance of what Hitler attempted,
but ultimately failed to destroy.'"116 Another school ridiculed the
substitution of "'the commanding Voice of Auschwitz' for the revelation
of Sinai, and Hitler for Moses."117 For this view, "'the voices of the
Prophets speak more loudly than Hitler,'" and "'the divine promise
sweeps over the crematoria and silences the voice of Auschwitz.'"118
"Jews find in the Holocaust no new definition of Jewish identity because
we need none. Nothing has changed. The tradition endures."119 The
secular Jewish Left in the US had no such debate and affirmation. The
universalism of the New Left was swept away in a tsunami of identity
politics, largely, if not entirely, due to the June, 1967 war.

At the same time, for older/non-American universalists, "the tradition
endured." Isaac Deutscher, the Polish Marxist, accepted Israel after
World War II, but did not consider himself a Zionist. He died on August
19, 1967, a sharp critic of Israel and its role in the origins of the
June war. Rabbi Elmer Berger, who co-led the American Council for
Judaism in the 1940s, at age 60 in 1968, founded Jewish Alternatives to
Zionism to continue the fight, and was resolute until his death in 1996.
Maxime Rodinson, the French Marxist scholar of Near Eastern languages
and sociologist of Islam, remained an acute critic of Zionism and Israel
to his death in 2004.

Israel Shahak survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Judeocide, Zionism and
Israel, to discover what he called "the modern, secular Jewish
tradition," which he dated from Spinoza, the most rigorous of the 17th
c. rationalist philosophers. He was a chemist at the Hebrew University
and a leading human rights activist and critic of Zionism and Orthodox
Judaism. The Israeli Socialist Organization, founded in 1962, attempted
to rebuild internationalism from the wreckage of the 1940s. The ISO,
known as Matzpen (compass) for its publication, included Arab members,
and Matzpen had an Arabic edition which was, however, censored. Shahak
and Matzpen came of age after the 1967 war, and put Israel's occupation
on the map from the Israeli side. Shahak died in 2001; senior Matzpen
alumni are still active.

All these veteran universalists knew radical evil first hand, except for
Berger, who was fortified by liberal upbringing and religious
conviction. It never occurred to them that, once Nazism had been totally
destroyed, they were threatened by gentiles. They expressly rejected
Zionism, in terms of their respective outlooks; their criticism was
generally more substantive and acute than the work of the American
Jewish Left, and richly repays study today.

In diametric contrast, the JVP school fails to confront Zionism, in
Palestine or in the US. It invokes a chimerical, liberal Palestine
Zionism, or buries the subject in ahistorical legalism and
anti-occupation rhetoric. It conceals Jewish power in the US with the
"strategic asset" dogma, or deprecates and dismisses it. This failure to
oppose Zionism with its universalist antipodes is stupendous and
unbelievable, comparable to the "treason of the intellectuals" described
by Julien Benda in his 1927 book about the climate that preceded World
War I.120

Landy is well aware of the many problems of identity politics, but his
UK focus makes him like a promising minor league pitcher, who must still
face the major league sluggers. In the words of a pitcher who had all
the moves:

{quote} What do you want with this particular suffering of the Jews? The
poor victims on the rubber plantations in Putumayo, the Negroes in
Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play a game of catch, are just as
dear to me. Do you remember the words written on the work of the Great
General Staff about Trotha's campaign in the Kalahari desert? "And the
death-rattles, the cries of those dying of thirst, faded away into the
sublime silence of eternity."

Oh, this "sublime silence of eternity" in which so many screams have
faded away unheard. It rings within me so strongly that I have no
special corner of my heart for the ghetto; I am at home wherever in the
world there are clouds, bird and human tears.

— Rosa Luxemburg, writing to Mathilde Wurm, from jail in 1917.121

1.Jack Nusan Porter and Peter Dreier, eds., Jewish Radicalism: A
Selected Anthology (New York: Grove Press, 1973), p. xv-xvi. [?]
2.Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon, eds. Wrestling with Zion. Progressive
Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York:
Grove Press, 2003), p. 81. [?]
3.ibid. [?]
4.ibid., p. 82 [?]
5.ibid., p. 88 [?]
6.David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish
Opposition to Israel, London: Zed Books, 2011 [?]
7.ibid., p. 6 [?]
8.ibid., p. 211 [?]
9.ibid., p. 5 [?]
10.ibid., p. 12 [?]
11.ibid., p. 21 [?]
12.ibid., p. 28, quoting Bourdieu [?]
13.ibid, quoting Bourdieu [?]
14.ibid., p. 29 [?]
15.ibid., pp. 31-2 [?]
16.ibid., pp. 44 [?]
17.ibid., p. 47 [?]
18.ibid., pp. 42, 47 [?]
19.ibid., p. 52 [?]
20.ibid., p. 53 [?]
21.ibid., p. 64 [?]
22.ibid., p. 66 [?]
23.ibid., p. 70 [?]
24.ibid., p. 85 [?]
25.ibid., p. 78, 80 [?]
26.ibid., p. 84, 85 [?]
27.ibid., p. 89 [?]
28.ibid., p. 103 [?]
29.ibid., p. 107, 110 [?]
30.ibid., p. 125 [?]
31.ibid., p. 138 [?]
32.ibid., pp. 140-1 [?]
33.ibid., pp. 144, 148 [?]
34.ibid., p. 148 [?]
35.ibid., p. 153-4 [?]
36.ibid., p. 167 [?]
37.Philip Weiss, "Jon Stewart Calls AIPAC 'Elders of Zion'",  June 6,
2008; Philip Weiss, "Late Tanya Reinhart Reportedly Likened Lobby to
'Protocols of Elders of Zion'", September 15, 2008; Uri Avnery, "The
Charge of the New York Times",  CounterPunch, July 22, 2011 [?]
38.Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, p. 169 [?]
39.ibid., p. 198 [?]
40.ibid., p. 182 [?]
41.ibid., p. 191 [?]
42.ibid., p. 59 [?]
43.Jill Jacobs, "The History of 'Tikkun Olam'", Zeek. A Jewish Journal
of Thought and Culture. June 2007.  Jacobs points out that the term also
has antecedents in an intolerant passage about the true god in a common
Jewish prayer. [?]
44.See David W. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness. Race and the Making of
the American Working Class, New York: Verso, 1991 [?]
45.Noel Ignatiev, "Zionism," Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (New York:
Macmillan Press, 2007), pp. 240-44. See also EAFORD and AJAZ
(International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, and American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism), Judaism or
Zionism: What Difference for the Middle East?(London: Zed Books, 1986 [?]
46.Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (New York: Verso,
2009); Gabriel Piterberg, The Returns of Zionism. Myth, Politics and
Scholarship in Israel (New York: Verso, 2008); Israel Finkelstein and
Neil Ascherman, The Bible Unearthed. Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient
Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts,  New York: Free Press, 2001 [?]
47.Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1986). The Hebrew edition appeared in 1984. [?]
48.Jacob Neusner, Stranger at Home. "The Holocaust," Zionism and
American Judaism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp.
135-6, Neusner, a distinguished Judaic scholar, is a loyal critic of the
"people," who considers himself "on the margins of the group." His
"Zionism of Jewish peoplehood" is descriptive, not prescriptive. [?]
49.ibid., p. 67 [?]
50.JVP Mission Statement,";   "Frequently Asked Questions," [?]
51.Jewish Voice for Peace, "Frequently Asked Questions," [?]
52.Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, pp. 17, 168. [?]
53.ibid., p.167 [?]
54.Kaplan, "'Globalize the Intifada'", Wrestling with Zion, p. 88; Gal
Beckerman, "JVP, Harsh Critic Of Israel, Seeks a Seat at the Communal
Table But Its Refusal To Support 'Two States' Prevents Acceptance,"
Jewish Daily Forward, April 13, 2011; see
http://forward.com/articles/137016/#ixzz1evMmyIIu [?]
55.Philip Weiss, "'JVP' takes on the 'epic battle' inside the Jewish
community," MondoWeiss, March 5, 2010; [?]
56."The U.S.-Israel relationship and foreign aid," [?]
57.Max Blumenthal, "A BDS Debate at Princeton, with J Street, JVP, and
me (this Wednesday)"; [?]
58.Max Blumenthal, "JVP's Rebecca Vilkomerson debates for BDS at J
Street's annual convention," March 1, 2011; Philip Weiss, "J Street says
it invited boycott advocate to its conference so as to pillory her,"
MondoWeiss, February 10, 2011; Phil tries to say that Ben-Ami was
covering his right flank, but any organization that advocates
"maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge" is the right flank. [?]
59.Leah Burrows, "BDS backer in hot seat at shul forum," Jewish Advocate
(Boston), October 28, 2011 -  subscription only; Leonard Fein, who
co-founded Moment magazine with Elie Wiesel, and Larry Lowenthal of the
American Jewish Committee were the featured speakers. The AJC is a
bastion of neo-conservatism, and Moment of liberal hypocrisy; also
Fein's columns [?]
60.Cecile Surasky, "Omar Barghouti asks Jewish Federation to a debate on
BDS," March 4, 2010 [?]
61.ibid., p.166 [?]
62.ibid., Jewish Voice for Peace, ? [?]
63.See Michael J. Cohen, Truman and Israel (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1990). On elite concern, see Walter Millis, with the
collaboration of E. S. Duffield, The Forrestal Diaries (New York: Viking
Press, 1951), pp. 322, 344-46, 356-65 [?]
64.John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt The Israel Lobby and U.S.
Foreign Policy (New York: Farar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), pp. 132-39 [?]
65.See the film's web site;  Professor Stephen Walt introduced a showing
of the film at Harvard and moderated a discussion afterward [?]
66.ibid., pp. 31-4 [?]
67.ibid., p. 115 [?]
68.Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, p. 138, quoting Raef
Zureik [?]
69."Frequently Asked Questions," [?]
70.Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, "Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli
Conflict. A Primer," The authors are academics, Beinin a historian at
Stanford and past president of the Middle East Studies Association,
Hajjar a sociologist at UC Santa Barbara. [?]
71.William D. Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue. Why the Democracies Could
Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis (London: Routledge, 1997); see
Chapter 2, "The Myth of Closed Doors" [?]
72.Ezra Mendelssohn, "Zionist Success and Zionist Failure," in Ruth
Kozodoy, David Sidorksy and Kalman Sultanik, eds., Vision Confronts
Reality. Historical Perspectives on the Contemporary Jewish Agenda (New
York: Herzl Press, 1989), p. 205 [?]
73.Joel Beinin, "The United States-Israeli Alliance," in Tony Kushner
and Alisa Solomon, eds. Wrestling with Zion. Progressive Jewish-American
Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York: Grove Press,
2003). [?]
74.Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,
Chapter 2, "Israel: Strategic Asset or Liability?"; Stephen Walt, "When
did the American empire start to decline?" [?]
75.Geoffrey Wawro, Quicksand. America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle
East (New York: Penguin Press, 2010), pp. 405, 418-21; Stephen
Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal. The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the
Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (Norfolk, VA: Enigma
Editions, 2008), pp. 62-3 [?]
76.Elizabeth Drew, "Letter from Washington," New Yorker, February 4,
1991 [?]
77."A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," Institute for
Advanced Strategic and Political Studies; [?]
78.Kenneth M. Pollack, The Persian Puzzle. The Conflict Between Iran and
America (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 261 [?]
79.Stephen Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal. The Neoconservative Agenda,
War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (Norfolk,
VA: Enigma Editions, 2008), pp. 335-6, part of Chapter 18, "Oil and
Other Motives." [?]
80.Sasan Fayezmanesh, "The Politics of the U.S. Economic Sanctions
against Iran", Review of Radical Political Economics 35:3, Summer 2003,
pp. 221-240 [?]
81.Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal, p. 90. [?]
82.Max Rodenbeck, "Their Master's Voice," New York Review of Books,
March 9, 2006. [?]
83.Rodenbeck, "Their Master's Voice" [?]
84.Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, pp.
65-5. [?]
85.Stephen Sniegoski, "Afghanistan: Back Door to War on Iran," September
7, 2009;   See also Stephen Sniegoski, "President Petraeus: The Neocons'
Choice," July 14, 2010;  and  Stephen Sniegoski, "The Duel of the
Machiavellians: Obama vs. Petraeus," July 6, 2010 [?]
86.Stephen Sniegoski, "Neocons' Goal: Iran by Way of Libya," March 19,
2011 [?]
87.See "Which Path to Persia?" from the Haim Saban Center at the
Brookings Institution; and and "Toward a Post-Assad Syria," from the
Foreign Policy Initiative [?]
88.Oden Yinon, "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties," from
Directions, a Journal for Judaism and Zionism, Issue 14, Winter 5742,
February, 1982, translated by Israel Shahak; [?]
89.See Philip Weiss, "AIPAC posterizes Obama in Senate, 100-0," [?]
90.David E. Sanger and Annie Lowrey, "Iran Threatens to Block Oil
Shipments, as U.S. Prepares Sanctions," New York Times, December 28,
2011 [?]
91.Trita Parsi, "Reckless talk of war with Iran makes confrontation a
probability," The Independent, January 7, 2012; [?]
92.Max Blumenthal, "The Bibi Connection," January 12, 2012 [?]
93.Roger Cohen, "Don't Do It, Bibi," January 16, 2012 [?]
94.Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe, "Obama Delays U.S.-Israeli War Exercise,"
January 17, 2012 [?]
95.Isabel Kershner and Rick Gladstone, "Decision to Attack Iran Is 'Far
Off,' Israel Says" New York Times, January 18, 2012 [?]
96.Henri Piccioto and Mitchell Plitnick, eds., Reframing Anti-Semitism.
Alternative Jewish Perspectives,  San Francisco: Jewish Voice for Peace,
2004 [?]
97.Arno Mayer, Why Did the Heavens not Darken? The "Final Solution" in
History, New York: Harper and Row, 1988 [?]
98.ibid., p. 75 [?]
99.William D. Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue. Why the Democracies Could
Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis (London: Routledge, 1997), p. x. [?]
100.ibid., p. 2. Franklin D. Roosevelt's demotion from Jewish hero to
anti-semite was unjust, according to Robert N. Rosen, Saving the Jews.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust, New York: Thunder's Mouth
Press, 2006 [?]
101.Peter Beinart, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,"
New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010; see also "'The Failure of the
American Jewish Establishment': An Exchange," June 24, 2010, Abraham H.
Foxman, reply by Peter Beinart [?]
102.Tony Judt, "Israel: The Alternative," New York Review of Books,
October 23, 2003.  See also "An Alternative Future: An Exchange,"
December 4, 2003, Amos Elon, Abraham H. Foxman, Michael Walzer, and Omer
Bartov, reply by Tony Judt [?]
103.Philip Weiss, "The Bastards," April 27, 2011 [?]
104.Philip Weiss, "Jesse Lieberfeld is a, a fake, b, about to be
swallowed by a whale, c, the Jewish future," January 17, 2012 [?]
105.Steven J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet. Ahad Ha'am and the Origins
of Zionism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p. 80 [?]
106.ibid., p. 289 [?]
107.ibid., p. x [?]
108.Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, p. 105 [?]
109.Harry Clark, "Move Over AIPAC" [?]
110.See Occupy AIPAC [?]
111.Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, pp.
11-12. See the web site of the Institute for Research: Middle East
Policy for Grant Smith's writing, including articles and books based on
documents unearthed with FOIA [?]
112.ibid., p. 11 [?]
113.Arthur Goren, "A 'Golden Decade' for American Jews, 1945-1955" in
Peter Y. Medding, ed., A New Jewry? America Since the Second World War.
Studies in Contemporary Jewry. An Annual. VII (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1992), for the Institute for Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew
University; Goren cites on p. 3 a chapter in a work by Lucy Dawidowicz
entitled, "The Golden Age in America," referring to 1945-67. See also
Chapter XVIII, "From Cold War to Belle Epoque," in Howard M. Sachar, A
History of the Jews in America, New York: Knopf, 1992. [?]
114.Arthur Liebman, Jews and the Left (New York: John Wiley & Sons,
1979), p. 560. See the section "The New Left and Jewish Concerns," in
Chapter 9, "The New Left and the Jewish New Left in the 1960s and 1970s" [?]
115.ibid., p. 561 [?]
116.Neusner, Stranger at Home, p. 73, citing a review of Emil Fackenheim
by Michael Wyschogrod [?]
117.ibid., p. 86 [?]
118.ibid., p. 77, quoting Wyschogrod. [?]
119.ibid., p. 81 [?]
120.Julien Benda, The Treason of the Intellectuals (New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers, 2007). This book has been tendentiously
misinterpreted by neoconservatives, and a recent reprint has an
introduction by Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion, but the book
transcends such misuse. [?]
121.Paul Le Blanc, ed., Rosa Luxemburg (New York: Humanity Books, 1999),
p. 19 [?]

Harry Clark is an independent student of the Palestine question. He can
be reached at his web site http://questionofpalestine.net Read other
articles by Harry, or visit Harry's website.

This article was posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 8:01am

(12) Jewish Lobby is America's Last Taboo - Edward Said, New Left Review


New Left Review 6, November-December 2000

America's Last Taboo

Edward Said

{written just after Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount on Sept. 28, 2000}

The events of the past weeks in Palestine have been a near-total triumph
for Zionism in the United States. Political and public discourse has so
definitively transformed Israel into the victim during the recent
clashes that, even though over 200 Palestinian lives were lost and 6,000
casualties have been reported, there is unanimity that 'Palestinian
violence' has disrupted the smooth and orderly flow of the 'peace
process'. ...

The general picture is that Israel is so surrounded by rock-throwing
barbarians that even the missiles, tanks and helicopter gunships used to
'defend' Israelis from them are warding off what is essentially an
invasive force. Clinton's injunctions, dutifully parroted by Albright,
that Palestinians must 'pull back', give us to understand that it is
Palestinians who are encroaching on Israeli territory, not the other way
round. In the US media, Zionization is so thorough that not a single map
has been published or shown on television that would risk revealing to
Americans the network of Israeli garrisons, settlements, routes and
barricades which crisscross Gaza and the West Bank. Blotted out
completely is the system of Areas A, B and C, which perpetuates military
occupation of 40 per cent of Gaza and 60 per cent of the West Bank, in
keeping with the Oslo 'accords'. The censorship of geography, in this
most geographical of conflicts, creates an imaginative void—once
deliberately fostered, but now more or less automatic—in which all
images of the conflict are decontextualized. The result is not just the
preposterous belief that a Palestinian attack on Israel is under way,
but a dehumanization of Palestinians to the level of beasts virtually
without sentience or motive. Little wonder, then, that the figures of
dead and wounded regularly omit any mention of nationality—as if
suffering were shared equally by the 'warring parties'. Nothing is said
of house demolitions, land expropriations, illegal arrests, beatings and
torture. Forgotten are the ethnic cleansing of 1948; the massacres of
Qibya, Kafr Qassem, Sabra and Shatila; the defiance of UN resolutions
and flouting of the Geneva Convention; the decades of military
invigilation and discrimination against the Arab population within
Israel. Ariel Sharon is at best 'provocative', by no stretch of the
imagination a war criminal; Ehud Barak is always a statesman, never the
assassin of Beirut and Tunis. Terrorism is invariably on the
Palestinian, defence on the Israeli, side of the moral ledger.

Ever since September 28 there have been an average of anywhere between
one and three opinion articles a day in the New York Times, the
Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the
Boston Globe. With the exception of perhaps three pieces written with
sympathy for the Palestinians in the Los Angeles Times, and two—one by
an Israeli lawyer, Allegra Pacheco; the other by a Jordanian liberal who
favours Oslo—in the New York Times, every such article—including the
regular columns of Thomas Friedman, William Safire, Charles Krauthammer
et al.—has vociferously supported Israel and denounced Palestinian
violence, Islamic fundamentalism and Arafat's backsliding from the
'peace process'. The authors of this relentless tide of propaganda have
been former US military officers and diplomats, Israeli functionaries
and apologists, regional experts and think-tank specialists, lobbyists
and front men for Tel Aviv. The unspoken premise of this total
blanketing of the mainstream press is that no Palestinian or Arab
position on Israeli police terror, settler-colonialism, or military
occupation is worth hearing from. In fine, American Zionism has made any
serious public discussion of the past or future of Israel—by far the
largest recipient ever of US foreign aid—a taboo. To call this quite
literally the last taboo in American public life would not be an
exaggeration. Abortion, homosexuality, the death penalty, even the
sacrosanct military budget can be discussed with some freedom. The
extermination of native Americans can be admitted, the morality of
Hiroshima attacked, the national flag publicly committed to the flames.
But the systematic continuity of Israel's 52-year-old oppression and
maltreatment of the Palestinians is virtually unmentionable, a narrative
that has no permission to appear.

American fanatics

What explains this state of affairs? The answer lies in the power of
Zionist organizations in American politics, whose role throughout the
'peace process' has never been sufficiently addressed—a neglect which is
absolutely astonishing, given that the policy of the PLO has been in
essence to throw our fate as a people into the lap of the United States,
without any strategic awareness of how American policy is dominated by a
small minority whose views about the Middle East are in some ways more
extreme than those of Likud itself.  ...

Policy stranglehold

But the role of these immigrants is insignificant beside that of their
sympathizers at home. There the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee—AIPAC—has for years been the most powerful single lobby in
Washington. Drawing on a well-organized, well-connected, highly visible
and wealthy Jewish population, AIPAC inspires an awed fear and respect
across the political spectrum. Who is going to stand up to this Moloch
on behalf of the Palestinians, when they can offer nothing, and AIPAC
can destroy a congressional career at the drop of a chequebook? In the
past, one or two members of Congress did resist AIPAC openly, but the
many political action committees controlled by AIPAC made sure they were
never re-elected. The only Senator who once remotely tried to oppose
AIPAC was James Abourezk of South Dakota, who resigned for his own
reasons after a single term. Today, virtually the entire Senate can be
marshalled in a matter of hours into signing a letter to the President
on Israel's behalf. No-one exemplifies the sway of AIPAC better than
Hillary Clinton, outdoing even the most right-wing Zionists in fervour
for Israel in her avid clawing for power in New York, where she went so
far as to call for the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem and the grant of leniency for Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli
spy serving a life sentence in the US.

If such is the material of the legislature, what can be expected of the
executive? In a little noticed but revealing episode, the current US
ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk was abruptly stripped of his security
clearance by the State Department, supposedly for a lax use of his
laptop which may have disclosed confidential information to
'unauthorized persons'. For a time he was unable to enter or leave the
State Department without an escort, and was forbidden to return to
Israel, pending a full investigation. [1] It is not difficult to guess
what happened. The originating scandal—naturally, never mentioned in the
media—was Indyk's appointment in the first place. On the very eve of
Clinton's inauguration in January 1993, it was announced that Indyk—an
Australian national of Jewish origin, born in London—had been sworn in
as an American citizen at the express command of the President-elect,
overriding all normal procedures in an act of peremptory executive
privilege, to allow him to be parachuted immediately into the National
Security Council, with responsibility for the Middle East. What had
Indyk been or done to merit such extraordinary favour? He had been head
of the Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington think-tank that
lobbies for Israel in tandem with AIPAC. Predictably enough, Dennis
Ross—a State Department consultant who heads American superintendance of
the 'peace process'—is another former head of the same Institute.

What, then, of civil society? Here the consensus that Israel is a model
democracy, forming the one oasis of Western modernity in the political
desert of the Middle East, is virtually impregnable. Should there be any
sign of its slipping, an array of Zionist organizations, whose role it
is to police the public realm for infractions, steps in. Rabbi Arthur
Hertzberg, a respected American liberal cleric, once said that Zionism
was the secular religion of the American Jewish community. Many Jewish
organizations run hospitals, museums, research institutes for the good
of the whole country. Alas, these noble public enterprises coexist with
the meanest and most inhumane ones. To take a recent example, the
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a small but vociferous group of
zealots, paid for an advertisement in the New York Times on September 10
which addressed Barak as if he was their employee, reminding him that 6
million American Jews outnumber 5 million Israelis, should he decide to
negotiate over Jerusalem. The language of the advertisement was
positively minatory, upbraiding Israel's Prime Minister for
contemplating actions anathema to American Jews. The ZOA feels it has
the right to intervene in everybody's business. Its adherents routinely
write or telephone the President of my university to ask him to dismiss
or censure me for something I have said, as if universities were like
kindergartens and professors to be treated as underage delinquents. Last
year they mounted a campaign to dismiss me from my elected post as
President of the Modern Language Association, whose 30,000 members were
lectured to by the ZOA as so many morons.

In similar vein, right-wing Jewish pundits like Norman Podhoretz,
Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol—to mention only a few of the
more strident propagandists—have not hesitated to express their
displeasure at the prospect of any concessions, however faint or bogus,
by Israel to the Palestinians. The tone of these self-appointed
guardians of Zionism is a combination of brazen arrogance, moral
sanctimony, and unctuous hypocrisy. Most sensible Israelis regard them
with distaste. To describe their diatribes as curses from the Old
Testament would be a slur on the prophets. But their relentless clamour,
incessantly criminalizing support for Palestinian resistance against
Israel, can rely on an ideological trump card in the United States. For
a totalitarian Zionism, any criticism of Israel is proof of the rankest
anti-semitism. If you do not refrain, you will be hounded as an
anti-semite requiring the severest opprobrium. In the Orwellian logic of
American Zionism, it is impermissible to speak of Jewish violence or
Jewish terror when it comes to Israel, even though everything done by
Israel is done in the name of the Jewish people, by and for a Jewish
state. Of course, strictly speaking, this is a misnomer, since nearly a
fifth of its population is not Jewish. These are the people the media
call 'Israeli Arabs', as if they were another species from 'the
Palestinians'. What American reader or viewer would know they are the
same people, divided only by decades of brutal Zionist policy, assigning
apartheid to the former, occupation and expulsion to the latter?

Hapless pleas

The worst of this implacable machinery of consensus in America, however,
is Arab blindness to it. When the PLO opted after the Gulf War to follow
the example of Egypt and Jordan, and work as closely as possible with
the American government, it made its decision (as had the two Arab
states before it) on the basis of vast ignorance and quite
extraordinarily mistaken assumptions. The essence of its calculation was
expressed to me, shortly after 1967, by a senior Egyptian diplomat: we
must surrender, and promise not to struggle any further—we will accept
Israel and the determining role of the United States in our future.
There is no doubt that continuing to fight as the Arabs had historically
done would indeed have led to further defeat and disaster. But neither
then nor today was it the case that the only alternative was to throw
ourselves onto the mercy of America—saying, in effect, we will no longer
resist you, let us join you, but please treat us well. The pathetic hope
was that if Arabs cried long enough, 'We are not your enemies', they
would be welcomed as friends. They forgot the disparity of power that
remained. From the viewpoint of the powerful, what difference does it
make to your own strategy if an enfeebled adversary gives up and
declares, 'I have nothing further to fight for, take me as your ally,
just try to understand me a bit better and perhaps you will then be

Such pleas are bound to fall on deaf ears in the American state. All
peace arrangements undertaken in the illusion of an 'alliance' with the
US can only confirm Zionist power. To submit supinely to American
designs in the Middle East, as Arabs have done for almost a generation
now, will bring neither peace and justice at home, nor equality abroad.
Since the mid 1980s I have tried to impress on the PLO leadership, and
every Palestinian or Arab I have met, that the quest for a protector in
the White House is a complete chimera, since all recent presidents have
been devoted to Zionist aims, and that the only way to change US policy
is through a mass campaign on behalf of Palestinian human rights,
out-flanking the Zionist establishment and going straight to the
American people. Uninformed and yet open to appeals for justice as they
are, Americans are capable of reacting as they did to the ANC campaign
against apartheid, which finally changed the balance of forces inside
South Africa. James Zoghby, then an energetic human rights activist, was
one of the originators of the idea. Then he threw in his lot with
Arafat, the US government and the Democratic Party, and abandoned it

But it was soon clear that the PLO would never adopt this course anyway.
There were several reasons for that. A strategy of this kind requires
sustained and dedicated political work. It has to be based on democratic
grass-roots organization. It can only spring from a movement, not a
personal initiative by this or that leader. Last but not least, it
demands genuine knowledge of US society, rather than superficial pieties
or clich├ęs. The reality is that there exists, inside America, a vast
body of opinion which is often bewildered by the lurid rhetoric of
Zionism and which would be capable of turning against it, were a mass
campaign mobilized in the US itself for Palestinian human, civil and
political rights. The tragedy is that the Arabs here have been too weak,
too divided, too unorganized and ignorant to mount such a movement. But
unless American Zionism is taken on in its homelands, all attempts to
parley with the United States or Israel will lead to the same dismal and
discrediting outcome.

The Oslo accords could scarcely have shown this more starkly. The Wye
and Camp David talks brought home the same truth once again. What has
Barak's 'unprecedented generosity' consisted of? The promise of a very
limited military withdrawal, made at Wye—from a mere 12 per cent of the
occupied territories—has never been kept, and is now forgotten. Instead,
the Western media extol Barak's munificent offer of '90 per cent' of the
West Bank to the PLO, in exchange for its abandonment of the Palestinian
refugees to their fate. The reality is that Israel has no intention of
giving back Greater Jerusalem, which covers over 5 per cent of the
choicest West Bank land; or Jewish settlements, which amount to another
15 per cent; not to speak of military roads or areas yet to be
determined. The largesse of '90 per cent' refers to what is left after
all this is deducted. As for the grand gesture of considering shared
authority over Haram al Sharif, the breathtaking dishonesty of the
matter is that all of West Jerusalem (principally Arab in 1948) has
already been conceded by Arafat, plus most of a vastly expanded East

The shameful charade of the 'peace process' has now, at any rate
temporarily, broken down, amid the explosion of popular anger among
Palestinians who were supposed to be grateful for it. The stones and
slings of young men thoroughly tired of injustice and repression are now
offering courageous resistance to a demeaning fate, meted out to them
not just by Israeli soldiers, armed by the United States, but by a pact
with Zionism designed to coop them up in reservations fit for animals,
policed by Arafat's apparatus with US military and financial aid, and
openly collaborating with Shin Bet and the CIA. The function of the Oslo
accords is to cage Palestinians in a remnant of their own lands, like
inmates in an asylum or prison. What is astonishing is not the popular
revolt against this diktat, but that it could ever have been passed off
as peace instead of the desolation that it has really been all along. A
dithering Palestinian leadership, unable either to retire or to go
forward, has been caught on the wrong foot. But the signs are that a new
generation will not be content with the miserable, denigrated place
accorded them in the Zionist scheme of things, and will go on rebelling
until it is finally changed.

[1] Indyk has now been fully reinstated.

(13) Chomsky says US retains control of Israel (Feb '12): American
decline in perspective, part 2

The imperial way: American decline in perspective, part 2

The US's presumed right to impose its will on the world, by force if
necessary, has not changed. But its capacity to do so has

Noam Chomsky for TomDispatch, part of the Guardian Comment Network

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 15 February 2012 18.07 GMT



In the years of conscious, self-inflicted decline at home, "losses"
continued to mount elsewhere. In the past decade, for the first time in
500 years, South America has taken successful steps to free itself from
western domination, another serious loss. The region has moved towards
integration, and has begun to address some of the terrible internal
problems of societies ruled by mostly Europeanized elites, tiny islands
of extreme wealth in a sea of misery. They have also rid themselves of
all U.S. military bases and of IMF controls. A newly formed
organization, CELAC, includes all countries of the hemisphere apart from
the U.S. and Canada. If it actually functions, that would be another
step in American decline, in this case in what has always been regarded
as "the backyard."

Even more serious would be the loss of the MENA countries -- Middle
East/North Africa -- which have been regarded by planners since the
1940s as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the
greatest material prizes in world history." Control of MENA energy
reserves would yield "substantial control of the world," in the words of
the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle.

To be sure, if the projections of a century of U.S. energy independence
based on North American energy resources turn out to be realistic, the
significance of controlling MENA would decline somewhat, though probably
not by much: the main concern has always been control more than access.
However, the likely consequences to the planet's equilibrium are so
ominous that discussion may be largely an academic exercise.

The Arab Spring, another development of historic importance, might
portend at least a partial "loss" of MENA. The US and its allies have
tried hard to prevent that outcome -- so far, with considerable success.
Their policy towards the popular uprisings has kept closely to the
standard guidelines: support the forces most amenable to U.S. influence
and control.

Favored dictators are supported as long as they can maintain control (as
in the major oil states). When that is no longer possible, then discard
them and try to restore the old regime as fully as possible (as in
Tunisia and Egypt). The general pattern is familiar: Somoza, Marcos,
Duvalier, Mobutu, Suharto, and many others. In one case, Libya, the
three traditional imperial powers intervened by force to participate in
a rebellion to overthrow a mercurial and unreliable dictator, opening
the way, it is expected, to more efficient control over Libya's rich
resources (oil primarily, but also water, of particular interest to
French corporations), to a possible base for the U.S. Africa Command (so
far restricted to Germany), and to the reversal of growing Chinese
penetration. As far as policy goes, there have been few surprises.

Crucially, it is important to reduce the threat of functioning
democracy, in which popular opinion will significantly influence policy.
That again is routine, and quite understandable. A look at the studies
of public opinion undertaken by U.S. polling agencies in the MENA
countries easily explains the western fear of authentic democracy, in
which public opinion will significantly influence policy.

Israel and the Republican Party

Similar considerations carry over directly to the second major concern
addressed in the issue of Foreign Affairs cited in part one of this
piece: the Israel-Palestine conflict. Fear of democracy could hardly be
more clearly exhibited than in this case. In January 2006, an election
took place in Palestine, pronounced free and fair by international
monitors. The instant reaction of the U.S. (and of course Israel), with
Europe following along politely, was to impose harsh penalties on
Palestinians for voting the wrong way.

That is no innovation. It is quite in accord with the general and
unsurprising principle recognized by mainstream scholarship: the U.S.
supports democracy if, and only if, the outcomes accord with its
strategic and economic objectives, the rueful conclusion of
neo-Reaganite Thomas Carothers, the most careful and respected scholarly
analyst of "democracy promotion" initiatives.

More broadly, for 35 years the U.S. has led the rejectionist camp on
Israel-Palestine, blocking an international consensus calling for a
political settlement in terms too well known to require repetition. The
western mantra is that Israel seeks negotiations without preconditions,
while the Palestinians refuse. The opposite is more accurate. The U.S.
and Israel demand strict preconditions, which are, furthermore, designed
to ensure that negotiations will lead either to Palestinian capitulation
on crucial issues, or nowhere.

The first precondition is that the negotiations must be supervised by
Washington, which makes about as much sense as demanding that Iran
supervise the negotiation of Sunni-Shia conflicts in Iraq. Serious
negotiations would have to be under the auspices of some neutral party,
preferably one that commands some international respect, perhaps Brazil.
The negotiations would seek to resolve the conflicts between the two
antagonists: the U.S.-Israel on one side, most of the world on the other.

The second precondition is that Israel must be free to expand its
illegal settlements in the West Bank. Theoretically, the U.S. opposes
these actions, but with a very light tap on the wrist, while continuing
to provide economic, diplomatic, and military support. When the U.S.
does have some limited objections, it very easily bars the actions, as
in the case of the E-1 project linking Greater Jerusalem to the town of
Ma'aleh Adumim, virtually bisecting the West Bank, a very high priority
for Israeli planners (across the spectrum), but raising some objections
in Washington, so that Israel has had to resort to devious measures to
chip away at the project.

The pretense of opposition reached the level of farce last February when
Obama vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for implementation of
official U.S. policy (also adding the uncontroversial observation that
the settlements themselves are illegal, quite apart from expansion).
Since that time there has been little talk about ending settlement
expansion, which continues, with studied provocation.

Thus, as Israeli and Palestinian representatives prepared to meet in
Jordan in January 2011, Israel announced new construction in Pisgat
Ze'ev and Har Homa, West Bank areas that it has declared to be within
the greatly expanded area of Jerusalem, annexed, settled, and
constructed as Israel's capital, all in violation of direct Security
Council orders. Other moves carry forward the grander design of
separating whatever West Bank enclaves will be left to Palestinian
administration from the cultural, commercial, political center of
Palestinian life in the former Jerusalem.

It is understandable that Palestinian rights should be marginalized in
U.S. policy and discourse. Palestinians have no wealth or power. They
offer virtually nothing to U.S. policy concerns; in fact, they have
negative value, as a nuisance that stirs up "the Arab street."

Israel, in contrast, is a valuable ally. It is a rich society with a
sophisticated, largely militarized high-tech industry. For decades, it
has been a highly valued military and strategic ally, particularly since
1967, when it performed a great service to the U.S. and its Saudi ally
by destroying the Nasserite "virus," establishing the "special
relationship" with Washington in the form that has persisted since. It
is also a growing center for U.S. high-tech investment. In fact, high
tech and particularly military industries in the two countries are
closely linked.

Apart from such elementary considerations of great power politics as
these, there are cultural factors that should not be ignored. Christian
Zionism in Britain and the U.S. long preceded Jewish Zionism, and has
been a significant elite phenomenon with clear policy implications
(including the Balfour Declaration, which drew from it). When General
Allenby conquered Jerusalem during World War I, he was hailed in the
American press as Richard the Lion-Hearted, who had at last won the
Crusades and driven the pagans out of the Holy Land.

The next step was for the Chosen People to return to the land promised
to them by the Lord. Articulating a common elite view, President
Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes described
Jewish colonization of Palestine as an achievement "without comparison
in the history of the human race." Such attitudes find their place
easily within the Providentialist doctrines that have been a strong
element in popular and elite culture since the country's origins: the
belief that God has a plan for the world and the U.S. is carrying it
forward under divine guidance, as articulated by a long list of leading

Moreover, evangelical Christianity is a major popular force in the U.S.
Further toward the extremes, End Times evangelical Christianity also has
enormous popular outreach, invigorated by the establishment of Israel in
1948, revitalized even more by the conquest of the rest of Palestine in
1967 -- all signs that End Times and the Second Coming are approaching.

These forces have become particularly significant since the Reagan
years, as the Republicans have abandoned the pretense of being a
political party in the traditional sense, while devoting themselves in
virtual lockstep uniformity to servicing a tiny percentage of the
super-rich and the corporate sector. However, the small constituency
that is primarily served by the reconstructed party cannot provide
votes, so they have to turn elsewhere.

The only choice is to mobilize tendencies that have always been present,
though rarely as an organized political force: primarily nativists
trembling in fear and hatred, and religious elements that are extremists
by international standards but not in the U.S. One outcome is reverence
for alleged Biblical prophecies, hence not only support for Israel and
its conquests and expansion, but passionate love for Israel, another
core part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates
-- with Democrats, again, not too far behind.

These factors aside, it should not be forgotten that the "Anglosphere"
-- Britain and its offshoots -- consists of settler-colonial societies,
which rose on the ashes of indigenous populations, suppressed or
virtually exterminated. Past practices must have been basically correct,
in the U.S. case even ordained by Divine Providence. Accordingly there
is often an intuitive sympathy for the children of Israel when they
follow a similar course. But primarily, geostrategic and economic
interests prevail, and policy is not graven in stone.

The Iranian "Threat" and the Nuclear Issue

Let us turn finally to the third of the leading issues addressed in the
establishment journals cited earlier, the "threat of Iran." Among elites
and the political class this is generally taken to be the primary threat
to world order -- though not among populations. In Europe, polls show
that Israel is regarded as the leading threat to peace. In the MENA
countries, that status is shared with the U.S., to the extent that in
Egypt, on the eve of the Tahrir Square uprising, 80% felt that the
region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons. The same polls
found that only 10% regard Iran as a threat -- unlike the ruling
dictators, who have their own concerns.

In the United States, before the massive propaganda campaigns of the
past few years, a majority of the population agreed with most of the
world that, as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a
right to carry out uranium enrichment. And even today, a large majority
favors peaceful means for dealing with Iran. There is even strong
opposition to military engagement if Iran and Israel are at war. Only a
quarter regard Iran as an important concern for the U.S. altogether. But
it is not unusual for there to be a gap, often a chasm, dividing public
opinion and policy.

Why exactly is Iran regarded as such a colossal threat? The question is
rarely discussed, but it is not hard to find a serious answer -- though
not, as usual, in the fevered pronouncements. The most authoritative
answer is provided by the Pentagon and the intelligence services in
their regular reports to Congress on global security. They report that
Iran does not pose a military threat. Its military spending is very low
even by the standards of the region, minuscule of course in comparison
with the U.S.

Iran has little capacity to deploy force. Its strategic doctrines are
defensive, designed to deter invasion long enough for diplomacy to set
it. If Iran is developing nuclear weapons capability, they report, that
would be part of its deterrence strategy. No serious analyst believes
that the ruling clerics are eager to see their country and possessions
vaporized, the immediate consequence of their coming even close to
initiating a nuclear war. And it is hardly necessary to spell out the
reasons why any Iranian leadership would be concerned with deterrence,
under existing circumstances.

The regime is doubtless a serious threat to much of its own population
-- and regrettably, is hardly unique on that score. But the primary
threat to the U.S. and Israel is that Iran might deter their free
exercise of violence. A further threat is that the Iranians clearly seek
to extend their influence to neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and
beyond as well. Those "illegitimate" acts are called "destabilizing" (or
worse). In contrast, forceful imposition of U.S. influence halfway
around the world contributes to "stability" and order, in accord with
traditional doctrine about who owns the world.

It makes very good sense to try to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear
weapons states, including the three that have refused to sign the
Non-Proliferation Treaty -- Israel, India, and Pakistan, all of which
have been assisted in developing nuclear weapons by the U.S., and are
still being assisted by them. It is not impossible to approach that goal
by peaceful diplomatic means. One approach, which enjoys overwhelming
international support, is to undertake meaningful steps towards
establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, including
Iran and Israel (and applying as well to U.S. forces deployed there),
better still extending to South Asia.

Support for such efforts is so strong that the Obama administration has
been compelled to formally agree, but with reservations: crucially, that
Israel's nuclear program must not be placed under the auspices of the
International Atomic Energy Association, and that no state (meaning the
U.S.) should be required to release information about "Israeli nuclear
facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous
nuclear transfers to Israel." Obama also accepts Israel's position that
any such proposal must be conditional on a comprehensive peace
settlement, which the U.S. and Israel can continue to delay
indefinitely. ...

(14) Iran targeted by US for spreading instability (not because of
Lobby) - Chomsky (2011)


Is the World Too Big to Fail?

The Contours of Global Order

By Noam Chomsky

Posted by Noam Chomsky at 9:49am, April 21, 2011.

The democracy uprising in the Arab world has been a spectacular display
of courage, dedication, and commitment by popular forces -- coinciding,
fortuitously, with a remarkable uprising of tens of thousands in support
of working people and democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S.
cities. ...

The Iranian and Chinese "Threats"

The democracy uprising in the Arab world is sometimes compared to
Eastern Europe in 1989, but on dubious grounds. In 1989, the democracy
uprising was tolerated by the Russians, and supported by western power
in accord with standard doctrine: it plainly conformed to economic and
strategic objectives, and was therefore a noble achievement, greatly
honored, unlike the struggles at the same time "to defend the people's
fundamental human rights" in Central America, in the words of the
assassinated Archbishop of El Salvador, one of the hundreds of thousands
of victims of the military forces armed and trained by Washington. There
was no Gorbachev in the West throughout these horrendous years, and
there is none today. And Western power remains hostile to democracy in
the Arab world for good reasons.

Grand Area doctrines continue to apply to contemporary crises and
confrontations. In Western policy-making circles and political
commentary the Iranian threat is considered to pose the greatest danger
to world order and hence must be the primary focus of U.S. foreign
policy, with Europe trailing along politely.

What exactly is the Iranian threat? An authoritative answer is provided
by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence. Reporting on global security last
year, they make it clear that the threat is not military. Iran's
military spending is "relatively low compared to the rest of the
region," they conclude. Its military doctrine is strictly "defensive,
designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to
hostilities." Iran has only "a limited capability to project force
beyond its borders." With regard to the nuclear option, "Iran's nuclear
program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing
nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy." All quotes.

The brutal clerical regime is doubtless a threat to its own people,
though it hardly outranks U.S. allies in that regard. But the threat
lies elsewhere, and is ominous indeed. One element is Iran's potential
deterrent capacity, an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that might
interfere with U.S. freedom of action in the region. It is glaringly
obvious why Iran would seek a deterrent capacity; a look at the military
bases and nuclear forces in the region suffices to explain.

Seven years ago, Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld wrote
that "The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for,
as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build
nuclear weapons, they would be crazy," particularly when they are under
constant threat of attack in violation of the UN Charter. Whether they
are doing so remains an open question, but perhaps so.

But Iran's threat goes beyond deterrence. It is also seeking to expand
its influence in neighboring countries, the Pentagon and U.S.
intelligence emphasize, and in this way to "destabilize" the region (in
the technical terms of foreign policy discourse). The U.S. invasion and
military occupation of Iran's neighbors is "stabilization." Iran's
efforts to extend its influence to them are "destabilization," hence
plainly illegitimate.

Such usage is routine. Thus the prominent foreign policy analyst James
Chace was properly using the term "stability" in its technical sense
when he explained that in order to achieve "stability" in Chile it was
necessary to "destabilize" the country (by overthrowing the elected
government of Salvador Allende and installing the dictatorship of
General Augusto Pinochet). Other concerns about Iran are equally
interesting to explore, but perhaps this is enough to reveal the guiding
principles and their status in imperial culture. As Franklin Delano
Roosevelt's planners emphasized at the dawn of the contemporary world
system, the U.S. cannot tolerate "any exercise of sovereignty" that
interferes with its global designs.

The U.S. and Europe are united in punishing Iran for its threat to
stability, but it is useful to recall how isolated they are. The
nonaligned countries have vigorously supported Iran's right to enrich
uranium. In the region, Arab public opinion even strongly favors Iranian
nuclear weapons. The major regional power, Turkey, voted against the
latest U.S.-initiated sanctions motion in the Security Council, along
with Brazil, the most admired country of the South. Their disobedience
led to sharp censure, not for the first time: Turkey had been bitterly
condemned in 2003 when the government followed the will of 95% of the
population and refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq, thus
demonstrating its weak grasp of democracy, western-style.

After its Security Council misdeed last year, Turkey was warned by
Obama's top diplomat on European affairs, Philip Gordon, that it must
"demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West." A scholar
with the Council on Foreign Relations asked, "How do we keep the Turks
in their lane?" -- following orders like good democrats. Brazil's Lula
was admonished in a New York Times headline that his effort with Turkey
to provide a solution to the uranium enrichment issue outside of the
framework of U.S. power was a "Spot on Brazilian Leader's Legacy." In
brief, do what we say, or else.

An interesting sidelight, effectively suppressed, is that the
Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal was approved in advance by Obama, presumably on
the assumption that it would fail, providing an ideological weapon
against Iran. When it succeeded, the approval turned to censure, and
Washington rammed through a Security Council resolution so weak that
China readily signed -- and is now chastised for living up to the letter
of the resolution but not Washington's unilateral directives -- in the
current issue of Foreign Affairs, for example.

While the U.S. can tolerate Turkish disobedience, though with dismay,
China is harder to ignore. The press warns that "China's investors and
traders are now filling a vacuum in Iran as businesses from many other
nations, especially in Europe, pull out," and in particular, is
expanding its dominant role in Iran's energy industries. Washington is
reacting with a touch of desperation. The State Department warned China
that if it wants to be accepted in the international community -- a
technical term referring to the U.S. and whoever happens to agree with
it -- then it must not "skirt and evade international responsibilities,
[which] are clear": namely, follow U.S. orders. China is unlikely to be
impressed. ...

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