Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist
07-04-2007, 02:31 PM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2007 02:49 PM by solar.)
Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist
A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM ISRAEL
by Chris Hedges (article from this link)
(Armed Palestinian women burn Israeli and U.S. flags during a protest against Israels operations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.)
Posted on Jul 2, 2007
Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist.
The country came perilously close to extinction during the October 1973 war when Egypt, trained and backed by the Soviet Union, crossed the Suez and the Syrians poured in over the Golan Heights. Huge American military transport planes came to the rescue. They began landing every half-hour to refit the battered Israeli army, which had lost most of its heavy armor. By the time the war was over, the United States had given Israel $2.2 billion in emergency military aid.
The intervention, which enraged the Arab world, triggered the OPEC oil embargo that for a time wreaked havoc on Western economies. This was perhaps the most dramatic example of the sustained life-support system the United States has provided to the Jewish state.
Israel was born at midnight May 14, 1948. The U.S. recognized the new state 11 minutes later. The two countries have been locked in a deadly embrace ever since.
Washington, at the beginning of the relationship, was able to be a moderating influence.
An incensed President Eisenhower demanded and got Israels withdrawal after the Israelis occupied Gaza in 1956.
During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli warplanes bombed the USS Liberty. The ship, flying the U.S. flag and stationed 15 miles off the Israeli coast, was intercepting tactical and strategic communications from both sides. The Israeli strikes killed 34 U.S. sailors and wounded 171. The deliberate attack froze, for a while, Washingtons enthusiasm for Israel. But ruptures like this one proved to be only bumps, soon smoothed out by an increasingly sophisticated and well-financed Israel lobby that set out to merge Israeli and American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Israel has reaped tremendous rewards from this alliance. It has been given more than $140 billion in U.S. direct economic and military assistance. It receives about $3 billion in direct assistance annually, roughly one-fifth of the U.S. foreign aid budget. Although most American foreign aid packages stipulate that related military purchases have to be made in the United States, Israel is allowed to use about 25 percent of the money to subsidize its own growing and profitable defense industry. It is exempt, unlike other nations, from accounting for how it spends the aid money. And funds are routinely siphoned off to build new Jewish settlements, bolster the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories and construct the security barrier, which costs an estimated $1 million a mile.
The barrier weaves its way through the West Bank, creating isolated pockets of impoverished Palestinians in ringed ghettos. By the time the barrier is finished it will probably in effect seize up to 40 percent of Palestinian land. This is the largest land grab by Israel since the 1967 war. And although the United States officially opposes settlement expansion and the barrier, it also funds them.
The U.S. has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems and given Israel access to some of the most sophisticated items in its own military arsenal, including Blackhawk attack helicopters and F-16 fighter jets. The United States also gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its NATO allies. And when Israel refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the United States stood by without a word of protest as the Israelis built the regions first nuclear weapons program.
U.S. foreign policy, especially under the current Bush administration, has become little more than an extension of Israeli foreign policy. The United States since 1982 has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It refuses to enforce the Security Council resolutions it claims to support. These resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.
There is now volcanic anger and revulsion by Arabs at this blatant favoritism. Few in the Middle East see any distinction between Israeli and American policies, nor should they. And when the Islamic radicals speak of U.S. support of Israel as a prime reason for their hatred of the United States, we should listen.
The consequences of this one-sided relationship are being played out in the disastrous war in Iraq, growing tension with Iran, and the humanitarian and political crisis in Gaza. It is being played out in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is gearing up for another war with Israel, one most Middle East analysts say is inevitable. The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is unraveling. And it is doing so because of this special relationship. The eruption of a regional conflict would usher in a nightmare of catastrophic proportions.
There were many in the American foreign policy establishment and State Department who saw this situation coming. The decision to throw our lot in with Israel in the Middle East was not initially a popular one with an array of foreign policy experts, including President Harry Trumans secretary of state, Gen. George Marshall. They warned there would be a backlash. They knew the cost the United States would pay in the oil-rich region for this decision, which they feared would be one of the greatest strategic blunders of the postwar era. And they were right. The decision has jeopardized American and Israeli security and created the kindling for a regional conflagration.
The alliance, which makes no sense in geopolitical terms, does makes sense when seen through the lens of domestic politics. The Israel lobby has become a potent force in the American political system. No major candidate, Democrat or Republican, dares to challenge it. The lobby successfully purged the State Department of Arab experts who challenged the notion that Israeli and American interests were identical. Backers of Israel have doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to support U.S. political candidates deemed favorable to Israel.
They have brutally punished those who strayed, including the first President Bush, who they said was not vigorous enough in his defense of Israeli interests. This was a lesson the next Bush White House did not forget. George W. Bush did not want to be a one-term president like his father.
Israel advocated removing Saddam Hussein from power and currently advocates striking Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Direct Israeli involvement in American military operations in the Middle East is impossible. It would reignite a war between Arab states and Israel. The United States, which during the Cold War avoided direct military involvement in the region, now does the direct bidding of Israel while Israel watches from the sidelines. During the 1991 Gulf War, Israel was a spectator, just as it is in the war with Iraq.
President Bush, facing dwindling support for the war in Iraq, publicly holds Israel up as a model for what he would like Iraq to become. Imagine how this idea plays out on the Arab street, which views Israel as the Algerians viewed the French colonizers during the war of liberation.
"In Israel, Bush said recently, terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and its not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And thats a good indicator of success that were looking for in Iraq.
Americans are increasingly isolated and reviled in the world. They remain blissfully ignorant of their own culpability for this isolation. U.S. spin paints the rest of the world as unreasonable, but Israel, Americans are assured, will always be on our side.
Israel is reaping economic as well as political rewards from its lock-down apartheid state. In the gated community market it has begun to sell systems and techniques that allow the nation to cope with terrorism. Israel, in 2006, exported $3.4 billion in defense productswell over a billion dollars more than it received in American military aid. Israel has grown into the fourth largest arms dealer in the world. Most of this growth has come in the so-called homeland security sector.
"The key products and services, as Naomi Klein wrote in The Nation [another version of this article is at this link], are hi-tech fences, unmanned drones, biometric IDs, video and audio surveillance gear, air passenger profiling and prisoner interrogation systemsprecisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories. And that is why the chaos in Gaza and the rest of the region doesnt threaten the bottom line in Tel Aviv, and may actually boost it. Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the global war on terror.
The United States, at least officially, does not support the occupation and calls for a viable Palestinian state. It is a global player, with interests that stretch well beyond the boundaries of the Middle East, and the equation that Israels enemies are our enemies is not that simple.
"Terrorism is not a single adversary, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote in The London Review of Books, but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The terrorist organizations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or the West; it is largely a response to Israels prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around.
Middle Eastern policy is shaped in the United States by those with very close ties to the Israel lobby.
Those who attempt to counter the virulent Israeli position, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, are ruthlessly slapped down. This alliance was true also during the Clinton administration, with its array of Israel-first Middle East experts, including special Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, the former deputy director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, one of the most powerful Israel lobbying groups in Washington.
But at least people like Indyk and Ross are sane, willing to consider a Palestinian state, however unviable, as long as it is palatable to Israel. The Bush administration turned to the far-right wing of the Israel lobby, those who have not a shred of compassion for the Palestinians or a word of criticism for Israel. These new Middle East experts include Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, the disgraced I. Lewis Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser.
Washington was once willing to stay Israels hand. It intervened to thwart some of its most extreme violations of human rights. This administration, however, has signed on for every disastrous Israeli blunder, from building the security barrier in the West Bank, to sealing off Gaza and triggering a humanitarian crisis, to the ruinous invasion and saturation bombing of Lebanon.
The few tepid attempts by the Bush White House to criticize Israeli actions have all ended in hasty and humiliating retreats in the face of Israeli pressure. When the Israel Defense Forces in April 2002 reoccupied the West Bank, President Bush called on then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to halt the incursions and begin withdrawal.
It never happened.
After a week of heavy pressure from the Israel lobby and Israels allies in Congress, meaning just about everyone in Congress, the president gave up, calling Sharon a man of peace. It was a humiliating moment for the United States, a clear sign of who pulled the strings.
There were several reasons for the war in Iraq. The desire for American control of oil, the belief that Washington could build puppet states in the region, and a real, if misplaced, fear of Saddam Hussein played a part in the current disaster.
But it was also strongly shaped by the notion that what is good for Israel is good for the United States.
Israel wanted Iraq neutralized. Israeli intelligence, in the lead-up to the war, gave faulty information to the U.S. about Iraqs alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And when Baghdad was taken in April 2003, the Israeli government immediately began to push for an attack on Syria. The lust for this attack has waned, in no small part because the Americans dont have enough troops to hang on in Iraq, much less launch a new occupation.
Israel is currently lobbying the United States to launch aerial strikes on Iran, despite the debacle in Lebanon. Israels iron determination to forcibly prevent a nuclear Iran makes it probable that before the end of the Bush administration an attack on Iran will take place. The efforts to halt nuclear development through diplomatic means have failed. It does not matter that Iran poses no threat to the United States. It does not matter that it does not even pose a threat to Israel, which has several hundred nuclear weapons in its arsenal. It matters only that Israel demands total military domination of the Middle East.
The alliance between Israel and the United States has culminated after 50 years in direct U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. This involvement, which is not furthering American interests, is unleashing a geopolitical nightmare. American soldiers and Marines are dying in droves in a useless war.
The impotence of the United States in the face of Israeli pressure is complete. The White House and the Congress have become, for perhaps the first time, a direct extension of Israeli interests. There is no longer any debate within the United States. This is evidenced by the obsequious nods to Israel by all the current presidential candidates with the exception of Dennis Kucinich. The political cost for those who challenge Israel is too high.
This means there will be no peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It means the incidents of Islamic terrorism against the U.S. and Israel will grow. It means that American power and prestige are on a steep, irreversible decline. And I fear it also means the ultimate end of the Jewish experiment in the Middle East.
The weakening of the United States, economically and militarily, is giving rise to new centers of power. The U.S. economy, mismanaged and drained by the Iraq war, is increasingly dependent on Chinese trade imports and on Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury securities. China holds dollar reserves worth $825 billion. If Beijing decides to abandon the U.S. bond market, even in part, it would cause a free fall by the dollar. It would lead to the collapse of the $7-trillion U.S. real estate market. There would be a wave of U.S. bank failures and huge unemployment. The growing dependence on China has been accompanied by aggressive work by the Chinese to build alliances with many of the worlds major exporters of oil, such as Iran, Nigeria, Sudan and Venezuela. The Chinese are preparing for the looming worldwide clash over dwindling resources.
The future is ominous.
Not only do Israels foreign policy objectives not coincide with American interests, they actively hurt them. The growing belligerence in the Middle East, the calls for an attack against Iran, the collapse of the imperial project in Iraq have all given an opening, where there was none before, to Americas rivals.
It is not in Israels interests to ignite a regional conflict. It is not in ours. But those who have their hands on the wheel seem determined, in the name of freedom and democracy, to keep the American ship of state headed at breakneck speed into the cliffs before us.
Chris Hedges, Columnist (from this link)
Chris Hedges, currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges, who has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years.
He is the author of the best selling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, which draws on his experiences in various conflicts to describe the patterns and behavior of nations and individuals in wartime. The book, a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, was described by Abraham Verghese, who reviewed the book for The New York Times, as ... a brilliant, thoughtful, timely and unsettling book whose greatest merit is that it will rattle jingoists, pacifists, moralists, nihilists, politicians and professional soldiers equally.
Hedges was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the papers coverage of global terrorism and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.
He published his most recent book, Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America in June 2005. The book, inspired by the Polish filmmaker Krysztof Kieslowskis series The Decalogue, follows people, including the author, whose lives have been consumed by one of the violations or issues raised by a commandment.
The Christian Century said of the book: Far from the grandstanding around stone tablets in front of an Alabama courthouse comes Losing Moses on the Freeway, a refreshing reflection on the ten great Mosaic laws that is muted yet monumental in its own right.
Hedges is also the author of What Every Person Should Know About War, a book he worked on with several combat veterans. Robert Pinsky, reviewing this book in The New York Times, called the book ...arresting, peculiar and significant. Neither jingoistic nor pacifist, Pinsky wrote, the book is about the moral authority of information, as it applies to the present and future nature of war. Hedges will publish a book on the Christian right, a movement which he has criticized, with The Free Press in January 2007.
Hedges, who speaks Arabic and spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, was an early and vocal critic of the plan to invade and occupy Iraq.
He questioned the rationale for war by the Bush administration and was often critical of the early press coverage, calling it shameful cheerleading. Hedges delivered a 2003 Commencement address at Rockford College in Rockford, Ill. shortly after President Bush landed with great fanfare on an aircraft carrier in which he told the graduating class we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power and security. He added: This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war of liberation by Iraqis from American occupation.
Hedges raised the ire of several hundred members of the audiance who booed and jeered his talk. His microphone was cut twice and two young men rushed the stage to try and prevent him from speaking. Hedges had to cut short his address and was escorted off campus by security officials before the ceremony was over. His address made national news and saw numerous attacks against him by right-wing pundits including an editorial in The Wall Street Journal denouncing Hedges for his anti-war stance. The New York Times issued Hedges a formal reprimand after the address for public remarks that could undermine public trust in the papers impartiality. Hedges left the paper not long after this incident to write books and teach.
Hedges, who is not a pacifist and supports humanitarian interventions, such as those in Bosnia and Kosovo designed to stop campaigns of genocide, nevertheless describes war as the most potent narcotic invented by humankind.
He argues that violence has a dark fascination, something the Bible calls the lust of the eye. He writes that war is the pornography of violence, that it has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque.
War, he writes, gives us a distorted sense of self. It gives us meaning. It creates a feeling of comradeship that obliterates our alienation and makes us feel, for perhaps the first time in our lives, that we belong.
War, Hedges wrote, exposes the capacity for evil that lurks not far below the surface within all of us. We are all culpable. War is about worshipping the death instinct, which Hedges, quoting Freud, refers to as Thanatos, the Greek God of death.
War, he argues, starts out looking and feeling like love, the chief emotion war destroys, leads to the annihilation of the other and finally to self-annihilation. War, he writes, is as close as we come to attaining a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. His book draws heavily from his own experience and the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr.
Hedges, strongly influenced by writers such as George Orwell, Samuel Johnson, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Elias Canetti and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, began his career reporting on the conflict in El Salvador in 1983. He went to Latin America, ruled at the time by a series of despotic military regimes, following seminary because, as he said, it was as close as my generation could come to fighting fascism.
Following six years in Latin America he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and Kosovo and later joined the investigative team of The New York Times where he was based in Paris.
War and conflict have marked most of adult life, he writes in War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. I began covering insurgenices in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on despolate streteches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by the Iraqi Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian Mig-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.
Hedges, the son of a Presbyterian minister, has a B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard during the academic year of 1998-1999. He has a strong grounding in the classics and knows Greek and Latin, as well as Arabic, French and Spanish. He currently writes for numerous publications including Foreign Affairs, Harpers magazine, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. (From Wikipedia)
07-04-2007, 06:41 PM
Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist
07-20-2007, 07:48 AM
Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist
Quote:Good read [...]Thanks, Ognir !
Thanks also on the recent share, "Dead in the Water".
Amazing documentary !
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