Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Israel Lobby and the Road to War
by Justin Raimondo

Editorial note: This is the third in a three-part series. Part I appeared here, and the second part here.

Israel is like a spoiled child who has grown stronger, more willful, and outright dangerous under the nurturing care of its US parent – a parent who has lost all authority and can no longer restrain its juvenile delinquent progeny. The US-Israeli “special relationship” has destabilized the Middle East and made war much more likely than it would be otherwise. Israel can act in the knowledge that there will be no consequences for its actions, that it will not be held accountable or blamed – in public – in any way for what follows.

This, in turn, has energized extremist movements inside Israel, who demand more and yet more of the United States – and come to resent Uncle Sam for supposedly restraining the Israelis from achieving what they believe is their just due. The response is very far from gratitude, if we take Netanyahu’s recent behavior as indicative. We pour billions every year into Israel, with economic and military aid, and with Congress in their back pocket no American president dares threaten them with an aid cutoff. The result is that we have created – and empowered – a monster, one that may one day turn on us.

Indeed, Israel has already turned on us if we define that as brazen interference in American politics. The Israel lobby, which wields plenty of money and political clout, has so distorted the national discourse on foreign policy issues that it is no longer possible for any politician to challenge the course we have taken.

Defenders of the Israel lobby say this is because the American people support Israel, but the truth is far more prosaic. In reality, most Americans have no opinion about who is right and who is wrong in the Middle East: they are neutral when it comes to siding with the Israelis or the Palestinians, and would prefer that the US government refrain from taking sides. But they don’t feel very passionately about it. On the other hand, Israel’s supporters do feel passionately, and the lopsided congressional support for Israel – even when it’s against the interests of the United States – is the result of a passionate minority’s efforts. If there was a national plebiscite on US aid to Israel, you can bet there would be no more goodies forthcoming from Washington – not just to Israel, but to anyone.

No matter what the “Clean Break” document aspires to, Israel’s whole survival strategy has always been to rely on aid from the outside: without the billions that flow from the US Treasury into Israeli coffers, the entire Zionist project would have failed long ago. It has been kept on life support all these years by money from abroad, and by the hopes of the Israeli leadership that more Jews will emigrate to the Promised Land. The main problem, however, is that American Jews are so thoroughly assimilated that the idea of taking up residence in Israel never occurs to them: for American Jews, America is the Promised Land. Aside from that, the appeal of moving to a country that sees itself as besieged – and whose leaders every day assert that they are sitting on the edge of a second Holocaust – is necessarily quite limited.

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