So what do we learn from the Chomsky reaction?: We can find out what Noam has missed in his analyses in the last twenty years – as this was clear before the LRB article: Chomsky never paid too much and enough attention to the impact of AIPAC on American policy. He identified other factors and grounds, but failed to highlight something which was next door. Nor did he ever write anything of significance of the Christian Zionists. Chomsky also claims that a two state solution is still viable and opposes sanctions on Israel. Interesting positions but hardly ones the invalidate the counter positions.
Now the most strange paragraph in his argument is ‘When we do investigate (1), we find that US policies in the ME are quite similar to those pursued elsewhere in the world, and have been a remarkable success, in the face of many difficulties: 60 years is a long time for planning success. It’s true that Bush II has weakened the US position, not only in the ME, but that’s an entirely separate matter’.
Now this is utterly wrong – the US position shifted in the ME since Kennedy’s death, whereas it remained the same elsewhere. Only in the ME did the US alienate regimes that were pro-American and were supported by all the traditional groups that inform and form US Policy.
The rest of the arguments seem to stem from this faulty assumption and hence comes another unsubstantiated assumption that the ‘As noted, the US-Israeli alliance was firmed up precisely when Israel performed a huge service to the US-Saudis-Energy corporations by smashing secular Arab nationalism, which threatened to divert resources to domestic needs’.
Performed or was seen to perform? Nobody thought in Riyadh that this is what Israel was doing – in fact the Saudi stance became more anti-Israel at that time. It was AIPAC that made it seem like it.
It is not that Israel is a sui generis case. But due to the Zionist Lobby and Jewish money in the US it appears to be so and no other regional case of the many cases we learned so much from Chomsky’s excellent journeys into the past has ever constituted such a place in US policy. You probably have to be on the receiving end of the US-Israel special alliance to understand why it is not a typical American stance and why for re-formulating that policy you need a special campaign and effort; one that is focused on the unprecedented power Jews and Zionists have on America policy in the Middle East in general and Palestine in particular. Unpleasant maybe, but nonetheless the only valid target if indeed one believes US policy should change before peace can come to this area. (Received by e-mail)
See our last post on the Lobby article controversy.