A few years ago it was only voices such as Scott Ritter and the ever-dependable Counterpunch that employed right-wing nationalist rhetoric about how the United States has surrendered its sovereignty to Israel, complete with sentimental invocation of the sullying of Old Glory. Liberals at places like the New Republic warned that the radical right was reviving propaganda about a “Zionist Occupation Government” (ZOG). But now it is Dana Milbank in the Washington Post July 7, commenting on Obama’s meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, who mainstreams such odious verbiage:
A blue-and-white Israeli flag hung from Blair House. Across Pennsylvania Avenue, the Stars and Stripes was in its usual place atop the White House. But to capture the real significance of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with President Obama, White House officials might have instead flown the white flag of surrender.
Four months ago, the Obama administration made a politically perilous decision to condemn Israel over a controversial new settlement. The Israel lobby reared up, Netanyahu denounced the administration’s actions, Republican leaders sided with Netanyahu, and Democrats ran for cover.
So on Tuesday, Obama, routed and humiliated by his Israeli counterpart, invited Netanyahu back to the White House…
The president, beaming in the Oval Office with a dour Netanyahu at his side, gushed about the “extraordinary friendship between our two countries.” He performed the Full Monty of pro-Israel pandering: “The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable”…”I commended Prime Minister Netanyahu”…”Our two countries are working cooperatively”…”unwavering in our commitment”…”our relationship has broadened”… “continuing to improve”…”We are committed to that special bond, and we are going to do what’s required to back that up.”
An Israeli reporter attempted to summon the effusive American back to reality: “Mr. President, in the past year, you distanced yourself from Israel… Do you think this policy was a mistake? …Do you trust Prime Minister Netanyahu?”
Obama assumed an amused grin. “Well, let me first of all say that the premise of your question was wrong, and I entirely disagree with it,” he said. He said he had always engaged in “a constant reaffirmation of the special relationship” with Israel, and “I’ve trusted Prime Minister Netanyahu since I met him before I was elected president.”
So that business about Hillary Clinton calling Israel’s settlement action “insulting” and the State Department accusing Israel of a “deeply negative signal” that “undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests”? You must have imagined it.
Obama came to office with an admirable hope of reviving Middle East peace efforts by appealing to the Arab world and positioning himself as more of an honest broker. But he has now learned the painful lesson that domestic politics won’t allow such a stand.
The mere fact that such rhetoric is being employed in the Washington Post is evidence that “domestic politics” has very little to do with it. But the ZOG-o-phobes take either coverage or lack of coverage as defense of their position. The latter is proof of censorious Jewish power, yet nothing makes them giddier than a whiff of vindication from the Washington establishment. Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation takes great glee in quoting veteran New York Times wonk Leslie Gelb:
“Whoever advised Mr. Obama to kneel rhetorically to Mr. Netanyahu in public on Tuesday should also be fired. The only thing accomplished by this embarrassing tactic was to put Israel in a position to call the shots on Mideast policy for the rest of Obama’s first term.”
And it makes them giddier still to get such gems from Israelis. Ari Shavit wrote in Ha’aretz July 8, offering analysis of Obama’s seeming policy shift:
…Netanyahu waged a struggle. And the statesman who is depicted as susceptible to pressure did not succumb to the American pressure of this past spring. He fought back. The price for what Netanyahu did was felt by Obama in Chicago. The Israeli leader applied hidden pressure to the American leader, which made it perfectly clear to him: No more.
No names are given for these hidden puppet-masters, no source offered. But we are asked to believe that all-powerful Jews applied enough “hidden pressure” to bend the imperial executive to their will. Netanyahu, alas, may well believe in his own improbable powers. We have noted before Bibi’s appalling arrogance with regard to his imperial masters. Deluded Jews eat up the myth of their own omnipotence, a point we have made again and again and again. The ZOG-o-phobes and Bibi are birds of a feather.
The Internet amen chorus that e-mails such screeds back and forth of course—like all sufferers of groupthink—insulate themselves from all countervailing information. For instance, the perceived subservience to Israel comes as (non-existent) Israeli spies have joined (non-existent) Islamic terrorists on the litany of the national security state’s imaginary enemies. (We’re not saying that either Israeli spies or Islamic terrorists don’t exist, but it is telling that the FBI and related agencies are now inventing them.) The ZOG-o-phobes, of course, cheer on the crackdown on non-existent Israeli spies (with even supposed “progressives” adopting blatantly jingoistic terminology), yet can be utterly oblivious to the same crackdown when it threatens their worldview. (Orwell’s doublethink this time.)
Ofri Ilani worries in a July 9 Ha’aretz piece, “Us and Them,” that even American Jews are wavering in their support for Israel. A story in The Guardian July 5, “US questions its unwavering support for Israel,” finds “Consensus forming in Washington that Israeli government is abusing support with policies seen to be risking US lives”:
A former director of intelligence assessment for the US defence secretary, last month caused waves with a paper called Israel as a Strategic Liability? In it, Anthony Cordesman, who has written extensively on the Middle East, noted a shift in thinking at the White House, the US state department and, perhaps crucially, the Pentagon over the impact of Washington’s long-unquestioning support for Israeli policies even those that have undermined the prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
He wrote that the US will not abandon Israel because it has a moral commitment to ensure the continued survival of the Jewish state. “At the same time, the depth of America’s moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbours.
“It is time Israel realised that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of US patience and exploits the support of American Jews.”
Cordesman told the Guardian that the Netanyahu government has maintained a “pattern of conduct” that has pushed the balance toward Israel being more of a liability than an asset.
“This Israeli government pushed the margin too far,” he said. “Gaza was one case in point, the issue of construction in Jerusalem, the lack of willingness to react in ways that serve Israel’s interests as well as ours in moving forward to at least pursue a peace process more actively.”
We’re sure Anthony Cordesman actually knows better than to buy all this “morality” talk. Such decisions have no more to do with “morality” than mysterious Jewish powers. They are about interests of state, and nothing else. Cordesman is clearly an exponent of that sector of the Washington elite that perceives Israel as a “strategic liability” to US imperial interests. He has been a consistent critic of Israel and was an opponent of the Iraq adventure.
The see-sawing between the Zio-phile neocons and the Judeophobe paleocons or “pragmatists” is a characteristic of all White House administrations since the Reagan era. (Cordesman is among the more principled “pragmatists.”) We noted back when Obama was still vying with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination that his ebullient pro-Israel rhetoric smacked a little of methinks-he-doth-protest-too-much:
The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will of course have the loyalty of either candidate. But which one is scrambling to reassure them of his support (implying that it is in doubt) is telling.
Both sides in this elite split (and the media and blogosphere scribes who cheer them on) are way off base. Despite the fears of the neocons, the US is not likely to apply serious pressure on Israel anytime soon (barring such nightmarish scenarios as a President Ron Paul)—because it remains a strategic asset. Or, at least, those wonks such as Cordesman who perceive otherwise have not reached a critical mass. And despite the paranoia of the pragmatists (and the delusions of the Zionists), US fidelity to Israel is not the fruit of Jewish power—but of the fact that it remains a (perceived) strategic asset: a “bad cop” or “pit bull” that intimidates by proxy US enemies in the region.
By way of comparison, let’s look at another strategic asset in the region—Turkey. The US has encouraged the Israel-Turkey strategic partnership (now under threat due to the Israeli flotilla attack), to allow these US allies to share technology and intelligence—and to drive a wedge in the Islamic world and play the Turks off against the Arabs and Iran. With incredible cynicism, Turkey has continued to seek Israeli instruction in the use of Israeli-produced drones even since the ostensible freezing of relations after the flotilla attack. The obvious targets are the Kurds, who have good reason to view Ankara’s supposed outrage against Israel as hypocrisy. We’ve noted that—with an arrogance that puts Israel’s to shame—Turkey has actually used this technology to bomb US-occupied Iraq, where the Kurdish rebels fighting Ankara have apparently taken refuge.
This is obviously making trouble for the US and its own Kurdish proxies in Iraq—and has nonetheless elicited not a peep of protest from Washington. Yet nobody ever speaks of the US having surrendered its sovereignty to Turkey. It is understood that the Kurds, like the Palestinians, are simply powerless enough to be expendable in the Great Power game. Even the most extreme Kurdish or Armenian nationalists do not accuse Ankara of having raised its red-and-white flag over Washington.
So, we’d like to know—Why is that?