Prof. James Petras
Bended Knees: Zionist Power in American Politics
?Obama want to see a stop to settlements: Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions?. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, May 2009
?What the prime minister has offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements?..is unprecedented, there has never been a precondition, it?s always been an issue within negotiations.? Hillary Clinton, BBC, November 1, 2009 (my emphasis)
?The US administration understands what we have always said ? that the real obstacle to negotiations is the Palestinians (calling for a freeze on settlements)?. Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz, November 1, 2009 (my addition).
?America, stop sucking up to Israel!? Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist, Haaretz, November 1, 2009.
?US Zionists are sticking it to America, 24/7?, Anonymous Staff Official, Washington D. C., October 31, 2009.
The discussion of Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the US political system revolves around several essential issues, including:
The claims by the ZPC that it represents Jewish opinion and values as well as its authority to speak for the interests of the American people.
Measuring the power of the ZPC and determining its influence over policy, appointments and political institutions.
The question of whether the ZPC is a legitimate part of the US political system, another lobby, or something very different, an unregistered agent of a foreign power (Israel).
The scope and depth of the ZPC influence in US politics beyond the focus on its ?lobbying? in Washington on a ?single issue?.
The organizational weapons and techniques utilized by the ZPC to maximize influence and deny voice and influence to critics of Israel and itself.
The similarities of the organizational linkages of the Israel-Zionist relationship to the Russian ? Stalinist Communist Parties of the 1930?s.
Method: Public Records, Ethnic Neutral Sources and Citations
The case against the Zionist Power Configuration is based on the open record of publications, speeches, articles, interviews and sources available to the general public (and any interested reader). Many facts and data are drawn from Zionist and Israeli sources as well as mainstream publications and writings by critical journalists and analysts.1 We do not privilege the statements by Jews, whether they are critics or supporters of the State of Israel, as most ?progressive? writers do.
The pursuit of truth is not an ?ethnic science?, an approach that smacks of Nazi and Zionist racial theories. Indeed, nothing reveals the extreme Zionist power or cultural hegemony over the debate on Israel and American Zionism so much as the constant reliance, reference and citation of the ?Jewish? authorship of critical articles, even when publications by non-Jews are better documented, of earlier publication, and better argued.
The ethnic (Jewish) label attached to writings and intellectual and political activity is selectively applied: the ethnic labels are applied to ?positive outcomes? as part of a general campaign exalting the ?superiority? of the ?race?; and disregarded in the face of ?negative outcomes? and activities (e.g. financial swindles, Russian oligarchs, espionage agents). In fact the ?double standard? is buttressed by savage attacks by the ZPC on those who, following the ethnic labeling tradition, actually mention the Jewish background of mediocrities and war criminals as well as peace and justice advocates.
We will begin by questioning and challenging the representativeness of the ZPC in the United States today.
Zionists and the Jewish Communities in America
The 51 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization (PMAJO) claim to speak for all Jews in the US.2 A major study in the north Boston region found that less than 25% of Jews belong to a synagogue, fewer (10%) contribute to the Jewish Federation and over 50% do not accept rabbinical Zionist precepts against inter-marriage with non-Jews.3 According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency (12/4/2009) conservative synagogues have declined by almost 25% from 800 to 650 over the past decade.
Even most striking many prominent individuals who may be of Jewish parentage, no longer consider themselves ?Jews? despite frequent claims by Zionists that their achievements are a product or a result of their being ?Jewish?. Near majorities of young people of Jewish ancestry do not identify with Judaism and are critical or indifferent to Zionist appeals for Israel.
They have no involvement in Jewish centered civic activities.4 A small, but vocal, group of Jews are organized and active critics of the entire Zionist apparatus, rejecting the idea of Israel as an exclusive ethno-religious state and supporting a secular democratic republic in Palestine. 5 In addition several Orthodox Jewish sects view the ?state of Israel? as a form of blasphemy and call for its destruction.6
The ?51? misrepresent their actual numbers and claim to speak for 6 million US Jews. At best they may speak for less than half of the imputed population and even then their support waxes and wanes according to the issue, the timing and the place and varies in intensity. The power of the ?51? is not a result of its representativeness of the Jewish community at large, but the location of its followers in the power structure and the intensity and quasi-religious fervor of their activists.
Their political power resides in their singular forces in pursuit of the interests of the State of Israel and the control and influence in media; their nationwide networks and the wealth and financial power of contributors. Their capacity to browbeat apathetic Jews into making contributions and lending support adds organizational muscle. Their willing use of force, money and media slander intimidates any and all critics, including dissident politicians, media, journalists and professors.7
At most there are probably no more than 500,000 Jews who actively back the ?51? ? but what a half million! Given the low level of political participation of the US population in general, the relative low saliency of Middle East issues to most Americans and the one-sided pro-Israel mass media propaganda, which misinforms the public, the Zionist zealots have little competition. They have a free hand in penetrating and influencing political, social and cultural institutions in line with the policies dictated by their Israeli influenced leaders among the ?51?.
The issue of the limited representativeness of the Zionist organization must be separated from the exercise of power. By leveraging non-Zionist, non-Jewish civic organizations, political institutions, pension funds, trade unions etc. the ZPC magnifies its power beyond its numbers8.
The limited representativeness of the ?51? is compensated by the silence and apathy of the majority of Jews and non-Jewish/Jews, who either are not willing to challenge ZPC claims or are immersed in private concerns, careers or other unrelated civic issues.
The ?51?s hundreds of thousands of activists are strategically placed in institutions, as well as geographically, with a centralized command capable of mobilizing money, media attention and political leverage in any priority, political, cultural or social arena9. The ?51? organizations are not merely a ?lobby? in the sense of having paid officials operating to influence congressional votes.10
They include religious, civic, charitable, ideological, cultural and social organizations unified and unconditionally committed to following the zigzags of Israeli political directives11. The actual structure resembles a ?power configuration? that reaches from small chapters in municipalities to statewide confederations, as well as national organizations, each with its own budget, its own ideological watchdogs and appropriate levels of power.
The power for Israel is exercised by elected and appointed Zionist officials, especially those in positions that have any relevance to Israeli interests. These ?interests? include direct aid to Israel, sanctions and wars against Israel?s Middle East and Asian adversaries, American pension fund investments in Israel, boycotts of companies trading with Israeli-designated adversary countries and many other strategic concerns.
The key to the power of the Zionist Power Configuration is that it is a mass grassroots organization, bolstered by the financial support by scores of millionaires and dozens of billionaires and a complicit mass media. These political resources translate into tremendous leverage over the far more numerous non-Zionist electorates, the mass media spectators and the upwardly mobile politicians.
The ZPC illustrates clearly how ?numbers? in the abstract do not count,12 especially in a permeable electoral system like the US, where money, organization, discipline and ethno-religious fanaticism define the boundaries, issues and acceptable policies.
The ZPC as Foreign Agents of the Israeli State
The recent decision of the US Congress to repudiate (HR 867) the findings of Israeli war crimes in the official Final Report of the United Nations? Fact Finding Mission on the 2009 Gaza Conflict by a vote of 344 ? 36 is a measure of the power of the ZPC.13 The report, also known as the ?Goldstone Report?, after its principle author Justice Richard Goldstone, was released on September 15, 2009, amid a carefully orchestrated campaign to discredit its findings and its authors.
What is even more important than the US Congressional vote of condemnation is the fact that the campaign was publically ordered from Israel, directed by the Presidents of the ?51? and obediently and enthusiastically carried out by several hundred thousand Zionist activists, throughout the country. The ?51? and the mass of Zionist zealots were openly defending Israeli state terror and crimes against humanity. Their defense of war crimes never evoked a second thought.
What mattered was their ability to pressure, threaten, cajole and promise future funds to Congressional representatives in order to secure their vote against Justice Goldstone. Blind obedience to Israeli dictates was evident in the fact that many Congresspersons proudly confessed to never having even read the Goldstone Report and that none dared question the egregious fabrications, which its two uber-Zionist Congressional sponsors, (Representatives H.L. Berman, D-California and G.L. Ackermann, D-New York), of the House Resolution 867, concocted.14 The US Congress, in fact, almost unanimously rejected the eminent Justice Goldstone?s request to present his findings in person.
In the UN National Assembly, the Zionists were able to leverage the US to vote against the Goldstone Report, which in turn secured the vote of several Eastern European client states, insignificant island dependencies and the predictable Western European ?Allies?. This amounted to a total of 18 votes against the 114 UN members who endorsed the Report?s thorough documentation of Israeli war crimes and state terrorism, an endorsement which represented over 80% of the world?s population.15
The ZPC is powerful but not omnipotent. It controls the US Congress and Executive and has decisive influence in the mass media, but there are important fissures in the monolith, as a number of Jewish organizations and individuals, revolted by Israel?s mass killings in Gaza and the ZPC unconditional support, have spoken out in support of the Goldstone Report.16
More importantly, major national trade/union federations in Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, France and Italy, along with numerous human rights organizations, support a global boycott and disinvestment campaign against Israeli products.17 Judicial processes are proceeding in various European countries to arrest and put on trial top Israeli officials involved in the Gaza massacre.18
The United States, under the tutelage of the ZPC, remains as the center of Israeli power and the sole reliable backer of Israeli war aims in the Middle East, especially with regard to Iran. The power of Israel over Washington?s Middle East policy is in direct relation to the strategic influence of the ZPC.
The denial of the power of the ZPC by seemingly ?progressive? and ?leftist? writers and journalists has been one of the principal obstacles undermining efforts to effectively counter US government support for Israeli war crimes, the expansion of colonial settlements in the West Bank and the military/sanctions policies toward Iran.19
Israeli Power over US Middle Policy: The Centrality of the ZPC
The manifestations of Israeli power over the US are public, visible, outrageous and unprecedented in the annals of US foreign relations.20 Israeli power is wielded directly through its subordinated political arm, the ZPC, which in turn facilitates the direct intervention of the Israeli state in the internal politics of the US. Let us examine several crucial empirical indicators of Israeli power in the US.
On November 9, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the mass based Jewish Federation (JF) of North America General Assembly and thanked US President Obama and the US Congress for repudiating the Goldstone Report. The Israeli head of state then told his US followers to increase their efforts to influence US policy to ?stop Teheran from realizing its nuclear ambitions?.21
The previous day, Israel?s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, told the same Jewish Federation to ?press for sanctions on Iran and condemn the findings of the United Nations commission on Gaza.22 Speaking as a tribal chieftain dictating orders to the loyal overseas followers, Oren stated, ?Our strength derives from the belief that we have a right to independence in our tribal land, the land of Israel??23 Israel is the only country that can intervene in the internal politics of the US, counting on a powerful political organization, to shape US policy to serve its state interests.
By drawing on the now discredited myth that American Jews? tribal ancestry is rooted in Israel, rather than Central Asia, Khazaran, reinforces the idea that Israel and not the United States ? is the true ?homeland? of American Jews and therefore it is their right and duty to obey the dictates of the Israeli state.24 Each year dozens of Israeli state officials visit the US and directly intervene in US political debates, congressional hearings and executive policy making ? with nary a whisper of protest, let alone censure from the US State Department.
Any other country?s officials who so flagrantly intervene in US politics would be declared persona non grata and expelled from the country. In contrast, because of the power of the ZPC, Israeli civilians and military officials are invited to intervene in US policy making, to set the agenda for numerous Zionist officials in and out of public office and to bludgeon and praise those who criticize or oppose Israeli dictates.25
The repeated public statements by Israeli officials that the primary loyalty of American Jews is to Israel and its policies ? in other words, that they should act as a fifth column for Israel ? is incompatible with the notion of citizenship everywhere except for this small group in the US.26 One could imagine the outcry (and brutal reprisals) if any political leader from a Moslem country called on their co-religionists to pursue its state interests.
What is striking then about the ZPC is that it openly and publically organizes meetings, follows orders and pursues policies dictated by Israeli public officials and yet is not registered as a foreign agent, let alone prosecuted for acting, by its own admission, on behalf of a foreign power.27
The ZPC: Lobby or Unregistered Foreign Agents?
Based on its organizational structure and political aims, the pro-Israel social-political configuration cannot be reduced to a common ?lobby?. The mass activist organizational structure encompassing and penetrating civic, political, cultural institutions and media outlets resembles a power configuration that works within and outside of Washington to shape political decisions relevant to Israel.28
Equally important it plays a major role in shaping the opinions and behavior of public opinion and civic society organizations. Secondly, unlike American lobbies, it acts to shape US foreign policy in the interest of a foreign military power, up to and including decisions on promoting war and imposing sanctions against Israel?s opponents, prejudicing the lives and security of thousands of American working people and taxpayers.
Thirdly, the term ?lobby? does not ordinarily encompass the virulent repressive activities pursued by the ZPC against critical writers, cultural figures, academics and others in American society who question Israeli policy. The ZPC not only acts a foreign agent for Israel today, but has been openly doing so over fifty years.29 In the 1960?s the Justice Department attempted to enforce the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) against the current American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)?s predecessor, the American Zionist Council (AZC), but was blocked by pro-Israel politicians.
The ZPC no only publically gives unconditional support to Israeli policy but engages in espionage on behalf of Israel as several prominent members of the ZPC and Mossad have testified. One of America?s leading experts on Israel?s ?lobby? Grant Smith, who has amassed a vast archive of declassified official US documents on Israeli-Zionist activities in the US, cites numerous cases in which AIPAC purloined internal classified government documents in order to further Israeli trade privileges n the 1980?s.30
A leader of the Zionist Organization of America was implicated in the illegal transfer of US government uranium to Israel in 1956. In 2005 Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, leaders in AIPAC, admitted to receiving a confidential document relating to US-Iran policy, transmitting it to an Israeli embassy official.31
From 1979 to 1985, senior US Army Weapons Engineer Ben-ami Kadish, an American Zionist and former member of the fanatical Jewish Haganah militia in British Mandate Palestine, handed critical confidential documents on an enormous number of US weapons systems over to agents from the Israeli embassy.32
These were then believed to have been passed to the Soviet Union in order to influence their policy on immigration to Israel. Under the influence of the Zionist-infested Justice Department, Kadish got off with a $50,000 fine and not a single day in jail ? for handing scores of crucial US military secrets to Israel.
Ben-ami Kadish?s fellow spy, American Zionist Jonathan Pollard, shared the same Mossad handler in the 1980s. Pollard, who worked as an analyst for US Naval intelligence, provided the Israelis with crate-loads of classified military and intelligence documents filled with top secret information on US policy in the Middle East, weapons systems, US agents in the Soviet Union and any and all relevant strategic objects of interest to his Israeli handlers.33
On October 29, 2009, the Justice Department charged Stewart David Nozette, a Defense Department scientist, with attempting to transmit classified information to an Israeli Mossad agent. Nozette, an American Zionist, did not act strictly out of tribal loyalties to the Jewish State. Like Pollard, he asked for money and an Israeli passport (Boston Globe 10/20/09).
According to former Mossad agent Victor Ostrtovsky, the spy agency recruits thousands of overseas Zionist sayanim (Hebrew for ?helpers?) who ?must be 100 percent Jewish? for Israeli Mossad operations, which may include terrorism. (See Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception (New York: St Martin?s Press 1990, pp 86 ? 88).
In 2001 Fox News investigative reporter, Carl Cameron, reported that scores of Israeli spies were rounded up and deported in the aftermath of 9/11, including five Mossad agents videoing the World Trade Center bombing.34
Industrial and political spying is not uncommon among states, even between allies. What is striking is that representatives of an organized ethno-religious group, the major American Zionist organizations, have expressed sympathy and solidarity with such spies as Ben-ami Kadish, Jonathan Pollard and others, even defending their acts of espionage as a significant contribution to US ? Israeli relations.35
The implication, or better still, the explication for this perverse thinking is that for the leading American Zionist organizations, spying for Israel, is part and parcel of their primary loyalty to the Jewish state. Zionist primary loyalty to Israel is not confined to mainline American Jewish organizations.
During the Rosen-Weissman trial, numerous prominent Jewish leftist (including Democracy Now?s Amy Goodman) publicly defended the procuring of confidential documents and their handing over to a foreign (Israeli) government as a matter of ?free speech? and ?freedom of the press?.36 Rosen in his civil suit again his firing by AIPAC (to deflect FBI investigators) claimed that his dealing of US government documents to Israeli officials was ?common practice? AIPAC officials.37
Top Zionist leaders in the Bush and Obama administration have a long history of work for and with Israel, including in some cases activity, which has caused them to lose security clearances and/or to come under investigation.38 Two top Pentagon officials in the Bush administration, Former Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Assistant Secretary of Defense, Douglas Feith are cases in point.
Obama?s chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel spent time in the Israeli armed forces and has long been suspected of ties to Mossad.39 Stuart Levey, a top US Treasury Department official involving in enforcing sanctions against Iran, has spent nearly a decade in close collaboration with MOSSAD, a point he brags about.40
During the Bush (Jr.) Presidency, non-Zionist officials in the Pentagon and CIA complained of being sidelined by top Zionist officials, who set up their own intelligence offices run by their own fellow Zionist policymakers.41 Wolfowitz and Feith set up the Pentagon?s Office of Special Plans run by Abram Shulsky.
Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, an official in the Pentagon at the time, complained of being marginalized and supplanted by Israeli officers who had unfettered access to the highest Pentagon officials.42
The November 2007 United States National Intelligence Estimate Report (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear program was savaged by all the major Jewish American organizations, and their cohorts in Congress and the Executive branch because the report concluded that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons development since 2003.43
The major Zionist organizations and their supporters in the US government favored Israeli intelligence disinformation claiming an active nuclear weapons program that threatened US security. In short order the NIE report, prepared by 16 major US Government intelligence agencies, was pushed aside and US policy followed the lead of the Zionist-backed Israeli claims of a ?secret? Iranian weapons program despite the absence of any hard data.
The key to Zionist power in shaping US policy toward the Mid-East, Arab-Muslim relations and toward ?third parties? affecting Israeli policy is the combined influence of Zionists in executive offices (Treasury, State, National Security, Pentagon, etc.) and Congress, especially leading committees relevant to Israeli interests, and as well as the mass organizations in civil society (the ?51? major American Jewish organizations) and Zionist control over the mass media.44
Zionist power and control in these crucial areas spreads out into influencing academic activity, including the repression of Israeli critics, the censoring of publications, manipulation of professional societies, trade unions and state and union pension funds, whose members are overwhelmingly neither Jewish nor Zionist.
The result is that the Zionist Power Configurations automatic and unquestioning support for the crimes and treason, including Zionist espionage for Israel within the US and the universally-condemned Israel war crimes, goes uncontested in the mass media, the Congress, and even the small political and literary journals on the ?Left?. This uncontested support of espionage by foreign power acting through public organizations is unique in US history.
In the past organizations acting as surrogates for a foreign power were condemned, ostracized, suppressed, prosecuted and subject to mass public outrage. It is a ?tribute? to the power of ZPC that none of that occurs today. As a footnote to history, it is the first time that practically all Marxist journals, monthlies, bi-monthlies, quarterlies and annuals and their leading contributors have avoided a serious critique of the ZPC. On the contrary, the sparse articles which purport to deal with Middle East policies cover-up the role of the ZPC in shaping US policy.45
There is evidence that, even in the most radical publications of ?critical writing?, fellow traveling editors, who otherwise claim ?internationalist? and ?working class? allegiances, are not willing to confront the ZPC war makers who promote wars in the Middle East, funded by American taxpayers and fought by 99.9% non Jewish/non-Zionist working class Americans in uniform.
The Interlocking Directorate: Establishing Zionist Hegemony
Several critical analysts have identified some of the key issues and institutions under Zionist influence.46 Some have identified AIPAC as an influential pro-Israel lobby. Others have noted the pro-Israel bias of the mass media.47 A very few have even identified Zionist predominance in media ownership.48
Others, especially during the Bush presidency, noted the influence of key Zionists in the Pentagon, especially their role in promoting the US invasion of Iraq.49 The narrow focus of their otherwise valuable critiques fails to account for structural continuities over time and place: the long-term, large-scale presence of unconditional Israel Fisters across administrations especially over the past two decades.
Moreover, while case studies of Zionist influence over specific policy issues, such as the recent Congressional repudiation of the Goldstone Report and support for Israeli war crimes, are useful, the larger theoretical and empirical phenomenon of the growing chain of issues over ever more extended policy areas of interest to Israel (and therefore the ZPC) is ignored.50
In a word, the problem of ZPC power in the US is not confined to a single issue lobby. This narrow approach obfuscates the systemic role of the ZPC in effectively disenfranchising the great majority of the American wage and salaried people (at the expense of their living standards), increasing war taxes for the middle class and blocking investment opportunities for corporate America in countries designated (by Israel) as ?security threats? (adversaries of Israeli colonial expansion).
The career patterns of leading Zionists include movers from business (Wall Street, Corporate law firms) to government; another pattern involves Zionist academics who move to the executive branch and then on to corporate or Zionist think tanks. Others follow a career combining academic ? propagandist ? journalist policy consultant positions, often prominent on the television political ?talk? shows.
The leading media moguls combine roles as CEO?s ? propagandists ? and Israel advocates. The overlap of career positions creates a network of shared ideologies, defined by ?what is best for Israel? (Israel First). The shared ?world view? creates a cohesive group that sets the boundaries of US policy debate. Congressional behavior, Executive policy makers and intellectual discourse are confined by these ZPC-determined parameters. In effect pro-Israel career patterns and projections of power have established a kind of Judeo-Zionist hegemony of US public life.
One of the extreme manifestations of Zionist-Jewish hegemony is found in the fear and trepidation with which critics of Israeli policy approach the issue. Most seek to ?Judaize? any criticism, instead of seeking and citing truth, facts or analyses on their own merits. They support their statements by citing Israeli sources and Jewish writers, even if earlier non-Jewish, non-Israeli writers and analysts have raised the same issues and may have provided a more systematic and consequential critique.51
This ?tactic? of seeking to play off critical Jews against the ZPC and Israel is debatable if not counter-productive, regressive and serves to re-enforce the pervasive fear of the ZPC. The proponents of this approach, assuming they are not ignorant of non-Jewish critics, argue that by citing the Jewish background of the critics of Israel, they disarm the ZPC charge of ?anti-Semitism?. They further argue that by putting an ethnic ?spin? or ?ethnicizing? the critique they are responding to ?Jewish sensibilities? and are more likely to get a hearing from Jews and their sympathizers.52
These arguments are plausible but deeply flawed. Committed Zionists, meaning the entire ZPC, dismiss Jewish and non-Jewish critics with equal ferocity: the former as ?self-hating Jews?, the latter as ?anti-Semites?. Sacrificing truth and principled criticism to shield ?Jewish sensibilities? means refraining from challenging their residual tribal sympathies to a ?Zion-centric? view of the world.
If the central problem is Zionist hegemony of US culture and especially foreign policy in the Middle East (and wherever else Israel dictates), it ill behooves us to pander to amorphous ?special sensitivities? of the few Jewish dissidents who demand ethnically-based critiques.
Demystifying a Racial Doctrine:
The big challenge for opponents of Judeo-Zionist hegemony is demystifying its ideological bases. Zionists and their media camp followers always highlight ?Jewishness? and the disproportionate number of notable, successful scientists and public figures with whom the Zionists self-identify (even if the said individual have no identification with anything remotely ?Jewish? beyond some distant ancestry).
In contrast, to highlight the ?Jewishness? (and Israel-centricity) of notorious swindlers, spies, warmongers, gangsters, drug or arms traffickers is be labeled anti-Semitic. Selective ethnic identity is crucial to maintaining and perpetuating the racist myth of Jewish superiority and the corollary of power and prestige, based on special meritorious qualities.
One of the key components of Zionist-Jewish ideology and Israeli power is precisely the racist myth of the Jewish moral and intellectual superiority ? not the guns, money and backing of Washington and the ZPC?s central location within the US elite social structure.
There are two options for those interested in demystifying Zionist-Jewish hegemony: One could eliminate all ethnic labels or one could insist that labels be applied to all individuals including the most nefarious, grotesque and embarrassing.
Despite cracks in the Zionist monolith and the emergence of public critics within and without the Jewish community,53 especially among young former Jews, who prefer to assimilate with their fellow-citizens (the passive majority), still up to a third of US Jews remain hard-core backers of the ZPC with Israel as their most enduring political loyalty. While not discounting the psychological gratifications, which accompany beliefs in a mythical biblical past, there are real material benefits to joining the Israel First Power Configuration.
While it is true Zionists contribute money and time to promoting the Israeli agenda, there are also powerful material incentives, especially the benefits accruing from exclusive identification and membership in a cohesive configuration, which empowers its members, finances electoral campaigns and is well-connected among political leaders, as well as financial, real estate and insurance moguls.
The spinoffs and payoffs for upwardly mobile Zionist activists can be lucrative and career-enhancing. Ambitious politicians, who measure up and toe the line, are likely to tap into substantial funding and favorable media coverage. Networks, which work for Israel, enhance Jewish-Zionist prestige while providing emotional gratification and vicarious pleasure in sharing the thrill of Israel?s bloody military victories and its forceful expansion of the ?fatherland?.
Not a few careers have advanced through the ?contacts? made at the national and regional Zionist meetings. This is especially the case for many, otherwise mediocre, political candidates facing competitive elections. Active membership in a powerful Zionist organization may protect the careers of lackluster, or even incompetent, performers in some academic or professional settings where the threat of a lawsuit charging anti-Semitism can ensure contract renewal.
Zionist racist ideology, with its implicit and explicit emphasis on Jews as ?special people? ordained by God, as well as the media?s bias toward presenting a selectively positive ethno-religious identity, provides symbolic gratification to lower middle class Jews, who sell Israel bonds, write letters to politicians, heckle critics of the Jewish state and march under the flag of Israel.
They are likely to play a role at the grassroots level in bullying family members, neighbors and colleagues to join the cause or refrain from voicing criticism of Israel. Recently, more than a few Seders have led to family bust-ups over issues like the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, the Goldstone Report and the Ben-ami Kadish spy episode.
The success of the ZPC in projecting power and shaping US policy depends, in large part, on the financial clout of its millionaire financiers, its penetration of the state apparatus and the interlock of the corporate-political directorate. However, equally important is the grassroots work of hundreds of thousands of middle and lower middle class activists.
The effective exercise of power by the Zionist elites is based on the vertical ties between the leaders and followers, especially in mobilizing for Israel?s high priority campaigns promoting dubious causes ? like Israeli repudiation of moderate US policies toward Jewish colonial settler expansion or calls for more restraint from killing civilians in Palestine and elsewhere.
It is highly unlikely that any changes can be induced among the Zionist elite; but there are reasons to believe that some sections of the rank and file can be influenced by anti-Zionist Jews and non-Jews. This is especially true at a time when Israeli political leaders have embraced such openly ultra-rightist postures.
Zionist Hegemony is Vulnerable
Several developments encourage the hope that these vertical links can be weakened. Over the past 5 years, numerous articles, books and videos critical of Israel have broken through Zionist censorship.
Equally important, the emergence of new activist Jewish anti-Zionist organizations and the vast increase in member organizations supporting a boycott and divestment campaign against Israeli products, companies and cultural institutions have broken the ZPC stranglehold on public opinion.54
Faced with growing opposition in civil society the ZPC has escalated its repressive efforts to ban publication of critical authors, fire academics and savage journalists and politicians.55 Simultaneously a concerted effort has been made to encourage its ideological ?attack dogs? in academia suppress any critical discussion of the issues that most discredit the Israeli state, namely the recent Israeli massacres in Gaza, the brutal expansion of settlements in the West Bank, the Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes and Israel?s well-orchestrated push for war against Iran.56
Zionist Intellectuals: In Defense of Terror:
The ZPC has long established a near stranglehold on the major media outlets for opinion and analysis on the Middle East and especially on issues, which Israel?s foreign office has given high priority. As a result Israel First academics and pundits monopolize the editorial and opinion pages of the Washington Post, the Murdoch chain, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and other print outlets.57
The spread of Zionist extremism is evident in two recent feature articles published by Newsweek (December 21, 2009), glorifying the neo-fascist head of the Israeli secret police, Mossad, Meir Dagan for his success in assassinating political adversaries in violation of national boundaries and his close ties with US Treasury official and Zionist zealot Stuart Levey, who is in charge of blackmailing Iran?s trade and investment partners, in order to strangle the Iranian economy and impoverish seventy million of its people.
The Newsweek authors of these articles are rightwing Israel and US Zionists. Notorious Zionist news anchors, like Ted Koppel and Wolf Blitzer, parrot the Israeli-ZPC line in the major media (Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC) as well as secondary outlets (National ?Public? Radio).58 The result is self-styled ?experts? of dubious loyalty to the America, but with strong ties to Israel and Zionist propaganda institutes, grind out opinion pieces which defend the Israeli regime?s most atrocious war crimes and land grabs.59
Numerous professors from the most prestigious universities hack out op-ed pieces defending Israel?s assault on Gaza, fabricating judicial precedents, and citing ?Just War? theory.60 Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, when confronted by near universal support for the Goldstone Report, ordered the ZPC to denigrate Justice Goldstone, the basis and legality of the Report and falsify its contents.
When the extreme militarists, like Netanyahu, passed the word to Israel?s mouthpieces in North America, they unleashed the ZPC?s entire stable of academics, journalists and propagandists. Over one hundred op-ed pieces in the major media savaged the Report, slandered Goldstone and defended Israeli terror attacks, which destroyed the entire human infrastructure of the Gaza.61
No Israeli crime was too great to cause any Harvard, Yale, Princeton or John Hopkins Zionist academic to rethink their bind subordination to the Jewish state. They parroted Netanyahu?s line that the massacre over one thousand civilians and the brutalization of hundreds of thousands was an exercise of ?Israel?s right to self-defense?.
Few of the Jewish and non-Jewish academics, who dared to criticize Israel?s terrorist policy, cited the weakest section of the Goldstone Report ? its amalgamating Israel?s all-out terror bombing of Palestinian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, mosques and farms, with Hamas? futile and ineffective retaliatory rockets falling mostly on empty Israeli fields.
Few if any raised their voices against the domestic propaganda arm of Israeli war crimes ? the Presidents of the 51 Major Jewish American Organizations. Needless to say, with few domestic critics willing to even identify their opponents, the ZPC secured over 90% of the US Congress in favor of Israel?s repudiations of the Goldstone Report, which they had never even read.62
What is striking about the vast majority of Zionist academic apologists of terrorism is their shoddy scholarship, their tendentious and illogical arguments and de-contextualized analogies. Their ?persuasiveness? is based on the fact that their ?line? is reinforced by the mass media and enforced by the ZPC?s political thuggery and character assassination of potential critics. Their repeated presence in the media gives the appearance of legitimacy in defending violations of international law.
Their prestigious positions provide a veneer of expertise or knowledge even as their research in the region is based on flawed premises, including disproven religious legends and colonial mythology.63 As Zionist academics become more deeply involved in justifying the expansionist Zionist claims, Israeli conquests and brutal militarism there is an accompanying marked deterioration of intellectual standards. Over time prestigious positions become linked with mediocrity.
Academic degrees, awards and badges of merit are harnessed to hack writing and political hatchet jobs. Noted critics, who exempt Israeli war crimes and terror, are still published by prestigious publishers, despite their shabby intellectual output. Promotions and academic chairs are secured by eminently distinguished apologists of dubious morality. Their blind support and defense of the practices of a terror state puts the lie to their claims to high ethical and scholarly standards.
The American Zionist academic elite fits Adorno?s authoritarian personality: at the throat of the American polity and at the feet of the Israeli ? ZPC elite.64 Arrogant posturing, angry polemics and emotional ejaculations cover up for their lack of substantive arguments.
Where bullying fails, soothing rhetoric which speaks to values, dialogue and cooperation accompanies a blind eye to the relentless Israeli uprooting of Arab residents from Palestinian/Jerusalem. Princeton academics cite classical political theorists in defense of gun-toting Jewish settlers who brutalize shepherds, threaten school girls and up-root centuries-old Palestinian olive groves.
The Globalization of Zionist Power
From the Israeli fatherland to the nerve centers of Zionist power in the US, using the experiences and drawing on the support of the ZPC, pro-Israel influence has spread to important political institutions in England, Canada, France, Netherlands, Russia and more recently South America.
In England, leaders and deputies from both the Conservative and Labor party accept millions in campaign funds from billionaire Zionists, paid junkets to Israel and other payoffs in exchange for supporting Israel?s most egregious acts of violence in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.65
Zionist front groups like the ?Conservative Friends (flunkeys) of Israel? and ?Labor Friends (flunkeys) of Israel? ensure that the incumbent regimes and the opposition put Israeli trade and militarist interests at the center of British Middle East Policy.66
In Canada under the Conservative Harper regime, Zionists have secured unprecedented influence and diplomatic and material support for Israel?s top priorities.67 These include support for the annexation of most of Palestinian East Jerusalem; repudiation of the Goldstone Report; support for Israeli war crimes during the 2008/09 invasion of Gaza; Israel?s invasion of Lebanon and pending legislations criminalizing criticism of Zionism as ?anti-Semitism? among a host of other pro-Israel acts, decrees and trade privileges.
The opposition Liberal and New Democratic parties compete with the Conservatives in pandering to the pro-Israel power configurations in order to secure campaign financing from millionaire real estate, financial and media moguls. In contrast, major Canadian trade unions and anti-Zionist Jewish campus and community organizations have organized boycotts of Israeli goods and academic organizations serving the bloody occupation.
In France, life-long Zionist zealot, Foreign Minister Bernard ?Bernie? Kouchner, has embraced Netanyahu?s extreme position of ?unconditional negotiations? which allows massive land seizures and the construction of ?Jews-only? apartment complexes on illegally confiscated Palestinian land to continue while endless inconsequential ?peace? negotiations take place.68 This position has been supported by Uber-Zionist Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
In Russia, eight of the top nine billionaire oligarchs have claimed dual Israeli citizenship. They illegally and violently seized hundreds of billions of dollars worth of formerly state-owned mines, factories and banks, and then transferred part of their illicit fortunes to overseas banks in Israel, the US, London and the money-laundering offshore island states and tax-havens.
Zionist power peaked during the debauched Presidency of Yeltsin in the 1990?s, but residual influence is evident in the Putin-Mevedev regime. This is particularly apparent in the US- Russian accords to increase sanctions on Iran, a policy that jeopardizes billions of dollars in Russian investments and trade with Iran. Russia has resolutely refused to pressure Israel over its colonial settlement expansion. In a similar manner, Israel retains a decisive influence over Holland and Germany?s Middle East policy, via the exploitation of the Holocaust Memory, the Ann Frank legacy and the pressure of pro-Israel economic sectors.
The newest example of the ?globalization? of Zionist power and the drive for new Israeli spheres of influence is found in Latin America. Major US Zionist organizations have contributed substantial financial resources to building, advising and orienting their counterparts, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Peru, while engaging in a systematic effort to curry favor with the US by demonizing President Chavez for his forthright defense of Palestinian rights and condemnation of Israel?s crimes against humanity during its blitz of Gaza.69
For these acts of courage the 51 US Jewish organizations branded Chavez an ?anti-Semitic?, even going so far as to accuse him of fomenting an assault on a Jewish community center in Caracas. When the arsonists were arrested, the assault was revealed to have been carried out by center employees hired by the local Jewish notables. 70
Global Zionism has targeted Argentina and Brazil. Argentinean Jews have a history of ambiguous feelings toward the state of Israel and Zionism. Early twentieth century Jews established farming and cattle ranches ? the legendary ?Jewish Gauchos?? while urban artisans and working class Jews were active in socialist, anarchist, communist and left wing Yiddish organizations. The mid-century generation (1940-60) of professionals, businesspeople, academics and bankers divided between leftist anti-Zionists and Zionists.
Both suffered attacks from the pro-fascist sectors of the dominant mass-based populist Peronist regime. The 1960?s to 1970?s saw a profound generational split ? characteristic of all Argentinean society ? especially under the military dictatorships of (1966 ? 1973) and (1976 ? 82). A significant contingent of university-based students and professors, psychologists and professionals of Jewish ancestry joined urban guerrillas and radical mass movements and suffered ?disproportionate? number of deaths by torture and ?disappearances?.
During the worst years of terror, the Israeli government retained relations with the bloodiest of the military regimes (Videla, 1976), overlooking its anti-Semitic proclivities in order to trade in arms and military technologies. At the same time, Israel promoted Jewish immigration to Israel, securing passage of Zionist and non-Zionist Jews to Israel.
The decimation of the generation of young non-Zionist Argentine revolutionaries of Jewish ancestry and the subsequent post-dictatorial neo-liberal electoral regimes, saw the rise of new groups of wealthy Argentine Zionist Jews who grew to dominate local community organizations. They deepened ties with Israel and more recently established extensive links with the US ZPC.
Once again, however, under the pro-Israel Menem regime (1980-90) anti-Semitic terrorists bombed a major Jewish civic center killing and maiming scores of Jews in downtown Buenos Aires. Investigations of police complicity were aborted by the Menem regime. Israel ?overlooked? Menem?s ?negligence? and instead exploited Jewish fear to offer extremely favorable terms for Argentine Jews to immigrate (including paid travel, subsidized housing in the occupied territories ? education, jobs etc.).71
The decline of leftwing activity during the1980?s and 1990?s was accompanied by the de-radicalization of secular Jewish offspring, especially in the professional classes. With de-industrialization, Jews, who had formed the backbone of the previous progressive national bourgeoisie, turned to emigration, finance, real estate and Zionism.72
The severe depression and financial crash of 2001 ? 2002 led to the mass impoverishment of all Argentines (poverty levels hit 50% in December 2001 ? 2002) including otherwise prosperous middle class Jews.73 They joined the popular mass neighborhood assemblies calling for the return of their savings, the end of neo-liberal policies and politicians and the restoration of their jobs.
The subsequent economic recovery and commodity boom (2003 ? 2008) led to a sharp de-radicalization and the ascendance of Jewish Zionist bankers, real estate and media moguls as principle leaders in the Argentine community. Their influential role in business and the center-left Kirchner regime led to a shift toward closer relations with the ZPC ? including increased efforts to include Israel as a member of the regional integration treaty MERCOSUR.74
From the US side, the ZPC ? especially the ADL and AIPAC, through their servile Secretary of State Clinton and US Congressional clients, fabricated an Islamic Iranian terrorist conspiracy in Latin America, especially in the region of the Argentine-Brazilian ? Paraguayan frontier.
On October 27, 2009, Zionist Congressman Elliot Engle, head of the Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs of the Foreign Relations Committee, opened hearings focusing on ?Iran?s expanding influence in Latin America?, calling new trade ties between Iran and Brazil a threat to the region and the security of the US?.75
Faced with the leftist regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador opposed to US and Israeli colonial wars and with Brazil and Argentina?s public opposing Israel?s crimes in Gaza, Israel launched its US and Latin American agents on a propaganda blitz to counter the overwhelming public rejection of Israeli policies.
President Shamir followed a disastrous failed tour by thuggish Zio-fascist Foreign Minister Lieberman, gaining trade and investment concessions in Brazil and Argentina.76 Shamir?s visit benefited especially through the contacts and leverage of local millionaire and billionaire Zionist business leaders.
Nevertheless, Brazil, which has major trade and investment ties especially in gas and oil with Iran, has no intention of pandering to Israel.77 In Argentina, the Zionist connection continues to limit any major openings to the Arab-Iranian investments.
Overall, the Zionist offensive and expanding local power base has resulted in mixed results: a major outflow of supporters in Venezuela and diminished influence in Bolivia and Ecuador. In contrast, Zionists have increased their influence in Brazil and Argentina.
The enormous growth of Israeli power in Europe and the US, and the new Zionist offensive in Latin America is part of the ?globalization? of Zionism. But the process is not linear. An especially hard sell for overseas Zionists are the repeated horrendous massacres by Israeli military forces, the blatant dispossession of Palestinians and the aggressive militarism pushed by the ZPC and Israel in the Middle East and South Asia.
As a result, public hostility is growing world-wide; and there is a profound disconnect between the 80% to 90% Israeli Jews who defend Gaza war crimes and land seizures and the rest of the world.78 This is evidenced by the United Nations General Assembly vote on the Goldstone Report, which was endorsed by an almost ten to one margin.
Moreover, in the case of the leftist regimes in Latin America, there is a significant reversal of Zionist influence. There are equally important cracks in the Zionist monolith among North American Jews and former Zionist fellow travelers. The continued ?failure of the nerve? or ?intellectual treason?79 of the American left academics and their ?Marxist? journals to even discuss the role of the ZPC in making war policy has not stopped a breakthrough of Zionist critics, even in some mass media outlets.
By James Petras
Bended Knees: Zionist Power in The U.S. Economy, Politics, Media, And So On ? (Part II)