Monday, July 10, 2006

More uncovered history of the Israel Lobby

Harry Clark analyzes the very early history of the Israel Lobby, going back to its roots in the Truman Administration, with lots of details on how it operated, and continues to operate (see also Jeffrey Blankfort’s latest outstanding summary of the Lobby arguments, published at the necessary website Ziopedia.org).  He is particularly good at the end (he refers to Michael Cohen and Cohen’s book, Truman and Israel, a book well-known for emphasizing some anti-Semitic remarks by Truman; my emphasis in red):

“Cohen attributes Truman's susceptibility to Zionist influence to a ‘unique set of circumstances that converged to determine the fate of Palestine,’ including Jewish friends, White House advisors, key Jewish Democratic Party fundraisers, and Zionist military prowess, which ‘should not be expected ever to repeat themselves.’ The circumstances were not at all unique, but have been practically a recipe for quasi-sovereign Jewish influence on foreign policy in Democratic administrations. By institutionalization throughout the political culture, this influence extends to Republican administrations as well; Eisenhower was an exception. Such influence is not sinister or conspiratorial, but the overt working of US-style capitalist democracy, albeit on behalf of racism, war and genocide, and with a paralyzing effect, in this case, on the liberal circles which usually oppose such matters.

The chauvinism of US organized Jewry is a distinctive feature of US society and history, comparable in importance to classic US singularities like slavery, and the absence of a socialist left, and their crippling legacies. Jewish influence in the Democratic Party, and its impact on foreign policy, notably on the inability of Democrats to mount a critique of the Iraq war and Middle East policy, is comparable to the influence of the Dixiecrats, the segregationist Southern Democrats, on civil rights, labor law and other issues. The moral antipode to organized Jewish power is not an orthodoxy which misattributes Jewish influence to ‘strategic interest,’ but anti-Zionism. Left internationalism, in which Jews were prominent, and classical Reform Judaism, once the dominant Jewish creed, emphatically rejected Zionism as a reactionary ideology, rejected modern Jewish nationality, and affirmed the Jewish place as a minority in liberal or revolutionary society. Anti-Zionism need not mean, immediately, a secular democratic state in Palestine, but the moral and intellectual framework which rejects Zionist claims on Jewish identity and gentile conscience, and asserts liberal and revolutionary values against radical nationalism.

It is curious that Clark’s quick analysis is much more in line with classic progressive thinking than even the great Chomsky was able to muster.  What makes Chomsky so dumb on this one issue?  Is his tribe so important to him that he has lost his mind?  The reason it is so easy to make the Chomsky mistake is that ‘strategic interest’ and current Zionism are both extreme manifestations of late capitalism.  In fact, Zionism, with its ties to ultra-nationalism, racism (conclusively proven with the latest attacks on the civilians of Gaza), and worldwide extreme right-wing politics (for which Israel is a leading organizer), is the highest – or, if you like, lowest – stage of late capitalism.   That’s why Chomsky’s failure to acknowledge the reality of Lobby power is so damaging to his entire life’s work.  Chomsky reveals himself to be just another agent of capitalism. 

It is not an accident that the Likudniks are extreme right-wingers.  People of Chomsky’s generation seem to have missed the radical change which has occurred in Israel in the last few years.  In fact, many people saw the Kibbutzim movement as one of the best hopes for social anarchy in action.  That hope is dead, and Israel’s turning right is the logical conclusion to a society based on expressly racist grounds, rising out of its reliance on ideas from 19th century ethnic nationalism.  Why Israel can make this work, when all the successful countries in the world have turned away from this model, is a mystery.

Is it just a coincidence that every single progressive person in the world who isn’t Jewish vehemently opposes the violent racism of the state of Israel?  Or are we to accept the Zionist explanation that every progressive person in the world is an anti-Semite?

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