Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Israel and the global right

There is a very important article in Counterpunch by Jeff Halper called "'What are You Doing? What Have You Become?': Israel as an Extension of American Empire". You should read the whole thing, but I want to focus on one aspect of it that we don't usually consider. Halper writes:

"One of the tragic developments related to this rightward shift of Israeli politics and social policies - even defining Israel's view of itself in the world - is its emergence as a center for the global right-wing, a constellation of nefarious ideologies, groups and forces that seek nothing less than American-Christian hegemony over the entire world. In a unique and, again, tragic confluence of historical processes, the rise of an aggressive neo-con ideology and militaristic foreign policy, centered in the US but not limited to it, coincides with the emergence of the Israeli rights and an expansionist Israel. 'Coincides' might understate the case: in fact, the rise of a religious right in the West owes much of its impetus to Zionism and Israel, while Israel is able to pursue its Occupation only because of its willingness to serve Western (mainly US) imperial interests including acting as a galvanizing center for global neo-con forces."

Halper considers a lot of details about the Jewish neocons and the Christian Zionists, all well worth reading, but the article gets very interesting when he considers the Israeli leadership role in world-wide, mainstream, right-wing politics. He writes:

"Just as it has benefited from the rise of the Right in the US and elsewhere in Europe, Israel under the Likud (though not exclusively under the Likud) has become a center for mobilizing right-wing ideological and political forces on a global scale. Most visible in this regard is the annual Jerusalem Summit (actually held in the Israeli city of Herzliya), where the neo-con tribe gathers and galvanizes its plans for world domination around their concern for Israel. We are not speaking of marginal 'kooks,' but of top right-wing political leaders from Israel, the US, Europe and other parts of the world, high military officers and leading academics. Its leading lights include: Baroness Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the U.K. House of the Lords and the non-executive director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation (I wonder what Sakharov, who spent his whole life upholding human rights, would think of that!); Sam Brownback, Republican U.S. Senator from Kansas; Prof. Moshe Kaveh, President of Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Daniel Pipes, Board Member, United States Institute of Peace; Director of the Middle East Forum; Initiator of CampusWatch; Dr. Yuri Shtern, Knesset Member, National Union; a leader of the Russian community and a member of the extreme right; [my note: the list seems to be truncated here]

Their worldview and agenda is summed up in what is called the 'Jerusalem Declaration.' It covers a range of issues of concern to the global right: But it also brings Israel into the center of the global right-wing agenda, suffusing it with Israeli claims and terms. Thus, Israel and its exclusive 'right' to the entire Land of Israel is inserted into the very center of the neo-con agenda."


"Although hardly a fan of Christians, Menachem Begin and his Likud colleagues appreciated their ideological similarities and the dovetailing of their political worldviews, especially since a militarily strong Israel able to use its Occupation for expansion was at the common center of their concerns. In order not only to strengthen the right-wing position at home but to influence policy towards Israel deriving from the US-led international community, Israel's right wing has worked diligently to insert itself into the global right alliance."

People always ask why we pick on the Israelis so much, when Israel is such a small insignificant country. The reason is that the Israeli right, preoccupied with its imperialist plans, has made itself a world leader in the mainstream-but-extreme right in order to form the alliances it needs in order to carry out those plans. These nuts have not only destroyed their own country and its once promising socialist and fully democratic future, but are having a greatly disproportionate malign influence on the whole world. The American neocons are just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that the Christian Zionists support Israel isn't an accident; they were actively courted by the Israeli right. The fact that the neocons are all Jews isn't an accident; they are the agents of Israel working in the United States to follow a specific right-wing Israeli plan (specific enough to include the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and, eventually, Egypt). You might even call it a conspiracy. What is even worse is that this Israeli imperialist ideology has been marketed by the Israeli right in a vile package of policies. It is not an accident that neocon American/Israeli imperialism is coupled with neocon every-man-for-himself economic policies. The packaged product marketed to the world-wide right ties support for Likudnik imperialist policies to support for American hegemony (for the American imperialists and their stooges like Britain), support for Ledeenesque total-war polices (for the international arms trade, in which the Israeli right is a big player), and support for rapacious capitalism (which all right-wingers like, but which is particularly appealing to Bush's Christian Zionist 'base'). The American Republican Party starts to look like the tail of the Likud dog. The Americans and their allies have bought the whole package. How much better would the world be if the Likud didn't have this disproportionate influence?