Thursday, May 18, 2006

Zionism lite

Why are otherwise respected American commentators prepared to risk their entire academic reputations in denying the Israel Lobby thesis?  Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Zunes have all weighed in, denying the thesis to varying extents.  In the case of Chomsky, his denial is a kind of revisionism that completely obviates his life’s work as a political writer.  Finkelstein tries to be a little more sophisticated by insisting that the Lobby’s influence only applies to the Occupied Territories, an idea which makes no sense – why would American geopolitical ‘realists’ support the Likudnik’s position on the one issue which provides the United States with absolutely no benefit but which creates most of the enmity towards the United States around the world? – and the alleged value of Israel to the United States – an idea that made some sense twenty or thirty years ago during the Cold War, which is why these guys all use old examples to make their case - is decimated by Michael Neumann.  Zunes can be good when he wants to be, so his inability to be cogent on the issue of Israel is very suspect.  Watching these guys is like watching a group of astronomers in a debate about whether the moon exists or not.  The Lobby thesis is so blindingly obvious that we have to look for a motive for denying it.

I believe what we’re seeing is Zionism lite.  While they quibble about the methods being used in ethnic cleansing the Palestinians and stealing their lands, the lite Zionists are terrified that the American people might finally come to a realization of what is going on, and force American politicians to stop American support for Israel.  These guys all support the idea of Israel (possibly within the 1967 borders), and realize that Israel doesn't exist without massive American support, both monetary and diplomatic.  If that support ends, Israel is finished in a very short time.  It won’t require military means;  Israel will just collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.  It is therefore necessary to risk their academic reputations, and deny the undeniable, in order to save Israel.

Unfortunately, what they fail to note is that it is a zero-sum game, and is a zero-sum game due entirely to the actions of the Israelis.  The Israelis are putting in place policies which are intended to result in the eventual destruction of the Palestinian people.  Denying the Lobby thesis allows this to happen.  It is the modern equivalent of Holocaust revisionism, but is even worse as, unlike revisionists who talk about the past, it is prospective, and allows the new Holocaust to occur.