Sunday, September 23, 2007

The big problem: Lite Zionism

From a short and surprisingly boring interview with Norman Finkelstein by George McLeod (emphasis in red):

McLeod: What do you think about the recently-released book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt?

 Finkelstein: Parts of it I agree with, parts of it I don’t.

 For example, I don’t think there’s any evidence that the is lobby was a crucial factor in the decision for the US to go to war in Iraq and I don’t think that there is evidence that US policy in the Middle East in general is shaped by the lobby.

 However, I do think that the lobby is a crucial factor in determining US policy towards the Palestinians.

 I don’t think it determined US policy in Iran, in Turkey or in Iraq. But on the Israel-Palestine conflict – the building of settlements and the colonisation of Palestine, I think it is a crucial factor.”

The line in red is simply outrageous.  Why does a guy like Finkelstein, prepared to put his neck on the line for the truth, balk at the most obvious truths about the very peculiar relationship of the United States to Israel?  Finkelstein, for all the sense he makes, is still a lite Zionist (that’s why he can be interviewed in that hotbed of lite Zionism, ZNet).   

In the bigger scheme of things, the Palestinians are irrelevant to Greater Israel.  They have to be ethnically cleansed, but that is just the first step of many.  The lite Zionists are, fundamentally, Zionists, i. e., advocates of an Israeli Empire.  They disagree on tactics and timing, not Zionist imperialism.  Blaming the Americans for what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is pure Noamism, simultaneously laying responsibility at the feet of the American Establishment while hiding the real threat to Zionism, the upsetting of the Lobby’s stranglehold over American politics.  Honest people who really want to solve the problems of the Middle East have to start by dealing with the most important problem, the Lobby.  Ending Lobby influence solves at least 90 per cent of the problem.  If the Lobby is outed, there will be no more wars for Israel, which will constitute the end of the Zionist dream.  It is thus vitally important for Zionists, and lite Zionists, to hide the truth, no matter how silly they look in doing so.  Finkelstein is very useful to the Zionists, as his public fight with them has given him the credibility that crazies like Foxman, Dershowitz, and Pipes don’t have.  You have to wonder what happened behind the scenes at DePaul, where Finkelstein, talking of hunger strikes and revolt, suddenly caved, and allowed DePaul to issue a self-serving press release.  Was the whole DePaul mess just a Lobby stunt?