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''Pogroms in America''

by Marc Sirois Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2003 at 2:15 AM

The oddest thing about the "Jewish lobby" is that while its ability to intimidate both the U.S. government and the American media stems from a well-deserved reputation for highly effective grassroots organizing, it does so without having a genuine constituency.



''Pogroms in America''

Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 @ 00:05:42 CDT

Topic: Marc Sirois

By Marc Sirois

YellowTimes.org Columnist (Lebanon)

(YellowTimes.org) -- The year is 2014. Officially "for their own protection," millions of Jewish Americans have been rounded up and moved to a part of Oklahoma set aside as a "Jewish Autonomous Zone." The Jews who live there are under no illusions that they have been accorded sanctuary and rightly view the enclave as a giant ghetto into which they have been exiled by a government that suddenly turned on them. Everywhere in the JAZ, the question is the same: "Why do they hate us?"

Laugh at this nightmarish scenario if you wish; dismiss it as the hyperbole of a deranged "anti-Semite" if you want. Just don't ever say you weren't warned.

America's relationship with Israel is a dysfunctional one that has badly undermined the long-term interests of both countries. The two governments have conspired to postpone the resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute and to ensure that any agreement is so lopsided as to guarantee future conflict. In the process, they have convinced tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims that the only way to achieve redress is by force.

Since a conventional confrontation with Israel and/or the United States would be foolhardy at best, the result is terrorism -- and as 9/11 demonstrated, modern terrorism has the capacity for tremendous destruction and loss of life. The combination of miniaturization and the widespread information technologies it has spawned now allows non-state actors to inflict massive damage on even the most powerful countries.

Much of the credit for this mounting threat must go to organizations known collectively in the United States as "the Jewish lobby" or "the Israel lobby." Ranking with representatives of the tobacco industry and gun owners and manufacturers in terms of influence on Capitol Hill, these groups wield their power with little or no regard for what is good for either America or Israel. Instead, their agenda is compiled by far-right parties in the Jewish state whose goal is continual friction with neighboring Arab countries aimed at provoking wars to justify additional territorial expansion.

The oddest thing about the "Jewish lobby" is that while its ability to intimidate both the U.S. government and the American media stems from a well-deserved reputation for highly effective grassroots organizing, it does so without having a genuine constituency. Like most minorities, American Jewry is a very liberal community. Poll and after poll shows that American Jews tend overwhelmingly to support left-of-center causes and policies with activism, money and votes.

Except when it comes to Israel. On this score, America's Jewish community seems on the surface to abandon its ideals in order to buttress the most extremist programs that Israeli militarists can concoct. But is it fair to level such a charge at American Jews? Might there be another explanation for what looks like their tendency consistently to support abroad what they have always abhorred at home?

One could certainly understand some degree of "slippage" between what American Jews support in their own backyard and what they have helped realize in the Middle East.

The power of kinship, for example, might be enough to make many people countenance actions by the Israeli government that they would never tolerate from Washington.

Guilt is another possibility. While always expressing gratitude for the financial largesse of American Jewry, Israeli officials never tire of noting that it is Jews who emigrate to Israel who get their hands dirty.

Then there is pragmatism. Perhaps many American Jews expect less from the Israeli government because it lives in a rough neighborhood and so cannot afford niceties like freedom of worship, a bill of rights and the rule of law.

These and myriad other factors have to have an impact, but is that all there is to it? Are such considerations really enough to cause wholesale shifts among a community whose mores and traditions have survived such primordial threats as discrimination, dispersion and genocide for 5,000 years?

Or are they being lied to by a cabal of fanatics who act in their name but not in either their own interests or those of the Jewish state they so understandably seek to protect?

Many reasons are commonly advanced to explain Washington's slavish backing for Israel and the American electorate's habit of supporting that pronounced tilt, but none of them can withstand the slightest scrutiny.

Memories of the Holocaust, for example, still spur sympathy and guilt, and rightfully so. Millions of European Jews died in the 1930s and 40s because the U.S. government, like those of other Western countries, sat on its hands. Had Adolf Hitler not been foolish enough to invade the Soviet Union when he did, he might have succeeded even more abundantly in his fiendish plans to exterminate European Jewry. But how can acquiescing in (and extending financing for) the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians and other Arabs possibly make up for idleness when Hitler was slaughtering Jews?

Another factor in U.S. support is the perception that Israel is a democratic underdog surrounded by mighty Arab dictatorships. This is almost too ludicrous to merit mention, but the ubiquity of such opinions demands refutation. It takes more than window dressing to make a democracy. Israelis are allowed to vote, but their electoral system is designed to produce fragmented governments beholden to fringe parties. Discrimination against Arab citizens has been institutionalized for decades, and the services delivered to them pale beside those provided to their Jewish compatriots. Finally, how a nuclear-armed regional superpower with more F-15s than commercial aircraft can be threatened by inept Third World armies is a mystery.

Another popular notion is that "what's good for Israel is good for America." Even if the alliance were a traditional one, such an assertion would be on very shaky ground. Most relationships between great powers and their satellites are a variation on a simple pattern: The senior partner helps guarantee the junior partner's security by reducing and countering foreign threats, while the latter works to secure the former's local interests by co-coordinating policy and practice. America has more than fulfilled its end of this bargain, but successive Israeli governments have repeatedly acted in a manner that directly blocks U.S. goals.

The "trump card" often played by Israel's supporters in the United States is that the Jewish state constitutes a strategic asset for Washington, a regional proxy that can act to put down threats to U.S. interests or provide a staging ground from which America can project power. History is replete with evidence, however, that this perception is completely illusory. Israel could do nothing, for example, when the odious shah of Iran, the other book-end of U.S. Cold War policy in the Middle East, was toppled. Political reality made its bases off-limits for the first Gulf War and again for the recent invasion of Iraq. In addition, U.S. support for a variety of Israeli actions designed to forestall peace have alienated 250 million Arabs. The first time this was driven home to Americans was in 1973, when Arab oil producers punished unconditional U.S. support for Israel with an embargo that plunged the West into recession for most of the next decade. The second shock came on 9/11. More can be expected to follow. Precisely what kind of strategy is it whose only "accomplishment" has been to enrage an entire civilization by lavishing favor on a troublesome and ungrateful ally?

Are the American people at large too stupid to see the heartache with which they are unnecessarily threatened?

Or are they being lied to as well?

The answer lies in the fact that since 9/11, the U.S. government, egged on by the "Jewish lobby," has moved to intensify those activities that cause the radicalism that leads people to do things like crashing planes into buildings. The repercussions are as predictable as they will be tragic. And eventually, those driven to madness by U.S. policy will acquire the means truly to devastate their tormentor by wiping out thousands of innocent people.

What will happen when al-Qaeda or some other diabolical group gets its hands on a biological or nuclear weapon and kills millions of Americans? It might take one such calamity or 10, but when large numbers of Americans eventually realize the real reason why they are hated and why so many of their compatriots are dead, it will not take them long to find and punish a scapegoat. That scapegoat will be the community most closely associated with the lobby that warped U.S. policy until it sparked a fully-fledged clash of civilizations.

Yes, there will be pogroms in America. What is more, they will probably be led by a key supporter of Israeli maximalism: the Christian right. Today, Pat Robertson claims that "the president of the United States is imperiling the nation of Israel" and "going against the clear mandate of the Bible" by "pressuring" Israel to show goodwill in the peace process. What will he and his ilk say when they conclude that Armageddon has broken out? They will no doubt declare that the Day of Reckoning has arrived and that the way forward is laid out by scripture: convert those Jews who accept Christianity and put the rest to the sword.

No sane person wants anything like this to take place. There is a way to avoid this evil scenario, but not unless the real leaders of American Jewry rise up against the warmongering usurpers and demand to have a say in how their country conducts its relationship with Israel.

[Marc Sirois is a Canadian journalist who lives in Beirut, Lebanon, where he serves as managing editor of The Daily Star. The proud and fanatically protective father of three beautiful princesses, his opinionated writing style owes to the fact that he is never wrong along with his holding monopolies on wisdom, logic, morality, and justice. He is also exceedingly modest.]

Marc Sirois encourages your comments: msirois@YellowTimes.org

YellowTimes.org is an international news and opinion publication. YellowTimes.org encourages its material to be reproduced, reprinted, or broadcast provided that any such reproduction identifies the original source, http://www.YellowTimes.org. Internet web links to http://www.YellowTimes.org are appreciated.

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