imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Left's Israeli Lobby Denial

by Stephen Sniegoski Thursday, Jun. 22, 2006 at 9:35 AM

Unlike the lies and omissions of the mainstream, the Left is good on telling the truth about the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. But its unwillingness to accept the Israel lobby's role in shaping American Middle East policy helps to maintain that very policy

Israel-lobby denial: The bankruptcy of the mainstream Left

as illustrated by Stephen Zunes,– or, – On the issue of the Israel lobby

the Left is no more courageous than anyone else

By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI

The antiwar Left would prefer that old-style American imperialism and the quest for oil had caused the Iraq War. They are the preferred enemies of the Left. They are the traditional villains. And they are safe villains. Mentioning Israel as a culprit would cause problems: it would lose support for the Left among activist Jews, and it would lead to hostility from the Israel lobby and mainstream Jewish groups.

By way of contrast, no one ever got in trouble berating oil magnates or Arab sheiks — witness Michael Moore's blockbuster 2004 documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," which focuses on those alleged villains while ignoring the neocon/Israel connection to the war. [1] Also important is the fact that Jews, categorically, are considered to be victims; and it is hard for the Left to criticize an officially recognized victimized group. In terms of left-wing psychology the ideal is to strike a radical, nonconformist pose without really alienating the powerful, thus avoiding any negative consequences as well as the cognitive dissonance that results from chiding designated victims. The process can go so far as to turn a man into an unintentional apologist for Israel. Such is the case with Stephen Zunes, a prominent leftist historian of the Middle East, whom the leftist Israel-critic Jeffrey Blankfort describes as a Noam Chomsky acolyte. [2]

Zunes teaches at the University of San Francisco and, as his biography at the USF Website indicates, serves as a writer and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project, and as an associate editor for Peace Review. [3] Zunes has given numerous lectures and conference papers in the United States and abroad, and has published numerous articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers on such topics as U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern political developments, African politics, social movements, and nonviolent action. His books include Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell, 1999) and, with Richard Falk, Tinderbox: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage, 2003). Zunes has served as a political analyst for National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, the BBC, and MSNBC. He has also been a board member and consultant for a number of peace and human-rights organizations. As is apparent from this brief description, Zunes is a prominent intellectual activist of the antiwar Left. And his views reflect the characteristic attitude of that broad group.

Writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, Zunes recently offered an analysis [4] of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's "Israel Lobby" essay [5] that was similar in some ways to the negative views of leftist luminaries Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein [6] but reflected a more hostile tone not just toward Mearsheimer and Walt but toward anyone who would dare claim that the Israel lobby has had an impact on American foreign policy.



To encapsulate Zunes's position: Instead of influencing American policy, Israel is but the passive instrument of American policymakers. Washington has forced Israel to pursue a belligerent policy to enhance American hegemony in the Middle East for the benefit of corporate capitalists, especially arms merchants. Free of American control, Israel would pursue a peaceful policy toward the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states. Therefore, Israel is the victim of the United States.

Moreover, Zunes maintains, those who claim a significant role for Israel and the Israel lobby in determining U.S. foreign policy tend toward anti-Semitism. Thus does the left-wing critic of American policy morph into an apologist for Israel. Like Alan Dershowitz — in some respects worse than Dershowitz — Zunes makes use of misleading half-truths while simultaneously ignoring the unmistakable evidence substantiating the power of the Israel lobby in influencing U.S. policy.

Zunes begins his essay with a blanket attack on the integrity of Mearsheimer and Walt. While Chomsky at least praised the courage of the two scholars, Zunes sees a devious intent behind their work. "What progressive supporters of Mearsheimer and Walt's analysis seem to ignore," Zunes asserts, "is that both men have a vested interest in absolving from responsibility the foreign policy establishment that they have served so loyally all these years. Israel and its supporters are essentially being used as convenient scapegoats for America's disastrous policies in the Middle East." [7]

The presumption here is that anyone who does not identify with the Left somehow serves the foreign-policy establishment, in the manner of an employee or "lackey of American imperialism" as the Communist press used to put it. But the fact is that the two authors opposed the war on Iraq from the outset. They were among 33 academicians who took out an ad in the September 26, 2002, New York Times titled "War with Iraq Is Not in America's National Interest." That would be an odd way of serving the establishment, if said establishment actually directed the American war on Iraq, as Zunes categorically asserts. So let's just put this down as a gratuitous smear at best, not unlike what members of the Israel lobby hurled at Mearsheimer and Walt, along with anyone else who had the temerity to point out the lobby's power.

The idea that the Israel lobby was simply a scapegoat implies its innocence. But nowhere does Zunes try to show that its members, especially the neocons, were not pushing for war on Iraq or Iran. Instead, Zunes's defense is that the Israel lobby does not have the power to have its plans implemented or that it is merely a pawn of the United States.

He argues further that, because its members were divided on the issue, it cannot be said that the Israel lobby per se supported the war on Iraq. Zunes writes that

while Mearsheimer and Walt do not claim that the Israel lobby is monolithic or centrally directed, they fail to emphasize how not all pro-Israel groups support the policies of the Israeli government, particularly its right-wing administrations. Groups like Americans for Peace Now, the Tikkun Community, Brit Tzedek v' Shalom, and the Israel Policy Forum all identify themselves as pro-Israel but oppose the occupation, the settlements, the separation wall, and Washington's unconditional support for Israeli policies.

But that argument ignores relative power. There is no Zionist peace group that counteracts the power of AIPAC. Similarly, there is no Zionist peace group that counters the neocons in terms of think tanks and media power.



Even more remarkably, Zunes denies the neocon role in the war. He charges that

perhaps the most twisted argument in [Mearsheimer and Walt's] article is the authors' claim that the 2003 invasion of Iraq "was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure." This is ludicrous on several grounds. First of all, Israel is far less secure as a result of the rise of Islamist extremism, terrorist groups, and Iranian influence in post-invasion Iraq than it was during the final years of Saddam Hussein's rule, when Iraq was no longer a strategic threat to Israel or actively involved in anti-Israeli terrorism.

One may observe that this is perhaps the most twisted of Zunes's arguments (and there are many competitors). Even if his assumption were true that the war made Israel less secure (and that is highly questionable), it would have no bearing on the obvious fact that the Israeli government did actively urge the attack on Iraq; the Israelis did not merely go along with U.S. policy. Israel provided the bogus WMD intelligence to help garner the public and political support necessary to bring the war about. So in this case, as in many others, Zunes ignores not only facts but logic as well to infer that if Israel's security was not enhanced by the war, then Israel could not possibly have promoted such a policy in the first place. Such illogic would lead one to argue that Napoleon couldn't possibly have ordered the invasion of Russia, since it turned out to be a fiasco.

As suggested above, it is anything but apparent that the war has harmed the security of Israel. As a result of the war on terror, the United States is now militantly opposed to the enemies of Israel, including the Palestinians. Israel has now taken a free hand in dealing with the Palestinians. As a result of American pressure, Syria removed its military from Lebanon. Now the United States and Europe are pressuring Iran with respect to its nuclear policy — in essence we see a de facto international effort to guarantee Israel's nuclear monopoly in the Middle East, in view of the fact that there is no call for Israel to give up its potent nuclear arsenal.

Zunes also omits the fact that the neocons were the driving force for war and that their war agenda was closely linked to that of Israel. For some years before 2001, the neocons had been pushing for war on Iraq, a war that was intended as the first step in restructuring the entire Middle East — what they have referred to as World War IV. It was right in line with Israeli Likudnik thinking. Leading neocons — Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser — provided a similar plan to destabilize the Middle East to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996. The fundamental purpose of the plan, titled "A Clean Break," was to enhance Israeli security. And the idea originated not in some irrelevant whim of the neocons but actually in Israel, with a comparable plan being put forth in an article in 1982 by Oded Yinon. (Israel Shahak's translation of Yinon's work appeared under the title The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.)

As a result of neocon efforts, significant aspects of this destabilization plan, developed to enhance Israeli security, became the policy of the United States in the Bush II administration. If I may underline my point: the United States adopted a policy that originated in Israel and that the pro-Israel neocons promoted; there is no evidence that "corporate America" forced Israel or its supporters to develop those policies.

While not ignoring the neocons' actual plans, Zunes downplays their connection to Israel. Zunes writes that "although the neoconservatives who championed the invasion of Iraq were supporters of Israel's rightist governments, they had for many years also been supporters of rightist governments in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere out of a belief that such alliances strengthened American hegemony." To say that the neocons are no more linked to Israel than they were to South Vietnam or Guatemala is simply absurd. Obviously, the neocons' ties and loyalties have been far stronger to Israel than to any other country. On this point I recommend to your attention my article "The second wave against Mearsheimer and Walt: A well-tempered smother-out as a new war looms" (The Last Ditch, May 25, 2006), especially my discussion of some leading neocons and their Israeli ties. As I write in that essay: "Neocons have been involved in institutions that promote the interests of Jews and Israel — especially Commentary magazine, which is funded by the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs."

Continued:

http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_lobby_left.htm

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy