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View Diary: Egypt Liveblog: Sub-Diary #23 (378 comments)

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  •  Yes, I don't mean to dismiss the ruling class (4+ / 0-)

    dimension of this. And the Israel lobby/lobbies I'm talking about are a US phenomenon, they aren't an actual organization run by actual Israelis, or at least not under the direction of the Israeli people.

    proud to be a pro-democracy kossack

    by bicycle Hussein paladin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 03:00:02 PM PST

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    •  I don't mean (6+ / 0-)

      to harp on this point.  It's just a number of people (on this blog and elsewhere) have concluded that Israel or AIPAC actually dictates US policy, and in addition to being ahistorical, it does ignore the incredible misery that US and official Israeli policy has wrought on the working people in Israel as well.

      Colonial cats paws serve the interests of their masters, not the reverse.  The tail does not wag the dog.  To mix animal metaphors : )

      "never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce"

      by KibbutzAmiad on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 03:03:45 PM PST

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      •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, lysias, poco, Aunt Martha

        Well yes, the Israel lobby, by which I mean AIPAC, CPMAJO, the ADL, among other organizations and sympathetic elites such as Haim Saban and Mortimer Zuckerman, is mostly not Israeli at all, in fact (AIPAC, of course, is directly tied to Israel). On the other hand, I'm not sure it's fair to characterize, say, Netanyahu as merely a puppet of US (but not Israeli) ruling class interests, or to characterize the support in the US for the settler movement as completely manufactured by Raytheon, Boeing, and friends. Where I think the term "Israel lobby" is useful is to explain the hypocrisy of liberals who explicitly support or are conspicuously silent on Israeli militarism and human rights abuses--there are a lot of liberals who are complicit in this, partly because of their own cultural baggage which makes them blind to Arab grievances--that baggage being that they were raised with a certain degree of anti-Arab prejudice--and partly because anti-Semitism carries much worse stigma in the US than Arabophobia, and so they sacrifice fairness to avoid being slandered as anti-Semites. It may still be true that the ultimate interests served are ruling class/MIC ones, but that is a somewhat different matter from how those interests operate.

        (KibbutzA: I guess I'm writing this as much for anyone else who wants a more thorough explanation of the term as I am for you--I doubt much of what I'm saying is really news to you. :) )

        proud to be a pro-democracy kossack

        by bicycle Hussein paladin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 03:25:31 PM PST

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        •  You mean PEP (3+ / 0-)

          Progressive except for Palestine

        •  I prefer the term "stakeholder" (2+ / 0-)

          If one says that the Israel lobby controls US policy, he is accused of being an anti-Semite, because "control" sounds too Elders of Zion-ish.  I prefer to say that the lobby has become a stakeholder in both the Democratic Party and GOP.  Our 2-party system is terribly vulnerable to such a stratety.  Consider all the lobbies too powerful for public opinion to beat: the war profiteers, the insurance companies, the investment bankers.  They all bought a stake in the leadership of both parties.  Israel did it on the cheap by guilt-tripping otherwise liberal Democratic Jews and cynically allying with Christian extremists in the GOP (who seem to admire Israel's growing apartheid bent and aspire to it as a model for dealing with America's Negro Problem).

          Just stop to think about all the other stakeholders in both our political parties, and how immune they are from normal partisan bickering, and how much harm they've done to our society, and you certainly won't be an anti-Semite anymore- you'll be a raving Bolshevik.

          •  I had a discussion with a friend of mine.. (2+ / 0-)

            I'm Jewish, and a liberal Zionist in the 'I support Israel's existence but not its policies' frame (this is a real stance, to people who may not accept that)

            My friend--a fellow research student--is very, staunchly pro-Palestinian.  She's from Greece, and like me was studying in London (I'm back in the U.S. now).  We had this whole discussion about US foreign policy, and she brought up the whole 'well, Jews really control your government' meme.  To which, as you would expect, I criticized her, and attempted to draw the distinction between an overly influential right wing/pro-Israel lobby and the generally left wing, fairly reformed, majority of the Jewish population in the U.S.

            It was lost on her...and I'm not surprised--because these distinctions really are lost in a lot of the discourse about Judaism, Israel, and the I/P conflict in Europe.

            Your framing of these groups as 'stakeholders' is, I think, a better way of depicting the situation....lobbyists and interest groups of all sorts have influence.  But no particular ethnic groups 'owns' or 'controls' the government.

            •  The really tricky, important thing is to explain (0+ / 0-)

              (or even to thoroughly understand) both the differences between the organizational mouthpieces of the Israel lobby (AIPAC, CPMAJO, the ADL) and the larger Jewish-American community, and their connections to each other. There are some very big differences between these two, for example in support for the invasion of Iraq. On the other hand, CPMAJO, whose leaders at the time editorialized for the Iraq invasion, and which now seems to be mainly devoted to neocon foreign policy such as fearmongering about Iran (most of their press releases in 2009 were about Iran's nuclear program), still claims the membership of what looks like a very comprehensive list of American Jewish community/cultural organizations. (Why haven't more of them withdrawn their support of CPMAJO?) So it seems to me it would be wrong to claim a complete division between Israel lobby and American Jewish opinion on foreign policy issues, just as it would be wrong to call them identical. A more precise and succinct formulation of the connection between these things would go a long way towards taking the heat and confusion out of these discussions.

              A lot of what I hear about the state of discussion in Europe is upsetting though, I'm sadly not all that surprised to hear that a European actually believes that Jews control much of the US gov't.

              proud to be a pro-democracy kossack

              by bicycle Hussein paladin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 05:21:53 PM PST

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              •  no...that's true...they're certainly not (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bicycle Hussein paladin

                fully dissociated.

                For example, there are a lot of conservative (even reform) Jews who tend to vote democratic but retain a lot of the anti-Muslim sentiment typically characteristic of the American Right (or Likud, for that matter).  I know several.

                Ultimately, most people don't understand the inherent complexities of other ethnic groups (or even their own, for that matter)....so you have these monolithic groupings that mask really important distinctions...

          •  That's a good formulation. (0+ / 0-)

            The Israel lobby is a major stakeholder in US foreign policy towards the Middle East. I completely agree about the "controls" language, it sounds way too Elders-ish. I don't think people should avoid the term "Israel lobby" for that reason, doing so shuts down a much-needed discussion about American politics and culture.

            proud to be a pro-democracy kossack

            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 05:10:15 PM PST

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      •  i'm not sure it's an either-or distinction (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, conchita

        both countries have tails wagging dogs, and their interests seem shared with their counterparts abroad, rather than either one's actual national interest.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 03:43:14 PM PST

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      •  What is in it for the US ruling class? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cliss

        Frankly, I never understood the payoff for the US.  To be blunt, what do we gain from backing Israel?  Where is the payoff?  The Arabs have the oil, and that is what we want most of all.

        Liberal, Democrat, Atheist, Socialist, Communist, and Fascist. I'm the whole package.

        by docterry on Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 04:12:59 PM PST

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        •  The Neocons (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bicycle Hussein paladin

          One of the greatest "achievements" of the neocons was to reverse the traditional position of Big Oil from hostility to Israel and a desire to be friendly to the existing Arab governments, to an exasperation with the Arabs and a willingness to support US-Israel efforts to put them under the control of Quisling dictators.

          The key here was probably the role of Saudi Arabia.  In the late '70s several right-wing pariah states had efforts underway to buy support in Washington.  The Saudi effort went to groups lobbying to help the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the USSR.  Israel and South Africa, supposedly, were part of another lobbying group along with some Latin American dictators. Reagan's ascension gave both these evil organizations entree, in effect putting all the most odious anti-Communists in bed with Israel and Reagan.  In the early '70s the neonconservatives were not Jewish, but it seemed to change with the rise of Reagan, and that also put Jews in bed with Reagan's Southern Christian base.

          Of course, Big Oil worshipped Reagan, so now look at all the bullies in bed.  It's just my theory, but I think with all the right-wing think tanks these bastards funded, they all started indoctrinating each other with their lies, which merged into the one big lie we now call right-wing ideology.  The idea that ordinary Arabs were lazy thieves who had to be kept under the control of pro-US despots served the interests of Saudi, Israel and Big Oil.  But I've heard that 10 years ago Big Oil still wanted Israel to stop creating problems for it in the Middle East.  However, Cheney, who had no history of Zionism but was reliant on the young Zionist neocons in his own AEI/PNAC propaganda empire, also made himself a force in oil at Halliburton.  PNAC pushed the idea that the US must dominate the world forever, via not cooperation with Arab allies, but outright conquest of Iraq and Iran to control world oil supplies.  That seems to be the turning point, since clearly such a scheme would require Israel as a Crusader fortress.

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