James Petras is Bartle professor (emeritus) of sociology at the State University of New York, Binghamton. I.e., no slouch. He is a noted academic figure on the US Left, a well-respected expert on Latin America, and a longtime chronicler of that region's popular struggles. He is also an adviser to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina.

Along the way, Dr. Petras managed to find time to write several hundred articles and 62 books published in 29 languages, including his latest book, in which he explains the complexities of another vital world region. He has extensive knowledge of the Middle East, and has written frequently about the state of Israel and its relations with its Palestinian neighbors and, perhaps most important, with the United States.

THE POWER OF ISRAEL IN THE U.S.:
A REVIEW OF THE NEW BOOK BY JAMES PETRAS

BY: STEPHEN LENDMAN, a journalist based in the American Midwest. SOURCE: Published on 10-27-06 by CounterCurrents.org.

URL: http://countercurrents.org/us-lendman271006.htm

Dr. Petras's remarkably insightful new book is titled The Power Of Israel In The United States. It is an epic work of magisterial writing and essential reading that documents the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser on the Lobby's pressure to conform US policy with Israel's long-term goals for regional hegemony. It demonstrates that the Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of American government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant fundamentalist Christian Zionists), and of course the mass media.

Dr. Petras shows how the combined forces which constitute the Jewish Lobby have assured the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda for decades--even when that agenda harms American interests, such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future war against Iran, and the appallingly brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people. In spite of the fact that these policy choices often serve no US interest whatsoever, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally because it tolerates no serious American opposition to its agenda.

Dr. Petras' new book is divided into four parts. This review will cover each part in detail, and what is discussed below will probably surprise any reader who is unfamiliar with its thoroughly-documented and compellingly-presented account of the Lobby's activities.

Dr. Petras sets the table in his lucid introduction for what is to come in the later chapters. He opens by noting what author J.J. Goldberg reported in his book, Jewish Power: Inside The Jewish Establishment--that 45% of the Democratic Party fundraising, and 25% of the Republican Party fundraising, came from the Jewish-funded Political Action Committees (PACs) in the early 1990s. Then he updates these numbers by citing those published recently in the Washington Post by columnist Richard Cohen, which are now at a whopping 60% for Democrats and 35% for Republicans. Moreover, the Jewish Lobby's funding relates to a single core issue--the recipient political party must unconditionally support Israel's agenda, including those egregious parts which human rights activists and conscientious observers would no doubt judge to be illegal.

Petras stresses that no other single US lobby--including Big Pharma, Big Oil, Agribusiness, etc.--can exercise this dominant degree of influence over the American political process. Indeed, the Zionist neocon, or "Ziocon," ideologues have succeeded in becoming our foreign policymakers. And the Ziocons' goal in the Middle East, under the fraudulent cover of "promoting democracy," is to transform the region into an "American-Israeli Co-Prosperity Sphere" through the barrel of a gun.

Dr. Petras explains that the root of the Lobby's power lies in the high proportion of Jewish families who are among this country's wealthiest and most influential families. He cites a Forbes Magazine report that 25% to 30% of the wealthiest American families are Jewish, despite the much smaller percentage of Jews in the overall US population. Furthermore, these wealthy Jewish-American families include a significant number of billionaires who wield enormous influence. Along with the others who comprise the Jewish Lobby, they have created a "tyranny of Israel over the US," with consequences grave enough to threaten world peace and stability, the global economy, and the very future of democracy in this country.

That democracy, and our constitutionally-protected rights, now hang by a thread after the recent passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (a.k.a. the "Torture Authorization Act," or more accurately the "US Constitutional Annulment Act"), which makes everyone everywhere potentially an "enemy combatant" who can be subjected to arrest, and secretly held in detention anywhere in the world, without regard for our former constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Further note that this terrible new law also applies to US citizens, as per the Jose Padilla case. We've effectively lost our hallowed rights of habeas corpus and due process, even though we technically still have them.

Dr. Petras reports that the US has unconditionally supported Israel's wars of aggression since 1967 because of the Jewish Lobby's power. Its unparalleled influence led the US into the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq War in 2003, the latter of which is now raging out of control, and is seen by noted foreign-policy analysts as not merely unwinnable but also causing potentially-irreparable economic and political harm to this nation. Nonetheless, the Iraq War persists with no agreed-upon plan to bring it to an end.

The Lobby also guaranteed America's unconditional support for Israel's wars of aggression against Lebanon and Palestine, with all the horrendous devastation they caused, and the futile consequences because the underlying conflicts were exacerbated or remain unresolved. For example, the Palestinian conflict still rages under the radar, and the ceasefire status in Lebanon hangs by a hair-trigger, ready to erupt again any time Israel decides to resume hostilities. Another factor inflaming the Middle Eastern powderkeg to near exploding point is the strong possibility that the US, and/or Israel, will attack Iran because Israel wants it, and the Jewish Lobby in America has put its powerful support behind it. More about this, Palestine, and Lebanon below.

Today, the situation in the Middle East is so dire that Dr. Petras reports a large majority of Europeans, and a growing number of Americans, believe Israel itself is the single greatest threat to world peace and stability. Nonetheless, the Bush administration acquiesces to the Lobby, and has even attempted to "bludgeon" its European partners into going along with its uncompromising support for the Jewish state, despite all of the increasingly-obvious perils.

This book also addresses the Jewish Lobby's extremely negative "chilling effect" on freedom of speech. In America, the Lobby routinely: stifles open debate about US foreign policy; smears as anti-semitic, pillories, ridicules and even physically threatens any public figure or academic who dares to air even one truthful comment about the Middle East or Israel; and never tolerates serious dissent in the corporate-owned media or the so-called public radio that it funds and controls--not even the PBS part thereof.

No publication is more servile to, blindly supportive of, or influential than, this nation's so-called "paper of record" that publishes "All The News That's Fit To Print"--the New York Times. The Times is important because the stories it chooses to feature get disseminated around the country and the world. And yet this dominant American newspaper pledges its unconditional support and fealty to the state of Israel, no matter what Israel does. Everyone knows this, yet the major media play along, unquestioningly cranking out one-sided, pro-Israel-uber-alles propaganda which allows no opposition voices to represent other points of view. We call that a "free press"--but it's only free for those who can afford to own one.

The state of the corporate-controlled mass media inside this country is now so pathetic that Reporters Sans Frontieres--or Reporters Without Borders, an organization promoting freedom of the press--just ranked the United States 53rd in the world in press freedom, behind countries like Benin, Namibia, Jamaica, and Bolivia.

James Petras is a courageous independent voice who bucks this disturbing trend by refusing to go along with its systematic suppression of truth. His powerful and carefully-documented new book gives no quarter in countering the mendacity, deceit, and danger of the Lobby, its acolytes and hangers-on, and its corrupting influence on major media. His bold introduction calls for a "counter-hegemonic movement" to free us from our destructive "Israeli entanglements." He says his book is a modest effort toward the goal of rebuilding our democratic freedoms, which are somewhere between life-support and the crematorium. It is considerably more than that. It deserves to be read nationwide, so Americans can learn the vital information it contains. Hopefully, this in-depth review will arouse your desire to give this book a cover-to-cover reading.

 

PART I: ZIONIST POWER IN AMERICA

Petras begins with the question as to who fabricated the pre-war lies about Iraq posing a supposedly-imminent threat to our national security, and why they might have done this. He finds two competing channels of Washington policymakers and advisors (1) the longstanding formal structure of career military and civilian professionals inside the Pentagon and State Department; and (2) a new parallel structure that the Bush administration neocons set up, solely for the purpose of promoting war with Iraq, inside the Pentagon, which they named the Office of Special Plans (OSP), and which they staffed with neocon political appointees.

It was the OSP's job to cook the intelligence data, to fabricate the idea of a huge Weapons of Mass Destruction arsenal, to ignore any clear evidence to the contrary, and thus to contrive a fraudulent case for war against Iraq. The people who were chosen to staff the OSP were directly in Donald Rumsfeld's and Paul Wolfowitz's chain of command, and they were all closely connected to a number of influential neocon thinktanks and pro-Israel organizations. The OSP justified the invasion on the basis of lies because Israel's agenda demanded war to achieve its own security and hegemony in the region--beginning with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and followed by forcible regime changes in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and even Saudi Arabia.

Petras points out that, contrary to popular belief, the Iraq War happened largely due to the efforts of the Jewish Lobby, representing the interests of Israel. Indeed, Big Oil actually opposed the idea because it feared that attacking Iraq would jeopardize its business prospects with other oil-producing states in the region. Nevertheless, Israel and the Jewish Lobby got their war, and aside from Big Oil's temporary gain from higher oil prices, it may very well end up a longer-term loser as a consequence.

US oil interests always prefer stability and normal relationships with countries where they operate, or wish to operate (thus their support for the despotic House of Saud). Big Oil was quite comfortable dealing with Saddam Hussein, and did not want to risk a war that might upset an otherwise-profitable arrangement. Their fears proved justified, as the war created so much unresolved turbulence that Iraq has become too dangerous, and thus unprofitable, to undertake new ventures there (except perhaps in parts of the Kurdish-controlled north). Big Oil also chafes at US sanctions that prevent them from competing for Iranian oil contracts, which are going the Europeans and others because they cannot do business there. For those reasons, Big Oil does NOT support US-Israeli belligerence in the Middle East, but they dare not oppose it publicly.

Petras observes that public discussion of the US-Israeli relationship is never allowed in the American mainstream media--especially any hint that the US attacked Iraq to serve Israel's interests. There should be much public discussion on this point because the consequences have been so enormous. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have enraged not only hundreds of millions of Muslims but all people of conscience worldwide. And they have caused the US to be viewed globally as a rogue-state pariah, and George W. Bush as the dangerous and morally-depraved leader of a failed administration.

Bush and those closest to him--like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld--are reviled around the world and increasingly here at home (as evidenced by the many thousands who took to the streets on October 5, 2006, in over 200 US cities on "The World Can't Wait Day: Drive Out the Bush Regime!"). Consider that: the financial and human costs of Bush's wars far exceed any possible future benefits from them; our national security has been jeopardized; the nation's reputational status has been badly compromised; and some analysts forecast that the total cost of the Iraq War may eventually top $2 TRILLION--a price-tag so staggeringly high that key business leaders and responsible people in government are deeply worried about the harm will do to this nation's economy.

The only clear beneficiary of the Bush necons' war agenda is Israel. The Iraq War removed its main adversary in the region by cutting off the political and economic support Saddam gave to the Palestinians. Petras points out that Iraq, along with Iran and Syria, comprised the region's core resistance to Israel's expansionist plans: to crush the Palestinians by genocidally eliminating them from their own homeland; to seize the Palestinian land as part of its long-term Zionist project of creating a "Greater Israel"; and to acheive unchallengeable regional dominance.

Petras notes that Israel is the only country in the world with undeclared borders. Israel has intentionally kept that status to give itself maximum latitude to forcibly annex all of the territory it can in its drive to achieve the Zionist goal of a Greater Israel--"Eretz Israel"-- which would include the ancient biblical lands of "Judea" and "Summaria," plus all of the West Bank that the Palestinians now claim as their homeland.

Through its US proxy, Israel has removed any Iraqi threat to its plan for regional supremacy. Externally, Israel's imperialist plans for regional hegemony are still opposed by a resilient Hezbollah that humiliated Israel during its summer invasion of Lebanon, plus Iran and Syria. Internally, Israel still faces determined resistance from the Palestinians, despite having crushed their democratically-elected government, Hamas. And Israel faces some homegrown opposition to its war-and-colonization agenda because of its enormous cost and the added insecurity it will cause. Israelis are now leaving in numbers that exceed new arrivals. And Israel's social programs are eroding because it needs money for its aggression-and-annexation agenda. Just like what's happening under Bush: the people pay for imperialist wars abroad by fiscal decay and authoritarianism at home.

Obstacles and setbacks aside, Israel has pursued its ostensible goal of "democratizing" the region through a belligerent policy of destroying its enemies by force. The Israelis have crafted an imperialist plan which calls for a series of wars--with its proxy American military taking the lead--and with the eventual goal of establishing joint US-Israeli control over the entire region. Israel can implement this plan only if it can pressure US administrations into playing along, which hasn't been a problem thus far, and indeed has never been easier than with this Bush administration.

The Bush national-security and foreign-policy teams are run by high-level, pro-Zionist neoconservative officials with long-standing ties to Israel. They have the most important policymaking positions in government, or are closely associated with the ones who do. These Ziocon officials have a long history of dedication to Israel's interests, even when they conflict with US interests. The "Israel-firsters"are in not only the Bush administration but also Congress, most influential Jewish organizations like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, and perhaps the singlemost powerful lobbying group in Washington--AIPAC.

Committed American support for Israel also comes from the "Jewish Diaspora" that comprises thousands of dedicated activists: doctors, dentists, lawyers, philanthropists, and key individuals in major banks, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, corporations , the major media, the clergy, and academics. Journalists are given special prominence due to their willingness to sell their integrity in return for the handsome benefits they get for their unconditional public support, and contrived rationalizations, for the Israeli agenda. Of course, this kind of corrupting influence results in support that has made Israel by far the largest recipient in the world of US financial aid, which amounts to about $3 billion per year up front, with more forthcoming any time Israel needs funding for weapons, plus large low- or no-interest loans that may never have to be repaid.

Israel also gets these unheard-of advantages from the US: routine transfers of the latest state-of-the-art US weaponry and technology; unrestricted US market access for its products and services; free entry of its immigrants into the US; unconditional support for its aggressive wars against, and colonization of, the Palestinians and Lebanese; guaranteed US vetoes of any UN Security Council resolution that is unfavorable to its interests; all criticism of Israel is labeled anti-semitic by prominent Washington officials and the corporate-run mainstream media whenever this ruse serves its purpose; allowed to conduct intelligence operations inside the US, including its covert penetration of military bases, FBI, IRS, INS, EPA and other government agencies.

In addition, strong probative evidence shows Israeli agents knew in advance about the 9/11 attack but withheld that information, knowing it would serve their interests to let it happen. There is also considerable evidence that high-level US officials either knew about 9/11 themselves but remained passive because they knew it would give them free reign at home and abroad they never could have gotten any other way, or they were complicit in carrying it out. This is a story that neither will nor should go away, and one day we may finally learn the facts about which we can only speculate now.

Petras notes that Israel's unparalleled ties to our centers of power in government and media allow it to get back $50 in return for every dollar it spends. Israel then uses money from US coffers to finance its military and build colonial settlements on annexed land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Jewish networks here try to justify these practices as compensation for victims of the Holocaust (the ones they want us to regard as "worthy victims") by circulating that ideology in our mainstream media. These networks reinforce anti-Muslim hysteria by stereotyping Arabs as untrustworthy, radical Islamic fundamentalists, or "Islamo-fascists" (the ones they want us to regard as "unworthy victims"), so they can claim the "right" to attack and kill them in imperialist wars, or to arrest, torture, and mete out summary justice in military tribunals.

Although Israel has been fleecing the US government for decades, the real-world consequences for Israel have been disastrous because the Palestinians have steadfastly refused, for almost six decades, to accede to this abuse and have waged two Intifadas to bring it to an end. With little more than fierce determination, their bodies and crude weapons, they have fought back, sometimes with suicide bombing attacks on public facilities in Israel, knowing they will face harsh retaliation afterward.

The American people have also paid a heavy price, in the steady erosion of freedom and democracy, for bankrolling Israel and committing our military to fight its proxy wars. This is evidenced by the Bush administration's increasingly harsh legislation, beginning with the infamous USA Patriot Act in the aftermath of 9/11, followed by other facially-unconstitutional oppressive laws, and cowardly judicial acquiescence or craven silence about illegal practices like secret warrantless domestic surveillance and secret renditions of targeted people to torture-prisons in countries that ignore human rights.

Petras points out that none of these negative consequences deter the unscrupulous-and- powerful supporters of Israel, who continue to raise billions of dollars to support that country's war machine and finance its colonization of annexed Palestinian land, plus the Golan Heights land it seized and never returned to Syria after the 1967 war. Israel's economy most certainly is not self-sufficient. Without massive incoming American aid, it would have to make unpopular cuts in social services, reduce its military budget, and curtail its expansionary plans to forcibly seize more land from its neighbors. With that $3 BILLION a year in direct US contributions, plus lots more US help given indirectly, the American taxpayers are unwisely shouldering the burden of funding Israel's imperialist agenda of belligerence and colonization.

Petras itemizes what this massive largesse flowing into Israel costs the US taxpayer:

-- $3 BILLION annually in direct aid.

-- BILLIONS more in annual loans to Israel as needed.

-- MILLIONS ANNUALLY for resettlement help to Russian and Ethiopian immigrants.

-- A $10 BILLION loan guarantee in 1990, and a further $9 BILLION loan guarantee in 2004, plus BILLIONS MORE for the asking, which request will be forthcoming soon to pay the costs of Israel's wars against Lebanon and Palestine in 2006.

-- Since 1981, major economic aid made in direct cash transfers; and since 1985, major military aid has been given the same way (BILLIONS).

-- $45 BILLION in loan repayments waved since 1974, and yet BILLIONS MORE have been extended just for the asking--all of which is free money at US taxpayer expense.

-- Since 1982, ESF cash transfers every year in one early-in-the-fiscal-year lump sum, with NO strings attached, while other countries receiving them are paid quarterly (not in one lump sum) with their use closely monitored. Israel then invests this money in US treasuries costing US taxpayers MILLIONS MORE ANNUALLY, and also gets special FMS funding arrangements costing US taxpayers well over $1 BILLION since 1991.

-- Other privileged benefits include BILLIONS in additional US financial aid: to develop Israel's defense industry; to transfer state-of-the-art technology and the latest US weapons; to provide a US guarantee for Israel's access to oil; and for Israel's upcoming massive funding requests to defray the "special costs" of its Gaza "disengagement plan," which has morphed into Israel's colonization of whatever parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory it wishes to annex for new settlements at US taxpayer expense.

-- Add to this some $22 BILLION Israel got over the past 50 years through the sale to the US of its below-market interest paying bonds that have financed half of its development, which means Americans have provided the money for Israel's colonization of annexed Palestinian lands and military funding for its predatory imperial wars.

Petras explains that the Zionist power structure in the US makes all of this possible because its reach extends well beyond the Jewish Lobby.

He identifies a "Zionist Power Configuration" (hereinafter "ZPC"), in which AIPAC is one part of a "complex network of interrelated formal and informal groupings, operating at the international, national, regional and local levels," all unconditionally supporting the state of Israel and its policies--including its wars, colonization and oppression. The ZPC is like a malignant cancer metastasizing through our highest levels of government and the other centers of power and influence. It controls the selection of political candidates by defeating any incumbent or aspirant who dares to criticize Israel, and it controls the mass media reports on Israel by suppressing unsupportive or critical truths. Worst of all, the ZPC routinely ruins lives and weakens this nation by getting our best politicians, journalists and academicians--those whose integrity is not for sale--fired and banished from their professions for daring to tell us the truth.

Petras reports that the ZPC's power was evident in the run-up to both the Iraq War and the Gulf War in 1991. The George H. W. Bush administration wanted regime change in Iraq, but its desire was heavily influenced by the ZPC's belief that Saddam had to be removed because he was Israel's mortal enemy. He survived through the 1990s despite the US-led efforts to destabilize Iraq and bring him to his knees. But George W. Bush took office in 2001 with neocon advisers already planning the war he believed his father had left unfinished. Paul Wolfowitz and other powerful Zionists were in key policymaking positions. And with the support of Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), "the senator from AIPAC," they could invent the WMD threat to bring about the invasion by March of 2003--all based on lies, deceit and subservience to Israel's imperialist agenda.

When the US military forcibly removed Saddam, it conducted a scorched-earth campaign to destroy Iraqi society, its infrastructure, and historical treasures, so as to "dismantle the secular state [and] turn the country in a desert kingdom--a loose collection of at least three 'tribal' client mini-states based on ethnicities, religious-tribal loyalties [and no viable threat against] Israeli expansionism, particularly in Northern Iraq." The effort to do this is now underway after the Iraq puppet parliament passed its federalism bill, to take effect in 18 months, that will divide the country into the three supposedly-more-easily-governed parts, all in accordance with the US-Israeli ordered grand design.

It is unlikely this partition plan can work, but now it is clearer than ever how horrific the human cost of our war has been for the people of Iraq. The Iraq War has caused the violent deaths of about 601,000 Iraqis, according to a shocking new study published by The Lancet--a prestigious British medical journal--which updated an earlier study from the autumn of 2004. This study was done by MIT and the John Hopkins School of Public Health. Their researchers used the statistically-reliable technique of "cluster sampling," in which personal interviews were conducted at random households across the country, which included verification by a showing of the death certificate in the great majority of cases, in order to arrive at the total number of 601,000 violent Iraqi deaths.

It is likely that the true number is actually much higher than this already-appalling number because the interviewers were unable to include in their count: (a) the most dangerous and violent parts of the country--like Fallujah, Ramadi, and other areas of al-Anbar province where mass killing still goes on daily; and (b) many families--likely in the thousands--in which every last person was killed and nobody was left alive to interview.

Consider this: those 601,000 violent Iraqi deaths cover the three-and-one-half-year period since the US invaded Iraq in March 2003; Human Rights Watch estimates that 250,000 to 290,000 Iraqi people were killed by the Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein over its 20-year existence. This statistical comparison amplifies the outrageous barbarity of our supreme international crime of aggressive war.

Our willing descent into this savagery cannot possibly be justified by the now-empty rhetoric about "achieving a Greater Middle East US-Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere," which is mass-murder so greed-driven Israel can grab the extra water, oil, capital, and markets it says it lacks. It also implicates the "Greater Israel" agenda of Ariel Sharon's Likud, and Ehud Olmert's Kadima, governments to implement shameful policies of racist annexation and apartheid separation. Finally, the entrenched Zionist influence in the Bush administration assured that no opposition could emerge--then or now--to stop the living hell they created in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It is profoundly unnerving that all of this insane powerlust, moneylust, bloodlust, and warlust has been given free reign, despite the global mass movement of anti-imperialist resistance. Our ruling elites are sociopaths and psychopaths who are so disconnected from common decency that they arrogantly disregard the norms of morally-acceptable behavior and the standards of international law. In pursuit of an expansionist agenda, Israel and the US willfully violate:

(1) the United Nations Charter's outlawry of aggressive war; and

(2) the Hague and Geneva Conventions relative to the conduct of war, which prohibit wanton destruction of infrastructure and historical sites, inhumane treatment of prisoners, torture, and the establishment of puppet-run client regimes through conquest to plunder natural resources and exploit people in the service of the dominant capital-interests of their imperial conquerors.

The US and Israel resort to the most extreme rogue-state methods to quell the resistance and tighten security, including mass arrests and indeterminate detentions, the use of torture, and targeted assassinations as state policy. Amnesty International reportee after the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that the US and Israel are the ONLY two countries in the world to have legalized the use of torture. Dr. Petras and others report that the top Pentagon leaders, up through Donald Rumsfeld, specifically ordered the use of torture "while the Justice and Defense Departments insisted that the President could OVERRIDE any laws--international or national as well as the US Constitution--in defending the empire."

Therefore, these top officials in key areas of government have audaciously given the US President "de facto and de jure DICTATORIAL powers" to do whatever he chooses to establish "Imperial Security." This ominous development makes our citizens at home no safer than the victims of US and Israeli imperial aggression in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine or anywhere else in the world.

But Petras reports that our rapid deterioration into a rogue state is even worse because the exposť of US torture in Iraq also revealed a highly-organized network of US and Israeli assassins. They operate in Iraq and worldwide as international death-squads, engaging in "killing, kidnapping and torturing 'suspects' and sympathizers of resistance movements." Petras calls our side of this appalling phenomenon a US-sponsored "Murder Incorporated." It is composed of Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and a DELTA force operating in a new Special Agency Program (SAP). It has adopted the same evil practices that have long been used by Israel's Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations--the Mossad--which aims to remove all opposition by any extralegal method it chooses while ignoring international law. It "justifies" its murderous activities at the highest levels of government as a matter of "national security" policy. In other words, democracy means "you must agree with us or we will have you killed!"

Petras further points to the UN International Leadership report on the destruction of civilian and military infrastructure in Iraq (much like what Israel did in the Occupied Palestinian Territories discussed below). It showed that "84% of Iraq's higher-learning institutions have been burnt, looted or destroyed." Archeological museums, historic sites, libraries and archives have also been plundered. And targeted assassinations have been carried out against academicians, teachers, senior military personnel, journalists, and other professionals, including doctors. In addition, US-directed "Salvador option" death squads are running random and targeted daily terror killings, as well as thousands of kidnappings and other systematic horrors, that make life an intolerable hell for almost everyone in Iraq who lives outside the four-square-kilometer fortress in central Baghdad, known as the Green Zone, that is headquarters for "coalition" officials and their puppet Iraqi "interim government."

This is all part of the Washington-Tel Aviv design to destroy Iraq's cultural identity as an Arab state, separate its oil resources from its large population base, and divide the nation into more easily-governed parts, just like it was done in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It has now been reported that the longtime Bush family consigliere, James Baker III, is co-chairing an Iraq Study Group that will formerly propose a plan similar to that of the Iraq puppet government, putting a quasi-official US imprimatur on Israel's divide-to-permanently-conquer strategy. However, their plan for the partititioning of Iraq might not be as easy to implement as the balkanization of the former Yugoslavia, or the simple north-south divisions of Korea and Vietnam after World War II.

Why not? Today, Iraq and Palestine have descended into outrageously bloody chaos. Petras refers to both countries as a "House of Horrors," in which the Pentagon's Zionist militarists and their Israeli Zionist counterparts are in charge of their respective "Horror Shows ... under the big tent of a 'Mid-East Democratic Reform Initiative.'" This is the modus operandi of neocolonial empire-building program: first, blast and tear a nation to shreds so it can never again exist as it once did; second, terrorize the people into submission and murder everyone who resists. This is an astoundingly barbaric thumb stuck into the eye of humanity, but deliberately sadistic cruelty is what criminal empires do--especially when they're nuclear rogue states too powerful to challenge.

The US killing machine is in full operation in Iraq, and it is aping the Israeli killing machine that has long been operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Petras calls the latter one "Israel's Final Solution" or the "Palestinian Holocaust." Its focal point is the Gaza Strip, which is the world's largest open-air prison for 1.45 million Palestinians, who are packed into the most densely-populated space of its size in the world. Today, the Strip and the West Bank are Israeli-operated killing fields for the targeting of Palestinian civilians too helpless to stop the grisly carnage, beyond their courageous acts of desperate resistance with their bodies, rocks, and crude weapons pitted against tanks, F-16s, helicopter gunships, and illegal-and-immoral terror weapons like white phosphorus bombs, depleted-uranium munitions, cluster bombs that never stop killing and maiming, and experimental weapons so new that they don't have any publicly-known names.

Israel's monstrously unjust war on Palestine has gone on unchecked for nearly six decades. September 28, 2006, marked the sixth anniversary of the latest Palestinian resistance, known as the al-Aqsa Mosque Intifada, which began with Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to that holy site in 2000. Israel dramatically escalated the conflict after a minor incident on 6-25-06 at an Israeli military post near the Kerem Shalom crossing, killing two Israeli soldiers, injuring several others, and capturing a third who is still held, and whose name the mainstream media made sure everyone knows, whereas they will never reveal any names of the more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons (according to the the Zionist-controlled mainstream media propaganda, this is the "fate" of the "unworthy victims").

The June clash followed a series of bloody Israeli attacks on Gaza earlier in the month, including the widely-reported shelling of a beach that killed eight Palestinian civilians and injured 32 more, including 13 children. Much as it did in Lebanon (discussed below), Israel's response was swift, deadly, grossly disproportionate to what had happened, and planned months in advance--as revealed by General Yoav Galant, in charge of Gaza, in a candid interview he gave in Israel's Maariv daily newspaper.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented all of the devastation Israel has inflicted on them for the past six years, through which it deliberately created a state of mass-immiseration for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank:

-- destroyed essential infrastructure to eliminate power, clean water and sanitation;

-- restricted or denied the Palestinian people's mobility;

-- imposed an embargo threatening the collapse of an already-weak Palestinian economy, thereby creating massive unemployment up to 80% of the population;

-- daily hostile incursions into Occupied Palestinian Territory to kill people, and frequent extra-judicial assassinations;

-- innumerable demolitions of civilian homes and destruction of their property;

-- mass arbitrary arrests, "administrative detentions" of more than ten thousand Palestinians who are being held without charges, and the systematic use of torture on people who are being held, including the torture of women and children;

-- willful destruction of the viable Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) through the imprisonment of its democratically-elected members, who are then held without charges or with phony trumped-up charges against them;

-- wanton destruction of the democratically-elected Palestinian government's indispensable civil infrastructure and necessary security facilities;

-- and many more depraved acts of violence too numerous and hideous to mention here.

Israel has done this, and much more, to incrementally destroy both the cultural identity and the very existence of the Palestinian people (somewhat like the US is doing in Iraq). Israel's Nazi-like strategy is to prevent the Palestinians from ever having a viable independent state of their own while it creates a bloody, intolerable, and hopeless situation inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories, through which it intends to force them into a mass-Palestinian exodus to Arab states that are willing to help them escape.

Israel's plan to crush these defenseless people now includes credible evidence that the Bush and Olmert administrations have been arming, training and plotting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah followers to lead an uprising against the democratically-elected Palestinian Authority (PA) to destroy Hamas by force. It follows that Palestinian efforts to form a national-unity government have failed because Hamas has refused Fatah's traitorous demand that it abandon its pledge to serve the welfare of its own people and govern as Israel's enforcer.

In an interview on 10-8-06 in the London Sunday Times, Fatah militia leader Tawfig Tirawi inflamed matters by accusing Hamas of "accumulating weapons," and by warning that "a full-scale civil war can break out at any moment." This was in the context of Tirawi's earlier statement that "civil war is inevitable." The paper also reported that President Abbas "notified the US, Jordan and Egypt that he is preparing to take action against Hamas."

These crazy statements by Fatah defy the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, who has firmly said he will never allow a civil war to happen, and it is unimaginable the Palestinian people want one. But PM Haniyeh and his people might not have a choice because the current joint US-Israeli strategy is to seek the destruction of democratically-elected Hamas with the help of Fatah President Abbas. This is the same man who pledged his fealty to Israel as a participant in the crafting the Oslo Accords that would sell out his own people, and as a principle in the corrupt Arafat-led mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority until Hamas finally won a majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the elections of January 2006.

The Bush and Olmert governments then publicly contradicted their own cover story about "democratizing" the Middle East because they would not tolerate that indisputably democratic outcome. Indeed, the New York Times reported right after the Palestinian election that US and Israeli officials had met at the "highest level" to plan the destruction of Hamas by "starving" the Palestinian Authority and making the people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory pay the greatest price. In other words, "democracy" means your puppet client state will be run by iron-fisted enforcers who operate fascist death squads with the prior approval of their American and Israeli conquerors.

For Israel, this is part of its Nazi-like policy of "ethnic-cleansing" through slow-motion genocide and out-migration--all leading to the destruction of the Palestinian identity. Israel wants to corrupt, and then coopt, the Palestinian leadership of its choice so they will act as Israel's enforcer and partner in the destruction of their own people. Its goal is to erase an entire peoples' history, as per former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier's racist comment that "There are no Palestinians." And Prime Minister David Ben Gurion's earlier statement, after Jews had brutally expelled Palestinians from their homes and land during the 1948 war to establish the state of Israel: "We have come and we have stolen their country. ... We must do everything to insure they [the Palestinians] never do return." And 10 years earlier, Ben Gurion had written to his son: "We will expel the Arabs and take their places ... with the force at our disposal."

From the beginning, Ben Gurion and his successors planned to include all the biblical land of "Eretz Israel" (or Greater Israel) within the final fixed borders of a much larger Israeli state whenever those borders were finally declared. Today, the Zionist-controlled Bush administration and most of our spineless Congress unconditionally supports Israel's expansionist plan to do exactly this, as well as its policy of regional hegemony through military conquest, destructive occupation, plunder, enslavement and exploitation.

However, as Petras correctly explains: "No one in their right mind can claim that the Israeli assault on Gaza advances US policies, interests or US imperial power." Evidently rational pursuit of the American national interest doesn't matter because the intimidation power of the Jewish Lobby got full support for its wars from the Bush administration anyway, and nearly-unanimous support for it wars from Congress.

 

THE RAPE OF LEBANON

What Israel did to the Palestinians over six decades, it did to Lebanon in 1978, from 1982 halway through 2000, and for about five weeks in a blitzkrieg that began on 7-12-06, and ended with a formal but fragile UN-brokered ceasefire on 8-14-06. Dr. Petras compares Israel's latest assault on Lebanon to Nazi Germany's infamous Kristallnacht pogrom against the Jews on November 9 and 10, 1938. He calls the German event a "garden party" compared to Israel's rape and vast devastation of Lebanon.

Israel invaded after Hezbollah's cross-border incursion on July 12th, in which eight Israeli soldiers were killed in the exchange that followed and two more were captured. There is still a factual dispute as to which side of the Lebanese border that incident took actually place on. For many years, Israel has routinely made hostile incursions into Lebanon by land and air, and it still illegally occupies the 25-square-kilometer Shebaa Farms area of Southern Lebanon that it never relinquished after it was seized in the 1967 War.

Just as it did in Gaza, Israel swiftly responded with a grossly disproportionately reign of terror against the Lebanese people by land, air, and sea. The Israelis indiscriminately killed and wounded thousands of innocent Lebanese civilian noncombatants, and displaced more than a million Lebanese civilians. It also systematically destroyed Lebanon's essentials for life, other vital civilian infrastructure, and unnecessarily inflicted a disproportionate amount of physical devastation, from which it could take a generation to recover, if Israel even allows it to happen.

Israel attempted to justify its insanely-vindictive rape of Lebanon as the means to destroy Hezbollah, both as a political entity and as an effective resistance force (against Israel's imperial designs on southern Lebanon). But Israel's plans are much more far-reaching than it admitted in its self-serving wartime statements, as explained below.

Petras reports that Middle East scholar Juan Cole, among other such experts, claimed that Israel wanted to make war on Lebanon and planned it for at least one year in advance. Matthew Kallman of the San Francisco Chronicle also found, and then reported, compelling evidence that Israel's preparations for this invasion began in May of 2000, immediately after Israel ended an 18-year occupation of Lebanon that began with a brutal invasion in 1982 that killed about 18,000 Lebanese people. Kallman also reported that more than one year before Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, a senior Israeli military official gave "PowerPoint presentations," off the record, to officials from the US and other nations, unnamed journalists, and think-tankers, in which he explained "in revealing detail" how the Israeli attack on Lebanon would unfold.

Again, Israel got the Bush administration's full backing, funding, and the armaments it requested to carry it out its war on Lebanon, effectively making this gruesome adventure a joint US-Israeli operation. Israel's vicious goals, in addition to neutralizing the Hezbollah resistance, was to destroy Lebanon as a functioning modern country, to "ethnically-cleanse" all of southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, so it could control and eventually annex southern Lebanon, as it did the Golan Heights after the 1967 War.

Israel falsely claims this area (like the Golan) is important for security reasons, but its greatest value (again, like the Golan) is as a source of fresh water from the Litani River and from the Wazzani springs that feed into the Hasbani River, which is a tributary of the Jordan River. The Hasbani River flows into Israel two miles downstream from the Wazzani and runs into the Sea of Galilee, which is Israel's largest source of fresh water.

Israel has had imperialist designs on Lebanon for 40 years or more, so it has kept that country in a state of instability, partial occupation, and conflict over most of that time. Now it has reduced Lebanon to a devastated near-wasteland that is monitored by so-called (Israel-approved and friendly) UN Blue Helmets along with Lebanese Armed Forces that have replacing the Israeli military on the ground under a fragile UN-brokered ceasefire arrangement that could end any time on any pretext under which Israel wishes to unleash its war machine. There is nothing to deter Israel from doing this so long as it has the unconditional support of the Jewish Lobby and whatever US administration it controls. Unless the American situation changes, the people of Lebanon, like those in Iraq and Palestine, can only anticipate more conflict, pain and suffering from Israel.

That's because there is still unfinished business in the Middle East for both empires, and it is unlikely that either one will renounce that which they're determined to achieve. Although Iraq is a hopeless quagmire, the Bush administration says it will "stay the course." And so long as Israel has full US backing, it will continue its pursuit of an imperial agenda, despite Israeli's humiliating inability to dislodge Hezbollah from southern Lebanon and the Palestinian unwillingness to end their determined resistance, short of genocide or forced expulsion.

But it's not all smooth sailing for the unholy US-Israeli alliance. It faces a threat it cannot ignore which could derail it: a growing broad-based worldwide anti-imperialist movement against these two partnered pariah states. It remains to be seen how far the anti-imperialist movement will go, whether it can achieve critical mass in the US and in Israel, and if it can succeed in changing the direction of these two belligerents who are seemingly unstoppable and determined to go on unchecked by what currently passes for the civilized western world.

 

PART II: ISRAEL AND MIDDLE EAST WARFARE

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE READER: Due to its unusual length, you are now slightly more than halfway through Stephen Lendman's excellent review of Dr. James Petras' new book, The Power Of Israel In The United States (Clarity Press, September 2006). Please read the second half of this worthwhile book review--which covers Parts II, III, and IV--online at this URL:

http://countercurrents.org/us-lendman271006.htm

 

QUOTES WORTH REMEMBERING:

"I'M HERE TO TELL YOU WE'RE GOING TO STAY THE COURSE.
--GEORGE W. BUSH, NOV. 28, 2003

WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE, AND WE WILL STAY THE COURSE.
--GEORGE W. BUSH, APRIL 5, 2004

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL STAY THE COURSE.
--GEORGE W. BUSH, NOV. 21, 2004

WE WILL STAY THE COURSE; WE WILL COMPLETE THE JOB IN IRAQ.
--GEORGE W. BUSH, AUG. 4, 2005

WE WILL STAY THE COURSE, WE WILL HELP THIS YOUNG IRAQI DEMOCRACY SUCCEED.
--GEORGE W. BUSH, AUG. 31, 2006

LISTEN, WE'VE NEVER BEEN 'STAY THE COURSE.'
--GEORGE W. BUSH, OCT. 22, 2006

All cited in Leonard Pitts Jr.'s 10-29-06 Baltimore Sun article,
"Simply Orwellian: Cutting and Running from 'Stay the Course'":

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.pitts29oct29,0,2592960.st ory?coll=bal-oped-headlines