Putting the Cart before the Horse:
An Answer to James Petras

By Bonnie Weinstein

In his article, “The Liquid Bomb Hoax: The Larger Implications,” James Petras reveals his fatal flaw on the question of Israel and Zionism—he puts the cart before the horse and promotes the myth that the U.S. is taking orders from Israel and not the other way around:

“Clearly the decision to cook up the phony bomb plot was not motivated by economic interests, but domestic political reasons. The Blair administration, already highly unpopular for supporting Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was under attack for his unconditional support for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, his refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire and his unstinting support for Bush’s servility to U.S. Zionist lobbies...In other words, the politics of U.S., British and Israeli (and by extension World Zionist) militarism has been at the expense of strategic sectors of the civilian economy. These losses to key economic sectors require the civilian-militarists to resort to domestic political crimes (phony bomb plots and frame-up trials) to distract the public from their costly and failed policies and to tighten political control. On both counts, the civilian militarists and the Zioncons are losing ground. The “liquid bomb” plot is unraveling, Israel is in turmoil, the Zioncons are preaching to the converted, and the U.S. is, as always, the United States: The Democratic civilian militarists are capitalizing on the failures of their incumbent colleagues.”

But in an interview in March 1995 entitled “Jesse Helms: Setting the Record Straight” that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Helms (the senior senator from North Carolina and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time) said:

“I have long believed that if the United States is going to give money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without Israel promoting its and America’s common interests, we would be badly off indeed.”

I quote this because I think it is crucial to be crystal clear about “the cart and the horse.” Capitalism is a game of power and control, and the one with the biggest gun wins. Or at least that’s the plan and the purpose of the most powerful military force the world has ever seen—the U.S. military! That’s why all the wealth produced by the toiling masses of working people—citizen and noncitizen alike—gouged out of wages and collected in taxes—is being funneled into military and defense spending and only the spare change is left over for all other social services and societal needs.

The whole world is against Israel. They would be an easy target but for the U.S. It is exactly the U.S. capitalist, imperialist interests that Israel is designed and maintained to protect and expand on. U.S. capital wants to control the whole Middle East as it already does much of the world and its resources.

Unfortunately, many Jewish people have been taken in by the whole thing. Many Jewish people alive today do not know that Jews were turned away from U.S. and European soil at the time they were most in need of escaping fascist extermination. They do not know that Jewish people, in their desperation, were essentially coerced into going to Palestine—they had no other choice. The Zionists played upon their desperation and the U.S. funded the whole thing.

The wealthy U.S. elite had plans, yes indeed. We are in danger now of falling further backwards toward barbarism by blaming a scapegoat, i.e., all Jewish people, for the crisis the world faces today. That is why the U.S. government even bothers to maintain its “independence” from Israel as if it isn’t in control of the whole dynamic. Anti-Semitism is, so to speak, the U.S. elite’s “failsafe.” They can step in, if necessary, and blame “world Zionist militarism” for the strife, then officially and openly take the helm of domination of all of the Middle East.

That is what capitalism is. It is the political, economic, and military mechanism for the ultimate domination of the wealthiest over the masses of poor across the globe. They rule by force of violence, and they own and control not only the bulk of the wealth and resources. They also own the most powerful weapons of mass destruction the world has ever seen. They are world-killers and will stop at nothing to preserve their place of wealth, power, and domination. But, and this is a big “but,” they would have no power at all if their games of racism, sexism, classism, religious and ethnic bigotry—all their tools to divide and conquer—didn’t work.

Today we, the masses, are divided and conquered—worker has been turned against worker. The capitalists actually maintain a united front among themselves and against the working people of the world. They make laws that tax the poor and reward the wealthy and we foot the bill.

This is why it is so crucial to expose the real root of the problem—capitalism, not Zionism. Zionism is just another capitalist tool to divide and conquer. The 1948 birth of the illegal state of Zionist Israel would not even exist without them, their coffers, and their ultimate goals.

We, the people, are only as strong as our weakest link and our firm realization that an injury to one of us is an injury to all. We all have common interests. We have a right to the pursuit of happiness—to live a life of freedom, with liberty, equality, democracy, and justice for all.

End all U.S. aid to Israel! U.S. out of the Middle East! Stop the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine! Bring all the troops and “contractors” home now!

Money for human needs, not for war!