Behind Bars

A Glitch—Not a Hitch

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Newscasters blare, with an air of gloom and doom, of serious threats to the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

That’s because it’s almost unprecedented to hear public criticisms by American leaders of Israeli actions. Indeed, even when Israel launches a brutal, wide-ranging attack on one of it’s neighbors, as it did during the 2006 assault on Lebanon, U.S. government officials like then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the nationwide bombardments “the birth pains of democracy” being born.

And while criticisms are rare, they shouldn’t mask a fundamental reality: Israel is the pit bull of U.S. Empire, and not the reverse.

There are many people, right and left, who believe that the Israeli lobby runs U.S. foreign affairs in the region.

Writer/activist Richard Becker looks at that question in his book, Palestine: Israel and the U.S. Empire, PSL (Party for Socialism and Liberation), Published in 2009, and he concludes that although the Israeli lobby is influential and wealthy, it isn’t the tail which wags the dog. Becker explains:

“The pro-Israel lobby has been empowered by the U.S. ruling class political establishment, which sees Israel as an important instrument against the liberation movements of the Arab and other peoples of the Middle East.”

It makes sense. Becker’s work cites historical developments that seldom finds its way into U.S. newspapers.

In 1951, an editorial appeared in the leading Israel newspaper, Ha’aretz. The paper editorialized on Israel’s role:

“‚ĶTherefore, strengthening Israel helps the Western powers maintain equilibrium and stability in the Middle East. Israel is to be a watchdog...if for any reason the Western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied on to punish one or several neighboring states whose discourtesy toward the West went beyond the bounds of the permissible.”

The recent war of words between U.S. and Israeli officials is but a hiccup during a long meal.

It is not substantive, and signals no serious break between the two.

Indeed, in a few months or so, it’s doubtful it’ll be remembered., March 20. 2010