Monday, December 21, 2009

Petras critical survey of Zionism from the Left, but includes criticism of Zionist-servile and complicit "hegemonized American liberals and leftists"

Bended Knees: Zionist Power in American Politics
(The People's Voice) -- By James Petras

...The Globalization of Zionist Power
In Canada under the Conservative Harper regime, Zionists have secured unprecedented influence and diplomatic and material support for Israel’s top priorities.67 These include support for the annexation of most of Palestinian East Jerusalem; repudiation of the Goldstone Report; support for Israeli war crimes during the 2008/09 invasion of Gaza; Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and pending legislations criminalizing criticism of Zionism as “anti-Semitism” among a host of other pro-Israel acts, decrees and trade privileges. The opposition Liberal and New Democratic parties compete with the Conservatives in pandering to the pro-Israel power configurations in order to secure campaign financing from millionaire real estate, financial and media moguls. In contrast, major Canadian trade unions and anti-Zionist Jewish campus and community organizations have organized boycotts of Israeli goods and academic organizations serving the bloody occupation. In France, life-long Zionist zealot, Foreign Minister Bernard “Bernie” Kouchner, has embraced Netanyahu’s extreme position of “unconditional negotiations” which allows massive land seizures and the construction of ‘Jews-only’ apartment complexes on illegally confiscated Palestinian land to continue while endless inconsequential “peace” negotiations take place.68 This position has been supported by Uber-Zionist Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

In Russia, eight of the top nine billionaire oligarchs have claimed dual Israeli citizenship. They illegally and violently seized hundreds of billions of dollars worth of formerly state-owned mines, factories and banks, and then transferred part of their illicit fortunes to overseas banks in Israel, the US, London and the money-laundering offshore island states and tax-havens. Zionist power peaked during the debauched Presidency of Yeltsin in the 1990’s, but residual influence is evident in the Putin-Mevedev regime. This is particularly apparent in the US- Russian accords to increase sanctions on Iran, a policy that jeopardizes billions of dollars in Russian investments and trade with Iran. Russia has resolutely refused to pressure Israel over its colonial settlement expansion. In a similar manner, Israel retains a decisive influence over Holland and Germany’s Middle East policy, via the exploitation of the Holocaust Memory, the Ann Frank legacy and the pressure of pro-Israel economic sectors.

The newest example of the “globalization” of Zionist power and the drive for new Israeli spheres of influence is found in Latin America. Major US Zionist organizations have contributed substantial financial resources to building, advising and orienting their counterparts, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Peru, while engaging in a systematic effort to curry favor with the US by demonizing President Chavez for his forthright defense of Palestinian rights and condemnation of Israel’s crimes against humanity during its blitz of Gaza.69 For these acts of courage the 51 US Jewish organizations branded Chavez an “anti-Semitic”, even going so far as to accuse him of fomenting an assault on a Jewish community center in Caracas. When the arsonists were arrested, the assault was revealed to have been carried out by center employees hired by the local Jewish notables.70...

Jewish-Zionist Cultural-Political Hegemony in the US

Jewish Zionist hegemony over the political narrative in the US has grown in recent years, evidenced by the support or, at most, tepid criticism, found in the major literary and political journals and magazines.80 In the beginning the ZPC imposed their view that Israeli conquest and wars against the native people of Palestine and its Muslim neighbors was a war of “national liberation” or “independence”. This first phase culminated with Jewish-Zionist success in convincing President Johnson to cover up Israel’s bombing of the USS Liberty during the Seven Day War.81 From the 1970-90 Zionist-Jewish hegemony extended from its traditional bastion in the film, TV and radio mass media to a whole series of former left-of-center and conservative weekly and monthly publications and the establishment of new publications on the far right.82 The formerly liberal New Republic became a pulpit for virulent attacks on any critics of Israel.83 Commentary, formerly a liberal cultural journal, became a mouthpiece for neo-conservative apologists of Israeli wars … and war crimes …The conservative National Review moved firmly into the ‘Israel First’ camp, purging any critical dissent on Israel and its unconditional supporters in the US. As Zionist hegemony in intellectual and popular cultural print and mass media was established, committed Israel-Firsters gained influential positions in US State Department and foreign policy apparatus.84 “Think Tanks”, thinly veiled propaganda mills, produced pro-Israel position papers.85 Their staff elbowed their way into the mass media as “experts” and into foreign policy advisory positions serving various politicians and Administrations. They rose to the highest levels of government in the Clinton Administration and expanded further during the Bush-Obama regimes.86 Zionist entry into key positions of structural political power mirrored their long march through the cultural institutions. Their influence was reinforced by billionaire Jewish-Zionists’ contributions to established think tanks, like the Brookings Institute, and to both political parties. Contributions influenced the nominations and candidates for office from local mayors to the Presidency of the United States.

It is estimated that as high as 60% of Democratic Party contributions came from Israel First benefactors, securing an automatic 90% Congressional vote on whatever issue the Israeli Foreign Office marks as priority for its US Fifth Column.87 With very rare exceptions neither liberal, progressive, radical or “Marxist” writers, academics, editors, journalists broach the issue of Zionist-Jewish cultural-political hegemony, nor its economic structural underpinnings.88 The “left” is equally hegemonized by Zionist-Jewish influence, to the point that not a few join the vile ad hominem chorus slandering critics of the ZPC as “veering on anti-Semitism:…89

Even today, at the end of the first year of the Obama regime, the Zionist presence in strategic positions in foreign policy making has been ignored by leftist and liberal critics of US Middle East policy. Few, if any critics, look at the structural determinants of that policy. One is more likely to find “data” in the business press. For example, an article in the Financial Times, criticizing President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “inconsistent” position on Israeli settlements in Palestine’s West Bank, points to the “…problems with the administrations message – including its inconsistent policy on Israel-Palestine – can be traced back to the White House, where Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (dual Israeli-US citizen) keeps a firm grip on foreign policy. Some ex-diplomats say they have never seen power so centralized … Mrs. Clinton’s own deputy, Jim Steinberg, is widely perceived as a White House enforcer, who polices even relatively minor policy statements that often leaves State Department spokesmen (sic) mouthing near meaningless talking points.”90 Emanuel has been active in the Israeli military and is suspected of ties to its spy agency (MOSSAD). Steinberg is just a high powered “native born” Israel Firster, marginalizing the State Department from any alternative policies to pandering to Israel and its US Fifth Column.

Hegemonized American liberals and leftists maintain their “support” for Israel on the basis of the fiction that the “bad” Israelis are the fanatical Likud party leaders while Labor and Kadima party leaders and the Israeli people want peace and a just settlement. Unfortunately for these supporters of “progressive” Zionism, the Defense Minister Barak who directed the bloody massacre in Gaza is the leader of the Labor Party and is backed by his party in support of all the new aggressive Israeli land seizures and colonial settlements. The genocidal wars and violent settlements have the support of the vast majority of the Israeli Jewish population. Public opinion polls carried out by the Israel National News published in mid-November 2009 reveals that 53.2% of Israeli’s say the solution to the conflict with the Palestinian people is their forceful dispossession and ethnic cleansing – “transfer” is the Zionist euphemism for a crime against humanity.91 Such are the “just wars” receiving unconditional support by the ‘51’ Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.

The point is that not even the Israeli-Jewish majority’s embrace of a totalitarian final solution shakes Zionist hegemony in the US. The embrace of inconvenient positions, such as genocide approval, is not publicized in the Zionist mass media. Instead we continue to hear the chattering classes mouthing the clichĂ©s of a “dialogue” and “negotiated solution” between the expropriators and the dispossessed.

The question of Zionist cultural and political hegemony, where it is even been acknowledged by non-Jews and Jews, revolves around several mistaken partially distorted conceptions. One key idea held by anti-Semites and Zionists alike is that Jews possess special qualities (“blood” or “genetic”). Many cite the importance of a Jewish historical tradition, which emphasizes education and learning. Others still, claim success and power comes from knowledge, merit and achievement. Recent studies refute the idea of a special, unique Jewish “gene pool” – as most contemporary Askanazi Jews are descendants of Central Asian Khazari converts to Judaism in the 8th Century A.D., who subsequently were pushed into Eastern Europe by the Mongols and beyond.92 Israelis are not descendants of the ancient Jews of Israel, many of whom converted to Christianity and later Islam and whose descendants are most certainly the modern-day Palestinians (as conceded by early Zionists myth-makers, like David Ben-Gurion).

Secondly, for over one thousand years Jewish “scholarship” revolved around sterile debates and exegeses of the minutiae of the Talmud and bodies of law based on religious myths. Critical philosophers like Spinoza were looked at as renegades. The rise of scholarship and scientific thinking among Jews coincided with the growth of the Enlightenment and the establishment of liberal laws, which opened doors for promising Jewish scholars, scientists to break out of the sterile confines of the Rabbinal intellectual ghettos. Many of the great thinkers were called “Jews” because of their ancestry, like Spinoza, Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky although they did not practice Judaism nor identify as “Jews”. Recognition and success of Jews came from business and financial activity as well as from occupations like money managers in the West and overseers of feudal lords in PolandP.93 A Jewish authored scholarly history of the Jewish people was not written till the 19th century and even then it treated biblical legends as fact.94

Equally questionable is the notion that the rise of Jewish-Zionist hegemony is a product of “merit” or “achievement”. But here we must distinguish between the mass of Jews who occupy middle or lower middleclass positions in society and those few individuals who have made major contributions. Moreover it is important to not confuse the rise of individuals to economic power through the exploitation of labor, the extraction of rent from tenants and speculation and achievement through “merit”, namely, skills applied to advancing knowledge for the greater good of working people. Zionists’ “superior race” theorists lump successful Wall Street speculators with innovative scholars as examples of “Jewish superiority” justifying or “explaining” hegemony. Zionist race theories, which claim a homogenous ‘Jewish’ people bound by common history and horizontal and vertical ties, is more an ideological manifesto ignoring profound class and even ideological divisions (at least in the past and perhaps emerging today).

Jewish-Zionist hegemony in the US is the result of a supra or meta-historical mythology with mystical religious foundations in the Old Testament. The rise of American Zionism is tied to a virulent exclusivist tribal religious loyalty to Israel as the “mother state”. The driving force of US Zionism is the subordination of US civil society organizations and the instrumentalization of the US military and economic resources to service Israeli colonial expansion and projections of power in the Middle East.

What needs to be understood is that the present subjection of our Middle East policy to the Zionist Power Configuration is a result of the latter’s accumulation of power and political-cultural conditions within the US, which weakened the articulation of alternative values and policies and a defense of American working class interests embodied in a democratic foreign policy...MORE...LINK

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