Palestine and Israel Within the American “Empire”

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Berkeley–With our “Presidente” in the Middle East last week, I decided to take out my notes on Dr. Phyllis Bennis’ talk at last August’s Palestine Conference in this city.

Phyllis Bennis is a Jewish-American scholar specializing on the Palestinian crisis with considerable intellectual and moral depth. I reported on her and a Palestinian scholar’s comments on the Annapolis meeting of the end of last November. That article appeared on these pages a mere few weeks ago.

Phyllis’ comments revolved around the symbiotic relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv. The United States early realized that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) were useful, and that our foreign policy should take this into account, but “We have a history to make amends” for it!

Israel has become important to America. We can live with them for they are perceived here as authoritarian but not totalitarian! To the West, it is ostensible as not only anti-Communist but also as presently “anti-terrorist” ally. They have become important to the US because it is where three regions merge. Although not an oil producer, Israel is surrounded by petroleum producers, and is seemingly stable.

Therefore, the US has been propping up Israel for the past forty years, but to do so we have taken part in the suppression of the surrounding Arabs.

Dr. Bennis, remarked on Jimmy Carter’s recent controversial book on Palestine that, “…Carter has done more since he has left the Presidency than when he was in Office.” He now takes risks! With his book he has securely shown the relationship of the Palestinian/Israeli crisis with South African apartheid.

The American mind is still caught within the Cold War; i.e., “moderate” and “extremist” – “good” Shiite versus “bad” Sunni.”

Iran has a democracy, but structurally it is a closed one. Hezbollah filled the void in Southern Lebanon following Jerusalem’s abandonment of the region after the last Civil War.

The States insisted on elections in the mini-State of Gaza until, as the Carter observers attested, Hamas won them fair and square. Also, Iraq has become a new “Province” in the American Empire – especially with W.’s. plans for permanent bases in Mesopotamia. We have configured Iraq into probably the most Capitalistic State in the World.

Israel is the centrally most destabilizing force in the Middle Eastern locality. The American and Israeli Trade Unions’ rank and file have to acknowledge the Divestment Movement, too.

Tel Aviv has finally admitted that they are a nuclear power. This is a very dangerous situation, for MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) does not operate in the Theater. One tactical nuclear missile hitting Egypt’s Aswan Dam would kill twenty million inhabitants! Your author personally feels if Jewish Jerusalem would back down to a reasonable nuclear arsenal to a logical defense, Tehran would not perceive them as menacing, and they would cut back on their program. Bennis goes even further by calling for a “nuclear free zone” over the Middle East.

But, unfortunately, Phyllis Bennis, feels “We [the U.S.] are proud of its Empire!”

Pride of empire indicates unwillingness to let go.


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