To What End? To What Good?

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 8:57 PM

Israel controls the U.S. Senate. 
Anything Israel wants, Israel gets.Senator William Fulbright, 1973

Dear Friends + Interlocutors,

There has been an avalanche of informative articles written in the off-ramp press and broadcasted on non-establishment outlets since the Hamas attack of October 7th. They provide context and history. The question arrises: to what good? Does it matter? 

It has not stopped the genocidal response of Tel Aviv. Nor changed in any meaningful way the material and propaganda support from Washington, or from Washington's European puppet states, for Bibi Netanyahu. Then there is England, whence this expanding nightmare all began over a century ago during the Great War. 

Never forget that the honorable gentlemen of the British War Cabinet issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which brief three-paragraph document lit the fuse. It has been burning ever since. The Palestinians have asked for an apology. They are still waiting. 

When it comes to the foreign policy of “the West” now run by the Neocons/Neoliberals in Washington, we are all along for the ride, wherever that ride may ultimately lead. We sit in the back seat, or figuratively-speaking outside the vehicle in the rumble-seat. 

To put it another way, America has been hijacked. The British Empire self-destructed in the last century and America was hijacked at some point in the aftermath. Clearly, post Cold War, the U.S. has gone haywire. 

John Mearsheimer, perhaps the most respected and well-informed American critic of Washington’s subservient policy toward Israel, recently noted, “I do not believe that anything I say about what is happening in Gaza will affect Israeli or American policy in that conflict.” [Death and Destruction in Gaza, December 11th.] No wonder.

What an admission! It speaks volumes. The implications are startling. To me it implies that we are trapped in a George Orwell World where powerful entities and individuals run the show, largely behind the curtain, and that there is no alternative to this scenario. Moreover, the average Americano has been effectively brainwashed and gaslighted into submission.

You may recall back in 2007 that Professor Mearsheimer, along with Professor Steven Walt of Harvard, wrote the comprehensive, matter-of-fact compendium about the Israel Lobby and its outsized influence over U.S. foreign policy. First published as an essay in the London Review of Books in 2006, it was a bombshell in intellectual circles at the time. 

The reaction was instantaneous and hysterical, yet unpersuasive. From apoplectic Al Dershowitz to the trained seals on Capitol Hill, to the Neocon nomenklatura throughout America, the collective, knee-jerk response was a desperate dismissing of the treatise as “anti-Semitic”. It was a full-court press from Israel's U.S. peanut gallery.

When Mearsheimer opines that his present remarks on Gaza—and by implication, anyone’s remarks—are not going to change U.S. foreign policy, it might well apply to the 2007 Mearsheimer/Walt book itself. 

There was no mid-course correction of Middle East policy in the aftermath of that scholarly and irrefutable exposé. None at all. For Washington, it was business as usual. At bottom, nothing changed. 

As a case in point, leaving aside the present tragedy, please recall Operation Cast Lead of 2008. This was an earlier version of Israel's Gaza carpet bombing, launched in the closing days of the Cheney Regency, while Saint Obama vacationed in Hawaii, awaiting his inauguration in Washington. 

As the slaughter and immiseration unfolded en plein air, Peace Prize Barack, the President-elect, stuck scrupulously to the script handed to him: No comment! Gaza was a free-fire zone, yet the ever-talkative Obama had nothing to say. 

Operation Cast Lead was noteworthy because it broke through Israel's previous boundaries of destruction. It was a kind of dress rehearsal, on a smaller scale, for the sanctioned mass murder we are witnessing today. Two articles at the time on this episode by two experts are worth examining. 

Item. The first is by Robert Fisk, the late legendary correspondent of Middle East affairs for The Independent of London. Dated December 30th, 2008. It is titled Why Bombing Ashkelon is the Most Tragic Irony

Fisk writes, “...watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza—a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin—and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force…. 

“The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago….”

Item. The second is by the late, fearless Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery. Dated January 3rd, 2009. It is titled Molten Lead and was posted on the website of Gush Shalom. “Molten Lead” is among my top ten articles ever written on the war for Palestine. 

Avnery writes, “Some time ago I wrote that the Gaza blockade was a scientific experiment designed to find out how much one can starve a population and turn its life into hell before they break. This experiment was conducted with the generous help of Europe and the US. Up to now, it did not succeed. Hamas became stronger and the range of the Qassams became longer. The present war is a continuation of the experiment by other means.

“The attack started two days after Christmas, when American and European leaders are on holiday until after New Year. The calculation: even if somebody wanted to try and stop the war, no one would give up his holiday…. Another reason for the timing: these are George Bush’s last days in the White House. 

“This blood-soaked moron could be expected to support the war enthusiastically, as indeed he did. Barack Obama has not yet entered office and had a ready made pretext for keeping silent: ‘there is only one President’. The silence does not bode well for the term of president Obama.”

As for Avnery's suggestion that G.W. Bush is a blood-soaked moron, I do get the distinct impression from his recent remarks that Bush has learned little, if anything, in the meantime, and forgotten nothing. You decide. As for Joe Biden, there can be no doubt. 

One other thing is certain: just like the “unprovoked” Russian invasion of Ukraine, the current massacre in Gaza represents yet another stupendous failure of U.S. foreign policy staring us in the face. 

Gaza was caused by deceit and studied neglect of a problem; Ukraine by a non-stop policy of provocation and lies. All carried out by Washington in support of rogue actors on the ground. The end result: two blood feuds on the world stage, both unnecessary and avoidable. 

À quoi bon? Why is this happening?