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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Strangler Fig Nation

The Unique National Strategy For The State Of Israel

By Paul Larudee
Dissident Voice
September 9, 2014

Strangler fig is the generic name given to a class of vines that
sprouts high in the canopy of trees in tropical forests.

It is deposited by birds that eat its fruit.

Its roots envelope the tree and feed off it, weakening the tree.

If the process is allowed to continue indefinitely, it sinks its roots
into the ground at the base of the tree and destroys it completely
but takes its form, creating a hollow shell of living vines where the
tree once stood.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, as one of the most powerful military
forces in the world laid waste to the besieged and impoverished
Gaza Strip, leaving widows and orphans in its wake while
nevertheless killing a significant number of them, the United States
Senate, without objection and by unanimous consent from all
100 senators, passed a resolution supporting this act of genocide
and condemning its victims for provoking the powerful aggressor
by trying to resist.

At that point, Israel had killed more than 250 Palestinians, mostly
civilians, while the resistance forces in Gaza had killed one Israeli,
who had been delivering food to troops at the time.

The Senate resolution had been drafted by the AIPAC, the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the pillars of the Israel
Lobby.

Fifty days later more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and
72 Israelis, mostly soldiers, lay dead.

How did the Israel Lobby come to so totally dominate the US Senate
and in fact the entire US government?

The story goes back more than a century, to the early years of the
Zionist movement to create a Jewish state.

Zionism grew out of the 19th and 20th century European racist and
nationalist philosophies like Fascism, Nazism and Falangism, which
promoted the idea that each race in the world needed a homeland
and should seek to fulfill its national destiny there.

The definition of both race and homeland were given much
latitude.

Despite all genetic evidence to the contrary, Jews were considered
a race, and after considering Uganda and Argentina as potential
homelands, the Zionists settled on Palestine.

In order to fulfill its “destiny”, however, the Zionists realized that
they would need the support of at least one great power in order
to force themselves upon an unwilling population in Palestine and
ultimately expel or eliminate them, as the Europeans had largely
accomplished in the great genocide of indigenous peoples in the
western hemisphere.

For this purpose, they selected Great Britain as it was about to take
control of Palestine, and when the Zionists might be able to argue
that their support could be critical to British ambitions, both during
and after the Great War.

Indeed, Britain served their purpose well, facilitating the
settlement of Palestine with Zionist Europeans.

Zionist leaders also assisted Nazi Germany in removing its Jewish
population and transferring them to Palestine, arguing that Nazism
and Zionism had complementary interests.

Before long, however, the relationship with Britain turned
adversarial when Zionist terrorist groups began attacking the British
in Palestine, with a view toward forcing the creation of an
independent Jewish state in a territory where they constituted a
minority of the population.

Although the Zionists continued to maintain an important support
community in Great Britain, they knew that they would need other
sponsors, and found their warmest welcome in the United States,
starting in the late 19th century.

Following World War II, President Harry Truman considered the
Zionists to be important enough to his 1948 election campaign that
he showered them with whatever they wanted, and especially
immediate recognition of their declaration of statehood on May 14,
1948.

This event set a pattern for Zionist influence in the US that would
be repeated on a vast scale decades later.

During the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, the Israel
Lobby, though powerful, could not act with impunity.

Eisenhower suspended aid to Israel and forced it to pull back from
its invasion of Sinai in 1956.

Kennedy supported Senator J. William Fulbright’s hearings to force
AIPAC to register as a foreign agent.

Those hearings were cut short in the aftermath of the Kennedy
assassination, and Lyndon Johnson proved much more compliant,
twice ordering the US sixth fleet to recall its aircraft sent to defend
the US naval ship Liberty, which was attacked by Israeli air and
naval forces in June, 1967.

The Liberty sustained 34 dead and 171 wounded US military
personnel, and barely avoided being sunk with all lives lost.

However, the entire affair was quashed, with the Johnson
administration foisting flimsy excuses upon a compliant American
press and public, which accepted them with little question.

Since then, the Israel Lobby has grown with few constraints, fed
by its domination of the American Jewish community, extensive
control of publishing and the media, the establishment and control
of strategic think tanks that provide governmental advisers, and by
a well-coordinated and lavishly funded political campaign machine.

This machine is now sufficiently influential to assure huge
congressional appropriations to Israel that are filled by contractors
who in turn show their gratitude by donating to the lobby that
feeds them.

This history is well documented in works like The Lobby: Jewish
political power and American foreign policy, by Edward Tivnan
(1987), The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy, by John J.
Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (2008), Against Our Better
Judgement, by Alison Weir (2014), and other publications and
articles.

Today, Israel oversees the careers of politicians throughout the
US from the city and county level up to state and national races
to make sure that no one hostile to Israel achieves significant
political office and that its agenda receives overwhelming
approval.

It prevails upon the gratitude of elected officials to appoint its
candidates as staffers throughout Congress as well as state and
local offices.

It maintains control of news, cinema, television, publishing and
other media, so that its narrative will dominate public portrayal
of Middle East issues.

It even implants both volunteers and paid staff to populate web
comment lists.

As a result, Israel is now much more than a lobby.

Powerful lobbies may bend a government to their benefit, but
their strength and survival ultimately depend upon the health
of the country or countries that are their home.

In a sense, therefore, they serve the national interest, even if they
serve the interests of certain segments of society more than others.

This is also why they care little for the health of the countries that
they exploit, which are not their home.

It also explains why Israel increasingly treats the US like an
exploited colony: the Israeli elite can use the US to their benefit,
but it is not their home.

Israel now controls US policy in the Middle East much more than
it ever did Great Britain, to such an extent that it can often use
US resources and power even in defiance of US national interest.

Trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives have
been expended to destroy Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon.

Did these wars strengthen or weaken the strategic interest of
the US and its economy?

Would these wars have been fought if not for the Israel lobby
in the US?

While Israeli policy has been to weaken and destroy its neighbors,
it is far from obvious that the same policy is in the US national
interest.

To the contrary, until the end of World War II and even until the
1960s, the US was widely regarded in the Arab world as the “good”
western power, untainted by colonialism in the region and without
Arab blood on its hands.

As John Sheehan, SJ said, “Every time anyone says that Israel is our
only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before
Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.”

Of course, some will argue that these and other US government
policies and actions are in fact consistent with some definition
of national interest.

That is necessary, because anything that is obviously destructive to
the well-being of the country will encounter too much resistance to
implement.

Every policy benefits someone.

However, there is an important difference between those who
benefit more than others from enterprise that in fact strengthens
the nation and those who benefit from the sacrifices – and to the
detriment – of the rest of the nation.

The Middle East wars of the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations
are different from earlier ones, including the first Iraq war,
primarily with respect to the degree to which Israel supplied the
intelligence on which they were based and the extent to which
their lobby influenced Congress to act.

The Bush administration, for example, is notable for the Office of
Special Plans, which was a veritable Israel liaison office in the heart
of the Pentagon with extraordinary access to top secret information
and in fact set up by Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense.

In fact, the G.W. Bush administration marks the maturation of a
program of Israel-nurtured neoconservative influence and control
that began at least a decade earlier and coalesced into the Project
for a New American Century (PNAC), a Washington think tank that
brought together many of the principals that would hold high office
in that administration.

Although initially derided as fanciful in the Clinton administration
and its predecessors, it constituted the first open presentation of
plans to orient and ultimately subordinate U.S. policy to the goals
and policies of the state of Israel.

The plans took shape as part of what became known as the
neoconservative agenda.

This was a major departure from the paradigm that began in 1947
with the publication of George Kennan’s seminal work counseling
the projection of American power in order to maintain an
equilibrium of power, (known as the “containment” principle) in
international relations, so as to avoid disastrous and dangerous
confrontations of the type that characterized the first half of the
twentieth century.

One may argue the extent to which such policy was effective,
but the neoconservatives in PNAC argued that the end of the
Soviet Union and the advent of the unipolar world provided
the US with an unprecedented opportunity for domination, if
only it would pursue a policy of military intervention and
adventurism.

It is no accident that the early movement found favor with Israel.

Israel quickly saw that neocon interventionism could be made to
use American military might to serve Israel’s agenda of crushing
its real, potential and perceived opponents in the Middle East.

The Israel lobby therefore invested heavily in university
departments and think tanks devoted to strategic studies
and promoting the careers of neoconservatives that became
advisers and appointed officials throughout government.

Examples of these are the Institute for Advanced Strategic and
Political Studies, the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institution,
the Cato Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Jewish
Institute for National Security Affairs, the Project for a New
American Century, the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise
Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (founded by
AIPAC) and others.

Through their doors have passed the likes of Richard Perle, Dick
Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, John
Bolton, Dennis Ross, Douglas Feith, Robert Kagan, Martin Indyk,
David Wurmser, Michael Ledeen and many others that have
achieved high government office, especially since the start of
the G.W. Bush administration in 2001.

Israel’s investments have paid off in a big way.

Today, all officials elected or appointed to national office
are either pro-Israel or must say they are.

In fact, they cannot deviate or dissent or disagree with the
Israel lobby in any way without risk of losing their career, as
Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findley, Earl Hilliard, Pete McCloskey,
William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, Adlai Stevenson III and others
have discovered to their dismay.

Other prominent figures, like Vanessa Redgrave and others in
entertainment and the arts, that have dared to criticize Israel,
also find themselves pilloried in the press and subject to fewer
opportunities for their professional practice.

Those aspiring to careers in mainstream film, journalism and even
sports or music may find the doors closed to them if speak out in
any way against Israel.

Israel has thus constructed a strangler fig network of roots and
vines that is feeding itself from the resources of world’s most
powerful nation while gradually starving that nation.

It is placing itself inside the workings of the US government and
society so as to hobble its workings to Israel’s requirements under
the carefully crafted illusion that they are serving the US national
interest.

An example of this is the US relationship with Iran, and specifically
the Iranian nuclear program, as set forth in Gareth Porter’s book,
Manufactured Crisis [Just World Books, 2014].

As Porter meticulously shows, although Iran has no nuclear weapons
program, never had one and never proposed to have one, and
although the US has repeatedly found no evidence of an Iranian
nuclear weapons program and only evidence to the contrary, the US
continues to impose sanctions against Iran for the sole reason that
Israel wants to do as much damage as possible to Iran and to
prevent good and productive relations between Iran and the United
States.

Porter shows that Israel has brought to bear its skill in creating
forged documents, its influence in American intelligence, its threat vof Congressional opposition to administration policies and other
instruments of deception and coercion in order to prevent a
rapprochement between the US and Iran.

Israel’s hand can also be seen in US policy toward Syria, the rise
of ISIS, the overthrow of Egypt’s very first democratically elected
government, the destruction of Libya and many other of the
developments in the Middle East.

If we ask cui bono, Israel will be at the top of the list, at least
from its own definition of objectives.

Whether the US benefits from a strategic and economic viewpoint
is highly questionable, although Israel’s allies in the US rarely fail
to come out ahead.

There are of course limitations to Israel’s power.

Even a strangler fig cannot change the shape of the tree.

The US has thus far resisted the Israeli attempt to create an actual
war with Iran, and it barely skirted direct intervention in Syria,
which continues to be on Israel’s wish list.

Nevertheless, the power of Israel over the workings of the US
government and society is unprecedented in international relations
that are otherwise as asymmetrical as those of the US and Israel.

Ordinarily the relation is the reverse: powerful nations are infamous
for manipulating their vassals and colonial nations for exploiting
their colonies.

Yet Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged
that “America is a thing you can move very easily.”

What Israel has done is to create the potential for a new type of
superpower, a small nation that survives and advances its interests
by penetrating the workings of nations that have larger economies
and militaries, and harnessing those resources.

In fact, Israel appears to be applying this model to other countries.

In England, for example, a majority of the MPs of the three major
parties belong to the “Friends of Israel” societies within those
parties.

Similarly, the BBC coverage of Israel and the Middle East is
controlled by appointees that are invariably selected for their
bias towards Israel.

Canada and India are two formerly nonaligned nations that are now
governed by parties and coalitions that have sworn allegiance to
Israel.

In India’s case, Israel’s promotion of Islamophobia has created an
alliance with racist Hindu nationalist parties while making India the
world’s largest customer of the Israeli arms industry.

Where will it end?

Will Israel exhaust the economic and military resources of
the US for its own perceived benefit?

To what extent did it already contribute to the economic
problems of the last decade?

Or will Israel overextend its reach and find that the Zionist
experiment to create and perpetuate a nation based on dubious
historical, ethnic and religious claims and at the expense of other
peoples will precipitate the very reaction that it was ostensibly
formed to prevent?

This much we know: that if a strangler fig is allowed to thrive, its
host will wither and die, and only its form will remain as an empty
shell for as long as the parasite continues to survive.



Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza
and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the
International Solidarity Movement.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/09/strangler-fig-nation

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