Why America gives Israel its unconditional support? The Economist gives four reasons: 1) the Israeli lobby (AIPAC), 2) the religious right, 3) Americans see events in ME through the prism of 9/11, and 4) Americans see Israel as a democracy in a sea of autocracies. (via ff)
8 thoughts on “Why America gives Israel its unconditional support…”
Ahmed, I would have said AIPAC as well, but the current look as to why the US is supporting Israel goes way beyond that. It’s the bigger picture..I highly recommend Norman Finkelstein’s critique;
“Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict, fundamental U.S. policy in the Middle East hasn’t been affected by the Lobby. For different reasons, both U.S. and Israeli elites have always believed that the Arabs need to be kept subordinate. However, once the U.S. solidified its alliance with Israel after June 1967, it began to look at Israelis, and Israelis projected themselves, as experts on the “Arab mind.” Accordingly, the alliance with Israel has abetted the most truculent U.S. policies, Israelis believing that “Arabs only understand the language of force” and every few years this or that Arab country needs to be smashed up. The spectrum of U.S. policy differences might be narrow, but in terms of impact on the real lives of real people in the Arab world these differences are probably meaningful, the Israeli influence making things worse.” Read his whole treatment on AIPAC here; http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=205 (sorry, don’t know html well enough to link it properly)
Having been part of the US gov’t dealing with the Middle East, I have to disagree with Ingrid on many particulars.
Within State Department, there are many who live and work in the Arab Middle East. They know Arabs personally; many speak Arabic; they are well aware that there are two sides to nearly every story.
Something missing from Finkelstein’s piece is the effect of the Holocaust on the typical American mind–and it’s a great pity that the facts of the tragedy that took place between 1936-1945 are not better known to Arabs. The death of millions of Jews by German hands, while the US and its allies mostly looked away, weighs heavily on the American conscience. For my generation, the photos of those camps, the few survivors, and the multitude of dead made a very lasting impression. As a result, the mantra “Never Again!” strongly took hold.
It didn’t help the Arab cause much that while Israel has always had an active PR campaign, Arab countries only wasted money on feeble attempts to win American friends. Some of this failure can be attributed to ignorance of how to effectively talk to Americans. Much of it, though, is attributable to a certain arrogance: “If you can’t automatically see my side of the story, you must be plotting against me.”
Arabs, as a whole, have never had an effective spokesman, only individuals promoting their own visions and version of reality. Arafat did more damage to the Arab image than anyone else. Nasser scared Americans. King Faisal was taken seriously–for the most part–but was removed from the scene too soon.
Americans, too, have their problems with ignorance and arrogance.
Both of those problems, though, are hard to solve by oneself, whether we’re talking about Americans or Arabs. They take cooperation and the willingness to understand that others have important information to share.
They also require the ability to understand that what you think may be wrong.
I do agree with John re. the PR factor. One of the things my ME professor mentioned was that the Arabs never understood the power of pr even way back when. I think now with the advent of blogging, and the changes that are happening with the younger Arab generations who are understanding the need for PR, it will get better. The notion of the holocaust and the supposed guilt, I can not understand that quite frankly. Unless it’s a guilt coming from the fact that prior WW2 America also did not want Jewish refugees. As for my father who was alive during WW2, he was involved in the resistance against the Germans, and many Dutch harboured Jewish people until the war was done. Never again means, never let a people be abused, killed, and annihilated for no reason at all. This should also apply to the Palestinians and oh yes, the Lebanese. I still cannot fathom that solely becaues of the holocaust that Israel is getting a free pass at whatever they do. It is shameful. There have been many atrocities that happened, also on European soil before the holocaust throughout the ages..that never gave anyone the attitude that this time they could do whatever they wanted because they had been persecuted..it gave them the notion that, never again shall we have unbridled power at the hands of the (say Catholic Church)fill in the blank, and now we live in peace. One persecution does not make anything right at all. I think Americans are pretty well clueless because in their history, they have never been invaded, subjugated, or oppressed as a people. They’ve only been sent off to war under the excuse of the day soley for the apropriation of land and extension of their empire. Sorry John, I know you are not advocating this but that is what I see and read in your history. And when I say clueless, I do acknowledge that there are plenty of Americans who aren’t, they are just not in the majority. It is just one reason why I don’t want my kids to go to public school just to learn some whitewash history and be a propaganda tool with the hands over the heart pledging allegiance to the flag. Being a law abiding citizen does not require swallowing all that patriotic nonsense hook line and sinker..
alrightie, rant over! lol I was not directing this to you btw..I get really frustrated living here in the US from time to time and do my ‘Network’ thing; i am mad as hell and I cannot take it any longer!! (quick, give the woman her pill!!)
I Have a Problem With Israel
Should all Catholics move to the Vatican City and form an army and demand that the U.S.A. give them $5 billion a year to buy weapons of mass destruction, and drive Italian citizens out of Rome?
While I’ll have to differ with Ingrid’s comments about American imperialism (the last “land grab” I’m aware of came after the Spanish American War. The US got a few places like Guam and Samoa, but also the Philippines. We gave the Philippines back, but did keep Guam and Samoa as territories. And Puerto Rico, which can’t decide whether it’s happier independent, as an American state, or with its current status).
Many Americans are ignorant of the outside world. That’s because for most of them, what happened outside the borders of the country simply didn’t affect them. The US is big, nearly three times the size of Europe. Most business was done within the borders. Tourism didn’t need to cross borders. The whole country–and the one above it, mostly–all spoke the same languages.
That is changing, but change takes time, whether in the US or the KSA.
I think Americans have a sense of guilt for a) not doing much for European Jews who were trying to flee the Nazis pre-WWII, b) not doing much of anything for them post-WWII, and c) trying to rid themselves of their own anti-Semitism.
It didn’t help global understanding much that the picture of the Middle East that most Americans got in the 40s-60s was along the lines of the book/film “Exodus” by Leon Uris. Pure Zionist propaganda, but with no competing story to hear, what else could be expected?
The KSA was still trying to balance its budget and develop from real poverty then. And there was that little border problem with Yemen. Egypt, Iraq, and Syria were busy with coups and political assasinations. Anyone remember the UAR? Lebanon and Morocco were the most stable place in the entire Arab world at the time.
While all these things were going on, no one in the Arab world was talking to the West except the anti-colonialists who could only condemn it.
The Arab side of things was never heard because it was never told. If a tree doesn’t fall in the forest, does it make a noise?
Raed: Reduce the world’s population of Catholics by 2/3 through extermination, then ask the question. The answer might be “yes”.
I think the post-Holocaust Jews did probably deserve their own country. It shouldn’t have been where another population was already living, however, particularly one that wasn’t involved in WWII. A part of Germany or Austria might have done admirably.
Masses of Germans were relocated out of the eastern part of pre-war Germany to make room for Poles who were pushed out of eastern Poland by the Soviets. It could have been done at the time.
Nevertheless, Israel has been where it is now for the past 60 years. They can’t be relocated, nor can they be exterminated. There are no easy answers to a problem that must be solved.
I suspect a real solution won’t please anyone much, but it will end the violence and death. Perhaps that’s enough, particularly for those dying.
I am a palestinian, and to some degree you are all correct. Arabs are dis-organized and yes, our leadership stinks. We have a bunch of self serving idiots calling the shots, and anyone with half a brain in any Arab country is arrested for voicing an opinion that differs from their ruling regime. But they know how to keep people in line. Keep everyone worrying abouut food and shelter they will have less time to worry about freedom.
I attended school in the West Bank during the occupation and the books almost all but erased WW II and everything that followed. We were kept stupid and happy.
Why the US supports Israel? From congress all the way to the presidency, their are plenty of “jews” in the goverment and few of any Muslims. Seeing how 90% of Arabs are Muslim, this is not only a racial but a religious issue in the US. It is easier to be sympathetic to your jew friend and his fellow Jews after september 11th.
Our next Chief of Staff served in the Israeli Army. Can Obama be any clearer about his support for Israel?
John is talking the typical nonsense we have come to expect from conformist America. The extent of the so called “holocaust” has never been properly examined – certainly it is quite clear mathematically that nowhere near six million jews died in this conflict – and anyone who knows their history will understand why Hitler behaved like this to the jews who treated his family so badly. It is completely inaccurate to suggest that 2/3 of these people were exterminated. They should never have been allowed statehood in the first place inter alia because of their disparate origins. Their behaviour – and the behaviour of the US government – in the intervening years since 1967 has been outrageous. It has always puzzled me why none of the superpowers of Europe have not physically mobilised against israel. Force is the only thing these people understand – talk is just a waste of time with jews. No wonder Iran needs to have nuclear power available to defend itself against these terrorist forces aided and abetted by geoirge bush’s own terrorist state.
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