Will Zionism Sink Mideast Peace?

The resumption of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators is widely cheered, but it will result in a positive result only if the genuine interests of both sides are treated fairly, a prospect that is undercut by the pro-Israeli bias of the U.S. government, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues are carrying on an established, yet clearly dangerous, tradition of U.S. foreign policy — the mixing up of national interest and the parochial interests of powerful lobby groups.

Indeed, given the way U.S. federal politics has long operated, national interest is, except in rare cases, an impossible notion. This is because almost all politicians and both political parties are so tied to, and financially dependent upon, powerful lobby groups that they cannot formulate independent positions on issues important to these lobbies. Thus, what is put forth as national interest is most often the interest of a particular interest group with too much money buying too much influence.

Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and lead U.S. representative to the new Israeli-Palestinian talks.

In today’s foreign policy arena this conflation of the general and the particular is best seen in U.S. policies in the Middle East. Here are four recent examples:

–The renewal of “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinians is presently big news. The Obama administration casts itself as the “honest broker” bringing the two sides together to renew negotiations after a three-year hiatus. However, the United States has never served as an “honest broker” between these two parties and this is one of the reasons that their conflict has remained unresolved so long.

Why can’t the U.S. be the “honest broker”? Because the American government is in no position to formulate an independent policy reflecting the nation’s national interest in a just and therefore lasting peace. The Zionist lobby (made up of both Jewish and Christian Americans) is so powerful that the vast majority of politicians and both political parties will not defy it. So the U.S. position is always pro-Israel.

That is why the Obama administration recently appointed Martin Indyk “special envoy to shepherd [Israeli-Palestinian] talks toward a final settlement.” Indyk is an outright Zionist whose lack of impartiality contributed to the failure of peace talks under the Clinton administration. There is no secret about this, nor is there any apparent embarrassment on the part of the Obama administration at simultaneously claiming to be a worthwhile mediator while assigning an overtly prejudiced envoy to the talks.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, if there is a “settlement,” it will be a pro-Israeli one forced upon a Palestinian National Authority, which, in any case, is made up of people who are not representative of the Palestinians at large and really have no legal standing to negotiate anything, much less a final status agreement. Is this a formula for future peace? Of course not. But it is what the Zionist lobby finds acceptable.

–If the appointment of Indyk were not enough to indicate the lack of any “national interest” guiding American policy when it comes to the “peace talks,” then this next item is definitive. According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a confidential letter from President Obama delivered to the Israeli government gave assurances that the U.S. position is that Palestinian refugees should return only to a future Palestinian state and not to Israel (from where many were evicted).

In addition, any settlement of borders should reflect “the reality on the ground.” Such a position prejudices the outcome of negotiations in favor of the Israelis and therefore will certainly deny justice to the Palestinians. That almost assures future strife and cannot possibly reflect U.S. national interest. Objectively, it does not even reflect Israeli national interest. It does, however, coincide with the wishes of the Zionist lobby in Washington.

–In late July, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told Congress that President Obama will not make a judgment whether the military removal of Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, constituted a coup. Under U.S. law, if the government judges what happened in Egypt to be a coup, all American aid to the Egyptian military ($1.3 billion a year) would have to stop.

However, the Obama administration does not want the aid to stop, and so Burns announced that, “The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination.”

Just how does Burns determine “national interest”? Well, in this case the “national interest” is having an Egyptian officer corps, bribed with U.S. tax dollars to act in a pro-Israeli fashion, running their country. Thus U.S. “national interest” is defined by Israeli national interest. If presented this way to the American people, there would no doubt be objections, so our policy is publicly put forth differently. According to a recent statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, the Egyptian military removed a freely and fairly elected government in order to “restore democracy.”

–Finally, there is the U.S. Congress’s obsessive refusal to come to terms with Iran. One of the longest series of foreign policy bills to come out of the post 9/11 Congresses are bills levying sanctions on Iran. Ostensibly, this is because Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Wait a minute! For years the heads of every relevant American intelligence agency have been telling each of those Congresses that there is no evidence that the Iranians are seeking such weapons.

No matter, the Zionist lobby says they are and, what’s more, has helped write every one of those sanctions bills. Now, just days before a new moderate Iranian president takes office, the House of Representatives passes the most punitive sanctions bill yet. Let’s insult the guy we might be able to deal with. U.S. national Interest? No, the interest of a powerful lobby.

Lobby Interest and the War on Terror

What has this literal selling out to the Zionists of U.S. national interests in the Middle East gotten the country? For one thing, it helped bring on the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. However, you can’t expect those who sold their independence for a handful of campaign silver and other political support to admit this.

Thus, no branch of the U.S. government has ever owned up to the fact that terrorist attacks are in part a product of American foreign policies. Having refused to grasp this fact, the U.S. government has failed to make any reforms in how it formulates such policies. Which means the special interests are still in charge.

As a consequence we find the following: “The State Department issued a worldwide alert on Friday [Aug. 2, 2013] as it suspended operations in 21 Muslim countries in response to ‘current information’ that suggests al Qaida and affiliated militant groups could strike within the next month.”

By the way, just a year ago Washington was telling us that the “defeat of al Qaida was within reach.” This premature optimism was then replaced by last May’s gloomy prediction that the “war on terror” is likely to last “another 10 or 20 years.” The truth is that unless we come to see national interest apart from the parochial interests of powerful lobbies such as the Zionists, there will be no end at all to the terrorist threat.

This is a hole that the U.S. political system dug for itself. There is enough entrenched conservatism in the country to make campaign finance reform unlikely for the foreseeable future. At the same time, money coming from private interests to fund the campaigns of their favorite candidates (who in turn have sold their political souls to these interests) is declared the equivalent of “free speech” by the Supreme Court.

As a consequence special interests such as the Zionist lobby can and do buy themselves control over vital aspects of Middle East foreign policy. It is a failed system which has already dragged the nation halfway to hell. Another “10 or 20 years” will take us the rest of the way in.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author ofForeign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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9 comments on “Will Zionism Sink Mideast Peace?

  1. Mark Thomason on said:

    We saw the same thing with the China Lobby on behalf of Taiwan. It lasted a long time, but it ran down eventually. We still guarantee Taiwan against conquest, but our policy is no longer an expression of what Taiwan wants.

    Israel will inevitably get to the same place. Such Lobbies have a life span.

  2. Rehmat on said:

    Judging by Israel’s past record of these so-called “peace negotiations”, the logical conclusion would be YES.

    One has just to look at the “negotiation team”: five Jews and two Arabs sitting across the table discussing what’s good for the Native Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/07/31/kerrys-palestinian-iftar-for-jews-and-muslims/

  3. I wish that were the case Mark, but they have one heck of a big looby with clout. There needs to be a complete seperation between US internal politics and those of a foreign country. How they wield such power and abuse it too, is beyond me. Even here in Canada I think the each year a lobby is getting more and more organized influencing our politics here.

  4. Vesuvius on said:

    Unfortunately YES, peace in the ME is now beyond the horizon. It’s shot dead long ago. Professor Davidson’s article expresses the situation in a nutshell.

    Palestine being lost, the relevant question today is: When will Americans protest loud enough to make U.S. politicians work to the benefit of the U.S.A., instead of in the interest of Israel? When will AIPAC finally lose its grip on U.S. Congress, the White House, U.S. universities and media?

    By the way: I recommend a book on Israel and Zionism, by Israeli history professor Shlomo Sand: “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Yes, his thesis is exacly that, Jews around the world are not descendants from ancient Palestine, but have their roots in many other places. They became “jews” because of conversion to Jewish religion. The Picture of a people driven from the ME, wandering about for 2000 years, now seeking “their true home” in Palestine is simply wrong and untrue.

  5. bobzz on said:

    Gullivar and the Lilliputians come to mind (excuse the spelling if I got it wrong).

  6. rosemerry on said:

    Thanks for this. The photo should be enugh to disqualify Indyk.
    Uri Avnery asked why among 300 million people could not be found one nonJew to be selected. Not a chance.

  7. DDearborn on said:

    Hmmm

    The middle east peace process was doomed on 9-12-2001 when Bush allowed the Israeli army (which just 40000 troops were coincidently massed on the border with the West Bank) to sweep into Palestine and begin the annexation of greater Palestine. A process which was not only tolerated but actively encouraged by the Zionist members of Congress and the White House, butactively supported by US policy. Which leaves us today with Israel controlling 95% of all useful land in Palestine. It has isarel annexing what is left of Jerusalem. It leaves hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rotting in the open air prison of Gaza for decades. The rest in the West Bank are walled and fenced in. In short the Zionist in our government have openly condoned and supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. And at this late date there can be no peace only exodus. This was of course Israel’s plan from day one. In the beginning the murdered hundreds of thousands and expelled nearly 1 million. And they have been systematically killing the rest ever since. War crime and crimes against humanity hardly do justice to horror Israel has been raining down on Palestinians (mostly women and children) for decades.

  8. Heikki on said:

    The Jews will sabotage the peace talks! If they had defined borders how could they go on stealing other people’s land?