Caitlin Johnstone: A Former Israeli Leader’s Admission

Israel’s complete dependence on U.S. support means the Biden administration has all the leverage it needs to force an end to Israel’s aggressions at any time.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 10. (State Department, Chuck Kennedy)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been launching a forceful attack on Benjamin Netanyahu in both U.S. and Israeli media for sabotaging peace in Gaza and pushing Israel to the brink with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

During this he inadvertently made an interesting acknowledgement that flies in the face of the Biden administration’s feigned powerlessness to rein in Israel’s assault on Palestinians. 

“I accuse the prime minister of Israel of a deliberate attempt to destroy the political-security-military alliance between Israel and the United States,” Olmert writes in an op-ed for Haaretz titled “I Accuse Netanyahu of Betrayal.”

“For many years, Israel’s political stability in the international arena rested on the absolute support of the United States,” writes Olmert, adding,  “The entire Israel Air Force relies completely on American aircraft: fighter planes, transport planes, refueler planes and helicopters. All of Israel’s air power is based on the American commitment to defend Israel. We have no other reliable source for essential supplies of equipment, munitions and advanced weapons that Israel cannot manufacture on its own.”

Olmert’s comments echo those made in November of last year by retired Israeli Major General Yitzhak Brick, who said of the Israeli assault on Gaza, 

“All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”

Contrast these frank admissions by longtime Israeli government insiders with the way the Biden administration has been pretending since the early days of this onslaught that there is nothing it can do to force Israel to be less monstrous and murderous in Gaza, constantly posturing as a passive witness to genocidal atrocity after genocidal atrocity while the Western press churn out nonstop anonymously-sourced articles about how secretly upset the president is with the Netanyahu regime.

It’s just a simple fact that Israel’s complete dependence on U.S. support means the Biden administration has all the leverage it needs to force an end to Israel’s aggressions at any time, but instead you’ll get White House officials like John Kirby, national security communications adviser, spouting nonsense about how Israel is a completely independent nation to whom the U.S. is incapable of dictating any terms whatsoever.

Kirby at a press briefing in October 2023. (White House, Oliver Contreras)

When asked by the press back in February if the U.S. was doing anything to deter Israel from its planned assault on Rafah, for example, Kirby replied as follows:

“[Israel] is a sovereign nation. They plan their military operations, and they conduct their military operations, and they make the choices. It’s not like we give them a homework assignment, and they have to then turn in their plan to us for grading. We have said that from our perspective, as a friend of Israel and as a supporter of their efforts to defend themselves, we would expect that any plan for going into Rafah would properly account for the now more than a million civilians that are seeking refuge down there.”

Israel has since launched a brutal assault on Rafah which features regular massacres of civilians, with the Israeli military forces now reportedly working toward the complete capture of the entire city. This despite the White House previously having said that a “major ground operation” in Rafah would be a “red line” for this administration.

The U.S. is just as responsible for what’s happening in Gaza as Israel itself, and will be responsible for everything that happens in Lebanon as well. They could end this at any time, and they choose to keep it going instead. As Noam Chomsky once said during the Second Intifada, “They’re not Israeli helicopters, they’re U.S. helicopters with Israeli pilots.”

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

13 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: A Former Israeli Leader’s Admission

  1. michael888
    July 4, 2024 at 10:39

    Biden loves wars. He sees himself as a Brilliant Decider, like Shrub.

    He has been involved in genocide over and over and is de-sensitized to it (as are most Americans). All the death squads and narco states in Latin America, often aimed at indigenous people “in the way”. Along with Obama sponsoring the Genocide in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. In Ukraine sponsoring the genocide of ethnic Russian Ukrainians in East and South Ukraine by UkroNAZIs. And now in Gaza, by the ZioNAZIs. It’s always excuses and crocodile tears with Joe Biden.

    Genocide Joe’s actions speak much louder than his words (which somehow are always dismissed as gaffes not an indication of racism and contempt for the untermenschen). “Joe is a good man. Joe is sharp as a tack.”) Biden has been in DC for almost 50 years. Many of the problems he faces are problems he created as Senator. As Obama noted “never underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up.”

  2. Brent
    July 3, 2024 at 22:23

    I wonder if Palestinians have a plan for co-existence that would enable Biden to put his foot down on greater Israel safely. Abbas once said if Netanyahu kept blocking a two-state solution, he’d add the one-state with equality for all, as an option. What is he waiting for?

  3. David Otness
    July 3, 2024 at 15:58

    We all know why the U.S. will not change course nor grow a miraculous conscience. This administration is a total travesty. We’ve been invaded from within. No other U.S. President has ever allowed Israel this much rope. Personally, I hope they hang themselves with it.

  4. Michael G
    July 3, 2024 at 15:25

    “This generosity would be understandable if Israel were a vital strategic asset for the United States—that is, if Israel’s existence and continued growth made the United States substantially safer. It would also be easy to explain if there were a compelling moral rationale for maintaining such high levels of material aid and diplomatic backing. But this is not the case.”
    -John J. Mearsheimer and Stephan M. Walt
    The Israel Lobby p.48

    “The real reason why American politicians are so deferential is the political power of the Israel Lobby.”
    -Ibid p.5

    I had been limping along on the assumption that Israel was a geostrategic necessity. We need access to the Persian Gulf oil true. But supporting Israel no matter what is hurting us in that regard. Everybody in the region, and everybody in the world is upset at us for supporting Israel no matter what. Quit doing it. Get rid of the Israel Lobby. Get rid of money in politics, by hook or by neoliberal crook.
    I was really upset when I found out the oil embargo was cause by Nixon and Kissinger giving Israel $2.2 Billion during the October 1973 war. It triggered the oil embargo, and made everyone’s old man come home in a really bad mood after having to wait in line so he could get to work the next day.

    • sisuforpeace
      July 4, 2024 at 15:48

      Really? This generosity that is fuelling a genocide and an apartheid state would be okay if Israel “were a vital strategic asset for the United States”? US support and “generosity” has never been justified.

      • Michael G
        July 4, 2024 at 22:19

        I understand. I feel the same way you do.
        Mearsheimer and Walt are Realists.
        Realism and Humanitarianism are two different things.
        It’s hard to do, but when you listen to him, you have to listen to him “critically”. Try to understand what he’s telling you is from a Realist’s perspective.
        They look at a nation state and ask themselves what would a neoliberal do?
        For me, Mearsheimer is a window into the mind of the psychopaths that run this country. What drives them, what they may do next.
        For what it’s worth, I’ve listened to him enough, he slips occasionally and let’s his humanitarian side out.

  5. Drew Hunkins
    July 3, 2024 at 14:50

    “Israel’s complete dependence on U.S. support means the Biden administration has all the leverage it needs to force an end to Israel’s aggressions at any time.”

    This is sort of true, to a certain extent. What it doesn’t account for is the overwhelming power of the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) in Washington and throughout much of the United States.

    The massive influence the ZPC wields over a lot of our socio-economic-politico reality is slowly gaining traction with the normies in Peoria.

    I’ve essentially known for the past 20 years or so that an impending backlash is looming.

    One hopes that this burgeoning social awareness among the masses moves in a healthy constructive way and doesn’t get bogged down amid dreadful violence and hatred.

  6. Roger Milbrandt
    July 3, 2024 at 14:28

    It is evident, as Caitlin points out, that Israel is not a fully sovereign country given its absolute dependence on US supplies in the pursuit of its military objectives. Many counter, though, that the US cannot be considered ‘sovereign’ on issues related to Israel because of the immense influence of the pro-Israeli lobby upon the governing class in the US. An article on this tricky matter might be in order.
    I am constantly confused by very competent and knowledgable analysts who simultaneously say that the US calls the shots in Tel Aviv and that Israel calls the shots in Washington. For example, Jeffrey Sachs (who, like Caitlin Johnstone, is one of my heroes) sometimes articulates this self-contradiction.

    • Susan Siens
      July 4, 2024 at 16:49

      Jeffrey Sachs has made some cogent observations, but I prefer hearing from people who are not living in ivory towers and palsing around with Janet Yellen. One of the worst things that has happened to the U.S. is leaving social issues to academics instead of the general public educating and organizing themselves. And until Americans are willing to listen to impassioned activists — oh, no, she’s not acting bourgeois! — we will continue down the same bland, meaningless road to our collapse.

      • Em
        July 4, 2024 at 22:06

        One of the best things that IS happening for the U.S. general public, is having the superb academic mind of economist Jeffrey Sachs, speaking and writing passionately, making astute, cogent observations; specifically for elucidating to the general public, the contexts in which, and how, social issues are affected by the overall operating power structures.
        Please clarify what you mean by insinuating his “palsing around with Janet Yellen”.
        If Jeffrey Sachs is NOT an impassioned activist, who interacts with, and advises, by active engagement with literally, hundreds of powerful politicians, of all stripes, the world over, through his longstanding affiliation with the U.N. organization membership, I’d like to know who is generally better respected than he, in your opinion!

      • Roger Milbrandt
        July 5, 2024 at 13:46

        You have a point.
        I appreciate the way Sachs often uses an insider’s knowledge to substantiate compelling critiques of the foreign policy establishment but I agree that it would be better if the dissent were lead by activists rather than academics.

  7. Voltaria Voltaire
    July 3, 2024 at 13:15

    Yes, thank you Caitlyn. U.S. could make a phone call and stop this. So why…….??????? Is it blackmail, threats, greed, pure evil? All of those things? I don’t know. But it is surely messed up. What can be done? Besides shining the light of truth and continuing to do so and apply pressure either with confronting face to face our politicians, and/or persisting to communicate in whatever way possible.

    I tried the Tim Foley reading, which is good. But be warned, a bunch of lies and propagsnda immediately follows it on GooTube by the silver tongued devil planners.

  8. Clever Dog
    July 3, 2024 at 12:59

    Alexander Haig put it this way in 1981, when he was Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.”

    Some people have contested that idea, but Olmert’s statements confirm that Haig was speaking honestly. Just substitute at the end, “Imperial interests” for “national security”.

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