The United States of Israel: what next?

By William Mallinson *
22 May 2021

Although I am not a Jew, I share the view of many thinking Jews that Zionism is essentially a warped ideology. Perhaps, and to their credit, some of the most powerful and persuasive arguments against the activities of the Israel lobby and Zionism have come from Jews. Some Jews cannot ‘stomach Zionism’. For those whose motives are purely spiritual, the Jewish state is at best an irritant, at worst a blasphemy[1], according to The Atlas of the Jewish World, published by Time Life Books in 1995. One of the most critical books about the excesses of Zionist fanatics against innocent Palestinians was written by an Israeli academic, Ilan Pappe. It details in precise terms the plan to expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their lands, even before the war of 1948, including how and when particular murders of civilians were planned to achieve maximum effect.[2]

Were it not for one of my grandfathers, extreme Zionists would have killed my mother, and I would not be here writing this. Why? Well, between 1947 and 1949 my mother was interpreting for the United Nations in Rhodes (her birthplace), where various meetings were taking place to solve the Arab-Palestine-Israel problem. She even beat Moshe Dayan at table tennis. Her friend Ralph Bunch (Count Bernadotte’s chief aide) asked her to accompany Count Bernadotte to Palestine, where the two- state solution was being promoted. Luckily, her father did not allow her to go: thank God, since my mother escaped the murder of the count and his driver by those of Netanyahoo’s ilk, insane Zionist fanatics.

Had the fanatic killers not succeeded, there would likely have been a two-state solution. And when this possibility again became serious in the early Nineties, with the Oslo Accords, the fanatics again stepped in, murdering its chief architect, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin.

Since then, the fanatics have held sway: in September 2000, not long before he was elected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (previously Scheinerman), visited Temple Mount, thus igniting the second intifada. Since then, every few years, thousands of Palestinian civilians have been killed, as well as a handful of Israeli ones.

One could argue that the root cause of all this horror began when Cain killed Abel. More recently and realistically, we can blame Herzl’s Zionist fanaticism, Britain (the Balfour Declaration and taking French leave of Palestine in 1948), and Bernadotte’s and Rabin’s murders. As for the latest round of slaughter, it is obvious that the trouble began when the Jewish state began the illegal eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem.

Who won? Israel, because it killed many more children than Palestinian rockets did (only two Israeli children were killed). This is the evil logic behind the continuing theft of Palestinian land. As for the USA, the Zionist fanatics will not allow Washington to be an honest broker. Quite the opposite: Trump and his Christian Zionist friends have seen to that, by illegally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, even recognising the Golan Heights? as Israeli. Let us look a little more closely at what lies behind this.

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The most recent well-known critique of the Zionist lobby was written by respected academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in 2006[3], causing a furious reaction among extremist Zionists. The article’s main argument was that the power of the Israeli lobby had led to one-sided US support for Israel, that was inconsistent with its own interests and those of other states in the region. The US had become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, ‘making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians’; the article highlighted US hypocrisy in this complicity, given that it presses other states to respect human rights, and that it condones Israel’s nuclear arsenal, while insisting that Iran and others must not have a nuclear capability. Perhaps the most recent example of US connivance in unacceptable Israeli behaviour towards the Palestinians was the US Secretary of State, Clinton’s, comment that the building of settlements for Jews on occupied Palestinian territory was ‘unhelpful’, when it is in fact downright illegal, indeed criminal in terms of international law. In terms of euphemistic language, it reminds one of the phrase ‘collateral damage’ for killing civilians, or ‘awkward murder’ and ‘naughty rape.’ The extremist land-grabbers in Israel know that they can count on US support, whatever the amount of tut-tutting.

The influence of the Israeli lobby has indeed contributed to the US devoting one sixth of its foreign aid budget to the sixteenth most wealthy nation on earth.[4] In addition to this, Israel receives 1.8 billion dollars a year in military aid. Clearly, the term ‘aid’ is in this context a euphemism for massive political, economic and military support. There is ‘little doubt that Israel and the lobby were key factors in the decision to go to war’, wrote Mearsheimer and Walt, who continue by demonstrating the power of the Israel lobby in pushing the US into attacking Iran, all with the full support of the ‘neo-conservatives’, as those Christian Zionists are also labelled. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) plays the leading coordinating role among the plethora of Jewish organisations in the US, and is a ‘de facto agent’ for Israel, with a ‘stranglehold on Congress’.[5]  Although the Israeli embassy in Washington takes great pains to claim that it has no official policy-making contacts with the Israel lobby, the authors make clear that American Jewish leaders often consult Israeli officials, to ensure that their actions advance Israeli goals. Those critical of Israel keep silent, however, because they fear that the lobby will damage their careers. If there were no AIPAC, Americans would have a more critical view of Israel, and US policy in the Middle East would be different.

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Zionist organisations in the United States have always been powerful, and the phenomenon of the disproportionate influence they wield has been suspected, but rarely enunciated fully, for a long time. Many who wish to criticise the less positive side tend not to do so, for fear of being labelled ‘anti-semitic’, in itself an odd idea, since the semitic peoples include Arabs, among others, leading to suggestions that the term ‘anti-semitic’ has been hijacked.

Lest any of you readers are already smarting in fury and indignation at these daringly critical words, and preparing to apply your ‘conspiracy theorist’ label, consider that as early as 1972, the British embassy in Washington wrote a confidential paper on ‘Zionist Organisations in the United States’, part of a series for a proposed Foreign and Commonwealth Office paper on ‘the role and effectiveness of Zionist organizations in the United States and Western Europe’. A covering letter from the British ambassador in Tel Aviv stated: ‘I need hardly say that this is a subject on which the Israel Government is very sensitive, because the continuing support of the Diaspora is an important element in their national security. They might well be suspicious of our motives if it comes to their knowledge that we were preparing a study of this kind […].’[6]

The paper can be considered as a – perhaps more subtle – version, in certain respects, of the recent Mearsheimer/Walt paper, remarkable in that it was written thirty four years earlier. Had it been published, it could well have produced a Zionist backlash, just as the recent Walt/Mearsheimer critique did. The paper equated for its purposes the term ‘American Zionism’ with active support for Israel and her policies. Extracts from the paper speak for themselves, requiring little if any interpretation: ‘The well-organised lobby of Jewish organisations concentrates its activities on influencing congress. There is very little activity in State Legislatures, mainly because few issues arise affecting Israel or the Jewish community in those bodies. The obvious point of pressure must be Congress and there is little doubt that much of the active output of the Zionist organisations is devoted to that end […] whenever an important event occurs in the world at large or in this country, or whenever there is any public threat to Israel, a flood of letters descends upon the offices of Senators and Representatives throughout the country. Some, no doubt, are spontaneous, but the majority show unmistakable evidence of a careful orchestration.’[7]

The paper devoted some attention to Zionist activity in the press, ‘which are [sic] in any case responsive to pro-Israeli articles, largely because a number of press magnates, editors and journalists are themselves of Jewish stock.’ An example of clearly illicit pressure is given: ‘A well-known columnist, who writes in the Christian Science Monitor, told us last year that, when he wrote an editorial which contained mild criticism about the intransigence of the Israeli government, he received a telephone call from the Israeli Embassy in Washington within the hour to express official Israeli displeasure. He was told that such judgements would not be well received by many of the big firms in the Boston area who bought advertising space in the paper and that the Israeli Embassy were confident that he would not wish to deprive his paper of much needed revenue. […] There can be little doubt that the Israeli Embassy discreetly passes on information to the Jewish organisations [my italics], but it would be difficult to point to a direct link’.

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Other interesting observations emerge from the paper. For example, whereas Jews made up about 3% of the population, between 18 and 25% of faculty members at Ivy League universities were Jews, while 8% of the urban population of the US were Jewish, and 96% of Jews lived in towns. ‘There is little doubt that Zionist organisations and the Israeli lobby wield considerable political strength in this country, stated the paper, concluding that ‘support for Israel has a universal appeal, being quite distinct from the lobbying efforts of other ethnic minorities’.

And so it is today. The fanatic Zionists who control Israel and Washington will continue to try and obliterate the Palestinian presence. One can but hope that within a few years, to forestall more Palestinian anger at being robbed by Israel, the US, China and Russia will force a two-state solution on Israel. Failing that, shame on the world, and the likes of Cain.

* Professor of Political Ideas and Institutions
Universitá Guglielmo Marconi

[1] De Lange, Nicholas, Atlas of the Jewish World, Time Life Books, Andromeda Oxford Limited, 1995, p. 132.

[2] Pappe, Ilan, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, One World, Oxford, 2007.

[3] Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen, ‘The Israel Lobby’, London Review of Books, 23 March 2006.

[4] Op. cit., Northcott, p. 34.

[5] Op. cit., Mearsheimer and Walt.

[6] Barnes to Evans, letter, 5 January 1972, FCO 17/1763, file NER 18/7.

[7] Op. cit., ‘Zionist Organisations in the United States’.

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