Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Devil You Know

Steve’s written a number of posts on Israeli influence on both American policy and American interests.  He links to a story about a false-flag operation in which Mossad agents pretended to be CIA agents while aiding Jundallah, an anti-Iranian Sunni terrorist group.  Steve comments:

Anyway, lately, I have a hard time getting too worked up over this kind of thing.  These days, Israel just kind of wants to win at the Great Game more. It's their hobby.

I was I could be as sanguine about this as Steve is.  It’s bad enough that the American government recklessly wagers America’s national honor in provocative foreign policy.  Because once (let’s say) Pearl Harbor gets bombed, it renders moot discussions about the wisdom of our oil embargo.  We can’t be America and not go to war.  But at least the American government is constitutionally empowered to make these wagers and is at least theoretically accountable to the people for the outcomes.

But the Israelis action was calibrated to provoke an Iranian attack, not on Israel, but on America.  Such is not the action of a friend.

But what are our choices?  Steve writes about the recent media attack on the Center for American Progress for alleging outsized Israeli influence:

What I do care about is the liberty and quality of debate in the U.S.

The difference between the Israel and the Cuba lobby is that the Cuba Libre Lobby is happy when you mention out loud how powerful they are, because that makes them seem even more powerful.

In contrast, the Israel Lobby, although it boasts itself about its own power (just check out the annual AIPAC conference in D.C.) tries to destroy people who mention its power, or who might even someday get around to mentioning it, as long as the Israel Lobby isn't comfortable with them. "Pay no attention to that lobby behind the curtain!" The latter has a severely chilling effect on thought in the more careerist parts of America.

I assume here that Steve wants what I want:  a free and substantive debate about how to advance American interests.  Yet is the emergency of that debate a likely outcome absent what Pat Buchannan once called the “Amen Corner”?

I doubt it.  Here is my bet for what happens:  Israel becomes . . . South Africa.

Think about it for the second.  All the things for which apartheid South Africa was criticized apply to Israel, and all the differences between them are unlikely to be especially salient to the kind of people that got worked up over apartheid South Africa, except for the ability of AIPAC to keep us from having that discussion.

I don’t want the Israelis to be compelled by the weight of American policy to commit national suicide in the manner of the Afrikaners.  I want our policy to be pro-America, not anti-Ashkenazi.  But maybe we have the best of the bad options?


Justin said...

Israel is less like S.A. and more like Nazi Germany, because it is not just a system of internal controls over minority populations, but also includes a system of external territorial aggression and militarism.

Just like Germany, all justified because they are surrounded by "people who hate them".

Another big difference being South Africa was established by natural population settlement, while Israel was established by ethnic cleansing and genocide from the very start.

Dr. Φ said...

The Hitler references are unlikely to be illuminating. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure that every nation's history, told honestly, involves "natural settlement", and also "ethnic cleansing". The Boers, the Jews, and the American colonists all settled more or less peacefully before forming governments to pursue their collective interests more forcefully.

My point is that the political left has historically feted Yassir Arafat and Nelson Mandela with equal enthusiasm. But my impression is that anti-Zionism has been politically neutralized, at least in the U.S., and that this is in no small part due to AIPAC and its frankly perverse hold on U.S. policy.