Keith's NO EMPIRE Blog

A radical dissident perspective on various topics. Comments welcome at

Sunday, February 21, 2010


As Israel’s ethnic cleansing (and potential genocide) of the native Palestinians continues, there has been a recent focus on the Jewish lobby and its power to influence American foreign policy. While providing helpful publicity to Jewish/Zionist influence on U.S. governmental decision making, these descriptions of the Jewish lobby’s influence tend to be overly simplistic and to incorrectly describe the relationship between the lobby and Israel, which is usually described as the lobby taking its marching orders from Israel. In my view, the reality is a sort of perverse triangle in which American elites (including Jews), American Jewish Zionists (organized American Jewry), and Israeli Jewish elites cooperate and compete, each trying to exploit the others to obtain power-seeking advantage. In other words, the American Jewish power-elite exert considerable influence on the Jewish state, and support Israel to the extent that they perceive that it benefits them.

Zionism represents a return to traditional Jewish service to elite power, an attempt to replace Jewish religious ideology with blood and soil nationalism, and a means by which the Jewish power-elite reign in Jewish socialist/Marxist aspirations. The Jewish service to elite power needs to be qualified insofar as capitalism has permitted Jews to become a significant component of the power-elite, wildly out of proportion to their population base. In days of old, the diaspora Jewish elite prospered by serving the gentile monarch and nobility, but could never hope to rule directly as long as they remained Jews. Nowadays, he who has the gold rules, and Jewish financial power has resulted in the Jews becoming a significant part of the capitalist nobility. This financial success has been significantly aided by Jewish organization and activism inspired and guided by Zionist ideology. Make no mistake, without the aggressive ideological and organizational solidarity centered on Zionism, it is unlikely that the Jewish elites would be nearly as successful as they are in relation to the gentile majority.

A key to understanding Zionism’s significance is to be aware of the significant changes that occurred to Jewish identity during the last two hundred years. According to Israel Shahak, from about 800 AD until 1800 AD, Jews were bound by a common religion (classical Judaism), organized into reasonably autonomous communities, administered by Rabbis who had considerable authority over the Jews in their area. It was a tightly knit group that usually functioned as a de facto middle class which provided loyal service to the Gentile nobility in ruling the Gentile peasants. During this period, Jews were identified as followers of the Judaic religion.

Beginning about two hundred years ago, Gentile monarchs began to restrict the power of the Rabbis to engage in coercive discipline against the Jews in the community. This, in turn, led to a breakdown of Jewish exclusivity and in-group solidarity. Only the Orthodox Jews reflect classical Judaism. Conservative Jews, Reformed Jews, and secular Jews have all broken the bonds of Jewish religious solidarity to varying degrees. The breakdown of Jewish exclusivity both facilitated the assimilation of most Jews into Western society and weakened the organized power of world Jewry. The bonds of solidarity between the secular and Reformed Jews and the Orthodox Jews became tenuous. So to, the power of the Rabbis to command obedience from the reformed and secular flock. In essence, Jewish religion had lost its viability as a common ideological bond uniting the worlds Jews.

About 150 years ago, central and eastern Europe underwent a wave of nationalism. Unlike Western Europe which ideologically conceived of a nation of its citizens, central and eastern Europe tended to unite along racial and ethnic lines. Germany was described as a nation of the German people, etc. This “blood and soil” nationalism tended to identify the nation as belonging to the dominant ethnic group, and to treat other ethnic groups as foreign residents. It was during this period that the Jews (particularly in eastern Europe) tended to lose their religious identification and acquire a racial/ethnic identification. This change in perception was true for Gentiles and Jews alike. It was during this period that the concept of a racially derived “Jewish people” was born. In fact, the writings of some of the early eastern European Zionists concerning the unalterable uniqueness of the “Jewish race” are quite similar to the racial arguments of the anti-Semites, including the Nazis. Further, there was considerable cooperation between the Zionists and the anti-Semite Gentile elites as the Zionists attempted to garner support for creating a Jewish state for the Jewish “race.”

The rise of blood and soil nationalism in central and eastern Europe posed a threat to the Jews living there. At the most basic level, the emphasis on racial purity (as defined by the racists) would mean that the Jews would at best be consigned to the status of foreign residents in an alien land. Additionally, there was a certain residual resentment among the Gentile masses concerning the perceived Jewish complicity in royal tyranny. Finally, there was the strong identification of Jewish involvement in the international Socialist and Marxist movements which were ideologically internationalist, therefore, viewed by the nationalists as traitorous.

Whereas the Jewish Marxists sought to overthrow the existing social order in favor of a worker supported dictatorship, the Jewish Zionists worked to create a Jewish version of blood and soil nationalism via the creation of a Jewish state. At the least, this would tend to ameliorate the anti-Marxist basis of anti-Semitism (for the Zionists at least), and would provide a unifying secular ideology to organizationally unite the Jews. Additionally, this Jewish state would be the Jew among nations. That is, the Jewish state would relate to other nations as the traditional diaspora Jewish communities related to the surrounding Gentile communities in which they were located. In effect, the Zionists always conceived of Israel as serving the interests of the western Imperial powers at the expense of the local Arab population. An “outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism,” as Herzl phrased it to the Ottoman Sultan. It was recognized that western Imperial support was necessary to create and maintain a Jewish state in Palestine.

As the majority of the world’s Jews abandoned the fundamentalist discipline of classical Judaism for a less rigid expression of religion, the religious aspect of Judaism no longer was capable of uniting the various groupings into a unified whole. Zionism has come to replace Judaism as the overarching unifier of the Jewish people. In this regard, Zionism may be thought of as a form of secular religion with Israel functioning as a god-head surrogate. The secular devil is anti-Semitism which is depicted as an innate, irrational never-ending hatred of Jews. The Holocaust is Hell. One consequence of this is to cause many (most?) Jews, and certainly almost all Jewish Zionists to dismiss criticism of Jewish/Israeli behavior out of hand as anti-Semitism.

Two essential points worth noting: 1) Zionism and support for Israel are the modern secular equivalent of classical Judaism insofar as they unite world Jewry in an organized manner. This organizational power facilitates American Jewish elite power seeking vis-à-vis the less organized American Gentile elite. 2) Perceived threats to Israel’s security are seen by many (most?) Jews as threats against Jews in general, hence, there is increased internal Jewish group solidarity during times of middle-east conflict involving Israel. In other words, perceived threats to Israel reinforce Jewish identity amongst most Jews, and provide the motivation to keep them organized and active. Peace and justice in the middle-east would significantly reduce the perceived threat to Israel and shared sense of group victim-hood which unites the Jews, hence, peace is perceived by the Jewish elites as a threat to their power. Because of this, most American Jewish elites support Israeli militarism and oppose compromise and peace.

The role of American Jewish Zionist elites in influencing both U.S. and Israeli policies is of critical importance. It is important to understand that a just and peaceful resolution of the middle-east conflict, in which Israel is no longer engaged in never-ending war with the Arabs, would deflate the emotional appeal of the myth of a never-ending threat to world Jewry at the hand of the Gentiles. While this would likely prove beneficial to most Jews, Zionism as an organizing ideology would suffer greatly. As a consequence, the Zionist Jewish elites would lose much of their organizational advantage vis-à-vis the Gentile elites. It is for this reason that the Zionist elites need ongoing conflict and war between Israel and the Arabs to create the myth of Israeli/Jewish victim-hood, the emotionally potent irrational fear which binds together world Jewry in psychologically defensive solidarity. It is for this reason that the American Jewish Zionist elites tend to support the more aggressive, right-wing elements in Israel, and to strongly oppose any Israeli compromise with the Arabs over Eretz Yisrael.

A few additional comments are in order. First, Zionism is a fundamentalist ideology with characteristics similar to various other fundamentalist ideologies/religions. It is as pointless to argue rationally with a Zionist as to argue rationally with a Christian fundamentalist, a Moslem fundamentalist, a diehard Nazi, or a diehard Marxist. A true Zionist has a rigid, emotional commitment to Zionism highly resistant to change. Secondly, exploiting this fundamentalist commitment, the Zionists have achieved an extraordinarily effective level of organization, both in the U.S. and worldwide. This organization and emotional commitment enable the Zionists to raise funds and direct Zionist activity in an awesome manner. This enables the organized, affluent Zionist minority to exert considerable control over the non-Zionist majority.

An amazing thing is the extent to which Jewish Zionist power-seeking is largely invisible to most people. After about 200 years of Gentile pressure on the Jews to assimilate into the wider society, American Jews have overwhelmingly abandoned their distinctive dress and appearance (except for some Orthodox Jews), and are more-or-less visually indistinguishable from non-Jewish Americans. The result is that most Gentiles cannot readily identify who is a Jew, which would be fine if almost all Jews were simply individuals who happen to be Jewish. Alas, that is not the case. As Rabbi Stephan Weiss put it: “I am not an American citizen of Jewish faith. I am a Jew.” The reality is that many Jews, particularly organized Jews, and most certainly Zionist Jews, are ideologically bound together in solidarity, bias, and certain focused goals, including mutual power-seeking. Yet, to the casual observer, this significant social kinship of organized Jews is not obvious. How many people are aware that President Clinton’s middle-east peace envoys (Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, etc) are Jewish and reflect a strong pro-Israel bias?

Most Gentiles are unaware of the wildly disproportionate number of Jews that are in key positions in government. Or in the Federal Reserve. Or are key players on Wall Street or in the media. Or that about half of all U.S. billionaires are Jews (who comprise less than 3% of the population). Now if you say this to a general audience, you are labeled an anti-Semite. On the other hand, Jews in general, and organized Jews in particular, are much more aware than Gentiles of who is a Jew and who isn’t. The consequence is that the Jewish elite form a sort of (more-or-less) invisible kinship group that subtly discriminates in favor of their fellow Jews and against Gentiles. United by an ideology that states that Gentiles are irrational Jew haters, and that there is safety amongst your fellow Jews, how could it be otherwise?

A critically important point is that the wildly disproportionate success of the American Jewish elite is in no small measure a consequence of the bonds of solidarity and kinship among the Jews. This, in turn, is made possible by the emotional impact on Jews of the Nazi Holocaust (continually misrepresented to minimize non-Jewish victims), and by the organizing dynamic of Zionism. It seems to me quite likely that without the Holocaust (which the Zionists aided and abetted), Zionism would not have been successful, Israel would not have been created as a Jewish state, and American Jewry would not have been united by Zionist ideology. Furthermore, the Holocaust provided the powerful motivating force of primal fear which the Zionists were able to exploit, as well as appearing to validate the myth of eternal persecution which underlies this irrational ideology of eternal victim-hood. This is why Jewish dominated Hollywood continues to churn out an endless stream of Holocaust movies (while ignoring the “holocaust” of the Black slaves and the genocide of the American Indians), and why Arab resistance to U.S./Israeli aggression is depicted as anti-Semitic Arabs who want to drive the Jews into the sea.

Of course, the problem of Israeli militarism is not just a consequence of Jewish/Zionist/Israeli elite power-seeking. Israel has functioned, and continues to function, as a U.S. strategic asset. Israel can be thought of as America’s “French Foreign Legion” of the middle-east. Not completely reliable or trustworthy, but immensely valuable nonetheless. Israel provides significant support for America’s corrupt vassal states, and its ongoing subversion and wars of aggression against its Arab neighbors tend to weaken and divide the Arabs, providing a sort of violent and chaotic stability which facilitates U.S. imperial control. It is quite possible that without Israel, many of the Arab governments would have been overthrown long ago and replaced with secular nationalist regimes, a prospect which both the U.S. and Israel dread, and which they have successfully worked to prevent. Much has been made of the high cost of U.S. “aid” to Israel which totals billions of dollars per annum. An alternative view, however, is that the U.S. has acquired the valuable services of a highly effective mercenary force on the cheap, without the political consequences of direct U.S. involvement.

Additionally, Israel provides various unsavory services for the American Empire which the U.S. wishes to avoid undertaking. From training the Shah of Iran’s notorious secret police, to providing weapons and training to Central American death squads, to testing new American weapons on live Arabs, Israel has supported some of the worst mass-murderers in the world. Furthermore, through the use of local Jewish sayanim (helpers), the Israeli Mossad is able to provide valuable covert services for the American CIA. Finally, both the official Jewish lobby and the rest of the Zionist network can be used to influence Congress, the media, NGO’s, and other governments in support of administration policies. This last point is of critical importance. U.S. support for Israel is inseparable from U.S. Imperial ambitions. Likewise, Israel’s territorial ambitions require that the U.S. remain a militaristic empire. The Zionist network provides essential support for both Israeli militarism and U.S. Imperialism.

What all of this means is that the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular, are likely to undergo continued U.S./Israeli violence and injustice for the foreseeable future. U.S. geostrategy seems focused on military control of the planet’s hydrocarbon energy reserves. This will likely entail continued, ongoing warfare and intimidation against independent Arab nations. And while the Palestinians would not appear to be a significant concern of U.S. geostrategy, they are significant in regards Zionist ideology. The Israeli Zionists need to continue making war on their neighbors and the Palestinians to maintain Israeli Jewish solidarity in their increasingly right-wing, militaristic, Gentile-phobic society. American Jewish Zionists also want to see Israel at war with its neighbors so that this can be misrepresented as an existential threat to the survival of the Jewish nation, and by extension Jews everywhere. This provides the motivational energy which powers Zionist organization and Jewish solidarity which is the primary reason for the American Jewish elites power-seeking success.

In other words, the prospects for peace and justice in the middle-east are bleak to non-existent as long as the American elites (including significant Jews), the American Zionist elites, and the Israeli Zionist elites continue to strongly oppose peace and justice. It should be further noted that history demonstrates conclusively that power-seeking elites are not constrained by considerations of elementary decency and morality. How else to explain the frequent episodes of mass-murder down through history, of which the Nazi Holocaust is but one?