Friday, 25 April 2008

What's In It For America?

It is a subject that was touched upon here in light of Hillary's words concerning the obliteration of Iran and has always had me wondering just why every American administration is so protective of Israel. What is in it for them?
It obviously isn't anything of a military nature as the Israel Defense Force is one of the most powerful and modern military's in the World with top-of-the-range weapons consisting of over 4000 tanks, 130 attack helicopters and 60-80 nuclear warheads. Israel currently receives an annual $2.4 billion military aid from America so Israel is not in any danger of being invaded anytime soon.
Israel is not some backward basket case of a nation stricken by poverty.
The IMF placed Israel 52nd in the GDP league table which puts it one below Ireland but above the likes of Finland, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. In terms of GDP per capita (GDP divided by population), Israel is above some western nations such as Spain and and is on a par with France and Germany.
So if it isn't military or financial support, why else are American Presidents so keen to look after Israel?
The 5.2m Jews in the United States account for 1.3% of the 300m population which is not a large enough number to make a significant impact on an election and dwarfed by the 14.1% who say they are non-religious who hold greater sway over who wins an election.
Even in it's own backyard, Israel is hardly on nodding terms with it's neighbours and is very much a pariah in the Middle East and is blamed for most of the tensions in the area and by association, so is America. Bin Laden and others have cited the close relationship between the two countries on many occasions to justify their actions so there is no political leverage in the area from such an alliance.
There is no oil in Israel and no other natural resources that America needs so again, i am stumped on what America gets out of being so intrinsically linked to a small country virtually the same size as Wales.
It really does seem a one sided relationship which gives all the headaches, costs the US taxpayers billions and has no real military, financial or political benefit or am i missing something here?

44 comments:

Miz UV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miz UV said...

Religious or not, Jews will ALWAYS support Israel, and Jews have a very high voting % participation. A lot of them are located in Florida, and for whatever reason, Florida has become a very important state in Presidential elections. Conservative Christians strongly support Israel, and they're an even larger voting bloc. Next, there's a commitment to support democratic nations, which is why we support all of Western Europe, too. We can count on Israel being eyes and ears for us on the rest of the ME as well. Finally, Israel played the nuke card in 1973, so we figure if we abandon her, Iran and the Arab countries will probably attempt to destroy Israel, and she will use nukes to defend herself. We don't want that.

Oh, and probably many Americans see Muslim nations as enemies after 9/11, so enemy of enemy = friend.

Hope that helps!

(Sorry had to fix the earlier one for hideous typos.)

Noah "Nog" M. said...

I know a lot of "screw Israel, let'em by their own guns" Jews. If they can't defend their own borders without our money they need to take their Plan B (if they have one).

I would like to mention though that every country in the region (most of the world really) was drawn on the map by the scheming likes of the British and French. There isn't any reason why Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait aren't just one big "Despotate of the Arabs".

While $2.4 billion is pocket change for the U.S. federal budget, I still wish they'd drop the stupid subsidy and give me a $.04 tax rebate.

My understanding of the issue leads me to believe that these Conservative Christian sects are the biggest force behind it, certainly bigger than the Israel lobby proper. The logic is along the lines of: "If we just give Israel enough money and guns they'll cause the apocalyptic war that will bring about the end of times and the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". They're a bunch of loonies but there may be tens of millions of them here in the states.

Wait?! Don't you Brits know? You drew them there.

Lucy said...

So it isn't the tiny 1.3% Jews the politicians try to keep sweet but the huge 75% Conservative Christians who strongly support the Jews. That is the first time i have heard that and it does make a lot of sense now and puts Hillary's words into some sort of context.

Cody Bones said...

To play the Devil's advocate here, why wouldn't we support the only modern democracy, and bastion of stability in the Middle East? Why wouldn't we support one of our largest trading partners? Should we change out foreign policy to support, I don't know, Syria? We also offer great support to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and also to Jordan to a lesser extent. If you want to talk about money, in a perverse way, most of our dollars are flowing to Iraq. So I don't think it's a zero sum game.

Lucy, just be careful about coming to easy, one line conclusions like "religious right". The reasons for supporting Israel are many and myriad. I support Israel, and I'm not a member of the religious right, nor am I Jewish.

Miz UV said...

Exactly, Cody: it's not just one thing. If it were, Obama wouldn't be careful to voice strong support for Israel when he clearly is not going to get the religious right vote.

effay said...

The other thing is there is no loss any politician can suffer from supporting Israel. Nobody on the left will leave you because you support Israel, and you might gain some in the middle and on the right. So by supporting Israel, politicians either get 0 or >0.

By the way Noah, I would guess that if the Europeans hadn't cut up the Middle East, there would still be at least 3 Arab countries representing the Sunni-Shia distinction distinction and the major ethnic distinction that I'm aware of, the Persian-Arab distinction.

Lucy said...

So the politicians get the support of the 'religious' groups and in a religious country such as USA, i can understand why they would want to stay on the right side of them.
Would i be right in stating then that the benefit is not so much for America but for the aspirations of the politicians career?

Cody Bones said...

No, most politicians, as well as citizens are supporters of Israel, and it has NOTHING to do with religion.

Cheezy said...

The small percentage of the US population who are Jewish is a very deceptive figure. This is what the Jewish author and political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg has pointed out:

"Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely two percent of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times... The role and influence of Jews in American politics is equally marked... Jews are only three percent of the nation’s population and comprise eleven percent of what this study defines as the nation’s elite. However, Jews constitute more than 25 percent of the elite journalists and publishers, more than 17 percent of the leaders of important voluntary and public interest organizations, and more than 15 percent of the top ranking civil servants."

Combine this with the fact that Israeli foreign policy goals in the Middle East are basically in accordance with US foreign policy goals in the Middle East, and a few more pieces in the jigsaw puzzle start to fall into place.

Anonymous said...

Maybe our government leaders knew what the nazi were doing circa 1944, and could have done more to stop the mass murder of Jews, but instead directed the forces at Berlin instead recusing the Jews. Maybe the leaders like Ike felt guilty and made Presidential level commitments that must be honored by succeeding presidents...

Mabye.

Q

David G said...

Israel is an American created proxy right in the middle of all that oil. That makes it strategically important for America's imperial ambitions.

The religious crazies in America, in ignorance, think that because the Jewish religion uses the Old Testament, is therefore allied with Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Cheers.

Cheezy's quote from Ginsberg is very, very pertinent and explains why a tiny, fanatical minority wields such power.

Israel and America are the two most dangerous nations in the world!

David G said...

P.S. Don't know what happened to the above comment. It's fragmented itself. Perhaps Mossad were intercepting it!

Should read: 'uses the Old Testament, it is therefore...' and the 'Cheers' should be at the end.

P.P.S. Where did you get that very revealing quote from, Cheezy?

Noah "Nog" M. said...

David,
-"Israel is an American created proxy right in the middle of all that oil. That makes it strategically important for America's imperial ambitions."

[800 lines of "haha" omitted]
As I recall, "America" didn't put Israel on the map. The Arabs have the British and French government men of the time to thank for that.

-"Israel and America are the two most dangerous nations in the world!"

[1,200 lines of "haha" omitted]
If only it were true.

-More broadly, I'd contest the large scale existence of any "Jewish race" insofar as the category of race is a sensible category of anything and insofar as "the Jews" may be contrasted with "the Africans", "the Asians", or "the Europeans".

I'm not sure that there are many 100% Hebrews around and I'm not sure that there are many Western Europeans who don't have at least 2-5% Hebrew ancestry. I'm sure the Palestinians and the Hebrews have been mixing for a while and are less genetically distinct than the partisans of either faction would care to admit.
I have a bit of knowledge of genealogy. From what I can see, the folks who call themselves "Jews" in the United States might not have any more Ancient Hebrew (whatever that means) in them than anyone else.

Again, my major point here is that race is a pretty meaningless category. Nothing so arbitrary, subjective, and loaded in all different directions could have the meaning that so many want to attach to it.

-Nog

David G said...

Here's another link which might interest those who fawn upon Israel.

From ICH: Article 19813.htm.

"On the subject of Joel Gilbert’s vision of Israel one day being overwhelmed, I recall the words spoken to me many years ago by Golda Meir, Mother Israel, when she was prime minister. At a point during an interview I did with her for the BBC’s Panorama programme, I interrupted her to say: “Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying… You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it?”

As stated on the second page of Waiting for the Apocalypse, the Prologue to Volume One of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Golda replied, without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm or intimidate American Presidents according to need, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Dismal Soyanz said...

Israel may be democracy but democracy is a concept with many different possible manifestations. Being a democarcy does not mean that its policies are all correct.

I have always felt that people will jump up and down about democracy being the paradigm. While I beleive it is the best way to keep dissent in check by giving a voice to the people, it is not the be all and end all. Bad things can be done under a democracy - a democracy reduces the chances of it but does not eliminate it.

Support for Israel is misplaced in this respect. It's democracy is not under threat. Even its neighbours have democracy in varying shades - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon.

There is a real politik element to this. Support from Western countries for Israel comes from a number of factors - religion is only one them. Another is a cultural commonality. The Jews who founded Israel were largely displaced from Europe. For whatever reason, the political elite in the West believe that they have more in common with Israel than other Middle Eastern countries. This may well be true but it is not a good grounding for the way we look at the ME.

It comes down to the old "in or out" tribalism. Israel is easier to bring "in" and hence the others are "out".

David G said...

Noah, America has created a minor version of itself in Israel. That's what I meant by 'creating a proxy.'

Regarding 'race', the glue that binds Jews together is not 'pure' blood ties but elitist religious fanaticism. They believe themselves to be God's Chosen Children!

Dismal, your comments about the nonsense of claiming that being a 'democracy' means that you can do whatever it likes is very relevant. America and Israel use the same ridiculous pretext.

Israel is currently starving the citizens of Gaza which is a war crime! It's called 'collective punishment'.

Cheers.

annie said...

if only the u.s. cared about other regions-in-peril the way we care about israel. i find the "turning away" most disturbing.

Lucy said...

So..*deep breath*..possible reasons in no particular order:

1> The US politicians defend Israel to keep sweet the Christians who votes they do not want to lose.
2> It is a Democracy among countres considered less Democratic.
3> There is a strong Jewish controlled media in America which the politicans do not want to upset.
4> Israel is more 'similar' to America than most of the other countries in that region.
5> Guilt due to not saving the holocaust victims.

I do want to keep the brief narrow to WHY America supports Israel and WHAT they get from it and stay well away from the rights or wrong of supporting it. It still seems a very one sided relationship as Israel gets financial aid, arms and the support of a superpower but apart from the politicians, America doesn't actually get anything in return.

Cheezy said...

David: Sorry I didn't post this link first time --

http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/jewishlobby.shtml

David G said...

Annie, America in the main does nothing unless its interests and ambitions are being served both economically and militarily.

Thanks for the link, Cheezy!

Lucy, America gets a powerful proxy right in the middle of the Middle East. This has important economic (oil) and military dimensions. America wouldn't be there otherwise!

Cheers.

David G said...

P.S. I would strongly urge everyone to read Cheezy's link. It might open some eyes and minds! Cheers.

Lucy said...

But Israel has no oil David and the oil producing countries there are not by any stretch of the imagination friends of Israel.

Stephen said...

With respect to the religion angle, I think it has much more to do with the Christian right. Beyond that, I think it has mostly to do with geopolitics.

effay said...

Ummm...yeah, I'm pretty sure the IHR is a Holocaust denial organization. I hate to say it David, but I think you just might be what is commonly referred to as an anti-Semite (although that is technically a misnomer since there are also Semites who are Muslims; I use it connotatively here).

Also, when you say that Jews are bound by "elitist religious fanaticism," and "they believe themselves to be God's Chosen Children," I would note that if you had not specified that you were describing Jews I would have no idea what group of people you were referring to. I could not even rule out many atheists, who fancy themselves to be "ubermenschen".

Sorry Lucy, I couldn't resist.

Noah "Nog" M. said...

David,
Where do I start? That IHR article is hysterical! I'd definitely recommend jewwatch.com and theonion.com.

And to clarify, what exactly would you propose we do with all of the folks in the Levant who aren't Arabs (i.e. the Jews)?

David G said...

Noah, I'd recommend you and 'Effay' visit Desert Peace at the following link. http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/

The site is run by a Jewish person and it may help to dispel some of your combined ignorance.

Cheers.

Noah "Nog" M. said...

David,
1) What exactly do you think would happen to the Israelis if the tables were turned and the Arabs were the ones with all of the guns? Do you think they'd at least spare the women and children?

2) How many Israeli tanks does it take to kill one Arab child? I'd say 15 Israeli soldiers could kill off 2,000 Arab civilians in an hour or two. The Israeli military could not possibly be committing genocide because there are still a whole lot of Arabs and it's been more than a week since folks have started accusing the Israelis of a "campaign of genocide".

3) Any claim that the Arabs are the "original" owners or inhabitants of the Levant would be highly dubious and most questionable. The "who owned it first" game is absurd more often than not when it is played in the sphere of global geo-politics.

4) The Celts can't have France, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Spain, and Romania back. The Carthaginians are dead, meaning that it would be hopeless to try to return Carthage and Northern Africa to them. The "Native Americans" aren't getting the Western Hemisphere back. The Hebrews aren't getting Damascus back. The English aren't getting Normandy back. The Greeks aren't getting Constantinople and Anatolia back. The Germanic Tribes (Vandals, Ostrogoths) aren't getting Morocco back. The (ancient non-Arab) Egyptians are all dead so it's pointless to try to return Egypt to them.

I could go on and on and on.

-Nog

effay said...

I'm not really sure what this site was supposed to prove. I did like the "The Lobby" poster though: (http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/selling-kosher-viagara-on-the-net/).

I'm thinking about printing it off and putting it on my wall. I think it might have a sort of lambs blood effect for me.

On a related note, Noah wouldn't it be great if we could get this David G guy to converse with Ben? Actually, on second thought, maybe that would be bad. Ben would probably get angry and use some sort of nasty Jew magic on Dave.

Ah, what the Hell:

http://polydrift.blogspot.com/2008/03/palestinians-clearly-ones-suffering.html

(Note: I only wrote this because Ben was using his mind control on me; I don't actually believe any of this...no, no, no, that's not true...yes it is Ben! quit using mind control on me dammit!!!)

Cheezy said...

Erm, just for the record, the link that I posted, to the IHR site, wasn't supposed to be any sort of any recommendation of this group, or of any of their positions - about anything at all.

It was merely where I found that quote from Ginsberg, which can also be found in his book 'The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State'. I remembered this snippet from when I read this book, so I googled for it, so I could Copy&Paste it, and that's where I found it.

The salient bit that I was drawing everyone's attention to was that although Jews only make up a small part of the population of the US as a whole, they make up a much larger percentage of the 'movers and shakers' i.e. the people who hold real influence. It is these people who comprise the powerful 'Jewish lobby' in the USA.

I thought it best to spell that out - because if that old 'anti-Semite' word is going to be thrown around the place, then I'd rather it wasn't thrown at me ;-)

Noah "Nog" M. said...

-If everyone in the United States with more than 2% Hebrew ancestry were to be considered "a Jew", the "Jewish race" might well be the largest racial group in the United States.
-The "Jews" I've known tend to be "whiter" than me (and I am "white").
-White males tend to be disproportionately wealthy.
-Asians tend to be disproportionately wealthy.
-Arabs in the United States tend to be most disproportionately wealthy. And terrorists are disproportionately Arabs.
-There's nothing fundamentally wrong or evil with being a member of a disproportionately wealthy demographic.
-Despite popular belief, no more than 80% of rich people are evil.
-There are a lot of "powerful lobbys".
-There are about 800 things that would get you jumped on for if you said you didn't agree with them.
-Demographic statistics might not mean that much and can be stacked with slight changes in wording.


-There's a big difference between saying
"In relatively rare circumstances members of the IDF kill civilians either by accident or, more rarely, on purpose. Members of the IDF probably kill civilians at one of the lowest rates in the world when you factor in the other 200+ armies (including Arab Armies of course) but they still ought to try harder because their current collateral damage levels are unacceptably high for their first rate military.

There are also some anomalies in many of the present individual property rights claims throughout the Levant. It is appropriate and just that unoffending individuals who hold valid titles to land should have their lands returned and that those individuals should receive just restitution from the responsible individuals who, in the case of the Israeli-Arab conflict, are primarily deceased individuals of British nationality.

It can also be said, because Israel is the 'more civilized' power in the Israeli-Arab conflict that the Israeli government leaders might justly bear a somewhat greater deal of responsibility to show upright, moderate, and forgiving behavior. It can be justly said that it is less acceptable for a civilized military to kill X number of bystanders than for a uncivilized military to kill X number of bystanders."


And Saying:

"The State of Israel is the construction of a massive Jewish-Zionist conspiracy to dominate and enslave the world. Israel is a nation founded on theft [more so than other nations].

The Israeli military frequently kills unoffending school-children and pregnant mothers and commits atrocious acts that border on genocide. The State of Israel is, in essence, a terrorist state that exists to cause suffering to various unoffending populations.

[This portion logically follows from or is immediately implied with the above but usually not explicitly stated: Every individual in the State of Israel and all Jewish individuals throughout the world should be... The Jewish race is a menace and should be..., etc...]"


-There's a difference between a reasonable perspective-conscious critique and not so implicit calls for X, Y, and Z. My primary issue here is that I'm hearing the latter a whole lot more than I'm hearing the former.

Lucy said...

Straying dangerously close to what i was keen to avoid, the Palestine v Israel who is right and wrong argument and the dreaded anti-S word had already been uttered.
Hopefully we can avoid it otherwise we may get a visit from a certain bigoted carpenter with bad facial hair. No, not him, the other one who changes peoples comments on his blog.

Stephen said...

Yeah, you know when the Israel-Palestine issue is brought up from any angle, invariably the extremes on both sides will rear their biased heads, and the anti-Semite label, rightly or wrongly, will be used to fullest effect by those who have the opportunity to.

Cheezy said...

"Hopefully we can avoid it otherwise we may get a visit from a certain bigoted carpenter with bad facial hair. No, not him, the other one who changes peoples comments on his blog."

Hahahahaha! That one nearly made some of my morning coffee come out of my nose!... (nearly!)

Naughty, Lucy :)

David G said...

It's amazing the number of people who are scared of being labeled an anti-Semite. It's a tribute to the infinite cunning of the Jewish Lobby and the lack of courage of many people.

I've been called an Anti-Semi many times and I see it as a badge of honour. It means that Israeli bullshit doesn't phase me one bit.
FFS, who do these bloody Jews think they are?

And, more importantly, why are people on this fine forum dancing around their deranged, fanatical pretensions?

Cheezy said...

david g: If that post was directed at me, I'd like to make it clear that it's not that I'm scared of being called an anti-Semite.

I just want people to know that I'm not.

It's as simple as that really.

Also, I don't see any connection between wanting my views to be fully understood and the "lack of courage" that you mention, but if you'd like to enlighten me then I'm all ears.

Like you, I've also been called an anti-Semite a few times. Unlike you though, I don't consider it so much a 'badge of honour'.

Instead, I think it's an indication of (a) how heated the Palestinian issue is, and (b) how many Jews (particularly American Jews in my experience, if I'm being honest) like to equate criticism of the Israeli state with a dislike of Jews in general.

I like to put people straight, if they indulge in that kind of bullshit sophistry.

Sorry if I don't conform to your idea of what a 'proper' critic of Israel should be, but if it's any consolation to you, there's a lot of other rigid belief systems that I don't conform to either!

Noah "Nog" M. said...

David G & Cheezy,
I've already expressed above that I'm not in favor of being taxed to arm the State of Israel. And I think I've given a fair critique of the sometimes flawed policy choices and military decisions that the men running Israel make.

I'm perfectly capable of talking you into the ground on how the Israeli military could knock some stuff off, and how there are cases where persons in the Levant who have had their lawfully own lands taken should have them returned. Because I have a bit of knowledge on the historical situation I could tell you that a lot of the land that "Jews" possess in the Levant was lawfully acquired through voluntary contract and a great deal of it wasn't and ought to be returned to the individuals who rightfully own it.

I may further say that during the cold war Israel was but one of many proxies that the United States used to prod the Soviet Union and get a better foothold in the region. Israel's nukes are 100% American military made and everybody knows this.

So it's perfectly easy for a reasonable person to look at the situation and understand that the Israel side has its part.


Francis Bacon, an enlightenment philosopher who was instrumental in the development of modern science, in his New Organon Book I.46 said:
"The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination, the authority of its former conclusions my remain inviolate."


So I do ask myself, "is my perspective determined by reason and experience or by some pernicious predetermination"? Judging by all that experience and right reason has shown, I can see no way that a moderate, rational, well-formed understanding of the Arab-Israeli dispute might reveal that the issue is "the greater fault of the Israelis" or "Zionists" or "American Imperialists" or the "Jewish media empire".

I can see that "the Jews", as an abstract demographic, is (I use the singular verb properly in reference to the singular aggregate "the Jews") comparatively powerful on a relative scale of things. Reason and rightly understood experience agrees with this. But I cannot, as someone who strives to always think most rationally, discard the countervailing examples of various other demographics with similar or superior wealth and influence.

Some reason:
1) I'm not blind to all of the faults of "the Arabs".
2) I am able to look at things in perspective relative to other relevant things.
3) Categorical statements about racial groups are categorical statements about racial groups.
4) If "the Jews" are able to carry out the massive ingenious schemes that y'all accuse them of, they would have to be so disproportionately intelligent such that it would not be unreasonable for 80% of "intelligence-heavy" occupation posts to be filled with Jews. Y'all's very accusation constitutes a justification for the defendants accused. A necessary premise negates the conclusion.
5) It takes greater courage to disagree with oneself than to disagree with another.

"Anti-Semite", "racist", "Islamophobe", and other such terms are indeed usually quite meaningless. It is more important that we pay attention to right reason and proper understanding of experience.

-Nog

Cheezy said...

"I'm perfectly capable of talking you into the ground"

Clearly! :)

David G said...

Nog, some people talk incessantly but never actually say anything!

Noah "Nog" M. said...

I'll take your replyless awe as a concession to all of my points.

Cheezy said...

Thought you might ;-)

#3 was my favourite!

David G said...

I dunno, Cheezy! I thought that #2 deserved high honours.

Cheezy said...

Indeed, #2 wasn't bad... but let's at least agree that the numbering system makes it much easier for us poor benighted readers, eh?

Hard to follow without those numbers...

David G said...

Perhaps Nog could provide a translation with each of his posts, one written so that us mortals can understand the lofty though incomprehensible thoughts that rattle around his brain?