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Israel and Palestine 
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Post Israel and Palestine
There is little that can be understood regarding US foreign policy in the Middle East without taking into consideration the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Chomsky has spent much of his life addressing these issues, and like much else in his geopolitical repertoire, has shaped/challenged the opinions of many across the planet regarding this terribly contentious corner of the world.

Much of Interventions includes Chomsky's take on Israel/Palestine and the role of US elite interests in interfering with any real peace process there. Let's use this thread to examine Chomsky's analysis of the crisis in Israel/Palestine and the role of US foreign policy in throwing kerosene on the fire.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 7/11/07 11:53 am



Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:51 am
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Post Re: Israel and Palestine
In the U.S., we hear a fair amount about the powerful influence the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has on our Government. The implication seems to be if the influence of this lobby was reduced, the U.S. would have a more even handed approach to the Israel/Palestine situation.

I was surprised to see Chomsky turn this upside down and say the U.S. is firmly in control regardless of AIPAC.
Quote:
...it is important to remember that without U.S. authorization and support, Israel can do very little. And sensible Israelis know it. Israeli political commentator Amir Oren was quite accurate in observing that "the boss-man called 'partner' is the U.S. administration."

There are many illusions in the Arab countries and elsewhere about Washington's subordination to Israel or to the pro-Israel domestic lobby (which isn't all Jewish by any means). The idea that the United States would let Israel boss it around is a serious misunderstanding, in my view.

Israel's choices of the past thirty years have reduced its options considerably. On its present course, it has virtually no alternative to serving as a U.S. military base in the region and complying with U.S. demands.
p. 29

Gotta admit I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it makes a lot of sense, given the amount of largess we donate to that country.
Quote:
It is misleading to call these Israeli policies. They are U.S. - Israeli policies - made possible by unremitting United States military, economic, diplomatic, and not least ideological support: namely, the way the events are generally portrayed in media and the intellectual culture.
P. 65

Edited by: LanDroid at: 7/15/07 7:48 pm



Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Israel and Palestine
A crucial lynchpin to Chomsky's analysis of how States operate involves the principle that States do not engage internationally or domestically according to altruistic purposes: they are not in the business of generosity or largesse or self-sacrifice for the good of another. On the contrary, States are generally exploitative, invasive, oppressive and warlike to those less powerful and unable to defend themselves. This principle is spelled out clearly in the relationship between the United States and Israel.

Another important element in Chomsky's critique of State power is the notion that States do not always act according to their own best interest or for reasons of security. On the contrary, States are often terribly self-destructive and dangerously wreckless at home and abroad. Again, a notion that is exemplified in the US/Israel relationship.

Chomsky argues that Israel has suffered terrible harm under US domination...and that a genuine peace process with Palestine and neighboring Arab countries has been opposed not in Israel's interests, but according to US interests in the region.

The AIPAC conspiracy is alive and well on the Left and the Right, and Chomsky refutes it. I don't think his chapters in Inteventions provides the real meat of his argument against Israeli/AIPAC control of US foreign policy in the middle east. But he has documented this thoroughly in his:

Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice

Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians

Middle East Illusions: Including Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood




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Post Israeli situation
To quibble, I wouldn't say that Chomsky refutes the claims about the AIPAC lobby, which does have a strong influence. However, he does explain the ideological reasons why, aside from AIPAC pressure, the conservatives provide such overwhelming support of Israel.

DH: Chomsky argues that Israel has suffered terrible harm under US domination...

Chomsky mainly argues that Palestinians have suffered terrible harm under US domination. Chomsky does suggest that Israelis would be better off if they agreed to a reasonable two-state solution. Still, the welfare of the Palestinians is the main concern of leftists like Chomsky.

It was interesting to read Chomsky's opinion about Israeli events of the last few years, such as the Hamas electoral victory or last year's invasion of Lebanon. Israel is a topic I'd like to become more familiar with, considering that I was brought up Jewish.




Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:33 pm
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