This month, campaigner for Palestinian rights Alison Weir has scored a double against the Israel Lobby. The first goal was organizing the first-ever National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship’. A summary of this conference by Harry Clark can be found Dissident Voice.
The second is her devastating book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the United States Was Used to Create Israel, about the harmful influence of the Lobby on American politics.
Weir’s new book has a patriotic feel, sometimes giving the impression that Americans in general have the same interests. Surely Weir doesn’t take seriously her statement that the State Department is “charged with recommending and implementing policies beneficial to all Americans”. Still, her work does show that, on the specific issue of the Lobby, most Americans, rich and poor, do have the same interests. It is in their interests to defeat it.
Weir gives the impression America is inhabited by well-meaning, simple, Christian folk, who are manipulated into supporting the oppression of the Palestinians by dishonest, clever Jews. But what about Americans who support the ethnic cleansing of Palestine because they think it defends American interests? The problem with pointing out, correctly, that it does not in fact defend those interests, is that it leaves these people thinking that if it were in American interests, it would be worth supporting.
The book mentions the spy ship, the USS Liberty, which was attacked by Israel in 1967, killing 34 sailors and wounding 174. It’s easy, but wrong, to rouse conservatives about this. Attacking a US warship during the Vietnam war was not a war crime. Neither was it a war crime for Zionists to blow up the King David hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 – it was the British HQ. Weir calls it a “terrorist act”.
Patriotism also leads Weir to quote opponents of the Lobby within the Pentagon as follows:
“no group in this country should be permitted to influence our policy to the point where it could endanger our national security”
without realizing that this could imply the suppression of any movement which endangered US imperialism.
Weir unearths several examples of Jews who were victims of Zionism. Most holocaust survivors didn’t want to go to Israel; those who attempted to refuse were often beaten in their camps by Zionist thugs. Orphans who’d been sheltered by gentile families were dragged, screaming, into Hebrew-speaking orphanages. The passengers on the Exodus were kept on board for five months as a publicity stunt to take them to Israel. Zionists in Iraq planted bombs in synagogues, and made it look like it was Arab terrorism, to encourage Jews to move to Israel.
But, if Jews are victims of Zionism, why do so many of them support it? One argument might be that they benefit from Jewish privilege; Israel is a wealthy Western country to which any of them can move, whose land was stolen from its inhabitants by means of ethnic cleansing.
Weir describes in detail Zionist power in the media, and the exploitation of the American political system. Many of her examples illustrate it’s the state’s democratic apparatus, more than its military core, which is subject to Zionist pressure. Senators and Congressmen know that if they don’t vote for Israel, phone calls are made, and they lose their jobs. But the book doesn’t take this further. An educated, dedicated, organized, wealthy, ethnic minority has taken advantage of an open society. It’s because America is open, democratic, liberal, and scared of the allegation of “anti-semitism” that it could be “used” for the creation of Israel.
The book hints at, but doesn’t spell out, the phrase “Jewish power”, whose chief component is fear of calling it by its name. It describes in excruciating detail how Zionist Jews have taken advantage of America, the leading Western society, but doesn’t attempt to explain the weaknesses which allows this to happen. We need to develop a theory which explains these weaknesses and this power.