Zionism, the United States, and Hegemony in the Middle East

Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power
By James Petras
Paperback: 192 pages
(Clarity Press, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0-932863-60-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-932863-60-7

Professor James Petras has written another book — Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power — probing deeper into what he contends is a Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) that has infiltrated and largely usurped US foreign policy even using the US military for its ends in the Middle East. Petras fills his book with lots of evidence backed by sound rationales.

Petras’s thesis is that Israel — and not Big Oil — was behind the push to invade and occupy Iraq. That has already happened. What concerns Petras now is the push by the ZPC to have the United States again breach international law and launch an attack against Iran.

Petras reasons that the ZPC’s purpose is to incorporate Palestine and consolidate its hegemony in the Middle East. Strategically, gaining and holding sway over the planet’s preeminent military power has been a major plank toward this goal.

The professor provides numerous examples of the sway the ZPC wields and how it wields it: through its propaganda and media arms (Petras cites how, pre-“war,” the Lobby produced about 8,800 pro-Iraq attack pieces which were circulated to major Anglo-American media versus zero pro-Iraq attack pieces published from Big Oil spokespeople); through its academic acolytes; through involving US soldiers to fight its wars (Petras charges that the Israel Firsters “ridicule the US military precisely to instigate them to prosecute wars and thereby avoid the loss of Israeli-Jewish lives”); through the relative silence of dissenting voices, including dissenting Jewish voices in mass media; through members of the US Congress beholden through acceptance of campaign contributions form the Lobby.

Campaign contributions turn out, actually, to be an investment. Through seeding the US Congress, Israel has become the prime beneficiary of US “aid,” even though Israel is a relatively well-to-do state, especially compared to many of its neighbors. Petras wavers on what the “US annual ‘tribute to Israel’” is. On page 68, he cites a figure of $6 billion a year; on page 68 he states $3 billion a year; on page 156, it is $2.4 billion a year; and on page 164 it is “well over $3 billion” a year. This irritation contributes to unevenness in Petras’s account.

Exacerbating this irritation is an uneven patchwork of endnotes. Sometimes key points are in the endnotes, and sometimes key points are not in the endnotes. For example, he writes that Big Oil is anxious and fearful about an Israeli-instigated warmongering destabilizing the Middle East citing a source for this claim (p. 32). On page 92 he claims electoral chicanery without citation. Whether the claims are true or not is beside the point, which is that the reader is hindered from checking the professor’s sources. And when there are endnotes, many convey scanty information (e.g., no author, no title, no page) that forces a reader to spend inordinate time tracking down a citation.

Petras, however, deserves kudos for taking on the Lobby which resorts to disreputable tactics to try and silence its critics. Petras does not shirk from identifying how he perceives the threat from the ZPC: “The lesson is clear: the rise of Judeo-fascism represents a clear and present danger to our democratic freedoms in the United States.”

The ZPC is ruthless says Petras, who observes that Israel reneges on obligations as an occupier in Palestine and engages in “meat-grinder genocidal policies in Gaza.” And yet, it has vulnerabilities, such as the “repeated failures and incredible stupidity of the Israeli intelligence agencies.”

The ZPC control apparatus is necessarily twined with the corporate media. “State provocations,” writes Petras, “require uniform mass media complicity in the lead-up to open warfare.”

With a massive media blitz and compliant government, Israel recruits US soldiers to fight its wars. The US, on the other hand, tries to get its victims to fight against their fellow countryfolk. This is a dubious strategy reasons Petras, as Iraqis fighters under occupation “recruited on basis of hunger and unemployment (caused by US war) are unreliable soldiers.”

This, according to Petras, is a losing tactic: “US colonization of Iraq is a blatant denial of the conditions necessary for reconciliation.”

Just how losing a strategy it is to run a militaristic economy is evidenced by the massive capitalistic expansion of non-belligerent China. In fact, the US is becoming less competitive and falling into an increasingly dire economic situation

Petras describes a schism among Jewry. He notes that “most Jewish Americans differ from the leaders of the major American Jewish organizations” … but that “they have not or do not challenge” this leadership. Antiwar sentiment among Jewish Americans, finds Petras, is quite vague.

He writes that “both the progressive majority of Jews and the reactionary minority … have a fundamental point of agreement and convergence: support for and identity with Israel and its anti-Arab prejudices, its expansion, and the dispossession of Palestine [sic].”

Given that the peace movement has gone AWOL, this bodes ill for the peoples of the Middle East. Here again, Petras holds the ZPC responsible since he charges that it has also infiltrated the antiwar movement and split it, rendering it anemic.

Petras notes that everywhere he visits around the globe people from all walks ask him why American citizens tolerate the killing done by the US government/military. This is a good question, but another question is unasked by Petras. Why do these citizens not demand the same answers from their complicit governments which, even when they do not contribute fighters to a so-called Coalition of the Willing, remain silent to the great criminal breaches of international law and the abandonment of morality?

That is why Petras’s thesis in Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power is important: innocent people are dying for wicked reasons.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Read other articles by Kim.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deadbeat said on November 26th, 2008 at 10:40am #

    Kim thanks for the erudite review of Petra’s new book. I look forward to reading it.

  2. a said on November 26th, 2008 at 12:08pm #

    what’s problematic about petras’ analysis is his lack of placing israel in the proper context of US hegemonic interests. yes, the zionist lobby in america is messed up, but to believe that they ultimately control the US’s military agenda is simply delusional. the US supports israel because it’s of strategic interest to do so (see chomsky’s “fateful triangle” for more on this). i sense a very strong anti-semitic subtext to this analysis, especially when petras says things like “the rise of Judeo-fascism represents a clear and present danger to our democratic freedoms in the United States”. what about all the christian zionists who support US aid to israel? what democratic freedoms? america was an imperialist war-mongering power before it started supporting funding israel in the 60’s, and continues to do so because that’s what’s in the interest of rich white americans, only a small percentage of which are jewish. the tail does not wag the dog.

  3. zek gulag said on November 26th, 2008 at 12:55pm #

    … let’s get real here. amerikan foreign policy was murderous and consistent long before there was a zionazi lobby. was the lobby in on the genocide of the indigenous peoples, the slave trade, the phillipines, korea, vietnam, etc.??? this seems nothing more than another version of amerikan exceptionalism, we wouldn’t be doing these nasty things if it weren’t for the Israelies… HAH! the zionazi pitbulls would blow away in the wind if it wasn’t for our continual support, and our support is predicated on the imperial interests of the elites here being served by our loyal(?) client, not the other way around.

  4. bozh said on November 26th, 2008 at 1:14pm #

    the constitution was written, i believe, by british people. wasn’t each also a plutocrat? was there any people w. judaic faith (‘jews’) among them?
    have any of the ‘jews’ participated in adding ’emendments’ of and ammendments to the constitution? looks like none?
    by the time khazaro-europeans arrived in US, US had already slaughtered/herded most indigenes and waged ab 100 wars.
    and all wars r based on prediction, perception, lies, half truths, wishes, hatred, greed, fear, illusion of grandeur, delusions, etc.
    and ‘jews’ were only marginaly involved in US affairs until, let’s say, 1950?
    if that is correct, how cld have an impoverished, tiny land hijacked US governance in just 50 yrs?
    suppose ‘jews’ did? which means they had help? no group of people can take a grip on fbi, cia, pentagon, WH, congress, senate, police w.o. conspiratorial help from the uncle (2-10mn plutos).
    the conspirators, we assume, cldn’t have been hobos, housewife (no injury intended), indigenes, workers ( black/ white/hisp’c).
    or, am i mistaken?
    israel cld have never beeen established w.o. help of the judeo-christian alliance.
    which included also communist countries. zionists, ‘jewish’ ones, were extremely weak military-economically in ’40 to establish anything in palestine.
    but they were by far more powerful diplomatically than semites. as is the case now?
    or, is now israel supported by euro-amers even more than ever? and some people evaluate it as israel hijacking all the nato countries and commands them to things?
    well, anything is possible! thnx

  5. Deadbeat said on November 26th, 2008 at 4:36pm #

    bozh writes…

    the constitution was written, i believe, by british people. wasn’t each also a plutocrat?

    The U.S. Constitution is based on the Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace.

  6. Deadbeat said on November 26th, 2008 at 4:48pm #

    Unfortunately bozh rhetorical questions does more to obscure rather than to shine a light on the reality of the current power alignments and influences. Zionism while closely associated with Jews and Israel is not an ideology limited to Jews. Obama and Biden are clearly Zionists but they have been heavily influenced by how the power of Zionism has infiltrated and corrupts institutions of power.

    What is problematic as Petras points out that since Zionism is closely associated to Jews that Jews themselves must be on the forefront to confront Zionism. It is as Kim points out in his review of Petras ambivalence and vagueness by Jews towards Zionism as well as the labeling of critics of Zionism as “antisemitic” and “self-hating Jews” that has allowed it to flourish especially in the U.S.


  7. DavidG. said on November 26th, 2008 at 10:56pm #

    The U.S. Constitution is based on the Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace? I had a good laugh about that.

    The U.S. is one of the biggest warmongers the world has ever seen yet its hallowed Constitution (the one that George Bush has ignored for eight years) is connected to some Great Law of Peace.

    There’s quite a lot of irony there but there’ll be few Americans who’ll get it!


  8. bozh said on November 27th, 2008 at 8:50am #

    regarding my questions or anyone else’s. i say i find nothing wrong w. questions.
    in fact, the bigger the obnubilator, the fewer question she asks. or as s’mone had said, He/she has all the answers and none of the questions.
    as for Jews, i call these people a melange or ‘jews’. i see nothing semitic ab liebermna, chomsky, rabin, peres, et al.
    in fact, most of these ‘jews’ r more antisemitic than any other folk.
    as for who’s zionist, i say all imperialists r zionistic.
    it is then natch to conclude that certain ethnic’s zionism is conflated w. italian, russian, amer, canadian, and so on, zionism.
    i see little or no diff btw ‘jewish’ Z and amer Z or btw amer imperialism and ‘jewish’ one, thnx

  9. bozh said on November 27th, 2008 at 8:58am #

    just to add this: word “zonism” had duped many. but it is only a word.
    khazaro-european voelken do much like nazi have done. so. abandon this word, i say, and describe what khazars r doing,
    and lo and behold, not much diff than ottomans, brits, germans. italians, dutch, tatars, et al have done. if s’mone has a better elucidation, one is welcome to bring it on.thnx

  10. Andrew F said on November 28th, 2008 at 5:34am #

    US: the Golem par excellence!

  11. Rachel Golem said on November 30th, 2008 at 8:30pm #

    Dear Mr. Petras,

    There are 800 million Hindus in India tonight who love to hear about how Muslims are persecuted by “Zionists”.

    And to be honest, I am looking forward to a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. I want to see the good people of Iraq enjoy each others company without any “Imperialist” intervention.

    It’s going to be better than WWF wrestling.

    Rachel Golem
    Occupied Jerusalem
    Zionist Empire

  12. Shabnam said on December 1st, 2008 at 9:46am #


    You must educate youself to know how zionism, worse than fascism, has found its way to India to mobolize the indian fascists on their side because they have natural affinity towards one another. Since the 1990’s the growth of the Hindu extremist movement has brought oppression for India’s Muslims, India’s Christians, as well as India’s oppressed castes and Dalits.
    This transformation has been facilitated by BJP, The Bharatiya Janata Party founded in 1980, to recast India from the anti-colonical pro-thier world nation, to Hindu ‘nation’, under US and Israeili Zionist influence adopting neolibral market economy and has anti Palestinian stand. This transformation is against Gandhi who recognized the actions of the Zionists in the 1940s as TERRORISM. Zionism works closely with Hindutva, an racist ideology is supported by BJP, a word coined in 1923 where advocating Hinu nationalism against minorities to buy their submission using terrorism and racism. Thus, the zionism’s policy towards Palestinians and Mulims are supported by BJP. With the coming to power of the BJP in 1999, India’s independence has been compromised by influence of zionism and imperialism. BJP has embraced Israel and turned against Palestinians and other oppressive minority groups in India to establish India as ‘nation of Hindu’ like the European settlers try to establish a ‘Jewish state’ in the the heart of Arab land against the indigenous population, Palestinians, with complete cooperation of western capitals including Britain, France, Germani and the US. In India like in occupied Palestine MUSLIMS are targeted. India has had unambiguous support for the Palestinian people for decades and voted against the partition of Palestine in 1948. No country in the region voted for the Partition of Palestine including China, Greece, a western country and Christian, majority of African and Asian countries Iran included. India recognized Israel in 1950.
    After India’s recognition of Israel, the Jewish Agency established an office in Mumbai to send Iraq, Afghan and European Jews to occupied Palestine. During this period over 25,000 Indian Jews, mostly from Maharashtra and some of the Kerala, immigrated to occupied land. In February 1992 Israel opened its embassy in New Delhi and in 1992 India opened its embassy in Tel-Aviv where cooperation and influence of Zionists who are working against minorities mainly, Muslims sharply increased. Since 1992 India is implimenting Israelis’ expreiences dealing with Palestinians uprising against aparthied state and its oppressive measures – in Kashmir and other places to CRUSH any struggle against Hindu extremists in EXCHANGE for the turning down of India’s backing of the Palestine cause and anti colonial stance.