Who Decides in the United States Government?

It has been a contentious issue among progressives as to what explains the Israel-United States dynamic. Linguistics professor Noam Chomsky has insisted that the US calls the shots and that the US plays a rejectionist role in moves toward Middle East peace.1 Chomsky is joined by a number of other progressives in this camp. There are a number of progressives in another camp that argue organized Jewry has gained preponderant influence in the world’s superpower. Some argued that Israeli influence was preeminent while being quite uncritical of Zionist crimes against Palestinians — for example, professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.2 Others were primarily concerned with the influence of a Jewish Lobby in perpetuating the ongoing dispossession of and slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians.3

A report in Israeli media yesterday boasts that Jews are vetting appointments to the US government. Haaretz claims, “Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community.”4

The article in Haaretz is another nail in the coffin of adducing Jewish (mainly Zionist) influence over the US government.

For many people this will be unsurprising. When US President Barack Obama pledged fealty to Israel at the AIPAC policy conference in June 2008, when he surrounded himself with arch-Zionists Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, etc., when he backed down to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the building of illegal colonies (euphemistically called “settlements”) in occupied Palestinian territory (which all Israel is), he merely affirmed genuflection that had been observed in predecessor presidents.5

A segment of organized Jewry has gained an influential political foothold in the US, although this is not confined to the US and neither is it confined to politics.

Jews have also gained influence in Canadian6 and British politics.7 They have gained influence in business, media, and academia. This is not unusual as there is competition for influence and dominance, and other groups dominate in other sectors of society. Is domination of a sector by one group beneficial for society? Should certain sectors be kept open? These questions need to be answered. I submit that when influence supports the oppression of any group of humans, then that influence must be ended.

The segment of Jewry that seeks to dominate and dispossess Palestinians creates an image that tarnishes, wrongly, the entire community of Jews. Israeli Jews, by virtue of the fact that they live on occupied land, elect governments that carry out apartheid and racism, and support massacres of Palestinians (94 percent reportedly backed the slaughter in Gaza8 ) are morally challenged.

There is opposition from some Israeli Jews, but clearly, a multitude of Israeli Jews is supporting war crimes and oppression. Zionism, along with its ideology of oppression, has extended its influence overseas which makes other nations complicit in the oppression. All humans must denounce the occupation of Palestine.9

Much of the discussion over who wields the preponderant influence in the US-Israel relationship has focused on denouncing persons holding to a certain view. This is unhelpful. It is sufficient to refute the erroneous position of another person by citing superior facts and proffering superior reasoning. The focus must be on ending the oppression of Palestinians and enforcing human rights.

Others may obstinately profess otherwise, but clearly, there is a pressure exerted by a pro-Zionism lobby. That, however, must not detract from the righteousness of seeking social justice for the Palestinians. Support for freeing peoples from oppression must be advocated for oppressed peoples everywhere with the onus being on advocating on behalf of people where one resides.

Simple advocacy is not enough, however. Morality demands an active adherence to principles. It is through solidarizing and committing to actively opposing oppression that people become the deciders.

  1. See Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel & The Palestinians (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1983, 1999). []
  2. See John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books, 28(6), 23 March 2006: 3-12 []
  3. Jeffrey Blankfort, “Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict,” Dissident Voice, 25 May 2005; James Petras, Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power (Clarity Press, 2008). []
  4. Natasha Mozgovaya, “American Jews eye Obama’s ‘anti-Israel’ appointees,” Haaretz, 4 December 2009. []
  5. See Grant F. Smith, Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal (Washington, DC: Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, 2007); Grant F. Smith, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israeli Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government (Washington, DC: Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, 2008). []
  6. Kim Petersen, “Zionist Appeasement: A Blight on the Canadian Political Landscape,” Dissident Voice, 11 February 2007. []
  7. William A. Cook, “Zionist Control of Britain’s Government: 1940-2009,” Dissident Voice, 20 November 2009. []
  8. Etgar Lefkovits, “Overwhelming Israeli support of Gaza op,” Jerusalem Post, 14 January 2009. []
  9. Non-Israelis must not feel smug in this denunciation, as Canadians, Americans, Australians, Aotearoans, and non-Indigenous peoples throughout the western hemisphere also live in states wrought through dispossession of the Original Peoples. Original Peoples, especially, must also oppose the oppression of brothers and sisters elsewhere, such as in historical Palestine. To not do so would undermine their own struggles against oppression. Yet there was little outcry heard when the Assembly of First Nations aligned itself with Israel rather than the Palestinians. See: Announcements, “Canadian Jewish Congress, Assembly of First Nations travel to Israel for educational mission,” AFN, 17 February 2006. []
Kim Petersen is an independent writer and former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Dawson said on December 10th, 2009 at 10:49am #

    The two questions involved here are 1) whether the claim in the Haaretz article is true, and 2) whether whatever truth it holds exists at the pleasure of the US power elite and its government, which can still choose which lobbies to listen to, and which to ignore.

    Those questions aren’t answered by the claim itself.

    This article isn’t evidence of anything, despite your portrayal and your continuing bizarre efforts to conclude that tiny, dependent powers some dominate superpowers.

    Meanwhile, this bit is simply wrong:

    Jews have also gained influence in Canadian6 and British politics.7 They have gained influence in business, media, and academia. This is not unusual as there is competition for influence and dominance, and other groups dominate in other sectors of society. Is domination of a sector by one group beneficial for society?

    Jews do not run our businesses, our media, or our universities. Even Petras admits their numbers are only 1/3 of the power elite. If anybody runs our power structure on a “racial” basis, it is ordinary “Christian” whites.

    But, come on, have you read any books? Capitalism is a system. It runs on the institutional logic of profit-maximizing. Ideology is secondary.

    Sheesh.

  2. Kim Petersen said on December 10th, 2009 at 10:57am #

    With all due respect Michael, did you wear your reading glasses? I wrote “gained influence” which is a whole lot different than your rewording “run our…”

    Obviously, you missed the entire point of the paragraph.

  3. Ismail Zayid said on December 10th, 2009 at 11:22am #

    Kim Petersen’s analysis, of the role the Zionist lobby plays in the US foreign policy in the Middle East, is accurate and timely. The voting record of the US in the Security Council applying its veto on scores of resolutions, voicimg opposition to Israeli aggrssion and expansionist policies as well as its brutal practices against the Palestinian people in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories, in clear violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, is evident to all who care to look at it in a fair and balanced manner.

  4. Deadbeat said on December 10th, 2009 at 12:26pm #

    Thanks Kim for writing this very timely and important article. During my participation with the anti-war movement in 2003, I too believe in the “War for Oil” explanation of the invasion of Iraq. However what was stunning to me what what I thought was the “Left” and the principle of the Left was thrown asunder as the many in the movement started to raise the issue of the Israeli/Palestinian “conflict”. Even that phrasing was too much for others in the movement causing a major break.

    This break in the anti-war movement led me to take a deeper examination of the issue of Zionism and to ask questions why the Left was not only in many cases ignoring the problem but deliberately MISLEADING followers and deliberately DEFLECTING the issue.

    It is obvious that neo-Conservativism which dominated the Bush Administration is founded and grounded in the three pillars identified by MLK in his “Beyond VietNam” speech — Racism, Militarism, and Capitalism. Zionism (racism) is at the heart the neo-con philosophy.

    Therefore for the Left to not even explore and to downright disregard the influence Zionism on U.S. Foreign Policy raises questions as to the veracity of the Left and the agenda of the Left.

    Trust and TRUTH are the primary basis for the Left to rally people and to encourage people to make the sacrifices necessary to resist and to transform the system from Capitalism to Socialism. When that trust is lost then the status quo remain. People will NOT be able to solve major problems such as exploitation, racism, conflicts and environmental degradation without TRUST. That is all the Left really has and the failure to confront Zionism has created DISTRUST and thus why the anti-war movement (and many other movements) in the U.S. is so weak to being nearly irrelevant.

    Without any real opposition the government serves the interest of the rich as it bails out bankers and Capitalist while inequality has exacerbated.

    Confronting Zionism is the civil right issue of the 21st Century as the Left takes on the challenges of Capitalism and Militarism. MLK identified these pillars 41 years ago and it has gotten worse.

  5. Michael Kenny said on December 10th, 2009 at 12:42pm #

    What I find interesting is that since Obama’s election, there has been a determined effort to deny the existence of the Israel Lobby or, at very least, to claim that it has no real influence. In other words, there has been an attempt to assimilate the Lobby to the neocons and deny that liberal organisations like J Street or politicians like Rahm Emmanuel are part of the Lobby. The amusing part is that this is beinge done via the Lobby’s usual propaganda technique: bald, unsupported assertions, propounded by apparently unrelated sources, including false flaggers, and repeated over and over again as if they were axiomatic, regardless of how many times people refute them. In EU gender discrimination law, for example, the mere fact that women are under-represented in a profession raises a presumption of discrimination against them which the employer has to rebut with evidence to the contrary. Shouldn’t a similar presumption apply here?

  6. bozh said on December 10th, 2009 at 12:52pm #

    Wld a simplicity that cannot be made any simpler elucidate also how much [ask also why-when] ‘jews’ influence US foreign policy.
    This policy, generalizing now, being acquisitional for two cent’s? And is still today, but final ‘solution’ obviously extant but not known by at least 90% of americans. Or the end goal being known only to nato-us and some other warlords? Or no one? Don’t ask me, either!!

    Here is the tacitly-promised simplicity: US governance runs on money and by farts with money; via giving money [?bribes] to other farts.
    In short, it is a constitutional command to use money in pursuit of happiness and not just an ok!
    Of course “happiness” being objectified, but not defined by any of its traits. Son of gun, ur fathers may have known this. But u don’t or feign that u don’t.
    I any case, eat ur hearts out all u hobos, housepeople, plumbers!
    I’m OK! One meal a day. One pants and a young wife of 79 is heavenly. Mind u, hell’s been around so long it has by now cooled dwn sufficiently to suit everybody.
    Ur fathers of declaration and of other nonsense knew also this. Btw, this educationis free! My devil told me all this!

  7. kalidas said on December 10th, 2009 at 12:54pm #

    “the US power elite and its government, which can still choose which lobbies to listen to, and which to ignore.”

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

    That’s a joke, right?

  8. Tires said on December 10th, 2009 at 2:43pm #

    Thanks Kim, I fully agree with the article.. The power in Washington is getting worse and not better in my opinion.

  9. Richard W. Symonds said on December 10th, 2009 at 3:58pm #

    Re : Comment 1 : The Capitalist System : “It runs on the institutional logic of profit-maximizing. Ideology is secondary”.

    If “idealogy is secondary”, then talking about “Left”, “Right”, “Progressives” etc is also secondary – misleading, and deflects from the real issues (Comment 4).

    Personally, I believe we need to grow out of using “Left v Right” idealogy – they are obsolete 20th century idealogies, of little to no use to us now in the 21st. The powerful are only too happy to keep us distracted with these useless idealogies.

    It’s no longer a question of Left v Right. It’s now a question of Up v Down.

  10. Michael Dawson said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:08pm #

    Kim, you closed your paragraph talking about domination of a sector by one group. What did you mean by that? Other than the possibility that you made a msitake, the only possible meaning of that sentence is that you think Jews dominate one or more of the social sectors you name.

    My reading comprehension is fine. Either your writing is very poor, or you are saying Jews run something in America other than their own groups. Which is it?

  11. Michael Dawson said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:12pm #

    Ismail, the terrible behavior of the United States in the Security Council has nothing whatsoever to do with the point being debated, which is whether the U.S. adopts its policy toward Israel/Palestine as a matter of advancing the interests of our domestic overclass, or because the evil Zionists are brainwashing us.

    Both of those interpretations predict that the US will side with Israel. The issue is whether our problem is corporate capitalism or merely Zionism.

  12. Deadbeat said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:30pm #

    It’s no longer a question of Left v Right. It’s now a question of Up v Down.

    The question of ideology is extremely important. It is not either-or. Left/Right is just as important as Up/Down. For the Right they fail to analyze the contradiction inherent in their support of Capitalism. For the “Left” as alluded to in this thread there seem to be a denial in their ranks about confronting Zionism and a real agenda to diffuse the issue then results in a lack of trust and confusion which essentially maintains the status quo.

    It is time to be more comprehensive and more inquistive in thinking and approach.

  13. Deadbeat said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:44pm #

    Both of those interpretations predict that the US will side with Israel. The issue is whether our problem is corporate capitalism or merely Zionism.

    Why the false dichotomy? Why not both? MLK identified three pillars — Racism, Capitalism & Militarism. Zionism has a profound influence on U.S. foreign policy that is maintained by Capitalism and Militarism. The issue is not “either-or” but that ALL three must be dealt with.

  14. Jeffersonian-Maoist said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:57pm #

    Kim Petersen and friends: I believe that the main enemy of US middle and lower classes (Not upper-classes) is Israel and Capitalism. I speak on a class-world view when debating about economics and politics, because i believe that the upper-classes in all countries have their economical problems solved and they don’t have to worry about bread on the table, about schools, bills, fees and basic needs. The ones who are struggling to survive in this world are the middle and lower class. So the only solution for USA is a United Anti-Israel, Socialist Front.

  15. Jeffersonian-Maoist said on December 10th, 2009 at 5:58pm #

    deadbeat: Indeed, both, USA needs an anti-Israel, anti-capitalism political front !!

    .

  16. Rehmat said on December 10th, 2009 at 6:07pm #

    Professor Chomsky, being the son of a committed Zionist Jew family – has never criticized the Zionist entity for its crimes. He alway blame America for whatsoever goes wrong in the Middle East. However, the fact is it’s Israel which wages American tail and not the other way around. Do you remember any US presidential hopeful not paying respect to AIPAC or not visiting Israel before the elections? Obama, who is still blamed by some pro-Israel goons as a “hidden Muslim” – paid visit to Synagogues in almost evey major city plus attended a couple of AIPAC functions and made Hajj to Israel.

    YES – Jewish Lobby is very powerful not only in the US, but also in Canada, France and Germany. Israel’s ambassador in Ottawa not long ago boasted that Canada is “the best best of Israel”.

    Obama is the most powerless world leader – so much so, that Israeli daily Ha’aretz mentioned the other day that Obama’s all nominees had to receive blessings from the Jewish groups.

    Obama could be the “promised Messiah” Zionists have been waiting for.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/obama-the-promised-messiah/

  17. Kim Petersen said on December 10th, 2009 at 6:36pm #

    Michael, I closed the paragraph under discussion with an answer to a question: “I submit that when influence supports the oppression of any group of humans, then that influence must be ended.” I stand by this statement. Since you take exception to this statement, presumably you think it is fine for a group to use its influence to oppress another group.

  18. dan e said on December 10th, 2009 at 6:51pm #

    Today on KZYX radio Jeffrey Blankfort discusses his groundbreaking analysis of a Pew Research poll of Council on Foreign Relations members, which finds them less supportive of current US-Israel relations than the general public. Later in the program Blankfort and Grant Smith discuss findings from the new IRmep book “Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy” and the current AIPAC drive for economic sanctions and military strikes on Iran.

    Analysis: “What the US Elite Really Thinks About Israel”: http://www.counterpunch.org/blankfort12072009.html

    Audio download: “Takes on the World” (55 minutes, 10 MB): http://www.IRmep.org/mp3/12092009tow.mp3

  19. Don Hawkins said on December 10th, 2009 at 7:20pm #

    The three religions that claim Israel as the holy land are Judaism, Christianity, Islam and there are three words that just might be what is happening. Self fulfilling prophecy.

    The definition of a self fulfilling prophecy is that negative beliefs predict negative behavior but, surprisingly, NOT that positive beliefs predict positive events. This flies in the face of the law of attraction. The original definition of a self fulfilling prophecy from Robert Merton is “a false definition of situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.”

    What you believe will come true because you will subconsciously and consciously act in ways that cause the event to happen. Self fulfilling prophecies are powerful. suite 101

    The positive self-fulfilling prophecy allows one to shift interpretation of events and soon would be good.

    Yes we can right back at ya.

    What you believe will come true because you will subconsciously and consciously act in ways that cause the event to happen. In today’s World just what is happening we see the negative and blame from all sides and just maybe the truth is to win or not to win is a very stupid question. Calm at peace the truth the knowledge yes we can.

  20. Shabnam said on December 10th, 2009 at 7:37pm #

    Israel is very influenctial in US foreign policy of the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. Only the closet Zionists deny this established fact.
    The invasion of Iraq was carried out to protect the interest of t Israel. Iraq war was not the interest of American people which let to partition of Iraq to create non Arab pawn, Kurds, which was part of Israel strategy since 1950’s to create ally against Arab enemy in the region. Americans never had s a plan to partition Iraq in the past. It was purely a JEWISH DESIGN, Dennis Gelb, and was passed by a self designated Zionist, Joe Biden in the senate.

    Philip Zelikow, Bush advisor from 2001 to 2003 said that:
    Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel:

    [The prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East.
    The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington’s desire to defend the Jewish state.]

    Thus, when a close advisor of Bush who was in the meetings behind close door at the time of decision making and tells us that invasion took place to protect Israel, then NO ONE is in the position to tell us Israel is not in the driving seat and simply is a client state. It is BS.

    On the contrary, Israel is very influential, therefore, we must be united to bring this racist and destructive force down. Only the closet Zionists are trying to deceive the public by denying that the influence of Jewish lobby on US foreign policy does not exist. These Zionist enablers must be fully exposed and be discarded from the political scene.
    Now, they are preparing us for another zionist war against IRAN. What are you going to do about it? This is the issue that everyone MUST THINK ABOUT IT. We are tired of talking and talking and no action. We have to prevent another disaster like Iraq for the interest of an apartied entity. It is not enough to talk about Palestine alone when we are talking about the crime of Zionism. Zionism is also RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF IRAQ with more than 1.5 million deaths, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Zionism also is responsible for ‘green revolution’ and creation of phony ‘leaders’ the professional whores , mousavi and his wife, by labeling the Iranian election ‘fraud’ where was supported and repeated by Zionist enablers such as Noam Chomsky. Israel through her 5th column entities likes AIPAC and J Street and many think tanks like SABAN forms public opinion against her enemy. The negative view of Iran in the US is directly related to zionist propaganda media and its enablers.

    The pro-Israeli think tank, the Saban Center at the Brookings Institute, released a publication in June 2009 penned by neocons Martin Indyk, Kenneth Pollack, et al, titled: “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy towards Iran”. Chapter 6 appears to be a strong indication of their motivation.

    “The United States could play multiple roles in facilitating a revolution. By funding and helping organize domestic rivals of the regime, the United States could create an alternative leadership to seize power. As Raymond Tanter of the Iran Policy Committee argues students and other groups “need covert backing for their demonstrations. They need fax machines. They need Internet access, funds to duplicate materials, and funds to keep vigilantes from beating them up.” Beyond this, U.S.-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent. The United States already supports Persian language satellite television (Voice of America Persian) and radio (Radio Farda) that bring unfiltered news to Iranians (in recent years, these have taken the lion’s share of overt U.S. funding for promoting democracy in Iran). U.S. economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership……”

    Do you still have doubts that Iranian protest after the election was influenced and directed by the Zionists and their Iranian puppets?

    Jewish aristocracy, Rothschild family through deceptions became the richest family over night after the Napoleon War where France was defeated against England. Today, Rothschild family and their extension including Soros, Buffet, and Rockefeller run the world economy. To bring these enemies down, we have to eliminate the source of their strength and that is privatization of World resources where lead to concentration of wealth in the hands of few where majority of them are ‘Jews’. The source of their strength should be targeted because it is based on looting other nation’s resources through their control over states with WMD. They controlled British Empire and now they control American ‘Empire.’
    Nathan Rothschild in 1815 said:

    [I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.]

    Formation of modern capitalism is attributed to Jews. People should read “The Jews and Modern Capitalism” by Werner Sombart which is an interesting book. It is available on line.

    http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/het/sombart/jews.pdf

    “Sombart’s book, The Jews and Modern Capitalism was a response to Max Weber, and most of his argument was entirely if imperfectly Weberian. Capitalism is inconceivable without the Protestant ethic; Judaism is much more Protestant (older, tougher, and purer) than Protestantism; Judaism is the progenitor of Capitalism.

  21. Libby Sojo said on December 10th, 2009 at 11:57pm #

    While I think that most of the facts and interpretations in this essay are spot-on, I do disagree with the tendency of the article to indicate that all Jews are united on the pro-Israel front, and from some of the discussion I have been reading, I definitely object to the identification of the Jews as a root cause of evil. There have been many examples of Jews participating in the struggle against oppression and capitalist exploitation. There are also many Jews who are not Zionists or capitalists, myself included. Therefore, as a Jew who supports Palestinian rights and who stands in solidarity with the struggle against the occupation, I strongly urge the use of the terms “Zionist,” “Usurer,” “the capitalist Jewry,” and really anything else that avoids lumping all Jews into one category.

  22. Kim Petersen said on December 11th, 2009 at 12:20am #

    Libby, what do “segment of Jewry” and footnote 9 mean? It means that all of us bear responsibility for crimes of oppression (not equally because some people speak out and resist the oppression). It refutes all the nonsense of your comment.