|Within the Israeli state, innumerable political maneuverings occur at
a frenzied pace. Debates on the floor of the Knesset, Israel’s
lawmaking body, are quite similar to their American counterparts in
Congress, but one should not assume that the agendas of the respective
countries are by any means similar. If one pays close attention
the barrage of news items outlining U.S. involvement in Israeli
politics, it is evident that two countries have involved themselves
a war of words and covert maneuverings—simply put, the U.S. has
mounted a full-scale offensive into Israel’s political realm in the
hope of maintaining its "interests" (i.e. the capitalistic pursuance
of inexpensive oil) in the Middle East. Although this idea is
contradictory to the inextricable American-Israeli alliance touted
the news media, there is little difficulty in proving U.S.
intervention in Israel; defining the aforementioned American agenda,
however, requires more analytical investigation.
In terms of identifying the scope in which U.S. agents have entrenched
themselves in Israeli politics, one need not look further than the
most recent ministerial elections. Accompanied by a few supporters,
notable Clinton political advisor James Carville was faced with the
daunting task of helping Ehud Barak, Israel’s top challenger to
Benjamin Netanyahu, win the office of prime minister. Employing
series of political strategies, the Americans learned to recognize
idiosyncratic preferences of the Israeli public and to exploit them
the interest of helping Barak win office. Barak’s "spin managers"
were so confident of their success that Carville flew back to the
United States three full days before the elections began.
Interestingly, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has employed
an American advisor in the past—Arthur Finkelstein. Finkelstein
known for engineering Netanyahu’s 1996 come-from-behind victory
against Shimon Peres, Israel’s Labor Party leader who was notorious
for his propensity toward militarist aggression against the
Palestinians. Netanyahu—although he was traditionally harsh
Palestinians—was, at that time, the less militant of the two
candidates, and he was supported by the United States accordingly.
When pitted against Barak in early 1999, Netanyahu was perceived as
more hostile threat to Mid-East peace in comparison to his opponent
and faced off against the American support that had facilitated his
previous rise to power—a stark contrast to the 1996 campaign.
most recent Israeli elections, therefore, have resulted in the
election of individuals who were more willing to sacrifice "land for
security," and the American tendency to offer more strategic
assistance to those who are willing to compromise for this stability
cannot be overlooked.
U.S. involvement does indeed beg the question as to why America would
go to such lengths to ensure peace in a locality seemingly devoid of
national interests. The most obvious answer according to some
analysts is that the election of conservative officials would result
in a more stern policy against Palestinian upstarts, thereby upsetting
the delicate balance between Arab contentment and Israeli security
tarnishing the American image of maintaining worldwide security.
Humanitarian interests aside, one should still question U.S.
involvement in an area that concerns Israeli domestic policy, and many
have concluded that an external American benefit stands to be gained
if both Palestinian and Israeli concerns are equally addressed.
An example of overt intrusion into Israel’s policymaking department
evident in light of the most recent events leading up to the September
signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
than two months after Barak’s victory, U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright capitalized on the win by pressuring both sides
sign a new peace accord calling for both "land for peace" and a
timetable regarding final status negotiations. Interestingly,
sides cited this signing as a "crucial step in reaching a
comprehensive peace in the Middle East, particularly with Syria."
It would seem, therefore, that Arab-Israeli appeasement is a concern
for all sides involved and that the United States is the most selfless
of the participating countries because sustainable peace in the region
does not appear to offer any direct benefit to a country located
neither in nor around Southwest Asia; the indirect benefit, however,
is vastly more important. This advantage, which, according to
analysts, is the right to safeguard more than two-thirds of the
world’s oil supply, appears to be a more than adequate reason for
American intervention in an otherwise foreign affair.
The United States does have reason to fear instability in the region
because the potential for an Arab retaliation via the oil market
always exists. Following the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1973, Saudi
Arabia, both a predominantly Muslim country and a major exporter of
the world’s crude oil supply, significant decreased the amount of oil
sold to the U.S. This drastic measure was evidently an
to increased American assistance to Israel during the war—the U.S.
been one of Israel’s most devout supporters dating back to the
founding of the Jewish state in 1948. After understanding
ramifications of ethnic and religious turmoil in the region and their
perceived role in the eyes of the Arab population, America assumed
role of an almost exclusive Mid-East peacemaker.
If one is still in doubt as to whether or not American influence truly
exists in Israeli politics, a simple survey of the Israeli role in
U.S. sufficiently dispels such a notion. Although most would
that Israel’s influence on U.S. politics is a different topic of
interest altogether, it stands to reason that if the latter imposed
its rule on former, Israel, by all definitions a proud and
self-sufficient nation, would not only take umbrage at American
influence in its private affairs; it would also attempt to exert its
own pressures as a response to increasingly aggressive American
intrusion. For instance, in response to 1998’s May 10th ultimatum
given by the United States concerning an Israeli withdrawal from the
West Bank, Benjamin Netanyahu expressed a nationwide sentiment on
behalf of his people labeling U.S. treatment of Israel as that of a
feudal lord exploiting a "vassal state." The resentment
Jewish people is, therefore, evident and would explain their
infiltration into the politics of the United States as a response.
Pro-Israel organizations involved in U.S. politics such as the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Bnai Brith’s
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) not only influence electoral
outcomes—these organizations have tens of millions of dollars at their
disposal that can be issued as campaign donations—but they are also
suspected of compiling files on numerous politicians, journalists,
academics in order to circulate misinformation among Jewish
Further, prior to his capture by American officials, Jonathan J.
Pollard, one of Israel’s most successful spies, managed to procure
locations of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and to
pass them to then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir; Shamir, in
turn, delivered these weapons sites to the Soviet Union, aptly
illustrating Israel’s ability to respond to American intrusion into
Israeli affairs. A Jewish reaction to U.S. encroachment
America does indeed have vested interests in the Middle East, and
conflict within Israel exists as a potential threat to the execution
of an American agenda. The United States was initially tied to
following former President Truman’s unwavering support for the state
in 1948, and the current administration today carries on that legacy
by catering to the needs of influential Israeli lobbyists. With
respect to sustaining a healthy economic relationship with oil-rich
states bordering the Jewish nation, this link between the two
countries has proved a liability for America. U.S. strategists
gone to extreme pains to ensure healthy cooperation between
Palestinian and Israeli nationals, and by extension, these strategists
have sought to appease any Arab contingents outside of Israel that,
the wake of a falling out between the two sides, could be driven to
shift the political balance in the region. Although many
that America can depend on its recent successes of solidifying its
relations with Arab dictators—thus, eliminating the threat of oil
embargoes—the Arab peoples of said countries still have the potential
to cause inexplicable devastation to both the peace process and to
American oil interests via alternative means of political expression
(i.e. terrorism and the possible overthrow of idle governments).
pursuit of these alternative means could very well result in a
rejection of the capitalist model of economics and could give rise
a more Islamic implementation of socio-economic policy. Maintaining
peaceful cooperation between Arabs and Israelis, therefore, is crucial
to the continued execution of American capitalist objectives in the
Middle East; the interventionist policies of the United States toward
Israel should be expected.
Should Israel not respond to the encroachment into its political core,
Netanyahu’s characterization of Israel as nothing more than "vassal
state" in the hands of American elites could become more of an
actuality than it already appears to be. That is not to say,
that Netanyahu was inaccurate with this classification. As seen
above, America certainly makes its presence known in Israel, but
unlike the feudal vassals of old, Israel has responded with a ferocity
that only exacerbates the tension in this already chaotic game of
J. Adam Brockwell
Oppression.org Site Cordinator