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The US, Israel, & Corporate Power


It’s certainly arguable that the US policy towards Israel-Palestine has not been in the interests of US state-corporate power. That’s been argued in the mainstream. I suspect if you did a poll of energy corporation CEOs, that’s what you’d hear. But then they’d say the same about US policy toward Iran, and much else.

On the other hand, it doesn’t seem difficult to understand the fairly systematic reasoning of planners. To take just a few high points, in
1958 they suggested that support for Israel would be a “logical corollary” of US opposition to “radical nationalism” — meaning independent (and then secular) nationalism that sought independent development and use of the resources of the region for its own people. Israel’s very welcome victory in 1967 sealed the bargain, and established the arrangements that still persist, which I won’t review again. By now, Israel is virtually an off-shore US military base and industrial center, with very close links to US military and high-tech industry — and some important conflicts too. It’s far and away the most powerful state in the region from a military point of view, and the tacit alliance with the oil monarchies isn’t really threatened.

The Palestinians, in contrast, offer nothing to US global planners. They have no wealth, no military force, very little support from regional elites (who mostly consider them a nuisance because they stir up popular anger, which could turn against them). Not hard to see why US planners line up with the powerful force against the weak. Pretty close to historical truism.

It’s quite true that joining the international consensus would hardly harm US geostrategic and economic interests in the region, and might benefit it. Clinton came pretty close to it in the final days of his presidency, January 2001, with tolerance of the Taba negotiations, which were coming pretty close to a diplomatic settlement that probably would have been accepted locally and regionally, and certainly by the relevant global actors. Israel called them off, so we don’t know whether the remaining open questions could have been resolved, though subsequent informal but high-level negotiations suggest that it might well have been possible, if Bush-Sharon had been willing.

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