BOOK REVIEW:  The Power of Israel in the United States (James Petras)
Posted Oct 26, 2006

James Petras’ New Book: The Power of Israel in the United States

by Stephen Lendman

James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at
Binghamton University, New York.  He’s a noted
academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected
Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the
region’s popular struggles.  He’s also an advisor to
the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed
workers movement in Argentina.  Along the way, he
managed to find time to write many hundreds of
articles and 62 books published in 29 languages
including his latest one in which he discusses another
vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and
has written frequently about - the Middle East and
specifically the state of Israel and its relations
with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most
importantly and the subject of this book, the US. 

Petras’ powerful new book is titled The Power of
Israel in the United States.  It’s a work of epic
writing and essential reading documenting the enormous
influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the
Middle East.  It focuses like a laser to assure that
policy conforms with Israel’s long-term goal for
regional hegemony.  The Lobby’s influence is broad and
deep enough to include officials at the highest levels
of government, the business community, academia, the
clergy (especially the dominant Christian
fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass
media.  Petras shows how together they’re able to
assure the full and unconditional US support for all
elements of Israel’s agenda going back decades even
when that agenda harms our interests such as the
unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if
it’s undertaken, and the appalling and brutal
subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people
that serves no US interest whatever.  In spite of it,
the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with
Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to
it tolerated.

The book is divided into four parts.  This review will
cover each one in detail, and what’s discussed will
likely surprise any reader unfamiliar with the
thoroughly documented account presented in it so
compellingly. Petras sets the table in his
introduction for what’s to come in the later chapters.
He notes what author JJ Goldberg reported in his book
Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment.
Goldberg wrote in the early 1990s that 45% of the
Democrat Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the
Republicans came from Jewish-funded Political Action
Committees (PACS).  Petras then updates the numbers
using the ones Richard Cohen published in the
Washington Post showing them now at 60% and 35%
respectively, and that this funding relates to a
single core issue - unconditional US support for
Israel’s agenda including those parts of it human
rights activists and observers of conscience judge
most egregious and illegal.  Petras stresses that no
other single US lobby including Big Pharma, Big Oil,
agribusiness, or any other one has this kind of
dominant influence over the political process here.
He refers to “Zioncon” ideologues and policymakers
whose main goal is to make the Middle East into a
“US-Israeli Co-Prosperity Sphere” under the fraudulent
cover of promoting democracy in the region - but doing
it through the barrel of a gun.

Petras explains the root of the Lobby’s power lies in
the high proportion of Jewish families who are among
the wealthiest and most influential ones in the
country.  He cites Forbes magazine that reported 25 -
30% of the wealthiest families here are Jewish despite
the small percentage of Jews in the population
overall.  They include billionaires with enormous
influence, and along with all others comprising the
Jewish Lobby, have created a “tyranny of Israel over
the US” with consequences grave enough to threaten
world peace and stability, the global economy, and the
very future of democracy in this country. 

That democracy and our constitutionally protected
rights now hang by a thread after the recent passage
of the Military Commissions Act (aka the “torture
authorization act” or more accurately the “US
Constitutional annulment act”) that makes everyone
everywhere an “enemy combatant” subject to arrest and
detention out of sight anywhere in the world without
regard for our (no longer) constitutionally guaranteed
rights.  The new law also applies to US citizens as
the Jose Padilla case showed.  We’ve effectively lost
our habeas and due process rights even though
technically we still have them.

Because of the Lobby’s power, Petras reports, the US
has unconditionally supported Israel’s wars of
aggression since 1967.  It’s influence also led to the
US Gulf war in 1991 and the second Iraq war begun in
2003, now raging out of control and seen by some noted
analysts as unwinnable and causing potential
irreparable economic and political harm to the nation.
Nonetheless, it persists with no plan agreed on to
end it. The Lobby also guaranteed this country’s
unconditional support for Israel’s illegal wars of
aggression against Lebanon and Palestine with all the
devastation they caused and the horrendous
consequences from them unresolved.  The Palestinian
conflict still rages under the radar, and the status
in Lebanon hangs by a hair trigger ready to erupt
again any time Israel decides to resume hostilities.
But inflaming the Middle East powder keg to a near
boiling point is the strong possibility the US and/or
Israel will attack Iran because Israel wants it and
the Jewish Lobby put its powerful support behind it.
More on this, Palestine and Lebanon below.

Today the situation in the Middle East is so dire,
Petras reports a large majority of Europeans and a
growing number of Americans believe Israel is the
greatest of all threats to world peace and stability.
Nonetheless, the Bush administration, in acquiescence
to the Lobby, has “bludgeoned” its European partners
to go along with its uncompromising support for the
Jewish state despite all the obvious perils from it.
In this country, open debate is stifled, public
figures and academics daring to air one truthfully are
pilloried, ridiculed, called anti-semitic and even
threatened, and no serious dissent is ever tolerated
in the corporate-run media or their funded and
controlled so-called public radio or PBS parts of it.

No publication is more servile to, supportive of, or
more influential than the nation’s so-called “paper of
record” publishing “All the News That’s Fit to Print”
- the New York Times.  It’s important because the
stories it features prominently resonate around the
country and the world.  This dominant newspaper
pledges unconditional support and fealty to the state
of Israel whatever it does.  The rest of the major
media go along unquestioningly putting out regular
one-sided pro-Israel uber alles propaganda with no
opposition voices allowed to represent other points of
view.  We call that a free press -  but only for those
who own one.  The state of the corporate-controlled
media in this country is now so pathetic that
Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders -
for press freedom) just ranked the US 53rd in the
world in press freedom behind countries like Benin,
Namibia, Jamaica, France and Bolivia.

James Petras is a courageous independent voice who
bucks this disturbing trend and refuses to go along.
He proves it in his powerful and carefully documented
new book that gives no quarter countering the
mendacity, deceit and danger of the Lobby, its
acolytes and hangers-on, and the corrupted major
media.  In his introduction, he calls for a
“counter-hegemonic movement” to free us from our
destructive “Israeli entanglements.”  It’s needed to
begin rebuilding our democracy and freedoms that are
somewhere between life support and the crematorium.
This book, he says, is his modest effort toward that
goal.  Because of the important information in it,
it’s considerably more than that.  It needs widespread
exposure so people will know about it.  Hopefully this
review will help arouse some of them to want to find
out in more detail.

Part I - Zionist Power in America

Petras begins with a discussion of who fabricated the
lies about Iraq’s threat to our security and why.  He
mentions two competing channels of policy makers and
advisors - the long-in-place formal structure of
career military and civilian professionals in the
Pentagon and State Department and a parallel one Bush
administration neocons set up for this one purpose in
the Pentagon, staffed by political appointees, and
called the Office of Special Plans (OSP).  It was the
OSP’s job to cook the books, come up with the idea of
weapons of mass destruction while ignoring the clear
evidence to the contrary and contrive a fraudulent
case for war against Iraq.  The people in it were
those in Donald Rumsfeld’s and Paul Wolfowitz’s chain
of command and were closely connected to a number of
influential neoconservative and pro-Israel
organizations.  They planned a war agenda based on
lies because Israel wanted it for its security and
hegemony in the region - beginning with the overthrow
of Saddam Hussein followed by regime change in Syria,
Lebanon, Iran and even Saudi Arabia.

Petras points out, contrary to popular belief, this
war happened largely due to the efforts of the Jewish
Lobby representing the interests of Israel.  Big Oil
opposed the idea because it feared attacking Iraq
would jeopardize its business prospects with other
oil-producing states in the region.  Still, Israel and
the Jewish Lobby got their war, and aside from the
gain from high oil prices, Big Oil may end up a
longer-term loser from it.  US oil interests always
prefer stability and normal relationships with
countries where they operate or wish to and were quite
comfortable dealing with Saddam Hussein without
wanting to risk a war that might upset an otherwise
profitable arrangement.  Their fears proved justified
as the war they feared created such unresolved
turbulence in Iraq, it’s become too dangerous and
unprofitable to undertake new ventures there except
perhaps in parts of the Kurdish-controlled north.  Big
Oil also chafes at not being allowed to deal with the
Iranians for contracts now let to its European and
other competitors because US sanctions prevent them
from doing business there.  It’s hard to imagine those
interests would ever go along with US - Israeli
belligerence in the Middle East, but they dare not
oppose it publicly.

Petras observes there’s never a public discussion
allowed about that relationship in the mainstream nor
will there ever be any, especially any hint the US
attacked Iraq in service to Israel. There should be
plenty of it though because the Iraq and Afghanistan
wars have enraged hundreds of millions of Muslims and
all people of conscience worldwide.  They’ve caused
the US to be seen as a pariah state and George Bush as
a dangerous and morally depraved president of a failed
administration.  He and those closest to him like
Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are reviled around
the world and increasingly here at home as witnessed
by the many thousands who took to the streets on
October 5 in over 200 US cities on The World Can’t
Wait Day - Drive Out the Bush Regime. The cost of
Bush’s wars far exceed any possible future benefits
from them, our security has been jeopardized, the
nation’s status has been compromised, and some
analysts believe the total dollar cost of the Iraq
adventure may eventually top $2 trillion - an amount
extremely harmful to the nation’s economy that’s now
worrying key business leaders and responsible people
in government.

The only clear beneficiary of the Bush war agenda is
Israel.  It removed its main adversary in the region
and cut off the political and economic support it gave
the Palestinians.  Petras points out that Iraq along
with Iran and Syria comprised the core resistance to
Israel’s expansionist plans to crush the Palestinians
(one down, two to go), ethnically cleanse them from
their homeland and seize their land as one part of a
long-term goal for a greater Israel and
unchallengeable dominance in the region.  Israel is
the only country in the world with undeclared borders.
It’s kept that status to give itself maximum latitude
to annex all the territory it can toward the goal of a
greater “Eretz Israel” Zionists want that includes the
ancient lands of “Judea” and “Summaria,” the West Bank
biblical parts of Israel Palestinians claim as their

With US help, Israel removed one threat to its plan
for regional supremacy, but it still faces determined
resistance from the Palestinians in spite of having
crushed its democratically elected Hamas government.
It also faces a resilient Hezbollah in Lebanon that
humiliated the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the
summer war there as well as opposition from Iran and
Syria.  In addition, there’s internal opposition
within Israel over its war and colonization agenda
because of its enormous cost plus the added insecurity
it causes.  It’s resulted in a level of out-migration
now exceeding new arrivals as well as an erosion of
the nation’s social programs because the state needs
the resources for its aggression and annexation
agenda.  It’s much like what’s happening under the
Bush administration where the people pay the price for
imperial wars abroad and the moral decay and
authoritarianism at home.

Obstacles and setbacks aside, Israel has pursued its
goal to “democratize” the region through a belligerent
policy of neutralizing its enemies in it by force.
The plan they crafted is for a series of wars with its
US ally taking the lead and the eventual goal of joint
US - Israeli control over the entire region.  Making
it work depends on getting US administrations to go
along, which so far hasn’t been a problem and has
never been easier with the Bush administration in
power and the high-level pro-Zionist officials in it
with long-standing ties to Israel.  They have the most
important policy-making positions in government or are
closely associated with the ones who do.  These
officials have a history of dedication to Israel’s
interests even when they conflict with those here at
home.  They’re in the administration, the Congress as
well as in the most influential Jewish organizations
and lobbying groups like the Conference of Presidents
of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation
League and what some observers believe is the single
most powerful lobby in Washington - AIPAC.

Committed support for Israel also comes from the
“Jewish Diaspora” that comprises thousands of
dedicated activists here - doctors, dentists,
philanthropists, key individuals on Wall Street, the
major banks and the Federal Reserve and other key
segments of business, the major media, the clergy and
academics and journalists given special prominence
because of their willingness to corrupt their
integrity in return for the handsome benefits they get
for their unconditional public support and contrived
rationalizations for the US -Israeli agenda.  This
kind of influence and support has made Israel by far
the largest recipient in the world of US financial aid
that amounts upfront to about $3 billion a year with
more forthcoming any time as needed in added funding,
weapons transfers and large low or no-interest loans
that may never have to be repaid.

Israel also gets the unheard of advantage of receiving
the latest and most advanced US arms and technology,
unrestricted US market access for its products and
services, free entry of its immigrants, unconditional
support for its aggressive wars and colonization of
the Palestinians and South Lebanese, and guaranteed US
vetoes in the Security Council against all UN
resolutions unfavorable to its interests.  It’s also
able to get prominent Washington officials and the
dominant corporate-run and funded media to label all
criticism of Israel anti-semitic and freely uses this
ruse whenever it serves its purpose.  Israel is
allowed to get away with its intelligence operations
here as well including its covert penetration of
military bases, the FBI, IRS, INS, EPA and many other
government agencies.  In addition, it’s believed its
agents knew in advance about the 9/11 attack but
withheld the information knowing it would serve its
interests to let it happen.  There’s also considerable
evidence high US officials either knew about it
themselves or were complicit in carrying it out
because they also knew it would allow them the kind of
reckless free reign at home and abroad they never
could have gotten any other way.  This is a story that
won’t go away nor should it, and one day we may
finally learn all the parts of it we can only
speculate about now.

Because of Israel’s unparalleled ties to the centers
of power and dominant media, Petras notes it’s able
get back $50 in return for every dollar it spends.
That’s how it’s able to finance its military and
colonial settlements in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT) on annexed land.  The Jewish
networks here support these practices as justifiable
compensation allowed victims of the “Holocaust” (the
ones noted author John Pilger calls “worthy victims”)
and circulate that ideology in the corporate media.
They also reinforce anti-Muslim hysteria labelling all
Arabs untrustworthy, radical Islamic fundamentalists
or Islamo-fascists (“unworthy” victims for John
Pilger), claiming the right to arrest, torture and
mete out summary justice to them in military tribunals
or just attack and kill them in imperial wars of

The result for Israel and its people has been
disastrous because the Palestinians have refused for
almost six decades to accede to this abuse and have
waged two Intifadas to end it.  With little more than
a fierce determination, their bodies and crude
weapons, they’ve fought back with suicide bombings and
attacks on public facilities in Israel knowing what
harsh retaliation they’ll face afterward.  People in
the US have also paid a heavy price in the erosion of
democracy and freedom.  It’s evidenced by the Bush
administration’s harsh legislation beginning with the
infamous USA Patriot Act passed in short order right
after the 9/11 attack, followed by other repressive
laws and practices allowed like illegal surveillance
and secret renditions of anyone targeted to
torture-prisons with court acquiescence or silence
about most of them.

Petras points out that none of this deters powerful
supporters of Israel who raise billions of dollars to
support the country’s war machine and finance its
colonization of annexed Palestinian land plus the
Golan Heights (with its invaluable water resources)
seized and never returned to Syria after the 1967 war.
Israel’s economy is not self-sufficient, and without
this aid, it would have to make unacceptable cuts in
social services, reduce its military budget and
curtail its expansionary plans.  With it, plus the $3
billion a year direct US contribution and lots more
help, US taxpayers (like it or not) have the burden of
funding Israel’s belligerence and colonization agenda.

Petras itemizes what it all costs:

—$3 billion annually in direct aid.

—Billions more in loans as needed.

—Millions annually for resettlement help for Soviet
(now Russian) and Ethiopian immigrants.

—a $10 billion loan guarantee in 1990 and a further
$9 billion one in 2004 plus billions more for the
asking and to be forthcoming to pay the costs of the
2006 Lebanon and Palestine wars.

—Since 1981, economic aid made in cash transfers,
and since 1985 military aid done the same way.

—$45 billion in repayment waved loans since 1974 and
billions more for the asking - free money at US
taxpayer expense.

—Since 1982, ESF cash transfers in one early in the
fiscal year lump sum with no strings attached while
other countries receiving them are paid quarterly with
their use monitored.  Israel invests the money in US
treasuries costing US taxpayers millions more annually
and also gets special FMS funding arrangements costing
US taxpayers well over $1 billion since 1991.

—Other privileged benefits include financial aid to
develop Israel’s defense industry, transfer of
state-of-the-art technology and the latest US weapons,
US guarantee for Israel’s access to oil, and the
likely massive aid still to come to defray the
country’s “special costs” for its Gaza “disengagement
plan” morphing into the colonization of whatever parts
of the OPT Israel wishes to annex for new settlements
US taxpayers pay for.

—Add to this some $22 billion Israel got over the
past 50 years through the sale of its below-market
interest paying bonds that have financed half of its
development - meaning the colonization of annexed
Palestinian lands and military funding for its
predatory imperial wars.

Petras explains the Zionist power structure in the US
makes it all possible, but its reach extends well
beyond the so-called “Jewish Lobby.”  He identifies a
“Zionist power configuration (ZPC) that includes AIPAC
as one part of a “complex network of interrelated
formal and informal groupings, operating at the
international, national, regional, and local levels”
unconditionally supporting the state of Israel and all
its policies including its wars, colonization and
oppression.  It’s power is like a cancer infecting the
highest levels of government and all the other centers
of power and influence as already explained.  It
controls the selection of political candidates and can
defeat incumbents or aspirants daring to criticize
Israel.  It also shapes the reporting on Israel in the
mass media suppressing any of it that’s unsupportive
or critical.  And it’s powerful enough to get
“uncooperative” journalists, and even some academics,
fired and banished from the mainstream for daring to
step out of line.

Petras reports the power of the ZPC was evident in the
run-up to the Iraq war and the Gulf war before it in
1991. Going back to the GHW Bush administration, the
US wanted regime change in Iraq, but that decision
was heavily influenced by the ZPC that considered
Saddam a mortal enemy of Israel who had to be removed.
He managed to survive through the 1990s despite our
efforts to destabilize the country and bring it to its
knees.  But once the GW Bush administration neocons
took over in 2001, the ugly business of war planning
and occupation took hold to complete what the Gulf war
left unfinished, and powerful Zionists (like Paul
Wolfowitz and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman - the
senator from AIPAC) in key policy-making positions
invented the threat to bring it about in March, 2003 -
all based on lies, deceit and subservience to Israel’s
imperial agenda. 

The US military finally removed Saddam and conducted a
scorched-earth campaign to destroy Iraqi society, its
infrastructure and historical treasures to “dismantle
the secular state (and) turn the country in a desert
kingdom - a loose collection of at least three
‘tribal’ client mini-states based on ethnicities,
religious-tribal loyalties (and no viable threat
against) Israeli expansionism, particularly in
Northern Iraq.”  The effort to do this is now underway
after the Iraq puppet parliament’s passage of its
federalism bill to take effect in 18 months that will
effectively divide the country into the three
US-ordered, designed and supposedly more easily
governed parts it wants.

It’s unlikely this can work, but it’s clearer than
ever now what the human cost of the war has been for
Iraqis.  It caused the violent deaths of about 655,000
of them attributable to the war according to a
shocking new study published by the noted Lancet
British medical journal which updated their two
earlier ones done after March, 2003.  The study used
the statistically reliable technique known as random
households “cluster sampling” with personal interviews
conducted across the country that used death
certificate verification in the great majority of
cases to come up with the total.  It’s likely the true
number of deaths is even much higher than this
appalling number as the interviewers were unable to
include in their count the most dangerous and violent
parts of the country like Fallujah, Ramadi and other
areas of al Anbar province where mass killing still
goes on daily as well as families (likely in the
thousands) in which all the members were killed.

This new information, just out and covering a period
since March, 2003, compares to Human Rights Watch’s
estimate of 250,000 - 290,000 people killed by Saddam
Hussein’s Baathist regime over its 20 year existence.
It amplifies the outrageous crime of this barbarous
adventure to achieve a “Greater Middle East US-Israel
Co-Prosperity Sphere” and to give Israel access to the
extra water, oil, capital and markets it lacks.  It
was also part of Israel’s greater agenda under the
Sharon Likud, and now Olmert Kadima, governments to
have free reign to pursue their stated policy of
“annexation and separation” in the OPT.  The Zionist
influence in the Bush administration is so entrenched,
it assured there’d be no opposition to it then or now.

It’s all gone on in spite of mass anti-imperial
resistance to what’s seen as an arrogant disregard for
the standards and norms of international behavior and
laws in the pursuit of an expansionist agenda.  Israel
and the US today willfully violate the UN Charter, the
Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions relative to
the conduct of war and when it may be legally waged,
the treatment of prisoners, the use of torture,
destruction of infrastructure and historical sites,
and plunder of natural resources to establish client
puppet-run regimes exploiting their people in service
to the dominant capital and political interests of
their imperial conquerors. 

Then to quell resistance and tighten security, the US
and Israel resort to the most extreme methods
including mass arrests and detentions and the free use
of torture and targeted assassinations as state
policy.  Amnesty International reports since the
passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the
US and Israel are the only two countries in the world
to have legalized the use of torture.  Petras and
others report the top leaders in the Pentagon up to
Donald Rumsfeld specifically ordered its use “while
the Justice and Defense Departments insisted that the
President could override any laws - international or
national as well as the US Constitution - in defending
the empire.”  These top officials in key areas of
government have audaciously given the President “de
facto and de jure dictatorial powers” to do whatever
he chooses to establish “Imperial Security.”  It makes
our citizens at home no safer than the victims of US
and Israeli imperial aggression in Iraq, Lebanon,
Palestine or anywhere else in the world.

But Petras reports it’s even worse than that as the
expose of torture in Iraq revealed a highly organized
network of US and Israeli assassins worldwide.  They
operate as international death squads engaged in
“killing, kidnapping and torturing ‘suspects’ and
sympathizers of resistance movements.”  Petras calls
this a US-sponsored “Murder Incorporated” that’s
composed of Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and a
DELTA force operating in a Special Agency Program
(SAP).  It follows the same practices long engaged in
by Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special
Operations known as the Mossad, and its aim is to
remove all opposition by whatever extralegal methods
it chooses while ignoring international law.  It then
justifies this activity at the highest levels of
government as a matter of policy.

Petras further points to the UN’s International
Leadership report on the destruction of civilian and
military infrastructure in Iraq (much like what Israel
did in the OPT discussed below).  It showed “84% of
Iraq’s higher learning institutions have been burnt,
looted or destroyed.”  Archeological museums and
historic sites, libraries and archives have also been
plundered, and targeted assassinations have been
carried out against academics, other teachers, senior
military personnel, journalists and other
professionals including doctors.  In addition, there
are random or targeted daily terror killings by
US-directed “Salvador option” death squads as well as
thousands of kidnappings and other systematic horrors
making life intolerable for most everyone in the
country outside the four square kilometer
fortress-like Green Zone HQ in central Baghdad for
“coalition” officials and the puppet “Iraq interim

It’s all part of Washington’s design to destroy the
country’s cultural identity as an Arab state, separate
its oil resources from any large population base, and
divide the nation into more easily governed parts just
the way it was done in the breakup of Yugoslavia in
the 1990s.  It’s now been reported that longtime Bush
family consigliere James Baker, co-chairing an Iraq
Study Group, will formerly propose the kind of plan
the Iraq puppet government just passed putting a
quasi-official US imprimatur on it as part of a US -
Israeli divide and conquer strategy that may not be as
easy to pull off as as the one in the former
Yugoslavia or in the simple north - south divisions of
Korea and Vietnam after WW II.

What’s happening today in Iraq and Palestine is so
outrageous and chaotic, Petras refers to a “House of
Horrors” in both countries with the Zionist
militarists at the Pentagon and their Israeli
counterparts in charge of their respective “Horror
Shows….under the big tent of a ‘Mid-East Democratic
Reform Initiative.’ ”  This is the modus operandi of
empire building and colonization - blast and tear a
nation to shreds so it can never again exist as it
once did.  Then terrorize the people into submission
and kill off all the ones who resist.  It’s a barbaric
thumb in the eye to humanity, but this is the way
rogue empires do things, especially when they’re too
powerful to challenge.

The US-led killing machine is in full operation in
Iraq, and so is the Israeli one in the OPT.  Petras
calls the one there “Israel’s Final Solution” or the
“Palestinian Holocaust,” and it’s focal point is in
Gaza which even unoccupied is the world’s largest
open-air prison for its 1.45 million people in the
most densely populated space of its size in the world.
Today the Strip and the West Bank are Israeli-directed
killing fields targeting Palestinian civilians
helpless to stop it beyond their courageous acts of
desperation with crude weapons and their bodies
against tanks, F-16s, helicopter gunships, and illegal
and immoral terror weapons like white phosphorus bombs
and shells, cluster bombs that never stop killing and
maiming, and experimental new weapons that don’t have
publicly-known names yet.

Israel’s war on Palestine has gone on for nearly six
decades, and September 28 marked the sixth anniversary
of the al-Aqsa Mosque Intifada resistance against it
that began with Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to
the holy site in 2000.  Israel dramatically escalated
the conflict after the minor June 25, 2006 incident at
an Israeli military post near Kerem Shalom crossing
killing two IDF soldiers, injuring several others and
capturing a third still held whose name the corporate
media made sure everyone knows but won’t ever reveal
any of over-10,000 names of Palestinian prisoners held
(the fate of “unworthy victims”). The June clash
followed a series of bloody earlier in the month
Israeli attacks on Gaza including the widely reported
beach shelling that killed eight Palestinians and
injured 32 others including 13 children.  Much as it
did in Lebanon (discussed below), Israel’s response
was swift, deadly, disproportionate to what happened
and planned months in advance as revealed by General
Yoav Galant, in charge of Gaza, in a candid interview
he gave in Israel’s Maariv daily.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
documented it all including the devastation of the
past six years.  Overall it created a state of
mass-immiseration for the Palestinian people in Gaza
and the West Bank:

—essential infrastructure affecting power, clean
water and sanitation destroyed

—mobility restricted or denied

—imposition of an embargo threatening the collapse
of an already weak economy creating unemployment up to
80% of the population

—hostile incursions into the OPT, daily killings,
and frequent extra-judicial assassinations

—home and property demolitions

—mass arbitrary arrests, administrative detentions
of thousands of Palestinians without charge, and the
systematic use of torture on those held including
against women and children

—the destruction of a viable Hamas-led Palestinian
Authority (PA) through imprisonments of its
democratically elected members held without charge or
on contrived ones against them as well as the
destruction of its civil and security facilities

All this and much more has been done (as in Iraq) to
destroy the cultural identity and very existence of
the Palestinian people to prevent them from ever
having a viable independent state of their own as well
as force a mass-Palestinian exodus to other Arab
states willing to help them escape their intolerable
situation in the OPT. 

The plan to crush these defenseless people now
includes credible evidence that the Bush and Olmert
administrations have been arming, training and
plotting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and
his Fatah followers to lead a civil uprising against
the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and destroy
it by force.  It follows the Palestinians failed
efforts to form a national unity government because
Hamas refused Fatah’s demand to govern as Israel’s
enforcer and abandon its own pledge to serve the
welfare of its people.  Now in an interview on October
8 in the London Sunday Times, Fatah militia leader
Tawfig Tirawi, inflamed matters by accusing Hamas of
“accumulating weapons” and that “a full-scale civil
war can break out at any moment.”  He earlier said
“civil war is inevitable.” The paper also reported
President Abbas “notified the US, Jordan and Egypt
that he is preparing to take action against Hamas.”
These statements defy Hamas Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh who firmly said he’ll never allow a civil war
to happen, and it’s unimaginable the Palestinian
people want one.  But Haniyeh and his people may have
no choice as this seems to be the current joint
US-Israeli strategy to destroy Palestinian resistance
and do it with help from Fatah President Abbas.  This
is the same man who pledged his fealty to Israel as a
participant in crafting the Oslo Accords sellout of
his people and being a principle in the Arafat-led
corrupted and mismanaged Palestinian Authority until
Hamas won a majority of the seats in the January, 2006
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections.  The
Bush and Olmert governments wouldn’t tolerate that
outcome, and the New York Times reported right after
the election US and Israeli officials met at the
“highest level” to plan the destruction of Hamas by
“starving” the PA and making the people in the OPT pay
the greatest price.

For Israel, this is part of its state policy of ethnic
cleansing by slow-motion genocide and out-migration
all leading to the destruction of the Palestinian
identity.  It wants to co-opt a corrupted PA
leadership of its choice to act as Israel’s enforcer
and partner in the destruction of its own people.
It’s to fulfill the intent of what former Israeli
Prime Minister Golda Meier meant by her racist comment
that “There are no Palestinians” and what Prime
Minister David Ben Gurion earlier said after Israel
brutally expelled the Palestinians from their homes
and land in the 1948 war establishing the state of
Israel: “We have come and we have stolen their
country….We must do everything to insure they (the
Palestinians) never do return….(and 10 years earlier
had written his son) We will expel the Arabs and take
their places….with the force at our disposal.” He
and his successors planned to include all the land of
biblical Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) within the
final fixed borders of a greater Israeli state
whenever they’re finally declared.  The US
unconditionally supports Israel’s plan to do this as
well as its policies of plunder and exploitation, but
as Petras explains: “No one in their right mind can
claim that the Israeli assault on Gaza advances US
policies, interests or US imperial power.” It doesn’t
matter because the power of the Jewish Lobby got the
full support of the Bush administration for it anyway
as well as the near unanimity for it in the Congress.

The Rape of Lebanon

What Israel did to the Palestinians in the OPT over
decades, it did to Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and in about
a five week blitzkrieg beginning July 12, ending
formally but fragilely with a UN-brokered ceasefire on
August 14. Petras compares the assault to the Nazi’s
November 9 and 10, 1938 infamous Kristallnacht pogrom
in the German Reich against the Jews calling that
event a “garden party” compared to the rape of Lebanon
and vast devastation from it. It began with
Hezbollah’s cross-border incursion on July 12, killing
eight IDF soldiers in the exchange that followed and
capturing two others.  There’s still a dispute over
which side of the Lebanese border the incident took
place as for years Israel routinely makes hostile
incursions into Lebanon by land and air, and still
illegally occupies the 25 square kilometer Shebaa
Farms area of South Lebanon it never relinquished
after seizing it in the 1967 war. 

As against Gaza, Israel again responded swiftly and
disproportionately in a reign of terror against the
Lebanese people by land, air and sea.  It killed and
wounded thousands and displaced a million or more
Lebanese civilians.  It also systematically destroyed
the country’s essential to life and other vital
infrastructure and created an amount of physical
devastation that could take a generation to recover
from if Israel even allows it to happen.  It was done
in part to destroy Hezbollah as a political entity and
as an effective resistance force against Israel’s
imperial designs on the country.  But Israel’s plans
are much more far-reaching than that as explained

Petras reported Middle East expert Juan Cole claims
Israel wanted the war and planned it at least a year
in advance.  Matthew Kallman of the San Francisco
Chronicle Foreign Service also found and reported
evidence that preparations for it began in May, 2000,
immediately after Israel ended its occupation of the
country that began with its invasion and brutal
assault in 1982 that killed about 18,000 Lebanese.
Kallman also reported that over a year before the
conflict began a senior IDF official gave “PowerPoint
presentations” off the record to US and other
officials and unnamed journalists and think tanks
explaining how the attack would unfold “in revealing

Again, Israel got the full backing, funding and arming
as needed from the Bush administration to carry it
out, effectively making this gruesome adventure a
joint US-Israeli operation.  Besides wanting to
neutralize Hezbollah’s resistance, the goal was to
destroy Lebanon as a functioning country and
ethnically cleanse the southern part of it up to the
Litani River Israel wants to control and eventually
annex and keep as it did the Golan after the 1967 war.
Israel claims this area (like the Golan) is important
for security reasons, but its greatest value (again
like the Golan) is as a source of fresh water from the
Litani and from the Wazzani springs that feed into the
Hasbani River that’s a tributary of the Jordan River.
The Hisbani flows into Israel two miles downstream
from the Wazzani and runs into the Sea of Galilee
that’s Israel’s largest source of fresh water. 

Israel has had designs on Lebanon for 40 years or more
and has kept the country in a state of instability,
partial occupation and conflict over most of that
time.  Now the state of the country is a devastated
near-wasteland monitored by so-called (Israel-approved
and friendly) UN Blue Helmets and Lebanese Armed
Forces replacing the IDF on the ground under a fragile
UN brokered ceasefire arrangement that could end any
time Israel wishes again to unleash its war machine
and on any pretext.  There’s nothing to deter Israel
from doing it as it has the unconditional support of
the Jewish Lobby and whatever US administration is in
power.  Unless this changes, the people of Lebanon,
like those in Iraq and Palestine, can only look ahead
to more conflict and the pain and suffering from it.

That’s because there’s still unfinished business for
both empires, and it’s not likely either one will soon
give up on what they’re determined to achieve.  So
even though Iraq is a hopeless quagmire, the Bush
administration says it will “stay the course.”  And as
long as Israel has full US backing, it will continue
pursuing its imperial agenda even though Hezbollah
humiliated the IDF in Lebanon and the Palestinians
show no signs of ending their determined resistance
short of mass-annihilation or forced expulsion.  But
it’s not all smooth sailing as the unholy US-Israeli
alliance faces a threat it can’t ignore that could
derail it.  It’s a growing broad-based worldwide
anti-imperialist movement against these two partnered
pariah states.  It remains to be seen how far it will
go, whether it can achieve critical mass in the US and
in Israel, and if it can succeed in changing the
direction of these two belligerents so far unstoppable
and determined to go on unchecked by what passes for
the civilized western world.

Part II - Israel and Middle East Warfare

It now looks like the only lesson the US and Israel
learned from past failure is to press on with a new
adventure.  It appears the likely prime target is the
Islamic Republic of Iran, as ill-advised as it will be
to attack it.  Petras explains that “Israel’s
political and military leadership have repeatedly and
openly declared (their intention) to attack Iran in
the immediate future.”  And once again it looks like
the power of the Jewish Lobby in the US has the Bush
administration thinking the same way to help its
Israeli partner free itself from another “irritant” in
the region that stands in the way of both countries’
imperial aims.  Petras calls Israel’s Iran-directed
war preparations “the greatest immediate threat to
world peace and political stability (today).” It’s
hard to disagree.

That threat was heightened following North Korea’s
nuclear test which Israeli officials were quick to
jump on suggesting it will benefit Iran.  It came from
an inflammatory statement by Miri Eisin, Prime
Minister Olmert’s spokeswoman, who told the AP: “We
should remind ourselves that the North Koreans have
already been suppliers of launching platforms which
could reach Europe and certainly Israel.  As such,
they have already shown their willingness to be
suppliers to Iran.”  Then Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan
Gillerman went further on Israel’s Channel 2 TV
referencing North Korea’s nuclear activity and adding:
“what Iran is about to do could be much worse, much
more frightening and much more dangerous.”  This
language practically demands an attack on Iran to
destroy its presumed “nuclear threat” even though Iran
is no threat to any country and the real threat is a
growing likelihood of an Israeli and/or US attack on
Iran or any other country in the region targeted as an

The US and Israel are allowed to get away with these
kinds of outrageously stark and provocative statements
even though the only pretext either country can
fabricate is the baseless claim that Iran’s legitimate
right to enrich uranium for commercial use means the
country has embarked on a nuclear weapons program that
will threaten Israel.  In fact, Iran is a signatory to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and, from
all the evidence uncovered from years of monitoring by
the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is
in full compliance with it.  It has every legal right
to pursue its commercial nuclear program and nuclear
enrichment for it. Israel, on the other hand, never
signed the treaty, is known to have two to three
hundred or more sophisticated nuclear weapons and
launching systems for them, has stated its intention
to use them if it chooses to, and is a nuclear outlaw
- but one with an important ally the Iranians lack.

Today the debate in Israel is only over the method and
timing of attacking Iran.  Petras explains the
Israelis have been pushing the US to do it for over a
decade with the power of the Jewish Lobby in full
support claiming the Islamic Republic threatens
Israel’s security and its dominance in the region.  It
doesn’t matter that Iran never attacked its neighbors
and isn’t likely to undertake a military action except
in self-defense as it did against Iraq in the 1980s.
Further, it’s an Israeli and made-in-America agitprop
fabrication that Iranian President Ahmadinejad
threatened “to wipe Israel off the map.”  The
president said a number of things including….“this
regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from
the page of time” meaning an illegal racist colonial
one, but he didn’t say or mean it should be removed by
force or that Jews should be expelled from Israel. 

Further proof of Iran’s intentions came from Grand
Ayatollah Khamenei’s public pledge never to attack
another country.  He also condemned the development
and use of nuclear weapons as being against Islam.
The Western media was careful to suppress Khamenei’s
pledge and instead published false reports that he
threatened the US to heighten the tension between the
two countries.  It’s all part of the scheme to get
full US support for Israel’s intended war plans and
the long held desire of both countries for regime
change in Iran.

Petras lays out a dire scenario if a US, Israeli or
joint attack is launched.  It will be especially bad
if the US does it using so-called “mini-nuke robust
earth penetrator bunker-buster” munitions which are
weapons that can be made to any desired potency and
are likely to be from one-third to two-thirds as
powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.  In other words,
there’s nothing “mini” about them.  Aside from the
catastrophic level of immediate and long-term
casualties from nuclear annihilation and radiation in
Iran and beyond, Petras explains such an attack will
only be a “pyrrhic victory.”  If Israel does it alone,
it may set off a chain “political conflagration (to)
unseat the rulers of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi
Arabia.”  If the US attacks, it “would be even worse:
major oil wells burning, US troops in Iraq surrounded
(with the catastrophic consequences of far greater
loss of life on both sides), long-term relations with
Arab regimes undermined and increased oil prices
(possibly high enough to cause a worldwide economic
calamity) and supplies disrupted.”  It’s almost
certain this would inflame or enrage public opinion in
the US and Israel that could lead to the ouster of the
ruling parties in both countries.

It would also likely undermine Big Oil’s existing and
desired major oil exploration projects and cause the
Israelis to crack down harder on the Palestinians and
make them face forced massive ethnic cleansing
expulsion from their homeland.  Further, it would
almost certainly get a response from Hezbollah or
other resistance in South Lebanon, reignite the
conflict there, unleash the Israeli killing machine
all over again and cause more mass displacement and
reoccupation by the IDF as the UN Blue Helmets and
Lebanese forces evacuate the conflict zone.  And it
would lead to a growing threat of retaliatory terror
attacks in the US, other Western countries and in
Israel and would likely strengthen the resolve of
other nations feeling potentially threatened by a
hostile US, Israel and the West to seek defensive
economic and military alliances in a structure like
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that was
formed in 2001 for political, diplomatic, economic and
security reasons to act as a counterweight to NATO
which the US dominates.

Still, with all the hazards of attacking Iran clearly
in the minds of US policy makers, the momentum for it
is moving ahead.  It’s happening in spite of serious
high-level dispute in Washington about undertaking it.
The Pentagon has war plans for it to include NATO,
Israel and Canada, and it currently has a major US
naval strike group deployment in the Persian Gulf and
Eastern Mediterranean.  Part of it is permanently
stationed in the region, and in early October, The
powerful Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group got “prepare
to deploy” orders, headed there on October 3 and is
now in place for whatever action may be intended.  It
joins the Enterprise and Iwo Jima Expeditionary
Strike Groups making a total of three US naval task
forces in position opposite Iran for whatever purpose
may be planned and will shortly be joined by a fourth
Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group that left Singapore
on October 16 for the region.  Naval forces already
there have been engaged in what the Iranian foreign
ministry calls “dangerous and suspicious” exercises in
the Gulf practicing intercepting and searching ships
for potential WMDs and missiles. 

This all may be just a saber-ratling bluff, but if
it’s more than that it could unfold as a late October
or early November “surprise” ahead of the November 7
congressional elections now only days away and be
initiated in response to a manufactured incident on
the order of the August, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin one or
the blowing up of the USS Maine in February, 1898 in
Havana Harbor.  It’s never hard for an aggressor to
find reasons for war if it wants one and just needs a
convenient excuse to start it.

The Bush administration and Israelis may get their
wish if the Navy goes ahead with its reported plans to
blockade Iranian oil ports.  This action will be an
act of war if it’s done that Iran will have a legal
right to respond to in self-defense under Article 51
of the UN Charter but will surely be met with a “shock
and awe” counterattack against about 400 Iranian
target sites already designated as ones to destroy in
the event of hostilities.  None of this guarantees an
attack is imminent, but it shows a real possibility
one may be coming.  It also shows the power of the
Jewish Lobby in the US that supports Israel’s
long-term aim to attack Iran no matter how grim the
fallout from it may be.  There’s so much open
speculation about this, it’s gotten saner military,
political and economic analysts here to believe this
would be an act of insanity with the kind of
potentially catastrophic consequences Petras outlined
above.  Will it happen? We can only hold our breathe
waiting to find out, but it may not be long before we

Part III - Experts on Terror or Terrorist Experts

In this part of his book, Petras goes head-to-head
with the so-called self-styled “terrorist experts”
(TE) and clearly comes out ahead with his incisive
dissection of them explaining why they’re prominently
featured in the major media.  He calls them the
“set-up” people - there to play a role to “motivate
the colonial and imperial conquerors and reinforce
their idea that the terrorists are not worthy of
ruling or being ruled,” so we have to get rid of them.
It doesn’t matter that the so-called “war on
terrorism” is a shameless overused but very effective
ruse scare tactic.  It’s always used because the
public never catches on no matter how many times
before supposed threats turned out to be another scam
to get them to go along with whatever schemes our
government had in mind to undertake.  It never ceases
to amaze how short an attention span the public has,
but it’s clear the power of the corporate-run media
has a lot to do with it.  It led author Studs Terkel
to refer to a national Altzeimer’s disease and author
and political critic Gore Vidal to subtitle his 2004
book Imperial America - Reflections on the United
States of Amnesia. 

It gives the whole propaganda apparatus and the TE an
open field to manipulate the public mind and get it to
believe most anything.  Petras calls these people
“verbal assassins” who can’t or won’t understand that
people pummelled by “shock and awe” attacks, their
countries plundered in the name of “liberation,” their
people mass-murdered, raped, arrested and tortured
might be desperate and motivated enough to strike back
in retaliatory self-defense.  It follows logically
from Newton’s law that for every action there’s a
corresponding reaction.  In 1954, the CIA understood
this and invented a term for it (no self-respecting TE
will touch).  The agency called it “blowback”
referring to the unintended consequences from US
hostile acts abroad like overthrowing legitimate or
otherwise constituted governments as it did against
Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 ushering in the 25
year terror reign of the Shah.  It finally led to the
“blowback” 1979 revolution, and it causes other
instances of retaliation now ongoing in Iraq and
Afghanistan and for nearly six decades in Palestine.

But prominent TE featured in the major media have a
different diagnosis of resistance fighters.  They call
them “incurable psychopaths (who are) extremely
dangerous when at large (so we must flush them out to)
capture, confine, torture or kill (them).”  A
convenient division of labor is then arranged to do it
and the TE play their assigned role along with the
military, recruited satraps, prison commandants,
interrogators, guards and assorted other
functionaries.  They’re team member hegemon-devil’s
disciples turning “victims into executioners and the
executioners into victims.”  They do it by
dehumanizing the legitimate resistance they label
Islamo-fascists, Islamic fundamentalists, terrorists
or other invented designations of inferiority or
implied threat that must be destroyed.

It’s incomprehensible to the TE that almost any act of
retaliatory self-defense might be justifiable
resistance given the level of state-directed violence
used against them mercilessly.  In Israel, and now in
Iraq and Afghanistan it led to the phenomenon of
suicide bombings which Petras calls “a form of
individual sacrifice, of individual resistance taken
in the name of the collective.”  He explains further
that in the West individual sacrifice is rewarded with
medals, but in the Middle East and specifically in the
case of suicide bombers the reward is martyrdom for
giving their lives in the cause of national liberation
against a superior hostile force.  This is a
phenomenon common throughout history when a people
face an overpowering conquerer and occupier.  Petras
explains “there have always been and always will be
self-sacrificing individuals or (whole
populations)....prepared to defend nation and
home….and to use (their) body as a missile or weapon
(to do it).”

Petras also explains there are different forms of
imperial conquest and subjugation, and the one the US
uses in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel uses
against the Palestinians is a cruel and dehumanizing
“process of destruction, degradation, and exploitation
followed by efforts to ‘reconstruct’ a colonized
military, police, and political structure willing and
able to repress and contain anti-colonial resistance.”
It’s a doctrine of “total war” against target nations
too weak to fight back except by asymmetrical guerilla
warfare means that include tactics like car and
suicide bombings.  Petras calls this practice “one of
the ultimate forms of rejection of tryanny” that will
only end when “total war” does.  And that will only
happen when the “colonial revivalist strand of
imperialism in….its US, European and Israel
variants” are defeated….Peace and reconciliation is
only possible if justice is meted to the architects
and practitioners of total war and human degradation.”
A long and painful struggle for liberation may be
ahead before that goal is ever achieved.

Part IV - Noam Chomsky and the Pro-Israel Lobby

In the book’s final part, Petras challenges a man who
may best be described as an iconic figure on the Left,
  an anti-war activist, and much more but not one
unused to being challenged and sometimes harshly.
Petras points out that Chomsky has been a sharp critic
of Israeli policies through the years and has been
strongly attacked for his views by pro-Israeli
organizations and the major media on the rare times
his name is even allowed in it.  Still he defends the
existence of the Zionist state and has a different
view than Petras on the power and influence of the
Jewish Lobby in shaping US policy toward Israel.
Petras lists what he calls Chomsky’s fifteen erroneous
theses reflecting his long-held belief that the Lobby
isn’t as potent as the strong case Petras makes in
this book that it is.  Not wishing to take sides with
two distinguished men this writer holds in high
esteem, the points of disagreement will only be listed
so the reader can decide who makes the better case.

Petras begins by listing what he calls Chomsky’s eight
“dubious propositions:”

1. The pro-Israel Lobby is like any other one.

2. The Lobby’s backers have no more power than other
pressure groups.

3. The Lobby succeeds because its interests coincide
with those of the US.

4. Israel is a tool of the US empire and used as

5. “Big Oil” and the “military-industrial complex” are
the major forces shaping Middle East policy.

6. US and Israeli interests usually coincide.

7. The Iraq war and threats to Iran and Syria stem
from the “oil interests” and “military-industrial

8. US behavior in the Middle East is the same as what
it practices worldwide.

Petras then uses the above list to discuss what he
calls Chomsky’s 15 theses and uses the persuasive
evidence presented in his book to take issue with
them, one by one.  He sums up his case stating he’s
done this because of Chomsky’s enormous stature making
whatever his views are stand out prominently.  It’s a
matter of consequence when a man like Noam Chomsky
believes the Jewish Lobby is like all others which in
Petras’ view gives a “free ride to the principal
authors, architects and lobbyists in favor of the
(Iraq) war (and is an) obstacle to achieving clarity
about whom we are fighting and why.  To ignore the
pro-Israel Lobby is (also) to allow it a free hand in
pushing for the invasion of Iran and Syria (and any
other regime in the region Israel may wish to
remove).”  Petras sums up saying that “the peace and
justice movements, at home and abroad, are bigger than
any individual or intellectual - no matter what their
past credentials.”  In this battle of noted titans on
the Left, it’s for the reader to decide who’s right.

Summation - Confronting Zionism and Reclaiming
American Middle East Policy

Petras has written a powerful and important new book
that needs broad exposure and resonance.  But he’ll
never get its content past the corporate gatekeepers
controlling the major media because of his courage to
reveal what others fear to do - confront Zionism, its
agenda of aggressive wars and colonization, and the
power of the Jewish Lobby to assure Israel gets the
full and unconditional support of every US
administration regardless of whether what it does
serves the interests of this country.  That Lobby
power reached its apogee and full fruition with the
ascent of the Bush administration neocons that
effectively pledge their fealty to the rulers of the
Israeli state and prove Ariel Sharon may have been
right when he once arrogantly boasted about his
relationship with George Bush saying: “We have the US
under our control.”

The result has been disastrous for this country and
the sacred principles on which it was founded.  In
partnership with Israel, the US began tearing apart
the Middle East and Central Asia by attacking and
occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.  It now threatens to
inflame the whole region enough to make it explode if
we go ahead with plans to attack Iran, do it with
nuclear weapons, and then move on to Syria and even
Saudi Arabia while continuing to hold Lebanon hostage
and under siege in a state of interregnum awaiting the
next inevitable trigger igniting the whole ugly
business there all over again.  The Bush
administration “long war” against Islam enraged 1.8
billion Muslims worldwide growing in unity against us.
It’s also destroying our freedom and democracy at
home in the process threatening everyone with the
emerging power of a national security police state
that spells tyranny with an out-of-control president
usurping the dictatorial power of a “unitary
executive” claiming the right to go around the law of
the land and its international obligations to govern
as he pleases. 

Petras sounds the alarm and asks how did we get into
this debacle, and who’s responsible for it.  He
stresses the need for a full-scale Congressional
investigation to find out, but laments it’s not likely
to happen as long as the Bush neocons have their way.
The central thesis of his book is that the Jewish
Lobby serves the interests of Zionism and acts as
agents for the state of Israel.  It co-opted the Bush
administration, all others preceding it, and the key
centers of power and influence in the country leading
us to the disaster we now face because of our
misguided Middle East adventurism.  He equates our
actions in league with Israel to the Nazi war crimes
committed in WW II, saying “These are the highest
crimes against humanity.”  Referring to the crime of
aggression, the Nuremberg Tribunal called it the
“supreme international crime,” and those Nazis found
guilty of it were hanged.  Petras explains that the
“worst crimes are committed by those who claim to be a
divinely chosen people, a people with ‘righteous’
claims of supreme victimhood.”  He goes on to say:
“Righteous victimology, linked to ethno-religious
loyalties and directed by fanatical civilian
militarists with advanced weaponry, is the greatest
threat to world peace and humanity.” 

Petras makes an impassioned plea for progressives
(really all people of conscience) to reject the
imperial agenda of all nations, and in the case of
Israel, to stand firm against inevitably being
labelled anti-semitic.  Scurrilous name-calling is
another refuge of scoundrels that shouldn’t be
tolerated or allowed to deter our committed assault
against the forces of darkness that will destroy us
unless we stand firmly against them.  Petras tells us

it won’t be easy, and we can expect forceful
ideological attacks against us premised on the notion
that Israel is the embodiment of “democracy, liberty
and justice” and those daring to criticize the Jewish
state will be called supporters of “Arab
dictatorships, repression, injustice and terrorism.”

The stakes are much too high to let them get away with
it using scurrilous name-calling in defense of it.  In
Petras’ words: “Israel and its overseas network in the
US….(threatens) not only the oppressed people of
Palestine (and Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and any
other state Israel takes aim at) but the rights of
people throughout the world.”  He stresses we have
mass public opinion on our side nearly everywhere
outside the US, and it’s gaining resonance here as
well.  It sees Israel and our actions in support of
the Jewish state as the greatest of all threats to
world peace and stability.  Petras ends his book with
one final impassioned call to arms: “Let’s move ahead
and de-colonize our country, our minds and politics as
a first step in reconstituting a democratic republic,
free of entangling colonial and neo-imperial
alliances.”  Wise thoughts from a wise and courageous
man.  We can’t ignore them lest we pay the supreme
price of the loss of our freedom (and maybe our lives)
because we didn’t know it was being taken from us
until it was too late to act to save it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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site at