« Westphalia slips some more | Main | Another "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" coming? »

20 April 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


There was a brief window back in 1991 when a couple of things happened, things I was recalling as I read this.

The first was Bush 41 refusing to guarantee 10 billion in loans to Israel, which created as much of a controversy in the Senate as the recent Netanyahu manipulation. It was equally shocking then, if I remember rightly.

The other was a David Mamet film called "Homicide", with Joe Mantegna, which had the eerie feel of a real description of a certain process. Mamet changed his tune later but the film is worth a look.


I'd never heard of zionism until I read Nicholas Lemann's profile of Dick Cheney in April-May 2001 New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/05/07/the-quiet-man The article mentioned that Cheney's world view was most significantly shaped by Yale professor H. Bradford Westerfield.

It is likely that Westerfield's "Foreign Policy and Party Politics" ( c 1955) was used as a textbook in the professor's courses (the used copy that I purchased has pencil notes of chapters assigned, points mentioned in lecture, etc.).

Ch. 11, "Palestine," was not assigned.

Ch. 11 says:

"Palestine is the classic case in recent years of the determination of American foreign policy by domestic political considerations. American Zionists showed themselves to be zealots, relentlessly determined to secure the intervention of the United States government on behalf of a Jewish state in Palestine. They had wealth to devote to the cause, and beyond that they had two peculiar advantages among the various pressure groups seeking to influence major American foreign policy. First, the Jewish population for which they claimed to speak was concentrated in urban centers . . .especially in New York, Pennsylvania, and California; these states were closely divided between the two political parties, and under the existing "general ticket" system of counting electoral votes for the presidency, Zionists appeared to be a dedicated group who might be able to swing ALL the many electoral votes of the key states to one party or the other and thus decide a national election . . .

"Second and equally important, they were virtually unopposed by any other pressure group and faced an indifferent or mildly sympathetic public. Anti-Semites, e.g. preferred to have the remnants of Europeqn Jewry go to Palestine than come to New York; American security interests in the Arab world were not understood enough or felt strongly enough to create substantial political resistance to Zionism.
"In these circumstances leaders of both parties had nothing to lose and everything to gain politically by competing for Zionist votes and Zionist money. . . ."

[see my comment on "Westphalia . . ." by M Steinfels; Benzion Netanyahu was the chief architect of the zionist machine that Westerfield describes. ]

Westerfield devotes the next 12 pages to describing how those earliest American Zionists managed the American political system, playing Democratic candidates against Republican with the result that both parties adopted zionist-friendly policies, to achieve election results that created the beginnings of the US-Israel "special relationship" and, indeed, the recognition of Israel as "the Jewish state." In Westerfield's words:

"Clearly the exigencies of American politics were the foremost factor in permitting the birth of the new state of Israel. They furnished the womb which sheltered the infant till it was strong enough to fight for its own existence. Assuming what cannot yet be proved, that this was dangerously contrary to the interests of American national security, the question remains whether it was peculiarly the result of the present loosely organized party system in the United States or whether even tightly disciplined American parties would have behaved in similar fashion. . . ."

Westerfield then searches for remedies for the situation:

"[Under the present system competing for Zionist votes can't be stopped] and there is no comparably strong bloc of anti-Zionist votes, or even an anti-Zionist public opinion . . . It would be enormously difficult to promote a politically effective anti-Zionism without exacerbating anti-Semitism."

Westerfield considers a constitutional amendment, i.e. to the electoral college, but concludes that that would be only partially useful.

He concludes:

"On balance it seems probable that only the development of a substantial segment of public opinion which was actively aware of the dangers of Zionism to United States security would be able to counterbalance the fanatical determination of American Zionists. . . The establishment of Israel brought a respite but presumably not an end to this problem in United States relations with the Arab world."


This was the origin of Netenyahu's later expressed opinion that, "The United States is a thing easily moved". And it only has gotten worse over the intervening decades, I'm afraid, as the sophistication of the propagandizing & subornation of actual treason made their appearances.

Yep, the beginning of a beautiful "friendship".



Israeli art students pre 9-11.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad