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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Big Satan, little satan

My earlier posting about the critical review given to "The Israel Lobby" by left-wing writer Stephen Zunes gave him too much credit. His major points came directly from Joseph Massad, the infamous Columbia associate professor who is effectively anti-semitic.

It is instructive to look at the argument a little closer, seeing that it is from an intellectual Arab perspective that is being parroted by gullible or malicious left-wing useful idiots like Zunes.

Massad wrote his critique of the "Israel Lobby" paper last year for Al-Ahram:
The underlying argument has been simple and has been told time and again by Washington's regime allies in the Arab world, pro-US liberal and Arab intellectuals, conservative and liberal US intellectuals and former politicians, and even leftist Arab and American activists who support Palestinian rights, namely, that absent the pro- Israel lobby, America would at worst no longer contribute to the oppression of Arabs and Palestinians and at best it would be the Arabs' and the Palestinians' best ally and friend. What makes this argument persuasive and effective to Arabs? Indeed, why are its claims constantly brandished by Washington's Arab friends to Arab and American audiences as a persuasive argument? I contend that the attraction of this argument is that it exonerates the United States' government from all the responsibility and guilt that it deserves for its policies in the Arab world and gives false hope to many Arabs and Palestinians who wish America would be on their side instead of on the side of their enemies.
From the funhouse mirror perspective he is essentially right - the US policies towards the Arab world would hardly be different without the Israel lobby. His problem is not primarily with Israel but with America.
The record of the United States is one of being the implacable enemy of all Third World national liberation groups, including European ones, from Greece to Latin America to Africa and Asia, except in the celebrated cases of the Afghan fundamentalists' war against the USSR and supporting apartheid South Africa's main terrorist allies in Angola and Mozambique (UNITA and RENAMO) against their respective anti-colonial national governments. Why then would the US support national liberation in the Arab world absent the pro-Israel lobby is something these studies never explain.
Massad is where leftist intellectualism and Muslim fundamentalism meet. The "national liberation" movements that he refers to must mean the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots. There is no doubt that Egypt, Syria and the rest of the Arab countries are autocratic dictatorships with little regard to human rights, but there is equally no doubt that the alternatives would be worse from anyone who is not a Muslim terrorist or sympathizer.

The US supported the independence of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and all the others who emerged from the Ottoman Empire and colonial rule. Massad doesn't seem interested in Arab independence - he is interested in replacing these independent states with fundamentalist ones, all in the name of "liberation." He skillfully uses leftist talking points to help build an Arab world that is fully aligned with terror.

This following paragraph is particularly enlightening in more ways than one:
Finally we come to the financial argument, namely that the US gives an inordinate amount of money to Israel -- too exorbitant a cost that is out of proportion to what the US gets in return. In fact, the United States spends much more on its military bases in the Arab world, not to mention on those in Europe or Asia, than it does on Israel. Israel has indeed been very effective in rendering services to its US master for a good price, whether in channelling illegal arms to central American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s, helping pariah regimes like Taiwan and apartheid South Africa in the same period, supporting pro-US, including Fascist, groups inside the Arab world to undermine nationalist Arab regimes, from Lebanon to Iraq to Sudan, coming to the aid of conservative pro- US Arab regimes when threatened as it did in Jordan in 1970, and attacking Arab nationalist regimes outright as it did in 1967 with Egypt and Syria and in 1981 with Iraq when it destroyed that country's nuclear reactor. While the US had been able to overthrow Sukarno and Nkrumah in bloody coups, Nasser remained entrenched until Israel effectively neutralised him in the 1967 War. It is thanks to this major service that the United States increased its support to Israel exponentially. Moreover, Israel neutralised the PLO in 1982, no small service to many Arab regimes and their US patron who could not fully control the organisation until then. None of the American military bases on which many more billions are spent can claim such a stellar record. Critics argue that when the US had to intervene in the Gulf, it could not rely on Israel to do the job because of the sensitivity of including it in such a coalition which would embarrass Arab allies, hence the need for direct US intervention and the uselessness of Israel as a strategic ally. While this may be true, the US also could not rely on any of its military bases to launch the invasions on their own and had to ship in its army. American bases in the Gulf did provide important and needed support but so did Israel.
Massad now gives a powerful argument for Israel as an effective ally of the US. He even understates Israel's ability to do anything unilaterally, making the assumption that both the Six Day War and the Osirak raid were really American initiatives carried out willingly by their Israeli puppets.

Ultimately, his hatred of America is far greater than his hatred of Israel (which is legendary.) Although it appears that he was born in the US he clearly considers the United States to be the real source of evil on the planet, with Israel just an appendage.

This is not particular to Massad - the entire Arab world looks to the United States as the "big Satan" even as they are happy to keep taking money and weapons from us. Israel is a lightning rod for their hate, and the fact that dhimmi Jews control what they consider Arab land is certainly a contributing factor for their misoziony, but if Israel didn't exist their hatred for America would not be abated at all.

It is interesting that leftists have adopted this anti-American, pro-terrorist line of thinking at the same time that the Arab intellectuals have started framing their arguments in leftist terms. It is also ironic that if the "liberation movements" that Massad champions would win control of their countries, Massad and his fellow Christian Arabs would be at the mercy of the jihadists.