Rob Urie: Biden Visits Hitler’s Bunker, Sends for a Decorator: Israel and Ukraine Edition

Yves here. Given the givens, I trust readers will not overreact to the Godwin’s Law violation in the headline. Israel’s conduct in Gaza is well into genocide terrain. And many commentators have pointed out that a recent Time piece on Zelensky was awfully evocative of a Furherbunker.

By Rob Urie, author of Zen Economics, artist, and musician who publishes The Journal of Belligerent Pontification on Substack

‘In Palestine, the Mandate (for Palestine) required Britain to put into effect the Balfour Declaration’s “national home for the Jewish people” alongside the Palestinian Arabs, who composed the vast majority of the local population…’ Mandate for Palestine, Wikipedia.

The role of the US in the creation and ongoing support of Israel makes it uniquely culpable for Israel’s actions. When the Western powers first considered the creation of a Jewish state in what was then Palestine (1916 or thereabouts), the problem of inserting a new nation atop an existing land and people was understood to be problematic. Following WWII, with much of the West in ruins and the US perceiving itself to be the ruler of the world, the US moved forward with the creation of Israel atop Palestine.

What then is the US interest in Israel? Writer Caitlin Johnstone found a brief video of a much younger Joe Biden claiming that ‘if Israel did not exist, the US would have to invent it to support US interests in the Middle East.’ The US interest in the Middle East has always been to control the distribution of oil and gas. Israel is strategically located on the Eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, between the sea and the major oil and gas producers of the Middle East. Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon are as well. But these nations are controlled by not-white, not-European, not-settlers.

Graph: since 1948, the year that Israel was ‘founded’ on land already occupied by Palestinians,  Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid. The persistence of this aid makes the US uniquely responsible for Israel’s actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Given the extensive history of US imperialism, that Israel has received the most US aid isn’t because it was the first nation to begin receiving it. It is because the US sees Israel as an outpost for white, European, and US interests in the oil and gas rich Middle East. Source:

US strategic ambitions in the Middle East have been deemed by recent American administrations to outweigh the regional political instability created by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. However, given the rapidly diminishing status of the US in world affairs due to its decrepit, incapable, and stunningly uninformed political leadership, the geostrategic costs of maintaining Israel in its current configuration appear to be rising exponentially. But don’t count on anyone in Washington figuring this out.

As US Secretary of Defense Austin states below, Israel would n’existe pas (would not exist) without US military backing and financial assistance, so why not 1) force an end to Israeli control of Palestine through a two-state solution while 2) keeping the strategic outpost that Israel represents in a politically viable form? From a US strategic perspective, who cares what the Israelis think of this? The US has overthrown a minimum of sixty-four independent, sovereign, nations since 1948. Again, Israel would not exist without support from the US.

Graph: in 2022, Israelis lived almost ten years longer than the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. This strongly suggests that the Israeli – Palestinian relationship is one of class, akin to the impact of racial difference in the US. This would fit one storyline if Israel were self-sustaining, but quite another given its client relationship with the US. Additionally, the ten-year difference in life expectancy is almost exactly the difference found between whites and Blacks in the US. Source:

The people of Israel were about to toss Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister, into prison for corruption before the events of Oct. 7th saved him. The geostrategic benefit of prosecuting Netanyahu would be that he and the Likud Party represent the exterminationist Zionist impulse. They don’t want a two-state solution because they want Palestinian land for Israel. Why the US isn’t quoting Billy Bob Thornton to the Israelis— ‘wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which hand fills up first,’  represents a failure of American leadership.

I’m not being flippant here. If Netanyahu and Likud continue to run Israel, the US will quickly be dragged into a regional war. It may be too late to prevent this already. So, the geostrategic interest of the US more likely than not depends on forcing a resolution of the problem of Palestine before the wider Middle East is lit on fire. If Israel proceeds on its current path without ousting Netanyahu and marginalizing Likud, Israel should be freed (from US support) to suffer the consequences. Otherwise, the US is complicit in Israel’s crimes.

As recent protests in the US against the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza suggest, US foreign policy is suddenly being questioned again after seven years of near total domestic capitulation to the warfare state via the Russiagate fraud. Although the protesters appear to understand that the Biden administration is complicit in the genocide because of US support for Israel, no such understanding has been evident with respect to the US-led slaughter in Ukraine. In both cases, one’s choice of historical starting point determines culpability for launching these conflicts.

Question: how can Israel claim a right of self-defense against a land that it occupies (Palestine)? This is like Nazis claiming a right of self-defense against the people they put into concentration camps. In history, there were ‘unprovoked’ rebellions in Nazi concentration camps that were quickly and viciously put down. But the doctrine governing the Nazis was ‘might makes right,’ and not (classical) liberal twaddle about a right of self-defense. Conversely, what of the Palestinian right of self-determination? How plausible is it that an occupied people have self-determination?

The immediate impediment to clearly conceiving what is motivating rebellion against Israeli rule inside Palestine is the question of the relevant starting point. Is it 1948, or October 7, 2023? The answer is 1948, when Israel was inserted atop the existing Palestinian population. When the idea to do so was first considered, the fear that it would create an unstable apartheid regime in a politically unsettled (de-settled) region was at least given lip service. The decision by the US to move forward without first resolving the question of Palestine lies at the heart of most of what has followed.

Back in Ukraine, in 2014 the US used CIA cutouts and self-described Ukrainian fascists to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine in order to install a government beholden to US interests. The US then spent the next eight years building a proxy army there to attack Russia with. The Russians were drawn into Ukraine following genocidal attacks against Russian-speaking Ukrainians that were politically impossible for the Russian leadership to ignore. Why these facts weren’t compelling to American protesters two years ago, when it would have mattered, is a mystery.

In his recent Congressional testimony, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin offered (starts 2:48) that the nominally sovereign states of Israel and Ukraine are wholly dependent on US military support for their continued existence. Blue Dog Democrat Joe Manchin asked Austin, given the depletion of US munitions in Ukraine,  where the ability of the US to sustain itself militarily stands should the need arise?  Austin’s non-answer was that the US plans to be ready should the need arise, with emphasis placed on the future-tense.

Graph: the US far and away has the largest military expenditures in the world, with mostly death and destruction to show for it. The purpose of US Senator Joe Manchin’s questions for Secretary Austin was to assure that the US can defend itself, if need be, when the real question is: what in the hell happened to all of that money?  One place to look is in the 35-room mansions that now fill suburban Washington, DC. Otherwise, the scale of these expenditures ties much of military strife in the world directly back to Washington. Source:

Several issues of concern emerge from Austin’s testimony. The first is that the pretense that Ukraine and Israel are sovereign nations, in the sense of being self-sustaining militarily, was called into question. What this in turn implies is what much of the rest of the world has long known— that the US is substantively responsible for the lost war in Ukraine and the genocide currently unfolding in Gaza. The US goaded the Russians into Ukraine, refused serial agreements between Ukraine and Russia to end the conflict, and in the process, destroyed Ukraine.

With respect to the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza, readers will recall that US President Joe Biden flew to Israel following the Hamas attacks of October 7th to restate his unequivocal support for whatever response the Israelis deemed appropriate. Biden’s comments would have had one meaning if the US hadn’t supported the creation of Israel on land occupied by the Palestinians, and another given the history of Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people. This brieffrom the Center on Constitutional Rights provides the history of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinians.

In a recent interview, retired US Colonel Douglas MacGregor recounted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Turkey, in which Blinken was barely acknowledged by the Turkish government before departing Turkey without a commitment of support for US actions in the region.  For younger readers, had a US Secretary of State travelled to Turkey twenty years ago, s/he would have been greeted with a degree of respect notably lacking in Blinken’s visit. Implied in the snub is precisely how far the US has fallen in terms of international esteem.

While international esteem and seven dollars might buy one a cup of coffee, also implied is that the US is no longer feared for its skill at mass, wanton, destruction, and gratuitous, pointless, slaughters. In the interview, MacGregor did an excellent job articulating the US – Israeli logic of genocide without internalizing it. This ability to understand the other side’s perspective—called ‘empathy,’ is crucial to settling disputes. I have no idea if MacGregor has negotiating skills, but my bet is that he wouldn’t get rolled every time he opens its mouth like the Biden administration currently is.

The implications of the Turkish snub are troubling for the US. In a warning that former US President George W. Bush should have heeded before launching his catastrophic war against Iraq, when ‘the world’ perceived that the US has great military strength, the risk was that by deploying it, this notion of power gets disproved. Joe Biden and the American foreign policy establishment arrogantly dismissed the Russian military’s ability to crush the proxy force it created in Ukraine, making is appear delusional and stupid now that Russia has prevailed.

In almost two years of attrition warfare, the Russians managed to keep the number of civilian deaths in Ukraine to 10,000. With upwards of 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed, the Russians are conspicuously engaged in a targeted state-vs-state battle. In the month since the Hamas attacks of October 7th, the Israelis have killed 10,569 civilians, and possibly a few hundred Hamas soldiers. What the Israelis are doing in Gaza isn’t warfare, it is the extermination of a civilian population. This fits the exterminationist impulse of the Zionist-Right in Israel. If the Biden administration believes that what Israel is doing in Gaza is in any way constructive, the world has a problem.

The US is now reportedly telling (substantially destroyed) Ukraine that it is time to negotiate with Russia. This is 10,000 Ukrainian civilian deaths, 400,000 Ukrainian military deaths, and at least two negotiated settlements between Ukraine and Russia that were put on ice by the Americans, too late. The same adult infants who ‘managed’ this fiasco from the American side are now in charge of US-Israel policy. The only possible worse scenario would have been to have Hillary Clinton— the butcher of Libya, in the White House.

The idea that this is all going to work out because ‘fortress America’ misses that the US is rapidly, and deservedly, becoming a pariah state. Adult infant Blinken is now passing warm gas about a ‘two-state solution’ while Israel exterminates one of the two states he claims to be endorsing. And why would Israel care what Blinken has to say? Joe Biden just assured the Israelis that they can exterminate the entire Middle East and he ‘has their back.’ What a farce. And don’t forget those nuclear weapons.

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  1. ambrit

    I wonder if the European public felt as helpless and despairing back in 1914 as many around me do today?
    I have just re-read Gore Vidal’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace.” In it, Timothy McVeigh, he of Oklahoma Bombing fame, emerges as an American Anti-Hero. The sort of despair enveloping America today is conducive to the rise of just such anti-heroes. The problem with such anti-heroes is that they usually leave a train if death and destruction in their wake. In a very real sense, the Ultras in Israel can be considered as being American Anti-Heroes. Take an ethos of “rugged individualism” and mix vigourously with a dollop of “exceptionalism.” Do not allow the mix to cool off. For maximum results, continue heating until explosive disassociation occurs.
    Vidal had serious trouble getting his essay concerning 9/11 published. (He had to have it published in Italy first.) Today, I imagine Vidal would be publishing on a substack account.
    Considering the oft asserted theory that major political change comes about due to power struggles between elites, I wonder what elite will break ranks this time. Can it happen in time to avert Armageddon? I am not at all sanguine about our prospects this time.
    I would say my usual “Stay safe,” but I am becoming less hopeful over time.
    Assume crash position.

    1. communistmole

      In the part of Europe where I live, hardly anyone is desperate. The mood is like in the prologue of „Die letzten Tage der Menschheit“ (The Last Days of Mankind von Karl Kraus), where, in view of the news from Sarajevo, one asks oneself “What are we going to do with the rest of the evening?”
      It’s just that now it’s the carnival and the upcoming Christmas market that’s keeping people busy.

        1. Not Qualified to Comment

          And the partying in Australia as the nuclear fall-out approached in Nevil Shute’s “On the beach.”

      1. BillS

        “Die fetten Jahren sind vorbei!” to make a reference to a prescient German film of some years ago.

        Where I am, people are studiously avoiding the hot topics of the day as they hope to afford to keep the lights on this winter.

  2. Paul Whalen

    It’s far worse than you think:
    Actual U.S. Military Spending Reached $1.537 Trillion in 2022—More than Twice Acknowledged Level: New Estimates Based on U.S. National Accounts
    From November Monthly Review

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that the excess per capita military and health system spending (using rest-of-world as baseline) would fund one hell of a Job Guarantee program.

      One can see the imperative of concealing all this from the residents of the national territory.

      Me thinks the demos is going to be quite upset at some point, if it doesn’t expire first.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well you know what they say in Washington. ‘A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.’

      Didn’t the Pentagon say a few short years ago that they were unable to account for a trillion dollars? Meanwhile military barracks for the soldiers and their families remain infected with black mold.

        1. .human

          And then, what part of the Pentagon suffered the most damage? Why, it was the accounting section! It has been researched that the official narrative requires a tigjht, 270 degree turn in order to hit the planned target.

        2. ISL

          My understanding is that the Pentagon issues contracts and payment for invoices and the treasure honors them and there is no relationship to allocations. Meanwhile, taxes are just deleted. To me it sounds like fairy tale accounting. Yet we are repeatedly told
          1. There is no money for some non-war priority, but literally no limit for oligarch & war (&big pharma) priorities.
          2. There will never be an end to the party.

          ….gives me a queasy feeling wrt an orderly and gradual de-dollarization of the gobal economy.

        1. Susan the other

          I can’t begin to compile evidence but I am beginning to think that since the end of WW2 the US has loaned/collateralized many more trillions to other countries to bribe and subsidize them, which loans seem to be forever forgiven and rolled over (some even written off?). If that is even vaguely accurate then our 100 trillion “deficit” (whatever that includes) could be offset by all those reclaimed assets even though they were long since stuffed in a box in the attic. When it comes to completely absurd sums of money, almost by definition, there’s nothing anybody can actually do about it except some silly paper fix to keep the music going. Bottom line is the money doesn’t matter. Only what you spend it on matters. Debt is simply a lost opportunity to do good.

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘If Israel proceeds on its current path without ousting Netanyahu and marginalizing Likud, Israel should be freed (from US support) to suffer the consequences.’

    I cannot see Israel reversing course and here it is a matter of demographics. Israel already has a very high birthrate but when you break it down, the figures are really skewed-

    ‘Almost all this increase is caused by Israel’s growing number of ultra-Orthodox (or Haredi) Jews, who have a fertility rate of 6.6, more than double the national average and three times the rate of secular Jews. As a result the share of Haredim in Israel’s population has more or less doubled every generation, notes Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel Aviv University and the Shoresh Institute, a think-tank. Though Haredim are just 13% of the population, their offspring make up 19% of Israeli children under the age of 14, and 24% of those under the age of four. Israel’s statistical agency reckons that under present trends half of Israeli children will be Haredi by 2065.’

    And it is the ultra-orthodox who are behind Likud, Netanyahu, the Settlers and the rest of it. And over time their numbers are increasing while proportion-wise, secular Israelis are decreasing in size. As it is the secular Israelis that serve in the military, pay the taxes and fill out political and commercial posts in Israel, this is in no way sustainable. And as the ultra-Orthodox start to take full control, I would not be surprised to see a reverse Exodus of secular Israeli to escape a very stifling Israeli society. Probably this movement will be led by Israeli women as the ultra-Orthodox insist there is only one place for women in society and it is not in the military or holding down jobs. That is why some conservative Israeli publications digitally delete women in photos in articles and this hilariously was done to Hilary Clinton once as SecState. Give another generation and you will have far more religious freedom in Iran than Israel.

    1. Acacia

      No way sustainable indeed. And:

      Israel’s statistical agency reckons that under present trends half of Israeli children will be Haredi by 2065.

      I wonder if there will be an Israel in 2065 ?

      1. The Rev Kev

        The ultra-orthodox in Israel are stating to remind me of the Boers in early 19th century Africa. In their Great Trek they expanded rapidly. As each family had a number of sons, each of them would take a wife when about age 13 and with his wagon go to create his own farm. Ideally it would be about 6,000 acres and they would want two – one for summer grazing and one for winter grazing and if he could not see his neighbours smoke, then he was content. Africa is huge but not that huge and the real trouble broke out when to the astonishment of the Boers, the land ran out and wars ensued.

        My point being that the ultra-Orthodox feel entitled to be given land or the backing of the army if they want to take land off the Palestinians. They also want the State to fully support them and I read a few years ago then when a settlement of them was planned, it was placed right next to a large town so that the taxes of the people in that town could support their settlement. And they want nothing to do with the military as a whole nor will they hold civil positions in society. So what happens when the land that they can take runs out and the Israeli economy is unable to support their ever-increasing numbers? The only thing that I can see is activation of their Greater Israel project – and wars.

        1. John k

          But they mostly don’t want to serve… will the seculars stay to die for more land for the ultras? Plus, will secular men stay if secular women feel forced to leave? And, no doubt the demographics is known to the seculars now, how long will seculars stay knowing first the future and second the current genocide?

    2. Offtrail

      There is a joke about that. Maybe I heard it here.

      “In Israel, one third serve in the IDF, one third run the government, and one third create the economy. The problem is, it’s the same third”.

    3. Renegade_Dog

      There must be some level of people leaving the ultra-orthdox faith?

      I’m disputing your overall argument but does your analysis take that into account?

  4. nippersdad

    I think it is sweet that anyone still worries about infractions of Godwin’s law. That is so fifteen years ago, and a lot of water has run under the bridge since then. Excellent article! I am pleased to see that more people are out there describing reality as it truly exists.

  5. AK

    Compelling and harrowing CNN interview with an American nurse who worked for Doctors Without Borders in Gaza until a few days ago.

    Should be watched by anyone who gives the slightest credence to Israeli claims that there is “no humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.

  6. Candide

    Excellent straight up analysis. Am constantly surprised that the use of Israel as an enforcer in our hemisphere is invisible. Floods of refugees are used as a political football at our southern border. Climate disfigurement and violent overthrow of governments and popular movements, gets lost in the discourse, and we are supposed to accept as normal the destitution and death of tens of thousands. Who would replace the faithful lieutenant helping with severe domination so armchair empirialists can enjoy the mansions described in the article?

    Fortunately Nick Corbishley’s articles offer down to earth detail to go with the high altitude clarity of Rob Urie’s overview. Will a government shutdown help our population reject the mischief afoot?

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    Rob Urie:

    Thanks for this summation, mid-article, “The Russians were drawn into Ukraine following genocidal attacks against Russian-speaking Ukrainians that were politically impossible for the Russian leadership to ignore. Why these facts weren’t compelling to American protesters two years ago, when it would have mattered, is a mystery.”

    Either one is against war as an objective evil, or one is highly selective morally, which is the problem among U.S. liberals. Either one is against what the U.S. did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, and now Palestine/Israel, or else, like so much of the UniParty, one is looking for wars to manage.

    To wit, the current travails of The Squad, who voted for war till they bumped into a war that was inconvenient for their careers as rising stars.

    Meanwhile, the war comes home, in spite of the appearances by Hillary Clinton on The View to school us, in spite of Madeline Albright of the 500,000 dead Iraqi children, as a feminist meme. And then the ascendent chaos conservatives of the G.O.P. show up in Congress wearing Israeli uniforms and preaching genocide.

    This is the war coming home.

    The reason one opposes war can be quite simple, quite selfish: The war will come home.

      1. tegnost

        The problem for americans is our “leaders” are looking forward to the blowback as cover for their greed and incompetence.

    1. gwb

      It’s not a complete mystery why the Ukraine disaster hasn’t galvanized large-scale protests in the U.S. Kyiv (with U.S. help) has been able to impose an almost complete media blackout on what is going on in Ukraine, and has been adept at using social media and silly mascot campaigns like NAFO to portray themselves as the scrappy underdog. Russia does not have a well-funded lobby in the U.S. like Israel’s AIPAC – most Russians in the U.S. are Soviet emigres, and are unlikely to have much sympathy for the Kremlin. The Cold War era hasn’t really worn off – the U.S./NATO establishment has been able to perpetuate the image of the Big Bad Russian Bear and demonizing Putin in particular to fuel pro-Ukraine sentiment. Time magazine has been running Putin-as-devil-incarnate covers for years.

    2. samm

      DJG, you have recently been very lucid on the point of the war coming home. Isn’t that the same story as WWI? All I can say is, is there room over there in Chocolate City?

  8. John R Moffett

    Excellent summary of the sad situation. The Biden administration will go down in history as the one that eviscerated the US Empire. Let’s just hope he is not remembered for napping while his minions started WWIII.

    1. tegnost

      I think there’s plenty of blame to go around and the biden admin is just the one that died by the thousandth cut.

      “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming like the passengers in his car”
      Sign on the wall at handy andy tool rental in seattle…

    2. Jams O'Donnell

      Just remember though – the end of US Imperialism is not ‘a Bad Thing’ – it is in fact a ‘Good Thing’. For the rest of the world and for the USA too. You will be able to run a normal economy which can choose to fund general health, roads, rail and other infrastructure projects, and give up the immoral Cuban blockade. Turning swords into ploughshares will be good for the country.

      Possibly you could even elect a Socialist government – but maybe that’s a dream too far.

  9. Alice X

    Russian interference in the US elections was overblown, even more than that, Russiagate was a hoax. Here is Jacob Siegel’s take:

    A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century

    But Siegel, who has a powerful mind does not delve into US/Israeli collusion, which has been touched upon by Max Blumenthal here and James Bamford here.

    Last night (11/9) Greenwald in another effort to balance his Palestine/contra Israel coverage, interviewed Siegel. Again, a powerful mind, but one who makes dire counter-factual statements: 1) that minimizes the Israeli lobby; 2) that overstates US systemic antisemitism and does not observe the basic historical fact that Israel is a settler colonial project.

    There will be no two state solution and no peaceful one democratic state solution.

    The world started down the wrong road after WWI with Balfour, Versailles and Lausanne and it is not surprise that it has led to a bad destination.

    1. Rob Urie

      -I just saw the Siegel interview, and had a similar reaction to yours.
      -If I remember correctly, Siegel states that Hamas doesn’t represent the interests of the Palestinians, but he then states that they are legitimate military targets because Hamas is representing the interests of the Palestinians.
      -But the larger issue is that he apparently never heard of the Iranian Revolution (1979).
      -Before the Revolution, Iran played a role similar to that of Israel today.
      -After the Revolution, Israel, and 799 other US military outposts abroad, were all that the US had to work with.

      1. iread

        My memory of the collective report of Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and Cynthia McKinney, Understanding Gaza Under Fire, more or less confirms Thierry Meyssan’s report on voltairenet, Israeli Military Censorship Hides the Truth From You, that the attack on Israel was not carried out by Hamas jihadists but by four united armed groups, the first time in fifty years that the Palestinians of Gaza have united. This was news to me.
        It reminds of Alistaire Crooke’s latest article re reconfiguring our thinking to accommodate an intrusion of shifting dimensions in consciousness.

  10. eg

    I see zero evidence of a coherent foreign policy where the US is concerned — it reads mostly as a function of domestic political squabbling.

  11. Carolinian

    Surely the biggest falsehood re Israel is that the US gains some realpolitik advantage from its existence. Chomsky and others are always pushing this line but history suggests that things like OPEC, the 70s Arab Oil Boycott, the Iran hostage crisis, 9/11 (Osama said explicitly that it was about US support for Israel) have all been contrary to America’s interest while being boons for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex which needs some excuse to exist. As Aurelian has said Israel was a project of the British great gamers to protect the Suez canal and their access to India and therefore of little interest to America. And for a long time it was treated as such. When the British and the Israelis invaded Egypt in the 50s Eisenhower made them back off.

    There have been lots of suggestions that impure motives provoked Truman’s approval of Israel in 1948 despite opposition by many Jews themselves who preferred to assimilate and opposed colonialism. And the latter are still around if under attack.

    But it has always been about power and power corrupts regardless of all professions of idealism. Current events may finally overwhelm the sales job.

    1. JonnyJames

      Contrary to America’s interest: the national interest is what benefits the oligarchy, not the general public. Israel benefits the empire as a dagger aimed at the heart of the ME. Politicians have said in the past that Israel is an outpost of European Civilization (implying barbarism surrounds it).

      In the context of legal, unlimited political bribery and other institutionalized corruption in the US, the Israel Lobby is indeed one of the most powerful, but it has a lot of domestic support. The “MIC”, Christian “fundamentalists”, racist, ignorant politicians buy into the AIPAC BS as well. It seems there are several big reasons why Israel enjoys “unconditional” support and so much influence. Also, Israel demonstrates and tries out (new) weaponry on the Palestinians.

      Who benefits from Israeli crimes? Not just the MIC (or even BigOil) but Wall St.

      Larry Fink, most of Wall St. and most oligarchs support Israel as well.

  12. Mbartv

    While I don’t disagree with the main thrust, I think you overemphasize the economic motivation for US support of Israel (due to a desire to control oil and gas distribution) rather than the political. This political mandate is bipartisan and comes from the politically dominant position and motivation of the American Jewish community, and recently fundamentalist Christians. This is not disparagement or anti-Semitic. It’s just a plain fact that total support of Israel is an absolute requirement of American politics and has been through all administrations. Look at the pushback Obama got when he gingerly hinted at a 2 state solution, and the outside influence of Sheldon Adelson. While Caitlin Johnstone may assign a great importance to Israel’s supposed strategic location in relation to oil, I don’t buy it. Also a non related point, the aid to Egypt should be counted on top of the aid to Israel as it’s essentially bribery to keep the status quo.

    1. samm

      Really not sure how exactly you can separate the economic from the political, given the particulars here. Biden’s “if Israel didn’t exist we’d have to invent it” is case in point. There is no coherent “political” reason to foster a settler-colonial state in the ME if it doesn’t suit our interests (which are inherently economic).

  13. Mikel

    Palestinians and the rest of us in the world are all in the grips of some form of authoritarianism/ creeping authoritarianism and/or assorted fundamentalist religion powered right-wing movements grasping for more power.
    What’s to be done about that? You name the country, it’s some version of right-wing in control.

    1. Bsn

      Nice comment, except the last sentence. I’ll name the country, USA! Your “creeping authoritarianism” is being committed by “left wing” politicians. Know your enemy.

      1. nippersmom

        There are very few “left wing” politicians in the USA, and none in either of the two major political parties. The “left wing” is certainly not in control.

        1. Jams O'Donnell

          Correct. Substitute the term ‘Liberal’ for ‘left’. It seems to be a common habit in the USA to confuse these two. There is in fact very little overlap, but it enables the right to smear Liberals with a recognised hate-term. As far as I can tell looking from Europe, there are no actual leftists in government circles in the US. Even Bernie Saunders is a liberal rather than a leftist (or if he has to be considered as a leftist, he is on the far right of a leftist spectrum). ‘Leftism’ generally implies a position of enmity towards the capitalist system, but Liberals (Democrats) are staunch supporters of Capitalism, so are not in any realistic sense ‘leftists’.

  14. Snakebitten

    There has been a consistent Jewish community in Israel since the fourth century. The phrase “1916 or thereabouts” is all one needs to know about artist/musician Urie’s historical rigueur. How the English spoke about in Parliament dividing up the Ottoman Empire “thereabouts” is irrelevant. It also contradicts the “Israeli as colonist” label when they are spoken as refugees. The Jewish community of Jerusalem, like all Jewish communities throughout the Middle East, peacefully lived up until the 20th century. Urie’s piece that Israel is a creation of the US isn’t even consistent within itself, the… What? Article? Substack panhandling cardboard scrawl? Hobo harmonica screed. Accurate enough. Western Powers versus Egypt, Jordan, France, must all be the same to the “resistance” on campus.

    This is the Middle East. This is not a hacky sack circle. This is survival in a region of giant hostile armies who are trying to batter Israel’s door down using the faces of Israel’s neighbors. Nobody is asking Iran, human rights bastion, home of the explosive-formed penetrator, why its revolution requires Jewish blood using Sunni Arab bodies. Oh, yeah… The liberal Satan. Hmm. Nice!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We require Links to substantiate assertions. You provided none. I take umbrage at having to do your work.

      It takes VERY little time to establish that the Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire districts corresponding to modern Israel prior to Zionism was tiny:

      Modern Zionism was a movement born in Europe in the 19th century, but the Ottoman Empire controlled historic Palestine during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Starting in the 19th century, a number of disparate Jewish groups in Europe had begun cooperating to begin modest agricultural settlement in historic Palestine. These and other groups first came together formally in 1897 for the first Zionist Conference in Basel, Switzerland.[3]

      The population of Ottoman “Palestine” is difficult to estimate because:

      1) There was no administrative district of Palestine. Ottoman census figures were for various districts, e.g. the Jerusalem, Acco and Nablus districts. The Acre district included areas in Lebanon, outside the borders of historic Palestine;

      2) Both Arabs and Jews avoided the Turkish census for three reasons: a) to avoid taxes, b) to avoid military conscription, and c) to avoid questions of illegal residence;

      3) The census figures didn’t include Bedouins (likely numbering over 100,000[4]) and foreign subjects (i.e. individuals with foreign citizenship, without Ottoman residency status) of which there were about 10,000 Jews.

      Nevertheless, the Ottoman census of 1878 indicated the following demographics for the Jerusalem, Nablus, and Acre districts:[5]

      1. Walter

        The points about the Ottoman census are especially helpful. It had not occurred to me that there would be good reasons to avoid the census. Joan Peters “From Time Immemorial” (debunked by Norman Finkelstein), apparently uses and confuses the various censuses to try to create an empty country. The whole linked article is pretty good.

    2. Alice X

      The Ottomans invaded what is now Palestine in the early 16th century. Nablus was taken in 1516, IIRC.

      Samith K. Farsoun / Naseer H. Aruri – Palestine and the Palestinians – 2nd edition [the link is to the 1997 first edition, what follows is my own scan and OCR from the 2006 2nd edition]

      p.42 …Small numbers of Jews lived in Palestine prior to 1882 [Alice: when the Ottomans began to allow foreign ownership of land]. They were Sephardic, originating from Spain, North Africa, and other parts of the Ottoman domains, and spoke Turkish or Arabic and often Ladino (a mixture of Spanish and Hebrew). Over the years they became acculturated and similar to the local Palestinian Arabs in most aspects of their life except religion. Following the pogroms in eastern Europe and Russia, however, Jewish immigration gained momentum: Approximately fifty thousand European Jews migrated to Palestine between 1882 and the beginning of World War I.


      Using the Ottoman census of 1849, Schölch estimated that 365,224 people lived in the Jerusalem province that included the central and southern districts of Palestine. Two-thirds of the population lived in 657 villages and one-third in 13 major cities and towns. Roughly 85 percent of the population was Muslim, 11 percent Christian (who lived principally in the major cities and villages around Jerusalem), and less than 4 percent Jewish (who lived primarily in the cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Safad, and Tabariyya). From 1865 to 1866, a cholera epidemic struck the population, and the massive Ottoman conscription levies of Palestinian men for the Ottoman wars of 1876-1878 in the Balkans further depopulated the country. After the epidemics, the country grew rapidly: from roughly 0.5 mil lion to over 700,000 between 1880 and 1913.

      This high rate of natural increase was accompanied by two other demographic processes. The first was the immigration of European Jews and Christians. As noted in the previous section, fifty thousand Jews immigrated to Palestine during this period. On the eve of World War I, the ratio of Jews in the total population had risen to nearly 10 percent [Alice: elsewhere they state 8 percent], the majority of them European (Ashkenazi) rather than Sephardic. The influx of European Christians had raised the total Christian population from 11 to 16 percent by 1914. Most European immigrants settled in the cities, especially Haifa, Jaffa, and Jerusalem.

      1. digi_owl

        “Over the years they became acculturated and similar to the local Palestinian Arabs in most aspects of their life except religion.”

        Funny how that plays out if one do not have some busybodies running around policing culture etc.

  15. Travis Bickle

    Aren’t domestic politics supposed to drive US foreign policy? At least to the extent that policy reflects what America as a society wants.

    On the other hand, things can get out of whack when a particular interest group is able to lead US policy by the nose. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the lion’s share of US aid to Egypt shown in the first graphic is actually a payoff/requirement for their peace treaty with Israel, and would more fairly lumped in with the cost of Israel.

    As for the Israel lobby, essential reading to appreciate their power is summarized in the seminal Mearsheimer & Walt piece, and their book a couple years later, which lays it all out, chapter and verse.

    1. JonnyJames

      Henry Kissinger’s hero can answer that in a word: “foreign policy is not for the Plebs” (attributed to Prince Klemenz von Metternich). The general public is misinformed and in the dark about foreign affairs, and can be easily manipulated via the MassMediaCartel, and so-called Christian churches. The public is routinely conned into supporting policy that is not in their interest. That’s politics

  16. JonnyJames

    I largely agree with Mr. Urie’s outline. There have been different opinions on the benefit of the Israel/US relationship for many years. As other commenters have noted, the now-classic Walt And Mearsheimer “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” explains a lot.

    In the context of US political corruption, the Israel Lobby is one of many interest groups that (legally) bribe Congress. Their interests converge with other powerful interests in the US. It is not simply that Israel controls US policy. I don’t think it is quite that simple.

    Chomsky, Finkelstein and others have pointed out the geostrategic benefit Israel serves for the British, and now American Empire.

    I would like to add that demonizing and dehumanizing Arabs and Palestinians for many years also plays into this. Palsetinian-American scholar Edward Said’s classic work, Orientalism also explains how Arabs/Palestinians can be so easily dehumanized. This tradition goes back centuries, to at least the Crusades.

    My point being is that Arabs/Palestinians are the External Other: “the Christian West” can define itself against the “uncivilized, violent, irrational” Arabs. (Russia plays into the the orientalist East/West as well). The moral, civilized Euro folk have a duty to bring civilization and rationality to these backward peoples. Also, we are taught to fear/hate the Other and this is a very powerful tool to distract the public from domestic problems, and mobilize political support.

    It is no secret that Arabs and Palestinians are almost always portrayed as irrational, violent “terrorists” or a greedy oil sheikh. This tradition continues with the dehumanization of Palestinians and the normalization of mass slaughter.

    1. Carolinian

      I grew up in a Baptist church in the South and can’t recall ever hearing one word about Israel. Perhaps we should ask to what degree people like Hagee–Mr. “Prosperity Gospel”–are themselves financially subsidized by the Israeli lobby. Is it all just a new spin on Elmer Gantry? Undoubtedly the Christian right does have influence on the Republican attempts to poach Israel from the Dems but the latter have always been prime supporters and current big Dem donor Saban says Israel is his one and only issue. Plus the media are now largely Dem aligned and constitute a major component of the lobby’s power.

      I think the question for now is whether even money has limits to its power in the face of killing women and children so heedlessly and visibly. Something may be changing.

  17. David in Friday Harbor

    My own thoughts differ from Urie and most of the commenters. As Carolinian states above, all of these realpolitik explanations/excuses for the U.S. enabling an Apartheid genocide in Palestine are little more than post-Cold War revisionism. They do however correctly describe the Cold War mindset of the neoconservatives who have wrested control of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex under the American Inverted Totalitarian system.

    In my mind the current tragedy stems from an ongoing reaction to the horrors of 19th and 20th century European antisemitism, which was itself part of the racist ideology of colonialism and slavery. The expulsion of Jewish culture from Europe to a colonial “Jewish State” was both the goal of European antisemites and the reaction of assimilated European Jews to the murderous hatred that they faced. Like the Africans and the other Asian peoples, the Palestinians are non-persons in this colonialist world-view.

    We still can’t seem to get that stain out…

  18. NYMutza

    There is no “left wing” in the US. There is only a single wing – the War & Imperialism wing. Since it is a single wing it is inherently unstable as we all know.

  19. djrichard

    Lot’s of great takeaways from this. Putting self-defense in the context of the warsaw ghetto uprising really drives it home.

    Too bad Rob’s walk through of the hitler bunker metaphor was lopped off. See below from his version of this article on substack.

    Yes, the meme always makes me laugh. But for some reason, in reading Rob’s walkthrough it struck me on a visceral level about how much it actually applies to myself. A bigger take away than I was expecting from this article. Anyways, puts God in a better context – what’s God up to outside my bunker? Indeed, what is everybody else up to outside my bunker? :-p

    Dear Readers,

    The inclusion of ‘Hitler’s Bunker’ in the title of this piece is a metaphor for isolated political leaders who lack the information to update their views regarding wars that they are belligerents in. The phrase is regularly used in this way, usually with humor, to indicate extreme detachment from relevant facts as history closes in. I do not believe that Adolf Hitler is an accurate or interesting analog to Mr. Biden. History is much more interesting than that. Rob Urie

    P.S. highly recommend the movie that it comes from: Downfall. Especially through the glasses of Baudrillard.

  20. Susan the other

    It seems in the last week Biden is either ducking or he is spent. Done. Everyone else is covering for him. We have no leader. Not even another bloodthirsty old cadaver posing as one. And worse, an entire nation of overworked people who are waking up to the rising political sewage. I agree with Rob Urie that the sanest voice willing to speak his well-informed mind is Col Douglas Macgregor, along with a handful of others. The only thing I do not like about Macgregor is his willingness to accept the use of bitcoin and he seems to confuse bitcoin with digital currency. I’m curious why the Treasury allows that misperception to proliferate. It doesn’t rise to the evil of genocide but bitcoin certainly should not tale a free ride on all this confusion.

  21. Piotr Berman

    “The only possible worse scenario would have been to have Hillary Clinton— the butcher of Libya, in the White House.”

    This is in the realm of hypotheticals. Biden recruited most vile people possible, including Elliot Abrams. Military people (not all sane, but most are trained in calculating possible consequences) might save us from WWIII, but they will have work cut out for them.


    BTW, Hitler was an artist, so a re-decoration of his bunker could easily make it worse. In the meantime, I am not impressed with Biden’s ads I see on YouTube.

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