Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israeli Make-Believe: A Clear-Eyed Look at the Claims That Israel Is America's Strategic Ally

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israeli Make-Believe: A Clear-Eyed Look at the Claims That Israel Is America's Strategic Ally

Article excerpt

ISRAELI MAKE-BELIEVE: A Clear-Eyed Look at the Claims That Israel Is America's Strategic Ally

The "opposite test" developed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in the 1960s. That concept helps describe the near total protection afforded Israel in the U.S. media today.

Back then, under the guise of fighting corruption, the Iraqi government appointed committees to control the importation of drugs and pharmaceuticals. Soon, as bureaucratic inertia inevitably set in, these products became increasingly difficult to find on the local market. But the government dealt with the problem by announcing that drug supplies were plentiful.

So, as even aspirin became scarce, the idea took hold that reality was the opposite of what the Iraqi government said it was. The government's announcement of an amnesty for imprisoned Kurds, it was reckoned, signaled a ruthless new crackdown against Iraq's Kurdish minority in the north.

In fact there had been corruption before Iraq's drug committees were appointed, and the conflicting aspirations of the country's 20 percent Kurdish minority and its Arab majority did present a complex, if not insoluble, political problem. So there were at least connections between Iraq's realities and its government's assertions.

Therefore the Iraqi media's tenuous hold on reality compares favorably with statements in the U.S. media now that Israel is America's strategic ally. This astonishing assertion is presented without supporting evidence, analysis, or any connection to reality.

The implication may be that somehow Israel kept communism out of the Middle East during the Cold War, and that justified the $3 annual billion, plus, in U.S. foreign aid grants to Israel that have continued ever since.

When that is questioned, Israel's wellpaid U.S. lobbyists and its media apologists demand that the cost of aiding Israel be compared to the cost to the United States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO's role was to keep the Soviet Union out of Europe, and its cost was several times the cost of helping Israel. Thus, it is said, the United States got a real bargain in its Israeli "ally."

However, neither the U.S. print nor electronic media ever made a persuasive case that communism was taking hold in the Middle East. The reason was that no such case could be made.

The media never examined the facts that the Arabs were too individualistic and too focused on religion to find Soviet collectivism or atheism attractive. As for the Middle Eastern countries bordering the Soviet Union, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, all had historical reasons for rejecting the Russian bear and anything it purveyed, including communism. Still, according to U.S. media friends of Israel, we had "ally" Israel to thank for keeping communism out.

Media protection of Israel has reached the "it never happened" level.

Attributes of strength that a valuable ally might possess were rarely discussed where Israel is concerned. This would have highlighted Israel's weaknesses, which included physical size (smaller than Hong Kong), population (smaller than Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda, or Cameroon -- all countries that few Americans could locate on a map), paucity of natural resources such as oil (none), a chronically weak economy requiring huge American subsidies, political instability since its government does not assure equal protection of the laws to all of its citizens, and a reputation for human rights violations so bad in the Arab and Muslim worlds that our aid to Israel reflected adversely on us with the Muslim one-fifth of humanity. …

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