Jeff Halper, an Israeli peace activist, spoke at Atlanta’s Oakhurst Baptist Church Monday night (2/29/16). He confirms and elaborates much of what Noam Chomsky says on the subject of Israel-U.S. relations. Halper raises the question, why does the U.S. so enthusiastically support Israel, enabling a brutal occupation and blocking peace with the Palestinians? He dismisses several conventional answers as being factors but in themselves not satisfactory: the U.S. christian right expecting Armageddon in the mid-east and the Israeli lobby. He proposes instead two other rather troubling factors: The famous U.S. Military Industrial Complex, (which President Eisenhower so wisely warned us about, when leaving office, but so heartily endorsed while in office) and Israel’s formidable companion.
The U.S. complex, Boeing, Lockheed etc; obviously favors war and threats of war because that enhances their bottom line. The Israeli cousin does the same. The natural resource of oil is not overlooked in this analysis.
The United States is the largest arms merchant on the planet, producing the really big stuff. The new F-35 bomber Halper cites as a huge financial commitment (for the taxpayer), and whether it works is not particularly relevant. Profit-making will occur just as whether the meat was rotten or not did not affect the profits for the entrepreneurs flocking to supply the army during the civil war. Israel produces the little stuff, the highly sophisticated electronic apparatus that so enhances the killing machine. U.S. drones are really souped up Israeli drones.
Interestingly, Israel has unprecedented access to U.S. technology, uses that knowledge, selling it around the world. In a sort of circular logic, the alliance incentivizes itself to ever greater accomplishment in order to stay ahead and retain its position as go-to armaments dealer. Israel also is guaranteed by the U.S. a frontal position. If the U.S. sells armaments to Saudi Arabia for example ($7 billion recently), Israel must get the more advanced, cutting edge stuff, ahead of all rivals. Israel will receive the new U.S. F-35 bomber before, that’s right,before the U.S. military.
Halper reminds us that Israel is about the size of New Jersey yet, all told, is guaranteed $70 billion from the U.S. over the next ten years, in military assistance. That tiny country is the 4th most powerful nuclear-armed nation. It can deliver its warheads within a geographic circle which passes through London. So U.S. politians make a great to-do about Iran who has zero nukes and no way to deliver them if they had them. But nary a word about Israel. Though the U.S. has military bases in 174 countries (there are only 200+ countries) Israel has military relations with 130. The U.S. bases are mainly enclaves in countries from which to attack other countries. Israel’s presence goes deeper and is very profitable. These relations include countries with which the U.S. is at odds, China and Russia for example.
This brings us to Israel’s export of its expertise in security – everything from fences to surveillance to truly scary nanno technology weaponization, all aimed at what Halper calls the War Against the People or Securocratic Warfare. Israeli websites (there are 500 arms companies in Israel) advertise their war stuff as “combat proven” and here is another reason Israel opposes peace with the Palestinians. Gaza and the West Bank are handy sites to test their weaponry and security apparatus.
Halper ends his presentation with a local disturbing twist, a list of Georgia law enforcement personnel who have traveled to Israel for training. This is part of the militarization of policing that accompanies the erosion of civil rights, the Patriot Act etc; Halper points out that the act was passed so quickly that it had to have been on the shelf, ready to go, just awaiting the proper “crisis”. Israel has developed leading expertise in repression, or more kindly, control (of Palestinians) and this expertise is, apparently, a prized commodity among those who wish to suppress dissidents. Substitute the Occupy Movement for Palestinian, or any other movement that calls for significant questioning of the global who-rules-for-whose-benefit. Israel’s gruesome calling card might as well read, like the old TV cowboy assassin, Have Gun Will Travel. Or, it might be modernized to Have Repression Technology, Will Deliver… not as catchy, or economical but hell, by now they can afford it.