Mark LeVine: Israel's 'Friends' Also to Blame

[Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. His most recent books are Heavy Metal Islam (Random House) and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books).]

Perhaps now Americans will understand the true nature of the Israeli occupation.

It has never been about security. Not for one day. It has been about land and power. And this is where it has led. And we have made it possible.

Since at least the mid-1970s, only one country has had the power to force Israel to give up its dreams of permanent occupation of the West Bank: The US.

After the success against Soviet-backed Arab forces in 1967, Israel suddenly became a "strategic asset" - a useful proxy in the global great game against Communism.

For three decades the US and its political class have feigned concern, affection and even love for Israel; the reality is that Israel has always been a tool to advance US strategic goals and power, and nothing more.

All the while, thoughtful Israelis - not to mention Palestinians and the rest of the world - have begged the US to intervene, to stop the insanity before it created an abscess that threatened not just the Jewish state, but the whole region, and even global peace.

But the US goal was never to "protect" or "support" Israel....

And now at least 10 people are dead because of the shame, because of the inability of Israel's best friends to look it in the eye and say: "Stop this insanity. Treat Palestinians like humans before you destroy not only them, but you."

We cannot say that because we are guilty as well, and the US has proved singularly unable to come to grips with our own culpability in occupations from Iraq and Afghanistan to Gaza and, of course, our own original sin, which demanded millions of dead native Americans to ensure the creation of the very country that now supplies Israel with its weapons and tells it everything is going to be okay.

Some day you can let the Palestinians have casinos and they will thank you.

It is tragically fitting that this disaster should happen on Memorial Day in the US.

The martyrs of the ships are heroes, they are warriors every bit as deserving of our tears and support as the soldiers of American wars past and present.

They are, in fact, the soldiers of the future - the only ones who can help us get out of the disastrous slide to moral turpitude that we, as much as Israel, have descended as a country.

Let us hope that the deaths of the Gaza flotilla activists will not be as in vain as those of the 5,000 American soldiers who have died in our own illegal and useless wars in the last decade.

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Donald Wolberg - 6/6/2010

One wonderrs what world Mr. LeVine inhabits; it certainly cannot be planet Earth. The misinformation he attempts to convey is either meant as humor--it is that absurd--or he dwells in a place not easily found. Certainly Mr. vine understood that the constant attacks on Israel cannot be compounded by allowing unexamined materials to be transported by sea.

james joseph butler - 6/3/2010

Mark, I have to disagree with your positing America's relationship with Israel as solely being "a tool to advance U.S. strategic goals and power, and nothing more." I know VP Biden is the king of bs but have you ever read his statements regarding Israel? I choose him because he and Truman and countless other goy politicians see Israel as the promised land for idealists like themselves. Israel for them represents their best political selves, the one that cares about the little guy, about democracy, about the Old Testament, about Jesus and Yahweh cohabitating.

You know that Kissinger sided with Israel's interests before America's in 1973. Nobody seemed to notice at the time. Ms. Klinghoffer recently posted an article featuring 60 retired American generals and admirals whose ad stated that Israel is an invaluable ally in a M.E.that needs American guidance.

Israel is America's best self. Corporate American media is burying the flotilla story because it doesn't sell. You can't change roles in the middle of the story. Israel is always the good guy, along with Uncle Sam. Dead Americans, dead Palestinians, dead Israelis, dead Iraqis, dead Afgans, dead Iranians. None of it really translates here in la la land. They're all just more loser movies at the cineplex.

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