Socialist Worker

Israel remains vital watchdog for the US

Issue No. 2204

The Israeli state carefully planned its latest butchery—then produced a predictable, if farcical, level of lies to justify its murderous assault on the Freedom Flotilla. The brutality is not surprising.

One of the world’s most modern war machines—armed with tanks, helicopter gunships, warplanes and nuclear warheads—is permanently mobilised against the Palestinian people.

When Gaza’s population—starved and imprisoned—dares to resist, this becomes a pretext for more slaughter.

The idea that anyone would have the audacity to challenge Israel’s dominance by bringing humanitarian aid through their blockade was simply too much.

The attack has been met with many weasel words of regret from politicians.

But anyone presuming that Israel will become an international pariah state should remember June 1967 when Israel attacked a US Navy surveillance ship, the USS Liberty. It killed 34 and wounded 171.

It made not one jot of difference to US support for Israel.

That is because Israel remains an important ally of the US ruling class.

During the Cold War, when the Soviet Union backed Arab nationalism, the US needed an ally in the Middle East.

Under George W Bush there was a heightening of US support for Israel because it was an ally in defence of US interests in the region.

Some in Israel feared that Barack Obama’s election would mark a turning point in relations.

But the solidarity extended to Israel and the administration’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan suggests otherwise.

Israel is rightfully confident of its impunity. And it has tested it in recent months—expanding settlements into Palestinian territory and increasing attacks on Palestinians. Now the attack comes on the freedom convoy.

The root causes extend beyond the machinations of Israeli politicians.

The first is to shake off the humiliation Israel’s army underwent at the hands of Hizbollah during its 2006 invasion of Lebanon and to prove it can still serve US interests.

The second is to prove its continued dominance over the Palestinians.

Israel is a racist state founded on the mass expulsion of the Palestinians and intrinsically bound to US imperialism.

The US-led “war on terror” and the desire to dominate the Middle East created the current context for US support for Israel.

The setbacks the US has had in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it more likely that it will continue to back Israel.

The siege of Gaza shows that Israel and the US still have the power to bully and subdue weaker governments in the region. The attack on the flotilla was the logical outcome of that dominance.

Everyone must protest against the massacre and for an end to the siege of Gaza.

In the broader struggle, the key is to meet the military brutality of the Israeli state with a force capable of defeating it.

That means mobilising in our millions in solidarity with the Palestinians and looking to the powerful working class in the Middle East to defeat imperialism.

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What We Think
Tue 1 Jun 2010, 18:54 BST
Issue No. 2204
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