Electric Politics
 
Donate to Electric Politics
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Green Party USA
Blank
Socialist Worker
Blank
CoffeeGeek.com
Blank
Grist
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Ben & Jerry's
Blank
Al Jazeera English
Blank
911Truth.org
Blank
Sierra Trading Post
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Pluto Press
Blank
In These Times
Blank
USNI
Blank
In These Times
Blank
CASMII
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
News For Real
Blank
News For Real
Blank
If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger
Blank
News For Real
Blank
The Agonist
Blank
The Anomalist
Blank
Duluth Trading
Blank
Digital Photography Review
Blank
New Egg
Blank
Free Link

EP PODCASTSXML

April 9, 2010

Whither the Israel Lobby?

Israeli flag outline with carbinesEver since his 1970 assignment to photograph Palestinian refugee camps, Jeffrey Blankfort has been a committed anti-Zionist. Jeff is less well known than he should be, though he frequently publishes in the alternative media and has a regular, weekly program on KZYX radio in Mendocino, California. He maintains a rare intellectual consistency, being unafraid to put rational argument above political loyalties (so, for example, regarding approaches toward the Israel Lobby he praises President George H.W. Bush but condemns Noam Chomsky). It was a pleasure to talk with Jeff and I wish more people had his moral integrity. Total runtime an hour and twenty one minutes. Enjoy!

Listen

« Bosnia Redux | Main | Of Priests and Pedophiles »



Comments

Another extremely interesting interview, George, thanks so much! I had never heard of Jeffrey Blankfort but now I will follow his work.

I really feel for both of you on the issue of Chomsky. This man is a giant and a man which one would loathe to criticize. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting him once in person, and he is also a kind, welcoming, patient and most agreeable hosts. Yet... yet we cannot overlook the fact that he is wrong, dead wrong, on two issues: the Israel Lobby and 9/11. In both cases he has a logic-defying 'blind spot' and a wholly illogical position which consists of two points: a) this is nonsense and b) whatever may be the case, this distracts from the real issues. Such nonsense coming from the man who is clearly the leading US intellectual is simply mind-boggling.

This is all made even worse by the fact that a huge number of progressives in the USA simply blindly follow his views even though they make no sense. I don't need to name names here, we all know who they are, but the fact is that Chomsky's stance rendered a huge number of "Chomsky groupies" totally blind to these crucial topics.

You and Jeff are to be highly commended and thanked for having the courage not only to say the truth, but also to dare to point out that this 'giant' is, on these two topics, totally wrong.

Tomorrow, I will post a short blurb about this interview on my blog, along with a link to the interview.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

[Just to clarify: Jeff and I didn't discuss 9/11 and I have no idea what his views on it might be. I'm convinced it was an inside job, but that's a subject I usually bring up only when I'm pretty sure the guest understands already or the show is specifically about 9/11. Of which there are quite a few in the EP archives. Thanks, Saker! g.]

have no idea what his views on it might be

If you mean Jeff's views, then I don't know. But I know that Chomsky totally dismisses any "conspiracy" (except, of course, the one the government wants us to believe in — guys in a case, box cutters, etc. etc. etc.). I would say that he is even more dismissive of 9/11 issues than the Lobby. These two short videos show his stance in all of its mind-boggling lack of basic logic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzGd0t8v-d4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoDqDvbgeXM

Sad, very sad, but true.

The only thing I can say in his defense, is that this was recorded before NIST gave up on the pancake theory, before explosives were found inside the dust residue and before NIST had to admit that WTC7 collapsed at near free fall acceleration for most of its collapse.

Regardless of his failings and undeniable blind spots, Chomsky will always remain a giant of an intellectual and a leading opponent of empire.

Kind regards,

The Saker

[You're entirely right about Chomsky and 9/11. One wonders, then, whether his two errors might somehow be related? g.]

One wonders, then, whether his two errors might somehow be related?

I really hate to admit this, but yes, I believe that they are. But let's leave it as this.

Hey, I just posted a note on my blog about your latest show:

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2010/04/another-great-interview-by-george-kenny.html

George — these latest interviews are really fantastic. Thanks so much for all your efforts! You are right 'up there' with the best of the best :-)

US Support for Israel's brutal oppression of the Palestinians Got US tragically attacked on 9/11 and earlier at the WTC in 1993 as well (look up 'Israel as a terrorist's motivation' in the index of James Bamford's 'A Pretext for War' book and access the following URLs as well if interested further):


http://tinyurl.com/motivation911

http://NEOCONZIONISTTHREAT.COM

I must dissent on Chomsky & Israel. His two major books on the subject "Fateful Triangle" and "Peace in the Middle East?" are about the two most critical books ever written about Israel. And he is Public Enemy #1 among the AIPAC, JDL wad. But he is an extreme structuralist, causing him to see the imbalance of power between the US Government and the Zionist Government as reason to debunk the power of the Israel lobby. After all, in a power universe purely designed along structuralist lines, how could a weaker government's lobby trump the power of the stronger government?

This also leads him into the weeds of idiotic conspiracy debunking. Whether for nefarious reasons such as 9/11, or for humanist reasons in the case of JFK, he finds it structurally impossible that any man or men could depart from or hijack or overthrow the structure. In the case of Kennedy, this guy just lies and lies and lies. He knows the documents as well as anyone. Yet he continues to lie and defame because he doesn't want anyone to believe an evil system such as the US National Security State could be changed from the inside. (As opposed to all the leafleting and placard-carrying and letter-writing he incessantly advocates. Yeah, sure Noam.)

Very interesting interview! AIPAC is one of those issues that allows the dark underbelly of power in Western capitals to slightly bubble upward.

On the face of it, the argument that Israel is simply a US client state looks plausible. But not many client states have attacked the US Navy and gotten away with it.

Furthermore, not many client states have the political cover for their intelligence operations in the US that Israel does.

Perhaps we have in AIPAC and other power centers in Washington something akin to the Army-Navy rivalry in Imperial Japan in the 1930s? To overgeneralize somewhat, the Army represented the most fanatic elements of Imperial state whose aim was conquest in China and war with the Soviet Union (the "Strike North" group). The Navy focused instead on the oil fields of Southeast Asia (the "Strike South" group). The Navy's allies in domestic politics were also more of the typical oligarchic interests, whereas the Army was associated with the mysticism-tinged proponents of direct Imperial rule. That dispute was only settled after a period of internal turmoil in Japan, and a drubbing of the Japanese Army by the Soviet Union, which put an end to any "Strike North" ambitions.

To make the comparison to the US, AIPAC and its allies may represent the fanatic wing of the ruling Anglo-American elite which sometimes bumps up against the rest of the oligarchy.

A clearer picture emerges if we compare US-Israeli relations in the Middle East and US-Israeli relations for the rest of Eurasia. The tacit deal seems to have been this: Israel will get everything it wants in terms of territorial expansion, but it must support the global US military posture.

In the 1990s I remember the Israelis were negotiating to sell sophisticated air defense systems to China (a smart, long-term move on Tel Aviv's part), but that deal was vetoed by the Pentagon. More recently, Israeli mercenaries were helping the US train the Georgian army for use against Russia's allies. And perhaps most importantly, Israel, like the US, is building increasingly close military ties with India. Given India's energy needs and geographic location, I do not see how even the most Hindu nationalist Indian government could afford to give Israel the kind of support it gets from the US. While India makes little sense as a counterweight against Middle Eastern powers (which is what Israel wants), it may yet be a counterweight against China (the hope of US planners).

My point then is that it is in Eurasian policy that Israel makes the concessions to the US. In return, the US allows it to do what it likes vis-a-vis the Arabs.

Most recently, this deal seem to be in crisis. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is under a tense, but seemingly enduring US-Iranian condominum. Iran has no more need for secret cooperation with Israel (either against Iraq, or as a backdoor to Washington) and now with its relationships with Russia and China, can better afford to strike the posture of "resistance" against "Zionist-Crusaders". Turkey appears to be backing away from its special relationship with Israel. And finally, the US's Eurasian strategy: focusing on curtailing cooperation between Russia, China and the Muslim states, requires flexibility vis-a-vis Muslim factions that Israel cannot afford. Ideally, the US would like to turn Iran against at least Russia, and ideally China as well. AIPAC/Tel Aviv sees all this maneuvering and fears a soft coup against its position in Washington.

While the rest of the US leadership is looking for a coup in Iran (a war would also work by cutting China off from Iranian oil and gas, but it may just be too risky to attempt), AIPAC needs a war with Iran to restore Israel's "indispensability" to the US by foreclosing all other options.

As this Iran drama reaches its climax, we may get a rare clear glimpse of the real balance of power in Washington.

[Interesting thoughts! Thanks! g.]

Like Blankfort, the Canadian journalist Barrie Zwicker has characterized Chomsky as "intellectually dishonest" on many critical issues.

Zwicker has thoughtfully (and chillingly) deconstructed Chomsky's logic about 9/11 in his book Towers of Destruction. 9/11, ever the hot potato (even here), was, like the murder of JFK, crucial to a ratcheting up of mass deception and manipulation.

Chris Hedges' recent paean to Chomsky ("Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'" at Truthdig) is curious if not shameful. For him and many other prominent persons on the left, it is as if a whole world of inquiry is taboo.

Has Hedges, or Ralph Nader for that matter, ever noticed the one-and-the-sameness of those on the left who muddled responsibility for the stolen 2000 election and also hindered promotion of Nader's last two presidential campaigns — and those who muddle or hinder honest questions about 9/11?

It never surprised me how election after election Chomsky's adherents take his Delphic endorsements of lesser-evilism to heart.

YouTube videos I urge visitors here to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-u7vRoyQVs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1su15BsJzc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhrZ57XxYJU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67AzgIpxwco

And one more, a seeming departure, that has not received much attention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41bPaPrbZYQ

Another great interview with Blankfort, an important voice on the Israel issue.

I would rather listen to intellectually honest sources on the issue rather than devoting undue attention to Mr. Chomsky, who has made himself look a bit silly on many issues over the years.

I'd advise anyone to check out Jeff's interviews with Grant Smith, quality stuff. Keep up the great work guys.

Leave a comment