As Trump prepares to get the United States into an all-out war with Iran, an alarming number of leftists are furthering the narrative that Israel has been the driving force for U.S. military action in the Middle East, playing right into the hands of Nazis who claim that American foreign policy is “Israel first.” This misrepresents the actual military and economic power of the United States vs. that of Israel, and serves to portray the United States as innocent, well-meaning victims of evil, manipulative Zionists.
It should be obvious that the United States has never needed Israel to convince it to be a force for colonialism, imperialism, and genocide. It didn’t need Israel to commit genocide against the Native Americans, nor to build an entire country on slave labor. America’s ruling class didn’t need Israel to conquer much of Mexico, to colonize Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba (among other places), or to sell arms to the Nazis. Many members of the global ruling class did, however, see the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine as advantageous to their goals of smashing communism (seen as an international Jewish conspiracy) and colonizing the Middle East.
Hence it’s important to understand that Israel is a tool of the global ruling class for accomplishing its own interests, not to be confused with the global ruling class itself. In this it joins Saudi Arabia, which was also put into power by Western capitalist interests to the detriment of the whole Middle East, along with the UAE, Kuwait, and all manner of other such “West-friendly” states. Both Israel’s ruling class and the House of Saud serve the interests of Western hegemony, hence America is allied with both.
All of the U.S.’s current wars have merely been theaters of an ongoing war that dates back to the aftermath of World War I, or even before. Europe was rebuilt; the former Ottoman Empire was divided among Europe and the Americas’ ruling elite.
In recent history this has led to, among other things, the War in Iraq. This was of interest to the part of America’s WASP ruling class that most enriched themselves off the aftermath of World War I, the part represented by the Bushes and Cheneys: oil executives and defense contractors. Their motives are pretty clear and often explicit if you dig into it just a tiny bit.
Neoconservatives who scaremongered about Saddam Hussein nuking Israel were just trying to sell the war that had already been decades in the making to the masses. After all, no one wants to go to war for oil execs and defense contractors. No one says, “You know, I really think that a war needs to be fought to expand neoliberalism and to allow it to run more smoothly, to allow the global bourgeoisie to more easily start up new factories in poor countries and, in doing so, crush unions where they exist, get around their demands to be given the fruits of their labor, and punish anyone who disrupts this system in any way.”
So they tug at people’s heartstrings. “Saddam’s gonna massacre his own people. Saddam’s gonna invade the entire Middle East. He’s Hitler Mark II. He’s gonna drop a nuke on Jerusalem and everyone there will die, Jew and Palestinian alike, everyone.”
This ongoing capitalist colonial war in the Middle East has been devastating to the Middle East’s pre-existing Jewish population. The conflicts that resulted have uprooted Jewish communities throughout the Middle East and North Africa. And they’ve only had one place of refuge, a place created as part of this same Western effort to disrupt and divide and conquer and level and subjugate the former Ottoman Empire: Israel.
An anti-Zionist Iraqi Jew, Naeim Giladi, believed that the synagogue bombings in Iraq were orchestrated by the ruling British as a way of cleansing much of Iraq’s communist leadership and transferring them to Palestine. Whether this was true or not, Israel was certainly used by non-Jewish Europeans as a means of ethnic cleansing and population transfer of Europe’s Jewish population. And this is the exact same dynamic that exists today.
To say that “Israel” was behind all of this is not merely simplistic, and it doesn’t just mistake a symptom for the cause. It also invites questions as to why you chose them specifically rather than other brutal regimes propped up by the U.S. out of the naked self-interest of oil execs and defense contractors.