Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

The US and Israel

Behind Israel stands the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Without material support from the US, the onslaught on Gaza would not be possible, writes Mike Marqusee

February 1, 2009
2 min read


Mike MarquseeMike Marqusee 1953–2015, wrote a regular column for Red Pepper, 'Contending for the Living', and books on topics ranging from cricket to Bob Dylan. More at mikemarqusee.co.uk


  share     tweet  

About one third of the entire US foreign aid budget is spent assisting Israel, to the tune of at least $7 billion a year. In the past ten years, direct military aid alone amounted to $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. Unlike aid given to other nations, aid to Israel is unrestricted by human rights conditions and paid in an annual lump sum.

More than $1.5 billion in private US funds also go to Israel every year, comprising some $1 billion in tax-deductible donations and around $500 million invested in Israeli bonds. The US treatment of Israel as a charity of tax-deductible status is not granted to any other state.

Among the major donors to the Israeli cause are US trade unions. Some 1,500 US labour bodies have ploughed at least $5 billion of union pension funds into Israeli bonds. The AFL-CIO affiliate pension funds alone have more than $300 million invested.

In their staunch support for Israel, US unions are now anomalous in the global labour movement. This is a product of the shameful history of US labour leaders walking lock step with the State Department, the Pentagon and US imperialism. In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win issued a statement condemning British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Although US union activism for Palestine is increasing, as yet no labour bodies have opposed the Gaza massacres. This delights Jewish Labor Committee president Stuart Appelbaum, who recently boasted that ‘American [union] leadership is fundamental to challenging Israel bashing within the labour movement globally.’

It was not always this way. The US did not begin selling arms to Israel until 1962. The big shift came with Israel’s demonstration of military capacity – and the ability to tame Arab nationalism – in the 1967 war. Thereafter, aid increased by leaps and bounds.

Zionist hegemony in US politics has been forged by the intersection of various forces. Among them is an American-Israeli ideological affinity, including similar origin myths: ‘A land without people for a people without land.’ The pro-Israel lobby could never have succeeded if their lies about Palestine had not sounded so comforting to so many Americans.

Mike Marqusee is the author of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.
Share this article  
  share on facebook     share on twitter  

Mike MarquseeMike Marqusee 1953–2015, wrote a regular column for Red Pepper, 'Contending for the Living', and books on topics ranging from cricket to Bob Dylan. More at mikemarqusee.co.uk


Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke

The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana

Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth

Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company

You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild

Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University

This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback

Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up

Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement

‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic

Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden

There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright

Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones

‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression

Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death

‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum

The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes