The Strategic Ally Myth

The Strategic Ally Myth

Posted By Philip Giraldi On May 26, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

It is difficult to understand why anyone would take Mort Zuckerman seriously. He is a New York based but Canadian born Israel firster who made a fortune in real estate before buying The New York Daily News and the US News and World Report. He now fancies himself as a leading journalist and political commentator. Zuckerman is frequently spotted on the television talking head circuit where he dispenses analysis of international events that could have been crafted in Tel Aviv or Herzliya, where the Israeli intelligence service Mossad has its headquarters.

Zuckerman’s latest contribution to international harmony is a lengthy piece in the US News & World Report entitled “Israel Is a Key Ally and Deserves US Support.” It is a propaganda piece that promotes one of the most persistent fictions put out by the mainstream media, that the relationship with Israel somehow benefits the United States. To give the devil his due, it is not often that an article in a national publication includes an out-and-out lie in its first few words, but Zuckerman succeeds in doing just that. As he is a smart man who went to Harvard Law School before becoming a propagandist for Israel, he must know that words have meanings. But the significance of the word “ally” must have somehow eluded his grasp. Israel is not now and never has been an ally of the United States. As Zuckerman is a lawyer he should know that to be an ally requires an agreement in writing that spells out the conditions and reciprocity of the relationship. Israel has never been an ally of any country because it would force it to restrain its aggressive behavior, requiring consultation with its ally before attacking other nations. It is also unable to define its own borders, which have been expanding ever since it was founded in 1948. Without defined borders it is impossible to enter into an alliance because most alliances are established so that one country will come to the aid of another if it is attacked, which normally means having its territorial integrity violated. Since Israel intends to continue expanding its borders it cannot commit to an alliance with anyone and has, in fact, rebuffed several bids by Washington to enter into some kind of formal arrangement.

The article’s spin begins almost immediately thereafter in paragraph one, where the reader is informed that “the Israelis have agreed to [a Palestinian state] in principle.” Zuckerman conveniently overlooks that Tel Aviv has in fact obstructed every move toward creation of a Palestinian state because that would stop its continued colonization of the West Bank and Jerusalem. He then proceeds to lay it on really thick in the next two paragraphs, where one learns that the Palestinians need to “do what the Israelis have done for decades, which is to declare…that both sides have genuine claims to this land,” that the “Palestinian leadership has all along made an honorable peace impossible,” and that the Palestinians are not prepared to live with an Israeli state along their borders. The Palestinians also “beat the drums of hate” and only the Israelis guarantee freedom of religion in Jerusalem. Without wishing to be too contentious, it is safe to say that everything Zuckerman writes blaming the Palestinians can easily be disputed and should be challenged.

Zuckerman then launches into one of his major themes, that poor little Israel, always willing to take risks and do what is right in the cause of peace, has been betrayed by Washington. Zuckerman opines that Tel Aviv is right to hold on to the West Bank because if it gives it up Israel will not be “secure and defensible” against Arab terrorism. He also provides a hagiography of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who apparently is “serious about making peace” and has done lots of good things for the Palestinians that he is not given credit for (except by Zuckerman). Bibi is also reported to be “disturbingly” under-appreciated by the White House.

According to Zuckerman, Netanyahu and Israel are “not to blame for trouble in the Middle East,” and one also learns that “The Islamists are not enemies of America because of Israel. They are fighting America because they see the whole West…as antithetical to their own beliefs.” Yes, this is the new version of they hate us because of our freedom bumper sticker. Israeli bestiality toward the Arab population that it dominates, seen on television nightly all over the world except in the US, has nothing to do with it.

After making sure that everyone knows who is completely to blame for the Middle East imbroglio, Zuckerman arrives at the argument that he knows will crush all opposition. “Israel has been an ally that has paid dividends exceeding its cost.” Zuckerman asserts that seventy per cent of Washington’s military aid, now exceeding $3 billion per year, is used to buy equipment made in the USA, providing thousands of jobs and making sure that Lockheed and other struggling defense contractors don’t go bust. And the Israelis not only provide “access to the Red Sea,” they also permit US forces to stockpile equipment in Israel for contingencies. Furthermore, Israel has been “working jointly” and “cooperating” with the US to protect America’s troops all over the Middle East. And then there is all that good intelligence that Tel Aviv hands over to Washington on the many bad guys in the Near East region.

Israeli tunnel vision means that most of the actual intelligence that Tel Aviv collects is on organizations that resent being occupied or bombed by Israel, not groups that actually threaten the US, a point ignored by Zuckerman. And to those who argue that using billions of American taxpayers dollars to buy US military equipment for Israel is not necessarily money well spent in the middle of a financial crisis or that Washington’s unlimited support for Tel Aviv is precisely the reason why the United States is in trouble around the world, Zuckerman delivers a final, devastating retort. Israel has an unrivaled location on the Mediterranean. Per Zuckerman “One analyst has described Israel as a ’strategic aircraft carrier’…”

Well, Mort Zuckerman is certainly entitled to his own opinion and I suppose he can use the magazine he owns to spread Israeli hasbara, but the notion that Israel is some kind of strategic asset for the United States is nonsense, a complete fabrication. Most recently, Chas Freeman has pointed out that Israel is useless for the projection of American power. The US has numerous bases in Arab countries but is not allowed to use any military base in Israel. Washington’s own carrier groups and other forces in place all over the Middle East, including the Red Sea, have capabilities that far exceed those of the Israel Defense Forces. Israel has never been a strategic asset or any asset at all, always a liability. Even the stockpiles of US equipment in Israel are a typical bit of bonus support for Tel Aviv from Congress, placed there for the Israelis to use “in emergencies” while making it appear that they are for American forces. The supplies are, in fact, regularly looted by the Israelis, leaving largely unusable or picked over equipment for US forces if it should ever be needed.

Make no mistake, Tel Aviv is always carefully calculating how it can use Washington to further its own objectives with little regard for possible American interests. In 1967 the Israelis attacked the USS Liberty in international waters with the intention of sinking the ship and killing all the crew. During the first Gulf War Israel had to be defended by the United States. In the Cold War Israel spied aggressively on the US while cutting deals with both the Soviets and Chinese. The intelligence provided by Israel that Zuckerman praises is generally fabricated and completely self serving, intended to shape a narrative about the Middle East that makes the Israelis look good and virtually everyone else look bad – ask any intelligence officer who has seen the stuff. Israel as a key ally and security asset? A “strategic aircraft carrier”? Completely ridiculous.

Read more by Philip Giraldi


9 Responses to “The Strategic Ally Myth”

  • Patriot says:

    U.S. blocks Security Council criticism of Israeli raid

    Roberts: ‘AIPAC purchases US elections’

    Excellent USA Today letter to the editor by friend General (Ret) James David (whose name is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare to Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the Israel lobby on the US political system and media)

    US support of Israel PRIMARY MOTIVATION for tragic World Trade Center attacks in 1993 and on 9/11 as well:

    Additional via

  • Patriot says:

    Israel Kills 20 : Attacks Gaza Aid Fleet

    The following Web site now reports that 20 were killed as I have been watching the Al Jazeera English and Press TV coverage via (as Press TV can be viewed via the streaming video link at as well). No coverage on the BBC here yet but Sky News is covering it at least..

    Adam Shapiro Director of ISM and member of Free Gaza.Org Confirmed 16 killed, with over 60 injured

    World Condemns Deadly Israeli Ship Attack

    Gaza aid ships violence condemned

  • Patriot says:


    Our best information indicates that Israelis have stormed all ships in the FREEDOM FLOTILLA. Varied media outlets are reporting at least 10 dead and more than 50 injured.

    U.S. citizens on board the Sfendoni believed to have been kidnapped in International waters by the Israeli Navy include:

    • Ambassador Edward L. Peck, who served as a paratrooper during two tours of wartime active duty; spent 32 years in the Foreign Service; including stints as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and after retirement was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
    • Gene St. Onge, an Oakland, CA-based civil/structural engineer, who is working with Palestinian engineers to rebuild housing destroyed in Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza; and
    • Dr. Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, CA, a piano tuner and FPM co-founder, who also co-founded The Free Gaza Movement, the movement that first broke the siege of Gaza in 2008;
    • Janet Kobren, a retired math teacher and co-founder of the FPM
    • Joe Meadors, a decorated Navy veteran and one of the survivors of the 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, in which Israeli fighter planes and ships killed 34 Americans and wounded 173


    Representative Barbara Lee’s Staff : ( Gene St. Onge, Paul Larudee, Janet Kobren are constituents.)
    Representative Solomon P. Ortiz: 1-202-225-7742 ( Joe Meadors is a constituent.)
    Christopher Van Hollen: 1-202-225-5341 (Edward Peck is a constituent.)

    Please Act Now!

    CONTACT: U.S. Consulate East Jerusalem
    tel: + 972 2 622-7250

    CONTACT:US Embassy Jerusalem
    after hours or emergency tel: (972) (3) 519-7551

    CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
    tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
    fax: +972 2646 6357

    CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    tel: +972 2530 3111
    fax: +972 2530 3367

    CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
    tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354

    CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross for support in demanding humane treatment and release of the activists.

    Red Cross Israel
    tel: +972 3524 5286
    fax: +972 3527 0370

    Red Cross Switzerland:
    tel: +41 22 730 3443
    fax: +41 22 734 8280

    Red Cross USA:

    tel: +1 212 599 6021
    fax: +1 212 599 6009

  • Robert Hauser says:

    As most of us in the know all these decades have always said, with an “ally” like Israel, who in the Hell needs enemies? So far both the “almighty” U.N. and most conspicuously the United States have been rather spectacular in exposing themselves as the toothless paper tigers they are when dealing with the most arrogant rodent regime on earth….

    Eisenhower, for all his faults and deficiencies, was the ONLY president in U.S. history who ever once stood up to Israel and not only threatened to cut off all aid to that sociopathic realm but in fact followed through with it to keep them from diverting the Jordan River.

    When dealing with Israel the way they should be dealt with, Americans are the most gutless wimps in the universe, thanks to the John Hagee school of pernicious, pulpit-pounding, parasitic perverts….the latter day digitized Elmer Gantries for Israel. Perhaps this incident with the Aid Flotilla will stiffen the backbone of the rest of the world to close ranks against Israel and let them know where the bear shit in the buckwheat even if and in spite of the fact that America does not possess the spine to do so.

  • Patriot says:

    Ali Abunimah who brings up the USS LIBERTY as well as other Israeli crimes

  • Amy says:

    US support of Israel PRIMARY MOTIVATION for tragic World Trade Center attacks in 1993 and on 9/11 as well:

    Additional via

  • Patriot says:

    More Spin from Israel

    Posted By Philip Giraldi On June 2, 2010 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized |

    The Israeli commando assault on a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza which killed at least nine civilians should be a wake-up call for those who want to believe that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s government is capable of making rational decisions. The flotilla, consisting of nationals from as many as twenty countries, was unarmed and carrying relief supplies that had been carefully inspected by the Turkish authorities. It was in international waters when it was attacked. More than 600 passengers and crew, apart from those who were killed, were subsequently arrested by Israel for refusing to identify themselves. If all that is correct, then Tel Aviv is guilty of piracy, kidnapping, and murder while the armed attack on a Turkish flagged vessel might be construed as inviting a military response from NATO. One of the vessels bore an American flag and there were at least eight US citizens on board, including a former ambassador and a USS Liberty survivor, suggesting that a strong reaction from Washington would not be inappropriate

    Israel’s opposing narrative is that it has a right to defend itself, that there were terrorist affiliated groups connected to the flotilla, and that its soldiers were attacked when they boarded the largest vessel. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is putting out what amounts to the official line on its website and in memos to congressmen, i.e. that “Radical Hamas supporters beat, stab Israeli soldiers.” The United States, predictably, has already blocked a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Turkey that would have blamed Israel for the incident. Washington is permitting an inquiry into the killings but will undoubtedly veto any serious penalty against Israel no matter what the findings, souring relations with key ally Turkey and with most of the Muslim world for the foreseeable future.

    The nicest thing that might be said about the Israeli raid is that it was a botched job. The Israelis expected to lead the vessels into port like sheep, but to their surprise some of the sheep resisted. Tel Aviv’s argument that the convoy was a threat against Israel just does not hold water as it is completely clear that the supplies on board were humanitarian in nature and both the passengers and crewmen were unarmed. If there was a threat to Israel, it was purely psychological. The so-called terrorist group being cited by the Israelis and their drumbeat chorus is a Turkish charity called Humanitarian Relief Fund, which is not regarded by anyone but Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman as subversive. That passengers on a ship might try to defend themselves from attackers using whatever makeshift weapons came to hand should not be regarded as a provocation, and certainly not as an opportunity to open fire with live ammunition and shoot more than forty people, killing at least nine. What were soldiers doing attacking a vessel in the middle of the night in international waters in the first place?

    It is now only three days after the Israeli attack and it is clear that the good old hasbara spin machine is working overtime. The story of what actually happened is already vanishing from the newspapers. Instead we are seeing and will continue to see articles, letters, and opinion pieces justifying what Israel did. The Washington Post, which has become a neocon bastion under editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, led the charge with three feature articles on June 1st plus a lead editorial. All the pieces refer to the passengers on the ships as “pro-Palestinian activists” but the editorial goes one step farther in referring to them as “militants.” The editorial “The flotilla fiasco” began with “The Israeli commandos who landed on the deck of the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara off the coast of the Gaza Strip early Monday were totally unprepared for what they encountered: dozens of militants who swarmed around them with knives and iron bars” and then went on to explain “We have no sympathy for the motives of the participants in the flotilla – a motley collection…Israel says that some of the organizers have ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda.”

    The three news articles are equally slanted both in their language and what they choose to report. The feature article in its morning edition had a sub-headline “Commandos battle with pro-Palestinian activists” and includes a color photo of an “activist” praying on board the Turkish vessel. A second article “Israel says Free Gaza Movement poses threat to Jewish state” with the sub-heading “Aid flotilla was run by member charity with alleged ties to Islamists.” The Free Gaza movement is then described as a “security threat to the Jewish state.” The Post coverage is basically a compendium of made-in-Israel talking points. The incident is invariably described as a “battle” as if it were a face-off between two equal opponents instead of an attack by heavily armed soldiers against unarmed civilians. The coverage exploits key words: Terrorism, Threat, al-Qaeda.

    And what is the actual evidence that the flotilla threatened Israel? Well, even by The Post’s nearly nonexistent standards there doesn’t seem to be much beyond Fred Hiatt’s penchant for name calling. It is pretty much agreed that the ships were in international waters, were unarmed, and were carrying relief supplies. The only actual evidence cited for possible extremist ties on the part of the organizers is one line concerning the Turkish charity affiliate, “Humanitarian Relief Fund…raises some of its money from Islamic religious groups.” Jonathan Schanzer’s “The Terror Finance Flotilla” in The Weekly Standard also indicts Humanitarian Relief Fund, calling it an “officially designated terrorist organization” because Israel has it on a list.

    Finally, all Americans should realize that this most recent Israeli outrage is another lose-lose situation for the United States. US congressmen are already lining up to support the Israeli action and the State Department is silent about the American student who had her eye shot out by Israeli border policemen while demonstrating peacefully against the attack on the flotilla. Washington will yet again have to look the ridiculous hypocrite before the entire world in a new wag-the-dog scenario in which it is forced to provide diplomatic cover for an out of control Israel. Having escaped any punishment yet again, Israel’s reckless leadership might also be emboldened to up the ante, confident that it can contrive a situation with Iran that will draw the United States into a new shooting war. The US will also pay the price in other ways. Key ally Turkey will inevitably cease to cooperate on issues like the Iranian nuclear program after being punished by the US media and Congress, a process that has already started on The Weekly Standard’s blog. Washington’s backing of Israel in what surely must be viewed as a massacre will further erode any support from Islamic countries for US policies and will serve as a recruiting tool for groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even if one is not a fan of US empire and the current crop of pointless wars, it is heartbreaking to have to witness an increasing number of young Americans delivered up as cannon fodder in a growing confrontation with a Muslim world that is angry with Israel and taking revenge by attacking the United States.

    Read more by Philip Giraldi
    •The Strategic Ally Myth – May 26th, 2010
    •Shaping the Story on Iran – May 19th, 2010
    •Many Voices Singing One Song – May 12th, 2010
    •A Timetable For War – May 5th, 2010
    •Papering the War Against Iran – April 28th, 2010


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  • Jack Dresser says:

    I had the following exchange with the Israeli consulate in San Francisco (reading from bottom):

    From: jack dresser
    Subject: RE: flotilla murders by Israel
    To: “‘consulardep'”
    Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 11:52 PM

    Don’t you dare lie to me. You know perfectly well that Hamas won a fair, democratic election and was immediately isolated and undermined by your disgraceful country and mine, including support for an attempted coup by Fatah quislings. I’m sure you also know – or certainly should — that your “military closure” is a collective punishment prohibited by the 4th Geneva Convention, and your criminal attack and murders in international waters against human rights activists violated the UN Convention on the Laws of the Seas that provides for freedom of navigation on the high seas (Article 87(a)), with which Israel is required to comply as a UN member state. Article 88 of the convention states: “The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes”; and Article 89 states: “No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.”

    “Non-compliance,” you say? With Israel , which is non-compliant with over 100 UN resolutions, 16 of the 29 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and 13 articles of the 4th Geneva Convention defining the duties and limitations of an occupying power? Non-compliant with your arrogant, illegal demands? I would hope so. Your navy has no authority over ships under other flags on the high seas, and your blockade of Gazan waters is not only illegal but was compared to the Warsaw ghetto by Jewish-American Richard Falk, Princeton emeritus professor of international law and UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT. Passengers on the ship had every right to defend themselves against your attacking commandoes “boarding” their ship outside Israeli waters from US-supplied helicopters, use of which, incidentally, violates our Arms Export Control Act and should require the immediate cessation of all US military aid to your contemptible nation.

    Committing murder while committing another felony is an aggravating factor requiring greater penalties (at least for everybody else in the world not awarded impunity from God and the Lobby-controlled US Congress) which I earnestly hope you will all soon discover through prosecutions you have now made possible through courts of universal jurisdiction.

    The picture is quite clear to all the ordinary, working class Americans I talk to, who all learned in Kindergarten not to bully weaker people, to respect other people’s property, to admit when you’ve done something wrong, to honorably try to fix it or make up for it, and above all, to have the integrity not to lie about it. You’re not fooling anybody who has developed the rudimentary social judgment to recognize bullies, thieves and liars when they see them. And we’re all looking right at you, and wondering if everybody in Israel was just so precocious they skipped Kindergarten.

    Jack Dresser, Ph.D.
    Eugene, Oregon
    Behavioral Research Scientist
    Political & Prevention Psychology
    Veterans for Peace
    Co-director, The Al-Nakba Awareness Project

    From: consulardep []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:11 PM
    To: jack dresser
    Subject: RE: flotilla murders by Israel

    Dear Sir/ Madame

    Gaza is under military closure since the forceful eviction of the Palestinian Authority by Hamas in 2007, and the subsequent weapons build-up and rocket firing against Israel’s southern population centers.

    Early this morning, Israel Navy soldiers boarded six flotilla vessels headed for Gaza in contravention of a military closure under international law. The Israel Navy instructed the ships to dock at Ashdod port for the purpose of transporting its humanitarian cargo to Gaza by land vehicle under flotilla participant’s observation, following security inspection. After non-compliance, Navy soldiers boarded the ships with non-lethal weapons and were met on one of the vessels with life threatening attacks with live fire ammunition, firebombs, and metal rods. At this point, they used force sufficient to defend their lives. Israel regrets the fatalities among the flotilla participants, and is treating wounded in Israeli hospitals.

    Consulate general of Israel

    San Francisco

    From: jack dresser []
    Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2010 11:22 PM
    To: consul ardep ;;;;;
    Subject: flotilla murders by Israel

    Once again the vicious, cowardly and criminal state of Israel has attacked unarmed people on the high seas in violation of international maritime law, misusing US weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and extending its long record of crimes against humanity in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act as it did to US presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney last year and as it did to the USS Liberty in 1967. Attacking a Turkish ship and killing several passengers is an act of war against a NATO state, which should be the end of any further EU or US support or protection from international justice at the very least and hopefully the beginning of massive international sanctions and criminal indictments.

    It is a disgrace that this flotilla of noble humanitarians and human rights activists has not received a US 6th Fleet escort to avenge the Liberty in the event of the monstrous but predictable criminality that has occurred. Israel believes it enjoys some kind of divine impunity from the laws regulating the rest of mankind and it is long past time to disabuse them of this self-inflated, grandiose delusion. If the Obama administration gave a green light to these atrocities or if UN sanctions are vetoed, thousands of us will immediately commence an impeachment movement. In addition, outraged citizens across the world will redouble our BDS commitment and demands to bring Israeli officials to trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity in international courts or courts of universal jurisdiction.

    Jack Dresser, Ph.D.

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