Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence of natural law, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. Friedrich Engels, Anti-Duhring, 1877.
June 26, 2021
The United States dominates the Arab and Muslim worlds. This is a fairly uncontroversial statement. What’s less uncontroversial is the reason why.
US domination of West Asia is often understood to be related to Washington’s need to secure its energy supplies, but the United States has always been one of the world’s top producers of oil and natural gas, and often the top producer, which has allowed the country to be either energy self-sufficient, or close to it, and when it hasn’t been self-sufficient, it has relied on energy imports from Canada and Mexico to top up its energy supply more than it has relied on West Asia. The idea, then, that the United States needs access to Arab oil to satisfy its energy requirements is a myth.
The US domination of the Arab world has always been an outcome, not of a quest for energy security, but for oil profits, and for the geostrategic advantage that comes with control of a source of oil on which many other countries depend.
China, Germany, and Japan, the United States’ top economic competitors, depend on oil from the Arab and Muslim worlds. By controlling this region and the maritime shipping and pipeline routes through which the region’s oil travels to its markets in Europe and East Asia, Washington gains enormous leverage over its economic rivals. If any of these countries steps too far out of line, Washington can close the spigot. The dictum of Henry Kissinger, a former US secretary of state and national security advisor, was: Control oil and you control nations.
It is the nature of profit-making enterprises that they incessantly look for new business opportunities, to enter new markets and sell more goods and services—in short, to generate more profit. They look to their governments for aid in securing and protecting these opportunities, both at home and abroad. Because business people as a class have enormous sway over governments, the aid is routinely given.
Capitalist expansion often leads to conflict among governments acting on behalf of their profit-driven, perpetually expansion-seeking, business class.
The first is the conflict between competing states to secure profit-making opportunities for their own business people and, if they can, to deny the same opportunities to the business people of other nations.
Conflict among countries for profit-making opportunities led to the First and Second World Wars, but since the end of WWII, and the rise of the United States as an informal world empire, conflict of this sort has been contained. Washington has absorbed its rivals into an economic order that regulates conflict among rival capitalisms according to rules the United States has established. The rules ultimately serve US interests. The Pentagon acts as the ultima ratio regnum of the “rules-based” system.
However, the conflict is regulated only so far as rivals remain within the system. When they step outside its bounds, the conflict becomes less restrained. This can be seen today in the rivalry between the United States, the system’s architect and superintendent, and China, which has reached a point in its economic development where the constraints of the system have become fetters on its further development. While Washington attributes its hostility to China to the East Asian giant’s “autocracy”, the origins of its animus lie, in point of fact, in the threat Chinese enterprises pose to the ability of US firms to dominate the industries of tomorrow: among them 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing.
As The Wall Street Journal observed:
“President Biden portrays U.S. relations with China as a clash of values: democracy vs. autocracy. But his …goal is to stay ahead of China in semiconductors, artificial intelligence and other advances that are expected to define the economy and military of the future.”
The second kind of conflict arises when people who live on the territories in which profit making opportunities are present, say they want to set the terms of access to their labor, markets, and resources, or monopolize access, locking out or restricting foreign investment and trade.
Conflicts of this ilk have arisen, for example, when an oil industry, owned by foreign firms, has been nationalized, and the foreign firms’ government objects and takes measures to reverse the nationalization. This was done in Iran in the 1950s, by the United States and Britain, which organized a coup d’état against the elected government, in order to recover British oil assets. Also, in the 1950s, Britain and France sought to recover the Suez Canal, which had been nationalized by the Arab nationalist government of Egypt under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, by arranging for Israel to attack its neighbor.
Israel was envisaged by the secular Jews who undertook the project of building a Jewish state, that it would be a state that acted as an instrument of a sponsoring great power (or powers), which would be used to quell the resistance of Arabs to assaults on their sovereignty. Israel’s role would be to overcome the Arabs’ resistance to Western domination and the plunder of their markets, labor, and resources—a domination that would eventually be related to achieving the principal US aim of controlling Arab oil.
Arab oil was seen, in the words of a US State Department official, as a stupendous economic and strategic prize. It was regarded as an economic prize, because a lot of money could be made selling it. And it was viewed as a strategic prize, because whoever controlled it, effectively controlled the countries that were dependent on it.
Political Zionism as a Tool of Empire
Theodore Herzl, an Austrian journalist, pioneered political Zionism, the movement to enlist the help of a European power to build a Jewish state in Palestine. In return, Herzl proposed the Jewish state would look after the interests of its sponsor in the Arab world. Israel’s attack on Egypt in an effort to recover the Suez Canal for Britain and France, was precisely the kind of role Herzl envisaged for the Jewish state.
Acting as the West’s lieutenant in the Arab world would mean that, if the Arabs should seek to use their resources for their own development, on their own terms, that the Jewish state would see to it that they acquiesced to the use of their resources for the enrichment of investors represented by the Jewish state’s sponsors. The Zionist Jews would rent themselves out as an army to whichever European colonial power would back them, and the army would act as the guarantor of the colonial power’s economic interests against the interests of the Arabs.
Herzl said the Jewish state would be a “link in Europe’s rampart against Asia,” and “an outpost of civilization against barbarism” (barbarism being his word for the Arab world.) In this tradition, Moshe Dayan, who held several key posts in the Israeli government is reputed to have said that the “Jewish people has a mission, especially its Israeli branch. In this part of the world, it has to be a rock, an extension of the West, against which the waves of…Arab nationalism will be broken.” In this vein, Benjamin Netanyahu—until recently Israel’s prime minister—has written that Israel is the West’s outpost in the Middle East.
Arab nationalist leaders have seen the role of Israel in exactly the same light: as an instrument of the United States against the Arabs. Saddam Hussein called Israel a club the United States uses against the Arab world. Nasser, whose name became an eponym of Arab nationalism, described Israel as a poisoned dagger implanted in the heart of the Arab nation. Leila Khaled, the Palestinian revolutionary, called Israel “America and Europe combined in Palestine”, i.e., the face of the West in the Levant, or as Netanyahu wrote, a Western outpost in the Arab world.
The Empire of Liberty
Since 1967, the United States has been the Jewish settler state’s principal sponsor. It shares with Israel two important characteristics: both are European settler states, and both were founded on the belief that they had a mission from God to evict the natives and take their land.
The United States is also an informal or undeclared empire. Current US practice is to avoid the use of the word “empire” or “imperialist” to refer to the country. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, wrote a book, The Grand Chessboard, in which he drew from a deep well of synonyms for empire to describe the United States, but avoided the E word.
However, concealing the United States’ status as an empire hasn’t always been the norm. Thomas Jefferson referred to the United States as an empire of liberty, with a mission to spread freedom across the world, which turned out to mean, in practice, freedom for US business people to dominate the world’s profit-making opportunities wherever they existed—or for US investors to freely take whatever they wanted, aided by US soft and hard power. In the early twentieth century, US presidents openly and accurately referred to the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Hawaii, as US colonies. That’s what they were, and some of these euphemistically named “territories” remain US colonies to this day.
From the moment of its birth, the empire of liberty continually pushed, if not its territorial frontiers, then its military and economic frontiers, outward, guided by various doctrines of empire: Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine, the Atlantic Charter, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine, and so on.
Always, US expansion was driven by an economic imperative: a quest, or a need, for: new land (for plantations to be worked by slaves and for the settlement of European immigrants); new markets; new investment opportunities; and territory that had strategic value, places like Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines, that could be used to park a few battleships, to be used in the service of gunboat diplomacy to coerce other countries into opening their markets. The need was to keep US capitalism going, for without new markets, without new investment opportunities, and without access to vital raw materials that could only be obtained overseas, the US economy would sputter, stagnate, and contract. Magnates would lose their fortunes, and the lash of poverty and unemployment would turn the minds of common people to socialism and revolution, i.e., to political and economic arrangements that did’t depend on incessant expansion, with its inevitable foreign conflicts and concomitant possibility of war, to deliver a materially secure existence.
But incessant expansion means resistance. In the decades leading to WWII it meant the resistance of other expanding powers (Germany and Japan), driven by the same needs. And it also meant the resistance of local forces of independence (such as the Arab nationalist governments in Syria and Iraq, and in the 1950s and 1960s, Egypt)—local forces seeking to use their markets, resources, and investment opportunities on their own terms, for their own development.
Israel has proved helpful to the US project of overcoming the Arab nationalists. Equipped with a US-supplied armamentarium of the world’s most advanced weapons, the Jewish settler state has crushed the Arab nationalists, intimidated them, and weakened their ability to resist. The targets have included the Arabs inspired by the Arab nationalism of Nasser, the Syrians and Iraqis inspired by the Ba’ath Arab Socialist party, and, in the larger Muslim world, the resistance project of the Iranian Revolution and Hezbollah. Had these movements been allowed to pursue their nationalist agendas unopposed, corporate America’s ability to extract wealth from the Arab and Muslim worlds would have been severely compromised.
The interests of Israel largely overlap those of the US state and this makes Israel an effective instrument of US empire. The two states, Israel and the USA, share a common enemy: the peoples of the Arab and Muslim worlds. These peoples oppose Washington, because it imposes its will on them, sometimes directly but typically indirectly, through satraps who govern at the pleasure of Washington (such as the Saud family in Arabia, other Arab monarchies, and Egypt’s military dictator); and they oppose Israel, because it has evicted Palestinians from their homes and from the Palestinians’ country, and is an ongoing threat of further expansion into Arab territory.
If the United States did not need Israel as a tool of its empire, Israel would soon meet its demise. It is a very small country, its Jewish population comprises only seven million, and it is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs who disapprove of the existence of a racist Jewish settler state implanted on stolen Arab land. Without Washington providing Israel with the means to defend itself, the Zionist state would be toppled by the internal revolt of the Arabs and the invasion of Arab and Muslim nationalist armies and movements.
How does Washington guarantee the survival of a small Jewish settler state amidst a much larger population of injured, dispossessed, aggrieved, aggressed upon, Arabs and Muslims?
First, US legislation compels Washington to provide Israel with a qualitative military edge over its neighbors. The QME policy ensures that, militarily, Israel will always be at least one qualitative step ahead of its neighbors. The Jewish settler state won’t necessarily have more weapons, but it will have superior ones.
Superior weaponry has long been the means by which the Western world and its outposts, comprising one-tenth of humanity, has dominated the remaining nine-tenths. As Hilaire Beloc rhymed: “Whatever happens, we have got, the Maxim gun, and they have not.” Today, an Israeli might say: “Whatever happens, we have got, the F-35, and they have not.” Or: “Whatever happens, we have got, the atom bomb, and they have not.”
Second, the United States provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid annually, about equivalent to the cost of operating a carrier strike group. This aid travels from the pockets of US taxpayers to the US Treasury, onward to US arms manufacturers, and thence to Israel in the form of weapons superior to those of the Jewish settler state’s neighbors.
In this relationship, there are two winners and two losers. The winners are the dividend collectors, bond holders, and stock market gamblers who have a pecuniary interest in the US arms industry and whose wealth is expanded by arms shipments to Israel. The second winner is the class of Jewish settlers in Palestine who are made more secure and better able to continue their expansion into Arab land. The losers are, first, US residents, whose pockets are picked to confer this largesse on both the US arms industry and Israel; and second, the Arabs whose land, livelihoods, future, and lives are thereby threatened. The immediate cause of the injuries Israel inflicts on the Arab and Muslim worlds is the Jewish settler state itself, but the ultimate cause is the US taxpayer, for without the support they provide Israel by paying for its qualitative military edge, Israel would not exist as a poisoned dagger aimed at the heart of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Third, Washington runs diplomatic interference for Israel, protecting it from attempts by other members of the Security Council to issue punitive resolutions in connection with Israel’s violations of international law, of which there are many. The losers are international law and the Arabs. The winners are Israel, which can act as it will with impunity, as well as the United States, which benefits from the services Israel provides within a framework unfettered by the constraints of international norms.
And finally, the Pentagon is prepared to intervene on Israel’s behalf on the slim chance that despite Israel being equipped with superior weaponry, that Israeli forces face a threat they cannot readily deter.
Israel is thus completely dependent on the good will of the United States for survival. This comports perfectly with US aims. As a dependency of the United States, Israel must do Washington’s bidding, or perish.
As The New York Times observed:
“Israel, a small country surrounded by adversaries and locked in conflict with the Palestinians, depends absolutely on American diplomatic and military support. By giving it, the United States safeguards Israel and wields significant leverage over its actions.”
Services to the Empire
What services are provided to the United States by Israel in return for the quid-pro-quo of US protection?
Israel has for years waged an undeclared war on Iran, the principal enemy of the US empire in the Muslim world. The New York Times calls the campaign a years-long shadow war on land, air and sea. It involves assassination, sabotage, cyberattacks, attacks on Iranian shipping, and air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.
In Arab nationalist Syria, Israel has armed and supported anti-Syrian al-Qaeda elements that operated in the south of the country; provided air cover for ISIS’s war on the Syrian government; and conducted countless airstrikes on Syrian targets and those of Syria’s Iranian and Hezbollah allies.
In 2007, Israel deployed warplanes to destroy a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert. The reactor was very likely intended to produce fissile material for a military nuclear program. The Israeli action was a reprise of the country’s earlier bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. Had Israel not acted, and had these Arab nationalist states succeeded in developing nuclear deterrents against US and Israeli aggression, the Arab world would look very different today. The United States would not have invaded Iraq in 2003, and it would not have marched into Syria to set up an indefinite (and little recognized) occupation of one-third of the country.
Today there are, in Syria, three foreign occupations: A US occupation, which relies on the Kurds as the tip of the US spear; a Turk occupation; and an Israeli occupation. The Israeli occupation covers two-thirds of Syria’s smallest province. The Israelis conquered this territory in 1967, ethnically cleansed it, built Jewish settlements on it, and gave it a Jewish name: Golan. The conquest, ethnic cleansing, settlement, and imposition of a Jewish name on a part of Syrian territory, perfectly recapitulates Zionist practice in Palestine: Conquer territory by force; ethnically cleanse it; implant Jewish settlements on it; and rename it (from Palestine to Israel).
These actions are just the tip of the iceberg. For decades, Israel has either intimidated Arab nationalists into submission or inaction, or has weakened their ability to resist US domination. In return, the United States has appeared to overlook the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians and Syrians; in reality, it has welcomed it.
To be sure, the Israeli Judaization project does not benefit Washington directly, but it does aid the US imperial project by firmly binding Israel to the United States as a protégé. Israeli encroachments on Arab interests spark Arab enmity. This in turn induces Israel to look to the United States for protection, which Washington is happy to provide, in return for Israel performing services in the Arab world and beyond that benefit the United States directly, such as eliminating Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear weapons programs. The process is self-reinforcing: The services Israel provides to Washington against Arab interests strengthen Arab animosity; growing Arab animosity strengthens Israel’s need for US protection; Israel’s growing need for US protection, strengthens its willingness to ingratiate itself with Washington by doing the empire’s bidding.
The Anti-Racism Solution
We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire with fire. But we say you fight fire best with water. We say you can’t fight racism with racism. We’re going to fight racism with solidarity. – Fred Hampton
There is a solution to the problem of Palestine, that is, the problem of Jewish settlers claiming a right to the territory of the natives, and a right to evict them and to prevent their repatriation, in order to create a Jewish majority state as a haven for the world’s Jews against anti-Jewish racism. Indeed, the problem of Palestine is not the problem of Palestine at all, but the problem of political Zionism, and in a larger context, the problem of racism.
The problem of political Zionism is that its proposed solution to anti-Jewish racism is the practice of anti-Arab racism. Political Zionism is a hierarchical doctrine which elevates Jews to a position of primacy relative to all other groups, with the exception of its US sponsor; vis-à-vis the United States, political Zionism accepts a servile position for Jews. In practice, political Zionism prioritizes the welfare of the Jews over the welfare of the Arabs, while at the same time subordinating Jews to the foreign policy dictates of the United States. Political Zionism says that in defense of Jewish welfare, the welfare of Arabs can be sacrificed, but in defense of Jewish welfare, Jews must do the bidding of their American master as an expedient of maintaining US protection against Arab efforts to overcome the injuries of anti-Arab racism.
The solution to the problem of Palestine qua the problem of political Zionism is the solution to the problem of racism, both anti-Jewish and anti-Arab. The solution, which has existed at least in embryo since the French Revolution, is the solution of universal equality.
It 1947, before the UN promulgated its infamous resolution to expropriate Palestine from its rightful owners and partition it into Jewish and Arab states, R. Palme Dutt proposed a solution to the problem of racism in Palestine based on universal equality. Dutt called for “the creation of a single, free, independent and democratic state, which would guarantee equal rights of citizenship with full religious freedom and full opportunities to develop their culture to all its inhabitants, Arab and Jew.” This would be one democratic state, not two national states. While the proposal, or those like it, are occasionally acknowledged in the Western world as an idea with growing currency among Palestinians, and some Jews, it is rarely explored.
Gregory Shupak, who teaches media studies at the University of Guelph, has observed that mass media “coverage is written as though ethnic partition in Palestine [the two national states “solution”] were the only way to resolve the conflict—rejecting without consideration the possibility of a single, secular, democratic state, in which all people, Jews and Arabs, have the same rights.”
Why doesn’t Washington favor a single, unitary, democratic state in all of Palestine? After all, such a state would be liberal democratic. And Washington claims to be the world’s foremost champion of liberal democracy. Indeed, Joe Biden is said to be rallying the world’s democracies against Chinese authoritarianism in an effort to strengthen a global liberal democratic order.
The answer is that Washington’s support for liberal democracy is contingent—it’s contingent on whether, at a particular time and place, liberal democracy suits US interests. Liberal democracy doesn’t suit US interests in Palestine.
A racist Jewish settler state, which by its nature must arouse the animosity of the Arab world, and which therefore makes that state dependent on the United States for protection from Arab indignation, and which consequently must do the bidding of the United States as a condition of its survival, is what suits US business interests. An Israel organized to engender the hostility of the Arab and Muslim worlds, guarantees the settler state will act as an instrument of Washington to overcome the region’s resistance to its plunder by corporate America, since, if Israel doesn’t accept this role, Washington will withdraw its support and Israel’s existence will soon come to an end.
On the other hand, a unitary, democratic, state of Arabs and Jews, with equal rights for all, is one that would be more acceptable to its Arab citizens and its Arab neighbors than the current anti-Arab racist Zionist state, and therefore would no longer require the protection of Washington for survival. As a consequence, Washington would lose its leverage over the state as the guarantor of its existence, and could no longer use the state as a battering ram against the Arabs, a poisoned dagger aimed at the heart of the Arab nation, or a rock against which the waves of Arab nationalism are to be broken.
Another reason Washington favors a racist Jewish settler state, is that it facilitates the US project of doing what Zbigniew Brzezinski called preventing the barbarians from coming together.
In the US view, the barbarians are the people who live on territory whose abundant profit-making opportunities Washington covets. The territory stretching from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf—the area in which Arabs predominate—contains a significant proportion of the world’s petroleum reserves. Were the inhabitants of this territory to come together as a single political unit, determined to use their resources and markets for their own benefit and for their own economic, scientific, and military development, they would significantly challenge US political and economic power and deny US investors substantial profit-making opportunities. Hence, an imperative of US foreign policy is to disrupt the potential for unity in this region, and to do all that is possible to aggravate its demographic fault lines. Accordingly, the United States promotes one ethnic group against another: the Kurds in Iraq and Syria against the Arabs; the Maronite Christians against the Muslims; and the Jews against the Muslim and Christian Arabs.
When Washington wrote Iraq’s post-conquest 2005 constitution, it politicized ethnic and religious divisions within the country, to prevent Iraqis from congealing into a coherent collectivity, in accordance with Brzezinski’s (and imperialists’ longstanding) divide and rule strategy. That is the precise opposite of what the previous Arab nationalist government of Saddam Hussein did. The Iraqi president tried to mute the ethnic and religious divisions within his country, to make them irrelevant to Iraq’s politics, so that for the purposes of politics people regarded themselves as Iraqis, not as Shiites or Sunnis, Arabs or Kurds.
However, Washington doesn’t always create demographic fault lines. Sometimes the barbarians create the fault lines themselves, and Washington simply works with the material it finds.
For example, Arab nationalism has a strength vis-à-vis imperialism in bringing large numbers of people together in a common anti-imperialist struggle on the basis of their Arab identity, but it also has a weakness—it leaves non-Arabs, such as Kurds, outside the struggle. The excluded become opportunities for imperialists; they can be turned against the majority, to act as US agents in return for various Washington-provided benefits. In the case of the Jews and Kurds, these benefits have included US backing for their political autonomy vis-à-vis the Arabs.
Once recruited as an ally, the ethnic minority’s role as US lieutenant is to pull the trigger of the US-supplied gun whenever Washington gives the order. As the immediate perpetrator of the injury to the majority, the ethnic minority absorbs the blame, while the puppeteer behind the curtain escapes culpability. In this way, Washington has been able to deceptively present itself as a neutral arbiter of a conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine, when in fact it is the principal instigator.
Another way Washington has contributed to disunity among the “barbarians” is to promote highly sectarian brands of political Islam. Since the early 1950s, acting both directly and through its proxies, especially Saudi Arabia, Washington has promoted sectarian political Islam as an alternative to secular Arab nationalism and atheistic communism. Both doctrines emphasize the unity of Arabs against outside domination, and therefore work against Brzezinski’s dictum of preventing the “barbarians” from coming together. Communism, however, goes one step further than Arab or Muslim nationalism, promoting the unity of all oppressed peoples, including those within Arab-majority countries who aren’t Arab, and those within Muslim-majority countries who aren’t Muslim.
Political Islam can also be a doctrine of unity. The political Islam of the Iranian revolution, for example, encourages Muslims to unite against foreign oppression across sectarian lines. But Washington has always promoted a sectarian brand of Sunni political Islam, in which fanatical Sunni fundamentalists seek to settle theological scores with Muslims they abominate as heretics. This explains why the United States is antagonistic to the political Islam of Iran, with its emphasis on Muslim unity, but covertly encourages all forms of political Islam which regard other interpretations of Islam (as well as secular Arab nationalists and communists) as enemies to be destroyed.
Unfortunately, political Islam, in either its sectarian or non-sectarian forms, is a barrier to any solution to the problem of Palestine which seeks to bring Jews and Arabs together in a secular, unitary, democratic state as equals. Political Islam’s solution to the problem of the eviction of Muslims by Jews from Palestine, is not the repatriation of the Muslims, and the assignment of equal rights to all people, but the repatriation of Muslims combined with either the eviction of the Jews or their relegation to a second class citizenship in a state in which Islam has primacy.
Washington has no real objection to political Islamists who, viewing themselves as modern-day Salah al-Dines, want to recover Palestine for Islam. The more political Islam presents the Israelis with a future that denies them a place in Palestine as equal citizens, the stronger the Israeli attachment to the United States as a protector against what is, from their perspective, an intolerable future. If Jews are to leave the political Zionist highway, they must have an exit ramp to a secure future. Political Islam offers no exit ramp.
Arab nationalism also stands as a barrier, so far as it defines Palestine as an Arab country. An Arab Palestine as a national state for Arabs, would be no less an apartheid state against Jews than a Jewish Palestine as a national state for Jews is an apartheid state against Arabs. Washington can have no real objection to Arab nationalists who want an Arab Palestine, for the same reason it can have no real objection to political Islamists who want a Muslim Palestine. Exclude Jews from a fair and just political settlement, and you guarantee that they will continue to identify with the United States as their protector and the surrounding population as their enemy—all to Washington’s benefit.
What is needed is a state of all its citizens.
A Just Solution
Returning to Dutt’s 1947 analysis, the British communist argued that the United States and Britain were using political Zionism in pursuit of a policy of divide and rule; that they were deliberately setting Jews against Arabs.
“We warn all Jewish people that Zionism, which seeks to make Palestine a Jewish state as an ally of the United States and Britain and their base in the Middle East, diverts Jewish people from the real solution of the problem of anti-Semitism, which is along the lines of democratic development and full equality of rights within the countries in which they live. It is in the interests of Jews to oppose the Zionist conception which seeks to put them in the position of being an instrument of great powers in the Middle East.”
In Dutt’s view, Jews should unite with Arabs, in a unitary, secular, democratic state, a state for all its people, rather than what it is today: a state that elevates one ethnoreligious group above another, and whose existence depends on its acting on behalf of Washington to serve up the territory of the “barbarians” as a field of lucrative business opportunities for US dividend collectors, coupon clippers, and stock market gamblers. Instead, Palestine must be an end in itself, not a means to religious ends (whether Muslim or Jewish), nor a means to ethnic ends (whether Arab or Hebrew), nor a means to Wall Street’s ends, but a state in which all its citizens, individually, are ends in themselves.
Stephen Gowans is the author of Israel, A Beachhead in the Middle East: From European Colony to US Power Projection Platform (Baraka Books, 2019).