November 12, 2023
From Socialist Worker (UK)

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel has always been a watchdog for US imperialism that can discipline and attack all of its enemies in the region. Sometimes political outliers reveal this truth when others won’t.

Independent candidate for the 2024 presidential election, Robert F Kennedy Jr, recently said that “Israel is a bulwark for us… It’s almost like having an aircraft carrier in the Middle East. It’s our oldest ally.”

US president Joe Biden alluded to this relationship when he said, “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.”

Israel’s role as the watchdog for US imperialism was established during the middle of the twentieth century.

This partnership was noted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 1951. It wrote that “Strengthening Israel helps Western powers maintain stability in the Middle East. Israel is to become the watchdog.”

“If the Western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied upon to punish one several neighbouring states whose discourtesy to the West went beyond the bounds of the permissible.”

Israel was able to prove itself to the US when it provoked the Six-Day War with Jordan, Egypt and Syria in 1967.  From then on, US funding to Israel increased dramatically.

Between 1946 and 2016, the US paid almost ÂŁ100 billion to the terror state. Research from the Security Assistance Monitor (CIP) found that in the 22 years since 2000, Israel has purchased over $9.2 billion worth of US arms. The US arms industry helps equip the Israeli killing machine. Without the US government granting $3.8 billion to be injected into Israel every year, its economy would collapse.

Biden has been a loyal supporter of Israel in Congress for the last five decades.  In return he’s been rewarded with campaign donations and speaking fees from Washington’s pro-Israel lobby.

But it’s important not to fall into the trap of saying the US simply supports Israel because of money and lobbies.  Instead, it is because the US state knows how valuable Israel is as an imperialist ally.

While support for Israel has been a pre-condition for every US president for the last five decades, it is not an easy relationship.

US administrations sometimes try to reign in their watchdog, but often, it lashes out on its own. In 2017, former US foreign secretary John Kerry was forced to criticise Israel’s settlement building programme that was illegal under international law.

Following Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2021, it was the US which, once again, urged the Israeli state to show restraint.

It was only because of the persuasion of US officials that Israel was forced to concede to beginning four‑hour pauses in fighting in Gaza last week.

Blinken has also suggested US opposition to a long-term occupation of Gaza, speaking at a G7 foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday last week.

While the US and Israel remain tight allies, both states have different objectives. The US wants Israel to protect its imperial interests in the Middle East, while Israel wants to complete its Zionist project in Palestine.  These two objectives don’t always align.

Protests highlighting Biden’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that underpin the Palestinian’s oppression will shape US politics ahead of the presidential election next year.

An unprecedented 300,000 people marched in solidarity with Palestine earlier this month. 

More mass protests are needed to grow the movement for Palestine and will be vital to ending the US’s relationship with Israel.