The term “Israel Firster” has now come into vogue as a way to label politicians, particularly egregious news media outlets and their reporters, and other hard-line backers of Israel who try to act as gatekeepers of what is permissible to say about Israel (mainly praise) and what is prohibited as anti-Semitic (anything critical...or truthful).
Now AIPAC, Christian end-times Zionists, and politicians can be attacked for not being loyal to the USA. They are agents of a foreign power. The Israel Firster sobriquet seems to be replacing the “dual-loyalty” appellation. I've read about it in Mondoweiss.com and have also read about Jack Ross, the author of a biography of Elmer Berger, a non-Zionist rabbi, who spoke at a meeting in Brooklyn last week, where he is said to have criticized American Zionists as being disloyal to America and hurting our country by insisting that the US should back up Israel no matter what, and which is leading us into all kinds of trouble just for the sake of Israel.
The thesis that US foreign policy has been hijacked by the Israel lobby has been around for a while. Meirshimer and Walt's well known book expressed this view a few years ago. APAIC, the mostly Jewish neocons, and the world-wide network of Zionist organizations has, in fact, had a big impact in setting US policy towards Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab world. And they have egged on the US government's headlong rush into military adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and who knows where else (drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, covert actions inside Iran...). Actually we all know where else, war with Iran.
We have also seen the US Congress prostrating itself at the feet of Netanyahu, and the Obama administration working hand in glove with Israel in the UN to stop any support for recognizing Palestine as a sovereign nation.
And then there is the flood of free money the US gives Israel and the intertwining of the US military operations structure and “defense” plans with that of Israel...to say nothing of Israel's peddling to us of security systems and training of various US police forces in how to better violate human rights and terrorize the general population (well, I did say something about it).
This can't be disputed. Israel and its minions (so to speak) have definitely pushed US policy in one direction...more and more hard core support for whatever Israel does and plans to do.
The question is what to make of it. And what to make of it seems to reveal a person's political position on issues like patriotism, universalism and what the USA represents in the world.
If not for the Zionist lobby would US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians be benign? Does our government represent democracy, freedom and equality in the world and the problem is bad policy imposed by outside foreign meddling and their traitorous agents in the USA? Is being a patriotic American a good thing? If the Israel Firsters have imposed policies inimical to our “National Interest,” then what is this national interest?
The United States is a predatory, imperialist, capitalist state which is perfectly capable of inflicting misery upon all parts of the world without any foreign agents leading it around by the nose. We don't have to belabor the long history of extermination of the Indians, slavery, revolving door invasions of South American countries, and then there's organizing the coup in 1954 to put the Shah back in power and then VIETNAM. The US in the world is all about strategic control of natural resources, and economic, political and military dominance of the globe. Yes, the US is now an empire past its prime, going downhill. This makes military technology and brute force all the more urgent for our rulers (the ruling class, power elite, fortune 500, define it as you will...the 1%.) since they have opted for trying to stay on top rather than gracefully ceding primacy to other nations. It can be argued that these are bad tactics and that another policy of accepting parity and using diplomacy is smarter and would work better in the long run. OK, this may be true. But it's not being done just because of undue influence from a foreign power...Israel.
America's rulers are capable of making their own stupid decisions. There are always different tactical and strategic options to choose from. Sometimes there is a consensus around a bad policy, sometimes not.
If America's corporate rulers, along with its paid for politicians and the CIA and Pentagon thought that Israel was an overall liability with no positives, they would ditch it. Apparently, so far, our overlords are sticking with Israel all the way. Some of them may consider Israel a pain in the ass, or think it goes overboard. Some may think that they should keep an eye out for another option in case Israel becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Some may already think that stage has been reached. Does Obama secretly support limiting Israel's actions? Who knows? Some activists will probably vote based on that assumption...or delusion (and it's also an extreme delusion to think that even if he did disagree with his own administration's policies on Israel, that by himself he would or could do anything about it).
One could argue that if the neocon pipe-dream of an invasion of Iraq that would convert that country into an ally of the US, with its people grateful for and supportive of America's “liberating mission” had actually been successful; it would have spelled trouble for Israel. For then the US would have as an ally and friend an Arab country that could be a base of operations, something that would be worth much more for US interests in the long run than Israel alone.
When we talk about America's national interests we are not talking about the American people's welfare. The National Interest is whatever benefits the 1%. If you are a patriot then you are a sucker or stooge of America’s own predatory, internationalist minded capitalist class, which really doesn't care about the people of this country or any country. This holds true for those bankers, and captains of industry who happen to be based in Paris, Berlin, India, Russia...etc.
No, it's not good to be a patriotic American. In fact it's a bad thing. Patriotism is unbreakably linked to supporting “our” rulers in feeding their own greed. When Leon Panetta, or a phony liberal schmuck like Gerald Nadler says someone who supports Palestinian rights is collaborating with terrorists they are speaking in the name of patriotism. Calling people Israel-firsters or disloyal to the good old USA is another form of McCarthyism. The better choice is to be an opponent of imperialism and predatory capitalism. Be a humanist, a universalist, not an America Firster.