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This Is Our Ally ?

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About a year after 9-11, two flags, side by side, appeared on the first page of ARI’s website. The flag to the left was the American flag. Printed across it:  AMERICA  AT  WAR.  The flag to the right, exactly the same size, was the Israeli flag. Printed across it:  IN  MORAL  DEFENSE  OF  ISRAEL. [1]

Each flag was a link to a list of ARI media op-eds. Here were some of the titles:

We Are All Israelis Now

Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S.

We Are Either With Israel, Or We Are With the Terrorists

Israel’s – and America’s – Fundamental Choice
Which article went under which flag hardly matters. As the titles suggest, these articles claim that America and Israel share the same values and the same fate. ARI writers think of Israel as if it were their own country, as if it were an extension of America.

ARI’s support for Israel goes beyond the moral. They support – or rather want us all to support – Israel financially as well. They do not view your aid to Israel as charity or sacrifice, but rather want you to believe that aiding Israel helps defend America from terrorist attacks.

They don’t bother with asking your permission before taking your money. During an interview broadcast on the American C-Span television network in 2002, Leonard Peikoff said that if you don’t like your taxes going to Israel, leave the country.

Currently around five billion dollars in U.S. taxes go directly to Israel each year. Since 1948 Americans have been forced to give Israel, at minimum estimate, over four times the amount it took to put man on the moon. [2]  The British also helped Israel at first. Yet according to ARI fellow Edwin Locke, in his essay “The Palestinian Choice” (April 10, 2002), the Israelis did it all:

“... when the Jews came to Palestine, it was a desert. People were living in the same primitive manner as they had been since the time of Moses. The Jews ... turned an almost barren land into a modern, industrial civilization. They raised cities where there had been only dirt; they developed irrigated farms where there had been only dry sand; they built cars and trucks and planes where there had been mainly pack animals. They produced wealth where there had been only poverty.”
Calling pre-Israel Palestine “a desert” – no villages or farms, only nomads – and “almost barren” – no life worth speaking of – opposes historical fact, [3] but set that aside. At least 100 billion dollars expropriated from Americans and spent on an area smaller than New Jersey will do a lot of turning and raising and building. Mr. Locke totally ignores the productive people saddled with this burden. He has eyes only for Israelis, and he cannot say thank you.

Mr. Peikoff’s televised statement to America that you can leave the country if you don’t like it was in response to a caller who had asked about the apparent contradiction between the virtue of acting in one’s self-interest versus being forced to help Israel, which, the caller maintained, isn’t worthy of help in any case. Here is Mr. Peikoff’s reply, in full: [4]

It’s the function of the government according to Objectivism to defend the citizens of the country. And once someone is elected it’s up to his discretion what allies to defend and what not. You can’t write that off as coercion when you join the society. When you voluntarily live in it you are agreeing that your life has to be defended against foreign aggressors. That is up to the discretion of the Commander in Chief and the Congress.

In this case we should certainly support Israel in every way, moral, economic and military. Every way because that is our only ally in the entire Mideast, our best ally. They have many mistaken things in their society, some of which you named. Israel is not in any sense perfect, but it is perfect compared to the rest of the people in the Mideast. That’s our only hope of together, between the United States and Israel, subduing the threat of terrorists. This is a simple example of the government going to an ally to help us put down a gunman. And if you say your taxes are extorted because you disapprove, then don’t expect defense from the government and don’t live in this country.
At the end Mr. Peikoff spoke with raised voice and increased righteousness.

True, defending us from foreign aggression is a legitimate purpose of our government, and if you don’t like it you can always choose to live elsewhere. And if aiding Israel were necessary to defend America then such aid would be legitimate. But the question of the perfection of Israel is a strawman set up solely by Mr. Peikoff. No one demands perfection of Israel. We can however demand goodwill and decency.

Setting aside the internal nature of Israel, the crux of Mr. Peikoff’s argument, its major premise, the assertion on which it all depends, is that aiding Israel helps defend America, that Israel is our ally.

Naturally ARI shares Mr. Peikoff’s position.  ARI claims that  (1) Israel is a bastion of freedom and Western values, and  (2) Israel is America’s ally.  We focus on the second claim here. Consider the following quotes from ARI’s publications – the first one is the oldest, written right after 9-11, followed by a random selection:

“It is being said that this crisis will show us who our friends are. But we need no crisis to know who our best friend is, and always has been, in the Middle East. Our best friend is Israel, and we should begin by vowing to support that friend as loyally as she has supported us.”
Robert Tracinski in  “We Are All Israelis Now”  (September 18, 2001).  He gives no examples of Israel’s loyal support.

“Israel’s Enemies Are America’s Enemies”
The title of an ARI “Letter to the Editor”  by David Holcberg  (Dec. 9, 2002 and again March 25, 2004).

“Israel is our only true ally in the Mideast, and supporting it is the only moral thing for the United States to do.”
Yaron Brook in ARI’s press release for the lecture  “The Moral Case for Supporting Israel”  at the University of Chicago, February 22, 2005  (February 18, 2005).

“Israel, our sole ally in the area,” “an ally the United States can trust,” which if allowed will be “an effective, trustworthy ally fighting by our side.”
Andrew Bernstein in  “Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S.: Israel is America’s military and cultural front line against terrorism.”  (November 8, 2001), republished as  “The U.S. Must Stop Undermining Israel’s War on Terrorism”  (September 23, 2003).

“... our strongest ally in the war, Israel.”
Onkar Ghate, ARI senior fellow, in  “America Is NOT Winning the War: Intellectual and moral uncertainty has undercut America’s ‘War on Terrorism’ ”  (August. 26, 2002).

“Defending Israel – our only true ally in the Mideast – is in America’s own self-interest.”
From the introduction to  In Moral Defense of Israel,  a  supplemental issue of Impact, newsletter of the Ayn Rand Institute  (September 2002).”

“... our strongest ally in the war on terrorism, Israel.”
Onkar Ghate in the press release  “Ted Turner’s ‘Morality’ ”  (June 20, 2002).

“In the Middle East ... Israel, our only true ally there ...”
Press release  “What Ever Happened to ‘Let’s Roll!’?”  for a talk by Yaron Brook and Leonard Peikoff entitled  “9/11: One Year Later—Why America Is Losing the War!”  in Irvine, California, September 9, 2002  (August 26, 2002).

“... Israel, America’s only true ally in the region.”
Yaron Brook in the press release  “Time for Arafat to Go”  (December 4, 2001).

“The rest of the civilized world sleeps under the protection of a Pax Americana. ... (There is one exception. The only U.S. ally with the courage to face its own risks and take responsibility for its own survival is Israel. ...)”
Robert Tracinski in  “Multilateralism’s One-Way Street”  (February 11, 2002).

“... Israel, our loyal ally in a treacherous region ...”
Robert Tracinski in  “The Road Map to Hell”  (June 2, 2003).

“... this administration’s Israel policy. Our attempts to sacrifice our ally have led to nothing but the continued destruction of our interests.”
Robert Tracinski in  “We Are Either With Israel, Or We Are With the Terrorists”  (April 1, 2002).

“... in the name of justice and self-preservation, we hold that America should openly support Israel against our common enemies.”
Introduction to ARI’s webpage  “In Moral Defense of Israel.” [5]

“A friend asked me, the other day, when I would stop writing about the war.  My answer:  ‘When it starts’ – that is, when America finally gets serious about fighting terrorism. ... America will get serious about the war on terrorism when we realize that we cannot exterminate terrorists in the mountain villages of Afghanistan, while betraying the skyscrapers of Tel Aviv.”
Robert Tracinski in  “Ending the Peace Process War”  (December 17, 2001).

“Since its founding, Israel has been the victim” ... “America, for its own benefit, must allow Israel to uphold the principle of self-defense.”
Two subtitles in  “Israel Has a Moral Right to Its Life: Why Reason and Justice Are on Israel’s Side”  by Yaron Brook and Peter Schwartz, executive director and board chairman, respectively, of ARI  (June 20, 2002)

“... Israel, our only true ally in the area.”
Press release  “PLO = Taliban and Al-Qaida”  quoting Andrew Bernstein  (November 14, 2001).

“... Israel, America’s only true friend in the region.”
David Holcberg in  “Support General Strike in Iran”  Letter to the Editor  (July 7, 2003).

“... Israel is our great ally in that area [the Middle East] and in fact in the world.”
Leonard Peikoff in a podcast recorded at ARI (January 7, 2008).

Reference to “U.S.-Israeli policy” and “our common enemy” the “Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah axis.”
Elan Journo in  “The U.S.-Israeli Suicide Pact”  (July 19, 2006).

“It is long past time for Israel to wage a real war against [Hezbollah and Hamas].  And it is long past time for the United States to join Israel in waging this war.”
Press release  “Israel Should Wage a Real War”  quoting Yaron Brook  (July 19, 2006).

“To the extent America abandons Israel, it abandons itself.”
Yaron Brook in an interview during a trip to Israel,  quoted in  the Jerusalem Post  (July 12, 2007).

“The Islamic totalitarians will not be defeated until we in the West support Israel and gain the courage and the moral certitude to fight them without restraint.”
Press release  “NO Cease-fire Until Hezbollah Is Obliterated”  by Yaron Brook  (August 4, 2006),  capitalization of title per original.

“ ‘Why is every person who is anti-Israel also anti-American?’  Because both stand for the same thing.”
Leonard Peikoff, Q&A podcast (May 9, 2011).

Referring to Leftists:  “The crowd that hates America also hates Israel, and that leads to antisemitism.”
Harry Binswanger, Fox News (June 11, 2009).

“My trip to Israel made even more obvious to me that Israeli interests and American interests are in perfect alignment. ... Never have I walked into a shopping mall and seen a line of life-size mannequins of American soldiers with the host country’s flag on their shoulders. If only the American people and their politicians knew that Israel is our premier – and perhaps only – cultural and political ally in the world today.”
  “Israel and the Front Line of Civilization”  by John Lewis on his The Objective Standard  blog  (June 21, 2008).  In the above he links to a photo of the mannequins on his own website, where the caption reads:
“What Israelis Think of Americans:
“Entrance to a Shopping Center in Tel Aviv:
“Models of American Soldiers, with the Israeli Flag on their Soldiers [sic, Shoulders]
meaning, apparently – for the picture has been removed – an Israeli flag shoulder patch.

Obviously Israel – and its enemies – loom large at ARI.  Is Israel really America’s ally as they claim? In this article we do not otherwise inquire into the nature of Israel’s government, or ask why we would need an ally in the Middle East in the first place. We ask only:  Is Israel our ally?

Well, does Israel act like our ally? Does it behave like a friend and supporter ought to behave? To help answer that question the following articles review some episodes in the history of Israel which ARI either ignores or distorts. Though the Lavon affair may seem like ancient history, you will find that it is as relevant as yesterday’s headlines. Titles in curly-brackets, though researched, have yet to be posted:

The Lavon Affair

The Attempted Sinking of the USS Liberty

The Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing

Harassment of Marines

Beirut Hostages

Military and Industrial Espionage

        Arms to Israel End Up Elsewhere

        Technology Transfer to China

Fooled into Bombing Libya

CIA Operation Against Iran

Attempted Assassination of President Truman

Attempted Assassination of a U.S. Ambassador

{The Pollard Affair}

{Iran-Contra}

{9-11 Another Beirut?}

{The Iraq War – The Franklin Affair}

{Miscellaneous}

For further examples of Israel’s treachery see the references below. [6]  As will be abundantly clear to the sincere reader, Israel is no ally of America.  Not only a liability, it is an outright enemy.

After reading the above articles, read again what ARI has to say about Israel. It becomes absurd. The people at ARI must know – they have made it their business to know – the nature and history of Israel, yet they evade that knowledge, while trying to keep their readers as ignorant as they pretend to be. In this they are much like Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter who wrote glowing dispatches from Soviet Russia in the 1930s.

We have focused on the negative, the harm Israel inflicts on America. Is there a positive that somehow makes up for it? What benefit has Israel ever been to America that, in spite of all the above, makes it our ally?

ARI claims that Israel helps America because Israel is a bastion of freedom and Western values which America can look up to and emulate — believe it or not — instead of (I would say) it’s supporters dragging us down to Israel’s level. [7]  In any case it’s a wonder how a bastion of freedom and Western values could treat America the way Israel does.

ARI says that Israel helps defend us from terrorists. In other words, a tiny bankrupt country 5,700 miles away helps defend the mighty United States that props it up – a ridiculous proposition. The truth is the exact opposite. Besides financial support, the U.S. provides much of Israel’s war materiel, making the U.S. Israel’s enabler in every bomb it drops. [8]  We must expect that the U.S.-Israeli partnership, justified or not, eventually results in Israel’s neighbors hating the U.S. and wanting retaliation against Americans. [9]

“Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies”  (quoting ARI)  not because they were our enemies,  or  “because we are free,”  as ARI claims, but because our government’s meddling in the Middle East has made them our enemies. Besides supporting Israel this meddling includes the  off-again-on-again  arming, training, and financing of Middle Eastern thugs of every stripe:  the Shah of Iran,  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Iran, ironically via Israel),  the Emir of Kuwait,  Saddam Hussein (Iraq),  Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan),  Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (via Pakistan),  Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan),  etc. 

ARI claims that Israel defends America from the Palestine Liberation Organization, as if the PLO had ever attacked us on our soil, had the means to do so, or had a reason to attack the U.S. aside from its support of Israel.

ARI maintains that Israel is a buffer between the U.S. and  “our common enemies,”  that Israel even acts as a decoy drawing the fire that otherwise would be directed at us. Says ARI: [10]  “If they succeed in destroying Israel, they will turn their full attention to the United States.”  In other words, without Israel we would be even worse off !

Forget for a moment that the Iraq War, a war Israel’s leaders and sympathizers helped to start, was not in America’s interest. You would expect to find in that war Israelis fighting side by side with Americans. During Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 Israel was able to field 30,000 troops, yet it volunteered not a single man in the Iraq War. [11]

On the benefit side the ledger is blank, Israel has done absolutely nothing for America.

In sum, aid to Israel does not help defend America, it endangers America – and for no good reason. We get hit twice, first from Israel and then from Israel’s enemies.

Expect to be smeared if you criticize Israel in any way. Jack Wakeland, writing in the TIA Daily feature article of April 7, 2005, refers to  “the tired old opposition to Israel.”  Some people may oppose Israel for bad reasons, but that does not make the good reasons go away, nor does the age of such reasons undermine their truth.  Yaron Brook in his Peikoff podcast of April 14, 2014 said:  “You see anti-semitism in some of the advocacy at universities against Israel ... I think that is not just anti-Israeli, particular to Israeli policies, I think that’s an extension of anti-semitism.” [12]

As we have seen in the articles above the Israelis are nimble liars. (A phrase once applied to the Soviets comes to mind:  “masters of deceit.”) ARI’s supporters never address Israel’s actual behavior. Instead they say, in robot fashion, that any criticism of Israel is  “hating the good for being the good.”  When Israel aims its lies at America it is bad for America. If justice consists in loving and hating aright – as Aristotle put it – then we should hate the bad for being the bad.

Back to that pair of flags, American and Israeli, side by side on the main page of ARI’s website. After resting there a year or so, an insult to the American flag, they disappeared. They remained on the Media Links page for another year, one above the other and larger, then they disappeared entirely when the website was redesigned – the underlying articles were rearranged elsewhere. Then long after they got their Iraq invasion, in another redesign the articles too disappeared. The flags hinted at the true feelings of the people at ARI. We began by observing that Israel and America seemed equally important to them, but that would be an improvement over their actual estimation. All the while spouting patriotic bromides, ARI’s true, if unadmitted, motive for entangling America in the Middle East is:  Israel First.



1  You can still view the flags using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Around when they first appeared in August or September 2002:
      web.archive.org/web/20021002035047/aynrand.org/index.html
And on a deeper page in July 2004:
      web.archive.org/web/20040708020713/aynrand.org/medialink/
Unchanged from August 2002:
      web.archive.org/web/20020802104847/aynrand.org/medialink/
Because the archive.org server can be slow here are snapshots. About the top half of the MediaLink page:  October 2002 to July 2004.  About the middle third of the homepage:  September 2002.

On December 17, 2016 ARI retweeted the following by Justin Carrizales @JcarriZALES13
“Life=Complete after meeting @yaronbrook of the @AynRandInst - A true Hero!”
followed by two tiny flags, one of the U.S. and one of Israel.  ARI thought so highly of this tweet they displayed a copy of it on their website for several days afterwards, including the two flags – enlarged.

2  “A Conservative Estimate of Total U.S. Aid To Israel?”
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
www.wrmea.org/congress-and-us-aid-to-israel/494-congress-a-us-aid-to-israel/11203-u-s-aid-to-israel.html

If ancillary aid and consequential expenses are included the total is far more. See
www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html
and
www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/israel050602.html

For the daily rate of military aid see
www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/usaid.html

Israel, and its supporters in the U.S., lobby – that is, bribe – your representatives in Congress to keep the money coming. See
www.wrmea.com/html/aipac.htm
for a table, by congressman, of recent campaign donations made by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Israel uses some of its U.S. foreign aid to purchase U.S. companies, which are then managed from Israel.

Regarding the 2005 and phony Gaza withdrawal, Israel asked the U.S. to give it 2.2 billion dollars to relocate Israeli “settlers,” which works out to about a million dollars per family.

3  Mr. Locke parrots Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial, long before shown to be a hoax. Mr. Peikoff recycles the same lie in  “Israel’s – and America’s – Fundamental Choice.”

4  C-Span cable network, “American Writers II: Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead” broadcast live May 12, 2002.

5  That is the from the version accessed February 2007. An earlier version read:  “In the name of justice and self-preservation ... America should uncompromisingly encourage and support Israel in the common fight against the enemies of freedom.”  Elsewhere it said:  “the United States should unequivocally support Israel.”

Later, though the page remained titled “In Moral Defense of Israel,” the name of the link to it changed to “Israel and the Middle East Conflict.”  The page disappeared March 2014, along with the rest of ARI’s pro-Iraq war propaganda.

Israel promoters pull the same  it’s-in-your-self-interest  stunt in other countries.  The Australian  recently published the article  “Deep inside the plucky country”  (by Greg Sheridan, foreign editor, 19 January 2008)  in whose glowing portrait of Israel you read:
“The Middle East is an indelible part of Australia’s past and of its future. Our strategic engagement there is in the direct defence of our national interests, for the Middle East is the pivot of global conflict.”
Which is logical, no?

6  By Alfred Lilienthal:
The Zionist Connection
and
What Price Israel?

By Paul Findley:
They Dare Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby
and
Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the U.S.-Israeli Relationship

By Victor Ostrovsky:
By Way of Deception  (with Claire Hoy)
and
The Other Side of Deception

See the “Israel” section of the  Links  page on this website.

Our criticism of Israel is directed at its government and those of its citizens who support its crimes. Not all Israelis do, and in this respect they are like many Americans and their government.

The Internet can be a useful research tool but beware of pitfalls. You will find websites whitewashing Israel’s mendacity with brazen lies. This is especially true of the USS Liberty incident and the Pollard affair. On the other hand you will find sites criticizing Israel which, though in part they agree with reputable sources, are irrational. You must remind yourself that if an embezzler utters  2 + 2 = 4  it doesn’t make it any the less true.

7  See:
Beyond Chutzpah
A critique of Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel
by Norman Finkelstein.
www.amazon.com/Beyond-Chutzpah-Misuse-Anti-Semitism-History/dp/0520245989

8  For example, the U.S. rush-delivered U.S.-made cluster bombs to Israel at the beginning of its 2006 invasion of Lebanon. A cluster bomb explodes above the ground and releases several hundred smaller “bomblets,” which spread over an area the size of several football fields. About two thirds of these bomblets in turn explode when they hit, the other third remain on the ground as small land mines. Most of the victims in Lebanon were – and continue to be – civilians, who doubtless hate us because we’re free.

In the panel discussion “Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West” 12 April 2007  (see  Birds of a Feather  on this website) Yaron Brook tell us why they hate us today:
“I agree completely with Dr. Pipes.  It’s not that we’ve done anything except that we’re so good, that we’re so virtuous, that we’re so successful, that we’re so prosperous, and that we have the philosophy that we have that has allowed us to be so successful and so prosperous. ... they hate us because we are a rejection of everything that [they] represent.”

9  Perhaps this accounts for ARI’s sudden propaganda effort on Israel’s behalf right after 9-11:  they feared people might wise-up. Before 9-11 ARI’s press releases mentioned Israel twice, and ARI published only two essays devoted to Israel. (One essay was Leonard Peikoff’s  “Israel’s – and America’s – Fundamental Choice”  in 1996, which ARI promptly republished after 9-11.)

Mr. Peikoff brought in Yaron Brook as ARI’s director sometime in 2000 (the first reference to Mr. Brook on ARI’s current website is dated March of the following year). That may partly explain the pro-Israel propaganda because Mr. Brook was born and raised in Israel, and served in Israeli Military Intelligence.

10  Introduction to ARI’s webpage  “In Moral Defense of Israel,” accessed February 2007.

11  Though it did not field any soldiers there is some evidence Israel furnished, for a fee, onsite interrogators and torture advisors to the U.S. military at its Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, further helping degrade the U.S. to Israel’s level.

12  See the last entry of  Jeers,  the end of  Ayn Rand on Israel,  and footnote 5 of  Capitalism and “the Jews”  all on this website.