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Nov 03 2010

Israel vs. Palestine/Lebanon/Iran – Norman Finkelstein

Recently I attended a talk given at the UofA by Norman Finkelstein. His talk has me extremely worried for the prospect of peace in the middle-east. It seems war may be imminent, unless public pressure mounts and Israel changes its foreign/domestic policy. Western governments have been propping up and giving Israel support for far too long. Especially the USA, the UK and recently Canada under the Harper administration.

The entire talk can be viewed on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFomATjDKDs&feature=autofb

The following is a brief summary of his main points as I understood them:

The USA military industrial complex LOVES Hezbollah…and Israel. The longer those two entities stockpile weapons against each other the more money the military industrial complex stands to make. If they had it their way Germany and Russia would still be at war, and they would be making massive amounts of money. Funding both sides of a conflict is extremely profitable. While this isn’t necessarily a primary direct cause of the conflict in the middle east, it doesn’t help much. The military industrial complex commands a lot of political clout in the US (more so under republicans, but not by much) and receives a tremendous ~700 billion in tax dollars in addition to its war profiteering.

Iran also loves Hezbollah. Right now Hezbollah is Israel’s greatest threat and it looks like Israel is planning a massive attack on Hezbollah sometime in the next 12-24 months. Now contrary to what Israel might say….it actually wants Hezbollah to attack and inflict larger amount of civilian damage on Israel for this would provide Israel with the justification (and international backing) to go into Lebanon and wipe Hezbollah out. Israel has suffered numerous humiliating setbacks in recent times (think flotilla) and will not settle for humiliating defeat again.

Now if Hezbollah gets wiped out, Iran becomes Israel’s next biggest threat. Iran obviously doesn’t want this and will most likely get involved and attack Israel if Hezbollah gets attacked. This would put the entire region into war and nukes might come out, and then nothing might be left on all sides….Obviously this is something we want to avoid. Ahmadinejad acts as a fairly decent deterrent but he is hiding behind Hezbollah and using them as cover for the time being.

Now the ‘hope’ part is that Israel is being humiliated on the international scene. The flotilla incident was a nightmare for them, Turkey is pissed off, and Israel is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the international community. It’s breaking all sorts of international laws blocking aid into Gaza plus the settlement issue and on and on… Jews in the USA are starting to feel disenfranchised (think hollywood-secular liberal types) and that might have an effect on US policy. I ‘think’ it was ~80% jews in the US voted for Obama in the last election, and Hollywood is considered very liberal and this is starting to have an impact.

As well given the overall power balance/political situation in the middle east, it is obviously not in Israel’s long term best interest to carry out the way it is. And very slowly…Israelis themselves are starting to figure this out. Conflict is obviously not good for anyone there,… no matter what side your on. Israel’s foreign policy, etc. is working against its own self- interest.

Another wonderful talk by Noam Chomsky on how Israel is currently working against it’s own self-interest and  why this is important to people in western countries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCtYecGbQz8

    • Joel

      Great summary, John!