Shimon Peres—A Genocidal Operative in the “Special Relationship” Between the U.S. and Israel
October 3, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
When former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres died on September 28, Bill and Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying Peres “championed [Israel’s] security, prosperity and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on earth.” In his eulogy, Barack Obama credited Peres for serving “common interests—vital cooperation that makes both our nations more secure”—but also embodying “bonds which matter most [and] run deeper” between the U.S. and Israel.
What the president, the ex-president, and the aspiring president all said was true. But not in the way they meant it.
Shimon Peres was a champion of Israel’s interests and a key player in what rulers of both countries tout as the “special relationship between the U.S. and Israel.” And he did embody the “bonds which matter most,” the shared outlook of the rulers of the U.S. and Israel. As such, Peres was a key architect, executioner, and lifelong ideologue for terrorist ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian people. And even beyond that, an enabler and enforcer of a world of exploitation and oppression with the U.S. on top of all that.
An Ethnic Cleansing Terrorist for a State Built on Ethnic Cleansing
Shimon Peres made his mark as a member of the Haganah, the militia primarily responsible for the terrorist ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages during the Nakba. The Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) was an orgy of terrorist ethnic cleansing that drove a million Palestinians from their homes up to, during, and after 1948.
During the Nakba, Palestinians were brutally forced from their land and from hundreds of villages, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry. Many were raped, tortured, and killed. Their villages and even many olive and orange trees were destroyed. When the Nakba ended, there had been 31 documented massacres—and probably others.
Zionism and its global sponsors—capitalist-imperialist powers—declared Israel was a “land without a people for a people without a land.” And as an influential ideologue of Zionism, Shimon Peres is famous for declaring that before the Zionist settlers drove out a million Palestinians, “there was nothing there.” (For background on the nature and role of Israel, see the special issue of Revolution, “The Case of Israel: Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?“)
A Nuclear Bagman to Apartheid South Africa
By the mid 1960s, U.S. imperialism was being battered by national liberation struggles around the world, uprisings at home, and an emerging rival from the Soviet Union and its bloc (where capitalism had been restored since the mid 1950s). In that context, the rulers of the U.S. identified the potential for Israel to play a critical role as an attack dog and enforcer for their interests in the Middle East, and beyond.
From 1967 on, the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel has been a cornerstone of U.S. domination of a world of sweatshops, plantations, slums, and oppression. As a minister of “defense,” Shimon Peres was a linchpin in forging that “special relationship.” He negotiated one of Israel’s first major purchases of cutting-edge U.S. missiles in 1963.
Shimon Peres boasted he was “an architect of Israel’s nuclear weapons program.” But he should have given the main credit to the U.S., which green-lighted and facilitated Israel’s development of nuclear weapons in the late 1960s.
Defenders of Israel claim Israel needs these nukes to defend itself. But there is no legitimacy at all to Israel’s war machine. What defenders of Zionism call “defending Israel" is in fact defending the illegal, unjust, terrorist ethnic cleansing of Palestine. That said, how do defenders of Israel explain Israel’s long and deep military training and equipping the army of apartheid South Africa and trying to give them nuclear weapons?
In the mid 1970s, that violently white supremacist regime in South Africa was not only a vital economic source of profit for U.S. and British imperialism, it was a strategic thug in carrying out and sponsoring a reign of terror against liberation struggles and newly independent regimes in neighboring countries. Many of those movements and regimes had ties to the imperialist Soviet Union, which was contending with the U.S. for influence in Southern Africa. (In the mid-1950s, a new capitalist class systematically restructured the Soviet Union from a socialist society into a state-capitalist society, and by the mid-1970s, the capitalist-imperialist Soviet Union was contending with U.S. imperialism around the world, including in Southern Africa. See “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” an interview with Raymond Lotta.)
The U.S. rulers saw the rise of liberation movements and new regimes in Southern Africa—and especially the influence of the Soviet Union within them—as a strategic threat to U.S. global domination. Wars launched by U.S./South African proxies in Angola and Mozambique resulted in a regional reign of death and terror. From the mid-1970s into the 1990s, an estimated one million people died in the war in Mozambique, and the war in Angola claimed even more lives. Millions more in each country were displaced.
As much as the rulers of the U.S. needed the apartheid regime, they were up against worldwide outrage and opposition to apartheid. So Israel was assigned to do the dirty work for the U.S. In 1975, Shimon Peres—yes, that “man of peace”—met with South African Defense Minister PW Botha to work out a deal for Israel to build up a nuclear weapons capacity in service of the apartheid regime. The extent to which this secret deal was consummated remains unclear, but Israel and apartheid South Africa continued to collaborate in developing South Africa’s military technology, including nuclear weapons.
And Israel played a similar role in places around the world where the U.S. needed to outsource torture, terror, and genocide, including in Guatemala in the early 1980s (See “American Crime Case #95: Reagan’s Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala.”)
The Bloody Essence of an Israeli “Peacemaker”
The first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) erupted in the late 1980s. This was a period of sustained, heroic mass revolt by the Palestinian people, going up against bullets, bulldozers, and torture chambers. Over a thousand Palestinians were massacred by Israeli troops in the six-year period leading up to 1993. The struggle of the Palestinian people won tremendous support from people from all walks of life, all around the world. And global exposure and protest shined a light on the role of the U.S. in the slaughter of the Palestinian people, denting and disrupting efforts by the U.S. to paint itself as bringing democracy and equality to the world.
So in addition to, and in concert with outright bloody suppression, the U.S. and Israel initiated a so-called “Peace Process.” Shimon Peres was Israel’s foreign minister under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the time, and the two of them represented Israel in the “Oslo Accords,” signed in 1993.
Under this agreement, Israel transferred about 40 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This PA territory is only about 10 percent of historic Palestine and consists of small, disconnected pieces of land surrounded by areas under Israeli control. The main roads, key water resources, and access to neighboring countries and the sea are all controlled by Israel. The Oslo agreement made no provision for the millions of Palestinian refugees living outside of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Despite the outrageous and unjust nature of the Oslo Accords, forces in the Israeli ruling class, identified with the current Prime Minister Netanyahu, saw these accords as treasonous to Israeli interests. They created a climate in Israel that led to the assassination of Rabin.
A “Special Relationship” in a World of Crises
There is no substitute for the role the state of Israel plays as an enforcer for the interests of the U.S. empire—in the Middle East and around the world. Since Oslo, the contradiction between Israel’s interests and its defining role as an enforcer for the U.S. empire has intensified. Nonetheless, today, when the U.S. imperialists face a shitload of crises, the U.S. is both stuck with and sticking by Israel. And Israel is dependent on the U.S.—diplomatically, financially, and militarily.
The high-powered turnout of “world leaders” at the funeral of Shimon Peres was, in part, a form through which both parties to the U.S.-Israel “special relationship,” as well as other global players, were pushing and pulling on the terms of that relationship. In part, Obama and the Clintons' gushing over Peres (Obama compared him to Nelson Mandela!) was a form of contending over the state of the “special relationship.”
But Shimon Peres was not a “voice for peace” or freedom. He was an architect and lifelong enabler of terrorist, genocidal, unjust wars. And he was a key link in a capitalist-imperialist system run by ghouls and monsters who have made this planet hell on earth for billions.
The fact that someone like Shimon Peres is celebrated by the “world’s leaders”—especially the rulers of the United States—as an “idealist,” a “dreamer,” and a “fighter for peace” tells you how utterly devoid of any redemption their values, and the future they have for humanity, are.
Resources and sources:
Special issue of Revolution, “The Case of Israel: Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?”
Shimon Peres: “Israeli war criminal whose victims the West ignored,” by Ben White, Middle East Monitor 9/28/16.
“Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons,” by Chris McGreal, The Guardian, 5/24/2010.
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