What Was Behind Kerry Dropping the “A” Word?

by Alan Goodman | April 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


What was behind U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dropping the “A” word—apartheid—albeit only saying Israel could BECOME an apartheid state?

We can rule out two things. We can rule out that Kerry, or any significant elements within the U.S. ruling class, suddenly grew a conscience over the fact that Israel has been propped up economically, militarily, and diplomatically by the U.S. for decades. And we can rule out that Kerry’s use of the “A” word—brief as it was—means the strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel is ending.

But the rulers of the U.S. face a whole complex set of challenges to their domination of the Middle East, which they have not been able to resolve. Those challenges interpenetrate with growing challenges their empire faces around the world—and that whole web of contradictions frames the moves that the U.S. is exploring or making in relation to its relationship with Israel and other reactionary regimes in the region.

The U.S. has other reactionary allies in the region as well, who serve to enforce their interests and facilitate their exploitation of the people and resources of the Middle East. We are talking about regimes like the draconian Dark-Ages Saudi royalty and the bloody, mass murdering generals running Egypt. But regimes like those are hated by the masses of people within their borders and depend on constant repression to maintain any level of stability. And those regimes have their own interests as well, which at times present serious conflicts for the U.S.

The population of Israel, on the other hand, is dominated by sections of people united in one form or another with a Zionist outlook—at least for now—and who on that basis identify with the interests of imperialism. Zionism has invoked the horrible crime of the Holocaust, NOT to draw the correct conclusion that this should never happen to ANYONE, but that anything done to advance the interests and protect “my people” is justified no matter what crimes that involves. This has to be taken on—especially in the realm of morality—as part of opposing the oppression of the Palestinian people and creating the best conditions for the liberation of Palestine.

Israel, with its (for now) relative internal stability, powerful economy, and ferocious military, is a unique asset for U.S. imperialism. But, as a state built on the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and constantly at war with its neighbors, Israel is also a unique problem for the U.S. Overall, the rulers of the U.S. are stuck with, and sticking by, Israel. But this is a tension-filled dynamic, and it is particularly tense right now as the U.S. faces a host of complex and shifting challenges in the region and to its global empire.

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