Skip to main content

The U.S. ... Israel ... and Crimes Around the World

Updated

Editors’ note: Since this piece was written in 2010, the U.S. has continued to support and rely on Israel as its key military and strategic bastion in the Middle East. Despite differences that sometimes arise, the U.S. still counts on Israel to help maintain and deepen its imperialist dominance in the region and advance its global objectives.

Since 2010, the U.S. has stepped up military aid to Israel. In 2016 under Obama, the U.S. committed to a 10-year, $38 billion arms package, which Biden reaffirmed in 2022.1 In September 2017, it was announced that the U.S. would open their first permanent military base in Israel.

Israel continues to serve as the U.S.’s vicious gendarme in the Middle East. It has repeatedly bombed Syria, as well as Hezbollah forces in Lebanon—both considered obstacles to U.S. and Israeli objectives.2 Since 2010, Israel has very likely carried out at least a dozen covert attacks and operations on and in Iran, which the U.S. considers its main enemy in the region. These included assassinating scientists and government officials, as well as cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program.3

Israel, in concert with the U.S., has also played a key role in expanding and deepening U.S.-led military alliances in the region, including with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

The state of Israel has functioned as a military bastion to defend and extend U.S. domination over the strategic area of the Middle East and worldwide—in the context of establishing U.S. supremacy over other imperialist powers. Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. support: in outright grants, military sales, and economic support.

From 1981 to 2004, the U.S. sent $1.8 billion a year in military support to Israel; since 2004 that number has been raised to $2.4 billion. Part of the bargain is that the U.S. often utilizes Israeli military and intelligence as a proxy to distance itself from some of its most odious and barbaric crimes around the world.

The U.S. does this because it is an imperialist mega-power spanning the globe, and it enforces its domination with savage repression, including mass murder, genocide, torture, rape, and dispossession of entire peoples. Israel's function as a militarized state bristling with the most advanced weaponry deludes many people into thinking Israel is somehow acting against U.S. interests as it perpetrates monstrous crimes against humanity.

But the cold fact is this is one important means by which U.S. domination has been enforced. U.S. backing for all Israel's crimes is not because the American political process has been corrupted by the Israel lobby or "the Jews." The U.S. arms and supports this brutal regime because doing so serves its global objectives.

  1. Guatemala, 1978-1984: One of the most barbaric atrocities in history occurred in Guatemala under the direction of the U.S. and its Guatemalan puppet, the Christian fundamentalist butcher Ríos Montt. This slaughter included beheadings, massive rape, slaughter of pregnant women, and the abduction of Mayan children who were sold or given as slaves to functionaries of the fascist Guatemalan regime. At least 180,000 Mayan peasants were murdered. "Operation Sofia," as it was called, was determined by the United Nations "Historical Clarification Commission" to have committed "acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people." In 1982, as exposures of these massacres were coming to light, the New York Times reported that U.S. "Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. prompted Israel to do more in Guatemala." Israel played an essential and central role in the epic slaughter—supplying transport to remote villages, war planes, military training, "advisors," and 10,000 Uzis. In 1982, under the direction of the U.S. military, Israeli commanders devised and helped implement a scorched earth policy (burn all, kill all) for the Guatemalan highlands.
  2. Argentina 1976-1983: In the 1970s, the U.S. was under worldwide pressure from its imperialist rivals in the formerly socialist, but now imperialist, Soviet Union. U.S. rulers were especially concerned about growing Soviet influence in South and Central America—regions they had long considered their "backyard." To counter the Soviet presence, "Operation Condor" was hatched by U.S. intelligence agencies as a campaign of political terror and repression in the "southern cone" of South America, including Argentina. In 1976, the military junta in Argentina began a reign of terror known as la guerra sucia—"the dirty war." U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told a meeting of Argentine generals "if there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly." In the nightmare that followed, up to 30,000 people were abducted, tortured, and "disappeared." Students, intellectuals, trade unionists, leftists and suspected armed guerrillas were targeted. The military's widespread pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic outlook produced "particular brutality in the treatment of prisoners of Jewish origin." Yet, during this period, and under the direction of the U.S. baton, Israel became one of the Argentine junta's largest arm suppliers, providing jet planes, missiles, patrol boats, spare parts, small arms and ammunition.
  3. Iran 1967-1986: The Shah of Iran was installed in power by a U.S.-engineered coup in 1953. The Shah was a brutal tyrant who turned Iran—oil rich and strategically situated—into a client of U.S. imperialism. Beginning in the late 1950s, Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, played a major role in training the Shah's notoriously brutal Savak. Thousands of Iranians were tortured and killed by Savak. After Israel's wars on its neighbors in 1967 and 1973, and as opposition to the Shah's regime pulsed through Iran, Israel's "Project Flower" sent Iran up to $500 million of military and police equipment.
  4. South Africa 1948-1994: The apartheid regime of South Africa, which ended in 1994, enforced white supremacy as its official, legal system. It brutally dispossessed the black majority of their land, liberty and human rights. Millions of black people were forced into squalid "townships." "Pass laws" required black people to show ID at all times. South Africa acted as a bulwark of U.S. domination in southern Africa and Africa as a whole. For decades the U.S. "stood by" this ugly regime; for decades Israel armed South Africa, sending the racist regime Uzi submachine guns, fighter jets, patrol boats, missiles, communications and intelligence equipment, armored personnel carriers and artillery. Israel and South Africa worked together in their development of nuclear weapons.
  5. India 2010: On July 1, 2010, a unit of the Andhra Pradesh Special Intelligence Bureau [Andhra Pradesh is a state in India] abducted and assassinated Azad, Communist Party of India (Maoist) Political Bureau member and spokesperson, and Hem Pandey, a zonal committee-level member of the CPI (Maoist). According to A World To Win News Service, "The Andhra Pradesh Special Intelligence Bureau has been partly trained by the Mossad [Israeli intelligence]..." These assassinations were carried out in the context of "Operation Green Hunt," the Indian government's military campaign to defeat the CPI (Maoist).
  6. Middle East, 1948-present: Since 1948, the state of Israel has meant the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and war on the adjacent countries. Since its founding, Israel has launched wars or military aggression against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 to destroy and expel the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israeli troops stood guard outside the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon as their Lebanese Phalangist [pro-Israeli fascist militia] allies went door to door gunning down whole families, raping women and girls before murdering them, and castrating men and boys. Estimates of the number of dead range from 700 to several thousand. In 2007, Israel imposed a blockade against the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza. Living conditions became unbearable and the United Nations warned of a humanitarian crisis. From December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, Israel struck Gaza with massive air attacks and a ground invasion. At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed and countless homes wiped out.
Israeli Crimes

 

Documentation

Guatemala

An estimated 200,000 people, overwhelmingly Mayan peasants and villagers, were killed during the entire Guatemalan civil war from 1960 to 1996. Estimates of the numbers killed by the Guatemalan military with Israeli assistance during the period of 1978-1984 range from around 30,000 (Guatemala: Memory of Silence, Report of The Commission for Historical Clarification [CEH], Conclusions and Recommendations, paragraph number 1) to 182,000 (Guatemala: Memory of Silence, paragraph number 82).

Additional reports on the crimes against humanity carried out by the many Guatemalan regimes and juntas throughout the 30 years of the civil war, but concentrated between 1978 and 1984 (a period of huge Israeli arms shipments to Guatemala) are to be found, among other sources, at:

  1. Operation Sofia: Documenting Genocide in Guatemala, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 297, Posted December 2, 2009, www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB297/index.htm
  2. "Court Papers Detail Killings by the Military in Guatemala," New York Times, December 3, 2009, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/world/americas/04guatemala.html
  3. "US rounds up Guatemalans accused of war crimes," Globalpost, May 5, 2010, www.globalpost.com/dispatch/the-americas/100504/arrests-guatemala-massacre?page=0,3
  4. Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, by William Blum, part 37: Guatemala 1962 to 1980s A less publicized "final solution."
  5. Center for Justice and Accountability, www.cja.org/article.php?list=type&type=294
  6. "Killing draws notice to violent history," by Paul Jeffrey, Special to the National Catholic Reporter, May 8, 1998, natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/1998b/050898/050898a.htm
  • Documentation of Israel's critical role in all this is found at:
    1. "Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. prompted Israel to do more in Guatemala"
    2. "Israelis Said To Step Up Role as Arms Suppliers to Latins," by Leslie H. Gelb, New York Times, December 17, 1982, cited in Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why (New York, Pantheon Books, 1987) pp 79 (viewable online here)
  • "The Israelis do not let this human rights thing stand in the way of business"
    1. "After Embassy Flap a Look at Israel's Latin Arms Role," By Bernd Debusmann, Reuters, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 1984, cited in Hallahmi, p 78.
    2. The whole section in Hallahmi's book from p 78 thru p 84 details Israel's supply of arms and training to the Guatemalan regimes from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s.
    3. "Murder and complicity in Guatemala; U.S., Israel allegedly continue furtive roles in military, politics," by Leslie Wirpsa, National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 1995

Argentina

An excerpt from the testimony from a survivor of torture in Argentina gives a small glimpse of the depraved brutality of the torturers:

Everything happened very quickly. From the moment they took me out of the car to the beginning of the first electric shock session took less time than I am taking to tell it. For days they applied electric shocks to my gums, nipples, genitals, abdomen and ears. Unintentionally, I managed to annoy them, because, I don't know why, although the shocks made me scream, jerk and shudder, they could not make me pass out.

They then began to beat me systematically and rhythmically with wooden sticks on my back, the backs of my thighs, my calves and the soles of my feet. At first the pain was dreadful. Then it became unbearable. Eventually I lost all feeling in the part of my body being beaten. The agonizing pain returned a short while after they finished hitting me. It was made still worse when they tore off my shirt, which had stuck to the wounds, in order to take me off for a fresh electric shock session. This continued for several days, alternating the two tortures. Sometimes they did both at the same time.

—"Nunca Más" (Never Again) - Report of Conadep (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) 1984, Documentation of "particular brutality in the treatment of prisoners of Jewish origins" found in "Nunca Más"

Estimates of the number of "Desaparecidos" (Disappeared) range from 8,960 ["Nunca Más"] to 30,000 ["'Disappeared' mass grave found in Argentina" BBC News, 15 April, 2000]

A document by Argentine military intelligence stated that from 1975-1978, 22,000 people had been "disappeared." Since the "dirty war" continued to 1983, it is reasonable to calculate that at least 30,000 actually suffered this fate. See www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB185/index.htm. 30,000 is also the number declared by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who in 1977 began bravely demonstrating in Buenos Aires to demand information on their missing loved ones. Several of them were subsequently also abducted and "disappeared." [See also www.derechos.org/nizkor/arg/eng.html and www.desaparecidos.org/arg/victimas/eng.html.]

Israel's role in supplying arms to the regime in Argentina is documented in:

  1. The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why (New York, Pantheon Books, 1987) pp 102.
  2. "In 1977-81 Israel provided 14 per cent of Argentina's military purchases." Bishara Bahbah, "Israel's Military Relationships with Ecuador and Argentina," Journal of Palestine Studies, 15, 2 (1986), pp. 76–101, cited in Mario Sznajder and Luis Roniger, "From Argentina to Israel: Escape, Evacuation and Exile," Journal of Latin American Studies, Volume 37, Issue 02, May 2005, pp 351-377,
  3. "Argentina became Israel's largest South American customer, accounting for over 30 percent of Israeli weapons." Frederick H. Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism, (Atlanta, Clarity Press, 2004) p 103.

India

  1. In the last decade, Israel has built significant military and intelligence ties with India. By 2005, Israel had become India's second largest arms supplier (after Russia). (Aspects of India's Economy, No. 41, December 2005)
  2. While much of this weaponry is aimed at Pakistan, "Israel is training up to 3,000 Indian commandos in urban warfare and counter-insurgency operations..." (Natural Allies? Regional Security in Asia and Prospects for Indo-American Strategic Cooperation, Stephen J. Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, September 2005, cited in Aspects of India's Economy, No. 41.)
  3. In February 2010, "Israeli President Shimon Peres offered New Delhi his country's complete cooperation in the fight against terror [sic] saying, ‘India's security is as important to Israel as its own' during a one-to-one meeting with Mr. Scindia [Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry]...
    "The Indian minister thanked Israel's timely help in fight against terror from time to time.
    "The two countries have a Joint Working Group against counter-terrorism that meets often to take stock of the situation in the two regions and to share strategies to counter-terrorist moves." ("India, Israel vow to enhance cooperation in combating terror," The Hindu, February 19, 2010)

South Africa

  • Details on Israel's abundant arms sales to South Africa and collaboration on nuclear weapons are available in:
    1. The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi (New York, Pantheon Books, 1987) pp 108-174.
    2. Chris McGreal, "Brothers in Arms-Israel's Secret Pact with Pretoria," The Guardian, Tuesday, 7 February 2006
    3. Recently uncovered documents reveal Israel's offer to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa. These are reported on by Chris McGreal in "Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons," The Guardian, Monday, 24 May 2010

Iran:

Quote taken from: Amin Saikal, The Rise and Fall of the Shah, p 33.

"United States: External Affairs," in Jane's Sentinel: North America 2007. Jane's Information Group, 2007.

_______________

FOOTNOTES:

1.  Since Israel’s founding in 1948, the U.S. has given it $270 billion in mainly military as well as economic aid. (“How Much Aid Does the U.S. Give to Israel,” US News and World Report, October 10, 2023.  [back]

2.  List of Israel Defense Force Operations, Wikipedia.  [back]

3.  Timeline: Israeli Attacks on Iran, The Iran Primer, January 30, 2023.  [back]

Help Make 2024 Our Year—a Year of Revolution! 
Donate to Revcom.us

From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has developed a strategy to prepare for and make revolution. He’s scientifically analyzed that this is a rare time when an actual revolution has become more possible, and has laid out the sweeping vision, solid foundation and concrete blueprint for “what comes next,” in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

The website revcom.us follows and applies that leadership and is essential to all this. We post new materials from BA and curate his whole body of work. We apply the science he’s developed to analyze and expose every key event in society, every week. Revcom.us posts BA’s timely leadership for the revcoms (revolutionary communists), including his social media posts which break this down for people every week and sometimes more. We act as a guiding and connecting hub for the growing revcom movement nationwide: not just showing what’s being done, but going into what’s right and what’s wrong and rapidly learning—and recruiting new people into what has to be a rapidly growing force.

Put it this way: there will be no revolution unless this website not only “keeps going” but goes up to a whole different level!

So what should you give to make 2024 our year—a year of revolution? 
Everything you possibly can! 
DONATE NOW to revcom.us and get with BA and the revcoms!    

Your donations contribute to:

  • Promotion of BA on social media and the Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show 
  • Strengthen revcom.us as an accessible, secure, robust website able to rise to the challenge of meeting the extraordinary demands of navigating the storms and preparing for revolution in this pivotal, unprecedented year
  • Fund revcoms to travel to national “hotspots,” where extreme contradictions are pulling apart the fabric of this country and creating the possibility of wrenching an actual revolution out of this intensifying situation
  • Expand the reach and coverage of revcom.us
  • Printing and distribution of key Revcom materials including the Declaration and Proclamation

Comments:

(Comments entered here are moderated and may not be visible right away.)