james petras: “the power of israel in the US” (2006)

I have been re-reading this, and I am not really happy with Petras’ analysis. Here is a representative quotation:

There is no crime, however terrible and perverse, that Israel commits that will not be supported by the respectable professors, investment bankers, journalists, surgeons, policy advisers, real estate moguls, lawyers, schoolteachers, and other ordinary folk who make up the activist base of the Major Organisations (i.e. the 52 components of CPMAJO).

Now what is wrong with this? What is wrong with it is that it systematically and explicitly presents the nonsensical theory that a bunch of middle-class nerds can set US mid-East policy simply because of their Jewish commitment. Petras has already established that 60% of Democrat and 35% of Republican party funding comes from Jewish sources. But even this is not really enough to hit the nail on the head: what neither Petras nor anyone else except me, at least on the so-called ‘Left’, has dared to say is that any US government is existentially dependent on the Jewish bankers of the ‘Fed’ to keep printing worthless money to keep the country and its wars afloat. From his occasional references to ‘the economic crisis’, one could infer that Petras sees the Jewishness of the banking elite as quite unrelated to the problem of the US’ hysterical, totalitarian support for ‘Israel’. I on the other hand consider the ‘economic crisis’ to have been deliberately induced in order to establish totalitarian Jewish control over any prospective US governments, whatever their politics might be. I think Petras shows how a respectable Leftist can create what looks like a revelatory advanced position on the topic without actually moving a single inch closer to the solution (Petras is a university professor).


  1. helvena
    Posted December 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    He fears being called anti-Semitic. Words like *Zionist* allow the Jews to be divided, the good Jew vs the bad Jew. Of course the large majority of Jews will fall on the good Jew side so a few Madoff types will take the hit and the franchise can roll on.

    The Chinese sage Confucius once remarked that if given the power he would command that all things should be called by their proper names. Because, said he, there can be no proper communication and no order in society unless correct words are used.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted December 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Petras says near the end of his little book that he doesn’t want to be smeared as “believing in a global, long-term Jewish conspiracy.” In any case, thanks to his concentration on ‘the lobby’, which is after all the business end of all this, he has collected an awful lot of startling data. For instance, he calculates that ‘the lobby’ spends about a million dollars a week on securing congressional votes. AIPAC alone has 60,000 members, but I don’t imagine they each contribute a grand a year. Most of the money obviously comes in larger amounts from a smaller number of wealthy donors.

  3. niqnaq
    Posted December 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I am also re-reading Petras’ subsequent book “Rulers & Ruled in the US Empire”, which broadens his account of the relationship between the financial sector, which he implicitly argues is almost entirely Jewish, and the rest of the ‘ruling class’. Again, my impression is that he continues to obscure the essential thing: he appears to believe that the US financial leaders, almost entirely Jewish though they may be, are not motivated by ‘Jewish’ values but by relatively rational profit and loss considerations. In other words, there is a systematic refusal to consider the idea that simply as Jews, the financiers have a private agenda. To say this would be to steer too close to the taboo. And it is true that many key figures aren’t Jews at all: Hank Paulson for example, who was an ex CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed Treasury Secretary by Bush 43 in 2006 in what I think was probably a successful attempt to keep China happy for a little longer. His charm offensive vis-a-vis the Chinese worked until the US financial crisis worsened in 2008. In any case, I should say, he was always overshadowed by Ben Bernanke at the Fed. After all, the Fed (a completely private and unaccountable private cabal of bankers) can always control the US Treasury because the latter does not just ‘print money’, it borrows all of the money needed for its budgets from the Fed banks. All the Treasury ‘prints’ is Treasury Bonds, which the banks etc then buy. So, if they decide one day, possibly for private reasons such as dissatisfaction with US policy on Israel, to stop buying, then the US Govt goes down the tubes forthwith. Similarly with other western economies (Europe in particular). Bankers to governments have always had this power, but the ‘crisis’ has made it eminently obvious to govt policy makers which side their bread is going to be buttered from now on.

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