Israel’s global reach

Posted on | juli 4, 2011 | No Comments

Those who have studied the topic know that although Israelis a tiny and relatively new nation-state, it has a global reach in so far as its political, military and economic influence is concerned. It has managed to establish a high tech economy and possess nuclear weapons, and it has the ability to exert far reaching influence in the US through its lobby and individual groups and entities – from synagogues to corporations – and through the US, Israel exerts influence globally.

The most recent example of its powerful influence is when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US in late May 2011. The Israeli PM discussed $4 billion in US aid and $8 billion in loan guarantees, while categorically rejecting Obama’s proposal to negotiate the existence of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Within hours after Obama had made proposal and Netanyahu criticized it, the Israeli global reach made sure that US policy take a back seat to Israel’s ‘security concerns’, and that US focus on Iran instead of Palestine. There is no nation on earth that has exercised the type of profound influence that Israel does over the US, except a colonizing government over its colony.

On 1 July 2011, the Greek authorities arrested the US boat captain of “Audacity of Hope” vessel bound for Gaza to deliver supplies to the Palestinians. Last year, Greece along with Turkey and other countries had joined an international relief effort to deliver supplies to the Palestinians, when Israeli gunboats intercepted them and killed nine Turkish activists. Israel will not permit relief supplies to Gaza, claiming that it is concerned about weapons going into the area. Of course, a routine inspection by incoming vessels could easily ascertain the cargo. Israel’s real concern is not weapons but the symbolism by the international community aiding the besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

What has changed in a year that Greece is now blocking relief supplies to Gaza? Simply put, Israel has improved relations with Greece and has a number of significant arrangements intended to help with economic recovery. In short, Israel bought and paid for Greek foreign policy cooperation.

Greek coastguard authorities claimed that they are only concerned about the ‘safety’ of the vessel, after an inspection found it unfit. Several news organizations are reporting that Israel pressured Greece to stop the boat from leaving port. The PASOK government that historically had close ties with Arab countries, has made an 180 degree turn and is now urging private citizens not to take part in the international aid relief effort for Palestinians. Taking no chances, Israel’s ‘Law Center’ has warned insurance companies not to insure vessels bound for Gaza for they would be faced with law suits.

Like Greece, the US has also urged its citizens not to take part in any international aid activity bound for Gaza. Israel has denied pressuring any one, least of all Jewish bankers around the world holding Greek bonds. As far as pressuring Obama, the target is to raise $1 billion for re-election, and that will not happen without support from the Jewish community. Middle East peace and the Palestinians will have to wait until after the 2012 election, perhaps longer, as they have waited for six decades and continue to live with the hope of becoming a nation-state existing next to nuclear-armed Israel that feel so threatened it must maintain the regime of permanent war.

The question is whether the global reach that Israel enjoys best serves US interest, Middle East interests, or even Israel’s broader interests – that is, those other than the ideologues and some businesses profiting from permanent warfare. Can the US now that it is on its way to playing second fiddle to China afford to permit Israel to have global reach? What will be the consequences of Israel’s global reach when China becomes the world’ preeminent power and launches a containment policy toward Israel in order to contain the US?

AUTHOR: Jon Kofas
E-MAIL: jonkofas [at]


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