Why does US imperialism back the Israeli State?

Despite episodic and mild criticisms of the Israeli State’s action over the last few months, US imperialism’s support for the Gaza genocide has largely been unwavering. Its political representatives, from the Biden administration to the vast bulk of the members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, have baulked at any suggestion of cessation of this murderous massacre.

By Donal Devlin 

On 25 February, 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell, a serving member of the US Air Force, tragically died of wounds incurred from self-immolation in an act of protest against the genocide of Gaza. It was an expression of outrage at the criminal and unconditional support this mass murder is receiving from the US ruling class. Days before, its representative at the UN Security Council vetoed a resolution for a ceasefire, giving a green light to further genocidal massacres of Palestinian people. 

Despite episodic and mild criticisms of the Israeli State’s action over the last few months, US imperialism’s support for the Gaza genocide has largely been unwavering. Its political representatives, from the Biden administration to the vast bulk of the members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, have baulked at any suggestion of cessation of this murderous massacre. 

Imperial domination 

While there is an important pro-Israel lobby in the form of AIPAC, which funds a large number of members of Congress and Senators, this is not the decisive factor in explaining the US’s support for the Israeli State. Like the British Empire before it, support for the Zionist project and the Israeli State on the part of US imperialism has been rooted in a strategic necessity to dominate and exploit the Middle East and its resources. 

The region’s most important resource, oil, was described in a State Department memo as being “…a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history..” If ever the interests of the US and the Israeli State were to clash, as they have at different points in time, the influence of the lobby would collapse like a house of cards. 

Unlike the dictatorial Arab regimes and those such as Iran under the notorious Shah, the Israeli State has been seen as a more stable force that can act as its proverbial cat’s paw in the form of the fourth largest military power that has high-tech military equipment and nuclear weapons to boot. It is not for nothing that then Senator Joe Biden said in 1986, “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.” 

Growing opposition 

While US capitalism and imperialism will back the Israeli State to the hilt, it receives $3.8 billion per annum and has gotten an additional $14 billion in the context of the Gaza genocide; there is growing opposition to its murderous actions amongst young and working-class people. Significantly, this includes a significant section of young American Jews. Opinion polls have shown a majority support a ceasefire and have done so for months, while 35% believe that what is happening in Gaza is a genocide; this rises to 49% among 18-29 year-olds. 

It is in the interest of all working-class and poor people in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Israeli working class, that the rule of imperialism and capitalism is ended in this region. Its rule has only helped perpetuate oppression, poverty and genocidal wars. The significance of the fact that opposition is growing to the main imperialist power at home must be seen in this context. 

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