Exposing the Dark Underbelly of Israel: The Horrors Your Tax Dollars Support
A Palestinian woman and boy walk among Israeli soldiers and military vehicles in the West Bank town of Nabi Samuel.
Photo Credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
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Drop the New York Times’ international section and pick up Max Blumenthal’s new book. If you want to peel back the layers of deception pro-Israel groups and the media have created, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is the perfect place to start. It’s the bluntest book you’ll read about the state of Israeli society, as it looks deep into the soul of an ethnocracy that dominates the lives of millions of Palestinians.
Blumenthal’s book, based on four years of on-the-ground reporting and research, takes the reader from the occupied West Bank to prisons for African refugees to Palestinian areas within Israel. Through a series of profiles and vignettes, he paints a devastating portrait of a country obsessed with demographics bent on permanently subjugating the non-Jews who live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Last week, AlterNet sat down with Blumenthal for a conversation about his book. We spoke about the current state of Israeli society, his method of reporting and what readers will learn about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as negotiations with Iran and the Palestinians continue.
Alex Kane: The headlines are largely dominated by other political problems in the Middle East: Egypt, Syria. So what’s the importance of a book on Israel at this moment?
Max Blumenthal: I wrote this book because I wanted to show Americans what they’re paying for. Every American's relationship to Israel can be summed up as money for nothing and checkpoints for free. We’re giving them $30 billion over the next 10 years to guarantee their qualitative military edge over all other countries. We also have to see Israel’s role in destabilizing the Middle East and in seeking to ensure that U.S. policy guarantees that Israel’s Arab neighbors are weakened and that the people of the Arab world can’t determine their own future. That’s why Israel had such a comfortable relationship with Hosni Mubarak—because he was a Western and Gulf puppet who was helping to participate in the siege of Gaza and why Israel is so excited about the coup that ousted Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood might have ceded to US demands to police the Sinai, but now with Sisi, the crackdown on Gaza is much more extreme. They have filled up possibly 80 percent of the tunnels that bring vital food and medicine and even fish into the Gaza Strip, which is shocking considering that the Gaza Strip is a coastal territory -- they must import fish through tunnels because they’re not allowed to fish. And now we're seeing Egyptian naval forces join the Israeli navy in arresting Gazan fishermen.
Now the coup regime in Egypt has committed a series of massacres which were inevitable as soon as they took power on July 3. They massacred non-violent Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, especially in the Rabba area of Cairo--they killed over 1,000 people. And the U.S. has been threatening to withdraw some military aid to Egypt--of course, they’re not going to fully hold this regime accountable for the massive human rights crimes it's committing. And Israel all the while has been demanding veto power over the United States’ efforts to hold Egypt accountable. The Israeli government is enthralled with Sisi's coup regime and the Egyptian military, and it will do all it can to see the US fund it and prevent it from being held accountable. So to see Israel as this normal, European country that exists completely independently of the chaos in the Middle East is completely bogus.
And the other reason is much more simple: that we are paying for the only open ethnocracy in the world, and its entire existence and its domination and control over the lives of millions of Palestinians and the exclusion of millions more Palestinians simply because they’re not Jews. The whole fate of all these people who are living between the river and the sea, mired in misery and refugee camps, is in the hands of the American people and Washington.