Noam Chomsky: U.S. Thinks of Israel as an 'Offshore Military Base'

Six months after the end of a devastating Israeli assault on Gaza, aid agencies have condemned the lack of progress in rebuilding Gaza, saying reconstruction of tens of thousands of destroyed homes, schools and hospitals has been "woefully slow," with 100,000 Palestinians still displaced. Our guest, Noam Chomsky, notes it was the Pentagon that supplied many of the weapons used in the massive destruction. "The arms were taken from arms the U.S. stores in Israel. They are pre-positioned in Israel for eventual use by U.S. forces," Chomsky says. "Israel is regarded essentially as an offshore military base."

Below is an interview with Chomsky, followed by a transcript:

AARON MATÉ: And meanwhile, support for the occupation continues, so much so that during the Gaza assault the U.S. rearmed Israel.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It was kind of interesting how the U.S. rearmed Israel. The arms—it’s true that the Pentagon sent more arms to Israel. They were actually running out of arms in this vicious assault against a totally defenseless population. The arms were taken from arms that the U.S. stores in Israel; they’re pre-positioned in Israel for eventual use by U.S. forces. That’s one part of the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance. That’s one small part of it, is that Israel is regarded as essentially an offshore military base. So we store, pre-position arms there, and some of those arms were transferred to Israeli control so that they could complete—continue the massive destruction of Gaza, which is horrific and one of many indications of the nature of the alliance.

It’s a very close alliance, and deep enough—so, for example, one of the interesting leaks from WikiLeaks was a U.S. government study of—a Pentagon study of sites in the world that are of such high significance that we must protect them at all costs. One of them was right near Haifa. It was the Rafael military industries. It’s one of the main producers of drones and other high-tech military equipment. And the relation—and that’s one of the highest—strategic sites of highest importance. And, in fact, the relationship is so close that Rafael actually transferred its management offices to Washington, where the money is and the contacts are. It’s essentially an offshore military base, in many ways, also a major source for U.S. investment, high-tech investment. So, Intel, for example, is setting up its major new facility for next-generation chips in Israel. Warren Buffett just bought a big Israeli company. There are many very close relationships, and they’re not going to be affecting by a personal conflict between Baker and Shamir or Obama and Netanyahu.

AMY GOODMAN: And the Obama administration has taken great pains, even as this division has taken place, to show its support for Israel. On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has intervened on Israel’s behalf hundreds of times in the international arena.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Prime minister of Israel is welcome to speak in the United States, obviously, and we have a closer relationship with Israel right now in terms of security than at any time in history. I was reviewing the record the other day. We have intervened on Israel’s behalf in the last two years more than several hundred—a couple of hundred times in over 75 different fora in order to protect Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: That was U.S. secretary of state on ABC’s This Week. Noam Chomsky?

NOAM CHOMSKY: And it’s interesting to look at the cases. The most—one of them actually received a fair amount of publicity, because it was so remarkable. That was, I suppose, February 2011, roughly, at the U.N. Security Council. There was a resolution proposed at the Security Council calling on Israel to abide by official U.S. policy. The official U.S. policy is objection to settlement expansion. It’s a pretty minor issue, incidentally. That’s what’s talked about. But the issue is the settlements, not the expansion. They’re all illegal. They’re criminal activities. They undermine any hope for any peaceful settlement. But U.S. policy is that settlement expansion is, as they put it, not helpful to peace. The Security Council proposed a resolution asking Israel to abide by official U.S. policy. Obama vetoed it. You know, that’s real support for Israel.

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