The Zionists and American imperialism are blind to reality

Yossi Schwartz ISL (RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 05.04.2024

Long before political Zionism gained traction, America stood as a unique refuge for Jews and other religious minorities. It offered a sanctuary from the discrimination perpetuated by powerful religious institutions and emerging nation-states in Europe. These Jews, unlike their counterparts in the Zionist colonial project, were not driven by a political agenda but by a desire for safety and freedom.

The early Puritan pilgrims, the white settlers’ colonialists, while maintaining a Protestant Christian identity, viewed themselves as the new ‘Children of Israel.’ This typical perspective of settler colonialists is evident in the 1655 legal code of the New Haven colony, where over half of the statutes include references or citations from the Old Testament, while only three percent came from the New Testament[i]. The first Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor, John Winthrop, frequently alluded to the covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis, declaring in 1679: “The ways of God towards this His people are in many respects like unto His dealings with Israel of old.” [ii]

Thus, while the white settler colonialists were similar to the Zionists in Palestine and dealt with the native Indians as the Zionists in Palestine dealt with the native Palestinians, the Jews who arrived in America were simply new immigrants seeking a better and more secure life.

These Jews recognized the similarity between the Puritan narrative and their parallel ancient story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt into the ‘Promised Land.’ Just as the Children of Israel had escaped the Pharaoh’s wrath and crossed the Red Sea, the Puritans fled across the ocean from the British king to settle in the new promised land.

However, the Puritans discriminated against not only the Jews but the Catholics as well. The Church of England saw the Catholics as a source of evil. Nevertheless, America offered the Jews a better and safer place than in any other country. In 1825, Mordecai Noah, high sheriff of New York, issued a proclamation to world Jewry in which he offered them “an asylum in a free and powerful country, where ample protection is secured to their persons, their property, and religious rights”—a ‘land of milk and honey’ where “Israel may repose in peace.”[iii]

Thus, there was no meaningful attraction to Zionism among the American Jews until the 1960s.

While the Zionist movement gained at the end of the 19th century significant support among European and primarily East European Jews, in the USA, it was a feeble movement. The Zionists could not rely on Jewish nationalism in America as it did in Europe as in the USA, nation and state were synonymous, and for Jews to claim in America that they belonged to another nation was a dangerous idea that encouraged anti-Semitism.

 In 1914, the American Congress passed the Mineral Leasing Act, which, in response to British and French attempts to shut U.S. oil companies out of their Middle East protectorates, included a provision denying access to U.S. mineral rights by any foreign entities whose governments deny similar access to U.S. companies. Following British and French attempts to shut U.S. oil companies out of regions they control in the Middle East, the U.S. government began active oil diplomacy, insisting on an “open door” policy allowing all companies to compete for foreign concessions regardless of national origins. But the doctrine fails to take hold. Instead, a consortium of seven oil companies was given financial interest in the Iraq Petroleum Company, and the companies agreed to not independently develop oil in an area that spans from Turkey to Iraq and Saudi Arabia but excludes Egypt, Iran, and Kuwait. This 1928 Red Line Agreement, with its “self-denial clause,” allowed seven companies, five of which were Americans, to control the bulk of Mideast oil production by the early 1930s[iv].

Saudi Aramco is an oil company founded by the Standard Oil Co. of California (Chevron) in 1933 when the government of Saudi Arabia granted it a concession. Other U.S. companies joined after oil was found near Dhahran in 1938. In 1951, Aramco founded the first offshore oil field in the Middle East. In the 1970s and ’80s, official control gradually passed to the Saudi Arabian government, which eventually took over Aramco and renamed it Saudi Aramco in 1988. However, Chevron is the only large international energy company with a continuous upstream presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for more than seven decades. Through subsidiary Saudi Arabian Chevron Inc., the American imperialists engaged in a wide range of petroleum-related interests in the kingdom and worked closely with Saudi Aramco, the national oil company.

The fear of the American imperialists is the Arab revolution and the nationalization of the oil while expelling the imperialists. They already had the experience with Iran. The 1953 Iranian coup d’état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup d’état (Persian: کودتای ۲۸ مرداد), was the reaction of the U.S. and Britain to the nationalization of the oil. The U.S. British-instigated the Iranian army-led overthrow of the elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of strengthening the monarchical rule of the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, on 19 August 1953.

Until the war of 1967, it was clear that American politicians disagreed on policy formulation regarding Palestine. The executive branch was divided: presidents were subtly pro-Zionist, the Congress was publicly pro-Zionist, while the State and Defense Departments, due to vast American interests in the region, were more understanding of Arab and Palestinian interests. Specific American Jewish and Zionist figures were influential in harnessing American power to realize the Zionist goal of establishing a homeland for the Jews in Palestine.

There was a tripartite imperialist alliance between the US, Zionism, and the British mandate in forcing their will through mutual agreements and abuse of international law about Palestine and the native Palestinians.

The American imperialists know that Saudi Arabia is very rich in oil but weak militarily, and in their eyes, the solution is a military alliance with Israel. Israel’s role is to guard American imperialism’s interests in Saudi Arabia. This is different from when the Zionists were supported by Britain when Israel’s role was to guard the Suez Canal.

The Zionists began to assert their influence when the American imperialists realized that Israel could serve them better than any Muslim country in the Middle East rich with oil, as was proven in the war of 1967. With the growing support of American imperialism for Israel, Jews were encouraged to identify with Israel as Western imperialism’s strategic asset. The Zionist movement began to grow in the USA, already in WWI. At that time, Louis Brandeis, who assumed leadership of the Federation of American Zionists in 1915, said: “Every American Jew who aids in advancing the Jewish settlement in Palestine, though he feels that neither he nor his descendants will ever live there, will be a better man and a better American for doing so.””[v]

Israel reached its complete control over the American Jews following the 1967 war.

“The effect of the Six-Day War on American Jewish affinity with the state of Israel cannot be overstated. As Journalist Thomas Friedman boldly declared in his acclaimed 1989 book: From Beirut to Jerusalem: “American Jews could not embrace Israel enough…The impact of Israel on American Jews was so powerful that for many of them, Israel replaced the Torah, synagogue, and prayer as the carrier of their Jewish identity.[vi]

What the Zionists fail to realize is that the victory of Hamas in the war in Gaza is leading to the growing number of young American Jews who oppose the genocide of the Gazans as part of the process of breaking away from Zionism. This process is not affecting only the Jews. A growing number of American non-Jews understand that Israel is a settler colonialist society, and Biden is supporting the genocide of the Palestinians.

Since the Zionists and Biden administration are blind to reality and do not fully understand what this war is doing in the historical process, they blame the pro-Palestinians for anti-Semitism and try to smash by using vigilantes and police brutality this magnificent growing movement, but in vain. It is growing stronger.

Support the American students who oppose the genocide of the Palestinians!

For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea! 


[i] Max Baker and Paul Masserman, The Jews Come to America (New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1932)

[ii] Abraham Katsh, The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1977), pp. 32

[iii] Michael Brenner, Zionism: A Brief History (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2003), pp. 6


[v] Louis Brandeis, “The Jewish Problem: How To Solve It,” Speech to the Conference of Eastern Council of Reform Rabbis, 25 April, 1915.

[vi] Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem (New York: Anchor Books, 1989), pp. 455456

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