It is not unusual to hear Arab/Muslim commentators speak of the power that the Israeli (Zionist/Jewish ) lobby has on Washington and American policies in general. I believe this perception is only partially accurate, and I believe that the Jewish lobby (I will refer henceforth to the Zionist/Israeli/Jewish  lobby as the Jewish lobby) is more of a strategic arm of Washington politics than the other way around. Please allow me to explain.
It might be useful to compare the Jewish lobby and the relationship of America to Israel to the U.S./British relationship. The U.S. sprang from Britain, as a former colony, and the ties between the U.S. and Britain should be closer than those between the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. and Britain share the same basic language, religion (Christianity) and similar history and cultures. The U.S. is close to Britain in almost every way, but the U.S. does not depend upon Britain for regional, strategic interests. The U.S. does collaborate with Britain in strategic matters, but the role played by Britain is largely supplementary to U.S. interests in any region of the world, because of Britain’s own greatly diminished economic and military power compared to even fifty to one hundred years ago.
On the other hand, the beginnings of the formation of the modern State of Israel came about during a crucial time in American history. This was a time, in the mid to late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when America was beginning its rise to that of a world Superpower, with all the strategic implications for American interests around the world. WWII established America as a power with world-wide interests and world-wide ambitions, compared with a previous history of mostly hemispheric interests prior to that time. The end of WWII coincided with the fear of communism, the threat of the cold war and an atomic arms race, and the increasing dependence on petroleum for the continued growth of a powerful U.S. economy and military.
It was about this time that Arab nations were beginning to organize themselves to nationalize their own petroleum industries, and “freeze out” American corporations that had previously been able to manipulate Arab and Muslim leadership (particularly of the oil-producing states) at will. The dependence of America for petroleum, plus the understanding of the superabundance of petroleum resources in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, combined with American concern over Arab/Muslim assertion of their own sovereign dominion over natural resources, made it critical that the U.S. find a way of protecting its interests in the region, if possible.
The emergence of a strong Zionist movement and the desire to establish a modern State of Israel provided the U.S. with a critical opportunity, as far as U.S. strategic interests were concerned. Many of the cultural and historic attributes of this Zionist state could have been perceived as incompatible with U.S. cultures and interests. The U.S. was and still perceives itself to be primarily a Christian nation, and did not the Jews kill Christ and thus lose the approval of God, according to Christian theology? Did not many of the Zionist settlers of the Holy Land come from Old Europe, with their own languages and cultures that were very different from those of America?
Yet, from a governmental policy standpoint, the emergency of a Zionist movement and modern state of Israel was very fortuitous for U.S. interests. Zionism and a Jewish State would automatically be a devisive factor in the region of the Middle East and the oil-rich Persian Gulf area. A strongly fortified Jewish state, supported finanicially and armed by an emerging superpower U.S. would be a critical U.S. proxy in a world of potential rivals and enemies of the U.S. How much better to have a Jewish state than to have British control of the Holy Land, because the Jewish State would naturally arouse the ire of the Muslims, and create opportunities for the U.S. to assert its own interests through the actions of its proxy. By battling the Jewish State, the Arab/Muslim states would lose focus of the real “behind the scenes” power. The Zionists had some great advantages for the assertion of U.S. policies and power for several reasons. Among them were world sympathy due to the Nazi genocide of the recent past. This sympathy could be utilized to help overlook the genocide of Zionists against the rightful owners of the land they took by occupation, the Palestinians. Also, the ancient ties between Jewish and Christian religion could be contrasted with the eminity of both with the Muslim world, including the history of the Crusades, which still reverberated in the Muslim World and continue doing so till the present time.
The Zionist State, the Jewish Lobby, tended to serve U.S. strategic interests, and because of that fact, the U.S. was and still is willing to serve Jewish and Zionist interests. But the prime driving force is and for the foreseeable future will be American interests.
If America ever thought that Zionist/Jewish affiliation would be detrimental to its own interests, the affiliation would likely be ended and ended precipitously. At various times in its history, the U.S. has formed close bonds and alliances with France, Russia, Spain, and other nations in order to promote perceived national interests. The recent disharmony over backing for war against Iraq shows how fragile such relationships can be! If Israel and the Jewish Lobby ever proved to be an impediment on America’s power or prominence in this world, there is little reason to believe that America would not turn on Israel. For instance, if America was forced to end its huge dependency on a petroleum-based economy, and thus no longer depended upon Middle Eastern oil to lubricate and drive its economy, and if the relationship with Israel simultaneously hindered the U.S. in some matter of great national importance, the relationship would no doubt be sacrificed on the altar of U.S. prominence/dominance/survival.
So, the Jewish lobby and the Zionist State will remain important to the U.S. government as long as they serve a perceived strategic national interest. The cultural ties between the U.S. and Israel, including religious ones, are actually window dressing; easily thrown away if strategic interests change. This means that the Arab world would be better served to view the U.S. as the puppet pulling Israel’s strings, rather than the other way around. Ditto for the world in general. If the world wants Israel to change its behaviors and policies, the most effective way to force change would be to influence Washington, where the strings are pulled.
 In , there is a sheer difference between a Zionist and a Jew. A Zionist is equal to a fanatic and a Jew is equal to an ordinary religious person. Indeed, there are many Jews who don’t follow the Zionist doctrine.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.