Israel’s ambassador to to the US, Michael Oren, recently asked “what happened to Israel’s reputation?” He compared the picture of Israel presented by a Life Magazine article in 1973 with that in today’s media, and asked why — given the real sacrifices that Israel has made to buy the ‘peace’ that the Arabs aren’t selling — Israel is consistently vilified.
Oren’s answer was correct, but incomplete:
It began with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s 1974 speech to the U.N., when he received a standing ovation for equating Zionism with racism—a view the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the following year. It gained credibility on college campuses through anti-Israel courses and “Israel Apartheid Weeks.” It burgeoned through the boycott of Israeli scholars, artists and athletes, and the embargo of Israeli products. It was perpetuated by journalists who published doctored photos and false Palestinian accounts of Israeli massacres.
Actually, it began in the 1960’s, when the PLO — supposedly under the tutelage of the KGB — recast its message, presenting the vicious terrorist movement as a struggle for national liberation of an oppressed people, the ‘Palestinians’.
Liberals in the US, guilty about the racist mistreatment of black Americans, and Europeans suffering pangs of Holocaust guilt, ate this up. But while the trope was effective, it didn’t spread all by itself. It was nurtured (lubricated?) by one thing over all: Islamic oil.
This was manifest in numerous ways. The “oil weapon” itself was brutally used in 1973, to strike a massive blow at Western economies and influence the West to force Israel to give up the territories conquered in 1967, a theme that has become embedded in US and European policy ever since. Of course “Israeli intransigence” was blamed for the pain.
A more subtle tactic was the creation of a hostile environment on American university campuses. Surplus Saudi dollars, tens of millions of them, are funding “Middle East Studies” departments at our most prestigious universities, staffed almost 100% by anti-Israel academics. There is also money from the Gulf Emirates and Iranian sources dedicated to this project.
Another use of oil money is for preemptive bribery of government officials, who are given to understand that if they behave properly while in office, they will be richly rewarded when they leave. Jimmy Carter is a well-known example, but there are many more.
Europe has been more addicted to Middle Eastern oil than the US, whose biggest source of imported oil is actually Canada. And their behavior in the face of pressure has been correspondingly more craven.
But this is about to change. And since the despotic regimes that rule the oil-producing countries — especially the Saudis — have done little with their windfall to develop alternate sources of income, they are going to have big problems as their monopoly erodes.
This is happening today. Dore Gold explains that new sources of oil and gas found in the US, Canada and South America are expected to make the Western Hemisphere energy self-sufficient by 2030. Even Israel has new sources of natural gas. And the rest of the world’s energy supply will no longer be hostage to the Mideast-dominated OPEC cartel.
So at long last we can say goodbye to the ‘oil weapon’ and to the use of surplus oil money to buy politicians and academics.
Middle Eastern nations, economies and cultures will have to stand or fall on their own. Which do you think Westerners will favor then — the kingdoms and dictatorships where misogyny, slavery and exploitation flourish, or the one really democratic state in the region?