“If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.”

- Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States (2013)

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Electoral Politics as Misdirection

In recent years, many organizations and individual organizers have promoted the idea that having "pro-Palestine" individuals elected to public office can be considered victories for the "Palestinian cause."

This strategy ignores the fact that even if every single member of Congress was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, the United States government and ruling class would still support Israel.

This illusion or reformist strategy has attempted to shift Palestine organizing in the West from one of grassroots organizing that listens to the needs of Palestinians under occupation and in refugee camps, to one focused on U.S. electoral campaigns (often on behalf of the Democratic Party and in collaboration with liberal Zionist organizations).

This strategy ignores the fact that even if every single member of Congress was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, the United States government and ruling class would still support Israel.

This is because Israel is crucial to U.S foreign policy goals. As Joe Biden famously stated in 2013 as Vice President during the second Obama Administration, "If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved."

The "interests" Joe Biden is referring to is U.S imperialism. The heavily militarized settler colonial state of Israel is incredibly useful to the United States. Whereas a liberated Palestine under the complete sovereignty of the indigenous Palestinian people from the river to the sea will never be useful to U.S. imperialism.

So long as Israel is beneficial to the interests of U.S. imperialism, the U.S. will continue to provide bi-partisan support to Israel and actively work to prevent the liberation of Palestine.

Why Israel is useful to U.S. Imperialism

Imperialism is a stage of capitalist development, often referred to as the highest stage of capitalism.

The interests of any member of Congress is to advocate for policies that strengthen U.S. imperialism. Even the most "progressive" representative in Congress is incapable of pushing policies that can reform U.S. imperialism, much less slow down Israel's brutal occupation, as such policies are at odds with U.S. foreign policy goals.

U.S. imperialism exploits and robs the global south to the benefit of U.S. capitalists, by designing and implementing policies that range from utilizing soft power tactics like distributing propaganda, and the NGOization of popular grassroots movements, to more overtly violent tactics like war and conquest.

In West Asia (erroneously referred to as the "Middle East"), the United States maintains military bases in virtually every country in the region, including nuclear bomber bases.

At the same time, the U.S. props up right wing leaders who open up their economies to U.S. capitalist interests, actively promotes sectarian and racist propaganda to keep the people of the region fighting amongst themselves, and economically sanctions and invades countries that refuse to bow to U.S. dictats.

Israel fits into this picture of domination by serving as a forward operating base for the United States in one of the most geostrategically important regions of the world. It has been the linchpin of American "Middle East" Strategy since the end of the cold war.

Prominent U.S. policy makers have even gone so far as to describe Israel as the "largest unsinkable American aircraft carrier that cannot be sunk."

"Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk."

- Former US Secretary of State General Alexander Haig

Occupied Palestine's Strategic Location at the center of 3 continents cannot be understated.

More Representation has not slowed U.S. Funding to Israel

Israel's utility to U.S. imperialist goals is why in the last several years, despite a spike in elected "progressive" members of Congress (the Squad, Bernie, "Justice Democrats", etc), U.S funding for Israel has continued to increase by the billions.

2022 budget accounts for the additional $1 billion in Iron Dome funding that was approved by Congress.

Source: Jewish Virtual Library

At the time of this writing, there are over a dozen openly "Pro Palestine" (politicians who either campaigned with Palestine as a focus or made progressive comments during their campaigns) members of Congress in very important districts (like New York City) and many in crucial swing states (Minnesota, Michigan).

Unfortunately, the ability of these representatives to block even a single dollar from being sent to Israel has been non-existant.

In October 2021, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, voted "Present" rather than "No" on an additional $1 billion in military aid to Israel.

In the preceding month, Ilhan Omar and other "Justice" Democrats voted to approve U.S military aid of $3.8 billion to Israel in a vote that could have easily gone the other way (217-212).

hr4373 Above image displays how close the vote on H.R.4373 to approve $3.8 billion to Israel was.

Jamaal Bowman whose victory against right wing Zionist Eliot Engels was hailed as a victory for Palestinian activism quickly showed itself to be a farce when Bowman voted to approve an additional $1 billion in military aid to Israel. He was also quick to go on a J Street funded tour of Israel where he not only met with Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett but went on to reassure Israelis of his support for the Zionist project.

In each instance, members of Congress who had campaigned on Palestinian human rights were unable to vote in a way that would at a minimum slow down the delivery of weapons to the Israeli Occupation Forces.

On the contrary, U.S military and financial aid to Israel has nearly doubled under their watch.

On the Contradiction between Liberation and U.S. Electoral Politics

Even the most "Pro Palestine" members of Congress end up taking positions that no Palestinian could ever accept. The Right of Return as just one example, is almost always given up as a lost cause by U.S. politicians, despite it being guaranteed by international law.

At the same time, non profits that claim to speak on behalf of Palestinians will advocate for politicians that have voted to give billions in weapons to the Israeli military, all in the name of "movement building" or "strategy."

No genuine liberation movement in history has ever been built with people or institutions that vote to finance the bombs that will be dropped on them.

In imperialist and capitalist fashion, careerists necessitate movement building with U.S. politicians to perpetuate their roles as gatekeepers while maintaining their petite bourgeoise status. As a result, they end up taking positions that put them at odds with the desire for liberation demanded by Palestinians under Zionist occupation and those in refugee camps across the region.

Conclusion

The U.S. supports Israel because it is in the interest of U.S. imperialism to do so. Having more "pro-Palestine" candidates elected to public office won't change this fundamental fact.

To pretend otherwise detracts from effectively mobilizing our community to engage in the kinds of direct actions that lead to real political power. Instead our communities are constantly encouraged and in many cases guilted into championing politicians who will always vote against the interests of Palestinian liberation - because at the end of the day its their job to do so.

This isn't to say that people shouldn't get involved in electoral politics when there is a material benefit to do so but rather to remember the incredible limitations of U.S. electoral politics and that it is not, nor should it ever be considered a vehicle towards the liberation of Palestine.