[Editor's note: This insightful piece by Rabbi Lerner is in response to interview questions by another OpEdNews writer for a companion article, If Increased Sanction Resolution, 362, Could Give Bush License for a Naval Blockade Why Support It? ]
I am not an insider in this struggle. AIPAC and many other parts of the American Jewish establishment have bought into the paradigm of "domination over the other" as the only way to achieve safety and security in this world.Rather than recognizing that in the 21st century the only way to achieve security is through caring for others and a spirit of generosity and open-heartedness, they continue to live in the specter of the Holocaust and imagine that anyone who doesn’t see every threat as a mortal threat to our very existence must be naïve. That worldview has been part of human consciousness for thousands of years, wasn’t invented by Jews, and has shaped the consciousness of most ruling elites through history.
But there is a counter-consciousness, articulated in the Bible alongside moments of domination-consciousness attributed to God, and this counter-consciousness emphasizes the possibility of a world based on love, justice, peace and caring for others.We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives call it ‘the Strategy of Generosity’ and we’ve developed a specific manifestation of that when we call for a Global Marshall Plan as the best way for the U.S. and Israel to achieve homeland security. Please look at the details of our plan at www.spiritualprogressives.org.
From our standpoint, the blockade of Iranian oil is a provocative step meant to push Iran into taking counter-steps that would then allow Israel or the US to provide their own people with alleged justification for a larger assault.
The major forces pushing this are NOT the State of Israel and the American Jewish establishment, but the Vice President Cheney and the oil companies whose interests he serves. It is they who worry most about Iran emerging as the dominant force in the Middle East, particularly after the US moves out of Iraq in the years following an Obama election to the presidency.
They believe that such a situation would involve Iran having dominant influence in a Shiite dominated Iraq, and that between Iraq and Iran the Arabs might take serious moves to reduce the power of the oil companies and possibly even threaten the stability of Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia, which works hand-in-glove with US oil interests.
After having fought a war in Iraq so that we could hand over the oil fields to the US oil companies, something that was vigorously denied in the past but in the past few weeks has become the explicit goal of the US puppet regime in Iraq, US oil interests are not willing to see their promised mega profits be threatened by Iran.
They imagine that this may be their last moment (that is, from now till Jan. 20, 2009 when the new president takes office) at least for another four or eight years, and so they want to do something that could provoke a larger war that the new president would have to support.
They care little about Israel, except as a useful idiot pawn, a country so traumatized by fear that it imagines that it needs sole nuclear dominance in the Middle East to preserve its survival, and so is anxious to join or even lead any assault on Iranian potential nuclear sites.
But this is for the oil companies and the Bush Administration a side show—they could not care less if Israel were wiped out in the long run; what drives their policies is their fanatic commitment to the oil interests and to the super profits that they have no been able to amass.
The American Jewish Establishment, operating through AIPAC and many other sources, has aligned itself with this crusade of folly, first in Iraq and now in Iran. And they have been able to call upon many of their supporters in Congress to do likewise.
But then there are the majority of American Jews who do not support the war in Iraq and would not support a war in Iran unless it was perceived as being Israel’s only path to self-defense.We at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives (an interfaith organization) believe that the Strategy of Generosity and the Global Marshall Plan (introduced to Congress as House Resolution 1078 two months ago by Cong. Keith Ellison and others) represents the only plausible alternative to the Strategy of Domination.
And we are very disappointed that many Democrats, who do not support a war with Iran, still respond in a defensive way rather than articulate an alternative strategy—they seem to know what they are against, but until they know what they are for, and have a positive vision of an alternative way to achieve security for the US and Israel, they will be politically on the defensive and could well lose.