When American officials yammer on about the United States and Israel’s “shared values,” they certainly get one thing right: both the United States and Israel have armed and supported brutal dictatorships and assisted in the repression of dissent in many countries around the world.
Writing at the London Review of Books, British-Pakistani author Tariq Ali examines the recent unrest in Kashmir, the region between Pakistan and India that has been a flash point for conflict since the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947. Protests have recently erupted over the killings of Kashmiris by Indian forces. Kashmir, like Palestine, is suffering under the boot of military occupation.
An ugly anti-Muslim chauvinism accompanies India’s violence. It has been open season on Muslims since 9/11, when the liberation struggle in Kashmir was conveniently subsumed under the war on terror and Israeli military officers were invited to visit Akhnur military base in the province and advise on counter-terrorism measures. The website India Defence noted in September 2008 that ‘Maj-Gen Avi Mizrahi paid an unscheduled visit to the disputed state of Kashmir last week to get an up-close look at the challenges the Indian military faces in its fight against Islamic insurgents. Mizrahi was in India for three days of meetings with the country’s military brass and to discuss a plan the IDF is drafting for Israeli commandos to train Indian counterterror forces.’ Their advice was straightforward: do as we do in Palestine and buy our weapons. In the six years since 2002 New Delhi had purchased $5 billion-worth of weaponry from the Israelis, to good effect.
Throughout Israel’s history, they have exported their tactics of occupation and repression to many other regions around the world, telling them, as Ali put it, to “do as we do in Palestine and buy our weapons.”
Israel had an extensive relationship with the South African apartheid regime, as revealed in this book by Sasha Polakow Suransky.
And there’s also Israel’s history of backing abhorrent regimes in Latin America, at the behest of the United States, during the Cold War, according to this article from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:
Subsidized by the CIA, Israel served U.S. interests well beyond the immediate region, setting up dependable client regimes (usually military-based dictatorships) to control local societies. Noam Chomsky has documented this extensively: Israel was the main force that established the Mobutu dictatorship in Zaire, for example. They also supported Idi Amin in Uganda, early on, as well as Haile Selasse in Ethopia, and Emperor Bokassa in the Central African Republic.
Israel became especially useful when the U.S. came under popular human rights pressure in the 1970s to stop supporting death squads and dictatorships in Latin America. The U.S. began to use Israel as a surrogate to continue its support. Chomsky documents how Israel established close relations with the neo-Nazi and military regimes of Argentina and Chile. Israel also supported genocidal attacks on the indigenous population of Guatemala, and sent arms to El Salvador and Honduras to support the contras.
What wonderful “shared values.”