Ariel Beery
Dedicated to solving problems facing humanity with sustainable and scalable solutions

Blood for Oil 

Sign hung on the gates of UMB by National SDS and shared on Twitter on January 16, 2024. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

To win back the academy, we need to understand who is behind anti-Zionism and what they want to accomplish

It is hard to overestimate the victory the campus protests represent for the Oil Industry and the Kingdoms who depend on it for their survival. How gleeful they must be to see anti-Israel protests hot, and climate protests not. How proud they must be of their agents for pulling off one of the greatest rebrandings in history.

This victory was the result of a long, hard slog to reverse the sentiment best expressed in the early 2000s when protests across the world declared “No Blood for Oil.” When climate movements inspired people to imagine an Oil-Free world. If we want to truly understand the campus protests today and how the anti-Israel progressive consensus can coexist with the woke celebration of the tyrannies of Saudi Arabia and Iran, we need to first appreciate how this rebranding strategy turned things around for oil.

The story begins during the Yom Kippur War. In 1973, the Oil Kingdoms imposed an oil embargo on the developed world after realizing they could not eliminate Israel using hardsa power. The boycott kicked off decades of soft power campaigns: economic and diplomatic interventions to chip away at international support of Israel.

Unfortunately for them, the embargo backfired. On the one hand, the rising price of oil meant that they were richer than ever. On the other hand, the Kingdoms became associated with the losing side of the Cold War. This was reflected in popular culture, as they were increasingly featured as the enemies of the West. They did not want to pay that price, because what good is money if you can’t spend it in upscale fashion boutiques?

It was also around that time that scientists came to realize that petroleum was endangering the environment and would pose a problem for stability. The oil companies working with the Kingdoms set up their own private research projects to ascertain how serious the threat was and found it was existential to the nature of their business. Panic ensued. Just as the world was already down on the Kingdoms, the world was about to hear that the very thing the Kingdoms depended on to remain more than castles made of sand was killing the planet.

To counter this existential threat they set upon a strategy: cast doubt on climate risks (to milk their profits) and prop up a new enemy for the West to rally against (and who better than the Jews). The Kingdoms and the Oil companies launched a multi-decade campaign to buy up Energy Institutes, Middle East Institutes, academic journals, and university administrations using a fraction of the $3 trillion in profits they earned over the half century. By the early 1980s the effect became apparent for Israeli or Zionist professors and students and determined what they could and could not teach. Climate skepticism became successfully entrenched within an ideological wing of Western politics, propped up by the positive vibes coming from energy institutes in elite universities.

In the 1990s the tide seemed to be turning in their favor, but was interrupted by the impatient Saudi golden boy Osama Bin-Laden and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. This threw the Kingdoms into a frenzy of investments. They spent tens of billions to buy soccer teams, advance former Oil exes as politicians, host the World Cup, the WEF, and the climate-conference, COP. Tens of billions more went into universities. Tens of billions to prop up Hamas and the Houthis and build the Ring of Fire around Israel. All against the paltry hundreds of millions donated or invested by Jewish donors who had their ear to the ground and sought to warn the world.

Which brings us to the present day, and explains why Ohad Chemo reports that Hamas has been saying that “what is happening at Columbia is the most important development since 1948.” Because Columbia, and other campuses across the country, have proven to the Kingdoms that their fruits have ripened. Saudi Arabia is now seen by much of the global elite as a stabilizing force, the Qataris and their media network on the side of progress. Iran as a champion of freedom. An entire generation has abandoned climate protests and human liberty and focused their activist energies on the chosen enemy: Israel.

By conquering the University, the Oil Kingdoms have solidified their position. Decades of delays on climate legislation enabled them to optimize their profits, which they are now investing into the digital technologies that will define consciousness for the near future. By isolating Israel and keeping it embattled through international entanglements they’ve risen in international stature, returning to the limelight as the heroes they imagine themselves to be.

Israel and liberal societies who seek to remain free during the coming decades of climate chaos need to recognize this existential threat and align on a strategy to oppose it. It will be a long, hard slog to return international opinion to the liberal democratic, anti-oil camp. To make up for lost time on reindustrialization, to remind the world that Israel is not the enemy but the answer to its challenges. It will take at least 20 years if not 50. It will require hard work to clean our own house and rekindle our light unto the nations. But it must be done. No one has a greater interest in doing so than Israel and the Jews. Which is why we need to start working on it now.

If you are a Hebrew speaker, and would like to listen to this analysis, here is a podcast by TheMarker addressing the campus situation and its history.

About the Author
Ariel Beery is a strategist and institution builder dedicated to building a better future for Israel, the Jewish People, and humanity. His geopolitical writings - with deeper dives into the topics addressed in singular columns - can be found on his substack, A Lighthouse.
Related Topics
Related Posts