The fact that Israel receives billions each year from the US taxpayer as our politicians in Washington endlessly pledge their devotion to the “special relationship,” has led many observers to liken the pro-Israel lobby in America to a parasite that has invaded a host.
It’s a powerful analogy, so much so that even books have been published expounding at length upon the idea.
Most of us, when we hear the word “parasite,” think of such creatures as ticks, tapeworms, or giardia, which, upon gaining a foothold, may feed upon a host’s blood or gastrointestinal microbiota.
But within the world of parasitology, we come across the phenomenon of parasites that literally take over the host, compelling it into certain acts and behaviors that it otherwise would not exhibit. In many cases these actions can be quite pronouncedly detrimental to the host’s own interests.
In other words, there are certain parasites that can, strictly speaking, literally take control of the host’s mind.
One such example is a microbial creature known as Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that infects rats and mice. Upon ingestion, it produces a condition known as toxoplasmosis, the main symptom of which is that the rodent is drawn to cats, losing its natural fear of them. This occurs because the rodent, under the influence of the parasite, becomes sexually attracted to a pheromone in cat urine.
In inducing this effect, the Toxoplasma gondii is clearly acting in its own interests rather than the mouse’s. The parasite’s goal is to get inside a cat’s stomach–because cats are the only medium in which the parasite can sexually reproduce. But of course it produces a pattern of behavior in the rodent that eventually leads to the latter’s own destruction.
Another example is the Glyptapanteles, a genus of wasp that is classified as a parasitoid, a parasite that kills its own host. This wasp will single out a baby caterpillar and lay its eggs upon the rather hapless creature, and as the caterpillar grows, so do the eggs–inside the caterpillar.
When the eggs, or larvae, reach a certain stage of development, they will emerge from the caterpillar, literally boring through its skin, to reach the outside, and once out of the caterpillar they then settle nearby and begin pupation, i.e. the metamorphic transformation from a pupa to an adult insect.
It is at this point that the caterpillar becomes the protector of the wasp pupae. It covers them with silk in order to protect them until they reach maturity. It refuses to eat until they hatch, and if another insect approaches it will fight it away with violent head swings. Eventually, after the adult wasps emerge from their pupae, it dies.
The photo I’ve posted above shows such an enslaved caterpillar–one that has become obsessed with protecting the wasp pupae. The video below shows a similarly-situated caterpillar in action–basically fighting wars on the wasp’s behalf:
It’s of course one way of looking at America’s endless wars on behalf of Israel, particularly the war now taking place in Syria.
In a post yesterday I included a video which featured an edition of the RT program “Cross Talk.” One of the guests on the program is Mohammed Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran. I usually find Marandi’s commentaries interesting, and his February 15 appearance on Cross Talk was no exception. In one segment of the show, he commented how “everything that the United States does in this region is about Israel.”
In a later segment in the same show, Marandi commented that “one wonders who is in charge in the United States.” He could perhaps just as easily have contemplated the question of who is in charge–the host or the parasite:
A bit earlier I alluded to a type of parasite known as a “parasitoid.” This is a parasitic organism that kills its own host. If we think of Israel and its lobby as a parasite, the question might leave us wondering, then, if the calamitous effects we are seeing in our country today are a result of the deleterious actions of a parasitoid.
Or maybe to put it another way: will the fighting of needless wars abroad and the seemingly endless attacks on the First Amendment here at home eventually do us in completely–much like the mice running up to befriend the cats or the caterpillars banging their heads on behalf of the Glyptapanteles wasp?
If you look at the caterpillars infected with the Glyptapanteles, the mice infected with the Toxoplasma gondii, or numerous other animals vitiated and contaminated by parasitoids, it is, as Marandi puts it, hard to know “who is in charge.”
This is something all Americans need to think about. Our own survival could be at stake.