Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reflections on the future of Palestine and the Middle-East

Things are clearly heating up in the Middle-East again: a US-Israeli attack on Iran appears to be in the final stages of planning. Israel, which has finally clearly given up any pretense of being a civilized, never mind democratic, state, is now preventing dissident American Jews like Finkelstein or Chomsky from entering Israel. Former DIA and CIA analyst Philip Giraldi is suggesting that Israel may have to strike at Iran before August. Finally, Israeli forces have murdered humanitarian workers during what can be called either an act of piracy or war in international waters against the Freedom Flotilla and Turkey. Turkey and Israel now appear to be on collision course and it is unclear what the outcome of this latest confrontation might be.

Professor John J. Mearsheimer has recently presented an absolutely fascinating talk about the prospects for Israel and Palestine in the mid to long term. In a presentation entitled "The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners" Mearsheimer's prediction is summed up in this paragraph:

"Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream".

Mearsheimer basically believes that Israeli Jews do not want a Two-State solution, and I agree with him on that point. He also believes that Israel will not be able to massacre and expel enough Palestinians and the US Jews will not support an Apartheid state in the long term. These two latter assumptions needs to be looked at in the context of the recent developments in the region,

The humiliating defeat at the hands of about 1000 second-rate Hezbollah fighters (the elite Hezbollah units were kept north of the Litani river) in 2006 left the Israeli deterrence potential in tatters. Worse, the three-week long Gaza massacre of late 2008 – early 2009 did nothing to restore the prestige (?) or credibility of the Israeli military. Neither Iran, nor Hezbollah nor Hamas have any fear of Israel and its 'massacre potential'.

Lebanon is now clearly “Hezbollah territory” and there is nothing at all Israel can do in the foreseeable future to change this. The massive US-Israeli operation “birth of a new Middle-East” to co-opt Lebanon via its “Cedar Revolution,” the Hariri murder, and the Syrian withdrawal has ended in total failure. Egypt is, for the time being, under the boot of the Mubarak dictatorship, but the regime is clearly threatened by the situation in Gaza as the population of Egypt looks in disgust at how the Egyptian government has turned into a Shin Bet franchise. There is no reason at all to suspect that the Mubarak regime is eternal. In fact, it is probably a safe bet to assume that, eventually, it will be threatened by Islamist forces.

While nobody seriously believes that Iran is developing nuclear weapons right under the nose of the IAEA and its inspectors, Iran is becoming a real regional power and it is doing so while openly defying both Israel and the USA and that is far more dangerous to the US-Israeli Empire than any nuclear weapon.

In Israel itself, a vast majority of Israeli Jews have reached what Gilad Atzmon has called a “point of no return”. 94% of them approved of the Gaza massacre and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to suspect that they are now having second thoughts. Just one look at the images of the Israeli crowds rejoicing over their “naval victory” over the Freedom Flotilla and it becomes clear that Atzmon is absolutely correct.

Unsurprisingly, Israel's public image in the world is in tatters and world opinion is finally seeing Israel for what it is: an abominable experiment in imperialism, colonialism, racism and Fascism. The more the Israelis try to “teach the Arabs a lesson” by engaging in all sorts of atrocities, the more reviled that state is.

The exception to this quasi universal disgust with Israel is, of course, the USA, where the Zionists are now in total control of the White House, Congress and the corporate media. It is hard to imagine, but the Obama administration might well turn out to be even more subservient to Israel than the Neocon controlled Bush The Lesser's administration was: Rahm Emanuel is the “new Dick Cheney” but the latter was at least only a ruthless opportunist, not an ideologue a-la-Trotsky like Emanuel clearly is.

As for US public opinion, it is wholly irrelevant on any foreign policy issues. Each time Americans vote for something, they get the exact opposite and, yet, nobody seriously protests.

How long this control of the USA by Zionist interests will last is anybody's guess, but with the current economic crisis turning into a catastrophe, time is running out for Israel and some dramatic action needs to be taken by the Israeli leaders to stop the slow-motion weakening and eventual collapse of their “ethnically pure” state. If they want to prevent this outcome, Jewish leaders need to take dramatic action very soon. Mearsheimer believes that two factors will greatly restrict their margin of freedom:

a) the Israelis cannot kill or expel all the Palestinians

b) American Jews will not support a Jewish Apartheid regime in Israel.

I think that both of these assumptions are fundamentally mistaken.

The Gaza massacre has clearly shown that the vast majority of Israeli Jews are willing to commit any number of atrocities in what they would refer to as “self-defense” or in defense of self-perceived “existential interests of the Jewish state of Israel.” Not only that, but I would argue that most Israelis see the extermination of Palestinians as a vital necessity for their own survival. Why? Because of all of the horrors they themselves have inflicted on the native Palestinians since the creation of the “Jewish state.”

This is a well-known phenomenon in history, sociology and politics. The perpetrators of atrocities project themselves onto their victims and then become terrified of possible retaliation. Having watched the IDF bombard Gaza with White Phosphorus from specially organized sighting platforms (with drinks, snacks and binoculars), the Israeli Jews expect absolutely no mercy whatsoever from the Palestinians should the latter ever become free. Just like White Americans were terrified of their Black slaves revolting and killing them, the Israeli Jews have recurrent nightmares about a “second Holocaust” happening at the hands of the native population of Palestine and the rest of the Middle-East.

Israeli Jews have shown no mercy, no humanity, towards the Palestinians whatsoever and they expect none in return (regardless of what Palestinians might or might not feel).

It is true that the IDF has not killed all Gazans yet. Not even close, in fact. But that is not due to any kind of humanity, but only to the fact that this is politically impossible, at least for the time being. But, as I have shown above, the views on Israel are becoming increasingly polarized: the world at large loathes Israel while the US Government literally worships Jews and Israelis irrespective of what the latter are actually doing.

That is what is crucial here – there is probably very little Israel can do at this point in time to ingratiate itself with most of the planet, and there is definitely nothing the Israelis can do to alienate the US elites. So the argument that the Israelis cannot commit genocide in Palestine because of the political costs of such a crime is really not true any more. The arrogance and hubris with which the Israelis have insulted the Turks over and over again clearly shows that they don't care one bit about what anybody thinks. As long as they have the USA as a protector, the Israelis think they can afford to ignore the rest of mankind.

To simply assume that the Israelis are not capable of a Rwandan-style genocide in Palestine is extremely naive, in particular if a major massacre of Palestinians is committed concurrently with a war against Iran, when all the corporate media will be watching the events in Iran and when the Israeli propaganda machine will have no problem justifying a military operation to kill and/or expel most, if not all, Palestinians under the heading of “self-defense” and “preventing another Holocaust.”

What about an overtly Apartheid-like regime in Israel. Would US Jews oppose it?

Contrary to the delusions of visceral Jew-haters, American Jews are a very diverse lot. It is enough to read all the “oy veh's!” about intermarriage in US Jewish magazines and websites to realize that the so-called Jewish community is not nearly as monolithic as it often appears to be. Still, there is a powerful tribal reflex at work in most American Jews, including non-religious ones, and the binary world view of “us and them” has left a deep mark on most American Jews. Such a view is carefully and systematically maintained by an endless stream of discussions and in the media about the “Holocaust” and “anti-Semitism”. Add to this all the propaganda about terrorism, and you get a Jewish populace that is mentally “circling the wagons”.

Of course – some American Jews see straight through that nonsense, but what happens with them next is crucial to our argument: they break off their ties with the “psychological shtetl” of Jewish tribalism and re-join the rest of mankind. They do so either on their own initiative, or because they are firmly shown to the door. Tellingly, over 7'000+ of them have already been listed on the so called SHIT list (Self-Hating and Israel-Threatening list of Jews); one can, of course, dismiss such a list as the action of loonies, which it is, but the mindset is clear – Jews critical of Israel or Zionism are traitors who need to be ostracized and expelled from the tribe.

This is thing which Mearsheimer is missing: “J Street” notwithstanding, the more American Jews emancipates themselves from the oppressive confines of their “mental shtetl” of Jewish tribalism, the less influence they will have over other American Jews. The result of this constant process of “purification” is truly frightening: the hate of the other, the paranoid fear of a 2nd Holocaust, the active support for any and all atrocities committed in the name of Israel - all of these have now become core defining elements of the US Jewish ethos. Thus we are faced with a great paradox: for all their superficial differences, US and Israeli Jews are very much alike in one crucial aspect: they suffer from unmistakable signs of sociopathic/antisocial personality disorder.

The term sociopath (or psychopath) is mostly used as an insult, yet it has a precise medical meaning. Here is the list of the traits exhibited by psychopaths of the “aggressive narcissist” type according to the famous Hare Psychopathy Checklist:

1. Glibness/superficial charm

2. Grandiose sense of self-worth

3. Pathological lying

4. Cunning/manipulative

5. Lack of remorse or guilt

6. Shallow affect

7. Callous/lack of empathy

8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Is that not an excellent description of the Israeli ethos?

It goes without saying that this list was developed to diagnose individuals, not social or cultural groups, and the comparison can only go so far. Still, does that list not strike you as a perfect description of the Israeli mindset? Does it not also fit the US Zionists like a glove?

Still not convinced?

Check out this list of the traits of a dissocial personality disorder according to the World Health Organization:

1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others and lack of the capacity for empathy.

2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.

3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.

4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.

5. Incapacity to experience guilt and to profit from experience, particularly punishment.

6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior bringing the subject into conflict.

7. Persistent irritability.

(Note that according to the WHO, it takes only three such traits to be diagnosed as being dissocial).

It really does not matter whether we refer to it as sociopathy, psychopathy or dissocial personality disorder. What is crucial here is to understand that collectively, if not individually, the vast majority of Israeli and American Jews clearly display unmistakable signs of a what we could call a “collective personality disorder” and that it would be therefore extremely naive to expect them to act in in accordance with what sane people would consider a rational manner.

As soon as we factor in the fact that a large majority of Israeli and American Jews display all the signs of well developed personality disorder we can make sense of behavior which otherwise would seem just bizarre, criminal or self-defeating. Take for example the fact that 94% of Israeli Jews approved of the way the Gaza massacre was executed. That is a clear example of the kind of “lack of empathy” which sociopaths or dissocial individuals display. Or take the systematic violation of all norms of international law. Is that not a case of a “gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules and obligations”. And does the famous statement of Rabbi Yaacov Perrin “"One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail" not qualify as an extreme example of a “grandiose sense of self-worth?” Norman Finkelstein is quite correct when he says that Israel is a “lunatic state”. That is quite literally true.

If we now look again at Mearsheimer's two assumptions (#1: Israelis cannot kill or expel all the Palestinians and #2: American Jews will not support a Jewish Apartheid regime in Israel) we can clearly see how deeply flawed they are. While “normal” people are unlikely to engage in mass murder or support racist repression, people with a “aggressive narcissist” disorder run amok are, in fact, very likely to support both.

What this means for the Middle-East is that Israel cannot be expected to act as a “rational actor”. No matter what the Palestinians will say or do, the Israelis will view them as an existential threat. No matter what Iran does, Israel will also view it as an existential threat.

To the Israelis the notion “one man one vote”, when applied to both Jews and Palestinians, does not mean just the loss of their “identity”, but a “2nd Holocaust”, something which they will accept under no circumstances. In their paranoid mind, to demand democracy for non-Jews in Israel is nothing less than demanding a collective suicide and that they will oppose by all, and I mean all, means.

Remember, Israeli Jews have shown no humanity at all to the Palestinians, and they are therefore quite certain that should the Palestinians ever be allowed to rule over them, even by casting an election ballot, that will result in a “2nd Holocaust”.

Likewise, the very idea that Iran might one day, even in the distant future, acquire a nuclear weapon, even a single one, also immediately conjures images of a “2nd Holocaust” in the Israeli collective mind. As for the argument that even if Iran acquired one or many nuclear devices and delivery vehicles, it would never dare to use them against Israel since Israel has several hundered such nuclear systems, and since the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has promised that the USA would “obliterate Iran” if it attacked Israel (nevermind that the USA has no treaty of any kind with Israel), this argument is worthless for the Israelis. First, because they expect the “Mullahs” of being just as crazy as they are, and second, because in their eyes a Jewish life has an almost infinite value whereas the life of a non-Jew is essentially worthless (that is what Rabbinical Judaism, that creation of the sect of the Pharisees, teaches in numerous passages of the Talmud). Mutual assured destruction just does not make sense if you assume that your opponent is utterly insane and if you believe that your opponent's life is worthless too.

Bottom line: the Israelis will attempt to either kill or expel the vast majority of Palestinians currently living in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel proper and they will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against any state or force which would threaten their ability to do so.

The case of American Jews is somewhat different. Except for a very few truly crazy characters, most of them realize that they are under no personal threat whatsoever, nor is their community in the USA. The key to understanding the outlook of American Jews is to realize a simple thing: neither Judaism, nor Zionism is really central to their identity. Most American Jews are either secular or very superficially religious: only 16% attend synagogue at least once a month, only 1/6th of them maintain a kosher diet, and even a short visit to pretty much any US Jewish website will convince you that “intermarriage” and “apostasy” are major issues in the Jewish community. Yet, 80% of US Jews also claim a “strong connection” to Judaism. What does this mean? If it's not Judaism as a religion, and if it is not Zionism (or they would be living in Israel), then what is left?

What is left is what the Israeli investigative journalist Shraga Elam calls the “Holocaust Religion”, which Gilad Atzmon describes in the following manner:

'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas ('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).

At the center of this religion's dogmatic theology is the truly terrifying notion that each “goy” is a potential Himmler and that the only thing which can prevent an otherwise almost inevitable “2nd Holocaust” are only two things: eternal Jewish vigilance and Jewish power.

This Holocaust religion is what is really at the core of identity of US Jews and its power is such that it can elicit the most contradictory behavior from otherwise very sane American Jews. A perfect example of the latter is the case of the only socialist in Congress, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who has had a long track of rather progressive views, but who actually voted for a resolution supporting the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006. This resolution actually included the following words:

...recognizes Israel’s longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and welcomes Israel’s continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties.

How does a putative “socialist” suddenly find a way to praise “ Israel’s longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss”?! The fear of AIPAC cannot explain that (Sanders openly opposed the war on Iraq). Nor is Sanders known to be a religious Jew, or a big supporter of Zionism. And yet, on this crucial vote, he voted against everything he supposedly stands for. Amazing, no?

In a tragic sense, the case of Sander is emblematic of most US Jews. Yes, most of them are liberals (at least in the US meaning of the word), and most of them care about human and civil rights. But when it comes to Israel, they are either supporters or, at best, they remain strangely silent, looking away from what is happening there.

It is quite true that the mass murder in Lebanon in 2006, followed by the mass murder in Gaza in 2008-2009, the current blockade of Gaza and the daily systematic and wholesale violation of basic human rights in occupied Palestine are having an impact on many American Jews1. However, as I mentioned earlier, most of them would rather leave than “fight from within” and face the hateful mob and its accusations of being a “moser”, a “meshumad” or their modern and secular equivalent: a “self-hating Jew”. At a time when a Zionist with stellar credentials like Richard Goldstone can be called an “anti-Semite” by no less than an Israeli Minister, who would want to speak up against Zionist crimes? Sure, courageous dissidents like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Philip Weiss or Max Blumenthal will stand up and denounce the likes of Dershowitz or Lieberman, but most will just quietly leave in disgust.

For most US Jews the unconditional support for Israel and its policies is not a political choice, it is an existential issue, almost a soteriological one: be it because Israeli Jews need to be saved from the evil Arabs and Muslims worldwide, or because Israel needs to be preserved as a “Jewish state” in case the local goyim bare their fangs and re-start the gas chambers – the support for Israel is not something which US Jews are ever going to seriously reconsider.

Paradoxically, the fact that Israel has become a pariah state and that Zionism is, yet again, seen as a violent and ugly form or racism (UN resolutions abrogating each other notwithstanding), makes diaspora Jews not less, but even more pro-Israeli. They see the worldwide opposition to Israeli polices and Zionist ideas as a clear sign of a resurgent “new anti-Semitism”. Just like in Bertold Brecht's nightmares, most Jews sincerely believe that “"The belly is still fertile that gave birth to the vile beast"2 – and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change that. Since Israel has no friends (well, besides the USA, of course, and some politicians in Europe), then who will help it?

Botton line: hearing the distant voice of Hillel the Elder saying “If I am not for myself, who will be? And when I am for myself, what am 'I'? And if not now, when?" most diaspora Jews will also “circle the wagon” and defend Israel no matter what, quite literally.

The situation for Israel is deteriorating very rapidly: Israel is losing on all fronts simultaneously: military, political, demographic, public image, social and economic – all the signs of a soon-to-come Götterdämmerung (“Teufeldämmerung” ?) are at hand and Ahmadinejad is absolutely correct when he says that Israel “is aware that it has reached the end of the line and will soon fade away from the earth”.

Take for example the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions): while its economic impact on Israel is negligible, its public-relations effect is huge: by raising the comparison between Israel and South African Apartheid, the BDS movement is achieving the delegitimization of the “Jewish state” which the Zionists greatly fear. Why? Because the real effect of the BDS movement is to make the unconditional support for Israel very costly for European and US politicians. Not now, not yet – but in the long run, support for Israel will become as socially unacceptable as the support for Apartheid South Africa.

With the current ruling elites in Europe and the USA, Israel is quite safe since these elites will always put their subservience to Israel above the will of their peoples. So for the immediate and near future, this diffuse danger will not materialize into a specific threat. But combined with a severe economic crisis, this frustration might just combine with a general alienation from the ruling elites and result in an eventual overthrow of the Zionist ruling elite. That is the real danger: not the elites turning away from their unconditional support for Israel, but these elites being overthrown in the course of a collapse of the socio-political system currently in power. In other words, not a change in government – which happens in the West on a regular basis, but a change in regime – something which has never happened in the history of the United States.

This is one of the reasons why the ruling elite in the USA is so terrified of the 9/11 Truth movement. If the general public would somehow truly become aware of the fact that 9/11 was, indeed an “inside job” this would delegitimize not only the current government or the Administration of George Bush Jr., but the entire structure of power. And once that regime crumbles, the blowback against the decades of abuse, exploitation and deception of the American people by the Zionists will be truly massive. This is the “big fear” behind all the curtailment of civil rights in the post 9/11 USA.

The regimes in Israel and the USA have gone from allies to accomplices and they are locked together into a “do or die” dynamic in which both regimes need to either maintain total control over as much of our planet as possible or perish. The irony, of course, is that this misguided “survival strategy” puts these two regimes or, should I say, this single bi-national regime, on a collision course with the rest of the planet. Bush's idiotic slogan about “you are either with us or against us” is now becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and it appears that nobody, besides a small plutocratic elite, is with the USA and Israel.

Barring some totally unforeseen development, we should expect that neither Israel nor the USA will in any way soften or otherwise alter their course. Israel will pursue a mix of two fundamental policies: external aggression and internal slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians. At the same time, both the USA and Israel will become weaker and weaker, not only in military terms, but also in political terms. This will lead them into a desperate attempt to “restore order” and go on the offensive against their enemies.

An attack against Iran is therefore inevitable. As is the use of nuclear weapons by Israel at some point in time. And even though both of these lunacies will fail to accomplish their stated objectives, both of them are inevitable simply because these are all the cards left in the US-Israeli Empire's hands.

On the Palestinians side the only viable strategy is extremely simple: the Palestinians need to return to the “three no's” of the 1967 Khartoum Resolution: "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it." Furthermore, at least the third of the three no's should be extended to the USA itself (what is the point of “negotiating” with Rahm Emanuel and his minions?).

The Palestinians simply have no other option. Peace with those who see your extermination as a vital necessity and who view your very existence as an “existential threat” is pointless. “Recognizing Israel” simply means agreeing to the genocide of Palestinians. And, needless to say, there is absolutely nothing to negotiate about. Sadly, the situation in the Middle-East is one example of something exceedingly rare in international relations: a real zero-sum game in which any gain by one side entails a loss for the other side. In such a situation there is only one possible outcome: a complete and comprehensive victory by one side over the other.

On one side, we have the last openly racist state on the planet which has also succeeded in taking all the key power centers of a superpower like the USA and on the other – we have the rest of the planet and the very notions of decency, humanity, democracy, freedom, truth, justice and peace. In a deep sense, we are all Palestinians and we must globalize the Intifada. And, of course, we will prevail simply because what Israel stands for is inherently inhuman and evil and nothing can be truly built on evil. The Soviet Union had far more nuclear weapons than Israel will ever have, yet it was defeated by the combined action of innumerable factors which all contributed to its downfall. The same thing will happen to the “Jewish state of Israel”. One need not be steeped in the Three Laws of Dialectics to realize how unstable the current situation is: the writing is on the wall for Israel as a “Jewish state” with all that this abominable concept entails. Just like all the other abominable and anti-human ideologies which caused the deaths of millions of people in the 20th century, Zionism will eventually defeats itself and cause the collapse of the nations which embraced it.

The Saker


1 Hardcore Jew-haters and assorted racists can deny that ad nauseam, but Jews are humans “just like us”: they have the same basic conscience (what the Church Fathers called the “Law of the Heart”), the same inner sense of right and wrong, and to assume otherwise is mimicking the worst racism of the Pharisees, Talmudists and Kabbalists who believe that God had created “real humans” and “apparent humans”. From a Christian perspective, to deny the common humanity of all races (assuming there is such a thing as a 'race', which I personally doubt very much) is a modern version of the Iconoclast heresy: a denial of the image of God in all humans (Christianity see all humans as living icons in image, but not in likeness. [I apologize for this digression which I include solely for the benefit of those who daydream about some “Western Christian civilization” while they themselves subscribe to racist views which are nothing short of a grievous heresy from a traditional Christian point of view].

2“Der Bauch, aus dem das Boese kroch, ist fruchtbar noch