Israel Descends Into Barbarism

Date:

States with Israel’s apartheid status — one hopes — have no long-term future in the modern world

Lawrence Davidson

Unless you are the victim of a moral narrow-mindedness (and there seems to be an epidemic of this defect nowadays), it should be obvious to you that Israel has descended into barbarism.

Why barbarism? Because in Israel, cruel, murderous, and otherwise criminal behavior has become state policy. Let’s review the signs of this meltdown:

— Establishing an apartheid state to satisfy a racist ideological doctrine.

— Committing “probable” genocide in Gaza. 

— Committing mass executions at, among other places, Gaza hospitals.

— Issuing orders to shoot unarmed Palestinian civilians.

— Torture and murder of Palestinian detainees.

— Inducing an artificial famine in Gaza.

— Blocking humanitarian aid.

— Systematic destruction of most of the infrastructure needed to sustain human life in the Gaza Strip.

— Committing increasing numbers of pogroms against Palestinian villages and towns on the West Bank.

All of this is documented in the reports of credible human rights organizations (including Israel’s own), United Nations agencies, as well as in the decisions of the International Court of Justice. Face it, this is not a matter of opinion or perspective — be it President Joe Biden’s or anyone else’s. It is a matter of (often televised) fact. 

The Excuses

Israeli Jews, and Zionists generally, get really mad when you cite the above facts without referencing their excuses. So, let’s run down some of them:

 Israeli behavior in Gaza is one of self-defense in reaction to the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

The way the Israelis talk about the Oct. 7 action is as if there never was an Oct. 6 or, for that matter, as specifically regards Gaza, the prior 17 years running back to 2006. 

Erez Check Point in the Gaza-Israel border wall. (Catholic Church England and Wales, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The history of those years helps put the lie to Israel’s claim of self-defense.

In January of 2006 there was an internationally supervised national election in Palestine. Because of the corruption associated with Fatah, the party that controlled the Palestine National Authority (PNA), and Fatah’s cooperation with the Israeli occupation, Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, won the election. Hamas’ reputation had been one of honesty and reliability and it had always insisted on continued resistance to Israeli occupation.

Israel’s reaction to the Hamas victory was to arrest members of the new government resident on the West Bank. The United States and other European powers demanded that Hamas carry on the PNA’s collaborative relationship with Israel. 

Hamas refused. 

The U.S., Israel, and Fatah started to conspire on ways to annul the election and destroy Hamas. By 2007, Israel, with  the cooperation of Egypt, instituted a blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The blockade was the equivalent of a process of de-development that impoverished over one million people. Periodic armed Israeli incursions into the Strip kept up the persecutional tension. The Gaza Strip was transformed into an “open air prison.”

To this picture might be added the fact that all prior attempts at negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians had been sabotaged by Israel because any compromise settlement would have undermined the Zionist ideological determination to turn all of Palestine into a “Jewish” controlled land. 

August 2016: During a visit to southern Israel, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon visited the Kerem Shalom crossing point to see how goods enter and leave the Gaza Strip. (U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Under the circumstances, the only party really exercising “self-defense” on Oct. 7, 2023, was the Palestinians under the leadership of Hamas and other allied resistance groups.

That is the assertion of Yair Lapid, the head of Israel’s opposition party. He has no doubt that Hamas wants to kill Jews because they are Jews. He feels that the Israelis have only one other option than to fight the war in Gaza and that is to allow themselves “to be murdered.”

Lapid is convinced that Americans objecting to how Israel fights in Gaza don’t understand the complexity of the situation. And that includes “the betrayal of the intellectuals. Meaning the intellectuals of the West, or some of them.” 

He assures us that “Israel is not committing genocide. That the Israeli army is behaving honorably. Israel is not doing anything but defending itself in a war we didn’t want.”

And finally, Lapid warns that if you hear any other version of this story “it’s not the right one. And I was involved, so I know.” 

Lapid meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jerusalem on Jan. 31. (State Department/Ron Przysucha, Public domain)

Lapid was raised, as he tells us, “an Israeli patriot.” That translates into being raised in a controlled, closed-information environment. So his point of view is predictable, but also consequently, lacking in an unbiased historical context. 

Israeli Jews have never been at risk of being kicked into the sea. The State of Israel has never been seriously in danger of losing a war. What has always been dubious is Israel’s status as a democracy. 

What is putting Zionist Israel in real danger is the growing international doubts on this score — on the Zionist state’s similarity to an apartheid state like the one South Africa used to be. Such states have, one hopes, no long term future in the modern world.

Israel’s war of “self-defense” on the Palestinians is only showing the rest of the world Israel’s capacity for barbarism — behavior Lapid excuses because “things are complex.”

— The Gaza War is like World War II.

Damaged buildings in Gaza, Dec. 6, 2023. (Tasnim News Agency, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This is the assertion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. By which he means that Israel is fighting surrogate Nazis and so, reducing the Gaza Strip to Dresden in February 1945, is not a war crime. Such slaughter is just an unfortunate consequence of “self-defense.” 

This comparison reflects the fact that anti-Semitism, particularly in the extreme Holocaust version, has long defined the Israeli view of Palestinian motives and behavior. 

However, when viewed from the outside, objectively, this borders on delusion. For instance, the Palestinian attack of Oct. 7 (which is supposed to demonstrate the incurable and murderous anti-Semitism of the Palestinians) led to the death of some 1,200 Israelis, a number of whom died as the result of the “friendly fire” of Israeli helicopter gunships and tanks. 

We really don’t know the ratio of Israelis killed by invading Palestinian forces and those who were slain by Israeli responders. In response, the Israelis have, to date, killed, in a largely indiscriminate manner, around 35,000 Palestinians.

Whatever is the desire of some Palestinians to rid the world of Zionists, they do not have the capacity to do so. On the other hand, there appears to be multiple generations of Israelis who want to rid the world (or at least their part of the world) of Palestinians and they do have the capacity to do it. 

What Netanyahu characterizes as a struggle like World War II is actually the Israelis, convinced of their own status as victims, waging a war of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.

What Is At Stake?

  1. The nature of Jewish Israel is at stake.

What we are witnessing in terms of Israeli behavior in Gaza is yet another example of learned fanaticism. This is the type of indoctrination that, as Thomas Suarez notes, allowed the Israelis to see their own terrorism as “self-defense.” 

Whether based on religious myth or multi-generational, state-generated storytelling, the outlook among Israeli Jews has been predetermined. That outlook has paved the way for barbarism.

Thus, concerning the Palestinians, the difference in political aims of Yair Lapid, Benjamin Netanyahu, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the right-wing setters, the religious parties, etc. is one of nuance — variations on a basically apartheid theme for Israel’s future. 

This is not an outlook arrived at through independent reasoning. It is a community supported, indoctrinated outlook that can only be overcome by some sort of shock treatment. Success of the BDS movement and the International Criminal Court indicting Israeli leaders would certainly be steps in the right direction.

  1. Israel’s relationship to the United States is also at stake.

Leaving aside Donald Trump, it is hard to imagine a future U.S.  president taking the same unqualified pro-Israel stand as Joe Biden. The die has also been cast for the Democratic Party — even if Biden is reelected (and for sure if he is not reelected) the political influence of the U.S. Zionist lobby will never again stand unopposed. Opposition should increase as long as Israel does “what comes naturally” to an apartheid state.

  1. The Nature of the Palestinian struggle is at stake.

Ceasefire Now – Stop the War on Gaza protest in London, Oct. 28, 2023. (Steve Eason, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

We are also witnessing a sea change in the posture of the Palestinian people. The present powerful example of tenacious resistance will now help to define their ultimate fate. There is a horrible irony in this, for it took the near total destruction of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing pogroms in the West Bank to convince much of the world that Israel cannot have its way with the Palestinians.

Therefore, it is through this terrible destruction that the Palestinians have positioned themselves for long-term survival. The West must bear much responsibility for this high price.  

  1. The nature and character of the Jewish people worldwide is most certainly at stake.

The Jewish people and religion are at a crossroads. Zionism is a political ideology the logic of which has led straight to the creation of a “Jewish” apartheid state. 

As is the case with the facts that have led to its practice of genocide and pogroms, Israel’s apartheid status is not a matter of opinion or perspective. Again, documented by just about every credible human rights organization on the planet, it is a matter of fact. 

Yet, persistently the Zionists are shouting from the rooftops that Zionism is synonymous with the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. It seems that they have managed to get this high volume message accepted by American power elites through the offering of large sums of money to politicians, or the threat to withhold those sums from universities. 

Given the slogan that “the medium is the message,” this suggests that the Zionists want us to accept the idea of bribe money an integral part of their Judaism (an anti-Semitic proposition).

Against this heresy stand Jewish organizations that insist that the Zionists can’t do this “in my name.” In the U.S. and perhaps Western Europe too, these anti-Zionists, who care about their ethnic and religious values, constitute a sizable plurality of Jews. 

Signs at a Gaza ceasefire rally and march in Washington, D.C., on Oct 28, 2023. (Diane Krauthamer, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Make no mistake, there is really no meaningful room for compromise between these two sides. If the Zionists prevail, Israel’s prime minister will become the equivalent of a Jewish Pope. I know that sounds very strange!

As suggested above, there is something dreadfully predictable about Israeli behavior in Gaza. You can actually arrange for people (any people) to behave this way. You don’t even have to do it consciously. 

People instinctively break down into groups: families, friendship circles, tribes, communities, states, etc. The message of each group, that it is somehow “special,” also seems to commonly arise. The exploitation of such a message by all manner of politicians also is an historical constant.

Given these impulses, the real work is not to prod local groups to be hostile toward the “other.” The real work is to prevent them from doing so. 

That is, among other things, what humanitarians and other true progressives try to do. But it ain’t easy. Why is it such a struggle? Because feelings of suspicion and fear appear to come naturally, both genetically or environmentally. This is perhaps the best explanation of why the struggle for justice seems to never end. 

Regardless, it is a remarkable and truly wonderful fact that some folks break the pattern and are out there to wage this struggle. About 90 years ago the cause was the right of Jews to life and liberty. Today the cause is the same rights for Palestinians. History does in fact repeat itself.

Courtesy: Consortium News

 

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