Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Your enemies enemies, not always your best allies

I would call myself a Marxist, of the libertarian variety, who has long supported the Palestinians' right to self-determination. However, there seems to be nothing positive in today's discourse on the Middle East, and on Israel in particular.

These days, your enemies enemies are certainly not always your best allies. Contemporary criticism of Israel by the left reveals more about the un-critical outlook of the left than it does about any possible solution to the Palestinian question.

Talk of 'Nazis', 'ZioNazis' or 'Zionist SS' only belittles and relatives the real Third Reich that tore Europe apart in the last century. It also serves to divert attention away from what's really happening and fails to see any fundamental changes that are taking place. For example, it's very popular to condemn President G. W. Bush for being 'the most pro-Israeli President ever'. But my assessment is that it is quite surprising how far this right-wing Republican Administration has gone to accommodate Palestinian concerns. Washington, of course finances and arms Israel, but Bush is the first President to commit America to supporting a Palestinian state. Bush has endorsed the Israeli withdrawal plan.

If anything, the Israeli military machine is less trigger happy now than it was in the past. In the past Israel engaged in full scale invasions like Lebanon in 1982, where Palestinian refugees were massacred. Today, Israel is more likely to opt for 'targeted assassinations' of Palestinian leaders.

Even the wall that Israel is building is seen by some on the left as a 'new form of occupation', rather than seeing the Israeli fence as part of fundamental changes that are taking place in the mindset of the ruling elite. For the first time, Israel has put security above any broader territorial ambitions it once had. The wall has put into question the historic distinction between the revisionists of the Likud Party and Labour Zionists. Lukid is basically writing off its territorial claims through the act of making this wall. The wall also offers a powerful physical recognition, of Palestinian territory. This is why even hard-right wing Israelis have serious reservations about the proposed wall.

In the West, the left no longer openly support the Palestinians right to self-determination, mainly because they are too preoccupied with bashing Israel. The Israeli state has long been viewed as an outpost of Western civilisation that is surrounded by violent, hostile Arab Muslims - this was Israels' strength not so long ago, now, that very same quality has become Israels' liability. The Western left seem comfortable only with wars fought under the banner of multilateral humanitarianism, unlike Israels' insistence on defending it's national sovereignty. So, the more Israel fights, the more it's actions are viewed as totally unfashionable

Today, Israels' critics have nothing progressive, liberal or liberating to argue for, in fact, it says more about the uncritical and defeatist attitudes in the West than it does about achieving peace in the Middle East.

Picture: Palestinian protest. BBC News


At 5:25 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Yep I agree. For me personally the NATHE stuff for example is very irritating. I am committed to the two state solution, freedom for Palestine and to a secure Jewish state at the same time. Bocyott calls get me always into teh precarious situation that I am getting busy defending Israel ratherthan addressing arguments for the peace settlements and against the far right in Israel, which is really the way to Peace on the Israeli side (strengthening the left - weakening religious zealots and right wingers). You can see how many left based Israeli movements I have on my blog. Does the Left in the UK really give a damn about these? The comparisons with the nazis or apartheid are totally wrong.
On the apartheid for example it would mean that Jews should be taken over by Arabs teh Zionist state to be abolished. How can anyone healthy in their mind argue this today unless they really give a fuck about or even hate Jews. And whilst I know I am agreeing with the dominant stream of the US and Europe here, much work has to be done in bigging up human rights for Palestinians against other Palestinans and not just against Israelis. If this point continues to be overlooked, a liberated Palestine will become a war zone, becaus ethe main enemy is more or less out of the picture.

By the way one correction we are now in the Kadima era, Likud is a yesterdays sorry lot.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous McGazz said...

I have never heard anyone on the left use the phrase 'Zionist SS'. In fact, I've never heard anyone at all use it.

> The wall also offers a powerful physical recognition, of Palestinian territory.
But the wall goes *through* Palestinian territory, not around it. If I built a wall through your living room, and occupied the bit on my side, it wouldn't offer powerful physical recognition of the fact you have a living room, so much as it would offer powerful physical recognition of the fact you now have *half* a living room.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

You argue that 'I have never heard anyone on the left use the phrase 'Zionist SS'. In fact, I've never heard anyone at all use it.

Take a little look at this:

Especially where is say's:

'Far more common is the ploy of equating the Israelis with the Nazis: posters depicting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a swastika armband, comments about "the Zionist S.S.," comparisons of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a stupid post.

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Reading your post I found this in my archives. It is the most conservative line I have taken on Sharon and the wall and developments in the Near East.


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