Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Towards a New Arrogance


"Jim Baker's hostility towards the Jews is a matter of record and has endeared him to Israel's foes in the region," wrote Gaffney, suggesting that the ISG – which, in another column published Tuesday, he called the "Iraq Surrender Group" – would recommend a regional approach similar to Madrid that would "throw free Iraq to the wolves" and "allow the Mideast's only bona fide democracy, the Jewish State, to be snuffed in due course." -Jim Lobe quoting Frank Gaffney of the American Enterprise Institute in the Washington Times

Not surprisingly, Gaffney manages to contradict himself in the span of only a few words--if Israel is a "bona fide democracy", it cannot simply be a "Jewish State" anymore than apartheid South Africa was a "bona fide" democratic "White State". "Bona fide democracy" and exclusivist racism aided by an ongoing slow genocide fueled by medieval, militaristic expansionism and/or religious fanaticism aren't compatible--at least, not without a significant degree of hypocrisy, of which Gaffney and his blood-drinking cohorts enjoy in seemingly limitless amounts.

Neoconservatives say things, usually quite loudly and floridly, and their words never amount to anything. It is rambling totally devoid of logical meaning. They are meant to run misdirection and they're livid about Baker, Gates, and the supposed "realists" stealing their thunder. Of course, some neocons, like Michael Rubin, may actually be violently stupid enough to believe the shit they are paid to spew (as a side-note, I know this particular specimen, and Mr. Rubin's enthusiasm for a war with Iran is notable and alarming though perhaps not surprising, as he knows some about the history of Iran and the Middle East, and still believes that democracy and sociopolitical change can be supported from outside; even a cursory review of Iranian history will confirm that there are plenty of domestic forces pushing for change, as their have been for over a century now, and those forces are decisively pushed back whenever the West attempts to meddle with Iranian internal affairs. Michael knows this, but he still believes himself brilliant enough to be above this elementary historical lesson. His pronouncements on the dangers of an Iranian regime with nuclear weapons are all false and dangerous bluster; lies intended to guide the American intellectual community towards support for a war, and I have addressed the particular lies numerous times. They do not merit further attention.).

A "Jewish state" that strives for the marginalization of non-Jews within its borders (affirmed by the perennial need for "Jewish majorities" in the Knesset) while treating others like dogs in occupied lands and maintaining secret prisons for those who protest their status is not a "bona fide democracy", and a desire to bring peace to Israel and the region as a whole by pressuring it to withdraw from the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Shebaa Farms is not a matter of "hostility towards the Jews." Indeed, Gaffney, the neoconservative "movement", and the majority of Israeli politicians are all far more "hostile to Jews"--in a real sense--in their support for continued settlement in the West Bank, in contravention of international law and opinion, which has of course picked up steam since the Gaza "withdrawal"; the support of a marginal, mostly fanatic settler movement amounts to nothing but a constant disregard for the safety of a majority of Jews within Israel. But don't take it from me.

At this juncture it may be worthwhile to point out that "hostility towards the Jews" is of course a serious issue, not only because it is used as a wild card to stifle any and all discussion of Israeli crimes in the Occupied Territories and elsewhere, but because such hostility does, indeed, exist, though it has no place in the modern world. At the same time, it weakens the cause of Palestinian liberation and resistance to American-sponsored Israeli colonialism in the region, as Fawwaz Traboulsi wisely points out (though Traboulsi meanders and misses target when he tries to equate Ahmadinejad's recent comment about Israel collapsing like the Soviet Union: clearly Ahmadinejad isn't trying to make a point about some worldwide Jewish Communist conspiracy, but he's trying to clarify something that already was clear in Persian, namely, that he believes that Israel will collapse from within due to its own internal contradictions, not in a hail of missiles or hellfire as the Western media would have the thirsty masses believe).

On the topic of Israel, freedom of expression is indeed quite restricted, as many scholars and a former president have pointed out, while famously, Islamophobia is not only within the bounds of free expression--in a world in which "everything has changed", neo-imperialist style, it sells well. Fine. That is a double standard, and it is racist.

So what's the point of the recent Holocaust conference held in Tehran? If highlighting that some things are offensive to some people regardless of the freedom to say them (like the Jyllands-Posten affair) is the goal, then that is one thing. However, when anti-Zionism and resistance against Israeli policy become colluded with anti-Semitism, they absolutely weaken an already fractured liberation struggle and the ability of others in the world (including Jews) to have solidarity with that struggle. The presence of racists like David Duke and other Holocaust deniers at the conference indicates that the conference isn't just a matter of highlighting discrepancies is Western attitudes.

Anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism. The criticism of Israel is not the same as anti-Semitism (nor is criticism of Israel the same as anti-Zionism).

The confusion of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is the real outcome of this Holocaust conference in Tehran, whether intentionally or not. This happens to be exactly the same tactic employed by Gaffney, quoted above, and AIPAC/JINSA/ADL for the past four decades.

The recent bout of Holocaust obsession in Iran is, as Traboulsi contends, equally lamentable in the fact that it belies a fixation with the West. If the goal of the Islamic Republic is to show solidarity with the Palestinian resistance, Holocaust talk--whether anti-Semitic or not--isn't necessary. The Israeli occupation can be argued against on its own merits, and there are plenty of scholars who can do that far more credibly than David Duke can deny industrialized genocide.

Right now, there are real struggles that need to be waged against Israeli aggression and racism, and global solidarity is going to have to widen if the goal is forcing the United States to cease its blind support of an apartheid regime and push for a peace along the internationally-recognized 1967 borders. In light of these struggles that have a more than credible basis, the Holocaust conference is utterly counterproductive.

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