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Kathleen Christison: "The Coming Collapse of Zionism"

Kathleen Christison: "The Coming Collapse of Zionism"
(COUNTERPUNCH)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Transmitted below is the latest COUNTERPUNCH article by Kathy
Christison, who is among the growing number of those (including myself)
who believe that a "one-state solution" (a democratic, non-racist state,
with equal rights for all who live there, in all of Israel/Palestine)
offers the best (and probably only) hope for all concerned -- which is
all of us.


*CounterPunch.org*

http://www.counterpunch.org/christison09122006.html

*September 12, 2006*


 /The Moral Bankruptcy of //Israel//'s Founding Idea/


 The Coming Collapse of Zionism

By KATHLEEN CHRISTISON
Former CIA Analyst

Is it only observers outside the conventional mainstream who have
noticed that by its murderous assault on Lebanon and simultaneously on
Gaza, Israel finally exposed, for even the most deluded to see, the
total bankruptcy of its very founding idea?

Can it be that the deluded are still deluded? Can it truly still be that
Israel's bankruptcy is evident only to those who already knew it, those
who already recognized Zionism as illegitimate for the racist principle
that underlies it?

Can it be therefore that only the already converted can see coming the
ultimate collapse of Zionism and, with it, of Israel itself as the
exclusivist state of Jews?

Racism has always been the lifeblood of Israel. Zionism rests on the
fundamental belief that Jews have superior national, human, and natural
rights in the land, an inherently racist foundation that excludes any
possibility of true democracy or equality of peoples. Israel's
destructive rampage in Lebanon and Gaza is merely the natural next step
in the evolution of such a founding ideology. Precisely because that
ideology posits the exclusivity and superiority of one people's rights,
it can accept no legal or moral restraints on its behavior and no
territorial limits, for it needs an ever-expanding geography to
accommodate those unlimited rights.

Zionism cannot abide encroachment or even the slightest challenge to its
total domination over its own space -- not merely of the space within
Israel's 1967 borders, but of the surrounding space as well, extending
outward to geographical limits that Zionism has not yet seen fit to set
for itself. Total domination means no physical threat and no demographic
threat: Jews reign, Jews are totally secure, Jews always outnumber, Jews
hold all military power, Jews control all natural resources, all
neighbors are powerless and totally subservient. This was the message
Israel tried to send with its attack on Lebanon: that neither Hizbullah
nor anything in Lebanon that nurtures Hizbullah should continue to
exist, for the sole reason that Hizbullah challenges Israel's supreme
authority in the region and Israel cannot abide this effrontery. Zionism
cannot coexist with any other ideology or ethnicity except in the
preeminent position, for everyone and every ideology that is not Zionist
is a potential threat.

In Lebanon, Israel attempted by its wildly reckless violence to destroy
the nation, to make of it a killing zone where only Zionism would reign,
where non-Jews would die or flee or prostrate themselves, as they had
during the nearly quarter-century of Israel's last occupation, from 1978
to 2000. Observing the war in Beirut after the first week of bombing,
describing the murder in an Israeli bombing raid of four Lebanese army
logistics techs who had been mending power and water lines "to keep
Beirut alive," British
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0520217187/counterpunchmaga>correspondent
Robert Fisk wrote that it dawned on him that what Israel intended was
that "Beirut is to die . . . . No one is to be allowed to keep Beirut
alive." Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz (the man who four years ago
when he headed the Israeli Air Force said he felt no psychological
discomfort after one of his F-16s had dropped a one-ton bomb on an
apartment building in Gaza in the middle of the night, killing 14
civilians, mostly children) pledged at the start of the Lebanon assault
to take Lebanon back 20 years; 20 years ago Lebanon was not alive, its
southern third occupied by Israel, the remainder a decade into a
hopelessly destructive civil war.

The cluster bombs are a certain sign of Israel's intent to remake
Lebanon, at least southern Lebanon, into a region cleansed of its Arab
population and unable to function except at Israel's mercy. Cluster
bombs, of which Israel's U.S. provider is the world's leading
manufacturer (and user, in places like Yugoslavia and Iraq), explode in
mid-flight and scatter hundreds of small bombs over a several-acre area.
Up to one-quarter of the bomblets fail to explode on impact and are left
to be found by unsuspecting civilians returning to their homes. UN
surveyors estimate that there are as many as 100,000 unexploded cluster
bomblets strewn around in 400 bomb-strike sites in southern Lebanon.
Scores of Lebanese children and adults have been killed and injured by
this unexploded ordnance since the cease-fire last month.

Laying anti-personnel munitions in heavily populated civilian areas is
not the surgical targeting of a military force in pursuit of military
objectives; it is ethnic cleansing. Fully 90 percent of Israel's
cluster-bomb strikes were conducted, according to UN humanitarian
coordinator Jan Egelund, in the last 72 hours before the cease-fire took
effect, when it was apparent that a UN cease-fire resolution was in the
works. This can only have been a further effort, no doubt intended to be
more or less a coup de grace, to depopulate the area. Added to the
preceding month of bombing attacks that destroyed as much as 50 or in
some cases 80 percent of the homes in many villages, that did vast
damage to the nation's entire civilian infrastructure, that crippled a
coastal power plant that continues to spill tons of oil and
benzene-laden toxins along the Lebanese and part of the Syrian
coastlines, and that killed over 1,000 civilians in residential
apartment blocks, being transported in ambulances, and fleeing in cars
flying white flags, Israel's war can only be interpreted as a massive
act of ethnic cleansing, to keep the region safe for Jewish dominion.

In fact, approximately 250,000 people, by UN estimate, are unable to
return to their homes because either the homes have been leveled or
unexploded cluster bomblets and other ordnance have not yet been cleared
by demining teams. This was not a war against Hizbullah, except
incidentally. It was not a war against terror, as Israel and its U.S.
acolytes would have us believe (indeed, Hizbullah was not conducting
terrorist acts, but had been engaged in a sporadic series of military
exchanges with Israeli forces along the border, usually initiated by
Israel). This was a war for Israeli breathing space, for the absolute
certainty that Israel would dominate the neighborhood. It was a war
against a population that was not totally subservient, that had the
audacity to harbor a force like Hizbullah that does not bow to Israel's
will. It was a war on people and their way of thinking, people who are
not Jewish and who do not act to promote Zionism and Jewish hegemony.

Israel has been doing this to its neighbors in one form or another since
its creation. Palestinians have obviously been Zionism's longest
suffering victims, and its most persistent opponents. The Zionists
thought they had rid themselves of their most immediate problem, the
problem at the very core of Zionism, in 1948 when they forced the flight
of nearly two-thirds of the Palestinian population that stood in the way
of a establishing Israel as an exclusive Jewish-majority state. You
can't have a Jewish state if most of your population is not Jewish.
Nineteen years later, when Israel began to expand its borders with the
capture of the West Bank and Gaza, those Palestinians who it thought had
disappeared turned out to be still around after all, threatening the
Zionists' Jewish hegemony.

In the nearly 40 years since then, Israeli policy has been largely
directed -- with periodic time-outs for attacks on Lebanon -- toward
making the Palestinians disappear for certain. The methods of ethnic
cleansing are myriad: land theft, destruction of agricultural land and
resources, economic strangulation, crippling restrictions on commerce,
home demolition, residency permit revocation, outright deportation,
arrest, assassination, family separation, movement restriction,
destruction of census and land ownership records, theft of tax monies,
starvation. Israel wants all of the land of Palestine, including all of
the West Bank and Gaza, but it cannot have a majority Jewish state in
all of this land as long as the Palestinians are there. Hence the slow
strangulation. In Gaza, where almost a million and a half people are
crammed into an area less than one-tenth the size of Rhode Island,
Israel is doing on a continuing basis what it did in Lebanon in a
month's time -- killing civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure,
making the place uninhabitable. Palestinians in Gaza are being murdered
at the rate of eight a day. Maimings come at a higher rate. Such is the
value of non-Jewish life in the Zionist scheme of things.

Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe calls it a slow genocide
(/ElectronicIntifada/, September 2, 2006). Since 1948, every Palestinian
act of resistance to Israeli oppression has been a further excuse for
Israel to implement an ethnic cleansing policy, a phenomenon so
inevitable and accepted in Israel that Pappe says "the daily business of
slaying Palestinians, mainly children, is now reported in the internal
pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts." His
prediction is that continued killing at this level either will produce a
mass eviction or, if the Palestinians remain steadfast and continue to
resist, as is far more likely, will result in an increasing level of
killing. Pappe recalls that the world absolved Israel of responsibility
and any accountability for its 1948 act of ethnic cleansing, allowing
Israel to turn this policy "into a legitimate tool for its national
security agenda." If the world remains silent again in response to the
current round of ethnic cleansing, the policy will only escalate, "even
more drastically."

And here is the crux of the situation today. Will anyone notice this
horror? Has Israel, as proposed at the beginning, truly exposed by its
wild summer campaign of ethnic cleansing in Lebanon and Gaza the total
bankruptcy of its very founding idea, the essential illegitimacy of the
Zionist principle of Jewish exclusivity? Can even the most deluded see
this, or will they continue to be deluded and the world continue to turn
away, excusing atrocity because it is committed by Israel in the name of
keeping the neighborhood safe for Jews?

Since Israel's crazed run through Lebanon began, numerous clear-eyed
observers in the alternative and the European and Arab media have noted
the new moral nudity of Israel, and of its U.S. backer, with an unusual
degree of bluntness. Also on many tongues is a new awareness of growing
Arab and Muslim resistance to the staggering viciousness of Israeli-U.S.
actions. Palestinian-British scholar Karma Nabulsi, writing in the
/Guardian/ in early August, laments the "indiscriminate wrath of an
enemy driven by an existential mania that cannot be assuaged, only
stopped." American scholar Virginia Tilley (/Counterpunch/, August 5,
2006) observes that any kind of normal, peaceful existence is anathema
to Israel, for it "must see and treat its neighbors as an existential
threat in order to justify . . . its ethnic/racial character." Even
before the Lebanon war, but after Gaza had begun to be starved,
political economist Edward Herman (/Z Magazine/, March 2006)condemned
Israel's "long-term ethnic cleansing and institutionalized racism" and
the hypocritical way in which the West and the western media accept and
underwrite these policies "in violation of all purported enlightenment
values."

Racism underlies the Israeli-U.S. neocon axis that is currently running
amok in the Middle East. The inherent racism of Zionism has found a
natural ally in the racist imperial philosophy espoused by the
neoconservatives of the Bush administration. The ultimate logic of the
Israeli-U.S. global war, writes Israeli activist Michel Warschawski of
the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem (July 30, 2006) is the
"full ethnicization" of all conflicts, "in which one is not fighting a
policy, a government or specific targets, but a 'threat' identified with
a community" -- or, in Israel's case, with all non-Jewish communities.

The basically racist notion of a clash of civilizations, being promoted
both by the Bush administration and by Israel, provides the rationale
for the assaults on Palestine and Lebanon. As Azmi Bishara, a leading
Palestinian member of Israel's Knesset, has observed (/al-Ahram/, August
10-16, 2006), if the Israeli-U.S. argument that the world is divided
into two distinct and incompatible cultures, us vs. them, is accurate,
then the notion that "we" operate by a double standard loses all moral
opprobrium, for it becomes the natural order of things. This has always
been Israel's natural order of things: in Israel's world and that of its
U.S. supporters, the idea that Jews and the Jewish culture are superior
to and incompatible with surrounding peoples and cultures is the very
basis of the state.

In the wake of Israel's failure in Lebanon, Arabs and Muslims have a
sense, for the first time since Israel's implantation in the heart of
the Arab Middle East almost 60 years ago, that Israel in its arrogance
has badly overreached and that its power and its reach can be limited.
The "ethnicization" of the global conflict that Michel Warschawski
speaks of -- the arrogant colonial approach of old, now in a new
high-tech guise backed by F-16s and nuclear weapons, that assumes
Western and Israeli superiority and posits a kind of apocalyptic clash
between the "civilized" West and a backward, enraged East -- has been
seen for what it is because of Israel's mad assault on Lebanon. What it
is is a crude racist assertion of power by a Zionist regime pursuing
absolute, unchallenged regional hegemony and a neoconservative regime in
the United States pursuing absolute, unchallenged global hegemony. As
Palestinian commentator Rami Khouri observed in an interview with
Charlie Rose a week into the Lebanon war, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas
in Palestine, having both grown out of earlier Israeli wars of hegemony,
are the political response of populations "that have been degraded and
occupied and bombed and killed and humiliated repeatedly by the
Israelis, and often with the direct or indirect acquiescence, or, as we
see now, the direct support of the United States."

Those oppressed populations are now fighting back. No matter how much
Arab leaders in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia may bow to the U.S. and
Israel, the Arab people now recognize the fundamental weakness of
Israel's race-based culture and polity and have a growing confidence
that they can ultimately defeat it. The Palestinians in particular have
been at this for 60 years, never disappearing despite Israel's best
designs, never failing to remind Israel and the world of their
existence. They will not succumb now, and the rest of the Arab world is
taking heart from their endurance and Hizbullah's.

Something in the way Israel operates, and in the way the United States
supports Israel's method of operating, must change. More and more
commentators, inside the Arab world and outside, have begun to notice
this, and a striking number are audacious enough to predict some sort of
end to Zionism in the racist, exclusivist form in which it now exists
and functions. This does not mean throwing the Jews into the sea. Israel
will not be defeated militarily. But it can be defeated psychologically,
which means putting limits on its hegemony, stopping its marauding
advance through its neighborhood, ending Jewish racial/religious
domination over other peoples.

Rami Khouri contends that the much greater public support throughout the
Arab world for Hizbullah and Hamas is "a catastrophe" both for Israel
and for the United States because it means resistance to their imperial
designs. Khouri does not go further in his predictions, but others do,
seeing at least in vague outline the vision of a future in which Israel
no longer enjoys ultimate dominion. Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli living
in Britain, a jazz musician and thinker, sees Hizbullah's victory in
Lebanon as signaling the defeat of what he calls global Zionism, by
which he means the Israeli/U.S. neocon axis. It is the Lebanese,
Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghani, and Iranian people, he says, who are "at
the vanguard of the war for humanity and humanism," while Israel and the
U.S. spread destruction and death, and more and more Europeans and
Americans, recognizing this, are falling off the Zionist/neocon
bandwagon. Atzmon talks about Israel as, ultimately, "an historic event"
and a "dead entity."

Many others see similar visions. Commentators increasingly discuss the
possibility of Israel, its myth of invincibility having been deflated,
going through a South Africa-like epiphany, in which its leadership
somehow recognizes the error of its racist ways and in a surge of
humanitarian feeling renounces Zionism's inequities and agrees that Jews
and Palestinians should live in equality in a unitary state. British MP
George Galloway (/Guardian/, August 31, 2006) foresees the possibility
of "an FW de Klerk moment" emerging in Israel and among its
international backers when, as occurred in South Africa, a "critical
mass of opposition" overwhelms the position of the previously invincible
minority and the leadership is able to justify transferring power on the
basis that doing so later under duress will be far less favorable. Short
of such peaceful transition, along with a move to resolve the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Galloway � along with many others -- sees
only "war, war and more war, until one day it is Tel Aviv which is on
fire and the Israeli leaders' intransigence brings the whole state down
on their heads."

This increasingly appears to be the shape of the future: either Israel
and its neocon supporters in the United States can dismantle Zionism's
most egregious aspects by agreeing to establish a unitary state in
Palestine inhabited by the Palestinians and Jews whose land this is, or
the world will face a conflagration of a scale not fully imaginable now.

Just as Hizbullah is an integral part of Lebanon, not to be destroyed by
the bombing of bridges and power plants, the Palestinians before their
expulsion in 1948 /were/ Palestine and still are Palestine. By hitting
the Palestinians where they lived, in the literal and the colloquial
sense, Israel left them with only a goal and a vision. That vision is
justice and redress in some form, whether redress means ultimately
defeating Zionism and taking back Palestine, or reconciling with Israel
on the condition that it act like a decent neighbor and not a conqueror,
or finally joining with Israeli Jews to form a single state in which no
people has superior rights . In Lebanon, Israel again seemed bent on
imposing its will, its dominion, its culture and ethnicity on another
Arab country. It never worked in Palestine, it has not worked in
Lebanon, and it will not work anywhere in the Arab world.

We have reached a moral crossroads. In the "new Middle East" defined by
Israel, Bush, and the neocons, only Israel and the U.S. may dominate,
only they may be strong, only they may be secure. But in the just world
that lies on the other side of that crossroads, this is unacceptable.
Justice can ultimately prevail.

*Kathleen Christison* is a former CIA political analyst and has worked
on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of
Palestine
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0520217187/counterpunchmaga> and
The Wound of Dispossession
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/097125480X/counterpunchmaga>.
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