The Ecopsychology Issue

The Assault on Israeli Legitimacy

Chris Hedges on Netanyahu, Lieberman and the future of Israel.
Chris Hedges: Annexation of Territory and Slow Ethnic Cleansing
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Israel, with its vast settlement expansion – including the hundreds of new homes it intends to build in East Jerusalem – makes no pretense anymore about working toward a two-state solution.

It is an overtly apartheid state. Its goal is no longer rapprochement with the Palestinians but rather the carving up of the West Bank into ringed Palestinian ghettos that will replicate the misery and violence of the large ghetto that has become Gaza.

The Jewish settlements and their constant expansion in the two decades since the signing of the Oslo accords have created a vast and elaborate Israeli infrastructure on Palestinian land that can no longer be reversed. The faint hope that Barack Obama would pressure the Israeli government to abide by UN resolutions and international law was shattered when the president refused to condemn Israel’s brutal 22-day assault on Gaza. Obama’s obsequiousness was cemented when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu flatly rejected the administration’s call for a halt to illegal settlement expansion. At that point Obama appeared to have given up.

Israel’s decision to seize most of the West Bank and leave 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in the open-air prison that is Gaza inevitably means the creation of a deformed Jewish state in which privileged citizens will live with one set of rules and second-class citizens, Palestinians, will be systematically denied national and individual rights. In this apartheid state, Palestinians will be subjected to ever more humiliating and demeaning forms of control and repression.

The Israelis have consciously orchestrated acute misery and poverty in the Palestinian territories over the past two decades in an effort to subdue and ethnically cleanse the captive population. They have reduced Palestinians, many of whom now live on less than two dollars a day, to a subsistence level. They have created squalid, lawless and impoverished ghettos in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli soldiers who surround these ghettos have the ability to instantly cut off food, medicine and goods, perpetuating the misery. When these little Bantustans become restive, Israel drops 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs and artillery shells – as they did in Gaza – on the concrete hovels that pack neighborhoods. The Israeli objective is to turn the Palestinian territories into a hell on earth. This policy has, however, swollen the ranks of radical Islamists in the occupied territories and throughout the Middle East and exposed the criminality of the Israeli state to the wider world.

When I was based as a correspondent in Jerusalem two decades ago, it was unthinkable that an Israeli politician who openly advocated ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Israeli-controlled territory, as well as forcing Arabs in Israel to take loyalty oaths or be forcibly relocated to the West Bank, could sit in the Cabinet.

The racist tirades of Jewish proto-fascists like Meir Kahane stood outside the law. They were vigorously condemned by most Israelis and were prosecuted accordingly. Kahane’s repugnant Kach Party, labeled a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union, was outlawed by the Israeli government in 1988 for inciting racism.

But in the last two decades Israel has undergone a radical and disturbing change. The racism spread by Kahane – whose thugs were charged with the murders and beatings of dozens of unarmed Palestinians and whose members held rallies in Jerusalem where they chanted “Death to Arabs!” – has been embraced by leading Israeli politicians, including Israeli’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman openly calls for an araberrein Israel – an Israel free of Arabs.

There has been a moral erosion from the days of the socialist Mapai Party, which founded Israel in 1948 and later merged into the Labor Party. The Labor Party held within its ranks many leaders such as Yitzhak Rabin who, while certainly blinded by Zionism, were nevertheless serious about coexistence with the Palestinians. The rise of political extremists such as Netanyahu and Lieberman signals a new era.

Israeli’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister: Avigdor Lieberman

Lieberman, a former nightclub bouncer who was a member of the Kach Party, represents the new face of Israel’s apartheid state.

He has the personal and political habits of the Islamic goons he opposes. He was found guilty in 2001 of beating a 12-year-old boy and fined by an Israeli court. He is being investigated for multimillion-dollar fraud and money laundering and is rumored to have close ties with the Russian mafia. He lives, in defiance of international law, in the Jewish settlement of Nokdim on occupied Palestinian land.

Lieberman, as did his mentor Kahane, calls for the eradication of Palestinians from Israel and the territories it occupies. During the massive Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2008 and early 2009, he said that Israel should fight Hamas the way the United States fought the Japanese in World War II. He noted that the occupation of Japan was unnecessary to achieve victory, alluding to the dropping of atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. When he assumed his position as foreign minister he announced that the 2007 Annapolis peace agreement was dead. He said in 2004 that 90 percent of Israel’s Palestinian citizens “have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost.” This statement was especially galling since Lieberman, unlike Palestinians who can trace back their ancestry in the area for generations, immigrated to Israel in 1978 from Moldova and retains a heavy Russian accent. And Lieberman, from the floor of the Knesset, openly fantasized about executing the handful of Palestinian Knesset members.

“We requested that in the government guidelines it would say explicitly that all the inciters and collaborators with terrorism that sit in this house should bear the brunt of the penalty for those actions,” Lieberman said from the Knesset plenum in May of 2006. “All those who continue to meet freely with Hamas and Hezbollah, who go on monthly visits to Lebanon. Those who declared Israel’s Independence Day to be ‘nakba’ [Arabic for catastrophe] Day and raised black flags … World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi Party went to be executed – but not just them, also those who collaborated with them. Just like [the prime minister of Vichy France during World War II Pierre] Laval was later executed, I hope that this is the fate of the collaborators in this house.”

He has suggested bombing Egypt’s Aswan Dam, an act that would lead to a massive loss of Egyptian lives. As Ariel Sharon’s minister of transportation he offered to bus several hundred Palestinian prisoners to the sea and drown them. He told the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, one of Israel’s few Arab allies, to “go to hell.” And, along with Netanyahu, he advocates massive air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The rise of racist trolls like Lieberman and Netanyahu, together with the increased repression, like the saturation bombing of Lebanon in 2006 and the recent assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai by the Mossad, is making it harder and harder for Israel to present a democratic facade to the outside world. In February the Reut Institute in Tel Aviv reported to the Israeli cabinet, which it advises, that violence had failed to achieve Israel’s ends and had produced worldwide revulsion instead.

“In last year’s Gaza operation,” the report said, “our superior military power was offset by an offensive on Israel’s legitimacy that led to a significant setback in our international standing and will constrain future Israeli military planning and operations.”

Israel, despite warnings from many within the Israeli establishment, has embarked on a course that will see it, like the South African apartheid regime, become ever more isolated and reviled. A Palestinian state, if it comes into existence, will have to be declared by forces outside of Israel – most likely the United Nations. These international forces will openly challenge Israel’s apartheid regime and unilaterally draw state lines along the old 1967 border. Once this takes place, Israel’s very legitimacy – like that of its old ally the apartheid regime in South Africa – will be in doubt.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, is the author of several books including the best sellers War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

274 comments on the article “The Assault on Israeli Legitimacy”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 274

Page 2 of 28

that confused C...

Ok Misterioso,
Step 1: I accept that Israel is commiting injustice.
Step 2: ____

Since you seem to know a lot about this issue and have researched this comprehensively, I'm just curious what you propose as a solution.

I read earlier in an article that Hamas leader Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi would accept a South-Afrcan-type solution, where Israel/ Palestine ( whatever you want to call it) would allow Palestinians who left the region to return, and with an arab majority, Rantisi would accept a democratic rule over the united region.

Although this sounds great, it just isn't realistic. Reality is, Israel wants the majority to be Jewish; it want to be a Jewish nation.

Also, can there be a two-state solution? Would either side compromise for this?

I feel like the very premise of a whole Jewish nation is the problem to begin with, and there is no way Israel will want to give this up.

I also have heard the argument for Palestinians to move to supporting Arab nations. Now I know this is a unbelievable like medieval, unjust action to kick a people out of their home; however, if the reality is that bad in gaza, and Israel does not want to give up its state of being Jewish, could this ultimately lead to a better existence for the Palestinian people?

I don't know, I just feel like people that call for Israel to just give up their existence are being unrealistic you know?

Essentially, what is a REALISTIC solution?

that confused C...

Ok Misterioso,
Step 1: I accept that Israel is commiting injustice.
Step 2: ____

Since you seem to know a lot about this issue and have researched this comprehensively, I'm just curious what you propose as a solution.

I read earlier in an article that Hamas leader Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi would accept a South-Afrcan-type solution, where Israel/ Palestine ( whatever you want to call it) would allow Palestinians who left the region to return, and with an arab majority, Rantisi would accept a democratic rule over the united region.

Although this sounds great, it just isn't realistic. Reality is, Israel wants the majority to be Jewish; it want to be a Jewish nation.

Also, can there be a two-state solution? Would either side compromise for this?

I feel like the very premise of a whole Jewish nation is the problem to begin with, and there is no way Israel will want to give this up.

I also have heard the argument for Palestinians to move to supporting Arab nations. Now I know this is a unbelievable like medieval, unjust action to kick a people out of their home; however, if the reality is that bad in gaza, and Israel does not want to give up its state of being Jewish, could this ultimately lead to a better existence for the Palestinian people?

I don't know, I just feel like people that call for Israel to just give up their existence are being unrealistic you know?

Essentially, what is a REALISTIC solution?

Marwan

Hello Anonymous,

You really don't need to go far to get the information you want. You can read several Israeli and Jewish historians on this issue:

Invention Of The Jewish People by Shlomo Sands (highly recommended):
http://inventionofthejewishpeople.com

You can also listen to professor Shlomo Sands talk in New York:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EmvANgw9Mk

Reading anything by Norman Finkelstein is also very empowering:
http://www.normanfinkelstein.com

He's got a new book coming out soon...He gave several talks at UBC in the past:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5rBvvWC2k4

Check out International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network:
http://www.ijsn.net/about_us/charter/

Did You Know? Gaza:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bznLR3-kCtU

Israel as the nation state that it currently exists was founded by Europeans of Jewish faith (converts). According to Jewish Israeli professor Shlomo Sands, people of the Jewish faith never left the area and could actually be the Palestinians that the Israeli government is currently destroying and forcing off their lands.

I hope you don't believe in the purity of any human group. As human beings we travel and intermarry with all the other human groups.

To say there is such a thing as a pure Jewish race is the same thing as saying there is a pure Islamic race or pure 'White' race or any bigoted idea like that...Remember that throughout history many human groups tried to claim purity of one thing or another which always ended up in the mass destruction of the 'other' people that don't fit that 'purety' description.

We should all stand up together against racism and policies of any state that forces the separation of people from one another.

Hope all this information helps.

Take care,
Marwan.

Marwan

Hello Anonymous,

You really don't need to go far to get the information you want. You can read several Israeli and Jewish historians on this issue:

Invention Of The Jewish People by Shlomo Sands (highly recommended):
http://inventionofthejewishpeople.com

You can also listen to professor Shlomo Sands talk in New York:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EmvANgw9Mk

Reading anything by Norman Finkelstein is also very empowering:
http://www.normanfinkelstein.com

He's got a new book coming out soon...He gave several talks at UBC in the past:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5rBvvWC2k4

Check out International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network:
http://www.ijsn.net/about_us/charter/

Did You Know? Gaza:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bznLR3-kCtU

Israel as the nation state that it currently exists was founded by Europeans of Jewish faith (converts). According to Jewish Israeli professor Shlomo Sands, people of the Jewish faith never left the area and could actually be the Palestinians that the Israeli government is currently destroying and forcing off their lands.

I hope you don't believe in the purity of any human group. As human beings we travel and intermarry with all the other human groups.

To say there is such a thing as a pure Jewish race is the same thing as saying there is a pure Islamic race or pure 'White' race or any bigoted idea like that...Remember that throughout history many human groups tried to claim purity of one thing or another which always ended up in the mass destruction of the 'other' people that don't fit that 'purety' description.

We should all stand up together against racism and policies of any state that forces the separation of people from one another.

Hope all this information helps.

Take care,
Marwan.

Anonymous

If you recognize that as a Jew you are biased, then (perhaps) it is wisest to stick being a Jew and not involve Israel as part of that. Linking nationalism to religious identity has historically been a losing proposition for that person; it either corrupts them immeasurably, or kills them. It never makes them unified. The nation is comprised of its people. The religions that temper their outlook on *possession* is volatile and explosive. Be wise, and disengage.

Anonymous

If you recognize that as a Jew you are biased, then (perhaps) it is wisest to stick being a Jew and not involve Israel as part of that. Linking nationalism to religious identity has historically been a losing proposition for that person; it either corrupts them immeasurably, or kills them. It never makes them unified. The nation is comprised of its people. The religions that temper their outlook on *possession* is volatile and explosive. Be wise, and disengage.

Ash Madi

You are confused because your knowledge of the situation is limited. You have to acquaint yourself with the historical facts and avoid being trapped by the immensely powerful Israeli propaganda machine.

In the the US and Canada this machine is particularly influential since the US is the only real ally of Israel and the most powerful one. Outside of north America most people are aware of the fascist and criminal nature of the state of Israel.

Israel has been occupying and humiliating Palestinians for decades. The emergence of Hamas is the result of Israeli aggression and occupation, that has made the Palestinians desperate to regain their freedom and dignity. A modern state with a US funded modern army is occupying and controlling a people with no state, no army and no resources. When people are hopeless they turn to extremism because all other doors are closed. Israel never wanted peace. They just want to "cleans" the Palestinians like the Nazis wanted to cleans the Jews. What a sad irony that the Jews have such a short memory. They should be the ones making sure that no one is every subjected to the horror they suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Instead they are doing the same to the Palestinians. What a shame. The tortured has become the torturer.

No words can describe how horrific Israeli occupation is. I shiver when I think of it. Try watching a documentary like occupation 101 to get an idea of the reality on the ground. Nothing has harmed Jews and Judaism like the state of Israel. It's a total disaster and one day they will pay the ultimate price for what it has done.

Ash Madi

You are confused because your knowledge of the situation is limited. You have to acquaint yourself with the historical facts and avoid being trapped by the immensely powerful Israeli propaganda machine.

In the the US and Canada this machine is particularly influential since the US is the only real ally of Israel and the most powerful one. Outside of north America most people are aware of the fascist and criminal nature of the state of Israel.

Israel has been occupying and humiliating Palestinians for decades. The emergence of Hamas is the result of Israeli aggression and occupation, that has made the Palestinians desperate to regain their freedom and dignity. A modern state with a US funded modern army is occupying and controlling a people with no state, no army and no resources. When people are hopeless they turn to extremism because all other doors are closed. Israel never wanted peace. They just want to "cleans" the Palestinians like the Nazis wanted to cleans the Jews. What a sad irony that the Jews have such a short memory. They should be the ones making sure that no one is every subjected to the horror they suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Instead they are doing the same to the Palestinians. What a shame. The tortured has become the torturer.

No words can describe how horrific Israeli occupation is. I shiver when I think of it. Try watching a documentary like occupation 101 to get an idea of the reality on the ground. Nothing has harmed Jews and Judaism like the state of Israel. It's a total disaster and one day they will pay the ultimate price for what it has done.

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