If the sign of a healthy, living organism is its ability to develop and mature in harmony with its surroundings, then Israel must be declared dead, or at least terminally moribund.
Its politicians, generals and armies of hasbarats regurgitate the same tired boilerplate to justify Israel’s strangulation of Palestine, and are still obsessed with sabotaging discussion of the Holocaust® and the dispossession of Palestinians in 1947–1948 that led to the creation of the Zionist entity.
In 1997, I wrote a column called “Israel can’t hide from its history forever,” and in the intervening 13 years Israel has shown no signs of moral or political growth, much less the ability to outrun its past. In fact, it is plumbing ever-greater depths of depravity to prevent the world from discussing why Israel continues to deprive Palestinians of the basic necessities of life, humiliate them, murder their children, and steal their land.
Like the grotesque picture of Dorian Gray locked away in the attic, Israel gets uglier with each act of cruelty, and no amount of canned hasbara or phony “anti-Semitism” conferences can make it look pretty. What Israel was and what it did in 1948 is being revealed in what Israel is and is now doing. The reason Israel can’t hide from its history is that it has stagnated and history has caught up with it.
The murderous excesses of Cast Lead and the piratical assault on the international aid flotilla have rightly appalled the civilized world, even alienating growing numbers of Jews and Jewish groups. Inside and outside Israel, Jews are taking the lead in condemning Israel’s brutality, and joining the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement. The delicious irony now is the greatest existential threat to Israel comes not from Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran or the mythical “al-Qa‘ida,” but from Jews.
As welcome as this development is, it is rather slow in coming since Israel has been committing war crimes against Arabs over its entire history, and for the most part the world has let Israel get away with murder. Dr. Ilan Pappé, a Jewish professor at Tel Aviv university who fled to England after receiving death threats for his defence of Palestinians, said that although some Zionists are willing to criticize Israel’s post-1967 expansionism, the period 1882-1967 is still off limits.
As Israel persecutes these honourable Jews, especially academics like Drs. Pappé and Norman Finkelstein, the very concept of Israel as a “Jewish State” becomes exposed as a moral and political absurdity, and this invites further questioning of the image of Israel as the po’ l’il Jewish state as the perpetual victim of aggression.
The Mouth that Bored
Cartoon by Carlos Latuff
As history catches up with Israel, its “self-defence” propaganda also becomes risible and disgusting. The most recent act of fraud involves the complicity of hasbarats at the BBC, whose show Panorama glorified the Israeli military and spread disinformation that the aid ship Mavi Marmara represented a military threat. The fact that this odious fraud comes out so long after the event destroys any pretense to credibility and betrays a pathetic desperation.
Similarly desperate is the president of Tel Aviv University’s craven decision to review the syllabi for several sociology courses. According to Ha’aretz, The Institute for Zionist Strategies (!?) alleged that a “post-Zionist” bias was creeping into the departments. The institute defines post-Zionism as “the pretense to undermine the foundations of the Zionist ethos and an affinity with the radical leftist stream,” but since Zionism has no ethos, and since “radical leftist stream” is gratuitous name-calling, this must be seen as yet another attempt to keep Israel’s real history hidden.
Hasbara is fundamentally non-cognitive because it is not meant to communicate meaningful information or relate to any specific event. Hasbara is analogous to a cant that is intoned by religious mystics. Hasbarats and government hasbaratchiks chant the same generic slogans, invoke the same generic stereotypes, and recite the same generic falsifications all in the name of buttressing a pseudo-reality of their own making. Hasbarats do not expect understanding; they demand belief, and so what they regurgitate for public consumption does not qualify as language in any meaningful sense of the word.
A good example of this is the thoroughly stupid behaviour of Israel’s president Shimon Peres during his recent visit to London. In an obvious response to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s July 27 equation of the experience of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip to that of a prison camp, Peres uttered this fusillade of folly:
“[The British] abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 UN partition resolution… They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s… They had a defense treaty with Jordan, they always worked against us…They think the Palestinians are the underdog… Even though this is irrational.” (Note that Peres makes no direct reference to Cameron’s comment.)
The definition of “irrational” is an Israeli president whinging about events 60 to 70 years old like a paranoid Don Quixote. What did he hope to accomplish? In the end, even Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Romain, spiritual leader of Maidenhead Synagogue, had to speak out against Peres’s stupidity: “It is a sweeping statement that is far too one-sided… The tolerance and pluralism here make Britain one of the best countries in the world in which to live.”
The more Israel fights the same war against the same invisible enemy, the more its history catches up to it. In my 1997 article I wrote that if myths are used to prop up ideologies and false histories, they will sooner or later tear a country apart. It seems I have been proven right.