Why Boycott Israel? Because It’s Good for You

Part I

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s Apartheid scored an important victory recently when the British University and College Union (UCU) decided to circulate “the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches for information and discussion” and “encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” The UCU resolution is in fact quite moderate. Nevertheless, it raised the profile of the campaign and elicited a round of shrill, wall-to-wall condemnations, from newspapers, foundations, politicians and governments. Shockingly, not a single media mogul (or any mogul, for that matter) is in favor of the boycott!

The major argument for boycotting Israel is that it is the right thing to do. And it is. But for those of us who live off wages and depend on public services, it is also the smart thing to do — especially in Europe, where the BDS campaign is now facing a vocal onslaught. Support for Israel is an important pillar of an islamophobic, anti-immigrant and pro-war front, which includes many in the political leadership of Europe; their final prize is finishing off the welfare state. In the second part, I will also show that it is this front — not the UCU — that is heir to Europe’s historical anti-Semitism.

Europe’s political leadership is not merely opposed to boycotting Israel. The European Union, supported by politicians in every European country, has joined the US and Israel in a policy of siege, starving Palestinians of aid, medical supplies and food. The policy punishes Palestinians for daring to democratically replace a corrupt and ineffectual leadership. The EU supports Israel’s demands for Palestinians to unconditionally surrender: one sided “renouncement of violence,” and one-sided “recognition of Israel.” Israel, of course, is free to continue assassinations and bombing and need not recognize any Palestinian rights. Furthermore, European aid money, both public and private, is deployed strategically to help entrench the occupation, increase Palestinian dependency and discourage resistance. At the same time, as Alexander Yakobson writes in Ha’aretz:

European countries recently gave their full support to Israel joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. European funding for joint research and development projects with Israel – which the UCU wants stopped – is more extensive than ever before, and can only be expected to expand further. Economic ties between Israel and the European Union have grown closer in recent years, in step with the calls for boycotts. New agreements have upgraded Israel ‘s position and opened doors that had previously been closed.

Why all this love? It is no secret that most European bureaucrats, journalists, observers and NGO workers, those who have had any real contact with Israel, harbor few illusions about it. The feeling of the French Ambassador to Britain, Daniel Bernard, who referred to Israel in private as “a shitty little country,” is emblematic. European policy cannot be explained by the actual beliefs of the professional class that implements it. Complicity is dictated to them from above. Nor is this love for Israel the result of simple electoral politics. Pro-Israeli lobbies in Europe don’t have as much clout yet as in the US. And the European public generally sees Israel’s intransigence as a threat.

Israel, while not big, is a valuable commercial partner. Additionally, Israel’s occupation creates needs, especially in military hardware and construction. Many European companies directly benefit from contracts. French Veolia, for example, is set to build a rail system for the settlements around Jerusalem. Irish CRH holds a large cement monopoly in Israel. There is also longstanding European support for maintaining the neo-colonial world system. Europe’s businesses are profiting heavily from continued Southern dependence and corruption. If we needed another reminder, the British BAE Saudi bribes scandal came just in time. European capitals usually support the US when a radical challenge to neo-colonial dependence emerges, as for example in Haiti, Venezuela, and Lebanon.

But protecting profitable business falls short as an explanation. The strong support for Israel by leaders such as Blair and Sarkozy threatens Europe’s relations in the Middle East and perilously alienates its large immigrant communities. It is not driven by business as usual. On the contrary, it is led by an ideological kinship animated with revolutionary zeal and supported by the needs of financial capital to liberate itself from the chains of the welfare state. It is guided by a renewed desire to melt all that is solid into thin air. Israel’s great friends in Europe — Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy, Bernard Henri-Levy, Angela Merkel, Joschka Fisher, Lord Levy, and many more — are the shock troops of the neoliberal assault on European society, its workers and public services. What’s left of Palestinian land is on the breakfast menu. But dinner’s piéce de resistance will be served from the butchered European welfare state — education, high wages, job security, followed by healthcare and retirement.

Is this a “conspiracy?” Not in the cinematic sense of a powerful cabal meeting in secret and issuing marching orders. But there are plenty of secret and public conversations taking place through which the different elements of financial and political elites — the institutions, the corporations, the media, the civil society pressure groups, etc. — hone their common interests and learn to align and “conspire” — to speak in the same language and rally around common causes and strategies. Describing exactly how this alignment takes place is important and difficult. My purpose here is limited to the easy part — to sketch this ideological front and to identify its purpose by recognizing the historical patterns it repeats.

Support for Israel, Assault on Society

After WWII, the specter that used to haunt Europe was invited to sit at the table and given a small plate in return for no longer moving furniture at night. This arrangement, known as the welfare state, made possible the rebuilding of a capitalist Europe. But it was expensive. With the Soviet Union no longer, Europe’s capital is asking itself why it should continue paying. The financial world has a clear agenda. It is not made in Brussels or in Whitehall. If at all, it is made in the City of London. It is drummed up almost daily in the pages of The Financial Times and weekly in The Economist. European wages are too high. Social services are too lavish. Workers are living too long, working too little, enjoying too much time on the French Riviera. “ Europe” (namely the financial owners) cannot afford it. It makes European labor “uncompetitive”. There is too much “rigidity” in labor markets (i.e., too much stability in people’s lives). And taxes, needless to say, are far too high. What really hurts is that financial profits are too low and stock markets below the moon. The rich have been up in arms for decades now, withholding their investment money or sending it overseas, where labor is cheap and obedient. This has sent European unemployment figures into the double digits. Governments, captured by a shallow competition between so-called socialists and so-called Christians, are doing their part, whittling down the welfare state on the one hand, and guaranteeing profits for the needy wealthy on the other. Privatization is the preferred tool, and it works wonders — for investors. British Rail, for example, has been a great success story — for investors. In the UK — credit Margaret Thatcher — the work is almost done, although Blair’s government is still struggling to euthanize the National Health Service. Major privatization drives were also pushed through in France and Germany. But the assault on public services ground to a halt thanks to stiffer popular resistance, notably from trade unions. France, with 2006 profits at only 5% of GDP, is where lines are now drawn in the sand.

To do what elected governments cannot, the EU was transformed from an idea to put an end to war to a strategy in the class war, its high offices staffed with the faithful and entrusted with a mission to undermine labor’s bargaining power. Monetary policy was transferred to the European Central Bank, where Jean-Claude Trichet is now in charge of using interest rates to help bosses stare down unions. But even this strategy took a beating when the French public voted down the proposed neoliberal European constitution. A ferocious ideological war for the neoliberal model (a.k.a. TINA –There Is No Alternative) succeeded in eliminating heterodox thinking from the mainstream. But the public refuses to buy the neoliberal prescriptions. It is a law of European politics. Every government that pushes neoliberal reforms gets clobbered in the polls. Yet thanks to the strength of TINA, no government can follow any other course. The outcome is a tired and demoralizing stalemate. A corrupt, off-putting political class rules with a self-serving and anti-democratic credo, which Tony Blair exemplified: the role of leadership is to shove unwanted policies down the throat of an unwilling public, and suffer the resulting loss of public support with stoic equanimity. But in the long run, you cannot run a parliamentary democracy with 20% approval rates.

What can capital do in the face of this stubbornness? The answer, I think, can be summed with a quote from Tom Friedman, one millionaire ideologue (and firm supporter of Israel) who can spot an uppity French worker from a mile, blindfolded: “give war a chance.” (Interestingly enough, Friedman’s columns usually fall into one of three bins: Israel good; bombs good; low wages good.) From theory to practice, Britain’s New Labor is the model of linking warmongering abroad with the neoliberal assault on workers at home: a foreign policy of joining forces with the US and Israel in the Middle East and a domestic policy of destroying services and pandering to the financial markets. Blair quite profitably destroyed the Labor party as the party of labor. And do I need to mention Blair’s profound disappointment with the boycott campaign?

In France, the tougher battleground, newly elected Sarkozy is ready to double down for the market. Here is how Armand Laferrere, Sarkozy’s former adviser, explains the new President’s plans to out-Blair Blair. Domestically,

[T]he President campaigned as a radical reformer of the main weaknesses in the French social compact. The French economy is handicapped by insufficient productive activity and the high price of labor. Therefore, he promised both to put people back to work…[and replace] the jungle of French labor laws with a single kind of work contract. Public-sector unions have blocked reforms before; therefore, he promised to make it mandatory to keep a minimum level of public services even in the case of a strike… the President promised to finally give universities the power to run themselves and apply for external funds on top of their taxpayer-funded base.

And as for the foreign counterpart of this domestic plan of lowering wages, privatizing higher education and breaking labor unions:

[R]ecent election results allow me to say that my own cultural bias in favor of America and Israel will be more reflected in French foreign policy than it has been for half a century.

Laferrere made these comments in front of a crowd of neo-conservative fanatics at JINSA (The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), one of the many pivotal nodes in Washington that link between Zionism, the armament industry and market fundamentalism. American neo-conservatism is an inspiration to Europe’s stock market liberators. Unfortunately anti-war commentary rarely stresses that the neo-conservative movement, in addition to being fanatically pro-Israel, has always been fanatically anti-worker. When the neo-cons took over the management of Baghdad, their plan for what Naomi Klein called “a free market utopia” was a more uninhibited version of what Sarkozy wants to do to France. One law from Saddam’s era that the occupiers did not scrap was the restriction on trade unions.

The nexus between assault on labor and social services and vocal support for Israel crawls up from under every stone one turns. I will turn just two stones below. In condemning the UCU resolution, The Jerusalem Post gave the full podium to the British Baroness Cox. Her Pomposity was quoted as saying, “it is ironic and disturbing in the extreme that censorship is … being promoted by some representatives of academic staff who should be the guardians of academic freedom.” She also insinuated that the British police should act against boycott supporters. You’d think that bringing police squads to force academics to cooperate with Israel is not exactly a shining example of how to protect academic freedom. But then the Baroness is nothing if not consistent. For her, academic freedom means an academy free from critical voices. She received her peerage from Margaret Thatcher after the latter noted her McCarthyite book denouncing the prevalence of Marxist professors in British education. She led the attack on teacher education for being too leftist (i.e., too anti-sexism, anti-racism etc.) and worked in and out of the House of Lords to privatize schools and de-skill teachers. (See Dave Hill, The Charge of the Right Brigade, and “The Christian Schools Campaign: A Successful Educational Pressure Group?” by Geoffrey Walford, British Educational Research Journal, September 1995, pp. 451-464). Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cox’s bête noir is “radical Islam,” which is “the greatest threat posed to the Western world.” She is a pious Christian and known as a fighter for human rights, especially for victims of Muslim governments. She is the co-founder of One Jerusalem, an organization whose mission is “maintaining a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.” Perhaps following the moral example of the crusaders, the baroness has no concern for the human rights of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents. Cox, to boot, has some issues with homosexuality, which might explain the choice of words in her denunciation of the “unnatural alliance” between “the Islamists and the left.” Noblesse oblige.

In France, media star and $200-million-worth Bernard Henri-Levi — a.k.a. brand name BHL — is a major voice in opposition to the boycott. When a boycott measure passed in Paris VI university in 2003, BHL was invited to condemn it. He dutifully called it shameful, linked it immediately to Vichy and called Israeli universities “the heart of peace.” BHL is France’s smoke machine. Officially a socialist, he rose to the French firmament on a wave of rightwing adulation for his role in defeating the French left in the ’70s. Intellectually and morally, he is a fraud. Here is just one example from Doug Ireland’s highly recommended account of this incarnation of Baudrillard’s simulacrum: the great humanitarian moralist “ … BHL inherited the family’s huge lumber business, Becob … while BHL was running the company, numerous international bodies and a report from the Canadian government denounced it for keeping its African workers in penurious semi-slavery.” Hypocrisy might be easier to forgive if BHL’s public “positions” were not themselves smokescreens. BHL’s performance is built on a simple technique that allows him to speak “truth to power” from the dead center of French power: he endorses leftist positions in vague emotive terms in order to better undermine them. Examples: he disagrees with neo-conservatives, but thinks Charles Krauthammer and Christopher Hitchens are the contemporary equivalent of Sartre. He opposed the war on Iraq, but chides us in the global anti-war movement for believing that “it is better to live as a serf under Saddam than to be free thanks to Bush.” Free, one presumes, from the constraints of bodily existence. BHL is against “the Clash of Civilizations,” but works to exacerbate it. Like practically all vocal defenders of Israel, BHL — who claims to have introduced the term “islamofascism” — is a leading purveyor of Islamophobia and racist drivel, although perfumed with highfalutin rhetorical flourish. Here’s a sample: “The Taliban weren’t just defeated, they were defeated without a fight. … the image of these defeated fighters, lionized by the Arab street from Baghdad to Damascus, the image of these salahudins who were supposed to bring America to its knees, and who, at the first shot, fled like chickens, could only astound those who identified with them.” On neoliberalism, BHL is an impressive Weapon of Mass Distraction. Consider that when he finally announces his hyper-hyped electoral endorsement for 2007, he breaks with the knight of neoliberalism Sarkozy over … the medical explanation for pedophilia.

Next: anti-Semitism and the inner logic of this double assault.

Part II: The Enemy

What then lies at the root of this quite natural alliance between Christian fundamentalists, market fundamentalists, billionaires, Zionists, islamophobes, and garden variety warmongers? Karl Schmitt, the Nazi philosopher of law who theorized the way to defend the Christian state from the twin evil of communism and liberalism, identified the essential basis of political authority in the power to name the enemy. For Schmitt, while leftists see the enemy across town, in the ruling class and the state, the problem with liberals is that they see no enemies. Communism must be opposed; but the liberal alternative is not up to the task, since, without enemies, politics degenerate. To defeat the liberal atrophy of politics as well as labor’s militant tendencies, Schmitt saw the necessity of having an existential enemy, one that the whole state can be fully mobilized against. The enemy creates the conditions for the exercise of decisive state power, free from the restraints imposed by law and the deadlocks of parliamentary politics. Although the debt is rarely acknowledged, that has been the guiding principle of right-wing reaction. One could read Huntington’s “Clash of Civilization” thesis as the globalization of Schmitt’s insight. While originally presented as descriptive, the “Clash of Civilization” has been so influential because it is in practice a political program, one tailored to combat what Huntington himself called elsewhere “an excess of democracy.” Does one needs to mention that Huntington also looks askance at unions? The raw Schmitt, however, is too clearly reactionary. The new Schmittianism of the Islamophobic front is a rightwing reaction veiled in the trappings of the traditional left.

Having an enemy across the border — alien, total, menacing — helps the right assert political power domestically, the power it now needs to liberate stock markets from the fetters of the welfare state. This is the revolution’s goal, and support for Israel is right at the center of it. Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis is manna from heaven for Israel because it places its fight against the Palestinians in a larger struggle that includes the whole West. This was always a conscious and important Zionist goal. Two examples of many: Max Nordau addressing the crème of British Imperialism at Albert Hall in 1920. “We know perfectly well what you require of us. We are to keep guard over the Suez Canal for you. We are to act as sentinel over your route to India and Asia …” And a short century later here is former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu capitalizing on 9/11: “What is at stake today is nothing less than the survival of our civilization.” And “The international terrorist network is thus based on regimes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Taliban Afghanistan, Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority and several other Arab regimes such as the Sudan … the Palestinian groups cooperate closely with Hezbollah, which in turn links them to Syria, Iran and Bin Laden.” Of course, Hezbollah and Bin Laden’s affiliates are sworn enemies, and Arafat was connected to neither. The other thing worth noting about Netanyahu is his neoliberal zeal in cutting welfare, and the fact that during his tenure as Finance Minister the poverty rate in Israel rose 15%.

Radicalizing Europe’s Muslims therefore serves Israel’s purpose. But it is also, in line with Schmitt’s and Huntington’s ideas, a blessing for the neoliberal assault. Western support for Israel inflames Muslim public opinion and produces instances of fanaticism that in turn help inflame popular animus against Muslim immigrants. Practically all organized support for Israel is involved in demonizing Islam. The demonization of Islam strengthens the appeal of the most radical Islamists and increases the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Terrorism breeds fear and fear breeds obedience to authority and conformism. Divide and conquer. (Take, for example, Margaret Hodges recent foray into anti-immigrant xenophobia to cover up for New Labor’s policy of shafting its constituents) It works in the US. It works in Israel. Why shouldn’t it work in Europe? Needless to say, a state about to go smash labor and destroy public services needs all the obedience it can generate. It also needs vast police powers, and what better way to justify curtailing civil rights than a frenzy surrounding terrorism?

Furthermore, war and fear of terrorism require the transfer of funds from social services to defense and security. This is a bonanza for Israel since Israel specializes in selling security and defense wares. But spending on defense and security is also much better than spending on welfare from a neoliberal perspective. First, it is a way for the state to fund corporate profits directly, and therefore dear to the heart of financial capital. Second, the shift in priorities leads to dislocations that are in themselves useful for precipitating changes in the rules of work in favor of higher profits and lower wages. Third, social spending increases labor’s bargaining power. Defense spending doesn’t. It is pure waste, which is an advantage from the point of view of profits under current conditions. War, fear of terrorism, and immigrant bashing also bolster the legitimacy of the EU. Cross-border arrest warrants, mobile joint border policing, anti-terrorist task forces, are easier to justify than higher prices and lower wages.

Finally, in terms of talking left and walking right, Israel is indeed a “light onto the nations,” and a successful controlled Schmittian experiment ensconced within a formal parliamentary democracy. Today, Israel is the second most unequal society in the developed world. The silver medal status, however, depends crucially on not counting Palestinians under occupation. Taken as a whole, Israel is in fact the industrial world’s indisputable leader in inequality. But even that doesn’t quite capture its unique achievement. Consider that this inequality is the result of a century of economic development during which, most of the time, Israel was under “socialistic” leadership! Europe had to wait for the ’80s and ’90s to find socialist leaders whose real motto is “investors of the world unite!” Israel already had such leaders in the ’20s. (See Zeev Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel) This “socialist” and “democratic” legacy of Zionism must offer an appealing roadmap for the Tony Blair left. Unlike most European countries, Israel developed as a capitalist country without going through the menace of a radical-left alternative. The nationalism of the historic labor party (Mapai) precluded it. The existential enemy authorized a secure zone for the unhindered development of capital. Consider this revealing nugget from Mapai leader David Hacohen:

I remember being one of the first of our comrades to go to London after the first World War. … There I became a socialist… I had to fight my [student] friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to the housewives that they not buy at [Palestinian] Arab stores, to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there. … To pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash the Arab eggs they had bought; to praise to the skies the Keren Kayemet [Jewish National Fund] that sent Hankin to Beirut to buy land from absentee effendi [landlords] and to throw the fellahin [peasants] off the land … to take Rothschild, the incarnation of capitalism, as a socialist and to name him the “benefactor” — to do all that was not easy. (my emphasis. Haaretz, Nov 15, 1969, quoted in Arie Bober, ed., The Other Israel)

The Israeli Labor Party has the distinct achievement of firmly associating the term “left” with racism and class privilege, against both Palestinians and Jews. Today, it is the party of generals, the security services and neoliberals. Compared to Europe, the complete dismantling of the Israeli welfare state sailed through with ease. The long-term strategy that netted these results was the Schmittian strategy of a state fully mobilized against the Enemy, the Arab, both internally and externally. Here is Mizrahi writer and activist Sami Shalom Chetrit describing how it works, how war is used to entrench class, race and power:

You look at the Arab and actually you’re looking the mirror, and you’ve been taught that the reflection in the mirror is actually bad, negative, low, enemy, so you start spitting in the mirror. It’s hard to spit in the mirror everyday, because you go crazy. It’s hard to live with self-hatred, you get sick, so what do you do? You channel everything to the Arab. It’s very simple social psychology. That is how we all became Arab haters, because if we don’t hate them, we’re going to hate ourselves. … [That’s] why they keep the Occupation going… They won’t back down because if they do, they will lose their Ashkenazi, Zionist hegemony… Right now, in my view, everything is collapsing but no one complains because “we are at war …”

The way Israel deliberately confounds the left-right distinction is also reflected in the internal politics of the West. While it is not difficult to discover the hands of wealth and reaction behind pro-Israel bodies, much of the Western left is congenitally paralyzed on the subject of Israel. The common attitude is silence or mealy mouthed half-criticism. The most significant agent of this debility is the cult of the Holocaust. Pre-war communists correctly saw Zionism as a colonial and racist enterprise. In the struggle against fascism, however, the left won the war but lost the peace. The apotheosis of the Holocaust and the enshrining of an idealistic, nostalgic anti-fascism was their sop. Israel sought and was accorded the guardianship of European guilt. Holocaust kitsch and the attendant sanctification of Israel is now the West’s alibi against all charges of continuing racism. In addition, Jewish community organs, captured by wealth, built their power on the cult of the Holocaust and now use it to de-legitimize criticism of Israel and drum up Islamophobia. Support for Israel is therefore a crucial element in preventing the articulation of a coherent social-democratic opposition to racism.

The Repetitions of Anti-Semitism

A word on anti-Semitism is a must, given the incredible cheek of those describing the UCU decision as anti-Semitic. A century ago, the radical threat that was threatening Europe’s elites was communism. At the same time, the immigrant masses that sought refuge from misery in the West were the Ostjuden — Jews from Eastern Europe. Stereotyped and ridiculed as backward, dirty and subversive, and a fertile social ground for socialist and communist agitation, the Ostjuden also transformed anti-Semitism. Before they arrived, Western anti-Semitism was the work of anti-liberal agitators fanning the resentment of the downwardly-mobile lower middle-classes by pinnng the blame to wealthy, integrated Jews. Respectable modern gents would not be seen near it and socialists fought against it. The Ostjuden provided anti-Semitism with a concrete class of poor, Jewish immigrants who actually looked different and who competed with native labor for the lowliest jobs during the severe economic crises that followed the First World War. After the 1917 revolution in Russia, the propaganda campaign against communism almost merged with anti-Semitism. Russian anti-communist expatriates brought with them The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Bolshevism was described as a Jewish plot and Jewish immigrants a subversive danger. This new anti-Semitism was directly useful as a tool for undermining worker militancy. Hence, unlike the old anti-Semitism, it gained ground with the political and business elites, even in liberal England. Churchill described Bolshevism as the work of “international Jews.” The conservative Tories used a mixture of anti-Bolshevism, anti-immigration and veiled anti-Semitism to respond to the first Labor Party national election victory in 1924. The Zinoviev letter, a forgery that implied that Labor was taking orders from the (Jewish) Bolsheviks put the Conservatives back in government. A clampdown on Jewish immigrants ensued under the Home Office of Sir William Joynson-Hicks. In the US, the industrialist Henry Ford was a leading impresario of this anti-communist anti-Semitism and the publisher of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion’s first U.S. edition. Does one need to mention that he was also anti-union and anti-immigration? The Nazis carried this identification between Jews and Bolshevism to the extreme; it was the platform that brought them to power and the political basis for the concentration camps. But it is necessary to remember that their fear-mongering about Jewish subversion was all too respectable and a staple of the conservative defense against workers’ militancy all across Europe.

A new round of anti-immigrant xenophobia washed over Europe in the 1980s. It was fanned by party politics and the end of the post-war boom. Margaret Thatcher infamously described Britain as “swamped by alien culture.” Turkish labor was the issue in Germany. In France, Jacque Chirac became mayor of Paris with the promise of clamping down on North-African immigrants. A campaign of police harassment dutifully followed. But the new xenophobia had its limits. Like pre WW-I anti-Semitism, it was too transparently racist and mean-spirited. It gave the political right a divisive issue and significant electoral gains, but it did not create a unified discourse that could take the center and marginalize the left. A major weakness was the lack of an international component. There was no connection between the terrorism of the IRA and the immigrants from Bangladesh. There was no link between cold-war anti-communism and the Algerian communities in Paris. There were many enemies, but there was no one big existential enemy.

But now there is. The Clash of Civilizations, the Israeli outpost fighting to avoid being “swamped” by Palestinians, 9/11, the war on terror, Muslim difference, immigration and the veil, all come together in one discourse that links an external ideological and physical threat to the “foreign” presence in Europe. This is no longer a discourse that divides between the center-left and center-right. It is a radical right-wing discourse that thoroughly takes over the center. The power to name the enemy proves itself again. Today’s apologists of Israel’s Apartheid, be they Jewish or not, seek to exploit fears and spread hatred against Muslim immigrants, even accusing them of plotting world domination, all in the service of lower wages and higher stock markets. They are the true heirs of The Protocols’ Western admirers. “Islamism” is the boogeyman that replaces “Bolshevism”. Muslim immigrants take the place of the Ostjuden. Green replaces Red. And Israel is where Germany was in the ’30s, the frontal outpost where the fight against the enemies of capital rages fiercest.

Of course, there is the inevitable farcical aspect to this rhyming of history. Many things are different, not in the least the historical memory of Nazism which weighs heavily on the political theater. For this reason, Israel cannot (I hope) match the Nazi horror. A more important difference is that radical Islam is hardly as real a danger to property relations as the communist revolution in Russia was. Western workers, who are anyway unlikely to convert to Islam, are not in a revolutionary mood. And the area of the globe that can be described as Muslim is far from being a significant military force that balances Western powers as the Soviet Union did. It includes a chain of barely functioning states on which the US and NATO can stage their telephoto wars-for-profits with abandon. The repetition of the triangular structure of xenophobia (Anti-Semitism/Islamophobia,) radical threats (Bolsheviks/Islamists,) and immigrants (Jewish/Muslim,) is not a defense against workers’ militancy. It reflects a triumphal neoliberal juggernaut on the march, unable to satiate itself before it devours every last vestige of human welfare.

As the French and German reaction to the Iraq war made evident, there is significant elite opposition in Europe to the use of Islamophobia and to the neo-conservative war drive. But the resilience of this liberal opposition is questionable. It is disturbing how quickly the animus of the French and German governments against the Iraq war floundered. Islamophobia is ultimately fueled by the limits Western democracy places on profits. Fighting Islamophobia while resisting neoliberalism requires therefore a campaign that goes beyond moralizing. An understanding of the role that Islamophobia and support for Israel ’s Apartheid play in the neoliberal assault is a must. Conversely, given the kind of state Israel is, support for Israel is the most egregious internal contradiction of liberal imperialism. A wide and sustained conversation about the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign — why it is needed, what conditions it is trying to change, why it is legitimate, and who its opponents are — is a very important educational tool in this struggle.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary and a committed Labourite, is against the boycott because she doesn’t believe the majority of members support it. She told the Guardian, “When I speak to members, they tell me they want their union to focus on pay and conditions.” The separation between the struggle over pay and conditions of teachers and other workers and the larger questions about the character of the state is artificial. As we’ve seen, there is no such separation in the tactics of power. The financial and political elites always manage their foreign wars and their domestic concerns in tandem, with a keen eye to how each campaign can profit from the other. What schools and universities teach, who pays teachers and how much, who could fire them and for what, who has access to education and with what quality — all these inherently political questions are at stake in the fight over Islamophobia and Israeli Apartheid. It is the duty of the BDS campaign supporters to make the case that restraining Israel’s brutality is not only the right and ethical thing to do, but also essential to successfully defending “pay and conditions.”

Gabriel Ash is an activist and writer who writes because the pen is sometimes mightier than the sword and sometimes not. He welcomes comments at: g.a.evildoer@gmail.com. Read other articles by Gabriel, or visit Gabriel's website.

41 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Limerick said on June 23rd, 2007 at 6:15pm #

    I am not islamophobic, anti-immigrant or pro-war. Israel has shown amazing resilience, strength and restraint when badly outnumbered and surrounded by people many of whom would love few things better than to see every last Israeli killed. Through all of this time, it manged to assert itself as a democracy… in a region where the next democracy to the east is India, to the west is the US (yes… you have to cross the pacific to find the next democracy over), to the south is South Africa, and to the north is Russia. In the middle of this sea of brutal dictatorships, Israel managed to assert itself as a liberal democracy, where you are allowed to speak your mind without having to fear for your safety. I think this boycott has done a tremendous disservice to academia, by targeting the only country in the region that fosters it.

    While it is true that Israel could certainly show greater respect for human rights, I think no other country in the would be as restrained as Israel if placed in its position. In fact, most are not as restrained in much less perilous situations.

    That is why I support Israel, not because I am xenophobic. And I think that before you judge it you should try to put yourself in the shoes of a country that every day faces the threat of extinction, and the death of all of its citizens.

  2. Max Shields said on June 23rd, 2007 at 6:37pm #

    One of the best posts I’ve read on DV. Keen analysis and well researched. Stunning examples of historical confluent nexuses.

    But this is a dilemma which makes you wonder if an acedemic boycott can really be effective. In other words, Mr. Ash, you’ve drawn an incredible picture which seems to require more than what this targeted boycott can deliver. Perhaps more on a strategy that deals directly the multi-tiered collusion. There are other forces in the world. Not all of this is in the hands of the Western elites; nor need it come in the form of radicalized Islamic forces – which as you eloquently noted would only heighten the direction of the already in motion trajectory of “Clashing civilizations”.

    Still a remarkable piece.

  3. admBoycott said on June 23rd, 2007 at 8:11pm #

    I’ve embed his article to my blog groups about Boycott Israel at Multiply.com, check http://boycottisrael.multiply.com/journal/item/18
    Hope you give me a permission, pleaase…


  4. RandallJones said on June 23rd, 2007 at 9:58pm #

    If the boycott is done and it spreads to other countries what will happen? Conveniently, a terrorist act wil take place (committed by agent provocateurs) and Israel will say “We told you so.” These terrorist acts (whether it was the killing of the Isrealis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, or the hijacking of Air France Flight 139, where hostages were held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, or the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro), benefit Israel more than it does the Palestinians

    If these British teachers want things to improve for the Palestinians, why don’t they set the example by having their government stop its participation in the occupation of Iraq?

    This also goes to the Americans on the radical left who want to talk about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, but do not want to discuss the United States’ war crimes around the world.

  5. sk said on June 23rd, 2007 at 10:32pm #

    David Harvey offers a strong analysis of the interplay of Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism in ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism’. The libertine “go-go” spirit unleashed by Neoliberalism needs the corrective “strict father morality” of Neoconservatism to allow the former from getting derailed and ending up in the weeds.

    The “eternal enemy”–a la Schmitt–is needed not so much for the harm it can do, as for the regimentation of home front. Shadia Drury has some interesting insights into the ideological springs of the Neoconservative thrust and the motivations of one of it’s founding fathers.

  6. Max Shields said on June 24th, 2007 at 5:03am #

    Randall Jones,
    “This also goes to the Americans on the radical left who want to talk about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, but do not want to discuss the United States’ war crimes around the world.”

    I’m unaware of such a state of affairs. Israel’s and the US occupations and the tactics used throughout the Middle East (and continued through the world by the US) are widely presented. Not just by the so-called left. I don’t think Israel is the center of the universe. It is a telling symptom of what is going on many times over through the aggressive imperialism of the West. The little land known as Israel is but an extention whose occupation ripples out across the world.

  7. Rowan Berkeley said on June 24th, 2007 at 9:48am #

    Re ” CB said on June 23rd, 2007 at 6:12 am #”

    – I don’t mind the 911 truthlings, in general, but these space beams people are no use to man or beast.

    As to the article, this reinforces a point I have tried to make to Messrs. Nitzan & Bichler, to the effect that, if we formally reject any quantitative determinism, developed from Marx’s labour theory of value and his algebraic explorations of the growth tendencies of consumer and producer goods respectively, which will supposedly tell us why capitalist industry goes through the exact phases of war mania that it does, and we re-instate the properly political as the deciding factor, then we need an objective sociology of the élites, to explain the dynamics of these swings (between breadth phases and depth phases, in Bichler & Nitzan’s terminology) which in turn means we have to lay the historical ghosts of the ‘jewish speculator’ and so forth.

  8. Terry Greenwood said on June 24th, 2007 at 9:53am #

    Ha, ha, there seems to be a convenient silence regarding last week when Palestinians were being killed execution-style in the street, handcuffed and thrown off of skyscrapers to their deaths, or being essentially decapitated by 40 automatic rifle shots to the head, as happened to Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander seeking aid at Kamal Udwan Hospital when he was discovered by Hamas thugs — not as the result of an accident in a defensive military action but as deliberate, inhuman slaughter — all those who chime in so quickly about Israeli transgressions are unusually silent as their heroes in the struggle for self-determination in “occupied Palestine” seem to self-destruct in wanton, seething anarchy.

    The British doctors were uncharacteristically silent with their moral condemnation of health care provision last week, for instance, when the Hamas-controlled Shifa Hospital was made the epicenter of a military onslaught from the Fatah-allied Bakr clan as it attempted to revenge the deaths of its members killed in clashes with Hamas. Fatah forces fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades into the hospital while Hamas responded in kind from within.

    The British doctors also somehow failed to make public protestations when one of their medical peers, Palestinian physician Fayez Al-Barrawi, 29, a Hamas sympathizer, was kidnapped, blindfolded, handcuffed, and shot six times in his legs, including his kneecaps, by Palestinian militants in northern Gaza who disposed of the good doctor in the street. Nor did the British raise their collective voices of disapproval when Hamas and Fatah elements entered a hospital in the town of Beit Hanoun with guns blazing, killing a Hamas supporter. Inside the hospital the carnage continued, where ten people were wounded and a father and two sons from a Fatah-allied clan were murdered, including one while he lay anesthetized on an operating table.

    The other side of the issue which makes the British doctors’ call for boycott equally perverse, besides its selectivity in singling out Israel for condemnation, is that its premise is flawed as well. In fact, Israel, regularly and consistently, despite its very obvious justifications to do exactly the opposite — contributes to and enhances the care given to Palestinians, both inside Israel and within the territories. Yair Amikam, Deputy Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Health, for example, notes that “Israel continues to provide medical care to Palestinians and during the last year about 20,000 patients have been hospitalized in Israeli hospitals and about 40,000 patients have used ambulatory services in Israel, for clinical consultation and treatment as well as for laboratory tests. During the last year, around fifty Palestinian physicians and some nurses and laboratory technicians underwent training programs in Israel.” According to Ministry reports, Gaza alone sent some 5,000 patients to Israeli hospitals last years, 2,000 of whom were admitted and the balance receiving outpatient care; some 2,500 of Palestinians who received this care in Israeli hospitals were children.

    In fact, the ease with which Palestinians can receive medical care at Israeli hospitals has meant that terrorists have not hesitated to feign illness, pregnancy, or other ailments to become human bombs and gain deadly access to Jewish medical institutions. That reality means that in providing health care to its antagonistic neighbors, Israel has some particularly challenging groups of patients, who will not, as it is obvious, hesitate to kill even those trying to save lives. The British physicians, comfortable in their sanctimonious cocoons, and who castigate Israel for their lack of response while they have never had to defend themselves from anything more serious than a virus, might do well to remember that oft-cited proverb before they attack Israel any further: “Physician, heal thyself.”

  9. Angie Tibbs said on June 24th, 2007 at 2:58pm #

    “Limerick” wrote in part:

    “Israel has shown amazing resilience, strength and restraint
    when badly outnumbered and surrounded by people many of whom would love few things better than to see every last Israeli killed

    Excuse me, when was this? I would appreciate examples of Israel’s “amazing resilence, strength. and restraint”, please.

    He/she goes on:

    “. . . Through all of this time, it manged to assert itself as a democracy… in a region where the next democracy to the east is India . . . ”

    Wrong. The Palestinian people voted for a democracy. The elected government was ostracized by Israel and the majority of the nations of the world. The wishes of the Palestinian people were crushed by “democratic” Israel and its “democratic” supporters. Instead of being able to govern as Hamas was elected by a landslide majority to do, they, and their citizens, were brought to the brink of starvation and economic ruin, proving yet again “democracy” exists only when, and where, the rogue nations of the world says it can.

    And then there’s this piece of fiction:

    “And I think that before you judge it you should try to put yourself in the shoes of a country that every day faces the threat of extinction, and the death of all of its citizens”.

    Again, I’d suggest “Limerick” elaborate, and tell us how Israel faces a “threat of extinction” and “the death of all of its citizens”. He/she is talking about a country with the largest army in the region, and one that is in possession of every conceivable war toy including nuclear weapons. What are the chances of the “death of all its citizens” and with what?

  10. Max Shields said on June 24th, 2007 at 3:15pm #

    “Ha, ha, there seems to be a convenient silence regarding last week when Palestinians were being killed execution-style in the street, handcuffed and thrown off of skyscrapers to their deaths, or being essentially decapitated by 40 …”

    So, this is a joke?

  11. Max Shields said on June 24th, 2007 at 4:18pm #

    From Oren Ben-Dor
    “The economic and diplomatic boycott imposed on the elected Hamas government, which has resulted in the recent violence in Gaza, was intended to force it to accept Israeli apartheid. Only when the world is ready to call by its true name the premise upon which Israeli statehood is based, will it not take violence to advance a morally coherent and credible criticism of Israel.

    The denial of this core apartheid, of which the Gaza violence is a symptom, must stop. We should say it loud and clear. The apartheid system which lies at the core of Israeli statehood should be dismantled. It is unethical to rationalize the apartheid notion of a Jewish state. It is not consistent to be a friend of Israel, thereby endorsing its apartheid-based statehood, while criticising its apartheid practices in the Occupied Territories. Apartheid should have no sanctuary in any future vision of two states for historic Palestine.

    Only when this realization sinks in will it be possible to envision a stable political solution–a single state over all historic Palestine– in which redress can be made for past injustices and equal citizenship provided for all, Arabs and Jews.”


  12. bill rowe said on June 24th, 2007 at 7:43pm #

    Israel is a ethnic cleansing apartheid state like South Africa that demands all the isolation of that hated state. It is a state founded on theft of Palestinian land and prostitution of all tenets of western law and justice.Only when a majority of people realize this and openly speakout and defy their neighbors,family,and politicians who continue to support that abominable state through ignorance or malice will the political will result in real change. Tell your friends I diasgree,you are wrong, and you are not my friend !!!

  13. RandallJones said on June 24th, 2007 at 8:23pm #

    Terry Greenwood,

    The British, as well as you has been silent about Isreal’s use of agent provocateurs to fuel the violence in Palestine? See http://www.uruknet.info/?p=33957

  14. Elvis said on June 24th, 2007 at 8:52pm #

    Talk talk talk, these demonds can be extinct if we join together. The enemy of my enemy is the knuckle dragging talmud followers. God Bless you. Peace be w/ you.

  15. sk said on June 24th, 2007 at 11:28pm #

    Serge Halimi has written recently on how templates of ideas are transplanted from the New World to the Old (which due to its own inferiority complex vis-a-vis the top dog state is quite receptive to conventional wisdom or “best practices” in elite circles there). The Neoliberal way of governance has been tried for more than a decade on the continent, but it’s still not broken through the stalemate that Gabriel Ash talks about. But, allied with Neoconservative authoritarianism it might actually get European publics to give up their traditional rights.

    If anyone’s interested, here’s another interesting audio interview of Shadia Drury in which in addition to the “Enemy” bogeyman, she talks about the Neoconservative typology of the Wise Men, Gentlemen, and the hoi polloi.

  16. Steven Sherman said on June 25th, 2007 at 5:21am #

    Excellent article. It is refreshing to read a perspective explaining the importance of Israel in ruling class imaginaries that does not resort to the vaguely anti-semitic approach of ‘the Jews are incredibly powerful in (the US, Europe, etc)’. Even before 9-11, support for Israel was used as a cudgel to isolate Western liberals from the global left. For example, when Nelson Mandela received a very warm welcome in the US, trouble was stirred up around the fact that he was sympathetic to the political objectives of the PLO. It was widely recognized that this would be more disturbing to liberals than any pro-Cuban statements he may have made at some point. Similarly, the US walked out on the Durbin conference on racism on grounds of ‘anti-semitism’, conveniently avoiding discussion of reperations for all forms of colonialism/racism that had been raised. Now, of course, to not support Israel is to embrace Al Quaeda. The predictable tendency of the global left to sympathize with those targeted by the West proves the ‘anti-semitism’ of the former–why else would Hugo Chavez develop relations with Iran?

    There is one serious error in this article. You say that the rallying around the ‘far enemy’ of Islam comes at a time when no spectre haunts the West. Yet just before 9-11, the anti-global (or whatever you’d like to call it) movement was gaining strength. While not on the verge of producing revolutionary change in the US or Europe, it was raising serious questions about neoliberalism and ultimately capitalism. How convenient to completely change the subject to the ‘defence of civilization’ against the Islamic ‘threat’.

  17. Max Shields said on June 25th, 2007 at 6:06am #

    Steven Sherman,

    I pretty much concur with what you’ve said, but I don’t think the subject has changed regarding globalization. Neoliberalism is a failure. Latin America is demonstrating nation by nation an alternative. Now whether the alternative will find a way to develop and flurish is a question. The US is more or less absorbed in the Middle East and it’s CIA tricks are frequently ineffective in toppling governments, though they are fomenting as much mayhem as possible in Venezuela.

    I think the anti-corporate/capitalistic globalization movement is alive. Again, can it be sustained? That is always the question. What changes the subject domestically is the divide and conquer routine of immigation. The invisible hand of NAFTA has dissipated and racist immigration psyches are stirred on the ground. But that’s not new in Amerika. I see transformative forces even here (however nascent these forces are).

    To the larger issue of boycott. An acedemic boycott – that is one that targets Israeli acedemics – seems to be the wrong lever, particularly in the US where it would surely backfire (and I don’t think there are many Israeli acedemicians in the US anyway). The issue is Israel’a colonialism vis-avis US/West hegemony and apartheid. In other words, the state of Israel must be the target of an all out boycott. That’s why I think Oren Ben-Dor speaks to the heart of the matter (within the Israel/Palestinian context).

    Mr. Ash takes the narrative in a much broader direction. And for that I too think he has written and excellent piece.

  18. Ekosmo said on June 25th, 2007 at 11:42am #

    To Angie Tibbs
    I doubt Limerick will further “elaborate” on anything…

    As the “noble Zionist” narrative unravels daily, and the verbal contortionism involved in rationally defending its position increases to absurd and ridiculous heights, Israeli apologists are increasingly reduced to spam posting cascades of hyperventilating nonsensical gobble-de-gook — often in 1-shot, hit-and-run damp squibs that illuminates only their paranoid and feverish Hasbara fuelled imaginings…

    These of course warn us that if any form of Palestinian statehood is implemented, the next inevitability will be cattle wagons of Israelis being “extraordinarily renditioned” to some imaginary Middle East Auschwitz … ad nauseum…

    After a bizarre geography lesson notable only for its infantile stupidity, Limerick then concludes that we all should “put [ourselves] in the shoes of a country that every day faces the threat of extinction, and the death of all of its citizens….”

    Where, Dear Reader, have we encountered these sentiments before… [yawn….]

    …perhaps contained within Terry Greenwood’s invitation to consider his deep concerns and sincere heartfelt sympathy for the fate of

    “Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander seeking aid at Kamal Udwan Hospital when he was discovered by Hamas thugs…”

    Before inviting us to applaud the benign and benevolent Israeli health care system, Terry’s post is remarkable for remaining utterly and stupefyingly oblivious to the Zionist High Command and the ‘Murikan medias’ 50-plus years of comparing Yasser Arafat to Hitler whilst bombing, assassinating, starving and Satanizing his PLO-Fatah “thugs” and “terrorists” – and their civilian-refugee civilian population — at each and every opportunity…

    Terry intones about numerous “convenient silences…” [yawn]

    Here’s another recent “convenient silence” Terry – straight outa the Jerusalem Post


    – and splashed across every front-page of every major western mass media outlet…

    er… NOT…!

    Moral of the Story
    When the ANC and the collaborationist Zulu-Inkhata movement battled to control the black ghettos during the local untermenschen’s fight to end racist minority rule in white Sth Africa [passim], no doubt Terry and Limerick would also have applauded the local Ubermenchen’s health care system…

    Moreover, this [formerly] beleaguered, tormented and eternally persecuted outpost of “democratic civilisation” — similarly living in abject daily fear of being “driven into the sea” [sic], and of which the Zionist “thug” and “terror” state entered into numerous mutual defence and security pacts as a protection against their native, indigenous, defenceless “thugs” and “terrorists” — is without doubt a past model for the current depraved state and government of Israel…

  19. Steven Sherman said on June 25th, 2007 at 7:20pm #

    Max–‘the war on terror’ certainly displaced all other concerns in the US for a few years. I think the hope was that the war on terror would provide global elites with something to rally around to replace communism, but this has not been the case. The US has at times tried to assimilate its strategy in Latin America to ‘the war on terror’, but the gaps in logic are obvious to everyone, in ways that I think were not apparent when anti-nationalism was assimilated to anti-communism during the cold war. Now even domestically it’s worn thin, and immigration bashing (and China bashing) are certainly useful ways to direct attention away from domestic elites who have much to answer for. This also has interesting parallels to the past, based on Ash’s article.

  20. Terry Greenwood said on June 25th, 2007 at 7:51pm #

    Regarding Max Shields question “So, this is a joke?” Perhaps Mr. Shields doesn’t understand sarcasm. Randall Jones comment about “Isreal’s use of agent provocateurs to fuel the violence in Palestine” is a non sequitur. The comments Ekosmo are manifestly lame. The link is also a non sequitur.

    Terry Greenwood,

  21. Gabriel Ash said on June 25th, 2007 at 9:46pm #

    Limerick, anyone who says, “I am not an Islamophobe, but….” must do some soul searching. Your comment is exactly what this article is about—the role of Israel in the production of an existential enemy that straddles the left-right spectrum.

    Max, many thanks! As for the question you raise, an academic boycott is one tool, to be used where it can work. It is not the ultimate weapon. We are in no position to initiate the one true strategy, since we do not command an army. We are a multitude and our only way of fighting is by mobilizing through our diversity, each from the specific opportunities afforded by one’s position. An academic boycott is powerful because it attacks Israel from a position deeply implicated in the production of the narrative of Western progress, the very narrative that is operative in the inoculation of Zionism. It is a contribution radical European academics can and should make and an important educational tool, no more but also no less.

    Rowan, that is an interesting point, probably worth a full article. I am not sure however that “objective sociology” is the most appropriate term, in so far as an objective account of elites is a contradiction in terms. I’d say objectivity is fixed by the elitist gaze.

    Bill, of course you are right, but being right is not enough. Real change cannot be the result of pure moralizing. The categories through which one cries about injustice tend to be implicated in its production. “Human rights,” which is the usual category though which Israel is criticized as an offender, is also the term that produces the Enemy that sustains Israel’s power.

    Steven, thank you! And these are some great examples that add flesh to the point. As for your criticism, I did not mention anti-globalization, mostly for reasons of space. But I never said neo-liberalism is not haunted, only that the haunting is no way near the stresses capitalism experienced in the inter-war period, a view you seem to share.

    As for the apparent stupidity and transparency of the neo-conservative language: on the one hand, I cannot but agree, the usual cliché of tragedy returning as farce is operative here. But I also note that what appears transparent and crude to us makes sense to millions of people. We forget the way stupidity itself is manufactured at our peril. We also forget that the purpose of hegemonic discourse is not necessarily to convince, but chiefly to foreclose and to disempower.

    Thank you all! And note also two administrative comments:

    1. Republication with attribution is welcome.
    2. Trolls need a special low-content diet. Please, please, those of you who feed the trolls–you know who you are–don’t!

  22. Terry Greenwood said on June 25th, 2007 at 9:51pm #

    One more thing for Ekosmo and his like minded ilk. How about comparing what Israel does with how one of your heroes dealt with terrorist thugs. I’m speaking of the Hama massacre, which occurred in 1982 when Hafez al-Assad’s Syrian army bombed the town of Hama in order to quell a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood. Amnesty International estimates between 10,000 and 25,000 were killed at Hama. Thomas Friedman has pointed out that never again have Muslim extremists threatened the Syrian government. This is the way to take care of business. Does this (yawn) bore you Ekosmo?

  23. sk said on June 26th, 2007 at 12:01am #

    Guess who’s ‘about to take over Europe’?

  24. RandallJones said on June 26th, 2007 at 8:18pm #

    Terry Greenwood,

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed in the bombings by the U.S. and its allies during the two invasions. (Note: Israel was one of those countries that provided fake evidence about the WMDs, inorder to convince the U.S to invade Iraq, Iran may be next) That hasn’t stopped the terrorist attacks in Iraq. There are agent provocateurs helping to fuel the violence. See http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20051015&articleId=1089

  25. sk said on June 27th, 2007 at 6:23pm #

    btw, something I forgot when posting the link to Bernard Lewis’ hate-mongering: ‘Clash of Civilizations’ was a phrase coined by Lewis and it first appeared in a Sep. 1990 Atlantic Monthly article entitled ‘The
    Roots of Muslim Rage’. Huntington used the phrase couple of years later to name his tome.

    This was around the time when policy wonks were casting about for some new paradigm to replace that of the Cold War which had ended rather abruptly and whose departure was beginning to expose the finery of the rulers at home (anyone remember the “peace dividend”?).

  26. sk said on June 28th, 2007 at 9:57am #

    Another btw: Lewis has a slightly more sophisticated take on the “existential enemy” than Huntington’s billion person broad sweep.

    Mahmood Mamdani crystallizes the thesis of “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim” predicated on deterministic “culturetalk”.

  27. Bloomberg: An “Establishment” attractor in the fractal space of presidential power? « Crooked Shepherds said on June 28th, 2007 at 4:03pm #

    […] https://new.dissidentvoice.org/2007/06/why-boycott-israel-because-it%E2%80%99s-good-for-you/ After WWII, the specter that used to haunt Europe was invited to sit at the table and given a small plate in return for no longer moving furniture at night. This arrangement, known as the welfare state, made possible the rebuilding of a capitalist Europe. But it was expensive. With the Soviet Union no longer, Europe’s capital is asking itself why it should continue paying. The financial world has a clear agenda. It is not made in Brussels or in Whitehall. If at all, it is made in the City of London. It is drummed up almost daily in the pages of The Financial Times and weekly in The Economist. European wages are too high. Social services are too lavish. Workers are living too long, working too little, enjoying too much time on the French Riviera. “ Europe” (namely the financial owners) cannot afford it. It makes European labor “uncompetitive”. There is too much “rigidity” in labor markets (i.e., too much stability in people’s lives). And taxes, needless to say, are far too high. What really hurts is that financial profits are too low and stock markets below the moon. […]

  28. RandallJones said on July 7th, 2007 at 12:08am #

    I am going to repeat my June 23, 2007 comment here because it looks like my prediction has come true.

    If the boycott is done and it spreads to other countries what will happen? Conveniently, a terrorist act wil take place (committed by agent provocateurs) and Israel will say “We told you so.” These terrorist acts (whether it was the killing of the Isrealis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, or the hijacking of Air France Flight 139, where hostages were held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, or the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro), benefit Israel more than it does the Palestinians

    If these British teachers want things to improve for the Palestinians, why don’t they set the example by having their government stop its participation in the occupation of Iraq?

    This also goes to the Americans on the radical left who want to talk about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, but do not want to discuss the United States’ war crimes around the world.

    See Kurt Nimmo’s article about the events in London and Glasgow http://kurtnimmo.com/?p=915

    Pham Binh has a good article about this topic as well https://new.dissidentvoice.org/2007/07/glasglow-murderous-masterminds-or-hopeless-idiots/

  29. RandallJones said on July 7th, 2007 at 1:45am #

    In my previous comment, when I put the links, I used HTML, but I don’t think I was supposed to becasue when you click on them you get an error.

    To read the articles just copy and paste the web address into your browser address bar.

  30. Montag said on July 8th, 2007 at 6:09pm #

    The Nazis had a pretty striking poster which illustrated the gist of your essay. It showed an honest German Worker being attacked by a Polish soldier from the front, while a German Socialist was pinning his arms back defenselessly from behind. The poster didn’t need many words to get its point accross!

  31. Larkin the Irish said on July 12th, 2007 at 9:09am #

    you pussies didn’t print my outstanding solution for winning the hearts and minds in Iraq and afghanistan .So in retaliation I am going to airdrop hundreds of thousands of eight track players that will only play one song over and over ;The Captain and Teniles”Muskrat love” . I tried to help with my with
    my idea of subduing the enemy with HDTV , but NOOOOOOOOOO!
    So The Captain and Tenile it is. may god have mercy on your souls!@!!

  32. plymon said on August 5th, 2007 at 3:49pm #

    Your like a bunch of ship rats scurring about. You discuss over, and over everything you think is important. When all the time knowing nothing about the truth. The ship rats are never aware of the fact there on a sinking ship. And when the ship finally sinks, there baffled. What happened? I thought we had it all figured out….. Israel lives for reasons you know not of. Israel is on a collision course with distiny, and there is nothing you can do about it. Just keep talking, and typing. It want acomplish anything but it will keep the fools busy… And when that time comes, the displaced Egyptians, and Jordanians ( which you call palestinians ) that have been living in the land of Israel like a bunch of thives living in a mans house while he is in prison will be distroyed. When you see the Temple being rebuilt know the time is near.

  33. sheldon g said on October 20th, 2007 at 11:40pm #

    ” the displaced Egyptians, and Jordanians ( which you call palestinians ) that have been living in the land of Israel like a bunch of thives living in a mans house while he is in prison will be distroyed. When you see the Temple being rebuilt know the time is near”

    Can you believe this fucking guy????…I believe you are a zionazi, where is your respect 4 human life?, the holocaust was a tragedy…a dark period in the history of mankind…so was the slow but sure genocide inflicted on the indigenous peoples of america…>when will we get our own state at the expense of human lives

  34. Jon said on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:47am #

    Your equation of support for Israel with support for the “neo-colonial world system” emblematizes the shameful logical fallacy rotting the intellect of the contemporary left. The real reason the fringe-left hates Israel is because the prosperity and liberty it offers all of its citizens, Arabs included (relative to their brethren in other ME countries) stands as a rebuke to the pseudo-socialist authoritiarianism that people like Galloway salivate for.

    I am glad people with your views have no power.

  35. JEAN VERCORS said on January 14th, 2009 at 2:16pm #

    Before you boycott Israel

    boycott HILARIOUS

  36. Jason Belkin said on January 25th, 2009 at 1:09pm #

    I could write book why people should why it dangers to do what you sujgesting. To make smiple Israel could take down world with them with WMD . Drop nulcear bombs to oil walls can not be good for evirment anyway and make World knock world secound great destory ecomicy Isreal deside to sink oil tankers. Israel techolgoy could also do untould damge to the world ecomony. To make smiple do not miss with Israelies.

  37. dave king said on April 2nd, 2009 at 4:41pm #

    illegal immigration is weakening labor for people of all races in america .although the neoliberals may get political capital speaking against it their solutions are lame. go to any high rise under construction in down town atlanta and you’ll find police directing traffic in front of construction crews that are more the 50% illegal .the police won’t touch the employers or the illegals ,orders from the top .
    just when labor markets were going to tighten up with the post baby boomer generation and the digestion of women joining the working force we get 30 million new mostly unskilled workers from south america .
    if you are anti racist think about the effects this has unskilled black workers

  38. Carl Tice said on September 10th, 2009 at 5:40pm #

    Again, the actions of the Zionist party are not direct reflections of the intent of the Jewish people. Nor is it true Zionism. Even then, true Zionism is just another concept of “patriotism,” in its truest form. Allegiance to one’s ethnicity. Not necessarily allegiance to the actions of one’s country. Seeing as how true Zionism believes that only the Messiah can bring peace, the actions of the Zionist party cannot be considered true Zionism. Then again, we all need someone to blame, and continue to proliferate hate in some manner. Especially when justifying hate in the name of social justice.

  39. B99 said on September 10th, 2009 at 7:54pm #

    Carl – Zion is the land of Canaan. Zionism in its pre-political formation was the collective desire of Jews to return to Canaan – at which point the Messiah would come to earth and remove Jews to heaven. Political Zionism emerged only recently and with a different goal – as a movement to colonize Palestine with Jews. It necessarily entails the destruction or removal of non-Jews. It is ultra-nationalist and racist. It has almost entirely replaced the wistful zionism of old with its plea for ‘next year in Jerusalem.’ In the old Zionism, Zion had become a state of mindfullness about god – not a state entity bent on expansion.

  40. B99 said on September 10th, 2009 at 7:58pm #

    Dave – the workers from Latin America are here – legal or not – because capital wants them here. They want cheap labor. If the US is to get serious about curtailing cheap labor then it has to raise minimum wages and living wages. That’s the only way it is worth it for Americans to take these jobs. But low-paid labor is the capitalist’s choice – made possible by the destruction of organized labor. Until the demise of unions – they set the standard for wages in the US. Now Chinese labor sets the standard. Immigrant labor will not disappear any time soon unless people insist on higher wages and are willing to strike for it.

  41. B99 said on September 10th, 2009 at 8:04pm #

    Belkin – You are making an argument on why Israel should be snuffed out toute suite. Makes one root for such a development.

    Jo n – Palestinian-Israelis are legally second class citizens in Israel. It is a Jim Crow political and civil culture.

    Plymon – The Palestinians were living in Palestine when the hebrews arrived with their goats several thousand years after them, when the Jews left for greener pastures, and when the Zionists shipped in from Europe a century ago. The Jews have never been successful at statecraft (unless working for gentiles) and you can expect Israel to go under and its population to disperse as they have always done in the past.