The Occupation Within

How were the terms of US political and economic debate severed from basic standards of evidence and common sense? Why does the word “hypocrisy” seem inadequate to describe the pretzel logic of the neo-conservatives? Why do the people of the United States remain inert as the madness at the top claims the authority to hemorrhage its execution of Iraq into a nuclear war on Iran?

John McMurtry is a decorated professor1 of philosophy who has pursued questions like these to the ideological foundations of today’s US-centric global empire. His analysis2 offers insights that can help us identify and think our way out of this now ubiquitous “mind-lock”. McMurtry’s approach also turns out to be useful for illuminating core ideological contradictions in Israel’s US-supported ethnic cleansing regime, which has been forcing Palestinians off their lands for the last 60 years.

McMurtry narrates the ascendance of a “fanatic mind-set” in the west following the demise of the Soviet Union, when “a strange ideological inversion occurred.” Marxism’s ‘economic determinism,’ “abhorred by liberal theory,” was swiftly replaced with the West’s own brand of imposed economic determinism. “Inevitable globalization” was framed as a product of unaccountable and unstoppable forces unleashed by a veritable law of nature, the ultimate “wisdom of the market” that benefits all.

McMurtry demonstrates the destruction of value and meaning inherent in the adoption of this absolutist dogma, which claims to encompass all human activity and reflexively rules out of order any other explanation or concern. He also traces the use of this irrationality to justify brutal economic and military predation under the twin deceptions of “free trade” and “democracy”. The nakedness of this nonsense is revealed by McMurtry’s observation that it glorifies its “no alternative” market theory and bullying imperial trade policies as the ultimate in economic freedom.

Noting the ways in which similar inversions of meaning have been used in totalitarian ideologies, he concludes that inversion is one of the fundamental processes involved in the development of today’s “fanatic mind-set”:

Throughout the world re-engineering by the global apparatchiks, there has been a transformative principle of representation across phenomena and crises: to invert social values and general facts into their contrary so that no bearings remain for intelligibility of resistance. [emphasis in original]

Observers of Israel and its influence within the United States see a long trend toward ideological convergence between the two nations, especially in foreign policy, war, economics, and propaganda. One of the little-noted fundamentals of this growing affinity is a mutual and increasing need and desire to justify unjustifiable acts and obscure incriminating truths.

So it is not surprising that Israel is awash in the same intellectual process of inversion that McMurtry finds so pervasive in the US. Indeed, one could argue that many of Israel’s ideological contradictions are at least as old as the state. Using McMurtry’s style of formulation and taking broad liberties with his method, here are a few of the more obvious inversions of meanings and values underlying the Israeli government’s proclamations and practices. US readers may note the obvious parallels:

Israel’s “right to defend itself” assumes the “harsh necessity” of its military and civilian occupation of Palestinian land, which is an illegal act of war. Self-defense = Aggression

Israel’s security depends upon the continual provocation of forces that will threaten Israel’s security when provoked. Security = Promotion of insecurity

Israelis’ freedom depends upon the imprisonment3 of another people. Freedom = Denial of freedom

Israel’s democracy depends upon the racist4 exclusion of its indigenous5 citizens and the empowerment6 of the most intolerant of its privileged citizens. Democracy = Apartheid

Israel is a “bastion of religious freedom” in which civil law is based on an “orthodox”7 version of a single religion. Religious freedom = Religious exclusivity

Israel’s continued prosperity requires “market liberalization”8 that dramatically increases poverty9 and consolidates wealth at the top. Prosperity = Poverty

Israel’s commitment to the rule of law and sound economic policy (which promises to earn it a seat at the OECD next year) is reflected it its continuing slide down international corruption10 indexes, an unending string of serious11 political scandals, and thriving organized crime.12 Legality = Lawlessness

Peace for Israel requires its negotiating partners to accept terms that fall far short of their people’s minimum standards for peace. Whether or not these terms are met, the formula is: Peace = Continual war

Prospects for peace are enhanced when negotiating partners collaborate13 in banning, imprisoning14, and isolating15 their constituents who oppose Israel’s terms. Such actions also signal the negotiating partners’ “commitment to democracy”. Peacemaking = Democracy = Unconstitutional oligarchy, collective punishment, and civil strife = Illegitimacy and probable failure of any agreements reached between Israel and its partners = Continual (land-grabbing) war

The public’s acceptance of these inversions creates what McMurtry calls an “occupation of consciousness” that makes it very difficult for the citizen thus “occupied” to understand her predicament, much less anyone else’s.

However, just as one man’s meat is another man’s poison, the ideological contortions that befuddle and disempower the public simultaneously comfort the powerful with an automatic self-justifying narrative. While there is no gainsaying the cynicism of today’s leaders, the “fanatic mind-set” must be an irresistibly attractive narcotic to those driven to acquire the power to give the orders to drop the bombs.

One of the implicit subtexts of the mind-set is that cynicism is reality; the ends always justify the means if the means can be kept largely hidden from public view and the ends are framed as unassailable indispensables; freedom, democracy, “growth”, rule of law, etc. The negative side of the equation is always “more than” balanced by its positive equivalent.

The powerful are the anointed agents of the world’s “best hope.” To advance its interests (and their own) they ought to do anything “the market will bear.” It’s not just what the powerful want us to believe. At least to some degree, it’s what most of them need to believe, to do what they do.

McMurtry argues that the fanatic mind-set is “closed” and “self-referential”. From within the delusion, it would be logical to conclude that increasing the negative side of the equation can increase the positive. More denial of freedom to others equals more freedom for us, and (as an afterthought) all the other “good” people of the world.

We hear that ‘a greater readiness to use military force will better protect our democracy and freedoms at home’, and we hardly notice. But if this mind-set is closed in its circularity, it will increasingly diverge from reality. And, being self-referential, chronically ambitious, and uniquely powerful, it can only seek to outdo itself. If such a dominant mind-set persistently follows its inverted logic, it may rapidly auto-escalate with disastrous results.

What’s next? Rather than simply “protecting” our freedoms by creating, torturing, and slaughtering “terrorists” in Iraq, why not be “pro-active” and eradicate an “evil source of terrorism” that threatens everyone’s freedoms? Wouldn’t bombing Tehran — a supposed “existential threat” to nuclear-tipped Israel — produce more freedom and prosperity for all?

Ideologies create the authoritative psychic space within which the unthinkable can become possible. At one time, few could have imagined that the west’s Christian democracies would support a concrete wall splitting the little town of Bethlehem in two, or that the United States would pay for decades of bloody ethnic cleansing in the Holy Land. Israel’s ideology (to some extent crafted to appeal to western powers) supplied the framework of justification that made it possible.

In the US, we face a threat to our national sanity that is similar to the physical danger bearing down on the caged and impoverished Palestinian people—the destruction of what we have left. Our common foe is an irrational ideology that inverts fundamental values and legitimizes crimes against humanity. For us, the struggle to overcome the threat begins in the mind.

  1. John McMurtry, Wikipedia []
  2. John McMurtry, Value Wars: The Global Market Versus the Life Economy (London and Sterling Va.: Pluto Press, 2002), 277 pages. []
  3. Prison within a Prison,” Gideon Levy, MIFTAH, 8/27/2007. []
  4. GDP per capita of Arab Israelis third of that of Jews,” YNetNews, 1/18/2007. []
  5. IRIN reports on the devastation caused to Bedouins by the Israeli forces in the Negev,” Ma’an News Agency, 6/27/2007 []
  6. Mr. Lieberman Comes to Washington,” Will Youmans, CounterPunch, 12/8/2006. []
  7. Only Orthodox conversions accepted in Israel, Boim stresses,” YNetNews, 5/23/2007. []
  8. Netanyahu: Cut taxes for rich to help poor,” Dalia Tal, Globes Online, 6/26/2007. []
  9. NII report: 100,000 newly poor, half of them children,” Ha’aretz, 9/1/2006. []
  10. Poll: 85% of public believe the leadership is corrupt,” Ha’aretz, 1/11/2007. []
  11. A supreme effort is required,” Ze’ev Segal, Ha’aretz, 5/27/2007. []
  12. Dichter: Police trying to block mafia’s bottle recycling takeover,” Ha’aretz, 1/9/2007. []
  13. U.S.-Backed Campaign Against Hamas Expands to Charities,” Adam Entous, MIFTAH, 8/22/2007. []
  14. Hamas members arrested by the Palestinian Authority,” Ma’an News Agency, 8/22/2007. []
  15. Abbas urges Socialist leaders to help isolate Hamas,” Aude Marcovitch, Middle East Online, 6/29/2007.
    []
James Brooks serves as webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. He can be contacted at jamiedb@wildblue.net. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website.

25 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Neal said on September 8th, 2007 at 12:20pm #

    I must say, this is one dumb article.

    According to Brooks, for example, Israel holds odd contradictions in its thinking such as “Self-defense = Aggression.”

    Imagine that. Self defense ought require no aggression.

    During WWII, the US, Britain and even the USSR also held this delusion as well, thinking that they had to fight with aggression against fascism in order to defend themselves. Perhaps, Brooks would have Israel not defend herself, allowing those amazingly peaceful surrounding states that never make war – lovers of peace all – to do as they might.

    In connection with the Six Day War, Jordanian diplomatic and military documents include a plan called Operation Tariq. The operation was an intended Jordanian attack against West (Jewish) Jerusalem and on the Latrun Quarter. The Jordanian army also evidently planned to execute the civilian populations of several Jewish communities, such as Moza, ( a town west of Jerusalem).

    The Egyptian and Syrian armies also had plans to murder or expel Israel’s Jewish population.

    Self defense does require, at times, aggression.

    Then, Brooks shows complete lack of knowledge, writing: “Israel is a ‘bastion of religious freedom’ in which civil law is based on an ‘orthodox’ version of a single religion. Religious freedom = Religious exclusivity.”

    Not so. While not fully secular like the US government, Israel actually has multiple official religions. It might also be worth considering that the US is actually rather unique in the West in having no official religions.

    Most of our European allies have a single established state religion, namely, Christianity. In Canada, I recall seeing a cross in the Quebec provincial legislature – hung prominently and immediately behind where, if we were talking about the US Congress, the speaker of the house would sit.

    The list goes on and on. In fact, I do not think much of anything written is well considered. Much of it shows incredible ignorance.

  2. DEB-Z said on September 8th, 2007 at 3:43pm #

    Neal,
    Last that I was aware the USA Jewish citizens are able to live in their homes, own property, go to study at universities, join lobbies and pray at Temples of their choice without worrying that their homes would be removed!!!!
    Israel is a racist country and the story of the Bedouin’s of the Negev
    Desert tells the tale from May 8, 2007; when an entire town was leveled by the Israel Government who sent in “”hired young workers from West Bank settlement, known for racist, anti-Arab zeal, adds a further vindictive twist to the saga”. This was in Israel and not to a fighting clan…but to a very poor one!!! http://imeu.net/news.article006406.shtml
    Now who is like the USA?….not Israel….We should not associate or support this terrorism like country that attacks their own population….
    Germany during WWII and Israel – no different – when is the USA going to see the evil that they are allowing and supporting?

  3. DEB-Z said on September 8th, 2007 at 3:52pm #

    http://imeu.net/news/article006406.shtml
    (sorry for wrong article address above)

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 8th, 2007 at 5:11pm #

    I’m still waiting Neal for your answer to my question regarding Rabbi Kook’s nostrum regarding the ineffable superiority of the Jewish soul to all others. Israel’s crimes have always been motivated, in my opinion, by a ‘fanatic mind-set’ of racial supremacy, utterly comparable to that held by the English as they allowed tens of millions to starve to death in the Great Indian Famines of the 18th to 20th centuries, also in the name of ‘free trade’, or the delusions of Aryan superiority of the Nazis. This is a bitter irony, but no consolation for the Palestinians incarcerated in their concentration camps, or amongst the thousands imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to life imprisonment, when not a single member of the ‘Chosen People’ has been sentenced to even a day, while over three thousand Palestinians have been slaughtered. Israel could not get away with its crimes if not for the utter bias of the Western media. It is understandable given the dominance of the media of Jewish money interests, not many of whom are other than bloodthirsty Zionist expansionists, and the remarkable over-representation of Jews working in the Capitalist press, not many of whom are Chomskys, let alone Einsteins or Arendts. In the Australian media, particularly Murdoch’s Nes Ltd sewer and its flagship The Australian (aka The Fundament), the level of hatred daily expressed towards Arabs and Palestinians is repulsive, only matched by the outpourings of praise and admiration for Israel and the US. The demonisation of Iran has just ratcheted up a notch, obviously in preparation for the campaign to kill a million or two Iranians. It was in a piece by the incomparable Edward Said that I first saw mentioned, the possibility that the fanatical cruelty and complete racist intransigence of the Israelis might lead not to ‘transfer’ but to extermination. Policies with their origin in Likudnick circles, but certainly meeting no opposition from the Israeli political establishment, put into practice by the puppet hyper-power, have already caused the deaths of over two million Iraqis since 1991. Then there are thousands dead in Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon, and who knows what behind the scenes machinations in the Sudan. It is apparent that by some malign process of transference, the Israelis have absorbed the worst aspects of both their allies, the US, a perpetually racist and expansionist state, and their enemies, the Nazis. Perhaps the one hope for the future is that such expanding cruelty and murderousness might not be tolerated by a new global hegemon. We need only survive the decline and fall of the Yankee Empire, and the rise of China, and then the Chinese will simply instruct Israel to return to the Green Line and stop murdering its neighbours. Given the ‘fanatic mind-set’ of the racial and cultural supremacists of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ crowd, I imagine the chances of such a transfer occuring, peacefully, are next to zero.

  5. James said on September 9th, 2007 at 12:01am #

    Response to Neal by the author: In many areas of Israeli civil law, and especially in laws regarding marriage, the rules of Orthodox Judaism are the norm. For a taste of how Israel handles its “multiple official religions” see: “The burial of civil marriage”, by Shulamit Aloni in Ha’aretz at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=887462 Also see Yossi Beilin’s blistering comments about the overall impact on society of Orthodox rule: “Playground better than a grave”, YNetNews at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3442847,00.html . Also: Limited civil marriage in Israel for first time, Middle East Online, 7/19/2007, http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=21492 .

    Furthermore, if an Israeli converts to Judaism, her status as a Jew will not be recognized by the state if her conversion is anything but Orthodox. See reference #7 at the end of the article.

    I have yet to meet a person with a “complete lack of knowledge”, but I have encountered many Zionists and fellow defenders of the occupation who, faced with an impossible task, resort to false analogies and ad hominem arguments.

    I would caution Deb-Z that “Germany during WWII” and Israel are in fact different cases, and it’s important to recognize their many differences. To take one basic point: Germany practiced genocide. The wall in Warsaw was used to starve tens of thousands of people to death. So far, Israel has been practicing democide – the intentional destruction of a people – and “ethnic cleansing”, on massive and miniscule scales, both inside and outside its recognized borders. Israel starves the people of Gaza, not yet to death, but knowing that the resulting widespread malnutrition is stunting Palestinian children for life.

    Racism is indeed the problem, and it’s another fundamental in that affinity that someone recently referred to as, “US, Israel, & Co.” But it is not the only problem. The fanatic mind-set dehumanizes its occupants on several levels, starting with its method of transmission; a propaganda machine dedicated to control of the public political mind, objectifying citizens like so much meat. Within the propagandists’ realm of symbol and logos, we can discern several sources of dehumanization in the mind-set, including racism, fear, militarism, exceptionalism, torture, and vengeance. But to appreciate the depth of dehumanization involved in the meta-message of the mind-set, and how those irrational precepts seep into our thinking, read McMurtry.

  6. DEB-Z said on September 9th, 2007 at 8:47am #

    Dear James,
    During WWII we had the slow but steady involvement of the countries of Europe get involved in a war….In Israel the people; by manipulation and desires of domination are getting the entire ME into a war also using
    the USA for funds and as a shield to do the dirty work for them!
    They are denying food and medical care which results in death and
    starvation like the people in the camps were starved and neglected!
    Can only marry a Jewish person who is “pure” or converts to Orthodox
    means striving to a “master race” just like in Germany!
    A wall is going up in Israel just like in Berlin!
    People are housed in camps just like in Germany!
    The people are denying they are ethnic cleaning a population…wake up
    the world was in denial when Hitler did this too!!!
    Now it is Israel, we will soon be in a global war if this continues and it
    all has to do with the Israel’s greed for land and domination of religious
    supremacy…similar to the Germans desire for supremacy!
    I could go on and on about similar issues. I know I am Jewish and am not Orthodox, so to many I am not considered a true Jewish female!

  7. Neal said on September 9th, 2007 at 11:00am #

    DEB-Z,

    Note that you do not address my points.

    I would compare how Islam is allowed to be practiced in Israel with how it is allowed to be practiced in France. There are no restrictions on displays of religious paraphernalia in Israel, as in France. Yet, I would still say that France allows freedom of religion.

    Now, my original point was not about how people practice their religion but whether there is an established religion – which was Brooks’ false accusation. Israel does not have a single established religion. It has multiple established religions. Contrast that with Denmark, where Christianity is the officially established national religion.

  8. jaime said on September 9th, 2007 at 11:15am #

    Thank you for your post Neal.
    I wouldn’t be expecting too many rational answers or logical discourse from most of F’s devotees. For instance in Deb’s post above, it’s rather obvious that she’s either not playing with a full deck or has absolutely no idea about Judaism.

    My sense of what I’ve seen this poor person post is that she’s not even Jewish, but claims to be so for effect…and of course she also has an irrational hatred of the Jewish religion and Israel.

    But this is simply another bizarre symptom of F’s schizoid universe.
    Part of it’s entertaining. Part of it’s frightening .

  9. gerald spezio said on September 9th, 2007 at 1:02pm #

    Jaime, you hate truth, and for this there is no apology. I grant you none.

  10. Neal said on September 9th, 2007 at 1:13pm #

    gerald spezio,

    One needs to note that there are arguments that can be made on behalf of Palestinian Arabs. That does not mean that Mr. Brooks has made one. In fact, what he writes is basically propaganda so that a person with even the most minimal familiarity with the facts would know to be nonsense.

    As I mentioned, the most obvious point is that Israel does not have a single established religion, as Brooks would have it. So, what he writes is factually untrue. And, worse than that, it is not an important point. Consider that countries all over Europe have established religions.

    And, all over the world, self-defense requires the use of aggression (e.g. the use of arms by Britain, the US and the USSR, et al, against the fascist powers). So, what Brooks is saying that Israel ought not defend itself by the means accepted by the entire world.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 9th, 2007 at 6:40pm #

    Neal, I’m still anxious as to your reply vis-a-vis Rabbi Kook’s noxious nostrum regarding the innate superiority of Jews to all other creatures. Your observations regarding the use of aggression are contemptible rubbish. The Israelis have been the aggressors in almost all their wars, and their aggressive acts against the imprisoned and virtually powerless Palestinians are reminiscent of colonial pogroms of the past, not only by long-lived colonial powers like Britain, but also mercifully short-lived racist colonists like the Nazis. To conflate the resistance of the Palestinians to a cruel, dispossessing and murderous occupation to the ‘fascist powers’ is a beautiful example of hasbara, that process whereby Isrealis and their apologists will swear blind that black is white and shit chocolate- and then make you eat some as well, to prove their ‘moral purity’.

  12. jaime said on September 9th, 2007 at 7:14pm #

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1188392572665&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    “…The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are vehemently opposed to removing roadblocks in the West Bank as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians, a high-ranking defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

    The defense establishment first wants the Palestinians to prove their capabilities in combating terrorism in the West Bank, the official said.

    As an example, the official cited Sunday’s capture of a Palestinian boy carrying three explosive devices at a checkpoint outside Nablus. According to the IDF, the boy had planned to transfer the explosives to a suicide bomber, who was to blow himself up in Tel Aviv in the next few days.

    “The roadblocks prove themselves effective in saving Israeli lives,” the defense official said. “As long as the roadblocks are doing their job, there is no way they can be removed….”

  13. Neal said on September 9th, 2007 at 7:18pm #

    Mulga,

    You are asking me if I agree with some quote that you claim comes from a certain Rabbi Kook – presumably the Rabbi Kook who died a very long time ago. Well, I do not know enough about the quote to have an opinion, including its authenticity, its context, etc., etc. If you provide the missing information, I can respond. Otherwise, I have no comment.

    That said, I think that what can be said is that Jews have shown, over the course of years, to be a very capable people. And, in the 20th Century, the Jewish contribution was extraordinary. I have no idea the reason for it but it is worth noting that there have, over the ages, been a disproportionate number of brilliant Jews.

    As for the rest of your comment and as a scholar on the issue, I think you do not have even the remotest idea what you are saying. It is mostly plain old propaganda lies. I might add: I think there is a case for the Palestinian Arab side but it seems to have escaped you.

  14. Neal said on September 9th, 2007 at 7:26pm #

    James,

    Your comment regarding Israel does not support your statement, which is based on the proposition that Israel has a single established religion. The fact is that such is not the case.

    As for Israel’s policy regarding Jewish conversion and Jewish marriage, such affects Jews and only Jews. In fact, Israel adopted the prior Ottoman and British system in which each of the country’s religious communities has its own court system for matters such as marriage.

    In my view, such is outdated and wrong but that does not mean that Israel follows your theory (i.e. “Religious freedom = Religious exclusivity”). Perhaps you do not see the difference. But, it is very different.

    Again: your article suffers from confusing propaganda with fact.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 9th, 2007 at 7:52pm #

    Thanks Neal- as usual unfortunate facts are denied, or misrepresented. The Elder Rabbi Kook’s words were ‘.. there is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and a non-Jew than there is between
    the soul of a non-Jew and an animal’. It is a tremendously important question whether Israelis and their allies believe this to be true. The extent of the feeling of perpetual racial supremacy would explain the ruthless racist cruelty visited on the imprisoned Palestinians. It would explain the prevalence of head injuries amongst murdered Palestinian children, the ubiquitous use of depraved and deliberately humiliating practices such as strip searching, even of children, the practice of ‘confirming the kill’, ie the cold-blooded murder of wounded individuals, most infamously evidenced in the murder of a 13 year old girl, whose body was riddled with an entire clip of ammunition, rather than assistance be given. Naturally not every Israeli is a blood-thirsty murderer, although many plainly are. On the other hand Palestinians are often portrayed in Israeli hatemongering as an undifferentiated mass of bloodthirsty savages intent on slaughtering Jews. In truth, in an act of scarcely conceivable magnanimity, most surveys of Palestinian opinion show they are prepared to live in peace next door to Israel, if only the Israelis abandon their dreams of Eretz Yisrael from the Nile to the Euphrates. As Israel resolutely refuses to compromise with those it regards as sub-humans, in typical colonial style, then the prospect of unceasing discord and suffering, spreading to the rest of the Middle East, beckons. As for Jewish superiority, there is no doubt the Jews have produced many great and noble individuals, and the world is the better for it. However they have produced many monsters as well, and in greater numbers , sadly, in recent years. A Jewish state that lives at peace with its neighbours might continue to produce exemplars and fewer disgraces, and perhaps the Palestinians, if left in peace, might prove themselves a talented and productive people too.

  16. DEB-Z said on September 9th, 2007 at 7:52pm #

    It is not outdated in the USA or in Israel…You have to be an Orthodox to marry an Orthodox or do an Orthodox conversion. This can take up to two years…Learning not just about religious laws, high holiday and
    service activities…but also meat and dairy separation and keeping Kosher…constantly reading labels…6 hours between…plates stored in different places, etc….Still the practice if this does not take place, in some families, they hold a shiver and you are dead in their eyes if you are not married properly…From that point on you are cut off from the family and your community.
    Jaime…You do not belong in judgement of me…Just because you are not a person of peace and believe in equality of ALL does not give you
    permission to beat up on my religious beliefs and practices!

  17. Neal said on September 9th, 2007 at 8:55pm #

    Mulga,

    Again: the issue is the authenticity of the statement and its context. Without knowing both, I cannot address what is said. I have seen, by googling the quote, where you obtained it but that does not mean that I accept its authenticity and I certainly do not know the context and you seem to think I can imagine it.

    I have also, for what it is worth, examined the issue of how Judaism views non-Jews by examining the Encyclopedia of Judaism – which is an authoritative source of information. Kook’s views appear to be his views, not the view of modern Orthodox Judaism and certainly not the other two dominant branches of Judaism.

    The most authoritative thing I can find on the matter appears at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=G&search=gentiles#526 . The article does not remotely support what you write. Yet, the article is authoritative. So, I question the authenticity of the quote or suspect that the quote is out of context.

    Like most religions with a very long history, ancient Judaism held some rather noxious views. Such views were mostly cast aside over the ages. The noted article provides a detailed analysis of what the various Jewish sages thought over the ages and shows the evolution in thought. And, thought regarding non-Jews has changed substantially since ancient times, most particularly after the destruction of ancient Israel and Judea but also during the Middle Ages.

    The views of Kook are not the views of modern Jews, including modern Orthodox Jews – at least those who believe according to accepted Jewish teachings. There are, of course, always a few people who hold crazy notions. Religious fanatics are more likely to hold nutty views than most. Such, after all, allows people to fly planes into skyscrapers.

    As for the rest of what you write, if you are correct and Israelis write about Palestinian Arabs as if they were savages and if Israel and its friends believe as much about Palestinian Arabs, perhaps the cause is that a large number of Palestinian Arabs behave more like savages than human beings while more decent Palestinian Arabs sit by quietly.

    After all, walking into a religious cerem0ny, as occurred in Netanya, and intentionally killing a group of elderly people celebrating is the act of a savage, not a human being. Walking into a bar and blowing people up is the act of a savage, not a human being. Walking onto a bus and blowing it up, killing scores of civilians, is the act of a savage, not a human being. These and hundreds of other similar acts are the work of barbarians and those who support such people’s acts are barbarians. Such behavior is cause enough to speak harshly of Palestinian Arabs.

    And, to the extent that decent Palestinian Arabs have done nothing to separate themselves from the savages among them, they identify themselves with savages and are reasonably judged harshly. In fact, such is the most reasonable interpretation of things.

    DEB-Z, you misunderstood my comment. My point is that such the role of the rabbinate should be eliminated because it is outdated – as in not appropriate for a modern society. But, I doubt such will happen in the near future. Israel has much more serious issues than whether Orthodox control conversion or divorce law for Jews. And, such is a minor matter, in my view.

  18. James said on September 9th, 2007 at 9:05pm #

    Well put, Mulga. The “fanatic mind-set” at work. Does “hasbara” include other Zionist habits, like putting words in other people’s mouths? Timewasters.

    Deb-Z, I appreciate your alarm, and you’re asking a good question, “when is the USA going to see the evil that they are allowing and supporting?” But the answer to that must acknowledge the evil that the US is supporting and perpetrating on a global scale, much of it having little connection to the Zionist project. And it must take in the historical record, the millions of innocent civilians slaughtered, diseased, and starved to death by US capitalism’s wars, proxy wars, diplomacy, and economic policies over many decades, and stretching back into the 19th century and beyond, to our founding genocidal wars.

    My point is that if a US citizen learns this history, it will be easier for that individual to understand why the US does not see the evil it is allowing and supporting in Palestine. The fact that Zionist penetration of our government has reached an all-time high is symptomatic of the advanced moral rot of our government and system in general. But we should remember that we have brought most of this rot upon ourselves, by our own deeds and false words. We made ourselves vulnerable to their exploits. But we had been breeding our own fanatic mind-set well before they got their hooks into us.

    The resonance that people detect between German national socialism and Zionism goes back to early days of political Zionism in Europe (mutual respect for espousing racial purity) and includes the Nazis’ acceptance of the Zionist movement and their mutual (disgusting) negotiations over Jewish emigration.

    But in my view the modern resonance between the two began with the arrival of the first Holocaust survivors following WWII. Soon Zionist terror squads were employing techniques they had learned at the hands of the Nazis. If you think about that for awhile, and allow yourself to feel how brutally sad that is, and remember the astounding depravity of the camps, you might think twice about branding Israel with the “Nazi” label. If a nation can be diagnosed with DSM-IV, Israel suffers from PTSD, which it has now inflicted on the Palestinian people. Telling someone with PTSD that they are just like the perpetrator that abused them is a non-starter.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 9th, 2007 at 9:14pm #

    Neal, my point is not whether the views of such as Kook the Elder are widespread or not, but are they or similiar views held by people in positions of authority and power? There must be a mind-set or ideology that explains the uniformity of Israeli Government misbehaviour towards the Palestinians. While many Israelis hold these practices to be wrong or evil or dangerous to Jews themselves, there are many who support them, yourself, I suspect, included, and there are those on the Judeofascist fringe who support even more extreme behaviour, even including advocates of expulsion or extermination. Although it is plain that the murder of innocents is always wrong, I do see a difference between the murderousness of those who have suffered four decades of violent abuse, and the murderousness of their oppressors, pursuing a nakedly colonial project to dispossess an inferior race. You see I believe racism lies at the heart of the Israeli project, and I find attempts to rationalise the racist violence of an overwhelmingly powerful and infinitely cruel occupier, unconvincing and unpleasant. Israel will cease to exist through internal corruption before it is overthrown by the poor pathetic imprisoned victims of its cruelty. The evidence is already overwhelming of Israeli moral and spiritual corruption, led by its political elites. Only by taking a new, less expansionist, course, and living in peace will Israel survive. It cannot be overthrown militarily, it receives tens of billions a year in tribute from the US tax-payer and has unflinching US support. Its refusal to compromise is eloquent evidence of its true, expansionist desires. Down that path lies perdition, not just for its victims, but, in the fullness of time, for Israel itself.

  20. Neal said on September 10th, 2007 at 4:12am #

    Mulga,

    Israel’s behavior is that of a country at war, which it is. By such standards, Israel’s behavior is extraordinarily tame. And, by European historical standards, Israel has yet even to take the gloves off. Were such behavior occurring in Europe, there would be a million dead Palestinian Arabs instead of 5,000 or so – many of whom died trying to kill Israelis.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 10th, 2007 at 1:33pm #

    Neal, it’s certainly a war, a colonial war of the old style, where a vicious and racist colonising power, with a total preponderance of military power, is subjecting the colonised to constant abuse. It’s a typical and nauseating threat to mention that the death toll of the incarcerated Palestinians could be higher. We all know there are circles within Israel and amongst Jewish Rightwingers abroad that would like to up the rate of killing. Indeed the situation in Gaza, where a totally isolated population of over one million is slowly being starved into submission, more and more resembles the progress of events in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. It’s typically nasty and cynical hypocrisy to claim Israel left Gaza-it merely retreated to the perimeter, still controlling all access and throttling men, women and children in a ghastly blockade. As for Jaime, and her increasingly shrill rantings- well Jaime I imagine it is you, rather than Deb, who needs some cognitive therapy. Then, perhaps, you will truly recognise Palestinians as human beings, rather than making hollow proclamations of your brotherly love, while supporting a vicious and infinitely cruel, and totally dehumanising, occupation.

  22. Malooga said on September 11th, 2007 at 2:33am #

    Great article. I think it is very useful to consider the underlying mindset of a group of people in understanding their actions.

    The group of fanatics who seem to swarm around every post about Israel, never engaging in rational dialogue, but always attempting to deflect the discussion and mystify inhumane actions, only strengthens your points.

  23. Adam said on September 14th, 2007 at 7:54am #

    jaime said …

    “Gaza [is] intensely agricultural. In fact exporting their produce is a big problem. All stemming from violence on the Gaza side.

    And Gaza is bristling with modern weapons. ”

    These are absolute lies.

  24. jaime said on September 14th, 2007 at 11:36am #

    Here’s the link for that data:

    http://www.weaponsurvey.com/kbase/egyptandsmuggling.htm

  25. jaime said on September 14th, 2007 at 11:42am #

    http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/english/regions/asia/pse/geography.htm

    About 29.6 per cent of the total area of land in Gaza and the West Bank is classified as cultivable land, and 13.2 per cent of it is irrigated. The agricultural sector is dominated by small-scale and fragmented family-owned farms. Since water is scarce throughout most of these areas, irrigation systems and plentiful water resources are vital to maintaining good productivity rates for many crops. In general productivity levels are below those of Israel but compare well with those of neighbouring countries.

    The main agricultural products are olives, citrus, vegetables and beef and dairy products. The Palestinian territories produce a surplus of olives and citrus fruits for export, and are able to meet 90 per cent of domestic requirements of vegetables, white meat, eggs and fruit, and 60 per cent of the area’s milk requirements.

    But overall the territories are a net importer of agricultural food, largely from Israel. They are also dependent on external sources for agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and seeds.