07.Dec.2002 The Israelization of America
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the somewhat jarring news
that Israeli security forces
in the techniques of urban warfare.
occupation of Palestine
has enabled it
to perfect tactics
that US troops will need
war on Iraq.
will receive this news
with a sense of both foreboding and dislocation.
The brutal tactics
of the Israeli "Defense" Forces
have been denounced
by human rights groups,
the United Nations,
and scores of foreign governments.
Is this how we want our own troops to fight?
Our sense of dislocation
in greeting this news
traces to something else;
the fact that Israel has always been our client,
not the other way around.
Why are the Israelis now teaching us?
or is it merely an unusually explicit lesson
in the continuing education of American power
by the Israeli vanguard?
Who has been learning from whom
in this "special relationship"?
Over the past half century,
Israel's organized terror against Palestinian civilians
has moved from the relatively secret operations
of special Israeli army and paramilitary units
to globally televised depredations
wrought with helicopter gunships,
and F-16 fighters.
In the process,
massacres like those perpetrated in the old days
by Israeli army units
at Deir Yassin and Qibya
have been dwarfed,
in terms of casualties,
scope, and property damage,
daily and indiscriminate destruction
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Crimes that Israel once felt compelled to hide from the world
on full display,
vigorously defended by the Israeli government.
America also felt the need to conduct most of its international crimes
far from public view.
Interventions in the affairs of uncooperative nations
(invariably conducted to "fight communism")
were mostly secretive, CIA-led actions
that made surreptitious use of special military units,
typically called "American advisors"
(Honduras, Guatemala, Iran + Cuba provide a few relevant examples).
by the demise of its only global counterweight,
the Soviet Union,
by Israel's success in using conventional military forces
in a public and illegal campaign against civilians,
the US is increasingly eschewing
the old "secret war" model
in favor of direct and open military intervention with American troops.
Witness Somalia, Haiti, Yugoslavia + Afghanistan
during the past ten years.
Israel has long been criticized
for taking pre-emptive military action
against its perceived enemies.
Two well-known examples are
its surprise attack against a nearly-completed Iraqi nuclear power plant
and its protracted,
illegal and bloody occupation of southern Lebanon.
Despite worldwide criticism of these and many other blatant violations of international law,
Israel continued + continues, undaunted.
and for abandoning a long-standing US commitment
(on paper only, of course)
to return Palestine to its
took a big page out of Israel's book on international relations,
when he insisted,
against strenuous objections from the United Nations,
that the US has the right to launch pre-emptive strikes,
and that NATO had the right to wage war on Yugoslavia
without UN approval.
the Bush administration dropped all pretense
of maintaining security with deterrence
and adopted the illegal Israeli standard
of pre-emptive strikes as official US policy.
Our politicians have also learned much by example
from our close and "special" relationship
with the government of Israel.
our pols have used cant,
dissimulation and fraud
to excuse Israel's most egregious crimes.
In the process,
much has been learned
about how to turn acts of wanton destruction
into a noble defense of freedom.
Israel's willingness to keep 'pushing the envelope' of state terror
has been invaluable in this process,
both American pols and media
in the arts of propaganda
required to justify ever-larger crimes.
the American populace has been steadily learning
to accept Israel's gross violations of human rights,
international law + common decency as
justified by "Israel's right to defend herself".
This lesson in moral decay and desensitization
is proving handy indeed,
as the current US administration
seeks to extend
American hegemony in the Middle East
by a new war of occupation.
Following the tragedy of 9/11,
occupation of Palestine
as an essential front in the "war on terror".
To extract maximum political advantage from our loss and grief,
Israeli politicians like Ariel Sharon suggested,
with typical touches of arrogance and self-satisfaction,
Americans know how Israelis have felt for years.
We face a common and implacable enemy,
they lectured us,
leaving unspoken the message
that we Americans had better develop some backbone
and put our shoulder to the anti-terror wheel.
our politicians did not really require Israel's instruction
to convert our tragedy into their political windfall.
they quickly employed several rhetorical devices that,
were most often found in Israel's political toolbox
(domestic and foreign).
all kinds of international and domestic issues
as being part of the "war on terror",
requiring new and drastic solutions that were,
necessary for "security",
and often highly profitable
for favored corporate interests.
our leaders saw major advantages
to this radical simplification of world affairs.
they could dispense with even the pretense of negotiation,
because "you cannot negotiate with terrorists".
They could neatly sidestep,
or simply dispose of,
human rights limitations imposed by law
and the Constitution,
because "terrorists have no respect for the rule of law".
The "terror card"
also enabled them
to bulldoze public opposition
to new and highly intrusive government surveillance,
and so on.
Just as Israel depends on billions of dollars annually
from a compliant US government
its military occupation
indifference to UN resolutions
America's power axis
also thrives on a steady flow of wealth
from a similarly remote and supine source –
the American people.
And just as Israel
makes it a point to occasionally disobey the orders of its US sponsors,
so American politicians at the pinnacle of power
pointedly disregard the many voices of the people
that call for justice and peace.
During consideration of the recent Congressional resolution supporting war on Iraq,
citizen messages to Congressional offices
of both chambers and both sides of the aisle
were running 10 to 1 against the resolution.
both the House and Senate
passed the measure by overwhelming margins.
The reply to the American public was clear;
"We watch our push-polls.
Pay your taxes and shut up."
Even within its own pre-1967 borders,
Israel's human rights record is abysmal.
Twenty percent of Israel's population
is now comprised of non-Jewish Arabs who,
are systematically rendered
in their own homeland.
in Israel's complex legal and social caste system
are reserved for Bedouins and African Jews.
Israel's stubborn insistence
on the primacy of the "Jewish state"
and its institutionalized discrimination against non-Jews
have set poor examples for America,
where Israel is routinely hailed
as a shining example of "Western democracy".
We cannot quantify the debasing effects of this mass fantasy,
we can see
that while America's own system of minority repression
becomes increasingly severe,
the public is told
that pride in America's "liberty and equality for all"
is at an all-time high.
Israel's long war of attrition against the Palestinians
has proven to America's power elite
that it is possible
to indefinitely occupy the land of another people,
even in the face of nearly global opposition
– if you're backed by enough raw power.
The West Bank and the Gaza Strip
constitute a kind of open-air laboratory and lecture hall,
in which Israel demonstrates the advantages of occupation
to its dutiful American pupil.
These advantages include
a dirt-cheap labor pool
that can be turned on and off at will,
the ability to emasculate
and/or decapitate any effort at self-rule
within the occupied lands,
the utility of occupation as an object lesson
and divisive thorn-in-the-side
of neighboring enemies,
and so on.
Israel has also demonstrated the usefulness
of sustained occupation
for increasing a nation's overall military might.
The constant war-footing,
and the need for violent repression
of a restive and disenfranchised people,
create never-ending opportunities
for the purchase and use
of the latest military equipment,
and for the containment of domestic politics.
While American power
has in general been
a very attentive student
of Israeli policy and practice,
there is one crucial lesson
at the back of Israel's textbook
that remains unlearned:
Israel's approach will never create peace
or achieve a just solution.
that suits its purposes.
The point of Israeli strategy is
to grind the Palestinians into dust
until they just blow away,
and the last shreds of Palestine
can be swept up into Greater Israel,
the goal of the military Zionists and their Laborite alter egos.
a tragic and fundamentally racist ideology,
will fight on for a hundred years
to dispose of the "Palestinian problem".
to apply the localized Israeli model
(designed to acquire land the size of Rhode Island)
to a "global war on terror"
are rewriting the definition of "over-reach".
By following Israel's lead
(which is constitutionally averse to just solutions)
in the "war on terror",
we ensure that
the war will never be won and will never end.
we suspect that our leaders
may understand this lesson, too.
And they're getting ready
to send another 14 billion dollars in shiny red apples
(disguised as new loan guarantees and military aid)
to their beloved teachers in Jerusalem.
by James Brooks
James Brooks of Worcester, Vermont
is former marketing director of Vita-Flex Nutrition
and was founding vice-president
of the National Association of Equine Supplement Manufacturers.
Past articles have been published
on the NileMedia Web site.
Currently Mr. Brooks serves as webmaster for
and publishes News Links,
a daily e-mail digest of Middle East news and commentary.
Brooks is also a member of the national Al-Awda Co-ordinating Committee.
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