Saturday, August 26, 2006

Israel on the Slide


"Disfigured by its "special relationship" with the US arms industry, of which the US Congress is an integral component, the IDF has been morally corrupted by years of risk-free brutalization of unarmed Palestinians, many of them children. It's one thing to level an apartment building with a missile from a plane or crush a protester with a bulldozer or lob shells at a Palestinian family having a picnic on a beach or kidnap middle-aged and democratically elected Palestinian politicians. It's another confront a foe, with modest but effectively deployed weaponry, prepared to fight back.

Years of racism have taken their toll too. Think of Arabs as subhuman "terrorists" and you end up making a lot of misjudgments, tactical and strategic.

You can read plenty of commentary round the world, most particularly Israel, saying this recent war was a benchmark event, which could conceivably teach Israel that security is not won by unending land grabs, by spouting hokum for US consumption about the "peace process", and by terror bombing of Lebanon and Gaza. But not in the United States. Open up the Washington Post and the strategic vision on display was an utterly mad piece co-written by one of the big boosters for war on Iraq, Kenneth Pollack, a hack thinker at the Brookings Institution, now an integral part of Israeli territory with its "Saban Center for Middle East Policy" named for the fanatic Zionist billionaire Haim Saban, majority owner of Paramount Pictures, a man who handed the Democratic Party a total of $12.3 million in 2002, a $7 million component of which was the biggest single contribution ever recorded up to that time.

Thirty years ago I used to be told that liberal American Jews were aghast at the rise of the ur-neocon fanatics like Norman Podhoretz, at Commentary, whose parent outfit was and is the American Jewish Committee. Soon, such liberals used to say to me off the record, there would be a counter-attack by the forces of reason, as embodied in liberal American Jewry. There never was, at least on any effective scale. The liberal Jewish intelligentsia here has, politically, speaking, sat on its hands for decades, mouths zipped shut, when it comes to criticizing Israel. Even more effectively than America's defense contractors they have contributed to, and indeed cheered on Israel's corrupt rejectionism. Will this war make them change their minds? I doubt it."

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