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The Coming Collapse of Zionism

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    The Moral Bankruptcy of Israel s Founding Idea The Coming Collapse of Zionism By KATHLEEN CHRISTISON, Former CIA Analyst Counterpunch 12 September 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2006
      The Moral Bankruptcy of Israel's Founding Idea


      The Coming Collapse of Zionism
      By KATHLEEN CHRISTISON, Former CIA Analyst
      Counterpunch
      12 September 2006
      http://www.counterpunch.org/christison09122006.html


      Is it only observers outside the conventional mainstream who have
      noticed that by its murderous assault on Lebanon and simultaneously on
      Gaza, Israel finally exposed, for even the most deluded to see, the
      total bankruptcy of its very founding idea?

      Can it be that the deluded are still deluded? Can it truly still be
      that Israel's bankruptcy is evident only to those who already knew it,
      those who already recognized Zionism as illegitimate for the racist
      principle that underlies it?

      Can it be therefore that only the already converted can see coming the
      ultimate collapse of Zionism and, with it, of Israel itself as the
      exclusivist state of Jews?

      Racism has always been the lifeblood of Israel. Zionism rests on the
      fundamental belief that Jews have superior national, human, and
      natural rights in the land, an inherently racist foundation that
      excludes any possibility of true democracy or equality of peoples.
      Israel's destructive rampage in Lebanon and Gaza is merely the natural
      next step in the evolution of such a founding ideology. Precisely
      because that ideology posits the exclusivity and superiority of one
      people's rights, it can accept no legal or moral restraints on its
      behavior and no territorial limits, for it needs an ever-expanding
      geography to accommodate those unlimited rights.

      Zionism cannot abide encroachment or even the slightest challenge to
      its total domination over its own space -- not merely of the space
      within Israel's 1967 borders, but of the surrounding space as well,
      extending outward to geographical limits that Zionism has not yet seen
      fit to set for itself. Total domination means no physical threat and
      no demographic threat: Jews reign, Jews are totally secure, Jews
      always outnumber, Jews hold all military power, Jews control all
      natural resources, all neighbors are powerless and totally
      subservient. This was the message Israel tried to send with its attack
      on Lebanon: that neither Hizbullah nor anything in Lebanon that
      nurtures Hizbullah should continue to exist, for the sole reason that
      Hizbullah challenges Israel's supreme authority in the region and
      Israel cannot abide this effrontery. Zionism cannot coexist with any
      other ideology or ethnicity except in the preeminent position, for
      everyone and every ideology that is not Zionist is a potential threat.

      In Lebanon, Israel attempted by its wildly reckless violence to
      destroy the nation, to make of it a killing zone where only Zionism
      would reign, where non-Jews would die or flee or prostrate themselves,
      as they had during the nearly quarter-century of Israel's last
      occupation, from 1978 to 2000. Observing the war in Beirut after the
      first week of bombing, describing the murder in an Israeli bombing
      raid of four Lebanese army logistics techs who had been mending power
      and water lines "to keep Beirut alive," British correspondent Robert
      Fisk wrote that it dawned on him that what Israel intended was that
      "Beirut is to die . . . . No one is to be allowed to keep Beirut
      alive." Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz (the man who four years ago
      when he headed the Israeli Air Force said he felt no psychological
      discomfort after one of his F-16s had dropped a one-ton bomb on an
      apartment building in Gaza in the middle of the night, killing 14
      civilians, mostly children) pledged at the start of the Lebanon
      assault to take Lebanon back 20 years; 20 years ago Lebanon was not
      alive, its southern third occupied by Israel, the remainder a decade
      into a hopelessly destructive civil war.

      The cluster bombs are a certain sign of Israel's intent to remake
      Lebanon, at least southern Lebanon, into a region cleansed of its Arab
      population and unable to function except at Israel's mercy. Cluster
      bombs, of which Israel's U.S. provider is the world's leading
      manufacturer (and user, in places like Yugoslavia and Iraq), explode
      in mid-flight and scatter hundreds of small bombs over a several-acre
      area. Up to one-quarter of the bomblets fail to explode on impact and
      are left to be found by unsuspecting civilians returning to their
      homes. UN surveyors estimate that there are as many as 100,000
      unexploded cluster bomblets strewn around in 400 bomb-strike sites in
      southern Lebanon. Scores of Lebanese children and adults have been
      killed and injured by this unexploded ordnance since the cease-fire
      last month.

      Laying anti-personnel munitions in heavily populated civilian areas is
      not the surgical targeting of a military force in pursuit of military
      objectives; it is ethnic cleansing. Fully 90 percent of Israel's
      cluster-bomb strikes were conducted, according to UN humanitarian
      coordinator Jan Egelund, in the last 72 hours before the cease-fire
      took effect, when it was apparent that a UN cease-fire resolution was
      in the works. This can only have been a further effort, no doubt
      intended to be more or less a coup de grace, to depopulate the area.
      Added to the preceding month of bombing attacks that destroyed as much
      as 50 or in some cases 80 percent of the homes in many villages, that
      did vast damage to the nation's entire civilian infrastructure, that
      crippled a coastal power plant that continues to spill tons of oil and
      benzene-laden toxins along the Lebanese and part of the Syrian
      coastlines, and that killed over 1,000 civilians in residential
      apartment blocks, being transported in ambulances, and fleeing in cars
      flying white flags, Israel's war can only be interpreted as a massiv
      act of ethnic cleansing, to keep the region safe for Jewish dominion.

      In fact, approximately 250,000 people, by UN estimate, are unable to
      return to their homes because either the homes have been leveled or
      unexploded cluster bomblets and other ordnance have not yet been
      cleared by demining teams. This was not a war against Hizbullah,
      except incidentally. It was not a war against terror, as Israel and
      its U.S. acolytes would have us believe (indeed, Hizbullah was not
      conducting terrorist acts, but had been engaged in a sporadic series
      of military exchanges with Israeli forces along the border, usually
      initiated by Israel). This was a war for Israeli breathing space, for
      the absolute certainty that Israel would dominate the neighborhood. It
      was a war against a population that was not totally subservient, that
      had the audacity to harbor a force like Hizbullah that does not bow to
      Israel's will. It was a war on people and their way of thinking,
      people who are not Jewish and who do not act to promote Zionism and
      Jewish hegemony.

      Israel has been doing this to its neighbors in one form or another
      since its creation. Palestinians have obviously been Zionism's longest
      suffering victims, and its most persistent opponents. The Zionists
      thought they had rid themselves of their most immediate problem, the
      problem at the very core of Zionism, in 1948 when they forced the
      flight of nearly two-thirds of the Palestinian population that stood
      in the way of a establishing Israel as an exclusive Jewish-majority
      state. You can't have a Jewish state if most of your population is not
      Jewish. Nineteen years later, when Israel began to expand its borders
      with the capture of the West Bank and Gaza, those Palestinians who it
      thought had disappeared turned out to be still around after all,
      threatening the Zionists' Jewish hegemony.

      In the nearly 40 years since then, Israeli policy has been largely
      directed -- with periodic time-outs for attacks on Lebanon -- toward
      making the Palestinians disappear for certain. The methods of ethnic
      cleansing are myriad: land theft, destruction of agricultural land and
      resources, economic strangulation, crippling restrictions on commerce,
      home demolition, residency permit revocation, outright deportation,
      arrest, assassination, family separation, movement restriction,
      destruction of census and land ownership records, theft of tax monies,
      starvation. Israel wants all of the land of Palestine, including all
      of the West Bank and Gaza, but it cannot have a majority Jewish state
      in all of this land as long as the Palestinians are there. Hence the
      slow strangulation. In Gaza, where almost a million and a half people
      are crammed into an area less than one-tenth the size of Rhode Island,
      Israel is doing on a continuing basis what it did in Lebanon in a
      month's time -- killing civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure,
      making the place uninhabitable. Palestinians in Gaza are being
      murdered at the rate of eight a day. Maimings come at a higher rate.
      Such is the value of non-Jewish life in the Zionist scheme of things.

      Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe calls it a slow genocide
      (ElectronicIntifada, September 2, 2006). Since 1948, every Palestinian
      act of resistance to Israeli oppression has been a further excuse for
      Israel to implement an ethnic cleansing policy, a phenomenon so
      inevitable and accepted in Israel that Pappe says "the daily business
      of slaying Palestinians, mainly children, is now reported in the
      internal pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts."
      His prediction is that continued killing at this level either will
      produce a mass eviction or, if the Palestinians remain steadfast and
      continue to resist, as is far more likely, will result in an
      increasing level of killing. Pappe recalls that the world absolved
      Israel of responsibility and any accountability for its 1948 act of
      ethnic cleansing, allowing Israel to turn this policy "into a
      legitimate tool for its national security agenda." If the world
      remains silent again in response to the current round of ethnic
      cleansing, the policy will only escalate, "even more drastically."

      And here is the crux of the situation today. Will anyone notice this
      horror? Has Israel, as proposed at the beginning, truly exposed by its
      wild summer campaign of ethnic cleansing in Lebanon and Gaza the total
      bankruptcy of its very founding idea, the essential illegitimacy of
      the Zionist principle of Jewish exclusivity? Can even the most deluded
      see this, or will they continue to be deluded and the world continue
      to turn away, excusing atrocity because it is committed by Israel in
      the name of keeping the neighborhood safe for Jews?

      Since Israel's crazed run through Lebanon began, numerous clear-eyed
      observers in the alternative and the European and Arab media have
      noted the new moral nudity of Israel, and of its U.S. backer, with an
      unusual degree of bluntness. Also on many tongues is a new awareness
      of growing Arab and Muslim resistance to the staggering viciousness of
      Israeli-U.S. actions. Palestinian-British scholar Karma Nabulsi,
      writing in the Guardian in early August, laments the "indiscriminate
      wrath of an enemy driven by an existential mania that cannot be
      assuaged, only stopped." American scholar Virginia Tilley
      (Counterpunch, August 5, 2006) observes that any kind of normal,
      peaceful existence is anathema to Israel, for it "must see and treat
      its neighbors as an existential threat in order to justify . . . its
      ethnic/racial character." Even before the Lebanon war, but after Gaza
      had begun to be starved, political economist Edward Herman (Z
      Magazine, March 2006)condemned Israel's "long-term ethnic cleansing
      and institutionalized racism" and the hypocritical way in which the
      West and the western media accept and underwrite these policies "in
      violation of all purported enlightenment values."

      Racism underlies the Israeli-U.S. neocon axis that is currently
      running amok in the Middle East. The inherent racism of Zionism has
      found a natural ally in the racist imperial philosophy espoused by the
      neoconservatives of the Bush administration. The ultimate logic of the
      Israeli-U.S. global war, writes Israeli activist Michel Warschawski of
      the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem (July 30, 2006) is the
      "full ethnicization" of all conflicts, "in which one is not fighting a
      policy, a government or specific targets, but a 'threat' identified
      with a community" -- or, in Israel's case, with all non-Jewish
      communities.

      The basically racist notion of a clash of civilizations, being
      promoted both by the Bush administration and by Israel, provides the
      rationale for the assaults on Palestine and Lebanon. As Azmi Bishara,
      a leading Palestinian member of Israel's Knesset, has observed
      (al-Ahram, August 10-16, 2006), if the Israeli-U.S. argument that the
      world is divided into two distinct and incompatible cultures, us vs.
      them, is accurate, then the notion that "we" operate by a double
      standard loses all moral opprobrium, for it becomes the natural order
      of things. This has always been Israel's natural order of things: in
      Israel's world and that of its U.S. supporters, the idea that Jews and
      the Jewish culture are superior to and incompatible with surrounding
      peoples and cultures is the very basis of the state.

      In the wake of Israel's failure in Lebanon, Arabs and Muslims have a
      sense, for the first time since Israel's implantation in the heart of
      the Arab Middle East almost 60 years ago, that Israel in its arrogance
      has badly overreached and that its power and its reach can be limited.
      The "ethnicization" of the global conflict that Michel Warschawski
      speaks of -- the arrogant colonial approach of old, now in a new
      high-tech guise backed by F-16s and nuclear weapons, that assumes
      Western and Israeli superiority and posits a kind of apocalyptic clash
      between the "civilized" West and a backward, enraged East -- has been
      seen for what it is because of Israel's mad assault on Lebanon. What
      it is is a crude racist assertion of power by a Zionist regime
      pursuing absolute, unchallenged regional hegemony and a
      neoconservative regime in the United States pursuing absolute,
      unchallenged global hegemony. As Palestinian commentator Rami Khouri
      observed in an interview with Charlie Rose a week into the Lebanon
      war, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, having both grown
      out of earlier Israeli wars of hegemony, are the political response of
      populations "that have been degraded and occupied and bombed and
      killed and humiliated repeatedly by the Israelis, and often with the
      direct or indirect acquiescence, or, as we see now, the direct support
      of the United States."

      Those oppressed populations are now fighting back. No matter how much
      Arab leaders in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia may bow to the U.S.
      and Israel, the Arab people now recognize the fundamental weakness of
      Israel's race-based culture and polity and have a growing confidence
      that they can ultimately defeat it. The Palestinians in particular
      have been at this for 60 years, never disappearing despite Israel's
      best designs, never failing to remind Israel and the world of their
      existence. They will not succumb now, and the rest of the Arab world
      is taking heart from their endurance and Hizbullah's.

      Something in the way Israel operates, and in the way the United States
      supports Israel's method of operating, must change. More and more
      commentators, inside the Arab world and outside, have begun to notice
      this, and a striking number are audacious enough to predict some sort
      of end to Zionism in the racist, exclusivist form in which it now
      exists and functions. This does not mean throwing the Jews into the
      sea. Israel will not be defeated militarily. But it can be defeated
      psychologically, which means putting limits on its hegemony, stopping
      its marauding advance through its neighborhood, ending Jewish
      racial/religious domination over other peoples.

      Rami Khouri contends that the much greater public support throughout
      the Arab world for Hizbullah and Hamas is "a catastrophe" both for
      Israel and for the United States because it means resistance to their
      imperial designs. Khouri does not go further in his predictions, but
      others do, seeing at least in vague outline the vision of a future in
      which Israel no longer enjoys ultimate dominion. Gilad Atzmon, an
      ex-Israeli living in Britain, a jazz musician and thinker, sees
      Hizbullah's victory in Lebanon as signaling the defeat of what he
      calls global Zionism, by which he means the Israeli/U.S. neocon axis.
      It is the Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghani, and Iranian people,
      he says, who are "at the vanguard of the war for humanity and
      humanism," while Israel and the U.S. spread destruction and death, and
      more and more Europeans and Americans, recognizing this, are falling
      off the Zionist/neocon bandwagon. Atzmon talks about Israel as,
      ultimately, "an historic event" and a "dead entity."

      Many others see similar visions. Commentators increasingly discuss the
      possibility of Israel, its myth of invincibility having been deflated,
      going through a South Africa-like epiphany, in which its leadership
      somehow recognizes the error of its racist ways and in a surge of
      humanitarian feeling renounces Zionism's inequities and agrees that
      Jews and Palestinians should live in equality in a unitary state.
      British MP George Galloway (Guardian, August 31, 2006) foresees the
      possibility of "an FW de Klerk moment" emerging in Israel and among
      its international backers when, as occurred in South Africa, a
      "critical mass of opposition" overwhelms the position of the
      previously invincible minority and the leadership is able to justify
      transferring power on the basis that doing so later under duress will
      be far less favorable. Short of such peaceful transition, along with a
      move to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Galloway ­ along
      with many others -- sees only "war, war and more war, until one day it
      is Tel Aviv which is on fire and the Israeli leaders' intransigence
      brings the whole state down on their heads."

      This increasingly appears to be the shape of the future: either Israel
      and its neocon supporters in the United States can dismantle Zionism's
      most egregious aspects by agreeing to establish a unitary state in
      Palestine inhabited by the Palestinians and Jews whose land this is,
      or the world will face a conflagration of a scale not fully imaginable
      now.

      Just as Hizbullah is an integral part of Lebanon, not to be destroyed
      by the bombing of bridges and power plants, the Palestinians before
      their expulsion in 1948 were Palestine and still are Palestine. By
      hitting the Palestinians where they lived, in the literal and the
      colloquial sense, Israel left them with only a goal and a vision. That
      vision is justice and redress in some form, whether redress means
      ultimately defeating Zionism and taking back Palestine, or reconciling
      with Israel on the condition that it act like a decent neighbor and
      not a conqueror, or finally joining with Israeli Jews to form a single
      state in which no people has superior rights . In Lebanon, Israel
      again seemed bent on imposing its will, its dominion, its culture and
      ethnicity on another Arab country. It never worked in Palestine, it
      has not worked in Lebanon, and it will not work anywhere in the Arab
      world.

      We have reached a moral crossroads. In the "new Middle East" defined
      by Israel, Bush, and the neocons, only Israel and the U.S. may
      dominate, only they may be strong, only they may be secure. But in the
      just world that lies on the other side of that crossroads, this is
      unacceptable. Justice can ultimately prevail.


      Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has worked
      on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions
      of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

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