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Michael Warschawski: The Neo-Barbarians

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    The Neo-Barbarians Alternative Information Center (Jerusalem) Michael Warschawski Tuesday, 24 October 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2007
      The Neo-Barbarians
      Alternative Information Center (Jerusalem)
      Michael Warschawski
      Tuesday, 24 October 2006

      From an ethical point of view, history never stands in the same place:
      if it doesn't move towards less oppression and more justice, it moves
      towards less rights and more barbarism. Paraphrasing the German
      revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg, who predicted twenty years
      before the rise of Nazism, "either socialism or barbarism," we can say
      today that the 21st century will be "either the rule of Right or the
      law of the jungle." It seems, however, that in the first decade of the
      third millennium, the law of jungle is taking the lead.

      In an article published one month ago in Haaretz, Israeli journalist
      and analyst Tom Segev tried to challenge the common idea that the
      global political context of our time is much worse than it used to be,
      let's say, two decades ago. According to Segev, war, oppression and
      destruction have characterized the political reality of our planet
      during the last five decades, and nothing has changed either
      qualitatively or even quantitatively in the recent past. Segev goes
      further yet, claiming that the "clash of civilizations" is not a new
      phenomenon, but has been characteristic of the previous decades,
      though under different labels.

      There can be no doubt that the four decades following WWII were not
      peaceful, and during this period more than 76 million human beings
      perished, in wars, revolutions and through mass-repression by
      dictatorships.* It is also true that during the 1950s, '60s and '70s,
      the "north" conducted a colonial war against the "South," and the
      "West" a "civilization war" against the eastern communist bloc.

      There is, nevertheless, a qualitative difference between the present
      situation and the forty years that followed the victory over fascism.
      Three main factors limited the hegemonic aspirations of the USA
      following WWII:

      * The existence of the Soviet superpower;
      * The strength of an organized working class in the
      imperialist countries;
      * The effects of the memory of the horrors of fascism on
      international public opinion, and the perceived illegitimacy of
      unilateralism, military aggression, etc.

      Due to these factors, the big powers were obliged to maneuver under
      the pressure of huge political opposition (anti-colonial movements,
      mass democratic oppositions) and constantly needed to invent pretexts
      with which to provide legitimacy for their wars and acts of repression
      throughout the world.

      However, 50 years after the victory over fascism, these constraints no
      longer bind the big imperialist powers—the US in particular.
      Unilateralism, "preemptive" wars, colonial ventures, etc., are once
      again legitimate, or, more precisely, no longer challenged in a way
      that could seriously harm their perpetrators. With the absence of a
      powerful opposition, the new neoconservative leadership of the Empire
      has been able to create a new "global discourse," which, at least
      partially, has been able to conquer the minds of substantial parts of
      those who are the victims of the Empire. The four main elements of
      this discourse are:

      * The collapse of Soviet Union is the ultimate evidence that
      capitalism is the only viable way;
      * (Western) civilization is threatened by a new global enemy:
      * A global-permanent-preemptive war is necessary to protect
      civilization against the new Barbarians (terrorism/Islam) and their
      * In this war for the survival of civilization, there cannot,
      and should not, be any constraints: all the norms and conventions of
      the past fifty years are caduc.

      And, indeed, in their crusade for what they call "the New American
      Century," i.e. the imposition by force of the total hegemony of their
      empire under the shallow pretext of a "war against terrorism," the US
      administration has declared a lack of relevance to every moral
      constraint and international regulation. Already in 2003, George W.
      Bush announced that the Geneva Conventions are obsolete in the war
      against terrorism. Guantanamo was opened in violation not only of
      international law, but also of the law of the United States of
      America. In order to deprive suspected terrorists of any kind of
      protection or rights, the same administration decided to invent a new
      category of detainees: neither criminal nor prisoners of war, but
      "suspected terrorists."

      The similarity between the US and Israeli practices is astonishing:
      already in the 1970s, the Israeli military authorities announced, in
      the Israeli Supreme Court, as well as in international conferences,
      that, in the case of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), the
      Geneva Conventions do not apply. Moreover, since the late 1960s,
      Palestinian political prisoners have been categorized as neither
      criminal prisoners nor political detainees; and the "secret prison"
      discovered by Attorney Lea Tsemel, near kibbutz Ma'anit, in 2003, is a
      twin-brother of Guantanamo.

      In addition, according to both the US neoconservative leadership and
      the Israeli government, the aim of wars is no longer to win a battle,
      to conquer a territory or to change a regime, but to destroy states
      and to dismantle whole societies.

      The state of Israel—but also the great majority within Israeli
      society—have fully internalized this neoconservative analysis and the
      strategy which logically follows. In fact, in the last decade,
      Israel-Palestine has been the laboratory for such a strategy, and the
      Palestinians its guinea pigs. This is the case, even on the level of
      armament, as the leftwing Italian newspaper El Manifesto has recently
      confirmed, unmasking the utilization of one of the new and most
      barbarian type of bombs manufactured in the US and used in the last
      offensive against the civilian population of Gaza.

      The Israeli war against the Palestinians is clearly aimed at
      destroying Palestinian society and transforming the Palestinians from
      a nation into scattered tribes, as the Americans are trying to do in
      Afghanistan and in Iraq.

      Indeed, all wars are barbaric, but the Israeli war in the OPT (and its
      broader context, the endless preemptive war against terrorism)
      represents a new stage in modern barbarism. Though the definition of
      "genocide" is wrong, one can adopt Bir Zeit University Professor Salah
      Abdel Jawad's from definition of "sociocide," or Israeli sociologists'
      concept of "politicide."

      The land on which the Palestinian nation is rooted is being stolen by
      "legal settlements" and "illegal outposts," provoking more and more
      "self-transfer"; the Wall is atomizing Palestinian society into
      isolated cantons; new laws and regulations are aimed at limiting the
      entry of Palestinians into the Palestinian territory, as well as their
      capacity to move within their own territory; the democratically
      elected representatives of the Jerusalem population have been
      expelled from their city, and dozens of ministers and legislative
      council members kidnapped and jailed, as hostages for an eventual
      exchange of prisoners.

      On top of all these evils are the horrors of Hebron, where the local
      population is subjected to daily harassment by the settlers and the
      Israeli military, and denied normal access to a substantial part of
      their city, and the martyrdom of Gaza, which has been the target of an
      economic blockade and systematic Israeli bombardments, destroying the
      basic infrastructure and slaughtering hundreds.

      Needless to say that all these crimes, some of which have been
      described as crimes against humanity by Human Rights Watch, are not
      provoking any sanctions, or even protest by the so-called
      international community. Impunity to the barbarians is the new norm,
      from Iraq to Gaza. As for the Israeli "peace camp," it entered into a
      deep coma the day Ehud Barak returned from Camp David, swallowing the
      big lie about the "existential danger" threatening Israel with a
      certain amount of emotional release.

      The similarity between the strategy and methods of Israel and those of
      the US, raises the question of who is the dog and who is the tail, or,
      in other words, who is moving whom: is the Israeli lobby pushing the
      US administration according to the needs of the Zionist State, or the
      US administration pushing Israel to implement its global war policy in
      the Middle East?

      In reality, this is a wrong question: there is neither a dog nor a
      tail, but one global war of re-colonization, and one aggressive
      monster with two ugly heads. Neoconservative strategies were
      elaborated jointly by US and Israeli politicians and thinkers, and
      implemented simultaneously, though one cannot deny that Israel had the
      opportunity to test this strategy and these methods before the USA,
      Israeli neocons having won the elections four years before their
      American counterparts.

      The US and Israel—but also Blair's Great Britain, Italy of Berlusconi
      and even Romano Prodi, and increasingly other western countries—are
      conducting a world-war against the peoples of the planet, with an
      unhidden agenda: to impose, by violence and/or threat, the rule of the
      Neoliberal Empire. This global war is a crusade of the Neo-Barbarians
      against human civilization.

      The role of Israel in this partnership is to eradicate all forms of
      resistance to the Empire in the Middle East, and first of all the
      emblematic Palestinian resistance, which, at this moment in history,
      is a line of defense not only for the Palestinian people, but for all
      the peoples and nations of the Middle East, from Lebanon to Iran. This
      is why support for the Palestinian resistance needs to be understood
      as a strategic priority for all the enemies of Barbarism, in the
      Middle East as well as in the rest of the world.

      * "Democide Since World War II" By R.J. Rummel (numbers for 1945 – 1987).



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