For all those who think that Israel is run by the most despicable, racist and repressive regime in the world here is some very bad news indeed.
Not only are the Israeli state and its ruthless methods here to stay they are also, very frighteningly, a prototype of our collective global future.
Watching the unbelievable destruction wrought by the Israelis in Gaza a simple question very high on many minds must be ‘ How in hell does this illegitimate child of European guilt and American ambition get away with all this again and again and again?’
The answer is that, instead of being a strange historical aberration, Israel is a model state that global elites want to spread around the world in the days to come.
A world where a tiny, wealthy elite will be the ‘chosen people’ like the Israelis and the rest of the planet’s population become Palestinians – caged into unliveable spaces, crushed like dispensable arthropods.
A world where the ruling classes live off the stolen resources and labour of those they contemptuously deem ‘lesser human beings’, in a system of institutionalized apartheid.
A world where the forces of the militarized State can routinely shoot anybody, even entire populations and call them ‘terrorists’ with complete impunity.
A world where the process of nation building automatically involves smashing the sovereignty of every other nation, reducing their people to a faceless, nameless, helpless mass.
The question of why Israel’s brazen crimes against humanity have been tolerated by the so called ‘international community’ is not new at all, being one asked from the very day this nation was violently forged seven decades ago. The legacy of Zionist terrorism, the numerous pogroms against the Palestinians, the systematic usurpation of their land, the routine bombing of civilians, the murder of peace activists— any other fledgling nation even contemplating crimes on this scale would have been ostracized out of existence by now.
Many have attempted to answer this conundrum in different ways. Israel is the bulldog of the US in the Middle-East ‘ there to keep an eye on the region’s oil wealth, promote the sales of Western arms and intimidate Arab regimes into meek submission’. And in all its actions Israel merely imitates its mentors in the United States, whose own list of crimes against humanity make that of its protégé pale into nothing.
For some others it is Israel, run by Jewish supremacists, that is manipulating the West for its own devious purposes. They are abetted in all this by Christian fundamentalists in the US who believe in some complicated bull about the role of Zionists in bringing about rapture, the return of Jesus Christ and Armageddon. (An end of the world hastened deliberately by these strange bed fellows themselves)
In yet another version the formation of Israel, aided and encouraged by Western powers, was a historical fobbing off of Europe’s much abused Jewish masses onto the heads of the hapless Palestinian people- fulfilling the Nazi dream of a Europe ‘sanitised’ of the Jews. A cynical pitting of the victims of European racism against the victims of European colonialism.
There is no doubt of course that the history of Europe and post-Second World War geopolitics of the United States have a lot to do with the creation of Israel.
In many ways the State of Israel carries over into our era all the baggage of 19th century Europe, from its simplistic understanding of race and biology, the crude equation of national interest with conquest of territory, the brutal trappings of the colonial state and worst of all the tryst with fascism, of which Zionism has become a mirror image.
But all this focus on historical trends obscures the fact that contemporary Israel today has become the template of a terrible global future. Here is where the accumulated burdens of the past, stoked to the right temperatures in the crucible of the present, are shaping the contours of the wider world emerging before our eyes.
Already, the aggressive Israeli ‘whatever the cost’ pursuit of self-interest – unfettered by any principles of civilized behaviour and contemptuous of all international law- has become the role model for governments in many other parts of the world. Every indicator points to this sordid trend. The way the ‘masters of the world’ have openly acquiesced in the Israeli assault on the Palestinians in recent days is testimony to the fact that elites everywhere find this violence a useful exercise, not just in the context of the Middle-East itself but on their own home turf too.
Just take your eyes off for a minute from Israel and look around the globe and you can see what I mean. Look at the mini-Israels that governments everywhere are operating within their own national boundaries against the poor, the ethnic or religious minorities, the historically marginalized or any population that can be enslaved at low cost. For the votaries of the hard state and the preservers of privilege everywhere Israel is the pioneering trendsetter in newer and more brazen ways of exercising illegitimate power.
That is why even as many governments condemn Israel in public, they are also slyly figuring out how best to incorporate elements of similar repression within the apparatus of their own states. This includes the Arab states, which pay lip service to the Palestinian cause and do secret deals to ‘normalize’ relations with the Israeli regime. There is so much to learn, it seems, while they earn!
In India, the discourse on ‘cross border terrorism’ repeatedly descends into clamour by neo-Nazi politicians to ‘do it like the Israelis’ and bomb all suspects, wherever, unmindful of the consequences. In Sri Lanka, when the country’s armed forces massacred over 40,000 Tamil civilians in the last few days of the civil war in 2009 it is the Israeli ‘best practice’ they cited – kill now, shill later.
Given the discontent produced by the forces of globalization throughout the world and the need of the elites for controlling the ‘rebellious masses’ Israel’s approach to law and order are also a ‘valuable’ contribution towards maintenance of the unjust status quo everywhere. While Israel certainly did not invent the concept of kidnapping, torture and assassination of its opponents it has done more than any other regime in the world to legitimize such behaviour internationally.
All you need to do is to close your eyes, shut your conscience out, pretend to be the Israeli government and imagine all your opponents ‘ workers, farmers, students anyone- as Palestinians. In that sense it is not just nation states but also corporations – the main shareholders of the Empire – that seek guidance from Israel for ideas on how to put down dissent and rule the world.
After all, at the core of global capitalism lies a fierce authoritarian urge that seeks to monopolise everything that exists but is unable to do so because the little people of the world have fought and established some basic norms of human and social behaviour. If Israel keeps demolishing these ‘barriers’ and advances the forces of lawlessness – it makes complete world domination by the moneyed that much easier.
It is a different matter that imitating Israel, in everything it does, is a recipe for perpetual World Wars. This may suit the designs of some countries and their rulers perhaps but not of a majority of this planet’s residents.
What emerges then is that, given the importance of Israel to global elites, a solution to the Palestinian question can never really be achieved through a struggle that focuses exclusively on the politics of the Middle-East itself.
Instead, a just peace is possible only when there is a Global Intifada against war mongers in powerful Western nations like the US, UK and France, who profit from death and destruction around the planet.
A just peace is possible only when the millions marching on the streets of world capitals calling for a ceasefire turn against the Israeli model represented by their own ruling classes.
A just peace is possible only through a global movement that takes on deeply entrenched vested interests, wherever they exist, that are bent on making our entire world look like one large State of Israel.
Satya Sagar is a journalist and public health worker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: This article is based on a piece written originally by the same author in 2006 for ZNet, when Israel carried out the deadly bombing of Lebanon, under the pretext of ‘eliminating the Hezbollah’. The more things change, the more they remain the same.