Monday, November 8, 2010

Israel: Going, Going, Gone

"You are pitiful, isolated individuals. You are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on, into the dustbin of history." Leon Trotsky

"There are signs that Israel's years are numbered. They became clear to me in 2006 when a bunch of youngsters in South Lebanon humiliated its arrogant army. The people of South Lebanon were most impressed by the cries and screams of retreating Israeli soldiers around Marun Ar-Ras. But for me, the signs of Israel's demise can also be seen in its clumsy and comical propaganda. I never thought I'd live to see Israeli propaganda mimic Ba'athist propaganda. These are signs that one relishes from a historical perspective. There are those who worry about the new Israeli (& US) insistence that Arabs recognize the permanent, Jewish character of the state. Are you kidding? This is another sign of Israel's demise. It shows real panic at the inevitability of its demise and the demographic trend. What will Israel do 50 years from now when the Jews in the 'holy land' are outnumbered by Arabs? No pledge of the Jewishness of the state will preserve it. Don't get me wrong: I don't believe Israel will be around in 50 years time. Then, you will most likely be landing at George Habash International Airport (formerly known as Ben Gurion Airport). I'm already discussing plans for a visit to Palestine after its liberation. I know what I'd do there." (As'ad AbuKhalil,, 4/11/10)

"The secret of Zionist success lies in the manner in which it overcame the chief flaw in its design: it did not have a natural mother country to support its colonial project. By winning over the Jews in the Western diaspora, and galvanizing them to use their wealth, intellect, and activism to promote Zionist causes, the Zionists succeeded in substituting the West for the missing natural mother country. Over time, nearly every major Western country (including the Soviet Union) has offered critical help in the creation, survival and success of Israel. Most importantly, the two greatest Western powers, Britain and the United States, successively, have placed their military might squarely behind the Zionist project despite the damage that this inflicted on their vital interests in the Middle East.

"The United States has already paid dearly for its pro-Zionist policies since 1948. Over time, these costs would include the hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to Israel and its Arab allies, the alienation of the Arab world, an oil embargo, higher oil prices, the rise of Islamic radicalism, and several close confrontations with the Soviet Union in the Middle East. After September 11, 2001, under strong pressure from Israel - working in league with their neoconservative allies - the United States launched a costly but unnecessary war against Iraq. In turn, this war galvanized the Islamist radicals, giving them a new theater where they could engage the United States. The United States has financed this war - and the war in Afghanistan - by borrowing from China and the oil-rich Arabs. We must also add two other consequences of the Iraq War to the debit in America's Israeli account: the rise of Iran and the growing challenge to US hegemony in Latin America.

"The costs that the United States - and the rest of the Western world - might incur in the future are likely to be much greater. We can only speculate about these costs, or when they will come due. The repressive, pro-American regimes in the Arab world are not sustainable. When these unpopular regimes begin to fall, and are replaced by Islamist governments, it may become difficult for the United States to maintain its presence in the region. Indeed, it is likely that the United States itself or Israel might trigger this outcome with an attack on Iran. In the opinion of some, this is an accident waiting to happen.

"Should Israel wither away, the United States will bear much of the collateral damage of this collapse. The withering of the Jewish state could occur due to international pressures against its apartheid regime, a slow loss of nerve as Jewish settlers lose their 'demographic war' with the Palestinians, or loss of deterrence as Israel continues to engage in failed attempts to destroy the Hizbullah and Hamas. Israel and the United States have been joined at the hip for many years. In America's public discourse, the two have become more and more like each other: they are two exceptional societies, marked by destiny, chosen by God, created by brave pioneers, who have shaped and continue to shape their common destiny through territorial expansion and ethnic cleansing. Should the Jewish state wither away, its much larger twin may begin to wobble.

"Some consequences of the withering away of Israel might be easy to predict. Over the past century, the successes of the Zionist movement have galvanized many American Jews and Zionist Christians; they will now be disillusioned, in despair, confused, and angry. Probably, most Israeli Jews will want to migrate to the United States, which most Americans will be loath to refuse. Yet, this will give rise to frictions between some sections of Gentiles and Jews and may give rise to pockets of anti-Semitism. Tensions will also arise between Jews and Muslims. In all likelihood, the United States will experience growing conflicts among different sections of its population; there will be more racism, hate crimes, and, perhaps, worse. None of this will be good for America's image as a great country.

"Although the domestic fallout of the withering of the Israeli state will be serious, the more serious losses for the United States will flow from the erosion of its control over the oil-rich states in the Persian Gulf. It would be foolhardy to predict the contours of the new map that will eventually emerge in the Middle East and the Islamicate. Whatever new structures emerge, these transformations are likely to be violent. On the one hand, the fragmentation imposed on the Islamicate has created local interests that will seek to maintain the status quo. These local interests now will confront Islamist movements that seek to create more integrated structures across the Islamicate. These conflicts will be deeply destabilizing, as India, China, Europe and Russia may choose sides, each eager to replace the United States. Once the US-Israeli straitjacket over the region has been loosened, it will not be easy to fashion a new one made in Moscow, Beijing, Brussels or New Delhi. The Islamicate world today is not what it was during World War I. It is noticeably less inclined to let foreigners draw their maps for them." (Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism, M Shahid Alam, 2009, pp 218-220)

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