Ivo Skoric on Sun, 28 Apr 2002 23:09:02 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Re: Sharon's best weapon

I know this sounds odd from an anti-globalist - but I believe that 
Sharon's actions can harm the global stability. He is playing the 
same fear game that Milosevic and his copy-cat Balkan strongmen 
played. The Ustasha will come and slaughter you like they did in 
the WW II. The more Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia feared the 
separation from Yugoslavia, the stronger Milosevic's power was.

However, Milosevic is now in The Hague. All Western democracies 
stood together and called his bluff. This is not a case with Sharon. 
Because the Americans simply don't want to give him up, 
regardless of how disgusting his actions are. Consequently, 
Sharon's policies drove a wedge, a dangerous wedge, in the US - 
Western Europe relationship. Something that Milosevic tried to do 
for a couple of years but without much success.

And there is a global backlash against Jews, provoked by Sharon's 
cunning malice. He, indeed, equalizes his political platform for 
Israel with protecting the entire Jewish cause worldwide. More and 
more this creates critique not only of Israel but also of Jews in 
general. And in turn rises fears of anti-semitsm around Jewish 
population outside Israel - the fears that Sharon can well exploit, 
just as Milosevic did. "Everybody is against us" mentality serves 
military dictator personalities like Sharon well.

But, there is a connection between driving Jewish tanks over Arab 
teenagers and neo-nazi political victories in European 
democracies. I wonder whether Sharon completely understands to 
what kind of dangers he is opening his own state and people that 
he wowed to protect.


Date sent:      	Thu, 25 Apr 2002 19:23:41 -0400
Send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
From:           	Daniel Tomasevich <danilo@MARTNET.COM>
Subject:        	Sharon's best weapon

Fear is a powerful tool that A Sharon knows how to use well.

   For Ariel Sharon, it is the fear of anti-semitism, both real and
   imagined, that is the weapon. Mr Sharon likes to say that he stands up
   to terrorists to show he is not afraid. In fact, his policies are
   driven by fear. His great talent is that he fully understands the
   depths of Jewish fear of another Holocaust. He knows how to draw
   parallels between Jewish anxieties about anti-semitism and American
   fears of terrorism, and he is an expert at harnessing all of it for
   his political ends.

(article not for cross posting)

   The Guardian         Thursday April 25, 2002

   Sharon's best weapon

   Anti-semitism sustains Israel's brutal leader - the fight against it
   must be reclaimed

   Naomi Klein

   Something new happened in Washington DC last weekend. A demonstration
   against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund was joined by
   an anti-war march, as well as a demonstration against the Israeli
   occupation of Palestinian territory. In the end, all the marches
   merged into what organisers described as the largest Palestinian
   solidarity demonstration in US history (75,000 people by police

   On Sunday night, I turned on my television in the hope of catching a
   glimpse of this protest, historic in North America if not in Europe. I
   saw something else instead: triumphant Jean-Marie Le Pen. Ever since,
   I've been wondering whether the new alliance displayed on the streets
   can also deal with this latest threat.

   As a critic both of the Israeli occupation and of corporate-dictated
   globalisation, it seems to me that the convergence that took place in
   Washington last weekend was long overdue. Despite easy labels like
   "anti-globalisation", the trade-related protests of the past three
   years have all been about self-determination: the right of people
   everywhere to decide how best to organise their societies and
   economies, whether that means introducing land reform in Brazil, or
   producing generic Aids drugs in India or, indeed, resisting an
   occupying force in Palestine.

   When hundreds of globalisation activists began flocking to Ramallah to
   act as "human shields" between Israeli tanks and Palestinians, the
   theory developing outside trade summits was put into concrete action.
   Bringing that courageous spirit back to Washington DC, where so much
   Middle Eastern policy is made, was the next logical step.

   But when I saw Le Pen beaming on TV, arms raised in triumph, some of
   my enthusiasm drained away. There is no connection whatsoever between
   French fascism and the "free Palestine" marchers in Washington (indeed
   the only people Le Pen's supporters seem to dislike more than Jews are
   Arabs). Yet I couldn't help thinking about the recent events I've been
   to where anti-Muslim violence was rightly condemned, Ariel Sharon
   deservedly blasted, but no mention was made of attacks on Jewish
   synagogues, cemeteries and community centres. Or about the fact that
   every time I log on to activist news sites like Indymedia.org which
   practise "open publishing", I am confronted with a string of Jewish
   conspiracy theories about September 11 and excerpts from the Protocol
   of the Elders of Zion.

   The globalisation movement isn't anti-semitic, it just hasn't fully
   confronted the implications of diving into the Middle East conflict.
   Most people on the left are simply choosing sides and in the Middle
   East, where one side is under illegal occupation and the other has the
   US military behind it, the choice seems clear. But it is possible to
   criticise Israel while forcefully condemning the rise of
   anti-semitism. It is equally possible to be pro-Palestinian
   independence without adopting a simplistic
   "pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel" dichotomy, a mirror image of the
   good-versus-evil equations so beloved of President Bush.

   Why bother with such subtleties while bodies are still being pulled
   out of the wreckage in Jenin? Because anyone interested in fighting Le
   Pen-style fascism or Sharon-style brutality has to confront the
   reality of anti-semitism head-on. The hatred of Jews is a potent
   political tool in the hands of both the right in Europe and in Israel.
   For Ariel Sharon, it is the fear of anti-semitism, both real and
   imagined, that is the weapon. Mr Sharon likes to say that he stands up
   to terrorists to show he is not afraid. In fact, his policies are
   driven by fear. His great talent is that he fully understands the
   depths of Jewish fear of another Holocaust. He knows how to draw
   parallels between Jewish anxieties about anti-semitism and American
   fears of terrorism, and he is an expert at harnessing all of it for
   his political ends.

   The primary and familiar fear that Sharon draws on, the one that
   allows him to disguise all aggressive actions as defensive ones, is
   the fear that Israel's neighbours want to drive the Jews into the sea.
   The secondary fear Sharon manipulates is the fear among Jews in the
   diaspora that they will eventually be driven to seek a safe haven in
   Israel. This leads millions of Jews around the world, many of them
   sickened by Israeli aggression, to shut up and send their cheques, a
   down-payment on future sanctuary.

   The equation is simple: the more fearful Jews are, the more powerful
   Sharon is. Elected on a platform of "peace through security", Sharon's
   administration could barely hide its delight at Le Pen's ascendancy,
   immediately calling on French Jews to pack their bags and come to the
   promised land. For Sharon, Jewish fear is a guarantee that his power
   will go unchecked, granting him the impunity needed to do the
   unthinkable: send troops into the Palestinian Authority's education
   ministry to steal and destroy records, bury children alive in their
   homes, block ambulances from getting to the dying, sabotage all
   international attempts to get at the truth of what happened in Jenin.

   Jews outside Israel now find themselves in a tightening vice: the
   actions of the country that was supposed to ensure their future safety
   are making them less safe right now. Sharon is deliberately erasing
   distinctions between the terms "Jew" and "Israeli", claiming he is
   fighting not for Israeli territory but for the survival of the Jewish
   people. When anti-semitism rises at least partly as a result of his
   actions, it is Sharon who is positioned once again to collect the
   political dividends.

   It works. Most Jews are so frightened that they are now willing to do
   anything to defend Israeli policies. So at my neighbourhood synagogue,
   where the humble facade was badly scarred by a suspicious fire
   recently, the sign on the door doesn't say, "Thanks for nothing,
   Sharon." It says, "Support Israel - now more than ever."

   There is a way out. Nothing is going to erase anti-semitism, but Jews
   outside and inside Israel might be a little safer if there was a
   campaign to distinguish between diverse Jewish positions and the
   actions of the Israeli state. This is where an international movement
   can play a crucial role. Already, alliances are being made between
   globalisation activists and Israeli "refuseniks" - soldiers who refuse
   to serve their mandatory duty in the occupied territories. The most
   powerful images from Saturday's protests were rabbis walking alongside

   More needs to be done. It's easy for social justice activists to tell
   themselves that since Jews already have such powerful defenders in
   Washington and Jerusalem, anti-semitism is one battle they don't need
   to fight. This is a deadly error. It is precisely because
   anti-semitism is used and abused by the likes of Sharon that the fight
   against it must be reclaimed.

   When anti-semitism is no longer treated as Jewish business, to be
   taken care of by Israel and the rightwing Zionist lobby, Sharon is
   robbed of his most effective weapon in the indefensible and
   increasingly brutal occupation. And as an extra bonus, whenever hatred
   of Jews diminishes, the likes of Jean-Marie Le Pen shrink right down
   with it.



           Guardian Unlimited  Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

Nettime-bold mailing list