Alison and Jaron on Sat, 4 May 2002 10:57:01 +0200 (CEST)

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

[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> ivogram may 02

Sorry for intruding into the discussion, but I think you guys are missing certain
perspective on the Israel/Palestinian conflict.  There is a tendency to portray this
with the typical 3rd worldism "powerless righteous victim vs. the evil monster"
caricature that mars leftist political thought (a major reason why I am no longer a

As part of that caricature, the discussion is ussually framed in terms of the
Palestinians alone vs. the US and Israel.  This perceived balance of power
automatically makes the knee jerk victim advocates of left favor the Palestinian

The ACTUAL balance of power is the other way around.  If the Palestinians were as
bereft of resources as you argue, then they would not be a major news and world
agenda item.  They would be in the same situation as the Kurds, the Chechens, the
Tibetans, the Basques and many others who are REALLY lacking in strategic resources
and are thus not considered worthy of media support, UN resolutions, diplomatic
support or major leftist activism.

While things are admittedly grim for Palestinians on the ground (and Israelis as well
to a lesser extent), the larger cause of Palestinian nationalism has a great deal of

I would argue that Palestinian nationalism has support from the following elements:

A.  The EU.  This is due to four factors: 1. the EU states have many living and
voting Muslim immigrant communities, 2.  Europeon anti-semitism is alive and well,
3.  The EU depends on Arab oil for its economy to run and, 4. Europe has far fewer
living Jews than it did before WW2 (dead Jews don't vote).

B.  The UN.  Once again, Israel makes no oil.  Her neighbors do. There are far more
Arab/Muslim states in the world than Jewish states.  If seen in objective terms where
each human life is equal, Israeli practices are rather mild compared to just about
every state in the world, certainly in the middle east.  Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have
medieval treatment of women.  Israel aside, there is not one democracy in the middle
east.  Sudan, which actually has whips and chains slavery was recently on the UN
human right panel.  Syria, which killed 20,000 of its own citizens in the city or
Hama in the space of a few days has a seat on the UN Security Council.  The Mogen
David Adom (the Israeli version of the Red Cross/Red Crescent) is banned from the
International Red Cross for no real reason save anti-semitism.   These are but a few
of innumerable examples of far worse things that go unremarked while the UN condemns
Israel at every turn, most recently at the Durban "human rights" hate-fest.  This is
UN that has 2 categories of refugees: one for Palestinians where people inherit
refugee status for all eternity no matter how many generations they were born in
other states and another category for EVERY OTHER REFUGEE POPULATION IN THE WORLD
where that is not the case.

C.  The media.  Media portrayal of Israel by such flagships (which other media
outlets take their cues from) as the BBC, NPR and the New York Times is invariably
pro-Palestinian.  This matters since the media influences western public opinion.

D.  The support of all who depend on Arab oil.

E.  Pretty much all of Israel's neighbors have at very best a cold peace.  States
such as Egypt, which actually have peace treaties with Israel regularly feature items
from the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion in official state newspapers.  And this is
the friendly neighboring states.  These same neighboring states that can find
billions of $$ to make war on Israel but cannot raise 3 dinars to ease the plight of
or absorb Palestinian refugees, so as tobetter use those refugees as media fodder to
lead along gullible "human rights" activists.

F.  The demographics.  Palestinian demographics are far more favorable that Jewish
ones for the purposes of waging ethnic conflict, even though the Palestinian side is
doing its best to use child soldiers (raised on anti-Jewish hatred from birth) to
remedy that problem.

G.  Support the Naomi Klein crowd.

This a very formidable list of resources that keep Palestinian nationalism as a major
item.  Against this array of forces Israel can muster some qualified US support
(counterbalanced by the US need for Arab oil as well) and a capable military.  But
that military has limitations in what it can do.  There is and will be a permanent
and growing Palestinian population base no matter what the IDF does.  By contrast,
the Palestinians can kill any Jew they get near while the the whole world makes
apologetics for them.

Therefore, I would urge those of you who support the cause of Palestinian nationalism
on the basis that you believe them to be the "underdog" to re-examine the larger
balance of power and see that the actual underdog is in fact Israel.

Nettime-bold mailing list