Sunday, 9 November 2014

'The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled': Exploiting 'Jewishness' for the Sake of Violence: The Core of Israeli Hardliner Political Rhetoric

This is of some interest in the aftermath of developments globally following the longstanding and growing global criticism of the Israeli apartheid politics and the latest round of Israeli state run carnage in illegally occupied Palestinian territories, and the official Israeli responses to my own country's recent decision to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. For me as a philosopher interested in reasoning on value issues, including political issues, this development is of particular interest, as it has gradually unfolded what seems to be a core of Israeli political hardliner rhetoric all the way back to the ethnic cleansing campaign of 1948 that laid the foundation for the state of Israel as we know it today. The core is this:

Political decisions made by Israeli state representatives implying violent or restrictive action towards Palestinians or in occupied territories are ...

  1. Necessary for the persistence of the state of Israel, thus any opposition is against the state of Israel and willing its destruction.
  2. In the interest of "Judaism", "Jewishness", "Jewry" or "Jewish people" defined as an ethnic category, bound by a certain mix of religious and cultural tradition, thus any opposition is antisemitic in terms of racial discrimination on ethnic/religious grounds and wills the destruction of these people, and if you are a Jew and mount such criticism you're a "self-hating" Jew.
  3. Ditto, defined as a genetic or heredity category, encompassing all people who are eligible for Israeli citizenship in accordance with the Law of Return, thus making any opposition antisemitic also in a biologically racist sense, and opposing Jews ditto "self-hating".
Of course, for all Jews (identified in whatever way you may prefer) and Israelis who have for many, many years been opposing and working against the hardliner policies which have brought the political situation related to Israel and Palestine to its current sorry state, the falsity of these assumptions has been crystal clear for a long time. However, the Israeli hardliners have kept on using the rhetoric built on it, and it has had a particular pull and persistence, not least in the USA. This is where the recent developments come in, as now even official US top politicians have stopped accepting it and a sort of criticism against Israeli policies in occupied territories have become possible to wield, without the predictable slandering about "antisemitism" sticking. It has gradually become obvious also across broad spectra of the US political landscape, what has been accepted across Europe for a few decades now, that current Israeli policy is not identical to or necessary linked to either the existence of the state of Israel or the interests or opinions of Jews, however identified. It is simply nothing more than exactly that: current policy; and just as any other current policy of any other state, it could have been different in a number of ways and it can be revised in a number of ways. Thus the "not in my name" movement has recently been starting to catch a surge of support and acceptance after for a long time having been denounced as traitors to their people.

The most fascinating thing with this course of change, however, is not the direction of it, but how long the formula has been able to stick. It should have been obvious from day one, shouldn't it, that Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu's popular nickname in Israel) ≠ Israel's interests and Israel's interests ≠ what's in the interest of Jews and, in particular, Bibi ≠ what's in the interest of Jews. It is, of course, a genius propaganda move of the Israeli hawks, though, to have people tacitly believe the opposite, thus being blinded to criticism of whatever carnage is mounted in the occupied territories. That's the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, and it would make up fascinating study material for politically oriented social psychologists for some decades ahead.