Saturday, 16 May 2015

Israel and Nazi Germany





Israel is the country that is most similar to Nazi Germany existing in the world today. There are countries like Greece and Hungary, that have insurgent neo-fascist political movements in the form of Golden Dawn and Jobbik that promote discrimination and bigotry towards ethnic minorities, including Jews. But in terms of the actual perpetration of state-sanctioned racist criminality, the situation in Israeli is the most grave. Comparing it to Nazism could be cited an example of Godwin's law; the shallow comparison of political action and ideology to Nazism to portray it in the possible worst terms for purely self-serving purposes. But if we are to say "never again" to what took place in fascism and the Holocaust, then an analysis of the present through the lens of the worst crimes of the 20th century is always justified and relevant. Only those with a vested ideological and political interest to trivialize this would do. Which is why I say that there is no other country where racism, in this case towards the Palestinians as well as African Jews, is more politically normalized. And within this normalized racism is a genocidal dehumanization of the Palestinians that is a mainstream political discourse in Israeli society. It is perhaps more controversial to do so given that Israel was founded as a Jewish state in the aftermath of Holocaust; which only makes the reality of the Israeli brand of genocidal fascism even more tragic, and contemptible given that the legacy of the Holocaust is used as a propaganda tool by Israel and its apologists to justify the crimes against the Palestinians. Could there be a worse abuse of the memory of the victims of the genocide than using it to excuse another genocide?

The rhetoric referred to Haaretz journalist Ms Hauser's tweet is only example of this: the description of the Palestinians, by Israeli government Head of Civil Administration Eli Ben-Dahan, as "beasts" that are "not human"; thus subhumans, or Untermenschen as the Nazis described their victims. Ben-Dahnan's colleague, education minister Naftali Bennett, said he was "proud" of his involvement in the mass murder of Palestinian civilians and UN peacekeepers in 1996, in his own words there being "no problem" with such crimes against humanity if Arabs were those who fell prey. Bennett's colleague in the Jewish Home party, Ayelet Shaked, advocated the outright genocide of the Palestinians in a 2014 Facebook post, decidedly equating the Palestinian race as an enemy combatant group, describing them as "snakes" and their children as "little snakes". It is exactly how Heinrich Himmler justified the mass murder of Jewish children on the basis that they would eventually pose the same liability to Germany as their parents.

In conclusion, we observe a narrative that embodies a bloodthirsty desire to exterminate an ethnic group, compared to animals and seen as subhumans, on the basis that as a collective Other they post an inherent existential threat to the political bodies that are encouraged to perpetrate their ethnic cleansing. What could be more Nazi-like than this, both ideologically and materially? In 2008 defence minister and IDF general Matan Vilani, currently Israeli ambassador to China, indicated the agenda in the most explicit terms: he warned of a "Holocaust" of the Palestinians. In 2007 this Holocaust threat was precipitated by a group of Israeli rabbis who advocated the mass carpet bombing of Gaza in response to rockets fired by Hamas: "if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million." As Professor Hillel Weiss personally informed a Palestinian in 2014: "To annihilate you as a rabble is a mitzvah [a divine commandant from God]", and because "you aren't a people therefore there's no genocide". It is just as Hitler and Himmler promoted the "Final Solution" as a divine mission.

I have indeed, as Ms Hauser suggests, read extensively on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. I am currently reading KLA History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsman. Naturally we historically reflect on the the Holocaust as its worst apex, when the genocide became official policy and when the killing squads and gas chambers began to operate. But in reading Wachsman's book it becomes clear that the Holocaust began as a gradual chain of events long before then: it began from the early 20th century with discrimination and persecution, motivated by rhetoric and propaganda informed by decades of antisemitic stereotypes and scapegoating - promoted by intelligentsia such as academics, journalists and religious leaders - that portrayed the Jews and the Holocaust's other victims as subhumans that were verminous, animalistic and an enemy to society and the nation: ultimately, the extermination became the logical end of this policy when prevalent discourse became an echo chamber of hatred, in which dissenting voices were marginalized and seen as enemies themselves, gradually reaching to the crescendo of the mass shooting and gassing of the "subhuman" pests.

The Israeli blitzkriegs in Gaza could be described as Holocausts within themselves; the systematic obliteration of the innocents by fire, and their homes, schools, hospitals, justified on the most tenuous grounds of military self-defence. No wonder the Netanyahu government, assisted by the United States, has gone to every length to obstruct Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court that would facilitate UN criminal investigation and ICC prosecution of Israeli war crimes; such as the 2014 offensive that was condemned as genocide by 300 Holocaust survivors and their descendants from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

Ironically, to attack the Palestinians as a whole on the basis that they are equatable to a minority of extremists is playing the same extremists at their own game: it deepens their grip on power as well as the sectarianism within both Israeli and Palestinian territory. It stands for a mutually symbiotic acceleration of extremism, which the Israeli extremists have no problem with for propaganda purposes given that their overarching goal is evidently ethnic cleansing. 

So don't take my word for it, Ms Hauser: the perpetrators of the Palestinian Holocaust celebrate their own crimes as genocide, and so do the few survivors who stared into the abyss of Nazi evil. Extensive Israeli crimes against humanity and war crimes motivated by ethnic cleansing have already been perpetrated over the past sixty years. There may be deniers of the Palestinian Holocaust, but the wisdom of history indicates that this death cult will fully accelerate into an outright attempt at extermination if we naively and selfishly choose to turn a blind eye and stay silent. Let's conduct our new Nuremberg Trials at the ICC and root out the cancer of Israeli fascism from the world before this does indeed become reality, as history indicates it will.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The UK crisis of democracy

According to the media, a political and constitutional crisis is to take place at the UK's general election. That is the representative democratic election of a political party to parliament. The Scottish National Party looks to take the majority of Scottish parliamentary seats in a landslide, eradicating the Labour Party and pockets of Tories and Lib Dems that have imposed a neoliberal austerity regime on them with no mandate. During the independence referendum of last year, the 'Yes' to separation from the UK side briefly polled ahead of 'No', but was assuaged when Westminster's main party leaders pledged to ensure further devolution of power to a Scotland within the Union. It's clear that Scots, a body politic with a prevalently social democratic character, are opposed to the dismantling of civil society embodied in austerity being complimented with nuclear missile submarines being maintained on their shores which the three Westminster-based establishment parties are committed to, which is why the massive SNP is a force they must reckon with. But rather engage with Scottish concerns in the very same parameters they set during the referendum, they obstructively and contemptuously see them as a liability. David Cameron has mounted an English-centric campaign in opposition to Scottish influence in parliament while Ed Miliband has indicated that he would rather facilitate a Tory government taking power than cooperate with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament. Labour, supportive of austerity and Trident, are popularly known among Scottish nationalists as the Red Tories. If they were allow to the Tory Party to take power to obstruct the SNP from holding any from Westminster, it would confirm this accusation.

The fundamental problem that this status represents, both the Westminster contempt for the SNP's representation of the Scottish electorate and its failure to confront the reality of hung parliaments resulting the need for multi-party cooperation to govern, is an opposition to democracy itself. When Scotland voted 'No' it assumed that its voice would be heard and respected rather than silenced and ignored by a London-based establishment that begged it to retain its status in the Union beforehand. Like the colonial American revolutionaries, Scotland will respond in kind to its representation being held in contempt in this is perpetuated if a likely second referendum takes place. Russell Brand has rescinded his anti-voting stance, but the blunt reality is that his protest that voting is a pointless endeavor remains true for the majority of voters. As the majority of MPs can complacently rely on being elected in seats with safe majorities under the first-past-the-post electoral system, which has resisted many decades of efforts to reform it under the pretense of providing stability and direct representation. Under FPTP, most voters' votes are worthless under them as a statement of belief; but one that has no practical effect in terms of the democracy this broken, non-proportional electoral system claims to achieve. How can the British public, the majority of whom are non-voters, be blamed for apathy and disinterest in politics when the political system and its politicians are so overwhelmingly dysfunctional and ineffective when it comes to representing them?