The dangers of militarism.And its connection with the two other ” triplets of evil” named by Martin Luther King Jr. : racism and consumerism.
GRACE LEE BOGGS: I’m sorry, but I think if we stick to those categories of race, class and gender, we are stuck….And what we tried to do is explain that a rebellion is righteous, because it’s the protest by a people against injustice, because of unrighteous situation, but it’s not enough. You have to go beyond rebellion. And it was amazing, a turning point in my life, because until that time, I had not made a distinction between a rebellion and revolution. And it forced us to begin thinking, what does a revolution mean? How does it relate to evolution? …I don’t expect moral arguments to take hold with the powers-that-be. They are in their positions of power. They are part of the system. They are part of the problem. …
BILL MOYERS: He said that the three triplets of society in America were; Racism, consumerism or materialism and militarism. And you’re saying those haven’t changed.
GRACE LEE BOGGS: I’m saying that not only have those not changed, but people have isolated the struggles against each of these from the other. They have not seen that they’re part of one whole of a radical revolution of values that we all must undergo.
…the Jaffa T shirt factory, where 500 T shirts per month with dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and a bombed-out mosque accompanies with slogans such as ‘better use Durex’ (next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him), ‘1 shot, 2 kills’, (beside a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s eye superimposed on her belly), and ‘no matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it”.
…Many controversial shirts have been ordered by graduates of snipers courses, which bring together soldiers from various units. In 2006, soldiers from the “Carmon Team” course for elite-unit marksmen printed a shirt with a drawing of a knife-wielding Palestinian in the crosshairs of a gun sight, and the slogan, “You’ve got to run fast, run fast, run fast, before it’s all over.” … a drawing of Arab women weeping over a grave and the words: “And afterward they cry, and afterward they cry.” [The inscriptions are riffs on a popular song.] Another sniper’s shirt also features an Arab man in the crosshairs, and the announcement, “Everything is with the best of intentions.”…
…G., a soldier in an elite unit who has done a snipers course, explained that, “it’s a type of bonding process, and also it’s well known that anyone who is a sniper is messed up in the head. Our shirts have a lot of double entendres, for example: ‘Bad people with good aims.’ Every group that finishes a course puts out stuff like that.” Read More:http://www.countercurrents.org/blau051209.htm
Lentin:What is particularly worrying, however, is that the liberal Israeli left, just as it did in relation to Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir (for a critique see Gideon Levi, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1065552.html), will use the revulsion at these disgusting T shirts to portray Israel as ever the moral country, and the IDF as ever the moral army, and the murde
charade will on on uninterrupted. Disgust with what can easily be conceived of as some ‘bad apples’ is much easier than a serious critique of the whole Zionist ideology.Read More:http://www.ronitlentin.net/2009/03/21/dead-babies-and-zones-of-exception/#more-55
So, the dynamic is a critique of mass society, general emotions, which avoid dealing with central issues of identity, and its relation to King’s three triplets. In fact, films like Bashir probably reinforce militarism in a twisted way, giving rise to fringe and marginal ideologies that end up evolving into some form of Kahanism, threats of extermination and a means of avoiding divisions within Israeli society.
The movements in Israel posing questions of the existential survival illusion and other founding and convenient myths seem fractured and distorted; there is little organized criticism towards U.S. ideology, including consumerism, imperialism, militarism, racism, and seeming commitment to maintaining structural poverty. The authoritative left in America, such as brand name dissenters like Chomsky are unable or incapable of guiding the flock through a jarring disjunction with the prevailing narrative; almost a tango, a complicity with the mainstream views they ostensibly oppose. Or is it simply a questioning of mean and not ends?
Realistically, any real liberation movement in Israel or even America would be met with governmental opposition under the gaze of national security which like the Counter Intelligence Program , would try to prevent the formation and cohesion of a unified , normatively “radical” movement and leadership.Like the American black radical movement, or the ANC, there would be a long-standing continuation of what were the Palmer raids of the early 1900s, attacks against socialists and anarchists, as well as McCarthy inquiries to derail the movements of resistance, -altering the economic and social system- against American business interests both domestic and internationally.
Although I had previously criticized Chomsky for downplaying the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on Washington’s Middle East policies, I had hesitated to write a critique of his overall approach for the reasons noted. Nevertheless, I was convinced that while, ironically, having provided perhaps the most extensive documentation of Israeli crimes, he had, at the same time immobilized, if not sabotaged, the development of any serious effort to halt those crimes and to build an effective movement in behalf of the Palestinian cause.
An exaggeration? Hardly. A number of statements made by Chomsky have demonstrated his determination to keep Israel and Israelis from being punished or inconvenienced for the very monumental transgressions of decent human behavior that he himself has passionately documented over the years. This is one of the glaring contradictions in Chomsky’s work. He would have us believe that Israel’s occupation and harsh actions against the Palestinians, its invasions and undeclared 40 years war on Lebanon, and its arming of murderous regimes in Central America and Africa during the Cold War, has been done as a client state in the service of US interests. In Chomsky’s world view, that absolves Israel of responsibility and has become standard Chomsky doctrine. Read More:http://www.leftcurve.org/LC29WebPages/Chomsky.html
A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: “We came, we saw, we destroyed!” – alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.
A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: “If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!”
Y., a soldier/yeshiva student, designed the shirt. “You take whoever [in the unit] knows how to draw and then you give it to the commanders before printing,” he explained.
What is the soldier holding in his hand?
Y. “A mosque. Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque – I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn’t look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, ‘Is that what you’ve got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?’ I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn’t worth it for them to go on shooting. So that’s the idea of ‘we’re coming to destroy’ in the drawing.” Read More:http://www.countercurrents.org/blau051209.htm
The question then becomes, what could have caused the humanist aspects of Zionism to become completely dominated by militaristic tendencies that eventually became a form of ideology? According to Uri Ben-Eliezer, there was a generation gap in the late 1930s between the older Zionists and their children. He further elaborates on a theory originating with Karl Mannheim:
“the Yishuv’s younger generation interpreted the major historical events to which it was exposed, such as the Arab Revolt and the White Paper, differently from the adult generation…There were buds of a militaristic conception in the youths’ new interpretation of reality, which hinted that it was possible and even desirable to solve political problems through organized violence” (Ben-Eliezer 1998: 33).
These actions, in the eyes of the new generation, “undermined two basic Zionist assumptions,” which I would argue are assumptions based on the inherently humanistic nature of Zionism in the early years (Ben-Eliezer 1998: 33). These assumptions were “that a Jewish state would be established not only through Jewish action but with British help and that a peaceful agreement with the Palestinians would be possible” (Ben-Eliezer 1998: 33).
Ben-Eliezer explains that “militarism comes into being only when the use of military force acquires legitimation, is perceived as a positive value and a high principle that is right and desirable, and is routinized and institutionalized within society” (Ben-Eliezer 1998: 7). He believes that the Yishuv’s crises of the late 1930s was the catalyst that did just that. This is when all the other aforementioned factors come into play, including “the Jewish community’s impotence in the face of the Arab Revolt, the shift in British Middle East policy and the eruption of the Second World War and the German advance toward Palestine” (Ben-Eliezer 1998: 9). Read More:http://amcips.org/2011/05/the-roots-of-combative-zionism-israeli-militarism-in-the-works/
Quite naturally, the discussion turned to apartheid and whether Chomsky considered the term applied to Palestinians under Israeli rule. He responded:
I don’t use it myself, to tell you the truth. Just like I don’t [often] use the term “empire,” because these are just inflammatory terms… I think it’s sufficient to just describe the situation, without comparing it to other situations.
Anyone familiar with Chomsky’s work will recognize that he is no stranger to inflammatory terms and that comparing one historical situation with another has long been part of his modus operandi. His response in this instance was troubling. Many Israeli academics and journalists, such as Ilan Pappe, Tanya Reinhart and Amira Hass, have described the situation of the Palestinians as one of apartheid. Bishop Tutu has done the same and last year Ha’aretz reported that South African law professor John Dugard, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Occupied Palestine and a former member of his country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had written in a report to the UN General Assembly that there is “an apartheid regime” in the territories “worse than the one that existed in South Africa.”
Chomsky explained his disagreement:
Apartheid was one particular system and a particularly ugly situation… It’s just to wave a red flag, when it’s perfectly well to simply describe the situation…
His reluctance to label Israel’s control of the Palestinians as “apartheid” out of concern that it be seen as a “red flag,” like describing it as “inflammatory,” was a red flag itself and raised questions that should have been asked by the interviewer, such as who would be inflamed by the reference to ‘apartheid’ as a “red flag” in Israel’s case and what objections would Chomsky have to that?
A more disturbing exchange occurred later in the interview when Chomsky was asked if sanctions should be applied against Israel as they were against South Africa. He responded:
In fact, I’ve been strongly against it in the case of Israel. For a number of reasons. For one thing, even in the case of South Africa, I think sanctions are a very questionable tactic. In the case of South Africa, I think they were [ultimately] legitimate because it was clear that the large majority of the population of South Africa was in favor of it.
Sanctions hurt the population. You don’t impose them unless the population is asking for them. That’s the moral issue. So, the first point in the case of Israel is that: Is the population asking for it? Well, obviously not.