Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The United States of Morans

There are tons of dumb people in this world, but if you want gold-medal clueless, you need Americans.

Step up, David Brooks, a rightist who poses as a "centrist" (which translates into lecturing the left that it should be nice to the right that fucks it at every opportunity: it's a bit like demanding that a rape victim give her rapist a cuddle). He begins by misanalysing the players in the Middle East. This, in particular, is wrong:
But when Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran became leading players in the Middle East struggle, that land-for-peace game was suspended. A different game with different rules was begun. This new game is not oriented toward a final agreement. The extremist groups believe in the eventual extermination of Israel. They’re not interested in a handshake on the White House lawn.

Iran favours a one-state solution to the Palestinian crisis, and increasingly, so do I. I think it just isn't possible to get Israel to be just, so long as the US mindlessly supports it, and that shows no sign of changing. There can be no "land for peace" while Israel encourages its settlers to steal even more Palestinian land.

States based on ethnicity are a bad proposition. I know that many Israelis, and Jews more widely, ask why it should be a problem that Jews have a state while English people, Hungarians, Chinese do. Well, it's instructive to note that English people do not in fact have a state, but even if we did, it would not truly be based on English ethnicity. There's nothing, really, that it's like to be English. And certainly nothing that it's like to be British, which drives batty twats like New Labour crazy, because they'd like to appeal to a solid national identity so that they can persecute outsiders. (Which is kind of apt in this concept.) Hungarians are a bit of an oddity. They sort of wandered into middle Europe and never went away. They form a distinct bloc and have done for hundreds of years. The people they dispossessed have long vanished. China is China. If China were smaller, or weaker, it would almost certainly be punished for what it is.

I mean, you can come up with groups of states, claiming them to be ethnic: Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, say, but each has simply arisen by the processes of history. The Dutch didn't just rock up and thieve the Netherlands from the Friesians. They arose as a state as states arose. We likely now would not constitute our states on the basis of nations. Jeez, the trouble that caused! And one notes that it is part of the basis for the persecution of Jews that has blighted Europe's history. It's at the same time understandable yet odd that people who have suffered as "outsiders" because they do not share the majority ethnicity wish to have their own state in which they can persecute minorities.

But even if Hamas et al. want to see Israel dissolve into history, they are not trying to eliminate it, nor do they have any hope of Iran's doing so. Whether Iran would if it could is another question. Their goal is not "to kill as many Jews as possible". And if you characterise their goal that way, you must surely not characterise Israel's goal as "restraining the brazenness of the extremists". Israel is itself at an extreme. It displays a nationalism that is quite shocking to the "soft" nations of western Europe. We consider that to be the preserve of troglodytes like the Front National or Vlaamse Blok, not something that the fully rational indulge in.

Brooks tops his nonsense by saying:

Israel’s realistic immediate goal is not to achieve some permanent resolution, but to merely suppress terrorism week by week and month by month.

Can he seriously believe that? Israel's actions have brewed terrorism. I mean, wtf, do you think that attempting to starve a minority into submission would make them content to accept your existence? Does he write this with no awareness of the conditions of Gaza or the West Bank? Look at a map. Look at the Israeli urban sprawl in areas it said would be part of the Palestinian state.

Not to mention that Hamas has observed a ceasefire while Israel tried to provoke it. And of course, plucky beacon of democracy* Israel refuses even to talk to Hamas, the elected representatives of the Palestinians, demanding that they renounce violence.

Has Israel then renounced violence?

The rest of what Brooks has to say is the all too common wanking over Israel's military "success" that blights American newspapers. Talking of wanking, here's Bill Kristol. Even by Kristol's standards, this column is incoherent. Somehow the murder of Palestinian civilians is a victory over Iran. Predictably, it's a win in the "war on terror". Well yes, I suppose. The "war on terror" is America's war for hegemony in the Middle East, nothing more, nothing less, and the desperate struggle of the people there to achieve progress. (Ask yourself why they are poor, why they do not live in democracies, why they gain so little from the enormous wealth oil has brought; ask yourself why and you'll find your answer in American tanks, American planes, American political support, American dollars.)

Well, who gives a fuck what Bill Kristol has to say? He surely has no credibility with the readership of the Times, having been so wrong so often about so many things. It's just that this shit goes pretty much unchallenged in the US media, and the people of the States, clueless about the issues, the players and the history, blindly support racists who, were they situated in southern Europe or somewhere similar, would be the recipients of opprobrium and possibly a severe bombing.
*“What I think we need to do is to reach a situation in which we do not allow Hamas [the elected government of the Palestinian people] to govern,” Mr. Ramon said on Channel One. “That is the most important thing.” Return


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