|By CAROLINE B. GLICK
Activists from US coast to coast robotically parrot the same lies, employ the same tactics of bullying, intimidating and silencing pro-Israel activists and speakers on campus after campus.
To defeat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, it is first necessary to understand it.
The BDS campaign is an extraordinary phenomenon.
Activists from US coast to coast robotically parrot the same lies, employ the same tactics of bullying, intimidating and silencing pro-Israel activists and speakers on campus after campus.
Their goals are uniform. They seek to silence pro-Israel voices in US academia as a means to destroy general public support for Israel in America.
And they seek to make Jew-hatred socially acceptable in elite circles in America for the first time since the Holocaust.
This month it was leftist MK Tzipi Livni’s turn to fall victim to BDS bigotry and defamation. During a public appearance at Harvard Law School, one of the heads of BDS movement at the school, Husam el-Qoulaq, asked her why she is “smelly.”
Qoulaq is the head of Students for Justice in Palestine at Harvard Law School.
SJP is the central engine of the BDS movement.
Its members are the ones who organize the “divest from Israel” resolutions routinely passed by ignorant or intimidated student representatives on college councils.
SJP members are the ones who regularly harass pro-Israel students and riot or otherwise disrupt pro-Israel events on campuses.
They are the ones who willingly and purposely engage in rank anti-Semitic demonization of Jews and Israel to normalize Jew-hatred in America.
Given SJP’s lead role in the campaign against Israel and American Jewry on college campuses, students and Jewish groups trying to combat the racist movement focus their attention on SJP.
But it works out that SJP doesn’t formally exist.
There is no nonprofit group called Students for Justice in Palestine. SJP doesn’t file tax forms. It doesn’t have a paper trail. In other words, SJP is a ghost organization, an illusion.
To bring it down you need to find its controllers.
The Canary Mission (canarymission.org) is a website managed by students and activists. It was formed “to document people and groups that are promoting hatred of the USA, Israel and the Jewish people, particularly on college campuses in North America.”
According to the website, SJP was founded in 2001 by UC Berkeley Prof. Hatem Bazian. Bazian’s organizational pedigree reads like the who’s who of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in America.
Bazian fund-raised for a Hamas front group called KindHearts. In 2008, like a number of other Islamic groups that were found guilty of providing material support for terrorism in the framework of the Holy Land Foundation trial, KindHearts was forced to disband. KindHearts was found to have raised money for Hamas.
Another of Bazian’s former employers, the Islamic Association for Palestine, also disbanded after it was found guilty of funding Hamas.
According to the Canary Mission’s findings, Bazian founded SJP to distance the BDS movement from its Islamic masters. His idea was to brand it as a radical group that could easily collaborate with other radical groups on campus and so turn the radical establishment into an engine for anti-Israel activism.
Although Bazian went to great lengths to brand SJP as a non-Islamic movement, he had no intention of ceding control of the BDS movement to non-Islamic forces. To ensure control over SJP, and through it, the BDS movement as a whole, according to the Canary Mission, Bazian formed American Muslims for Palestine.
On April 19, during a hearing before the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, American Muslims for Palestine’s nature became clear.
Jonathan Schanzer served as a terrorism finance analyst for the Department of the Treasury from 2004 to 2007. He currently works as the vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. In testimony before the subcommittee, Schanzer revealed that the heads of AMP are alumni of three Islamist groups that were banned following their convictions for terrorism financing during the course of the Holy Land Foundation trial that ended in 2008.
AMP’s leadership held key positions at the Holy Land Foundation, KindHearts and the Islamic Association for Palestine. These groups and their employees transferred millions of dollars to al-Qaida, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Although Schanzer could find no indication that AMP is continuing its predecessors’ practice of sending funds to foreign terrorist groups, he demonstrated how the heir of Hamas-USA now direct the BDS movement. Through AMP, they control SJP.
In his words, “AMP is a Chicago-based organization that is a leading driver of the BDS campaign.
AMP is arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine, which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States. AMP provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called ‘Apartheid Wall,’ and grants to SJP activists.”
Schanzer added, “AMP even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country.”
The reason that SJP activists utilize the same tactics and rhetoric from sea to shining sea is because officials from the heir to disbanded terrorism funding groups tells them what to say and do. Everything from their “Apartheid Walls” and Die-Ins to their posters and slogans and tactic of shutting down pro-Israel events is dictated to them by AMP.
Whereas SJP doesn’t exist at all on paper, AMP’s existence is eyebrow-raising from a legal perspective.
AMP is not registered as a nonprofit so it is impossible to know its funding sources or the size of its donations, because it is not required to publicize them. As Schanzer explained, funds for AMP are raised through yet another organization called Americans for Justice in Palestine Education Foundation, or AJP, whose nature and behavior are also strange.
AJP’s chairman is Bazian. AJP and AMP share the same office in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hill.
Unlike AMP, AJP is a registered nonprofit. In its 2014 990 tax form, attached to Schanzer’s testimony, it reports raising in excess of $3.2 million between 2010 and 2014. But, in apparent breach of the law, AJP did not report how it spent the money or where it received the funds from.
Like AMP, AJP members worked in the past for the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine and KindHearts. Indeed, most of them are the same people.
Not only do AMP-AFP fail to divulge their financing sources or outlays, they revel in their practice of operating at the edges of the law. At AMP’s 2014 annual conference in Chicago, participants were invited to “come and navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.”
Given SJP’s raging success, it isn’t a surprise that Bazian isn’t the only one claiming to have founded it. For instance, Senan Shaqdeh claims that he founded SJP. As Schanzer testified, Shaqdeh, who also lives in Chicago, is listed as a terrorist from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine by the PLO’s Ministry of Expatriate Affairs’ website.
Shaqdeh is also the coordinator of the Chicago- based US Coalition to Boycott Israel. In 2014, Shaqdeh traveled to Ramallah where he met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
The chairman of the US Coalition to Boycott Israel is Ghassan Barakat. According to Schanzer, Barakat is a PLO consular official in Chicago.
Like SJP, the Coalition is not a legal entity. It is not registered with state or local tax authorities. But given Barakat’s and Shaqdeh’s associations with the PLO and the PA, it is likely that it is funded by the US-funded PA.
Perhaps money from the PLO to SJP and other BDS outlets is transferred through an opaque New York state registered nonprofit called Wespac. Currently, a delegation of Palestinian students, organized by Bir Zeit University, paid for by Wespac and managed by SJP is traveling through the US lobbying students to boycott Israel.
Schanzer’s testimony should lead anti-BDS efforts in three directions. Two of them are legal, and one is political.
On the legal front, AMP and AJP’s commingling is curious, to say the least. Their failure to report the sources of their funding or how the funds are used appear, at a minimum, to be a breach of reporting requirements. These irregularities, along with the fact that officers of these organizations were in the past officers of organizations disbanded due to their provision of material support for terrorism, warrant criminal investigations by both tax authorities and counterterrorism investigators.
Unfortunately, shortly after he entered office in 2009, President Barack Obama’s then-attorney- general Eric Holder ordered the Department of Justice to stop investigating Islamist nonprofit groups. Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that any investigation will be conducted by federal agencies in the near future.
This leaves state, local and congressional authorities.
Since AMP and AJP are registered in Palos Hills, both Illinois tax authorities and law enforcement and Palos Hills authorities can open investigations into their operations. Moreover, Congress, which exposed the fact that both groups appear to be a natural continuation of banned terrorism-supporting organizations, is fully empowered to conduct congressional investigations of their operations, replete with the power to subpoena witnesses.
As for the operations of PLO officials in Chicago, their work is arguably in breach of the laws stipulating the permitted conduct of PLO officials in the US. Congress can investigate their behavior as well, and determine whether or not it constitutes a material breach of the PLO’s permitted actions in America, and so requires the US to cut off its relations with the terrorist group. Certainly the involvement of PA/PLO officials in an anti-Semitic hate campaign is grounds for a cut off of US aid to the PA.
On the political front, it is vital that Israel fight BDS as the most widespread form of Antisemitism in North America. Unlike the situation in Europe, where BDS is largely an economic warfare campaign, in the US its goal is political. Its leaders are not interested in harming the Israeli economy per se. They are interested in cultivating anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel to pave the way for economic warfare and actual war against Israel.
Government ministers involved with the fight against BDS need to provide anti-BDS activists with information about SJP’s links to Hamas and with the PA. American Jewish organizations and activists need to call out college administrators when they say since they refuse to carry out divestment resolutions that they oppose BDS, even as they allow SJP to operate on their campuses and even fund the Hamas front group directly.
Schanzer’s testimony makes clear that the BDS movement is part and parcel of the jihadist war against Israel whose goal is its annihilation.
Both legally and politically, it needs to be fought accordingly.
“Palestinians’ rights to have an independent state next to the Zionist entity is not the feasible solution – it is a delusion-irrational fraction of a mind/s. It is a civil-ecclesiastical illegal.”
****Agreed as there is no Palestinian people. Only Arabs that call themselves such.
“Palestinians’ rights include the abolishment of Jordan landmark in Holy Land and get their Landmarkers between Palestinian-Israel and Saud province of Jordan –”
*****Not sure which Jordanian landmark you are referring to. Jordan’s only involvement in the Holy Land other then their occupation of Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967 is the management of the Temple Mount through their Wakf.
“I do not see anything else to be just and right, without consequences on the next Generations of Arabs and Jews in the Region.”
******True, only future strife can be anticipated by a “Palestinian” State next to Israel. Ultimately there already is one and its called Jordan. Let them change the name!!
“Further, Nuclear things are not even possible to be touched out of Israel – as long as there are crookedly made landmarks of Holy Land.”
******This is totally Chinese (no offence to our Asian friends). Unable to understand as the English is undecipherable.
“No one can ask or beg anyone to do anything that is threat increasing for someone, and irrational.”
“Israel, in fact did bring on open grave upon themeless by stealing nuclear items – that what was not in their Spiritual authority. That fact adds another hell in the region.”
******I don’t know where you got this from. France built at least one of the 2 Israeli Nuclear reactors. What did Israel steal?
“But with a minute – all that- is actually done by special interest cults and sects.”
****** Unable to understand as the English is undecipherable.
“I do not know about all you folks – but all of you should just slap yourself awake from bewitchments and delusions of self-made graves.”
****** Unable to understand as the English is undecipherable.
“Blessed Passover for all that calibrate the Feast
***** I guess you meant “celebrate”. Thank you too!! I just decided to eat my first time Yemenite Mazoth!!
This was Falk’s latest diatribe where he stands in front of the mirror and talks to himself.
My only comment to Richard Falk:
But since you refuse to allow free and honest debate..why bother.
Enjoy your incestuous love-fest!
Talk about fascism!!”
Not bad for a former CIJR “Dateline: Middle East” editor. BY SHOSHANNA KEATS JASKOLL
Source: A Zionist in the UN
Not bad for a former CIJR “Dateline: Middle East” editor.
This latest diatribe by Jerry Alatalo requires immediate review. I welcome all your comments below. I have highlighted the glaring lies in bold:
Is it an exact analogy to describe the Israeli apartheid nation with its decades-old criminal, dehumanizing, racist policies toward the Palestinian people as the world’s largest “gated community”? In an increasing number of the world’s regions, publishing the previous words represents a criminal act. This sorry state of affairs isn’t a scene from the book “1984” by George Orwell, but is actually happening in the real, nonfictional world today.
After decades of irresolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, advocates of freedom, equality and sovereignty for the Palestinian people have been left with only one option in fighting the good fight, the same successfully used to bring down apartheid in South Africa: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). In France, it is now against the law to become involved in the BDS Movement; in France, it is now illegal to call for an end to apartheid on this Earth.
In the 2016 campaign for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), staying within the bounds of the “law” and trying to outdo each other in praise of Israel. Bernie Sanders didn’t attend the meeting, wanted to deliver his address to the crowd via video conference, but was turned down because “we don’t do that anymore”.
Sanders’ unique position among the remaining presidential candidates – essentially saying in a press conference/”AIPAC speech” days later that Palestinians are people, too – could have, if said in France, now Canada, gotten him into legal hot water for being “antisemitic”. If he were a professor in certain parts of California or other states in America, the mere mention of Palestinians as people like everyone else in the human family might get him censured or fired. In layman’s terms, on the issue of Israel apartheid it at times seems the world has gone stark-raving mad.
Unfortunately, the history of the Middle East revolves around the region’s tremendous natural resource wealth, in particular oil and natural gas, who controls it, and who profits from its sale – all people living in the region or a small group of the world’s extremely wealthy and powerful. Wars and violence of horrific scale have been carried out for the mentioned control and profit, resulting in the region’s innocent residents enduring indescribable suffering for what seems forever – including the people called Palestinian.
The psychological, philosophical and/or spiritual human characteristics of Clinton, Trump, Cruz and Kasich which prevents them from expressing an ounce of compassion or empathy toward the Palestinian people is hard to imagine, much less accurately describe. Year after year Israel continues annexing Palestinian lands, building more settlement communities, and every other year bombing Gaza to the ground – “mowing the lawn”, according to Israel’s less honorable elders. Year after year American politicians and their Western allies “scold” or “express concern” about Israeli actions, while doing nothing effective to resolve the situation equitably and honorably for the benefit of Palestinians and Israelis alike.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has become an eternal “Catch-22” situation, powerful and wealthy people seem opposed to resolution of the crisis, and immeasurable efforts of men and women of goodwill through the years has seemingly gone to waste. Human evolutionary movement feels glacial, war has yet to become abolished, but still there are reasons for being optimistic. Desperate attempts to criminalize the actions of people telling the truth about what’s occurring on Earth are perceived as just that: acts of desperation.
Lies told by corrupt leaders and politicians get caught and disseminated around the Earth in minutes or hours, therefore providing billions of people with the truth required for right action – an evolutionary development, a giant leap forward, in a process which in the past took years or decades. From such a perspective events take on a new, more positive meaning and assures civilization’s road ahead moves onward and upward.
While in 100% agreement with author Max Blumenthal and his statements during a recent interview on The Real News Network, it seems important to clarify one minor misinterpretation of Bernie Sanders’ words by Mr. Blumenthal. During the MSNBC interview Sanders, in talking about the BDS movement, mentioned with regard to antisemitism that there was “some of that” and later “some level of antisemitism” – not, as Max Blumenthal described Sanders’ remarks: “…lot of antisemitism out there”.
It’s highly regrettable that using one’s free speech right in fighting for the basic, God-given human rights of other men, women and children inhabiting the Earth has become a crime in certain circles. Israel is an apartheid state. From any reasonable perspective such a situational reality in the year 2016 is the real crime.
(Thank you to TheRealNews at YouTube)
please give your comments on his latest diatribe and the citing of self-hating Jews and anti-Israel activists.
We all know that on his blog he will delete any constructive or factual criticism. At least here, all voices are welcome!!
by Richard Falk
[Prefatory Note: The review below was published in the current issue of Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and Islamicate World. I am posting it here because I believe that Jeff Halper’s book deserves the widest possible reading. It explains clearly and convincingly one of the deepest and least understood roots of Israel’s diplomatic support throughout the world, which is its role as a niche arms supplier and influential tactical specialist in waging wars against peoples who dare offer resistance to state power as variously deployed against them. The Israeli experience in exerting oppressive control of the Palestinian people provides the foundation of Israel’s international credibility and perceptions of effectiveness in disseminating for economic and political profit its hardware and software associated with managing and suppressing the resistance of popular movements fighting for their rights. The Israel stress on pacification rather than victory exposes the true nature of what Halper identifies so vividly and comprehensively as the distinctive character of waging ‘war against the people.’ ]
Jeff Halper, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, Pluto Press, 2015, 296 pp., $25.00 US (pbk), ISBN 9780745334301.
Jeff Halper is an unusual hybrid presence on both the scholarly and political scene. He describes himself as an “activist-scholar” (6), which adopts a controversial self-identification. The conventional stance erects a high wall between scholarship and activism. To his credit and for our benefit, Halper excels almost equally in both roles. He is one of the most lucid speakers on the lecture circuit combining clarity with wisdom and a rich fund of information and firsthand experience, and his work as a writer is influential and widely known. His activist credentials have been built up over many years, especially in his work as co-founder and leader of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, which has bravely confronted Israeli demolition crews and IDF soldiers, helped Palestinians on multiple occasions to rebuild their destroyed homes, thereby responding humanely to one of Israel’s cruelest occupation practices, an instance of unlawful collective punishment. Halper has estimated that less than 2% of demolitions can lay claim to a credible security justification (the respected Israeli human rights NGO, B’Tselem, estimates 1.3% of demolitions are justified by security, while the rest are punitive or 621 of 47,000 since 1967). As an author his main prior book makes an unsurprisingly strong pitch for activism as the most reliable foundation for analysis and prescription. His important and incisive title gave the theme away—An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.1 This earlier book remains valuable as testimony by a progressive Zionist in Israel that with good faith Jews and Palestinians might yet learn to live together, including finding a formula for sharing the land.
Halper’s own life experience makes this blend of scholarship and activism particularly compelling. He is an American born Jew who grew up in the Midwest and studied anthropology in Wisconsin, taught at a Quaker university for several years, and then moved to Israel where he married an Israeli and has three grown children. What particularly sets Halper apart from most other principled Jews in the ranks of critics of Israel is the striking combination of the radicalism of his opposition to the policies and practices of the Israeli state together with his evident commitment to remain in Israel no matter how far right the governing process drifts. Most other prominent Jewish critics of Israel have remained outside the country throughout their life (e.g. Noam Chomsky) or were born in Israel and then chose to become expatriate critical voices (e.g. Daniel Levy, Ilan Pappé, Gilad Azmun). There are a few internationally prominent Israeli journalists and cultural figures who have sustained sharply critical commentary (e.g. Gideon Levy, Amira Hass) and kept their Israeli residence despite harassment and threats.
In the book under review Halper broadens his own distinctive identity while enlarging the apertures of perception by which he views the Israeli state. He focuses attention on the Israeli arms industry, security doctrines, and policies, and examines Israel’s acquisition of formidable diplomatic influence grossly disproportionate to its size and capabilities. It is this gap between Israel’s significant impact on current world history and the modest scale of its territorial reality and its outsider status in most global settings that is the core mystery being explicated by Halper. He starts the book with some provocative questions that put the underlying puzzle before us in vivid language: “How does Israel get away with it? In a decidedly post-colonial age, how is Israel able to sustain a half-century occupation over the Palestinians, a people violently displaced in 1948, in the face of almost unanimous international opposition” (1)? He indicates that this phenomenon cannot be adequately “explained by normal international relations” nor by the strength of the Israel lobby in the United States nor by strong Israeli pushback to discredit critics by invoking the Holocaust as an indefinite source of impunity (3). What the book demonstrates very persuasively is that Israeli influence is a result of its extraordinary, partially hidden and understated role as arms supplier to more than 130 countries and as an increasingly significant mentor of national police forces and counter-terrorist operations and practices in many countries, including the United States.
Israel as Arms Merchant and Pacification Ideologue
Without exaggeration, War Against the People, is really three books in one. It is first of all a comprehensive and detailed look at the elaborate Israeli arms industry, including the extensive network of private companies engaged in arms production. Halper explores how Israel managed to become such a valued producer of sophisticated weaponry that so many governments have come to depend upon. Part of Israel’s success in the highly competitive international arms market is to identify and develop niches for itself in the wider global arms market that allows it to compete successfully for market share with companies backed by several of the world’s largest states by supplying specific kinds of weaponry that outperform the alternatives available for purchase. By so serving as an arms merchant to no less than 130 countries gives Israel a powerful unacknowledged source of leverage throughout the entire world. An aspect of Israel’s success is to be apolitical in its operations as an arms supplier, provided only that the foreign government poses no security threat to Israel.
Secondly, the book is a detailed examination of the specific ways that Israel has adapted its security doctrine and practice to the varieties of Palestinian resistance over the decades. The Israeli approach rests on adopting a goal toward internal security that seeks to achieve a tolerable level of “pacification” of the Palestinian population. As such it does not seek to “defeat” the Palestinians, including even Hamas, and is content with keeping violent resistance contained so that Israelis can go about their lives with reasonable security and the economy can prosper. At the same time, the threat of violent resistance never entirely disappears or is absent from the political consciousness and experience of Israeli society, and the fear factor keeps Israelis supportive of oppressive internal policies. Pacification in the face of a potentially very hostile minority Palestinian presence in pre-1967 Israel has presupposed a fusing of Israel’s military, paramilitary, police, and intelligence capabilities, but also a less understood Israeli politics of restraint. The capabilities to sustain pacifications must be continuously updated and adapted to evolving circumstances, including shifts in Palestinian tactics of resistance.
This mental shift from “victory” over the natives to their relentless “pacification” to some extent reflects the ethical orientation of a post-colonial world. In many respects Israel represents a species of settler colonialism, but it takes the form of seeking some kind of imposed accommodation with the native population rather than their extinction or spatial marginalization. Actually, as Israeli politics have moved further and further to the right, the tactics of pacification have become more coercive and brutal, and do seem to push the original dispossession of the nakba toward some kind of “final solution” by way of settlement expansion as likely supplemented at some point by population transfer and by periodic massive military operations of the sort that have occurred in Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014. In other words, pacification as conceived in the 1950s has become quite something more ominous for the Palestinians in the twenty-first century as “Palestine” shrinks in size and diminishes in threat while Israel’s territorial ambitions continue to expand and seem to be within reach.
The Israel/Palestine encounter is certainly unique in several of its aspects, yet it bears sufficient similarity to a range of threats facing many governments in the world to allow the Israeli government to serve as an exemplary practitioner of counterinsurgency war/politics. It is precisely the generality of contemporary security challenges situated within society that makes the Israeli experience seem so valuable to others, especially when reinforced by the widespread impression that Israel’s security policies have succeeded in the face of difficult challenges over an extended period. This combination of considerations gives Israel’s weapons, training programs, and security doctrines their global resonance. Especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the long-term character of the Israeli experience became a strong credential on the arms market and among strategy-minded think tanks. Israel’s perceived counterinsurgency record has even led other governments to mute or even abandon their criticisms of the manner in which Israel suppresses Palestinians and flaunts international law. In this way, the Israeli network of arms sales arrangements has not only functioned as direct sources of influence and economic benefit to Israel, but also contributed a political payoff by weakening motivations at the UN and elsewhere in the world to exert meaningful pressure on Israel to modify its policies and uphold its obligations under international law. What Halper helps us to understand is this rarely discussed relationship between the arms trade and what might be called an international diplomacy of pacification. In effect, Israel has quietly bought off most of its potentially most dangerous governmental adversaries by making itself an invaluable collaborator in the security domain, which is given priority by every government when it comes to shaping its foreign policy. The reach of this weapons diplomacy is further extended due to Israel’s willingness to do arms deals discreetly with the most repressive of regimes around the world even while at the same time it takes great pains to substantiate the claim that Israel remains the only democracy in the Middle East.
Thirdly, this long experience of coping with Palestinian resistance has given Israel continuing field experience with tactics and weapons useful to subdue a non-state adversary, including convincing demonstrations of what works and what doesn’t. In fundamental respects the work of pacification is never finished, and so Israel continuously modifies its weapons mix to take account of battlefield lessons and technological innovations, and this is of great value to governments that were seeking to choose among several alternatives to meet the requirements of their particular security challenges. Israel can claim both the reliability of its weaponry through their field testing in response to varying conditions and success in adapting to ever changing tactics of Palestinian resistance. No other country has achieved this mastery over the hardware and software of a pacification approach to internal security.
Halper also makes us aware that pacification is what also best explains the hegemonic ambitions of America’s securitizing approach to world order. What Israel has achieved on a small scale, the United States is managing on a large scale. In other words the several hundred American foreign military bases together with navies patrolling all of the world’s oceans, further reinforced by satellite militarization of space for purposes of intelligence and possible attack are the coercive infrastructure of both neoliberal globalization and American global leadership. The objective is to keep those dissatisfied with this established order under sufficient control so that trade, investment, and basic security relations are not deeply disturbed. Part of Halper’s argument is that Israel understands the dynamics of an effective regime of global pacification better than any other country, and has done its best to be useful to the United States and Europe by providing niche support in terms of weaponry (say for border barriers, surveillance, and control) and doctrine (say targeted assassinations by drone strikes and collective blockades).
Matrix of Control
Halper relies upon an illuminating style of conceptualization to develop his basic analysis. For instance, one of his important contributions is to specify global pacification by reference to a “Matrix of Control.” The basic argument of the book is that the most defining “wars” of our times involve using state violence against a mobilized population that mounts threats against the established economic and political order. The matrix of control is the complex interaction of weapons, policies, practices, and ideas that make this project a reality. The paradigmatic case is the Israeli pacification of the Palestinians, which is less than their defeat or annihilation, but something other than sustained warfare; it is doing enough by way of forcible action to punish, terrorize, and suppress without clearly crossing the line drawn by legal prohibitions on mass atrocity and genocide. It is damping down the fires of Palestinian resistance into a smoldering mass of tensions and resentments that every so often bursts into flames, offering pretexts for launching a new campaign of devastation. The pattern of periodic onslaughts against Gaza since 2008 is indicative of the broader policies, with three massive attacks every 2-3 years, what Israeli officials are comfortable describing as “mowing the lawn” (146), which incidentally stimulates a new round of arms sales.
The Israeli matrix of control (143-190) is specified by reference to its various main components, forming an integrated and distinctive form of what Halper describes as “urban warfare” resting on the premise of “domestic securitization,” that is, conceiving of the enemy as mainly operating within the boundaries of the state, ultimately to be contained rather than defeated. Such an integrated approach relies on walls to keep the unwanted from entering, surveillance, fragmenting the population to be controlled, periodic and punitive violent suppression designed to prevent, preempt, and demoralize, and proactive intelligence that seeks to gain access to the inner circles of militant opposition forces. Such a matrix of control both deploys a mixture of traditional counterterrorist measures and the latest innovations in sophisticated technology, including armed robotics, drones, and a variety of overlapping surveillance techniques. The approach relies on a vertical layering of security measures that rests on redundancy to ensure effective control. What is original about this approach is its conscious realization that “victory” over hostile subjugated forces is not an acceptable or realizable policy option, and what works best is a system of permanent control sustained by a mix of coercive and psychological instruments.
Pacifying Palestinians and Pacifying the World
Halper shows how this matrix of control, which developed to enable Israeli settler society to achieve a tolerable level of security with respect to the indigenous Palestinian population, seeks to fulfill an elusive requirement. It maintains security without resorting to genocide or to the kind of destructive forms of mass slaughter that characterized earlier experiences of settler colonialism where the land occupied was cleared of natives. At the same time, it pacifies in a post-colonial era where the power of the colonial master has been effectively challenged throughout the world. It is no longer possible to beat the native population into a condition of passive resignation as had been the case so often during the heyday of the extensive European colonial empires. These two considerations suggest a policy puzzle for the pacifier who must avoid extreme violence and yet depends on a sufficient degree of violence to intimidate a restive population that believes resistance is justified and currently accords with the flow of history.
The Israeli answer in a variety of acknowledged and disguised forms is best understood by reference to the Dahiya Doctrine, which incorporates a logic of disproportionate retaliation (174-176). In effect, for every Israeli killed or home damaged or destroyed, a far greater number of Palestinians will be killed and entire residential neighborhoods destroyed. The Dahiya Docrtine was proclaimed originally to justify the destruction of the Dahiya neighborhood in south Beirut during the Lebanon War of 2006. The people living in densely populated Dahiya were viewed by Israel as supportive of Hezbollah, but it is descriptive of Israeli behavior generally with respect to Palestinian acts of resistance, particularly with respect to Gaza since falling under Hamas’s control. The supposedly centrist Tzipi Livni, the Israeli political leader who served as Foreign Minister during the massive attack on Gaza at the end of 2008, expressed this Israeli way of dealing with Palestinian resistance in Gaza in the following chilling words: “Hamas now understands that when you fire on its [Israel’s] citizens it responds by going wild—and this is a good thing” (quoted in Halper, 175). I would add that “going wild” is a euphemism for rejecting the efforts of international humanitarian law and the just war tradition to constrain the intensity of violence and suffering by insisting on proportional responses. In effect, to reject so overtly this admittedly vague effort of international law to impose limits on the conduct of warfare, Israel is incorporating into the core of its security approach a repudiation of the humanizing ambition of international law, and implicitly claiming the right on its own to use force as it wishes. This is a step back from the extensive attempt during the prior century to put the genie of war, if not back in its bottle, at least to gesture toward that end. With Israel’s concept of securitization, also descriptive of the approach taken by the United States, as well as such other countries as Russia, France, and China, it is arguable that international society has turned the normative clock back to a nihilistic zero.
There is another crucial feature of the matrix of control that is of wider relevance than Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians that Halper associates with “Framing: A Tendentious Definition of ‘Terrorism’” (149-151). This framing idea is to make it appear that “the terrorists” are always those resisting control by the established political order, and never those that are exercising authority however oppressively. As Halper points out, the IDF may kill over 2,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom are civilians, in the course of an armed confrontation in Gaza, as opposed to Hamas killing five Israeli civilians, but Hamas will still be depicted as the practitioner of terror and Israel’s violence will be put forward as defensive measures that are reasonable and necessary for the protection of the civilian population of Israel. The Israeli government will describe Palestinian civilian deaths as regrettable collateral damage, while attributing Hamas’s comparatively trivial lethality to a deliberate intention to kill Israeli civilians. The final step in the ideologizing process is to make this construction of the respective intentions of the two sides hinge on the question of deliberate intention, and since Hamas’s rockets are fired in the general direction of civilian populations the intention is declared to be deliberate, while Israel is seeking to destroy militarily relevant personnel and weaponry. This kind of manipulative framing by Israel has been borrowed by the United States and other governments to lend moral authority to the form of disproportionate violence that has characterized counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan in the post-9/11 era as well as lesser military operations around the world in the course of “the war on terror.”
What Israel has been doing within Palestinian territory it is seeking to control, the United States does globally. The introduction of drone warfare and special ops covert forces into dozens of countries throughout the world is an extension of the matrix of control as perfected by Israel within its limited field of operations. It also reformulates the parameters of permissible violence without regard to the limitations of international law, regarding any point of suspected adversaries throughout the planet as subject to deadly attack, borrowing notions of targeted assassination from the repertoire of Israeli practices. As with Israel, the operative goal of the so-called long war is not victory in the World War II sense, but rather the exercise of a sufficiency of control that is able to establish tolerable levels of security for Western societies and transnational economic activity. It is worth pointing out that as with Israel, the United States is unwilling to pay the costs in reputation and resources that would be required to achieve victory, although in the Iraq occupation as earlier in Vietnam it did seek to do more than pacify but in the end found the costs too high, and abandoned the undertaking.
Halper’s book gives essential insights to a key set of interrelated concerns: the political benefits to Israel arising from its dual role as quality arms supplier and counterinsurgency mentor; the degree to which Israel’s success in managing a hostile Palestinian population as well as a series of dangerous regional threats offers the United States a model for global securitization with a primary objective of preempting threats to the American homeland and safeguarding neoliberal global markets and trade routes from hostile forces; as also noted, the Israeli domestic security apparatus has been influential in the equipping and training of American and other national police forces. Additionally, Isreali technologies and knowhow have been relied upon to monitor borders and to erect barriers against unwanted entry; the advantages of having a seemingly permanent combat zone such as Gaza for field testing weapons and tactics increases the attractiveness of Israel as supplier of choice. This kind of combat zone is real world simulation that has many experimental advantages over the sorts of war games that are used to assess the effectiveness of weapons and tactics. Without incoming rockets from Gaza it would be impossible to reliably test the effectiveness of a defensive system such as the Iron Dome.
In the end, Halper answers the question as to why Israel’s seeming international unpopularity based of its long-term suppression of the Palestinian people does not harm its image or status. Israel manages to get away with its abusive human rights record while a more powerful and populous country such as apartheid South Africa was sanctioned and censured repeatedly. Of course, U.S. geopolitical muscle is part of the answer, but what Halper adds to our understanding in an insightful and factually supported manner is an appreciation of Israel’s extraordinary usefulness as arms supplier and counterinsurgency guru. A further implication of Israeli usefulness is a realization that governments give much more weight to relationships that bolster their security capabilities than they do to matters of international morality and law. Given these realities, it remains clear that the Palestinian national movement will have to wage its struggle on its own with principal support coming from civil society. Israel, it must be acknowledged has substantially neutralized both the UN and the foreign policy of most important countries, although public opinion around the world is moving in directions that could exert mounting pressure on Israel in the years to come.
As the title of Halper’s book suggests, what is transpiring worldwide, and is epitomized by the Israeli response to Palestinian opposition, can be best understood as part of a wider shift in the nature of global conflict in the post-Cold War period. Instead of most attention being given by security bureaucracies to rivalries and warfare among leading states, the most salient, dangerous, and cruelest conflicts are between state and society, or wars waged against people. There are no significant international wars between two or more states taking place now, while at least 30 internal wars are raging in different parts of the world. To be sure there have been a series of military interventions as part of the global pacification project under the direction of the United States and proxy wars in the Middle East in which major states intervene on opposite sides of a civil war. Yet whether we think of Syria as the paradigm of twenty-first century warfare or the Israeli matrix of control, it is “the people,” or a mobilized segment, that is being victimized. Halper’s book does the best job so far of depicting this new cartography of warfare, and deserves to be widely read and its main theses debated.
From my friend Elsa. Feel free to comment at the end or visit her blog as well
Sometimes I feel like Gandalf among hobbits who don’t want to listen – or maybe even more like Gandalf among grasshoppers hip hopping around, gathering yet again “against fear” after yet another jihad mass murder – while doing nothing to stop the menace, just going on with their hobbit or grasshopper lives.
Actually I don’t feel like Gandalf of Lord of the Rings. Such a powerful serene presence. I sometimes feel more like a frustrated Fairy Queen, waving her wand of words while the grasshoppers are hip hopping around and the hobbits are gathering flowers and grief.
The situation is darker than in the Shire. In the Shire, Mordor is far away, though it’s on its way. Here the hobbits and grasshoppers live with ever more of Mordor among them, among us – No Go Zones, Islamic rape gangs “grooming” indigenous European girls, attacks on the freedom of speech of non-Islamics while jihad murder attacks are celebrated openly by some Islamics.
Gandalf reached Frodo, the hobbit he intended to reach, and Frodo quickly reached his 2 best friends. The three hobbits set off together to tackle Mordor.
Perhaps the people who are needed to tackle political correctness and Islam have been reached. There are millions of people worldwide with at least some awareness of the dangerous nature of both political correctness and Islam – people in Australia, India, Great Britain, United States, France, Canada, Israel, Ireland – on and on.
But the question remains: will we stay a relatively small number of people tackling our “Mordor” – and all the same, as in Lord of the Rings, destroying Mordor against all odds?
That brings me to Trump – a bit of fresh air, like from wind entering through a hole freshly blasted in the side of a dank and gloomy cave.
Trump isn’t Gandalf the Wise. He’s someone Tolkien, creator of the worlds of the Shire and of Mordor, didn’t envision. A couple of years ago, I wrote The Joker is Wild(http://elsasemporium.com/political-rap.html) Yes, Trump is definitely a wild card. And millions are wild about him – not just Americans, but people worldwide.
My guess is millions upon millions in the democracies have been hungering for a strong force against paralyzing see-no-evil political correctness. So the “parade” has been there, waiting for someone with enough force of personality and POWER (in this case, through personal wealth plus media savvy). Trump has stepped to lead a parade just waiting to happen.
I like seeing someone with enough strength to be heard against the politically correct uproar.
Many of us have long been doing what we can, with our more limited strength and resources. We’ve created a good part of the “parade.”
I think of prominent people like Geert Wilders, Bat Ye’or, Mark Durie, Bill Warner, Pamela Geller, Mark Steyn, Marine Le Pen, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Jamie Glazov – on and on. Ideas, awarenesses, information. Political presence. Books, blogs, online channels.
I also think of the people who go to events, who show up to hear Robert Spencer, Lars Hedegaard, Allen West. I think as well of the far greater number of people who are open to hearing and who share their awareness, to the best of their ability, with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers.
I’d say that Trump is, as the saying goes, standing on the shoulders of giants – people with courage and willingness to see what we’re not supposed to see, and to speak out about it despite the dangers from the politically correct and Islamics (dangers from verbal abuse to ostracism to lawfare to violence).
Today I’m going to celebrate some of those “little people” – bikers in this case. I first noticed bikers for freedom in the Million Biker Ride to DC a couple of years ago – in response to an event called for by an Islamic group, a Million Muslims to DC. It was impressive.
Now bikers are organizing again, this time against the well-organized protesters showing up to disrupt Trump’s rallies:
Patriotic Bikers from all across the United States are planning to show up at ALL future TRUMP rallies to make sure that any paid agitator protesters don’t take away Mr. Trump’s right to speak. Or interfere with the rights of Trump supporters to safely attend. WE SHALL NOT BE SILENCED!
Their stepping up got me to add a few words to photos of the bikers: We’ve Just Begun – as in, we’ve just begun to get the numbers and power and awareness to turn the tide:
What do I see most with the bikers? Like the politically correct, they link with each other. So they easily organize huge events.
The rest of us can learn from that.
So many horrors to face daily. Here’s just one. On Easter Friday, a Christian priest, Thomas Uzhunnalil, was crucified by ISIS.
We need to organize in strength for freedom and safety.
All the best for all of us who care and dare,