Below is an article which is to be published in Politicsweb. It is a description of the Anti-Israel Industry painted with broad strokes. That’s OK: it is often more important to grasp the big picture than to become immersed in nuance. But this site is about both – and about debate and solid information. This week I hope I will be able to start laying the foundations of a more diverse and inclusive platform.
One matter which is worth bearing in mind is the following: we often become obsessed with “politics” in its narrow sense – as in my article in Politicsweb – and forget about the technological, cultural, sociological and ecological changes which in the longer term are the main drivers of history. This is as true for the Middle East as for any other part of the world. The Middle East is not immune to the enormous cultural and technological force field of the modern West, including Israel itself, and this is influencing the ideas and hopes of many of the young folk from Iran to Turkey to Lebanon and other places in between.
Of course, such currents provoke reactions from traditionalists and the power structure. Amongst these the “Islamist” movement is the most threatening and best organised. But Islamism itself may come in different flavours, probably all of them toxic to variable extents. For an interesting discussion of the Turkish variety by that well-informed and realistic commentator, Daniel Pipes, see here.
Now on to my article – The Anti-Israel Industry:
This is how it is. Israel is in the crosshairs of two major global groups with a third beginning to make an entrance. The first is, of course, a whole spectrum of Arab-Muslim “entities” – states and sub-state groupings which differ along tribal, religious and other dimensions but who can find some degree of unity in the common hatred and rejection of Israel specifically, and often Jews in general. With rare and partial exceptions they are united also in their general backwardness, social and political dysfunctionality, gender intolerance, rejection of democratic norms and practices, corruption and intense rivalries.
Since this group lacks by-and-large the technological, economic and socio-political capability to seriously threaten Israel militarily (with the possible exception of a nuclear-armed Iran) they are compelled to rely upon sheer numbers, geostrategic advantages (oil, size and physical proximity), fanaticism and the paramilitary strategies of delegitimisation to level the playing fields. This is where the second group comes in: significant elements of the radical Left in the West who have found in Israel a cause in their battle against Western capitalism and alleged hegemony.
The Western Left provides the moral legitimacy and respectability required by Eastern hard-core religious and xenophobic anti-Semites who reject modernity and democracy along with Israel and the USA. Thus, starting from apparently vastly different points of the political compass they can unite against a common set of enemies of which Israel is the most convenient. (Their differences may be more apparent than real since both groups share a common authoritarian and fascist political orientation which overrides more superficial differences in religious and social discourse).
The third and possibly growing group is a thuggish European far-right which builds on pre-world war2 themes to promote a new racism and anti-Semitism which, for the moment and in part, aligns with the anti-Zionism of the Arab-Muslim-Western Left axis. This is especially prominent in Hungary and Greece but with off-shoots widely distributed in the West.
Of these, in my view, the Western Left is the most significant and possibly the most dangerous from Israel’s point of view. The Arab-Muslim world is in the process of massive and unpredictable meltdown as the failure of their unreconstructed political-social systems in competition with Western democracies becomes ever more threatening to the entrenched power structure of the region. In this transitional and volatile state they have no chance of seriously challenging a small, democratic and technologically advanced Israel.
In their war against Israel they are, therefore, utterly dependent upon the propaganda efforts of the hardcore Western leftwing activists and their vast penumbra of fellow-travellers in the media and liberal elites, to sway a confused and totally uninformed public opinion against Israel. And it is this process, which, with varying degrees of skill and subtlety, goes on from day to day in our media.
This propaganda project takes different forms. One is the systematic and careful exclusion of contextual information which would explain many of the policies adopted by the Israeli electorate. To take only one example, the South African public has no idea of the prevalence and virulence of the anti-Semitic and genocidal incitement commonplace in Israel’s neighbours.
It also takes the form of a systematic highlighting and repetition of every anti-Israel item of news or allegation (generally from known anti-Israel activist groups). Such items receive prominent positions and headlines and are often reinforced by subsidiary commentaries and letters published in the same issue,
And, finally, anti-Israel commentary from well-established and skilled journalists is regularly given prominent exposure on the opinion and analysis pages of established newspapers. Particularly favoured is negative comment about Israel or Zionism from Jewish sources since this is used to establish the moral bona fides of the entire anti-Zionist propaganda industry.
It is difficult to over-emphasize the scale and iniquitous impact of this industry. The intention is to associate in the public mind a powerful negative association of Israel with all that is held dear to modern Western communities. Thus Israel is systematically depicted as a colonial, imperialist, apartheid society intent on stealing territory from a helpless Palestinian populace, even where the simplest application of the reality principle would show the utter absurdity of these claims.
The most an article like this can do is to alert the more open and thoughtful members of society to the existence, nature and objectives of a toxic paramilitary project which is taking place under their noses to the extent that it has become part of the general political wallpaper – unperceived and unanalysed but all the more potent for those reasons. Ultimately, such false propaganda can best be defeated when its true nature becomes exposed by events.
This is what happened in the wake of World War Two and the Holocaust, but that was too late for 6 million Jews and for many more million non-Jewish citizens caught up in the horrific confluence of Nazi racism and drive for global domination and confused and often cowardly Western apologists.
But we need not always await disaster for truth to be revealed. For those with eyes to see and still with the independence of thought to analyse the obvious, the deceit at the very heart of the anti-Israel propaganda project is increasingly apparent. I hope to bring to the readership of Politicsweb information and analysis systematically excluded from the mainstream media, who are deeply complicit in the modern-day version of early 20th century anti-Semitic demonisation.