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Characterizing Israel

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by frogwoman, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. frogwoman

    frogwoman Well-Known Member

    I think the Gaza thread is being used to discuss all sorts of shit st once and I wondered whether we could have a discussion on what sort of state Israel is and why? There is a view that it is fascist or in the process of becoming fascist, which seems to be backed up by an increasing climate of censorship and extreme racism. There's also a view that it's just as bad as any other colonial country and is not really different to any of them, which is also true if you look what happened to the native Americans etc. Or is it something entirely new altogether? Anyway I thought I would start this thread and see if we could leave the other thread for discussion of what's happening in Gaza?
     
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  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    this will end well :)
     
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  3. J Ed

    J Ed I remember the future

    I think that there is a lot of room between fascist and what Israel actually is, and what is and what isn't fascist is obviously very contested - whether Franco's Spain was fascist or not is something that is still very much debated and some definitions of fascism are so narrow that they would only include Nazi Germany, and probably exclude Fascist Italy.

    The more obvious comparison is apartheid South Africa, a point of comparison which isn't lost on a lot of people, but even then it doesn't really hold up. While Apartheid South Africa had 'honourary whites' they were never demographically as significant a proportion of the population as the number of non-Jews in Israel who legally are entitled to a greater or lesser extent the same rights as Jews.

    Still, the national narrative in Israel does seem to increasingly resemble what we associate with fascism - calls for expulsion of Arabs from pre-67 Israel and/or the occupied territories and so on.
     
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  4. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

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  5. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    So to me it seems like there is obviously a strong element of what you might want to call 'fascist DNA' in the current Israeli state.

    It gets expressed in a particular way due to the history of the state of Israel post WW2, but it's still quite obviously present.
     
  6. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    also i think people might object if they expressed their views as forthrightly as say the germans in the 1930s and early 1940s.
     
  7. J Ed

    J Ed I remember the future

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  8. Doctor Carrot

    Doctor Carrot Bear Grylls grills bare bears

    Yeah I think the DNA is there although I'm probably not well versed enough to say that with too much certainty. It is certainly looking ugly and increasingly authoritarian from where I'm standing. Newspaper articles calling for genocide on a daily basis, vicious gangs attacking african refugees which the police turn a blind eye to, gangs of youth chanting through the street shouting 'death to the arabs' unopposed, a population whipped up into a sense of highly nationalist hysteria, near blanket support for this recent attack, anyone who questions Israel's policies is either shouted down, verbally abused, spat at or worse, beaten up with police letting it slide. Today I discovered what S.H.I.T Jew means, it's an acronym that describes Jews who don't agree with Israel. The acronym stands for Self Hating Israeli Traitor. That's new to me, dunno if it is new but it's news to me. I've heard of the self hating Jew but not the Israeli traitor tacked onto the end of it.

    So yeah, in light of the above I'd say it's got fascist DNA in the current state. How long until those people shouting death to arabs, attacking African refugees and so on are backed and funded by the state? Perhaps they are already, the police certainly turn a blind eye. Whether it's fascist or heading towards fascism in terms of economic organisation I don't know enough to comment.
     
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  9. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    I think the most important comparison is the Bantustans. What is Gaza if not a Bantustan?
     
  10. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    Did the white South Africans ever do intensive air and artillery strikes against the populations of their Bantustan?

    I'm not saying that the comparison is worthless, but there are other comparisons to be be made here too. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_Genocide
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  11. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    a ruin
     
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  12. Humberto

    Humberto stir up the righteous

    War criminals.
     
  13. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    A country that believes in an eye for an eye.
    That wants its pound of flesh.
    That believes and practices collective punishment.
    Believes the killing of innocent women and children is acceptable, as long as they are not Israeli.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  14. 8ball

    8ball Most Ignoreable Poster 2016

    It is a state whose reason for existing is based on a very particular understanding of a fundamental link between race and moral standing.
    Everything else it is and does flows from that.
     
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  15. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone ubi sunt

    And an invented nationalistic idea of a homeland, which goes against the religious beliefs it is supposedly based on.,
     
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  16. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood


    you've told me before that you view it as an apartheid state. And thats a solid argument.
     
  17. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    this might not be the right thread for it, but for what it's worth, there has been a lot more condemnation of Israel here in the US this time around.
    It still takes a lot of balls to say anything negative (about Israel's policies), even amongst the ultra-liberal, but people are doing it anyway, and it marks a major change in perception.
     
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  18. frogwoman

    frogwoman Well-Known Member

    I've thought that for ages.
     
  19. frogwoman

    frogwoman Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but as my parents are from SA and I know a bit about it, as bad and horrific as that was I think this is worse.
     
  20. frogwoman

    frogwoman Well-Known Member

    I also think the Israelis have been very clever in giving Palestinians/Arab Israelis within Israel almost the same rights as Jews.
     
  21. 8115

    8115 sitting down is bad for you

    Do they have the right to enter freely into Israeli occupied land?

    I guess I'm not very comfortable seeing Israel as an apartheid state because I basically don't really see Gaza and the West Bank as being a part of Israel. They are Palestine, but somehow annexed by Israel or something.
     
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  22. 8115

    8115 sitting down is bad for you

    Actually, I don't think they have the right to leave Gaza or the West Bank at all without a lot of hassle.
     
  23. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    Thing is all of these comparisons are partial. One could argue that for the revisionists especially, their intention is comparable to the Bosnian genocide, but the numbers and methods (at least since 1948, mostly) have been different.
     
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  24. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    A couple of obvious points here perhaps, but worth remembering...

    Im not sure its possible to talk of Israel in isolation without discussing it in context of the US. My impression is that for all intents and purposes it is a client state of the US - that may be over stating it, but in practical terms I dont think its that far off. The US plans for the middle east have a greater influence over what form Israeli politics have taken than any internal policy decisions. Israel has grown into a role whose parameters have been set by Washington. If those policies from the US were to drastically change Israel would inevitably change with them.

    The other issue about the nature of the Israeli state is that it is a religious state, founded on religious identity. Its on the wrong side of history on that score, and as long as it remains so it will always have a repressive and fearful attitude against non-believers.

    This piece makes the case that this religious nature of the state has icnreased over time...
    "In the early years of statehood, the meaning of the term “Jewish” was national and secular. In the eyes of Israel’s founding fathers, to be a Jew was exactly like being an Italian, Frenchman or American. Over the years, this elusive concept has changed; today, the meaning of “Jewish” in Israel is mainly ethnic and religious. With the elevation of religious solidarity over and above democratic authority, Israel has become more fundamentalist and less modern, more separatist and less open to the outside world. I see the transformation in my own family. My father, one of the founders of the state of Israel and of the National Religious Party, was an enlightened rabbi and philosopher. Many of the younger generation are far less open, however; some are ultra-Orthodox or ultranationalist settlers. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/israels-fading-democracy.html?pagewanted=all"
     
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  25. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    The religious thing seems quite significant in terms of support in the US. See e.g.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/174266/religion-plays-large-role-americans-support-israelis.aspx

    Of course, religious loon Americans are also much more likely to be wingnuts and hence willing to uncritically accept whatever batshit propaganda they're fed by their handlers.

    I think this is in strong contrast to the original far-right secular nationalist zionism that spawned Likud and hence the dominant ideology of Israel's government.

    I know that there are far-right religious parties who are part of their coalition government, but it almost seems like the article you quote is seeking to blame religion for the far-right ethnic-cleansing nationalism that's been an integral part of Israel since its origins and has pretty much run the place since the 1970's.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  26. two sheds

    two sheds not as daft as i look

    Any comparison between the Palestinians and the French under German occupation?
     
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  27. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    I'm not sure that characterising (the state of) Israel is possible at less than book length, but it seems at first glance to me (this being an idea that only occurred to me while reading this thread, and which I haven't had time to research) that it shares a set of attributes with many young states:

    1) Insecurity even when secure.
    2) The over-swift recourse to violence as a "solution" to political problems.
    3) Authoritarian governance
    4) Deliberate and directed scapegoating of cultural and/or ethnic minorities.

    I'm thinking mainly of Italy, the former Yugoslavia and Israel here, although I'm aware that many of the African states fit, too.

    Is the state of Israel fascist, though? Well, they fulfil some of Evan's predicates, and some of Bracher's too, but not others. Current action leads to the possibility of them fulfilling others, but we can only roughly gauge the probability of fulfillment.
     
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  28. DrRingDing

    DrRingDing 'anti-human wanker'

    It's a racist militaristic state that simply has no right to exist.
     
  29. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Thanks for the slogan.

    How about some actual analysis, or is that beneath you?
     
  30. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    What's the point of trying to apply a label? The history of elsewhere is obviously interesting, but labels can only take you into War Crime Top Trumps. It is what it is, and what it does.

    The contemporary world can and regularly does permanently accept lots of the component parts of what Israel is. It can accept that land changes hands unilaterally. It can accept that an arbitrary group of people seek nationhood, sometimes in a very particular place. It can even accept religion as the driver for that. It accepts the right to actions borne of 'self defence', even when not proportionate.

    However, all of those things normally come heavily burdened with conditions or prerequisites or a requirement of credit (e.g. a people having been recently oppressed), which were either escaped entirely or have fallen away in this case.

    What I wonder about is how long the world will accept what's effectively a rogue, misbehaving state. So many global factors and mechanisms implicitly or explicitly depend on that not being a workable choice that's open to anyone, at least in the medium to long term of geopolitics.

    I also wonder how long Judaism in particular (which I don't profess to understand at all) and possibly even outright Zionism can accept this particular state implementation. If it's supposed to be the living, breathing model representation of Jewish nationhood, then whatever, but what special configuration of idiot keeps backing their mascot after it goes out of control and murders children? Can the dream not ever be untied from this shitty, failing attempt at it? Is the fear that the Holocaust presented the only opportunity, or what?
     
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