Neturei-Karta. Rabbis opposed to Zionism, Boston 2002
(Image by Louis George 2011 from flickr) Details DMCA
A dozen years ago, Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada predicted that Israel "won't survive." The Zionist state is doomed, he concluded, because the reasoning used to justify its existence is being accepted by ever fewer people:
Zionism, an ideology of racial supremacy, extremism and hate, is a dying project, in retreat and failing to find new recruits. With enough pressure, and relatively quickly, Israelis too would likely produce their own de Klerk ready to negotiate a way out. Every new massacre makes it harder, but a de-zionized, decolonized, reintegrated Palestine affording equal rights to all who live in it, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and return for refugees is not a utopian dream. It is within reach, in our lifetimes. But it is far from inevitable. We can be sure that Western and Arab governments will continue to support Israeli apartheid and Palestinian collaboration under the guise of the "peace process" unless decisively challenged. Israeli massacres will continue and escalate until the nightmare of an Israeli- style "peace""--"-apartheid and further ethnic cleansing"--"-is fulfilled.
To fulfill this genocidal end goal"--"-where the Palestinians become as lacking in land and numbers as the indigenous people in the U.S. now are"--"-the Zionists have realized they've needed to fortify their narrative control. If Israel isn't seen by the peoples of the world as legitimate, the already tenuous Zionist project will lack the political capital to carry out the land grabs and foreign destabilization efforts which are essential for making Israel sustainable in the long term. Amid the decline of U.S. hegemony, Israeli security strategists have been concluding that Israel can only remain stable during the coming decades by subduing the hostile nations that surround it, creating a territorial buffer zone for Ashkenazi Jewish colonialism in the same way as how the U.S. has secured its own white supremacist colonial project by expanding to the Pacific coast.
To try to fulfill this plan for a "Greater Israel" that stretches all the way into Iran and Yemen, the Israelis have been assisting Washington in its destabilization efforts within these two countries especially, as well as in the campaigns to undermine Hezbollah in Lebanon and to weaken Assad's government in Syria. In this last year, Israel has even managed to set up some settlements in Yemen, where the genocidal U.S./Saudi war has let Israel establish a permanent military presence. These violations of sovereignty have been reinforced by the U.S. war propaganda machine, which obfuscates all of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi atrocities in the region by perpetually vilifying the leaders and entities they're targeting.
But with this last month's Israeli invasion of Gaza, which is an obviously disproportionate response to Palestinian retaliations against Israel's recent attempts to evict Palestinian families in Jerusalem, this cloak of perceived legitimacy is being lost to an unprecedented extent. Israel's hardline defenders hold an increasingly limited sway over the sentiments of those they're trying to convince.
The most important among these targets of Israel's ineffectual current propaganda effort are the Palestinians themselves. Israel has been bombing prominent Gaza buildings in an attempt to break the support among the Palestinians for armed resistance, hoping that the military's absurd claims about Hamas military assets being within these buildings will be believed and will therefore make Hamas be perceived as needlessly endangering civilian lives. This tactic of deliberately taking innocent lives and destroying livelihoods so that these tragedies can be pinned on the enemy has been articulated by Yahya al-Sarraj, mayor of Gaza City's municipality: "These targets, which have directly affected civilians immeasurably, are aimed to damage the reputation of the armed groups by creating a gap between them in terms of support. Driving Palestinians to demand these groups to stop firing rockets at Israel means a loss of popular support, and that is what Israel is banking on."
But as al-Sarraj also assesses, tactic's goal of breaking Palestinian solidarity isn't being realized:
The vast number of civilian deaths and heavy damages incurred upon the Gaza Strip is a desperate attempt to demoralise the steadfastness and strong will of our people. But from walking around and meeting with many people"--"-especially those who lost their homes or members of their families"--"-what stood out for me was their determination and resolve. They know this offensive is not just a war on Gaza, but an extension of Israeli occupation policies in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
If Israel can't win over the population that it's trying to conquer, its colonial war can't be maintained in the long term. As Abunimah described, the occupation can only be made sustainable if the forces of Palestinian armed resistance agree to a "peace" where the Palestinians passively accept their position as a colonized people. And it's obvious that this outcome is impossible. Not only is Israel's office-bombing tactic failing to dissuade Palestinians from armed resistance"--"-if anything it's solidifying their belief that Israel doesn't have Palestinian interests at heart"--"-but even if this tactic succeeded the motivations for armed resistance would remain.
Gazans are going to continue descending into extreme poverty, scarcity of food and water, and infrastructural disrepair regardless of whether they heed Israel's demand for "peace." So Israel is going to have to keep fighting off armed Palestinians, especially given that the Jerusalem evictions which started off this fighting could still occur. This is what happens when the very goals of a war make the targeted population unable to be pacified.
It's the Zionist state's refusals to compromise"--"-which have already made a two-state solution no longer viable and have therefore narrowed down its options to Palestinian pacification or the end of Israel"--"-that are bringing it closer towards going the same way as defeated colonial states like apartheid South Africa or Rhodesia. Within the zone of oppression and without, Israel is failing to bring the narrative under control. The Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement is spreading, with the current efforts by BDS-backed groups along the U.S. coasts to stop Israeli shipments managing to stir up expanding protests while blocking a ZIM ship from unloading its cargo at the Port of Oakland.
While BDS can't achieve the level of economic impact on Israel that official sanctions would have, its narrative impact alone is enough to alarm Israel, and to get the Zionists to make rash decisions which bring the demise of the Zionist state even closer. This has been described in an article by the Zionism-sympathetic Brookings Institution, which decries BDS for this reason:
If such sanctions were enacted along BDS (as opposed to E.U.) lines, it would likely strengthen Israeli suspicion of the goals and motivations of BDS, making them"--"-the key of BDS's strategy"--"-less willing to cooperate. The Israeli government is thus doing itself a disservice by paying so much attention to this movement, both through its own deeds and words, as well as through lobbying with other countries to enact anti-BDS legislation. It is only providing more fuel to a fire that is small to begin with.
It's these kinds of losses in the narrative battle which help seal Israel's fate as another relic of the incrementally fading era of colonialism. In this last year, Israel may have expanded its holdings into Yemen, but it's also been forced to abandon its plan to annex the West Bank, which would have provided a far more important buffer for the Zionist state in the face of crumbling U.S. hegemony. In response to Washington's imperial decline, Netanyahu's camp has been anxious to carry out that annexation. Yet they've had to shift course, because Israel's lack of narrative dominance has made it so that seizing the West Bank would have totally destroyed Israel's perceived status as a peace-seeking actor.
So in their desperation to pacify the Palestinians to make way for a little bit more settler expansionism, the Zionists have waged a scorched-earth terror campaign against Gaza, which ironically has had the same kind of narrative blowback which a West Bank annexation would have had. Like its protecting imperial force Washington, Israel is increasingly backed into a corner. One that will most likely end with the occupier state having to give into Palestinian demands for truly fair elections, which will end the apartheid and allow for de-Zionification to take place.