Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Zionist model of terrorism

I think a proper understanding of the motivations of terrorists is important if we want to reduce terrorism. It suits the Zionists to depict Palestinian terrorists as irrational and hate-filled, coming from an inferior race of people easily swayed by crazed religious leaders whose only interest is the destruction of the State of Israel. The Palestinians are depicted as less than completely human (perhaps just 'relative humans', the term used by Omar Barghouti in an excellent article on the contradictions in Zionist thought). This makes it easier to brutalize them in order to steal their land, and allows the Israelis to find excuses not to negotiate peace, as the Palestinians are said to be merely using the negotiations as a trick to achieve their real evil goal of destroying the Jewish state. The obvious reason for the terrorism - that it is the self-defense of the weak against the destruction of their families, their faith, their culture, their society, and their lives - is never mentioned, as it would disprove the Zionist idea that the Palestinians are motivated solely by irrational hate. The Manichaean view of the conflict, with the Jews representing the essence of pure Goodness under assault by the Palestinians representing the essence of pure Evil, serves the short-term goals of Zionism, but is hardly a sensible model for understanding the roots of terrorism. This view of the world has been so successfully incorporated into reporting on the Middle East that we no longer even notice it. Consider the recent bombing in Tel Aviv, in which a number of Israelis were killed. I saw a mention of this and wondered how it could be that another bombing wasn't headline news. It turns out that it was not ascribed to Palestinian suicide bombers, but was part of some Russian mafiya mob war, and therefore wasn't regarded as important news. Just as many Jews died as in many Palestinian suicide bomb attacks, and the danger to Israelis was just as great, but it wasn't part of the battle of Good and Evil, and served no political purpose for the Zionists, so it was hardly mentioned by the press. Unfortunately, this way of looking at the world is very attractive to Americans, who tend to see themselves in the role of the only good people in the world, and so America has completely adopted the Zionist model of terrorism (with the great encouragement of Israel and its American agents, who want to use this model to continue to justify the Israeli brutalization of the Palestinians, and to lead the United States to fight even more wars for Israel all based on the idea of fighting terrorism). This Weltgeist is particularly attractive to the Christian Zionists, who see Americans as God's people, and any enemies of America by definition as satanic. As it became clear that many suicide bombers in many societies were educated middle-class people, Americans became even more convinced that they were faced with sheer irrational evil. 'Why do they hate us?' was the big question, and the answers had to do with envy at the American way of life, or hated of freedom and democracy, or the essential hatred that evil has for good. This analysis allows Americans to conveniently ignore the role that American geopolitics has in ruining the lives of people around the world. These young men and women who take up terrorism tend to live relatively privileged lives in societies that have been ravaged by American policies. People living in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and the Palestine see their governments oppressing and brutalizing the people, all in the interests of enriching and empowering Americans and their proxies. The proper model to understand terrorism isn't Good versus Evil, but the urge of people to want to defend themselves, their families and their societies against unjust oppression. They don't hate the American way of life, or even Americans, but want to get the American government off the backs of their people enough to be able to share in part of that way of life. Middle-class people have the wealth to obtain education to appreciate the oppression in an intellectual context, and the status in society to want to take a leadership role in ending the injustice. Local writers and thinkers reading Marx and Fanon and the Koran have created an intellectual basis for Islamic self-defense, and oil money has made more complex operations technically possible. Globalization has both increased the amount of oppression and also provided the opportunities for counter-attack, and the extreme reliance on centralized technology has made richer countries more vulnerable to system-wide damage if small nodes are hit in the proper ways. Finally, a combination of democracy and the 'softness' of living the American way of life has made politicians acutely sensitive to even the smallest disruptions to that way of life, rendering terrorist attacks more successful than ever before in history. The best analogy for Americans to understand terrorism is the average American defending his homestead against attack from those who wish to do harm to himself and his family (the view from the Westerns was that it was a man defending his homestead from the 'Injuns', another myth, but one that Americans should be able to understand, and of course there is the whole mythology surrounding the American Revolution). Americans have been willing to make the supreme sacrifice to defend their families, their religion, their society, and their country. Why wouldn't other people do the same to defend themselves against what they perceive as an attack? The big problem with the Zionist/Christian Zionist model of terrorism completely adopted by the Bush Administration is that it is 100 per cent counter-productive. Terrorism, being Evil and nothing more, is regarded as something that can only be exterminated with violence and warfare. We see this in the Occupied Territories and now in Iraq. But it was violence against people that was the original cause of the terrorism. It is the Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinians that started the intifada and the suicide bombings, and it is the violence of various governments supported and propped up by America against various peoples in the world that engendered the self-defense reaction which we see as terrorism. The current resistance in Iraq is largely individuals defending themselves against violence directed at them by Americans. More violence against the same people isn't going to eliminate terrorism - it will make terrorism even worse. The American adoption of the Zionist model of terrorism will have a direct causal effect leading to the deaths of more Americans.