Israelis enjoy carte blanche in Gaza


By Kurt Jacobsen and Sayeed Hasan Khan ,The Statesman/ Asia News Network

Stupidity in politics is no mystery. Stupidity, no matter how appalling or alarming, is always rooted in crude self-interest. The political elite’s idea of self-interest may be flat wrong or even crazy, judged from outside, but their activities remain radiantly rational so far as the stubborn perpetrators are concerned.

In international politics the whole point evidently of accruing power and wealth, and gaining a decisive edge over others, is so that one can ignore the weak, skip the details, and grab whatever is in reach. Power is the right to act as rashly as one likes, at least until someone finally stops it. This is the mentality of the ungoverned children’s’ playground, enshrined as a foreign policy principle. The often misunderstood doctrine of realpolitik actually urges fretful policy makers to relate their scarce means carefully to the ends they pursue, to act cautiously, and to imagine oneself in the opponent’s place so as to avoid costly misperceptions and the triggering of unnecessary gory conflicts. Prudent diplomacy operates on that reasonable cold-blooded basis, but power imbalances and ideological fanaticism shove aside even this stunted form of wisdom. In practice, realpolitik, as Thucydides had once observed, is doing what you will to those who suffer what they must, which, as his account of the Peloponnesian War shows, is a frightfully stupid thing to do. Ultimately, the smug bully, believing its own self-righteous propaganda, over-reaches, generates its own nemesis, and ends badly. Elites gamble that the reckoning will come after they shuffle off. The real danger to Israel has never been its own disappearance, for the nation is far too powerful for that scare-mongering scenario, but rather the banishment of the Zionist dream of a purely Jewish homeland. Security lays only in a dominant Jewish state, according to hard-nosed Israeli leaders since Ben-Gurion, when the energy expended to attain this condition internally and in the region generates nothing but more threats, more dangers, more insecurity.

This behavior might seem a bit foolish except that there are plenty of groups inside and outside Israel who profit from the inevitable ‘blowback”: the military establishment, arms manufacturers, the private security industry, banks, land developers, multinationals trawling for natural resources in the occupied territories, and right-wing parties that require mirror-image enemies to justify their own brutal stances. Israel still can count on a U.S. mass media, owned by weapons manufacturers like General Electric (NBC), to spout anti-Palestinian propaganda so as to justify the ultimate aim, which is expulsion of the Gaza and West Bank Arabs. Having nowhere to go is no excuse for not leaving. The Israeli Right has been indulged by Western powers for so long that any check or balance on sanity has seemingly evaporated. If we really were enemies of Israel we would exhort Netanyahu and his successors to do exactly what they are doing — pulverise Gaza every two years, keep illegally settling the West Bank, deepen Israel’s status as an apartheid state, funnel resources into militarization, and ignore world opinion. Mass murder on Gaza’s scale still tends to raise questions even among the hitherto gullible. Viewers cannot be blamed for surmising that “cease-fire” is the Hebrew word for “reload.”