"What matter who's speaking, someone said, what matter who's speaking."
for a couple years norman finkelstein has been getting into arguments with those favouring one state (of Palestinians in the region, the only groups significantly favouring this over two states are the Israeli citizens and the refugees in Lebanon). i thought it was odd he should be so negative about this discussion and this argument, but looking at this i get it. the report is good in lots of ways, but it disappears Palestinian rights and the law completely, leaving an impression of a struggle, two sides, each with claims and problems, as if the law can render no verdict here, as if Palestinians don't have the law on their side. Then it is very decent in its tone, non demonising, which is very refreshing, but when you look at the settler mayor, that was quite a choice to deliver that position. but the piece misrepresents not only the total settler population figure but the character of that population - the vast majority are there for lifestyle and subsidies, not ideology. the Israeli government will not have to fight two hundred thousand meshuggeners - it is perfectly well equipped to remove the zionist extremists. It can leave them in Palestine and let the Palestinian government of the Palestinian state arrest and deport them if it doesn't want to fight them. I can see from this programme what Finkelstein has been getting at regarding what Israel's tactics will be to avert the danger of the two state solution. This piece - decently - sympathetically - leads right up to the point of suggesting Palestinians will need to be transferred for their own good. The two states are impractical, ethnic cleansing is impractical, apartheid is the temporary solution and a misfortune for Israel...what then? Even though the plight of Palestinians is shown, and powerfully, the piece still implies they are the problem for Israel and their being there is the problem that needs a solution. The settlers are blamed but reality is declared on their side, they are victorious and immoveable. The avowed commentary is against them but the "reporting" favours them (this is something propagandists are getting really good at). The Israeli state's hands are tied by that stubborn old lady. One democratic state is made to sound utterly implausible - no one who favours it is interviewed about it. And the depravity and illegality of resistance to that solution is completely unimagined; the implication is its perfectly acceptable for Israel to be determined to maintain a Jewish majority and to be commit crimes against Palestinians to do so (that they are crimes is just unnoticed). The conclusion the viewer is left to infer is that the international community will have to undertake moving Palestinians somewhere. Its the beginning of the shift of the discourse Finkelstein has been predicting, where the Israelis will stop pretending to favour two states - the march of history and stubborn old ladies have taken it out of their hands! - but now preemptively defending against the obvious single democratic state that justice demands, and the stance and policies will shift more openly to "transfer". The challenge for Israeli propaganda is to make that acceptable - a regrettable necessity - over the next ten years. Ethnic cleansing but without a rhetoric of hostility, seen as benevolent, as charitable. an extension of the self congratulation over the terroristic telephone "warnings" to evacuate. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9900
really is instruction in spin and propaganda: this programme would be totally different for different audiences, depending on information levels. if you know what the situation is - if you're already informed - then it seems very good. but look at it once as if you didn't. it never explains that the west bank is illegally occupied and has been since 67 (the word occupation is said once, in passing, in a sentence about tel aviv "moderates" against it; benvenisti says "the situation created in 67", but there's no explanation); the suppression of all mention of rights and their violation, of legal claims and illegal aggression, might go unnoticed by an informed viewer, but for someone looking to be informed by the programme, nothing is clear - that Palestinians have a right to be where they are, that settlers don't, that the settlers are criminal, that the settled land is stolen, that the water that settlements "get more" of is stolen, that most settlements were not built by crunchy granola grannies with babushkas and picks but by real estate developers with heaps of american capital, and are lived in by IT professionals and subsidised heavily by the government and protected by the army all this is absent. the plucky settlers, building their own homes, "have won", as if this was some kind of spontaneous social contest in a no man's land, two populations contesting the land, while the israeli armed forces and police are seen as caught between and dealing with both populations, favouring neither side significantly - they evict Palestinians, they evict Israelis, only the Israeli settlers are evidently more stubborn, on a mission from God, so "they won". They've won! Moreover, not once is the Israeli state, or the US state, acknowledged to have any role in settlement building or occupying. Instead the settlers are portrayed as doing this on their own, just like gentrifying bohemians, and creating problems for the state and even as outlaws (livni's remark about law and order). The surprise with which he says the hilltop settlements, like crusader castles, are "little cities", as if isn't it amazing these stubborn ladies and their crunchy grandsons can build little cities on hilltops.it's really something, how this can look for an informed person as something very welcome - "thank you 60 minutes for finally showing..." - but when you have a second look, you see its really something else, for the american audience.
still very significant though that the settlements are mentioned at all, and the checkpoints and the taking over of the home and controlling those families shown on major network american television.
thanks chabert, I hadn't thought of Finkelstein's position that way. One of the oldest tricks in the settler playbook is to disappear settlers behind other settlers. In this case, the 'settlers' in the occupied territories of Palestine render invisible the settler Israeli state and the settlers of this state: "Tsk tsk, such intractable settlers in the West Bank, who won't even think of giving up the land to the Palestinians. In a way, both they and the Palestinians are to blame. Now, who's for a swim?"
nonetheless, I was very surprised watching this report.There's a sea change, even though I'm afraid it won't necessarily be for the good. Like with other settler states in Rhodesia, South AFrica and Algeria, when the conditions became increasingly blindingly obviously untenable, most pretences were dropped. Instead of playing to an international 'public', Israel is playing to polarize the population further. In the examples of those other states, genocide wasn't impossible in the end, only highly highly improbable and often undesirable for those states. It's likelier to increase in intensity in the case of Palestine than any other of these historical comparisons.
Even with all the rhetorical skew, using just the material at hand, putting the summary of the occupier's 'options' at the conclusion, instead of submerging it in the middle, would have made an effective statement.And although it had nothing to do with Palestine, it was touching to see the Pfizer ad at the opening. Since with the acquisition of Wyeth, the largest pharmaceutical producer can instantly grow by 50%, we can see that the naysayers who find nothing but portents of gloom in the recession have utterly missed the colossal opportunities being created.Chuckie K
"There's a sea change, even though I'm afraid it won't necessarily be for the good." yeah; it's reactive, responding to public fury and also to the needs of US imperial policy at present (the US establishment is getting annoyed at the Israeli elites and may slightly discipline them); but what we see in the media now is just what the establishment wants to try, how they want to tell the story, how the narrative and the "issues" are being adjusted. It's not clear yet that it is persuading anyone except the professional journalists and commentators. "putting the summary of the occupier's 'options' at the conclusion, instead of submerging it in the middle, would have made an effective statement." indeed; this formula of the "yes but", concede the reality (to a point) then normalise it, defang it, deflate it, muddy it, bury it under a rubble, etc.. Very lawyerish.
notice also how the images work with the text for the message: when the palestinian state is mentioned, the image is a pastoralist man alone on a slope, in traditional dress, with some sheep. in contrast, Israel is modernity itself, and the settlers are modernity itself, their hilltop "crusader fortresses" are called so ironically, to stress their modernity, their high techness, their postmodernity - postmodern crusader fortresses, products of that european exclusive instrumentalisation of heritage, history, and landscape - they are little cities with sleek highways which mysteriously were "not there forty years ago". they just sprang up, history itself germinating the present and future. history has passed the palestinian state by. the settlers are the force of history, of modernity; palestinians and their state are condemned by history itself. defeated by time which =settlements, israeli expansion. Israel is history's irrepressible creative forces. though the capitive families in their home are not folklorised, and neither is dr barghouti, everything else associated with palestinians is. he could have visited a ramallah art gallery or some urban scene, to match the images of tel aviv hipsters (they are modernity). instead, rural images, and even with barghouti, a black and white photo of him as a child, in a world, a Jerusalem, that history simply abolished in its unstoppable course. and subtly Palestinians are made to represent vestiges of the past that can't be preserved, that has to be buried for the present to thrive. The settlers have won and "will flourish", the clock can't be turned back, the egg can't be unscrambled, the second law of thermodynamics has made the palestinian state impossible. and that the settlers are also portrayed as time travellers doesn't really undercut this, so strongly are they associated with those cities, those highways, Israel, and History's Unstoppable Course. the images of daniella weiss and her central casting kibbutzim types just give them this seal of tradition on top of their role as force of modernity as a bonus, so with them nothing is lost, modernity and tradition both are realised. so much is done visually to evoke those "pioneers" of early zionism, to collapse that image with the image of unstoppable modernity and development, as a contrast to that man on the rocky slope with his sheep who is the picture of "the palestinian state". Israel and its settlers are movement, development and change; even their fanatical religious mishigas is postmodern, is energised and future oriented; there they are, hacking the earth with hand tools while talking on mobile phones; Palestinians are static, stuck in a former era, obsolete, the Oriental. Their "strategy" to resist History, to fend off Modernity, says Simon, is simply biological - "having bigger families". (how bizarre is that moment, with the kids in the playground). with this remark some kind of darwininan struggle, the competition of the natural world, is evoked.
see now look at thishttp://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/01/28/60_minutes/index.htmlglenn greenwald interprets the meaning of the programme for those who didn't get it: what its about is how impossible peace is, how hard the job of obama, clinton and mitchell will be, how hard it is for israel, even though everyone has the best of intentions and there's a new admin and its not going to be crazy and its not fanatically antiPalestinian, still. It's going to be VERY HARD. So don't expect anything, don't blame Obama admin if nothing can be accomplished. those looney settlers, "sometimes" even abetted by the Israeli and US states, have made things really hard and now there's just nothing anyone can really do.it's just amazing. how even a long awaited, partial admission of the reality is transformed to the benefit of Israeli criminal expansionism.
greenwald:"Continuing the clear and positive trend of finally having a more balanced discussion of Israel in the U.S. media, 60 Minutes' Bob Simon, on Sunday night, broadcast a very good report focusing on how this settlement expansion occurs, the destructive mentality of the Israeli settlers, the devastating impact which settlement expansion has on the lives of Palestinians, and the ways in which settlement expansions -- by design -- are making a Palestinian state increasingly inconceivable. It also provides a very clear sense of how difficult is the task of Obama envoy George Mitchell, an outspoken opponent of West Bank settlements, who is in Israel today to begin his mediation efforts."just mindboggling.
Greenwald still one step behind Clinton. Although she is not explicitly connected to the Simon story, quoted today in the papers, that the new administration is 'not repudiating or rejecting' Bush foreign policy. The new policy is to browbeat and threaten longer and more vehemently before starting the real beating. So keeping the Orientalist tropes primed and activated keeps the rationale on hand when you need it.Chuckie K
thanks chabert, chuckie k.I don't want to be too pessimistic. I think there have beeen conditions where someone like netanyahu might have had more public support for a massive ethnic cleansing of Palestine, but I hope the window has passed internationally. A friend pointed out that Israel might have tried to get away with a short and sharp acceleration of genocide and push all Palestinians into Jordan or the sea--but that was with the destruction of the WTC. It was a period of brtuality against Palestinians that received little relative attention to the recent atrocities in Gaza, but was no less brutal. I don't think Israel can be succesful given present conditions, at least as long as the US has not instituted its own martial law in response to another reichstag fire. I think those are the constraints. I'm worried about the desperation of an Israeli state whose ruling class knows its in its last years, no less than a US ruling class after decades of supremacy, but I think that's what is happening. Which I believe still means there is hope.
i agree it's not hopeless; i think this is why they're busy preparing new excuses and a new narrative, the theme of which is it is impossible and unthinkable to remove a couple hundred thousand israeli settlers -real people, moderns, citizens - but its not impossible or unthinkable to remove a few million palestinians - elements of the ancient landscape which are obstacles to the natural modernising course of history. my feeling is what the US-israelis have in mind now is to get some appointed palestinian leadership to give up the right of return, and accept a state, in name only, which initially will be occupied by international forces, - israel is manoeuvring to get nato or the un to take over the occupation, so there can be "disengagement" from the wb in the same was as gaza - with a landswap allowing israel to keep all annexed territories and most of the settlements, and also to expell most of their palestinian citizens somehow, in the "chaos" of upheaval caused by israel's brave removal of the zionist pioneers from their fortresses. (it will look like yugo, a two way ethnic expulsion to homogenise the two states) then israel will be painted as incredibly generous and benevolent for dismantling a couple of settlements and withdrawing from some of the west bank and handing the keys to the gaza ghetto over to europe. and palestinians will be made an offer they can't refuse, it will be made clear to them by the US that they take it or Israel gets to kill everybody basically. The carrot would be the eu and the gulf states will commit serious money to rebuilding and beautifying the tiny palestinian state, to stimulating the economy and making some attractive city centres and infrastructure, and that will be the immediate upside for palestinians that will gain acceptance for it and solidify the arrangement. i think that's their plan A right now, to get israel's recognised borders enlarged, to secure greater jerusalem, and reduce the Palestinian (citizen and non citizen) population within those borders. but that 60 Minutes - bravely impartial and sensible, as foxman's tirade in response attests - puts ethnic cleansing and apartheid as options on the list, not good but options nonetheless, alongside one democratic state (that too is "not good" just like ethnic cleansing and apartheid) and leaves the two states of the global consensus off that list of options entirely, ranks the only instantly feasible indeed easy solution upon which everyone in the world but israel and the US agrees and on which the mere impartial application of international law insists, removing the settlements as not an option, impossible, unthinkable, not even among one of the "no good" possibilities, says a lot about the direction of the policy planning and where the US and Israel see the real threat to themselves now.
thanks, food for thought.
Your summary of the Zionist goal sounds like what they have been saying. Specially that vile swap. Obama gets praised for state, contiguous, etc. But that silence is key. Refugees? Return? Not part of the story. Not part of the deal.In my worst moments, I imagine monitored roads (maybe tunnels or something) between the cantons would qualify as contiguous as long as they fall under Palestinian sovereignty.Chuckie K