Bulletin N° 833
“The Corporation State,
Obey: The Routine Of Obedience”
Video Documentary, narrated by Temujin Doran
Subject : Virtual Reality: When Technology becomes a ‘Ball & Chain’.
3 February 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In an affluent district of San Francisco, CA I learned a few years ago the school prohibits the use of computers and iphones on school grounds and encourges parents to forbid their use at home. "No more screens" was the policy widely supported in the wealthy neighborhood located within walking distance from City Lights Book Store.
We live in a world of virtual reality, where attention is directed away from the material reality which surrounds us and is channeled into a two-dimensional screen where we find ourselves mentally parked for hours at a time. Our masters are entertaining us to death and when entertainment no longer holds our attention, we are provided with other distractions to keep us away from the truth, which we are repeatedly told does not exist (or, at least, it no longer matters much). In this way, we cannot find the path to our truth. Instead we always arrive, again and again, at the predictable, pre-fabricated “truths” defined by our oppressors, which we consume greedily and demand ever more. We have become fat, dumb and happy in this suspended state of virtual reality before the screen. This is the new Normal, like past capitalist addiction to commodification, when most “girls” had to look sexy, and young people had to look “employable” – upon threat of disappearance.
You’ve probably heard the story of the two young snipers lying on their bellies in the dirt one morning on a hill overlooking a fence somewhere in Gaza. One turned to the other and asked:
- “Do you know what happened to the sniper who could hit a boyseye at 100 meters, every time?”
- “No, what happened to him?” asked the other.
- “He became a national hero.”
- “Then, what happened?”
- “Well, he continued to shoot people.”
- “Because that’s all he was good for. What, did you think he’d become an ophthalmologist?”
Jeremy Hardy will be missed!
The 12 + items below offer readers a critical look at material reality "on the ground” (so to speak). The descriptions and interpretations that follow serve as a dire warning that big changes are in the wind, and that wishful thinking will have little effect on the direction we are headed. On the other hand, there is hope for a better life if we can detoxicate ourselves from our addictions to alienating technology and from the ideological deceptions found in the corporate media.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader
by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal
Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.
Before the fateful day of January 22, fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s constitution.
But after a single phone call from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.
Allan Nairn: Trump’s Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Is a War Criminal Who Has Abetted Genocide
In an ongoing effort to topple Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Vice President Mike Pence met with members of the Venezuelan opposition at the White House Tuesday alongside Trump’s new special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams. Elliott Abrams is a right-wing hawk who was convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, but he was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. Abrams defended Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt as he oversaw a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people in Guatemala in the 1980s. Ríos Montt was later convicted of genocide. Abrams was also linked to the 2002 coup in Venezuela that attempted to topple Hugo Chávez. We look at Abrams’s track record with prize-winning investigative journalist Allan Nairn, who has closely tracked Abrams for over three decades. Nairn is two-time winner of the George Polk Award and a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award.
President Maduro addresses the American people - Don't let Trump start a Vietnam war in Venezuela
The 4-minute video, in Spanish with English subtitles, was posted on Maduro’s official Facebook page on Wednesday, shortly after he accused US President Donald Trump of ordering the Colombian government and mafia to assassinate him, and rejected a European ultimatum to call snap presidential elections within 8 days.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on the people in the US to deter the Trump administration from putting boots on the ground in Venezuela, warning that any intervention would backfire leading to new Vietnam-like disaster.
In his first direct message to the American people, the Venezuelan leader urged them to stop the US government from entangling the nation in a pointless and inherently doomed military adventure.
Venezuelan Opposition Threatens To Lynch American Journalist Abby Martin
by Whitney Webb
The right-wing opposition of Venezuela has been caught endorsing and committing violent acts multiple times, despite claiming to be “peaceful.” Their latest targets include two U.S. journalists who have been threatened with lynching for their reporting on the ongoing chaos in Venezuela.
More on the US Coup Attempt
Peculiarities of US Imperialism in Latin America - by James Petras.
(Published on January 31, 2019)
The Venezuelan Opposition – with Abby Martin.
(Published on July 3, 2017)
Head of Venezuela National Guard on Insurgency & US Threats - with Abby Martin.
(Published on July 31, 2017)
The Birth of Chavismo & Its Fight to Survive in Venezuela - with Abby Martin.
(Published on Sept 20, 2017)
Defusing the Crisis: A Way Forward for Venezuela – with Edgardo Lander and Greg Wilpert.
(Published on Jan 25, 2019)
The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader - by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal.
(Published on Jan 29, 2019)
Former UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Against Venezuela Causing Economic and Humanitarian Crisis
(Published on Jan 29, 2019)
Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin America – by Adam H. Johnson.
(Published on Jan 29, 2019)
Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela – with Larry Wilkerson.
(Published on Jan 29, 2019)
Trump’s Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Is a War Criminal Who Has Abetted Genocide – with Allan Nairn.
(Published on Jan 30, 2019)
New Oil Sanctions on Venezuela: “Would Destroy What’s Left of its Economy” – with Mark Weisbrot.
(Published on Jan 30, 2019)
As U.S. Moves to Oust Maduro, Is Invading Venezuela Next? Allan Nairn on Trump’s Attempted Coup – with Allan Nairn.
(Published on Jan 30, 2019)
Trump’s Coup in Venezuela: The Full Story - by Eric Draitser.
(Published on Jan 30, 2019)
The Racist, Imperialist War on Venezuela - Glen Ford.
(Published on Jan 31, 2019)
Venezuela Coup Attempt Part of US Plan to Remake Latin America - by Yves Smith.
(Published on January 31, 2019)
From: "Mark Crispin Miller" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, 31 January, 2019
Subject: [MCM] "Our free press" keeps blacking out the Matamoros auto strike, despite its global implications—or because of them.
"The strike in Matamoros takes place as 15,000 US and Canadian autoworkers are outraged by a decision by General Motors (GM) to close down five plants, and ultimately intimidate 140,000 US autoworkers to accept concessions during their contract negotiations this year. Last week, about 13,000 Hungarian Audi workers went on strike, and workers in the Taubaté plant in Brazil voted to shut down production in opposition to job cuts. In Argentina, workers occupied a steel plant that is used for the auto and other industries in Mexico."
From Joe Surkiewicz:
Here's the latest WSWS article on Matamoros. The factory owners are threatening to close the plants and leave Mexico:
Matamoros, Mexico maquiladora workers threatened with mass plant closures
by Alex González
Mexican Workers Are Engaging in Wildcat Strikes at the Border
by Kent Paterson
Plus a brief Reuters business report: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-manufacturing/mexican-border-plants-losing-50-million-a-day-amid-strikes-industry-group-idUSKCN1PO0A6
Nicaragua’s Economic Collapse Has Already Begun
by Ivan Olivares
The flight of 28% of deposits, 30% of reserves have been lost, and credit contracted 13%
Government plans to increase taxes and contributions to social security (INSS), but there is no political agreement or resources from external sources, the economic crisis will only worsen
Each day that passes without the country reaching a political agreement, the economy becomes more depressed. Each time that a policeman acts as a bully, and not as a law enforcer, uncertainty grows. Each dollar that leaves the banks, each million dollars not invested, each loan that is not approved, and each job that is lost, confirm that, if in the country there is no political dialogue to find a solution, the nation will plunge in an economic debacle.
“Does an economic crisis overthrow a government? It depends on the depth of that crisis,” assures the economist Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Executive Director of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES), interviewed on Wednesday, in the new weekly edition of the program “Esta Noche” (Tonight).
OAS Requests Info on Assange's Asylum Conditions
in Ecuadorian Embassy in UK
The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said it had been asked by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States), to provide the information related to the WikiLeaks founder's asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in light of the recently filed motion asking the commission for protection.
"On January 29, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has notified the State of Ecuador about a motion on protection measures which has been filed by the lawyers of Julian Assange. With regard to this, the commission has asked us to provide information concerning the situation in the embassy", the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
On 23 January, Assange’s lawyers said they had filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) in order to compel the US authorities to disclose charges against the whistleblower.
In the same statement, the defense team said it had asked the commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect him from extradition to the United States.
Watch 15th Vigil for Assange
Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and the debacles of the Corporate Media
with Zain Raza
In this exclusive interview with investigative journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, we talk about Edward Snowden’s status in Russia and what the prosecution of Julian Assange means for press freedoms. In addition, we examine the findings of the ongoing investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller and whether they prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election season. Lastly, we go over the Corporate Media’s major debacles regarding their reporting on Russian activities and what the public can do to hold these institutions to account.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
with Ralph Nader
Ralph has an absolutely fascinating talk with Harvard Business School professor, Shoshana Zuboff, about how Google, Facebook and other digital companies make money by watching every move you make, and how it can be stopped.
When 'Former' Spies Run Wild, Bad Things Happen
by Moon Of Alabama
A number of related stories describe nefarious activities by 'former' NSA, 'former' CIA, 'former' military officers who joined private businesses which harm other people. They demonstrate that there is a structural problem when those trained to be weapons are allowed to run in the wild.
Reuters just published a two part story about 'former' NSA staff, more than twenty in total, who since 2013 built a snooping center for the United Arab Emirates.
the UAE’s secret hacking team of American mercenaries
Ex-NSA operatives reveal how they helped spy on targets for the Arab monarchy — dissidents, rival leaders and journalists.
The 'former' NSA staff did not mind to spy on local dissidents or 16 year old kids on Twitter for the dictatorial Gulf State. Only some of them jumped ship when they found out that their shop was also used to spy on Americans. The 'private' company they worked for is named Dark Matter. It claims to do only cyber-security work, but is a known snooping shop directly connected to the UAE's digital intelligence service NESU. It even resides in the same building.
Israeli influence on U.S. foreign policy
with Lawrence Wilkerson
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff explores how Israel’s influence over the U.S. has affected America’s strategic approach toward the Middle East. Panel: Israel's influence on foreign policy—Dale Sprusansky, moderator Conference: Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America? Washington, DC - March 18, 2016 at the National Press Club This conference was organized by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc.
Watch the Film the Israel Lobby Didn’t Want You To See
“The Lobby – USA”
Episode 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm-Dm4pO0xY
From: "Jim O'Brien via H-PAD" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 2/1/19: Links to recent articles of interest
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By the National Security Archive, posted February 1
Official documents newly obtained by Georgetown University's National Security Archive, with introduction and document summaries by Svetlana Savranskaya
By Jon Schwartz, The Intercept, posted January 30
An extensive accounting of Abrams' role in U.S. policy in Central America and the Middle East from the early 1980s to the present.
By John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted January 30
The author is director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.
By Adam H. Johnson, TruthDig.com, posted January 29
The author is a media analyst for FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).
By Greg Grandin and Elizabeth Oglesby, The Nation, posted January 25
Greg Grandin teaches history at New York University and Elizabeth Oglesby teaches Latin American studies at the University of Arizona.
By Rebecca Hanson and Tim Gill, NACLA, posted January 24
The authors teach Latin American studies at, respectively, the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
By Seymour Hersh, London Review of Books, January 24 issue
On the influence of George H. W. Bush over foreign and military policy in the Reagan administration
By Melissa J. Gismondi, Washington Post, posted January 18
"The President leverages a savage threat to white women to justify his opet project." The author is a historian and journalist with a PhD in North American history from the University of Virginia.
By Patrick Cockburn, The Unz Review, posted January 12
A British view of the roots of migration from the Middle East to Europe
Thanks to Chad Pearson, Rusti Eisenberg, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.
Economic Update: Yellow Vests & Tax Reform
with Richard Wolff
This week: Updates on “yellow vests” spread to the United Kingdom; Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Dying for a Paycheck; the “bail-in” scam; the gentrification of airplane seats and postal banking; a major discussion of needed and deserved tax reforms and gentrification as an injustice created by the market.
Meet The Man
Behind Cambridge Analytica, Who Made Trump President
by TRNN Documentary - First Broadcast November, 2017
This is the story of Robert Mercer. A far-right billionaire, who is a major investor in Cambridge Analytica that data scrubbed Facebook for Trump, brought Bannon to the White House, and made his daughter the major owner of Breitbart News and board member of Cambridge Analytica
Court in France Upholds Police Use of Golf-Ball-Size Rubber Bullets
A Lawless Government
by Paul Craig Roberts
I remember when a suspect was regarded as innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial. Today prosecutors convict their victims in the media in order to make an unbiased jury impossible and thereby coerce a plea bargain that saves the prosecutor from having to prove his case. In the United States law is no longer a shield of the people. Law is a weapon in the hands of prosecutors. (See Roberts & Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions.)
Formerly, if a prosecutor staged an arrest for publicity purposes, as Mueller did by placing a CNN presstitute on the scene and sending a couple of dozen heavily armed men in a pre-dawn raid to arrest a well known political consultant for allegedly “lying to Congress” when the appropriate procedure is for Mueller to inform Stone’s lawyer to present his client for indictment, the judge would throw out the case on the grounds that the prosecutor’s unethical action had biased the juror pool and made a fair trial impossible. The judge might also have thrown out the case on the grounds of selective prosecution. James Clapper while serving as Director of National Intelligence lied to Congress under oath and suffered no consequences, and Hillary Clinton has clearly broken the law and lied about it.
Today judges permit unethical behavior by prosecutors that deprives defendants of a fair trial, because judges don’t want the bother of trials any more than prosecutors do. Consequently, according to official statistics 97% of federal criminal cases are settled by a defendent pleaing guilty to a charge negotiated by his attorney and a prosecutor. As the charge is a negotiated or made-up one, most people in prison are there for confessing to crimes that never occurred.
Prosecutors, now that they are no longer bound by constraints of legal integrity, often fabricate a case against a person in order to force the person to give false testimony against the prosecutor’s real target. This is what Mueller’s cases against Cohen, Manafort, and Roger Stone are. Trump is the target, not Cohen, Manafort, and Stone. In addition, prosecutors string out the investigation so long that they force the target to use up his net worth fighting off an indictment. Then when the indictment arrives, there is no money left for lawyers, which adds to the pressure to “cooperate.” If Trump were a fighting man, he would pardon Cohen, Manafort, and Stone, reimburse them out of the Justice (sic) Department’s budget for their legal expenses, and have Mueller arrested for sedition and plotting to overthrow the duly elected President of the United States. This would be hypocritical as Trump himself is plotting to overthrow the duly elected president of Venezuela.
Mueller is not an agent of law. He is the agent of the military/security complex and the Democratic Party who intend to do away with Trump, because Trump positioned himself between them and their agendas.
Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Thursday, 31 January
Subject: [MCM] With SWAT teams in most towns today, the USA is just like its official fantasy of Putin's Russia
Jackboots in the Morning:
No One Is Spared From This American Nightmare
by John W. Whitehead
“This is jackboots in the morning. This is an American nightmare that they would arrest somebody like this.”—Judge Andrew Napolitano
The American Police State does not discriminate.
Whatever dangerous practices you allow the government to carry out now—whether it’s in the name of national security or protecting America’s borders or making America great again—rest assured, these same practices can and will be used against you when the government decides to set its sights on you.
We’ve been having this same debate about the perils of government overreach for the past 50-plus years, and still we don’t seem to learn, or if we learn, we learn too late.
For too long now, the American people have allowed their personal prejudices and politics to cloud their judgment and render them incapable of seeing that the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.
All of the excessive, abusive tactics employed by the government today—warrantless surveillance, stop and frisk searches, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, asset forfeiture schemes, private prisons, indefinite detention, militarized police, etc.—will eventually be meted out on the general populace.
At that point, when you find yourself in the government’s crosshairs, it will not matter whether your skin is black or yellow or brown or white; it will not matter whether you’re an immigrant or a citizen; it will not matter whether you’re rich or poor; it will not matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat; and it certainly won’t matter who you voted for in the last presidential election.
At that point—at the point you find yourself subjected to dehumanizing, demoralizing, thuggish behavior by government bureaucrats who are hyped up on the power of their badges and empowered to detain, search, interrogate, threaten and generally harass anyone they see fit—remember you were warned.
Take Roger Stone, one of President Trump’s longtime supporters, for example.
This is a guy accused of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress.
As far as we know, this guy is not the kingpin of a violent mob or drug-laundering scheme. He’s been charged with a political crime. So what does the FBI do? They send 29 heavily armed agents in 17 vehicles to carry out a SWAT-style raid on Stone’s Florida home just before dawn on Jan. 25, 2019.
As the Boston Herald reports:
“After his arraignment on witness tampering, obstruction and lying to Congress, a rattled Stone was quoted as saying 29 agents ‘pounded on the door,’ pointed automatic weapons at him and ‘terrorized’ his wife and dogs. Stone was taken away in handcuffs, the sixth associate of President Trump to be indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. All the charges have been related to either lying or tax evasion, with no evidence of so-called ‘collusion’ with Russia emerging to date.”
Yet another example of government overreach and brutality? Definitely.
But here’s the thing: while Tucker Carlson and Chris Christie and other Trump apologists appear shocked that law enforcement personnel would stage a military assault against “an unarmed 66-year-old man who has been charged with a nonviolent crime,” this is nothing new.
Indeed, this is blowback, one more vivid example of how the government’s short-sighted use of immoral, illegal and unconstitutional tactics become dangerous weapons turned against the American people.
To be clear, this Stone raid is far from the first time a SWAT team has been employed in non-violent scenarios.
Nationwide, SWAT teams routinely invade homes, break down doors, kill family pets (they always shoot the dogs first), damage furnishings, terrorize families, and wound or kill those unlucky enough to be present during a raid.
Payton, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, and 4-year-old Chase, also a black Lab, were shot and killed after a SWAT team mistakenly raided the mayor’s home while searching for drugs. Police shot Payton four times. Chase was shot twice, once from behind as he ran away. “My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs. They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don't think they really ever considered that we weren’t,” recalls Mayor Cheye Calvo, who described being handcuffed and interrogated for hours—wearing only underwear and socks—surrounded by the dogs’ carcasses and pools of the dogs’ blood.
SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of so-called criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.
If these raids are becoming increasingly common and widespread, you can chalk it up to the “make-work” philosophy, in which you assign at-times unnecessary jobs to individuals to keep them busy or employed. In this case, however, the make-work principle is being used to justify the use of sophisticated military equipment and, in the process, qualify for federal funding.
SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. They were never meant to be used for routine police work such as serving a warrant.
Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams—which first appeared on the scene in California in the 1960s—have now become intrinsic parts of federal and local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance and the Pentagon’s 1033 military surplus recycling program, which allows the transfer of military equipment, weapons and training to local police for free or at sharp discounts.
Mind you, this is the same program that President Trump breathed new life into back in 2017.
As the role of paramilitary forces has expanded to include involvement in nondescript police work targeting nonviolent suspects, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers.
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Friday, 1 February, 2019
Subject: [MCM] OUTRAGED by BDS's "anti-semitism," Netanyahu has no problem with the neo-Nazis rampant in Ukraine and Hungary
On the history of Zionist collusion with European fascism, check out Lenni Brenner's Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (1983).
Netanyahu’s Brand of Tolerance for Anti-Semitism Goes Back 120 Years
The Israeli prime minister’s ease with neo-Nazism and revisionist Holocaust history are not as surprising as they might seem, writes Daniel Lazare.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians. This is no surprise since Netanyahu is a rightwing authoritarian himself, one who sees Israel as an old-fashioned ethno-state in which Jewish national aspirations are the only ones that count – as his support for last year’s “Nation-State Law” makes clear.
But what may come as a surprise is that he also has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians with a pronounced anti-Semitic streak. Last July, he welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Israel even though Urban has led a campaign to rehabilitate Miklos Horthy, the pro-Axis dictator who sent hundreds of thousands of Jews to death camps and bragged, “I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life.” Two months later, he welcomed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once compared himself to Hitler, saying, “There are three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Wikimedia)
He issued a joint statement with Polish Premier Mateusz Morawiecki lauding Poland’s wartime efforts to alert the world to the Nazi death camps, a statement that Israel’s own Yad Vashem Holocaust museum later repudiated on the grounds that it “contains highly problematic wording that contradicts existing and accepted historical knowledge in this field.” His government has also supplied weapons to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine.
So what’s the explanation? If Netanyahu is a hawk’s hawk when it comes to enemies of the Jewish state, then doesn’t it follow that he should be no less militant when it comes to enemies of the Jews?
The answer is, no, it doesn’t, for the simple reason that Zionism’s attitude toward anti-Semitism is more ambiguous than people realize. Theodore Herzl, the Viennese journalist who founded modern Zionism, made this clear in the 1890s. Rather than combatting anti-Semitism, he argued that Jews should accept it as an ineradicable fact of life. Instead of opposing it, they should make use of it as a lever with which to pry their co-religionists loose from western society so that they would move to Palestine. As he put it in “The Jewish State,” the 1896 manifesto that put modern Zionism on the map:
“Great exertions will hardly be necessary to spur on the [emigration] movement. Anti-Semites provide the requisite impetus. They need only do what they did before, and then they will create a desire to emigrate where it did not previously exist, and strengthen it where it existed before.”
Theodor Herzl en route to Israel aboard a ship in 1898. (Wikimedia)
Herzl’s goal was twofold: to provide Jews with a homeland and to win over non-Jews by removing an irritant from their midst. Jews, he wrote, “continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as it does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists.” The more radical they become, the more Christian society would close ranks against them. The solution was to provide them with a homeland of their own so they would cease subverting someone else’s.
“They will pray for me in the synagogues, and in the churches as well,” Herzl confided to his diary. Not only would Jews liberate themselves, but they would be liberating Christians too, “liberating them from us.”
Modern observers might dismiss such ideas as ancient history since they date to more than 120 years ago. But they have become part of Zionism’s DNA. Instead of battling anti-Semites, the movement has repeatedly followed Herzl’s advice by emulating them and adopting their techniques for their own purposes.
In the 1920s, Jews were thus shocked when Zionist settlers organized a movement to drive out Arab workers in Palestine. The reason is that it was all too similar to anti-Semitic nationalists in Poland who were seeking to drive out Polish Jews. An immigrant socialist complained in the Jewish Daily Forward, according to the historian Yaacov N. Goldstein, that the “conquest of labor” campaign“sends shudders through the Jewish workers in the Diaspora countries because the gentiles could try out this principle against the Jewish workers….” Said another: “How do we react when the reactionary chauvinists in Poland fight for their ‘conquest of labor,’ meaning prevention of Jews working in Polish industrial and commercial enterprises? How do we respond to the ‘conquest of labor’ of the Romanians?”
In the 1930s, a growing rightwing Zionist movement latched onto Benito Mussolini for much the same reason – because he wished to purify Italy just as they wished to purify Palestine. With Mussolini’s permission, a rightwing Zionist leader named Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky opened a training school in Civitavecchia, some 40 miles west of Rome. According to the Marxist historian Lenni Brenner, this is how an Italian Zionist newspaper described the opening ceremonies:
“The order – ‘Attention!’ A triple chant ordered by the squad’s commanding officer – ‘Viva L’Italia! Viva Il Re! Viva Il Duce!’ resounded, followed by the benediction which rabbi Aldo Lattes invoked in Italian and Hebrew for God, the king, and Il Duce…. ‘Giovinezza’ [the Fascist Party anthem] was sung with much enthusiasm….”
How Real Is real?
From Celebrated to Vilified, House’s Muslim Women Absorb Blows Over Israel
Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, at a House Financial Services Committee meeting this week.
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were hailed as symbols of diversity when they were sworn in last month as the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, Ms. Tlaib in her mother’s hand-embroidered Palestinian thobe, Ms. Omar in a tradition-shattering hijab.
Four weeks later, their uncompromising views on Israel have made them perhaps the most embattled new members of the Democratic House majority. Almost daily, Republicans brashly accuse Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar of anti-Semitism and bigotry, hoping to make them the Democrats’ version of Representative Steve King as they try to tar the entire Democratic Party with their criticism of the Jewish state.
And while Democratic leaders publicly defend them, some Democratic colleagues are clearly uneasy. Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida and a founder of a bipartisan task force to combat anti-Semitism, said some of the lawmakers’ comments “fall into longstanding anti-Semitic tropes.” When Ms. Omar was named to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, its chairman, Representative Eliot Engel of New York, told her privately that he would not allow some of her “particularly hurtful” remarks to be “swept under the rug,” Mr. Engel said.
The tussle over Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar has exposed a growing generational divide within the Democratic Party, pitting an old guard of stalwart supporters of Israel against an ascendant wing of young liberals — including many young Jews — willing to accuse the Israeli government of human rights abuses and demanding movement toward a Palestinian state.
Time to Break the Silence on Palestine