George Bush's Unending War and Israel

— Michael Warschawski

[The following is a brief excerpt from “Israel and the Global Non-Ending War of George Bush,” News from Within, September 2006, published by the Alternative Information Center (AIC). Michael Warschawski is a co-founder and co-chair of the AIC. Subscriptions to NFW ($40 per year, $25 for students) can be ordered from News from Within, PO Box 31417, Jerusalem 91313, Israel.]

THE PRESENT U.S. strategy, defined by the neo-cons at the end of the 1980s, is no longer a strategy of stabilizing world order and building a “new Middle East” through multilateral negotiations, but imposing the “American age,” i.e. U.S. total hegemony, by a global non-ending preemptive war. The Israeli war against the Palestinian people and against Lebanon is part of this global war; indeed, it is the United States’ most advanced and important front.

Under the cover of “fighting Muslim terrorism” and “protecting Israel’s existence,” the Israeli army is trying – with limited success – to impose the new American hegemony in the whole Middle East. For, according to the neo-con strategists, behind Hamas and Hezbollah stand Syria and Iran, the medium-term objectives of this offensive...

The reaction of the Arab leaders to the Israeli aggression was in harmony with the White House’s response, denouncing Hezbollah adventurism and de facto justifying the Israeli aggression. Thus, the growing gap between those regimes and their peoples’ public opinion…Their dependency on Washington and fear of U.S. retaliations, pressures and air strikes are so high that these regimes prefer to please the White House rather than their citizens, at the risk of provoking unrest and destabilization.

As a result, the new American Era will be more and more an era of permanent-state-of-exception and latent civil war where most countries of the post-colonial world, the regimes, the slaves of U.S. empire, will have to impose by force the demands and the orders of the White House.

This trend is not limited to the post-colonial countries; even powerful Europe is clearly threatened by such a process of vassalization, though obviously in a less brutal way. [Following the invasion of Iraq] Europe has re-aligned with the U.S. global war, and has been accepted as a junior partner in the new American world-order. The U.S.-French Security Council resolution [for cease-fire in Lebanon] is a clear example of this new alignment of the European Union’s support of U.S. hegemony…

The Impact on Israeli Protest

The fact that there is very little international pressure on the Israeli government has a direct impact on the lack of emergence of an antiwar movement in Israel. The antiwar and anti-occupation movement in Israel was always composed of two layers, as it is or was in other countries in the world. On the forefront of the mobilizations are those organizations and individuals who are motivated by moral values and political principles that fueled their antiwar sentiment and identification with the victims of oppression, militarism or colonialism…

These most radical parts of the broad “peace movement” are reacting, protesting and mobilizing from the start. [On the other hand] the mainstream peace movement always takes some time to discover that what seemed in the beginning a just and clean war, is neither just nor clean. In Israel, two elements usually fuel the opposition to war: its costs, especially in terms of human lives, and the fear of a crisis with the outside world. [But] these two elements do not work in the present context…

The international pressure that had been so effective in the 1980s and beginning of the nineties in changing Israeli war and occupation policies, has been replaced with a new pressure. The visit of the U.S. Secretary of State’s visit to Israel (in July) was intended to convince Israel NOT to stop its offensive, and to promise to Ehud Olmert that any call for a cease-fire will be vetoed by the United States. The same week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected an initiative for a cease-fire, and declared that Israel must continue its offensive in order to neutralize Hezbollah.

One of the characteristics of the new millennium is the cheap price of human blood compared to the rising price of oil....

In the last 10 years, what is known as the international community has drastically changed, and the Israeli spokespersons are well aware of these changes when they state in almost every TV show, half with astonishment half with arrogance: “this time the world (sic) is with us!”

In Israel “the world” is, first and foremost the White House. The White House of 2006 is not the White House of George Bush senior, who, in 1991, didn’t hesitate to suspend financial assistance to Israel, in order to oblige its government to declare a freeze of settlements activities.

“The world is with us,” claim the Israeli leaders, and they are right. “We are fighting an American war,” shout a few thousand antiwar demonstrators in the streets of Tel Aviv, and they are right too.

They are the usual contingent of activists, motivated by strong antiwar principles, by a strong rejection of the global non-ending war of  George W. Bush, outraged by massacres and destructions of civilian infrastructure and convinced that the Palestinian issue is the key for any just and lasting solution in the Middle East: The Women’s Coalition for a Just Peace, the draft resisters of Yesh Gvul, the Jewish-Arab Ta’ayush movement, Gush Shalom, the Alternative Information Center, Women in Black, Anarchists Against the Wall, and, of course, the Palestinian population of Israel and its political parties, mobilized in its own towns and villages but ready to join forces with Israeli Jews in the streets of Tel Aviv.

These thousands of Israelis and Palestinians are Israel’s voice of sanity and moral decency. But will they be heard by the hundreds of thousands who have been victim of an extraordinarily successful propaganda campaign that, in an Orwellian way, succeeded in transforming the oppressed into an aggressor and the most powerful state in the Middle East into a state fighting for its existence against an imaginary global threat named terror?

ATC 125, November-December 2006