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Issue 634 Articles:

Academic Freedom

Full Report: SmashEDO Carnival

Marie Vesco RIP

Guinea Pigged



A La Dust Carte

Socpa Pitch

Wild West Bank-Job: Israel at 60

Wheels of Fire

Whale of a Crime

Cull to Arms


Home | Friday 6th June 2008 | Issue 634

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Despite the fanfare and the foreign dignitaries, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and the his ruling coalition were a little distracted during the recent ‘Israel at 60’ celebrations. The events, staged to celebrate 60 years of racism and expulsion coincided with the PM being busted on massive allegations of corruption. And not just yer “oh yer honour it was just an accident, I meant to pay taxes/ declare my properties/ register my interests etc. Nope, Olmert’s been caught with his hand in the till - receiving huge bungs of cash in brown envelopes while he was mayor of Jerusalem. Demanding hundreds of thousands of quid in used notes, he’s proved that he’s not just bent but old school bent. You don’t get corruption of that calibre in the UK outside the Premier League.

This scandal, which has threatened Olmert’s job and further cut away some more of Israel’s tattered threads of respectability, comes not more than three months after the erstwhile Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, had to stand down from his job as representative of the Jewish State after facing charges of rape. After the initial victim came out after suffering from years of abuse, no less than 10 women came forward to give evidence. The Israeli chief prosecutor judged that there was enough evidence to also charge him with sexual assault, bribery, illegal wire-tapping and obstruction of justice.

With leaders like these (and these aren’t exceptions to an otherwise squeaky clean rule- Sharon only escaped property fraud convictions by conspiring to give himself a massive brain haemorrhage) it is small wonder then that, despite all the propaganda, many Jews and Israelis who never questioned the Occupation or the Nakba are beginning to wonder whether a rapist and a crook really are the best representatives of the race and religion that is Judaism.

A cynic (or a Palestinian) might say that rape and fraud are fitting traits for Israel’s leaders, or that these crimes are small fry compared to the forced uprooting of over 800,000 people (60 years ago - all cheer together, hip hip, horray!) and the killing of some 5,000 people (this decade, so far). But that would risk charges of anti-Semitism by those confused types who identify peoples with states. No state represents its people.

Nevertheless, as the revelations come out (£150 grand in cash was just the tip of it), Olmert has got so scared that he’s even begun to threaten to make peace with Syria, maybe. Although virtually all Israeli political elites compete amongst themselves over who can come out with the most belligerent threats against their Arab and Islamic neighbours, the Israeli public have recently rediscovered the attraction of a negotiated settlement with their neighbours after receiving a thorough arse-kicking from their “by eck it’s grim up north” neighbours Hezballah.

The fact is that the Israeli army just isn’t looking like the efficient victory machine it once did. Having gained a reputation for winning a war a decade, forty years of acting as a colonial police force to the Palestinians has softened the IDF’s fighting edge. Having got used to shooting stone throwers and bulldozing Bedouin camps, they’re just no longer prepared to deal with enemies who shoot back. Even in Gaza, where despite trapping Gaza’s entire population of 1.4 million in an area slightly smaller than the Isle of Wight, they still can’t stop rocket attacks or even make the slightest dent in the control that the Hamas movement has over the territory. But desperate to secure a military victory and still seeing the lands to the east as a kind of Wild West (Bank) ripe for conquest and exploitation, the military machine has taken a life of its own. Since its birth 60 years ago Israel has been one of the world’s most militarised societies, its population conditioned to violence and paranoia. This is can be seen in the sheer number of gun-totting ‘civilians’ who walk around the centre of Jerusalem armed to the teeth.

As Israel’s young are herded through the military meat grinder, as they serve on the checkpoints and conduct armed raids on homes across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israelis have discovered that it’s hard to leave an occupier’s mindset at the checkpoint. The checkpoint mentality comes home with the soldiers: friends, co-workers, families, lovers all come to be seen through the prism of a potentially hostile ‘other.’ Walls, alarms, panic buttons, gated communities and armed responses follow, dividing people into ever smaller (and more manageable) groups.

Israelis who are able to think outside of the state’s military-educational box say that the Anarchists are the only group in Israel who hold what is the majority opinion of the world - ie, that the Occupation is wrong and it’s madness to chose to live in a permanent state of war. Unfortunately however, for the majority of Jewish Israelis a hard-line nationalism is the consensus, eagerly goaded by a government desperate to distract from its own failures by clamouring more loudly for blood.

It’s always good to remind the Israeli anarchos that they’re not alone. Why not swing by and join them in some wholesome anti-occupation fun.




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