Thursday, 26 June 2008

Jean Bricmont and The De-Zionization of the American Mind - The anti-US ravings of an arrogant man

Prof. Jean Bricmont of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, has an ugly paper in Counterpunch (see Counterpunch: A Neo Nazi Magazine) in which he advocates the de-Zionisation of the American mind. He deems this would have a “greatly humanizing effect on American culture” and has the gall to lecture the American people, the American Government, the “unsavory people” of the American Right and even … the American Left! All have superbly ignored the ravings of an unsufferably arrogant man for whom Americans are Zionized brainwashed fools who have relinquished self-determination to the benefit of the Lobby.

Bricmont wants Israeli’s feeling of superiority shattered and believes that “Americans have a great responsibility is doing half of the job, the one concerning kneejerk U.S. support.” One can only guess who should be doing the other half of the job. Another ominous remark: “And that is also why it is easy to dismiss its strength by saying, for instance, that, obviously, Jews don't control America. Sure, but direct control is not the way it works”. There we go!

The Israel Lobby by Walt and Mearsheimer pales in comparison with the violent and contemptuous anti-American (not to mention Jews and Israelis) tone of Bricmont’s paper. His great achievement is that every single sentence smacks of smugness, self-importance and contempt - the give-away words “hate” and “hatred” crop up ten times ...

The Professor also pairs up with Martial Demunter to give sparsely attended “cycles of conferences” in Brussels on “The USA, Zionism and Israel” while Demunter holds forth on “Guilt and Holocaust Manipulation”! A nice pair.

Here are some excerpts from How to Deal with The Lobby, The De-Zionization of the American Mind

“… the level of hatred that leads a large number of people to applaud an event like September 11 is peculiar to the Middle East. Indeed, the main political significance of September 11 did not derive from the number of people killed or even the spectacular achievement of the attackers, but from the fact that the attack was popular in large parts of the Middle East. That much was understood by Americans leaders and infuriated them. Such a level of hatred calls for explanation.

And there can be only one explanation: United States support for Israel. It is indeed Israel that is the main object of hatred, for reasons we shall describe, but since the United States uncritically supports Israel on almost every issue, constantly praises it as “the only democracy in the Middle East” and provides its main financial backing, the result is a “transfer” of hatred.

Why is Israel so hated? (…) the basic cause lies in the very principles on which that state is build. There are basically two arguments that have justified establishing the State of Israel in Palestine: one is that God gave that land to the Jews, and the other is the Holocaust. The first one is deeply insulting to people who are profoundly religious, like most Arabs, but of another creed. And, for the second, it amounts to making people pay for a crime that they did not commit.

Both arguments are deeply racist, with their claim that it is right for Jews, and only Jews, to set up a state in a land that would obviously be Arab, like Jordan or Lebanon, if not for the slow Zionist invasion. This is illustrated by the “law of return”: any Jew, anywhere, having no connection with Palestine whatsoever, and not suffering from the slightest persecution, can, if he so wishes, emigrate to Israel and easily become a citizen, while the inhabitants who fled in 1948, or their children, cannot. Add to that the fact that a city claimed to be Holy by three religions has become the “eternal capital of the Jewish people" (and only them) and one should start to understand the rage that all this provokes throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

It is precisely this racist aspect that infuriates most Arabs, even if they do not have any personal connection to Palestine (if they live, say, in the French banlieues). This situation delegitimizes the Arab regimes that are impotent in the face of the Zionist enemy and, after the defeat of the region's two main secular leaders, Nasser and Saddam Hussein (the latter thanks to the US), leads to the rise of religious fundamentalism. (…)

What protects the Israel lobby is the fact that anyone who would denounce an opponent funded by the Lobby as a quasi-agent of a foreign power would immediately be accused of anti-Semitism. In fact, imagine that Big Business is unhappy with the current U.S. policies (as it well may be) and wants to change them--how could they do it? Any criticism of Lobby influence on U.S. policy would immediately trigger the anti-Zionism-is-anti-Semitism accusation. (…)

Associated with this identification comes a systematically hostile view of the Arab and Muslim world, which both increases the lobby's effectiveness and is in part the result of its propaganda. Despite all the talk about anti-racism and “political correctness”, there is an almost total lack of understanding of the Arab viewpoint on Palestine, and, in particular, of the racist nature of the problem. It is this triple layer of control (selective funding, the anti-Semitism card, or rather canard, and the interiorization) that gives the lobby its peculiar strength. (And that is also why it is easy to dismiss its strength by saying, for instance, that, obviously, Jews don't control America. Sure, but direct control is not the way it works.) (…)

What should the Left do? Well, simple: treat Israel as it did South Africa and attack the Lobby. The reason Israel acts as it does is that it feels strong and that, in turn, is for two reasons: one is its “all-powerful army” (currently being tested in Lebanon, not conclusively yet); the other is the almost complete control over Washington policy-making, specially the Congress. Peace in the Middle East can only come when this feeling of Israeli superiority is shattered, and Americans have a great responsibility is doing half of the job, the one concerning kneejerk U.S. support.

Now, there are, in principle, two ways to do that: one is to appeal to American generosity, the other is to appeal to their self-interest. Both ways should be pursued, but the latter is not enough emphasized by the Left. (…) Also, if the United States were to distance itself from Israel, it would pursue policies opposed to the traditional ones, and far more humane. The other problem is that a large part of the Right (from Buchanan to Brzezinski) correctly sees American interests as being opposed of those of Israel, and the Left (understandably) does not like to make common cause with such people. But if a cause is just (and, in this case, urgent) it does not become less just because unsavory people endorse it (the same argument applies to genuine anti-Semitic hostility to Israel). The worst thing that the Left can do is to leave the monopoly of a just cause to the Right.

The Left cannot expect the American people to change radically overnight, abandon religious fundamentalism, give up oil addiction or embrace socialism. But a change of perspective in the Middle East is possible: the strength of the lobby is also its weakness, namely the naked king effect-everybody fears it, but the only reason to fear it is that everybody around us fears it. Left alone, it is powerless. To change that, one should systematically defend every politician, every columnist, every teacher, who is targeted by the lobby for his or her views or statements, irrespective of their general political outlook (to take an analogy, act as civil libertarians do with respect to free speech). (…)

Rolling back the lobby would necessitate a change of the American mentality with respect to the people of the Middle East, and to Islam, like ending the Vietnam war required a change in the way Asians were looked at. But that alone would have a greatly humanizing effect on American culture. (…)

It is true that a change in the U.S. policy with respect to the Israel-Palestine conflict would change nothing about traditional imperialism-- the United States would still support traditional elites everywhere, and press countries to provide a “favorable investment climate”. But the conflict in the Middle East, involving Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, has all the aspects of a religious war-with Islam on one side and Zionism as a secular Western religion on the other. And wars of religion tend to be the most brutal and uncontrollable of all wars. What is at stake in the de-Zionization of the American mind is not only the fate of the unfortunate inhabitants of Palestine but also unspeakable miseries for the people of that region and maybe of the rest of the world. The ultimate irony in all this is that the fate of much of the world depends of the American people exercizing their right to self-determination, which, of course, they should.”

See:
Israel on trial in Brussels: Iranian and Syrian Ambassadors give standing ovation to judges

1 comment:

Bob said...

Great post. You might be interested in my (overly long) piece on CounterPunch's editor Alexander Cockburn here: BobFromBrockley: Alexander Cockburn and CounterPunch

I found you via Engage comments, and am now going to have a browse through your archive

b