[Marxism] From the desk of Reuven Kaminer

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 24 16:04:28 MDT 2010

(This includes a discussion of the one-state solution being raised 
recently. I plan to write about this myself in a day or two.)

Unlimited Distribution             Excuse Multiple Copies

 From the Desk of Reuven Kaminer   July 24, 2010

The Pearlman Affair

The GSS (General Security Services), or the Shin Bet, is the Israeli 
intelligence service apparatus devoted to the formulation and the 
execution of policies designed to perpetuate the repression against 
Palestinian Arabs, especially in the occupied Palestinian territories. 
However, the Palestinian Arabs, citizens of Israel, who comprise a fifth 
of the Israel’s population, are also objects of the GSS attention.

Israeli expansion, annexation and expropriation have been at the heart 
of government practice since the establishment of Israel in 1948. Even 
so, there have always been dangerous, extremist circles which operated 
to the right of the government. These circles constantly attacked the 
various governments for not being consistent in ousting the 
Palestinians. The settler right argued that the ruling circles do not 
have the courage of their Zionist convictions. In short, the government 
was faulted for hesitating to carry out the full maximum program – a 
land of Israel, without Arabs.

Since 1967, there has been a consistent increase in the numbers and 
varieties of right-wing extremist groups. Their main base is in the 
settlements, where they are routinely issued guns and other military 
equipment, for the ostensible reason of “fighting terror.” Some of them 
are distinguished writers and academics while there is no shortage of 
activists who are clearly as nutty as a fruit cake. Many are “nice” 
souls trying to implement values with which they have been imbued from 
childhood. But, the main point is that they are all convinced that full 
redemption is just around the corner - if the regime and the citizenry 
would only dare to get on with the job.

There are two matters that require our attention at this point. Firstly, 
the settlement framework means that there are literally thousands of gun 
toting fanatics who believe that the redemption is right around the 
corner. Most of them are deep within the interstices of the IDF and the 
settler communities. They are not law abiding citizens but an angry 
constituency who fears that even Netanyahu could sell them down the 
river. Secondly, what they are saying is not too far from the core 
beliefs of Israeli society. There may be tactical differences with the 
establishment, but the settlers have a surefire technique how to easily 
overcome mainstream hesitation. The settler vanguard knows that in case 
of any serious clash between the Arabs and the settlers, the majority of 
Jews will ignore the real causes, as they line up with their Jewish 
brethren fighting the good fight for “our” land.

Now, any government that does not want the settlers to be the ones to 
set the time to embroil it into a major confrontation is advised to keep 
its eyes and ears open. This is why we are all protected here in Israel, 
in addition to our nuclear devices and our NATO size army, by the GSS in 
general and specifically by its Jewish division (GSS-JD). In order to 
feel really secure and safe, let us recall that it was the criminal 
negligence of the security pros in this unit who ‘guarded” Yitshak Rabin 
in a fashion that made him easy prey for assassination by a right wing 
fanatic back in 1995.

Ha’aretz military correspondent, Amir Oren, informed his readers this 
week that the current head of the Jewish division of the GSS makes his 
home in a settlement on the east side of the green line.

This helps me to illustrate that there may be differences between the 
GSS detachment monitoring the Jewish extremists in matters of form, and 
style and discourse, but there is a lot of spiritual symbiosis between 
the Jewish division and the objects of its attention. It is this 
mutuality of goals and aspirations that is at the heart of the inability 
of the Jewish division to function with a semblance of efficiency. Again 
and again, their operations tend to end up in a farce and a debacle.

The main strategy of the ultra-right is to find and exploit every 
opportunity for violence, open or hidden, to attack, maim or even murder 
Palestinians who are guilty of being Palestinians. So the announcement 
at the end of last week that the GSS was holding one, Chaim Pearlman, 
for a number of murders and attempted murders might have been greeted 
with some satisfaction. But it became clear right from the start that 
the GSS-JD just cannot get anything straight. Pearlman it turns out is 
fully prepared for the arrest. He has the services of on call legal 
counsel and his experienced buddies have prepared him with a bag of 
tricks to counter attack. Chaim, it appears, is well known to the GSS. 
He has worked for them, and received money. His line of defense is 
ready; he is being persecuted and falsely charged because he has 
rejected GSS overtures to continue to work for them.

Pearlman’s backers, the well known Meir Kahana disciples, Baruch Marzel 
and Itamar Ben Gvir, began immediately to distribute videos to the 
media. They had in their possession a lengthy video of a GSS 
representative, disguised as a right wing militant, trying to convince 
Pearlman to perform specific acts of violence. Pearlman, aware that 
everything was being taped, lectures the GSS-JD agent about how he 
restricts himself to legal political work. At one point, the 
representative of the GSS, unaware, of course, that he was being filmed 
and staring right into the camera, tries to convince Chaim to carry out 
a joint project with him in which they would assassinate Sheikh Ra’ad 
Saleh. Saleh just happens to be the head of the northern section of the 
Islamic movement and probably the most influential individual in the 
Palestinian community in Israel.

The media are still sitting on this bombshell and waiting to see if the 
GSS will get an indictment. This is quite a technique that the GSS is 
employing. You try and entrap a terrorist suspect by enticing him into 
murdering a prominent Palestinian figure who enjoys the respect and 
admiration of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. 
Pearlman was free and on the loose at the time of the interview and 
could have conceivably tried to do something important for the cause. 
And the GSS feeds Pearlman with the idea of a project to murder a 
prominent Israeli Palestinian Islamic leader.

At this point Pearlman is being held on the basis of a court order, 
remanded while the GSS lawyers work on an indictment. But the clumsiness 
and ineptitude of the GSS has made the whole operation seem ridiculous. 
One can evaluate GSS efficiency from the fact that the three murders 
ascribed to Pearlman occurred as far back as 1998!  There were, it seems 
some more murders and attempted murders between 1998 and 2004. The GSS 
which fell down on the job for years and years is now made out to appear 
vindictive since the arrest comes after Perlman refused to go to work 
for them and simply stated, the fascists are having a field day making a 
mockery of the GSSJD.

The left, for its part, is hardly surprised that the regime is so 
confused and disorganized when it comes to imposing the rule of law 
against the ultra-right. There is simply no clear line between 
principles commonly held by the extreme right and between the core 
political beliefs of many ranking GSS officers who are, supposedly, 
combating their illegal activities. In their arguments with the GSS 
apparatus, the theorists of the radical right sense that they hold the 
moral high ground. It is not hard to understand why the armed settlers 
roam the occupied territories with the sense that “God is on our side?” 
Unable to employ the brutal methods that are standard operating 
procedure against Palestinians, the Jewish Division flounders and 
bungles on with inefficiency and deadly negligence.

There are reliable accounts to the effect that the GSS has violated 
constitutional rights of many of the right wing activists. In principle, 
the left could deem itself obliged to denounce such violations as, per 
example, the denial of the rights of the defendant to meet with his or 
her lawyer. The same methods and many more are commonly used against 
Palestinians. The difficulty lies in the fact that more often than not, 
the clash between the radical right and the GSS is a chapter in an 
ongoing sham. We do not have even the most minimal information on the 
active network of connections and ongoing manipulation that characterize 
the constant large scale cooperation and mutual understanding between 
the two forces who work together against the Palestinians and their most 
basic rights. In this nether world of hatred and oppression first and 
foremost against Palestinians as Palestinians, much of what transpires 
as antagonism between the right and the GSS is far from being what it 
appears to be. The overall impression is that any crack down by the GSS, 
when and if it occurs has something to do with settling accounts. Though 
civil rights people will find it necessary to condemn certain high 
handed and even brutal practices, employed here and there against the 
radical right, it would be naïve to believe that we have the full and 
complete picture that would enable us to determine exactly the sources 
of these clashes. But both these operations are different arms of the 
same ruling regime. The GSS and the organized fundamentalist radical 
right thrive on deceit and prosper on lies. And more often than not 
their resources are pooled in coordinated efforts. Very few, if any, 
democratic principles are involved.

A New Gimmick - Occupation With Equality

No serious observer of the Israeli political scene ascribes any 
significance whatsoever to a new highly publicized flurry of 
publications emanating from right wing circles. For the journalist, ever 
in search of a new angle, these circles are supposed to represent a sea 
change in basic attitudes regarding the rights of the Palestinians in 
the occupied Palestinian territories. The evidence for this is that a 
number of right wing politicians came out for a one state solution based 
on equal rights for the Palestinians. Of course, there is no real 
program, and not even the semblance of an organization. Just a rather 
quaint list of right wingers who seem to be willing to make some limited 
concessions on their way to the imposition of complete, sovereign, 
control of all of the land of Palestine, the Land of Israel.

The best guess as to the reason for this wave of sensitivity among right 
wing annexationists for “equal rights for the Palestinians” appears to 
be linked to the ‘legitimacy crisis”. The existence of such a crisis is 
now part of the received wisdom of Israeli political discourse. Many 
semi-official experts (PR people, pollsters, analysts) have joined 
forces to impress the public that the deligitimization of Israel is the 
greatest threat, bar none, to the very existence of Israel. This is of 
course a rather superficial way of looking at matters, but even so, 
anyone can see that there is some truth to it. Israeli policy and 
actions have destroyed the last vestiges of sympathy for Israel the 
whole world over. But official Israel would have Israel’s growing 
isolation seen as matter of imagery, public relations and unfair coverage.

There are some annexationist politicians intelligent enough to 
understand that they need some sort of answer to the obvious objection 
that they meet with regularly. People have asked them what is supposed 
to happen after the annexation of the territories. Therefore, it has 
occurred to some of them that they need an answer to the objections 
against pure Israeli control, and so they came up with the idea of 
Israeli citizenship for all. None of them see any need to grapple with 
the fact that they have turned their back on the principles of democracy 
and equality absolutely essential in addressing the basic rights of the 
Palestinians. The individuals concerned (a few leading lights of the 
right, several MK’s and a former minister) reject, without exception, 
any solution of the Palestinian refugee problem or the inclusion of Gaza 
and its people as part of the new one state entity. None of these people 
have ever uttered a word of compassion and regret regarding the 
imposition of decades of suffering and degradation on the Palestinians 
under occupation. You do not even have to read the fine print. It’s a 
gimmick from the beginning to the end and almost all readers’ responses 
noted that the “plan” is based on the unilateral imposition of a new 
form of occupation. One can be certain that the inevitable resistance to 
the ‘approaching unilateral generosity’ will be suppressed with the full 
might of the Israel Defense Forces.

This being clearly the situation, it was rather strange to see that a 
number of Palestinians and their friends rose to take the bait. One 
outstanding example is Ali Abunima, the editor of the Electronic 
Intifada. Abunima makes almost every conceivable mistake as he totally 
misreads the map and the significance of the latest gimmick. Believe it 
or not, for Abunima, the print splashed on a weekend supplement is, no 
more and no less than an important sign that the Israeli occupation is 
crumbling. Not only the occupation, but the entire Zionist edifice is 
shaking to its foundations.

“This awakening can be likened to what happened among South African 
whites in the 1980s. By that time it had become clear that the white 
minority government's effort to "solve" the problem of black 
disenfranchisement by creating nominally independent homelands -- 
bantustans -- had failed. Pressure was mounting from internal resistance 
and the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

By the mid-1980s, whites overwhelmingly understood that the apartheid 
status quo was untenable and they began to consider "reform" proposals 
that fell very far short of the African National Congress' demands for a 
universal franchise -- one-person, one-vote in a nonracial South Africa.”*

This attempt at a parallel interpretation of current events and South 
Africa before the end of Apartheid is so far off base as to almost 
eliminate any need for rebuttal. First of all, it exhibits a total and 
complete misunderstanding of Israeli politics and the power structure in 
the country. Secondly, it shows a strange inability to analyze current 
reality. The South African ANC was basically united and enjoying 
international prestige and respect. Unfortunately, the movement for 
Palestinian national liberation is deeply divided, in a deep crisis and 
the Palestinian Authority has lost all authority. Part of the 
Palestinian cause has been literally taken over by the military and 
economic direct control and influence of the United States, which also 
acts as a surrogate for Israeli interests. The US and Europe in its wake 
refuse to impose any genuine curbs on Israeli control and expansion. I 
could go on and on, but Abumima’s entire conception is obviously 
dictated by wishful thinking. He is so enthusiastic over the meager 
incomplete reflections of a handful of chauvinist politicians that he is 
close to declaring victory. Sadly, he is hopelessly wrong and conceptual 
narrowness has led him far astray from genuine contact with political 

Abunima goes on to define this week end supplement gimmick as a major 
development furthering the cause of a one state solution.

You see, the Israeli right and the militant Palestinians really want the 
same thing. It is only a question of terminology.

“The proposals from the Israeli right-wing, however inadequate and 
indeed offensive they seem in many respects, add a little bit to that 
hope. They suggest that even those whom Palestinians understandably 
consider their most implacable foes can stare into the abyss and decide 
there has to be a radically different way forward.

We should watch how this debate develops and engage and encourage it 
carefully. In the end it is not what the solution is called that 
matters, but whether it fulfills the fundamental and inalienable rights 
of all Palestinians.”

*Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One 
Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. This 
article first appeared on Al-Jazeera English and is republished with 

One is left with deep concern that our “one staters” have become the 
last bulwark of sterile dogmatism. If Abunima sees the statements of 
this almost random collection of Israeli annexationists as a serious 
political development, he will be sorely disappointed. One has the 
impression that his opposition to a two state solution and his dislike 
of the Zionist left has seriously impaired his critical faculties.

Reuven Kaminer
POBox 9013
Jerusalem 91090
Israel 972 2 6414632

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