[Marxism] Noam Chomsky: In Israel, a Tsunami Warning

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sat Jul 9 13:37:21 MDT 2011

According to all sources picking this up, this article, with Chomsky's 
references to Israeli 'oligarchs' , 'Southafricanization', 'collective 
punishment', 'U.S. and Israel are trying to sustain indefensible 
positions' and all, was distributed by The New York Times Syndicate - of 
all venues. Chomsky's views on Israel in the NY Times? Could it be that 
a shift finally in making?

Noam Chomsky: In Israel, a Tsunami Warning

July 8th, 

By Noam Chomsky:

In May, in a closed meeting of many of Israel's business leaders, Idan 
Ofer, a holding-company magnate, warned, "We are quickly turning into 
South Africa. The economic blow of sanctions will be felt by every 
family in Israel."

The business leaders' particular concern was the U.N. General Assembly 
session this September, where the Palestinian Authority is planning to 
call for recognition of a Palestinian state.

Dan Gillerman, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, warned 
participants that "the morning after the anticipated announcement of 
recognition of a Palestinian state, a painful and dramatic process of 
Southafricanization will begin"---meaning that Israel would become a 
pariah state, subject to international sanctions.

In this and subsequent meetings, the oligarchs urged the government to 
initiate efforts modeled on the Saudi (Arab League) proposals and the 
unofficial Geneva Accord of 2003, in which high-level Palestinian and 
Israeli negotiators detailed a two-state settlement that was welcomed by 
most of the world, dismissed by Israel and ignored by Washington.

In March, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned of the prospective 
U.N. action as a "tsunami." The fear is that the world will condemn 
Israel not only for violating international law but also for carrying 
out its criminal acts in an occupied state recognized by the U.N.

The U.S. and Israel are waging intensive diplomatic campaigns to head 
off the tsunami. If they fail, recognition of a Palestinian state is likely.

More than 100 states already recognize Palestine. The United Kingdom, 
France and other European nations have upgraded the Palestine General 
Delegation to "diplomatic missions and embassies---a status normally 
reserved only for states," Victor Kattan observes in the American 
Journal of International Law.

Palestine has also been admitted to U.N. organizations apart from UNESCO 
and the World Health Organization, which have avoided the issue for fear 
of U.S. defunding---no idle threat.

In June the U.S. Senate passed a resolution threatening to suspend aid 
for the Palestine Authority if it persists with its U.N. initiative. 
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., warned that there was "no 
greater threat" to U.S. funding of the U.N. "than the prospect of 
Palestinian statehood being endorsed by member states," The (London) 
Daily Telegraph reports. Israel's new U.N. Ambassador, Ron Prosor, 
informed the Israeli press that U.N. recognition "would lead to violence 
and war."

The U.N. would presumably recognize Palestine in the internationally 
accepted borders, including the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza. The 
heights were annexed by Israel in December 1981, in violation of U.N. 
Security Council orders.

In the West Bank, the settlements and acts to support them are clearly 
in violation of international law, as affirmed by the World Court and 
the Security Council.

In February 2006, the U.S. and Israel imposed a siege in Gaza after the 
"wrong side"---Hamas---won elections in Palestine, recognized as free 
and fair. The siege became much harsher in June 2007 after the failure 
of a U.S.-backed military coup to overthrow the elected government.

In June 2010, the siege of Gaza was condemned by the International 
Committee of the Red Cross---which rarely issues such reports---as 
"collective punishment imposed in clear violation" of international 
humanitarian law. The BBC reported that the ICRC "paints a bleak picture 
of conditions in Gaza: hospitals short of equipment, power cuts lasting 
hours each day, drinking water unfit for consumption," and the 
population of course imprisoned.

The criminal siege extends the U.S.-Israeli policy since 1991 of 
separating Gaza from the West Bank, thus ensuring that any eventual 
Palestinian state would be effectively contained within hostile 
powers---Israel and the Jordanian dictatorship. The Oslo Accords, signed 
by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, proscribe 
separating Gaza from the West Bank.

A more immediate threat facing U.S.-Israeli rejectionism is the Freedom 
Flotilla that seeks to challenge the blockade of Gaza by bringing 
letters and humanitarian aid. In May 2010, the last such attempt led to 
an attack by Israeli commandoes in international waters---a major crime 
in itself---in which nine passengers were killed, actions bitterly 
condemned outside the U.S.

In Israel, most people convinced themselves that the commandoes were the 
innocent victims, attacked by passengers, another sign of the 
self-destructive irrationality sweeping the society.

Today the U.S. and Israel are vigorously seeking to block the flotilla. 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton virtually authorized violence, 
stating that "Israelis have the right to defend themselves" if flotillas 
"try to provoke action by entering into Israeli waters"---that is, the 
territorial waters of Gaza, as if Gaza belonged to Israel.

Greece agreed to prevent the boats from leaving (that is, those boats 
not already sabotaged)---though, unlike Clinton, Greece referred rightly 
to "the maritime area of Gaza."

In January 2009, Greece had distinguished itself by refusing to permit 
U.S. arms to be shipped to Israel from Greek ports during the vicious 
U.S.-Israeli assault in Gaza. No longer an independent country in its 
current financial duress, Greece evidently cannot risk such unusual 

Asked whether the flotilla is a "provocation," Chris Gunness, the 
spokesperson for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the major aid agency 
for Gaza, described the situation as desperate: "If there were no 
humanitarian crisis, if there weren't a crisis in almost every aspect of 
life in Gaza there would be no need for the flotilla â(euro) .125 95 
percent of all water in Gaza is undrinkable, 40 percent of all disease 
is water-borne ... 45.2 percent of the labor force is unemployed, 80 
percent aid dependency, a tripling of the abject poor since the start of 
the blockade. Let's get rid of this blockade and there would be no need 
for a flotilla."

Diplomatic initiatives such as the Palestinian state strategy, and 
nonviolent actions generally, threaten those who hold a virtual monopoly 
on violence. The U.S. and Israel are trying to sustain indefensible 
positions: the occupation and its subversion of the overwhelming, 
long-standing consensus on a diplomatic settlement.

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