"The attacks of Sept. 11 were set in to motion by Islamism's sense of theological supremacy, by its loathing of modernity, and also by revulsion at the American presence on the Arabian Peninsula"
Jeffrey Goldberg put some serious thought in to these words he is after all, an "expert" on the Middle East and as Michael Massing, an editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, put it, "the most influential journalist/brglogger on matters related to Israel"
Goldberg writes this in the latest issue of Bloomberg Business Week, a respected journal of the US bourgeois. He goes on to say that the US presence on the Arabian peninsula , "was deemed by US policymakers" to be "vital to a functioning world economy."
But Goldberg is not qualified to write objective commentaries on the Middle East, he is a mouthpiece for US corporations justifying their looting of the region's resources. He is a Zionist and served in the misnamed Israeli Defense Forces as a prison guard during the First Intifada. Perhaps Bloomberg would consider Mullah Omar writing up a piece about the Afghan War or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lecturing us on the situation in the Middle East; it might be somewhat different than the Goldberg version.
I am no fan of Mullah Omar and Ahmadinejad, and the rise to power of both can in many ways be attributed to western interference in the respective areas, but the attacks of September 11 certainly cannot be explained away by Goldberg's omission of the truth .
Firstly, the idea that Islam has any more of a "sense of theological supremacy" than any other organized religion is nonsense. All organized religions possess a "sense of theological supremacy" over their rivals, and if there should be a 1st prize for the commission of violence in pursuit of Nirvana, Paradise or whatever you want to call it, Christianity must surely take it.
Christian Zionists support Israel because they believe the final conflict between good and evil will take place there and their messiah will return to earth at that point. Those who accept this messiah as the creator of all things will get first dibs on a place in heaven. Jews and other pagans that don't accept this will rot in hell. The Jewish alliance with these folks is a deadly one.
Jews on the other hand believe that they have a pact with their god, and that their god selected them as the "chosen" people and even gave them a chunk of land with inalienable right to its ownership above anyone else that might be living there. Islam is no different than any other religion in its sense of "supremacy" in divine affairs. All organized religions, regardless of all the talk about tolerance, are inherently intolerant and divisive. Every believer believes their god is divine and everyone else's man made.
As for modernity, it is politics that has overcome the backward archaic sexist tendencies of organized religion. Organized Christianity in the US, Islam in Saudi Arabia, Judaism in Israel; these backward forces are always trying to impose their conservative views on society. Israel may well be a very secular country but watch Kadosh, to see their religious fanatical elements at work. The inability of capitalism to develop the former colonial Arab world and the unholy alliance between US imperialism and Islamic regimes (Saudi Arabia etc) is one of the main reasons that Goldberg's "modernity" has not not taken root in the religious culture of these states. But look at Lebanon that was once the jewel of the Arab world. And the US overthrew a secular democratic government in Iran in 1953 in order to prevent the Iranian people from having more independent control over their oil industry. In replace of this movement toward democratic ideals, the US installed the murderous Shah who, like Saddam Hussein, eliminated all opposition with the help of the CIA. If you want to find the source of the rise of the Theocracy, the Pentagon is a good place to start.
The events of September 11th were a product of US foreign policy, from the Middle East and beyond to Afghanistan and Pakistan; a foreign policy that deems the Arabian peninsula important not because US capitalism cares about a "functioning world economy" in the way a worker would care about it. "US policymakers" as Goldberg calls them, "deem" the Arabian Peninsula important because profit is to be made there; it is profitable for US capitalism.
People starve in their millions despite an abundance of food, or at least the means to produce it. Millions die from diseases cured long ago because capitalism refuses to build the social infrastructure that can provide clean water, sewage systems and public health care that prevents disease. US "policymakers" don't "deem" to have a presence there.
The destabilizing factor in the Middle East is US capitalism and its Zionist proxy. Goldberg refers to the Zionist regime as "America's neurotic, if plucky Jewish friend", a shining beacon of democracy in what he claims Americans see as "a landscape of tribalism, autocracy, upheavel and religious fundamentalism". But it is the expansionist policies of this colonial settler state and the brutal and racist treatment of the indigenous inhabitants, that is at the heart of the matter, that is the the elephant in the room that Goldberg, in his role of propagandist, obscures with attacks on Islam and Arabs.
I do not intend to make this a detailed history of the conflict since the founding of Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel but we only have to read the writings of Zionists themselves to understand their intentions that the Palestinians understand so well. Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism stated, "We shall try to spirit the penniless (Arab) population across the border by procuring employment for it in transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country."
In 1921, Dr. Eder, a Zionist Commission member stated, "that there can only be one National Home in Palestine and that a Jewish one, and no equality between Jews and Arabs, but a Jewish preponderance as soon as the numbers of the race are sufficiently increased.."
From the beginning the Zionist aim has been to expel through violence and intimidation, the Palestinian population in order for the Jews, according to a Messianic idea, to occupy the land god gave to them. Two events contributed to the growth of Zionism, which was a predominantly middle class or petty bourgeois ideology not popular with the European Jewish working class. These were the degeneration of the Russian revolution and the rise of anti-semitism in the Soviet state and the Nazi's slaughter of some 6 million European Jews. These events gave Zionism and the creation of a Jewish homeland other than the countries they were already in, some life.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1 British imperialism needed a foothold in this area from which it could control its interests and the idea of a Jewish state gained popularity. In 1924, the Balfour Declaration opened the door to the possibility of a European Jewish state in Palestine. Neither British or later on US imperialism, could rely in the Arab ruling classes in the region given the revolutionary potential of the Arab masses. Bringing European Jews in to the region was the better option. The first British governor of Jerusalem, with the Irish experience in mind, said that a Jewish state in the region would be the creation of "our little Ulster in the Middle East."*
But we should keep in mind:
The Balfour Declaration was made by:
(a) A European power
(b) about a non -European territory
(c) in flat disregard of both the presence and the wishes of the native majority resident in that territory.
Gandhi said of the conflict in 1938, "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French....What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct....". **
The theft of Palestinian land and their expulsion continues to this day and the support of this process by the US and Americans like Goldberg is at the root of anti-Americanism and the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist groups.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that Jews have always lived in this part of the world and that they have a right to live there in peace and security. But the policy of Zionism is one of increased immigration of non Arab Jews to ensure that the Muslim Arab population are displaced, that the area is "ethnically cleansed". Goldberg a so-called expert on the Middle East, makes no mention of the brutal policy of ethnic cleansing in Israel. He mentions nothing about Gaza. Madonna went to Israel and, like many of these celebrities, never went to Gaza, one of the world's largest outdoor prisons.
Goldberg says not one word about the illegal settlements built on occupied Arab land either or that the settlers are right wing religious fanatics, neo-fascists. Here's a short interview with a couple of them.
The argument that Jews have a right to Palestinian land based on occupation of it 2000 years ago or that god gave it to them should be given no serious consideration whatsoever. We must also reject the idea that Zionists put forward that Arab, Palestinian or Muslim opposition to Israel has anything to do with anti-semitism of the European variety; it is an opposition to the theft of land, ethnic cleansing and colonial violence.
Here in the US we have the most controlled and censored media of all the advanced capitalist economies. So many of us have not the slightest idea of the role the US government plays abroad. What September 11, 2001 should have taught us is that we can no longer continue to ignore what our government does in our name. And as for Goldberg and his Middle East history, we have to reject it for the propaganda that it is and condemn it if we want to show a different American face to the rest of the world. This is the best way to fight "terrorism."
* Ulster comprises the six northern counties of Ireland still under British occupation.
** Quoted in A Land of Two Peoples, edited by Mendes-Flohr and reprinted in "The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict" published by Jews For Justice in the Middle East.
More reading on this issue:
Zionism in the age of the Dictators: Lenni Brenner
Zionism, False Messiah: Nathan Weinstock
Original Sins: Benjamin Beit Hallahmi
It's also worth reading Norman Finkelstein: The Holocaust Industry. There is an interesting interview with him here
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