Greater Israel Means The End Of The Jewish State

The Israeli government is in the news again. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister of the jewish state, is angry at the Obama administration. Before christmas, the US government refused to veto a UN resolution which condemned the continuing building of jewish settlements in the occupied territories. In addition to that, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a long speech outlining a peace strategy for the long and complicated conflict, which did not seem to be in line with what Bibi and his government had planned.

Netanyahu accused Kerry’s speech to be ‘skewed against Israel’ and called the UN resolution ‘hostile and imbalanced’. He even went so far to call it a declaration of war. As a reaction, the Israeli government summoned the US ambassador for a complained on Sunday, christmas day. But if you think the US got a particularly harsh treatment, think again. Others did not just get a complaint. Israel temporarily limited diplomatic ties to 12 of the 14 countries who voted in favour of the UN resolution.

One wonders what exactly was in the resolution and Kerry’s speech that provoked such a seemingly hysterical reaction. Astoundingly the answer is, not much really. The UN resolution, which is not even binding, simply reminds Israel that it is breaking international law with its support for the settlements in the occupied territories. According to the geneva convention, which Israel has signed, it is illegal for a state to transfer its own citizens into territories that were conquered in a war. This is not new, it has been international law since 1949.

The outrage over John Kerry’s speech is even more bizarre. Kerry simply emphasised his support for a two state solution to the conflict, in which there would be a Palestinian state next to a Jewish one. Again, this is everything but new. In fact, it has so far been the official position of the Israeli government that it is committed to such a solution. So one wonders, why is the Israeli government so angry at a proposal, that has essentially been at the heart of peace negotiations for decades?

The only plausible answer is that Bibi and his followers are not working towards creating a Palestinian state. Critiques of Israel have long pointed out that the behaviour of the government does not match its commitment towards a two state peace solution. But these critiques have, for the most part, been attacked as conspiracy theorists, often with the additional label of being anti-semites.

However, the reaction of Netanyahu to the Obama administration makes it very clear now that these critiques were right all along. Israel has long given up on the idea of giving the Palestinians a state of their own. The real plan seems to be to create a Greater Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river. The settlements are there to create facts on the ground, so that there is no land left on which Palestinians could form a state.

With this, zionism, which is just a word for Jewish nationalism, is following the typical path of most nationalist movements. Time and time again, throughout history, we have seen these movements using force to expend or at least ethnically cleans territories in favour of their favoured people, suppressing and banishing unwanted ethnicities in the process. So it should be no surprise that zionism behaves like so many of its sister movements all over the planet. Nationalism proves once again to be an inherently statist and illiberal ideology.

But it looks to me like the Israeli government is overplaying its cards by aiming for a Greater Israel. There are still millions of Palestinians living in these territories. The plan of the government seems to be to make their lives as miserable as possible so that they will hopefully leave ‘voluntarily’. This however does not seem to work very well. Where would millions of these people go anyway? There are still millions of Palestinians in refugees camps who were banished during the so called Israeli war of independence. And that was almost 70 years ago. Realistically, the Palestinians in the occupied territories will not go anywhere. But if they are staying where they are, then what is the Israeli government trying to achieve? What is the end game here? Let us have a look at the options.

The worst option is to commit an outright genocide on the Palestinian population. Technically this would be no problem. The Palestinians at this point are essentially completely crushed and defenceless. And Israel has one of the strongest militaries in the world. But a genocide would obviously strip away any kind of legitimacy that Israel pretends to have. It hopefully also won’t go down easily with the majority of Israelis.

A more realistic option is to create an apartheid state, in which only Jews enjoy the full rights of citizens. This has essentially been the de facto reality in the occupied territories for decades anyway. Jewish settlers enjoy the full rights of Israeli citizens, while Palestinians live under military law. The difference is that, if a Palestinian state is off the agenda, then Palestinians will only have one other option left, which is to demand full citizenship. And history tells us that once this narrative is pushed, it will eventually succeed.

Which brings us to the last option, and most likely longterm outcome, which is a multi-ethnic state. It would mean that Israel stops being jewish. What is not to like? There are plenty of good example of such states. Israel essentially just joins the western world, which, for good reasons but with some drawbacks, since WW2 has moved away from ethnic nationalism towards multiculturalism.

Under normal circumstances there would indeed not be a problem. But nothing is normal in the middle east. These two ethnic groups clearly do not get along very well. It would take a long time to forget all the hardship of the past few decades. And on neither side I see a lot of willingness to play soft ball. Opinions within Israel seem to more and more turn to hardcore nationalism and racism. Liberal voices, pointing out the craziness of current policies, still exists, but they seem to shrink by the day. And on the Palestinian side you have lots of groups that are very open about their desire to finish what the Nazis started. Neither side has a strong Mandela like leadership figure in place that could lead a peaceful transition.

But the Jews would have a bigger problem in this multicultural solution. The Palestinians would outnumber them, which in a democracy means that they would be in charge. Given the hostilities, this would be really dangerous for the jewish population. It is this fact in particular that makes the behaviour of the Israeli government hard to understand. In the long run, their best chance of surviving this crazy statist zionist project is to do everything to create a Palestinian state and move away from explicitly calling Israel jewish. In other words, it is in their own interest to start fighting nationalism.

Unfortunately, as always in wars, statist radicals seem to be the big winners. The extreme nationalists have taken over politics in Israel and steering the ship towards an inevitable disaster. Israel will most likely go down the way of South Africa, but with a more violent ending.

At this point the question may be asked, why would anyone in England care about this. Israel is a far away country and it is just one of many screwed up conflicts, heading for a violent endgame. So why single it out. True, best advise, as always in these kind of conflicts is to stay out of the madhouse. If two groups cannot help but fight each other over some stupid ideologies, let them do it. But don’t get involved and therefore spread the conflict further and further.

The problem is that our governments have decided that Israel is an ally that deserves our help. And my greatest fear is that they will drag us right into this violent endgame. We are already the target of a lot of hate for our government’s support of this state. The sad reality is that Kerry had to wait until the end of the Obama administration in order to make a very moderate speech. That is how deeply the US government is already involved in the conflict.

This policy of support needs to end. There is nothing to win from it. In fact, the support of the US government is strengthening the hard-liners in Israel. They feel that, with such a big brother holding their hands, not much bad can happen to them anyway. It makes it difficult for them to see that they are heading for a disaster. There is almost no chance that this conflict will find a good ending. A real solution would need a correct analysis first. But such an analysis would entail an admittance that the statist zionist project was a mistake from the start.

Instead of reverting to nationalism as the solution for their very real security problems in Europe, Jews should have supported liberalism and fight nationalism. By embracing nationalism with the zionist project, they were trying to fix a problem, which was european nationalism, within the system that caused it. Since World War 2, Europe has more and more moved away from nationalism with great results. At the same time that Europe has given up on nationalism, the Middle East started to embrace it. And that has a lot to do with zionism.

A Palestinian nationalism was unimaginable before Israel. There simply was no group of people called Palestinians that would define themselves as a nation. This is the same with the Jewish nation. Prior to European nationalism, Judaism was a religion and not a nation. Now, both Jews and Palestinians have started to see themselves and nations. Interestingly, Palestinians, like Jews, have chosen religion, to be an essential part of this new nationalism. Previously, islamism was not a big problem in that particular part of the Arab world. A large number of Palestinians were christians and they got along with the jews, who always were present, just fine. Nationalism breads more nationalism which breads more violent conflicts. There can be no peace within this ideology. The only solution is to overcome it.

Avoiding Civilian Casualties is Treason

A common claim among those who try to delegitimize bombing our enemies during a time of war is that when such bombings result in civilian deaths, they constitute “murder”. This, much like every other time leftists use words, isn’t a misunderstanding of the concept represented by the word, but rather its intentional misuse, designed to cover up the left’s true agenda, and reverse the roles of victim and perpetrator.Only a monster would advocate the murder of innocent civilians. And they do. These monsters now have a presence in every major western city. But their bases are in other countries. And they have financial backers in yet other countries. These can be dealt with at any time using our far superior firepower. But we aren’t dealing with them. They hide their worst operatives and their most devastating weapons among civilians, because they know their allies in western countries will make sure they’re safe there, and accuse any country that takes the necessary action to defend its citizens in such a situation of “murder” and “war crimes”.

In every question the human mind ever attempts to answer, a valid conclusion can only be reached if the facts are dealt with within the context in which they exist. The context for the question of what actions a government should take and what actions it should avoid is the overall role of government, namely what limitations should there be on its power, if any.

In laissez faire capitalism the answer to this question is clear: government exists to protect its own citizens from force. When faced with a foreign power trying to kill its citizens, therefore, the individuals in charge of such a limited government should be limited in the scope of choices available to them. Just as they may not start a war for any interest other than the security of the country’s citizens, so they may not stand idly by while their citizens are being butchered, certainly when they have the military might needed to prevent, mitigate or end the threat.

Understanding this position also helps clarify just where those who want us to avoid killing civilians in enemy-controlled territory truly stand: firmly on the side of our enemies, no matter who those enemies are, no matter what war is being fought. Don’t let them fool you when they downplay the significance of the current wave of terrorist attacks. If we were nuked, their position on civilian casualties would be no different: we should live (or die) with the fact that our own citizens and soldiers are getting massacred by the hundreds of thousands if the only way to prevent such a massacre is to bomb a school or a hospital, and certainly if it is to nuke the enemy.

When the government faces the choice of killing civilians in enemy territory or allowing the enemy to kill its own citizens, choosing the latter is, by definition, treason.

The Collateral Damage Problem in “Eye in the Sky”

‘Eye in the Sky’ is the latest Hollywood film dealing with the wars of the American Empire. This one however, is a bit different. Other than the usual military glorification that we have seen in films like “American Sniper” or “Zero Dark Thirty”, the film actually does challenge the audience to deal with the real underlying moral problems of modern warfare.

The way the so called west fights wars these days is highly problematic. In the past, war meant that you had to send soldiers to the battlefield, where they were in real danger to die or at least get seriously injured. The advance of weapon technology has changed this more and more. The further advanced the technology became, the further away from his target the soldiers had to be. We are now at the point where, via computers and satellites, a weapon can be fired remotely from everywhere on the planet. As a consequence, bravery is no longer a real requirement to be part of the military. You can be a complete coward and still become an excellent soldier. A soldier can engage in very destructive fighting operations without any personal risk to himself. Working as a construction worker is probably a lot more dangerous than engaging in a lot of battles these days.

The lower body count is not necessarily something to celebrate. It has made war much more acceptable for the general public, to the degree that a lot of people are not even really aware that countries like the US have been at almost constant war, at least since WWII. We got a good indication of how unaware people are of this fact after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11th 2001. Most people were clearly confused that someone had attacked the US. Why did they do this? Here was this peace loving land of the free, suddenly under attack by some wild savages for no other reason than completely irrational hatred of the western lifestyle.

Of course I agree that these attacks were horrible and completely unjustifiable, but they did not happen in a vacuum. They happened in the context of a war that the US and her allies were fighting for a long time and that they arguably started. Yes, absolutely, 9/11 was an unjustifiable massacre of innocent people. But so is a lot of what western militaries do. Because the other side of this modern weapons technology is that in order to save the lives of western soldiers, more people have to die on the other side of the battle field. And that means, mostly, more innocent people.

This is one of the moral problems that ‘Eye In The Sky’ deals with. If you haven’t seen it, spoiler aler!  I might mention some detail of what is happening in the film. Although it does not matter too much, as even if you know the plot, it is still an excellent film to watch. I can very much recommend it.

The film deals with a few problems, but the main and most important moral problem that is addressed is this: The military of the US and the UK in a joint mission have spotted a few wanted members of the Al Shabaab terror group in a house in Nairobi, Kenya. Via an electronic beetle they fly a small camera into the house. Watching what is going on, they realise that there are two people in there who are preparing for an imminent suicide mission. However, they could stop the suicide bombers by blowing up the house via a drone in the Sky (hence the name ‘Eye in the Sky’). The problem is that the house is bordering on a square with a number of people. Most importantly there is a young girl selling bread right next to the house. Bombing the house would very likely kill the girl, especially since the explosion would be amplified by the explosives in the house. So the question is, is it morally OK to kill the girl (and some other people), if that prevents the likely deaths of even more people from the suicide bombers.

Probably quite realistically, the people in charge of the US military are portrayed as being a bit confused by the notion that this situation poses a moral problem that needs answering. Probably a bit less realistic is that the English side is very concerned about this moral problem. This is arguably the weak point of this film, but it is needed otherwise the problem would not be discussed, which is what the film, to its great credit, really wants to do.

In other words, the main problem of the film is the acceptability of what today is euphemistically called ‘collateral damage’. Is it OK to kill innocent people, even children, to achieve some higher goal? The film ultimately does not answer this question. But it does show a good summary of the arguments for the yes and no camp.

From a libertarian’s point of view, the answer is of course clear. It is of course not OK to kill innocent people for a greater goal. Which greater goal would that be? There is no greater goal than the life and liberty of the individual human beings. However, the question is asked in a more clever way that might get some people to become confused about what the right thing to do would be. The problem is that the greater goal in this situation is to save the lives of even more other people. So the question that is asked is, can you kill one innocent person in order to save more other innocent people.

But the answer to that question also needs to be no as well. Lives do not add up in some magical life pool. Every individual person counts on their own. And every person is only responsible for their own actions. In other words, it not only matters who gets killed, but also who kills. Is it me who does the killing or someone else. I can only be responsible for my own actions, not that of others. This is particularly true if it comes to deciding who gets killed. Yes, in the situation portrayed in the film, the terrorists would likely go on and kill some people. But they would not have killed that girl. So the person who bombs the house and kills the girl essentially takes on the role of a judge over who gets to die and who to live. Where does the authority come from to make such a decision? A person, who thinks he has that authority cannot claim he was not responsible for what happened. He becomes a murderer.

People who argue otherwise, need to make the argument, that lives do indeed add up. They would need to make the argument, that human lives are exchangeable. It does not matter who dies, all that matters is the body count. In this mindset, humans are just numbers and not individuals. However, this is exactly the mindset of every totalitarian greater good regime. That means we are going down the rabbit whole of totalitarianism.

But I do not believe that most people really do believe this. The test for it is simple. What if the girl is not just anonymous, but your own daughter or at least someone you know? Or what if it is your own life that is at stake? I bet it becomes immediately difficult to just see these people as the a number 1 in a bigger equation.

If that is true, then what is really behind the argument is just primitive tribalism. It is only the lives of my own kind that matter. Strangers however, are numbers that can be add up in simple equations. That really is the moral standard of people arguing in favour of murdering innocent people for a greater good. And we really have to overcome this standard if we want to live in a better, freer world.

War Is The Enemy Of Liberty

Admittedly, I have very little faith in violence as a problem solving tool in general. But I am not a pacifist. I do believe there is a time to fight back. If someone shoots at you, you certainly have every right to shoot back in order to avert the attack. In that sense, I really wish at least some people in the crowd that became the target of terrorists in Paris had a gun to shoot back. Even I admit that that would probably have prevented more damage and therefore to some degree solved the problem.

But we live in a world in which individuals have given up the control over their lives to Leviathan. And in Paris we could see what happens when you trust the state with your security. This however is unfortunately not the conclusion that many people have drawn from the events. The state knows how to distract the public from its own failures. There were no questions asked whether the state is the right institution for the security job. Instead the only question that was debated was how much more power do we now have to give to the state so that it can effectively deal with the problem. Bizarrely, it is rarely noticed that giving the state more power did not solve the problem last time, in fact it made it worse. And yet, once again it is concluded that this time it will work. Einstein’s definition of stupidity, trying something again and again and expecting a different outcome.

But that is the society we live in and so once again Leviathan’s big hour has come. The government has decided to solve the problem with the absolute worst government program imaginable: War. They are planning to bomb the IS. This is indeed the worst possible ‘solution’ for a number of reasons. First of all it is a moral disaster. Bombing areas in which innocent civilians are living is never morally acceptable. I am a libertarian. I believe in the maximum possible Liberty for individual human beings. That is why I reject the idea that individuals can be forced into the service of a higher good like a society. And the worst possible sacrifice to demand from a human being for a greater good is to die for it. So if you are killing innocent people in a bombing attack, then what are you fighting for? Certainly not individual liberty. That has been killed with the innocent that died.

People who support bombing areas with civilians essentially accept the moral code of terrorists. They too believe that it is acceptable to kill innocent people if only it serves a greater good. War is the arch enemy of Liberty and the health of the state. If we ever want to live in a freer society it has to be number one priority to keep the state out of wars. This is also the tradition of classical liberalism. Many classical liberals were first and foremost anti war activists. War not only completely abolishes the Liberty of those who die in it, it also makes the state more powerful in every other aspect. War sucks a lot of resources out of the productive economy into the unproductive war economy. War can only destroy it cannot build anything. It destroys not just material things and people but also morality itself. Suddenly things that seemed morally unacceptable, like killing and torture become acceptable. War also kills the political debate. People are forced to take sides. Either you are with us or you are with them. This regularly even forces state critical voices to rally behind the flag or at the very least to shut up. In order to win the war we are told that we need to surrender a lot of our other freedoms to the state. Big surveillance institutions, high taxation, capital controls, inflation, immigration controls etc. are created in war times and then more often than not never abolished afterwards.

And these are just the obvious libertarian objections to war. It also does not work from a very statist point of view. The reason the government is now supposed to fight the IS is because the last couple of wars that were supposed to solve the security problem have backfired big time. Politicians don’t like you to know about this, but the IS is of course a product of our disastrous foreign policy in the region. And at the moment, two big supporters of the IS, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are our best allies in the region. We are essentially helping the IS to fight Assad. Officially of course we are just helping the moderate opposition to Assad. The problem is this army of moderate Assad enemies does not exist. It is pure propaganda. The people that fight Assad are the IS and Al Nursra, the being essentially Al Qaida. So 14 years after the war on Terror started, we are now allies of Al Qaida against secular forces.

One could be surprised by this, if only one were to ignore what states do in general. They more often than not end up creating the opposite results of their intentions. The war on drugs has created more problems with drugs, the war on poverty more poverty. Of course the war on terror was always doomed to create more terror. And now we have a war on the IS. The IS is probably popping some champagne bottles (or whatever muslims do in this situation). Unlike western politicians, I am sure they can figure out what is coming: more IS.

It is impossible to win a war against a guerrilla army by bombing them. If you want to finish off the IS you will need to go in with lots of ground troops. But if the government did that, we would see a lot of dead western soldiers. That is because if you are fighting in the streets of a city, all your military superiority does not matter that much anymore. In that case people would see a bit more clearly what kind of nasty business war really is. And I bet, once that becomes clear, people will not support it anymore.

I am not a pacifist, but I am against state militarism. I do believe that if you want to fight for something, you have to do it yourself. If you believe that the IS is a threat to you, then fine, go ahead, take a gun and fight them. But don’t do it in my name and with my money. That is not to say that I like the IS. I think the portrayal of them as crazy savages is probably quite accurate. However, where I am, I do not feel particularly threatened by the IS. I do however feel threatened by the UK government. So I will not give the latter any more power in order to make me safe. I would be a lot more safe if the government would not try to keep me safe. And of course if you believe that that is the honest intention of the these people anyway, I have a bridge to sell you.