Left.ru ________________________________________________________________________________
"Israel's Willing Executioners"

By Edward Herman

It should be obvious that the above title is an oxymoron, because Israel is good, only a victim, not a victimizer, besides which Israel is a U.S. client and friend. So an invidious phrase like "willing executioners" can no more be applied to Israel than the words "terrorism" or "ethnic cleansing."

This is all internalized by mainstream politicians, journalists and editors, and intellectuals as part of an integrated structure of thought. Terrorism is what the Palestinians do and what Arafat is responsible for ending; the Israeli army and settlers, in clearing Palestinians off their lands to permit Jewish settlements, have only been--settling--and preventing terrorist responses to settling.

What can be more reasonable, especially as the Bible shows that these lands are for the chosen people and that Midianites, Canaanites, and now Palestinians can be removed according to the word of God?

So if these people being removed, and sometimes killed in the process, object very strongly and eventually start to immolate themselves in suicide bombings--terrorizing to achieve their ugly design of non-removal--certainly it is reasonable to deal with them as the chosen people dealt with the Amorites, Hittites, et al.: "thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them" (Deuteronomy 7).

This was God's instruction, and the ongoing counter-terror, if it utterly destroys and shows no mercy, is situated in a great tradition. Currently it is designed to remove the "nests of terrorists" and to teach a lesson to people who harbor terrorists
and who object to their own steady displacement by chosen-people settlers.

Thus if the UN brazenly proposes sending observers to the cleansed West Bank towns, who will in their biased fashion and with their "humanitarianism" focus on what happened to the nests of terrorists, what can be more reasonable than that the
democratic government of the chosen people tell them:

NO, you cannot come, especially with a team that fails to understand about terrorism and terrorist nests and the need to eradicate these, with terrorism properly defined. The threat of these observers sticking their noses into business that doesn't concern them has helped unify the chosen people behind their valiant leader, Ariel Sharon.

Besides, these criticisms of Sharon and Israel's attack on nests of terrorists are clearly part of the "rising tide of global anti- Semitism." This tide has nothing to do with anything Israel has done that is reprehensible and unjust, because the world, or
at least the Bush administration, U.S. mainstream media, and Tony Blair, acknowledge that we only retaliate to terror, we never terrorize, although occasionally we make mistakes, like everyone else.

There may have been soldiers in Jenin, Nablus and Bethlehem that vandalized, and bombs that missed their targets, but these were rogue individuals, and regrettable errors; the Israeli army is humane and believes in human equality as it protects the chosen people. We all know how biased everybody has been against Israel all these years and favorable to Arafat and the Palestinians.

On the other hand, it might be argued, in the light of Israel's leveling of much of the West Bank, and killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians, and given that Israel is a democratic state- -at least for Jews--that the open, informed support of Sharon by the Jewish populace makes the Israeli people truly "willing executioners."

As Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has said, "Any people that commits such deeds in open defiance of international law and the vehement condemnation of virtually the entire international community consists of individuals with damaged faculties of moral judgment and has sunk into a moral abyss from which it is unlikely, anytime soon, to emerge unaided" ("A New Serbia, New Republic, May 10, 1999).

Of course, Goldhagen was writing about Serbia. But in that case, and even more clearly in the one he featured earlier, Nazi Germany, the people were far less free and less informed, so that their "willingness" to support the deadly acts of their government is much less clear than in the case of Israel.

The Israelis know what is being done to Palestinians on the West Bank, they have long been able to read about the institutionalized torture of Palestinians in their papers, and they are well aware of the character and scope of the recent devastation and killings, yet despite significant dissent they openly approve, vote brutalizing governments into power and keep them there. Sharon's popularity has risen in the wake of his "war" on the Palestinian refugee camps and cities. The prima facie case is that the Israelis are more clearly "willing executioners" than the Germans or Serbs.

Of course, we know why this is wrong, and why, by rule of deep bias, even if the Israelis were to import used gas chambers from Germany and started to push "terrorists" in, Goldhagen would never find the Israelis willing executioners and the U.S. establishment would find the action a matter of legitimate "self defense." But a comparison of the Serb/Israel cases has enlightening features.


The Israelis claim to suffer from "antisemitism" and an anti-Israeli bias, as much of the world outside Israel and the United States finds the operations of the Israeli army outrageous and criminal. The U.S. mainstream media report these Israeli sentiments objectively.

In the case of the Serbs, by contrast, although Serbia was subjected to severe sanctions from the early 1990s, was the target of the Tribunal organized by the NATO powers, and was eventually attacked and bombed for 78 days, the complaints of Serbs that they were suffering from an "anti-Serb" bias was repeatedly sneered at in the U.S. media as

It was the media consensus that the Serbs were cry-babies, who were not willing to face up to the fact that they had done ugly things and deserved to suffer themselves. Roger Cohen in the New York Times speaks of Milosevic having "only one theme: Serbian victimhood and self-defense" (July 1, 2001); a theme certainly preeminent for the U.S. media.

New Humanitarian Michael Ignatieff, a Harvard professor of human rights and media favorite, expressed it, "The myth of Kosovo Polje began the story of Serbian self-pity, and self-pity has justified crime down the centuries" ("Only in Truth Can Serbs Find Peace," Calgary Herald, June 26, 1999).

No such thoughts appear in the media as regards the Israelis, although the Israelis are whining even though still protected by the Godfather and subjected to no sanctions or any penalties whatsoever, and the naming of the attack on refugee camps by the fourth largest army in the world "Operation Defensive Shield" elicits not a word of ironical comment.

Israelis whine and complain of antisemitism at mere criticism of their ugly behavior, which is the culmination of REAL and long-term ethnic cleansing. But as a U.S. client, the media not only don't notice; no references to "self-pity," and they treat the Israeli whining and talk of "self defense" as legitimate and even making valid points.


The Israelis have suffered serious casualties from suicide bombers, although Palestinian casualties from Israeli assassinations and raids have recently exceeded Israeli casualties by three to one or better (it was far higher in earlier years).

In Kosovo, the Serb army, police and civilians also suffered serious casualties in the ongoing civil war prior to the NATO bombing war, with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) trying to provoke the Serbs in order to induce NATO intervention. The Serb army and police did retaliate, and killed and turned into refugees quite a few Kosovo Albanians. Their retaliatory actions did induce escalating NATO interventions, just
as the KLA desired.

Suicide bomber killings have helped justify Sharon's war on the West Bank refugee camps and towns, and a number of Israeli analysts have made a strong case that a number of his "targeted assassinations" were DESIGNED to induce a Palestinian response, to assure continued warfare and eventually allow him to fulfil his objective--to crush the Palestinian authority and society to protect and possibly expand the occupation of Palestinian lands.

He could get away with this because his wholesale terror against a civilian population, in contrast with Serb actions in Kosovo, would NOT induce a NATO or any other international response. He could devastate and kill freely, although global civil society would not like it.

The media and New Humanitarian responses to the two cases have of course followed and rationalized the U.S. policy of protecting the ethnic-cleansing Israeli state, allowing it to be responding to terrorism, but not allowing the Serbs to be doing the same.

The Serbs were terrorizing civilians, the Israelis are going after terrorists. This purely political bias was well captured in a statement by Michael Ignatieff. Discussing the case where the KLA murdered six Serb teenagers in Kosovo, Ignatieff said:

"Doubtless a KLA provocation, intended to goad the Serbs into overreaction and then to trigger international intervention. The Serbs responded by killing 45 civilians in Racak in mid-January. The international community duly intervened. Yet it is worth asking why the KLA strategists could be absolutely certain the Serbs would react as they did. The reason is simple....only in Serbia is racial contempt an official ideology"

We may note first that for Ignatieff the KLA killings were only a "provocation," not a murderous act to be severely condemned. Can you imagine Ignatieff speaking of a Palestinian suicide bombing being only a "provocation" with a focus on the Israeli "overreaction" rather than on the tragic act itself? Note also that although there is serious evidence that the Racak incident was arranged into a "massacre" following a furious battle, and is therefore of questionable authenticity, Ignatieff
takes it as unquestionably valid.

On the certainty of the Serb reaction, provocations such as those carried out by the KLA produce similar responses in civil conflicts everywhere, so that Ignatieff's blaming it on Serb racism is nonsensical for that reason alone.

But it also flies in the face of Serb tolerance of Albanians in Belgrade, along with the Roma--in contrast with Kosovo Albanian intolerance of both in NATO-occupied Kosovo--and the German Foreign Office finding that the actions of Serb security forces in Kosovo were "not directed against the Kosovo-Albanians as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent and its actual or alleged supporters."

But can you imagine Ignatieff or the mainstream media suggesting with a
sneer that Sharon's response to a suicide bomber provocation was entirely predictable because Sharon WANTED a provocation, even provoked it himself, in order to carry
out a planned assault on Palestinian civil society?

And that this willingness to respond with violence was based on racist bias? Not imaginable, though based on compelling evidence of racist bias as "official policy," and a plausible scenario.

The deep-structured bias internalized by Ignatieff (and most mainstream pundits) makes it possible to smear the Serbs on misrepresentations of fact and nonsensical reasoning, but an analogous argument supported by evidence is ruled out for Israel, just as the idea of Israelis being "willing executioners" is outside the bounds of proper thought.


The Serbs were induced to allow up to 2,000 OSCE monitors into Kosovo late in 1998, under threat of U.S. bombing. The OSCE mission was headed by William Walker, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador under Reagan, who had been severely condemned in Jesuit publications as an apologist for the Salvadoran murder of six Jesuit priests in 1989, and who gave evidence of serious bias as a supposedly neutral observer of human rights violations. But Milosevic accepted this mission, and protested when it was withdrawn just before NATO resorted to its bombing war.

Kofi Annan and most of the world have thought that the occupied territories needed an international armed presence, to protect the Palestinians and possibly also to help contain suicide bombers (on the logic that the introduction of such a force, and evidence of some international concern for Palestinians, would strengthen Palestinian authority, but more importantly, give desperate Palestinians some hope of relief and improvement).

But Israel and the United States have objected, therefore no armed personnel have been introduced. And not even aninvestigative body can be admitted to the occupied territories.

The rules are simple. Push around civilians who the United States chooses to protect, or claims to be protecting, and you must admit monitors, no matter how biased and even if they are helping arrange for a future military assault. This may not be enough if U.S. officials decide that a country "needed a little bombing" (as a State Department official said about Yugoslavia).

But if you are a favored U.S. client, you may kill freely, ethnically cleanse, even in legally "occupied territory" in which the cleansed civilians are "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and you will not even be subjected to investigation, let alone having to suffer a foreign armed presence or monitors, let alone being bombed! And the Godfather will even increase your funding as you escalate your ethnic cleansing!

This is the New World Order system for settling disputes and bringing
justice to the peoples of the world.

May 09, 2002

Your opinion