From American Occupations to European Detention Camps
September 22, 2015—However they want to address the issue, most people are horrified at the refugee crisis now besetting Europe, with its scenes of chaos, conflict, and desperation. Yet in Israel, at least one high official sees in it not horror, but hope. As Rania Khalek has reported:
“Dore Gold, director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, expressed optimism that the refugee influx will shift Europe to the right, making it more sympathetic to Israel’s ‘security’ justification for its ongoing colonization of Palestine.
‘Israel always faced the problem in the past that its national security perspective was completely out of sync with how Europeans were viewing the emergence of the European community and the borderless world that was emerging,’ the American-born hardliner told The Jerusalem Post.
‘In the European models that existed 25 or 30 years ago, it is kind of difficult to hear an Israeli argument. But now things may be beginning to change a little,’ posited Gold.
‘The European perspective is beginning to sound a little bit more like Israel’s perspective on security issues, compared to what it was in the past.’”
This is hardly the first time a top Israeli politician reveled in the great misfortune of an “ally,” hoping it will engender tighter identification with Israel. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, The New York Times reported the following:
“Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ‘It’s very good.’ Then he edited himself: ‘Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.’ He predicted that the attack would ‘strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.’”
Sharing Israel’s perspective seems to have a self-reinforcing quality. The US response to the 9/11 attacks that Netanyahu welcomed — 14 years of widespread, non-stop war and intervention in the Muslim world — is what caused the European refugee crisis that Dore Gold welcomes today.
(Note that throughout this essay, by “Israel” I mean the government and not its Jewish subjects. Any anti-Semites reading this looking for support for their bigotry can go jump in a lake.)
Like Israel (and often through Israel), the US has long projected colonialism and militarism upon countless Muslims, whether through direct force, proxy wars, clandestine subversion, or puppet dictators.
Like Israel, the US suffered terroristic blowback as a consequence.
Like Israel, the US responded with massive, indiscriminate violence and conquest, compounding the original problem of colonialist militarism, and leading to further blowback.
European governments have participated in that violence, and now they are also partaking in the blowback as waves of war refugees wash up on their shores.
As a result, scenes are now playing out in Europe very similar to everyday life in “Greater Israel” (Israel proper plus the Occupied Territories in Palestine): crowds of unarmed Muslim men, women, and children being chased, beaten, rounded up, herded, penned, and cage-fed like animals.
It is a vicious cycle and a cycle of viciousness. The more we adopt Israel’s perspective, the more we adopt its policies. The more we adopt its policies, the more we adopt its problems. The more we adopt its problems, the more we adopt its perspective. And around we go.
Of course Israel has done far more than passively serve as a model for US policy. By leading the drive toward a war on Iraq, its neocons and Israel Lobby actively grafted Israel’s foreign policy onto America. The long propaganda campaign diverted the post-9/11 rage and hysteria into a catastrophic war on an Israeli strategic rival that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to American security.
On top of those killed, the Iraq War displaced millions, many of whom fled to Syria. There they joined hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who themselves, their parents, or grandparents were driven from their homes long ago by Israel directly.
Unfortunately for them, Syria is also hated by Israel. So, Israel-firsters in Washington have since helped make Syrian regime-change official US policy. In pursuit of that policy, the government has fomented and armed a rebellion that has plummeted Syria into a devastating civil war.
Actually, it would be more apt to call it an invasion than a rebellion or civil war, as the leading “rebels” are predominantly international Sunni jihadists, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which is a branch of Al Qaeda.
That is how completely Israel-firsterism has hijacked the post-9/11 American rampage. In the latest stage of that rampage, the US has taken the side of Al Qaeda, the perpetrators of the very attacks that triggered the rampage in the first place, in order to overthrow yet another regional rival of Israel. This goes beyond “sympathy” to enthrallment.
As a result, displaced millions are pouring out of Syria (including many originally from Iraq and Palestine). And these comprise a huge part of the refugees pouring into Europe.
Western powers have been subverting, bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim countries non-stop since 9/11 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc), just as Israel has long subverted, bombed, invaded, and occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and more.
And now in Europe, governments are caging displaced Muslims and contemplating tyrannical measures to maintain “security” and “demographic purity,” just as Israel has done to the Muslims it has displaced within its own jurisdiction since its inception.
Moreover, the ultra-nationalism and Islamophobia that has afflicted Israel especially since 2009 is now on the rise throughout the West, stoked in Europe by the refugee influx and in America by the atrocity films of ISIS: that spawn of the Iraq War.
Western governments have always been imperialist, and the Israeli government has always been a colonial appendage of the West extending into the Middle East. This was true even before its founding, when its paramilitary precursor trained under the wing of the British Empire. But now the tail is wagging the dog, and the Western imperial core is being radicalized by the demands of its militant frontier outpost.
The Washington-led West is becoming ever more like an occupying Global Israel, forever paranoid, exclusivist, imperious, and warlike. And it is turning the Muslim world from Mali to Pakistan into a occupied Global Palestine, its people forever bombed, corralled, and at times driven to desperate violence.
War is remaking the world in Greater Israel’s own ugly image. It is therefore no wonder that homicidal racist colonialists like Benjamin Netanyahu and Dore Gold feel more comfortable in the brutal new world they helped create.
How will this impact the US-Israel special relationship? Share your thoughts below!