Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Cycle of Abuse

I have arrived in the hot and hectic Middle East and already much has happened that I need to write about, but before I see to this I have some catching up to do. I want to first tell you about my trip to Auschwitz last week.
How to begin? Well what better place than the end? The trip was concluded by visiting a memorial monument which wasn’t very impressive to be honest. It was erected in the 1960s- the worst architectural era in my opinion, and this ‘monument’ (which was basically a pile of big black bricks stacked on top of one another) only reinforced this judgment. However, underneath this sub-standard structure lay many plaques in different languages which all offered the same poignant message: 'Forever let this place be a cry of despair and warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe'. 
Unfortunately, only by glancing at the newspaper headlines we can see that many have yet to learn this lesson, especially and most surprisingly so Israel itself which was born from the genocide that was the Holocaust.
Someone once made an interesting observation to me during one of those rambling political discussions that  o' so often seem to get myself into. This unnamed person stated that the ‘cycle of abuse’ i.e. when a child is abused they often go on to become abusers when they themselves have children, could be applied to the Palestine-Israel relationship; the Jews have been oppressed by the Nazis and now they have themselves gone on to oppress the Palestinians. Child Psychologist Lisa Dunning states ‘many abused children become abusers themselves. One would think the exact opposite would be the norm, but we are what lived and if a child grows up with abuse, they are more likely to become abusers themselves.’ (
But could I be so brave as to apply this theory on a national scale? Well why not? Noami Klein did it with her theory where she identified a link between electro-shock therapy on an individual scale and disaster capitalism on a national scale in her international bestseller ‘The Shock Doctrine’ so why can’t I do something similar? Or is this statement just too controversial for people to digest?
In actual fact, I’m not the first to make the link. After much delving and seeking (well mostly googling in all honesty) I came across an article that was written by holocaust survivor Susan Weiss entitled: Israel’s apartheid: Making the Palestinians pay for Hitler’s crimes’. She argues that although there exist obvious differences between the holocaust and the occupation of Palestine, there are some striking similarities such as the ghetto walls, the genocide, the strategic starvation and depravation and the daily humiliations. Yes it’s true that Israel has no gas chambers and fundamentally Israel’s objective is not to exterminate all Palestinians for the sake of religion or ethnicity but to take the Palestinian’s homeland and property and it does so through abusing their human and civil rights. ‘Every case of oppression is unique, but the struggle for justice is indivisible. As we then fought for freedom for European Jews, we now call for freedom for the Palestinians.’ (
But how does Israel get away with it? Aside from the sensationalist propaganda that is channeled through most major Western media outlets, the Jewish Israelies often play the victim role to justify their actions through utilizing holocaust memories.
Yes, the Jewish people have been persecuted throughout history and have suffered horrific oppression and injustice, but does this justify the diet coke version of Auschwitz that Israel has created with the remaining pockets of Palestinian territory? Should this fascist manifesto that they have adopted through their imperialistic and militaristic policies to ensure Israel as an exclusively Jewish state acceptable in the world we live in today?

Saturday, 6 August 2011


Don't shy away at the theoretical title; Neo-Marxism is an easy concept to get your head around- pinkie promise!  It’s also an extremely fascinating perspective from which the Arab-Israeli conflict can be viewed and is completely different from all other theoretical frameworks. 
With a Neo-Marxist underpinning, popular academics such as Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein claim that Israel is completely Neo-Conservative in its interests; the economy is the driving force behind all government actions. From this perspective, security is not the principal interest behind the conflict as the realists and traditionalists would argue. Israel's economy is built upon homeland security technologies and it therefore serves them to be involved in constant conflict with the surrounding Arab populations; their existence relies on it. Therefore, their need for secure resources and occupy territory and their justification of being involved in conflicts as a result, is not driven by security concerns, but by economic interests. “Israel’s political situation is disastrous, but its economy has never been stronger, with 2007 growth rates rivaling those of China and India... Israel has crafted an economy that expands markedly in direct response to escalating violence.” (Klein 2007: 433).
 Klein states that Israel is currently developing the I.D. card system that is planned to be introduced into the UK (a multi-billion dollar contract) alongside developing most modern surveillance and network systems used in the majority of airports worldwide. Israel is ‘the most tech-dependent economy in the world.’ (Klein 2007: 434). They rely on their security and military technology exports to prevent other states from criticizing their policies; strong trade relations always act as a great diffuser of political criticism:

 Italy: “Listen mate, I'm not happy about all this genocide and oppression stuff with the Palestinians recently, I think you should change your behaviour, you're becoming a bit too imperialistic.”

Israel: “Yeah maybe, but anyway I was thinking that I could give you a 50% discount on security cameras for your new airport? As a sign of our friendship of course… I know you're struggling a bit to pay back those loans to the IMF and World Bank. ”

Italy: “Aw that would be amazing, your such a great friend! Listen, just forget what I said earlier about the whole genocide stuff, it doesn't matter that much.”

Israel: “No problem, just trying to help, us Westerners should stick together!”

Israel also rely on a constant conflict and threat from neighbouring countries (Palestine in particular) to sustain their economy which is greatly dependent on homeland security technologies. “United Nations observers believed that Israeli actions frequently violated UN agreements and were intended to provoke retaliation and justify their accusations of Arab hostility. (Smith 2007: 409).