Palestine and the Asymmetric Value of Life


Criticism of the behaviour of the modern nation state of Israel is hampered by history and the political domination of the rightwing. Modern Israel pursues a rampant nationalism, (i.e. ‘Zionism’), which is – like all variants of bourgeois nationalism – racially motivated and culturally bias. Anti-Semitism, of course, that is the irrational hatred of a race of people, existed prior to the rise of the Christian movement, but has been encapsulated and preserved in that theology, down to the present day. Anti-Semitism, as a manifestation of a bourgeois sham (designed to separate the international working class and make it fight amongst itself), should not be confused with the legitimate criticism of the political, cultural, and military behaviour of the modern state of Israel. The behaviour of Israel, is not the behaviour of all Jewish people that live in the world, but is rather the historically conditioned unfolding of brutal oppression as developed and perpetuated by the international bourgeoisie. Modern Israel behaves in a thoroughly rightwing and intolerant manner, whilst people of the Jewish religion, often face a continuous anti-Semitism from the Christian right (and its supporters), which is in reality simply another branch of the international bourgeoisie. This apparent contradiction and disunity amongst the ruling classes signifies a conflict premised entirely upon the myth of religion. The contradiction and paradox mounts up when it is understood that Christianity is historically a branch of Judaism, and has strove to artificially distance itself from its mother-religion by embracing anti-Semitism. Early Christians were counted as Jews, until their behaviour resulted in their expulsion from the Jewish religion. Whereas at one point these Jewish-Christians would have been the victims of anti-Semitism, following their systemic break with Judaic officialdom, the Christians deliberately aligned themselves with anti-Semitic racism, and this perspective of prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance, has served as a foundation for the development of theology and church policy to the present day. This racist mind-set has been compounded by the Christian pursuance of the Judaic belief in the god-given ‘specialness’ of its adherents. Judaic adherents believe that they form the ‘chosen people’, as do the Christians – who were rejected out of this ‘specialness’. Christianity has had to re-define its ‘specialness’ by making it available to anyone (Judaism does not proselytise), through the socio-psychological and cultural pressure of ‘conversion’. Whereas within Judaism it is believed that only those born ‘Jewish’ are saved, Christianity has developed the counter-myth that only those who ‘convert’ to Christianity will be ‘saved’.

The problems that the modern state of Israel represents, does not require the use of anti-Semitism to convey. From a purely dialectical perspective, the situation is clear-cut, particularly when the words of Marx are remembered, and religion is taken as the basis for all ignorance oppression. The history of religion, that is the history of imagined realities, is the unfolding of mythology mistaken as fact, throughout human society, and which influences its continued development. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are all facets of the same theological mythology. The Jewish Rabbis had reduced polytheism to monotheism, and created the notion that those who were born as ‘Jews’, were simultaneously born ‘special’, and that all those not born within Judaism, were subsequently ‘not special’, and by implication, ‘not blessed by god’. The founders of Christianity and Islam – Yeshua Ben Yoseph (Greek: Jesus Christ), and Mohammed – were both Jewish reformers who took-on the collective ‘specialness’ applied to the Jewish people, firmly onto themselves as individuals. This megalomania led to obsessive faith in select individuals, by followers who fought one another to prove that their particular ‘prophet’ was the most ‘special’, or indeed the ‘only’ special human communicator with a god that no one else could see. Judaism rejects Christianity and Islam as false teachings perpetuated by rebel Jews who attempted to distort the ‘true’ teachings of Judaism into nothing less than a personal fetish. In other words, the fetish of group religion is reduced to the fetish of individual religion, and this irony remains unobserved by the ‘faithful’ in both camps. Jewish resistance and antagonism toward the adherents of Christianity and Islam, is premised solely upon the foundation that these two religious pathways distort rabbinical and biblical teaching. It is an attack on other religions justified through the theology of a vengeful god. It is interesting to note that Christianity attacks both Judaism and Islam for exactly the same reason, as does Islam in its attacks upon Judaism and Christianity. Each of these three inter-related religions all advocate an exclusive ‘specialness’ for their own adherents, that due to its intolerant core, ensures that each generation either completely intellectually dismisses the relevance and validity of the other religions, or openly attacks and destroys their physical presence in the world – quite often both responses are pursued simultaneously. As theology represents a psychological cul-de-sac of an imaginary take on the world, it’s totalitarian and hierarchical statements can never be proven as ‘real’, but which can be continuously fought over by one generation to the next. The conflict and violence is real, whilst the theology that causes it is false.

Modern Israel is a direct product of European – specifically British – imperialism. Following WWII, and the subsequent shock of the Nazi German holocaust against European Jewry, the British bourgeoisie that ruled Palestine, without taking into account the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants, arbitrarily separated the country in half and allowed the modern state of Israel to be established in a predominantly Islamic country. Due to the situation in war-torn Europe, people of Jewish origin migrated in their thousands to this newly founded state – this included survivors of the Nazi death-camps. Almost immediately the Islamic population protested and was ignored by the Western powers of the international community. The modern state of Israel, in the meantime, was financially and militarily supported by the USA and Western Europe, and would eventually be given nuclear weapons. The Palestinians, supported by the Soviet Union and other Middle Eastern countries, gathered arms and periodically launched campaigns of open warfare against Israel, but failed to achieve the objective of reuniting their country, Israel, after-all, was materially supported by the advanced capitalist countries, whilst Palestinians lived in a state of abject poverty, having to face the daily presence of heavily armed and aggressive Israeli soldiers at checkpoints and on street corners. Israeli and Palestinian relations have more or less continued in a spiral of death and destruction which has seen the routine exchange of tit for tat torture, kidnap, and murder. The impoverished Palestinians struggle to retain a grip on their own country, whilst Israel continues to build settler-homes (exclusively for Jews) upon Palestinian land.

Young Palestinian children, and youths are routinely maimed and killed by the Israeli military forces. The Western bourgeois media virtually ignores these regular occurrences – deeming them unworthy of reporting. However, whenever an Israeli child or youth is maimed or killed, the Western bourgeois media immediately springs into action with an indepth analysis of the situation and the people involved. The Palestinians are always presented as ‘terrorists’ and the Israelis as otherwise ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’ victims of a pointless violence carried-out by members of a morally bankrupt religion. The tragedy of the three Israeli youths found dead recently, has initiated this sentimentalist response from the Western media, which has begrudgingly, and as an after-thought, also reported that the body a dead Palestinian youth has also been discovered. The message is clear – the value of life ascribed to an Israeli is greater than the value of life ascribed to a Palestinian. Although it is exactly the same ignorant religiosity that underlies all bourgeois thinking and behaviour, the matter is complicated by racism and political expediency. Sixty years ago, political policy was openly dictated by anti-Semitism, which was the norm throughout Europe. Today, the political policy of the USA and Europe is dictated through the auspices of Islamophobia. The lurking religiosity of Christianity can be seen to be behind these two policies of hatred. When all the historical issues surrounding imperialism and colonisation are taken into account, it is the Judeo-Christian mythos of ‘specialness’ that fuels religious and secular nationalism and racism. As Islam (Palestine), is a threat to the hegemony of Judaism (Israel), the life of an Israeli will always be viewed as significantly more valuable to that of a Palestinian.

With the religious notion of ‘specialness’ comes the inevitable shadow of ‘victimhood’. When the notion of religiously inspired specialness is criticised, deconstructed, or condemned for whatever reason, those who believe that they are divinely ‘lifted up’, through its auspices, immediately and habitually condemn the criticism as an ‘attack’ and resort to the counter-strategy of assumed ‘victimhood’. Victimhood and specialness form two-sides of the religiously minted coin – one can not exist without the other. Physical and psychological suffering, imagined or otherwise, is unnecessarily fed through the Judeo-Christian religious filter (including Islam), so that even the assumed mantle of ‘victimhood’ becomes yet another manifestation of religious inspired ‘specialness’. It is a cycle of irrationality preserved and conveyed within the structure of theological teaching. The Judeo-Christian religionist is of the opinion that his ‘specialness’ is greater than any other distinguishing mark in life, and that his suffering is more authentic, worthwhile and legitimate than that experienced by any other individual or group. Indeed, as the bible conveys, to be ‘special’, is to be a ‘victim’, and although Israel is undoubtedly an imperialist presence which oppresses the Palestinians (with the complicity and aid of the bourgeois West), nevertheless, it is equally true that both the Jewish Israelis and the Muslim Palestinians both perpetuate religious ignorance as legitimate aspects of national characteristics. The impoverished and disadvantaged Palestinian Muslim stands in stark contrast to the privileged and all-powerful Israeli Jew – whilst both sets of religionists continue to claim a special divine rite, whilst simultaneously asserting that each is a ‘victim’ of history and circumstance.

Any attack upon Israel, or Israeli interests, is automatically interpreted by the Israeli state as being motivated by ‘anti-Semitic’ sentiment, and no distinction is made between these acts, and those that are genuinely ‘revolutionary’ in nature. This is how the propaganda of the Israeli state deliberately conflates and confuses genuine anti-Semitism with genuine revolution. This is a prime example of bourgeois conservatism at work, which reduces all progressive criticism and action against it, to the level of blatant anti-Israeli racism. This appeals to the contradictory nature of Western Bourgeois sentiment that since the end of WWII has officially followed the line of condemning racism, whilst actually continuing to perpetuate it around the world, through the vehicle of Christian theology, or its secular form as found within modern politics and commercial interests. As the Western bourgeoisie reject the excesses of its Nazi German branch, it behaves in a manner where it feels it must continuously support the victims of those excesses – namely the followers of Judaism and the modern state of Israel. This unconditional bourgeois support may be broadly described as ‘rightwing’, and noted for the fact that it varies to a considerable degree in its sincerity. This unconditioned support is countered (on the right) by various racist, nationalist, and Christian fundamentalist groups, (which for one reason or another) oppose the existence of Judaism and the Israeli state, etc. Although the unconditioned support for the modern state of Israel from prominent factors of the bourgeois right is politically and militarily powerful, such support, however, is not unanimous. This situation may be juxtaposed with the progressive and bourgeois political left, which more or less unconditionally supports the Palestinian cause. The left views the Palestinian people as being the victims of imperialism and colonialism, and varies in its proposed solutions to the problem. At one end of the scale there is the establishment of a peaceful co-existence between Israel and Palestine, possibly with geographical area that is now left of Palestine recognised as a sovereign state, and its people protected by international law. At the other end of the scale there is the idea that Israel as a state should be severely economically, politically, and militarily punished for its behaviour in the Occupied Territories, and even that the state of Israel itself should be dissolved and the Israeli population moved elsewhere. It is interesting to note the similarity in many of these policies between left and right – policies which not unjustifyingly, often attract the accusation of anti-Semitism as a motivating force. If Israel was removed as an influencing factor in Palestine, the immediate issue of Palestinian freedom would be solved. However, a Palestine free of Judaism is a Palestine full of Islam. The Palestinian people may be politically free in one sense, as they may pursue self-determination, but remain entirely shackled to the self-limiting theology of Islam, that has its roots within Judeo-Christian religiosity. Without the Marxist transcendence of religiosity in Palestine – and the equal freeing of Jewish and Muslim workers – replacing one religion with another does not solve the issue of historical oppression of the international bourgeois over the international proletariat. As long as religion rules the roost, the worth of human life will always be asymmetric in Palestine, and religious hatred will ensure that one massacre always follows on from another without end. This is the price humanity has to pay for a contrived ‘specialness’ on earth that only ever exists within the human imagination.

The modern state of Israel, although geographically small, (around half the size of Wales), is significant for the West as it represents a symbolic European presence in a predominantly Arabic area. Anti-Bolshevik, British imperialism created the conditions for the migration of millions of Jews from Soviet Russia, who were adamantly opposed to Marxist-Leninism, and the establishment of a Socialist state in pursuance of the development of Communism. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 set the agenda for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, a British plan which was implemented from 1917 onwards, but which received official government backing in the early 1920’s via the so-called ‘Mandate of Palestine’, which was nothing other than the League of Nation’s attempt to define and justify European imperialism. The Arab authorities in Palestine continuously refused to grant permission for the mass migration of Jewish settlers into their country, and were never consulted in the eventual partition of Palestine by Britain and the United Nations in 1948. The wishes of the Arab population of Palestine were completely ignored by the UN in their planning to establish an Israeli state premised upon the Israeli nationalism (Zionism). As the USSR supported the Palestinians as an ‘oppressed population’, the USA supported the state of Israel as a representative of European capitalism in the Middle East. Any opposition to the establishment of what amounts to a Western backed pro-capitalist, and highly militarised colony in Palestine, is immediately equated with anti-Semitism in the USA and Israel, even though such a criticism is based upon the legitimate observation and interpretation of historical fact, and is not, in anyway, premised upon racial or religious bigotry. In fact the establishment of the state of Israel by the United Nations can be viewed as the continuation of the anti-Semitic policy of removing otherwise integrated Jewish populations from mainstream European life, and ghettoising these populations in a single, small state in an obscure part of the world. Creating the modern state of Israel in Palestine also ensures that the transplanted Jewish populations are under continuous cultural and military pressure. This precarious situation is ‘balanced’ by every illegal act carried-out by the Israeli state being ignored and going unpunished, whilst the West throws limitless amounts of money and arms, whilst a priori supporting every action the Israeli authorities take against a terribly impoverished, Palestinian population. The existence of Israel also serves as a great ‘de-stabiliser’ in the Middle East, which is designed to create doubt and insecurity in the area, and serve as a platform for European foreign policy. Despite the pretence of secularism, Western religiously inspired imperialism can be clearly perceived in the case of the relationship between the West and Israel. When the bible is used to justify and interpret reality, conflict between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’ is the inevitable result.

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