August 4, 2014

ZIONISM IS NATIONALISM:

Israel, Trapped by Nationalism (Pankaj Mishra, 8/03/14, Bloomberg View)

Israelis are right to claim that their country is unfairly singled out for acts of self-defense, such as the most recent invasion of Gaza. Many of its critics may not even be aware of the killing in 2009 of 40,000 Tamils, mostly civilians, by the Sinhalese-dominated army in Sri Lanka's civil war, or the subsequent electoral triumph of ruthless religious majoritarians.

Still, even a broader, nonpartisan view will find Israel among the nations where the political mood of the majority, manipulated by opportunistic politicians, has turned bellicosely nationalistic. The latest Gaza war suggests that more Israelis are entering what the Israeli writer David Grossman calls a "cruel and desperate bubble," terrifyingly obedient to its "law of violence and war, revenge and hatred."

Ironically, Israel, which is blessed with a robust high-tech sector, also embodies the greatest contradiction today between the imperatives of old-style territorial nationalism and a modern globalized economy. Take, for instance, the cancellation of several European and U.S. flights to Tel Aviv after a Hamas rocket landed near Ben-Gurion International Airport. This was correctly seen as economically damaging by a country that relies upon extensive trade outside its Middle Eastern neighborhood.

Indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the dynamic Israeli economy a cornerstone of his security policy, the fragile pillars of which include Palestinian disunity, the isolation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, and steadfast support from the U.S. Congress, if not the White House. Yet even those who agree with Netanyahu that Israel faces an existential threat still have to answer the hard question: Can his ambitious edifice survive the new world disorder?

No.  The Palestinians are a nation too.
Posted by at August 4, 2014 7:16 PM
  
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