The idea that an understanding of the genocide, that a memory of the holocausts, can only
lead people to want to dismantle the system, is erroneous. The continuing appeal of
nationalism suggests that the opposite is truer, namely that an understanding of genocide has
led people to mobilize genocidal armies, that the memory of holocausts has led people to
- The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism by Fredy Perlman
I have seen lots of folks brandishing Palestinian flags at demonstrations lately. Flying flags from cars,
flourishing flags during marches, dancing down the street with flags at the protests. Superficially, it
was exhilarating to see a displaced people, (many, though certainly not all, of the flag wavers were
Palestinian), expressing solidarity with their oppressed brethren half a world away. On a deeper
level, it was profoundly disturbing. I kept flashing back to all those televised welcome-home parades
at the end of the Gulf War. My fellow Americans were also waving their flags with a wild
enthusiasm. Ultimately, flags are more deadly than bullets. A bullet can kill only once; a flag induces
a mass hysteria that can kill millions.
Don’t get me wrong. I completely support the Palestinian people and their struggle against the
continuing atrocities of the Israeli government. However, support for the people is not the same as support for a bloody corrupt dictator and a handful of religious fanatics. Fanatics who have no respect for their own peoples lives.
Neither Yasser Arafat nor Hamas want peace. Neither does George Bush, nor Ariel Sharon nor any other political leader. They all need the violence to continue in order to maintain their own power; having an external enemy induces insane levels of patriotism. Insane patriotism is the most effective method to divert domestic discontent from the State, as well as generating enormous revenues. If there is to be peace in the Middle East, it will have to be made between the Palestinian and Israeli people and not by their respective governments. Governments are what got them into this mess in the first place.
Direct Actions are already taking place among both the Palestinians and Israelis who are demanding
a just peace and government reforms. Earlier this year, a coalition of Israeli peace groups attempted to break the siege of Ramallah with food and medical supplies. There are over four hundred and sixty refusniks from the Israeli Defense Force who have refused to serve in the occupied territories.
Recently, several hundred Palestinian academics and professor’s convened a National Peoples congress in
Ramallah to call for new elections of the Palestinian leadership, legislative council, and local authorities.
After the immediate Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and the dismantlement of the illegal Zionist settlements on the West Bank that were responsible for sparking this latest intifada, most see a two-state solution as the only answer. The Palestinians will have their own state, consisting of the West Bank ad the Gaza strip. This will co-exist with the present, though smaller, Israeli state.
What about a no-state solution? Self determination for everyone, no borders, police, or soldiers. A right-of-return for both Jews and Palestinians.
A no -state is more practical than two-state solution,. As distasteful as this is for the left to admit Israel can never have lasting peace as an independent nation. Not, because Israel is inherently evil, but because Aaramco, Exxon, British Petroleum, and Royal Dutch Shell have a personal investment in a continuous, low-level conflict. The corrupt oil oligarchies in the Middle East need an Israeli foreign devil in order to stabilize their own governments. The multi-nationals need that stability to keep the oil flowing. The global corporations that Israel has always thought of an ally are in fact an enemy.
This conflict is not unique to Israel/Palestine. There is a greater number of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka than in Israel. There are wars and insurrections presently taking place in Sierra Leonne, Sudan, Bolivia, Afganistan, and Iraq. All of these conflicts have two things in common – the leaders on one or both sides are using the conflict to maintain their domination over their own people and some corporation is making, or hopes to be making, a lot of money from them
We can no longer continue to put all our efforts into these political struggles. No matter which side wins,
the people always lose. Only after we destroy Global Capitalism, here in the United States
as well as abroad, can we have a lasting peace – in the Middle East or anywhere else.
Well, I have already stated that some good is occasionally accomplished by political action —
But I am abundantly convinced that the occasional good accomplished is more than
counterbalanced by the evil; just as I am convinced that though there are occasional evils
resulting through direct action, they are more than counterbalanced by the good.
– Direct Action by Voltairine De Cleyre