Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bush's War on Terror and George Soros's Criticism of it are Both Wrong

Bush's War on Terror and George Soros's Criticism of it are Both Wrong

As popular disapproval of Bush's and Israel's War on Terror grows, a number of intellectuals and former government officials are forming a kind of "loyal opposition" around a criticism of the Bush (and Israeli) administration that is profoundly wrong and misleading. The most recent examples of this that I've seen are an op-ed by billionaire financier George Soros August 31 in the Boston Globe titled "Blinded by a concept" and an article by Boston University Professor Andrew Bacevich on the first page of the same newspaper's previous Sunday "Ideas" section, titled "No Win." Both articles take the form of advice to the Bush and Israeli administrations about how they could better achieve their goals if they pursued them differently and more intelligently. These authors spell it out the way a professor would give advice to a not-too-smart student.

According to Soros, "the United States has become less safe since Bush declared war on terror" and "there will be no end to the vicious circle of escalating violence without a political settlement of the Palestine question." Soros wants Bush to understand that there are more sophisticated ways to deal with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah than militarily attacking them and killing many innocent civilians in the process thereby causing these groups to gain rather than lose support. For example, he writes,

Looking back, it is easy to see where Israeli policy went wrong. When Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, Israel should have gone out of its way to strengthen him and his reformist team.

In fact, as we know, Israel did the opposite. In particular, Israel helped ensure Hamas's electoral victory by making its so-called "disengagement" from Gaza a unilateral act that made it seem a victory for Hamas's violence instead of a victory for Abbas's negotiating skills as it would have seemed if carried out as part of a negotiated deal.

Bacevich's main point is that "the age of Western military dominance in the Middle East appears to be ending" and therefore a "new strategy" is called for. He says,

For both the United States and Israel, the real issue is not how to defeat the Islamist way of war but how to circumvent it, rendering it irrelevant.

In this vein Bacevich recommends not fighting wars we cannot win and relying instead on Cold War-style "containment," seeking non-oil energy sources, police work to deal with terrorism, and "patiently nurtur[ing] liberalizing tendencies within the Islamic world..."

Soros and Bacevich and others like them implicitly accept as a premise what is in fact not credible: that the U.S. and Israeli governments want to protect their citizens from harm, that they want to defeat terrorists, and that they want peace. There is no persuasive evidence to support this premise and tons of persuasive evidence to refute it. Indeed, all of the "loyal opposition" articles devote pages and pages of very convincing arguments with fact after fact to show how U.S. and Israeli government policies fail to achieve their stated aims.

These authors never address the obvious question: if our leaders keep doing things that achieve the opposite of their stated goals, then why not make the logical inference that their actual goals are not their stated ones?

I believe the answer to this question is that people like Soros who are wealthy beyond imagination do not want to tell the world that the social system that makes their wealth possible depends on the very wars and insecurity that its political leaders only pretend to oppose; and that university professors like Bacevich, whose careers depend on the favor of the very rich, don't want to destroy their careers by exposing the truth either.

There once was an intellectual, however, who let the cat out of the bag. Here's how George Orwell discussed the social control function of war in his 1984:

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and has been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three superstates, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This -- although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense -- is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.

The role of war today in "help[ing] to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs" is exactly the point that Soros and Bacevich either fail to grasp or (more likely, in my opinion) don't want to acknowledge. As the politicians running the U.S. and Israeli governments have made quite evident by their actions, their purpose in waging the war on terror is not to win it, but to keep waging it for, as Bush even admits, "generations." Their purpose is not to protect "their own" people from terrorist violence but rather to keep them in that "special mental atmoshphere" so they will be afraid of such violence, will look to their government for protection, and will obediently give up whatever liberties the rulers of our hierarchical society ask them to give up.

Ordinary people are talking about this more and more. Mention how war is being used as a form of Orwellian control these days and people nod their head in agreement. It's not such a hard concept to understand. Yet our "loyal opposition" pundits act as if they never heard of the concept. They want us to believe the modern version of the naive idea that was expressed by peasants in Russia who, believing that the Czar was a benevolent man who would certainly make their miserable lives better once he learned how bad they suffered, lamented "If only the Czar knew." If only Bush and Olmert knew the right way to achieve peace and end terrorism. If only they would read the Sunday Globe and learn from the wise pundits how to do it right.

The problem with our rulers is not that they are stupid or incompetent. It's not that they can't figure out how to achieve their noble objectives. The fact is that they are pretty good at achieving their actual objectives. The problem is that their objectives are bad. They want to make our world increasingly unequal and undemocratic, and they understand very well that to do that requires keeping us in a certain "mental atmosphere," one which requires perpetual war, whether it be WWI, WWII, the Cold War or the War on Terror. The choice facing all of us on this planet is between a future of such bloody wars to maintain a very unequal and undemocratic society for the likes of George Soros and Dick Cheney, or revolution to create a more equal and democratic society.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ballot Questions 5 & 6 and the Lies that Harm Us

I am distributing a hard-copy version of this leaflet in Somerville, Massachusetts, urging people to vote November 7 this year for two questions on the State ballot supporting the right of return for Palestinians, and divestment from Israel.

Ballot Questions 5 & 6 and the Lies that Harm Us

August, 2006

Questions 5 and 6, endorsing Palestinians’ right to return to their homes in Israel, and divestment from Israel, seem unrelated to our lives in Massachusetts; but these questions give us a chance to reject lies that harm us at home everyday.

What’s Arab vs. Jewish Fighting to Do With Us?

The lies behind America's pro-Israel foreign policy—and the “War on Terror” of which it is a part—enable our corporate and government elites to control us. They use these lies to make us willingly sacrifice American lives for an unjust cause, hand over to military weapons corporations hundreds of billions of dollars that should instead be used to address pressing local and national problems, and needlessly give up our personal liberties. The U.S. government’s pro-Israel policies are part of its strategy for controlling working people wherever they live.

A Jewish State is Bad for Both Jews & Arabs

Israel is ruled by an upper class of Zionist Jews (it was the Zionist movement that called for Jews to immigrate to Palestine.) Zionist leaders lord it over ordinary people, both Arab and Jewish: During the Holocaust Zionist leaders betrayed European Jews by opposing rescue efforts because, in their own words, they needed dead Jews to give them standing in post-war negotiations to make Palestine a Jewish state (which they would rule.) Israeli leaders in the 1990s pressured other countries to deny entrance to Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitism so they would be forced to go to Israel; and in 1997 they tried to take away working class Israelis’ pensions, which led to a massive general strike against the government.

To make Israel a Jewish state, Israeli leaders used violence and massacres of civilians in 1948 to remove 80% of the indigenous non-Jewish Palestinians from the 78% of Palestine that is now called Israel, and removed more again in 1967. In violation of international law, Israel refuses to allow these refugees (now 5 million, 4 million of whom live in overcrowded refugee camps) to return to their homes, and Israel has permanently confiscated all of their land and movable property. Palestinians who remained in Israel (now 1/5 of Israel’s population) are citizens and can vote but they are harshly discriminated against for being non-Jews, since the official sovereign authority in Israel is “the Jewish people,” not all Israeli citizens. Five million Palestinians cannot vote or even return to their homes in Israel. Anybody who challenges the ethnic cleansing, which ensures a Jewish majority and destroys working class solidarity between Jews and Arabs, is barred by law from running for Israel’s parliament. Palestinians don’t hate Jews (though Israeli leaders try to foment hate) but they do oppose Israel because of its racist ethnic cleansing, discrimination and anti-democracy. Our TV and press hide this key fact!

Why Does Our Government Support Israel?

America's upper class supports Israel because Israel’s ethnic cleansing foments a Jews-versus-Arabs divide-and-conquer war throughout the region that provides a pretext for Mid-East elites (Arab and Jewish) more easily to control their own people and direct their anger away from their own rulers. This keeps oil wealth under control of upper class Arabs and foreign corporations, not the working class. U.S. rulers then use Arab violence of self-defense (entirely justified when it's against Israeli soldiers or violent civilians) as a pretext for controlling us here in the United States with an OrwellianWar on Terror.”

What About Hamas and Hezbollah?

The “War on Terror” is an elite strategy of social control. It requires an enemy that, like the Cold War Communists, is scary enough to make us obey our rulers, and so anti-working class and counterrevolutionary as to pose no threat to global upper class control. Islamic “Fundamentalists” like Hamas and Hezbollah are thus the perfect enemy. Though unable intentionally to kill as many civilians as Israel or the U.S. [see this also], their same practice of targeting non-combatant civilians is similarly immoral and anti-working class. It serves only to make it easier for Israeli and U.S. leaders to pretend they are protecting their own people, and it helps Jewish and Arab elites by pitting ordinary Jews and Arabs against each other.

Voting yes on questions 5 and 6 is a way to affirm our solidarity with the great majority of people on the planet who have to work for a living, against upper class rulers who don't. It's a way to reject lies that aim to prevent us from siding with people like ourselves who want a more equal and democratic world, and who want to win the class war war that rages everyday, sometimes openly, sometimes in disguised ways, between ordinary people and the elite.

John Spritzler (

[Go to for facts and discussion backing up the above statements.]

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why Is Israel Committing this Atrocity Against the Lebanese People?

Why Is Israel Committing this Atrocity Against the Lebanese People?

by John Spritzler

Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Arundhati Roy and others (see below) have rightly denounced Israel's latest atrocity, this time against the Lebanese people. But they don't understand the purpose of such atrocities, which is why they get it wrong when they write of this one:
The attempt has backfired. In Lebanon itself, 87% of the population now support Hizbullah's resistance, including 80% of Christian and Druze and 89% of Sunni Muslims, while 8% believe the US supports Lebanon.
The reason why ruling classes commit atrocities against people of other nations or of different ethnic groups, like the atrocity that Israel is perpetrating against the Lebanese people today, is to make the people who are attacked hate the people in whose name the atrocity is carried out. The fact that 87% of the Lebanese population now supports Hezbollah, which has obligingly rained down rockets on Israeli civilians in northern Israel, Haifa and elsewhere in retaliation, is not (as Chomsky and the others aver) a sign that Israel's attack has "backfired"; it is on the contrary a sign that it has succeeded.

Ruling classes fear working class solidarity across national or ethnic lines, and they carry out atrocities precisely for the purpose of ensuring that such solidarity does not develop. [1] Today Israel's goal is to make sure that the entire Lebanese population will hate Jewish Israelis, and that Jewish Israelis will in turn now fear the Lebanese. This is the political climate which the Jewish ruling class needs in order to control its own population. Not coincidentally, it is also the political climate which ALL upper class rulers in the region find useful to strengthen their power over their own people and to prevent people from waging the class war.

Whenever rulers fear that their own people might "fraternize with the enemy" they resort to an atrocity to create mutual hate instead. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937-8 they feared that their peasant soldiers would fraternize with the Chinese peasants and their revolutionary movement. The solution to this problem was the Rape of Nanking, which made fraternization impossible.

When Hitler invaded Russia he feared his soldiers (many of whom had socialist or communist backgrounds) would fraternize with Russians, so he gave orders to commit atrocities against Russian civilians. Stalin, for the same reason, gave Russian soldiers encouragement to rape German women at the end of the war.

Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is a giant decades-long strategic atrocity, supported by the American ruling class because it de-rails the class war in the entire Middle East.

In Yugoslavia in the 1990s the Serb and Croat communist rulers (like Milosovic) were afraid of losing power to the reform movements; their solution was to launch atrocities against each other's Croat and Serb populations so they could each use the violence against "their own" people to accuse their domestic opponents of treason if they didn't support their government in a time of war.

The American ruling class sent its working class soldiers to Iraq thinking they were supposed to liberate the Iraqi people--a recipe for fraternization unless something could prevent it. Voila! Abu Ghraib and Fallujah.

The American, British and Israeli ruling classes are field-testing the use of shock and awe terror to polarize the people of the world along lines that cut straight through our class--the international working class. They want us to hate and fear others much like ourselves--our class brothers and sisters--because of their religion or nationality. Just as they used WWII to get millions of people in the Allied nations to cheer the mass murder, by firebombings and nuclear weapons, of German and Japanese civilians, they want the people of the Middle East to cheer when bombs rain down on "enemy" civilians.

They want all working class people to look to their upper class-controlled governments as their protector against "enemy" working class people. They want us to willingly accept overt anti-democratic policies like the USA Patriot Act, the new British national I.D. cards and mass military conscription in Israel. They also want anti-democratic, pro-capitalist regimes in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America to be able to deflect domestic anger by asserting that they are "anti-American" or "anti-Imperialist." They want every nation to be ruled by either a "pro-American" or an "anti-American" government, just so long as it is not pro-working class. George Orwell would understand; we should too! Atrocities are not the result of any irrationality or incompetence or even blind racism of rulers (or populations) but rather they are a cold, calculated and time-tested upper class strategy of social control.

We need to judge all political leaders, from President George Bush to Hezbollah's Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on the basis of whether they promote this fratricidal mass murder agenda, or whether they expose it for what it is and try to wage the class war instead.

[1] I am indebted to David Stratman [pdf] for his insight into this role of atrocities, based on his non-Marxist understanding of the meaning of class conflict.


War crimes and Lebanon
The Guardian 3 August 2006

The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb, smouldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply "disproportionate". It is, according to existing international laws, a war crime.

The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime, designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US protectorate. The attempt has backfired. In Lebanon itself, 87% of the population now support Hizbullah's resistance, including 80% of Christian and Druze and 89% of Sunni Muslims, while 8% believe the US supports Lebanon. But these actions will not be tried by any court set up by the "international community" since the US and its allies that commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will not permit it.

It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out Hizbullah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been given a green light by the US and its loyal British ally, despite the opposition to Blair in his own country.

In short, the peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a paralysed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in the Gaza ghetto, while the "international community" stands by and watches in silence. Meanwhile, the rest of Palestine is annexed and dismantled with the direct participation of the US and the tacit approval of its allies.

We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the temporarily "paused" bombings of Lebanon continue.

Tariq Ali
Noam Chomsky
Eduardo Galeano
Howard Zinn
Ken Loach
John Berger
Arundhati Roy

Friday, August 04, 2006

Uri Avnery is Very Wrong (Again)

Uri Avnery is Very Wrong (Again)

Uri Avnery has a new article, "The Day After the War," about the recent Israeli military action in Lebanon. I think Avnery is very wrong.

Avnery says Israeli leaders have suffered a major defeat in recent weeks. On the contrary, the Israeli ruling class (including both generals and politicians) has in the last month succeeded quite handsomely in its true objective. That objective was to increase the level of mutual fear and hatred between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. That is precisely the job for which the American ruling class pays the Israeli ruling class $3 Billion + /yr. Israeli rulers carry out ethnic cleansing of non-Jews (Palestinians) to keep their Jewish population under their control, to ensure that ordinary Jews in Israel will be so frightened of Arabs (made angry at Jews by the ethnic cleansing) that they will tolerate, as "protectors," their own Jewish ruling class which is driving them increasingly into poverty with privatization and cuts in pensions and so forth. [See "Israel No. 2 in West in Social Inequality" in Ha'aretz ] The American ruling class wants Israel to succeed in fomenting a Jewish/Arab war because such a war prevents people from waging the class war.

The idea that the Israeli ruling class is trying to achieve peace for Jews in Israel, or even to protect ordinary Jews from harm, is not supported by any of the facts. The Israeli rulers are just like the previous generation of Zionist leaders who fought AGAINST efforts to rescue European Jews during the holocaust, on the grounds that they needed dead Jews to have standing at the post-war negotiations that would create a Jewish state (this is in their own words, not mine! See details in SHOULD PEOPLE OPPOSED TO BIGOTRY AND ANTI-SEMITISM SUPPORT ISRAEL?)

So when Uri Avnery asserts that the Israeli ruling class has failed in the recent war, on the grounds that it has not defeated Hezbollah and therefore not protected the Israeli population from Hezbollah's rockets, he is wrong. That was never their objective in the first place. On the contrary, Israeli rulers NEED Arabs to fire rockets on Israeli citizens. When Arabs don't oblige, the Israeli military has to (secretly) arrange to make it seem as if they had.

Furthermore, if there is, after the war, a "Day of Long Knives," as Avnery predicts, with Israeli leaders blaming other Israeli leaders for having "lost the war," it will not mean that Israel's ruling class is weakened; on the contrary it will mean they have escalated their propaganda to cement the idea in the Israeli public that the public's number one concern should be to "win the war against the Arabs" (and not even to think about winning or even fighting the class war.)

Uri Avnery is a Zionist. (In fact, he and his colleagues in the Israeli Council for Israeli Palestinian Peace are, according to Uri Davis, the "only Jewish citizens of the State of Israel who can produce a court ruling attesting to their Zionist credentials" because in 1977 they won a libel case against people who accused them of being anti-Zionist.) Avnery supports the idea of a Jewish state, with all of the ethnic cleansing that such a state requires in order to exist. This is why he does not say that Israel should grant all Palestinians their right of return, but only some of them. His words are: " I believe that Israel can return to the state of Israel a sizable number - more than a symbolic number - of refugees, without really changing the basic character and composition of the state of Israel."

For this reason, Uri Avnery avoids talking about the root cause of the conflict--ethnic cleansing--and instead pretends that the only problem with the rulers of Israel is that they are incompetent (not as smart as Avnery) in their attempts to protect ordinary Israeli Jews from Arabs. In this way, Avnery provides a "left" cover for the Israeli ruling class. He is slick in
this regard. Beware!

How the Boston Globe Used a PLO-Written Op-Ed to Build Support for Israel

How the Boston Globe Used a PLO-Written Op-Ed to Build Support for Israel

The Director General of the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department, Maen Areikat, had an op-ed in the August 2 Boston Globe, titled, "Forced peace vs. just peace" (the Globe does not make it available on-line and I don't have permission to post it here, but I will send you a copy if you ask for one.)

Areikat used the phrase "root causes" three times, yet never once mentioned the root cause of the Palestine/Israel conflict: the ethnic cleansing that Israel carries out against Palestinians in the name of "the Jews," ethnic cleansing that goes back to 1948 when Jewish military forces drove out 80% of the non-Jews from what is now Israel, ethnic cleansing which continues to this day with Israel's refusal to let Palestinian refugees return to their country (whether it is called Israel or not) purely because they are not Jewish, and ethnic cleansing which is the root of a Jewish state which insists that 78% of Palestine be ruled by a fundamentally anti-democratic government--anti-democratic because it officially recognizes as the sovereign authority not the people which it rules, but rather only "the Jews."

The Boston Globe will not print articles or opinion pieces that inform the American public what the root cause of the conflict is. If that is the reason why Areikat did not mention the actual root cause, and if that is the reason why he referred to "Israel's 39 year old occupation" (i.e. 1967) instead of its 58 year old occupation (i.e. 1948), then it would have been better for Areikat not to have written anything at all.

The Globe does all it can to persuade its readers to support Israel. One way it does this is to let its readers read an op-ed by a supposed representative of the Palestinian people who agrees to keep Israel's crime of ethnic cleansing a secret from the American public. This way, Globe readers will never understand the real reason why so many Arabs hate Israel. As a result (and this is the key point!) readers will accept the "conventional wisdom" that the hatred is due to ugly anti-Semitism, and that Israel must therefore do whatever is necessary, no matter how unpleasant, to "defend itself." Furthermore, readers will not even realize that they have been duped by propaganda; they will believe they have heard "both sides of the story" since even a PLO representative had an op-ed in their newspaper.

The most important thing people in North America (and elsewhere) can do to bring a JUST peace to Palestine/Israel is to inform the public about the ethnic cleansing that Israel is based upon. The public simply does not know about it, because the mass media have a solid blackout on the subject. When people who are pro-Israel learn about the truth of ethnic cleansing, then their views completely change. I have seen this happen as I talk to people in Somerville, Massachustts collecting signatures for ballot questions.

Those who avoid talking about Israel's defining crime of ethnic cleansing, and who merely oppose its 1967 occupation or Israel's "excessive" violence in its "self-defense" help nobody except the ethnic cleansers. At best, they are what is called "useful idiots"--useful to the very people they purport to be opposing.

Does Anybody Seriously Believe that Hezbollah Is Not Targeting Non-Combatants?

Does Anybody Seriously Believe that Hezbollah Is Not Targeting Non-Combatants?

by John Spritzler []

In my previous post I asked, "Does Hezbollah TARGET Non-Combatants, Or Not?" I asked the question because I did not know the answer.

The importance of this question has nothing to do with deciding whether Israel is justified in any of its military actions (of course it is not, since their purpose is to enforce ethnic cleansing.) The question is important because, as I said in another earlier post, "Whoever is Ordering Rocket Attacks on Israeli Civilians is Objectively Collaborating with the Israeli Ruling Class."

Based on what I have read and seen recently (including a news report from July 21 of this year as well as accounts of more recent developments in the last few days) it seems evident that Hezbollah is targeting Jewish Israeli non-combatants. At least it is hard to believe they aren't, and nobody that I am aware of has presented compelling evidence that they aren't.

For example, CNN reports July 21 that,

"Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah apologized for an attack that killed two Israeli Arab children in northern Israel, saying the youngsters were "martyrs for Palestine."

In a Thursday interview with Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera, Nasrallah accepted responsibility for the Wednesday attack, while conceding that an apology to the family was not sufficient.

"To the family that was hit in Nazareth -- on my behalf and my brothers', I apologize to this family," he said.

"Some events like that happen. At any event, those who were killed in Nazareth, we consider them martyrs for Palestine and martyrs for the nation. I pay my condolences to them."

Hezbollah rockets have killed two categories of non-combatants: Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. If none of these deaths were intended, and if they were truly only collateral consequences of attacks on military targets, then apologies would be equally appropriate and forthcoming for both the Jewish and non-Jewish victims. But as far as I can tell (please inform me if I am wrong, I would love to be proved wrong here!) Nasrallah apologized only for the latter, strongly implying that he intended his rockets to kill the former.

On July 28, CNN reported:

Thursday evening, at least five rockets struck various targets in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, causing several fires.

A Katyusha rocket caused a major blaze at the warehouse of a laundry detergent factory, the IDF said. Some of the rockets landed near a shopping center.

Maybe there was a legitimate military target near the detergent factory in Kiryat Shmona, or maybe the detergent factory was really a weapons factory, but it is becoming increasingly necessary to postulate more and more such "maybe"s in order to believe that Hezbollah is not targeting Jewish Israeli non-combatants.

Last night I saw Nasrallah on T.V. giving a speech. There was an English translator. Maybe the translator that CNN carried was mis-translating in order to keep the American public from knowing the true words of Nasrallah. But if the translation was correct, the unmistakable message was that Nasrallah was threatening to kill Jewish Israeli non-combatants in cities like Tel Aviv if Israel attacked Beirut.

Now we know that CNN is not exactly a staunch anti-Zionist force. Like all the pro-Israel U.S. media, CNN likes to persuade Americans that Israel is defending itself against anti-Semitism. CNN apparently felt that Nasrallah's speech would help do that, and there is no reason to think they misjudged its effect. The only question is, did CNN have to provide a phony translation to carry out this pro-Israel propaganda, or was it able to use the genuine article?

If the war were indeed what the Zionists want us to believe it is, a war of Jews against crazy anti-Semitic Arabs who have an irrational hatred of Jews, then the English translation of Nasrallah's speech that I heard on T.V. would make sense: "If you kill our civilians, we'll kill yours." In this framework, Nasrallah even comes across as shrewdly trying to occupy the moral high ground, since he was saying that if Israel does not attack civilians in Beirut he would not kill civilians in Tel Aviv, thereby making it seem that the choice was up to Israel. (I doubt CNN worried too much about this, since most people had already heard plenty about Hezbollah's previous rocket attacks on Haifa and other towns in northern Israel.)

But the war is NOT Jews against non-Jews. The Israeli ruling class does not give a damn about Jewish Israeli civilian deaths, no more than the previous generation of Zionist leaders gave a damn about European Jews dying in the holocaust; in fact the Zionist leaders back then OPPOSED rescue efforts of European Jews during the holocaust because they WANTED Jewish deaths in order to have greater standing at the post war negotiations that would determine if Palestine would become a Jewish state.

The Israeli ruling class is not weakened, but on the contrary gains strength when its civilians are frightened of Hezbollah rockets aimed at them; after all, if the Israeli ruling class were not perceived by ordinary Jews as their protectors against anti-Semitism, it would lose its ability to rule, because the whole rationale for a Jewish state would make sense to absolutely nobody, neither Jew nor anybody else. The Israeli ruling class's greatest fear is not Hezbollah rockets, but that Jews would stop fearing Arabs and (as a result) would start doing what they did the last time Jews were not pre-occupied by fear of Arabs, which was 1997 when people were optimistic about peace because of Oslo, and when the Israeli population shut down the entire state of Israel with a 7 day general strike to stop the government from taking away their pensions.

The only realistic way that ordinary people in the Middle East will ever get war-mongering ethnic-cleansing anti-democratic upper class rulers like the Israeli and American ruling classes off their backs is to 1) identify the enemy as all such upper classes and the combatants who fight for them, 2) identify friends and potential friends as non-combatants of any and all religious persuasions, 3) target violence only against the former and do everything possible to win the confidence and respect and support of the latter and 4) make it as clear as possible to everybody that the goal is a society shaped by the working class values of democracy and equality and solidarity. This is what "No War But the Class War" means. It is the only strategy that can win what millions of people want more than anything else in the world.

I would still love to have somebody convince me that Hezbollah is not targeting Jewish Israeli non-combatants. I would love to believe that in Hezbollah we have finally found an organization that can defeat apartheid Israel. I want to believe this. I just find it extremely difficult at the moment to do so.