Thursday, April 16, 2015

But is it true? (Catalyzed by CBC's interview of Gideon Levy)

By Denis G. Rancourt

Well-meaning humanists often make broad pronouncements of alleged universal principles that they advance as absolute truth in the face of the most horrendous problems facing humanity. But are these pronouncements true?

There are many examples of this phenomenon in the legal decisions of our highest courts, where, if it were taken into account, sociological evidence would often be counter to the true and apparent purpose of the legal system.

But without going to lawyers and judges in their courtrooms, what about the humanists, and the activists concerned about preventing the largest mass crimes of state, including war, genocide, occupation, slavery, and extreme exploitation, often perpetrated by their home states?

Recently, I heard one of these pronouncements made by the great humanist, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, interviewed by Canada's CBC. In expressing his existential commitment to protecting Israel, Mr. Levy said:

"I will never protect myself only based on military power. This will never work. The only guarantee for the existence of Israel for the long run is making it a just place based on justice and international law."

This is a common enough expressed belief, that the application of military power cannot win peace. But is it true? It seems important to ask whether or not this is a fallacy. And the answer lies in history, rather than in our psychological desires for wishful and fictitious principles.

History gives an unequivocal answer in this case. Every time an invader and occupier has been committed enough to accomplish the genocide or permanent expulsion of the native population, by one way or another, and then occupied the territory by force, what followed was territory-wide peace. That is, what followed was virtual complete removal of the native threat, with only the usual domestic violence inherent in any hierarchical society.

Since Mr. Levy was interviewed in Canada, the most convenient example is Canada's accomplished genocide (LINK) of the native peoples that occupied the territory that it stole. Canada is now considered "one of the most peaceful nations on earth", according to the CBC and many primary school teachers. So peaceful in fact, that it now has the resources to inflict mass destruction and societal disintegration on the peoples of distant nations such as Syria, without any apparent negative consequences that rise above the very low domestic crime rate.

One counter example is sufficient to disprove the said pronouncement, but all of history is the history of such "peace making" by extermination and dominance.

Therefore, I conclude that this pronouncement of Mr. Levy is a desperate and toothless appeal to those supporting the mid-phase Israeli genocide to imagine a terrible negative consequence, but one that is not likely to materialize. The fantasy negative-consequence in question would be that occupied Palestinians could find a way to inflict enough backlash to slow and stop the genocide, or that the peoples in influential nations would successfully pressure their governments to pressure Israel enough to stop it in its project.

From the perspective of history, these fantasies are very unlikely. They would require a kind of mass-hysteria of repulsion against the criminal actions of Israel, and against the criminal actions of all home governments that support suppression of peoples.

Clearly Israel and its allied states are very concerned about any possible spark of such mass-hysteria. This explains their extreme obsessions with "hate speech laws" and "antisemitism laws" and "holocaust denial laws" and the many laws against all the civil liberties. The ruling class is feeling very uneasy about its image-management difficulties regarding its criminal activities. But in the end, all this is irrational over-reaction in places like Canada where the police are clearly in charge and where the greatest threat to humanity is "global warming" from atmospheric CO2.

My point is that these general pronouncements of baseless principles are not useful because they are not realistic. Agitation does not rely on grand appeals to the oppressor to be less oppressive, or to kind opinion activists to "mobilize". Effective agitation is based on shared disgust at being stepped on, and is anchored in reality.

I may be wrong? Maybe opinion activism and the "critical mass of like-minded people" will prove me wrong? I hope so. But, from history, it would appear that a class war or struggle leading to (not-necessarily violent) revolution has been needed every time.

Also, who am I to judge that Palestinians are not inflicting enough backlash to slow and stop the Israeli genocide? But from here, the genocide appears to be accelerating if anything. There will be another summer slaughter soon. Expressed disgust is an answer.

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