Response to 'Joseph Massad – The Language of Zionism'

Response to 'Joseph Massad – The Language of Zionism'
May 9, 2010
My comment to Joseph Massad, a Palestinian professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University, made in May 2010 for his article “The Language of Zionism” (PDF cached here) on the now defunct website, is archived below. It once again illustrates how the Palestinians have themselves become a victim of their own narratives. They miss by a mile while the golem is barely half a furlong from the finish line.
# Project on May 9th, 2010 at 2:09:
On the conclusion of the article:
"After 62 years of persistent Israeli colonialism of Palestine, unless President Obama and Israeli leaders understand that colonialism is war and anti-colonialism is peace and that the only viable state project in the area would be one that encompasses all Palestinians and Israeli Jews as equal citizens in it, whatever "peace plan" they offer to the Palestinians will be nothing short of a war plan."
I would add that Edward Said stated exactly the same thing in "The Mirage of Peace", October 16, 1995 in The Nation: "These two communities must be seen as equal to each other in rights and expectations;"
The fact that JM has to repeat it 15 years later and the reality on the ground is orders of magnitude worse only indicts the "N" among the Palestinians themselves. The "C" are rather constant in their nature, since time immemorial.
First, here is an Excerpt from Said:
"The deep tragedy of Palestine is that a whole people, their history and aspirations have been under comprehensive assault–not only by Israel (with the United States) but also by the Arab governments and, since Oslo, by Arafat….
I do not pretend to have any quick solutions for the situation now referred to as "the peace process," but I do know that for the vast majority of Palestinian refugees, day laborers, peasants and town and camp dwellers, those who cannot make a quick deal and those whose voices are never heard, for them the process has made matters far worse. Above all, they may have lost hope….
I have been particularly disheartened by the role played in all this by liberal Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Silence is not a response, and neither is some fairly tepid endorsement of a Palestinian state, with Israeli settlements and the army more or less still there, still in charge. The peace process must be demystified and spoken about plainly. Palestine/Israel is no ordinary bit of geography; it is more saturated in religious, historical and cultural significance than any place on earth. It is also now the place where two peoples, whether they like it or not, live together tied by history, war, daily contact and suffering. To speak only in geopolitical clichés (as the Clinton Administration does) or to speak about "separating" them (as Rabin does) is to call forth more violence and degradation. These two communities must be seen as equal to each other in rights and expectations; only from such a beginning can justice then proceed."
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On the central theme of the article, I would contend that Hitler had exactly the same language semantics of Zionism for his Nazism; and that the language of Zionism today is not any different from America's own language of "American Peace" employed by both PNAC in "Rebuilding America's Defenses" and by Brzezinski in "American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives".
Here are some pertinent excerpts:
Hegemony is as old as mankind. … The earlier empires were built by aristocratic political elites and were in most cases ruled by essentially authoritarian or absolutist regimes. The bulk of the populations of the imperial states were either politically indifferent, … or infected by imperialist emotions …a quest for national glory, 'the white man's burden', 'la mission civilisatrice', not to speak of the opportunities for personal profit – all served to mobilize support for imperial adventures to sustain essentially hierarchical imperial power pyramids. The attitude of American public toward the external projection of American power has been more ambivalent. … Public opinion polls conducted in 1995 – 1996 indicated a general public preference for 'sharing' power with others, rather than for its monopolistic exercise. … It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. … Public opinion polls suggest that only a small minority (13 percent) of Americans favor the proposition that 'as the sole remaining superpower, the US should continue to be the preeminent world leader in solving international problems'. … Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat. …. More generally, cultural change in America may also be uncongenial to the sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power. That exercise requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment, and patriotic gratification. … In brief, the U.S. Policy goals must be un-apologetically twofold: to perpetuate America's own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer, … the ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community.” (Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard)
As long as wars and other military operations derive their logic from political purposes, land power will remain the truly decisive form of military power. … In sum the ability to preserve American military preeminence in the future will rest in increasing measure on the ability to operate in space militarily. … But over the long term, maintaining control of space will inevitably require the application of force both in space and from space, including but not limited to antimissile defenses … Cyberspace, or 'Net-War' If outerspace represents an emerging medium of warfare, then “cyberspace”, and in particular the internet hold similar promise and threat. And as with space, access to and use of cyberspace and the internet are emerging elements of global commerce, politics and powerplay. Any nation wishing to assert itself globally must take account of this other new “global commons”. … there nonetheless will remain an imperative to be able to deny America and its allies' enemies the ability to disrupt or paralyze either the military's or the commercial sector's computer networks. Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America's military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner. Taken together, the prospects for space and “cyberspace war” represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. Armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today's air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance. Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn. … Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” (PNAC Rebuilding America's Defenses pages 51-61)
The Price of American Preeminence: The program we advocate – one that would provide America with forces to meet the strategic demands of the world's sole superpower – requires budget levels to be increased to 3.5 to 3.8 percent of the GDP… We believe it is necessary to increase slightly the personnel strength of U.S. Forces – many of the missions associated with patrolling the expanding American security perimeter are manpower-intensive, and planning for major theater wars must include for politically decisive campaigns … Also this expanding perimeter argues for new overseas bases and forward operating locations to facilitate American political and military operations around the world. … Keeping the American peace requires the U.S. Military to undertake a broad array of missions today and rise to very different challenges tomorrow, but there can be no retreat from these missions without compromising American leadership and the benevolent order it secures.” (PNAC Rebuilding America's Defenses pages 74-76)
[...] We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world.
[...] We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.
[...] we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles. Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.”
[...] we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;” (PNAC Statement of Principles)
Just look at the last sentences of the passages, and words like 'moral clarity' and 'political and economic freedom abroad', to reflect the benevolence of hegemony in the language of 'American peace' and the 'benevolent order it secures.':
"the ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community"
"Keeping the American peace requires the U.S. Military to undertake a broad array of missions today and rise to very different challenges tomorrow, but there can be no retreat from these missions without compromising American leadership and the benevolent order it secures."
Are they much different from the language of Zionism?
I am too lazy to dig out my William Shirer or the Nuremberg transcripts. It is too well known that Hitler perfected the mantra of "preemptive war" for maintaining the "German peace" in his extended Lebensraum.
I contend that the Palestinain elite's psychological cataracts cannot be due to mere language mis-translation of the "language of Zionism" – that language resemantification is quite standard fare, and "as old as mankind". And "Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war" has been the language of all ubermensch since time immemorial. Zionism didn't invent it. I find the following unraveling of it which is almost 1600 years old and surely none is unfamiliar with it, revealing:
When the King asked him what he meant by infesting the sea, the pirate defiantly replied: 'the same as you do when you infest the whole world; but because I do it with a little ship I am called a robber, and because you do it with a great fleet, you are an emperor.' ” (The City of God against the Pagans, Page 148).
What the commonality in the aforementioned excerpts also show is that the struggle against Zionism is futile by itself. The struggle against the ubermenschen's penchance for Lebensraum needs to be both understood and waged in the context of the singular noun "Hectoring Hegemon" to be effective. If people can only comprehend that, then the hectoring hegemon's common shared agenda, and common prime-movers: the common financiers and common thinkers, automatically come into focus.
The Zionist enemy is aided and abetted by an "invisible force" today as a crucial link in a chain of the quest for "full spectrum dominance" for a "Zion that will light up all the world", and that's the real problem of beleagured Palestine.
A problem of accurate diagnosis.
Not a problem of mis-translating a language that is as old as empire.
A problem not even touched upon by JM.
Nor by any of the other prominent Palestinian intellectuals.
Zahir Ebrahim

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The Plebeian antidote to Hectoring Hegemons

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