OBL/Palestine = Berlin Wall/Apartheid

on 29 Comments

Both Roger Cohen and Peter Beinart have hit home runs as they often do in declaring that the death of Bin Laden means we can finally move on from the “war on terrorism” and Islamofascist conspiracies against our precious bodily fluids. But make no mistake, this is also a truly momentous occasion in the fight for Palestinian freedom.

The death of Bin Laden is to Israeli apartheid what the fall of the Berlin Wall was to South African apartheid – the final domino to fall. Just as the fall of communism demolished the final rationale of defenders of apartheid, preventing the spread of communism, so does the death of Bin Laden once and for all bring an end to the evil fiction of a clash of civilizations or anything remotely resembling the Cold War to justify having to prevent the emergence of a “Palestinian terrorist state.”

Tremendous strides toward a Palestinian Tahrir were already being made before Bin Laden’ death, and now they will only grow in strength.

29 Responses

  1. GuiltyFeat
    May 2, 2011, 3:14 pm

    It’s an interesting idea, but I’d prefer to hear some of your reasoning.

    It would be nice if just saying it made it so, but I’d like you to put a little more meat on these bones.

    • AM
      May 2, 2011, 3:56 pm

      Same…I want to hear the line of reasoning.

    • clenchner
      May 2, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Yeah. Another point is that no one could ‘know’ after the fall of the Berlin Wall what impact that would have on South Africa.

      • Donald
        May 2, 2011, 4:58 pm

        You couldn’t know for sure what the fall of the Berlin Wall would bring, but as it happened it did help end more than just apartheid. The US stopped thinking it had to prop up the death squad regime in El Salvador. And it was ten years later, but eventually we also realized there was no percentage in propping up Suharto and also maintaining Indonesia’s brutal occupation in East Timor.

        On the other hand, one should never expect too much logic out of American foreign policy, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much because of this.

      • LeaNder
        May 3, 2011, 9:36 am

        Donald, the Berlin Wall is only a symbol of the larger walls that separated East and West, in the Berlin half-city-Island it got the most attention.

        It’s an interesting idea, but I’d prefer to hear some of your reasoning.

        I think the analogy is apt, in spite of all the differences. The parallel is obviously the fight for freedom, especially the freedom to move, the central demand in East-Germany. It didn’t start in Berlin but in the Leipzig Monday demonstrations. The slogan was: We are the people. … I loved it …

        The other connecting moment may well be the “right time”. Eastern Germans wouldn’t have had a chance without Gorbachev & Glasnost.The Cold War ice was melting. Obviously the ME is more complex, especially Palestine and the larger territory debate or “terra nullius” strengthening rights based on the bible, or Palestine = Jordan, if you like. Not the Palestinians have only 22%, but actually we the Israelis have only such a tiny percentage of the whole cake.

        Is it really an accident that “spring” imagery is used both for the end of the cold war and the Arab uprise? I doubt, given that the WOT (WWIII/IV – depending on weather you accept the Cold War as WWIII) replaced the Cold War in many heads, only the enemy changed.

  2. ToivoS
    May 2, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Now that is an original point and one that I would hope is correct. The analogy sort of breaks down with Hillary’s statement this morning. She is using Osama’s death as proof of the success of the last ten years of war and tells us we should pursue those wars even more fervently.

    • Antidote
      May 2, 2011, 3:37 pm

      Clinton was promptly seconded by Netanyahu. Press TV announced that Israel is getting ready to strike Iran from an American base. Denied by US/Israel. What’s going on?

  3. MHughes976
    May 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Well, I’m not so sure. This will go down as an American victory won by acting in the manner of Israel and Obama, desperately needing a lifeline for his presidency, will make sure that declarations of solidarity and shared values with Israel are read into the script of the public celebration. The force of fear in supporting Israel as a bastion against Islam may be weakened but the force of triumphalist contempt may correspondingly grow.
    The Iranians, I read somewhere, are claiming that Israeli forces are massing in Iraq on an American base for that much-predicted grand attack. This is probably scare-mongering as to immediate or even medium-term events but as to the atmosphere that is being created may have an element of truth.

  4. Citizen
    May 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Funny, Bibi hasn’t got the message. He says there’s lots more work for the US and Israel to do in the war on Islamofascist terrorism, and Haaertz has an article today on how Jewish American organizations are saying the same thing.

    Perhaps this guy will have something to say:

    Upcoming Events

    “Israel-Palestine: The Consequences of the Conflict”

    Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture Amb. Chas Freeman will discuss the impact of the ongoing conflict on the region and what it means in a revolutionary Arab World. 4 May 2011,…
4 May 2011, 12:30 pm
    link to thejerusalemfund.org

    Even if you can’t go to the lecture, it will be up on video clip shortly after at the web site.

  5. Shingo
    May 2, 2011, 4:46 pm

    The timing of this is a Godsend to Netenyahu’s upcoming visit to the US. AIPAC and Israel were struggling to find a theme or message that could steal the American public’s attention away from the economy and the Arab Spring.

    No that can back to the message about shared values and war on terror. If it works, it will be a bandaod at the most.

  6. Haytham
    May 2, 2011, 5:13 pm

    This may not be the appropriate forum to say this but it’s been bothering me today.

    We’ve seen the power of civil disobedience and what can be accomplished when people take to the streets in a quest for systemic change. To me, the Arab Spring looks like a real attempt at “change,” rather than a presidential marketing campaign for same.

    I can’t help but notice that what it takes to get Americans into the street en masse is violent death. We didn’t really rally against bailouts, against the many crackdowns on, and violations of, our civil rights, etc., but kill a notorious terrorist and we’re chanting USA and crying in the streets? Is this what we are now?

    Watching some of the media covering the news of OBL is nauseating. They are nearly crying tears of joy and they are comparing what happened in the US to what is happening in the Arab Spring. There is no attempt to contextualize this event, at least not in a real way. OBL’s death is “the lifting of a shadow off of our nation,” I believe is how David Greggory put it this morning.

    If OBL’s violent death was necessary, then it was just that. Let’s not pretend it’s “happy” moment in our “national consciousness” (I think that was Joe Scarborough). I’m not saying we cry for the man or even really ponder whether it was the right thing to do or not, in the manner it was done (execution vs. capture). That’s not my point. There is a sort of glee in this country surrounding this that makes me uncomfortable.

    This conflation of peaceful revolution with a violent execution is a sick form of American Exceptionalism. I guess we’ve become exceptional not only at killing but at celebrating it.

    • hedgehog
      May 2, 2011, 6:25 pm

      What about the recent protests in Madison, WI?

      • Haytham
        May 2, 2011, 9:27 pm

        What about them? They neither prove nor disprove my point but I would like to point out that they fizzled out without accomplishing any of their stated goals, didn’t they?

        If I am misreading what truly transpired in WI, I welcome correction.

      • Chaos4700
        May 2, 2011, 11:17 pm

        Well, having grown up in Wisconsin, I can say…. you’re right. At least for now. It looks like Governor Walker is going to steamroll the courts (which ruled that the “law” wasn’t necessarily law because it was passed in such a way that it violated our open meetings law for passing legislation). There are recall campaigns in progress for Republican lawmakers, and it looks like they were probably succeed, but it will take time and we can’t recall the governor this early in his term, from what I understand.

        Meanwhile, the state government is slashing public funding, and it’s already being felt on the local level, from what I’ve heard from friends that I stay in touch with. Public schools are starting to implode and it looks like the Republican government is maneuvering to de-fund public media (and there are rumors they’re angling to sell the bandwidth to private hands just as soon as any stations close).

        So yeah. Things are looking kind of catastrophic in the state where I was born. I thought Walker was going to be a Godsend because he is going to make Republicans unelectable in Wisconsin for at least a generation. I underestimated how much scorched earth he could create in a short span of time. The state budget is going to go from tipsy to down the crapper pretty quickly.

      • hedgehog
        May 3, 2011, 1:24 am

        I guess I don’t really see what your point was. I’m not disputing that there’s something jingoistic and a bit sick about the celebrations over bin Laden’s death (especially when you think about all the civilians who have been killed, maimed, and displaced as a result of the “GWOT” in the last ten years). But you wrote that “… what it takes to get Americans into the street en masse is violent death. We didn’t really rally against bailouts …” but that is simply false. At the peak of the protests in Madison there were 85-100,000 protesters! I think it’s unfair to talk about those protests fizzling out; democracy sometimes takes time. Even if the protests didn’t succeed in Wisconsin, it looks like they may have had an effect in neighboring states, where similar measures have been scuttled.

      • Haytham
        May 3, 2011, 5:41 am

        Well, I found them inspiring but I have to agree with the above post by Chaos.

        Everything worthwhile takes time. I’m not saying protest is useless. I think flash mobs have their place, too. Again, this is not my point.

        My point, which you stated that you didn’t get, has been made elsewhere and better by others. It’s basically a feeling that, to me, it seems bloodthirsty to celebrate death. If he was killed, it’s over.

        I guess in my world, celebrations are for births, marriages, new jobs, graduations, admission to college, etc. Maybe it’s strange but I have never heard someone was bombed, killed or hurt and thought or said, “I should go celebrate this! This is awesome! USA! USA!”

        But as my original post (I hope) made clear, the worst part was the media hyping and getting all misty about these demonstrations and comparing them to the fight for democracy. I mean David Greggory was basically saying how wonderful this event is for his kids. That’s just sick.

    • ToivoS
      May 2, 2011, 7:08 pm

      Your comments are very appropriate. Digby at Hullabaloo has a nice long essay on what this all means. Dancing in the streets is obscene; we should be in honest introspection for all of the damage we inflicted upon ourselves and rest of the world with our hysterical reaction to 9/11.

  7. ChrisB
    May 2, 2011, 6:35 pm

    Hw dare we act as Arabs?

    • Haytham
      May 2, 2011, 9:25 pm

      As an Arab, I am insulted, but not surprised.

      Do you think that Arabs are inherently violent?

      • Sumud
        May 3, 2011, 6:48 am

        Do you think that Arabs are inherently violent?

        I wouldn’t pay much attention Haytham. From what I’ve seen of ChrisB’s contribution to Mondoweiss so far, it fits fairly comfortably under the label “troll”.

      • Haytham
        May 3, 2011, 7:56 am

        I know he’s a troll but his responses betray his racism. For some reason I think it’s important to draw that out of him. It’s pointless.

      • Sumud
        May 3, 2011, 9:44 am

        I know he’s a troll but his responses betray his racism.

        Reading his response below, they sure do!

        For some reason I think it’s important to draw that out of him. It’s pointless.

        Not at all ~ in the anonymity of cyberspace, credibility counts for all. ChrisB may be satisfying some juvenile urges by posting such racist garbage but nobody will take him seriously…

      • ChrisB
        May 3, 2011, 7:03 am

        Dancing in the streets after the announcement of the death of an enemy, even if it is a 3 month old child, means you are inherently violent? OK.

      • LeaNder
        May 3, 2011, 9:53 am

        ChrisB, I hope, I to live to see you and your mindset loose. Don’t even try to tell us that is what “them Arabs” do regularly, and that’s why they are oh so different than “us”.

  8. dbroncos
    May 2, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Haytham – “I can’t help but notice that what it takes to get Americans into the street en masse is violent death. We didn’t really rally against bailouts, against the many crackdowns on, and violations of, our civil rights, etc., but kill a notorious terrorist and we’re chanting USA and crying in the streets? Is this what we are now?”

    A good point, Hatham. OBL’s demise is an important symbolic victory that won’t have any effect on how we live. Not like bankers who wrecked the economy as part of their get rich quick scams, or bureaucrats who spy on our correspondence and who will be reluctant to give up that capability.

  9. American
    May 2, 2011, 8:57 pm

    I am not so sure either.
    Already the nattering heads are demanding we ‘gear up’ for the certain retaliation attacks by Muslims.
    I wish I though Obama was smart or ethical enough to use this as a way to get out of Afghan and Pakistan…but alas, I don’t think so.
    I think it will be his campaign brag.

  10. Toma
    May 3, 2011, 12:53 am

    There are two very disturbing trends occurring simultaneously. One, the idea that the death of Osama bin Laden is in no way connected to the “Arab Spring”– As if we can magically divorce the grievances felt by Al-Qaida members towards autocratic regimes in the middle east from the grievances felt by moderate peoples against those same autocracies(including Israel). Of course I would rather see peaceful demonstrations than maddening violence against civilians but let’s not pretend the root cause of the grievance isn’t the same. Two, that his death is an end to the “war on terror.” This interpretation seems to put a premium on justifying US foreign policy for the past 5 or 6 decades(including the “war on terror”) It is as if to say– the US hasn’t done to make these people angry– It’s a total revision of history. Killing bin Laden does nothing to change the situation in Palestine. If anything, by trying to claim that Al- Qaida is not representative of the anger felt towards Israel over the situation in Palestine, it actually shows how far we still have to go in order to achieve real justice. The killing of innocents is no more acceptable if it is done by Israel, the US, or Al-Qaida. But by trying to say that the “war on terror” is over(it was a horrible phrase to begin with–terror is a tactic) it is as though the US is trying to justify military interventions in the middle east, which in turn, will be used by Israel to justify its actions in Palestine. The real “war on terror” is being waged(more often than not peacefully) everyday by Palestinians who live under the oppression of Israel. Until that very real terror is removed from their lives there will be no justice anywhere in the middle east.

    • annie
      May 3, 2011, 1:47 am

      it’s just a symbolic scalp.

      • Toma
        May 3, 2011, 2:10 am

        Ah, but when we give that scalp the “symbolic” name Geronimo it harkens to a history that accepts death as commonplace. I take the point though…

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