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Israel’s Shock Doctrine

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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Is there a red line in Jewish life, one that Israel, Jewish leadership and Jews around the world, including our rabbis, won’t cross – under any conditions?

The state of Israel has crossed so many red lines. Israel’s invasion of Gaza is the latest red line crossing, one that is being hotly debated in Jewish communities around the world. Right now in the United States the debate is being played out in a small synagogue in Evanston, Illinois where Rabbi Brant Rosen has been on the red line hot seat for years.

Small synagogue – huge issue. Yet over the years so many red lines have been crossed that the color chart is blurred. At least for Jewish eyes. For some Jews, red has turned gray and gray, white. Now its gloves off, give them what they deserve.

Jews of Conscience are fighting that color blurring. It’s an uphill battle for sure but one worth fighting.

Example: Should it surprise us then that Israel having destroyed Gaza is economically benefiting from its rebuilding? Apparently no red line here. Some years ago Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine analyzed how capitalist ventures benefit off the misery of others. Her book needs an Israel update. Now it’s “Israel will destroy Gaza and benefit from Gaza’s rebuilding.”

This is how EuroeActiv describes the situation:

At least 65,000 people in the Gaza Strip are homeless after the recent seven-week conflict. Infrastructure ranging from water desalination centres to power plants lies in ruins.

No formal Israeli ban prevents the import of reconstruction materials that were not made in Israel, but EU sources speaking on condition of anonymity say that in practice, Israeli security demands present them with a fait accompli.

“If you want aid materials to be permitted to enter, they will almost inevitably come from Israeli sources,” an EU official said. “I don’t think you’ll find it written down anywhere in official policy, but when you get to negotiate with the Israelis, this is what happens. It increases construction and transaction costs, and is a political problem that has to be dealt with.”

As well as Israel’s security restrictions on aid, “it can be very difficult to export materials to Gaza,” the official said. “A lot of goods for a Gaza private sector reconstruction project we had, ended up being held in Ashdod port for very lengthy periods of time – months if not years – so there was de facto no alternative but to use Israeli sources.”

The source added that the policy had benefited Israel’s economy to the tune of millions of euros and was, in his view, deliberate.

The European Union and others, ostensibly Palestine’s better friends, are paralyzed. The only ones who will speak about this dire situation remain anonymous.

But then anonymity has been the name of the game on all sides of the Israel-Palestine issue for decades. That’s how red lines blur.

The reckoning that should have happened after Gaza isn’t happening. Only a collective effort can reverse the course of destruction and profiting from the destruction.

Is the reckoning that isn’t an international red line changing color?

It isn’t for lack of trying. Check out Germany’s and the European Union’s attempt to break the cycle of destruction in Israel-Palestine.

Germany believes that delivering Israel a fourth submarine will break the cycle. The submarine will arrive in Israel in the coming days. Chancellor Merkel is stepping up her efforts by agreeing to address a demonstration in Berlin next week against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Germany. No doubt she hopes that this combination will solve the German/Jewish/Israeli question.

The EU’s border management agency is holding discussions with Israel’s weapons industry about how drones can help Europe hunt down asylum-seekers.  A new Israeli drone tested in the Gaza war is of great interest to the Europeans who continue to fight against their colonial subjects showing up on their shores.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would note how Germany and the European Union are coordinating their efforts. Does their end justify their means?

So there we have it. Sophisticated submarines, anonymous sniping against Israel, demonstrations against anti-Semitism and drones for Europe tested against defenseless Palestinians.

Red lines fading to gray, then white. So soon?

Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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11 Responses

  1. seafoid on September 7, 2014, 11:13 am

    Cynicism sits very uneasily on Zionism’s shoulders. Maybe it’s the neediness that shows it up.
    “Please love us” doesn’t really sit well with “fuck you”.

  2. seafoid on September 7, 2014, 11:35 am

    and Netanyahu can do Cheney but Yossi Israeli

    a) hates IDF casualties
    b) doesn’t want to think about economic consequences

  3. seafoid on September 7, 2014, 11:49 am

    Israelis are too emotionally unstable for shock doctrines and their end logic

    “For Israelis, the nightmare of your son’s phone ringing, unanswered, wipes away all the self-confidence that citizens of the Jewish state have built for themselves. That fear burrows into a national psyche that defines what Israel is about for its Jewish majority – a country that was founded and its entire military force built up so that no Jewish child should ever be captured and spirited away again. No other political arguments or realities apply. As far as they are concerned, that is Israel’s core purpose.”

  4. annie on September 7, 2014, 12:28 pm

    Marc, thanks for reporting on the news in the EuroeActiv article, this is a really important. i saw it last week and thought of you actually, because of your knight in shining armor article

    which really outlines how israel planned on making boatloads of money thru bombing and then controlling the ‘rebuilding’ of gaza. israel lost a lot financially last summer. tourism, bds catching up, exports bad, drop in interest rates,but nothing compared to what they stand to make controlling and profiting off the rebuilding of gaza. every single penny contributed by the international community israel controls. why this is allowed to happen is mindbloggling.

    and the implications for the future? israel suffers from bds, bomb gaza and make a bundle. they get paid going in (by the US) and paid on the other end. it’s just a huge money maker for them bombing gaza. profit thru genocide.

  5. ivri on September 7, 2014, 12:38 pm

    The crux of the matter is that at this juncture of history the EU and Germany has no choice anymore. On one hand there are pure existential reasons: the European countries feel threatened in a world that seems to be ganging on it: Putin, the illegal immigrants and Islamic Jihadists returning home and inflaming big local Muslim minorities. They cannot afford anymore alienating the little that is left of the West and Israel has become in different ways even a pillar of it (not least by its technological prowess).
    On the other hand, no matter how people will ridicule the Holocaust it did happen and it puts real limits on how far Europe and Germany in particular would go in seeing Israel at risk.
    The combination of these two always in the end leads to the same result.

    • Shingo on September 12, 2014, 6:24 am

      They cannot afford anymore alienating the little that is left of the West and Israel has become in different ways even a pillar of it

      Quite the cvontrary. With the exception of Britain, the EU want nothing to do with the so called coalition to fight ISIS.

      WIth respect to Russia, the US has dragged the EU kicking and screaming to agree to sanctions. Polls show the population of the EU are against them and opposed to the Ukranian actions in Donbass.

      If anything, the US and Israel are more isolated and desperate than ever.

  6. just on September 7, 2014, 4:27 pm

    This is “shocking”

    “Israeli police say they have uncovered a messianic Jewish sect that prostituted women to “save Israel.”

    In a statement Sunday, police said officers arrested four people on suspicion of coercing women into having sex with non-Jews and exploited them sexually by making them addicted to drugs and alcohol. The reasoning behind the plot was “to save the people of Israel and bring redemption nearer.”

    Police say the four suspects, two men and two women, were part of a messianic sect. A four-month long investigation revealed they were brainwashing the women into believing they were helping the Jewish people by having sex with non-Jews while pocketing the money earned for themselves. The four included two from the West Bank settlement on Kiryat Arba.”

  7. Citizen on September 7, 2014, 8:04 pm

    Churchill said the Germans are always either at your throat or your feet. Don’t know what Germany will do for an encore, having by now been heavy into both activities with the Jews.

  8. DICKERSON3870 on September 8, 2014, 1:47 am

    As nauseous as that photo of Netanyahu and Merkel makes me, in a perverse way I really love it. I’m titling it: “The Big Schmooze”.

  9. Citizen on September 8, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Roger Cohen @NYTimesCohen · 6h
    How Israel got itself into a needless, pointless war. And AIPAC. A War of Choice in Gaza #Israel #Gaza

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