Robert Kurz

The War Against the Jews

Why the global public is turning against Israel during the economic crisis

The political reactions to the war in Gaza show that the more threatening the military situation for Israel becomes, the less friends it has. A tectonic shift in the balance of forces is occurring. It was always the case that the Middle East conflict was not just a limited scuffle between regional interests, but rather an exemplary and ideologically loaded proxy conflict. In the era of the Cold War, the conflict between Israel and Palestine was regarded as a paradigm for the antagonism between western imperialism under the leadership of the USA and an “anti-imperialist camp” for whose leadership China and Russia competed. The propaganda of both sides ignored the double character of the state of Israel, which on the one hand was a normal state within the framework of the world market, and on the other hand was an answer by Jews to the eliminatory ideology of exclusion of European and particularly German anti-Semitism. Israel was subsumed to a geopolitical constellation into which it could not be completely absorbed.

After the collapse of state socialism and the “national liberation movements” that had formulated a program of “belated development” on the basis of the world market, the character of this proxy conflict was altered fundamentally. In place of the secular developmental regime emerged so-called Islamism, which only ostensibly operates as a traditional religious movement. In fact, it is a postmodern culturalist crisis-ideology of a part of the long since westernized elites in the Islamic countries, who represent the authoritarian potential of the postmodern and who have imbibed the completely non-Islamic ideology of European anti-Semitism. The segments of capital in the region that had failed on the world market declared the war against the Jews to be an exemplary struggle against western dominance. Conversely, western crisis-imperialism, with the USA at its head, made Islamism its new main enemy, after pampering it during the Cold War and providing it with weapons.

This new constellation led to ideological dislocations of unexpected proportions. Neoliberalism, with its capitalist war of world order against the “failed states” of crisis-prone regions and in the Middle East, appeared to identify with Israel. Since then, neo-fascist currents throughout the world have lined up with the anti-semitic Islamist “resistance struggle”, even while simultaneously fomenting racist sentiments against immigrants from Islamic countries. A large part of the global left also began to unconditionally transfer the glorification of the old “anti-imperialism” to Islamic movements and regimes. This can only be described as an act of ideological neglect, since Islamism is opposed to everything for which the left ever stood: it persecutes Marxist thought with merciless oppression and torture, it punishes homosexuality with the death penalty, and treats women as second-class people. Traditional religion is also not responsible for this; rather, it is the result of a capitalist patriarchy in crisis, which can also be felt in other ways in the west. The unholy alliance of the “socialist” caudillismo of Hugo Chavez with Islamism merely constitutes a geopolitical confirmation of this ideological degeneration, which does not contain any emancipatory perspective.

Since the historically unparalleled financial crash in Autumn of 2008, the global constellation is turning once more. Now it becomes clear that the collapse of state socialism and the national developmental regimes was only the surfacing of a giant crisis of the world market. Neoliberalism is in ruins, and the capitalist wars of world order are no longer financially viable. In this situation, it becomes clear that Israel was never anything more than a pawn on the chessboard of global crisis-imperialism. Already the Bush administration had trivialized the Iranian atomic program. The interests of Israel and the USA are diverging: Obama no longer has any political-military room for maneuver. The Islamic war against the Jews is being accepted. For that reason, the missile attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians appears insignificant; the global public overwhelmingly describes Israel's counter-attack as “disproportionate”. The Palestinians in Gaza are equated as victims with Hamas, as if this government had not prevailed in a bloody civil war with the secular Fatah.

Thus the Islamic propaganda concerning a massacre against civilians falls on fertile soil. In fact, Hamas – just like the Lebanese Hezbollah in 2006 – has taken the civilian population hostage, while it converts Mosques into weapons caches and allows its cadres to open fire from schools and hospitals. Global opinion overlooks this, since it has already recognized Hamas as a “force for order” within the social crisis. For this reason, capitalist pragmatism, reaching as far as the liberal bourgeois press, is increasingly turning against Israel's self-defense. This is actually the secret of the neo-statist turn during the crash of the global economy: the impoverished masses should be pacified in an authoritarian manner: and for that even Islamism is acceptable, provided it has democratic legitimacy. And a left that no longer has any socialist aims, and gloats about the postmodern “loss of all certainties” threatens to be absorbed into the authoritarian crisis management and accept the Islamic war against the Jews as ideological flanking. The proxy conflict has achieved an ideological dimension of global proportions. Against the ideological mainstream, it must be maintained that the elimination of Hamas and Hezbollah is an elementary condition not only for a precarious capitalist peace in Palestina, but also for an improvement in the social conditions. If the chances for this are bad, then the chances are good for global society's descent into barbarism.