Archive | July 2015

Ghassan Kanafani

Mehdi Ben Barka just disappeared. Amilcar Cabral got a bullet. Eduardo Mondlane a book. Ruth First a parcel. Walter Rodney, the gift of an unwanted accessory to his car. And so did Ghassan.

That was 43 years ago today. He was 36.

In less than two years’ time, 10 June 2017, there will be a 50th anniversary, a Golden Jubilee. Quite appropriate really, as a possible etymology is yobel, Hebrew for ram, the ram’s-horn trumpet. Heralding the third capitalist religio-ethnic Jewish occupation of Palestine, a qualitative shift compared with that from 1878 until the end of the Mandate in May 1948, and then the expansion secured by war over the following 10 months.

In 2017 the Jewish-Israeli supremacist capitalist state will be 69 years old. No mutual pleasure here. First, 19 years consolidating the second occupation; then, as if that wasn’t enough, working on a third one for 50 years. That’s more than 72% of the state’s time on this earth, presiding beyond its internationally recognised borders (albeit illegitimate in terms of either a liberal or a socialist perspective). That’s one hell of a record, even for a rogue state. Its employees & supporters are surely proud of its misanthropic work.

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Note For a liberal, a socialist, an anarchist, the state of Israel, & so its borders, will always be illegitimate. This is because it originated in a violation of the principle that in deciding the post-colonial future of a territory, as with the end of the Mandate, self-determination, in the first instance, is an inalienable, indivisible collective quality of all the residents of a territory. This contrasts with both the decision of a separatist minority (30% owning 6% of the land), & the recommendation of a then 56-member UN (albeit rejected, at the US’s initiative, by Security Council resolution 44, 1 April 1948). But in life, when it comes down to it, legitimacy is neither here nor there: what matters is the capacity to rule.

Israeli politics is Red Indian politics: if it goes on long enough what the natives think becomes irrelevant. The possible fate of Jewish-Israelised Palestine is that of the Americas, the Antipodes, Algeria, South Africa, all settler-colonies. This Jewish-European emigratory nationalism has become an Asian Jewish-Israeli supremacism. As some natives remained in March 1949 (see below), the great majority of Jewish-Israelis decided that a religio-ethnic supremacism had to endure. Such state institutions were the crucial means to try to secure, & maintain, the supremacy of Jewish-Israeli society. The security state was born, a beacon to the world, a shining example of what Jewish civilisation can achieve. Israel & its shadow. Israel & the darkness. Who will be consumed? Who will survive?

(Approximately, of the 900 000 Palestinians who had been living in what became the post-March 1949 Israel, only 120k remained (13%), half of them Negev Bedouin. Of the other 60k, 20-30k were internal refugees; so less than 5% of non-nomads still lived in their homes – John Quigley, The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, 2nd edn., Duke UP, 2005:86 citing Janet Abu-Lughod 1971:161, Zeev Schiff 1962:66-7, & Charles Kamen 1984:38. However it should be noted that the Israeli state gives not 120k but 156.0k (the 8 Nov 1948 census), 160.0k for year-end 1949, & 167.1k for year-end 1950 (Central Bureau of Statistics); this makes 18% remaining (160k/900k), not 13%. This in a context of there being, in 1882, c. 24 000 Jews in the Ottoman province (in effect Jewish-Palestinians), expanding by year-end 2013 into 6.1m Jewish-Israelis living in Jewish-Israelised Palestine – Jehuda Reinharz, Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Zionist Leader, Oxford UP, 1985:46 citing the ‘Eretz Israel’ entry in Ha-Enziklopedia ha-Ivrit [Hebrew Encyclopaedia], v.6, col.674;

~ photo courtesy of Liberal Humanist (a former wiki editor)