Europe must not buy what Israel is selling to combat terror
Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry, and is now selling the concept of a police state to the world
Whenever a terrorist attack happens such as the one last week in Barcelona, Israel politicians and security “experts” get on TV to criticize European naïvité. If only they understood terrorism as we do and took the preventive measures we do, they say, they would suffer far less attacks. Most infamous in this regard were the remarks of Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz after the Brussels bombing in March 2016, in which 34 people died.
Rather than convey his condolences in the name of the Israeli government, he scolded the Belgians in the most patronizing way possible. “If in Belgium they continue to eat chocolate, enjoy life and parade as great liberals and democrats while not taking account of the fact that some of the Muslims who are there are organizing acts of terror,” he pronounced, “they will not be able to fight against them.”
The Belgians reacted angrily, and asserted the position of most European governments: While we will continue to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions, we are not going to forsake our freedoms and political openness to become copies of Israel. For they understand that Netanyahu’s government is peddling something far more insidious than mere precautions – even more than the weapons, surveillance and security systems and models of population control that is the bread-and-butter of Israeli exports. What Israel is urging onto the Europeans – and Americans, Canadians, Indians, Mexicans, Australians and anyone else who will listen – is nothing less than an entirely new concept of a state, the Security State.
What is a Security State? Essentially, it is a state that places security above all else, certainly above democracy, due process of law and human rights, all of which it considers “liberal luxuries” in a world awash in terrorism. Israel presents itself, no less, than the model for countries of the future. You Europeans and others should not be criticizing us, say Katz and Netanyahu, you should be imitating us. For look at what we have done. We have created a vibrant democracy from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River that provides its citizens with a flourishing economy and personal security – even though half the population of that country are terrorists (i.e., non-citizen Palestinians living in isolated enclaves of the country). If we can achieve that, imagine what we can offer those of you threatened by terrorist attacks?
In a brilliant shift in imaging, Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry. By labeling it “terrorism,” it has not only delegitimized the Palestinian struggle but has transformed the occupied territories in a laboratory of counterinsurgency and population control, the cutting edges of both foreign wars and domestic repression. It has transformed tactics of control and their accompanying weapons of surveillance systems into marketable products. No wonder, as Netanyahu constantly reminds us, “the world” loves Israel. From China to Saudi Arabia, from India to Mexico, from Eritrea to Kazakhstan, Israel supplies the means by which repressive regimes control their restless peoples.