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Leftists Speak Out
ON FASCISM IN THE MIDEAST
Fascism:
Comparing the Israeli government with the Palestinian Authority
 
by Becky Johnson
 
June 1, 2003
 
Santa Cruz, Ca. --  I just listened to a long list of Israel-bashers on Free Radio
Santa Cruz 96.3 FM this afternoon.  Lisa Nessim began the fest. She was introduced
as a Jewish pacifist and a past Hillel director.  She was followed by Irene Seigal
of the International Solidarity Movement which is pushing for the public to cut
off aid to Israel.  The two callers I heard were even more critical of Israel. The
host, George Cadman, invited callers --- especially those who were critical, to
call in. I madly dashed for my phone, dialed up, and listened to the phone ring
12 times.  It was then I realized the show was taped and their would be no
opportunity for a different perspective to be aired.
 
One of the speakers compared the IDF to the Nazis and, thankfully, pointed out
that the IDF had done nothing even approaching what the Nazis had done, but
"that it has the feel of fascism."  What is fascism?  Below is a definition I came
across recently.  This is what it said:
 
FASCISM:
 
According to various sources, fascism is a government that achieves power
through political assassinations or rigged elections; initially poses as
the champion of democracy even as it undermines democratic principles; is
so nationalistic and excessively patriotic that disagreements with government
policies are viewed as treason; controls the media so the people will support
the government; coarsens the national dialogue with inflammatory rhetoric;
relentlessly attacks the messengers of alternative points of view until they
are silenced; uses secret police to spy on the population and eliminate
opposition; undermines constitutional rights so the government will have
absolute control over the people; stresses the superiority of one's country;
promotes internal and external enemies as the sources of evil; sacrifices
public interests to corporate interests; funnels a nation's wealth into the
military and weapons-producing corporations; keeps the people in a permanently
warlike state of mind; and eventually centers all power in a single party
headed by a dictator with absolute power over the people.

Anonymous San Marcos North County Times Reader - southland
 
Let's take this apart. Fascism is a government that achieves power through political assassinations or rigged elections;
 
The Israelis have a parliamentary government, and regularly hold elections. In addition,
Prime Minister Sharon, now serving his second term in office, is beholden to legislation passed
by the Knesset and to ruling passed by the Israeli Supreme Court.  By comparison,
policial "moderates" among the Palestinians have been killed by their own leaders Arafat was elected to a five year office seven years ago and just picked his successor Mahamoud Abbas
without an election.  He said he couldn't hold a free election "because of the Israelis."
 
...initially poses as the champion of democracy even as it undermines democratic principles; is so nationalistic and excessively patriotic that disagreements with government policies are viewed as treason; ...
 
Israel is a democracy with Judaism as the state religion---similar to Sweden which has the Lutheran faith or Italy which has Catholicism as its state religion.  Free speech is the law.  Dissent is tolerated on a constitutional basis and opposition parties can and do exist.  By contrast, Arafat and Abbas are part of a ruling elite who suck off public funding to the Palestinian Authority so that the elite live in palaces while the average Palestinian struggles with poverty.Political opponents are openly lynched in the streets as "collaboraters with the Israelis."
 
...controls the media so the people will support
the government; coarsens the national dialogue with inflammatory rhetoric;
 
Israel has a free press and has the third largest number of foreign press agents represented in the world in Jerusalem, behind New York and London.  Dissenting opinions are expressed all the time.  The Palestinian Authority, by contrast has only government approved radio and television.  On these stations, Mullahs openly call for the destruction of Israel and to kill the Jews as a holy mandate.  The equivalent of Saturday morning cartoons glorifies children who are killed while throwing rocks at IDF soldiers.
 
...relentlessly attacks the messengers of alternative points of view until they
are silenced; uses secret police to spy on the population and eliminate
opposition;
 
While prisoners in Palestinian jails are often tortured, killed, or even lynched by mobs, the Israeli Supreme Court recently ruled that the IDF may only use sleep deprivation in order to obtain vital security information.  The Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence network, goes into Palestinian areas dressed as women covered with the burqas in order to learn of Palestinian terror activities.
In this way, they have obtained a great deal of information on who the terrorists are, where they are planning their activities. This has led to a policy by the Israelis of targeted attacks at the perpetrators of these crimes minimizing civilian casaulties.
 
...undermines constitutional rights so the government will have absolute control over the people; stresses the superiority of one's country; promotes internal and external enemies as the sources of evil; sacrifices public interests to corporate interests;
 
Life within the Palestinian Authority is characterized by no elections in seven years,
no freedom of speech, honor killings of womenwho are even hinted as losing their virginity and, terrorists who operate without any attempt by the PA to arrest or try them.  Arafat may condemn a terror attack inside Israel in english, but in arabic priases it and consistently names streets, schools and stadiums in honor of the killers. Arafat talks of a "Free Palestine" which are code words for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and replacing it with the State of Palestine.Israel is a socialist state where those with special needs are helped.  The PA is a corrupt military dictatorship where people live in growing poverty.  Palestinians call for "Jihad" or holy war, while Israelis greet each other with the word "Shalom" meaning peace.  The Jewish people sometimes refer to themselves as "the chosen people" because, according to their religion, God gave
the Jewish people the law to follow and set an example for mankind..  Others could follow Jewish law, but were not beholden to.
 
...funnels a nation's wealth into the military and weapons-producing corporations; keeps the people in a permanently warlike state of mind; and eventually centers all power in a single party headed by a dictator with absolute power over the people.
 
It is estimated that a full third of the money coming into the PA is siphoned off and used to fund the intifada which has launched an estimated 21,000 terrorist attacks on Israel since September of 2000.  Israel, likewise,spends an enormous part of its budget, albeit openly, on military defense.  But then Israel has been attacked four times since its birth in 1948 ---in 1948 ONE day after they declared independance, 1956, 1967, and again in 1973 during Yom Kippur when all religious Jews are on a 25 hour fast of food and water.  The Palestinians have launched two intifada's or uprisings, the last one began in September of 2000.  The Israelis have several different parties, including an Arab party which regularly calls for the destruction of Israel.  The Palestinians have Arafat's Fatah party and all the terrorist group spin-offs such as the PLO, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hamas, etc.
 
The Israelis are not perfect. There have been examples of excessive force, looting by soldiers, and civilians killed during IDF operations where soliders have been prosecuted or disciplined. But they far better fit the model of an imperfect democracy which is under constant attack, than of an example of fascism.  On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority, already has far more of the trappings of fascism than their closest neighbor. Its not reasonable to assume that if the Palestinians were in control of more land, more money, or more people that they would have any more success in achieving democracy, higher living standards, or peaceful relationships with it neighbors.  Israel has already more than demonstrated it can do all three.