Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Exporting Apartheid: Israel’s war turned into a brand

israel-barbed-flag.jpgI’ve just noticed this Naomi Klein piece, published in the Guardian last Saturday (16 June): How war was turned into a brand.

It adds another dimension to the burgeoning ‘Homeland Security’-industry war profiteering (aka the Fatherland Protection Racket and the Counter-terrorism-Industrial Complex) we have seen in the United States since September 11, 2001 and since the invasion of Iraq.

In Israel, unlike the US, the high-tech homeland ‘security’ industry is tried and tested on apartheid checkpoints and on the Palestinian people.

This industry is another reason for neocons to contrive and stoke the fires of fear to prolong profit, and to increase the matrix of control. Guarding against the influence of this complex, to invoke Eisenhower’s famous injunction, starts with educating ourselves.

Eisenhower also reputedly said this—another salient quote in relation to the Bush-Cheney junta’s ‘preemptive doctrine’:

“Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.”

On to Naomi Klein:

Political chaos means Israel is booming like it’s 1999 – and the boom is in defence exports field-tested on Palestinians.

Gaza in the hands of Hamas, with masked militants sitting in the president’s chair; the West Bank on the edge; Israeli army camps hastily assembled in the Golan Heights; a spy satellite over Iran and Syria; war with Hizbullah a hair trigger away; a scandal-plagued political class facing a total loss of public faith. At a glance, things aren’t going well for Israel. But here’s a puzzle: why, in the midst of such chaos and carnage, is the Israeli economy booming like it’s 1999, with a roaring stock market and growth rates nearing China’s?

…Israel’s economy isn’t booming despite the political chaos that devours the headlines but because of it. This phase of development dates back to the mid-90s, when the country was in the vanguard of the information revolution – the most tech-dependent economy in the world. After the dotcom bubble burst in 2000, Israel’s economy was devastated, facing its worst year since 1953. Then came 9/11, and suddenly new profit vistas opened up for any company that claimed it could spot terrorists in crowds, seal borders from attack, and extract confessions from closed-mouthed prisoners.

Within three years, large parts of Israel’s tech economy had been radically repurposed. Put in Friedmanesque terms, Israel went from inventing the networking tools of the “flat world” to selling fences to an apartheid planet. Many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of 24-hour-a-day showroom, a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war. And the reason Israel is now enjoying supergrowth is that those companies are busily exporting that model to the world.

Discussions of Israel’s military trade usually focus on the flow of weapons into the country – US-made Caterpillar bulldozers used to destroy homes in the West Bank, and British companies supplying parts for F-16s. Overlooked is Israel’s huge and expanding export business. Israel now sends $1.2bn in “defence” products to the United States – up dramatically from $270m in 1999. In 2006, Israel exported $3.4bn in defence products – well over a billion more than it received in American military aid. That makes Israel the fourth largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain.

Much of this growth has been in the so-called homeland security sector. Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2bn, an increase of 20%. The key products and services are hi-tech fences, unmanned drones, biometric IDs, video and audio surveillance gear, air passenger profiling and prisoner interrogation systems – precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories.

And that is why the chaos in Gaza and the rest of the region doesn’t threaten the bottom line in Tel Aviv, and may actually boost it. Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the “global war on terror”.

… Thirty homeland security companies have been launched in Israel during the past six months alone, thanks in large part to lavish government subsidies that have transformed the Israeli army and the country’s universities into incubators for security and weapons start-ups – something to keep in mind in the debates about the academic boycott.

Next week, the most established of these companies will travel to Europe for the Paris Air Show, the arms industry’s equivalent of Fashion Week. One of the Israeli companies exhibiting is Suspect Detection Systems (SDS), which will be showcasing its Cogito1002, a white, sci-fi-looking security kiosk that asks air travellers to answer a series of computer-generated questions, tailored to their country of origin, while they hold their hand on a “biofeedback” sensor. The device reads the body’s reactions to the questions, and certain responses flag the passenger as “suspect”.

Like hundreds of other Israeli security start-ups, SDS boasts that it was founded by veterans of Israel’s secret police and that its products were road-tested on Palestinians. Not only has the company tried out the biofeedback terminals at a West Bank checkpoint, it claims the “concept is supported and enhanced by knowledge acquired and assimilated from the analysis of thousands of case studies related to suicide bombers in Israel”.

Another star of the Paris Air Show will be Israeli defence giant Elbit, which plans to showcase its Hermes 450 and 900 unmanned air vehicles. As recently as last month, according to press reports, Israel used the drones on bombing missions in Gaza. Once tested in the territories, they are exported abroad: the Hermes has already been used at the Arizona-Mexico border; Cogito1002 terminals are being auditioned at an unnamed American airport; and Elbit – also one of the companies behind Israel’s “security barrier” – has set up a deal with Boeing to construct the Department of Homeland Security’s $2.5bn “virtual” border fence around the US.

Since Israel began its policy of sealing off the occupied territories with checkpoints and walls, human rights activists have often compared Gaza and the West Bank to open-air prisons. But in researching the explosion of Israel’s homeland security sector, a topic explored in greater detail in my forthcoming book, it strikes me that they are something else too: laboratories where the terrifying tools of our security states are being field-tested. Palestinians – whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling Hamastan – are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs.

Naomi Klein’s new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, will be published later this year by Picador; a version of this article appears in the Nation, and

14 comments on “Exporting Apartheid: Israel’s war turned into a brand

  1. SC&A
    23 June, 2007

    “SDS boasts that it was founded by veterans of Israel’s secret police and that its products were road-tested on Palestinians.”

    In other words, it proved effective at preventing terror?

    Or is ‘biofeedback’ now a new form of torture?

  2. Michael Breen
    23 June, 2007

    Anyone who finds Naomi Klein’s piece interesting
    might also read Cullen Murphy’s
    The Sack of Washington“.

    He compares privatization in the modern US with
    that of imperial Rome and includes among his
    examples Halliburton and mercenaries in Iraq,
    the privatization of prisons, and universities
    becoming an “academic-industrial complex”.

    “More and more people have withdrawn into
    protected enclaves…
    Individuals may owe nominal allegiance to a
    town or a state, but their true oath of fealty
    is to Securitas or Guardsmark.”

    Murphy’s main argument is a simple and cogent one:
    privatization might work on a small scale and in
    the short term (as an efficient economic mechanism)
    but is not effective in the long term on a national
    (or imperial) scale.

    As a summary of the trajectory of Roman history,
    he reviews Ste. Croix’s study of the meaning of
    the word //suffragium//: originally this meant a
    voting tablet but it changed with the codification
    of corruption to mean a payment for which the payer
    could legitimately expect a favour in return –
    “government by user fee.”
    Vanity Fair article

  3. JollyRoger
    24 June, 2007

    I personally believe the Chimpletons have already taken the privateering too far in the US. This country isn’t going to survive this intact. Already the timbers are yawning, and green water is boarding.

    Within 10 years this country will be at least 4 regionally autonomous entities, with their own currencies and diplomatic operations. California is already well on the way to establishing the first breakaway region.

    I re-added you, BTW. In the move (and my disappearance) I didn’t get everything done I meant to do.

  4. peoplesgeography
    25 June, 2007


    Does terror ever prevent terror, or does it pour oil on it as numerous State Dept and CIA officials, past and present have testified?

    Under the banner of security, many crimes are being committed by the present worse-than-apartheid Israeli regime. Security is not a convenient catch-all explanation that’s going to work and under which any and all draconian and oppressive measure is justified. Biofeedback per se is not a form of torture, nor does the article claim it is. Is torture being inflicted upon the Palestinians by the Israelis? You bet. With impunity and now legally sanctioned (Y-Net)

    As promised, here’s my response, Sigmund (and you are one person though you say ‘we’). As your web bio blurb states:

    Sigmund Carl and Alfred isn’t really three people; he’s just one, “Siggy” for short. He earns his living as a political analyst specializing in anticipating the behavior of what he refers to as “really crazy people.”

    And those really crazy people, in your estimation, includes a stated hatred of and for the Left, Arabs and Muslims. Despite your slander, I’ve endeavoured to once again address your multi-post smear civilly. For someone who is fond of talking about civilised values, your responses are altogether lacking in a modicum of good manners — one should think its your mother that needs to be spoken to!

    More substantively, in reading your multiple posts about this blog and blogger, I am bemused at a number of things.

    The first is the number of posts I merit. Despite decrying my views as inconsequential, I am apparently important enough to warrant several posts.

    Second, I am not the only furious fixation — anyone who is deemed left or liberal earns your ire. I happen not be a liberal in the US understanding of what that means, and I feature right of centre voices regularly, such as Andrew Bacevich, Patrick Buchanan, Ron Paul and Chalmers Johnson. The same can not be said of you featuring left-wing voices, which you explicitly say that you hate. Your record of slander in fact includes a declared hate of the left, hatred of Islam and hatred for the Arab world as if it exists as a blanket entity.

    These are just some of the people who come in for similar treatment by you — people I generally respect and admire as it happens:

    Record of Slander:

    * Robert Fisk: esteemed British journalist who works for the Independent, lives in Lebanon and has written several highly regarded books on the Middle East;
    * (Dr) Saree Makdisi: Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA;
    * Cindy Sheehan (“Another Cow Put Out To Pasture: Cindy Sheehan’s Last Dance”) mother and tireless campaigner for justice and an end to the occupation of Iraq;
    * Phillip Weiss: progressive American Jewish journalist, Sigmund’s post includes that priceless oft-repeated phrase: “Dance, Philip Weiss, dance”;
    * (Dr) Joseph Massad: Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University;
    * The Left:”Yeah, leftists really do care about justice. Just like pedophiles care about children”;
    * Dr Steven Soldz: psychoanalyist

    The difference is that these people ignore you. I chose to address your claims. After this occasion, I may decide to use my time more judiciously.

    Second, it is exceedingly curious that you appear to have an animal fixation: cows, beasts, apes, cockroaches and “bestial” are repeatedly mentioned in your veritable menagerie. You point the finger at a minority of racists in the Arab world calling Jews pigs as evidence of bigotry (and rightly so, though not representative as you claim), yet practise this insidious name calling and defining people as less than humans yourself. So how is this not hypocritical and offensive?

    More examples with excerpts and links so the full context can be seen:

    *Why I Hate Islam:

    I hate Islam. I hate everything about what passes for Islam and I hate everyone who defends what passes for Islam. I hate Islamic politics, I hate the Islamic ‘street’ and I hate Islamic fueled bigotry, racism and hate…. Hitler killed 50 million with bullets and fire. Islam is killing hundreds of millions with tyranny and evil and like Hitler, and what passes for Muslims today, rejoice in the deaths of those they kill.” [Yes, your “best friend” is Muslim, but you still hate it and its perceived effects on him]

    On Hating, the Left and evil

    * Saddam Hussein’s execution (Source)

    “It’s just a fascinating thing, you have people outraged at the execution and oblivious to the evil…. Evil has to be excised…. There’s a little too much “love” and not enough hate….” [My comment: Hate does not diminish evil, it sustains it; understanding root causes and addressing those is what dissolves it]

    Religious superiority
    * Jews, Basketball And The Human Potential

    “Pondering whether or not Jews are ‘smarter’ than everyone else is like asking if basketball players are taller than everyone else. The evidence speaks for itself. The real question, is <em>why</em> Jews are smarter. There are of course, many theories. Some point to genetics, others point to culture. Yet others see the Jewish achievement as a combination of factors, giving no added weight to culture or genetics.”

    Doesn’t play well with other children bloggers: (sample only)

    * Science Blogs
    * Pajamas Media
    * Flying Imam
    * Politics Central
    * Deltos (also calls him an ape in a tuxedo)

    Lessons in maturity, tact and charm?

    * “Be a man. Don’t run away like a cockroach when the light is on”
    * Blog of Carrie: “…she might be best kept in the back rooms, doing repetetive tasks…not left alone with people…Carrie is living proof that dumbing down of educational standards alone can’t produce the level of stupidity seen on blogfart.”
    * Treatment of Jasmine in comments here
    * Name that tune, derision of commenter (but one example)

    Contempt for readers/ self-aggrandisement
    (samples only)

    * two-six-shooters-and-sacred-cows:

    “Most of you are clueless fools when it comes to politics. Now, don’t misunderstand. That you are clueless idiots isn’t your fault. You have been deluded into thinking you are reasonably intelligent and educated. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. That so many of you subscribe to certain political view (not ideologies- for the most part, you are incapable of actually understanding what a ideology really means), and acknowledge that by parroting the one liners and zingers that are bandied about, only highlights your level of spectacular shallowness.”

    * “Finally, as to my tone, longtime readers recall that for quite a while, SC&A was a rant blog- albeit far more intelligent and cutting than most” (Source)


    Now, to addressing the points in the multiple posts I’ve apparently warranted. First, here’s a refresher from the original post thread “The Israeli Beast” (word document)

    My responses are in part two on this same post thread.

  5. peoplesgeography
    25 June, 2007


    Thanks for the article link, much appreciated. I think Murphy is spot on about the critical importance of scale here and that is what current-day neoliberals tend to forget when imbibing the classical liberal thinkers. Small-scale private holdings are not inimicable to democracy, large scale imperial privatisation (privateering) is.


  6. peoplesgeography
    25 June, 2007

    Jolly Roger,

    Many thanks and I’ve updated the link. I love your site’s new look and as always appreciate the contents.

    I’ve read that California is already the sixth largest economy in the world and it will be interesting to watch what happens betwixt these simultaneously secessionist (as you observed) and regional corporatist (NAFTA, proposed ‘Amero’) tendencies.

  7. peoplesgeography
    25 June, 2007

    PART TWO Response to Sigmund

    SIGMUND’S CLAIMS (indented and italicised, followed by my comments):

    the ‘occupation’ of the Palestinian territories has been the most benign occupation in history.

    This is a false statement and an utterly absurd claim. The longest running military occupation in modern history has been immensely and willfully destructive, not benign, for for the Palestinians in the OPT (West Bank and Gaza Strip), with a ratio of 1:4 deaths – four Palestinians killed for every Israeli, most of them civilians, women and children. Is withholding Palestinians own money to invest in infrastructure, taxes Israel collects, “benign”? Is bombing an electricity station in the Gaza Strip and depriving Gaza of power “benign”? Is subjecting children and civilians to terrifying sonic booms on a regular basis “benign”? Humiliation at numerous checkpoints? Torture, strip-searches, strikes, bulldozing of houses, starvation, targeted killing, kidnapping of Palestinian ministers — the list could go on and on — “benign”?

    One more, Jews are being ‘ghettoized’ by the likes of el Khoury- this time, in their own country, singled out and set apart.

    We are not here talking about Jews generally but Israelis specifically, one fifth of whom are Arabs, whose government is ghettoizing its own population.

    Just because it is au courrant to say criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, does not make it so. It an absurd and skewed look at reality. Criticism of Israel has become anti-Semitic because there is a different standard of measurement for Israel than there is for any other country (the same applies to the US. When America is criticized, is also by a different yardstick).

    Whether it is au courrant or not is irrelevant, the simple fact is that criticism of Israel in and of itself is most certainly not anti-Semitic. Judith Butler has written a good piece here, No, it is not anti-Semitic.

    The standards Israel are measured by are the standards it claims for itself – that of being democratic, claiming purity of arms, holding itself up above others (“light of nations). We already know most current Arab governments are despotic and authoritarian, but not uniformly so, but nor do they claim to be western-style democracies, nor are western-style democracies themselves the yardstick or paragon of virtue for other nations. In the region, Lebanon is also democratic and diverse along multi-religious lines.

    The US is both praised and criticized by a hegemonial yardstick for the common-sensical reason that it’s a superpower. There are vastly different types of states, and it would not make sense holding Tuvalu or the Congo to the same set of standards, in part because they do not even claim the same standards as the US.

    SC&A wonder why el Khoury singles out Israel for such treatment. What is it about Israel that is so special? Why does el Khoury treat Israel so differently from other, real human rights violators? Of course, the answer is clear. Simply put, it is anti Semitism. To point to Israel as the worst human rights offender in the world is laughable.

    First of all, nowhere do I claim that Israel is the worst human rights offender in the world, another instance of Sigmund attempting attempting to put words in peoples mouths, which is to say, another falsehood.

    Second, is Sigmund trying to dictate the chosen content of my posts? It is clearly my choice about what I post on, not his. I am not choosing to focus on human rights abuses in China, or the United States, or Australia. My chosen area of interest on this occasion in this blog venue is the Middle East, and by pointing out Israel’s egregious abuses and the fact that it does not live up to its own claims does not constitute singling out. Does someone interested in China get accused of singling out China and not looking at Israel, or Chechnya, or the Congo? Hardly, that’s simply their chosen area of focus.

    So let me put the question back to Sigmund. What is it about Israel that is so special that one can not choose to legitimately focus upon its foreign policies without attracting the absurd charge that one is singling it out? Is it immune from legitimate criticism?

    Is anyone telling him not to focus upon the Arab world? Or the Left? Or Islam, which he systematically vilifies?

    The apparent difference between us is that I include Israeli voices of dissent, as well as right-of-centre voices too, whereas the left only appears in his posts to smear and slander them.

    There is simply a closing of doors and a cessation of communications, as if the case against Israel were so egregious that it stood out in a most singular fashion.

    Sigmund, first you say I expended thousands of words, now you claim a “cessation of communications”. How exactly was the door closed? Did I not engage you point by point and address all key points? I’d say my communication was quite comprehensive, whatever its merits.

    In A Sacred Right: The Palestinian Right Of Return , el Khoury breathlessly emphasizes the opinion of Jew who takes issue with and then rewrites Israel’s past. She presents the opinion piece by Alex Stein, as Gospel and this Phd candidate is only too happy to go along with the revisionist history

    An article is presented (how exactly is it made to be “gospel?”), there is no “breathless emphasis” upon anything. Your judgment of “revisionist history” is your opinion, and you have presented no argument that engages with or refutes Alex Stein’s article.

    What is it about Israel that el Khoury finds so offensive?

    I have enumerated this many times. Let’s be specific. We are talking about Israeli government policies here, let’s make that clear. Israel’s present government practices worse than South African-era apartheid policies, stealing more land with illegal settlements, building a wall that further eats 10% of Palestinian land, thwarts Palestinian development by preventing movement and denying re-entry visas, cuts off aid, destroys homes and olive groves, imprisons tens of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese without charge or trial, torturing many with impunity, treats Palestinians like cattle with several checkpoints where they are also abused with impunity, and so much more. Do you want more, Sigmund?

    In the end, el Khoury is a fraud- and an anti Semite, notwithstanding el Khoury’s protestations and assurances ‘that some of her best friends are Jews.’

    Oh really? Now you’re being funny. What exactly am I being fraudulent about? You singularly fail to point out anywhere the fraud you misperceive.

    In fact, I have put my full name and credentials to my claims, where are yours, Sigmund?

    And while I do happen to have valued Jewish friends, just where in fact have I ever protested or assured that some of my best friends are Jews as some sort of immunity, or even mentioned this? Show me just where I say this, Sigmund. If you can not, you are the fraud, on this and other counts.

    In el Khoury’s world, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad is really a nice, but misunderstood man, and a ‘victim’ of all kinds of ‘misunderstandings

    Yet another straw man where you attempt to refute something I did not say. I neither said he was nice nor a victim. Failure to show where points again to fraudulent claims. My point was that “wipe off the map” was a mistranslation, and that President Ahmadinejad was a loose cannon who doesn’t hold the real political power in Iran.

    Further, Israeli immigration policy is remarkably similar to the immigration policies of other nations

    Not at all, nor do you furnish satisfactory evidence to support your claim. Israel itself claims to be unique, so how on earth do you think your claim stacks up to its own claim? No other country has a Law of ‘Return’ for a particularly religion where the person is not even native to that region, and is automatically guaranteed right of entry over native inhabitants.

    El Khoury’s blog tag, ‘Holocaust Related’ is perhaps the best indicator of her intellectual dishonesty. Only articles (preferably written by Jews) that are dismissive or belittle the Holocaust are on her radar. She herself is very careful- she posits not a single word when it comes to the horrors of the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad would be so proud

    Again, this is disingenuously trying to circumscribe and dictate the content of my blog. I am under no obligation to include Holocaust related articles that you deem worthwhile, Sigmund. There is already a rich body of work out there that I am under no obligation to revisit, and your ridiculous judgment that they dismiss or belittle the Holocaust is again unsubstantiated.

    Her racism becomes clear in Iran’s President Did Not Say Israel Must be Wiped Off The Map

    How exactly is this racist? Again, your ridiculous charge goes unsubstantiated.

    El Khoury cannot contain her bigotry. She is like a pedophile who professes to love children

    This is just smear and slander, one of your tiresome stock retorts that is repeated ad nauseum. Since it is routinely levelled and at people I generally respect and admire (Robert Fisk, Phillip Weiss, Saree Makdisi, Joseph Massad), the ridiculous smear says more about you and your modus operandi. Nor does one Fisk have to be superhumanly correct in his journalism — he is right most of the time, most journalists venturing their take on things will not be right 100% of the time. He’s still one of the best journalists in the region.

    When El Khoury and her ilk deliberately refuse to divine the difference between Hizbollah, with their committed and stated anti Semitism (Nasrallah has often referred to Jews as ‘descendants of apes and pigs’) and Israel, she and they identify themselves liars or idiots. When Mein Kampf remains a best seller for decades in the Arab world and decades old promises to ‘finish what Hitler started,’ el Khoury cannot be taken seriously when she feigns outrage (and even then, mildly). Her refusal to to take a stand against proactively against those kind of outrages speaks for itself and undermines her credibility.

    Refusal to take a stand? “Feign” outrage? On the contrary, I acknowledged the institutionalized racism in both; you on the other hand refuse to recognize the institutionalised racism in Israel which was clearly pointed out and evidence furnished. Where is your stand against Israel’s racism, apartheid and egregious abuses? Your judgment of my “outrage” as being “feigned” and/ or mild has no anchor in reality – you neither know me nor have any basis upon which to form this quite erroneous opinion.

    Why some forms of racism are given a pass, Ms el Khoury? Why does ‘even handedness’ mean only the constant excoriation of Israel? How is it that el Khoury seems to have missed the institutionalized racism, bigotry and hate that come to define the Arab world? How is it that el Khoury sees fit to ignore that kind of hate?

    Short answer: no forms of racism are “given a pass”. Nor do they “define” the Arab world, only in your flawed judgment. Nor are they ignored, as already stated. Next question.

    What does Ms Khoury think happened at Sabra and Shatilla? Why did the Phalange go into the camps? Was it out of a sense of unbounded love? Does Ms Khoury and the Lebanese Army today see the Palestinians comrades in arms?

    A massacre happened, what do you think happened? And the Phalange atrocity was actively enabled by butcher Ariel Sharon, who was found to be intimately involved by a court, why do you choose to ignore this salient fact also? Because of the Naqba the Israelis inflicted upon the Palestinians, Lebanon took in Palestinian refugees equivalent to a tenth of its whole population. The Phalange are to blame for the atrocity (as is Ariel Sharon); Israel for its ethnic cleansing that gave rise to this mass displacement in the first place.

    Will Ms Khoury rewrite history again? Will she misrepresent the findings of the Kahane Commission? Will she dismiss Nagi Najjar’s eye witness account of the events?

    History is continuously being written and re-written by historians, and I have not “re-written history” on this or any other occasion. You employ a cheap rhetorical phrase, not for the first time, that is empty and refers to nothing. “Will I do this”, “will I do that”, also clearly implies that I haven’t actually referred to them, so how can you claim I am re-writing history to which I haven’t referred?

    graduate student of ‘Human Geography’ is a product of wide but shallow pool that is postmodernism

    Again, no basis in reality whatsoever. You evidence little idea of what postmodernism is and rely upon extensive quotes, and once understood, I am actually not a postmodernist and am rather critical of it, as are many fellow academics both in Human Geography and the social sciences generally.

    Quoting Dr Sanity: postmodernist nihilists “they are so narcissistically invested in that world view, that they tremble in fear whenever the real world presents them with something that contradicts their religiously held beliefs. … if you want to understand why that which is truly evil –embracing death, slavery, and nihilism–is now presented and even trumpeted as the “good” while the good is dismissed, denigrated and mocked; then you would do well to understand the psychology and ideology of the covert enemies of America and of civilization–the adult children of postmodern nihilism.”

    “Trembling in fear?” Is that why I went over to your blog and took on your claims point by point? How and where exactly are “death, slavery, and nihilism … presented and even trumpeted as the “good”?”

    I can safely and happily say I’m not a nihilist. In fact, I happen to hail from quite a religious family. You know little about me, Sigmund, but at least I put my real full name on my blog.

    In our last installment, we will look at the postmodern environment that has birthed ‘Human Geography’ and how that environment attracts intellectual lightweights and agendized bigots

    Incorrect, the postmodern movement, which actually started in architecture in no way “birthed” Human Geography, which was actually quite a quantitative discipline. You evince no knowledge of the discipline’s history or development. As for the agendised bigot smear, I’ll let people be the judge. Let our words and work speak for itself.

    If the Palestinians really wanted to defeat the Israelis, they would cease their obsessive devotion to terror. The burgeoning security industry would collapse and the Israeli economy would spin into a recession. If all Islamist terror would cease, Israeli expertise in security and terror would no longer be needed anywhere in the world and that nation would be reduced to irrelevance (it’s not as if Israel has anything to offer, unlike the Arab world). That would teach those damned ‘sons of apes and pigs’!

    “Defeat” is not on my agenda, neither people should “defeat” the other. Both need to renounce their terror tactics, particularly Israel who is the bigger partner and for whom the ball is in its court to effect lasting good and lead the way. Your repetition of the apes and pigs slur serves no purpose here, I could just as easily reproduce numerous anti Semitic Arab slurs by the Israeli Zionists (cockroaches and insects to be crushed) which I’ve actually refrained from doing thus far.

    To be sure, Israel, as a nation, is not above reproach. There are policies that deserve renunciation and reconsideration. Nevertheless, to single Israel out from the body of world nations that have for decades and longer have been far more repressive than Israel has ever been as an expression of ‘anti-Zionism’ is patently anti-Semitic.

    The singling out claim is patently false for reasons already mentioned, and urgent legitimate opposition to Israel’s mutated Zionism is not anti-Semitic or anti-Judaic. It doesn’t exist to the exclusion of awareness of other genocides either, such as the one currently happening in Iraq, an invasion Israel and the Israel Lobby aggressively pushed for.

    And while Sigmund claims that “There are policies that deserve renunciation and reconsideration” he does not examine a single one.

    As we have noted in more than one occasion, she is the proverbial ape in a tuxedo, mimicking civilized behavior, furiously dancing in the hopes that no one will recognize her bigotry and deceit. The moment someone speaks in away they don’t like, they work themselves into a frenzy.

    As you have repeatedly said, with the silly affectation ‘we’, this silly ape statement reflects upon your own bigotry. No one is working themselves into a frenzy with several posts but you.

    Anne and her ilk do not feel any guilt whatsoever in their own deceit, bigotry and hate, nor do they feel guilt in their attempts to manipulate others with that same deceit, bigotry and hate. They want to persuade you to adopt their ideologies because in doing so, they have exerted control over you. Anne is hardly alone- nor is it our intent to elevate Anne into someone relevant. Clearly, she is adept at what she does, but so is any good gardener or baker. In the universe of bigots, she remarkably unremarkable.

    Oh dear, yes, “control” is all I’ve ever really wanted (not). Let’s juxtapose these two confused claims. You claim I and others are manipulative, want control, but I am unremarkable (yet see fit to devote several posts to me). You see a whole “universe of bigots”. Yet they are irrelevant, despite the fact they want to control people. You do realise how comically idiotic this sounds, don’t you? Again, its testament to your Manichean world view, where there is a universe of bigotry and evil. And here in your half-baked pseudo-psychoanalysis:

    We are in the midst of an Age of Psychopathy and it is the times that give Anne a platform. … It matters little what the cause is- ‘professional’ protesters concern themselves only with themselves, rather than any one cause. They can eco-conscious one week, animal rights supporters the next and pro Palestinian supporters the week after that. As long as they are at center stage, as they are perceived as a ‘martyr for the cause’ and as long as they espouse any ideology that holds anyone responsible or accountable, they are ‘happy in their work.’ In their world, everyone is equal, every culture is equal and every ideology has equal merit- unless of course, you are white, American, Israeli/Jewish and espouse democratic principles- then you are irreparably evil. This kind of broken thinking is more than relevant, because this kind of thinking allows for the real perversion of reality

    I’ve not seen distorted and confused psycho-veneer babble like this in a long time. How is guilt a dirty word, particularly when you refuse to see it when it comes to Israel? Why shouldn’t each culture and person be considered equal as a fine expression of democracy that you say we claim to be evil? Your suggestion that people like myself (and you see so many of us) are fickle and/ or insincere with our causes is just laughable and something I can not of course take seriously. My whole life has been about and related to the Middle East in one way or another. The Palestinian cause with me is one that has been close to my heart for several years, not just this week. Your claims are offensive to the dedicated people who selflessly serve others not as martyrs but as human beings, many of them American ( and Israelis (eg

    As for recognizing the Palestinians, Israel has done so decades ago and have signed treaty after treaty (actually, the Israelis sign treaties. The Palestinians themselves say they have signed Hudnas. or ceasefires. Treaties with Jews are unacceptable). Every unilateral withdrawal from territory resulted in more terror.

    Excuse me, Israel has recognized the Palestinians and signed treaty after treaty? To which treaties do you refer, exactly??

    And is Israel’s unconscionable withholding of Palestinian taxes, money that properly belongs to them, part of this unnamed “treaty”?

    You have your causality wrong. The resistance to occupation continued because it got worse or no better after the Gaza Strip withdrawal – the control and occupation and economic strangulation continued unabated, as did the illegal settlements in the West Bank.

    Her defense of Hamas- and even worse, her implying that they and Israel are moral equivalents- is no different from support of the KKK, Nazi or any other racist and bigoted ideology

    I said Arabs and Israelis were both human beings and moral equals as such, get your facts straight first of all. Then refrain from applying double moral standards.

    Nowhere do I say that I “support” Hamas, rather I say they should be recognized as the democratically and legitimately elected government.

    I also made a clear distinction between recognition of a regime and between active support for it, citing the fact that the current Bush-Cheney presidency are also responsible for a genocidal war yet recognizing them is not tantamount to “supporting” them, nor to supporting any other regime. And for all your touted racist and bigoted ideology, no word about Israel’s mutated militant Zionism, very racist and very bigoted.

    Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and Jews- and neither you or PG can dance your way around that. It is taught in schools, repeated in media and preached from the pulpit of state paid religious leaders.

    The Hamas Charter has already been acknowledged for what it deplorably says about destruction. Again, the point is that while one side is merely talking about it, the other side is actively enacting it.

    So if someone says they are going to kill Sigmund, but another party actually has guns outside your house and shoots the children and evicts you from your house, which one are you going to be more concerned with? The rhetoric or the reality?

    Again, the violent intent of both needs to be tackled. The difference is that I and others see both. You only see one.

    The other difference is that you do not even acknowledge the basic reality of the military occupation, dispossession and violent strangulation of Palestinians as what is fuelling the violence against Israelis.

    Speaking of dispossession, what about the almost 1 million Jews booted out of Arab countries? Does that injustice concern you? (in response to another commenter).

    Jews lived in relative harmony in Arab lands for centuries, as already mentioned. It was the imposition of the state of Israel and the ethnic cleaning and violent displacement, rape and murder of Palestinians that saw Arab countries expel Jews. You also conveniently forget that some early militant Zionists conspired by underhand means to induce Jews to leave Arab lands, which included knowingly killing Jews.

    Hears a reality pill. If the Israelis really wanted to kill the Palestinians off, they would not be so inept

    Indeed, nor is it inept but merely surreptitious, inducing them to leave their own land if not just booting them off, making life unbearable, calling them a traitorous fifth column where they are Israeli citizens, tightening the noose of control of checkpoints and borders, arming and abetting factions to divide and rule.

    Palestinian violence and resistance arose in reaction to the Israeli attempt to exterminate them, it is not a widespread pre-existing predilection. It is the Israeli state which is addicted to violence above all. Last time I checked, Palestine hadn’t armed and funded factions of the Likud or Labour Party nor invaded a country. Nor had Lebanon invaded its neighbours. Israel has.

  8. SC&A
    25 June, 2007

    Thank you for this. Your response was absolutely predictable.

    I will address this response.

  9. copithorne
    26 June, 2007

    I spent a lot of time writing comments at SC&A a year or two ago and still show up there to take the pulse of contemporary citizen neo-cons. I’m glad to be introduced to you through that habit of mine.

    At my last ‘debate’ I quoted Carl Jung’s dictum that whatever irritates us in others has an origin within ourselves. I quoted this to see if he could offer any self reflection on what his hatred and vitriol might signify about his inner life. SC&A attacked me for quoting Carl Jung, saying that Carl Jung was a Nazi sympathizer who enabled genocide. He did this without being able to acknowledge any contradiction between this criticism and his adoption of ‘Carl’ in “admiring tribute” as part of his nom de plum.

    I always saw that SC&A was wrong, but I was left seeing him as much more disturbed than I had thought. I don’t write this casually, but there is nobody home. SC&A is not writing to share his views about the world — views that that he stands behind and is willing to defend and support. He is writing to discharge his self hatred by projecting it onto others. You will not reach any intellectual integrity or accountability for what he writes because those values have nothing to do with his purpose in writing.

    I admire your thoroughness and care in dismantling his rant.

  10. SC&A
    26 June, 2007

    LOL- Copi- nice to see you back!

    In any event, you are still true to form- recall your knee jerk reaction to Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich- something even Jimmy Carter found repulsive!

    As far as Jung goes, it appears you are attempting to rewrite history, not unlike our host here.

  11. peoplesgeography
    26 June, 2007


    Pleased to meet you and thank you for your insightful comment. I think your appraisal speaks well for itself, and the fact he demonises even Carl Jung further displays a disturbed, “everyone is evil” (but me) world view.

    This integrity-challenged, ideologically-blinkered stooge has also apparently got a particularly acute case of logorrhea, in which his rants are more psycho than analysis. The bumbling bully-boy is also evidenced with language about others like “wants another beating”.

    Great to meet an intelligent person who stands up to such nonsense and I hope you come by again. I appreciate the comments.

  12. 99
    27 June, 2007

    We’re seceding? !!!! Why didn’t anybody tell me?

  13. 99
    28 June, 2007

    Quoth Ian Frazier: I am not an idiot! I’m a person who suffers from idiocy. Skimming along this thread, I take it some blowhard is calling “us” idiots. Just wanted to tack onto the end here that I am so hugely concerned with the situation in Palestine that I cannot quite bring myself to follow recent events just yet. I reached meltdown a few years ago and had been bellowing for “us” to move Israel to Uruguay or Paraguay and call it a day for many months until it got to the point where I felt my only next move would be to become a suicide bomber… which would really put the kibosh on my Fearless Leadership of the Enlightened Bellicoscenti. So I had to go into cool-off mode. Last summer’s month-long symphony of atrocity against Lebanon had me heated back up to the brink again. And Lieberman’s and Podhoretz’s loud warmongering against Iran in recent weeks is threatening to get me there yet again.

    I’m seriously glad that you are working this hard on behalf of sense, here, since I’ve become nearly helpless on the subject this way, but, truly… Palestine needs to be restored, and anyone there who does not wish to be a Palestinian citizen… there’s *’s new ranch in Paraguay or… even better: The South Pole.

  14. peoplesgeography
    28 June, 2007

    Spot on 99, and poetically so. The idiocy that is working to manufacture a war against Iran, whose engine room is the Israel Lobby and foot soldiers are Lieberman and Podhoretz as you well point out, is hugely worrying. At least more people are wary this time, but its still going to involve some effort turning this around. I read about *’s ranch in Paraguay a few months ago, and feel damned sorry for the Paraguayans:

    98, 842 acres

    …lets add the five hundred U.S. troops that arrived in Paraguay with planes, weapons and ammunition in July 2005, shortly after the Paraguayan Senate granted U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction . Neighboring countries and human rights organization s are concerned the massive air base at Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay is potential real estate for the U.S. military

    A recent article discussing secessionism whuich may be of interest: Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"