Regime Comparison

kaparu2 / © Kev Ryan - 21/01/2009 01:20:19 project: Protest Other Points Of View \ Europe \ United Kingdom \ London
Things one encounters and photographs are often seminal in getting us to question and learn about the world - this one stimulated me to do a little digging.

As BO supplants GB as the 'most powerful man in the world' a clear message has been sent by the so called 'puppy dog politicians' controlling one of the world's strongest armed forces.......carefully timed, carefully planned, but some would argue cynical beyond belief. 

The military habit of body counting and comparing ratios is probably one of the most inhuman activities any person could engage in - when a good third of those counted bodies are children perhaps even more so. This photograph was taken at the London protests outside of the Israeli Embassy off Kensington High Street - clearly these protestors consider the state or potential 'controlling powers' of Israel to be equivalent to some of the most questionable regimes of the 20th Century. Where does this depth of 'righteous anger' come from?

I wanted to find something which might explain this attitude and this image and the spirit of resistance which is engendered by it. I found this extract from an interesting article by the scholar Ur Schlonsky from 2002. I have my own views, concerns and opinions from my own limited experience on the ground. However, there is a chilling resonance in his words in relation to the near genocidal actions and policies which underpin the mass killing and wanton destruction of the last few weeks.

Schlonsky writes:

"The 1948 war left 22% of the land in non-Jewish hands and the nation's essential task now is to redeem that part of Eretz Israel. A window of opportunity recently opened. Russia and Europe have effectively been eliminated as world powers, and the single remaining power, America, provides Israel with virtually unlimited political, economic and military support. It can be safely assumed according to Israeli analysts, that this support will continue even if some extreme measures are deployed. Besides, experience shows that even if some American government circles are occasionally troubled by Israeli actions, they end up keeping quiet. This seems to be a fairly precise evaluation of American policy.

Three conditions must be satisfied in order to guarantee the success of Israel's program.

1. The Palestinian resistance must be broken.

2. Public support must be ensured and the active participation by at least a section of Israeli society needs to be counted on operationally.

3. International criticism must be silenced.

In regard to the first condition, Avneri identifies four means.

a. Continuous military operations. The entire army must be involved in operations targeting the whole of Palestinian society. No distinction should be made between the movements and the political parties. Hamas, Fatah etc. should all be equally attacked. The civilian population must be terrorized, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural treasures.

b. Massive expulsions like in 1948 can only be carried out under exceptional conditions, i.e., war. Action should therefore be taken to destabilize the regimes and societies of the region, to create conditions for a much wider war. In parallel, the daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in the cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from work places, schools and hospitals. This will encourage immigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions.

c. The Palestinian political class must be eliminated: either by direct assassinations, by detentions or by expulsions.

d. Finally, it's necessary to continue and expand the settlement activity and 'redemption' of land. After all, wasn't it Nobel Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin, who proclaimed that "every Jew has an inalienable right to live anywhere in Eretz Israel"? (Interview in Ma'ariv on the eve of the 1995 Passover.)

It is patently clear that such '˜sociocide' can only increase the terrorists' motivation for launching suicide attacks. These should be encouraged. Terrorism poses no threat to the State, its army or its institutions and constitutes an investment with high returns: Arbitrary violence against civil society sows immense panic, feeds fear and hatred of the Arabs. It forms a central ingredient in the construction of an image of Israelis and Jews as persecuted victims. "We are besieged. We're again fighting a battle of life and death," proclaims Avi Shavit in an article in Ha'aretz. In short, the human bombs in the cafes and buses assure ever broader and deeper support for a project of ethnic cleansing. Israeli civil society is authorized and encouraged to use force that becomes justified as a means of self-defense. All the elements are put in place for what Des Forges, in another context, called 'the genocidal campaign'. Further, continued kamikaze actions and the media coverage they elicit furnish a central element in the struggle to rally world public opinion to the Zionist cause."

On the eve of National Holocaust Day and the careful definitions which have been drawn up to describe the determinants of genocide - I have such concerns for the rhetoric of a nation I have respected most of my life. Concerns for a people I have admired, and the power of policies which actually denigrate the memory and honour of those who have suffered so much for contemporary political, ideological, 'racial' and religious aims which ignore the rights, equality and lives of those who would be their neighbours. 

So many thoughts generated by a single image for me.....I am not taking sides here - other than my concern for more honesty, leadership and understanding on all sides - and a more appropriate and proportionate expenditure of energy on peacemaking and nation making for Israel and Palestine if that is the real intention and end game.

Since the creation of the state of Israel, anti-Zionism has increasingly become associated with anti-Semitism but I think there are two takes on this banner.

One is the relatively toothless and increasingly redundant assertions of groups such as Hamas that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish State (which might clearly be interpreted as anti-semitic by a majority) and the other is the more justifiable assertion and worry that the next phase of powerful elements of Zionism is concerned with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the control of all lands currently known as the Occupied (and recently occupied and decimated) Territories.

Other points of view:

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22/01/2009 12:50    from : brevbrev14
ciao Kev, very good shot of the protest
there is a strong tension and you have captured it really well

21/01/2009 14:31    from : Xavis
Strong picture, strong comment. Both works really well together as an interesting journal information. And in these days it's important to follow to inform about this war, and what is the reality of this place on the world. I don't want to follow with politicals advices, because here it's not the place, but I'm happy to see a work like yours.

Hasta la vista,


21/01/2009 03:50    from : vapours
Very strong shot here Kev, those face masks themselves input some fear into the scene as well as the strong words on the protest sign.

Once Ive finished my current project, Ive got some photos to upload from the protest over here as well.

21/01/2009 01:24    from : Furachan
WELCOME BACK KEV RYAN!!! On the day of Obama's historic inauguration too... Two things to celebrate I guess. Now this is what we need more of, that is to say a "mature voice" on board here. Deep, thoughtful notes to go with, it's a generous portion of wisdom. Stick around, my friend. We need you, man!

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