For Reasons of (Israeli) State (Policy)

Reclaiming the Commons in Palestine/Israel: ¡Ya Basta!/Khalas!
Bill Templer
Monthly Review (Zine)
July 23, 2008

The regime that will succeed the nation-state will not be the fruit of preconception or social engineering, but of sociological and political imagination wielded through transformative actions. — Gustavo Esteva

Que se vayan todos (‘Let’s get rid of them all’). — message written on the walls of Argentina

The No-state Solution

Even as the neo-liberal turn takes fierce hold on the Palestinian economy, the unending impasse in Palestine/Israel points up an ever more apparent fact: the nation-state is unworkable in its conventional capitalist sense. Palestine exemplifies the dead end of thinking that the state is any kind of a ‘solution.’ My reflections on the impasse in Palestine/Israel are in the spirit of Andrej Grubacic:

what is needed, not just in the Balkans, is an alternative to nationalism, colonialism and capitalism. [. . .] It should be a politics of a Balkan federation. A participatory society, built from the bottom up, through struggles for the creation of an inclusive democratic awareness, participatory social experiments, and an emancipatory practice that would win the political imagination of all people in the region.

The State Problem

Speaking of Israel, Anne Bayefsky has called on the Australian Government to join the Canadian, US and Israeli governments in boycotting a UN conference on racism, scheduled to take place in April 2009. Bayefsky writes: “The United Nations is planning a global anti-racism conference that is destined to encourage racism. Known as Durban II, and to take place in Geneva next April, it follows the notorious anti-semitic hatefest held in Durban seven years ago” (“Australia must boycott the next racist hatefest”, Anne Bayefsky, Sydney Morning Herald, July 22, 2008). According to Bayefesky, “There is no doubt that Durban II will use a UN platform to encourage racism, spread anti-Semitism and undermine democracy’s most precious freedoms. The question is whether democracies will deny it legitimacy – in pursuit of the actual protection of human rights.” Bayefesky further notes that:

The US and Israel walked out of Durban I. Australia stayed, making a bitter statement about the Durban declaration adopted by governments in the final moments: “We regret that far too much of our time has been consumed by bitter, divisive exchanges on issues which have done nothing to advance the cause of combating racism … The references to the Middle East contain language which will do nothing to achieve greater peace in that troubled region and nothing to advance the objectives of this conference.” However, the specific reservations Australia made to the declaration have been omitted by the UN ever since.

I’m not entirely sure what Bayefsky means by the UN omitting reservations advanced by the Australian delegation, but in any case the references to Palestinian peoples in the ‘Report of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, 31 August – 8 September 2001’ have been made available by the UN for perusal online.

Bayefsky is a former academic, lawyer, and flack (aka ‘Senior Fellow’) employed by the corporate think tank the Hudson Institute, “a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Your gift is tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by the law”, established in 1961. Numerous corporations — including Ciba-Geigy, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Heinz, IBM, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Monsanto, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble and Westfield Corporation — have paid handsomely for Hudson’s allegedly “innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom”: “The Hudson Institute received close to $25 million between 1987 and 2003 in foundation, corporate, and government grants, according to Media Transparency and the Capital Research Center”. On a totally awesome note:

One of Hudson’s founders, Kahn, was one of the more infamous products of the RAND Corporation, where, beginning in 1947, he developed nuclear strategies that downplayed the impact of a thermonuclear war and was supposedly the inspiration for the character of Dr. Strangelove. In a discussion of Kahn’s ideas in the New Yorker, Louis Menand quoted Kahn’s 1960 book, On Thermonuclear War: “Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, objective studies indicate that even though the amount of human tragedy would be greatly increased in the postwar [i.e. nuclear] world, the increase would not preclude normal and happy lives for the majority of survivors and their descendants.”

Whatever. Two Australian academics (We must stay in the racism debate, Ben Saul and Andrea Durbach, Sydney Morning Herald, July 24, 2008) reckon Bayefsky got it wrong:

Boycotting international institutions is often ineffective and counterproductive, and countries such as Australia stand to lose much from disengaging. The recent call for Australia to boycott the second United Nations conference against racism in Geneva next year is no exception…

Ben and Andrea also reckon “diplomacy and the UN …remains our best, albeit flawed, “hope” for universal human rights promotion”; Anne, on the other hand, wants the UN abolished, and a United Democratic Nations established — no doubt comprising, at the very least, Canada, Israel, the United States and Australia (if it plays it’s cards right and withdraws from the upcoming anti-semitic hatefest).

    See also : The Durban Declaration : The United Nations World Conference Against Racism Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa. “Over 7000 representatives from governments and civil society participated in the Forum from August 31 to September 8, 2001.”

Oh yeah…

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About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anarchism, History, State / Politics, War on Terror. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to For Reasons of (Israeli) State (Policy)

  1. gary says:

    Speaking of the United Democratic Nations idea, here’s my own writeup for same…

    This is not connected to Anna, but rather my own proposal. Any feedback is much appreciated.


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