Tarik Cyril Amar – The Crippling State

Genocide Apartheid Israel can only exist by constantly harming others and even itself

Tarik Cyril Amar (@TarikCyrilAmar) is a historian from Germany, currently at Koç University, Istanbul, expert on Ukraine, Russia, and Europe, and the author of “The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv. A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists.”

Cross-posted from Tarik Cyril Amar’s substack

On a personal note, one of the reasons why I chose to write my first book on a city (Lviv, formerly Lwów) that, in World War II, underwent very violent (though not equally – spoiler alert: the Nazis were worse) Nazi German and Stalinist Soviet rule was a single book by, I believe, a brilliant intellectual. In his “Revolution from Abroad,” the Polish, then American sociologist-cum-historian Jan Tomasz Gross had explained the nature of Stalinism as establishing a “spoiler state.”

By that he meant something counterintuitive yet, I still think, spot-on: that the Stalinist state drew strength from making society worse not merely in a moral sense (that much is obvious), but in a functional one, too: What appeared to be waste, friction, and absurdity actually was a perverse yet, for a while at least, effective resource of power.

Recently, under the shock of Israel’s latest genocidal rampage, I have often thought about Gross’s pithy label for a great evil. If my students, for instance, challenged me to come up with an equally concise two-word characterization for the Zionist monster state, what would I say?

And then I saw the news about Palestinian detainees being subjected to “routine amputations” because their limbs are so badly, and clearly deliberately, injured by brutal restraints that, of course, amount to torture. We have this information from an Israeli doctor, and it has been published in Haaretz and then on CNN. It also syncs perfectly with what we know about the sheer sadism that Israelis take out on their prisoners no less than on the civilians of Gaza and beyond.

How do we know? From the victims who survive (as long as they do), of course. But also from the Israeli perpetrators who cannot stop bragging about their own crimes. Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s version of Heinrich Himmler (pudgy, vicious, murderous), who has promised to make life even worse for Israel’s victims, is extreme indeed, but he is not at all exceptional. Many Israelis, it turns out, are no humble brags when it comes to genocide. They like it loud.

That’s what Israel is most of all: A crippling state. Having a de facto policy of literally making your victims limbs rot and then cut them off is only the most perversely literal way to express this horror. Think about it: Is there a more efficient way to describe what Israel has done, since at least 1948, to its millions of Palestinian victims? What do all these expulsions, murders, tortures, and constant injustices of apartheid really do in the end? They have not, fortunately, managed to destroy Palestinian society or break its will. That is, of course, what the early ideologists of right-wing Zionism – that is, genuine Zionism in all its fascist and colonialist “glory” – explicitly set out to do: Violate and frustrate Palestinian society as a whole until it would be so psychologically demoralized that it would submit and cease to resist, and, ultimately, exist.

The same idea has been applied to Israel’s neighbors, close – such as Jordan (corrupted to the core), Egypt (bought off), and Syria and Lebanon (constantly disrupted with perfectly illegal military interventions) – and far, Iran (isolated, boycotted, blockaded, and under constant attack by assassinations and terrorism, all with the help of the USA) and the Gulf States (mostly, corrupted).

With both Palestinians and neighbors (whether Arab or Persian), Israel has sought its own security and power – both of which its leaders and elites understand in the most primitive terms imaginable – in crippling others.

And we could add the various Israel Lobbies, whose only purpose has been to undermine the political processes of other states, thereby crippling their sovereignty and, in so far as it even really exists, their democracies.

Finally, what about Israeli society itself? Is it remotely healthy? Composed of more or less well-balanced individuals with a reasonably accurate grasp of reality and ethics that may be flawed – as with everyone else – but are essentially decent? Obviously not. What the Gaza Genocide has revealed – not for the first time, obviously – is that the price for building a whole modern national identity on supremacism and violence is severe and pervasive psychological damage, over generations. Ask the Germans if you wish to find out how long the after-effects last. They are not over them yet, as their utter failure over the Gaza Genocide has shown, ironically.

There are two things that, I believe, we need to note about this crippling nature of the Zionist project and its criminal state: First, it will not last. Just like Stalinism, a political order embracing the dark side of human nature so thoroughly bears within it the seeds of its own decline and destruction. That process has already begun. Secondly, more importantly even: It is true that those deprived of their limbs by their sadistic goalers will not get them back. But the overall project of crippling will fail not only in that Israel will not last; it will also fail in that its targets and victims will recover. The crippling state is also a futile state, a dead end of history. As it should be.

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting times. The MSM can also, belatedly, see the writing on the wall, even if this is long-planned, and known by it, part and parcel of the next installment of the overriding narrative. Whether in concert or no, a year into the Covid-19 chapter, a book, “The Delusions of Crowds” by one William J. Bernstein, was published. AS if to flag what was being organised for the masses. Much of it old news, but well done.

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