Israel and US Hit Self-Destruct

Traditional U.S. policies backing Israel whatever it does and assuming the dollar will remain king are facing new challenges as Israel shocks the global conscience with its war on Gaza and emerging economic powers consider a new reserve currency, notes Danny Schechter.

By Danny Schechter

For years, the term “suicide bombers” has been synonymous with terrorist attacks, especially in Israel. The idea of a martyr willing to give his life for a cause while taking out an “enemy” became a feature of modern conflict especially with resistance movements confronting modern armies.

Oddly enough, the phrase, seems to have blown back today onto Israel itself, as its military engages in a much deadlier “suicide mission,” acting like Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick determined to slay the monster whale while killing himself.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)

First, there are the costs to Israel’s economy from the current offensive against Gaza. With many major airlines canceling flights, the summer tourist season has been badly damaged.

Next, Deutsche Welle reports. “The conflict has so far cost Israel’s defense budget more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros. Eitan Avriel of the business magazine ‘The Marker’ suspects that the army will reclaim this money from the government. more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros.

“‘The government has already allocated 400 million shekels to support the communities living along the border with the Gaza Strip,’ says Eitan. However, the greatest loss is the decline in the gross national product, he stressed, pointing out that consumption has virtually halved.”

Needless to say, these costs are hardly as dire as the ones being suffered by the people of Gaza, an overcrowded city of 1.7 million that is being destroyed with a growing loss of life. Israel’s casualties are also on the rise.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports: “The defense establishment has already presented a request for a supplemental allocation of a billion shekels to this year’s defense budget, as a result of the conflict. In addition, it is estimated that the economy has sustained another 1.2 billion shekels in economic damage in the form of losses suffered by businesses, lost workdays and direct physical damage sustained in Israel as a result of the hostilities.”

Third, Israel’s supporters seem more fanatic and irrational than ever, oblivious to the human costs of its “operation’ and eager to blame the victims of their bombers as “human shields” or legitimate targets. They are also worried about an Iraq replay: an invasion that looked like an easy victory at the start of the “operation” beginning, as it drags on, to look very different,  according to the Israeli writer Gilad Altzom:

“In spite of clear Israeli technological superiority and firepower, the Palestinian militants are winning the battle on the ground and they have even managed to move the battle to Israeli territory. In addition, the barrage of rockets on Tel Aviv doesn’t seem to stop.

“IDF’s defeat in Gaza leaves the Jewish State with no hope. The moral is simple. If you insist on living on someone else’s land, military might is an essential ingredient to discourage the dispossessed from acting to reclaim their rights. The level of IDF casualties and the number of bodies of Israeli elite soldiers returning home in coffins send a clear message to both Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli military superiority belongs to the past. There is no future for the Jews-only-State in Palestine; they may have to try somewhere else.”

Commenting on this notion of an Israeli defeat, Marc Ellis writes: “this analysis rests on the assumption that Israel goes to war to win as in defeat the enemy once and for all. This assumption is false. No Israeli military analyst thinks Israel will win the Gaza war in the traditional sense of that term. Rather Israel goes to war to buy time, to further de-develop Palestinian society and to go about its business elsewhere, say in the West Bank.”

That sounds convincing, except every war produces unanticipated impacts and consequences. Remember how our “victory” over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s by the arming the mujahedeen resulted in warlords destroying the country with 50,000 dead and led to the rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda?

The madness of the suicidal war in Gaza is playing itself out on every TV screen (except those in Great Britain and the U.S., which sanitize the horrors). Before it’s over, it will surely further harm Israel’s standing in the world as well as the image of its patron, the United States.

While Washington is busy lecturing Russia on a loss of human life in that plane crash (whose cause has yet to be determined by any impartial body), the U.S. is enabling the deadly Israeli bombardment targeting civilians, and now, after so much damage has been done, claim to want to stop it.

In Geneva, the UN has reopened the question of war crimes that never seem to be prosecuted when it comes to Israel, of course, to give the appearance of neutrality. Hamas is also criticized as if the massive violence of the invader and the pathetic response of the victim can be equated.

World Crunch reports: “UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay opened the meeting [of the UN Human Rights Commission], charging that Israel may be committing war crimes in Gaza, where its punitive house demolitions and killing of children raise the ‘strong possibility’ that it is violating international law, according to AFP.” Predictably, and for good PR, she also condemned Hamas for its “indiscriminate attacks.”

As the war wars on, few in the media bother to ask what else may be at stake. Nafeez Ahmad explains in the Guardian: “Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israel’s increasing domestic energy woes.”

Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal.

Now, Gaza has something more in common than bloodletting with the Ukraine: gas. As Europe is prodded by the U.S. into backing harsh new sanctions on Russia, Germany is already threatened with a potential loss of 25,000 jobs.

Quiet as its kept, and it is being kept quiet, Wall Street is furious over the new BRICS bank initiative to challenge American dominance of the global economy. Could that be related to why Obama is furiously trying to punish Putin? We may never know since no one in the media seems to be investigating.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph is reporting: “The Dollar’s 70 year old dominance is coming to an end,” adding:

“To understand politics and power it pays to follow the money. And for the past 70 years, the dollar has ruled the roost.  This won’t change anytime soon. Something just took place, though, which illustrates that dollar reserve currency status won’t last forever and could be seriously diluted. Last week, seven decades on from Bretton Woods, the governments of Brazil, Russia, India and China led a conference in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to mark the establishment of a new development bank that, whatever diplomatic niceties are put on it, is intent on competing with the IMF and World Bank.

“America’s GDP, incidentally, was $16.8 trillion on World Bank numbers, and China’s was $16.2 trillion within a whisker of knocking the US off its perch. The balance of global economic power is on a knife-edge. Tomorrow is almost today.”

So now, let’s add economic suicide to the list of what we have to worry about. Which suicide hotline should we call?

News Dissector  Danny Schechter blogs daily at and edits Comments to dissector@mediachannel,org

10 comments for “Israel and US Hit Self-Destruct

  1. bobzz
    July 25, 2014 at 21:45

    That’s a good one, and I did not have to work hard to get it :) Enjoyed the conversation.

  2. bobzz
    July 25, 2014 at 17:40

    F. G., I was responding to your ‘(?)’ in the original post. Zeitgest works very well. It was a picky point. Constantine saw Christians growing by leaps and bounds and took a better-to-join (use)-them-than-fight-them stance. He virtually ran the Nicean Council. The attempted reforms along the way never sustained and/or large enough to make a difference. I accept science qua science (evolution, old earth, climate change, vaccinations, etc.) though it does not define all reality. I don’t press the Satan thing—too much work without any gains. I will say that science, a la Sam Harris, etc., cannot explain the incredible brutality and carnage that humans inflict on one another (and the rest of creation). All of the Jay Liftons, Freuds, Arendts, etc., etc, together can try, but cannot ultimately explain it. AS A METAPHOR, satanic is the only thing that comes to mind. I read all your comments, F. G. I do not have the intellectual wattage to catch some of your satire, but I try.

    • F. G. Sanford
      July 25, 2014 at 19:48

      Well, I can’t dispute the existence of evil, so I’ve got to concede on that point. Somehow, the “fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”, the linguistic ability to categorize, generalize and tell lies seems an inchoate recognition of humanity’s most self-destructive flaw. For a good laugh, I looked up that passage and found this reference: “American ethnomycologist, ethnobotanist, and philosopher Terence McKenna proposed that the Forbidden Fruit was entheogenic, identifying it as the Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, consistent with his “Stoned Ape” model of human evolution.” I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree. Sometimes, just repeating what some of these screwballs actually say is enough to pass as satire.

  3. F. G. Sanford
    July 25, 2014 at 16:23

    @ Bobzz, thanks for reading. “Zeitgeist” is defined as “the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time.” It’s difficult to decide whether “world view” or “zeitgeist” is a better name for a particular set of delusions. Faith may affirm that Jesus ever went anywhere with whom I would identify as an abstract fictional character named Satan, but evidence does not. Therefore, in empirical terms, it remains an abstraction in the realm of hearsay.

    Regarding Constantine, I’m sure he watched Christians go to the lions (or at least heard about it) with a stoic sense of resolve unmatched by adherents to any ideology in existence beforehand. He surely must have thought, “This Christianity stuff is lightning in a bottle; what better way to manage the masses than to harness it to my own purposes?” Let’s face it. He was no humanitarian. Pardon my cynicism, but my assessment is that he regarded it as the “MK-Ultra” program of the day. The degree to which Dominionist Christians have perverted Christ’s message is a testament to how dangerous and subversive such programs can be. Roman Catholicism, with its dioceses and parishes and rank hierarchies fashioned after Roman political Gauleiter organizations, bears no resemblance to anything “Christian”. But, it is noteworthy that without exception, every fascist dictatorship in history has been headed by a Roman Catholic. Constantine was first; that doesn’t make him a Christian.

  4. bobzz
    July 25, 2014 at 15:05

    As a resurrection believing Christian, I regretfully admit, barring two picky points, that the criticisms offered here are true. The picky points: 1) the estimate of “…75-80 million rabid zealots…” is much too high unless the figure includes children, and that still may be to high. If fringe Zealots numbered that many, we would already be in a strict theocratic state. 2) F. G., the German word you were looking for is Weltanschauung (for world view).

    Here is where Christians went astray (by the way, Gandhi was also correct, paraphrasing: the West does not know Christ). Satan took Jesus up a metaphorical mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world. “Worship me and they are yours.” It was an offer Jesus could and did refuse. That refusal was a pointed rejection of realpolitik as a way to bring peace to the world. His followers were behind him. They saw his vision for the world and suffered with him in trying to bring peace to the world. They did not hold public office, enlist in the legions, ‘salute the flag’, etc.; they were apolitical. Three centuries later, Constantine took the church up the same metaphorical mountain, “Help me unify the empire, and I’ll and the persecution.” The church bit the apple—understandable but regrettable. The church/state tandem allowed for 17 centuries of persecuting Jews culminating in the shoah and the nation of Israel. The failure to follow Jesus word to “love your enemies” and show hospitality to the Jews in the diaspora created a nation that Christian Zionists see as key to the return of Jesus. The irony is breathtaking; our own collective sin created the Jewish nation. One ‘rabid zealot’ preacher in San Antonio reportedly said (hearsay, sorry), “Thank God for Hitler.” Peter tells us that judgment will begin at the church, not homosexuals or Republican bankers.

  5. F. G. Sanford
    July 25, 2014 at 10:15

    Sam’s summation qualitatively describes the paradox from which humanity proves incapable of saving itself. Any observation a human being makes in the snapshot of the present instant, before he or she thinks or says anything about it, represents a FIRST order abstraction. That observation contains all the limitations of the biological senses and as such, already lacks empirical fidelity. As deGrasse-Tyson points out, our observational prowess comes equipped with intrinsic limitations. The real problems begin at the moment we begin to make statements or judgements about those first order abstractions, which contain the inherent deceptions imposed by biological limitations.

    Religion and ideology represent abstractions about abstractions compounded by linguistic limitations which have been abstracted upon and written down or passed along verbally and then abstracted upon in other languages leading to additional degrees of removal from reality in a never-ending maelstrom of abstractions about abstractions. It’s the ultimate game of cosmic “telephone”, or as some semanticists have called it, “word salad”.

    These higher order abstractions become emotionalized, and humanity has not developed the capacity to identify the incongruity between verbal abstractions and the “reality” they propose to represent. Once internalized and emotionalized, this spiral into delusional, pathological thinking inspires the incentive to kill those who harbor opposing delusional abstractions.

    Psychiatry and psychology have failed to address this dilemma and represent false conceptual and methodological disciplines. Failure to confront the fundamentally delusional nature of religion or the pathological consequences of abstractions compounded to the Nth power looms at the heart of the reason why they have only two successful treatment modalities: pharmaceutical intoxication or institutional incarceration.

    Some despots have recognized this and exploited it, but their realistic assessment includes the proviso that, in order to overcome delusional abstractions, the human beings which harbor them must be eliminated. No other solution presents a predictable outcome. This may turn out to be the “selective pressure” which ultimately leads to either human progress or human extinction.

    Ludvig Wittgenstein lacked the fortitude to come out and say it succinctly, but if you read between the lines in his later work, the “word salad” of modern philosophy had begun to strike him as, well…bullshit. A student asked him, “How could those medieval morons watch a sunrise and believe the sun revolved around the earth?”. Wittgenstein responded, “Well, how would it have looked to them if the earth revolved around the sun?”

    Neil deGrasse-Tyson recently commented that things just haven’t gotten bad enough to capture the attention of politicians. Unfortunately, things will get bad enough, but the psychotic nature of their pathological abstract worldview (zeitgeist?) is unlikely to provide any rational solutions.

    If Jesus was indeed a historical figure, common sense mitigates that his inspiration stemmed from a recognition that delusional abstractions had perverted human dignity. His lifestyle as represented in “scripture” begs the conclusion that homosexuality was not anathema to his existence, and he most likely thought that religion was, well…bullshit.

    • bobcat4evah
      July 30, 2014 at 14:02

      The Buddha was aware of what you have so clearly pointed out. Krishnamurti embodied wisdom and compassion as well as profound frustration that, try as he might, people remained unchanged. Surely the next evolutionary jump must be one of conscious change.

  6. Brenda
    July 25, 2014 at 03:15

    @ Sam A. : you are absolutely correct. Thank you.

  7. JK
    July 25, 2014 at 00:53

    Sam A. – Bingo. Your comments are so eloquent, so (tragically) accurate, & your point so well made, I simply say thank you.

  8. Sam A.
    July 24, 2014 at 19:06

    NONE of the points listed in the article are going to change the course of the slaughter taking place in Gaza at the moment, nor the expansion of the settlements taking place in the West Bank, nor the continued blockade squeezing the life out of Gaza, nor the continuous efforts to cleanse Jerusalem of the Arabs in order to establish it as the capitol of Israel, nor the continuous and unending flow of Billions of dollars in aid to Israel for the United States. NONE OF IT IS GOING TO CHANGE.

    What Mr. Schechter and almost every other analyst and Middle East expert fails miserably to realize is that there is a momentum behind Israel’s moves which is driven by the most sadistic and fanatical forces in the United States, and that force being the Christian fundamentalist right which consists of 75-80 MILLION rabid zealots who’s only motivation is to see the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean cleansed of all Arabs and filled to the brim with Jews so that it would trip some sort of cosmic switch and beam their Messiah back to earth.

    These fundamentalists are the same types who we see time and again being made fun of on the Daily Show and other late night comedy shows, where the host points out how incredibly dense and childish these people are, BUT what everyone seems not to understand here is that what we’re dealing with is basically a horde of religious fundamentalist zombies who literally believe that they can do nor say any wrong. Whatever their actions are is completely justifiable because their end result is the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, so it doesn’t matter if we ravage the planet, it doesn’t matter if we destroy the economy, it doesn’t matter if we strip people of constitutional rights, it doesn’t matter if we completely abandon our pursuits in science and education and medicine, and it doesn’t matter how many innocents get mangled in Gaza.. because they represent the WILL OF GOD!

    We’re dealing with a horde of rabid beasts. The only difference between these cretins and the bay eaters in ISIS or Al-Qaeda is that our civil society has not YET decayed to the point where these goons can run around slaughtering at will and establishing their own Messianic cult state, but that day may not be that far off.

    So you want to reign in Israel, FIRST you have to deal with their fanatical Evangelical benefactors in the U.S.

Comments are closed.