Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister and prime historian, was this week informed by Germany’s PM Angela Merkel of the true perpetrators of the Holocaust. In a speech to the World Zionist Congress, he informed the audience that while Hitler was not a lover of Jews per se, he did not in fact want to kill them all but was convinced to do so by a non-Aryan. According to Bibi, the final blame for the Final Solution lay squarely on the Palestinians.
Okay, not the Palestinians, just one Palestinian. But what a Palestinian! A rabid anti-Semite, Haj al-Amin al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. While public opinion is divided on whether a Grand Mufti sounds like a cute and cuddly Dr. Seussian creature or a dangerously Islamist leader, people with access to Wikipedia all agree that a mufti is the Arabic word for a very clever scholar. He was thus not exactly a political leader, or an authority who wields power, unless we count his ability to provide interpretations of Islamic law. Far from being fairly elected, Grand Mufti al-Husseini was in fact appointed by the British to the job after he received the least number of votes. The reasons for this strange appointment remain unclear, but may have something to do with fostering interfaith cooperation and understanding. Probably not though.
In his time as Grand Mufti, al-Husseini visited Nazi Germany where he spoke on the radio and called for the Arab people to rise up and join the glorious Nazi project of bettering the world. They probably would have done it, too, as he seemed to know his stuff when it came to scriptural interpretation for divorce and inheritance law. Sadly, most Arabs at the time were still too poor to afford a radio, so his rallying cry went largely unnoticed outside of Europe. He didn’t let this stop him though, as he travelled the Balkans and helped organise some nasty young men there into Muslim divisions of the German army.
Bibi’s wildly incorrect assertion left poor Ms. Merkel with no choice but to once again take responsibility for the Holocaust. While I’m sure that German politicians must by now be used to apologising for things that happened before they were born, it’s probably irritating to have to correct the leader of the only Jewish state about who is responsible for the genocide of six million of his people.
But enough with the jokes. Hilarious though this was, I believe it hides something deeper and more sinister. Just as #piggate masked the fact that Ashcroft thought he could buy his way into the cabinet, #muftimademedoit is significant of a further step in the progression of the particular Zionist current guiding Israeli politics. As many of us have been learning, there is a trend in the high places of Israeli defence and security industries to view the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) not as a challenge or a threat but as a resource, an asset.
It’s been decades since Palestinians presented an existential threat to Israel, the IDF’s increasingly disproportionate military capacity turning them into at best a criminal nuisance. Not to dismiss the deaths of stabbing victims in Israel, but you’re still more likely to be shot in the USA than be stabbed by a Palestinian in Israel. The OPT are an asset because they are a laboratory for developing new defence, security and cyber-security products that can be sold globally. And Israeli companies sell to everyone. America, China, India, Brazil, random Central African warlords, Sudan, Britain, Pakistan…an exhaustive client list can be found in any modern atlas.
Every new wave of resistance to the occupation (or terrorism, depending on your point of view) presents a challenge to the technicians who manage this lab. Every technological innovation that neutralises resistance, while maintaining the occupation, leads to a new form of resistance. Guerrilla-style warfare led to popular uprisings, which in turn led to bombings, then led to suicide bombings and finally led to rockets and tunnels. Each new form had a neutralisation method, and this was packaged and sold. For example, the tactics used to pacify the Second Intifada fighters in West Bank cities were sold to Brazil to help clear the favelas ahead of global sporting events.
But (and it’s a big “but”) this latest form of resistance does not appear to have an easy military solution. There is no pattern to the stabbings, they are not organised by any formal or informal group, and the weapons needed to carry them out cannot be controlled. The lab technicians are baffled; they don’t know how to solve this latest challenge. What can you do when your lab has become so contaminated you cannot continue to use it? There’s only one thing to do: close down the lab.