October 06, 2009
Fascism, (counter-)fascism, lobbyists, anti-semitism and the State in Quotha, by Adrienne Pine, Mon, 10/05/2009
"Haz patria, mata un turco," the slogans read. "Be a patriot, kill a Turk." The "Turk" in question, is of course, not a Turk at all, but a generic reference to the Honduran descendants of Arab (primarily Christian Palestinian) migrants, some of whom today comprise most of Honduras's ruling golpista elite. Another tag reads "Get out of Honduras Jews Palestinians and Arabs":
Meanwhile, from the very start of the coup, the policies of coup leaders themselves have been undeniably racist, including numerous direct (and in some cases lethal) attacks on the leaders and institutions of indigenous and Garifuna groups. Enrique Ortez Colindres was in no way expressing a minority golpista opinion when he called Obama "that little plantation negro." Xenophobia has been the straightforward policy of the de facto government, as Nicaraguans (even Honduran citizens with Nicaraguan roots) have been rounded up and jailed for nothing more than being Nicaraguans, Cubans have been deported, and any Colombian who's not militia is accused of being FARC and beaten up by the cops.
Nationalism is about exclusion, and as such States are inherently violent. We've seen clearly the violence of the coup leaders in the dozens of tortured and bloodied bodies they've left behind, in the public resources they've stolen for their own profit, in the public's money they've squandered, etc. But a response to the victimization of the Honduran people that bases itself in nationalism promises to mirror the violence carried out by Israelis against Palestinians, itself justified by a collective past of unthinkable suffering. I bring this up not so much as a parallel, but because it is intimately related to what's going on right now in Honduras. I've written here on the twists and turns of Israel-Palestine-Honduras before, and, well, they're topsy-turvy. While "Palestinians" (i.e., people identified as being of Palestinian descent) are clearly seen as the oppressors in Honduras, much of their training and military equipment comes from Israelis. At the same time, some of the same members of the Honduran Palestinian community entering into contracts with former Mossad to oppress their own people (Hondurans) are among the largest international financiers of the PLO...perhaps not as much of a contradiction as it seems.
The golpista newspaper La Tribuna recently bragged "Thanks to the Israeli Army, Honduras now has [Long Range Acoustic Device sonic weapons], which are used to neutralize the violent members of the 'Resistance'."
So on the one hand, there is anti-Semitism (though primarily in the old-school sense of anti-Levantism, not tied solely to Jewishness) among the resistance. And that is Bad. Members of the resistance are actively struggling to figure out how to create a unifying narrative and practice that does not replicate the racist rhetoric and practices of the de facto government. Although the physical, structural and everyday violence in Honduras today is overwhelmingly directed toward the racialized poor, the coup financiers' newly-hired Zionist lobbying firm, Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates (Lanny Davis is also from a big Zionist firm) has decided to go Horowitz on Zelaya because a)he has denounced the golpistas use (which, as you saw above, they themselves celebrate) of Israeli mercenaries in the violent crackdowns on peaceful Honduran protesters and on himself and his family, and b)some of the people who are wrongly labeled as his "followers" are anti-Semitic. See, for example, this article in Ha'aretz. The attacks have been so vicious as to prompt a direct response from Zelaya himself.
The problem with a) is, of course, the same as it is with Campus Watch. Criticizing the state of Israel, when it (like the U.S. State) is helping to train and in some cases populating the Honduran killing machine, is not the same as attacking Jews. It gets so tiresome to repeat: Just because Israel is a Jewish State (nationalist exclusion) doesn't mean all Jews are Zionists. And Zionism is not an exception; it is merely an extreme manifestation of religious/racist nationalism, the same kind that gave birth to it. But that is no concern for Zionists, for whom the Holocaust industry is a machine gun that keeps on loading. A high-paid PR firm senses they can get traction with this, so they go with it. Much of the Honduran Jewish elite, excluded from the political scene by the Palestinian-descended oligarchy, is, actually, anti-coup and pro-Zelaya. But why should facts interfere with "anti-Semitism"?
Oh, and the problem with b)? Yeah, there are racists in Honduras. There are people who hate Jews in Honduras. Golpistas and resistance members alike. And that's despicable. But the fact that people who are aligned with Zelaya by virtue of being against the coup in no way implies that Zelaya shares their opinion on anything other than their opposition to the military coup d'état and the violence of the de facto government. Zelaya has never acted in a way that would imply to me that he was anti-Semitic. And he has rightly called on Hondurans (using whatever influence he exerts; he is no one's "leader" but is nonetheless influential) to not act xenophobically, just as he has rightly condemned the use of Israeli mercenaries in the violent suppression of democracy in Honduras.
Al Giordano also published a piece on this yesterday,
Against Anti-Semitism: Right, Left, or Media-Induced. Take a look.
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