Ora Wise of the Palestine Education Project, Ras K’Dee of SNAG Magazine, and hip-hop activists Invincible of Detroit and the Narcicyst join us in the studio to talk about their experiences organizing across borders, creating solidarity between communities of struggle, and being part of a new generation of activists forming their own connections.
Ah, Tony Blair…. inheritor and champion of Thatcherite neo-liberal economics and Zionist neo-conservative foreign policy, presidor over a dramatic rise in British Islamophobia, appointer of unelected Zionist tycoons to manage the good behaviour of the Palestinians while they lose the last of their land and rights, holy liar, war criminal, hypocrite, a man complicit in the Gaza massacre, and in the 2006 assault on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure … and soon, perhaps, first president of the European Union. I’ve written about this lovely chap before. Those of you who believe the appointment of Blair to the EU presidency would be the worst possible start to the post and a sure sign to the rest of the world that Europe has no interest in justice or good governance, can sign this petition. I certainly have. On the other hand, some of you may agree with George Monbiot’s provocative argument that Blair’s appointment to the post will provide the best opportunity for having him tried for war crimes. So far, Blair has only been rewarded for his crimes, with directorships, a book deal, and the joke post of ‘Middle East peace envoy’, which Monbiot calls “the supreme crime against satire.”
C. Wright Mills liked to think big. His analyses of power elites, white collar workplaces, the Cuban Revolution, and potential sources of radical social transformation were influential with thinkers, activists, and concerned citizens in many parts of the globe. Daniel Geary describes Mills’s ideas and their impact on a number of social movements, especially the New Left.
A force of 28,000 Pakistani army personnel is at the moment conducting an operation in South Waziristan. The operation was preceded by months of aerial bombing, and as the following Al Jazeera reports show the human cost in terms of lives lost, and displacement is high. A BBC crew earlier found the refugees so outraged with the Pakistani military’s operation that they were chanting slogans in support of Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and Maulvi Faqir Muhammad and other TTP leaders.
This book discerns in the history of Zionism the plot of a Shakespearean tragedy. A small band of European Zionists enters the world stage in late 19th century, determined to create a Jewish state in Palestine. This is their solution to the ‘abnormal’ condition of European Jews, who are without a land and are not a nation. To achieve this, they must seize Palestine; induce Western Jews to become colonists; and, above all, recruit Western powers to sponsor their colonial project. Zionists can only succeed by creating Islamicate enemies; they need resurgent anti-Semitism to send Jewish colons to Palestine; and they must persuade/coerce the West to sponsor their colonial project. In succeeding, the Zionists merely transplant Jewish abnormality from Europe to the Middle East – and make it worse. In Europe, Jewish-Gentile frictions were local problems; in Israel, ominously, they have come to form the pivot of a global conflict that pits the West against the Islamicate.
Why is an economist writing a book on the geopolitics of Zionism? This is easily explained. I could have written a book about the economics of Zionism, the Israeli economy, or the economy of the West Bank and Gaza, but how would any of that have helped me to understand the cold logic and the deep passions that have driven Zionism?
Zionism is a historic movement that emerges from the guts of Europe’s turbulent history. It is propelled by the dialectical interactions between two intertwined streams of Western civilization, the Jewish and Christian. And, as it has unfolded, Zionism has brought both these Western streams into a dangerous collision with the Islamicate. It would not be easy squeezing this tragic history into an economic model or a set of econometric estimations.
Stereotypes, ignorance and misrepresentation have long pervaded US media coverage of Islam. In his 1981 book Covering Islam, the late Edward Said analyzed these distortions in the light of the relationship between knowledge and power and found that hostile representations are often informed by the particular circumstances of the engagement between the US and the Muslim world and the asymmetry of power between them. Little has improved in the years since, even as the focus on the region has intensified. Many of the misrepresentations that Said observed still abound, but the increased attention since the end of the Cold War, and especially since 11 September 2001, has inflamed suspicions and reinforced resentments making it easier for demagogic politicians to exploit. In his timely and insightful new book, Engaging the Muslim World, University of Michigan professor Juan Cole debunks prevailing myths and presents a set of compelling policy prescriptions that aim to encourage dialogue and defuse hostilities. However, while he convincingly addresses the questions of knowledge, unlike Said, he leaves issues of power largely unexamined.