21 January, 2009

In the spirit of Goebbels

To celebrate the killing of 1300 Palestinians in Gaza, including hundreds of children, the youth association of the Swedish ruling rightwing party, made this video which would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

The text shown translates as:

"Security. Freedom. Democracy. Only one country in the Middle East takes a stand for these values. There you can love whoever you want without, as in Iran, being hanged for it. Join us in supporting freedom in the Middle East. Help us support Israel! Become a member!"

Actually, this recruitment video tells us something important about the significance of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the political culture of Europe. Back in the 60's and early 70's, when the left was strong and massive opposition to the war in Vietnam was discrediting the US as the protector of democratic values, the liberal and conservative establishment turned to Israel as their own "cause" to helpt recruit young members to their parties. By propagating Israel as "the only democracy in the Middle East," surrounded by hostile dictatorships, they tried to counter the radicalizing impact of the Vietnam war and anti-colonial freedom struggles around the world.

Decades later they still cling to this concept, long after the "temporary" and "security-motivated" occupation of the West Bank has turned to permanent colonialism and apartheid. I cannot help but wonder if this is because today, as the neoliberal policies they have been advocating for the past 30 years have led to increasing poverty and inequality around the world - and now a global depression - campaigning for Israel provides a welcome distraction and a way to boost the morale of their members. After all, it always feels good to be cheering for the winning team, and the IDF not only has all the fancy high-tech weaponry, but also proved its ability by killing 100 Palestinians for every Israeli killed in the recent conflict...

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