When Palestinians Die, Americans Eat.

On the radio today: news about the recession. Story after story about dismal holiday sales. Explanations of why it’s not a good idea to be thrifty when money’s tight: if you don’t go out and buy stuff, people will lose their jobs! Why is it that our very survival depends on accumulating and then discarding useless luxury items? How did we get to the point where my lack of interest in a plasma screen may eventually lead to my starvation? What would happen if we decided that some of our needs and wants would be bought with currency, and some we would make or procure ourselves? What if the workweek was only 20 hours long? Why have we forgotten how to grow our own fucking food?

The military industrial complex: a mutually dependent relationship between a government, its armed forces, and the commercial sector producing weapons and other equipment. According to the documentary Why We Fight, every single state in the union has a stake in keeping this industry healthy – and, consequently, every single legislator faces pressure to green-light wars. Why do you think democrats cave so easily every time hawks want to attack someone?

As an interviewee in Young, Jewish and Left points out, Israel has never benefited from the occupation of Palestine; it’s the American weapons manufacturers who are making a profit. Could it be that the US, happy to have a foothold in the Middle East, isn’t just giving Israel its blessing – but actually pressuring Israelis to keep driving those tanks, keep using those bombs? Because when Israel attacks, Americans keep their jobs. When Palestinians die, Americans eat.

When will we figure out that capitalism is killing us?

(Cross-posted at Alas, A Blog.)

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2 Responses

  1. I don’t know that the US pressures Israel to be more belligerent -it’s certainly possible, though something like 94% of Israeli Jews supported Cast Lead, so I don’t think it’s necessary- but I’ve long been pushing this sort of insight as an explanation of the supposed power of AIPAC. They’re the ambassadors of the American elite (non-Jewish) to the American Jewish community – not, as they’re supposed to be, the other way around. I don’t think J-Street could have existed when AIPAC (est. 1953) rose up, because US leaders would never have cared what J-Street had to say.

  2. Naomi Klein has an interesting chapter on Israel in Shock Doctrine. Short Version: Israelis eat too because Israel is an enormous exporter of “homeland security” technology, expertise, consulting etc. Among the myriad forces working against peace, she argues taht there is now an economic disincentive.

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