Al-Ahram Weekly Online   7 - 13 September 2006
Issue No. 811
Region
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Hamid Dabashi

Lessons from Lebanon: Rethinking national liberation movements

The key question in drawing any enduring lesson from Lebanon in the aftermath of July 2006 Israeli savagery is how do we read the phenomenon called Hizbullah, argues Hamid Dabashi

Lebanon has always been the postcard picture of what is fundamentally wrong and what is potentially hopeful about the Arab and the Muslim world in general--its divisive and factious politics oscillating fatefully between destructive sectarianism and thriving cosmopolitanism, and the year 2005 brought this historic paradox to perfect realization--a year that brought both grief and solidarity to Lebanon, both outspoken demands for freedom and democracy and heavy prices paid for those ideals. In February 2005, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri was killed by a car bomb in Beirut. The assassination of Hariri, admired by the business community and the middle class Lebanese, while severely criticized by the progressive left, ignited both pro- and anti-Syrian sentiments and resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Karami's cabinet. By March 2005, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese joined pro- and anti-Syrian rallies in Beirut. By the following month, in April 2005, Karami resigned as Prime Minister, having failed to form a government, and yielding to the moderate pro-Syrian MP Najib Mikati.

Click to view caption
"Israel can kill Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon and Khaled Mashaal in Palestine, as the US might Muqtada Sadr in Iraq, tomorrow (if they only could) and 10 more Nasrallahs and Mashaals and Muqtada Sadrs will emerge from the Dahiya neighbourhood in Beirut and from Gaza in Palestine and from Najaf in Iraq."

Pressure on Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon was now intensified, and finally Bashar Al-Assad yielded to the collective will of the Lebanese--endorsed by the UN, and abused by the US and France--and ended the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. This was not to be the end of the Lebanese woes. In June 2005, the prominent journalist Samir Qassir, severely critical of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, but curiously silent on other forms of military occupations in the region, was assassinated. His death was a major trauma in Lebanese consciousness. Posters and even an oversize statue of Samir Qassir sprang all over Beirut, and his diehard followers pushed for a UN investigation and punishment of those responsible for his murder.

What was now dubbed a Cedar Revolution by the US neocons and a Gucci Revolution by the progressive Lebanese left was fully underway. Middle class Lebanese bourgeoisie was now fully in line with a pro-American, pro-French, anti-Hizbullah, and anti-Palestinian (and thus effectively pro-Israeli) disposition. Under these circumstances an anti-Syrian alliance, led by Rafik Al-Hariri's son, Saad Al-Hariri, won control of the Lebanese parliament. The new parliament elected the major Hariri ally, Fouad Siniora, as Prime Minister. But the political circumstances in Lebanon were still purgatorial. George Hawi, an anti-Syrian former leader of the Lebanese Communist Party, was killed by a car bomb. But despite all these turmoil, by July 2005, the Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora met with Syria's President Assad, working towards a new, bilateral, relationship. By September of that year, four pro-Syrian generals were charged over the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and before the year ended, a prominent anti-Syrian MP and journalist, Gibran Tueni, was assassinated. Who ever was behind these assassinations, what ever one might think of the pro- and anti-Syrian sentiments among various Lebanese factions, a fragile parliamentary democracy seemed to have held Lebanon together not just despite its factious politics but in fact paradoxically because of it.

BY THE TIME Israel launched its savage attack on every inch of the Lebanese territory, with the occasional exception of the heavily Christian sections of Lebanon that were ethnically cleansed during the Lebanese Civil War, in mid-July 2006, there were every reason to believe that Lebanon was on its way to survive its historic woes--with civility, grace, and hope--leave behind and forgive the previous barbarisms of its Zionist neighbour, and the vicious civil war that it had deliberately instigated and fueled with evident and conniving treachery. There was hope for Lebanon in the aftermath of the "Israeli" withdrawal from its southern territories. The invasion and occupation had happened and ended in disgrace. The civil war had exhausted all internecine factionalism and Lebanon was still intact--in body and soul.

The Syrians had packed and left. The Gucci revolutionaries had demonstrated in their hundreds of thousands in March against Syria and made their presence felt, as had the poor and the disenfranchised of Lebanon, the Shias in particular--that they too were a force to contend with. There seemed to be a fair balance of classes and interests, a fairly representative coalition from across the political divide. The bizarre combination of pro-American, Francophone, bourgeoisie, (not even hiding their Sri Lankan maids), were met and matched by the wretched of the Lebanese earth, the poor Shias, the disenfranchised Palestinians, and an array of temporary slaves heralding from Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and all across the world.

The road and the struggle ahead of the Lebanese seemed to sustain a proactive economy and a thriving political culture. Whatever the late Prime Minister Hariri did or did not do, and how ever he did or did not do, downtown Beirut looked and exuded an emerging confidence--shops were full of goods and customers, fruits and vegetables were in full abundance, cultural activities, TV programs, the rambunctious press, the university campuses, the art scenes, the money that Ford and other American and European foundations were investing in the Lebanese creative imagination--all indicated that there was not just hope but a trust in what was happening--and what was happening was good, promising, beautiful, hopeful. Between the enterprising bourgeoisie (and their colorful SUV's) and the accumulated suffering of the labour class a difference was evident, a struggle was in process, of which history is made, political parties are formed, ideological formations take place--and in the midst of that a people are named, a nation of common sentiments collected, a country is called home. You could tell by the number of native Lebanese living outside their country but going back for their summer holidays, the money and gifts they brought back to their families, and those members of the same family who were leading a happy and satisfying life inside Lebanon, that Lebanon was collecting itself and once again calling itself a homeland.

ALL INDICATIONS came together in the summer of 2006 that there was hope for Lebanon. Syria was out, Hizbullah was part of the government, religious factions were regrouping, Gucci revolutionaries were adamant, the white-washed bourgeoisie were visibly invisible, the progressive left was challenging the complicitous anti-Syrian, pro-American air of the older generation of Lebanese intellectuals--so all was well. Lebanon could have been a contender as a model of ecumenical tolerance, ideological diversity, political pluralism, societal syncretism. The walk on the Corniche between Rawda Restaurant and Gamal Abdel-Nasser's monument in Beirut had as many veiled women as women in their bikinis, songs of Abdel-Halim Hafez and Fairouz out loud, nargilas at full blast, huge TV screens on which people were watching the Algerian-French striker Zinedine Zidane headbutting the Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Lebanon was no hotbed of religious fanaticism--neither a Jewish state, nor an Islamic Republic, nor indeed a Christian colony of the American empire was evident in the graceful but valanced countenance of Lebanon.

If this sounds a bit too innocent a reading of Lebanon before the savages descended upon it, then it is precisely that innocence that Israel is hell-bound to murder.

A QUICK LOOK at the vicious savagery with which Israel invaded Lebanon, particularly at the bombing pattern of the Israeli air force, navy, and army that commenced on 12 July 2006 and continued apace despite a global call for ceasefire--every country in the world except the US, the UK, and Israel itself--indicates that the Israeli invasion was (1) long in preparation, (2) nation-wide and by no means limited to Hizbullah targets; and (3) intended, on the Rumsfeldian model of "shock and awe," to cripple the Lebanese national sovereignty, polity, society, and economy for yet another generation. As verified by world press and confirmed by Amnesty International, Israel mounted "more than7,000 air force attacks and 2,500 naval bombardments particularly concentrated on civilian areas . . . . The majority of the 1,183 Lebanese deaths were non-combatants, and about a third were reportedly children" (Financial Times, 23 August 2006).

The savage invasion of Lebanon was of course not limited to these civilian casualties (an Israeli trademark in Palestine) and included the other Zionist pastime of forcing more than a million people to flee their homes and create a refugee crisis in Lebanon. While "destroying thousands of home in mainly Shia Muslim parts of the country," Amnesty International reports, the Israeli military blew up some 80 bridges around the country. "Amnesty also criticized attacks on fuel and water storage sites with no obvious military value" (Financial Times, 23 August 2006). The extent of this vicious savagery becomes evident even more in the way the Jewish state went after the economic infrastructure of Lebanon. "Israel's air force," Financial Times reports, has directed its sophisticated arsenal of precision weapons at the fabric of Lebanon's economy. At least 45 large factories have been hit by Israeli air strikes according to a list compiled by Lebanese businessmen. On the list are factories for furniture, medical products, textiles, paper and a milk plant. Proctor and Gamble warehouse in Beirut was bombed, with damage to $20m of stock. In total, 95 percent of industry has ground to a halt, according to the Association of Lebanese Industrialists. Those companies not directly targeted have been halted by the Israeli blockade . . . . Until fighting broke out last month, Lebanon's economy was on track for its best year in more than a decade. Exports were up over one hundred percent on 2005 and tourism was booming. "Israel is taking advantage of the war to destroy what it can of the infrastructure as well as the basic sectors of economy," said Adnan Kassar, president of the Lebanese Economic Organisation grouping the country's business associations. "They want to destroy everything--even pick-up trucks loaded with potatoes or watermelons. People on motorcycle have been killed like birds" (William Wallis, "Industrialists Count Cost of Bombing," Financial Times 5-6 August 2006).

As far north as Tripoli and Halba and their surroundings, the easternmost regions of Baalbek, virtually all the major and minor ports of Lebanon up and down the Mediterranean coast, from Tripoli down to Beirut and then to Tyre, with anything south of Sidon, Jezzine, and down to Nabatiyeh, and Hasbaiya, effectively the shooting gallery of the Israeli army, navy, and their air force, there remains little doubt as to what exactly the Jewish state was up to. With hundreds of murdered civilians, more than a million refuges, the deliberate murder of the UN observers, the equally intentional massacre of women and children in Qana in southern Lebanon, which according to Amnesty International are "deliberate war crimes" (Financial Times 23 August 2006), and a cold-blooded criminal ability to cheat and lie that it has agreed to a temporary ceasefire (to investigate the Qana massacre) and then immediately ignoring it, the sadistic intensity of this particular Israeli invasion of Lebanon surpasses all the records of the racist settlement with a criminal record of savagery unsurpassed in recent and rarely matched in human history. The enormity of this Israeli crime against humanity, however, must not blind us to trying to see through the barbarism as to what the Jewish state, with the full and flaunted support of its patron Christian imperial godfather, is up to.

ON THE EVIDENCE of the facts on the ground, the death and destruction and the rubble and ruin that this wild European beast has left behind in Lebanon, it is quite evident that the purpose of this latest criminal atrocity was to destroy the very possibility of any kind of cosmopolitan culture in Lebanon. The failed launch of "Israel" as a mini empire, modeling itself clumsily on the pattern of the neocon artist in Washington DC (as AIPAC tries to prove to Washington that it can be useful in Bush's war on "terrorism"), has an evident agenda far beyond Palestine and Lebanon--and the fact that it has miserably failed to achieve it must not blind us to the projected agenda that this mutated stage of Zionism is projecting. The mutation of the Zionist settlement into a mini-empire wannabe means that all the positive and hopeful developments in both Palestine and Lebanon, that both Hamas and Hizbullah were now part and parcel of a more embracing political process, were in fact inimical to the Israeli imperial aping of the US in the region. In that respect, all the hogwash of European and American so-called liberals that the Israeli response to Hizbullah was "disproportionate" is sheer nonsense. Israeli's war crimes in Lebanon were perfectly proportionate to what it wanted to do--to bomb Lebanon back to sectarian warfare, to reduce the cosmopolitan character of Lebanon to Muslims and Christians fighting against each other in order to make the Jewish state look normal and at home in the neighbourhood. That Israel miserably failed to achieve that malicious objective speaks volumes both to the medieval tribalism that is at the heart of the Jewish state and the cosmopolitan character of the Lebanese national resistance.

THE KEY QUESTION in drawing any enduring lesson from Lebanon in the aftermath of July 2006 Israeli savagery is how do we read the phenomenon called Hizbullah. Not just in the heartland of US neocons, Washington DC, where Hizbullah is synonymous with terrorism, but even more pointedly amongst the supposedly more progressive European observers there is a palpable unease, a bit of a bafflement, and a conspicuous hesitation to identify with the Lebanese national resistance to the military adventurism of the mini-empire. In practically every dispatch he has sent from the war-torn Lebanon, and as the Lebanese of all walks of life were putting up a heroic resistance against the predatory killing machine called "Israel," the veteran British journalist Robert Fisk did not lose a single opportunity to vilify Hizbullah and squarely blame it for the commencement of the war, at times in a language identical with the right wing of the Israeli Likudnicks, the US neocons, put together with the erstwhile Phalangists, unabashedly equating "Hizbollah atrocities" with "Israeli atrocities" (Independent, 11 August 2006), insisting that "it was Hizbollah which provoked this latest war," and warning that by invading Lebanon, Israelis "are legitimizing Hizbollah, . . . a rag-tag army of guerillas" (Independent, 5 August 2006)--as if this "rag-tag army" lacked such legitimacy before it represented and defended the dignity of an equally "rag-tag" multitude of poor and disenfranchised Lebanese masses.

From the neocon operations in the US to Robert Fisk, the phenomenon of the Lebanese Hizbullah has been the chief focal point of the propaganda machinery on behalf of Israel--all behaving as if this thing they call "Hizbullah" fell off from the sky on the innocent Lebanese, preventing them to live in peace and prosperity with their splendidly democratic, peaceful, and generous southern neighbour. But aren't the Hizbullah fighters, and the mass of Lebanese they represent, Lebanese too? In all such dismissive assessments of Hizbullah, there has been a misplaced concreteness, a pervasive surrogate confusion, as to what exactly this Hizbullah thing is. Hizbullah is not a band of Martians who have landed in Lebanon. Hizbullah in Lebanon is what Hamas is in Palestine, and what the Mahdi's Army is in Iraq--the political manifestation of the historically denied and politically repressed subaltern components of three national liberation movements.

Too much emphasis on Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Mahdi's Army as three political organizations confuses a subaltern political reality (the poor and the disenfranchised in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq) with its accidental organizational manifestation. Israel can kill Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon and Khaled Mashaal in Palestine, as the US might Muqtada Sadr in Iraq, tomorrow (if they only could) and ten more Nasrallahs and Mashaals and Muqtada Sadrs will emerge from the Dahiya neighbourhood in Beirut and from Gaza in Palestine and from Najaf in Iraq. Hizbullah and Hamas and Mahdi's Army are three accidental expressions of three essential and deeply rooted political and demographic realities. The poor of the southern Lebanon (who happen to be Shias) have historically been denied their fair share in Lebanese politics; as have the poor and the disenfranchised among the Palestinians (who happen to be Muslims), and the poor and the disenfranchised among the Iraqis (who too happen to be Shias). Hizbullah, Hamas, and Mahdi's Army are not manufactured banalities and militant adventurers like al-Qaeda, created and crafted by the US-Pakistan-Saudi alliance to fight the Russians and prevent the spread of the Iranian Islamic revolution eastward. Hizbullah, Hamas, and Mahdi's Army are grassroots movements--the shame of the national liberation movements in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq that had historically failed to include the most disenfranchised subaltern communities in their emancipatory projects.

As for Hizbullah specifically in Lebanon, the second that the Israeli savages dropped the very first bomb on their Lebanese targets, Hizbullah sublated from a factious Shia guerilla movement into an army of national liberation. This fundamental fact, missed miserably as much by the illiterate US and Israeli neocons as by the so-called European left, rests on the miasmatic disposition of all national liberation movements, all guerrilla organizations that fade in and out of their national and subaltern dispositions. From Vietnam to Africa to Latin America, the history of all national liberation movements testify to this fact--they can degenerate into violent malignancies or else sublate into emancipatory national liberation movements, all depending on the circumstances of their historical unfolding, and nothing can help a guerrilla operation assume national leadership than a savage military invasion by a colonial or imperial power--the Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as opposed to Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary army in Vietnam are prime examples here.

Consider the fact that half way through the Israeli savagery in Lebanon, in an interview with Jon Snow of the British television station, Channel 4, on 3 August 2006, the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, a Hariri ally, stated clearly and categorically that Hizbullah's demands for the condition of its disarming itself--namely, the return of the Lebanese freedom fighters incarcerated in the Israeli prisons, the return of the Shebaa farms, and the map of the minefields Israel has left behind after its withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000--were indeed his own government's terms for a comprehensive treaty with the Jewish state.

The Zionist propaganda machinery commenced this war by insisting that Hizbullah had miscalculated the Israeli response, that it did not know what savagery the Jewish state would unleash on an entire nation. As always such propaganda clichés take the historical fact and by simply turning it around thinks it suppressed. It was Israel that miscalculated its military capability and made a global fool out of itself by trying to catch the butterfly of Hizbullah on the graceful face of Lebanon--destroying an entire country in the futile hope of catching and killing that butterfly. At the end, Israel "liberated" Lebanon exactly the same way that its Christian imperial sponsor, the US, was liberating Iraq and Afghanistan--except neither Hamas is Taliban, nor Hizbullah is Saddam Hussein.

There is a fundamental difference here--a difference not between the identical savageries of the US in Afghanistan and Iraq and Israel in Palestine and Lebanon, but between the natures of the enemy they purport to fight. Both Saddam Hussein and Taliban were the handmade creatures of the US, while Hizbullah and Hamas are grassroots national liberation movements integral (but not definitive) to Palestine and Lebanon. The US manufacturing of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively and by way of curtailing the political appeal of the initial stages of the Iranian revolution of 1979, had corrupted the miasmatic nature of two legitimate national liberation movements into a senseless, pointless, and globalised violence called al-Qaeda that in its senseless pursuit of spectacular violence mirrors and reflects the vacuous disposition of the US empire, while the Israeli savagery against Palestinian and Lebanese will make Hamas and Hizbullah even more integral to their respective national liberation movements.

The US and Israel and their European and Arab allies are thus dead wrong that Syria and Iran are the main culprits and the principal villains and those who have in fact instigated Hamas and Hizbullah to act. There is no doubt that Syria would love to come back and occupy Lebanon and the Islamic Republic would be only too happy to clone itself and see an Islamic republic in Lebanon or even in Palestine. But Syria is a corrupt, degenerate, and impotent bureaucracy hardly capable of holding its own illegitimate reign together; while the Islamic Republic is an equally bankrupt, incompetent, and degenerate regime hardly capable of saving its own skin should push come to shove, except through medieval measures of repression, torture, human rights violations, gender apartheid, and scores of other criminal activities. Assimilating the Lebanese Hizbullah and the Palestinian Hamas to the corrupt and corrupting Syrian and Iranian model is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy for the US and Israel (USrael would in fact be the proper name for this twin tower of calamity let loose upon the world), who wish nothing more than cloning their own Jewish and Christian fanaticism in their Islamic versions.

The real struggle, the real resistance, and thus the battlefield of the exemplary national liberation movements are currently neither in Iraq, nor in the Islamic Republic, nor in Afghanistan--one degenerated into sectarian violence, to the US neocons heart's desire, the other in the tight grips of a medieval theocracy, and the last having collapsed back to a narcotic stronghold for drug dealers, highway bandits, and US- and UK-sponsored mercenary private contractors. The real battlefield is now in Lebanon and in Palestine, in Beirut and in Gaza. For here is where two grassroots Islamist movements have had to come to terms with the multifaceted and cosmopolitan fact and disposition of the national liberation movement of which they are but one component.

The lead role here is with Palestine, and in particular in the historic signatures of Marwan Barghouti, the leader of Fatah in the West Bank, Sheik Abdel-Khaliq Al-Natshe, a Hamas leader, as well as the signatures of the leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine on the so-called "Prison Accord." The formation of a cross-section of Palestinian national liberation movement is unprecedented in its history. By virtue of this document, Hamas has achieved something far more important than an implicit recognition of a colonial settlement on Palestinian homeland. With this document, Hamas has joined the formation of a historical balance between all the factions and forces integral to the national liberation of Palestine--and as such has learned the art of political compromise for a larger and more significant goal.

The condition in Lebanon were not half as ready and were just in the embryonic stage and a contingent process of fermentation when the Israelis made the monumental stupidity of invading Lebanon hoping to destroy Hizbullah. This was not a mere military folly, for a conventional army cannot defeat a guerrilla operation fighting to defend its homeland. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in July-August 2006, and particularly in the enormity of death and destruction it rained on civilians, instantly turned Hizbullah from an erstwhile Shia guerilla operation into the chief organ of a national resistance. Israel has always been a gargantuan military with a colonial state apparatus built around it. But this time around it committed the monumental stupidity of thinking that with military thuggery it can impose its will on the region--not just in Palestine and Lebanon, but through the evident logic of USrael, the degeneration of two state apparatus into one imperial design, in Iraq and Afghanistan and by design in Iran and Syria. They cannot. The USrael has just expedited the sublation of Hizbullah into a national resistance in Lebanon--and as such a model of syncretic and cosmopolitan revolutionary uprising in the region.

IN THE REALM of political possibilities there is of course nothing impossible. Is there thus the danger that the Lebanese Hizbullah might degenerate into an Iranian Hizbullah and opt thoroughly to Islamise the Lebanese national liberation movement and work towards the creation of an Islamic Republic of Lebanon (the way that the Khomeini Islamists did early in the course of the 1979 Revolution)--or, extending the same argument, could Hamas equally Islamise the Palestinian national liberation movement and degenerate into demanding and exacting an Islamic Republic of Palestine, or, just to complete the regional picture, is it possible that the Mahdi's Army do the same and demand and exact an Islamic Republic of Iraq?

Nothing will make Israel and its US supporters happier than such a nightmare, and they will do anything in their power to achieve precisely that--the self-fulfilling prophecy of degenerating syncretic and cosmopolitan national liberation movements into tyrannical religious fanaticism that ipso facto justify the existence of a Jewish state in their vicinity. The Israeli treachery has already started conniving for such an eventuality in Lebanon by sending its commandos to fight the Hizbullah fighters while dressed in Lebanese army uniforms. But one fundamental fact articulated in three diverse settings speaks against such a possibility and promises the creation of three pluralist and cosmopolitan political cultures that would be the identical nightmare of the Jewish state, the Islamic republic, and their Christian imperial arbiter. That single abiding fact is the demographic disposition of Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.

In Lebanon and in Iraq the Shias are a slight majority with a significant minority complex, and in Palestine Hamas is but one of four major political factions. With a historical draw of luck for Lebanon and the entire region, Hizbullah has to (has to, not that it might or should or could--it simply has to) share power and contend with the Sunnis, the Christians, and the Druze with almost exactly the same logic that in Iraq, the Shias have to share power and contend with the Sunnis and the Kurds, and in Palestine Hamas has to share power and contend with Fatah, the Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and DFLP.

In this respect, the Islamists in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq are exactly the opposite of the Islamists in the Islamic Republic of Iran where the Shias constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. The fortunate demographic diversity of Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq works much to the advantage of a pluralistic society and a cosmopolitan political culture. Whereas in the Islamic Republic the 95% plus Shia population projects the false assumption that the society at large is an "Islamic" society--a false assumption that both the Islamic Republic and even its so-called opposition among the reformists corroborate and put to a brutal political use to destroy and dismantle the cosmopolitan Iranian political culture that certainly includes the Islamists but is by no means limited to it. This sectarian reading of the regional politics is only pertinent if we think of these nations in terms of their sectarian breakdown and religious disposition and disregard the long and arduous history of their national liberation movements. In Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and even Iran, the Islamists have had to garb their religious sentiments in blatantly nationalist terms--and thus the emancipatory power of national liberation movements that still mobilizes these nations to rise up against all colonial and imperial designs against their sovereignty.

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT lesson from the latest military thuggery of Israel in Lebanon is the fact that the Jewish state wants to see the region in its own traumatized image: Jewish tribalism running amuck, for in effect the legitimacy of the Jewish state is entirely contingent not just on one but preferably on a multitude of Islamic republics in the region, so that with the Christian empire that presides over them all and the Hindu fundamentalism that lurks in its background the European Zionist colonial settlement finds itself in a natural habitat and is thus ipso facto legitimized--and so that with a Jewish state, a Christian empire, an Islamic republic, and a Hindu fundamentalism the whole world can go to hell in a hand-basket.

To defeat Israel in terms emancipatory not just to the entirety of the region but in terms that in fact includes the six million plus inhabitants of Israel itself, and thus liberates them from the claws of their own tribal fanaticism, nothing can be more effective than generating and sustaining a multitude of pluralist civil societies and cosmopolitan political cultures in which grassroots Islamist movements like Hamas and Hizbullah will always be integral but never definitive.

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