Rattling The Cage: Shalom, Myanmar

Israel is part of the ugliness. If we're no worse than the rest of the world, we're not better, either.

October 2, 2007 21:00
4 minute read.
larry derfner 88

larry derfner 88. (photo credit: )


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It could be that the Myanmar troops who've been shooting demonstrators to death were using Uzi submachine guns that Israeli arms dealers sold to the country's military dictatorship. According to Jane's Intelligence Weekly, Israeli "security companies" are believed to have sold Uzis and parts from Galil assault rifles to the junta. Israeli mercenaries are also said to have trained Myanmar's infamously repressive police force. "Given its sensitive nature, it is difficult to see how this assistance could be given to Myanmar without the active involvement, or at least the full knowledge and support, of the Israeli government," reported Jane's in 2000. Myanmar, formerly Burma, has been one of the world's worst police states since 1988. Jane's continued: "Israel's repeated denial of any military links with Myanmar are not unexpected. Israel has never liked advertising such ties, particularly with countries like Myanmar, [apartheid-era] South Africa and China, which have been condemned by the international community for gross abuses of human rights." To the list of military clients Israel never liked advertising, you can add the dictatorships that once ruled Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries, as well as past and/or present military dictatorships in Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and other African nations. The sadistic Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega owed his life, and his power, to Mike Harari, the ex-Mossad agent who led the team of mercenaries that was Noriega's palace guard. The Israeli arch-mercenary Yair Klein and his boys trained Colombia's right-wing death squads, drug cartels and whoever else would meet his price. When the apartheid regime of South Africa was having problems with black demonstrators, Israeli "security companies" sold the white rulers electrified fences and gravel-spraying trucks. THIS IS a partial list. Israel, tiny as it is, sells 10%-12% of the world's arms. Who really knows where it all ends up? And as long as it doesn't reach Muslim hands, who in this country, besides of course the bleeding hearts and traitors, really cares? There was a time, in the '50s and '60s, when Israel was something of an inspiration to the non-Arab states of the post-colonial Third World, when it was seen as this little socialist country with few natural resources that had learned how to farm the desert. In Africa, Israel's best-known shlichim, or emissaries, were kibbutz agricultural advisers. But then came the Six Day War, and the Yom Kippur War, and the hardening of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Israel's abandonment of its socialist, agrarian ideals in favor of becoming a little Jewish Texas, and this country's best-known emissaries in Africa became mercenaries and arms merchants. These are the chief shlichim we've sent to Myanmar, too. WHAT'S OUR excuse? Self-defense? Are those Buddhist monks trying to kill Jews? Were the blacks in South Africa blowing up synagogues? Were the farmers, teachers, unionists and journalists killed by Israel's friends in Latin America a threat to our national security? How do we justify strengthening these monsters? We justify this by saying "everybody does it." And, of course, this is true. French energy companies are much, much more crucial to the Myanmar junta's survival than Israeli defense contractors. Apartheid South Africa did a lot more business with the US and Europe than it ever did with Israel. Third World dictatorships are magnets for mercenaries and arms dealers throughout the world; ex-IDF and ex-Mossad men have a very small piece of the pie (although, with only 1 out of 1,000 people in the world being Israeli, it's a disproportionately large piece). I don't think Israel is unique or even unusual when it comes to war profiteering and propping up dictators, mass murderers, mass torturers and the like. It's an ugly world we live in. My point is that Israel is part of the ugliness. If we're no worse than the rest of the world, we're not better, either. We also help out evildoers, real bad ones, when it's in our interest. But we don't admit this, we pretend not to know it, we wash it out of our minds. And from this phony pretext of moral superiority, we condemn Russia and China and Europe for doing business with Iran, for selling arms to Syria, to Saddam's Iraq, to any Arab or Muslim dictator aligned against us. WHO ARE we kidding? If these dictatorships weren't our enemies but somebody else's, we'd do business with them, too, we'd sell them arms, too, we'd train their secret police, too. Israel has been doing this sort of thing for decades, only with dictators who are somebody else's enemies. We can't really get all huffy when the shoe happens to be on the other foot. There are no moral principles in the war business, only interests. This is called realpolitik. Israel does its war business according to realpolitik rules, then insists that the rest of the world do business according to moral principles. This is called a double standard.

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