Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Jeff Halper at UC-Irvine (Cont)
Last night's audience was much smaller, maybe 30-40 people, mostly students from Professor Chuck O'Connell's sociology class who were being given extra credit for listening to Halper's crackpot view of the world. (They should have been paid a few thousand bucks.) This time Halper's presentation was entitled, "Exporting Occupation-Israel and the Global Pacification Industry". Again, he was introduced by Professor O'Connell.
He started off by saying that the Israel-Palestine conflict was a microcosm for what is going on in the rest of the world. He referred to the "arms industry, policing and pacification" of which Israel plays a key role. He used the term Bantustan to compare the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians to South African apartheid. He also stated that Israel refused to accept a 2-state solution whereby they would get 78% of the land because they figured they could have it all due to US support especially in the Congress (from both parties). He talked about Israel's image as a "white" society. (Israel is a multi-ethnic society.)
Halper also described the support of the US Jewish community for Israel. (I guess he never heard of J Street and that other outfit called Jewish Voice for Peace, the latter of which should be called "Jews for Jihad".) He talked about the "powerful B'nai B'rith and its president, Abe Foxman". ( Foxman is the head of the ADL, not B'nai B'rith.) He also threw out jabs at Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, "Christian Zionists", Neo-Cons, and Mike Huckabee. Palin, he told us, when she was governor of Alaska, even had an Israeli flag in her office, (Horrors!)
Halper also listed the US defense industry as a support pillar for Israel. He talked about how they give arms to not only Israel but other nations as well. He said the Palestinians pose no military threat to Israel, and they should never have invaded Gaza. (Not one mention of terror, not one mention of Hamas, not one mention of Hizbollah. Not one mention of the fact that the Israelis had earlier left Gaza hoping for peace-in vain.)
(Note" If this comes across as a meandering article, it is only because I am following Halper's talk. He uses no notes and drones on for hours from one unrelated point to another. This anthropology professor never heard of a lesson plan.)
Then it got really bizarre.
You see, according to Jeff's world, Israel is vital to the US defense industry. Today, warfare is war for resources. The US needs Israel because Israel has what the US doesn't-expertise in counter-insurgency. This is because the US is not experienced in fighting counter-insurgency-only conventional wars between nations. In addition, the US needs counter-insurgency to fight against "People", like in Iraq and Egypt, you see. (That's according to Jeff.) The US needs to control People, and Israel has the high tech and tactics that the US needs.
But wait! There's more. You see, there is a wider system-a grand strategy, if you will. That's when Jeff trotted out his power points to explain something he called..........
Yes, folks, The Core. That would be the US and its hegemonic policy over........
(Can't make this stuff up, folks.)
The gap is the rest of the world, the "unintegrated gap", you know, those Third World folks in poor countries who are always causing us problems, or as he called it "system perturbations". (Did I get that right, Jeff?) He later described this all as "a new line of thinking I have". (I'll say.)
So, according to Jeff, the US can't allow that to happen because our hegemony is a critical element of our capitalistic system. (Jeff is reportedly a Marxist guy whose idol is Leon Trotsky.)
According to my notes, it was at this point that Jeff informed us that the control room for launching our precision-guided missiles was in.........
Wikileaks exclusive: Secret government agent launching a missile into Pakistan from Caesar's Palace. (Photographed from the rear to hide his identity).
Keep in mind that this man earlier in the day was a guest presenter in a UCI classroom!!!!
It gets better.
You see (according to Professor Jeff) to preserve the American way of life, we need to "firewall" the Core from the Gap, as well as discreetly firewall off the Core exports of the Gap. Thirdly, we need to shrink the Gap through regime change and nation-building.
Somewhere about this point, I made a note that Halper is nuts.
Anyway, the next topic was SWAT teams. Yes, folks, did you know that 80% of the American police departments have SWAT teams?
(Trust me, we need 'em.) He talked about the militarization of our police and all that bothersome security we have to go through at US airports. Then he mentioned something called "The Global Purification System".
And, of course, Israel is all part of this because they are high-tech and they have all the expertise here, and they train the police all over the world and.........
He then came to a power point slide entitled, "Israel's 5 Niches". I will try and summarize it because it is reaaaaally deeeeeep. This consists of Clandestine War, Framing and Spin.
No, it is not a washer- dryer. He then went on to talk about Israel arms sales to China. What is the connection to the 5 Niches? Don't ask me. The man makes no sense.
But this is the Piece de Resistance.
It was here that Jeff told us all about...
You see, it works like this. Israel has this spectral dust that it can spray over wide areas of land. Each grain of this dust is a sensor.
I'm not making this up, folks. My notes are right here in front of me.
Anyway, this dust is programmed so that armed with a person's DNA, it can actually track that person, locate him and kill him.
And what Israel has can be given to other countries to use on their own people.
Finally, after almost 2 hours, Halper took questions. (Most of the audience were students along with some "grown-ups", the latter of whom were eating up Halper's nonsense like candy.) Each question launched Halper into another winding monologue on how bad Israel is. My "question" went something like this:
I introduced myself and told him that he was speaking on the one-year anniversary of the disrupted speech at UCI by the Israeli ambassador to the UN and I was glad that he (Halper) had not been sunjected to similar treatment. I stated that I was no expert on the Middle East, but that I supported Israel's right to exist and defend herself. I toild him that in my view he had presented a completely one-sided account of a complex situation (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), that he had made no mention of terror against Israel, no mention of the Hamas charter which calls for killing the last Jew, and no mention of Israel leaving Gaza in exchange for peace. I also mentioned that I found it interesting that he had been born in the US, immigrated to Israel some 35 years ago (40), had been given citizenship, and now was traveling the world trashing his adopted country, which I thought was despicable. I also told him that in my view, his statements about spectral dust, Core and Gap sounded like crackpot theory. (I was respectful, of course.)
After remarking that he was a firm supporter of the "Irvine 11"-the Muslim Student Union members arrested for the disruption- (applause) He then went on to lecture me about Israel and their program of demolishing houses etc, etc., etc., basically rehashing the same things he had already said.
A Jewish lady seated next to me (a friend and colleague) brought up the fact that she was from South Africa, had fought against apartheid, suffered the abuse, and having also been to Israel, could state that there was no comparison between Israel and South African apartheid. Another friend told Halper that Abe Foxman was not the head of B'nai B'rith, but the ADL, that the two organizations were independent of each other and that his information was false. Halper reacted by looking down and shuffling his papers, the same reaction, I might add, that Paul 'The Worm" Krugman repeatedly made when Bill O'Reilly called him a liar a couple of years back. Later, my South African friend asked Halper whether non-Muslims, Christians and Jews could live and worship in Arab countries. The example of Egypt's Coptic Chyristians was mentioned. At this point one of the older members of the audience in front turned around and said that Copts in Egypt could worship and build their own churches. (One was recently bombed with 21 deaths. The Copts are a persecuted minority in Egypt.) Halper refused to discuss problems in other countries. He was only concerned about Israel because he is an Israeli.
Another classic moment came when a young female student told the audience (I am paraphrasing) that she knew what Halper was saying (about the US) was true because three of her professors (whom she named) had also told her about all the things that America was doing around the world. At that point, I asked her, "Is that what your professors are teaching you, that your country is so evil?" (Many of the aforementioned Kool-Aid drinkers in the audience reacted audibly at this point as if I had said something outrageous,) I then told the girl that there were a lot more than 3 professors that would tell her the same things; that there were thousands of such professors in universities all over the country.
About 8:30, 2 1/2 hours after the event started, Halper was still taking questions and droning on, so I decided I had heard enough and left. Aside from the "adults" in the audience, I have no idea whether the students were buying this guy's talk. He probably lost many of them after an hour or so. One student remarked that she couldn't believe what she was hearing and that she didn't buy it at all.
Let me turn serious as I wrap up this report. Halper's appearance at UCI is a textbook example of what is wrong in American universities today. It is not because he is against Israel (his adopted country) and is a prominent activist and speaker against Israel. It is not because he has no apparent regard for the country of his birth (America). It is because in addition to his one-sided account, which leaves out any mention of why Israel has acted the way it has, this man reveals himself to be a crackpot with his global conspiracy theories about the US and Israel that are right out of a Matt Damon spy thiller. Of course, Halper enjoys his right of free speech at an American university, but he is spouting propaganda- even in a university classroom. What alternative viewpoints are these young students exposed to? I would guess none. What I witnessed yesterday was not education but indoctrination. These students deserve to be exposed to both sides of the issues and not be wasting their time and their families' money by listening to some malcontent misfit talk about The Core, the Gap, and spectral dust.