July 03, 2007

Engage on Massad on the Fatah coup

I'm indebted to the "non"-zionists at Engage for drawing attention to this Joseph Massad article in al-Ahram. He's pointing out that American support for the Fatah takeover of the West Bank is the latest in a long line of American overthrows of elected governments in the Middle East.
As the enemies of the Palestinian people have been attacking them on every front -- Israel with its inquisition against Azmi Bishara and with him Palestinian resistance to the racist basis of the Jewish state inside the green line, or Hariri Inc. and its 14 March allies intent on proving the might of the Lebanese army at the expense of Palestinian civilian lives in Nahr Al-Bared, and the continued siege by the Israeli military occupation and its US sponsor of the occupied territories -- the latest attack came from Palestinian collaborators with the enemy: the Fatah leadership abetted by the United States. Indeed the subversion of Middle East democracy has been the mainstay of US policy in the region since the CIA supported the 1949 Hosni Al-Zaim coup that overthrew democracy in Syria. The list after that is long, US support for the shah of Iran's coup in 1953 against the Mossadegh government, destroying the Jordanian liberal parliamentary experience by organising a Palace coup in 1957, supporting the Baathist coup in Iraq in 1963 against the popular Abdul-Karim Qassim, and so forth. American policy has not been limited to the overthrow of liberal and democratic governments in the region but of actively supporting if not planning and abetting dictatorial rule in its place and training and supplying those rulers who have instituted regimes of extreme repression and tyranny. Its current role in subverting Palestinian democracy and imposing a corrupt collaborator class on the Palestinian people is therefore anything but novel.
And if you were aghast at Palestinian collaboration with those seeking to eliminate the Palestinians, that's nothing new either:
In the midst of all this, Orientalist fantasies of the so- called exceptionalism of the Palestinian situation are being offered by Western pundits and their Palestinian and Arab "secular", read pro-American, counterparts. These experts seem to have forgotten the history of collaboration among the oppressed amidst tragedy and oppression, from the Judenrats and the Kapos, to Vietnam's Thieu, Angola's UNITA, South Africa's Buthelezi, Mozambique's RENAMO, Nicaragua's Contras, and Lebanon's South Lebanese Army under Saad Haddad and Antoine Lahd. The Palestinian situation is indeed the rule and not the exception. The only exception that the Middle East offers to world politics is the disproportionate imperial interest that its oil has attracted, and the unprecedented international support given to its Jewish settler colony, the two being intrinsically connected. It is not the Arab world that is exceptional but American strategy in the region and the anachronistic nature of its Jewish settler-colony. The resistance of Western pundits and their Arab servants to learn this is their resistance to any analysis that aims at resisting imperial rule.
He also gets into the political developments among Palestinians since 1948 and his whole article is worth a read but the Engage take on it is truly bizarre. I'm posting the whole thing here:
While Massad's invective against the 'forces of darkness' represented by the 'racist Jewish state' is not exactly unusual in Al-Ahram - well-known for its anti-Semitic cartoons and articles - the degree of unconditional support his article offers Hamas and the vehemence with which it denounces the 'Fatah putschists', their 'American and Israeli and Arab sponsors' and their 'Oslo secular intellectual' apologists is remarkable in a newspaper whose editorial line is said to be closely supervised by the Egyptian Ministry of Information.

The fact that it has just been reproduced on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website may also be significant in that it means the PSC is now publishing pieces denouncing Fatah and the Abbas government as 'collaborators with the enemy'.

Massad also of course also generated considerable controversy in 2005 when he and other professors in Columbia's Middle East Studies programme were accused of bullying and intimidation by pro-Israeli students (The usual diametrically opposed accounts of this dispute and the Columbia investigation into the accusations are given here and here).

The Massad piece is in Al-Ahram, here.
This is disgusting. It's a declaration by Engage that zionists don't like Massad. The article needs a look at. He is saying that America has a tradition of overthrowing democratic systems in the Middle East. He is saying that Abbas follows a long line of collaborators including the Jewish councils under nazi rule in Europe. Do the academics at Engage get into that stuff? Not a bit of it! They say that al Ahram has run antisemitic cartoons and articles. What has that to do with Massad's article? They say, wrongly that he offers unconditional support to Hamas and Hizbollah without a quote. They also see significance in Palestine Solidarity running the article. But these academics don't do what academics do: critically appraise what it is they are talking "about." And Massad says this in the article that Engage "critiques." Let's see it again:
The resistance of Western pundits and their Arab servants to learn this is their resistance to any analysis that aims at resisting imperial rule.
He could have addressed that line to Engage. This is more proof that the zionists (sorry, non-zionists) are in panic mode. They can't make a case for Israel and they can't make a case against Israel's detractors so they simply declare "we don't like Massad" and why wouldn't they? Wasn't Massad among the first to criticise Mearsheimer and Walt? But surely Engage were against M & W? Well yes they were but Massad criticised them for the wrong reason. He simply said they got it wrong in that they tried to blame the Israel lobby for America's own foreign policy choices. Engage should have been pleased but they weren't. They don't want people criticising Israel or America's policy on Israel and that's that. So here we have a statement by Engage, "we don't like Massad." We can't say what he has said but we can tell you that his stuff has been published where antisemitism has been published and that he didn't say anything critical about Hamas and Hizbollah in an article where such criticism wouldn't have been relevant. And they even link to where the article appears so that their supporters will know precisely what it is they are not analysing or criticising. Already one of their commentors has read the edition even to the letters page and found a letter supporting Abbas. The irony that Engage followers are supposed to condemn any article that appears in al Ahram lost on the Engage reader and editor for long enough for the comment to slip through the net.

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