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The Geopolitics of Genocide and the Social Engineering of Complicity
For genocide to be committed, the perpetrators need political cover along with lots of weapons and money, and the rhetorical groundwork needs to be laid.
As a long-time participant-observer of life on Earth with a healthy and deep distrust of governments and large institutions of any kind, such as state or corporate press outlets, I have long sought to understand what's going on in the world around me by actively pursuing many different sources of information about current events as well as the relevant historical background involved with them. Also by physically traveling to the places I'm reading about, whenever possible, and spending time there.
It's simply not possible to understand the present in depth without knowing about a lot of relevant historical context, nor is it possible to get any kind of realistic sense of what's happening on this planet by scanning headlines or even by regularly consuming, say, news produced from the vantage point of a certain part of the world, and generally by reporters working for editors and publishers and owners who are absolutely having massive influence over content produced, and are often coming from a very specific economic and political class -- rich, and powerful.
If your main sources of information are western media and westerners posting opinions on social media that are largely derived from western media coverage, then you might or might not realize that the country that has long been the US's biggest recipient of military aid and political cover, Israel, is currently engaged in a genocidal war against millions of Palestinian civilians who have been living under total Israeli control for as long as much of the population has been alive.
You also might not realize that this reality is more or less what is being depicted in most of the world's media, with the exception of the media of the west, or what western pundits sometimes refer to as "the international community" -- which is a euphemism for all the countries in the world that are sufficiently indebted to IMF loan programs that they vote along with the US in the General Assembly, unlike most of the countries in the world, which represent both the majority of nations as well as the vast majority of the world's population.
How is it that most of the world's leaders, most of the world's press, and most of the world's people can be looking at and condemning a genocide being carried out of Palestinians by Israel, while the leaders of the world's supposedly great democracies in Europe and North America, along with most of the leaders of the main opposition parties in most of these countries, along with most of the big media outlets in most of these countries, can present to us a reality that seems to be so different from the stark one that the rest of the world is currently observing with horror?
How is it that instead they can see fit to light up buildings in blue and white, pledge their loyalty to an ethnonationalist settler-colonial state despised by the broader population of the region in which it exists, and send billions of dollars in US taxpayer money to the regime committing the genocide, in order to further facilitate their capability to do so, with more bunker-busting bombs and high-tech killing machines of every variety? And how is it that despite so many strong words from so many leaders and regular people from around the world, despite millions pouring into the streets globally in protest, no one seems to be able or willing to intervene somehow and stop this genocide?
I'll mainly focus on the social engineering of western sponsorship of and complicity with this genocide, because the question of the geopolitics is, at its core, too easy to explain.
Given the support Israel has, no country wants to go to war with Israel because of the old doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. Even if the leadership in Iran or another country wanted to intervene on behalf of the Palestinians, and even if they commanded a military capable of laying waste to the nation of Israel, Israel definitely has a military capable of laying waste to many countries. Israel not only has one of the world's biggest air forces, but more importantly, it's a nuclear power, and its leaders regularly make very thinly-veiled threats to use their nuclear weapons.
The continuity of US military and economic sponsorship of Israel insulates the small country from a lot of the nonmilitary efforts at sanctioning Israel that nonwestern countries may try to engage in. OPEC policies in the 1970's and 1980's were able to have limited impacts on Israel and the US. Given the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, and recent Saudi policies of extermination-level, indiscriminate bombing campaigns on other Arab countries, any serious Saudi intervention here seems unlikely.
The UN General Assembly can pass wonderful resolutions, and often does. But with the US veto in the Security Council, the UN is essentially powerless to do anything more than tell the world that a genocide is underway. With its veto, the US has been the sole country standing in the way of at least calling for a ceasefire. Even that is too much for the bipartisan leadership of the US that is sponsoring and facilitating this genocide.
In order for a nominally democratic country such as the US to be so deeply involved with carrying out a genocidal war against a civilian population, some degree of consent by the governed is required. This is not the first genocidal war against a civilian population to be carried out by a US client state or by the US military itself, it is one of many. Some have been carried out with hardly anyone in the general public in the western world hearing much about it. With others, such as this one, that's more difficult, despite Israel's every effort to prevent the reality on the ground in Gaza from being seen by the outside world.
As I have been spending most of my waking hours (and many of my sleeping hours as well) listening to news reports from a wide variety of sources, trying to follow as closely as possible both what is actually going on in the Middle East and how most of the western media is continually spinning this reality on the ground for their propaganda purposes, the basic tenets involved with these extremely intense efforts at social engineering are becoming very clear.
Social engineering -- the shaping of the narrative and the process of manufacturing consent -- can be very successful, despite the easy availability of things like reality-based journalism, if you know where to look for it. Successful social engineering requires that the forces working on manufacturing the consent be the dominant ones, not the only ones. I'll run through a list of some of the consent-manufacturing social engineering techniques I've been hearing constantly from western leaders, across the western media, and from those arguing these lines in one form or another on social media.
Always strive to start the narrative at the point where Israel can appear to be the victim. Israel has been keeping their walled ghetto in a half-starved, regularly-bombed state for many years now through very intentional policies of collective punishment of the entire civilian population, which is made up largely of refugees driven out of other Palestinian lands. But none of this history matters -- everything began on October 7th, 2023 is the direct or tacit message we get in most of the western press and from the vast majority of the elected officials, whether liberal, conservative, or "moderate."
When giving background on the foundations of the self-proclaimed Jewish State, focus on the Nazi holocaust, as if the dispossession of Palestine by its indigenous inhabitants and the creation of a new Jewish state there was almost an inevitable consequence of fascism -- and therefore anyone opposing the new Jewish state is probably a fascist, too. If you mention the US, British, or German immigration policies that facilitated the Jewish settlement of Palestine during the 1930's and 1940's, don't do this often. Same with any other thorough exploration of the background of the Zionist movement, its colonial nature, or the many massacres of Palestinians and occupations of Palestinian towns that were foundational in the formation of the state of Israel.
When discussing the history of Palestine/Israel post-1948, always emphasize Israeli victimhood, and how it's a small "western" country surrounded by hostile, undemocratic, Arab neighbors. Frequently mention the existential crises of the 1967 and 1973 wars, and emphasize the small size of Israel relative to Egypt and Syria. Never contextualize these conflicts as efforts by Arab governments and Arab armies to seek redress for the tremendous injustice of the displacement and permanent exile of over 700,000 Arabs from Arab lands.
When covering the current conflict, no matter how asymmetrical it obviously is -- with one side controlling and regularly bombing any access points to the walled ghetto that is the Gaza Strip, with one side having destroyed half of the standing structures in Gaza, and preventing food, water, and fuel from entering the Strip, with the Palestinian population facing imminent starvation -- always remember to contextualize it by mentioning the Hamas attacks of October 7th, and how they killed 1,400 people.
When it comes to atrocities like intentionally killing civilians, always trust the Israeli authorities' accounts of what happened in southern Israel on October 7th. If the authorities say the killings of civilians were intentional, believe them and assume they wouldn't say this if they hadn't done some kind of thorough investigation and studied the trajectories of all the bullets and tank shells fired by all sides during the course of the fighting. Downplay or disregard accounts from the survivors or anyone else that conflicts with the "human animal" narrative of "modern-day Nazis who want to kill all the Jews."
When it comes to the most violent slaughter and starvation of all civilian life in Gaza and apparent intention to destroy every building standing in Gaza, always give emphasis to the Israeli position that these "air strikes" are "targeted" and are aimed at destroying "the Hamas infrastructure of terror" and the "Hamas war machine." Even if you feel compelled to interview or mention the occasional doctor at one of fifteen hospitals that have been forced to close and leave the thousands of maimed to die horrible deaths or try to operate in a parking lot under fire with no anesthesia, clean water or electricity, make sure to contextualize this interview by spending at least twice as much time soon afterwards focusing on the very legitimate and tragic suffering of the families of those killed or taken hostage in southern Israel.
As the genocide unfolds with dramatic new developments by the hour involving close to a thousand civilians dying beneath indiscriminate bombardment every 24 hours, Israel refusing visas to UN officials, most of the leaders of the western world showing their continued support for Israel even as it carries out genocide, world leaders holding emergency meetings constantly everywhere, make sure your press coverage does not reflect any of this. Don't stop your usual programming in order to cover an emergency speech by the Secretary General or an emergency meeting of the General Assembly. The UN is not important, and the fact that the US Secretary of State has basically been living in the Middle East for several weeks now is not an important story, in that it should not change the basic coverage format, which has now returned to normal, with the genocide being a footnote of no more importance than the new Taylor Swift movie or whether or not she's having a relationship with that football player.
When talking about October 7th, don't speculate about how many civilians could have been killed by the overwhelming firepower the Israeli military employed to retake their lost territory. Don't mention the large numbers of Israeli soldiers killed by Hamas forces, but focus on the civilians. Always assume the worst regarding the civilian deaths, that they were all intentional. Use every detail you can find about October 7th as a means to dehumanize Hamas.
Never make comparisons between Israeli prisoners and Hamas's hostages. The fact that Israel regularly arrests Palestinian children and adults and holds them in tortuous conditions, indefinitely, without trial, whenever they want to, is to be mentioned rarely if ever. Emphasize instead that Israel is a democratic country, and therefore there must presumably be some kind of nice democratic process involved with who goes to prison. Hamas, on the other hand, is a terrorist organization with civilian hostages, which is totally different, since it is not a state.
On the other hand, when it comes to whether the children of Gaza are getting the mass slaughter the western leaders seem to think they deserve, emphasize that Hamas was at one point the party elected to power by Palestinian voters. Support the position of the (far right and openly genocidal) Israeli government, that because they voted for Hamas, they are all Hamas, and are a threat that needs to be eliminated.
Although Israelis voted in the politicians that have formed the most far right and openly genocidal coalition in the country's history, when Israeli civilians are killed, always emphasize the senseless tragedy of the deaths. Their situation is apparently totally different from the civilians in Gaza, who are legitimate targets because they live in Gaza.
When quoting Israeli officials, or western officials parroting them, talking about how sometimes you have to demolish hospitals, apartment blocks, mosques, and churches because Hamas is keeping supplies in tunnels located beneath them, never contextualize these claims by mentioning how so many of these bombings appear to have been totally against international law under any circumstances. If an Israeli or western official says something, it doesn't need to be contextualized like that.
Anytime Israeli or western officials talk about Hamas or Hezbollah or the Iranian leadership wanting to "kill all the Jews" or wanting to "wipe out the state of Israel," never contextualize these statements by explaining that Israel is an ethnonationalist apartheid state ruling largely over land that international law considers to be illegally occupied, where under international law resistance to occupation, including violent resistance, is justified. Always tacitly support any connection between being anti-Israel and anti-Jewish by never contextualizing the basic nature of Israel as undemocratic country running an occupation of the majority of the population it controls, most of whom live under what has now become a truly genocidal military regime.
Whenever talking about these events, use the right words -- the Israelis conduct air strikes, not bombings. It's a war zone, not a besieged, walled ghetto. Hamas and Israel are warring parties, not the leaders of a ghetto uprising on one side, fighting on the other an occupying power backed by all the money and might of the USA. When Hamas kills civilians it's mindless, animalistic terrorism, when Israel does it -- from the sky, on an apocalyptically larger scale -- it's a principled western army making an honest mistake.
No matter how horrible or flagrantly illegal or genocidal Israeli policies may be, always make sure to veer the conversation into an exploration of the importance and complexity of Israel "defending itself." Make sure it's clear that everything Israel does is always ultimately in "self-defense."
When it comes to any violent actions of Palestinians, regardless of the context, however, this is always to be discussed under the category of "terrorism" -- never "self-defense." Palestinians are somehow always the aggressor, despite being the occupied, ghettoized, obviously oppressed party in this relationship, and are basically incapable of "self-defense."
On the rare occasions when there are efforts by western leaders or western media to provide real context to the history of the Zionist project, the history of the occupation and ongoing annexation of the Palestinian lands by the state of Israel, make sure to explain it all as part of an "Arab-Israeli conflict" rather than an occupation of Arab land by a settler-colonial project. Talking about the "Arab-Israeli conflict" helps Israel look small, rather than like the party with all the power in the current and historical relationship here.
Whenever discussing the history of Israel and Palestine, always focus on the Nazi holocaust that caused so many Jews to want to leave Europe, and tie this in with the history of Jewish settlement of Palestine in such a way that suggests an inevitability about this whole process, and some kind of suggestion of a connection between Palestinians and Nazis, despite no historic connections really existing.
The point of spinning the coverage of what is an unfolding genocide like this is to minimize dissent and manufacture consent among those in the US and the rest of the western countries whose leaders are so emphatically supporting and enabling this genocidal campaign, while their populations are overall far less enthusiastic about this idea, and are pouring into the streets in large numbers, calling for an end to the bombing, calling for a ceasefire, and calling for a lot of other things.
It's not that the truth is unavailable -- in the case of what's going on in Gaza as well as the West Bank right now, it's as easy as tuning in to Al-Jazeera, which you can do with any web browser.
As long as most people in the west aren't paying attention to such networks, or don't trust networks with Arab names, or don't trust Palestinian reporters reporting on the ground reporting about what's happening around them, and need to hear from western political leaders and western media that a genocidal war is being waged on a civilian population in order to believe that it's happening, then we will be witnessing one more genocide that no one will be able to stop.
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