(I think) One of the most subtle and pernicious ways that power is maintained is through the belief that something is too complex to be understood by the average person... That, that thing is too vast and opaque to even know where to start so the "reasonable" thing is to leave it, forget about it, there are professionals somewhere who get it and will know what to do about it, even when we know, viscerally, that there are lies being told, dreams being sold, skeletons being hidden, money being made, graves being dug, doors being closed ... at our expense.
Maintaining and solidifying power is a constant and purposeful enterprise.
That was one of the takeaways from this book. This idea that everything that happens in the Middle East is so impenetrable and cyclical ... that nothing changes ... that devastating and perpetual violence has and will always be the norm, is a myth. A myth that serves white supremacy, American hegemony, the military industrial complex etc.
My first and (relatively) casual enquiry into what was happening in Palestine was the 'Palestinians for black lives' hashtag. I'd had a very basic (and high key propagandized) perception of the Israel/Palestine "conflict". So, I decided to read this because 1) I feel a deep kinship with black/brown people in developing countries (whose (revolutionary) liberation struggles are forgotten/erased) and 2) I want to have a more critical understanding of what elements/factors contributed to (and continue to) the creation and maintenance of this regime.
This was a great primer on the history of Israel's occupation of Palestine. The subtitle of the book is "How terrorism created modern Israel" which accurately sums up Israel's history as a nation-state. The author meticulously describes Zionism's governing principles, it's ascendancy and (re)branding and packaging in Israel and the West and how the intertwining of race/religion/ethnicity is central to that. Apart from being shocked by the violence and pure savagery Israel has drowned Palestinians in for decades, the sustained terrorism that other Jews faced at the hands of the Zionists was a madness, e.g. the mass kidnappings of Jewish children from their parents/adoptive families during the holocaust to forcibly create/establish a Jewish population in Palestine.
The book left me deeply heartbroken. But energized in some ways, to know/learn/think more, to understand deeply and fundamentally that there's no freedom without Palestinian freedom and to be more vigilant and prepared about whichever small ways I can contribute to that... because I know now.
Zionism shares with all settler-colonialist projects the need to dehumanise those it seeks to displace or subordinate.
Economic analysis demonstrates that the Israeli state owes its very existence to its wholesale theft of Palestinians' worldly possessions - land, homes, assets, money, orchards, quarries, 10,000s acres of vineyards, 25,000 acres of citrus groves, 10,000s business establishments, olive groves and machinery. Despite the massive infusion of foreign capital and its claims of modern efficiency, it was in the end the Palestinians that saved the Israeli state from stillbirth: and today Israel reaps vast financial benefits through the theft of Palestinian natural resources, and micro-control of the Palestinian economy, taxes, tourism, imports and exports.
Israel's strangling of Gaza - profound, unremitting violence, even when it is not dropping bombs or shooting its farmers and fishermen - and its violent subjugation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, are sold as the unwanted burden placed upon a peace-seeking democracy saddled amidst uncivilised neighbours. We are conditioned to accept all this as we are conditioned to accept everything in Israel-Palestine: Israeli invasions are self-defence, and Palestinians resisting its invasions are terrorists.