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Bear Bow: Israel and the Arab States

ORIENTERING / To expect a solution or just a will for a solution from the UN is to indulge in wild wishful thinking.

September 1968

Jens Bjørneboe

Norway is, remarkably, one of the countries strongly and directly affected by the "Middle East conflict", that is to say the perpetual and chronic war between Israel and the Arab states. Despite our geographical distance, the preliminary highlight of the war, the "Six Day War" last summer, has had the most favorable, concrete, that is, economic, significance for our glorious fatherland.

The Six Day War saved our national budget this year: In the first half of last year, Norway posted a deficit of 1 435 million. The corresponding half year 1968 has brought one overshot at 180 million. The surplus is due to extraordinary revenues from Norwegian shipping, which, due to the "closure of the Suez Canal" in the first half of this year, had a record net freight revenue of 3 120 million, ie three times as much as the entire previous deficit in the foreign account. It can be noted that the press does not write that the money was earned "on the war", but on the "closure of the Suez Canal".

It is hardly possible to say exactly how much Norway earned from the war last year, but just over a billion. Nor do I have any exact statement on how many dead Jews and Arabs the six days produced. But then terrible many corpses were not. Roughly, Norway earned about half a million kroner per carcass. Many others – for example, in the steel, iron and chemical industries have earned just as much per piece of the same corpses – all in all, a dead semite brings little to no. We have only received our fair share.

Of course, this affects us, and if this just continues, we can count on good times ahead. The Vietnam War was not big enough to maintain the stability of the freight market forever.

Oddly enough, it was precisely the bourgeois government that got the pleasure of the unexpected surplus. So there is a God anyway. One does not have to be particularly cynical to claim that there are large circles in Norway that both want and need a continuation of the war, and similar circles exist in all western countries. That is, we are all profiteers. But so far there is no visible sign that the profits are directly trying to keep the war going.

How come now the Soviet Union into the picture? Of course also as a war profiteer – as a supplier of MIG fighters, weapons et cetera, et cetera. But the Soviet Union is also in the picture in another way, like an ordinary imperialist superpower – for military and strategic reasons: The Middle East's position means several more than a one-billion-dollar one-off profits. As strategically accounted for today (The Death of a Democracy by S. Sousseas, Grove Press, 1968), the colonial coup in Greece was done at American level, for American money and with American weapons, to "strengthen NATO's southwest flank" – that is: the junta colonels were and are simply NATO's SS -men, and even though today they have to find themselves in obscene words from the United States and Western Europe, they realize that the slander words are really empty words. The colonels have come to stay. They hold NATO's southwest flank.

Leaders use the hatred of the masses towards non-integrated, non-assimilated populations, toward deviant, magically blamed for everything.

They face the "socialist" Warsaw Pact in southeastern Europe and the even more pseudo-socialist Arab states further south. The Arab states, strategically and politically, mean an extension of the unrestricted power policy pursued by Russia within the member states of the Warsaw Pact, a power policy whose method and goals we could observe during the occupation of Czechoslovakia this summer. Moscow's role in the Middle East is glaringly clear: These are purely political, military and strategic goals.

Against this background one must see the Eastern European propaganda against Israel; through the greatest possible infiltration in the Arab states, Moscow gains the greatest possible power over militarily immense areas. Thus, the Soviet Union has a strong interest in keeping the war in the Middle East going – the war means for the USSR the very chance of an expansion of power.

Of course, Russian politics has nothing to do with classical anti-Semitism; The Arabs are as much Semites as the Jews, and if one is to hate Semites, then Egyptians and most of the people of the Middle East and North Africa must be included. Nor was the SS more consistent in its "anti-Semitism" than it did well with the Arabs.

Another thing is that both the Soviet Union, Poland and the GDR purely opportunistically play on the traditional racial anti-Semitism that is manifest and alive in Russia, East Germany and not least in the population of Poland. It is brought to life in these areas also every time a witch hunt for independently thinking intellectuals is to be carried out. The Eastern European, authoritarian and Moscow-directed "socialism" also has in common with the Hitler regime that the leaders, without being "anti-Semites" themselves, use the hatred of the masses against non-integrated, non-assimilated population groups, against deviant, magically blamed for everything.

So it's not just the ordinary war-profiting West, but even more the Moscow bloc interested in keeping the war between Israel and the Arab states as long as possible.

How, then, do the belligerent parties ask themselves the question? Do the Arab states really want war?

According to the statements of their own statesmen, they will. War on "external enemies" has always been a welcome opportunity to divert from internal difficulties. Twice, for trade and social policy reasons, Germany has been in the situation that its leaders have tried to solve internal problems by means of wars. The war, among other things, always offers an excellent opportunity to strike internal opposition parties and maintain state censorship of all information and statements.

For the leaders of the Arab states, the chronic state of war also presents an extraordinary opportunity for a common goal: the Arab leaders can stay together as long as they have a Palestine to "liberate". Those in power can more easily retain power, and those in power ("The people," "the masses," or whatever one might want to call the uninitiated} becomes easier to control because they predict they are fighting, suffering – and sacrificing! – for the "Fatherland", "Palestine", "Socialism" and so on – and not for the rulers. In a state of war, any independent thought, any criticism of the leadership automatically becomes "treason against the people". Also the Arab press, the "tricontinental" brochures and other evidence that in the Arab countries tror the people that they have something to gain from a war against Israel – that is, the leaders know that they personally depend on the war as a pretext and "solution." One can assume that the Arab states will still have war – and everything one hears from the Arab countries (except Tunis) confirms this.

A solution will always be a compromise, because we live in the world of compromise. The absolute is madness.

The next question becomes natural: Does Israel want a continuation of the war? As far as I can see, Israel is one of the few countries whose leadership does not reap any benefit from a continuing war. The only advantage would be that the population does not have to be wiped out as long as the country can defend itself militarily.

A favorite argument against Israel is that Palestine has been Arab territory for centuries. That's true, then. And the whole of its original creation cannot be better summarized than in Arthur Koestler's words about the Balfour Declaration: that it "lets one nation honor another nation to a third nation's land." So: The blame for the situation arises, first and foremost, in England, at a time when England played the same criminal superpower role as the Soviet Union and the United States today.

Jean-Paul Sartre

"You can't rely on Soviet-American, just on Arab-Israeli agreements."

But the situation remains, and among the left-wing radicals who have been repeating His Master's Voice from Moscow for quite some time, I have not once heard a useful proposal to solve the dilemma. The question is not whether it was desirable, correct or justified that the state of Israel was created – it is a completely romantic and meaningless issue. the thing is that in subjects the state of Israel exists. It is there and can only be abolished by violence.

The allegation – from the authoritatively Moscow-obedient part of the left – that trying to solve Europe's guilt problem at the expense of the Arabs does not hold either, when confronted with reality and not propaganda phrases. It may well be a solution in the Middle East, which both for the benefit of the Arabs and the Jews.

Men not for the benefit of the Soviet Union. For Moscow, any peace in the Middle East would be of evil if it ended before Russian infiltration has come as far in the Arab states as the American in Greece. The colonels have one.

In the midst of this, the United Nations is definitely, that is, also officially, collapsed: The UN is today not only a cover for the powers of the great powers, but directly as a tool of power for the superpowers. And the superpowers do not want peace in the Middle East. The difficulty of achieving lasting peace lies not primarily with the warring parties, but in the fact that neither the West nor the Soviet Union wants peace.

On Tunis's side, there is a very durable proposal for peace; It is simply that there are flaws, stupidity and bestiality on both sides, but that it will be wiser to forget them and to find some form of cooperation than to continue to kill each other for the benefit of imperialist Russia. And Tunis has even recently thrown the French out of their country, so it is possible that they know better about the conditions than they do in the pro-Nazi left in the West and in Moscow.

At the same time, one should not let the manifesto go into oblivion, written last year by one of Europe's most clear-thinking intellectuals, namely Jean-Paul Sartre, along with 40 other intellectuals. The manifesto claims, among other things, that recognition of Israel's sovereignty and its access to international waters are a prerequisite for peace in the Middle East. Equally fundamental is that the Arab refugees can return to Israel.

Here is just one sentence from Sartre: "You can't rely on Soviet-American, just on Arab-Israeli agreements." Things that have happened since then just confirm the mistrust of the great powers. US politics is as we know it is, and Soviet policy still follows the Stalinist theses for a nationalist Russian foreign policy in a purely imperialist pattern.

To expect a solution or just a will for a solution from the UN is to indulge in wild wishful thinking. But a solution will always be a compromise, because we live in the world of compromise. The absolute is madness.

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Jens Bjørneboe
Author. Wrote in Ny Tids predecessor Orientering.

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