A Protracted Colonial War
In his last interview - after the 1967 six-day war - the historian Isaac Deutscher, whose next-of-kin had died in the Nazi camps and whose surviving relations lived in Israel, said: "To justify or condone Israel's wars against the Arabs is to render Israel a very bad service indeed and harm its own long-term interest." Comparing Israel to Prussia, he issued a sombre warning: "The Germans have summed up their own experience in the bitter phrase 'Man kann sich totseigen!' 'You can triumph yourself to death'."
In Israel's actions today we can detect many of the elements of hubris: an imperial arrogance, a distortion of reality, an awareness of its military superiority, the self-righteousness with which it wrecks the social infrastructure of weaker states, and a belief in its racial superiority. The loss of many civilian lives in Gaza and Lebanon matters less than the capture or death of a single Israeli soldier. In this, Israeli actions are validated by the US.
On the slightly flip-side, if ever you've got Tariq Ali bearing down on you, for whatever reason, just go:
"Oh, Tariq, there's a national-liberation movement over there".
"Where, where? I must give it my full support...!"
And off he goes, happily trotting behind it.
And he is good on imperialism and internationalism, resistance etc. You almost never hear him speak on domestic/economic issues. Imagine seeing him down a picket line... You can't. It's not possible.
I have a sneaking suspicion he's the ultimate revolutionary tourist. I.E. I like revolutions, especially when they happen far, far away and involve bandanas, ski masks and cool guns. Give him a resistance movement and he's in his element. Ask him who to vote for at the general election and he gets himself in a dreadful knot.
Meanwhile, this seems to be the general media consensus. Small war, one pair of socks singed, no one British dead yet... Well, that's good, I suppose.
The first Britons evacuated from the devastation of war-torn Lebanon arrived back in the UK today.
The 80 evacuees, who landed at Gatwick Airport at around 1.30am, expressed relief to have escaped unharmed from the week-long Israeli bombardment.
They arrived on charter flight AMT6205 from Cyprus, where they had been ferried from the Lebanese capital Beirut on board the Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Gloucester.