LRB | Yitzhak Laor : You are terrorists, we are virtuous

This is the clearest explanation I have yet read of why Israel waged the kind of war it did, and especially why the Israeli public overwhelmingly supported it. This popular support, regardless of how many Lebanese lives and livelihoods were destroyed, I found astonishing from a people so familiar with the horrors of state violence. Regarding the first question, Laor writes:
The IDF is the most powerful institution in Israeli society, and one which we are discouraged from criticising. Few have studied the dominant role it plays in the Israeli economy. Even while they are still serving, our generals become friendly with the US companies that sell arms to Israel; they then retire, loaded with money, and become corporate executives. The IDF is the biggest customer for everything and anything in Israel. In addition, our high-tech industries are staffed by a mixture of military and ex-military who work closely with the Western military complex. The current war is the first to become a branding opportunity for one of our largest mobile phone companies, which is using it to run a huge promotional campaign. Israel’s second biggest bank, Bank Leumi, used inserts in the three largest newspapers to distribute bumper stickers saying: ‘Israel is powerful.’ The military and the universities are intimately linked too, with joint research projects and an array of army scholarships.
And on the second question, he says (in part)
There is no institution in Israel that can approach the army’s ability to disseminate images and news or to shape a national political class and an academic elite or to produce memory, history, value, wealth, desire. ...

The mainstream left has never seriously tried to oppose the military. The notion that we had no alternative but to attack Lebanon and that we cannot stop until we have finished the job: these are army-sponsored truths, decided by the military and articulated by state intellectuals and commentators.... Military thinking has become our only thinking.
You can read the rest of this angry, sorrowful analysis at the London Review of Books: LRB | Yitzhak Laor : You are terrorists, we are virtuous

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