November 30, 2023

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With blood and bombs: Israel tries to hide its misery

With blood and bombs: Israel tries to hide its misery

With more than 10,000 Palestinians killed (4,100 children and 2,600 women) in its latest aggression on the Gaza Strip, it continues the imminent threat of a ground invasion to destroy everything in its path, and fanaticism that reaches the point of madness of the minister. Who calls for the use of the atomic bomb.

Accordingly, Israel is trying to strengthen its power in the Middle East, with the support of North American imperialism and Europe, which is complicit in genocide.

There is a whole paraphernalia of hatred surrounding this crime against humanity, with Israeli doctors calling for the death of all Palestinians, the authorities forcing Arab employees working in Israel to return to the Strip and being victims of attacks, while the Western media tries to present this crime. The perpetrator as the victim, claiming that the Hamas organization initiated the hostilities.

Behind all this, this myth about a state built on Palestinian blood, hides the reality of a regime that has become impoverished, whoever is in power, today with Netanyahu marred by corrupt practices and popular anger over strict measures.

Imperial propaganda itself means that in the West Israel is often viewed as an exceptional state in the Near East: in the midst of authoritarian and impoverished Arab regimes, Israel emerges as an economically prosperous, technologically advanced and democratic state.

But researcher Michael Roberts, with his strong statistical and analytical support, shows that despite massive economic and military support provided by the United States, such a picture is increasingly becoming a caricature.

Israel faces a very problematic future due to the chronic confrontation with the Palestinian and migrant populations, and due to the insurmountable obstacles of a neoliberal and militarized economy based on inequality and the dismantling of the state.

Let us remember that in March the seventy-fifth anniversary of its founding was celebrated, and this is how the magazine was The Economist He commented that Israel is “extremely rich, more secure than it has been for most of its history, and democratic: that is if you are willing to exclude the occupied territories” (sic!). It has overcome wars, droughts and poverty with few natural resources, except the human factor. It is an outlier in the Middle East, a hub of innovation and a winner of globalization.

Bad taste joke – an unacceptable joke

These words now seem like a joke in bad taste, if we take into account the events of recent weeks, or if we also look at the true history of the State of Israel.

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This story is the story of some Jewish immigrants who arrived in Palestine with the great goal of establishing a state of refuge for the Jews in their homeland alongside the Arab population. Many of these Zionists dreamed of Israel becoming a model socialist society, collectively owned and managed through local municipalities or KibbutzAs a democratic alternative to the government of sheikhs and generals in Arab countries.

The truth is that, in practice, the Jewish immigrants who settled in Palestine and established the new socialist state could only do so by forcefully expelling hundreds of thousands of Arabs from their homes and lands.

Now, thanks to a combination of mass immigration (which doubled the Jewish population), massive foreign investments from wealthy Jewish communities and American capital, as well as the creation of a powerful military force, the Israeli economy grew very rapidly. Starting in 1948. It was the golden age of post-war capitalism, when profit rates were high and investment was strong.

The so-called social democratic state of Israel had to disappear if Israeli capitalists were to flourish. Thus, as in many other capitalist economies, Israelis elected governments that sought to end socialism and open the economy to unrestrained capital, while reducing the Israeli welfare state and support for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Kibbutz. Israel forcefully entered the era of neoliberalism, which continued globally for the next two or three decades.

Reagan-Thatcher, as models

Under Reagan-style policies in the United States and Thatcher-style policies in the United Kingdom, from 1986 to 2000, 83 state-owned enterprises were sold for a total of US$8.7 billion. National airline ELAL, telecom network Bese, all major banks and five other large conglomerates were sold to buyers selected by the government. The buyers included many of Israel’s richest people, along with wealthy American Jews and other foreign conglomerates. None of these companies are listed for sale. For example, the government sold Israel Chemicals Ltd. to the Heisenberg family through private tender between 1993 and 1997.

But this did not last. In the twenty-first century, like many other emerging economies, Israel’s capitalist economy faces increasing difficulties. Of course, the big difference is that Israel, in its perpetual war with neighboring Arab countries, had the full support of the United States and Western capital. So, even in the face of ongoing conflict with its Arab neighbors and uprisings by displaced Palestinians, it has managed to survive economically, as well as develop formidable military power.

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Ironically, mass immigration from the former Soviet Union, the importation of foreign workers, and the rapid natural growth of the local Arab population have made Israel less and less of a Jewish state, in terms of population, and it is still relatively small, with less than 100% of the population. 10 million people.

Even more feedback

But the impact of neoliberal policies and economic slowdown did not cause a shift to the left. On the contrary, fear of Arab attacks and the failure of any effective alternative socialist opposition led to the rise of religious and ethnic political parties. Israeli capital has played the card of race and religion to avoid any confrontation over its economic and social failures.

Economic crises have continued at regular intervals in the twenty-first century. In 2003, Netanyahu cut social benefits, privatized more state-owned companies, lowered the top income tax rate, cut public sector services, and imposed anti-union laws.

This was followed by the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and then the pandemic collapse of 2020, when GDP fell by 7%. The relative economic decline of the Israeli economy is evident in the real GDP growth rate of the Gilded Age, the profitability crisis of the 1970s, the period of neoliberalism, and now in the long depression of the 2000s and beyond.

In the last ten years, Kibbutz The residential communities quickly disappeared, replaced by upscale suburban homes. Land values ​​rose dramatically with real estate speculation. There has been a continuing erosion in funding for health care and other public services, leading to an increase in the private cost of health care, as well as growing differences in access to services between those with money and those without.

The socialist dream of the first Israeli state has now given way to capitalist reality. The gap between the lowest and highest incomes in Israel is the second highest in the industrialized world, and the child poverty rate is exceeded only by Mexico, among developed countries. On average, one in three Israeli children lives in poverty, and one in five families lives well below the poverty line.

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Israel is one of the most unequal high-income countries. The poorest 50% of the population earn an average of NIS 57,900 (New Shekel, equivalent to 0.25 euros, approximately CSH), while the richest 10% earn 19 times more. Levels of inequality across the population are thus similar to those in the United States, where the bottom 50% of the population earn 13% of total national income, while the bottom 10% of the population earn 49%.

There is no doubt that the poverty and inequality gap is much greater for the Arab citizens of Israel, who constitute about 20% of its population. But the poverty rate is also high in Orthodox Jewish communities, which represent a tenth of the population. As for Gaza and the West Bank, poverty levels are appalling.

In stark contrast, the concentration of wealth in Israel is the second highest in the Western world. Notorious family fiefdoms include: Allison, Boro Fitch, Dakar, Averre, Fino, Hamburg, Diesmann, Wertheimer, Zeiss Abel, Revive, Federman, Sabin, Fishman, Sachar, Case, Strauss, Seltzer and Sova. These families collectively control a fifth of the revenues generated by major companies in Israel, and these 500 major companies represent 40% of the business sector and 59% of national income.

This latest war, which turned into genocide, will not lead to the collapse of the Israeli economy. The government enjoys military and financial support from the United States.

The continuation of the war may benefit arms manufacturers and the military, but in the long run it reduces profitability and investment in the productive sectors of the economy. For workers, apart from the huge loss of life, this means restrictions on improving their living conditions and human development.

Israeli capitalist governments have no solution to the endless conflict with the Arab peoples under their occupation and on their borders. And now, as another war breaks out with an extremely intense level of violence and revenge, the sweet words he spoke: The Economist On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishment of Israel, its taste is very bitter, both for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.