War Against the People

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An Israeli security company, International Security and Defence Systems (ISDS) — with the very active support of the Israeli government — was brought in to advise the Brazilian government on security measures during the 2014 World Cup and this year’s Olympic Games.

On its advice, in 2010 a large contract was awarded to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for drones, electric fences, ground radar, sensors and satellite technology.

IAI even opened a factory in Brazil to manufacture drones. Later ISDS actually won the contract to manage security at the Rio Olympics, a deal worth over $2 billion. Of course, the company already had some experience in this field, having been involved in helping to provide security at the Beijing Olympics, training Chinese security personnel in counter-terrorism and crowd control.

Israel’s long experience of suppressing the Palestinian people has, as Jeff Halper shows, been turned into an extremely lucrative industry that governments use right across the world. We are all in his debt for the exemplary job he has done in chronicling Israel’s contribution to the international security industry.

There is no government too brutal or corrupt for the Israeli security industry. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s police use riot control vehicles bought from Israel’s Beit Alfa Technologies. Even the Obiang regime in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, without doubt one of the most despicable governments in the world, benefits from Israeli security expertise.

This is a country where oil revenues provide one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world and yet the overwhelming majority of the population live in abject poverty while a brutal, wholly corrupt oligarchy enriches itself.

Israeli security companies have trained and armed Obiang’s presidential guard. To assist Israeli economic penetration of the country, the Israeli government has provided Equatorial Guinea with diplomatic support, especially in smoothing the regime’s relations with the US.

This is merely a taste of the wealth of material that Halper has accumulated in this essential contribution to extending and deepening our understanding of Israel’s role in what he calls “the global pacification industry”.

There are some necessary reservations to be made, however. First of all, it is important to insist that all this merely makes the Israelis every bit as bad as the Americans and the British.

Second, Halper’s argument does not give enough attention to the part played by conflict between the great powers in global politics today. His focus on “hegemony” and “pacification” excludes great power conflicts and the proxy wars they wage, not least in Syria today.

Lastly, his assertion that the occupation is actually a “resource” for Israel is just plain wrongheaded. Certainly, the occupation has been turned to profitable use, but the even worse reality is that the Israeli state still has unfulfilled territorial ambitions in the Middle East. This is the motivation behind Israeli militarism.