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A wall and a war: Two things every fascist regime needs

Both Trump and Netanyahu want to secure their rule by attacking liberal, democratic forces. But in order to do so, they need two things: a wall and the promise of eternal war. 

By Alon Mizrahi

President Donald Trump stands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel as president. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

President Donald Trump stands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel as president. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“George Soros is funding the campaign against deporting infiltrators… Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn’t say anything.”

These remarks were made by Prime Minister Netanyahu during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to a report by Channel 10. The prime minister’s choice of words is confusing, perhaps deliberately: is he referring to deporting foreigners in Israel or the U.S.? If it is the former, why bother mentioning Obama? And if he’s speaking about America, why is he calling Dreamers, as they are known there, “infiltrators?”

The confusion is deliberate. The actions and goals of the Trump administration are identical to those of Netanyahu. Both leaders try to sell the idea that the world is a jungle, the notion of a dichotomous division between the good guys and the bad guys, and the image of “us” as “good” — as god-like. In both camps, the Bible, money, and advanced technology are viewed as both proof of and ethno-cultural justification for moral, genetic, eternal supremacy.

In both camps, the gap between propaganda and practice is enormous. Trump talks about “draining the swamp” of Washington DC, while in practice his administration is stacked with billionaires, confidants, and family members with shady ties to the international underworld. For Netanyahu, the propaganda can be summarized as “ensuring Israel’s security and image.” In practice,  he is cozying up with dictators, destroying ties with democracies around the world and with liberals in the Jewish community, all while embroiling Israel in a colonial adventure that negates the moral foundation of the Hebrew state — and could result in its demise.

Both are Trump and Netanyahu are fans of Putin, giving Russia license to rampage on the international stage: in Crimea, Eastern Europe, Syria, and even the United States, where the Russian leader has caused considerable damage to the American people’s trust in the democratic process. Netanyahu has struck secret deals with Putin in a series of high-profile meetings, which grant Assad and Putin unchecked power in Syria, including a measure of protection for Iranian forces in the country.

Both Trump and Netanyahu rely on Sheldon Adelson’s money, as well as on the support of the Evangelical community in the U.S.

And both of them fully understand that there are two things that every fascist regime needs to take root: a wall and a war.

Physical separation and eternal struggle

United States Border Patrol at Algodones Sand Dunes, on the border of California and Mexico. (Department of Homeland Security)

United States Border Patrol at Algodones Sand Dunes, on the border of California and Mexico. (Department of Homeland Security)

Those who believe that Trump’s wall is merely a whimsical idea are wrong. The project is no more whimsical than the Berlin Wall, or what was once known as the “Iron Curtain” — a psychological wall that has encircled Russia’s subjects for over 100 years.

The wall is a basic idea in fascism; there is simply no fascist regime that exists without one. Physical segregation, which creates psychological separation, allows for the existence of a project of scaremongering and the enlistment of nationalists that feed the second project necessary for any fascist regime: eternal war.

Separation is a necessary component of fascism in order to convince the masses that the struggle between their group and another is not based on interests or a sense of personal injury, which can be remedied through negotiations, but rather on vast and well-entrenched differences that cannot be bridged. The way to solve the problem, according to the fascist worldview, is through vanquishing the opponent by total annihilation, either through expulsion or physical destruction.

It is no surprise that in Israel, more and more people are demanding that Gaza be flattened. It is no surprise that nationalism and unbridled hatred take root as the physical separation between Jews and Palestinians becomes a done deal. The same thing will happen in the U.S., should Trump’s wall be built on the border with Mexico. After that comes the third phase of fascist propaganda: inciting hatred toward the barbarians on the other side of the wall, and enlisting public opinion to support the war. Arguments in favor will abound. That’s how it always works, everywhere, with every wall. It only strengthens the fear. This is the reason for fascism’s love affair with walls.

The State of Israel has, from its earliest days, has specialized in walls and separation. The separation wall in the West Bank and Netanyahu’s tactical move of building physical and psychological barriers between Israeli Jews and the rest of the world have brought things to a boiling point. The Israeli public opinion is inching closer toward a preference for annihilating the Palestinians, rather than reach a compromise with them. This is a direct outcome of the wall.

The next stage: War

Palestinians inspect damage to a destroyed ambulance in Shujaiyeh, a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City that was the site of some of the war’s heaviest fighting, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinians inspect damage to a destroyed ambulance in Shujaiyeh, a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City and the site of some of the war’s heaviest fighting, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

U.S. hawks continuously peddle the possibility of war against Iran and North Korea. In Israel, the project of starving, oppressing, and besieging Gaza is bringing the strip to the brink of catastrophe. Meanwhile the government unceasingly talks about the real possibility of war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The obsession with Iran is well known. Let’s not forget that Netanyahu and the American Right were vocal supporters of the invasion of Iraq.

The next stage in Netanyahu and Trump’s plan is war. It is a war that will happen should the intelligence community and the military establishment in both countries fail to prevent it. At this point, it is impossible to estimate the tragic results.

A most dangerous era

The election of Trump, the immense and dangerous influence Netanyahu has on the regional chessboard, and the carte blanche for Putin to do as he wishes are endangering the West. One can only guess what spark will light the powder keg.

According to the fascist worldview, war (and preparations for war) is only a tool for settling scores with enemies from within. This is the real danger facing the U.S., Israel, and Europe. If the plan to bring about war succeeds, there is no doubt that it will be used to decimate the very project of democracy for generations. These wars will surely be presented to the public as necessary to protect the nation, ensuring that every attempt to limit democracy and human rights will be deemed acceptable. This includes emergency measures, such as shutting down media outlets, mass arrests, show trials, suppressing ideological rivals, and the decimation of the opposition.

Who knows how likely this nightmare scenario really is. It is probable that there are strong forces working to prevent it. But on the other hand, I have no doubt that there are those who want walls and war on the way to building a unbounded regime and a final blow against the liberal forces of the West. This is a goal undoubtedly shared by Putin, Netanyahu, and Trump. This is the danger that we must not underestimate. Western democracy is facing its most difficult period since the Second World War. What makes this more dangerous than ever is the fact that some of these Western democracies are headed by forces that see eye to eye with the enemies of freedom, humanity, and democracy.

Alon Mizrahi is a writer and a blogger at Local Call, where this article was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      As their respective prosecutors close in on Trump and Netanyahu for their crimes, each of these malignant characters becomes a most dangerous cornered animal, willing to start wars of distraction and self-aggrandizement. I think neither one will stop at anything, no matter the cost to human lives, to solve their personal problems. And they will collude with one another. It is indeed an exceedingly dangerous time.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      The security “wall” has saved a lot of lives from Arab terrorism. everything else is blah blah..

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Bunk.

        Wave of stabbings show Israel’s wall isn’t about security
        If the separation barrier neither stops terrorists nor marks an actual border between Israel and Palestine, then what is it actually for?

        https://972mag.com/wave-of-stabbings-show-israels-wall-isnt-about-security/112620/

        “…The fence’s real raison d’être is to create facts on the ground — good ol’ fashioned expansionism. When completed the barrier will have annexed nearly 10 percent of the West Bank; some 85 percent of its route is inside the West Bank, rebelliously diverging from the internationally recognized Green Line. Consecutive Israeli governments have sworn from here to The Hague that the fence was not a unilateral attempt to drawing new borders without consulting the Palestinians. And yet dozens of Israeli politicians have openly stated the exact opposite….”

        Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Itshak: If the wall kept Israeli settlers in as well as Palestinian terrorist out I would take it as a small sign of progress, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Nathanael

      How likely is this attempt at fascism to succeed?

      In the US — unlikely. Trump is already deeply unpopular, and his fascist policies poll even less popular than he does personally. State governors have already announced open defiance; elected Republicans have rejected his fascist policies; judges appointed by Republicans are rejecting his fascist policies. And Republicans have been losing special elections over and over again. Trump’s attempts at censorship have been roundly rebuffed by an active media.

      In Israel? Look at Netenyahu’s polling numbers. He’s still popular (more popular than Trump) even *after* the personal corruption scandals, and his fascist policies are more popular than he is. He’s already successfully implemented far more fascist policies than Trump has even tried to implement. You’re in big trouble.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Nathanael

      How likely is this attempt at fascism to succeed?

      In the US — unlikely. Trump is already deeply unpopular, and his fascist policies poll even less popular than he does personally. State governors have already announced open defiance; elected Republicans have rejected his fascist policies; judges appointed by Republicans are rejecting his fascist policies. And Republicans have been losing special elections over and over again. Trump’s attempts at censorship have been roundly rebuffed by an active media.

      In Israel? Look at Netenyahu’s polling numbers. He’s still popular (more popular than Trump) even *after* the personal corruption scandals, and his fascist policies are more popular than he is. He’s already successfully implemented far more fascist policies than Trump has even tried to implement. There is no state-level local government fighting back. You’re in big trouble.

      Reply to Comment

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