A propagandist-in-chief's war on intellectual imperialism and pursuit of a resistance episteme

Posts Tagged: racism


So, despite the fact that majorities in the US and the UK oppose military intervention in Syria, the US and British governments are going to war anyway. And yet even the most progressive amongst us, continue to view these systems as democracies. There is something fundamentally hypocritical and cynical about viewing western liberal political systems as democratic solely on the basis of how much they respect the human rights of their own citizens, are responsive to majority public opinion on domestic matters, and abide by the rule of law, while violating the human rights of people outside their countries, ignoring majority public opinion on foreign policy matters and dismissing international law altogether. This tendency can only be described as naked racism on the part of western liberals and self-hating, internalized racism on the part of colonized natives.


Shame on this crappy culture that calls itself Lebanese. Watching these ignorant, racist students and kids (doubtless, mimicking their racist parents) trash the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, complaining about how they have flooded schools and apartment buildings, and how they are potential thieves and threats to society. Not once did we hear any Syrian complain or make racist remarks when tens of thousands of Lebanese took refuge in Syrian private homes (not merely government run-camps) during the July War. Shame on their short memory span— less than a century ago my great grandfather, like others of his generation, did not identify himself as “Lebanese” but as from “Bilad al-Sham” (Greater Syria). How absurd.


Some excerpts from a well researched and critical New York Times blog piece on Dratwa’s black-face scandal:

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, the Lebanese writer who drew attention to a screenshot of the photograph on Friday, mocked the Israeli soldier on Monday, writing:

So this is what the Zionists call social media war? An IDF spokesman who is so moronic as to keep a rabidly racist photo like brown-face on his FB profile on PUBLIC settings, so that a half-asleep Zionist-hater like myself could discover it on Friday morning within seconds of flicking through his pics? He made it too easy.

Sad to see that Americans on Twitter and elsewhere will only understand Zionist racism when viewed through their own cultural lens and lose sight of it when it is practiced in institutionalized form and in a most brutal fashion against Palestinians. But at least this is a start.

In a comment to an Israeli news site, the officer’s superiors said that because the image was posted on the soldier’s personal Facebook account, it had no bearing on his official role.

Among the positive responses was one from David Saranga, an Israeli diplomat who seemed to signal his approval of the joke with a smiley face emoticon and a lighthearted reply.

Although Israeli soldiers are not supposed to express political opinions, Lieutenant Dratwa’s other social media accounts offer clues as to his ideological leanings. The most recent post on his personal blog, written in October, explained his view that Mitt Romney was likely to win the American presidential election. Barack Obama “sold a dream” in 2008, Lieutenant Dratwa wrote. “But with dreams no one can fill his fridge or feed his children.” He added: “Americans today need a father who is able to lead the country with a strong hand, not a dreamer.”

Several of the officer’s older blog posts appear to have been removed from his site, including one featuring a video described as a “comic caricature of Islam,” and another that recounted “the true story of an arrest in the Palestinian territories.”

N.B. Also amusing is the quite popular comment at the end of the piece that is supposed to be insulting and mistakes tries to pass off anti-US sentiment in the region (burning effigies and American flags) as Zionist-style racism:

  • DirectorTif

Just looked up the writer who “exposed” this soldier who had mud on him like everyone does at the dead sea….ya know who this loser writer is? she’s a Lebanese writer who trolls the web in effort to try to make Israelis look bad….and get this….In 2009, she declined the invitation to speak at the NATO Defense College, because this would have involved talking to Israeli military officers. YES what a winner of journalistic integrity! The Israeli bashing machine is hard at work. This soldier is an idiot for the off handed remark but again….pales in comparison to the Arab burning Obama in effigy stunts (just to name one).

Full story here


Yes we did it!  The story about the IDF spokesman/social media chief’s Israeli Ashkenazic racism first reported here and here has gone mainstream. ABC News picked up the story here, swiftly followed by Mother Jones here and the Daily Mail here and the Huff Po here , even though most have mis-attributed the story to western-based media.  

 So this is what the Zionists call social media war? An IDF spokesman who is so moronic as to keep a rabidly racist photo like brown-face on his FB profile on PUBLIC settings, so that a half-asleep Zionist-hater like myself could discover it on Friday morning within seconds of flicking through his pics? He made it too easy. 

Sad to see that Americans on Twitter and elsewhere will only understand Zionist racism when viewed through their own cultural lens and lose sight of it when it is practiced in institutionalized form and in a most brutal fashion against Palestinians. But at least this is a start….


Al-Akhbar’s Boxes and Briefs blog responds to IDF, social media chief, Sacha Dratwa’s non-apology: 

While Dratwa, the IDF and their supporters can continue to claim that any offense taken is “cynical,” we at Boxes & Briefs have drawn a different conclusion:

Had Dratwa been unaware of the history and significance of blackface, an apology would have been appropriate (surely, Dratwa and his supporters are fluent in identifying and deploring the symbols and stereotypes that conjure an ugly, painful past for Jews.)

Brownface/blackface isn’t a harmless gesture. It’s also merely the tip of the iceberg (icebergs happen to be white, which makes this a stellar idiom for elucidating issues of race to self-justifying racists.)

Full post here


A few days ago I posted a photo of Sacha Dratwa, the head of the IDF’s social media unit and after seeing it on my blog, my colleagues at al-Akhbar later ran a very witty but factual story on the racist photo in their Boxes and Briefs blog here. Today, Dratwa responded with the following statement on his FB profile page here , saying:

“There have been attempts to make use of private photos from my Facebook profile in order to publicly misrepresent my opinions. Due to the amount of public attention I’ve garnered in recent days I have decided to restrict access to my page, in order to protect my privacy and prevent further cynical use of the information therein.

I am, and have always been, completely candid about my beliefs and have nothing to hide – as reflected by my Facebook profile, which until recently was open to everyone. The aforementioned photos do not reflect my beliefs and have no bearing whatsoever on my position in the IDF.

Sacha Dratwa”

As his statement above indicates, and in contrast to the ridiculous comments by his Zionist fans claiming his Facebook identity must have been stolen and that the racism story was a lie, Dratwa made no such claims or pretensions. He unabashedly acknowledges the photos were his, albeit used “cynically” to “misrepresent” his opinions, and that the photos in question don’t reflect his beliefs. But Dratwa also brags that he has “nothing to hide” and has always been “candid” about his beliefs.

In other words, Dratwa, like his compatriots, is an unapologetic Zionist who insults American readers’ intelligence by arguing that the photo doesn’t make him a racist. Of course, the vast majority of the world don’t need this photo or any other to know that Zionism is the most racist ideology in the world, but Dratwa doesn’t even bother to offer an explanation for the photo (he was drunk, stoned, under the effect of medication etc.) to Israel’s ignorant American supporters or to even lie by claiming we doctored the photo. But this arrogant callousness should come as no surprise because the Zionists can be assured of unconditional US support even if golliwogs and KKK hoods are involved. And this impunity doesn’t stem from Israel’s supposed status as the US’ “spoilt child”, whose Zionist lobby controls US policy, but stems from the fact that Israel is the US’ proxy settler colony in the Arab world and serves the interests of global capitalism.


Al-Akhbar’s brilliantly witty media blog mocks the IDF social media chief I posted about earlier here. If you have a Twitter account, you can link this article and ask US officials with Twitter accounts embarrassing questions about the IDF’s racist slur against their president (and African people generally). 
"For all its high-tech industries and self-promotion as a western-style democracy, Israeli public officials apparently still enjoy forms of entertainment that went out of fashion in the US with the end of the Jim Crow era.
A photo uploaded on September 29 to the Facebook profile of the head of the IDF’s social media unit depicts the lieutenant posing with brown mud on his face under the caption: “Obama style.”…
For a poignant example of the pedestrian racism that Israeli public spokespersons can get away with – not only against Arabs and African migrants African migrants, but also against Israel’s American benefactors – look no further than the Facebook profile of the championed IDF social media guru.”

Full article here 

P.S. The video link at the end is a MUST WATCH: “I am a political science major so I know my shit….Who is Benjamin Yahoo?” For real.

Meet the head of the IDF’s social media unit, lieutenant Sacha Dratwa, who steered Israel’s lousy hasbara campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere, which Hamas beat hands down. Dratwa has a very public Facebook account where I found this photo. Imagine, the arrogance of not caring that his 1000+ subscribers, not to mention curious observers like myself, can see his dark painted face with the words “Obama style” underneath . Apparently you can be as blatantly racist as you want in Israel and still enjoy Obama’s unadulterated support.

Meet the head of the IDF’s social media unit, lieutenant Sacha Dratwa, who steered Israel’s lousy hasbara campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere, which Hamas beat hands down. Dratwa has a very public Facebook account where I found this photo. Imagine, the arrogance of not caring that his 1000+ subscribers, not to mention curious observers like myself, can see his dark painted face with the words “Obama style” underneath . Apparently you can be as blatantly racist as you want in Israel and still enjoy Obama’s unadulterated support.


Earlier this week, I used the following example in my Research Methodology class to illustrate to my students 3 points: (1) how the White Man supposedly represents neutrality and scientific objectivity (2) that deferring to “international law” is nothing more than agreement reality or social reality, which white, western male elites have agreed upon as constituting “reality” and hence, is not a sufficient basis for conclusive empirical evidence (3) how crude Orientalism and racism continue to thrive among western liberals.

Here is the example: an established European journalist who writes for a respected mainstream British newspaper once interviewed me about the STL’s (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) indictment of Hizbullah in the Hariri assassination case. I explained why I believed it was a kangaroo court and how some of the flimsy evidence (such as the telephone records) could have been tampered with. The journalist dismissed my words as though I were a typical Arab conspiracy theorist. So I challenged him further “why not?” I asked, “is it that inconceivable that the legal experts working for the UN tribunal would manufacture evidence?” “Yes” he answered assuredly, “they just wouldn’t do that”. I replied “answer me honestly, would you have you that same certainty and answered the same way if the experts and organization in question were Arab, Muslim, or black”? “No, I wouldn’t” he answered.


"Nothing is more amusing than explaining to your blonde-haired, fair-skinned children that as Arabs, they are not White people. No matter how much you repeat that it’s determined by race not skin colour, they remain incredulous…"



Taking It Out on Palestinians...Israeli Style | Al Akhbar English

 Inshallah Palestinians will soon return to a liberated homeland and will no longer have to put up with Arabs’ disgusting racism any more.

"That was the case after the army launched its campaign against them in the Saida region after the exile of General Michel Aoun – those in charge at the time thought that would appease the dejected Christians. It was also the case in the insane campaign against Nahr al-Bared a few years ago, an abominable military assault launched under the banner of going after terrorists and criminals."


I guess this puts all those Quran-burning, corpse mutilating, family-massacring “incidents” perpetrated by the Amerikkkan army in perspective. Excerpts from Wired.com: 
"The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”
“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation (.pdf), which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”
The course.. has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass. …The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation….”

Source: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/05/total-war-islam/all/1?pid=1198&viewall=true


Below are excerpts from a seminal essay on the future significance of information warfare written by the now retired Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Peters formerly assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the US Army War College journal, Parameters. Though the article was originally published in 1997, it was recently re-published in light of its continued relevance, and has since been quoted by Pepe Escobar in his article “”War Porn: the New Safe Sex”, with direct reference to the media war on Syria. Though unabashedly racist and classist in content and offensively triumphalist and jingoistic in tone, Peters’ essay provides a devastatingly honest account of the central role information warfare will continue to have in US military strategy. As if anticipating the current informational onslaught against the resistance axis, the article serves to confirm how the US media has become the most potent tool in its wider war on its “rejectionist” enemies. Excerpts from the 9 page article are below, with particularly interesting/offensive parts highlighted in upper-case. 


How can you counterattack the information  others have turned upon you? There is no effective option other than competitive performance. For those individuals and cultures that cannot join or compete with our information empire, there is only inevitable failure (of note, the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and community). …. Information, from the internet to rock videos, will not be contained, and fundamentalism cannot  control its children. Our victims volunteer.

These noncompetitive cultures, such as that of Arabo-Persian Islam or the rejectionist segment of our own population, are enraged. Their cultures  are under assault; their cherished values have proven dysfunctional, and the successful move on without them.


These discarded citizens sense that their government is no longer about them, but only about the privileged.

The foreign twin is the Islamic, or sub-Saharan African, or Mexican university graduate who faces a teetering government, joblessness, exclusion from the profits of the corruption distorting his society, marriage in poverty or the impossibility of marriage, and a deluge of information telling him (exaggeratedly and dishonestly) how well the West lives….

Hollywood goes where Harvard never penetrated, and the foreigner, unable to touch the

reality of America, is touched by America’s irresponsible fantasies of itself; he sees a devilishly enchanting, bluntly sexual, terrifying world from which he is excluded, a world of wealth he can judge only in terms of his own poverty.

Most citizens of the globe are not economists; they perceive wealth as inelastic, its possession a zero-sum game. If decadent America (as seen on the screen) is so fabulously rich, it can only be because America has looted one’s own impoverished group or country or region. ….

This discarded foreigner’s desire may be to attack the “Great Satan America,” but America is far away (for now), so he acts violently in his own neighborhood. He will accept no personal guilt for his failure, nor can he bear the possibility that his culture “doesn’t work.” The blame lies ever elsewhere. The cult of victimization is becoming a universal phenomenon, and it is a

source of dynamic hatreds.

Contemporary American culture is the most powerful in history, and the most destructive of competitor cultures. ..The genius, the secret weapon, of American culture is the essence that the elites despise: ours is the first genuine people’s culture. It stresses comfort and convenience—ease—and it generates pleasure for the masses. WE ARE KARL MARX’S DREAM, AND HIS NIGHTMARE.

Secular and religious revolutionaries in our century have made the identical mistake, imagining that the workers of the world or the faithful just can’t wait to go home at night to study Marx or the Koran. Well, Joe Sixpack, Ivan Tipichni, and Ali Quat would rather “Baywatch.” America has figured it out, and we are brilliant at operationalizing our knowledge, and our cultural power will hinder even those cultures we do not undermine. There is no “peer competitor” in the cultural (or military) department. Our cultural empire has the addicted—men and women everywhere—clamoring for more. And they pay for the privilege of their disillusionment.

As more and more human beings are overwhelmed by information, or dispossessed by the effects of information-based technologies, there will be more violence. Information victims will often see no other resort. As work becomes more cerebral, those who fail to find a place will respond by rejecting reason.


Our informational advantage over every other country and culture will be so enormous that our greatest battlefield challenge will be harnessing its power. Our potential national weakness will be the failure to maintain the moral and raw physical strength to thrust that bayonet into an enemy’s heart. We will outcreate, outproduce and, when need be, outfight the rest of the world. We can out-think them, too. .. Our national appetite for information and our sophistication in handling it will enable us to outlast and outperform  all hierarchical cultures, information-controlling societies, and rejectionist states. The skills necessary to this newest information age can be acquired only beginning in childhood and in complete immersion. Societies that fear or otherwise cannot manage the free flow of information simply will


It remains difficult, of course, for military leaders to conceive of warfare, informational or otherwise, in such broad terms. BUT HOLLYWOOD IS “PREPARING THE BATTLEFIELD,” and burgers precede bullets. The flag follows trade. Despite our declaration of defeat in the face of battlefield victory in Mogadishu, the image of US power and the US military around the world is not only a deterrent, but a psychological warfare tool that is constantly at work in the minds of real or potential opponents. Saddam swaggered, but the image of the US military crippled the Iraqi army in the field, doing more to soften them up for our ground assault than did tossing bombs into the sand. Everybody is afraid of us. They really believe we can do all the stuff in the movies. If the Trojans “saw” Athena guiding the Greeks in battle, then the Iraqis saw Luke Skywalker precede McCaffrey’s tanks. OUR UNCONSCIOUS ALLIANCE OF CULTURE WITH KILLING POWER IS A COMBAT MULTIPLIER NO GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING OUR OWN, COULD DESIGN OR AFFORD. WE ARE MAGIC. AND WE’RE GOING TO KEEP IT THAT WAY.”

Source: Ralph Peters, “Constant Conflict”, Winter 2010-11. pp. 126-134.


Source: http


"Drapetomania", a pseudo-scientific term coined by the American physician, Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851, was a socially/politically-constructed mental illness which supposedly afflicted black slaves who fled captivity during the US’ slave era. While later  dismissed as pseudo-science and "scientific racism”, imperialists today still adopt the same psychopathologizing discourse when referring to freedom-seeking, oppressed people who actively resist foreign domination. Thus for example, the US foreign policy concept of the “rogue” state (which at various times included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Afghanistan, Sudan)—first floated by Ronald Regan ”…the strangest collection of misfits, loony tunes, and squalid criminals since the advent of the Third Reich” and later defined as the “recalcitrant and outlaw states that not only choose to remain outside the family [of democratic nations] but also assault its basic values,” by Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake.

In essence, all mental disorders are characterized by a detachment from reality and some degree of irrationality, hence the frequent depiction of Iran as an irrational political actor (see my blog entry here for a brief discussion of this tendency).This discourse can also be found in the pervasive labeling of anti-imperialist leaders like Bashar al-Assad as being “delusional”, “out of touch with reality” and suffering from various psychological disorders. Anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist intellectuals are similarly pathologized as lacking “emotional distance” and “objectivity” (ie. a an accurate reading of reality) and are summarily dismissed as stupefied “groupies”.

As with the psycho-pathologization of African slaves in the past, and American society in general today, the objective behind this psycho-political phenomenon is the need to control, manage and tame the “deviant” state or party which refuses to be enslaved to Empire. More on this later in that article on psycho-pathologizing the resistance axis.

Below are excerpts from Cartwright’s definition of the disorder:

"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race," by Dr. Cartwright (in DeBow’s Review)


It is unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers…

In noticing a disease not heretofore classed among the long list of maladies that man is subject to, it was necessary to have a new term to express it. The cause in the most of cases, that induces the negro to run away from service, is as much a disease of the mind as any other species of mental alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule. With the advantages of proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many negroes have of running away, can be almost entirely prevented, although the slaves be located on the borders of a free state, within a stone’s throw of the abolitionists.

If the white man attempts to oppose the Deity’s will, by trying to make the negro anything else than “the submissive knee-bender,” (which the Almighty declared he should be,) by trying to raise him to a level with himself, or by putting himself on an equality with the negro; or if he abuses the power which God has given him over his fellow-man, by being cruel to him, or punishing him in anger, or by neglecting to protect him from the wanton abuses of his fellow-servants and all others, or by denying him the usual comforts and necessaries of life, the negro will run away; but if he keeps him in the position that we learn from the Scriptures he was intended to occupy, that is, the position of submission; and if his master or overseer be kind and gracious in his hearing towards him, without condescension, and at the sane time ministers to his physical wants, and protects him from abuses, the negro is spell-bound, and cannot run away.

According to my experience, the “genu flexit”—the awe and reverence, must be exacted from them, or they will despise their masters, become rude and ungovernable, and run away. On Mason and Dixon’s line, two classes of persons were apt to lose their negroes: those who made themselves too familiar with them, treating them as equals, and making little or no distinction in regard to color; and, on the other hand, those who treated them cruelly, denied them the common necessaries of life, neglected to protect them against the abuses of others, or frightened them by a blustering manner of approach, when about to punish them for misdemeanors. Before the negroes run away, unless they are frightened or panic-struck, they become sulky and dissatisfied. The cause of this sulkiness and dissatisfaction should be inquired into and removed, or they are apt to run away or fall into the negro consumption. When sulky and dissatisfied without cause, the experience of those on the line and elsewhere, was decidedly in favor of whipping them out of it, as a preventive measure against absconding, or other bad conduct. It was called whipping the devil out of them.

If treated kindly, well fed and clothed, with fuel enough to keep a small fire burning all night—separated into families, each family having its own house—not permitted to run about at night to visit their neighbors, to receive visits or use intoxicating liquors, and not overworked or exposed too much to the weather, they are very easily governed—more so than any other people in the world. When all this is done, if any one of more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good require that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which it was intended for them to occupy in all after-time, when their progenitor received the name of Canaan or “submissive knee-bender.” They have only to be kept in that state and treated like children, with care, kindness, attention and humanity, to prevent and cure them from running away.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3106t.html


Just finished reading the full transcript to Christiane Amanpour’s interview with Ehud Barak here . While we have become somewhat desensitized to Israeli racism, it’s always unsettling to view it through the lens of unquestioning mainstream western media. Take for example Barak’s reference to the Shi’ite doctrine of “taqiyya” (dissimulation) instituted in the wake of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom: “Have you heard the term atakia (ph), which means in Islam, especially in the Shia, a kind of permission from heaven to the leader to lie and mislead”. Aside from Barak’s confusion between the original term and Bashar al-Assad’s summer home in Latakia—which I am starting to believe reflects a general Israeli tendency to deliberately mispronounce the Arabic language—the ability of a public official to mock a central religious tenet with such impunity is indicative of Euro-American media’s increased tolerance for the defamation of Islam. 

But more insidious still, is this old/new trend of psychopathologizing USrael’s enemies in the resistance axis as “irrational” or, to put it more euphemistically, as not being rational in the Western sense of the term. Airing footage from a CBS interview, Meir Dagan, former Mossad chief, answers an interviewer’s question about Ahmadinejad’s rationality: ”The answer is yes. Not exactly our rational. But I think that he is rational….No doubt that the Iranian regime is maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western-thinking, but no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions." Dagan therefore categorizes Israel as belonging to the "western" type of logic, which Iran departs from even if does adopt a similar mean-ends type rationality characterized by its own unique internal consistency between beliefs/desires/expectations and actions. But ultimately, they remain irrational vis-a-vis western criteria for rationality, and hence the very otherness of this rationality is necessarily inferior. But one need not deconstruct Dagan’s response to arrive at this conclusion, given that the interviewer, Lesley Stahl, deemed it perfectly normal, and within the bounds of politically correct liberal discourse, to ask it in the first place. 

An even more flagrant example of how such a neo-Orientalist notion has become normalized and mainstreamed in public discourse, is the following question Fareed Zakaria’s posed to General Martin  Dempsey, Chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff:  ”When you observe Iranian behavior, does it strike you as highly irrational? Does it strike you as sort of unpredictable? Or do they seem to follow their national interests in a fairly calculating way?” To which Dempsey enthusiastically responds “That is a great question,” effectively undermining his subsequent assertion that Iran is a rational actor.

Needless to say, the idea of questioning the inherent rationality or logic of any Western country or Israel on mainstream American media is inconceivable, let alone the notion of an Arab or Muslim statesman using such media as a platform from which to blaspheme Jewish doctrinal practices. 

There are numerous other instances of such psychopathologization, not only of Iran but of Assad, Hizbullah and Palestinian militants too, but I am saving them for an article I will publishing on the issue (and re-posting here) in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.