The strategy of fear and its propagation is not confined on a certain type of regimes.
Totalitarian regimes as well as Democracies in a state of war, or preparing for a military onslaught make use of such a tool to disseminate their argumentation and their logic.
Peaceful governments are usually not in need of such weapon of incitement, whether against close neighbors or overseas adversaries.
Hitler, the Nazi Leader and his totalitarian regime was the first to use the fear strategy against his European neighbors and talked about the European menace to the “Superior” German Nation.
He was asking for more “Lebensraum”, room for the selected and distinguished “Arian Race”.
The Nazi propaganda which was disseminated world wide preceded and paved the ground for the outbreak of WWII, which started by a “blitz” attack on Poland in 1939.
During the cold war period the concept of fear constituted a basic ingredient of Western ideology and incitement against the Soviet Union.
The French Author, Regis Debray invoked in his book published in 1985, four years before the collapse of the Soviet Union the vacuum which could emerge in case of a break down of the Soviet Union. He wondered about the substitute which could fill the vacuum.
He says that there is a fear of this vacuum, or a vacuum of fear.
He also wondered about ways and means to replace the Communist Hammer, or the Communist scare crow.
This Communist scare crow was used to frighten the population in the West from a potential threat posed by the huge military power of the Soviet Union, depicted as the second or even the first military and nuclear force in the world during that period.
On Middle Eastern level, the concept of fear is a daily practice of the Israeli establishment. Israel is practicing a systematic fear strategy since decades.
Fear mongering is considered as a basic ingredient of Israel’s political discourse, as if it has become the official ideology of the state.
Internally, Israel is injecting daily a fear with a variety of arguments in order to consolidate their ranks, to divert their attention to external threats, and motivate the internal front, or to push the Israeli society to vote right: A fear from the Arab surrounding, a fear from Palestinian demographic “explosion”, from Palestinian terrorism, a fear from the Islamist surge in the occupied territories, a fear from the right of return to Palestinian refugees, a fear from a Palestinian state, a fear from withdrawal etc…
On the International level, the theory of fear is used to blackmail unconditional support for Israel’s expansionist schemes; to obtain more sophisticated weapons from Western countries ostensibly for “self-defense” and for “security purposes”, or to justify its tough hand on the Palestinians, the expropriation of their lands and properties, to out maneuver any kind of political move condemning Israeli violations of Human rights against Palestinian civilians in the UN Security Council ,or else where.
For Security purposes Israel has to keep the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories: The occupation of the Golan Heights, the Shebaa farms in Southern Lebanon, the construction and fattening of the Israeli Settlements in the West Bank, and last not least the 8-12 meters high “Wall” inside the West Bank as the proposed new frontiers for the state of Israel.
Even after the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 Israel never stopped using the strategy of fear mongering to justify its procrastination policy.
The peace process of the OSLO agreement of 1993 was foiled because the price of withdrawal from the occupied territories was too high for Israel to pay.
The Road map proposed by President Bush in 2003 was diplomatically rejected by introducing 15 reservation points. Israel says:” This will transform Israel in to a tiny and vulnerable state”.
The return to the 1967 borders has never been accepted and UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 were never implemented.
Conversely, Israel responded by accelerating the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Actually Israel and its friends are practicing a drum beat against Iran and its potential nuclear threat as they did before against Iraq.
The superficial statements of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad against Israel and its existence have contributed to heat up the situation and helped in fueling the media machine of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
At the annual Herzliya Conference in Israel, Israeli leaders, US presidential aspirants, neoconservatives, and Israeli hawks were all invoking the Holocaust and warning of the annihilation of Jews and Ahmadinejad was compared to Hitler.
Bibi Netanyahu asked to prevent a new Holocaust and stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Shaul Mofaz and Ehud Olmert were as tough as Netanyahu.
“With scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, the Jewish people cannot afford to let itself face the threat of annihilation once again”, said Olmert.
Netanyahu declared that Israel must immediately launch an intense international public relations front first and foremost on the United States.
“The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the US government, the Congress, and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the US and the Entire World, not only to Israel”, Netanyahu continued.
Patrick Buchanan who reported about the Herzliya Conference criticized in his article of 31.1.07 the hot speeches and said:” When Congress finally decides on the right language for its “non-binding resolution” deploring Bush’s leadership in this war (Iraq war), it might consider a resolution to keep us out of the next one. For America on the collision course with Iran of 70 million, and the folks who stampeded us in to Iraq are firing pistols in the air again”.
He then concludes by saying: “There is no need for war.
Yet, Israelis, neocons, and their agents of influence are trying to whip us in to one.
Senators who are seeking absolution for having voted to take us into Iraq ought to be confronted and asked just what they are doing to keep us out of a war in Iran.”
* Mahmoud Labadi served as the spokesperson of the PLO in Lebanon until 1983. He was the director general of the Palestinian Legislative Council until his retirement in 2005.
The Power of Nightmares Part I - Part II - Part III