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02 April 2002 22:02 UTC
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ISRAEL'S NEW ECONOMY AND THE INTIFADA: A note on the boycott campaign.

by Naxos

This article is Copyleft [see below]

December 2001. At one end of London's Oxford Street the Palestine
Solidarity Campaign has mounted a picket on Selfridge's department
store, to persuade the management to stop selling produce from
Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.

A similar campaign has been organised [March 2002] by Ya Basta in
Italy (http://www.yabasta.it).

In this article I take these actions as the starting point for a
discussion of the radical transformations that have taken place in
the Israeli economy during the past decade, and Israel's very
specific location within the global knowledge economy.

To Summarise:

I would argue that Israeli capitalism of today offers a precious
microcosmic possibility for the study of immaterial labour in action.
It is also crucial that we understand this economy, because in a real
"world war" sense our futures depend on what is happening here.

In recent years the Israeli economy has undergone fundamental
changes. An entirely new class composition was created by the
ex-Soviet migrations of the 1990s. Markets for traditional Israeli
produce became more restricted. The Internet created the conditions
for transnational exports of high-value immaterial labour (knowledge)
products to replace previous low-value products with high transit
costs. And the nature of the new knowledge economies opened new
interstitial possibilities for insertion. A new and technically
skilled workforce proves capable of creating the flows of innovation
that are the precondition for the survival of the large capitalist
firms of this and the preceding era (head-hunting of promising new
start-ups). Among other things, Israeli companies are particularly
well-suited to meet the new demand for biomedical products. They also
have a powerhouse of R&D represented by the Israeli Defence Force's
high-tech academies. And they have a guaranteed point of entry into
the US military-industrial complex by virtue of lines of
communication between "Silicon Valley" and the "Silicon Wadi" of
Northern Israel. More than this, Israel also exports models of
behaviour ñ biopower ñ in the form of knowledges of how to limit,
constrain and eventually crush dissident behaviours. This is marketed
as "methods for defeating terrorism", but is in fact a set of methods
for the creation and freezing of an adversarial "other".

I shall deal with each of these aspects in turn. In passing I would
say that this conjunctural shift in the Israeli economy, this radical
change in the composition of both class and capital in Israel, have
been the necessary precondition for ñ and partial explanation of ñ
the Israelis' radical break with the Palestinian labour-power which
had served previous phases of production (notable in agriculture and
construction). Put briefly, the inflow of Soviet ("Russian") Jews
made possible the break with Palestinian labour power. And
simultaneously the Soviet Jews have turned out to be the electoral
bedrock of the Israeli government's "final solution" for the

Thus the political and economic precondition for Israelís radical
break with Palestinian labour-power was the shift from traditional
forms of agriculture and manufacture into the arena of immaterial
labour which took place in the 1990s.

But more than that, I would argue that the Israelis' war with the
Palestinians operates as a "factory of immaterial labour export
possibilities". This war is, in a real sense, productive for the
Israeli economy.

Calls for boycotts of Israeli produce are symbolically significant
and completely worthwhile. A necessary element of ethical hygiene.
They should be supported. But the way in which the campaign is framed
is simple-minded to the point of naivety. We are not talking a few
packets of pretzels, a crate of Jaffa oranges and a face-pack of
cosmetics. Two things need to be said. First, Israel's new immaterial
economy and its immaterial-labour products are organically integrated
into the very highest levels of the globalised high-tech
communications, military and security economy. Second, and perhaps
more importantly it appears that the trade-mark Israeli model of
suppression of opponents has been exported and projected onto the
world stage, to become the dominant paradigm of US foreign policy.

The characteristics of this model are (a) radical negation of the
Other (for several decades, in Israeli discourse the Palestinians
have always and only been "the terrorists"; (b) Preventive security
strikes, extending increasingly to assassination; (c) micro-level
capillary monitoring of populations at all levels, and installation
of administrative and technological means to that end; (d)
intransigent and defiant unilateralism.

We are at a crucial turning point. After the first phase of the
Afghan war world opinion seemed to be expecting a Powellisation of
Israeli policy (towards negotiation). Instead we have seen a
Sharonisation of American policy [Note 1].

1. The necessity of leaving the old economy.

A large part of Israelís ìold economyî consisted of agricultural
products. Citrus fruits in particular. ìTwenty years ago Israelís
main industry was oranges.î

By the early 1950's, fuelled by mass immigration and large capital
investments, the citrus subsector grew rapidly. Hectarage rose from
14,000 to over 40,000 hectares. With the well respected "Jaffa" label
Israeli oranges and grapefruit dominated many markets. However, by
the late 1970's stiff competition from Spain, Morocco and Cyprus and
changing consumer tastes led to a levelling off of demand. The 1980's
saw a major decline in international competitiveness and
profitability with more than 20% of its planted citrus area uprooted,
packing houses mothballed and volume levels falling to 1930's levels.
Several factors led to Israel's decline. These included:- a) rapid
cost inflation in the mid 1980's; b) the strength of the $US vis ý
vis European currencies; c) a rise in international shipping costs in
the early 1980's; d) financial crisis within Israel's agricultural
settlements. [Note 2] We may also adduce the resulting dependence on
Palestinian or foreign migrant labour; the use of agricultural land
for housing (eg in Jaffa); susceptibility to international trade
boycotts; and the fact that water is a military resource in the
Middle East. Exporting oranges is to export water.

I shall not deal here with the question of the diamond trade, except
to note that it lies at the heart of some of the warmongering which
is destroying a good part of Africa. For example the gangster economy
in Sierra Leone, and in Liberia "a major centre for massive
diamond-related criminal activity, with connections to guns, drugs
and money-laundering throughout Africa and considerably further
afield. Diamonds are a key part of Israel's economy. [Note 3]

2. The material precondition for a new economy

The first precondition for the ìnew economyî is highly skilled
technical labour-power. That was provided by the mass arrival of the
ìRussianî Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union. Coming in two
distinct waves, with the second in the 1990s. Upwards of 600,000
arrived, and many of them were highly skilled personnel ñ doctors,
lawyers, musicians, scientists and computer programmers. More than
13,000 doctors arrived in Israel, more than half of them women. The
health service could only absorb 20%, leaving the rest excess to
requirements and needing to be redeployed elsewhere. The ìRussiansî
constituted 15% of the 4.5 million electorate, had their own
political parties, and were notoriously hostile to any negotiation
with the Palestinians.

A further 600,000 went to the USA and settled in the Los Angeles
area. In 1999 an article in the Los Angeles Magazine spoke of an
emerging Russian underworld in the LA region: ìThey come from a
dog-eat-dog ëdemocracyí where the shortest books in the library are
the ones on business ethics and criminal justice, theyíre not only
tougher and slyer, but their crooks, according to our cops, are the
smoothest thing since iced vodka.î [Note 4] In LA there was talk of a
Russian mafia, with organised gangs involved in kidnappings,
financial fraud and Internet crime. Some of this talk has since been
denounced as racist. However the newly emerging transnational
diasporic Israelo-American nexus constituted by "the Russians"
clearly invites analysis. A job for another time.

3. Conjunctural factors in the promotion of high-tech sectors

The global ìknowledge economyî took off in the 1990s. Special factors
applied in Israel, assuring the rapid growth of a networked society.
During the Gulf War the threat of Iraqi rockets and gas/biological
weapons set in place ìnational emergency planningî, whereby
communities used Internet and related technologies as a means of
civil defence, thereby turning Israel into one of the worldís most
wired societies.

By law, all Israeli houses built since the Gulf War are required to
have a secure room that can function as a shelter against terrorist
attack. Israel is also dotted with ìneighbourhood response centresî
ìLocated in the basement of a community center, the command room is
staffed by citizen volunteers and army conscripts. Radios and
ubiquitous cell phone links, as well as homing beacons and
microphones built into settlersí cars, allow travellers to be closely
tracked, and let authorities know right away when trouble is
developing.î [Note 5]

The presence of excesses of skilled and unemployed immigrant labour
was a pressure in the direction of innovation. By its nature the
emerging immaterial sector of the Internet and communications was a
huge, lumbering thing, open to experimentation, but most of all
subject to the pressures of its own growth. In growing very big very
fast it opened interstitial possibilities for small start-up
companies. There was a huge need for innovation. Small start-up
companies could get big very fast. And intelligent applications were
required in order to clear the blockages imposed by the scale of the
sectorís growth.

ìWith revenue growth for PC chips slowing, communication chips have
become the hottest growth area in the semiconductor market [...] ëThe
driving force is the increased demand for bandwidth in every aspect
of communications, whether itís home users accessing the Internet,
providing a corporation, or the emerging demand in the third world.
The demand is literally everywhere.î[Note 6] This sector has a strong
presence of start-up companies in Israel. The US-based giant Intel,
suffering from the drop in demand for PC chips, moved to buy up
communication-chip companies. By 2002 Intel-Israel, with 5,0005
employees in Jerusalem, Haifa and Kirya Gat, had exports of $2
billion, compared with $810m the previous year, a growth deriving
from the opening of a new plant at Kiryat Gat.[Note 7] The Israeli
government provided favourable terms and conditions for high-tech
start-up companies, creating ìtechnological incubatorsî in areas such
as Yokneam. The Israeli company DSP, which has developed chips used
in wireless and mobile phone communications, was recently sold to
Intel for $1.6 billion.[Note 8]

At this point a large part of Israeli intervention in the high-tech
sector was interstitial ñ seeking emerging niche possibilities within
the overall growth of the sector:

For instance when ìYear 2000î (Y2K) emerged internationally as a
problem area, Israeli company Sapiens International [Note 9] built a
Year 2000 remediation niche and staffed it almost entirely with
immigrant Russian programmers. These were people who had worked for
Soviet governments building computer systems for the railway, oil and
auto industries. About 70 of Sapiensí s 100-strong staff were emigrÈ
Soviet Jews. The firm also applied itself to another window of
conjunctural opportunity ñ Europeís changeover to the euro currency.
And it built a specialisation in converting computer systems from old
languages into new languages (converting assembler code into C
code).[Note 10] Remediation was a key word at this stage ñ upgrading
and problem-solving in older computer systems.

This new Israeli high-tech sector operated through the extended
networks of the Jewish diaspora, seeking opportunities for
fleet-footed action and innovation. In a sense the diaspora offers a
metaphor for the new realities of the cybertariat within immaterial
labour. Networks and connections meant that the ìSilicon Wadiî which
emerged in Israel became a fundamental, necessary and integrated part
of the ìSilicon Valleyî operating in the USA.

The technology park at Yokneam, for instance, has a twinning
relationship with St Louis. The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce
organises trade visits of small Israeli companies to St Louis, where
future trade relations are developed with the likes of Boeing.
Similar trips were organised by the AICC of Minnesota, which has the
four largest medical devices companies in the world (and the Israeli
immaterial labour sector is developing a strong presence in
biomedicals and high-tech healthcare ñ see below) [Note 11].

4. Israel as a military economy

Israel is a highly militarised society. Decades of war (against the
British, against the Arabs, and internal war against the
Palestinians) has created a powerhouse of military techniques and
technologies. These include hardware (rockets, bombs, guns and
ammunitions) and systems (integrated battlefield computer systems),
and also the ìbio-powerî spin-off of the production of mindsets,
philosophies and ways of being in the world.

Israel Military Industries was founded in 1933, producing munitions
to fight the British. In 1990 it became a government owned
corporation. A 4,000 workforce, of whom over half are engineers,
scientists and technology experts. It recruits top-level skilled
personnel, the product of Israelís prestige military academies. As
well as traditional armaments, it also has a telecomms subdivision,
IMI Telecom, which ìspecialises in the field of telecommunications
and electronic commerceî.[12] Capitalising on its unique experience
as a wired society geared to daily disaster mitigation and capillary
counterinsurgency, it was well placed to exploit the niche offered by
Americaís vulnerability to the attacks of September 11. On 5 February
2002 it organised an international ìNational Emergency Managementî
seminar for foreign local and national governments and private
companies. In a real sense this is an Israeli export of imaterial
labour. As is the output of another of its ìfactoriesî ñ the IMI
Academy for Advanced Security and Anti-Terror Training, a large
campus with an interdisciplinary team of instructors who are ìall
former commanders from elite Israeli security unitsî.[Note 13]

To this extent we can say that the Israelisí war against the
Palestinians is effectively a productive sector, a factory of
expertises and techniques which are then marketed worldwide.

Another case in point is Krav Maga. This is a self-defence martial
arts technique. Created and developed by the Israeli Army, Krav Maga
is not only the official combat system of the Israeli Army, but is
also taught in Israeli schools as part of the curriculum. It has a
characteristically Israeli vocation of democracy: "It is our belief
that everybody, no matter what age, weight, gender or body type, has
the right to defend themselves and their loved ones." The method was
developed to suit everyone ñ men, women, children, old people ñ as a
way of saving their own lives or minimising harm from attack. It
developed originally in the 1940s, in training elite units of the
Hagana and Palmach, and embodies "preventive self-defence". It is a
stance, a whole way of being in the world, based on objective
paranoia and pre-emptive preparedness. Ariel Sharon (formerly of the
Hagana) is of this school. I suggest that as well as being exported
to the world as a martial arts technique, this stance is being
marketed as a geopolitical product.[Note 14]

5. Israelís integration into the US military-industrial complex

The Gulf War provided moments of both tension and cooperation between
Israel and the US military-industrial complex. As the price for
Israeli restraint and inactivity in the face of incoming Iraqi
missiles, the US and Israeli military collaborated in the production
of anti-missile devices. One of these (designed to combat Katyusha
missiles incoming from S. Lebanon) was the Tactical High-Energy Laser
(THEL). However there are also tensions. Ehud Barak was forced by
Bill Clinton to renege on a contract with China, already signed, for
supply of Phalcon AWACS surveillance systems.[Note 15]

The business opportunities accruing to Israel from the September 11
attacks includes interest in a ìrevolutionary explosives sniffer
deviceî ñ again a spin-off from Israelís war with the Palestinians.
The MS-Tech company developed the ìMini-Nose for Detectionî with 80%
of the funding being provided by the US Department of Defense and
theMinistry of Defense. Company founder Moses Shalom is also
negotiating with Ion Track Instruments, which provides security
systems for the perimeters of jails.[Note 16]

What is more interesting than these public manifestations of
collaboration is what happens behind the scenes in universities and
research institutes.

One of the new paradigms of military thinking is C3I ñ command,
control, communications and intelligence ñ operating in cyberspace.
"The rapid progress in computer power and miniaturization in the
1980s and 1990s made it possible to think of introducing computers
and computerized systems into every element of combat, including the
complex and often incoherent environment of gound battlesÖ Every
component of US military forces is now being designed and rebuilt
around computerized weapons, systems, and C3I".[Note 17]

It is no surprise that the Israeli military plays a role in the
development of these US military systems. Intelligence Online
reported in 2000 that "The US concern Mercury ComputerSystems, a
leading manufacturer of computers able to gather and analyse signal
intelligence, has just signed a $1.2 million contract with Israel's
defence ministry" for research collaboration.[Note 18]

Israel is known for its military academies which provide advanced
research bases for the cream of the countryís high-tech personnel.
However this ìnationalî personnel operates within the global context
of the diaspora, and is equally at home in the military-industrial
complex of the USA. A detailed search through lists of US university
personnel would throw up many people who trained initially in Israel
and then moved to the US to pursue further studies. One person whose
research has both an Israeli and a US dimension is Professor Ouri
Wolfson of the University of Chicago at Illinois. His project funding
ranges between the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the
Isaeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He has developed a DOMINO
software, designed for tracking cars and aircraft, which was
developed with the US Army Research Laboratories. Wolfsonís early
research was in computer science at the Technion University of Haifa.
(In a civilian spin-off from this, a company has been set to provide
systems for lorry freight companies to track their vehicles).

I suggest that this would be a good time to return to the 1960s US
radical methodology of charting interlinking directorships between
companies in order to establish the true nature of Israel's
involvement in this newly-emerging global military-industrial
economy. Some of this information can be gleaned from NASDAQ share
flotation documents.[Note 19]

6. A medieval model

The history of intellectual and scientific development of the
medieval West cannot be written without acknowledging the key
contribution of the Jewish intellectual diaspora in Andalus, Provence
and elsewhere. The Ibn Tibbon family, with their translations of
Greek scientific texts mediated through the Arabs, and the school of
Jewish mathematicians, c.1250-1350. Their contribtion the productive
and military techniques and technologies of their time was immense.
The Prophatian Quadrant (a remodelling of the complex Arab astrolabe
onto a device that was simply a piece of card and a bit of string) is
one example, as theorised by Jakob ben Mahir Ibn Tibbon.[Note 20]

There are tantalising parallels with the globalised diasporic
intelligentsia of today. One observer has suggested that the medieval
Jews, with the daily realities of comercial life in the diaspora,
were in a real sense the precursors of globalisation. As I suggest
above, the Israeli capitalism of today ñ the extent of its global
reach, the deterritorialised space in which it operates and the
merceological nature of the commodities it produces ñ offers a
precious microcosmic possibility for the study of immaterial labour
in action within globalisation.

7. Visionics Inc ñ Biometrics as a growth sector

The unexpected domestic vulnerabiliy of the US revealed by September
11 mant that fast responses were needed at the level of security.
Paranoia, xenophobia and the fear of dying provided a massive market
opportunity. The Airport Security Improvement Act (2001) was passed,
requiring a dramatic upgrading of security systems. Into the picture
steps Visionics Inc. This company produces face-recognition and
fingerprint recognition equipment, based on the new science of

The chairman of Visionics Inc., Joseph Atick, lived in Israel (on the
West Bank) till he was 15. He dropped out of high-school and set
about writing a large textbook on physics ñ in Arabic. He was
accepted into the Maths programme of Stanford University in the US.
And moved on from there to become professor at the Rockefeller
University. The elements of diaspora, movement, Arabic, mathematics,
university, radical conceptual innovation leading to new technologies
are strikingly reminiscent of the medieval predecessors.[Note 21]

Here science and mathematics are used to generate a police-state
technology. The software and technology involved in these products
have a strongly Israeli dimension. Biometrics is one of the fields
being explored by Israeli software companies, and these in turn have
a symbiotic relation with the Israeli military. One of the earliest
uses of Visionics face recognition technology was to monitor the
faces of commuting Palestinian day labourers at Israeli army

An article describing this Israeli-American productive node as it
operates in Minnesota speaks of "high-tech companies joining in a mad
dash to develop and market a dazzling new generation of security
devices". It is worth noting the extent, the depth of intellectual
labour that has gone into this venture. We are just now at the point
where our entire picture of the physical composition of the universe
is being revised way from particles to superstrings. This is frontier
science. Atick's work on biometrics and facial recognition derives
precisely from his earlier work as a physicist at the Institute for
Advanced Studies, Princeton, where he researched superstrings and the
related theories of supersymmetry.[Note 22]

8. Loosening up the lumbering monster

I referred above to the success of Israeli companies in the
"increased growth in the demand for bandwidth in every aspect of
communications". Characteristically, the boom new-technology economy
has internal problems created by the very speed of its growth. A
large, lumbering monster creates for itself blockages and
restrictions which need to be overcome. This has proved a
characteristic area of intervention by small Israeli start-up
companies monitoring and removing problems of blockages of delivery,
bottlenecks, restrictions of bandwidth etc. Speeding up the flow of
information-as-capital. The following is a small list of such

Foxcom Wireless: Makes an RFiber optic-fibre product, which enables
wireless technologies to operate in hard-to-reach urban and shadow
areas such as railway stations, tunnels etc.

Chiaro Networks: Uses the scalability of optic fibre to remove
capacity bottlenecks from intersections of optical carrier backbones.
Unique optical switching technology. These expand the availability of

Xact Technologies: of Ramat Gan and Santa Clara: "A Santa Clara
start-up" which monitors Internet customers' usage of the network on
the basis of how much bandwidth they use. Like estimating a gas bill.
The crucial aspect of Xact software is that it enables Internet usage
to be monetised.

Mavix: Produces a multimedia streaming system for monitoring and
security. It routes all security inputs into one control unit. Can be
used for surveillance of football stadiums, metros, ferries, prisons

Mercado Software: A product entitled Intuifind which adds more
refined searchability to e-commerce search engines. Integrated search
and browse facilities.

Sapiens International: Specialises in programmes that gather discrete
packets of information and shuttle them around at speed. For
instance, remediation of insurance quotation systems, where
installation of new systems would be hugely expensive. Operates via
internetted cyberspace conferencing for its global marketing.[23]

9. Biomedical production

As we know, the concept of immaterial labour extends far into the
fields of the caring and the corporal, and here too Israeli companies
have made major interventions. This development is driven in part by
commercial spin-out interests of teaching-hospitals in Israel, and in
part by the excesses of medical skilled labour-power in-migrating
from the Soviet Union in the 1990s.[Note 24]

"The evolution of new medical device companies in Israel continues
its unabated growth, spurred by the influx of highly trained
immigrants in the physical, biological and engineering sciences, and
expanding sources of capital from venture firms in Israel and the US,
as well as from corporate strategic partners." [Note 25]

This growth is so marked that the multinational pharmaceutical giant
Johnson and Johnson maintains a permanent office in Israel to search
for start-up companies in which to invest. The following is a small
list of such ventures. As is the case with the companies cited above,
most of these companies have one foot in Israel and the other in the
USA, clearly catering to the massively emerging US market for health

Applied Spectral Imaging: Techniques for treating retinal eye
diseases that otherwise might lead to blindness.

Biocontrol: An electronic device to control urinary incontinence.

Vision Cure: Implantable telescopic lenses for treatment of macular

Or Sense: A non-invesive technology to measure cholesterol levels and
blood viscosity.

Novamed: Clinical diagnostic tests.

Transdermics: Through-the-skin non-invasive drug delivery technology.

Advanced Monitoring Systems: Home-use salival testing techniques, to
monitor safe levels of drug administration.

It is important to stress that in no sense are these "caring and
sharing" technologies separate from the military industrial complex
outlined above. For instance:

Given Imaging has delivered a pill-sized capsule for transmitting
pictures as it passes through the patient's intestine. This is a
spin-off from a CMOS device developed by NASA.

Galil Medical: Cryosurgery techniques which enable minimally invasive
treatment of prostate cancers. This is an outgrowth of the Rafael
Development Corporation, the largest R&D organisation in Israel,
which seeks commercial applications of defence technologies.

We should also be in no doubt about the radicality of some of these
interventions. They will affect our lives fundamentally. For
instance, I have spoken of Israeli start-up projects involving the
monitoring and resolution of problems of blockage and delivery. In
this vein, Labour Control Systems of Nesher, Israel, has produced a
vaginal electronic monitor which will reduce the need for frequent
examination of dilation during child-birth. Such a process is likely
to contribute immensely to the ongoing factoryisation of the birth

10. Back to the start

In a moment it will be time to return to Oxford Street, December 2001.

But first we should look at the case of one of the most famous
Israeli new-technology start-ups. Mirabilis, founded by "legendary
high-tech entrepreneur Yassi Vardi" produced an internet messaging
system which identifies which of your Internet correspondents are
on-line at any given time, and enables you to exchange messages with
them.[Note 26] I imagine that this is a direct spin-off of Israeli
electronic battlefield technology. The product was known as ICQ
("I-seek-you"). In a very short time Mirabilis built a community of
users of over 50 million, covering most of Western Europe. In 1998
Mirabilis was bought by AOL.com, and the system became an industry
standard in messaging technology. It is now part of the operating
system of AOL, the world's biggest Internet, e-mail and chatroom

The most notable political characteristic of this Israeli
export-product is that it disappears, it becomes invisible, it
becomes grafted into the very flesh and bone of the operating systems
of today's capitalism. In short, it is more or less immune from being
boycotted. And that characteristic is shared by many of the products
described above.

Which brings us to Mercado Software, a company with Israeli roots and
a Palo Alto headquarters. Mercado produces the Intuifind software
system. This product is the outcome of advanced studies in
psycholinguistics combined with new search-engine technologies. In
provides an "intuitive and easy to navigate on-line shopping
experience". Put briefly, on-line shopping is developing very fast.
But the systems are stupid, monolithic and lumbering. A shop's
catalogue may have many "lamps" in store, but if you search on-line
for a "light" you will get no result. Therefore, teaming up with
>from Backweb.com (Ramat Gan and San Jose), Intuifind has built a system
"utilising more that 50 powerful linguistic knowledge banks,
including stemming, spelling and thesauri, which help customers
define requests in their own words." A truly immaterial labour
product. This system has been installed at Macy's, Caterpillar,
Sears, Blockbuster Video etc.

And now the irony. At the same moment that the Palestine Solidarity
Campaign was picketing Selfridges Store against the sale of Israeli
goods, at the other end of Oxford Street the John Lewis store (much
frequented by Britain's liberal middle classes) was installing a new
Israeli export product ñ Mercado's "Intuifind" search-and-shop
technology ñ as a central part of its operating system. Grafted,
invisible, immune to boycott.

11. A note on Jaffa Oranges

To end, I would merely add that many people in the Internet community
have had the experience of using the opportunites for anonymity which
the Internet affords. Israeli capitalist companies are no exception.
They begin their life as small locally-based Israeli start-ups. In no
time at all they set up their websites. They provide themselves with
a nominal HQ in the leafier high-tech glades of the USA and UK. They
market their produce on-line, often by offering on-line cyberspace
teleconferencing facilities which transcend national border problems.
Then, very quickly, these companies merge, blend, are bought up by
bigger non-Israeli companies. There is a tendency to conceal their
"Israeli-ness", which anyway becomes effaced in the merger process.
Thus they become a neutral capitalist product, free of the taint of
association with the country in which they were produced.

Incidentally, those among us who are boycotters of Jaffa oranges
might note the following. On 27 December 2001 the Jerusalem Post
reported that the Chinese government is negotiating "to market its
own fruit under the Jaffa brand name and purchase the rights" from
the Israeli Citrus Marketing Board. Jaffa is now playing the
logo-game. So it could turn out to be a Chinese orange that you are
boycottingÖ[Note 27]


1. Interview with Alain Joxe, Multitudes No. 7, Paris, December 2001.
2. S. Carter, Global Agricultural Marketing Management, FAO, Rome,
1997. Available on-line at http://www.fao.org. 3. "Criminal diamond
trade fuels African war, UN is told", by Victoria Brittain, Guardian
online edition, 13 January 2000. I cannot say whether Israeli
companies are involved in the dirty side of this trade, but in 2000
the American Drug Enforcement Administration sent a team to train
Israeli police in how to detect and seize money from drug dealing.
Article in Intelligence Online, at
http://www.indigo-net.com/intel.html. See also Note 19 below.
4. Thomas Cornay, in Los Angeles Magazine Internet edition, March
1999. 5. Eli Lehrer, in The American Enterprise Online, December
2001, p. 2. 6. "Specialty chips find their niche", by Wylie Wong,
http://news.cnet.com, 5 April 1999.
7. Article at http://www.start-ups.co.il, 12 February 2002. 8. ibid.
9. The name itself suggests a vocation for globalised immaterial
labour. http://www.sapiens.com
10. Article at http://www.cnn.com, 19 September 1999. 11.
12. http://www.imi-israel.com
13. ibid.
14. http://www.krav-maga.com. There was a similar export of "stance"
in Britain's global marketing of Margaret Thatcher's privatisation
agenda in the 1990s.
15. Articles in Pravda On-line, 20 December 2001 and Arabicnews.com,
14 May 1999.
16. Dror Marom. ìUS Cos interested in Israelís MS-Tech explosives
snifferî, http://new.globes.co.il, 18 December 2001. 17. Rochlin,
Trapped in the Net, Princeton University Press, 1997. Online summary.
18. Article at Intelligence Online, at www.indigo-net.com/intel.html.
19. Where are they now? For instance, Tamir Segal, whose "Truster"
technology featured in the Guardian On-line on 21 January 1998: "How
much would you pay to know when people are lying to you? How about
$149? Because that's what Israeli based Makh-Shevet is asking for a
software package that turns your multimedia PC into a lie detector."
The technology was "originally envisaged for the security forces at
entry points into Israel (a military version is undergoing tests)".
http://www.truster.com. And "Danny Yatom, who was forced to resign as
head of Mossad last April following an abortive attempt by Israeli
agents to assassinate Khaled Meshal, the political boss of Hamas, in
Amman in September 1997, has switched to making a living in
business." Yatom, "infamous for his creative torturing techniques and
well known to many Palestinians who were tortured under his
supervision" (Ghazi Saudi, article at http://star.arabia.com,
November 2000) is cited in an exemplary article by Christian
Dietrich, in connection with the firm Strategic Consulting Group, and
its involvement in Kazakhstan, Algeria and "a large security project
in Angola". Angola, significantly, is diamond country. Christian
Dietrich, "Blood Diamonds: Effective African-based monopolies", in
African Security Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2001, available at
http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/ASR/10No3/Dietrich.html. 20.
21. International Herald Tribune, 23 January 2002. 22. Superstrings ñ
23. Other Israeli high-tech companies which can be search-researched
via the Internet include Opticom (integration of biometric
technology), Shonut ñ Probabilistic Solutions Ltd (voice recognition,
fingerprint analysis), TeKey (biometrics and human recognition
simulation), Tadiran Co. ("over 40 years experience in military
communications technology"), Proneuron, Net2Wireless, Batm Advanced
Communications, Luz Industries, Mercury Interactive, Team Computers,
and SAFe-Mail..
The strength of the Israelo-American diasporic nexus in
military-security technologies can be gauged from the following. On
27 November 2001, BIO-key International (formerly the Israeli company
SAC Technologies, optical fingerprint scanning, founded 1993)
announced from its US headquarters in Minnesota that it was taking on
former prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu as its Senior Strategy
Advisor. "The current addition [sic] of his book "Fighting Terrorism"
is a terrific example of the insights he possesses to combat
terrorism and secure freedom for us all". Article at
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw011127/272262_l.html. 24. See Note 10 above.
25. Jeffrey Berg, in The BBI (Biomedical Business International)
Newsletter, September 2000.
26. Article at
http://www.malibutel.com/mobilemediaworld/features/israeli.html. The
AOL buy-out of Mirabilis was "an event which spurred Israel's
high-tech frenzy". 27. Jerusalem Post Internet edition, 27 December


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