for their “museum of tolerance”.
Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Tags: Israel, Jerusalem, Museum of Tolerance, Palestine, Zionism
Tags: gaza, Islam, ISM, Palestine, Vittorio Arrigoni
We don’t know for sure as of yet who murdered international Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. However, whoever committed this despicable crime must be a human beast walking on two legs.
Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted on Thursday, 14 April, in Central Gaza. Members of a notoriously fanatical group posted a video online saying they would kill him unless the Gaza government released detained Salafists from prison.
Within a few hours of the warning, Arrigoni’s body was found in an empty house.
Arrigoni’s death has infuriated Palestinians everywhere. Ismael Haniya, the elected Prime Minister of Hamas called Arrigoni’s murder a “nefarious crime that goes against our religion, norms and traditions.” A spokesman for the Gaza government described the perpetrators as “thugs and murderers of the lowest kind.”
One Islamist writer, Ibrahim Hamami, called the murderers, “the lowest of the low.”
The accused group, the Tawhid and Jihad, has denied posting the video or any involvement in the killing of Arrigoni. They hinted that the Israeli intelligence may have been the real killers of the Italian activist.
And while Israel can never be ruled out as an accused party, it is widely believed that the so-called Salafi group (Salafi means a true follower of the Prophet) remains the premier suspect. They are guilty until proven innocent, given the prima facie evidence that would indict them.
It is true that the Salafis are not carbon copies of each other. However, the militant Salafis have been accused of abductions, killings, attacking internet cafes, and calling for the expulsion of Christians from the Gaza Strip.
A group of Salafis last year carried out an armed rebellion against the Hamas-led government during which several people lost their lives. In one episode, an intermediary who was carrying a message to their leaders was brutally murdered by those who called themselves Muslims. Islam is absolutely against killing messengers even in war time.
One would hope to give these stupid fanatics the benefit of the doubt. However, their diabolic crimes in many parts of the Muslim world leave us no doubt as to their true nature.
They claim they are out to fight the armies of the disbelievers who have invaded some Muslim countries. However, the falsehood and mendacity of their claims are made clear by the fact that for every western soldier they killed, they murdered at least a hundred Muslim men, women, and children.
And when they are confronted with these crimes, they often seek vague, erroneous, spurious and invalid edicts to justify and rationalize what is obviously evil.
Islam is not a vague religion, especially when it comes to human life. However, these ignorant fanatics seem to have been blinded by their misplaced zeal and ignorance.
They thrive and prosper and become quite gleeful upon killing innocent people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. And they think that by so doing they endear themselves to the Almighty when the opposite is true.
Have the killers asked themselves what in the world would justify killing Arrigoni, a man who came all the way from Italy to identify with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice? What wrong did he do? What crime did he commit? Didn’t they realize that Arrigoni may have done so much for Gaza which has now been besmirched by their cowardly crime?
Arrigoni didn’t come to Gaza as an aggressor or invader. He came to show solidarity with its wronged people and highlight the immense oppression meted out to be people by the Nazis of our time, the Zionist Israelis.
Hence, the claim that he came to the Land of Islam to spread corruption and disbelief should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves.
Again, there is no doubt that these ignoramuses are victims of their ignorance. They don’t represent the true followers of the Prophet (PBUH) who was quoted as saying according to authentic hadith that “whoever oppresses a Mua’hed (a non-Muslim resident or traveler in the land of Islam), or arrogated his rights, or takes something away from him against his will, or forces him to do that which is beyond his ability, I shall be his opponent on the Day of Judgment.”
In another hadith, the Prophet said “whoever killed a non-Muslim living in the land of Islam shall not smell the fragrance of paradise; verily its fragrance is smelled from a distance of a 40-year travel.”
Tags: Feminism, Grassroots Activism, Human Rights, Humanism, Immigration, indigenous populations, Islam, Resistance
from Kasama Project A Maoist sister in Spain, LG, sent us the following posting. She wrote as an introduction:
This very controversial essay is by Houria Bouteldja, the spokesperson for the political party organized by people of color in France called Les Indigenes de la Republique. This group is composed by people born and raised in France whose families come from the French ex-colonies. The majority of the members are French from African, Caribbean and Arab origin.
The essay caused a lot of interesting debates because it is a critique to Western Feminism from a Third World Feminist perspective. The essay was also translated to many languages by the Decolonial Translation group.
The term “indigenous” in the French context is used very differently from the Americas. In the Americas, the indigenous are aboriginal or native people. In France, indigenous means “colonial subjects of the French empire.” Indigenous was the term used by the French empire during colonial times to refer to colonial populations everywhere (Viet Nam, Algeria, Tunisia, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Senegal, etc.).
This French party, composed primarily by people of color but open to everybody, appropriated the term “indigenous” from French colonial history to basically say that even though they are French (born and raised in France), due to racism, capitalism and imperialism, they are still treated inside France as “indigenous of the Republic,” that is, as colonial subjects.
It is a way of saying, we are still living in colonial times even though we live in France. Thus, their openly stated goal is to decolonize France. They do a Decolonial march every year in Paris on May 8th. This is the day of the liberation of France in 1944 from the Nazi occupation and the day of the Seti massacre in Algeria. What happened was that while the French went to the streets to celebrate, the Algerians in Seti (a small city of Algeria) also went to the streets to celebrate and to call for Algerian independence. The response of the French colonial army was to kill everybody in the Seti demonstration. So, the indigenous of the Republique do this Decolonial march every year to remind that France is in need of radical decolonization. I was once in one of these marches and it is surreal. You could see thousands of French people-of-color in a demonstration through the streets of Paris with huge Photos of Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Amircal Cabral, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkhruma, Nelson Mandela, Nasrallah, Nasser, etc.
Anyway, here is the essay, which was delivered as a speech to the 4th International Congress of Islamic Feminism that took place in Madrid, in October 2010. It appeared in English on Decolonial Translation:
White women and the privilege of solidarity
by Houria Bouteldja
I would, first of all, like to thank the Junta Islamica Catalana for having organized this colloquium, which is a real breath of fresh air in a Europe that is shriveling up in upon itself, wrought up in xenophobic debates and increasingly rejecting difference/alterity.
I hope that such an initiative will be able to take place in France. Before getting into the subject at hand, I would like to introduce myself, as I believe that speech should always be located.
I live in France, I am the daughter of Algerian immigrants. My father was a working class man and my mother was a housewife. I am not speaking as a sociologist, a researcher or a theologian. In other words, I am no expert.
I am an activist and I am speaking as a result of my experience as a political activist and, I might add, my own personal sensibility. I am insisting on these details because I would like to be as honest as possible in my reasoning. Truth be told, until today, I hadn’t really thought about the question of Islamic feminism. So why am I taking part in this colloquium? When I was invited, I made it quite clear that I lacked the authority to speak about Islamic feminism and that I would rather deal with the idea of decolonial feminism and the ways in which, I believe, it should be related to the more general question of Islamic feminism.
That is why I thought I would lay out a few questions that could prove useful for our collective questioning.
- Is feminism universal?
- What is the relationship between white/Western feminisms and Third World feminisms among which we find Islamic feminisms?
- Is feminism compatible with Islam?
- If it is, then how can it be legitimized and what would its priorities be?
First Question: Is feminism universal?
For me, it is the question of all questions when adopting a decolonial approach and when attempting to decolonize feminism. This question is essential, not because of the answer but rather because it makes us, we who live in the West, take the necessary precautions when we are confronted with ‘Other’ societies.
Let’s take, for example, so-called Western societies that witnessed the emergence of feminist movements and have been influenced by them. The women who fought against patriarchy in favor of an equal dignity between men and women gained rights and improved women’s circumstances, which I, myself, benefit from.
Let’s compare their situation, that is to say our situation, with that of so-called “primitive” societies in Amazonia for instance. There are still societies here and there that have been spared by Western influence. I should add here that I don’t consider any society to be primitive. I think there are differing spaces/times on our planet, different temporalities, that no civilization is in advance or behind on any other, that I don’t locate myself on a scale of progress and that I don’t consider progress an end in itself nor a political goal.
In other words, I don’t necessarily consider progress to be progressive but sometimes, even often, it is regressive. And, I think that the decolonial question can also be applied to our perception of time. Getting back to the subject at hand, if we take as our criteria the simple notion of well-being, who in this room can state that the women from those societies (who know nothing of the concept of feminism as we conceive of it) are less well-off than European women who not only took part in the struggles but also made available, to their societies, these invaluable social gains?
I, myself, find it quite impossible to answer this question and would consider quite fortunate whoever could. But yet again, the answer is of no importance. The question itself is, for it humbles us, and curbs our imperialist tendencies as well as our interfering reflexes. It prevents us from considering our own norms as universal and trying to make other’s realities fit into our own. In short, it makes us locate ourselves with regards to our own particularities.
Between Western & Third World feminisms
Having laid out that question clearly, I now feel more at ease to tackle the second question dealing with the relationship between Western feminisms and Third World feminisms. Obviously it’s very complicated but one of its dimensions is the domination of the global south by the global north. A decolonial approach should question this relationship and attempt to subvert it. An example:
In 2007, women from the Movement of the Indigenous of the Republic took part in the annual 8th of March demonstration in support of women’s struggles. At that time, the American campaign against Iran had begun. We decided to march behind a banner that’s message was “No feminism without anti-imperialism”. We were all wearing Palestinian kaffiyehs and handing out flyers in support of three resistant Iraqi women taken prisoner by the Americans. When we arrived, the organizers of the official procession started chanting slogans in support of Iranian women. We found these slogans extremely shocking given the ideological offensive against Iran at that time. Why the Iranians, the Algerians and not the Palestinians and the Iraqis? Why such selective choices? To thwart these slogans, we decided to express our solidarity not with Third World women but rather with Western women. And so we chanted:
Solidarity with Swedish women!
Solidarity with Italian women!
Solidarity with German women!
Solidarity with English women!
Solidarity with French women!
Solidarity with American women!
Why should you, white women, have the privilege of solidarity? You are also battered, raped, you are also subject to men’s violence, you are also underpaid, despised, your bodies are also instrumentalized…
I can tell you that they looked at us as if we were from outer space. What we were saying seemed surreal, inconceivable. It was like the 4th dimension. It wasn’t so much the fact that we reminded them of their situation as Western women that shocked them. It was more the fact that African and Arabo-Muslim women had dared symbolically subvert a relationship of domination and had established themselves as patrons. In other words, with this skillful rhetorical turn, we showed them that they de facto had a superior status to our own. We found their looks of disbelief quite entertaining.
Another example: After a solidarity trip to Palestine, a friend was telling me how the French women had asked the Palestinian women if they used birth control. According to my friend, the Palestinian women couldn’t understand such a question given how important the demographic issue is in Palestine. They were coming from a completely different perspective. For many Palestinian women, having children is an act of resistance against the ethnic cleansing policies of the Israeli state.
There you have two examples that illustrate our situation as racialized women, that help understand what is at stake and envisage a way to fight colonialist and Eurocentric feminism.
Following on from that question, is Islam compatible with feminism?
This question is purely provocative on my behalf. I can’t stand it. I am asking this question to imitate some French journalist who believes they are asking a really pertinent question. As for me, I refuse to answer out of principle.
On the one hand, because it comes from a position of arrogance. The representative of civilization X is demanding that the representative of civilization Y prove something. Y is, therefore, put in dock and must provide proof of her/his “modern-ness”, justify her/him-self to please X.
On the other hand, because the answer is not simple when one knows that the Islamic world is not monolithic. The debate could go on forever and that is exactly what happens when you make the mistake of trying to answer.
Myself, I cut to the chase by asking X the following question:Is the French Republic compatible with feminism?
I can guarantee you one thing: ideological victory is in the answer to this question. In France, 1 woman dies every 3 days as a result of domestic violence. The number rapes per year is estimated around 48 000. Women are underpaid. Women’s pensions are considerably less substantial than those of men. Political, economic and symbolic power remains mostly in the hands of men. True, since the 60’s and 70’s, men share more in household duties: statistically, 3 min more than 30 years ago!! So I ask my question again: are the French Republic and feminism compatible? We would be tempted to say no!
Actually, the answer is neither yes nor no. French women liberated French women and it’s thanks to them that the Republic is less macho than it was. The same goes for Arabo-Muslim, African and Asian countries. No more, no less. With, however, one extra challenge: consolidating within women’s struggles the decolonial dimension, that is to say the critique of modernity and eurocentrism.
How to legitimize Islamic feminism?
For me, it legitimizes itself. It doesn’t have to pass a feminist exam. The simple fact that Muslim women have taken it up to demand their rights and their dignity is enough for it to be fully recognized. I know, as result of my intimate knowledge of women from the Maghreb and in the diaspora, that “the-submissive-woman” does not exist. She was invented. I know women that are dominated. Submissive ones are rarer!
I would like to conclude with what, in my opinion, should be priorities for decolonial feminism.
You have all heard about Amina Wadud and her involvement in the development of Islamic feminism. She became well known the day she lead the prayer, a role usually reserved for men. Out of context, I would say that it could be thought of as a revolutionary act. However, in an international context that saw the Iranian Revolution and 9/11 (as well as growing Islamophobia, demands that Islam update and modernize itself), a much more ambiguous message was brought to light. Was it answering strong demands, an urgency, the fundamental expectations of women from the Umma? Or were these expectations of the white world? Allow me to dwell on the latter hypothesis. Not that there aren’t any women who find it an injustice that only men be allowed to lead the prayer but because women’s priorities and urgent needs are elsewhere.
What do Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian women want? Peace, the end of the war and the occupation, the rebuilding of their national infrastructures, legal frameworks that guarantee their rights and protect them, access to sufficient food and water, the ability to feed and educate their children under good conditions. What do Muslim women in Europe and more generally those who are immigrants and who, for the most part, live in lower income neighborhoods want? A job, housing, rights that protect them not only from state violence but also men’s violence. They demand respect for their religion, their culture. Why are all of these demands silenced and why does the issue of leading the prayer make its way across the globe when Judaism and Christianity have never really made apparent their own intransigent defense of the equality of sexes? To finish up with this example, I believe that Amina Wadud’s act was, in fact, quite the opposite of what it claimed to be. In reality and independently of the theologian’s own wishes, this act, in my opinion, was counter-productive. It will only be able to adopt a feminist dimension once Islam is equally treated with respect and once the demands to lead the prayer come from Muslim women themselves. It is time to see Muslim men and women how they really are and not how we would like them to be.
I conclude here and hope to have shown the ways in which a true decolonial feminism could benefit women, all women when they, themselves, deem it to be their path to emancipation.
Houria Bouteldja, Madrid, 22 October 2010.
Translated by Amy Fechtmann
from Nisralnasr blog
Tariq al-Bishri and Constitutional Revision
News that the Supreme Comittee of the Armed Forces has appointed the former judge of the State Council, Tariq al-Bishri, as chair of a committee to re-write or revise the Egyptian constitution is remarkably important. It may also provide some insight into what the military is thinking and what possibilities they are willing to consider. For a process that we are only a couple of days into, this announcement itself is laden with historical meaning (and irony) as well as possible ambiguity.
Given that the ongoing labor conflict and the army’s advice that it end quickly is capturing most of the commentary, I want to write about Al-Bishri himself. Even as I write state television is providing its own account of what his appointment might mean.
The deepest irony which cannot be lost on anyone who has been following events and most of the Western accounts of them is that the armed forces have turned to an 80-year old public intellectual and judge to guide the task of re-writing the constitution for the 21st century in the wake of a revolution made by three generations removed from him. What few accounts in English I have seen so far refer to him as a moderate Islamist, an honest figure, and a former secular leftist who is a “bridge” between secular political figures and the Muslim Brothers.
Bishri himself is a more complex figure whose familial and personal history are revelatory of changes in Egyptian society over the last century. His grandfather served in the position of Shaykh al-Azhar, the most important religious position in the Egypt, at the beginning of the 20th century. His father was on the Court of Cassation, the highest state appellate court in the 1930s. He himself spent his entire working career in the State Council which is the highest administrative court in Egypt and is modeled on the French Conseil d’Etat. There is, insofar as I know, no equivalent in the American legal system. The job of the State Council is to ensure that the state follows its own rules. It is not, at any rate not directly, supposed to rule on the constitutionality of laws in the way the US Supreme Court does. It is supposed to make sure that the administrative actions of the state conform to the rules it has already set in place. Although this is a somewhat different way of looking at the rule of law than the Anglo-American one we are used to, it can be a powerful tool for disciplining the executive power but only if there is indeed an independent judiciary. Egypt, of course, also has a Supreme Constitutional Court and it appears that at least a couple of members of that body also sit on this committee.
Although Al-Bishri entered his career in the 1950s after graduating from law school he is old enough to have memories of what my old professor Afaf Marsot called Egypt’s liberal experiment. Thus one of the ironies of appointing an 80 year old to chair the reform committee is that no one much younger has any memory or experience with an Egypt that had a functioning parliament or a commitment, however limited, to liberal institutions. Younger people do, of course, have experiences with such systems but not in Egypt; to the extent that they have experienced liberal democracy it has been outside the country whether in the US or Europe.
Bishri has been an acerbic critic of Husni Mubarak and his government. In his presciently titled booklet, Egypt Between Disobedience and Decay, Bishri outlined how the creation of an authoritarian state rooted in Mubarak’s person had worsened the dictatorial tendencies that had been present since 1952 but had added the burden of decreased competence as the regime sought compliance rather than capability from its agents. He also pointed out the extremely unequal income distribution that became increasingly prevalent in the society during Mubarak’s 30 years in power.
Bishri is widely considered a leading (if not the leading) public intellectual in Egypt today. This is not to say everyone agrees with him and in recent years he has evoked some significant criticism for his involvement in some very public controversies about the role of Copts and especially the Church in Egyptian society.
Bishri has served as an adviser to several groups of younger activists (and these days almost all activists are younger than he is) including Kifayah (Enough) which can be considered the point of departure of the groups that initiated and led the recent mass protests. Although he is personally close to members of the Muslim Brothers (including the noted attorney Salim Al-Awa) and has a high opinion of their importance in Egyptian political history, he has (to my knowledge) never been a member. He is often bracketed in Western accounts with others who are considered Islamic liberals such as Awa or the constitutional law professor Kamal Abu al-Magd who Mubarak, in the waning hours of his government, appointed to his own committee to oversee constitutional reform. That committee now appears to be disbanded.
In his younger days, Bishri was closely associated with the left although he was influenced at least as much by the writings of Max Weber and lawyers associated with the British Labor party as by Karl Marx. One of Bishri’s earliest interventions on the organization of the Egyptian state was a short book published by the Communist publisher, New Culture, in the 1970s on democracy and Nasserism. This may be why he is often viewed as a lapsed leftist, although his analysis of the Nasserist state set out the themes which have dominated much of his political criticism in the intervening years: the dangers of a state without an independent judiciary and an overly power executive. One point Bishri made then and has made in different ways since is that to the degree the legislative and executive branches are unified as has occurred in Egypt over the past 60 years the independence of the judiciary is also compromised. In other words, without a separation of the powers of legislation and execution there can be no real power of adjudication except perhaps at the most elementary level of arbitrating private disputes.
Without knowing exactly what mandate the committee he chairs was given by the military, it is hard to be very specific. Even television comment here today points out that al-Bishri has long been a champion of judicial independence. It would be difficult for Bishri to refuse service on such a committee at such a moment but it is also difficult to imagine he would have accepted to serve merely as a figurehead.
One plausible guess therefore is that the committee will at least pose the possibility of a much stronger parliament as a counterweight (rather than an alternative) to a powerful presidency. Bishri may be one of the few legal scholars who would favor a working separation of powers rather than lodging authority either in the presidency or the parliament. Such a separation would, at least in what he has written across the years, be the prelude to an equally powerful but independent judiciary whose role would then be, as in the US, to balance these two contenders.
Although al-Bishri may have ideas about the organization of the institutions of the state that bear similarities to the US he is a strong nationalist and by no means particularly enamored of American policies. He has very strong sentiments about the strategic dangers that he sees Israel posing to Egypt. That said, Bishri himself is tasked with how the institutions of the state should be constituted not with the day to day policies they should follow. Along with a profound concern with judicial independence he may also have two other goals. One, which will command little direct objection in today’s Egypt, is to continue the policies of the provision of social welfare in ways that mirror concerns of a generation of European Social Democrats and Egyptian nationalists when he was a young man. Bishri will probably push for a strongly independent judiciary in ways that both Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg can agree with. He is not likely to want the Egyptian state to adopt the vision of the economy that John Roberts, Samuel Alito or Clarence Thomas would find compelling. On the question of Islam he is extremely unlikely to push for excluding the revised Article 2 that shariah is the source of Egyptian law. For better or worse he believes that most Egyptian law is already compliant with shariah and he generally argues that the role of shariah in Egyptian law is similar to that of natural law in European legal systems: it provides judges (not so much legislators) with cues about what to do when the legislature has been silent or incoherent. He does not seem inclined to allow the ulama (Islamic legal scholars) to interpret law for the regular judiciary except (and this is an important exception) in cases in which legislation has given them that authority.
Bishri is profoundly antagonistic to the military tribunals and special courts as well as the state of emergency that the government has employed over the past decade. Far more important for Egypt’s future, however, is his occasional suggestion (at least when he was much younger) of a very different vision of the Egyptian state: one in which the high degree of centralization and hierarchy that currently characterizes it was sharply reduced. What, in other words, if (without dismantling the current state which shares much in common with the various governments that issued from the French revolution) Egyptians were to gain much more authority to make decisions over their own lives? Bishri will not (and I think very few Egyptians would) propose transforming Egypt into a federal system whether on the American, German or Brazilian models. But he might be interested in transferring power away from a hierarchical system centered in Cairo to one in which Egyptians gained more control over the institutions that affect their lives locally. In some ways the past three weeks have confirmed some of Bishri’s earlier ideas that Egyptians could govern themselves if given the chance. He now may be in a position to push that idea a little further forward.
Tags: gaza, IDF, IOF, Islamophobia, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine
(there are many important hyperlinks, the colour of which is very close to the text colour.) On March 19th, two months after the 22-day devastation of Gaza and the slaughtering of over 1,400 Palestinians, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz published harrowing testimonies by numerous Israeli soldiers who had participated in “Operation Cast Lead.” The soldiers, all recent graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program, were speaking at an open academic forum about their recent military experiences and, as Sarah Anne Minkin of Jewish Peace News reports, “confessed that they’d knowingly shot civilians to death in Gaza, that they’d intentionally vandalized Palestinian homes, and that the rules of engagement in the war – rules handed down from above – were exceptionally permissive.”
In response to these testimonies, the Israeli military denied the claims made by their own personnel, stating that even if some of the allegations and anecdotes were true (since the troops had “no reason to lie”), they were isolated incidents and did not represent the IDF as a whole. Nonetheless, the IDF promised to conduct “intensive and comprehensive inquiries” and an investigation was launched.
Eleven days later, on March 30th – half the time it took the Israeli air force, navy, and army to murder 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wound over 6,000 more, and leave tens of thousands homeless – the Israeli military concluded that the soldiers’ stories of gross misconduct and war crimes were baseless, that they were “based in hearsay” and “rumors,” and declared an end to the probe. Even though the pre-military program’s own founder and leader, Danny Zamir, who is himself a deputy battalion commander in the IDF, described the soldiers’ testimonies as “dismaying and depressing” and concluded that the stories reveal the truth about “an army with very low norms of value,” the IDF investigators disagreed. Luckily for the IDF, the “investigation” by the IDF found that the IDF was still, in fact, according to the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.” What a relief that must have been.
Apparently, the claims of intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, of shooting women and children, of the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and personal property, even if they are true, are only, we are told, the misguided actions of a few bad apples.
In fact, we are told that, in Israel, any evidence of military or political misconduct, human rights or international law violations, or racism and oppression are mere aberrations from normality, simple – however troubling – deviations from the peace-loving, ethnically tolerant, democratically representative mainstream. We are told not to judge an entire society by the misdeeds of some bad apples. These bad apples don’t represent the whole Israeli orchard, which, we are told, thrives on justice and equality. (The fact that the Israeli orchard was planted atop a bulldozed Palestinian orchard is, we are told, irrelevant. Even broaching such a topic is anti-Semitic…we are told.)
We are told that the Jewish Rabbinate distributed books and pamphlets, indoctrinating Israeli troops headed for Gaza with claims that they are holy warriors fighting to expel the Palestinians (collectively called “murderers”) who are “interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” The rabbis preach that there is a “a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter” of Israel to non-Jews and the literature they hand out states that “when you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral.” We are told that these rabid rabbis are just a handful of overzealous, extremist apples.
Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth – an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.
In three weeks of devastating bombings and ground assaults, the Israeli military destroyed over 4,100 homes, 25 schools and hospitals, two bridges, 1500 factories and shops, and numerous government offices and buildings in Gaza. Ten water and sewage arteries, ten electricity-generating stations, and 80% of all agricultural properties, including all farms and crops, were also destroyed. Damages to Palestinian infrastructure exceed $2 billion. Who is being held responsible for this destruction? Is it the Israeli government that authorized the operation, the military brass that planned and ordered the attacks, or the pilots, sailors, and soldiers that carried them out? We are told that the bad apples of Hamas are to blame.
We are told that “for the most part, someone who belongs to Hamas’ civilian welfare organizations is treated the same way as a member of its military wing” and is a legitimate target as dictated by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force. We are told that many of the Israeli attacks on Gaza were carried out via remote control. An Israeli reservist is quoted as saying, “It feels like hunting season has begun…Sometimes it reminds me of a Play Station game. You hear cheers in the war room after you see on the screens that the missile hit a target, as if it were a soccer game.” Have we lost count of bad apples yet?
We are told that Parash Hill, near Sderot, with views across lush green fields to Gaza City with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, was full of Israeli sightseers during the Gaza assault. They came with their families, binoculars, cameras with zoom lenses, and picnic baskets to watch Israeli F-16s, Apache helicopters, and unmanned drones fire missiles into residential neighborhoods, destroying buildings and slaughtering their terrified inhabitants. They gather on this “Hill of Shame” to view the carnage in the distance, celebrating the death and destruction, justifying the killing of children by saying, “When they grow up they’ll also probably be terrorists.” These Israelis, for whom watching genocidal air raids is a spectator sport, must be bad apples.
The Israeli military used banned and experimental weaponry such as white phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) in heavily-populated civilian neighborhoods of Gaza. These weapons cause severe burns, dismemberment and mutilation to their victims. Numerous other atrocities have been well documented by Israeli and international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and B’Tselem. We are told that the perpetrators of such blatant war crimes must surely be bad apples, but for some reason the International Criminal Court has yet to charge anyone for misconduct.
The Israeli army used flechettes, which are “anti-personnel weapons designed to penetrate dense vegetation…4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks.” Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed by flechettes in Gaza. Who would fire such heavy weaponry at a civilian? Probably just another bad apple.
Testimonies from Israeli soldiers reveal that it was common practice to storm an apartment building in Gaza and open fire upon anything that moved. Women and children waving white flags were gunned down. Soldiers “break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool,” take over homes, write “Death to Arabs” on the walls, spit on family pictures, urinate on piles of the residents’ clothing, smear shit on the walls, and receive orders to “clean out the whole house. We threw everything, everything, out of the windows to make room. The entire contents of the house went flying out the windows.” Palestinians who try to run away must be terrorists, just as those who stay where they are must be terrorists. The pilot who makes a minor mistake like bombing a school and killing 40 Palestinian children is forgiven while the Israeli squad commander who says, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her…I simply felt it was murder in cold blood” is yet another bad apple.
The sharpshooter who shot and killed a mother and her two children because they misunderstood orders (to turn right instead of left), given to them by Israeli soldiers who had invaded and occupied their home for days, holding them captive in one room before releasing them, was just a bad apple who made a mistake. According to the sniper’s squad leader:
“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it…The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”
The non-commissioned officer who revealed that when the Israeli army “entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey…I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them,” must just be talking about orders given by a bad apple or two and carried out by some more bad apples.
We are told that the Israeli soldiers who have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques are just bad apples.
The snipers who wear shirts depicting a dead Palestinian baby with a teddy bear and his weeping mother beside him, accompanied by the inscription “Better use Durex,” the soldiers wearing shirts with a drawing of a Palestinian boy and the words, “Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired,” those who wear shirts depicting an Israeli soldier raping a Palestinian girl and the inscription “No virgins, no terror attacks,” the sharpshooters from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion who wear T-shirts showing a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, and the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills,” these, we are told again and again, are just some more bad apples.
We are told that troops in Gaza engaged in a military practice called the “Neighborhood Procedure,” wherein Palestinian civilians are forced, often at gunpoint, to enter homes and ask the inhabitants to come out. This practice has been rejected by Israel’s own Supreme Court due to the ruling that using civilians in military operations violates not only IDF protocol but also international law, such as the Geneva Conventions that guarantee immunity to all civilians. So what is happening to the bad apples in the IDF who are using Palestinian civilians as human shields?
We are told that the IDF commanders who ordered their troops to shoot at Palestinian and Red Cross paramedics, rescuers, and ambulances in Gaza, preventing evacuation and treatment of the wounded, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of Palestinians, in another unequivocal breach of international law, are most likely just some bad apples.
The rules of engagement in Gaza, as defined by the Israeli military, state that a Palestinian need only be in a “problematic” location for him to be “incriminated” and thereby automatically be “sentenced to death. Often, there is no need for him to be identified as carrying a weapon. Three people in the home of a known Hamas operative, someone out on a roof at 2 A.M. about a kilometer away from an Israeli post, a person walking down the wrong street before dawn – all are legitimate targets for attack.” According to the IDF, the bad apples here are the “suspicious” Palestinians, stupidly living their lives without seeking permission from Israel, and not the soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.
In Gaza, Israeli soldiers entered the home of a woman and her ten children and told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” After ignoring the screams and pleas for mercy and repeating their demands, the soldiers said they would choose for her and murdered five of the children before her eyes. These soldiers are apparently bad apples.
A senior Israeli reserve officer, after hearing about some of the barbarity of the Israeli troops in Gaza, said it was important to “bear in mind what sort of values inductees have when they come to us these days. Every year, the education system produces a significant number of little racists.” That sounds like a significant number of bad little apples.
Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is one such bad apple. Lieberman, leader of the openly fascist Israel Beteynu party, ran for Prime Minister in Israel’s recent elections under the banner of “No loyalty, no citizenship” with the hopes of implementing oaths of allegiance to a Jewish state in order for Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians to maintain their citizenship. Lieberman even led a call to ban two Arab parties from Knesset elections – a move that was approved by the Central Elections Committee but subsequentally overturned by the Supreme Court. Undeterred, Lieberman said, “We will not give up. In the next Knesset we will pass the Citizenship Law, which will put a border on the disloyalty of some of the Israeli Arabs.” He is also a confessed and convicted child abuser, is under investigation for money-laundering and fraud, was a proud member of Meir Kahane’s Kach political party, which was outlawed due to its overt racism, and lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.
As Minister of Transport in 2003, Lieberman, in response to the news that 350 Palestinian prisoners were to be given amnesty by Israel, declared that he would be happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them there.
Of the thirty-three parties running for the Knesset in the recent elections, Israel Beteynu came in third. In mock elections held in 10 high schools prior to the official vote, the party came in first, followed by the hard-right Likud. The left-wing Meretz party came in dead last. Lieberman’s rabid teenage supporters wave Israeli flags and shout “Death to the Arabs” outside Israel Beteynu conferences, openly call for a fascist dictatorship in Israel, and explain their support for such beliefs by drawing connections to their mandatory military service this way:
“It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi doesn’t want to go as far.”
So, how many bad apples does it take for Israel Beteynu to finish third in parliamentary elections?
Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, is seen as being more of a centrist in Israeli politics. As leader of the Kadima party, founded in 2005 by war criminal Ariel Sharon, Livni supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to transfer Arab citizens out of Israel. Speaking at a Tel Aviv high school a week before the Gaza attacks, she said, “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic State of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines…And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘your national solution lies elsewhere.'” Is someone who limits national identity and the full spectrum of rights to only Jewish citizens of Israel, thereby excluding nearly one fifth of the population, a good apple or a bad apple?
Benyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s new Prime Minister and head of the Likud party. The 1999 party platform, more than a decade newer than the constantly-pointed-to Hamas Charter, confirms Likud’s unabashed support for illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine:
“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”
The document also states that “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem” and wholly rejects any semblance of a sovereign Palestinian state:
“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”
If we are told that Hamas leaders Khalid Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh are bad apples for consistently offering 30-year-long truces and accepting (and recognizing) Israel as a legitimate political entity within its 1967 borders, then what exactly are Bibi and his Likudniks?
We are told that the Israeli government has banned Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. At one recent event, celebrating the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, Israeli authorities broke up a children’s march at an East Jerusalem Catholic school and when the teenage girls present at the gathering “released a few dozen balloons in the red, white, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag over the walled Old City…Israeli military police and soldiers quickly moved into the schoolyard and popped the remaining balloons.” Obviously, these balloon-poppers and party-poopers are just some local bad apples enforcing the law.
A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies shows that 46% of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor the “transfer” of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, 31% favor the “transfer” of Israeli-Arabs out of the country altogether. Moreover, 55% say that the state should encourage Arab emigration, only 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state, 61% believe Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel’s security, and around 80% are opposed to Israeli-Arabs being involved in important decisions, such as delineating the country’s borders. Another poll, conducted by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, found that 78% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to Arab parties being part of a coalition government, 56% believe that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development,” 75% agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent (54% of Arab Israelis feel the same way about Jews), and 75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.
By contrast, the United Nations Development Program reports that nearly 70% of Palestinian young adults over the age of 17 oppose the use of violence to resolve the conflict with Israel and only 8% believe that violence is an important tool. The study also found that 42% were depressed by their current conditions and 39% were “extremely” depressed (55% in Gaza).
We are told that the barbaric destruction of Gaza had the support of 90% (if not 94%) of Israelis. Assuming this percentage excludes all Palestinian citizens of Israel, we’re only talking about 5 million or so bad apples.
When the seeds of a society are cultivated on a steady diet of historical falsehoods, bogus founding mythologies, unabated colonization and rampant militarism, some bad apples, infested with hatred, racism, and convictions of divine right, ethnic supremacy, and perpetual victimization, will surely grow.
But with so many bad apples, it is clear: the entire orchard is rotten.
Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker “Lord Baltimore.” He can be reached at wideasleepinamerica (at) gmail (dot) com.
صلح با عدالت
Peace with justice
Wide Asleep In America
Tags: Aliyah Criminals, hebron, Human Rights, Israeli Crime, Jewish Terrorists, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palestine, Settlers, Zionism
WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh in al-Khalil
8 April, 2009
Religious Jewish terrorists on Thursday attacked a small Arab village north of al Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.
Eyewitnesses said as many as a hundred settler terrorists descended on the small village of Safa, 10 kilometers north west of al-Khalil, with the purpose of carrying out a pogrom against local inhabitants.
The terrorists were escorted by several Israeli army soldiers who reportedly made no effort to stop the terrorists who were shouting “death to the Arabs.”
The Palestinians, fearing for their lives, hurled stones at the rampaging settlers to prevent them from setting fire to Palestinian property, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire at the Palestinians.
At least 28 people were reportedly wounded with live ammunition, including a boy who was shot in the chest.
Medical sources said Thaer Nasser Adi, 17, was in serious but stable condition at the Ahli hospital in al–Khalil.
The mayor of the nearby town of Beit Ummar, Nasri Sabarna, described the settler rampage as “an unprovoked criminal act against innocent and peaceable people.”
Sabarna said the settlers wanted to terrorize the Palestinian villagers in order to take over their land and property.
He accused the right-wing Israeli government of giving Jewish terrorists a green light to attack Palestinians and vandalize their property.
“The present government is a government of settlers, by the settlers, for the settlers. I believe there is a full coordination between the settlers and the army.”
Muhammed, a local villager, called the settlers “savages and Nazis.”
“These people go to their religious Talmudic schools in the morning, and in the afternoon they come here to attack us, terrorize our women and children and sabotage our property. What kind of religion are they following?”
Muhammed called on the international community to provide protection against “these barbarians who want to kill us and expel us from our land.”
He lashed out at the Israeli army for its “connivance and collusion” with the settlers, saying that the army and the settlers were “two sides of the same coin.”
Al-Khalil Governor Hussein al Araj, who arrived at the village soon after the disturbances, accused the Israeli army of failing to protect Palestinians from the settlers.
“I believe the settlers wouldn’t dare attack the village without at least a tacit approval from the Israeli army.”
Al-Araj held the Israeli army fully responsible for this “pogrom,” saying that Palestinians in the occupied territories needed international protection.
He added that settler attacks and terror would continue as long as “these criminal squatters remain here.”
The small settlement outpost, known as Beit Ayn, is home to extremist settlers who are indoctrinated in Jewish supremacy.
A few years ago, some of the settlers from Beit Ayn were caught implanting a large explosive charge at a Palestinian school near Jerusalem.
The explosion would have killed and injured dozens of Palestinian children.
Last week, a settler was killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the murder of Palestinians by settler terrorists.
Normally, the Israeli justice system deals extremely lightly with settlers who murder Palestinians.
During the al-Qsa intifada, the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists killed thousands of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom innocent civilians, to suppress Palestinian aspirations for freedom from decades of the Nazi-like Israeli military occupation.
According to an Israeli human rights organization, only a handful of cases of murder were investigated.
Tags: anti-Semitism, David Aaronovitch, gaza, Gilad Atzmon, iraq war, Israel, Jewish Identity Politics, Nick Cohen, Oxford Literary Festival, Palestine, War, Warmongers
To listen to Gilad Atzmon deconstructing antisemitism click here (or link at the podcast at the bottom of this post)
To listen to David Aaronovitch reading Gilad Atzmon click here
To listen to David Aaronovitch’s tantrum click here
To listen to Atzmon confronted with an outraged Jewish member of the audience click here
To listen to a disappointed member of the audience click here
To listen to Aaronovitch confronted with a Jewish member of the audience click here
To listen to Aaronovitch’s closing remarks click here
To listen to Atzmon’s closing remarks click here
Last Wednesday, I participated in a panel that could have been a breakthrough debate on issues having to do with ‘Antisemitism’. The event was part of The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival and it took place at Oxford University. The discussion was moderated by the legendary BBC reporter Martin Bell. On the panel we had Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch. They were there to elaborate on the case of ‘new antisemitism’. Interestingly enough, Aaronovitch and Cohen were the prominent advocates of the illegal war in Iraq through the British press. They are also notoriously famous for their Islamophobic ranting, as if this is not enough, they were also caught supporting the latest Israeli deadly campaign in Gaza. I was there to argue that antisemitism is a spin, it is a myth, I was there to deliver a very simple message: there is no such a thing as antisemitism.
I was looking forward for the event. I gathered that it might not be easy confronting Britain’s loudest Ziocon lobbyists alone. In fact I was wrong. It was a piece of cake. It was almost an effortless task to expose and demolish the lame Zionist argument, mainly because there is no such argument. Zionism is not a dialogical narrative, it is rather a pragmatic ruthless practice that seeks control of land and discourse.
I may as well say it, unlike Aaronovitch and Cohen, I believe in dialogue and I support every form of well-argued debate. In fact, I would debate anyone, whether it is a Nazi or a Zionist, whether it is a white supremacist or a Judeocentric Islamophobe agitator. In my world, platform is granted to anyone who endorses a well-mannered conversation. However, last Wednesday, both Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t want to debate or to argue. They believed that finishing me off would serve their cause. Funnily enough, not only did they fail, they ended up on the defence, begging for the audience to stop applauding and running out of sympathy.
Sadly, the panel was not very effective in elaborating on the given topic (Anti Semitism – Alive And Well in Europe?). David Aaronovitch, who happened to be the first to talk, insisted that rather than discussing the subject, he would score more points citing the best of my published Jewels. He was determined to convince the audience that I was the lowest of the low and I should have never been invited to such a prestigious platform. This is not a joke. Aaronovitch who is notoriously famous for lobbying for a war that that has left (so far) 1.5 million civilians dead, a person that is engaged in spreading vile anti left and Islamophobic Zionised propaganda, is convinced that he is entitled to preach to the public who should participate in the discourse. Aaronovitch foolishly anticipated that once he read my words, a gasp of resentment towards me would spread in the marquee. The deluded man must have invested an enormous amount of energy gathering these endless quotes. He must have read each of my papers, picking what he thoughtlessly and Zionistly interpreted as ‘outrageous thoughts’. I, on my side, was rather thrilled and amused. It doesn’t happen that often that people read my materials with such enthusiasm on such a prestigious platform. Neither myself nor my most devoted readers could do a better job presenting my ideas.
Sadly for Aaronovitch, his plan didn’t work out, there was not a single noticeable reaction in the room. There was not a single gasp of resentment. And yet, the truth must be said, Aaronovitch is a very talented melodramatic epic performer. He brilliantly over-dramaticised my ideas, he beautifully stressed the various variations of the different ‘J’ words, he would then slow down, stare at me with exaggerated contempt, he would giggle expecting the crowed to join him. But they didn’t.
For some reason that is far beyond me, Aaronovitch and Cohen failed to realise that Oxford University was not exactly a Yeshiva. It was not an occupied territory either. It wasn’t down to them or the Israeli Hasbara Committee to decide who was entitled to engage in a public debate. If anything, the two warmongers should have had the minimum intellectual integrity to ban themselves from the public eye for advocating a war that led to a genocide. The two warmongers should have enough honesty to realise that if there is antisemitism, as they say, they must be the root cause for such a phenomenon.
Aaronovitch failed to grasp that people who attend literary events are largely curious and open minded, they are far more interested in listening to some enlightening ideas rather than being indoctrinated or patronised by a rightwing Zionist propagandist agitator.
Seemingly, Aaronovitch failed to realise that people out there do read the news from time to time. They read about Charles Freeman and the Jewish Lobby, they read about swindler Madoff, Lord Cash Machine Levy, Proxy donor David Abrahams, Labour Friends of Israel, Alan Greenspan and the credit crunch. People out there do realise that more than just a single prominent Zionist Jew is caught in the eye of the current storms (Iraq, finance, Gaza). Aaronovitch, who by his own admission, has been monitoring my writing for years, should have known that NO ONE out of the Jewish ghetto is offended by my observations about Jewish excessive lobbying and Zionist power. If anything, my stand against tribal politics makes me more and more popular within far bigger circles.
Needless to say, I myself have never sought this kind of fame. I am a Jazz musician, I run a very rewarding musical career. When it comes to my intervention on Jewish identity, I write what I regard to be the truth, realising that there maybe more than one truth. I publish my thoughts while knowing that my truth today may be shaken tomorrow. My task is very simple. I try to be coherent just to make sure that at least I myself manage to follow my thread of thoughts. I am aware of the fact that my writing may devastate some, more than once I myself happen to be concerned with the ideas I managed to reach. Unlike Cohen and Aaronovitch, for me it has never been a political battle, it has never been about power or scoring a win. It was always about ethics and intellectual integrity. Seemingly, ethics and intellectual honesty is exactly what the Ziocons à la Aaronovitch/Cohen lack. Seemingly, it is evidently the shortage of ethical commitment and intellectual integrity that pushes Cohen and Aaronovitch back to where they belong: the insular segregated kosher cyber ghetto.
Notably, both Aaronovitch and Cohen are famous for their incredibly deceiving call to “Liberate the Iraqi people”. The two Jewish Chronicle writers claimed to know what the Iraqi people ‘desired’. They were obviously wrong and the total Western defeat in Iraq proves it beyond doubt. It is obviously understandable and expectable that two Zionist Londoners would fail to grasp the true will of the Iraqi people. Yet, one would expect Aaronovitch and Cohen to know ‘something’ about the middle class crowd in Oxford. At the end of the day, Aaronovitch and Cohen were raised in the UK and educated in British Universities. In spite of them promoting Zionist propaganda in the midst of the British media, they are still British, they should have known better. I would also expect that after 200 years of ‘Jewish assimilation’, the tribal activists would learn something about their neighbours’ appetite. Apparently Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t. The enthusiastic reception of my intervention drove Aaronovitch into a vile tantrum. “Shame on you” he shouted at the applauding Oxford crowd. Not before too long, Aaronovitch was caught on tape blaming HIS audience for being antisemitic. Clearly, on the recording, sporadic members of the audience are heard giggling at the embarrassing sight of a neurotic outburst of a decaying Neocon.
I do realise that my performance in Oxford was actually very symbolic in its resemblance to the success of the Iraqi resistance: though my English is rather broken, my grammar is faulty, my resources are limited, in spite of me being sluggish and slightly messy, the truth was on my side, or shall I say: the truth is in our side. As far as public debate is concerned, Jewish tribalism, Zionism and Neocon precepts are indefensible. We will win in every intellectual battle against those warmongers just because we are ethical, genuine and coherent. All we have to do is to survive their endless spin and slander.
Once Aaronovitch ended citing my ‘pearls’. Nick Cohen took the platform. He spoke about the Elders Of Zion. Like Aaronovitch, he failed to address the subject. It is clear that Zionist lobbyists really believe that focussing on a 19th century text would divert the attention from the current powerful elders who lobby for more and more global conflicts and biblical plunder. Cohen, I guess, must be convinced that as long as the protocols are alive in our thoughts, he may be able to advocate wars without us noticing it. He must be a fool. We do see him, we see it all and we do not like what we see.
“I refuse to accept the premise of the debate,” I told the people in Oxford. Antisemitism is a misleading notion. It is there to give the impression that opposition to Jewish politics is racially motivated. However, Jews are not a race nor they are in any proximity of any recognised racial continuum. Since Jews are not a race (though can be very racist) their opposition, at least currently, is not racially orientated or motivated whatsoever!
Antisemitism is nothing but spin, it is there to silence criticism of Israel, Jewish nationalism, Jewish politics and Jewish lobbies around the world. Rather than talking about antisemitism, we better talk about the rise of anti-Jewish feelings.
I am more than willing to admit that there is indeed more than one piece of evidence of growing resentment towards Jewishness and I am referring here to Jewish ideology and Jewish politics. Yet, in a liberal society, political and ideological criticism is supposed to be a fully legitimate endeavour. As it happens, there is a growing rage towards Jewish politics and national politics in particular, but this shouldn’t take us by surprise considering the crimes that are committed locally and globally by Zionists and Neocons, whether it is Olmert’s genocidal practice in Palestine or Aaronovitch/Cohen lobbying for a war against Israel’s enemies and last pockets of resistance.
I was also willing to admit that some innocent ethnic Jews are caught in the midst of all this. This is indeed a serious problem and I do not have a simple answer to offer. Yet, I would mention that my wife, my kids, and a few of my band members who happen to be of Jewish origin have never come across any form of antisemitic abuse. If we have ever noticed any abuse, it was somehow always Jewish violence against us in the form of death threats, smears, slander and spin.
In the light of this very simple observation, 2 questions must be asked.
1. How is it that the campaigners against anti Semitism such as Aaronovitch and Cohen happen to be also muddled up with some ludicrous Islamophobic statements?
The answer is very simple. Those who preach to us about antisemitism are neither humanists nor universalists, they are just banal tribal activists that are committed to the interests of their ethnic group and that group alone. The very few sporadic gentiles who advocate this immoral discourse do it for the sake of political reasons. Within the Jewish terminology they are called the ‘Sabbath Goy’(1). They are there to work for the Jews and they are fully rewarded accordingly.
2. We have good reason to believe that Aaronovitch and Cohen know very well that Jews are not descendents of people of the Semitic origin and do not form a racial continuum. Why then do they try to pretend that the negation towards Jews is racially motivated?
Again the answer is rather obvious. The Jewish ethnic campaigner will spin and cheat and spread lies because Jewish ideology (right, left and centre) cannot be defended or argued in rational or ethical terms. All Jewish national politic discourses are exclusivist, supremacist and racially orientated (though Jews are far from being a race, every form of Jewish politics is categorically racist to the bone. It is always about different formations of a ‘Jews only’ club).
To a certain extent, I was very lucky to share a platform with Aaronovitch and Cohen for the simple reason that they are the ultimate embodiment of tribal activism and war lobbying in this country. Aaronovitch and Cohen, amongst a few other Ziocon protagonists, are the root cause of resentment towards Jewish political lobbying. It was almost entertaining to hear the Jewish Chronicle writer Aaronovitch denying being a Jew, presenting the lame pathetic argument that he had been in a synagogue just “3 times in his entire life”. Aaronovitch must have thought that he may get away with this new spin. He obviously knows that Jews do not have to believe in God, they do not have to go to synagogues, he must know also that even one visit in a synagogue is probably far more than the vast majority of humanity has ever experienced. What makes Aaronovitch into a Jewish tribal campaigner is, for instance, the fact that he is listed on the Israel Hasbara (2) Committee as one of their authors. The Israeli propaganda (Hasbara) Committee, which lists Aaronovitch as one of its authors declares that its aim is:
“To promote understanding of Judaism and Israel”
Do you know any goy who is affiliated with the ‘promotion’ of Judaism AND Israel? Oh yes, Aaronovitch, has one spinning line he has yet to explore. He may suggest to us that he is actually a ‘Christian Zionist’.
What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew has nothing to do with his religious affiliation or belief. It has nothing to do with the ethnicity of his parents. It has nothing to do with the shape of his nose or the tip of his knob. What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew and a Zionist one in particular is his affiliation with the most rabid, notorious, nationalist Jewish political school. What made Aaronovitch so spiteful and despised in Oxford had nothing to do with his father’s origin, it was actually his Zionist politics and Zionised tactics, it was his commitment to Israeli Propaganda, it was the fact that he lobbied for a war that made us all into war criminals, a war that led to a genocide of 1.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians.
Aaronovitch and Cohen may have learned a lesson in Oxford. Aaronovitch pledged never to see me again. Listening to the audio recording of the event and especially to his tantrum he has a very good reason not to. The contemptible Ziocon was exposed. However, in the light of Aaronovitch being listed as an Israeli ‘propaganda author’, and bearing in mind his being a lobbyist for an illegal war, Mr Aaronovitch is not exactly a Western liberal humanist. Seemingly, he is more of an Israeli patriot than a British one. This is something that his readers in The Times must keep in mind once Aaronovitch attempts to drag this country into another devastating global conflict.
 Sabbath Goy (urban dictionary)- Originally, a non-Jew who does work on Sabbath that a Jew cannot do. In modern times, it is a non-Jew who toadies to the every wish and whim of the Jews, especially in politics, or a non-Jew who is heavily supportive of Israel.
 Hasbara –Propaganda (Hebrew)
Tags: anti-Semitism, David Aaronovitch, Gilad Atzmon, Mass media, Nick Cohen, pro-Israel Media Bias, War, Zionism
Well, not much really…. Just that when you invite people who don’t consider each other to be “within the pale”, as British columnist David Aaronovitch said, then the discussion on anti-Semitism turns into character assassination.
No one expected a calm discussion during the debate entitled “Anti-Semitism – Alive and Well in Europe?”, which was organised by the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. Along with Aaronovitch, the panel included Gilad Atzmon and the Observer columnist Nick Cohen.
It’s not clear why Cohen was invited to join at the very last minute when his views, to the naked eye at least, are akin to those of Aaronovitch’s. It would be fair to describe both men as supporters of Zionism who believe that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that much of it is “unfairly” blamed on Israel’s actions.
Atzmon’s views, on the other hand, are well-known to those who follow websites on Palestinian activism. He has very strong views on “Jewishness” and “Jewish identity”, and makes a clear distinction between Jews as a people and those who commit crimes in the name of “Jewish ideology”.
Both Aaronovitch and Cohen launched an attack on Atzmon. Aaronovich took the podium for 18 minutes (when we were told each speaker would only have 10, and indeed Atzmon had less than 10) during which he gave a theatrical performance, reading out paragraph after paragraph of Atzmon’s articles to prove the point that the man was “fascist”. I doubt anyone in the audience managed to grasp what he was saying, but when you spit out the word “Jews” then at least it gives the impression what you’re saying about them is bad!
Cohen, other the hand, kept wondering, over and over again, why “upper-class”, “educated”, “white” people would waste such a beautiful spring day debating anti-Semitism with a “nutter” (well, at least I could say I learned something about racial and class prejudice that day!)
One can imagine how shocked and angry Atzmon was by the time it was his turn to take the podium. And this is why the event became a missed opportunity. He tried to steer the debate back to its theme, but at times his emotions failed him. In between having to answer to the attacks levelled against him by Aaronovitch and Cohen, and trying to remind people of what they came to discuss, much of his ideas were lost on those who’ve never followed his writings.
Once the floor was opened for questions, a member of the audience said the discussion, as a whole, “was a profound disappointment”.
So why did the Oxford Literary Festival invite Atzmon? After all, he’s the “proud self-hating Jew” who wonders how America has allowed its foreign policies to be shaped by “ruthless Zionists”. He’s the one who insists that the burning of synagogues is illegitimate, yet he believes the motivations behind such actions are political rather than religious or racial.
Cohen certainly conceded that whenever Israel launches a fresh attack on Gaza or Lebanon, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries are attacked in the UK. Yet somehow he refuses to accept the correlation between Zionist policies and anti-Semitism. He wants us to believe that anti-Semitism is fuelled by pure hatred for the Jews. After all, Chinese property wasn’t attacked in the aftermath of the Tibetan clashes last year. Sudanese property wasn’t attacked when Darfur was in the media.
Well, Mr. Cohen, maybe it’s because China and Sudan are being condemned in the international community, especially in Britain, while Israel to this day is being hailed as the West’s indispensable partner. Maybe it’s because what Israel has committed in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead” earlier this year has created more devastation than what happened in Darfur (and this is according to the head of the International Red Cross). Maybe it’s because it is acceptable for British Jews to join the IDF, and actively take part in Israel’s wars, while British Muslims or Chinese or whatever would never dare join a non-British army.
The response from some members of the “upper-middle class, educated, white” audience proved that these questions are not an endorsement of conspiracy theories. They are legitimate questions.
One man raised the question of the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington. It was their pressure that led Obama to back down on his decision to appoint Mr. Freeman as an advisor, a man well-known for his criticism of Israel. “In those circumstances,” the man asked, “is a rise in anti-Semitism surprising when democracy is affected by that type of lobbying activity that prevents Obama from being able to appoint Ambassador Freeman?”
We know what Atzmon would’ve said, but neither Aaronovitch nor Cohen answered that question.
None of this justifies attacking synagogues or anti-Jewish graffiti. If anything, Atzmon – whom Aaronovitch and Cohen blasted as a “fascist” and a “nutter – was saying ordinary Jewish people “must be saved of the crimes imposed on them.” The crimes taking place in Palestine aren’t being committed just in the name of Israel, but in the name of the Jewish people. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s a fact. If you’re in doubt, go and read the Israeli government’s statements during Operation Cast Lead.
Is it so outrageous to ask Jews in the UK to disassociate themselves from what is happening in Israel, without being labelled as an “anti-Semite”? Apparently it is. When people applauded Atzmon for making that point in the discussion, they were attacked by Aaronovitch who shouted “Shame on you! How dare you!”, even addressing one member in the audience by saying “You Sir, are an anti-Semite.”
In the aftermath of the July 7th attacks, Muslims were attacked everywhere. It became so dangerous that a fatwa had to be issued allowing women to take off the headscarf if they felt their lives were in danger. Yet at the same time, the Muslim community was under enormous pressure to disassociate itself from the terrorists who blew up those trains and busses. While they were being attacked themselves, they were still expected to make a clear statement that what happened on July 7th does not represent them and is not being committed in their name.
Try and say that to the Jewish community today without being called an “anti-Semite”.
Now I don’t want to ponder too much semantics but it is very ironic that anti-Semitism has been coined as a term exclusively for Jews when most of them do not belong to the Semitic race. Arabs, on the other hand, are Semitic. So if for one moment I, as an Arab, could reclaim that definition, I leave you with one point to think about.
In the beginning of his speech, Aaronovitch wanted to illustrate just how bad Atzmon was. He quoted the Guardian’s Jon Lewis who described Atzmon’s writings as “extremely popular in the Arab world.” Aaronovitch then fixed his audience with a gaze and asked them to keep that sentence at the very front of their minds.
On second thought, I think I did learn something about “anti-Semitism” that day.
Dima Omar is a Palestinian journalist and filmmaker. She is based in London.
Tags: Deir Yassin, gaza, IDF, IOF, Israel, Jewish state, Lieberman, Nakba, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine
With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies. (2) The stylish T-shirts, that promote the shooting of pregnant Palestinian women by indicating that in this way you can kill two human beings with one bullet, appeared strange to people abroad, too. (3) Moreover, the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister horrifies the public. (4) There would be further reasons to be disgusted, like the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the plans for expanding the illegal settlements, some killings, the abduction of Gazan fishermen and so on, but these details do not enter the global discourse, because, well, because they never did. The question is: how genuine is the amazement about what happened in Gaza?
Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 …
Deir Yassin and the Human Rights
1948 was a special year. It was marked by Plan D, the Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. (5) Jewish troops expelled about 700,000 people from the indigenous population of the country and killed many of the men in combat age. Even in 1936, after the Palestinian revolt, the Palestinian elite had been persecuted. This was shortly after the first Palestinian party was founded which was to represent the interests of the native population in the two fronts struggle against the British occupation and the Zionist conquerers. “Punishments” like the demolition of residence houses were firstly used by the British and were adopted later by the Zionists. In 1948, several Jewish terror groups were known, like the Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Lechi and others. They killed, took the land away from the local people and later contributed several prime ministers who were accepted by the world public without any difficulty – very similar to today.
Don’t think that the pogroms against the population of Palestine during the execution of Plan D were secret. When the future Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the Arab village of Deir Yassin attacked on April 9 and many of its inhabitants killed (certainly including children and women) in order to terrorize and horrify the people, this was covered in the world press. Begin defended his deed with a typical Israeli bonmot: “The massacre of Deir Yassin not only had its justification – without the ‘victory’ of Deir Yassin there had never been a State of Israel.” (6) Four years later, the same Begin attempted to kill the German chancellor Adenauer (7) and in 1978 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
When Deir Yassin went through the press, the horror about this deed was huge, very similar to today after Gaza. Everybody was surprised and disgusted, even perpetrators like Haganah and the Jewish Agency. A pattern came into being, the pattern of shooting and crying, i.e. killing with subsequent lament. This has worked: there have never been any consequences for Israel. The killings, the expropriations and the humiliation of the local population until today belong to the salient characteristics of Israeli politics. Nothing has changed.
At the end of 1948, large portions of Palestine were “Palestinian-free”, much more than the designated part of the land that the international community and the UN had granted to the Jews (with the explicit demand that the local people be treated well). We remember that the international community decided to give some land to the victims of the European genocide against the Jews and everybody was happy with the Palestine decision … except, of course, the people who lived in the region, because it was their land according to all international and logical standards. Weapons and myths (8) silenced them.
1948 was also the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December, when Israel was established on the blood of the Palestinians, the world celebrated the Human Rights and did not care about Palestinians. The world wanted human rights with exceptions, but this did not work. Now, sixty years later, we begin to understand that.
The Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state …
During its history, Israel has continued the Deir Yassin policy, and today there is less than 10 or 5 percent of the land left to the Palestinians. On global refugee days people do not talk about Palestinians, although they are the biggest group of refugees in the world with far over 5 million people. This works because Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims in general) are needed to fill the role of the anti-Semite which is substantial to the Zionist ideology.
It is, as if the world said: the Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state … Is it really surprising that we witness stunning similarities between the two today? (9) The Israeli population today is exactly confronted with the “final solution” subject now, because Israel cannot make peace on the one hand (this would imply justice for Palestinians, an unthinkable idea in Israel’s decision-making) and needs to end the conflict, on the other. With extremely violent politicians like Netanyahu and Lieberman the “transfer” plan comes closer, an idea to just expel Palestinians en masse like in the old days. Of course, if this happens, it will not mean peace, but more violence and even stronger resistance. So let your imagination fly and think about what a final solution could look like.
It is not known how many Palestinians must die before the world recognizes that they are human beings and not anti-Semites. Right now the killing goes on, the Gaza peak did not evoke a real criticism yet. Israel is encouraged to go on to see how far it can go. Do not think that this was it, do not think that Israel will now see that it cannot go on like this. The Zionists have learned that they can do anything with impunity. On March 22, 2009, a total of 14,000 tons of new US weapons arrived in Ashdod on the German cargo ship “MS Wehr Elbe” (owner: Oskar Wehr KG, Hamburg). (10) With these weapons alone, tens of thousands of people can be killed.
The Jewish state will collapse, like the Aryan state has collapsed, because both have the seed of self-destruction in them. Both are clearly racist, violent and expansionist in nature. This time it hits Arabs and Muslims instead of Jews. For over sixty years the international community has been blind to this fact, although it is so obvious that ordinary people know it and talk about it – not politicians or journalists or others who need the public.
Countries like Germany even have a “reason of state” to secure the persecution of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, calling it a “historical responsibility”. There is no other possible reason to introduce a reason of state if it was not for something highly illegal that needs to be hushed up.
We may still save the rest
The repressive tolerance of Western countries like Germany and the USA makes it possible to write all this down, because it usually has no “harmful” effects towards change. A lot of people think that – unlike the Nazi state – the Zionist state cannot be overcome by violence and thus will prevail. This is an error. Racist regimes of this ilk end up in self-destruction if they are not overcome from the outside. What is important now: we can still save lives. We cannot save the about 1,500 dead in Gaza anymore. But we may still save the rest.
At the end of May, the Free Gaza Movement will organize a flotilla of boats, the Hope Fleet, to break the siege of Gaza. You can support them. (11) The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is present in Palestine to shield Palestinians from the Zionist killers (12). You can support them and save lives. This is a critical phase and every hand is needed, every tongue and every cent. Boycott Zionists now! Take it seriously now! Boycott non-Israeli journalists and politicians who support the killing! Argue with them! Support those Jews who are committed against violence and for peace in Palestine. For the sake of humanity and of yourself: do not take part in this murder.
1. E.g. in the German “Spiegel”, “Israelische Armee: Gaza-Veteranen schockieren mit Aussagen über wahllose Morde.” by Ulrike Putz, Beirut, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,614286,00.html
2. See e.g. ‘Shooting and crying’, von Amos Harel, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html
3. See e.g. http://news.sky.com 20 March 2009, “Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings”, by Dominic Waghorn (URL too long)
4. Guardian 25 March 2009, “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s shame”, by Neve Gordon, http://www.redress.cc/palestine/ngordon20090327
5. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, 2006
6. Markus A. Weingardt (2002): Deutsche Israel- und Nahostpolitik. p. 33
7. See e.g. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 June 2006 “‘Im Auftrag des Gewissens’. Begin war Drahtzieher des Adenauer-Attentats”, www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
8. Myths like “A land without a people for a people without land”, “Arab aggressions/ David vs. Goliath”, “anti-Semitic Arabs/Muslims”, Palestinian Nazi cooperation (it was far less effective than Zionist Nazi cooperation), Arab military superiority (Jordan was the only country with a decent army then, and the Jordanian king was successfully promised a part of the prey, namely the West Bank); also see John Rose (2004), “Myths of Zionism”
9. This comparison is still forbidden in the mainstream, “for the security of Israel”, but it is as obvious as it is founded and necessary. See my essay “The Second Case”, Feb. 5, 2009, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/23.htm
10. Amnesty International, Press Release, April 1, 2009, United States Delivers Massive New Weapons Shipment to Israel, Confirmed by Pentagon, Says Amnesty International, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e (NB: The German government is co-guilty, cf. (in German): http://www.radio-utopie.de/2009/01/23/Bundesregierung-dementiert-Wissen-ueber-Waffentransport-nach-Israel-Chronologie-der-Wehr-Elbe-Affaere)
11. See press release and updates at www.freegaza.org
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan addresses the European Community in Oxford: Everyone should be aware that we are part of Europe, but we are Muslims as wellPosted: 04/04/2009 by editor in Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Middle East Issues, Newswire, Palestine, Religion, Resistance, War, Zionism
Tags: Davos Forum, Erdogan, EU politics, gaza, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Palestine, Resistance, Turkey
WRITTEN BY IQBAL TAMIMI Yesterday evening the Centre for Islamic Studies in Oxford hosted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Amina, whom I consider as an icon of a Muslim woman that deserves all the respect and admiration for her continuous support for the Palestinian women and her courage and dedication to human rights. A number of diplomatic personalities and statesmen accompanied the PM to Oxford after the last G20 summit meeting.
Erdogan was welcomed with a very long, warm applause, he spoke to the masses after some delay by the traffic in London which he apologized for, commenting in his usual humorous way that his counterpart Gordon Brown should do something to solve the traffic problem. ‘I used to think that the traffic jams in Turkey were the worst, but I discovered that London’s traffic is even worse,’ he said.
The Turkish Bristolian group who I have accompanied included Sakir Yildirim who drove an eight thousand mile round trip delivering an ambulance loaded with practical aid to Gaza. Business man Talip Topuz waited a long time until he got Prime Minster Erdogan’s autograph and danced happily with it for quite a while. The Bristol PSC group were lucky to secure a place, while almost a thousand people had to return back home, for the crowds were much more than the expectations of the lecture organizers, but still some preferred to wait outside the hall.
Most amazing was the relaxed atmosphere and the very friendly local police and security personnel, amongst whom were a British Muslim policewoman wearing a Hijab as part of her uniform.
Erdogan who had just arrived from the last meeting of the G20 summit held in London, during which he proposed solutions for the global economic crisis were discussed as well as another equally important issue of the mutual understanding and respect between people of different faiths and communities.
“It is important that the Western community understands that Turkey is a country that identifies with the European region and is part of it, but at the same time the majority of our nation are Muslims,” he said.
His call for others to understand the importance of mutual respect of faith choice was clear, ‘I respect Jesus and Moses and the message they came with, and I expect others to have similar understanding and respect for my faith,“ he said.
One of the guests requested a comment from the Prime Minister regarding the incident when he stormed out of a conference held in Davos, which was attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres after Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Erdogan said, “I had to do the same in Georgia as well, because I saw a fierce barbaric attack on women, children, the elderly and the vulnerable who do not have the means to defend themselves, they were killed while no one from the international community intervened to stop this aggression, this I could not tolerate. I saw with my own eyes young Palestinian children being killed in Gaza. The situation is still bad, for Israel is still refusing to open this big prison of Gaza to allow for humanitarian aid and food to reach families in desperate need of help, the people of Gaza are still living in tents and in need of help. I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair on this subject, and told him there is an urgent need to open the borders to allow the necessary building materials enter Gaza for rebuilding the badly damaged infrastructure.”
In response to a question about the expected timing of Turkey’s joining the European Union, Turkish Prime Minister said, “Until now, there is no set time. The UK had struggled for 11 years before joining the EU, and perhaps we should expect to wait as long. There is a routine procedure of examining two files at a time, and I always asked why only two, why not three.”
Erdogan also talked about Turkey’s organic farming plans: “There is a large extended border area between Turkey and Syria full of land mines; we plan to clean up the minefields and cultivate the area organically,” he commented on a question asked about farming in Turkey.
He also spoke about the upcoming visit of U.S. President Obama, expected to take place in Turkey next week and said, “I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair as well, and discussed this issue with USA President Obama and we will discuss it again when he arrives in Turkey that there is an urgent need to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and such discussions should involve all Palestinian parties involved, including the Hamas.” (photo by Iqbal Tamimi)
Tags: Israel, Jenin Orchestra, Khalid Amayreh, Palestine, Pro-Palestinian activists, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Zionism, Zionists
Zionist massacres then and now. I have been under fire of late from two diametrically opposite quarters. First, the fanatical, self-worshipping Zionists who think that non-Jewish suffering should never ever be compared with Jewish suffering.
Needless to say, this psychotic attitude stems from deep-seated convictions that a Jew is a special creature whose life is worth more than the rest of humanity. Haven’t we noticed, for example, how Israel has made “Gilad Shalit”, the Israeli soldier imprisoned by Hamas, a household name all over the world, while next to nothing is mentioned about the estimated 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps?
And, second, some pro-Palestinian activists who believe that I should avoid invoking the holocaust in my writings lest this help legitimize the Zionist narrative and inadvertently justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
To our pro-Palestinian activists, I, with all due respect, would like to say the following. I sincerely believe that we would be walking in the path of immorality if we denied or belittled other people’s suffering. Indeed, it is imperative that we retain our humanity and moral fabric in the course of this legitimate struggle against the evil state. We must never imitate or emulate their ways and tactics. This would be self-defeating, self-destructive and immensely demoralizing.
Moreover, we must refrain from saying or doing things that would make others portray us as inherent enemies of Jews, because we are not.
We also need to be constantly vigilant and cautious about what we say and how we say it, lest we inadvertently besmirch the legitimacy of our just cause.
Israel is so manifestly criminal and ugly that we don’t need to deny anyone’s suffering to prove this plain fact.
In short, we don’t have to shoot ourselves in the foot. It is wrong and it hurts us a lot.
Obviously, the Zionists’ “arguments” are motivated, as always, by ill-will and a malicious desire to silence critics of Israeli criminality whose phantasmagoric expressions we all witnessed recently in the Gaza Strip.
The subject of contention this time has been an article I published a few days ago, entitled “Shame on us,” in which I strongly criticized efforts by some dubious “peace activists” to bamboozle some innocent Palestinian children from some impoverished localities into playing music before “holocaust survivors.”
This is what happened last week when a dozen young musicians from the Jenin Refugee Camp, in the northern West Bank, were taken surreptitiously to Tel Aviv where they were made to play a serenade before some elderly Zionists, some of whom veterans from the many criminal wars Israel had waged on our people. And as I said in the article, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was not carried out by UFOs but by the very people our children are now being asked to cheer up.
Understandably, the not-so-innocent event left many Palestinians infuriated by the cheap exploitation of these kids for Israeli hasbara purposes. As one who lost three uncles in one day to Zionist murderers in 1954, I felt deeply wounded and humiliated by that event.
I am actually not against reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. I don’t and never will view Jews as our inherent enemies. Some Jews are actually among the most effective supporters of our national cause. Those we salute for their honesty and morality.
However, it is obvious that true reconciliation in this part of the world requires that the slate be made thoroughly clean. Usurped rights must be returned to rightful owners, and wrongs must be rectified. This I say to honest and conscientious Jews who are genuinely interested in justice and peace.
But to the Zionists I would like to say that the following: the latest point of contention is not about music or even peace. This is first and foremost about human dignity of which the children of the holocaust and their children and grand children and great grandchildren have been trying to rob us.
And whether you like it or not, for us, at least, you represent the real Wehrmacht, the real SS and real Gestapo. You are the Nazis of our time. This is what we see from our vantage point. This is what much of the world sees. This is what many honest and conscientious Jews see.
You stole our country, you murdered our people, you destroyed our homes, and you expelled and dispersed the bulk of our people to the four corners of the world. And after all of this, you have audacity to dupe our children to sing and play music to you? This is simply beyond, far beyond, Chutzpah.
Some of you habitually babble the word “hatred” whenever a Palestinian asserts his people’s humanity and dignity.
Well, you are really sick to the bone if you think Palestinians must sacrifice their dignity in order to become a hate-free people according to the Zionist lexicon. We will not pay tribute to the killers of our children, we will not show respect to those who murder us.
Besides, who do you think you are anyway to lecture us on hatred? After all, you represent and embody hatred in its ugliest form. The extirpation of a people from its ancestral homeland from time immemorial is a satanic act par excellence. The destruction and obliteration of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages to fulfill Jewish nationalism is diabolical act of the highest order.
Your recent blitzkrieg in Gaza during which your Nazi-like army ganged up on a helpless, unprotected civilian population, exterminating them with bombs and missiles and incinerating their children with White Phosphorus proved once again that you are no better than the hateful Nazis you curse day and night for what they did to you sixty years ago.
Well, try to get yourselves out of this cocoon of self-denial. The Palestinian people don’t hate music nor do they teach their kids to hate Jews or non-Jews, it is your evil and murderous actions that generate hatred against you not only among Palestinians and Muslims but among many other people around the world.
Just look at your ugly faces in the mirror.
Tags: Ehud Barak, Israeli government, Lieberman, Netanyahu, Shas, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Zionism
There is no doubt that the new Israeli government, led by Benyamin Netanyahu, honestly reflects the collective mindset of the Israeli Jewish Zionist society. True, there are Israelis who are averse to racism and fascism, but these are unfortunately very few in numbers and their influence is almost negligible.
Indeed, a fleeting glance at the composition of the new Israeli cabinet reveals an extremist coalition of war criminals, pathological liars, racist thugs (both of the Hitlerian and Stalinist styles), and hateful religious maniacs who inhale and exhale hatred 24 hours per day.
For those who don’t know him, Benyamin Netanyahu is a pathological liar par excellence. His modus operandi is based on dishonesty, mendacity, prevarication, and deception.
Despite his public relations babbling about “peace with our neighbors,” the man is firmly anti-peace, against the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and against equal rights for Jews and non-Jews.
He is actually an enthusiastic advocate for Judaizing East Jerusalem by checking Arab demographic growth, demolishing Arab homes and denying Jerusalemites their natural rights to build homes to meet natural growth.
This brazenly racist policy is known as “narrowing Arab horizons” and its ultimate goal is to force the Arab inhabitants of Al-Qods, or as many of them as possible, to leave the city and emigrate for good.
Netanyahu’s venomous racism is not confined to the Palestinians of the “occupied territories” or the “Shtachem” as the West Bank and Gaza Strip are often referred to in Hebrew.
He was quoted on several occasions as demanding that “measures” be taken to prevent Israel’s Palestinian citizens from reaching the 30% threshold.
Furthermore, Netanyahu who often invokes the concepts of civility, democracy and western culture, especially when addressing naïve western audiences, actually believes that Israel should embark on a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians if and when the international community, particularly the US, would tolerate such a scenario.
In 1989 Netanyahu told students at Bar-Ilan University that “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”
Well, for those who take the word “transfer” lightly, they should know that “transfer” is only a euphemism for genocide.
If such is the character of the premier, one can have a clear idea about his lieutenants and ministers from Avigdor Lieberman, to the gurus of Gush Emunim (the settler movement), who are shamelessly demanding that non-Jews in Israel-Palestine be either exterminated, deported or enslaved as water carriers and wood hewers in the service of the master race!
And then there is the irredeemably opportunistic war criminal Ehud Barak who insists rather arrogantly that the army that exterminated hundreds of Gaza children with White Phosphorus just two months ago is the most moral army in the world.
Netanyahu is not stupid. He realizes that his ideological convictions are too ugly and too fascist to be accepted by the international community, including the US, Israel’s guardian-ally.
This is why he is going to mislead the world by blurring and hiding, as much as possible, his government’s fascist nature.
He will heavily resort to employing “diversionary tactics” such as “terror,” “Iran,” “anti-Semitism,” and “Hamas” to distract attention away from the fascist and criminal platform of his government.
He will shout “Auschwitz, Treblinka, Mauthauzen, Bergen Belsen” whenever Israeli crimes are exposed and criticized.
He will claim that Israel will not allow itself to be pushed to the brink Auschwitz whenever Israel is demanded to end its Nazi-like occupation of the Palestinian homeland and allow the Palestinian people the right to independence and self determination.
In short, we are talking about a man who lies as often as he breathes a dishonest politician who thinks and smart public relations can be a more effective substitution for an honest peace process based on human rights and international law.
This is why, the capitals of the world must not allow themselves to be duped, deceived and cheated by this notorious, cardinal liar.
I am, of course, in no way suggesting that the previous Israeli government was less nefarious than the new one. The previous government of the evil trio Olmert, Livni and Barak had all the hallmarks of a Zionist Third Reich.
What else can be said of a government that ordered its army to exterminate and incinerate thousands of civilians with White Phosphorus, and then shamelessly claimed that it didn’t really mean to do it?
However, that government was considered by many states around the world, such as the gullible Europeans, a “government of peace,” a “liberal,” even “leftist government,” which really gave a new meaning to the term “verbal fornication.”
For us Palestinians, and despite the legitimate and understandable anxiety stemming from the rise of fascism in Israel, it is still better to have in Israel a manifestly fascist government pursuing fascist policies than a deceptively “liberal” or “leftist” government pursuing the same criminal policies.
Let the world see Israel as it really is.
In the final analysis, an honest criminal is better than a lying saint. At least the former is predictable and consistent.
Tags: anti-Semitism, Christian, Israel, Jewish, Muslim, Palestine, US foreign policy, Zionism
Nobody, even the hawks and tyrants themselves, would deny the fact that the majority of the world’s decisions are made by a group of certain leaders who lead certain countries of some certain regions! Our world’s population approaches 7 billion as of 2008, with people living in 203 sovereign states and countries, and there are just something around 30 people who decide the destiny and prospect of this “flock” of 7 billion, and this is exactly what we expect of the 21st century’s democracy; a revolutionized form of a then-sublime concept that the conscious human would enthusiastically long for.
Perhaps the extraordinary and outlandish ethnic cleansing and systematic massacre of civilians, committed habitually by the state of Israel, is something instinctive to the very existence of the 60-year old “country”, and as said by Gilad Atzmon in an interview which I had once conducted with him, you can not expect benevolent, human and lawful treatment of downtrodden people by the Jewish state.
However, what makes me astonishingly baffled and bemused is the approach of European and North American states to the long-standing punishment of Palestinian people by Israel. Once you dare appear and criticize Israel for its illegal actions, a bunch of mainstream personalities set off to mobilize and accuse you of the famous ‘anti-Semitism’, ‘anti-Judaism’ and such libels.
Interestingly, those who expound these accusations are either really uneducated and unaware about the historical facts or pretend to be ignorant and uninformed. Etymologically, Semitism refers to the adherence of Semitic languages or ancient Semitic religions. In the former case, Semitic languages are a group of intertwined languages which comprise Arabic, Aramaic, Tigrinya and Hebrew. Arabic is the most widely spoken among the Semitic languages. So anti-Semitism, in its etymological foundation, should more than likely signify the notion of being opposed to Arabic and Aramaic languages, and this is basically unwarranted and meaningless.
If one considers the latter case, Semitic religions are Christianity, Islam and Judaism; Christianity and Islam rank first in the world by number of adherents, namely 2.1 billion and 1.5 billion respectively. The total number of world Jews, however, does not surpass 14 million, which is comparatively insignificant in comparison with the two other faiths. So anti-Semitism, again does not represent the school of being opposed to Judaism, as a monotheistic religion.
Those who consciously employ this term to demoralize the critics of Israel know well that they can potentially embroil Arabs, Muslims (as all of the Arabs are not necessarily Muslims), African speakers of Semitic languages, Christians and Jews in an erosive conflict with one another.
They want to portray Israel as the symbol of Judaism and intimidate the dissidents of Israel thereby, so that they retract and pull back from criticizing the genocidal policies of Tel Aviv and its allies.
Issues are really complicated in this field; because you cannot argue with and convince the ordinary people to believe that a “country” cannot be the representative of a religion, as Saudi Arabia can not be the representative of Islam. Religion is the intuitive incorporation of moral, ethical, human and decent values in the hearts and minds of people, and no governmental system can claim that it symbolizes the absolute, supreme incarnation of the official religion which it clings to. Maybe, for example, Iran’s name is officially mingled with the name of Islam, and the governmental system is theocratic, even so, that would be irrational to judge on Islam and its reality based on the situation of Iran. Perhaps Iran might be impoverished someday due to the financial meltdown, so would it be then practicable to conclude that Islam is the religion of poverty and shortage?
In the same way, you cannot evaluate religion by considering the majority. The majority of American people (around 75% of the population as of 2002) are Christians, while the governmental system is secular; nonetheless, you cannot assess the authenticity and veracity of Christianity on the grounds of American people’s lifestyle, behavior, contemplation and manner. Even the practicing Christians of the U.S. are quite far away from the fundamental pillars of their religion.
Similarly, Israel is not the manifestation of Judaism. Judaism denounces terrorism, killing of the innocent, occupation and trespassing. Israel introduces itself as a Jewish State, while it’s not really what it maintains; it does not practice what it preaches, and unfortunately is wrongly blending the expansionist, interventionist and reactionary notion of Zionism with Judaism as a religion.
However, these lexical, etymological and methodological differences aside, what is worth the most is that resistance against bulling and oppression is a cultural heritage that Palestinians have used to nurture during times. I believe that the bastion of resistance against aggression which the Palestinian people have long formed, examines the moral and ethical genuineness of our personalities, thinkers, rhetoricians and theoreticians.
I don’t want to give an ultimate declaration; yet I believe that the unconditional support of Israel which is extensively prevalent among the hawkish conservatives and warmonger hardliners with the pretext of defending “Israel’s right to exist” or recognizing its right to “self-defense” merely indicates an advertent blind eye to one of the most striking realities of our era.
Thousands of people are ousted from their lands, being slaughtered usually as an entertaining activity for its perpetrators and live under the harshest threats one can undergo.
We don’t request anything. We just want the ‘international community’, if that’s not a linguistic equivalent for the U.S. and its European friends, to act, and fulfill the content of 22 UNSC resolutions which have been issued so far, to condemn the unusual actions of Israel. Israel is called the “occupying power” by the UNSC, and we want somebody to end this occupation.
I want, as a citizen of the world, to breathe in clean, pure and unsullied air. I want to wake up one morning and hear from the radio that occupation of Palestinians’ lands, massacre of Palestinian people and violation of Palestinians’ rights is eventually ended. May I experience that day?
Tags: Holocaust, IDF, Israel, Jewish, Jewish Identity Politics, Jihad, Judaism, Palestine, Resistance, Zionism
Palestine- a piece of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years Palestine was the home of the Palestinian people: Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived in peace and harmony for hundred of years. In the late 19th century, in the light of emerging European nationalism, a few Jews had decided that Jews should not be left out. They then invented the notions of: ”Jewish people”, ”Jewish history” and ”Jewish nationalism”. They decided to settle the majority of world Jewry in Palestine. Throughout the years the Jewish national project, i.e., Zionism, had become more and more sinister and ruthless. In 1949 70% of the indigenous Palestinian population had already been ethnically cleansed. Nowadays the majority of Palestinians are living behind barbed wire in a state of terror guarded by Israeli soldiers.
Jews- the people who happen to identify themselves as Jews. Jews are not a race, they do not follow a single belief system either. I made myself a rule. I categorically refrain from dealing with ”the Jews” as a collective or an ethnic group. Instead I restrict myself to criticism of Jewish politics, Jewish ideology and Jewish identity.
Judaism- one of the many religions practiced by the Jewish people (Jews for Jesus, Jews For Buddha, Jews For Allah and so on). Though Judaism contains some non-ethical aspects and teachings, the one and only peace-seeking collective amongst the Jewish people is actually a religious orthodox sect, namely Torah Jews. This fact is enough to make me very careful when criticising Judaism as a religion. When dealing with Judaism, I would restrict myself to criticism of interpretations of Talmudic racism and the biblically orientated Zionist genocidal plunder of Palestine.
Jewishness- Jewish ideology, the interpretations of the meaning of being a Jew by those who regard themselves as Jews. Jewishness is the core of Jewish identity, it is a dynamic notion. It is hard to pin down. While refraining from criticising Jews (the people) and Judaism (the religion), elaborating on Jewishness is a must, especially considering the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jewish people. As long as the Jewish state is shelling civilians with white phosphorous, it is our ethical duty to question: Who are the Jews? What does Judaism stand for? What is Jewishness all about?
Palestine vs Israel- Palestine is a country, Israel is a state.
Palestinians- currently the longest lasting sufferers of racist colonial abuse and state terrorism. Palestinians are the only true indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. 4,300,000 Palestinian refugees are scattered in the Middle East. There are Palestinians who managed to hold onto their land yet are denied equal civil rights, others live under military occupation. The Palestinian cause is largely the ethically grounded demand of the Palestinian people to return to their own land. The land that belongs to them and to them alone. The Palestinian cause is the demand to dismantle the Jewish state and to form a State of its Citizens instead.
Zionism- the national colonial practical interpretation of Jewish ideology. It asserts that Jews are entitled to a national home in Zion (Palestine) at the expense of the Palestinian people. Zionism is a colonial racist philosophy that practices genocidal tactics. It is a biblically orientated precept. Although Zionism portrayed itself initially as a secular movement, from the very beginning it transformed the Bible from a religious text into a land registry.
Israel- the Jewish state is a racist political concept. It is a place where Jewish supremacy is celebrated in an institutional manner. Israel is a place where 94% of the population supports dropping white phosphorus on innocent civilians. Israel is the place where Jews can pour their vengeance on the Goyim.
Palestinian resistance- the exercise of the ethical right to resist an invader, an ethnic cleanser and a racist.
Demographic bomb- Israel possesses many bombs, cluster bombs, petrol bombs, atomic bombs, WMD bombs, etc. The Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic bomb. The Palestinians are the majority of the people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This fact itself defines the temporal quality of the Idea of Jewish state in Palestine.
Zionism vs Jewishness- it is difficult or maybe even impossible to determine where Zionism stops and Jewishness begins. Zionism and Jewishness establish a continuum. As it seems, Zionism has become the symbolic identifier of the contemporary Jew. Every Jew is identified by himself and others in reference to the Zionist compass (Zionist, anti-Zionist, oblivious to Zionism, love Zionism but hate Israel, love Israel but hate falafel and so on).
Secular Judaism and Jewish Secular Fundamentalism- secularity has been a very popular precept amongst Jews in the last two centuries. The Jewish form of secularity is very similar to rabbinical Judaism. It is fundamentally monotheistic, it believes in one truth (God is dead until further notice). It is supremacist, it is extremely intolerant of others in general and Muslims in particular, it even promotes wars in the name of enlightenment, liberalism, democracy and even in the name of the victims to come.
Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder- the kind of mental state that leads 94% of the Israeli population to support air raids against civilians. Within the condition of the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD), the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place. Within Pre-TSD, an illusion pre-empts reality and the condition in which the fantasy of terror is itself becoming grave reality. If it is taken to extremes, even an agenda of total war against the rest of the world is not an unthinkable reaction. Unlike the case of paranoia, wherein the sufferer is subject to his own symptoms, in the case of Pre-TSD the sufferer actually celebrates his symptoms while others are left with the role of the audience or even victim. The sufferers of Pre-TSD within the press and media lobby for global conflict. Once they are in power they just spread death around. They manage to see a threat in almost anything. The Pre-TSD sufferer would call to flatten Iran, he would defend the IDF military campaign in Gaza for his own existential fears. The Pre-TSD sufferer is rather predictable and for one reason or other always to be found in the non-ethical cause.
Jihad- the struggle to improve one’s self and society. Jihad is the attempt to reach a harmony between the self and the world. It is there to bridge the gap between self loving, loving self and the love towards others. Jihad is the answer to chosenness.
Holocaust- an overwhelmingly devastating chapter in recent Jewish past. It would be difficult to imagine the formation of the Jewish state without the effect of the holocaust. Yet, it is impossible to deny the fact that Palestinians ended up paying the ultimate price for crimes that were committed against the Jews by other people (Europeans). Hence, it would make sense to argue that if Europeans feel guilty about the Holocaust, they better take extra care of its last victims, i.e., the Palestinians.
It must be mentioned that due to some legislation that restricts the scrutiny of the holocaust in an open academic manner, the holocaust is no longer treated as an historical chapter. Instead it is regarded by many scholars as a religious narrative (namely, Holocaust Religion). Those who do not obey the religion or follow its restrictions are chased, excluded and jailed. The failure to maintain the holocaust as a vivid historic chapter turned Jewish history into a Pandora’s box sealed by prohibitions, legal restrictions and different forms of threats. In an ideal ”free world”, we would be able to look into the holocaust, to regard it as an historical chapter and to draw some lessons out of it. That would mean also questioning its meaning. In an ideal (free) world, we may as well be allowed to wonder how come, time after time, Jews ended up despised and detested by their neighbours. In an ideal (free) world Jews may have a chance to learn from their mistakes in the past. For the time being, as long as we want to keep free, we better avoid questioning the past.
The Meaning of the Holocaust- the Holocaust provides the Jews and others with two obvious lessons. One is universal and almost simplistic, it says: ”NO to racism”. As some Jewish intellectuals predicted after the war, Jews were supposed to lead the fight against racism. Seemingly, it didn’t happen. Not only did it fail to happen, but the Jewish state had become the ultimate form of racist practice. Three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the newly formed Jewish state brutally ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. As time goes by, the Jewish state doesn’t try to disguise its racist agenda, i.e., Jews only state.
The second lesson that can be drawn out of the holocaust is far less abstract, it is actually very pragmatic. It suggests to Jews ”to be aware of their deed”. It suggests to Jews ”to act ethically, or at least to pretend to do so”. Seemingly, this lesson is totally ignored. In the Jewish state young IDF soldiers wear T-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption “1 shot 2 kills”. In the Jewish state, civilians had been caught picnicking watching their army dropping unconventional weapons on their Palestinian neighbours. The Israeli reality and the forceful Jewish lobbying around the world portray a complete dismissal of any ethical judgment or moral conduct. Whether it is the genocidal practice against the Palestinian people or the lobbying for more and more global conflicts. If the meaning of the holocaust would have been internalised, different appearances of such inhuman behaviour would have been addressed and tackled.
However, within the prohibition to re-visit our history we may still be entitled to reflect over Nazi brutality towards Jews in the light of the Jewish state’s crimes in Palestine. Seemingly, there is no legislation that prohibits us from doing that as yet.
Hamas- political party that was elected in 2006 by the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Since then Israel has withheld payments owed to Gaza, causing the Palestinian economy to collapse. It has blockaded Gaza for months, starving the civilian population. And yet, Hamas proved once again that the Palestinian people are resilient. In spite of Israel’s genocidal tactics, in spite of the IDF targeting children, women and the elderly, Hamas’ popularity increases by the day and more so especially after the last Gaza conflict. It has now become clear that Israel does not possess the means of combating Islamic resistance. In other words. Israel’s days are numbered.
Gatekeepers- for many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse had been shattered by those who claimed to know what is right and what is wrong. They also claimed to know what should be discussed and what subject must be dropped. Initially, gatekeepers tried to recruit the Palestinian movement to fight antisemitism. Another bizarre agenda was to use the Palestinian people as another Guinea pig in a dogmatic socialist exercise.
Due to the growing success of Palestinian and Islamic resistance, the power of Gatekeepers is now reduced to none. Though gatekeeping operators still insist upon exercising their powers, their influence is totally restricted to primarily Jewish cells.
Antisemites- in the old days, antisemites were those who didn’t like Jews, nowadays, antisemites are those the Jews don’t like. Considering the growing chasm between the Jewish state and its lobbies and the rest of humanity, we have good reason to believe that before not too long, the entirety of humanity will be denounced as antisemitic by one Jewish lobby or another.
Antisemitism- a misleading signifier. Though it refers largely to anti-Jewish feelings, it gives the impression that these feelings are racially motivated or orientated. It must be clear that Jews are not a race and do not establish a racial continuum. Thus, no one hates the Jews for their race or their racial identity.
Bearing in mind Israeli crimes and Jewish lobbying around the world, anti-Jewish feeling should be realised as a political, ideological and ethical reaction. It is a response to a criminal state and its institutional support amongst world Jewry. Though resentment to Zionism, Israel and Jewish lobbying is rather rational, the failure to distinguish between the ”Jew”, and Zionism is indeed very problematic and dangerous especially considering the fact that many Jews have nothing to do with the Zionist crime. However, due to the extensive Jewish institutional support of Israel, it is far from easy to determine where the ”Jew” ends and the Zionist starts. In fact, there is no such demarcation line or spot of transition. The outcome is clear, Jews are implicated collectively by the crimes of their national project. One obvious solution for the Jew is to oppose Zionism as an individual, another option is to oppose Zionism in the name of the Torah, it is also possible for the Jew to shun the tribal ideologist in himself.
Self loving- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally right, moral and unique. This is the secular interpretation of being chosen.
Self Hatred- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally wrong, immoral and ordinary. This state of being may also be a point of departure of a spiritual ethical quest.
Chicken Soup- is what is left once you strip Jewish identity of Judaism, racism, chauvinism, White Phosphorous, supremacy, cluster bombs, secularity, Zionism, Israel, intolerance, Nuclear reactor in Dimona, cosmopolitanism, genocidal tendency, etc. The Jew can always revert to chicken soup, the iconic symbolic identifier of Jewish cultural affiliation. The Jew is always more than welcome to say: ”I am not religious nor am I a Zionist, I am not a banker, nor is my name Madoff. I am not a ”Labour friend of Israel” nor I am a Lord or look like a cash machine. I am just a little innocent Jew because my mama’le used to feed me with chicken soup when I was slightly unwell.” Let’s face it once and for all, chicken soup is not that dangerous (unless you are a chicken). My grandmother taught me that it was very healthy. In fact I tried it once in winter 1978, I had the flu then. It helped, I feel better now.
Tags: Abbas, Arab culture, Israel, Jerusalem, Khalid Amayreh, Palestine, West Bank, Zionism
In its increasingly rabid efforts to consolidate control of traditionally Arab-East Jerusalem, Israel this week moved to suppress Palestinian cultural activities associated with the city being declared the capital of Arab culture for 2009.
On 19 March heavily armed paramilitary police violently dispersed a meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, confiscating posters, leaflets, placards and computers.
Israeli police also raided schools, social clubs and community centres to foil activities celebrating Arab culture in the occupied city which Israel considers its “united and undivided capital”.
Several organisers, including East Jerusalem lawmaker Hatem Abdel-Qader, were arrested on charges of disturbing peace.
Israeli security forces cordoned off East Jerusalem by deploying soldiers at all entrances to the city. They turned back visitors, including several delegations from Arabian Gulf states, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Frustrated by the draconian Israeli measures the Palestinian Authority, the main organiser of the festivities, decided to transfer the main event to Bethlehem, a few kilometres south of Jerusalem. Hundreds of PA officials, foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and diplomats arrived on 21 March to listen to a speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas reasserted his commitment to establishing a viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, on all Palestinian land Israel occupied in 1967.
“We will continue to reject the Israeli policy of Judaising Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem]. And we will not hold peace talks with any Israeli government that rejects the two-state solution,” said Abbas, alluding to Israeli designate-Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
The Palestinian leader, who recited a few verses of the Quran pertaining to the status of Jerusalem in Islam, pointed out that Jerusalem was the key to peace in the region and the world, saying that peace will not prevail unless and until the Israeli occupation ends completely.
Addressing the Arab-Muslim world, Abbas said: “I urge our Arab and Muslim brothers to come to the rescue of Jerusalem, protect Jerusalem from the act of rape to which the city is being subjected… Jerusalem is being Judaised by force, its Arab identity is being obliterated, its history is being falsified, its people are being oppressed and tormented. Its homes are being demolished. Jerusalem is the beginning and the end, it is the ultimate address of peace. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
Addressing Israel, Abbas said: “Peace can’t be made through the building and expansion of settlements, brute force and military insolence. What happened in Gaza recently reflects the Israeli mindset, and with such a mindset, it is clear there can be no peace.”
Abbas’s desperate but defiant words epitomised the situation across the occupied Palestinian territories but especially in Jerusalem, where Israel is planning to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes.
The planned destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood in the heart of the city has been described by PA officials as “demographic decapitation”.
“They are indulging in ethnic cleansing in broad daylight. They are chasing Palestinians out of their homes. They are trying to decapitate Arab existence in East Jerusalem, step by step, home by home, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, while they continue to lie about their desire for peace,” said Rafiq Al-Husseini, a senior aide to Abbas.
Asked by Al-Ahram Weekly what the PA was going to do to prevent Israel from carrying out the wholesale destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood [the goal is to build a park and recreational facilities for Jewish settlers in the surrounding areas], Al-Husseini said the PA would try to mobilise the international community to stop Israeli crimes.
During her recent visit to the occupied territories US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the planned demolitions as “unhelpful” and “incompatible with Israeli commitments under the roadmap”.
Israeli officials were unimpressed by Clinton’s warnings. Jerusalem’s Jewish mayor, Nir Barkat, described her words as “a lot of air”, claiming she had been misled by the Palestinians.
Barkat, an extreme right-winger, vowed to destroy Arab homes en masse, saying that “what we do in our capital is none of America’s business”.
Israeli efforts to obliterate the Arab-Islamic-Christian identity of Jerusalem began immediately after 1967. Four days after seizing the city Israeli army bulldozers razed the Maghariba and Sharaf neighbourhoods. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighbourhoods were expelled at gunpoint. Two mosques, two religious schools or Zawiyas and 135 houses were destroyed.
Several months later Israel seized the Harat Al-Maghariba for “public use” and built a large plaza in front of the Buraq — the Wailing or Western — Wall. The heart of Al-Maghariba and the adjacent, smaller Harat Al-Sharaf were both Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) properties dating back to the time of Salaheddin Al-Ayoubi (Saladin).
According to Palestinian sources Israel has demolished as many as 700 homes in the old town alone, forcing many inhabitants to seek shelter outside the boundaries of the city, e.g. in the West Bank.
Since 1967 Israel has confiscated 34 per cent of East Jerusalem for “public benefit” and designated 44 per cent of the occupied Arab town as “green space”. Nine per cent of the city was confiscated for the purpose of building settlements, leaving only 13 per cent of the original, built up Arab area, for the Palestinians.
In addition Israel has adopted a number of aggressive measures aimed at forcing the town’s Arab inhabitants to leave. These include imposing excessive taxes on real estate, including homes, withholding vital municipal services from Jerusalem’s Arabs in order to force them to relocate and denying residency rights to as many as 20,000 Arabs living in the city.
The Israeli authorities have continued to deny Arabs building licences, exacerbating a housing crisis in the Old Town and surrounding Arab neighbourhoods.
The systematic destruction by Israeli municipal authority of “illegally-built” homes pushed thousands of Jerusalemites to the brink of despair.
Adnan Al-Husseini, the nominal Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, described Israeli measures in Jerusalem as a “full fledged demographic war”.
“The Israeli goal is very clear. It is to force as many Palestinians as possible to leave the city and sell their property to Jewish interests.”
Al-Husseini said Israel was following a variety of tactics to achieve its strategy, including psychological and economic pressure, heavy taxation, physical coercion and harassment and financial incentives to force Arabs to sell their properties. Jerusalemite Arabs were clinging to their city, he said, despite Israeli efforts to curtail Arab demographic growth.
The Palestinian population of Jerusalem has grown extensively since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. Today, the total population of Jerusalem (East and West) is estimated at 720,000, including 475,000 Jews (66 per cent) and 245,000 Arabs (34 per cent).
As many as 260,000 of the Jewish population of the city (54.7 per cent) are living in 34 colonies established in and around East Jerusalem since 1967.
Maali Adomim, Pisgat Zeev, Har Homa and Gush Itzion are among the largest of these settlements.
Israeli demographic experts predict the Palestinian population will make up 40 per cent of the town’s total population by the 2020. It is to forestall this possibility that Israel has been making frantic efforts to confiscate more Arab land in order to build Jewish settler units.
According Israeli sources tenders for building more than 25,000 settler units have been issued since the Annapolis conference in 2007.
Earlier this month the Israeli group Peace Now revealed that the Israeli government was planning to build more than 73,000 units in the occupied West Bank, most of them in existing settlements surrounding East Jerusalem.
The group, which monitors settlement expansion in the West Bank, said the new plans would lead to the doubling of the Israeli settler population and scuttle any prospects for the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state.
Among the most dangerous and explosive aspects of Israel’s efforts to Judaise East Jerusalem is the ongoing excavation and digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.
According to Waqf officials, digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque is seriously undermining the foundations of Islamic shrine and the nearby Dome of the Rock.
Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, warned that it was only a matter of time before a “major disaster” occurred as a result of Israeli diggings in the vicinity of the Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) esplanade. He accused the Israeli authorities of constructing subterranean tunnels beneath Islamic holy places without any consideration for the safety of Islamic shrines. “I can say without the slightest exaggeration that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing the danger of collapse as a result of these excavations.”
Islamic Palestinian leader Raed Salah was even more dramatic in voicing his concerns. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing urgent danger. A medium earthquake could cause the collapse of the mosque.”
Salah was arrested by Israeli police on Monday, 23 March, charged with “disturbing the peace” and “inciting against Israel”.
In recent years the Israeli security authorities have allowed extremist Jews to enter the Haram esplanade and perform Jewish prayers and other rituals.
In 1967 the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque “once and for all”.
The story was told by Narkis shortly before his death in 1997 and quoted by Avi Shlaim, an Israeli historian, in The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.
“There was an atmosphere of spiritual elation. Paratroopers were milling around in a daze. Narkis was standing for a moment on his own, deep in thought, when Goren went up to him and said ‘Uzi, this is the time to put a hundred kilograms of explosives in the Mosque of Omar and that’s it, we’ll get rid of it once and for all.’ Narkis said ‘Rabbi, stop it.” Goren then said to him, ‘Uzi, you’ll enter the history books by virtue of this deed.’ Narkis replied, ‘I have already recorded my name in the pages of the history of Jerusalem.’ Goren walked away without saying another word.”
Two weeks later the Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Moroccan Gate).
Numerous efforts by Jewish extremists to destroy the Islamic shrine have been reported over the years.
Tags: Azmi Bishara, gaza, Israel, John Kerry, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Resistance, US foreign policy
We had thought that the train of events from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to its invasion of Gaza, the impression these events created in people’s minds and the growing disillusionment with forces favouring the current settlement process offered sufficient inspiration and impetus to revise official Arab approaches to that process. However, one remains compelled to wonder just how prepared the forces opposed to this approach are to seize the historic opportunity to put an end to that process, rather than to succumb to the current drive to contain them. After all, the US and its allies in the East and West are haunted by this very spectre — the fear of losing the settlement legacy — for which reason they have been waging a sustained diplomatic assault on the region since the Sharm El-Sheikh conference on the reconstruction of Gaza.
The previous US administration had come to the conclusion that the Palestinian leadership, alone, was incapable of reaching a permanent deal with Israel on Israeli conditions, or of keeping the internal Palestinian situation under control. It therefore encouraged its Arab allies to play a more active and determined role in supporting the current negotiating process, strengthening the PA security agencies and countering the resistance in Palestine and elsewhere. Although the allies did as asked, in Annapolis and later, Washington did not take their interests into account. Instead it drove them into a state of permanent self-defence in the face of their own public opinion. Take, for example, their stance during the war on Lebanon in 2006, their incomprehensible boycott of the Damascus summit in March 2008, their complicity in the siege on Gaza, and their position during the summit on Gaza in Doha. To every season its men and its governments: in these regimes there emerged politicians, intellectuals and media figures of the sort that are ready to take part in the “struggle” to resist the resistance, alongside Israel and the US. Of course, the structure and culture of these regimes and their adherents is totally at odds with the concept of resistance and its corollaries of self-sacrifice and risk. They are not constructed to struggle, whether for themselves or for the US and Israel. This is borne out by the failure of the coup against the national unity government and the elected legislative majority in Gaza and in Beirut in March 2008. It is this difference that distinguishes them, for example, from rightwing Lebanese forces of the past. These were fascist forces engaged in a “struggle” against the Palestinian resistance, sectarian militias prepared not only to fight and commit massacres, like the current anti-resistance forces, but also to die for the sake of a sectarian cause, as did fascist forces in Italy, and in Spain during the Spanish civil war in the 1930s. Such dedication is no more. It has been replaced by a type of commitment that has no compunction when it comes to committing crimes but speaks the language of rent and deference to money and material gain. In the latest phase of dialogue and containment on which the Obama administration has embarked these forces, too, find themselves in crisis.
The new US administration has stated repeatedly that it views the region from a perspective of Israeli security when it comes to Iran and uranium enrichment, as well as to resistance against Israeli occupation. It believes that Israel’s right to security is not connected with ending the occupation, that it has the right to be an occupying power and at the same time be safe and that it is the Arabs’ duty to sit quietly in their camps, under the conditions of the occupation and the economic boycott, watch the news bulletins on negotiations and rejoice at the Mitchell appointment.
The new administration has also decided that the PA proved itself by keeping the security situation in the West Bank under control during the Gaza crisis. Israel thinks likewise, regarding this as its first real harvest from the Oslo process, a vindication of its earlier claims that Arafat was never serious about security coordination. The nature of the Palestinian leadership has, indeed, changed since the assassination of Arafat. The nature and creed of the PA and the level of coordination of its agencies has changed since Israel stopped being the enemy and became a true partner. In US and Israeli eyes, this type of PA merits support. However, such support stops way short of meeting the demands of the Palestinian people and remains confined to financial and security support, which is what is meant by the term “capacity building”.
The new administration in Washington maintains that support for the PA leadership goes hand in hand with weakening the resistance axis. This has conditions:
- Taking the interests of subordinate Arab states into account.
- Holding talks with Iran to convince it to halt uranium refinement activities while seriously hinting at sanctions before resorting to the military option. This requires building an Arab-Israeli front against Iran which, in turn, requires talking with those Arab countries that “fall under Iranian influence” and, perhaps, taking these countries’ interests into account to a level worked out beforehand.
- In order to identify the interests of these countries within the framework of a cooperative arrangement against Iran for the sake of Israel and to resolve the Palestinian problem comprehensively a new regional roadmap must be drawn up.
- This regional roadmap would support and fortify the already existing Palestinian “roadmap” but it would be much broader and comprehensive, taking into account the interests of countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria in exchange, obviously, for abandoning Iran, and the resistance movements in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq (with special consideration paid to the existing reality in Lebanon).
The region can thus expect a new “roadmap” for years to come, whether or not it appears in text form or under this title. This is where Washington’s actions are meant to lead us, not to a settlement, permanent or otherwise, or to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights. This is what will keep us occupied for a long time unless something momentous intervenes, such as a resurgence of the resistance or another war.
In order to flesh out the hypothesis outlined above I will turn to a critical discussion of the lecture delivered by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry at the Saban Centre of the Brookings Institute on 4 March 2009. Senator Kerry is a former presidential candidate and a leading Democratic Party figure who came out early in favour of Barack Obama. His lecture followed a recent visit to the region, covering Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. By way of introduction, I will say that the new administration in Washington has taken on board the conclusions of the Baker-Hamilton committee, supported by the Defense Secretary Bill Gates, which is precisely why the Obama administration kept him on in this capacity. The US establishment has absorbed everything that needed to be deduced from the failure of the war policy that the Bush-Cheney administration pursued throughout Bush’s two terms, which is why that establishment backed Obama. Let us turn now to Kerry’s conclusions following his visit to the region.
In his opening remarks Kerry welcomed the election of Obama as an extraordinary chance to signal a new approach to the region because of his pragmatism and “willingness to listen and lead”. He pauses to recount the “emotional” impact of the visit, which effects are presented with carefully calculated selectivity. He felt compassion for the suffering of the settlement village of Sderot over the past eight years and also “deeply moved” by the sight of “little Palestinian girls playing in the rubble” where once an American school stood. (I must admit I have a problem with liberals who want to show how fair and even-handed they are. They make the victims look nice when they want to support some of them and a little girl playing in the ruins of a bombarded American school serves the purpose admirably. As for the occupying power, it is taken for granted in their camp that it is the real victim for perpetuity.). He then proceeds to enumerate four causes for hope, in spite of the election of Netanyahu and all the wars. As we shall see, he does not hope for a solution but he is very optimistic about reaching a new “roadmap”.
The first cause is a “tectonic shift in Middle East geopolitics”.
“The rise of Iran has created an unprecedented willingness among the moderate Arab nations to work with Israel. This re-alignment can help lay the groundwork for progress towards peace.”
Otherwise read, strategic cooperation between the Arabs and Israel precedes peace, which begs the question as to why Israel would need to work towards a solution with the Arabs when it is already cooperating strategically with them against a common enemy.
Second, he says, “the Arab Peace Initiative has emerged as the basis on which to build a Regional Road Map that enlists moderate Arab nations to play a more active role in peacemaking”.
Third, reiterating what every mid-level Israeli Labour Party activist has said and Olmert himself stated in his farewell interview with Yediot Aharanot of 13 October 2008, Kerry holds that “the outlines of a final status agreement are in fact clearer than ever”. In his opinion, the challenge is how to get there and his answer is “to move simultaneously on capacity-building in the West Bank and final status talks”. One can fail but notice that as clear as the outlines of a final status agreement are said to be, Kerry does not venture to spell them out. This is largely because to him the road to get there is what counts. Back to the process is everything, the goal nothing. Life is one never ending negotiation.
The fourth cause was the election of Obama. His administration presents an opportunity for “charting a new path that will empower moderates on all sides who have been lacking political cover and losing political ground”. This was intended as a criticism of the Bush administration which showed no appreciation for the particular circumstances and interests of the Arab “moderates” and failed to provide them sufficient support, thereby keeping them under constant pressure and in perpetual conflict with their political environment.
Somehow the Arab position has done a 360 degree turn. There was a time when the Arab nationalist position held that to separate the Palestinian cause from its Arab hinterland was to collude with designs against the cause. The cause was, in fact, severed from its greater Arab nationalist dimension in Camp David, and even more so in Oslo; however, the Palestinian leadership was incapable of reaching a solution with Israel. Then suddenly it was realised that the cause would have to be restored to its regional dimensions, not because of pressures from Arab nationalism but because Arab nationalism no longer presented a threat, and also because the official Arab order had long since abandoned any Arab nationalist dimension to the Palestinian cause. Now that is a complete reversal. This is why Kerry can be so confident in his assertion that the Palestinian cause was a regional problem that needed to be handled in a plan that covered other regional influential issues, contrary to the customary tactic of dealing with these issues separately. The approach is possible in Kerry’s view because, “Whereas once the Arab world voted unanimously for the three no’s — no dialogue with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no peace with Israel — there are now three very different no’s which dominate many discussions in the region: no Iranian nukes, no Iranian meddling, and no Iranian hegemony”. Then he adds, quite explicitly, that because of this perceived common threat, the moderate Arab states and Israel “are now cooperating in ways that were unimaginable just a couple of years ago”.
Kerry goes on to say that the Bush administration drew many red lines that it could not enforce (he was referring to that administration’s prohibitions against talking with Iran and Syria, among others). The Obama administration would change that. It would focus on what can be done and leave side issues alone. The regional aim is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. Therefore, without foregoing the military option, we must move beyond the old red lines. According to the senator this entails talking with Iran about mutual interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and bringing Iran back into the international fold with recognition of its regional role in exchange for halting uranium refinement activities. There would also be talks with Syria, with the purpose of isolating and weakening Iran and its instruments such as Hezbollah. China and Russia would naturally be asked to help, though Kerry does not spell out how and what the US would have to pay in return. Russia has demands and interests extending from the Baltic in the north to Serbia in the south, and around the Caspian and Black Seas. China has an equally vast scope of interests. Would the US alienate and sacrifice the interests of its other allies in the world in order to please Russia and China, and all this in order to isolate and bring Iran to heel for the sake of Israel? Kerry did not bother following through on the questions his proposals beg.
Kerry supports dialogue with Syria and believes its goals realistic. Syria has negotiated with Israel before, in the face of Tehran’s objections, he observes. Of course Syria will try to “play both sides of the fence for as long as it can” but ultimately “I think that President Assad understands that, as a secular Arab country with a Sunni majority population, Syria’s long-term interests lie not with Iran but with its Sunni neighbours and the West”.
But if this is where Syrian interests lay what has been keeping it from this realisation for so long? Could it be that Kerry had not made it as plain to Damascus as his lesson to it on the Syrian demographic composition? Or could it be that there is a meeting between Syrian national security and the concept of Arab national security that the policies of the US, Israel and their Arab allies helped enhance? That question too is left unanswered. But this is why the US has not opposed the attempt on the part of its Arab allies to embrace Syria and avoid angering it.
However, this is not enough. There are Syrian and Arab demands and interests that the US and Israel lack the flexibility to meet. But Syria apparently will be glad just to talk. It will play the game because it has a political and economic interest in breaking the blockade against it. Of course, there might be some among Syria’s ruling elite, though not yet in the highest decision making echelons, who have more to gain from dialogue. Kerry is aware of this, which is why he stressed linking Syria to the Western economy.
“How do we begin?” Kerry asks midway through his speech. The starting point is to encourage the Arabs to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative which “bold step never received the focus it deserved when the Saudi King Abdallah proposed it in 2002″.
He sums up this initiative as essentially based on the formula of land in exchange for Arab recognition and normalisation with Israel. However, like Israel he still gives normalisation precedence over peace. For example, although there is the already existing Quartet “roadmap” for the Palestinian track, there is a need for a “regional roadmap” that will “require a sustained multilateral effort like the one that followed the first Madrid Conference in 1991″.
It is odd how everyone likes to recall that burst of activity, even though it brought the Arabs no closer to the solution of their demands. The “moderates” will also, according to Kerry’s vision, be expected to pressure Hamas into halting missile fire from Gaza and agreeing to a national unity government that conforms to the Quartet’s set conditions. In addition, Egypt has the task of stopping arms smuggling across its borders while Jordan will continue to train PA security agencies.
The only measure that Kerry offers the Arab allies in exchange for everything they are expected to do is to demonstrate “with actions rather than words, that we are serious about Israel freezing settlement activity in the West Bank”. At least, for once, there is some recognition that to all previous US administrations the position that settlement activity is an obstacle to peace was, indeed, mere words.
Perhaps the Kerry vision, as presented in his Saban Centre lecture, offers some insight into the current American diplomatic offensive in the region and some of the current Arab reconciliation movements. However, this leads us back to the question we asked at the beginning of this article. What are the supporters of a reconsideration of the entire settlement process doing at this moment? Do they have a strategy to counter the US diplomatic offensive? Until very recently conditions were favourable to them rather than to the pro-settlement process forces.
Sami Jamil Jadallah – We Will Not Forgive The Jews For Their Silence; for Turning Israel Into a Racist, Criminal State.Posted: 03/26/2009 by editor in Features, Newswire, Palestine, Religion, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, War, Zionism
Tags: gaza, Israel, Jewish Identity Politics, Lebanon, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Racism, Unconventional Weapons, US foreign policy, War, Zionism
The Jewish War on Gaza and its resultant destruction of the Gaza Strip and the horrible killings of innocent women and children in cold blood and as reported in series of articles in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and in statements made by UN officials were not surprising since Jewish soldiers are educated and trained to do that, simply kill. And so the total silence of the Jewish community around the world and especially the US Jewish community should not come as a shocking surprise but was and is expected and so their dancing in the streets of New York City as their army was leveling Gaza, destroying homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, and UN supply depot and so their successful push for a an overwhelming resolutions in both House and Senate supporting Israel’s crimes in the name of “self defense”.
Ehud Barak, the Jewish Defense Chief in charge of the War on Gaza had the Chutzpah to declare the Jewish Army as “the most moral army in the world” as he went about justifying the killing and mayhem in Gaza. Of course Ehud Barak is right. The war on Gaza and the War on Lebanon, the many wars on the Arabs, and the crimes committed by his Jewish army are part of a culture, religious and value system that makes killing and murder of Arabs, a moral thing. For sure neither Ehud Barak nor the Jewish communities around the world and especially in the US seems to have heard of the word of the late Chaim Weizmann, the first Jewish president as he warned “ I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs”. Chaim Weizmann had good reasons to worry about how these Jewish settlers of Palestine and how they treat the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinians.
The Jewish State was not founded by peaceful new immigrants seeking refuge and escape from the Pogroms of Russia; it was founded by angry, racist militants committed to ethnically cleansing Palestine from its Arab inhabitants by all means, preferably by military means and cold blooded murder. That philosophy of the past continues today some 100 years later. The Jewish Occupation of 67 not only inspired the Jewish communities around the world, it was the rallying cry of Jews energized and drunk with victory giving Israel total unconditional and unquestionable support for all of its actions and the many wars initiated and engaged in by the Jewish state since 67.
The political, theological and social ideology that inspired the killings in Gaza, is the same that inspired the force expulsion of 700,000 Arabs, the total demolitions of 550 Arab villages, the killings in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Lod, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana I and Qana II, and the same that inspired the dropping of high explosive bombs over the school in Dir Albaqr in Egypt, the same that inspired the dropping of 1.5 million cluster bombs over civilian targets in Lebanon, the same that inspired the dropping of phosphorous bombs over civilian targets in Gaza and bombings of hospitals, schools, homes and mosques. Such a theological value system also inspired the American Rabbi Baruch Goldstein to gun down dozens and injure more than a hundred Muslim worshipers as they kneeled in early Morning Prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. This theological philosophy was well explained in an essay titled “Ideology behind the Hebron Massacre” by the late Professor Israel Shahak.
For many Jews, secular or religious, believe that true redemptions comes about through murder and killings of Arabs, such were the views of the late American Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane proponent of “ extermination of the Arabs as the surest way to bring about “True Redemption of the Jews”. Rabbi Kahane calls on the Jews not fear Gentile but fear God only as “they go about expelling all Arabs from the land of Israel”. This view remains the rallying cry of the Jewish Settlers movements and the Hill Top Jews.
That religious and theological philosophy is the prevailing philosophy of the Gush Emunim, the Jewish Settlers movement benefiting from the large generosity of American Jews especially philanthropic Jews engaged in gambling, prostitution, liquors and Bingo Games and Gods knows what else? According to Ian Lustic, Gush Emunim believe that “Jews are not and cannot be normal people” due the covenant made with God in Mount Sinai. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner one of their leader believes “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of “justice and righteousness” such laws do not apply to Jews”. Rabbi Israel Ariel was quoted as saying “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment, and has not violated the prohibition of murder” Such religious philosophy prevails among the leaders of the Gush Emunim the likes of Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, Rabbi Ariel all of whom are of the views that” Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because the land was once Jewish all the property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews”. As such the Arab-Israeli conflict must not be seen as political conflict but a theological conflict that justifies the crimes in Gaza.
Eric H Yoffe in an article titled “Promoting Racism in Israel” provides a very similar and frightening interpretation of the prevailing views among leading Rabbis especially the explanation of the commandment in Deuteronomy 25:17 where quoting from February 26,1980 article published in Bat Kol, the student paper of Bar-Illan University and titled “ The Mitzvah of Genocide in the Torah” written by Rabbi Israel Hess where theological justifications for are found for “Killing of babes and sucklings, and forbid the showing of mercy”. This theological view comes from “milchment mitzvah” or war of religious obligations “Jewish Jihad”. Unlike the views held by suicide bombers that God provides them with 70 virgins for killing innocent people, the Jews believe that God Him Self comes down on the side of Jewish soldiers as they engage in cold blooded murder of non-Jews. This view was recently confirmed by Grand Rabbi Joseph Ovadia who claimed as reported in Haaretz that God interfered on the side of the Jewish soldiers during the War on Gaza and telling them where the terrorists were hiding.
In the same article Eric H. Yoffe, reports of exchange between Rabbi Shimon Wiser and one Yeshiva student who is also a member of the Jewish Army where the later (student) concludes “during wartimes I am permitted, even obligated to kill every Arab man and woman who happens across my way. I am obligated to kill them even if this leads to complications with military codes”. It seems this was the prevailing views not only of soldiers, but commanders and civilians leaders as well. It should not be so shocking for American Jews who secured congressional support for their Jewish Army to note the recent testimony of soldiers who reported in certain instances the cold blooded murder of an old Palestinian woman as she drudged alone on a lonely road, or the killings of a women and her children as she confused the orders of going left rather than right. I am sure such acts of cold blooded murder made those who prepared and shoved the congressional resolutions down the throat of members of Congress very proud and is part of the value system prevailing among Israeli supporters.
This racist and criminal attitude goes toward the views that Palestinians Arabs do not belong and should not belong in Jerusalem, in Jewish towns and cities and certainly not in Israel. Thus the views of politicians the likes of Avigdor Lieberman who is committed to “transfer” of Arabs out of Israel/Palestine, and leading scholars such as Rabbi Elieser Waldenberg, the winner of the 1976 Israel Prize who is of the view that Palestinians, Muslims and Christians should not be allowed to live in Jerusalem and if the Jewish State to follow the covenant with God “it must expel all non Jews from Jerusalem, in like manner, it is forbidden to us to permit non-Jews to be a majority in any cities among the cities of Israel” (Haaretz, May 9, 1967). Thus the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem has nothing to do with security as claimed, and the recent demolitions of Arab homes in Jerusalem has nothing to do with city regulations and housing codes, but has every thing to do with a theological and religious fatwa’s that forbid non-Jews to live in Jerusalem.
I always wondered why there is so much enmity between the Jewish State and the Arabs, between the world Jewish community, especially the American Jewish community and the Arabs, since the Arabs never committed the kind of crimes the Jews had to face for thousands of years, from the expulsion to Babylon, to the Inquision of Catholic Spain, to the Pogroms of Orthodox Czarist Russia to the Holocaust of Protestant Germany and the defamation of the Protocols of Zion. The Arabs and Muslims never did commit the kind of crimes that makes the Jews hate the Arabs so much. The golden age of Jews was during the periods of Muslims empires. However now I understand. It must be part of a religious, theological and cultural philosophy that must have been dormant for thousands of years and was dusted off and given a new life with the founding of Zionism and founding of a Jewish State to be a light among all nations.
With very few exceptions there is a defending silence among “Diaspora Jews”, as if a conspiracy of silence exists and in fact it does exist, especially in the US where very few Jews dare to speak out against the racist and criminal acts of Israel, against the Jewish Occupation, against the more than 500 “security” check points where Palestinians of all ages are subject to the most demeaning of human humiliations on daily basis. There is absolute silence against Israel Apartheid policies and practices, against the Jewish settlements on stolen Arab lands (including mine), against the Apartheid Wall, against the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem, against the destruction of farms and uprooting of hundreds of thousands of trees, against house demolitions, against targeted killings, against arbitrary arrests, against the use of civilians as shields for the very brave Jewish soldiers and against the siege of Gaza and against war crimes committed by the Jewish Army in Gaza. Those brave Diaspora Jews (very few) who dare to speak out find themselves in the cold, out on the streets, dismissed from jobs and denied tenures and otherwise blackmailed by a Jewish community that prides itself to be among the first to support the Civil Rights movement, the first to stand up against the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and his “un-American inquisition”. Yes we have every right to be angry at “Diaspora Jews” and we have every right not to forgive them for turning what would and should have been a safe heaven for Jews that turned to a racist and criminal enterprise called the State of Israel. Of course no one expect Jewish leaders, commanders and soldiers to ever face war crimes, since Jews are not subject to abstract codes of justice and righteousness.
This essay was inspired by:
“The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre” by Professor Israel Shakah.
“Promoting Racism in Israel” by Eric H. Yoffe.
“On the eve of destruction” by Ari Shavit
IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism and lax rules of engagement: Haaretz 19/03/2009.
ANALYSIS/ Can Israel dismiss its own troops’ stories from Gaza? Haaretz 19/03/2009.
IDF orders probe into allegations over Gaza war. Haaretz 19/03/2009.
Barak seeks legal okay to move civilians from homes. Haaretz 04/03/2008
Judges, scholars call on UN to probe war crimes by both sides in Gaza. Haaretz 20/03/2009.
Reserve IDF generals: Ethics probe necessary but difficult to carry out. Haaretz 20/03/2009.
UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crimes of greatest magnitude. Haaretz 19/03/2009.
Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques- IDF fashion 2009. Haaretz 20/03/2009.
Special Note: The Jewish State in addition to banning pasta, it also banned jam, biscuits, tomato paste, tea, sweets, and date bars, as security items from going into Gaza.
Tags: Gilad Atzmon, Israel, Jewish Identity Politics, Palestine, terror, The Bund, War on Terror, Zionism
The issue I am going to discuss today is probably the most important thing I’ve ever had to say about Israeli brutality and contemporary Jewish identity. I assume that I could have shaped my thought into a wide-ranging book or an analytical academic text but instead, I will do the very opposite, I will make it as short and as simple as possible.
In the weeks that have just passed we had been witness to an Israeli genocidal campaign against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. We had been witnessing one of the strongest armies in the world squashing women, elderly people and children. We saw blizzards of unconventional weapons bursting over schools, hospitals and refugee camps. We had seen and heard about war crimes committed before, but this time, the Israeli transgression was categorically different. It was supported by the total absolute majority of the Israeli Jewish population. The IDF military campaign in Gaza enjoyed the support of 94% of the Israeli population. 94% of the Israelis apparently approved of the air raids against civilians. The Israeli people saw the carnage on their TV screens, they heard the voices, they saw hospitals and refugee camps in flames and yet, they weren’t really moved by it all. They didn’t do much to stop their “democratically elected” ruthless leaders. Instead, some of them grabbed a seat and settled on the hills overlooking the Gaza Strip to watch their army turning Gaza into modern Hebraic coliseum of blood. Even now when the campaign seems to be over and the scale of the carnage in Gaza has been revealed, the Israelis fail to show any signs of remorse. As if this is not enough, all throughout the war, Jews around the world rallied in support of their “Jews-only state”. Such a popular support of outright war crimes is unheard of. Terrorist states do kill, yet they are slightly shy about it all. Stalin’s USSR did it in some remote Gulags, Nazi Germany executed its victims in deep forests and behind barbed wire. In the Jewish state, the Israelis slaughter defenceless women, children and the old in broad daylight, using unconventional weapons targeting schools, hospitals and refugee camps.
This level of group barbarism cries for an explanation. The task ahead can be easily defined as the quest for a realisation of Israeli collective brutality. How is it that a society has managed to lose its grip of any sense of compassion and mercy?
The Terror Within
More than anything else, the Israelis and their supportive Jewish communities are terrorised by the brutality they find in themselves. The more ruthless the Israelis are, the more frightened they become. The logic is simple. The more suffering one inflicts on the other, the more anxious one becomes of the possible potential deadly capacity around. In broad terms, the Israeli projects on the Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Iranian the aggression which he finds in himself. Considering the fact that Israeli brutality is now proved to be with no limit and with no comparison, their anxiety is as at least as great.
Seemingly, the Israelis are fearful of themselves being the henchmen. They are engaged in a deadly battle with the terror within. But the Israeli is not alone. The Diaspora Jew who rallies in support of a state that pours white phosphorous on civilians is caught in the exact same devastating trap. Being an enthusiastic backer of an overwhelming crime, he is horrified by the thought that the cruelty he happens to find in himself may manifest itself in others. The Diaspora Jew who supports Israel is devastated by the imaginary possibility that a brutal intent, similar to his own, may one day turn against him. This very concern is what the fear of anti-Semitism is all about. It is basically the projection of the collective Zio-centric tribal ruthlessness onto others.
There is no Israeli – Palestinian Conflict
What we see here is a clear formation of a vicious cycle in which the Israeli and his supporters are becoming an insular fireball of vengeance that is fuelled by some explosive internal aggression. The meaning of it all is pretty revealing. Since Palestinians cannot militarily confront Israeli aggression and destructive capacity, we are entitled to argue that there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All there is, is Israeli psychosis in which the Israeli is being shattered with anxiety by the reflection of his own ruthlessness. Being regarded as the Nazis of our time, the Israeli is thus doomed to seeing a Nazi in everyone. Similarly, there is no rise in anti-Semitism either. The Diaspora Zionist Jew is simply devastated by the possibility that someone out there is as ethically corrupted and merciless as he himself proved to be. In short, Israeli politics and Zionist lobbying should be seen as no less than a lethal Zio-centric collective paranoia on the verge of total psychosis.
Is there a way to redeem the Zionist of his bloody expedition? Is there a way to change the course of history, to save the Israelis and their supporters from total depravity? Probably the best way to pose this question is to ask whether there is a way to save the Israeli and the Zionist from themselves. As one may gather, I am not exactly interested in saving Israelis or Zionists, however, I do grasp that redeeming Zionists of their transgression may bring a prospect of peace to Palestine, Iraq and probably the rest of us. For those who fail to see it, Israel is just the tip of the iceberg. At the end of the day, America, Britain and the West are now subject to some similar forms of “politics of fear” that are the direct outcome of Neocon deadly interventionist ideology and practices.
The Shrink from Nazareth
Many years ago, so we are told, there was an Israelite who lived amongst his brethren in the land of Canaan. Like the contemporary Israelis, he was surrounded by hate, vengeance and fear. At a certain stage he had decided to intervene and to bring a change about, he realised that there was no other way to fight ruthlessness than to search for grace. “Turn your other cheek” was his simple suggestion. Identifying the Israelite’s psychosis as “a war against terror within”, Jesus grasped that the only way to counter violence is to look in the mirror while searching for Goodness within.
It is rather apparent that Jesus’ lesson paved the way to the formation of western universal ethics. Modern political ideologies drew their lesson from the Christian prospect. Marx’s normative search for equality can be seen as a secular rewriting of Jesus’ notion of brotherhood. And yet, not a single political ideology has managed to integrate the deepest notion of Jesus’ grace. To seek peace is primarily to search for one within. While Israelis and their Neocon twins would aim at achieving peace by means of deterrence, true peace is achieved by the search for harmony within. As a Lacanian scholar may suggest, to love your neighbour is actually to love yourself loving your neighbour. The case of the Israeli is the complete opposite. As they manage to prove time after time, they are really loving themselves hating their neighbours or in short, they simply love themselves hating in general. They hate almost everything: the neighbour, the Arab, Chavez, the German, Islam, the Goy, Pork, the Pope, the Palestinian, the Church, Jesus, Hamas, calamari and Iran. You name it, they hate it. One may have to admit that hating so much must be a very consuming project unless it gives pleasure. And indeed the Israeli “pleasure principle” could be articulated as follows: it continuously drives the Israeli to seek pleasure in hate while inflicting pain upon others.
It must be mentioned at this point that the ˜War Against Terror within” is not exactly a Jewish invention. Everyone, whether it is nations, peoples or individuals, are a potential subject to it. The consequences of American nuclear murderous slaughter in Hiroshima and Nagasaki made the American people into a terrorised collective. This collective anxiety is known as the “cold war”. America is yet to redeem itself of the fear that there maybe someone out there as merciless as America proved to be. To a certain extent, operation Shock and Awe had a very similar effect on Britain and America. It led to the creation of horrified masses easily manipulated by highly motivated elite. This exact type of politics is called “politics of fear”.
And yet, within the western discourse a correction mechanism is in place. Unlike the Jewish state that is getting radicalised by its own self feeding paranoia, in the West, evil is somehow confronted and contained eventually. The murderer is denounced and hope for peace is somehow reinstated till further notice. Not that I hold my breath for President Obama bringing any change, one thing is rather clear, Obama was voted in to bring a change. Obama is a symbol of our genuine attempt to curtail evil. In the Jewish state, not only it doesn’t happen, it can never happen. The difference between Israel and the West is rather obvious. In the West, Christian heritage is providing us with a possibility of a wish grounded on belief in universal goodness. Though, we are under the constant danger of exposure to evil, we tend to believe that goodness will eventually prevail. On the other hand, in Hebraic tribal discourse, Goodness is the property of the chosen. The Israelis do not see goodness or kindness in their neighbors, they see them as savage and as a life-threatening entity. For the Israelis, kindness is their very own property, accidentally they are also innocent and victims. Within the western universal discourse, goodness doesn’t belong to one people or a single nation, it belongs to all and to none at the same time. Within the western universal heritage, Goodness is found in each of us. It doesn’t belong to a political party or an ideology. The elevating notion of grace and a Good God is there in each of us, it is always very close to home.
What Kind Of Father Is That?
“Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you –“ a land with large, fine cities you did not build, houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill.” (Deuteronomy: 6: 10 -11).
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations…then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)
At this point we may try to attempt and to grasp the root cause behind the severe lack of compassion within the Israeli discourse and its supportive lobbies. I believe that an elaboration on the troubled relationships between the Jews and their different Gods may throw some light on the topic. It is rather obvious that the ever growing list of Jewish “Gods”, “Idols” and “Father-figures” is slightly problematic at least as far as ethics and kindness are concerned. The very relationship between “the son” and the “non-ethical father” must be explored. The philosopher Ariella Atzmon (who happens to be my mother) defines the complexity of the false beginning as the “Fagin Syndrome”. Charles Dickens’ Fagin is a “kidsman”, an adult who recruits children and trains them as pickpockets and thieves, exchanging food and shelter for goods the children steal. Though the kids must be grateful towards their master, they must also despise him for turning them into thieves and pickpockets. The kids realise that Fagin’s goods are all stolen and his kindness is far from being genuinely honest or pure. Sooner or later the kids will turn against their master Fagin in an attempt to liberate themselves of the immoral catch.
From a father-son perspective, the Biblical Jewish God Jehovah is no different from what we might see in the Fagin syndrome. The father of Israel leads his chosen people through the desert to the promised land so they can rob and plunder its indigenous habitants. This is not exactly what one may expect of an ethical father or a “kind God”. Consequently, as much as the sons of Israel love Jehovah, they must also be slightly suspicious of him for turning them into robbers and murderers. They might even be apprehensive regarding his kindness. Thus, it shouldn’t take us by a surprise that throughout Jewish history more than just a few Jews had turned against their heavenly father.
However, bearing in mind the common secularist perception that Gods are actually invented by people, one may wonder, what leads to the invention of such an “unethical God”? What makes people follow the rules of such a God? It would be also interesting to find out what kind of alternative Gods Jews happened to pick or invent once Jehovah has been shunned.
Since emancipation, more than just a few Jews had been disassociating themselves from the traditional tribal setting and rabbinical Judaism. Many intermingled with their surrounding realities, dropped their chosen entitlement and turned into ordinary human beings. Many other Jews insisted upon dropping God yet maintaining their racially orientated tribal affiliation. They decided to base their tribal belonging on ethnic, racial, political, cultural and ideological grounds rather than the Judaic precept. Though they noticeably dropped Jehovah they insisted upon adopting a secularist view that was soon shaped into a monolithic religious-like precept. All throughout the 20th century, the two religious-like political ideologies that had been found to be most appealing by the Jewish masses were Marxism and Zionism.
Marxism can be easily portrayed as a secular universal ethical ideology. However, within the process of transformation into a Jewish tribal precept, Marxism has managed to lose any traces of humanism or universalism. As we know, early Zionist ideology and practice was largely dominated by Jewish leftists who regarded themselves as true followers of Marx. They genuinely believed that celebrating their Jewish national revival at the expense of Palestinians was a legitimate socialist endeavour.
Interestingly enough, their opponents, the anti-Zionist Bund of the East European Jewish Labour, didn’t really believe in the institutional robbery of the Palestinians, instead, they believed that taking from rich European is a great universal mitzvah on the path towards social justice.
The following are a few lines from The Bund’s anthem
We swear our stalwart hate persists,
Of those who rob and kill the poor:
The Tsar, the masters, capitalists.
Our vengeance will be swift and sure.
So swear together to live or die!
Without engaging in questions having to do with ethics or political affiliation, it is rather obvious that the Jewish Marxist anthem is overwhelmingly saturated with “hate” and “vengeance”. As much as Jews were enthusiastic about Marx, Marxism, Bolshevism and equality, the end of the story is known. Jews en masse dropped Marx a long time ago. They somehow left the revolution to some enlightened Goyim such as Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. Leaders who truly internalised in the real meaning of universal equality and ethics.
Though in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Marxism found many followers amongst European Jews, following the Holocaust, Zionism has gradually become the voice of world Jewry. Like Fagin, the Zionist Gods and Idols: Herzl, Ben Gurion, Nordau, Weizmann, promised their followers a new unethical beginning. Robbing the Palestinians was their path towards a long overdue historical justice. Zionism transformed the Old Testament from a spiritual text into a land registry. But again as in the case of Jehovah, the Zio God transformed the Jew into a thief, it promised him someone else’s property. This in itself may explain the Israeli resentment towards Zionism and Zionist ideology. Israelis prefer to see themselves as the natural dwellers of the land rather than pioneers in a non-ethical Jewish Diaspora colonial project. The Israeli Jew furnishes his political stand by means of severe ethical escapism. This may explain the fact that as much as the Israelis love their wars, they really hate to fight them. They are not willing to die for a big abstract remote ideology such as the “Jewish nation” or “Zionism”. They overwhelmingly prefer to drop white phosphorous and cluster bombs from afar.
However, along the relatively short history of modern Jewish nationalism the Zio God made friends with some other Gods and kosher idols. Back in 1917 Lord Balfour promised the Jews that they would erect their national home in Palestine. Needless to say, as in the case of Jehovah, Lord Balfour made the Jews into plunderers and robbers, he came up with an outright non-ethical promise. He promised the Jews someone else’s land. This was basically a false beginning. Evidently, it didn’t take long before the Jews turned against the British Empire. In 1947 the UN made exactly the same foolish mistake, it gave birth to the “Jews-only State” again at the expense of the Palestinians. It legitimised the robbery of Palestine in the name of the nations. Like in the case of shunned Jehovah, it didn’t take long before the Jews turned against the UN. “It doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, all that matters is what the Jews do”, said Israeli PM David Ben Gurion. Recently Israelis had managed to even shun their best subservient friends in the White House. On the eve of the last American presidential election Israeli Generals had been filmed denouncing President Bush for “damaging Israeli interests for being overwhelmingly supportive” (Ret. Brig General Shlomo Brom). The Israeli Generals basically blamed Bush for not stopping Israel from destroying its neighbours. The moral is rather clear, the Zionists and the Israelis will inevitably turn against their Gods, Idols, fathers and others who try to help them. This is the real meaning of the Fagin syndrome within the Israeli political context. They will always have to turn against their fathers.
I believe that the most interesting Jewish belief system of them all is the Holocaust Religion, which the Israeli Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz rightly defined as the “new Jewish religion”. The most interesting aspect of the Holocaust religion is its God-figure, namely “the Jew”. The Jewish follower of that newly formed dogmatic precept believes in “the Jew”, the one who redeemed oneself. The one who “survived” the “ultimate genocidal” event. The followers believe in “the Jew”, the “innocent” victim sufferer who returned to his “promised land” and now celebrates his successful revival narrative. To a certain extent, within the Holocaust religious discourse, the Jew believes in “the Jew”, expressed as his/her powers and his/her eternal qualities. Within the newly formed religious framework, Mecca is Tel Aviv and the Holy Shrine is the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. The newly formed religion has many shrines (Museums) scattered around the world and it has many priests who spread the message around and punish its opposing elements. From a Jewish perspective, the Holocaust religion is a fully transparent expression of self love. It is where past and future merge into a meaningful present, it is when history is translated into praxis. Whether consciously or unconsciously, every person who identifies politically and ideologically (rather than religiously) as a Jew is, practically speaking, succumbing to the Holocaust religion and a follower of its father-figure “the Jew”. And yet, one may wonder, what about Kindness, is there any goodness in this newly formed ‘father-figure’? Is there any grace in this narrative of innocent victimhood that is celebrated daily at the expense of the Palestinian people?
If there is an end to history, the Holocaust religion embodies the very end of Jewish history. In the light of the Holocaust religion the “Father” and the “Son” unite at last. At least in the case of Israel and Zionism they bond into an amalgam of genocidal ideology and reality. In the light of the Holocaust religion and its epic survival ethos the Jewish State considers itself legitimated in dropping white phosphorus on women and children who they have caged in an inescapable open-air prison. Sadly enough, the crimes committed by the Jewish State are done on behalf of the Jewish people and in the name of their troubled history of persecution. The Holocaust religion brings to life what seems to be the ultimate possible form of insular brutal incarnation.
Historically Jews have shunned many Gods, they dropped Jehovah, they dumped Marx, some have never followed Zionism. But in the light of the Holocaust religion, while bearing in mind the scenes from Gaza, Jenin and Lebanon, the Jew may have to continue in the tradition and drop “the Jew”. He will have to accept that his newly formed father-figure was formed in his own shape. More concerning is the devastating fact that the new father is proved to be a call to kill. Seemingly, the new father is the ultimate evil God of them all.
I wonder how many Jews will be courageous enough to shun their esoteric newly formed father-figure. Will they be courageous enough to join the rest of humanity adopting a universal ethical discourse? Whether the Jew drops “The Jew”, only time will tell. Just to remove any doubt, I did drop my “Jew” a long time ago and I am doing fine.
Tags: Durban II, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Racism, US foreign policy, Zionism
Many countries are set to participate in the Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in Geneva, April 20-25. But the highly touted international meet is already marred with disagreement after Israel, the United States and other countries decided not to participate. Although the abstention of four or more countries is immaterial to the proceedings, the US decision in particular was meant to render the conference ‘controversial’, at best.
The US government’s provoking stance is not new, but a repetition of another fiasco which took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
Israeli and US representatives stormed out in protest of the “anti-Israeli” and the “anti-Semitic” sentiments that supposedly pervaded the World Conference against Racism (WCAR), held in Durban in 2001. The decision was an ominous sign, for the Bush Administration was yet to be tested on foreign policy in any definite terms, as the conference concluded on September 8, three days before the 911 terrorist attacks.
The US justified its denunciation of the international forum, then on the very same, unsubstantiated grounds cited by Israel, that the forum was transformed to a stage for anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
But was “the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance” indeed transformed into a stage for racism and bigotry, as Israel’s friends, lead amongst them the Bush Administration, charged?
What indeed took place at the conference was democracy in its best manifestations, where no country could defy international consensus with the use of a veto power, or could flex its economic muscles to bend the will of the international community. The result was, of course, disturbing from the view point of those who refuse to treat all United Nations member states with equity and impartiality. An African demand for a separate apology from every country that benefited from slavery, to every African nation that suffered from slavery was considered excessive, and eventually discounted.
But the main “controversial” issue that led to the US representative’s departure from the conference was the criticism by many countries of Israel’s racism against the Palestinians. A majority of countries called for reinstituting UN General Assembly resolution 3379 which in 1975 equated Zionism with racism.
The conference, then, was not meant to only address the issue of Palestine and Israel. However, the strong American resistance to any criticism of the racially motivated practices of the Israeli state – the extreme violence, the land theft, the Wall, the settlements, the protracted military occupation, etc – pushed the issue to center stage.
The Palestinian struggle is not meant to overshadow the struggles of oppressed nations around the world, but it rather compliments the calls for rights, freedom and liberation that continue to echo around the globe. However, the fact that the illegal and violent mass oppression of Palestinians, as practiced openly by the Israeli state continue unabated – and is rather defended and justified by the United States and other European powers – highlights the historical legacy championed by former colonial powers throughout the so-called third world for so many years.
There are hardly many international forums that are held and governed by principals of equality and fairness amongst nations. The World Conference against Racism is one of very few, indeed. It was not a surprise, therefore, to witness the international solidarity with the Palestinian and world-wide repulsion of the racist and Apartheid policies carried out daily by Israel.
But the mere censure of Israel’s unfair, undemocratic and racist policies – let alone taking any action to bring them to a halt – is mechanically considered anti-Semitic from an Israeli standpoint and US administrations.
The US conditioned its participation of the April conference in Geneva (Durban II) by removing any specific censure of Israel, and ensuring that Israel is not ‘singled out’ for criticism. Although US sensibilities constantly expect, but demand the singling out of any country, leader or group it deems rouge, war criminal, or terrorist, Israel is treated based on different standards. “A bad document became worse, and the US decided not to participate in the conference”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported in reference to the draft documents being finalized before the conference.
The original “bad” document apparently dubs Israel “an occupying state that carries out racist policies”, a description which is consistent with international law, UN resolutions and the views of leading world human rights defenders – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk,the current UN’s envoy, among many others.
The ‘bad document’ might have ‘became worse’ with new references to the Gaza bloodbath, which killed and wounded nearly 7,000 Palestinians in 22-days.
From an American – and unfortunately, Canadian and Italian, so far – viewpoint, such inhumane practices don’t warrant a pause or mere words of condemnation. The same, of course, doesn’t apply to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba and other ‘unfriendly’ nations. The US decision must be particularity disheartening to African nations who saw in the advent of Barack Obama some vindication. The US first black president, however, saw it fit to boycott a conference that intended to discuss the issue of slavery and repatriation, to once again prove that race alone is hardly sufficient in explaining US internal and external policies.
A day after rebuffing the conference, US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton arrived on her first visit to the Middle East, where she admonished Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – for largely posing threats to Israel – and praised the Jewish state and its ‘moderate’ allies.
She remarked in a joint statement with Israeli president Shimon Peres, on March 3: “It is important that the United States always underscore our unshakeable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel. I will be going from here to Yad VaShem to pay respects to the lost souls, to remember those who the Holocaust took, to lay a wreath, and to say a prayer.”
Needless to say, Mrs. Clinton refused to visit Gaza, where 1.5 million people are trapped in one large concentration camp, denied access to food, medicine, political and human rights.
- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of www.PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).
SEE ALSO: Cynthia McKinney’s article on Black Agenda Report on Obama and Durban II and http://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/durban-2-feat1.jpgptt-tv/ for a short video on Middle Eastern Stereotypes
Tags: Activism, Jewish Identity, Palestine, Right of Return, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Zionism
The surge in the “Pro-Palestinian” activities in the United States after the Zionist massacre in the Gaza Strip is at least suspicious if not alarming. I am not saying this because I do not want the support for our people to be the norm in this country, but because I see who is riding this wave, and understand that those elements and what they represent are still dangerous and their agenda will not die unless we reach liberation and return.
The fundamentals of the Palestinian struggle are clear and not complicated:
– Palestine is not that section that was occupied in 1967, or Gaza or Jericho. Palestine is from the River to the Sea and from the Lebanese border to Egypt.
– Palestine is Arab, it’s the heart of the Arab World, and thus are the Palestinian people.
– The Palestinian struggle is not about religion. We have nothing against the Jewish faith or the Jews.
– No just and acceptable solution to our cause will have in it anything less than a complete liberation of Palestine and the return of the Palestinian people to their homes and villages and towns that they or their parents or grandparents were forced to leave in the early part of the last century.
Any activity that will not consider these fundamentals, safeguard them and uphold them will not help our cause. People who are putting on activities that take away any of these fundamentals are not helping our cause. We cannot and we do not have the legal or ethical right to trade any of the Palestinian rights, so the “American people” can stand with us or even understand our cause. Anyone or group that attempts to do this should and will be discredit and exposed, and all of us should be vigilant and calling them on it when they do this.
Many, who were for years, trying to work against our rights, and were defeated in every step they took, even though they had the financing and support from the establishment, are resurfacing again after the massacre. Many were given the opportunity to go to Gaza and actually get into the Strip, when thousands of doctors and many other needed professionals were not allowed in. They were allowed in the Strip so they can get some sort of new blood desperately needed so they can continue their work against the rights of the Palestinian people. They are now out and about putting on teachings and resurfacing old “Foundations”, and trying again, to make murky the picture, after it became clear (after the massacre) that the divide between the resistance and the collaborators is wide open, and the same between the supporters of the struggle and those who claim to support, but work on making sure that Palestine is only the West Bank and Gaza or what’s left of it, and the Palestinian people are those who live under the Zionist occupation, and the majority of our people, the Refugees, have to fend for themselves and just accept their fate.
Others, who claim they are anti-Zionist Jews, are also getting very active. They are putting on activities, in most cases while completely ignoring the Palestinian movement here, so they can get to shape our struggle and narrative. These are the same that we had to fight for years so we can put Palestine in the center stage of the so-called anti-War and Peace and Justice movement. We defeated them and put Palestine up there and now they’re coming back to with new hope that they can go back to their old politics.
We do not view people according to their religious affiliations, and our struggle is not a religious one. They keep calling themselves Jews, and for some reason that they feel they have to put this out and that we have to accommodate it. If they feel, just because they are Jews, that they are part of the struggle, as if they are “Israelis”, then holding a teaching is not good enough. If they are true anti-Zionists and feel they are on the side of the struggle because of their religion then they should go to Palestine and join the Palestinian resistance and take up arms against the Zionist invaders.
I have known Rhoda Shapiro for many years, and just a few days ago I learned that she is of the Jewish faith. When I met this comrade, she was in the forefront of the movement defending Palestinians and their struggle for liberation and return, never once she proclaimed her Jewish(ness), like I never proclaimed my Christianity and others their Islam. Last week, Rhoda had a stroke while in a public forum in Canada doing what she spent her live doing, defending and supporting Palestinians and attacking the Zionist invaders for all they have done to the Palestinians from before 1948 until now.
This is what a true anti-War, Peace and Justice Community member should do whether they are Arabs or not, Jews or not.