Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Mauro Manno - Open letter to the President of the Italian Republic
From what I can read on the RAI’s (Italian television) teletext service, you are supposed to have stated:
“No to anti-Semitism even when it is disguised as anti-Zionism.”
“Anti-Zionism entails the rejection of the source of inspiration of the Jewish State, of the reasons for its very foundation, yesterday, and of its security today, which goes beyond the governments taking turns at Israel’s leadership.”
If this is what you really think, and obviously I hope that is not the case, let me say that these are wrong and serious statements and I hope that they may arouse a calm and reasoned but firm reaction by many Italians.
let me disagree with the first remark you pronounced. You argue that the opposition to Zionism is a disguised form of anti-Semitism. One would be lead to think that you meant to say that only some anti-Semites conceal their real anti-Semitism behind an alleged or false anti-Zionism.
You have formulated your thought in an unequivocal way: to you, the person who is anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite sic et simpliciter. I agree with you that anti-Zionism is the “rejection of the source of inspiration of the Jewish State and of the reasons for its very foundation,” but I firmly believe that the denial of the reasons of the Jewish state’s birth and its replacement with a sole democratic State for Jews and Palestinians throughout the entirety of Palestine might bring nothing but good to the Jews, the Palestinians, the middle-eastern and peoples as a whole. I hold, and I am not the only one, given that many anti-Zionist Jews have the same opinion, that the Zionist State for Jews only is as racist, colonialist and expansionist an idea as was the South-African racist State for whites only.
The Zionist nature of Israel is a menace to world peace and to Jews themselves.
I am not a Holocaust-denier and I do not nurture anti-Jewish feelings. I only want the Jews living in Palestine to not deny the Palestinians a right they claim for themselves. The Palestinians, both refugees and residents in Israel or in the Occupied Territories, have the right to live peacefully and in harmony in Palestine, enjoying the democratic freedoms that all the peoples of the world deserve. This principle we do not refuse to the Jews from Palestine, is denied by Israel to the Palestinians.
Are you perhaps in favour of the States grounded on ethnicity? I thought I had understood that you and the party you come from were in favour of the democratic States in which all citizens are equal regardless of the religion, the ethnicity, the culture and more besides that they belong to.
Maybe I was wrong. I cannot understand: why have Italy and EU first committed themselves for the equality of the rights between whites and blacks in South Africa, between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia, between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Bosnia, between Sunni, Shia and Christians in Lebanon, and then they support the exclusively Jewish character of Israel?
Maybe Olmert has asked you too, as he has done with Mr Prodi, (Italy’s Prime Minister) to defend Israel as an exclusively Jewish and Zionist State?
If this is your opinion, I want to ask you:
- Should Israel decide to deport non-Jewish Israeli citizens, just as the racist Minister Avigdor Liebermann has been demanding for some time, and would you endorse this policy in the name of the support of the Jewish character of the Israeli State?
- Do you perhaps ignore the fact that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not have the same rights as the Jewish ones? Do you not know that a non-Jewish Israeli citizen is not allowed by law to purchase land or property from a Jew? Do you ignore perhaps that there are roads connecting Israel to the settlements in the Occupied Territories on which it is not allowed transit (not to the Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, this is a fact well known by everyone) to even Arab citizens of Israel? I want also to remind you, inter alia, that the rejoining is denied to the spouse of an Arab citizen of Israel if this spouse comes from the Occupied Territories. I hope you are informed about the law proposal at the Knesset that provides for removing the Israeli nationality from an Israeli Arab citizen in case he is not willing to profess his loyalty to Zionism. You might realize that this corresponds to accepting the historical injustice that Zionism has done to the Palestinians by the same victims of an injustice.
- Do you not believe that convincing those Jews supporting Israel (fortunately enough it is not about all the Jews) to get rid of a form of State which discriminates its non-Jewish citizens, which installs settlements over territories located beyond its borders, which is leading a war against an occupied and defenceless population, which owns nuclear weapons and has not signed IAEA’s non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty, which has been sanctioned a thousand times by the UN, may come in helpful for them and for the Palestinians?
- A final question in the end: if Italy (which has already done so in the past) should carry out a discriminating policy against its Jewish citizens just as Israel discriminates its non-Jewish citizens and should start, unfortunately, a colonial policy again, would you not undertake again the struggle against the regime or the government that would behave in such a way?
Now then, why can one not fight a regime, like the Zionist one, that is discriminating, racist and colonialist? No one is suggesting a new Jewish Holocaust; the anti-Zionists want for Palestine, for Jews and Palestinians only one State that be not founded on religion, on ethnicity and racism.
Not differently from what all the authentically democratic States in the world are like.
I just happen to be interested in studying Zionism. Hence, it is on the grounds of my studies about this political ideology that I am writing you. I will remind you of some facts:
First of all, you should be aware of the cooperation that went on between Zionists (from both the right and the left) and anti-Semites and the Nazis. It concerned a long and extremely harmful cooperation to suppress the ideas of the anti-Zionist Jews (at the time, the great majority). As incredible as it may seem, the cooperation between Zionists, fascists, Nazis and anti-Semites, historically proved, was founded on a logic of criminal exchange to the Jews’ detriment. The Zionists backed the Fascist and anti-Semitic regimes before and during WWII, while asking in exchange to be allowed to bring Jews in Palestine in order to accomplish their colonial project.
Those Jews who did not approve of fleeing to Palestine were abandoned to their fate. The anti-Semites were very pleased with being able to get rid of Jews in that way. It is not true, as you state, that the anti-Semites are anti-Zionists; if anything, it is the other way around. I hope you will not doubt the words that were uttered by the Israeli writer Yehoshua who declared some year ago:
“The Gentiles have always fostered Zionism, thus hoping that it would help them dispose of the Jews living amongst them. Today too, in a perverse way, a real anti-Semite must be a Zionist.” (1)
The Israeli writer, yet, omits to say that the Zionists too, in a perverse manner, encouraged the anti-Semites in order that they might chase the Jews away from their countries and hand over them to the Zionist militants who were ready to bring them to Palestine’s settlements. A true Zionist is a friend to the anti-Semites.
This shameful feature of Zionism’s history starts with its founder himself, Theodor Herzl.
In August 1903, Herzl went to Tsarist Russia for a set of meetings with Count von Plehve, an anti-Semitic Minister of Tsar Nicholas II, and with Finance Minister Witte.
The meetings took place less than four months after the heinous pogrom in Kishinev, whose direct responsibility rested on von Plehve himself. Herzl proposed an alliance, it being grounded on the common desire to make most of the Russian Jews abandon Russia and, in the shorter term, to keep away the Russian Jews from the socialist and communist movement.
At the beginning of the first meeting (August 8) von Plehve declared that he regarded himself as “an ardent supporter of Zionism.” When Herzl started describing Zionism’s purpose, Count von Plehve came in by stating : “You are preaching to the converted.”
During a successive meeting with Witte, Zionism’s founder heard the Minister openly tell him: “I used to tell poor Emperor Alexander III: if it should be possible to drown six or seven million Jews into the Black Sea, I would be perfectly pleased with that; but it’s not possible, so we have to let them live.” When Herzl said he trusted in some encouragement from the Russian government, Witte replied: “We do give Jews some encouragement to leave, for instance kicks in the backside.” (2)
The outcome of the meetings was von Plehve’s and the Russian government’s promise of “a moral and material endorsement to Zionism at a moment when some of its concrete actions would help decrease the Jewish population in Russia.” (3)
“If we [Zionists]—Jacob Klatzkin used to say—don’t acknowledge that the others have the right to be anti-Semites, then we deny ourselves the right to be nationalists. If our people is worthy of and yearns for living its own national life, it is natural that it feels like a foreign body forced to be amongst the nations amidst which it lives, a foreign body who insists upon having its own identity and who is therefore compelled to reduce the sphere of its own existence. It is fair therefore that they [the anti-Semites] fight us for their national integrity. Instead of setting up organizations to defend the Jews from the anti-Semites, who want to restrict our rights, we should found organizations to protect the Jews from our friends who wish to defend our rights.” (4)
These words, and the consequent attitude of the Zionists, have certainly given precious arguments to the Nazis who argued precisely that the Jews were a foreign nation in their country.
“To the Zionists—Harry Sacher, a British Zionist, shamelessly claimed—the enemy is represented by Liberalism; it is also the enemy to Nazism; ergo, Zionism is supposed to cherish sympathy and comprehension for Nazism, whose anti-Semitism is likely to be only a temporary feature.” (5)
It is not only about political short-sightedness, it is also a criminal cooperation with the Jews’ enemy. And, Mr. President, are you willing to close your eyes before this aspect of Zionism’s history? Moreover, I remind you that the Nazis reacted very positively to the Zionists’ offers, as proved by this excerpt from one of their memos:
“The members from the Zionist organizations do not have to be treated, given their activities aimed at the emigration to Palestine, as severely as instead will be necessary towards the members from the German-Jewish organizations (i.e., the assimilationists).” (6).
Further, Reinhardt Heyndrich, SS’s secret services’ chief declared:
“It can not take too much time before Palestine will be able to welcome again its sons it had lost for over one thousand years. May our good wishes and our official benevolence accompany them.” (7)
Settling Palestine was highly esteemed by the Nazis. You know, colonialists get along well with each other. That is just to remind you that the Nazis, with the aware help of the Zionists, had struck only those Jews who proposed to live in the countries they had been born in and did not want to become responsible for Palestine’s occupation and the consequent and inevitable expulsion of the Palestinians.
These Jewish victims were not Zionists, if anything, they were either assimilationists or anti-Zionists.
After the Holocaust, the West did nothing but reward the Zionists by allotting them the Palestinians’ land and making those people who had no blame pay the high price of the Jews’ annihilation that happened due to the direct responsibility of some European nations and to other peoples’ disinterest, as well as to the Zionist’s crazy plan.
The cooperation between Zionists and Nazis was also possible, beyond the concrete aspect of the common will to bring the Jews to Palestine, because the Zionist ideology and the Nazi one shared one point, as admitted by the Zionist Jew Prinz:
“A State founded on the tenet of a nation’s and a race’s purity (that’s Nazi Germany) can have respect only for those Jews who regard themselves in the same way.” (8)
The figure himself was aware of the paradoxical situation that was emerging and acknowledged:
“Taking actions was very awkward to the Zionists. It was morally embarrassing to look as if they were considered as the dearest sons of the Nazi government, particularly at a moment when it was dissolving the Jewish anti-Zionist youth groups and it seemed to prefer the Zionists. The Nazis were demanding a “more consistently Zionist behaviour.” (9)
Notwithstanding, the cooperation went on. It was a multiform cooperation that I have reconstructed in my essay “Zionism’s Nature”(10). I want to remind you, lastly, the exhortation of Dov Joseph, one of the heads from the Jewish Agency, who, at the end of 1944, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were being killed in the concentration camps, while speaking in Palestine to Zionist journalists who were concerned about the news of the slaughters, warned them about the risk of:
“…publishing data that exaggerates the number of the Jewish victims, since if we announce that a million Jews have been slain by the Nazis, then, after the end of the war, we will rightly be asked where the million Jews for which we are claiming a homeland have ended up.” (11)
All this may be enough, but, Mr. President, I dare suggest you to read up on the topic.
Zionism’s history is a criminal one, therefore it is no wonder that the Zionists and the Zionist State are keeping on handling the Palestinians so savagely. But my concern goes beyond the Palestinian people’s very sad situation that everyone seems to be forgetting.
To be earnest, Mr. President, do we want to end up like the US in Iraq? Today, outstanding personalities in the US, as former President Jimmy Carter or professors Mearsheimer and Walt, are trying hard to make their fellow countrymen open their own eyes before the aftermath of the blind foreign policy that has been devised in Tel Aviv and in Washington’s neo-con Zionist circles and that is carried out by the US in the Middle-East.
Do you believe that the war in Iraq has been made because of the Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction? Because of the threat that Iraq embodied for the West? For the exportation of democracy? For the Americans’ oil interests? Many support this last hypothesis (having the other ones miserably collapsed). I wonder: can one not buy oil on the market? Moreover: how much would the price of oil be if we should wage war on every country that produces it?
Mr. President, the war has been made in order to weed out a possible rival to Israel and to strengthen the Zionist rule over Middle-East. Now Tel Aviv is urging the West to destroy Iran and is blackmailing everyone by dropping the hint that if we do not do the job, it will be Israel to do it. In which way? By invading Iran? No, Mr. President, we all know that Israel would resort to its nuclear weaponry.
The Americans are beginning to become aware, at their own expense, of what it means to have let themselves be dragged into an absurd war in Iraq for Israel’s interests. And we will not be aware of that. Do we really want to be dragged into a nuclear war against Iran? Into a world war against Islam?
Please, follow former President Carter’s example and make a public statement against Israel’s Apartheid. If you do not want to do that, let someone else, for the sake of humanity, of the Jews and of the Palestinians, go on blaming Zionism and fighting for a single, democratic and pacific State for all the inhabitants of Palestine, nobody excluded.
You are likely not to remember me, yet we met and spoke to each other. It happened due to a very sad circumstance. Some years ago, at Rome-Fiumicino airport, you, as representative of your party, came to express solidarity to my sister, Marisa, who, after taking part in a pacifist demonstration in Jerusalem, lost one of her eyes after an Israeli fire engine had sprayed such a violent water jet as to shatter the window glass and to drive a splinter into her eye, just because she was looking through the window at the Israeli policemen who were beating up a Palestinian youngster in the street.
At the time, you came to offer your regards to my sister who had paid for upholding the rights and the dignity of the Palestinians. Today, by your unacceptable declaration you are accusing the anti-Zionists, many of which are Jews, who strive for a democratic State in Palestine, putting them into the same filthy place of the anti-Semites.
I believe, Mr President, that the Zionists have managed to do something worse to you than to my sister. They have managed to make her blind from one eye, but you are blind in both of them!
(1) Jewish Chronicle, 22 January 1982.
(2) Maxime Rodinson, Peuple juif ou problème juif? Parigi, Petite collection Maspero, 1981, pp. 174-75.
(3) Maxime Rodinson, Peuple juif ou problème juif? cit. p. 174.
(4) Jacob Klatzkin, (1925), quoted in Jacob Agus, The Meaning of Jewish History, in Jewish Encyclopedia, vol II, p. 425.
(5) Harry Sacher, Jewish Review, September 1932, p. 104, London.
(6) Memo from the Bavarian Gestapo addressed to the Bavarian police, 23 January, 1935, published in Kurt Grossman’s Zionists and Non-Zionists under Nazi Rule in the 1930's, Herzl Yearbook, vol VI, p. 340.
(7) Reinhardt Heyndrich, SS secret services’ chief, The Visible Enemy, article issued in Das Schwarze Korps, SS’s official organ, May 1935.
(8) Joachim Prinz, (1936), quoted in Benyamin Matuvo’s The Zionist Wish and the Nazi Deed, Issues, (1966/67), p. 12.
(9) Joachim Prinz, Zionism under the Nazi Government, in Young Zionist, London, November 1937, p. 18.
(10) Zionism’s Nature, supplement to the issue 56, November 2006, by Aginform.
(11)Yoav Gelber, Zionist Policy and the Fate of European Jewry, p. 195.
Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa. Mauro Manno is a member of Tlaxcala www.tlaxcala.es the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation is on Copyleft and may be reproduced freely by citing the source and translator.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Congratulations to Reem Ibrahim ali Khalifa on her Scholarship!
The inaugural award for the Deir Yassin Remembered Scholarship of $2,500 was granted to Reem Ibrahim ali Khalifa of Al Walajah, a small village near Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem.
Reem attended the Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala where she earned a 95.7 on her Tawjihi (final high school exam). She is currently enrolled at Al Quds University in Jerusalem where she plans to study medicine.
The DYR Scholarship is open to all students, Israeli or Palestinian, under age 25 who live and study in Israel/Palestine.
A DYR Scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Application may be made through DYR Scholarship Committee, c/o Steven Beikirch, 22066 FM 244, Iola, TX 77861-5081.
DYR Scholarship Committee is actively raising funds to expand this worthy project to enable DYR to afford more and greater scholarships. Steve Beikirch chairs the current DYR Scholarship Committee. Susan Abulhawa (Playgrounds for Palestine) and Henry Herskovitz (Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends) are also on the committee.
Deir Yassin Remembered is a charitable and educational not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation offering opportunities for public discussion and remembrance of the history of the creation of the state of Israel and the destruction of a Palestinian community that lived and continues to live there, in an effort to foster better understanding between Jews and Palestinians.
Donors and volunteers are invited to contact email@example.com.
Peacepalestine wishes Reem every success as she begins her studies!!
Labels: good news
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Paul Eisen - The J Word: or, the Agony is not exclusive property
To Mrs. Marilyn Stowe:
Dear Mrs. Stowe,
My friend Gilad has more than adequately exposed your shameful attempt, as described in the Jewish Chronicle, and the Yorkshire Post to use your money to silence free speech in Leeds University and to enforce on others your own shameful worldview. But may I add something of my own?
One of the reasons cited by you and others for the suppression of Akram Awad's excellent website Bonsoir, is the inclusion in it of the film -Deir Yassin: The Agony. This film, about the Deir Yassin massacre, centres on the testimony of one survivor of that massacre – Zainum Akel, now an elderly survivor but then a young bride-to-be – who is seen at the site of the massacre describing exactly what happened on April 9 1948.
I know that you would prefer that none of this testimony was seen. You don't want the world to know of Deir Yassin and the Nakba because then you could not maintain the spurious Jewish position as world number-one victim, even as Zionist Jews unleash untold misery on Palestinians and on so many others throughout the world. But those days are over. Now, even you can no longer get away with that kind of nonsense. So you find something in the film that you think you can get away with. And this is what you have found:
At one point in the film, Zainub Akel says, "The Jews snatched the son and threw him in the baking oven" .
Oh dear, it’s the J-word. No doubt about it, Zainum Akel said the J-word.
Well, Mrs Stowe, leave aside the fact that when Zainub Akel saw these terrible events carried out by the (shhh..the J-word) there was no Israel and therefore no Israelis she could name as the murderers. Leave aside also that in Palestine and throughout the Arab world it is perfectly normal and acceptable to refer to Jewish Israelis as Yahud (Jews) simply because that is what they are. And also Mrs. Stowe, leave aside the fact that Zionists, while constantly complaining about the J-word, at the same time promote ad nauseam their own Holocaust by blackening the name of pretty much the entire non-Jewish world: The German and Austrian peoples who they say conceived and perpetrated it; the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Rumanian, Hungarian, peoples etc., etc who they say hosted, assisted in and cheered it on; the Americans, the British, the French, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Italians (but not the Danes and the Bulgarians) etc. who they say didn’t do enough to stop it; the Swiss who they say earned out of it and the entire Christian world who they say created the faith-traditions and ideologies in which it could take place - and now the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples who they claim want to do it all over again – and all the while moaning about one little J-word on one Palestinian website.
Leaving all that aside Mrs. Stowe, I have some news for you:
The massacre at Deir Yassin including the throwing of that baby into the oven was perpetrated by Jews acting as Jews and for Jews. And the Zionist bullies at Leeds University, in their attempts to suppress free speech, to police the discourse and thus to maintain the oppression of Palestinians and others throughout the world, they are Jews, acting as Jews and for Jews.
So Mrs. Stowe, forget the Jewish Chronicle and the Yorkshire Post, I'm looking forward to the Sun headline: JEWISH BULLIES GAG PALESTINIAN WEBSITE- WOTTA DISGRACE!!!
Deir Yassin Remembered
Labels: jewish identity politics
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Bonsoir Akram becomes the best site on the Web! (plus commentary by Gilad Atzmon)
Merci, Akram!!!!! (from Mary)
and now, what Gilad Atzmon had to say about Akram
Turning a UK University into a Yeshiva
A few days ago I learned about Bonsoir. It is a web site maintained by a young Palestinian post-graduate student in Leeds. The site is a must see, it is an on-line Palestinian film library archive, a sort of ‘Palestinian You Tube’. The person who created the site is Akram Awad, who has gathered in a section called Palorama, an impressive collection of live stream audiovisual materials concerning Palestine, the Middle East and documents that present the ever-growing Zionist crime in sound and movement. I’ve also learned that he has occasionally collaborated on initiatives with Umkahlil, peacepalestine and Annie's Letters and is active in a very humble way, not seeming to be one who craves attention, but who cares about what he is doing.
Three days ago I wrote to Mr. Awad to tell him how impressed I was with his site. Last night he wrote back. Apparently, without drawing attention to his case, the young exiled Palestinian student is under fire. The Zionist lobby in Britain has utilised its heavy cannons against him and especially against his message.
Just like in North America where external funds help Zionist lobbies to dictate the academic discourse, Leeds University, a respected UK academic institute, is coming now under very similar heavy pressure.
I learned form the Yorkshire Post today that “Marilyn Stowe, an expert in divorce law and member of the legal advisory group to the Law Commission, said she could no longer offer a proposed five-figure sum after learning (that) a post-graduate student, who also works for the university, was running a website containing anti-Semitic material.”
Yet, Mr. Awad, clearly states on his site and in the UK press that he is an anti-Zionist rather than anti Semite. He shouldn’t have even gone through the trouble, because it is apparent that the site is dedicated to diffusing information on Palestine and the people of Palestine. He is not criticising Jews as an ethnic or racial group, but any mention of Jews is connected in a concrete way to the political action that Israel undertakes and is solely concerned with Zionism as an ideology and in practice. Moreover, Mr. Awad’s site contains some original articles, but much of it is set as an on-line archive. It is a collection of films that expresses a wide variety of ideas and expression, assuming that in a free world people are entitled to listen to other views and can make up their own minds.
Mrs. Stowe said, "I have enormous concerns that Leeds University has been publicly linked with a website which is publishing anti-Semitic material and with the greatest regret I cannot be associated with Leeds University until this matter is resolved. I expect they will now take steps to deal with this situation and not be perceived as pursuing a policy hostile to a particular group of students."
Mrs. Stowe is obviously entitled to decide what she wants to do with her money. Yet, a quick search reveals that it is not Leeds University that hosts Mr. Awad’s site. It is actually hosted by an American firm. Seemingly, Mrs. Stowe is misinformed, misinforming or even both. However, it is rather obvious that Mrs. Stowe sets the conditions of her support for the university by raising a clear demand for conformity of thoughts. In broad daylight, Mrs. Stowe offers economic contributions to Leeds University as long as the academic institute starts to operate as a Yeshiva (an institution specialised solely in Torah studies and Talmud in particular).
May I remind Mrs. Stowe that the word university is derived from the Latin ‘universitas magistrorum et scholarium’, (community of masters and scholars). Mr. Awad’s web site is exactly what Universitas stands for. It provides the world community with direct access into the Palestinian discourse. It makes knowledge available. It is there to share the notion of Zionist brutality with every Internet enthusiast on this planet. Mrs. Stowe is rather unhappy with it. She somehow prefers to silence the opponents of Israel. She prefers the restricting discourse. Mrs. Stowe, herself a graduate from Leeds University, may have forgotten what academic freedom is all about. But far more worryingly, being a lawyer, she is actually acting against freedom of speech.
May I remind Mrs. Stowe that it is the openness that made the West into something we can occasionally take pride in. If Mrs. Stowe does believe in the true notion of Universitas rather than in the silencing dynamic of the Yeshiva, she should regret her choice to withdraw funding and rush back to support a university that is lucky enough to have Akram Awad amongst its students.
However, Mrs. Stowe’s behavior is just another red light warning for the UK academic world. Seemingly, Zionist lobbies are there to exploit the diminishing governmental financial support for higher education.
Zionist lobbies will do whatever they can to interfere with academic freedom. Zionists know that ‘freedom of thought’ and ethical awareness are the gravest threats to Israeli politics and the Zio-centric discourse. Beware!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Gilad Atzmon - Brave New World War
"We respectfully urge your country to co-sponsor and support the Resolution on Holocaust Denial that is to be voted on in the General Assembly this Friday."
(from a letter to UN ambassadors, Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director 23 January, 2007)
The draft resolution proposed by the US "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust," yet, it doesn't single out any specific country for criticism. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that it is Iran’s Ahmadinejad who the Americans are after. Clearly, the new American initiative at the UN, which is aiming at transforming the world into a ‘Holocaust Denial Free Zone’ has very little to do with genuine truth-seeking or an authentic interest in historical research. The Americans are there to furnish us all with the futureless nightmare of hard capitalism. They mistakenly believe that they can do so as long they restrict our vision of the past. If to be honest, It isn’t really Abe Foxman and the ADL that the Bush Administration is caring for. And it should be evident that the American decision makers could not care less about the notion of history or the truth of European Judeocide. What’s it about, then? America wants oil and Ahmadinejad has plenty of it. Not wanting to stop there, America also has as its priority stopping Iran from joining the nuclear club that they themselves lead. Yet, It is rather amusing that America - with all its fleets, airplane carriers, cruise missiles, ultimate air power and nuclear might - needs the Holocaust to win what seems to be its next war.
I am not a Holocaust scholar nor am I a historian. My primary interest is not the story of Auschwitz nor the destruction of European Jewry. But I am very interested in Holocaust politics, in the range of discourses that employ Auschwitz. I happen to ask, how come America, once the leader of the ‘free world’, finds itself engaged in ‘global thought policing’?
It is clear beyond doubt that America foreign affairs needs a popularity injection boost. American ideological hegemony is in a state of total bankruptcy. Bush’s administration desperately craves for support within the European community. It is not a secret that Continental Europe, in itself a multi-ethnic community, doesn’t succumb in the same way to the Anglo-American notion of cultural clash. The Europeans so far have refused to join Blair and Bush’s war against Islam in a real, dynamic way. Yet, with the new holocaust denial resolution, America hopes to introduce a change of spirit. Rather than conveying the repeated false image of Judeo-Christian versus Islam, this time it is the ‘Holocaust’ versus its ‘Deniers’. Rather coincidently, the Holocaust conformists (us) need oil, the ‘deniers’ (them) happen to possess it.
As foolish as it may appear, America finds itself slipping into the trap wittily dug by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. The American administration has managed foolishly to approve that the Holocaust is indeed the demarcation line between East and West, between so-called ‘evil’ and ‘good’. Yet, the definition of this separation can be seen as that which stands between the ‘free thinking West’ that enthusiastically seals its past in a black box and the ‘open minded East’ who dare to raise questions about the past. The Holocaust resolution draws the future battlefield between the uprising of (yesterday’s) Slave and the decay of (today’s) Master. Ahmadinejad threw the bone, the Bush administration was stupid enough to pick it up. It affirmed that the Holocaust is the new medium of resistance.
Within the framework of the new American Holocaust resolution, it is ‘us’ - the West, those who ‘know’ the ‘truth’ and ‘them’ – nations who aren’t counted in that hegemonic group, who fail to see it. Yet it is ‘us’ who make our past into a graveyard and it is ‘them’ who grasp that it is the dynamic past that shapes the future.
Without getting myself into the debate regarding the truth of the Holocaust, the ugly face of Holocaust-politics cannot be hidden anymore. The Holocaust is now officially becoming an ideological weapon against Islam and also against Arab resistance. It is there to establish a fake western collective identity based on blind conformity and total marginalisation of the other.
However, in the short term, the new American Holocaust political initiative may prove to be productive. The notion of the destruction of `European Jewry’ unites some major political powers. It unites the European parliamentary left together with the conservative liberals as well as America’s most radical expansionist forces. They all need the Holocaust for different reasons. In Europe the Holocaust is there to dismantle the emerging far right, In the Germanic States the Holocaust is the core of the post-war symbolic order. For the Anglo-Americans the Holocaust is there to push away any real ethical engagement with Dresden, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Palestine and Iraq. Most importantly, the new Holocaust denial resolution provides the Americans with the pretext for the next Genocide. In other words, the next Holocaust is actually a collective punishment of Holocaust denial.
Regardless of what the truth of the Holocaust is and what its denial may entail, to seal the past is to give away the vision of a better future. The end of history is the end of the West. Bush’s America may just want to take us there. With the death toll in Iraq numbering 650,000 and 3,000,000 displaced refugees, with millions of Palestinians locked in concentration camps for almost 40 years, neither Bush nor Blair nor any other Western politician can offer us a cheerful vision of the days to come. Instead they encourage us to stop looking into our past.
“Are Jews speaking too much about the Holocaust?” ADL Poll
In the photo Abe Foxman
ROME—Almost one Italian out of two thinks Jews speak too much about the Holocaust. To be precise, the figure is 49%, according to the latest poll regarding anti-Semitism in Europe created by the Anti-Defamation League in 2005 and that has been divulged ahead of its official publication date to Repubblica by the UCEI , the Union of Italian Jewish Communities. This figure is an alarming increase if compared with that of the 44% of those interviewed who gave the same answer in 2004. In Europe, Italy ranks second, preceded only by Poland where 52% of those interviewed people express that today too many references are being made to the Shoah. Following Italy are Germany and Switzerland (48%), then Hungary and Austria (46% , Belgium (41%), Denmark (35%) and France (34%).
Yet, those ones who responded that only Jews were responsible for Jesus’s death are less than in the previous poll: 14% in Italy, 13% in France. The figure rises abruptly to 39% in Poland.
The poll - arranged in view of Holocaust Memory Day (27 January) - was made using a sample of 6 thousand people from 12 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and England). An American agency, the First International Resources, carried it out in June, 2005 “in order to understand to what extent anti-Semitic positions are developing all over our continent,” says Alessandro Ruben, a Roman lawyer who is advisor to the UCEI and Italian chairman of the Anti-Defamation League. “If one takes a look at the figures,” he says, “the situation that is revealed is alarming to say the least, since analogous answers were given regarding the alleged Jewish influence on the financial and economic world. If one wants to understand the reasons behind such an aberrant thesis as that of Holocaust denial, these figures are a necessary starting point.”
Six questions were put to those interviewed. To the first one - “Are the Jews more loyal to Israel than to the country they are living in?” Italy ranks first with 55%, followed by Poland (52%), Spain (51%), Germany (50%), Demark (43%) and Belgium (41%). The last position is occupied by France with 29%.
The second question -“Do the Jews have too much economic power?” - finds Hungary in first place (55%), followed by Spain (45%), Poland (43%), Belgium and Italy (33%), with Denmark at the last position with 11%. Hungary remains in the first position to the question – “Do the Jews have too much financial power?” Spain follows with 54%, Poland (43%), Austria and Belgium (33%), Italy (32%) and England closes the ranks with 16%.
In England, 28% believe that “The Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.” The final question, asking, “Were the Jews responsible for the death of Christ?” – “is worrying only for the position of the Eastern European countries,” Ruben concludes.
Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo, members of Tlaxcala, (www.tlaxcala.es) the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reproduced by citing the source and translator.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Gilad Atzmon - One Hundred Years of Jewish Solitude
“The emancipated Jew is insecure in his relations with his fellow-beings, timid with strangers, suspicious even toward the secret feeling of his friends. His best powers are exhausted in the suppression, or at least in the difficult concealment of his own real character.” (Max Nordau, Speech at the First Zionist Congress August 29, 1897)
Zionism is no longer a young movement. It has been almost one hundred and ten years since the 1st Zionist Congress was held and nearly ninety years have passed since the Balfour Declaration (1917) was issued. It’s been just under six decades since the formation of the Jewish State and the mass ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of the indigenous Palestinian population took place. Not only isn’t Zionism young anymore, it is far from being a unified ideological movement. In fact, it is almost impossible to determine these very basic elements: where Zionism is aiming, where the Zionist headquarters are located; is it in Olmert’s office in Jerusalem or rather Wall Street NYC? Is there a linear ideological continuum between the Israeli vision of Middle East interests and the architects behind the New American Century project? Is there continuum between the crime carried out against the Palestinian people in Gaza in the name of the war on terror and the crime against the Iraqi people committed in the name of ‘liberation’?
In a previous paper of mine (The "third category" and the Palestine solidarity movement, Jewish identity, Zionism and Palestine), I suggested that it is rather possible to grasp the subject of Zionism in terms of a network operation in which each of its elements contributes towards the maintenance of the entire system. Within the Zionist network there is no need for a lucid system of hegemony. In such a network, each element is complying with his role. And indeed the success of Zionism is there to reveal that the whole happens to be far greater than its parts.
Throughout the years Zionism has become a pretty efficient system that serves what may be defined as primary Jewish interests. Within the Zionist framework: the Israelis colonise Palestine, the Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilise lobbies by recruiting international support. The Neocons transform the USA army into an Israeli mission force fighting the last pockets of Arab resistance. Interestingly enough, anti-Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include Proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality as well as ethical concern within the Jewish world. Moreover, within the image of such a network even the so-called ‘enemies of the Jewish people’ have a clear role. Ahmadinejad is the current ‘Hitler’ and the rest of the ‘Islamofascists’ are there to finish the ‘Nazi Judeocide’. In other words, the Zionist vision is there to offer a fairly conclusive insight into the issue of contemporary Jewish identity as well as Jewish affairs.
While in my 3rd category paper I suggested a sociological insight into Zionist praxis, one question was left open. What is Zionism?
Though traditionally we tend to associate Zionism with a particular Jewish national aspiration as well as a Jewish call for the return to Zion (Palestine), this is not necessarily the only viable historical or philosophical interpretation of the Zionist endeavour. I would suggest here that it makes far more sense to regard Zionism as a tribal Jewish preservation project. In other words, Zionism could be easily interpreted as a Jewish global movement which has as its aim the prevention of assimilation. Accordingly, Zionism should be seen as an amalgam of different philosophies specialising in different forms of disengagement. Such an interpretation will broaden our scope of criticism and may throw some new light over: the significant power of Global Zionism, the general support of world Jewry of the Israeli State. We may as well realise for the first time the role of the sporadic Jewish voices who happen to oppose Zionism. Such a terminological shift into the notion of Zionism will emphasise an ideological continuum between Herzl’s take on assimilation and the late Sharon ‘unilateral disengagement’. We may gain a deeper understanding of the ideology that motivates the 3rd category network. Once we realise what Zionism is, we may as well be able to understand for the first time just who opposes Zionism for real.
The Tribal, The Universal And The Jewish Socialist
Jews like anyone else are more than entitled to dump God, to leave their faith and to divorce from religion. Yet, dropping God is neither a philosophical argument nor a kind of ethical reasoning. To abandon religion doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a humanist and secularisation doesn’t imply universalism. Not only is killing the concept of God not a philosophy, it is not even an argument. It is mere practice. In fact, to replace God with an anthropocentric moral argument is what universalism is all about.
Historically, it was Spinoza who launched the modernist attack on Judaic Biblical orthodoxy. Spinoza’s goal was to replace the God of Abraham with reason. While Pre-WW2 Jewish intellectuals such as Franz Rosenzweig, Herman Cohen, Leo Strauss, Gershon Scholem and still others were trying to engage Spinoza’s chasm by applying philosophical argumentation, post-war Jewish philosophical confrontation with modernity has been declined and practically replaced by a shallow form of identity politics and Zionist praxis.
A truly interesting text was published recently by the London Jewish Chronicle. It is a brief glimpse into the political and philosophical mantra of a Jewish socialist as well as anti-Zionist couple who have rejected religion. In spite of the fact that they are proud they have dumped God, they still hold a Seder, they have circumcised their twin sons and they gave them a ‘faith-free’ Bar Mitzvah. To a certain extent, it is a dialogue between the voice of the mainstream ‘Jewish community’ (the JC) and the so-called ‘Jewish dissident voice’. This is the story of journalist Julia Bard (56) and teacher David Rosenberg (48), both founding members of Britain Jewish Socialists. It is a vibrating peep into the strange and inconsistent world of the Jewish tribal left. However, I may as well admit that it was Bard who opened my eyes and led me towards a terminological shift that presents Zionism in a new light.
According to the JC: “Julia Bard and David Rosenberg are committed Jews. They feel passionately about Jewish history, they have a strong Jewish element to their social lives and their children have inherited a love of Hebrew and Yiddish culture….David and Julia do not belong to a synagogue, do not believe in God and are antagonistic towards Zionism. They feel strongly that these factors should not exclude them from full acceptance as part of the mainstream Jewish community."
Like many modern assimilated Jews, David and Julia insist upon reducing Jewishness into a form of a tribal orientation spiced up with some cultural aspects. They love Yiddish and they love Jewish History. Very much like modern assimilated Jews they probably regard the Bible as an exoteric historical text rather than an esoteric spiritual guideline. Surely, this isn’t a crime.
More astonishingly, although David and Julia do not like God that much, in spite of the fact that they are not that impressed with Judaism either, they still very much want to be part of the Jewish community. I wonder why. What is it that they need from the Jewish community? Why don't they just ‘get on’ with the socialist agenda and join the human family as ordinary people? What is the origin of their affinity towards tribalism? Many people around the world do not believe in God, many millions of Westerners leave their faith, yet, they do not insist upon calling themselves Catholics, Hindus, Protestants, Jews or Muslims. They just depart into new life in a multi-cultural as well as multi-faith society.
Julia believes in multi-culturalism, hence she answers:
“I wanted to remain Jewish…. I want to prove that there is a way of being Jewish that doesn’t involve saying prayers to a God you don’t believe in.”
Apparently, Julia like many other emancipated Jews is searching for an authentic identity. She is looking for her individual secular voice while maintaining her ties with her Jewish heritage. Again this is not a crime, however, I wonder why she can't just regard herself as a Jew or even a secular Jew without appealing for the ‘acceptance’ of the ‘Jewish community’? For instance, I regard myself a ‘Hebrew Speaking Palestinian’, I do not seek anyone’s approval to do so. I also regard myself as a 'proud self-hating Jew' and again, I do not need the approval of anyone. Julia, on the other hand, needs approval. Julia expects the Jewish community to accept her in spite of the fact that she clearly rejects God and the faith of Judaism. I wonder whether she would expect the Marxist community to accept her in case she dumps Marx?
Julia suggests an answer, she says: " I understand my Jewish identity as an ethnic identity…"
It seems as if we are starting to get somewhere. The magic word ‘identity’, has been introduced into the discourse. Yet, one may ask what Julia means when she refers to ‘ethnic identity’? Is it ‘again’ the famous chicken soup or is it Gefilte Fish this time? Surely, no one is going to stop Julia, David or anyone else from eating kosher chicken soup with lokshen in Blooms. Is ‘Jewish ethnic identity’ a form of belonging to Jewish history and heritage? Again, I am pretty sure that no one is going to stop Julia and David from cheering themselves up while reading chapters of Jewish history, an endless chain of catastrophes. In fact no one is going to stop Julia and David from celebrating any of their symptoms. Nevertheless, Julia and David want a bit more than mere celebration, they clearly want recognition.
Again I find myself slightly bewildered. Recognition is something you may aim to achieve, nevertheless, it isn’t something you can ever demand. Among my sins I play Jazz on the saxophone. I indeed want to be widely recognised as a leading saxophonist, yet I would never consider insisting in a Jazz magazine that the Jazz community should accept me or acknowledge my contribution. My ‘acceptance’ as a Jazz artist is obviously subject to my achievement and contribution to the art form. Julia insists upon being recognised as a Jew without suggesting or specifying what her exact contribution to the Jewish discourse is.
Seemingly, it is identity rather than deep reasoning which the JC and Bard are concerned with. Yet, it is obvious that Bard tends to believe that one’s identity reflects upon one’s authenticity. In fact, Bard is totally wrong. It is the other way around. Identity and identity politics alienate one from one’s reality, not to say authenticity. As explored in a previous work of mine, that which is called by multi-culturalists Identity is in fact nothing but Identification. Searching for Identity is not a genuine search into the notion of one’s authentic self. Identity politics aim at setting measures of Identification, it sets categories of belonging, it demands recognition and it opposes any form of authenticity or real self. It prefers gathering and grouping rather than meditation on the self. In fact, people who possess a genuine notion of a real self do not crave the acceptance of any community, neither Jewish nor any other. People with real self are recognised for who they are rather than accepted for what they claim to be.
It is rather apparent that Bard is interested in extending the notion of Jewish community so that she could easily fit in. Indeed, reading Bard’s texts make it clear beyond doubt that she sees herself as part of the ‘Jewish community’. Though her identity/identification complex is rather dialectical, Julia sees herself as an integral part of London’s Jewish tribal collective identity. In other words, she identifies with the struggle for recognition within the Jewish community.
Regarding herself as a progressive Jew, Bard believes that “Jewish future rests on the community being inclusive rather than exclusive.“. Being part of an ethnic collective, Julia is truly concerned with issues having to do with assimilation and preservation of the Jewish people. Yet, unlike the rabbinical institutes, she welcomes a hybridisation of a Jewish collective rather than a rigid racial uniformity. “Those people who are bleating on about the Jewish community shrinking base it on a false assumption — that Judaism remains unchanging and that you can’t be Jewish without being religious.”
Yet, there is a far greater concern raised here by Bard. Seemingly, a liberated Jew is disturbed by the fact that the Jewish community is ‘shrinking’. One may wonder why a liberated being as well as a ‘socialist’ is concerned with issues to do with assimilation and the disintegration of a regressive tribal community. Apparently, engaging with the notion of Jewish Socialism may provide the answer. Jewish Socialism, like Judaism, is a unique esoteric form of knowledge that is primarily concerned with Jewish community and Jewishness in general. This is what I found on the ‘Who We Are’ page on the Jewish Socialist’s Group’s web page: “We (Jewish Socialists’ Groups) unite on issues we recognise as crucial for the future of the Jewish community.” Seemingly, Julia Bard and her Jewish comrades are part of the Jewish community and the subjects they are mostly concerned with are issues having to do with the future of Jewish tribalism.
I assume that at this stage, the ordinary Marxist may wonder, how is it that Julia Bard, David Rosenberg and their comrades repeat very much the same line of thought expressed by ultra-Zionist Golda Meir in the 1970’s: “To me,” says Golda, “being Jewish means and has always meant being proud to be part of a people that has maintained its distinct identity for more than 2,000 years, with all the pain and torment that has been inflicted upon it.” (Golda Meir, My Life). Like Bard, Golda Meir is concerned with identity politics. Like Bard, Meir is a club member. Like Bard, Meir is fully concerned with assimilation which she regarded as the greatest threat to the Jewish future.
My own answer is rather simple. Julia Bard and Golda Meir are two different sides of the Zionist coin. Yet, one difference is rather apparent. While Meir was an authentic hawk, she spoke tribal and thought tribal, Bard and friends speak universal but they clearly think tribal.
Zionism, a Philosophical Revisionism
A few weeks ago, Michael Rosen, a celebrity in the UK Jewish socialist circle as well as a very established poet who operates in the Jewish Blogosphere under the name Isakofsky, expressed some very clear concerns which concern assimilation. Here are Rosen/Isakofsky’s words:
“…..If you say, you welcome assimilation, you're in effect saying that you welcome the disappearance of Jewry. Not a great position to take up, I'd've thought. And if the assimilation is the only way to survive racism/genocide etc, then it's existentially wrong too. It congratulates the silent and the invisible. There is also a problem with the notion of assimilation in itself. It assumes that moving towards the dominant culture is desirable too. Of course it's what plenty of Jews did…”
Very much like Julia Bard, David Rosenberg and Golda Meir, Rosen is rather concerned with the ‘disappearance of Jewry’. Seemingly, Rosen is far more radical than Bard. Very much like Meir, he rejects any ideological reasoning that may justify assimilation. May I suggest at this point that neither Bard, Rosenberg, Rosen or Meir are innovative here. In fact, they all explore the original Zionist fundamental instinct. Zionism was formed as a political practice aimed at confronting assimilation and the disintegration of the Jewish identity. Already in 1897 Max Nordau and Herzl raised very similar concerns to those expressed by Meir, Rosen and Bard.
If we take the necessary step and re-define Zionism as a modern form of Jewish activism which aims at halting assimilation, we can then re-asses the entire Jewish tribal political activity as an internal debate within a diverse Zionist political movement. We should then regard the colonising of Palestine as not more than just one single face of Zionism. In fact, Jewish Socialism fits very nicely into the Zionist project. Being an integral part of the Zionist network, it is concerned with the future of the Jewish secular tribe, it is there to collect the lost souls amongst the Jewish leftists and it brings them back to Blooms.
The shift towards presenting Zionism in a new terminology invites us to regard Zionism as global Jewish tribal political activism. The Israeli Lobby, the Dershowitzes of the world, the Harry’s Places of the net, the David Hirshes of the Goldsmith Colleges, are there to globally spread the voice of Israel, the colonial endeavour. The 3rd category socialists, on the other hand, are there to stop proud self-hating Jews from blowing the whistle. The Jewish Socialists are there to prevent you from reading the words you are engaged with right now.
Seemingly, Jewish Socialists protest against the Jewish State. They clearly denounce Israeli occupation and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. God bless them for that. Yet, very much like the Jewish State, they themselves engage in Jewish tribal activity which aims at halting assimilation and enforcing monolithic collective thought. Moreover, Bard, Rosenberg and comrades may as well believe in ‘One Palestine’. God bless them for that as well. However, they want this ‘One Palestine’ to be ‘secular and democratic’. Not that I am against democracy or secularity, seemingly Palestinians in the occupied territories may have something else in mind: they have voted Hamas, not exactly the most secular movement around (though democratically elected). As it seems, the British Jewish Socialists do not see the need to provide an ideological explanation. Seemingly, they do not take the Palestinian vote very seriously, once confronted, they would insist that the Palestinians didn’t really vote Hamas, they were just ‘protesting’ against the PLO.
At this stage it is rather crucial to raise the issue of intentionality. Are they, Bard, Rosen and comrades, fully aware of their Zionist role? Do they really consciously act on behalf of an abstract tribal network, namely Zionism? If to be honest, I really do not think so. I genuinely do not believe that they are consciously aware of the grand tribal project they serve with such great enthusiasm. At the same time, most Israelis including IDF soldiers at road blocks in the occupied territories and even pilots who throw bombs on highly populated neighbourhoods in Gaza are not fully aware of the large scope of the Zionist project that they serve. This is exactly why Zionism, a successful project, a global monster with no head but with a lot of body, is a victorious political agenda. It sets the modern framework of conclusive Jewish tribalism by incorporating all elements into a magnetic power. Moreover, it transforms its opposition into a productive force. Zionism is indeed not that easy to fight.
The Case of Israel
Michael Rosen's mother told him not to kvetsch, greps at the table or chup his soup. His father told him he was meshugge. His mother told him not to be a shlump. His brother said, "Don't flick tukhes with the shmatte!" Michael emerged from all this with a smile on his face.”
(Extract from a blurb advertising Michael Rosen's appearance at Jewish Book Week 2007)
Pretty much out of the blue, Ariel Sharon, a man who spent the best part of his life killing the enemies of Israel, a man who made war-mongering into an art form, a man who wouldn’t miss a chance to punish Israel’s neighbours, changed his spots. In his very last days, Sharon became a ‘shalom lover’, a Zionist dove, so to say. The Hebraic master of blood politics suddenly introduced a peace initiative known as the ‘unilateral disengagement’.
In the past I have explored the fact that Israeli shalom doesn’t necessarily translate into peace. Shalom in its current Hebraic connotation refers merely to the precise conditions that are needed to guarantee the security of the Jewish people in Israel and abroad. Sharon, the old as well as tired belligerent soldier realised that the best strategy to secure the future of the Jews Only State was to withdraw the relatively scarce number of Jewish settlers from the primarily Palestinian-populated area, and to advocate a moderate version of Jewish national expansionism.
Expectedly, Sharon’s initiative was totally rejected by the hawks of his rightwing Likud Party. Sharon didn’t waste time, he left what was his political home for more than three decades and formed Kadima, a new political party that signed for an immediate unilateral evacuation of part of the occupied territories. The Israelis reacted immediately, within hours after Kadima’s inauguration, all Israel’s polls concurred that the old man had come up with an ingenious political move. The vast majority of the Israelis saluted the old General, they stood behind him. Literally speaking, his rivals disappeared.
Liberal democracy fulfils its promise once the voter’s will is reflected in the State’s political affairs. In Israel it happened. Late Sharon had managed to pluck the right string. He provided the Israelis with the exact goods, he had managed to invoke the Jewish nostalgic yearning for the Ghetto. He promised to erect a monumental barrier that would leave the Goyim (Palestinians) out.
Seemingly, it was Sharon, who understood Max Nordau’s genuine Zionist insight better than any contemporary Hebraic leader. This was quite different from Peres who spread the images of ‘New Middle East’ in which Israelis were supposed to intermingle with their Arab neighbours in the name of Western capitalism. It was unlike Netanyahu who still believes in Greater Israel and Iron Wall confrontational philosophy. It was unlike Bennie Alon, the Messianic settler who believes that Jews should celebrate their Biblical rights on the entire land of Palestine and beyond. Sharon, like Max Nordau, realised that Zionism is all about reviving Jewish solitude, Zionism is all about the re-invention of a metaphysical shtetl. Zionism should be grasped as the re-reading of the Ghetto narrative in glamorous, positive terms. The Ghetto, says Nordau, “was for the Jew of the past not a prison, but a refuge. …In the Ghetto, the Jew had his own world; it was to him the sure refuge which had for him the spiritual and moral value of a parental home.”
Sharon couldn’t agree more. He has managed to envisage what ‘Jewish craving’ was all about. It is the yearning for the tribal parental condition of the Jewish home. He has managed to internalise Nordau’s message: Zionism is all about the abolishment of the ‘other’, the re-creation of the condition in which Jews can celebrate their symptoms, where they can love themselves for who they are. Or at least for who they think they are.
Sharon invoked the promise of a barrier between the Jews (Israelis) and the Goyim (Sea of Arabs) and by doing so, he happened to express the Israelis’ deepest will. Yet, there was a serious dialectical chasm opening up. As much as Zionism promises to replace intermingling/assimilation with a newly-made framework of detachment and isolation, it is as well a promise to raise an enlightened humanist Jew who is entirely different from his Diaspora brother. As much as the Zionist Jew wants to be protected by walls and by deterring their neighbors with a huge nuclear arsenal, he also wants to be a ‘citizen of the world’. To be equal, to be a man like other men, to be a nation like other nations. The Israeli wants to fly cheaply with Ryanair, he wants to eat Hummus in Amman and to land in London early enough on Boxing Day not to miss Oxford Street’s Christmas sales. In short, the Israeli wants the impossible. Not bad for a young national identity!
Zionism as a movement is a dialectical struggle between the Tribal praxis which aims towards insularity and the Universal promise of openness. Zionism is an ongoing debate between Jerusalem and Athens. It tries to promise both but it is doomed to failure because Tribalism and Universalism are opposing categories. Similarly, those Jews who happened to be subject to Zionism’s schizophrenic ideology happen to find themselves bouncing between two conflicting promises. As much as they insist upon loving themselves for who they think they are, they happen to hate themselves for what they happen to be. This may be seen by some as the ultimate tragedy; the totality of metaphysical limbo. Nevertheless, it can as well be a powerful position to be in: the emerging of an innovative totality of creation and recreation.
As it happens, Sharon didn’t make it to the polls. He became a vegetable soon after he launched his new party. Ehud Olmert took his place. A few weeks later, Olmert won the election, though not as greatly as Sharon would have done. He formed a centrist national unity Government with the Labour Party. He set the necessary political atmosphere in order to implement Sharon’s unilateral agenda. But then the inevitable happened. As soon as a relatively minor incident took place at the Israeli northern border, Olmert, with the support of his shalom-seeking ‘centrist unity government’, unleashed Israeli military might to flatten the entire Lebanese infrastructure. It is crucial to mention at this stage that Olmert’s aggression against Lebanon is actually the natural continuation of Sharon’s unilateral Shalom initiative. The Lebanon war is the embodiment of Sharon’s Ghetto philosophy. Indeed, the newly emerging notion of Jewish Ghetto is more of a hostile fortress, with enough nuclear firepower to turn our planet into dust.
Once the hostility commenced, the Israelis, the people who just a few months earlier were blessing Sharon for his ‘peace’ initiative, now succumbed to the usual heroic spirit of flames and death. As soon as the war started, the Israelis rallied en mass in support of their Government and this, of course, includes the ‘Israeli intellectual left’.
Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom wrote (http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery09082006.html):
“…an impressive line-up of writers supported it (the war). Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, who regularly appear as a political trio, were united again in their support of the government and used all their considerable verbal talents to justify the war. They were not satisfied with that: some days after the beginning of the war, the three published a joint ad in the papers, expressing their enthusiastic backing for the operation.”
As we all know, The Israeli campaign in Lebanon was far from a great success, in fact it was total disaster. The Israeli army failed to bring victory. Northern Israel was rained upon with Hezbollah’s rockets. Israeli cities north of Hadera turned into ghost towns. It didn’t take long before Oz, Yehoshua and Grossman had changed their minds.
“…some days before the end of the war”, teases Avnery, “they (the Hebraic literature icons) published a second tripartite ad, this time calling for its termination. At the same time, Meretz and Peace Now also changed course. But not one of them apologized or showed remorse for their prior support for the killing and devastation. Their new position was: the war was indeed very good, but now the time has come to put an end to it.”
Not only had the Israeli Left changed its mind, the entire Israeli public turned against its leadership. Olmert’s popularity slammed sharply. Peretz’s political career became a subject matter for Historians only. IDF generals were mocked in public media. The rather frequent change in Israeli mood is again the outcome of the Zionist collective neurosis. Zionists love themselves for who they think they are, nevertheless they happen to hate themselves for who they happen to be.
What Zionists think of themselves is not very interesting. Far more interesting is the gulf between ‘who they think they are’ and ‘what they happen to be’. It is duality between the ‘self image’ and the ‘public image’, the chasm between the consciousness (who one thinks one is) and the unconsciousness (what one happens to be). I would draw here the attention to Jacques Lacan, the French revolutionary Psychoanalyst. Unconsciousness, says Lacan, is the ‘discourse of the other’. The discourse of the other is very much the male fear of impotence. Rather than the anxiety of being caught malfunctioning, it is the unbearable threat that the fiasco may become public knowledge which is the real terror.
At the time of the Lebanese war, the Israelis’ ‘discourse of the other’ was no other than: CNN, Sky, BBC 24, George Galloway and the West in general. It is the discourse of universality. It started to look like the expanding resentment of those who are not willing to accept Israeli brutality anymore. Israeli barbarity became public knowledge. And indeed, the gulf between the self-confident Israeli image and the total contempt of the other is exactly where the neurosis of Yehoshua, Oz, Grossman and the vast majority of Israelis was coming into play.
I tend to believe that the recorded sudden change in the Israeli collective mental mood is nothing but the outcome of the Israeli natural tendency to resolve the schizophrenic mode inherently entangled within Zionism. It is the outcome of the outburst of the conflict between the tribal and the universal that matures into a state of a colossal and complete phobia. Oz, Yehoshua and Grossman were practically bouncing between the tribal and the universal, between the ‘insularity’ of Jerusalem and the ‘openness’ of Athens, between the Shtetl and the big city. As it seems, within the Zionist universe the intimacy with tribal isolation is hostile towards the impetus towards humanity and vice versa.
The pattern is rather clear:
The more Israelis want to secure themselves by clinging to isolation, the more death they happen to spread around themselves, But then, the more death they spread, the less they feel that they resemble the rest of humanity.
The less they feel resemblance to the rest of humanity, the more they hate their leaders that set them into such a chaotic state.
Israel is a democracy, moreover, it is a proud Western liberal democracy, some say, that it is the only democracy in the Middle East. It is indeed a democracy that votes death and ethnic cleansing. Beyond doubt, Olmert’s reprisal in Lebanon reflected the wishes of the vast majority of Israelis, at least at the beginning of the war. Thus, the conclusion is clear. The emerging Israeli dissatisfaction with Olmert, Peretz and the IDF reveals a severe conflict within the Israeli collective psyche. The Israelis hate Olmert because it is themselves that they can’t really stand anymore. The Israelis hate themselves, they hate their doomed situation. They hate the fact that they may have lost the Ghetto for good, and yet, they failed to join the community of Nations. They have never become people like all people. The more they insist upon loving themselves for who the think they are, the more they hate themselves for what they have become.
But then, is the case of the Jewish tribal anti-Zionist Bard or Rosen any different? Aren’t they falling exactly into the same trap? Don’t they love themselves for being enlightened socialists but at the same time aren’t they sinking into neurosis upon realising that being Jewish tribal petit bourgeoisies, they have never managed to join the true human family, i.e. the working class.
Rosen's mother “told him not to burp (greps) at the table…. His brother said, ‘Don't slap my ass (tukhes) with the rag (shmatte)!’... Michael emerged from all this with a smile on his face,” says the brochure of the Jewish Book Review. Rosen may be going to celebrate his Jewish humour at the Jewish Book Review family corner. He will be surrounded by the most racist, belligerent rightwing authors around. Nevertheless, he may be slightly embarrassed when his old Oxford classmates happen to learn about the level of family humour the legendary children’s poet is currently engaged with. This is Rosen cornered between Athens and Jerusalem.
Seemingly, three escape routes are left for the Zionist and this includes every form of Jewish political tribalism. One entails total segregation: transforming the Zionist Ghetto into a windowless monad. This form of Zionism eliminates the notion of the other. Such a solution is reflected clearly in Sharon’s disengagement as well as in Rosen anti-assimilationist approach. The second option is obviously returning to orthodoxy. The numbers of Israelis who happen to leave behind the secular Hebraic culture and re-embrace Judaic orthodoxy reveal that such a solution is a common practice, rather than a remote philosophical option. The third option is obviously a flight from Jewishness, Judaism and any other form of Judaic tribalism. It means, leaving chosenness behind. This is probably the only form of real Jewish resistance to Zionism.
Nordau, no doubt a clever man, could identify the new Marrano, those who split from Judaism with a real conviction, as the greatest danger for tribal Jewish future. Like the other anti-assimilationists, the ‘Socialist’ Michael Rosen and war-monger Golda Meir, Nordau was very explicit about it. “Many try to save themselves by flight from Judaism,” says Nordau with contempt that resembles Michel Rosen’s dissatisfaction with assimilation. “There is also a problem with the notion of assimilation in itself. It assumes that moving towards the dominant culture is desirable too. Of course it's what plenty of Jews did (I know the descendants of an Austrian Jewish Baron, made into an aristocrat, I think for designing Vienna! and we all know about Rothschild...)”, yet, Nordau continues. “But racial anti-Semitism denies the power of change by baptism, and this mode of salvation does not seem to have much prospect…. In this way there arises a new Marrano, who is worse than the old. The latter had an idealistic direction -- a secret desire for truth or a heartbreaking distress of conscience, and they often sought for pardon and purification through Martyrdom.” (Max Nordau, Speech at the First Zionist Congress August 29, 1897)
Yes indeed, Nordau realised already in 1897 that ‘Idealist’ new Marrano, those who genuinely crave for truth and even manage to find it out of the Jewish shtetl are the ultimate danger. Nevertheless, Nordau was acting in a world that was inflamed with Darwinism and biological determinism. In Nordau’s world it made was some sense to say, “you Yidd, don’t you even consider evading your ‘fate’ because the Goyim will find you, they can smell your blood.” But as Julia Bard will confirm, we are now living in a multi-cultural society. Biological determinism is behind us. People are free to escape their so-called fate. Nowadays, hardly anyone thinks in blood categories except of course Zionists, the Israelis, the Jewish socialists and even the progressive Bard who is happy to include mixed marriages in the tribal community. To be a Zionist is to prevent assimilation, to be a Zionist is to engage in some form of Jewish political tribalism. Zionism indeed colonises Palestine but its branches are far-reaching. Zionism is not a local movement supported by some enthusiastic lobbies around the world. Zionism is a global network. It is a clannish political apparatus that systematically endangers our planet for the sake of a miniature ethnic group. This very group is not the Jews per se, it is actually the Jewish political tribe. Zionism is there to shape and re-shape the notion of the Ghetto, to form and re-form the dialectic of chosenness, to balance the emerging tension between insularity and openness and yet to include most of the Jews. Zionism is a global network with no head, it is a spirit and spirit cannot be defeated. Yet, spirit can be revealed and spiritual supremacy must be exposed.
Women Against Fundamentalism and the Jewish community Journal no.4 1992/1993. pp.3-5
 However, as far as Judaism is concerned, Julia is not exactly a scholar: Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism is a non-reformist religion. In Judaism there is no room for a single change or even minor modification. Judaism is a sealed list of 613 commandments (Mitzvas) that must be followed strictly. From a Judaic (i.e. religious) point of view, to depart from Judaism is in practice to form a new Church. If Julia would be slightly more knowledgeable about Judaism she would instead articulate her point in a scholarly manner saying: “While Judaism remains unchanged, you can still be Jewish without being a religious Jew.” Judaism and Jewishness are different categories. While Judaism is an unchanged religious core, Jewishness is a dynamic category in a continuous flux. Indeed, this is the case of Zionism. Zionism is Jewish, it is a dynamic continuation of Jewishness: it is racist, exclusive, supremacist and self centred, yet it is not Judaic. It has very little to do with Judaism. It may be messianic in a territorial sense yet it lacks the Judaic divinity. In fact, Zionism opposes Judaism.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Oy oy oy and a bottle of rum!- a Jolly, Salty Tale by Cap’n Jihad and the PePaMates
She was the pride of the fleet, the good Yiddishe ship Prinz-Rozen - a true star of David.
Now, as every old salt knows, in stormy weather a flagship should stay in dock. But, under the new command of Captain Isakovsky, The Prinz-Rosen yearned to sail to far-off lands, she wanted to taste the sweetness of adventure, to smell blood and to make sacrifice. So, early one winter morn, The Prinz-Rozen set sail from Port Jews-For-Whatever on her maiden (and only) mission. However, luck be not with the lady, for once in open waters The Prinz-Rozen was to learn, aye mates, how true it be, just how deep is the ocean.
In Sea-Shanty Mary's lagoon we waited. Midshipman Eisen, telescope to eye. First-Rating Atzmon watching and waiting on the gun-deck. Bos'un Onepeople watchful on the bridge, Quartermaster Rowan in the Galley, Falasteen Son up the Mizzen, Second Lieutenant Gillespie on signals, Able Seaman Rej at the Mainmast, Ship's Doctor Trouvere in the Foc'sl and of course, at the Helm, old Cap'n Jihad himself, singing:
“Aye! The battle not long did it last, the minute The Prinz-Rozen revealed its mast, into history its fate would be cast, for the lure of defeat was so near. The old Prinz-Rosen was simply too old and too heavy, its ghost crew, shaking with fear.”
After so many years of effortlessly ruling the waves, too slow and too lazy was she. Cannon she had a-plenty, gun power she had to spare and, as for ammunition, she had far, far too much. Indeed, The Prinz-Rozen had the firepower but had not the will.
Meanwhile, back with the fleet Grand Admiral Elf realised the scale of the looming disaster and rushed HMS Pants and Destroyer Greenpiss forward to engage. But Pants was one old battleship – she lacked the will to engage and Destroyer Greenpiss fires every which way but never seems to land a blow. For a short while these two circled around the Prinz-Rozen like a dog trying to catch its tail - never daring to engage. Then, at the first whiff of gunpowder they ran for their lives. Finally, all that was left was the the old Admiral himself - Grand Admiral Elf - the one-legged Yiddishe Piraten with Real McCoy-Be his Hebrew-speaking parrot on his shoulder - viewing the battle from the safety of his leaky command post.
"Oy,!" cried Elf
"Oy! squawked McCoy-Be
"Goy!" cried Elf
"Goy!" squawked McCoy-Be
Everyone could see that the great Prinz-Rozen could last no longer. Firing in all directions, still she could find no target. In her death-agony she panicked. From our main deck we gazed at her dying majesty. We looked at her, I tell you we even felt for her, for her vanquished pride. We wanted to free her of her agony. We wanted her to be finally as free as she always claimed to be. If only she would raise a white flag and surrender with honour then we could save her, then we could care for her. But The Prinz-Rozen under Isakovsky's command was begging to be sunk. Craving for one last moment of dignity, she begged for a heroic death and, in the end, in an act of mercy we sent her to the bottom of the ocean. As the sun slowly set and The Prinz-Rozen just as slowly sank, we gazed in wonder. From one to the other we looked, and from one to the other we asked, "Why? Why did she come? Why did she stay? Why did her comrades not come to her aid?”
Ship-mates, there was but one survivor. As the great ship sank beneath the waves a small boat was seen with a sole figure rowing furiously for land. It was the Captain of the ship Isakovsky. The battle may be over but the war is not.
Yet, in spite of the odds, peace may prevail.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Hebron is my Wailing Wall, a not-so-ironic appeal to Robbie Williams
There is at least one site on Internet where a person can look at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem at any given moment of the day or night through a sort of closed circuit television camera that sends its signal to any computer that might want to have it. It’s all live, they claim, but every time I try, I get a freeze-frame image. But, that’s enough, I suppose. It is clear that in the daytime the plaza is full of black-garmented people who pray to the wall or who sit together in small groups on white plastic chairs. In the night time, you don’t see much of anything, but the camera never abandons its vigil, and those who are devoted to the Wall, are able to never lose sight of it for a moment. There even seems to be a downloadable version (no Spyware, they say, but would YOU trust such a claim?) It is obvious that such a thing serves those who feel an attachment to the place, the actual place itself, and not some celestial or symbolical version of it.
This got me to thinking about some other places not so far from Jerusalem. Beautiful places where people who are devoted to the wall do horrible things to other human beings who aren’t. On peacepalestine documents I saw a photographic essay of one typical day in Hebron for children who are attempting to simply go to their classes. I think anyone would be horrified to know that there is a constant risk of children being killed, maimed and humiliated by soldiers and civilians just moving down the street to get to their school. Soldiers point guns at small girls! It is a chilling sight, but apparently, the man pointing the gun thinks he is doing a good thing. In an article entitled Hebron Horrors, written by a Zionist, there is the description of how the Zionist settlers who live in this town in the West Bank of Occupied Palestine co-exist with their Palestinian neighbours. What we have to remember is this: there are 400 settlers who came from someplace else, 30,000 Palestinians whose families have lived there in an uninterrupted way for centuries and 2,000 Israeli soldiers who are there to “protect” the Jewish settlers.
If one loves accuracy, rather than soldiers pointing guns at little girls with copy books, there would be more need of sanitary maintenance crews to clean up the filth that the Jewish settlers dump out of their windows. Disgusting habit, isn’t it? Well, if someone does this to a place they love, there must be a good reason for it. Let’s take a look at why they do it (as always, description by our Zionist reporter):
“But the most striking thing is the steel mesh screens that the Arabs have installed just above the heads of pedestrians to protect them from the garbage and excrement routinely dumped by the settlers from their second floor windows. The screens catch all sorts of disgusting stuff and lethal objects like cinder blocks, although liquid debris does make its way to the ground or on the heads of anyone below.”
Yes, the settlers who came to Hebron for the Zionist call of reclaiming the land they love, dump this filth out their windows and out into the streets so that they can make daily life a horrible experience full of violence and humiliation for the Palestinians. In the intensity of their hatred for the Palestinians, to make them get fed up and leave, the Jews treat the town of Rachel’s tomb as if it were a sewer.
Now, I asked myself a few questions. I know I am stating the obvious when I am shocked by the violence of the settlers, but it’s not only the settlers who trouble me. I have profound and disturbing problems accepting the idea that all of this can go on without people being shocked and disgusted by it. I think there might be a problem that goes back to the nursery. We are still under the spell of the bully.
We all have had experience of the bully who is only satisfied when he is hurting someone else, and the weaker the chosen victim, the easier it is for him to be gratified. What does a bully want? He wants to be feared or appreciated. I don’t know if it is a desire for power, because a bully operates best when he has a captive audience, and people who work on his behalf (they don’t have to be his friends to expand his myth) to tell the story, spread the word that you don’t mess around with Bully Boy unless you want to pay! In private, Bully Boy might be capable of love and affection, but with the applause or approval of others, he gets much further, and this is the tendency that he develops.
So, now that we have the memory in our minds of the kind of person he is (each one of us can put a face to him without any difficulty) let’s look at how he “gets away with it”.
He finds his target. Obviously, if he is outnumbered, the target has to be weaker in other ways, and most of all, the target has to know he will not be protected. No matter how loudly the victim protests, there isn’t much one can do if Bully Boy has the upper hand socially and, of vital importance, will not be punished for his bad acts. Let’s imagine a situation where a family is setting the table for dinner, the doorbell rings, and perhaps thinking it is an uninvited but still welcome friend of one of the children who habitually drops in at that hour, someone smiles, runs to the door and throws it open.
Rather than see a friendly and familiar face, there is another family on the doorstep. They are unfamiliar, but they insist that they are hungry, see that there is enough food on the table, want to sit down and eat, and shove past the child at the door. They squeeze their way at the table, they gobble up everything, (it’s not necessary to compliment the cook, actually, a few insults are made on the strange taste of a few of the dishes), then storm through the house. They make themselves at home, without respect for the home itself.
I don’t think many of us would tolerate something like this, but for some reason, the initial shock leaves us powerless. The father somehow manages to get the people to leave, while wondering how this absurd situation ever came to pass. He tells himself it won’t happen again, but the situation has been installed in his mind. He will never forget it and will be prepared should it ever occur again.
You don’t need to guess where I am taking you, reader. Already, we realise that now, once the intruding family has gotten away with it, they try again the next day. This time, they don’t bother with the food, knowing that there will be preparation for this eventuality, so they barge in and start going through the objects that are in the house. The children’s room is where most energy is concentrated on, because children have more talents than adults do, and they invent new solutions more often. Bully Boy has figured out in a moment which toy is the most loved one. It is the shabbiest, because it accompanied the first haircut, the loss of teeth, stitches from a cut, falls off of bicycles and climbs up hills. It shows everything on its skin. That is the toy Bully Boy sets his sights on and must have. He takes it, coyly asks if he can play with it, and after a moment of deliberate hesitation, and perhaps infantile hope, the owner grants permission. Yes, reader, you are swift and you got there before I did! Bully Boy takes the toy and runs off with it (he will throw it into the nearest sewer as soon as he finds a wet enough one). All the tears in the world do not move his soul. Save your tears for yourself, kid, he won’t ever let you have it back, not that he will love it, but you can’t have it, and that is what matters.
The invading family, having advanced another step on their aggressive approach to relations, storms out of the house, and they take the key to the car off the hook on the wall. The car! They are driving off with someone else’s car! The neighbours at this point step out of their houses, (they had been peeping from the curtains all the while), raise their shoulders in a gesture that expresses their powerlessness, and they tell the family to resign themselves to this fate. “What?” You may ask,” the NEIGHBOURS? Aren’t they supposed to help you out? Don’t they see what has been done?”
All of this might have been too elementary of an analogy, but the point is, Israel has acted like Bully Boy for so long, with lessons of the best way to do it passed on from generation to generation. The neighbours say, “oh, that is too bad,” but they don’t lift a finger to help. No one wants to say they approve, but no one is defending the rights of the persons who have been victimised. This is the paradigm of Israel, and the examples number in the millions, if not tens of millions. Acts of humiliation, arrest, violence, robbery, deportation, assassination. Crime upon crime is committed against Palestinians, and neighbours say they are powerless to do anything about it. This means neighbours near and far, in a country just across the river, and in a place a million miles away, but where one can see Jerusalem at any moment of the day “live on webcam”.
So, if it takes a webcam to make people care, I got to thinking, there are thousands of places in Palestine where one could put the webcam. Locations where people feel love and attachment for the physical place. But, it would be too complicated to set up thousands of cameras, maybe just one in Hebron would be enough.
Ah, but then, Bully Boy has his headquarters in Hebron. He would destroy the camera in an instant. It won’t do as a solution.
Hm… I got to thinking some strange, disconnected thoughts. What if there was only one camera, and it was doing a video. A video that someone sees on You Tube, or MTV or in a club or coffee shop. I remember Madonna and her Qabala wristband. She wore one in a video, and all of a sudden, people were interested in this esoteric branch of Judaism. Hm…. What if someone bigger than Madonna (I could only think of Robbie Williams, but there are certainly others, and you know who they might be better than I do) wore a T-Shirt during the filming of a music video? One that had this image for instance, the picture that accompanied a campaign of commitment to Palestinians. People like to copy what famous people wear. All it would take was someone like Robbie Williams to dance to his song wearing a smashing T-Shirt. I’d have one printed up. I’d send it to him, no trouble at all. What do you say Robbie? Do you think you could make a silent statement?
I know he won’t be reading this, but, with neighbours like we’ve got, only absurd propositions seem to make sense anymore.