Posts Tagged ‘Israel’
Together in Nazi/Zionist barbarism they are against Palestinians. The hatred with the biblical presumption of racial superiority and of a divine mission, their “business,” which is the looting and piracy against Palestinian lives and wealth. Worse. This hatred and this “business” spreads throughout the world in a cynicism that characterized Hitler’s successors.
“Let’s send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” It was the statement of one of the terrorist cabinet ministers in Tel Aviv. It was printed in every newspaper in the world. There was no hiding. The videos and photos of the bodies of children, women, and elderly people killed in feigned insanity, in the false indignation of those who occupy other people’s lands are universal and embody the history of cruelty through the ages.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza are crimes of genocide and have the support of nations like the United States and its main settlement in the European Union, Britain. The blood of Palestinians rushes worldwide, awakening the revolt of humans who still remain as such.
The extended bodies look distressed, in pain, anger, misunderstanding they are due to so much hatred, so much “business.”
The terrorist government of Israel has appropriated Palestinian land and water. In the case of water, a Zionist company operates the well on Palestinian land and charges Palestinians double. They are habitual thieves throughout history. And interestingly, the Quran forbids the charging of interest. There is a vast difference between hate and “business” and the simplicity of shepherds and farmers forced off their land, surrounded by a wall and frightened by battalions of men beasts, or beasts armed to the teeth and without the slightest sheen of a human eye.
In Gaza, Palestinians are making a living in the production of flowers and fruit, among other primary activities, but they are rich in spirit. The flowers are dead and are not “winning cannons.”
Stop this horror? Israel is no longer a right of a people – despite the protests of Jews around the world against their government – to become what Einstein, even in the late 40s and early 50s predicted. Criminals in government.
It is a fallacy to claim that Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem. There are rockets near the chemical arsenal (white phosphorus) and nuclear terrorists in Tel-Aviv.
The silence of the governments of Egypt, Jordan, of Muslim countrie is inexplicable before the unacceptable massacres . It is a silence that sounds like stabbing.
Nicolas Sarkozy when he was the French president, proposed to Parliament that his country, in the name of freedom, prohibit the use of the burqa in public. There are close to two thousand women who wore the burqa in public throughout France. Two thousand women are now condemned to remain in their homes, locked up. There are millions that in their religion use religious habits in public. There are thousands who hide in fantasies and no law was brought up to ensure freedom, or “libertarian traditions,” and none came to speak like the former president.
The Palestinian struggle is for all the oppressed of the world.
Turn off the corporate media and the whole rotten media market that dominates information. To serve their bosses they do not mind getting their hands dirty with blood in the name of profit and show a face, just a face, that we call “terrorism.” They hide the true terror.
They are part of the political and economic elites who stuffed themselves with Zionist money.
Note that Israel or Zionism comes with the bar code 7 29 (the first three numbers).
There is no limit to Zionist cruelty or expansionism and it is a reality.
It’s far, far away, where the girl Rebekah is saved by Ivanhoe and by Sir Templar Bois de Guilbert, in the novel by Walter Scott. It does not happen anymore. The hatred was frozen, and is dumped on top of innocents in Palestine.
It is hatred and “business”
The ill-treatment imposed on the Palestinian people is matched only in the concentration camps of the Third Reich.
We live in the insane heyday of the Fourth Reich.
Winds of discontent begin to blow in the U.S.. Not even the Americans will put up with so much violence and so much cruelty.
Chavez did well in 2006, realizing the danger of the swastika, turned into the Star of David, when he expelled from his country the entire Israeli diplomatic corps in Venezuela.
Do not just ask for peace. What peace? There has to be freedom for Palestine. The Palestinian state as decided by the UN.
We have to pass more than 50 UN resolutions that condemn Israel for terrorist practices, such as excessive use of force (euphemism for barbarism), chemical and biological war, torture, rape, killings.
Israel never wanted peace, and when he offered peace, Israel killed their own leader, Itzak Rabin. They attributed the crime to a Jewish “fanatic.” Today you should know that was a MOSSAD agent paving the way for terrorists ahead Ariel Sharon.
The fury of barbaric and terrorist Israel wants land, either for business or interest in their banks. They use the bible as a shield, the bottom is convinced they are superior.Share on Facebook
Mitt Romney is visiting Israel to try to win over American Jews (80% voted for Obama in 2008). Obama sought to one up Romney by pledging an extra $70 million in US taxpayer dollars for Israeli defense. Yet no one at the White House will even disclose what their real policy on Israel even is. Obama’s latest $70 million aid packages come with new pledges of military support without asking for anything in return.
Watch the response by Obama’s press secretary to what is an extremely basic question about Obama’s foreign policy. This is reminiscent of when Obama repeatedly voted “present” on important issues in the Senate. Obama doesn’t want to go on record as supporting anything.
The US gives billions in US taxdollars to fund the armies of foreign nations. Israel was the leading beneficiary from 1976-2002. It is now in third place behind Afghanistan and Iraq. Other top beneficiaries are Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and Columbia. Note: This does not includes the tens of Billions used to “fund democracy” overseas.Share on Facebook
State Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the state legislative assembly that from the coming tourist session starting in October, the monopoly of any area by the foreign nationals will not be tolerated.
There have been many complaints in the past against the presence of so called restricted areas. Most of them are located in the villages in north Goa. Entire neighbourhoods in many of these beach villages have become virtually foreign territories where the entry of locals is banned or heavily restricted.
Foreigners on long visas even business visas have bought rows of houses in particular areas to create such enclaves. There have also been scuffles between locals and foreigners over the issue.
To express his seriousness Parrikar also warned that the hotels and beach shacks, which serve exclusively to foreigners could lose their trade licences. From now on all their signboards have to be in the local language Konkani or English. Currently many of them use only Russian or Hebrew to serve exclusive clients.
The so called foreign enclaves have existed for many years and are the known centres of drug abuse and its trading. Despite many efforts the authorities have not been able to tackle the problem.
Russian and Israeli tourists in particular are known to have all kinds of vices and are known to over indulge when they arrive in large numbers around Christmas and NewYear and disturb the peace of the surrounding areas.
Every year Goa attracts two million tourists many of whom stay for months in their respective enclaves. The session that starts in October lasts up to March.Share on Facebook
French police said they were investigating death threats made against the country’s chief rabbi.
Polices said over the weekend that they are looking for people connected to a photomontage disseminated through Facebook which shows Rabbi Gilles Bernheim with a revolver pointing at his head. The picture shows Bernheim wearing a Star of David on his forehead.
“Don’t worry, Bernheim, I won’t deport you. I just want you to breathe in the content of this lighter,” a caption reads. The photomontage is signed by “Bakala LBD.”
Bakala LBD is the name of a Facebook user whose page offers profanities about Israel and maps that purport to depict the expansion of Jewish presence in Israel and th West Bank. It also offers photos of the French comedian known as Dieudonne, founder of the French Anti-Zionist Party. Dieudonne has been convicted several times of hate speech because of anti-Semitic statements.
CRIF, the umbrella organization representing French Jewish communities, condemned the threats.
“Anti-Semitism is not an atmosphere. It kills,” Ron Rafaeli of SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish communities, said last week at the European Parliament in Brussels.Share on Facebook
Four of the occupants were taken to hospital suffering burns and smoke inhalation. Graffiti sprayed on the walls of the building said: “Get out of the neighbourhood.”
The Jerusalem fire department and police said arson was indicated. “This looks like an arson attempt on an apartment which housed Eritrean migrants. The police [are] treating this all due seriousness and will employ all means at its disposal to apprehend those responsible,” said a police statement.
The attack in the early hours of Monday morning follows a series of firebombings in southern Tel Aviv – an area in which African migrants are concentrated – including apartments and a kindergarten. Shops run by or serving migrants were smashed up and looted in a violent demonstration last month, in which Africans were attacked.
Politicians, including the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the interior minister, Eli Yishai, have inflamed the volatile mood by suggesting Israel is being flooded with “illegal infiltrators”, that migrants are responsible for a crime wave and calling for all migrants to be locked up or deported.
On Sunday, a law came into effect allowing the Israeli authorities to jail migrants for up to three years. Netanyahu also ordered ministers to accelerate efforts to deport 25,000 migrants from countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations, principally South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ethiopia.
He conceded it was not possible to deport around 35,000 migrants from Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia. Eritreans and Sudanese make up more than 90% of those illegally crossing the Israel-Egypt border in recent months.
Israel is building a 150-mile (240km) steel fence along the border, which may have the short-term effect of increasing the numbers attempting to cross into Israel before it is completed later this year.
During a tour of the fence on Sunday, a member of the Israeli parliament said that troops should fire on anyone attempting to cross the border illegally. “Anyone that penetrates Israel’s border should be shot, a Swedish tourist, Sudanese from Eritrea, Eritreans from Sudan, Asians from Sinai. Whoever touches Israel’s border – shot,” said Aryeh Eldad. He later conceded that such a policy may not be feasible “because bleeding hearts groups will immediately begin to shriek and turn to the courts”.
Migrants have reported a climate of fear, and some have blamed politicians for stoking racial hatred. According to the population and immigration authority, there are 62,000 migrants in Israel. It said 2,031 migrants entered Israel via Egypt last month, compared with 637 last May. Israel’s population is 7.8 million.
Israel granted asylum status to one applicant out of 4,603 applications in 2011, according to the US state department, which last week criticised Israel for its routine use of the term “infiltrators” to describe migrants.Share on Facebook
There are 33 American military members and one American civilian contractor who died terrifying horrific deaths and 174 Americans who were horribly wounded due to Israel’s sneak attack on the virtually unarmed American intelligence ship the U.S.S. Liberty on June 8, 1967.
These dead and wounded men were deemed useless to the U.S. political whores in Washington. That is why the cowardly war-mongering Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, after ordering American fighter jets that were on their way to save the Americans on the U.S.S. Liberty from their Jewish butchers back to their carriers said, “President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.”
The tragic case of the U.S.S. Liberty should teach any American who is in the military or who is thinking about joining the military about who is really running the show and who they really are or will be fighting for. The politicians owe the only thing they care about, their meaningless political careers, to the Israel lobby and the Jewish dominated media. They look at Americans in the U.S. military as pawns they can use to promote their political careers. Not only will the U.S. military be used to advance Israel and its stooges in the White House and Congress with no regard for the welfare of American military personnel, the politicians will NOT use the American military to protect American citizens from Israeli violence.
America has not learned its U.S.S. Liberty lesson. Things have actually gotten much worse. Now, instead of one American ship being
attacked by the terrorist state of Israel, our entire military is used to fight wars for Israel’s benefit. Case in point is Iraq. The Iraq War was spurred forward by the Jewish neoconservative Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. He was the one who first suggested it to goy-boy George W. Bush. And Wolfowitz had the gall to play wounded American vets for fools by buying them stake dinners in Washington and signing autographs (as shown at right) for the trusting and unsuspecting pawns.
Today we are coming very close to showing that we are still just as unthinking and naive as ever by moving closer to a war that will greatly benefit Israel and harm America and the rest of the world. This time the war will be with Iran. Currently the politicians are going through the same routine as they did in the build up for the unnecessary war for Israel’s benefit with Iraq. They are holding talks with the Iranians over Iran’s nuclear program. Even though it takes uranium enrichment of 90 percent to be usable for a nuclear weapon and Iran hasn’t come anywhere close to that, the media and government are squawking that Iran already has enough enriched uranium to build five nuclear bombs! Add to this the fact that Israel already has a growing nuclear stockpile, submarines to deliver them virtually from anywhere on the globe and also has biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and no U.S. politician or any politician in Europe, Canada or Australia is calling for open inspections of Israeli REAL AND EXISTING WMD and it becomes painfully crystal clear that we have learned absolutely nothing from the Israeli sneak attack on the U.S.S. Liberty. We have not learned that Israel’s inhumane brutality and raw aggression exhibited on the men of the U.S.S. Liberty instructs thinking minds that Israel should NEVER be allowed to have WMD of any kind. If America had learned its lesson from the martyrs of the U.S.S. Liberty we would not only immediately cut all aid and support for the Jewish state, we would go in an disarm it.
Below is a list of the dead from the Israeli sneak attack on the U.S.S. Liberty on June 8, 1967. We owe it to each and everyone of them to learn from this avoidable mistake.
LCDR Philip McCutcheon Armstrong, Jr. Navy Cross
LT James Cecil Pierce
LT Stephen Spencer Toth, Silver Star
CT3 William Bernard Allenbaugh
SN Gary Ray Blanchard
CT2 Allen Merle Blue
QM3 Francis Brown
CT2 Ronnie Jordan Campbell
CT2 Jerry Leroy Converse
CT2 Robert Burton Eisenberg
CT2 Jerry Lee Gross
CT1 Curtis Alan Graves
CTSN Lawrence Pasul Hayden
CT1 Warren Edward Hersey
CT3 Alan (NMN) Higgins
SN Carl Lewis Hoar
CT2 Richard Walter Keene, Jr.
CTSN James Lee Lenau
CTC Raymond Eugene Linn
CT1 James Mahlon Lupton
CT3 Duane Rowe Marggraf
CTSN David Walter Marlborough
CT2 Anthony Peter Mendle
CTSN Carl Christian Nygren
SGT Jack Lewis Raper, USMC
CPL Edward Emory Rehmeyer, III, USMC
IFCN David (NMN) Skolak
CT1 John Caleb Smith, Jr.
CTC Melvin Douglas Smith
PC2 John Clarence Spicher
GMG3 Alexander Neil Thompson, Jr.
CT3 Thomas Ray Thornton
CT3 Philippe Charles Tiedke
CT1 Frederick James Walton
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Earlier this week, Hezbollah mouthpiece Al-Manar claimed that Israel has “declared war against African migrants,” accusing Israeli officials of “racist incitement.” The report suggesting that the migrants have been wrongfully held responsible for crimes in southern Tel Aviv.
About 1,000 people gathered in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood Wednesday evening to protest against the government’s handling of the flow of African border jumpers into the Jewish state. Several Knesset members spoke at the event.
Some of the demonstrators shattered the windshield of a vehicle in which three African migrants were riding. Twelve people were arreseted for rioting and looting migrants’ shops.
‘Surging anti-African violence’
Wire reports, which have been picked up by news sites and papers from Washington to Bangkok, initially featured dry reports about Wednesday’s violent rally, but have since offered a deeper look into immigration and the ties between Israelis and migrants.
Reuters described the situation as “surging street violence against African migrants, including a rampage that an Israeli broadcaster dubbed a ‘pogrom.'”
The Associated Press spoke about a “political and emotional backlash” against the ballooning numbers of the illegal refugees, suggesting that the violence was ignited by the “recent rapes blamed on African migrants.”
The report notes Israel’s inability to expel the refugees due to the state’s commitment to an international refugee treaty, and ponders the implications of the situation for other countries.
“It has raised questions, relevant all over the developed world, about how much is owed to the impoverished migrants who manage to sneak in,” the article reads.
The French wire service, AFP, called Wednesday’s demonstration a “race riot” that has prompted senior officials to call for the migrants’ deportation.
News sites that have chosen not to pick up the wire stories opted for even bolder phrasing and commentary. The website Russia Today called Wednesday’s events the “Israeli Kristallnacht,” referring to the 1938 pogroms across Nazi Germany in which Jews were killed and Jewish institutions were destroyed. The night is regarded as marking the beginning of the Holocaust.
“The rage of those who attended the rally seems to reflect a growing intolerance of the incoming African asylum seekers and migrant workers, even among those in the highest ranks of power,” the author claimed. The site quoted several politicians who spoke at the rally, including MK Miri Regev who called the migrants “a cancer in our body.”
While the UK’s Guardian dedicated at least three articles to the issue, The New York Times addressed the situation with a blog post.
The Daily Beast released an opinion piece by Peter Beinart, who pointed out the disproportionate media coverage that the violent incidents have received due to the fact they took place in the Jewish state.
“I doubt there’s a single first world nation where an influx of migrants from the global south has not sparked public hatred,” Beinart wrote.
“So yes, what happened yesterday in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv has happened in other countries with swelling immigrant populations, some of which don’t get as much international flak as does Israel, which is unfair,” he added.
Meanwhile, the US-based Christian Science Monitor stressed the fact that Israel once was a nation of refugees.
“In an ironic twist, Israel’s most tolerant city erupted in violent riots against African migrants last night, eliciting comparisons with ‘pogrom’ attacks on European Jewish communities in the 19th and 20th centuries,” the popular site wrote.
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(1874-1952) Russian-born Zionist leader who became the first President of Israel in 1949. Weizmann headed the Jewish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and succeeded in having the mandate for Palestine assigned to Great Britain, where he had settled in 1904. He served as President of the World Zionist Organization from 1920 to 1929 and again from 1935 to 1946. Weizmann lobbied vigorously for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and opposed all attempts to prevent Jewish immigration to that nation. He died on November 9, 1952. (See Glossary: November 9th)Share on Facebook
(1906-1962) SS Lieutenant Colonel and head of IVB4, the Jewish department of the RSHA. Eichmann, who was raised in Austria, served as official secretary during the Wannsee Conference and was instrumental in implementing the “Final Solution,” organizing transports of Jews from all over Europe to the Nazi killing centers in the East. He was arrested at the end of the war in the American zone of Germany, and later managed to escape to Latin America. In 1960, members of the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad) discovered Eichmann in Argentina, kidnapped him, and secretly flew him to Israel for trial. He was tried in Jerusalem (April- August 1961), sentenced to death (December 2, 1961), and executed (May 31, 1962). His ashes were scattered in the sea.Share on Facebook
Mr. Neff recently published Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy toward Palestine and Israel since 1945 (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1995).
The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem is rooted not in 1948 but in the fermenting soil of the rise of Zionism in the late nineteenth century, specifically with the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. The meeting, which began August 29, 1897, attracted 204 Jews from 15 countries and had been arranged by Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl. The delegates agreed that “Zionism aims at the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine to be secured by public law,” and to that end they would encourage emigration to Palestine. When the congress ended three days later, Herzl confided to his diary: “If I were to sum up the Basel Congress in a single phrase–which I would not dare to make public–I would say: in Basel I created the Jewish State.”(1)
At the time of the Basel congress, Arabs represented 95 percent of the population of Palestine and they owned 99 percent of the and.(2) Thus it was obvious from the beginning of Zionism that dispossession of the Palestinian majority, either politically or physically, would be an inevitable requirement for achieving a Jewish state. It was not only land that was needed to reach Zionism’s goal, but land without another people in the majority.
Since Palestinian Arabs were by far the majority throughout the period up to Israel’s establishment as a Jewish state in 1948, the Zionist state could emerge only by denying the majority its rights or by becoming the majority either through immigration or in reducing the number of Palestinians by ethnic cleansing. There was no other way to create a Jewish, rather than democratic, state.(3)
That the Jewish state was secured in 1948 by the expulsion of the Palestinians should have come as no surprise. Expulsion as Zionism’ s logical imperative was clearly seen by Herzl as early as June 12, 1895. At the time he was still formulating his ideas about Zionism and confided to his diary: “We shall try to spirit the penniless population [Palestinians] across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”(4) Even if this was perhaps the fanciful imagining of a rather romantic personality, as some sympathizers of Herzl contend, its essential imperative was inescapable. This was recognized by most early Zionists, as evidenced by the fact that the theme of expulsion consistently ran through Zionist thought from the very beginning.(5)
For instance, as early as 1905, Israel Zangwill, an organizer of Zionism in Britain and one of Zionism’s top propagandists, who had coined the slogan “a land without a people for a people without a land,” acknowledged in a speech in Manchester that Palestine was not a land without people. In fact, it was filled with Arabs: “[We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to despise us.”(6)
This comment came at a time when there were around 645,000 Muslims and Christians in Palestine and only 55,000 Jews, mainly non-Zionists or anti-Zionists in the Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem and other cities.(7)
David Ben-Gurion, the man who along with Herzl and Chaim Weizmann was one of the progenitors of Israel, explicitly acknowledged the linkage between Zionism and expulsion: “Zionism is a transfer of the Jews. Regarding the transfer of the Arabs this is much easier than any other transfer.”(8) Or, as Israeli scholar Benjamin BeitHallahmi put it: “While the basic problem confronting Diaspora Jews was to survive as a minority, the basic problem of Zionism in Palestine was to dispossess the natives and become a majority.”(9)
Much attention has been paid to how the early Zionists secured land in Palestine, but relatively little study has focused on the equally essential effort by Zionists to delegitimize and replace the Palestinian majority.(10) Without Jewish control, the Zionists concluded they would be no better off than in Europe, where Zionism arose specifically as a way to escape antisemitism, pogroms, the ghetto and minority status.
As former defense minister Ariel Sharon, a leading spokesman of Zionism’s right wing, has commented: “Our forefathers did not come here in order to build a democracy but to build a Jewish state.”(11) A similar view was recently expressed by Labor leader and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: “I don’t believe that for 2,000 years Jews dreamed and prayed about the return to Zion to create a binational state.” (12) Though the terms are softer, the meaning is the same.
Thus from the very beginning of Zionism’s dream of creating a Jewish state, there were two complementary and equally imperative objectives: gain land and replace the majority population, either by denying them their rights, out-populating them or displacing them by one method or another. Despite soothing promises by Herzl and other Zionists that Jews and Palestinians would live happily side by side, there was, indeed, no other way to create Zionism’s envisioned Jewish state in Palestine.
The early Zionists pursued several strategies to achieve their goal. One was Jewish immigration. In their early enthusiasm, many Zionists and their supporters genuinely believed that large-scale Jewish immigration would soon solve the “Palestinian problem” by giving Jews a majority. Another rested on the belief that enough Palestinian farmers and labors, denied work, would accomplish the same thing by migrating out of Palestine. A third strategy, less well-known because it was conducted largely in the corridors of power in Constantinople, Berlin, London and Washington, was to gain the sponsorship of a world power, thereby affording legitimacy to Jewish claims as a counterbalance to the rights of the Palestinian majority.
The Zionists pursued all of these strategies simultaneously with lesser and greater success. But in the end it was only forced expulsion that secured their state.
The roots of Zionism reached deep into the psyche of Jewish suffering. But the major immediate cause for its emergence at the end of the nineteenth century was the massive waves of migration set off by pogroms in Russia in 1881 and the spread of blatant antisemitism throughout Eastern Europe in the waning decades of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. Individuals, families and even whole communities fled the antisemitic terror. Up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, about 2.5 million Jews had left Russia and other European countries, the vast majority of them seeking new homes in the West, particularly in the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. Less than 1 percent of them moved to Palestine and remained there.(13)
The figures for the United States alone were indicative of the profound demographic changes taking place. In 1880, there were about 250,000 Jews in America. By the end of World War I, there were four million.(14) With such a massive population change taking place, the question of the Ubiquitous Jew became the subject of dinner conversation even in the White House. President Woodrow Wilson, his wife and presidential confidant Colonel Edward M. House speculated one night in 1918 about the number of Jews in the world. House guessed 15 million, Mrs. Wilson 50 million and Wilson 100 million. At the time there were around 11 million.(15)
This torrent of Jewish migration unleashed events that directly favored the development of Zionism and, incidentally, its early embrace by both Britain and the United States. Reluctance and even refusal by many countries to receive the desperate Jewish immigrants fleeing antisemitism increased Jewish disillusionment with the gentile world and helped emphasize the Jews’ sense of isolation, an alienation that lay at the heart of Zionism. Zionism, was explained by Herzl in his seminal pamphlet Der Judenstaat in early 1896: “We have sincerely tried everywhere to merge with the national communities in which we live, seeking only to preserve the faith of our fathers. It is not permitted us.”(16)
At its heart, then, this was the fundamental rationale of Zionism: a profound despair that antisemitism could not be eradicated as long as Jews lived among gentiles.
It was not a sentiment universally shared by Jews, particularly those scholars and businessmen who had successfully assimilated in the secular Western democracies or had found security under guarantees of religious freedom. In fact, Zionism remained a minority movement among Jews well into the twentieth century. There were strong and vocal anti-Zionist groups like the American Council for Judaism in the United States as late as the 1950s. Among the fruits of Israel’ s 1967 victory over its Arab neighbors was the final acceptance of Zionism by nearly the whole of the Jewish community from that time hence.
But even in its infancy, Zionism enjoyed the advantage of having powerful advocates in both London and Washington, Christian as well as Jewish. Moreover, the social problems caused by the massive Jewish migrations convinced other Western political leaders to favor the idea of a Jewish state. This was because the flood of Jewish emigrants seeking entry in those countries became so great over the years that they eventually provoked anti-immigration riots in London and restrictive immigration laws in both Britain and the United States.(17) Establishment of a Zionist state was an obvious way to divert Jewish immigrants from Western shores and thereby calm the political storms building over immigration policy. That little consideration was given by ambitious politicians to what impact Jewish immigration would have on the Arabs already in residence was hardly surprising under such circumstances.
But while Zionism slowly gained converts in the West, opposition to it built in the Middle East. In Palestine, Arabs and the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled Palestine for 400 years, were not unaware of the dangers to the established order posed by unlimited Jewish immigration. Although only about 60,000 of the 2.5 million who fled Eastern Europe up to World War I became permanent residents in Palestine, even this small number found themselves unwelcome.(18)
As early as 1882, Sultan Abdul Hamid II decreed that while he was “perfectly ready to permit the Jews to emigrate to his dominions, provided they became Ottoman subjects, he would not allow them to settle in Palestine.”(19) He justified this restriction by saying that “Jewish emigration may in the future result in the creation of a Jewish government.”(20) At the time, before the massive Jewish emigration began, there were about 25,000 Jewish and a half-million Arab residents in Palestine.(21) Despite the sultan’s orders, a steady if small stream of Jewish immigrants managed through bribery and stealth to continue to arrive in Palestine.(22)
By 1891, some Palestinian merchants were concerned enough that they sent off a telegram to Constantinople complaining that they feared Jewish immigrants might come to monopolize trade and pose a threat to local business interests.(23) As early as 1897, the same year as the first Zionist Congress, the mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Tahir Husseini, father of Hajj Amin Husseini, headed a commission established specifically to study land sales to Jews. The result of the commission’ s work was effectively to halt land sales to Jews in the Jerusalem district for several years.(24)
In 1899, Mayor of Jerusalem Youssuf Zia Khalidi, a Palestinian scholar and a member of the Ottoman Parliament, wrote a letter that was later forwarded to Herzl that warned against Zionist claims to Palestine. Palestinians were particularly resentful of Zionism’s assertion that Jews had a right to Palestine because they had once lived there two millennia earlier. Khalidi noted that Zionist claims to Palestine were impractical since the land had been under Muslim control for the last thirteen centuries and that Arabs and Christians had inherent interests because of the holy places. Moreover, he added, the existing majority population of Arabs opposed Jewish control.(25) When Constantinople decided in 1901 to give foreign residents, essentially meaning new Jewish immigrants, the same rights as Arabs to buy land, a group of Palestinian notables sent a petition to the Ottoman capital protesting the action.(26)
Nonetheless, despite these early suspicions by some Palestinian leaders and merchants, relations between Palestinians and Jews remained in general fairly friendly up to the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. According to historian Neville J. Mandel: “By the eve of the Young Turk Revolution…it is clear that Arab anti-Zionism had not yet emerged. On the other hand, there was unease about the expanding Jewish community in Palestine, and growing antagonism toward it.”(27) Added Israeli historian Gershon Shafir: “The revolt of the Young Turks in July 1908 is to be viewed as the beginning of open Jewish-Arab conflict, as well as the cradle of the Arab national movement.”(28)
In large part, the general Palestinian apathy up to 1908 resulted from the fact that the early Zionists successfully emphasized their quest for land and friendly relations while masking any intention to displace the Palestinians. As Herzl’s diary entry about acting “discreetly and circumspectly” implies, even in the waning days of colonialism the idea of deliberately displacing an indigenous population in favor of foreign immigrants carried with it a cynical odor that the early Zionists sought to avoid for political reasons as well as for the need to maintain peaceful day-to-day relations with their neighbors. Thus plans to dispossess the Palestinians soon became euphemistically known among Zionists and to the outside world as the “transfer” issue. Publicly, Zionists emphasized the benefits Palestinians and the Ottoman Empire would gain from new Jewish immigrants, who brought with them money, intelligence and international connections.
But privately, transfer of the Palestinians was a recurrent topic in the inner councils of Zionists for the half-century leading to the massive expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.(29) While there were Zionists opposed to transfer on humanitarian grounds, the logical imperative of Zionism dictated that there was no other way short of delegitimizing the Palestinian majority or out-populating them to achieve Jewish statehood. But gaining a Jewish majority turned out to be unrealistic: even in 1947, after nearly six decades of immigration, there were in Palestine only 589,341 Jews among a total population of 1,908,775.(30)
Ultimately it became clear that the Zionists had only two major strategies for gaining control: delegitimizing the Palestinians, which the Zionists proved exceeding successful at over the years, and expelling them, either through denying them jobs or through forcible expulsion. For many years the early Zionists clung to the belief that the Palestinians could be replaced by the expedient of denying them work. This was obvious to outside observers, such as the U.S. King-Crane Commission, which issued its report on Palestine in 1919: “The fact came out repeatedly in the commission’s conference with Jewish representatives that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine by various forms of purchase.” It added that non-Jews represented “nearly nine-tenths of the whole.”(31) [See American-Arab Affairs, no. 9, Summer 1984, for text of the King-Crane report.]
The campaign to evict the Palestinian farmers was done in the name of Labor Zionism. On its surface this was a beneficial and benign policy aimed mainly at rehabilitating the stereotypically weak diaspora Jews into the New Jew of Palestine. One of Labor Zionism’s prominent advocates, Aharon David Gordon, wrote that such redemption must come through “work with our very own hands,” adding: “We must feel all that the worker feels, think what he thinks, live the life he lives, in ways that are our ways. Then we can consider that we have our own culture, for then we shall have life.”(32)
As late as the 1929 constitution of the Jewish Agency, the goals of Labor Zionism were embraced in an article decreeing that only Jewish labor could be hired on land owned by the Jewish National Fund: “The Agency shall promote agricultural colonization based on Jewish labor, and in all works and undertakings carried out or furthered by the Agency, it shall be a matter of principle that Jewish labor shall be employed.”(33) The Jewish National Fund was the Zionist Organization’ s land-buying agency in Palestine. It had been founded in 1901 by the Fifth Zionist Congress with the express purpose of holding all land it purchased as inalienable Jewish property that could not be sold to non-Jews. Its charter also decreed that land held by the fund could be leased only to Jews. Lessees were forbidden to sublease.(34)
While there could be no doubt about the sincerity of the effort to create the New Jew through labor redemption, there was nonetheless a dark underside to the program. If Jews were going to do the work’ then it was the Palestinians who would necessarily go jobless. That was because most of the land purchases by Zionists were from absentee landlords, who gave the Palestinian peasants no choice in the matter.(35) Just as Herzl had early dreamed, they became “penniless” and ripe for migration.
But the prohibition against hiring Arabs was not uniformly observed, nor did Palestinians show any inclination to move from Palestine, even when they were denied their jobs. Instead, they simply relocated from farms taken over by Jews to others where they could find employment, sometimes with other Jewish owners. In addition, the program eventually came under criticism as being intrinsically racist. Historian Arnold Toynbee joined other critics, charging in 1931 that Labor Zionism was creating “an exclusive preserve for the Jews, what in South Africa is called segregation.” Others called it “economic apartheid.”(36)
Ultimately, Labor Zionism failed. Not only did it increasingly tarnish Zionism’s humane face, it never achieved its most important goal–to displace the Palestinians.
While one of Zionism’s strategies was to delegitimize the Palestinians, its corollary was to legitimize the Jewish presence. From the beginning, Herzl was acutely aware that the Zionist community would need a major power as a sponsor. His first efforts were directed at Sultan Abdul Hamid, a logical choice since the Ottoman Empire exercised ultimate control over Palestine. Even before officially founding Zionism in I 897, Herzl traveled to Constantinople in 1896 to seek the sultan’ s grant of land in Palestine in return for helping the empire restore its depleted treasury through Jewish financiers. Significantly, a draft of his proposed charter written after this trip sought from the sultan the right for Jews to deport the native population.(37)
But the sultan repulsed Herzl’s efforts, finally sending a message that urged Herzl “to take no further steps in this matter. I cannot alienate a single square foot of land, for it is not mine but my people’ s. My people fought for this land and fertilized it with their blood….Let the Jews keep their millions.”(38)
Next, in 1898, Herzl turned his attentions to Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had ambitions in the Middle East. Herzl bluntly told the Germans: “We need a protectorate and the German would suit us best.”(39) He pointed out that the leaders of Zionism were German- speaking Jews and that the language used at the First Zionist Congress the previous year had been German. Thus a Jewish state in Palestine would introduce German culture to the region. However, the kaiser turned Herzl down, largely because he did not want to provoke the Ottoman Empire, which was a major purchaser of German arms, or anger Christians at home.(40)
Undaunted by this latest rebuff, Herzl next turned to Great Britain in 1902. Here he found more fertile ground. There was a tradition among Protestant Christians and English writers stretching over the previous two centuries for support of “the return of the Jews” to Palestine, a tradition that had also moved to the United States. Moreover, Britain’s concern for the security of the Suez Canal as the lifeline to its Indian colony had led to its takeover of Egypt in 1882, and protection of the canal remained the focus of London’s interests in the region. Having a friendly population in the region would be to London’s advantage.
However, since Britain was no more interested in antagonizing the sultan than was Germany, gaining British support for a Palestine charter was out of the question at the time. So Herzl sought a charter for nearby British territory: Cyprus, El Arish or the Sinai Peninsula. Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain ruled out Cyprus because a Jewish presence would mean angering the existing Greek and Turkish inhabitants, and Egypt was ruled out because the local British governor opposed granting any Egyptian territory. So Chamberlain suggested a compromise: territory about the size of Palestine in British East Africa. Although it was called Uganda at the time, it corresponded to today’s Kenya.(41) Herzl was delighted with the offer, if not as a substitute for Palestine then as a stepping stone to it. But the suggestion was met by a fire storm of protest from many Zionists, especially among the Russians, and equally from British colonists. By early 1904 both Herzl and Chamberlain were glad to drop the idea.(42)
But the experience had been profitable for Zionism. A major connection had been made with high officials of the British government, a link that Herzl correctly prophesied would eventually lead to concrete results. Shortly before his death on July 3, 1904, Herzl confided to a friend: “You will see, the time is coming when England will do everything in her power to have Palestine ceded to us for the Jewish state.”(43)
After this, Zionist ambitions focused solely on Palestine as the site of the hoped-for Jewish state.
By 1914, on the eve of World War I, there were about 604,000 Arabs and 85,000 Jews in Palestine, an increase of about 30,000 Jews in a decade.(44) Despite the comparatively low rate of immigration, it had already become clear to a growing number of Palestinians that Zionism was a permanent and pervasive threat, however slow its development. This dawning awareness was prevalent among members of Palestine’s leading families, intellectuals and merchants. After listening to the claims of Zionists and their forerunners for nearly two decades, many prominent Palestinians by the eve of World War I recognized that, if successful in its stated goals, Zionism ultimately meant dispossession of much or all of the Arab community, Muslim and Christian alike.
With distrust growing of the Young Turks in Constantinople and new winds of Arab nationalism beginning to blow over the Arab world, political activism increased in Palestine during the 1908-14 period. A number of newspapers and local political organizations espousing Arab rights sprang up in Palestinian communities. Regardless of their varied programs, almost all of the new groups shared a common thread of anti-Zionism.(45)
A political tract distributed anonymously in Jerusalem in 1914 read in part: Men! Do you want to be slaves and servants to people who are notorious in the world and in history? Do you wish to be slaves to the Zionists who have come to you to expel you from your country, saying that this country is theirs?(46)
By the outbreak of war, almost all the Arab arguments against Zionism that still echo today had been expressed, and Arab-Jewish hostility had become a permanent feature of what was soon to become an open conflict.(47)
Among the Palestinian activists was a young teenager, Muhammad Amin Husseini, scion of a wealthy family that for centuries had controlled the most important religious and political posts in Jerusalem. Already by the age of 13, in 1913, Husseini had formed a short-lived anti- Zionist club and begun writing tracts against Jewish immigrants. One of the new Arab nationalists, he was to become Zionism’s greatest foe. In 1921 he would be elected mufti of Jerusalem, a post that his family had held with few exceptions since the seventeenth century, a position that in essence made him leader of the Palestinians.(48) From that time until the founding of Israel, Husseini would exert his considerable talents to prevent the Zionists from establishing a state.
Husseini and other Palestinian notables like him were neither naive nor innocent. They had dealt for centuries with the Ottoman Empire and were conversant with the subtle and internecine plottings of the oriental court as well as the perils and privileges of the complex communal relations between Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze and others living side by side in Palestine. While they had by World War I identified the threats in Zionism and their own strengths, including their rights as a majority and the weakness of the Zionist claim to Palestine on the basis of a residency 2,000 years before, they lacked a sophisticated understanding of the West. They were unable to compete with the extent and entree of Jewish influence in Britain and the United States, and they underestimated the historic trends in the West that favored a Jewish state.
The Palestinians were also placed at a great disadvantage by their inability to counteract Zionist propaganda in the West, which painted Palestinians as variously ignorant, dirty, rapacious anti-Christians undeserving of support. Although not successful enough by itself to gain a Jewish state, the effort was highly effective in delegitimizing the Palestinians.
The Zionists employed every known technique to reinforce anti-Islamic stereotypes, propaganda that no doubt predated the Crusades. The Arabs were pictured as vicious and dirty in news stories and books (and later movies and television) as well as in lectures, pamphlets and face-to-face interviews. It was a process that continues to this day, even after the Israeli-PLO mutual recognition in 1993. Typical of the results of the Zionist effort were such passages as the following written by the distinguished president of Brandeis University, Dr. Abram Leon Sachar:
The Arabs remained sullen and unimpressed [with Zionist farming and industrial achievements in Palestine]. They were constantly fomented to resentment and riot by a small clique of Arab landowners who were violently opposed to Jewish immigration. For centuries these parasitic effendis had with impunity exploited their peasant vassals, the sharecroppers, the poor fellahin who could easily move from dissatisfaction to revolt. In one area was the Jewish colony, green, tidy, productive, the laborers well paid, educated, secure, singing at their work. Adjacent to it was the miserable, squalid, dirty Arab village, ignorance the rule, discouragement the climate….How long would it be before the dispossessed and the disinherited, stirred by the example of Jewish standards, cried out for a decent way of life? It was in the interest of feudal self-defense to forestall such demands by persuading the fellahin that the Jews were trespassers who had come to rob the Arabs of their land, to steal their jobs, to subjugate them, to pollute their holy places.”(49)
Such views were propagated at the highest levels of academia, especially in the United States and Britain, perpetuating over the decades an image of glorious and selfless Jewish labor against the greed of exploitative Arab landowners and the ignorance of dirty Arab peasants. These crude cartoons provided a powerful argument in enlisting Christians and their political leaders in the Zionist cause.
How effective the Zionists were in promoting their program became startlingly clear in 1917, when they obtained Britain’s public (and America’s private) support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Finally, after two decades of effort, Zionism gained a major power as its sponsor.
The success rested on differences between Britain in 1902, when Herzl first sought London’s sponsorship, and 1917 when Britain no longer cared about the sensitivities of the Ottoman Empire because it was now at war with Constantinople. British troops were about to overrun Palestine, and the ancient land was to come under London’s control. With this shift in the geostrategic kaleidoscope, one thing remained constant: British concern for the security of the Suez Canal.
It was no coincidence that defense of the canal was highlighted by British Zionists to find favor for their cause. They and their influential supporters propounded the idea that a friendly Zionist presence in Palestine would be of great political and military importance to the British Empire. As the pro-Zionist Manchester Guardian argued in 1915: “A couple of thousand years before the Suez Canal was built, the rulers of Egypt were perplexed with the problems of the defense of their land frontier, and what helped them to solve it was the existence in the old Jewish nation of powerful buffer-states against the great military empires of the north.”(50) Although this was bad history- -there had been no “great military empires” in the north at the time- -it was good propaganda. It associated a Zionist state with British security.
Another event favoring the Zionists was the coming to power in late 1916 of David Lloyd George as prime minister and Arthur James Balfour as foreign secretary. Balfour had been prime minister in the early 1900s at the time of the British offer of “Uganda” as a Jewish homeland and, although not Jewish, he considered himself a Zionist.(51) Welshman Lloyd George was a firm believer in the Old Testament’s claim to the right of the Jews to Palestine.(52)
Both men shared a common concern for gaining U.S. support for Britain’ s postwar goals to divide up the tottering Ottoman Empire, including the ambition of taking over Palestine. In this, they were advised by the British embassy in Washington that Britain could be helped in achieving U.S. backing by finding favor with Jewish Americans. Reported the embassy: “They are far better organized than the Irish and far more formidable. We should be in a position to get into their good graces.”(53)
One seemingly obvious way to do this was to follow the natural inclinations of Lloyd George and Balfour and support Zionist ambitions in Palestine, if only London could be sure President Wilson agreed with such a path. In this, Lloyd George and Balfour failed to appreciate that there remained major Jewish American groups opposed to Zionism, including the Jewish Socialists representing New York’s sweatshops, the Agudath Israel orthodox religious movement, which considered Zionism “the most formidable enemy that has ever arisen among the Jewish people,” and wealthy assimilated Jews like former ambassador Henry J. Morgenthau, who called Zionism “wrong in principle and impossible of realization.”(54) Moreover, Secretary of State Robert Lansing was distinctly cool to Zionism.
Nonetheless, supporting the Zionists was one of the policies pursued by the two British leaders. Specifically, they worked to gain U.S. support for a declaration that would be approved by the British Cabinet and commit that country to endorsing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In this they were immeasurably helped, as well as goaded, by a persistent and persuasive Russian-born Jewish chemist, Chaim Weizmann. In 1917 he was head of the Zionist movement in Britain and a tireless worker in that cause. His achievements were so great that eventually he would be head of the World Zionist Organization and Israel’s first president.
Aware of Lloyd George’s and Balfour’s desire for U.S. support, Weizmann sought a backdoor past the State Department to the White House via America’s foremost Zionist, Louis B. Brandeis, an intimate of President Wilson, who had appointed him in 1916 to the Supreme Court. On April 8, 1917, Weizmann cabled Brandeis, advising that ” an expression of opinion coming from yourself and perhaps other gentlemen connected with the Government in favor of a Jewish Palestine under a British protectorate would greatly strengthen our hands.”(55) A month later, following America’s entry into the war, Brandeis had a 45-minute meeting with Wilson on the president’s views of Palestine and discovered that he was “entirely sympathetic to the aims of the Zionist Movement” and favored a British protectorate in Palestine.(56) However, Wilson did not want to make a public declaration because of his concern with French ambitions toward the region and a futile hope that Turkey could still be persuaded to quit the war.
This vital intelligence Brandeis shared with Balfour, who was in Washington at the time. In turn, Balfour gratified the justice by proclaiming “I am a Zionist.”(57)
When Britain sought Wilson’s endorsement in September 1917 of a draft declaration, however, he responded that the time was “not opportune” for him to go public. In desperation, Weizmann cabled Brandeis that it “would greatly help if President Wilson and yourself would support the text. Matter most urgent. Please telegraph.”(58) Brandeis was able to use his access to the White House to meet with Colonel House, and together they assured Weizmann that from talks I have had with President and from expressions of opinion given to closest advisers I feel I can answer you in that he is [in] entire sympathy with declaration quoted in yours of nineteenth as approved by the foreign office and the Prime Minister. I of course heartily agree.”(59)
However, Wilson would not make a public statement at the time because of his continuing hope of a separate peace with Turkey and concern about France. Weizmann felt more was needed to counteract anti-Zionist sentiment in Britain, including strong opposition from the only Jew in the Lloyd George cabinet, Edwin Montagu, the secretary of state for India. Montagu was able to bring to the argument an anti-Zionist assessment by one of the greatest Arabists of the time, Gertrude Bell, a colleague of T.E. Lawrence and currently involved in British intelligence in Cairo. She wrote that two considerations rule out the conception of an independent Jewish Palestine from practical politics. The first is that the province as we know it is not Jewish, and that neither Mohammedan nor Arab would accept Jewish authority; the second that the capital, Jerusalem, is equally sacred to three faiths, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, and should never, if it can be avoided, be put under the exclusive control of any one location, no matter how carefully the rights of the other two may be safeguarded.(60)
Another dissent from the Middle East came from A.P. Albina, a Levantine Catholic merchant from Jerusalem who enjoyed good relations with top British officials. He wrote that it was contradictory for the Western powers to grant freedom to small nationalities while at the same time planning to give Palestine to the Jews. He described the Zionists as a foreign and hated race, a motley crowd of Poles, Russians, Romanians, Spaniards, Yemenites, etc., who can claim absolutely no right over the country, except that of sentiment and the fact that their forefathers inhabited it over two thousand years ago[.] The introduction into Palestine of Jewish rule, or even Jewish predominance, will mean the spoliation of the Arab inhabitants of their hereditary rights and the upsetting of the principles of nationalities….Politically, a Jewish State in Palestine will mean a permanent danger to a lasting peace in the Near East.(61)
To appease the anti-Zionists, the British cabinet drafted a revised declaration. It specifically addressed Montagu’s concern about non- Zionist Jews living outside of Palestine by adding a final clause that said the establishment of a Jewish national home would not prejudice the “rights and political status enjoyed in any other country by such Jews who are fully contented with their existing nationality.(62)
Once again, Weizmann turned to Brandeis to help get Wilson’s endorsement of the new text. In a long letter on October 7, Weizmann wrote “I have no doubt that the amended text of the declaration will be again submitted to the President, and it would be most invaluable if the President would accept it without reservation and would recommend the granting of the declaration now”(63) [Italics in original].
When the British Foreign Office sent the draft to Wilson at about the same time, he turned it over to Brandeis for his comments. The justice and his aides redrafted it in slightly stronger and cleaner language, substituting “the Jewish people” for “the Jewish race”– thereby muting the vexing question of who is a Jew–and making the final clause read that there would be no prejudice to the “rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”(64)
Colonel House sent the revision on to Wilson, who as a son of a clergyman and a daily reader of the Bible was predisposed to a Jewish homeland. But, in the midst of world war, he felt no urgency about the matter. It was not until October 13 that he sent a memo to House saying:
I find in my pocket the memorandum you gave me about the Zionist Movement. I am afraid I did not say to you that I concurred in the formula suggested by the other side. I do, and would be obliged if you would let them know it.(65)
So casual was Wilson about this momentous decision that he never did inform his secretary of state, or publicly announce his decision.(66) Thus, in the most off-handed way possible, the United States lent its enormous weight to supporting the Zionist dream of a Jewish state in Palestine. It was a decision that was to have a profound effect on Middle East history and on the daily lives of Palestinians.
Its immediate result came on November 2, 1917, when Britain issued the fateful statement that was to become known as the Balfour Declaration. It came in the form of a personal letter from Foreign Secretary Balfour to a prominent British Jew, Lionel Walter, the second Lord of Rothschild:
Foreign Office November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothchild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’ s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours, Arthur James Balfour(67)
Arabs and anti-Zionists could not help noting the totally pro-Zionist content of the declaration. It failed to mention Christians or Muslims, Arabs or Palestinians, even though they remained by far the majority population in Palestine. It spoke of a homeland, but that was widely understood to mean a Jewish state, although many Zionists continued to deny it. And it pledged to actively help Jews while merely promising to protect the rights of “the non-Jewish communities.”
Arabs far beyond Palestine were alarmed and disappointed. It was clear to them that British wartime promises of Arab independence were being ignored by London. The campaign to chase the Turks from Palestine was just now being concluded, with Arab help. British forces aided by Arabs stood at the gates of Jerusalem. Soon they would clear the area, and Palestine would pass from the Ottoman to the British Empire. But Arab aspirations were now being ignored.
However, for the Zionists the timing of the Balfour Declaration could not have come at a more propitious moment. Now, in their twentieth year, Zionists had found a major power as their sponsor. Britain’s endorsement of their ambitions at last gave a gloss of legitimacy to their enterprise.
For all that, the Zionists still were faced with the fact that they had to employ other strategies to realize their dream. For however impressive their new international standing, the Zionists faced one undeniable reality–the Palestinians’ presence in the land. They remained and they continued to be the vast majority. Precise figures are not available for the period when the Balfour Declaration was issued. Both the Arab and Jewish populations had declined during the war, which hit Palestine hard leaving perhaps 55,000 Jews and under 600, 000 Palestinians.(68)
The first fairly reliable figures only came in the British census taken in 1922. For the Zionists it was more evidence that their dream remained far away. The census put Palestine’s total population at 757,182, of whom nearly 88 percent were Arabs (590,890 Muslim and 73,024 Christians) and 11 percent (83,794) Jewish.(69)
Within the inner councils of Zionism it became increasingly clear that the only realistic way to gain a Jewish state was to reduce the size of the Palestinian majority. Although it had been true from the beginning that there was an irreconcilable conflict between Zionism and Palestinians, the issue increasingly came out in the open as the years passed. After anti-Zionist riots in 1920-1 and again during new riots in 1929, David Ben-Gurion admitted: “The Arab in the land of Israel need not and cannot be a Zionist. He cannot want the Jews to become a majority. Herein lies the true conflict, the political conflict between us and the Arabs. [Both] we and they want to be the majority.”(70)
In that same year, it was clear that a campaign of ethnic cleansing would be necessary to realize the Zionist goal. By the beginning of 1930, Chaim Weizmann, president of the Zionist Organization, secretly urged the British, as Palestine’s Mandate ruler, to assist in expelling Palestinians to Transjordan. The British declined. But Weizmann did not suspend his campaign to rid the land of Palestinians. In an article he wrote that same year, Weizmann discreetly suggested a “voluntary transfer” of Palestinians because “it would be just as easy for landless Arabs or cultivators from the congested areas to migrate to Transjordan as to migrate from one part of Western Palestine to another.”(71) Weizmann remained a strong supporter of transfer, whether voluntary or compulsory, throughout his life.
In 1931, Revisionist Zionists, led by fire-brand Vladimir Jabotinsky, became a major force with the slogan “The aim of Zionism is gradually to convert the land of Israel [including Transjordan] into a self- governing Jewish Commonwealth, resting on a permanent Jewish majority.” The implication was clear: the Palestinian majority would have to go. Commented Michael Bar-Zohar, an Israeli biographer of Ben-Gurion, on the Revisionist slogan:
It must be admitted that this was the true and faithful slogan of Zionism. The other Zionist parties…favored quiet diplomacy toward the British and not arousing the anger of the Arabs prematurely. All the same, there is no doubt that the Revisionist slogan correctly expressed the feelings of Zionists all over the world and consequently gained many supporters.(72)
The revisionists that year became the third largest faction with 21 percent of the delegates at the Seventeenth Zionist Congress.(73)
Although Ben-Gurion, as leader of the majority Labor Zionists, despised Jabotinsky (Ben-Gurion referred to him as Il Duce because of Jabotinsky’s admiration for the Italian dictator.(74)), he essentially agreed with Jabotinsky in his attitude toward transfer. Israeli historian Simha Flapan observed: “…[w]here the Arabs were concerned, [Ben- Gurion] espoused the basic principles of Revisionism: the expansion of the borders, the conquest of Arab areas, and the evacuation of the Arab population.”(75)
Zionist plans for transfer gained urgency during the middle 1930s, a time when Palestine began filling with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, increasing the proportion of Jews among the Palestinian population to around 30 percent, and thus for the first time making the prospect of a Jewish state more realistic than ever before.(76) Sensing the new threat, the Palestinians erupted in 1936 in the Arab rebellion. Britain responded by appointing the Royal (Peel) Commission to study deteriorating relations between the two communities. The commission report, released on July 8, 1937, found differences between Arab and Jew irreconcilable and for the first time called for partition of Palestine into two sovereign states, “one an Arab state consisting of Transjordan and the Arab part of Palestine, and the other a Jewish state.”(77)
The stunning feature of the Peel report was its essential adoption of the Zionist idea of transfer. Although it gingerly called it an “exchange” of population, the report proposed that 225,000 Palestinians be expelled from the allotted Jewish state while 1,250 Jews would be moved from the Arab state, leaving vague whether the exchange would be voluntary or compulsory. Paradoxically, it insisted at the same time that there had to be guarantees for the protection of minorities.(78)
The Twentieth Zionist Congress withheld endorsement of the Peel report the following month despite the fact that it proposed allotting a Jewish state 33 percent of Palestine even though Jews at the time owned no more than 5.6 percent of the land.(79) The Congress thought the size of the proposed Jewish state was not large enough. But it agreed that discussions should continue with London on the subject of how a Jewish state might be created. This in itself was a major achievement, since negotiations from now on focused on the establishment of an actual independent Jewish state instead of a homeland. Britain the next year abandoned its support of partition and transfer, but its brief embrace of the idea encouraged Zionists.(80)
Internally, the Peel report energized discussion of the transfer issue among Zionists, an issue that from now on assumed a new prominence and seriousness as the road to statehood increasingly opened up. Among the immediate reactions was the appointment by Moshe Shertok, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency and later Israel’ s first foreign minister under the Hebraized name of Sharett, of a Population Transfer Committee.
Like Ben-Gurion and Weizmann, Shertok was a firm believer in transfer. Among the members he appointed to the transfer committee was Josef Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Department. He was the man in charge of purchasing Palestinian land so that it could be held “in inalienable possession of the Jewish people,” as the fund’ s charter decreed. Weitz was among the strongest believers in compulsory transfer, as he made clear at an early meeting in November 1937 of the transfer committee. He informed the committee that the transfer of Arab population from the area of the Jewish state does not serve only one aim–to diminish the Arab population. It also serves a second, less important, aim which is to evacuate land presently held and cultivated by the Arabs and thus to release it for the Jewish inhabitants.
He added that the goal was to reduce by one-third the Arab population inside a Jewish state within two to three years. Another member of the committee, Alfred Bonne, said that in his opinion “all the Arabs must be removed in ten years.”(81)
The discussions of the transfer committee were long and detailed, and they provided the basis for keeping the Zionist leadership informed on the most minute matters of the distribution of Palestinian land and population as well as illuminating the complex issues surrounding transfer. In 1938, David Ben-Gurion, who since 1935 had been the powerful chairman of Jewish Agency Executive, declared at a meeting of that body: “I support compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it.”(82) Around that same time, he proposed paying Iraq 10 million Palestinian pounds [$50 million] in exchange for taking 100,000 Palestinian families.(83) Given the large size of Palestinian families, the number amounted to well over half of the Palestinian population of nearly one million people; Jews at the time numbered around 400,000.(84) But Britain, already scorned throughout the Arab world for issuing the Balfour Declaration and reneging on its wartime promises to the Arabs, declined the additional opprobrium of publicly acting as the power that forced the Palestinians to leave in order to make room for the Jews.(85)
The outbreak of World War II in 1939 brought a global instability that Ben-Gurion recognized had the potential for generating momentous change. Ben-Gurion noted: “The possibility of a large-scale transfer of a population by force was demonstrated when the Greeks and the Turks were transferred [after World War I]. In the present war the idea of transferring a population is gaining more sympathy as a practical and the most secure means of solving the dangerous and painful problem of national minorities.”(86)
Indicative of Zionist thinking in this period was a diary entry made by Josef Weitz, the man in charge of land-purchasing activities for the Jewish community in Palestine. On December 20, 1940, Weitz confided to his diary a conversation with a JNF colleague:
Amongst ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country. No “development” will bring us closer to our aim to be an independent people in this small country. After the Arabs are transferred, the country will bewide open for us; with the Arabs staying the country will remain narrow and restricted….The only way is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, all of them, except perhaps Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem. Not a single village or single tribe must be left….And only then will the country be able to absorb millions of Jews and a solution will be found to the Jewish question. There is no other solution.(87)
During the fighting in 1948 that resulted in Israel’s establishment, Weitz was placed in charge of another Transfer Committee, this time with the specific aim of destroying villages left empty by Palestinian refugees.(88) He and others did the job well. At least 418 Palestinian villages disappeared after Israel took them over.(89)
It was such leaders and planners as Ben-Gurion, Weizmann, Shertok and Weitz and their strong support for compulsory transfer of the Palestinians that in 1948 resulted in reducing the Arab community from the majority to a minority inside Palestine. Although Israelis long contended–with more success than common sense should allow– that the Palestinian exodus was a “miraculous simplification,” as Weizmann put it, in which Israel had little responsibility, the fact is that elimination of the Palestinian majority was fundamental to the achievement of Zionism’s aim of a Jewish state.
The fact that no document or order outlining a specific strategy of expulsion has been found should not carry excessive weight. In the circumstances, it is not persuasive to claim that the lack of documentary evidence proves that an expulsionary policy did not exist, any more than it would be to claim that the Holocaust did not occur because no written orders have been recovered with Hitler’s name on them. The evidence emerges from what actually occurred, not the lack of prior written intentions.
For instance, while it is true that Ben-Gurion consistently refrained from issuing clear or written orders or even confiding in detail the subject of transfer in his diaries, it was well known that, in his words, he wanted as many areas as possible “clean” and “empty” of Arabs.(90) Israeli historian Benny Morris notes, “He preferred that his generals `understand’ what he wanted done. He wished to avoid going down in history as the `great expeller’ and he did not want the Israeli government to be implicated in a morally questionable policy.” Nonetheless, Morris adds, “Ben Gurion clearly wanted as few Arabs as possible to remain in the Jewish state.”(91)
Another Israeli historian, Simha Flapan, noted:
That Ben-Gurion’s ultimate aim was to evacuate as much of the Arab population as possible from the Jewish state can hardly be doubted, if only from the variety of means he employed to achieve this purpose: an economic war aimed at destroying Arab transport, commerce, and the supply of foods and raw materials to the urban population; psychological warfare, ranging from “friendly warnings” to outright intimidation and exploitation of panic caused by dissident underground terrorism; and finally, and most decisively, the destruction of whole villages and the eviction of their inhabitants by the army.(92)
In the end, what is more persuasive than any written document about the Zionist effort to expel Palestinians are the facts: the displacement of well over half of the Palestinian community and the emergence of a Zionist state with a Jewish majority.
The size of the remaining Palestinian minority was also an important consideration for the Zionists. Ben-Gurion early on warned that the 1947 U.N. partition plan left Israel with an Arab minority that he put at 40 percent and which he deemed unacceptable. He told a Zionist meeting on December 30, 1947, that “such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state. This fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority….There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60 percent.”(93)
Indeed, it was the relatively huge size of the Palestinian population that had convinced Arab leaders to believe the United Nations would not ultimately support partition. To them it was clear that the proposed Jewish state with its bare majority would soon be overtaken by an Arab majority. Sir Hugh Gurney, the chief secretary of the British Palestine government in 1947, reported the Arabs were struck dumb by the passage of partition since they realized they would soon become a majority by natural increase.(94)
At the beginning of the 1948 fighting, there were an estimated 900,000 Palestinians on land allotted to Israel by the United Nations and the additional 21 percent of land Israel had captured during the war. On August 18, 1948, while the war continued, Shertok wrote to Weizmann:
As for the future, we are equally
determined…to explore all possibilities of
getting rid, once and for all, of the huge
Arab minority which originally threatened
us. What can be achieved in this period of
storm and stress will be quite unattainable
once conditions get stabilized.(95)
At the end of the 1948 fighting, more than 400 Palestinian villages had been destroyed and depopulated, and there were only 156,000 Arabs left in the territory of Israel. In addition, 13,000 Palestinians had been killed in the fighting.(96) The Arab minority had been reduced to under 20 percent of the Jewish population inside the frontiers controlled by Israel.(97) At the time of its birth on May 14, 1948, there were about 650,000 Jews in Palestine, substantially less than the number of Palestinians who were turned into refugees, 726,000.(98)
For the Palestinians, Zionism turned out to be, as scholar Rupert Emerson observed, “a prolonged and tragically successful invasion [by] an alien people under Western imperialist auspices, ending in the expulsion of most of the people whose country it was.”(99) But without the massive slaughter and transfer of Palestinians, there would have been no stable Jewish state. This achievement was the fruition of a half-century of Zionist ambition, furthered by the opportune chaos of war, the result inherent in Zionism’s quest for a Jewish, rather than a democratic, polity.
(1) Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, Tel Aviv: Steimatzky’s Agency Ltd., 1976, pp. 44-46.
(2) Walid Khalidi (ed.) From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem until 1948, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, second printing, 1987, p. xxii.
(3) For Zionist efforts to delegitimize or deny the existence of the Palestinians, see Edward Said, et al., “A Profile of the Palestinian People,” pp. 235-96, in Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens (eds.), Blaming the Victims, New York: Verso, 1988.
(4) Raphael Patai (ed.), The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Translated by Harry Zohn. New York: Herzl Press and Thomas Yoseloff, 1960, pp. 88-9. Also see Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1928-1948, Washington, DC: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1992, p. 9; John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice, Durham: Duke University Press, 1990, p. 5.
(5) David McDowall, Palestine and Israel: The Uprising and Beyond, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, p. 196.
(6) Masalha, p. 10.
(7) Ibid., p. 39, note 4; Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 60; Shabtai Teveth, BenGurion–The Burning Ground: 1886-1948, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987, p. 40.
(8) Masalha, p. 159.
(9) Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel, New York: Olive Branch Press, 1993, p. 72.
(10) Two excellent studies are Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi’s Original Sins and Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians.
(11) Menachem Shalev, Forward, May 21, 1993.
(12) Clyde Haberman, The New York Times, July 7, 1995.
(13) Tessler, p. 61; Shlomo Avineri, The Making of Modern Zionism: The Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1981, pp. 4-5.
(14) Abram Leon Sachar, A History of the Jews, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, pp. 304, 398.
(15) Peter Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983, p. 66.
(16) Howard M. Sachar, p. 40.
(17) Khalidi, pp. xxix-xxxi.
(18) Tessler, p. 61.
(19) Ronald Sanders, Shores of Refuge: A Hundred Years of Jewish Emigration, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988, p. 121.
(20) Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986, p. 91.
(21) Philip Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin Al-Husyni and the Palestinian National Movement, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, pp. 7, 10.
(22) Neville J. Mandel, The Arabs and Zionism before World War I, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976, pp. 18-9.
(23) Tessler, p. 127.
(24) Mandel, p. 21.
(25) L.M.C. Van Der Hoeven Leonhard, “Shlomo and David: Palestine, 1907,” p. 119, in Khalidi.
(26) Tessler, p. 127.
(27) Ibid., p. 128.
(28) Ibid., p. 128.
(29) Masalha, pp. 15, 49.
(30) Janet L. Abu-Lughod, “The Demographic Transformation of Palestine, ” p. 155, in Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (ed.), Transformation of Palestine, 2nd ed., Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1987.
(31) Ralph H. Magnus (ed.), Documents on the Middle East, Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 1969, pp. 32-3.
(32) Avineri, p. 156.
(33) Quigley, p. 21.
(34) Leonhard, “Shlomo and David: Palestine, 1907,” pp. 117-8, in Khalidi; Masalha, p. 24; Quigley, p. 21.
(35) Rashid Khalidi, “Palestinian Peasant Resistance to Zionism before World War I,” p. 216, in Said and Hitchens.
(36) Quigley, p. 21.
(37) Leonhard, “Shlomo and David: Palestine, 1907,” p. 119, in Khalidi; Walid Khalidi, “The Jewish-Ottoman Land Company: Herzl’s Blueprint for the Colonization of Palestine,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1993.
(38) Neville Barbour, Nisi Dominus: A Survey of the Palestine Controversy, (Beirut: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1969), p. 45.
(39) Howard M. Sachar, p. 47.
(40) Desmond Stewart, Theodor Herzl, (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1974), p. 275.
(41) Barbour, p. 50.
(42) Howard M. Sachar, pp. 62-3.
(43) Howard M. Sachar, p. 63.
(44) Tessler, p. 145.
(45) Rashid Khalidi, pp. 210-3, in Said and Hitchens Tessler, p. 144.
(46) Tessler, p. 144.
(47) Ibid., p. 128.
(48) Matter, p. 27.
(49) Abram Leon Sachar, pp. 412-3. Sachar’s book was written in 1930, but similar reports of the idyllic life provided by Zionism had begun circulating almost as soon as the first Zionists arrived in Palestine.
(50) Barbour, pp. 56-7.
(51) Grose, p. 64.
(52) Ronald Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem: A History of the Balfour Declaration and the Birth of the British Mandate for Palestine, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983, pp. 119-20.
(53) Grose, p. 63.
(54) Ibid., p. 72.
(55) Bruce Allen Murphy, The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices, Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1983, p. 57.
(56) Murphy, p. 57.
(57) Grose, p. 64.
(58) Murphy, p. 58.
(59) Ibid., p. 58.
(60) Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, p. 585.
(61) Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, p. 586.
(62) Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, pp. 590-1.
(63) Murphy, p. 59.
(64) Ibid., p. 60; Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, p. 598.
(65) Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, p. 598.
(66) Grose, Israel in the Mind of America. p. 64.
(67) Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, pp. 612-3. The text of the early and the final drafts of the declaration are also in Thomas and Sally V. Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, London: Longman Group Ltd., 1986, pp. 427-9.
(68) Tessler, p. 145.
(69) Janet L. Abu-Lughod, “The Demographic Transformation of Palestine, ” p. 142, in Abu-Lughod.
(70) Michael Bar-Zohar, Ben-Curion: A Biography, New York: Delacorte Press, 1978, p. 81. Bar-Zohar reports the remarks were made during a “discussion” but fails to provide with whom; presumably it was with other Zionists.
(71) Masalha, pp. 30-5.
(72) Bar-Zohar, p. 63.
(73) Ibid., p. 63.
(74) Ibid., p. 68.
(75) Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, New York: Pantheon Books, 1987, p. 37.
(76) Masalha, p. 49.
(77) Ibid., pp. 60-1; Howard M. Sachar, pp. 204-5. A third independent region was to be reserved for Britain between Jerusalem and Bethlehem with British rule continuing in the main towns in the north and a corridor to the sea between Jaffa and Jerusalem.
(78) Christopher Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973, p. 171. Also see Jewish Chronicle, “Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s Conversation with Mr. Ormsby-Gore the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the Partition of Palestine 1937,” August 13, 1937, pp. 24-5, in Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest.
(79) Walid Khalidi, Before the Diaspora, p. 189.
(80) Howard M. Sachar, pp. 207-8.
(81) Masalha, pp. 94-7.
(82) Ibid., p. 117.
(83) Teveth, p. 688.
(84) Janet L. Abu-Lughod, “The Demographic Transformation of Palestine, ” pp. 151-2, in Abu-Lughod.
(85) Masalha, pp. 93, 117, 126.
(86) Ibid., p. 128.
(87) Ibid., pp. 131-2
(88) Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, pp. 136- 7.
(89) Walid Khalidi (ed.), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991, p. xx.
(90) Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestine Refugee Problem, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 218.
(91) Morris, pp. 292-3. Also see McDowall, p. 195.
(92) Flapan, p. 90.
(93) Masalha, p. 176.
(94) Michael Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from their Homeland, Boston: Faber and Faber, 1987, p. 29.
(95) Masalha, p. 193; Flapan, p. 105.
(96) Walid Khalidi, All That Remains, p. xxxi; Appendix III. Also see Janet L. Abu-Lughod, “The Demographic Transformation of Palestine, ” p. 161, in Abu-Lughod; Quigley, p. 86.
(97) Masalha, p. 199.
(98) Noah Lucas, The Modern History of Israel, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1974, p. 335; Walid Khalidi, All That Remains, Appendix III.
(99) From Emerson, From Empire to Nation, quoted in Quigley, p. 86.Share on Facebook
The fans marched from Sacher Park to Teddy Stadium on Sunday for a game against Hapoel Acre. They reportedly beat a 50-year-old Israeli woman who objected to the anti-Arab chants, which included “Death to the Arabs,” Haaretz reported.
Police reportedly have opened an investigation into the assault, which included knocking the woman on the head with a pole from a team flag and spitting at her.
Last month, hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans chanting anti-Arab slogans allegedly assaulted Arab workers at a Jerusalem mall following a game. Sixteen fans were arrested; six were banned from future games.Share on Facebook
Grass, who revealed in 2006 that he had been a member of the Nazi Waffen SS, a group committed to eliminating European Jewry during World War II, contends that there is no proof that Iran is building a nuclear device, and calls on German chancellor Angela Merkel not to deliver any further Super Dolphin submarines to Israel.
Best known for his novel “The Tin Drum,” about the lead-up to Nazism in Germany and Poland and the time during the war years, Grass has long regarded Germans as victims of the allies in World War II, and he now joins the ranks of Nobelists for whom Israel is a whipping boy.
During the second Intifada, another Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Portuguese writer Apartheid regime,” drawing substantial shows of solidarity.
Writing in a student newspaper at the Hochschule Mittweida (University of Applied Sciences) in the state of Saxony, Florian Barth defended Gabriel, noting that “criticism of Israel’s Palestinian policies and criticism of the Israeli state have nothing to do with each other.”
It is a bizarre time in Germany. Last month, ZDF television broadcasted without objection an interview in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust. The interviewer, well-known German journalist Claus Kleber, also failed to ask questions about the repression of Iran’s democracy movement.
The Holocaust is “a lie of Israel” that allows the Jewish state to hurt the Palestinians, Ahmadinejad said in the ZDF interview. Claus Kleber defended his interview style for the taxpayer funded public station that aired the 45-minute interview on the popular news channel.
Dieter Graumann, head of Germany’s 105,000 member Jewish community, told the Bild am Sonntag paper that ZDF provided Ahmadinejad with a platform to spread his “poison.” Yet across much of Europe, and in large parts of German society, people remain in denial about modern-day anti-Semitism.
In the late 1960s, Austrian Jewish writer and Auschwitz survivor Jean Amery neatly captured the post-Holocaust definition of anti-Zionism, when he wrote that “Anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm.”
In his poem, Grass conspicuously ignores criticism of Iran’s state-sponsored policy of Holocaust denial, as well as Iranian terrorist attacks against Jewish sites, Iranian dissidents, and Americans. Yet fresh revelations from the al-Qaeda trial in Koblenz, Germany earlier this week confirm that Iran is even helping al-Qaeda.
Grass remains predictably silent on the al-Qaeda inspired Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, who is believed to be responsible for the murder of a rabbi, three Jewish students, and three French soldiers last month. Merah reportedly justified shooting the Jews to “avenge the death of Palestinian children.”
What drives an aging German author to blame Israel for world’s ills? The late German-Jewish philosophers Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer argued that the crimes of the Holocaust created such profound guilt that some Germans blamed the Jews for the Shoah and continue to hold Israel to moral standards people would apply to no other nation.
Grass, like Sigmar Gabriel, embodies this post-Holocaust tradition of anti-Semitism and envisions a world cleansed of the Jewish state. They never consider the possibility that their absurd obsession with Israel’s wrongs has less to do with its policies than their pathological failures to grapple with the legacy of Nazism in Germany.
German historian Ernst Nolte contributed to the unsavory tradition of seeking to purge his country’s guilt and shame because of the crimes of the Holocaust by equating Israel’s policies with those of Nazis. When he spoke at the Italian Parliament in 2004, Nolte declared that “the only difference between Israel and the Third Reich is Auschwitz.”
With his latest work, Grass has become the leading anti-Israel author of the European intelligentsia. It is a disturbing sign of intellectual malaise, anti-democratic thinking and nihilism that he can use major media outlets to stoke hatred of Israel. To many Germans, anti-Semitism is apparently no longer a shock
This Saturday, in the Danish city of Aarhus, a Europe-wide rally organised by the far-right English Defence League will try to set up a European anti-Muslim movement. For Europe’s far-right parties, the rally, coming so soon after the murders in southwest France by a self-professed al-Qaeda-following Muslim, marks a moment rich with political capital.
Yet it is also a delicate one, especially for Marine Le Pen. Well before the killings, Le Pen was assiduously courting Jews, even while her father and founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was last month convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying that the Nazi occupation of France “wasn’t particularly inhumane”.
Marine must disassociate herself from such sentiments without repudiating her father personally, or alienating his supporters. To do so, she has laced her often expressed Islamophobia (parts of France, she has said, are suffering a kind of Muslim “occupation”) with a newfound “philozionism” (love of Zionism), which has extended even to hobnobbing with Israel’s United Nations ambassador.
Almost all European far-right parties have come up with the same toxic cocktail. The Dutch MP Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigrant Party for Freedom, has compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In Tel Aviv in 2010, he declared that “Islam threatens not only Israel, Islam threatens the whole world. If Jerusalem falls today, Athens and Rome, Amsterdam and Paris will fall tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Filip Dewinter, the leader of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party, which grew out of the Vlaams Blok nationalist party, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, has proposed a quota on the number of Belgian-born Muslims allowed in public swimming pools. Dewinter calls Judaism “a pillar of European society”, yet associates with antiSemites while claiming that “multiculture … like Aids weakens the resistance of the European body” and “Islamophobia is a duty”.
But the most rabidly Islamophobic European philozionist is Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom party, who has compared foreigners with harmful insects and consorts with neo-Nazis. And yet, where do we find Strache in December 2010? In Jerusalem, alongside Dewinter, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
In Scandinavia the antiimmigrant Danish People’s party is a vocal supporter of Israel. And Siv Jensen, the leader of the Norwegian Progress party and a staunch supporter of Israel, has warned of the stealthy Islamicisation of Norway.
In Britain, English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, in his first public speech, sported a Star of David. At anti-immigrant rallies, his party’s banners read: “There is no place for Fascist Islamic Jew Haters in England”.
So has the Jew, that fabled rootless cosmopolitan, now suddenly become the embodiment of European culture, the “us” against which the Muslim can be cast as “them”? It is not so simple. For a start, “traditional” anti-Semitism has not exactly evaporated. Look at Hungary, where the ultra-nationalist Jobbik party denies the Holocaust unapologetically, or Lithuania, where revisionist MPs claim that the Jews were as responsible as the Nazis for World War II.
What is more, the “philosemite”, who professes to love Jews and attributes superior intelligence and culture to them, is often, though not always, another incarnation of the anti-Semite, who projects negative qualities on to them: both see “the Jew” as a unified racial category.
Beneath the admiring surface, philozionism is not really an appreciation of Jewish culture, but rather the opportunistic endorsement of Israeli nationalism and power.
Indeed, you can blithely sign up to both antisemitism and philozionism.
Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik described himself as “pro-Zionist” while claiming that Europe has a “considerable Jewish problem”. He saw himself as simultaneously anti-Nazi and pro-monoculturalism. The far-right British National Party’s Nick Griffin once called the Holocaust the “Holohoax”, subsequently supported Israel in its war “against the terrorists” but, the day after the Oslo murders, tweeted disparagingly that Breivik was a “Zionist”.
Most Jews, apart from the Israeli right wing, are not fooled. They see the whole iconography of Nazism — vermin and foreign bodies, infectious diseases and alien values — pressed into service once again, but this time directed at Muslims. They understand that “my enemy’s enemy” can easily mutate into “with friends like these …”
The philozionism of European nationalist parties has been scrutinised most closely by Adar Primor, foreign editor of Haaretz newspaper, who insists that “they have not genuinely cast off their spiritual DNA and … aren’t looking for anything except for Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to power”. Similarly, Dave Rich, spokesperson for the Community Service Trust that monitors anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, told me that far-right philosemites “must think we’re pretty stupid if they think we’ll get taken in by that. The moment their perceived political gain disappears, they revert to type. We completely reject their idea that they hate Muslims, so they like Jews. What targets one community at one time can very easily move on to target another community if the climate changes.”
Rich’s words, spoken before the murder of Jews in Toulouse, now sound chillingly prescient. The president of the French Jewish community, Richard Pasquier, judges Marine Le Pen as more dangerous than her father.Share on Facebook
Jews are prohibited from owning or bearing firearms and ammunition, as well as daggers or swords.
Driving motor vehicles of any type, as well as cars and motorcycles, is also prohibited.
The Reich Minister has authorized the police departments of the provinces and their subordinates to establish regulations for Jews with German citizenship, or those with no nationality, that ban them from certain areas or limit them to certain times. For example, they may be banned from certain districts, or not be allowed in public at certain times.
Jews may not serve as attorneys. A limited number of legal advisers are available to represent Jews. Jews may also not practice medicine.
The legal situations of Jews as tenants or landlords is legally regulated. There may be no contact between German people’s comrades and Jews. Bringing Jews together in exclusively Jewish apartment buildings is to be encouraged and sped up.
If a Jew needs assistance, he must depend on his racial comrades.
Jews may only have names that are typically Jewish. If Jews have other names, they must add and use an additional name (Israel for men, Sara for women).Share on Facebook
The US-based group Emergency Committee for Israel published a full-page advertisement in The New York Timeslast week, urging readers and sponsors to question why Jewish philanthropies are supporting Media Matters and the Center for American Progress (CAP), two anti-Israel organizations accused of spreading anti-Semitic rhetoric.
“The Center for American Progress and Media Matters claim to be in the liberal mainstream. But is being anti- Israel a liberal value?” the ad on Thursday asked.
The ad includes a cartoon of a wolf holding a sheep mask, suggesting that Jewish philanthropy groups are being hoodwinked by the two organizations’ anti-Israel agendas.
Media Matters is a left-wing media watchdog organization.
The Washington-based Emergency Committee’s ad includes a breakdown of Jewish organizations that donate to the two organizations.
According to the roster, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, the Community Foundation of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego and the Jewish Communal Fund donate to both. (Foundations with a non-Jewish focus were also listed in the ad.) The Emergency Committee ad cites recent quotations from leading American Jewish organizations – the American Jewish Committee, Anti- Defamation League and Simon Wiesenthal Center – attacking CAP’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agenda.
CAP garnered widespread media attention in the US when a faction of bloggers took to the organization’s ThinkProgress website and Twitter, and charged that supporters of Israel were agents of the Jewish state engaged in treason against the US. Two of these bloggers, Zaid Jilani and Ali Gharib, used variations of the white supremacist term “Israel Firster” to smear a US senator and advocates for the security of the Jewish state.
According to information obtained by The Jerusalem Post, CAP discharged Jilani but continues to retain a group of writers who have over the years downplayed the Iranian nuclear weapons program and contributed to the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist.
CAP spokeswoman Andrea Purse refused to comment when asked about the ad. She did email the Post in late February regarding the organization’s policy on staff anti- Semitism: “The Center for American Progress is and always has been pro-Israel, committed to a peace process that produces a durable twostate solution negotiated by the parties, and it takes seriously the threat posed by Iran and its nuclear activities… We have a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism. We have written critically about its continuing use in contemporary political debates, and we take any allegation of anti- Semitism extremely seriously.
A very small number of tweets on the personal accounts of ThinkProgress staff were inappropriate, and the authors have publicly apologized for using objectionable language.”
According to experts, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric continue to appear on CAP’s blogs, an allegation Purse denied.
“That language never appeared in any CAP or ThinkProgress publication, and we have taken steps to ensure that all CAP staff maintain the highest standards in their communications even in their personal social media accounts,” she said.
Unlike CAP, Media Matters has not touted a zero-tolerance policy against such language.
Additionally, M.J. Rosenberg, a fiercely anti- Israel writer, continues to work for Media Matters and has defended the use of the phrase “Israel Firster” to denigrate supporters of Israel.
Thursday’s ad cites quotes from American liberal Jews blasting the two organizations for stoking anti-Semitism.
According to Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, “Media Matters and Center for American Progress are two extremely left-bigoted groups that are so virulently anti-Israel and anti-supporters of Israel that they’ve gone over the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism.”
Dershowitz also says in the ad, “When I started reading their stuff, it sounded like the kind of stuff you read on neo- Nazi websites… Or on Hezbollah- supporter websites. It is so extremist.”
The ad also quoted from a widely read article in the online magazine Tablet, written by liberal journalist and blogger Spencer Ackerman.
“For months, M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog group, has been throwing around the term ‘Israel Firster’ to describe conservatives he disagrees with… ‘Israel Firster’ has a nasty anti-Semitic pedigree,” he wrote.
When asked about whether Media Matters supports the use of the term and Rosenberg’s writings, Media Matters spokeswoman Jess Levin told the Post that she” would be in touch.” However, a follow-up email to Levin was not immediately returned.
Speaking from Washington, Josh Block, a former spokesman for the Clinton administration and a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, told the Post on the phone that “Unlike CAP, which has condemned what they called ‘terrible anti-Semitic language’ used by their staff and pledged to prevent future outbreaks of the anti-Israel, borderline anti-Semitic and anti-Semitic rhetoric identified by the ADL, AJC and Wiesenthal Center, that appear on their site, blog and twitter from some of their staff, fellow members and bloggers, Media Matters continues to pay for and spout Jew-hatred. ”
He continued that “Spreading anti-Semitic and anti-Israel invective and inspiring other to join in their Jew-hatred is extremely dangerous and fundamentally incompatible with the values of the America, the Democratic party and all civil discourse. Media Matters must end this disgrace or take ownership of it and be know as an anti-Semitic organization.
Block noted that,” elected officials and other prominent democrats who associate with Media Matters may not be aware of the depth of the problem, but once they are alerted, they have a moral obligation to speak out publicly against this bigotry and cut ties with the group until it ends – unless of course they agree with Media Matters and neo-Nazis that it is a good idea to call elected officials and other pro-Israel -Americans ‘Israel Firsters.”‘Share on Facebook
REGINA, SK—Dr. Heinrich Haussmann, 94, became famous in his later years for being the curmudgeonly creator of the wildly popular grammar column “Sieg Semicolon, Heil Hyphen!” Now the eccentric Doktor, who was well known for his love of Wagner and experiments on animals, is known for another thing: having once been a member of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Haussmann’s secret came out when Saul Durrell, 41, a sharp-eyed reader of the column who just happens to work for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, saw something in Hausmann’s May 4th, 2011 column entitled “Irregardless Is Not A Word Just Like Poland Is Not A Country.”
In the column, Hausmann pointed out that ‘irregardless,’ along with splitting infinitives and ending a sentence with a preposition, were “mistakes that the true Übermenschen would never make in a thousand years of the Reich!”
“There was something about that statement that seemed suspicious to me,” said Durrell, “so I did some research.” It turned out that Haussmann had left Germany in 1945, moving first to Argentina and then to Canada in the late 60s where he started his German Shepherd breeding company, Aryan Blood Lines.
“Slowly all the pieces began to fit,” said Durrell, “the obsessive concerns about the use of the semi-colon, pedantic scolding on trivial things like the proper use of ‘penultimate’ and worst of all his ravings about ‘between you and I’. This was, in hindsight, clearly a sign of a deeper fascist nature,” said Durrell.
Fortunately, Dr. Hausmann will now have to answer for his crimes: he’s awaiting deportation and trial in Israel. Said Durrell: “Finally this monster will see justice. And the rest of us will be spared his smug little pronouncements on ‘correct’ grammar. I mean, get a clue jerk and look up the difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar before you shoot your mouth off.”
“In an Israeli prison.”Share on Facebook
Im Tirtzu filed the NIS 2.6 million defamation suit in 2010 after a request by movement chairman Ronen Shoval to take down the page was refused. The lawsuit names the seven individuals who serve as administrators of the Facebook page, which is titled “Im Tirtzu –Fascists” and currently has over 2,900 members. The page accuses the movement of “strangling public discourse with empty slogans.”
On Sunday, the defendants launched a fundraising campaign for legal fees via the Human Rights Defenders Fund. They also launched a website, called freespeechisrael.org, which they said provides information about the ongoing lawsuit.
One of the defendants, who asked not to be named, told The Jerusalem Post later on Sunday that Im Tirtzu’s lawsuit was intended as a scare tactic.
“This is a NIS 2.6 million lawsuit against private individuals,” the defendant said. “We have no organization behind us. It’s actually very frightening, also because our legal costs are very high.”
The controversial Facebook page was launched in 2010, in response to a campaign by Im Tirtzu against the Goldstone Report, in which the organization published a report criticizing Israeli human rights groups, specifically the New Israel Fund.
According to Im Tirtzu, which describes itself as “centrist” and says its goals involve ensuring Israel’s Jewish future via a renewal of classical Zionist ideology, thought and dialog, activists have been using the Facebook page to try to shut them down by delegitimizing them.
In the lawsuit, served by attorney Nadav Haetzni, Im Tirtzu argues the Facebook page is a “public assassination attempt, literally, conducted with malice, cynicism, defiance, while distorting and misrepresenting a wide range of demands, ideas and actions.”
The Facebook page is an “unusual case” the lawsuit says, in which “a group of people organized to discredit and silence a social movement, by means of a title, logo and motto which defame the plaintiffs.”
Attorney Michael Sfard, representing the seven defendants, told the Post the defense has filed affidavits with expert opinions, including on the issue of Fascist ideologies, and will argue that the Facebook page is telling the truth.
In one of the affidavits, Israeli historian and expert on fascism Professor Zeev Sternhell says that Im Tirtzu “shows initial and concerning signs of fascist potential,” considering the movement is “new and operating in a society that condemns the denial of fundamental liberal values.”
Fascism “sees the nation as an organic entity, with its own character and unique culture that is above any other culture,” Sternhell argues, adding that he believes “these principles provide a basis for Im Tirtzu’s operations.”
In another expert opinion, Hebrew slang expert Rubik Rozental discusses the use of the word “fascist” in everyday speech, and argues that now the word includes the definition of “a person who is dictatorial or has extreme Right-wing views.” Rozental provides a list of examples from recent newspaper articles in which he says the word is used in that manner.
The defense also argues that Im Tirtzu’s lawsuit is an example of SLAPP – a strategic lawsuit against public participation – that aims to have a “chilling effect” on public discourse.
Attorney Haetzni, representing Im Tirtzu, told the Post Sunday that by dubbing Im Tirtzu a fascist movement, the activists were trying to delegitimize it by placing the organization “beyond the pale” of legitimate social, public and political discourse.
Haetzni said the Facebook page also linked Im Tirtzu with the Nazi movement, by asking the question “if my grandfather was not Jewish, could I stand with you?”
“These are a group of people who simply could not deal with the fact that Im Tirtzu spoke out against the anti-Zionist activities of the New Israel Fund. If they thought that what Im Tirtzu wrote [in its report about the Goldstone Report] was untrue, then why did they not simply take that up with Im Tirtzu?” the lawyer said, saying the Facebook campaign was “organized.”
According to Haetzni, Im Tirtzu decided to sue for NIS 2.6 million in order that the suit would be heard in the district court, which requires a minimum of NIS 2.5 millioncompensation, rather than the magistrate’s court.
“We think the suit is so important that it deserves to be heard at district court level,” Haetzni said, adding that the case will set a precedent. “The ruling will determine whether it’s permitted to call someone a fascist without proof.”
While Judge Refael Yacobi of the Jerusalem District Court is set to convene the next hearing in the case February 27, Haetzni said it will likely be months or more before a final ruling is made.
“And of course whatever that ruling, the losing party will appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.Share on Facebook
TEHRAN, iran — Iran‘s supreme leader pledged Friday to aid any nation or group that challenges Israel and said any military strikes over the Islamic Republic‘s nuclear program would damage U.S. interests in the Middle East “10 times over.”
The nationally broadcast comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei staked out a hard line in apparent replies to suggestions that military strikes are an increasing possibility if sanctions fail to rein in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
It also might signal that Iran’s proxy forces — led by Lebanon’s Islamic militant group Hezbollah — could be given the green light to revive attacks on Israel as the showdown between the archfoes intensifies.
The West and its allies fear Iran could use its uranium enrichment labs, which make nuclear fuel, to eventually produce weapons-grade material. Iran insists it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research.
Israel has so far publicly backed the efforts by the U.S. and European Union for tougher sanctions that target Iran’s crucial oil exports. But Israeli leaders have urged even harsher measures and warn that military action remains a clear option despite Western appeals to allow time for the economic pressures and isolation to bear down on Iran.
Although Israel has raised the strongest hints over a military campaign, Khamenei reserved some of his strongest comments for Israel’s key ally, the U.S.
Khamenei claimed Iran, however, could only emerge stronger. “Iran will not withdraw. Then what happens?” asked Khamenei. “In conclusion, the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited” in the Middle East. “The hegemony of Iran will be promoted. In fact, this will be in our service.”
At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said sanctions remain the best approach to pressure Iran. But he told U.S. airmen Friday that Washington keeps “all options on the table and would be prepared to respond if we have to.”Share on Facebook
The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius yesterday reported that Leon Pantta believes there is “a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June,” while the Face of American Meritocracy, NBC News‘ Luke Russert, today said that ”NBC can report Sec of Defense Panetta says there’s a greater than 50% chance Israel will attack Iran in the coming months.” If that does happen, many Americans will undoubtedly be entirely supportive because they know (at least the ones who read American newspapers and listen to their government officials) that Iran is the Evil-est since Saddam’s Iraq:Share on Facebook
“I’ve lost my patience with the universities. I think they’re complicit in aiding and abetting these hate-mongers,” Benlolo said, reacting to a lecture presented by pro-Iranian, anti-Israel speaker Zafar Bangash on McMaster University’s campus last week.
The Jan. 26 lecture, titled “Iran in the Crosshairs,” was sponsored by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, Independent Jewish Voices, as well as the student groups Students for Justice in the Middle East, McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice, and Students Resisting War and Occupation.
Benlolo wrote a letter to McMaster president Patrick Deane that challenged him to take a stand against a speaker who was quoted during last summer’s Al Quds rally at Queen’s Park as saying, “This black man in the White House, Barack Obama… he would rather have Americans starve to death but he cannot say no to the Zionist parasitical state… That is what makes them racists, that is what makes them inhuman, that is what makes them barbarians.”
Bangash, president of the Islamic Society of York Region, who is known for advocating Iranian-style theocracy, has also said, “Inshallah [God-willing] I see that day when we, the Muslims, will march on Palestine and liberate Palestine… under Islamic law,” and has advised Israelis to go “back where they came from: the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, whoever is willing to take them in.”
Despite Benlolo’s complaints, McMaster chose not to cancel the lecture, citing its “important role in maintaining freedom of speech.”
McMaster spokesperson Gord Arbeau put the onus on the organizers of the event to ensure respectful dialogue on campus.
“Every event that is booked at McMaster follows the same protocols. Event organizers are responsible for ensuring a safe event and those protocols have been followed in this instance.”
But Benlolo, who sends letters of complaint to university presidents each time he learns that an anti-Israel speaker has been invited to speak on a Canadian campus, said he is becoming tired of getting the “brush-off” from university administrators who he says hide behind the “freedom of speech” excuse.
“We’re awaiting a response… I would expect the exact same response that I get from all the university presidents, which is what these universities hide behind. They say, ‘We have to allow for freedom of speech and freedom of debate and the truth will prevail.’”
Benlolo added that the trend of having anti-Israel speakers lecturing on campus is “becoming intolerable,” adding that “it’s about time that the universities step up and draw a red line in the sand and say that speakers who are divisive and to an extent, antisemitic, should not be permitted on campus. Period.”
McMaster’s Jewish Student Association president Ariela Rozenek and McMaster’s Israel on Campus president Jessica Lax-Vanek monitored the lecture.
Rozenek said that while Bangash mostly stayed on topic, there were “undertones of racism and bigotry” in his talk.
“I understand that McMaster wants to provide an environment that encourages discussion, that promotes freedom of speech, but the inflammatory language that was used by Bangash adds to a toxic, intolerant environment and stifles true dialogue.”
She added that the students who attended the lecture as representatives of the Jewish community are working toward an inclusive environment, and lectures like the one delivered by Bangash go against that goal.
“We really try to host events that elevate the level of discourse on campus and this sets us back.”
Benlolo said that if university presidents don’t want to cancel these types of events, they should at least take a moral stand.
“There’s a minimum and a maximum [response]. The minimum is that the president should denounce it, and the maximum is that the university property should not be made available for these speakers. It’s public property and the university can define the rules and should not permit hateful speakers on their campus.”Share on Facebook
It has emerged that students from the London School of Economics, while on a skiing trip last December, played a Nazi-themed party game. It was the same game that, when promoted on Facebook by students from Huddersfield University in 2009, won 12,000 followers. And it was similar in theme to the game that eventually lost the Tory MP Aidan Burley his job last year. Anyway, a Jew who was present objected and his nose, a significant organ under the circumstances, was broken.
We do not know what nationality the nose breaker was, so I cannot suggest it was British Tories enjoying a transgressive sexual thrill by pretending to be Nazis – although the joy young Conservatives, particularly in Oxford, take in these games has always amazed me. I am sad the nerdy Jew lost the fight with the fake Nazi, but successful Jewish violence usually creates nastier headlines than more usual Jewish passivity. Some would say this is no big deal. Who wouldn’t prefer a Nazi-themed party game to a Nazi-themed genocide? Some people (some Jews) are just no fun at all. Let the swastikas flap. We be Vikings.
Non-murderous antisemitism usually does not bother me, and I merely giggled when a drunk John Galliano was exposed for shouting “I love Hitler”, and wearing a pirate hat. It feels essential, however, to place this game in context because Jews are becoming afraid. We sniff the air and feel a change because antisemitic discourse is more acceptable now than at any time since the 1930s.
I would love to dismiss this incident as high jinks with a genocidal motif, but paranoia and Judaism walk together; our history demands it, and no people is as conscious of its history as the Jews. The word antisemitism is newish, with the first known usage occurring in 1879, but the violence is old. The general ignorance of the history of the Jews in Europe is also amazing – a vague, fuzzy mistrust of the other is what we ordinarily have – so I will briefly reiterate it.
This tribe, exiled from what is now called Israel/Palestine by the Romans in 70AD, has been chased from country to country in the millennia since, longing for what we call the return to Zion, saying every Passover “next year in Jerusalem”, or – if I am allowed a gag under the circumstances – “but please God, Miami”. The harassment and murder of Jews is a constant in European history – born, if you seek a simple answer, from Christianity’s deicide myth, and always exploited by those who needed a scapegoat.
It is a sickness that emerges from generation to generation, always with a new resentment to prosecute – the murder of the Christ, well poisoning, usury, the Jewish invention of communism or its opposite libel, Jewish world domination through capitalism, and now a Jewish state that defends itself, kills Palestinians, and is corrupted. The crimes are different, but the criminal is always the same. It is just a shame the Jew from the LSE didn’t have bigger fists, but I would always suggest that Jews avoid the Alps.
Antisemitic discourse is now mainstream and to say it all comes from the crimes of the Jewish state feels disingenuous and a denial of the past. Antisemitism is too old to sprout anew from nothing. Leftwing antisemites despise Israel, but are less vocal on the crimes of other oppressive states (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia). They call it “whataboutery”, and say that any defence of Israel is propaganda.
The incidents mount up – the heckling of an Israeli orchestra, the graffiti on university walls, the demand that Jews denounce Israel if they wish to be accepted in polite society, the plays and TV films written without context, the violence against Orthodox Jews (visible Jews), the sale of antisemitic toys in Poland, the terrible fact that 12,000 Facebook users think to mock the Holocaust, not lament it.
The broken nose of the boy from the LSE is, in the end, a tiny act of violence on top of an enormous cultural inheritance. A cynic would say that we know what Europe thinks of the Jews, and if you believe that, a party game does not surprise.Share on Facebook
If you do a search on google, along with predispositions, you’ll find more than 20 medical diseases affiliated with aberrant genes possessed within a segment of the Jewish people. One which is omitted but equally malicious is Jewish antisemitism. A rampant flu, this disease is spreading wildly throughout a vocal sector of this population, threatening to do more internal damage than outside factors have done since the 1940s. A generational scourge so great that famed Zionist labour founder Berl Katznelson asked back in the 1930s: “Is there another people on earth so emotionally twisted that they consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful, while every murder, rape, robbery committed by their enemies fill their hearts with admiration and awe.”
Under the guise of anti-Zionism, antisemitism has reared its ugly head in a relatively new incarnation, Jews joining the chorus of those disparaging Israel. In high schools, on college campuses and classrooms throughout Canada, the United States and Israel the propagandist delegitimization of the Jewish state is becoming pervasive. Likewise, concurrence of the Palestinian narrative amongst so-called progressive Jews can also be seen in broadcast, print media, and writing what you are reading now. At first blush, one might assume Jewish antisemitism would afflict only the uneducated but research and personal experience have proven otherwise. If ever there was a uniting factor for the left, right, educated, and uneducated amongst Jews that despise Israel, it’s Jewish antisemitism.
In writing the Israeli Advocate to a weekly, mostly Jewish readership now exceeding 7,000, my responses both pro and con usually total 30-50. But the anti-Israel vehemence of those opposed to the Jewish state – and I’m sure this article will garner a lot more – is most striking.
One very pragmatic ‘intellectual’ Jew, a PhD and MD from North Carolina is obsessed with Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Despite conclusive evidence to the contrary, he dogmatically sticks to the mantra that Israel is solely responsible for the plight of the Palestinian refugees and only their suicidal repatriation into Israel proper for them and millions of their descendants can rectify their situation. He cares little for facts such as the Palestinians and Arab world choosing war against Israel over acceptance of UN-sanctioned partition or having left their homes not as Jewish policy but as in all wars; victims of war itself. Neither does he or those that think like him recognize the denial of citizenship by their fellow Arabs in the countries which they left for during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Nor do they have empathy for the 800,000 to 1 million Jewish refugees stripped of their land and possessions, disenfranchised from homes their families lived in for hundreds of years in Muslim countries throughout northern Africa and the Middle East during the 1920s; long before the re-creation of the state of Israel and lasting until the mid 1950s.
The difference being, Israel repatriated their refugees into full-fledged citizens while the Arabs chose to allow theirs to wallow in wretched squalor, as political pawns till this very day. To these Jewish Quislings, the only remedy of the Palestinian refugee problem is the destruction of the Jewish character of Israel from within by an influx of people sworn to her delegitimization and destruction. In other words these Jews seek demographically to attain for the Palestinians and their descendants what their ancestors failed to do militarily 64 years ago.
He’s far from alone. As mentioned, Jew-on-Jew hatred can be found on both sides of the political-religious spectrum. One fanatical religious sect is an ultra-Orthodox group called the Neturei Karta. This lovely group of right-wing zealots – wined and dined by none other than that upstanding, Holocaust-denying leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – believe the Jewish state is blasphemy since it preceded the Messianic era. Like their far-left fellow loonies, these vehement, Israeli bashers are not just opposed to Israeli policy, but to her very existence itself. The movement’s supporters believe that the Jewish exile – begun when the Second Temple was destroyed some 2,000 years ago – exists by Divine decree and can be reversed only through Divine intervention. To be sure, they’re not the only Jew bashers swinging from the right side of the plate. Astonishing as it may seem, in September 2007 police in Petah Tikvah, Israel broke up a neo-Nazi gang of 8 naturalized Russian Jews giving Nazi salutes and carrying out mob attacks on homosexuals, non-whites and observant Jews. To be sure there are many more. However, all this notwithstanding, receiving the lion’s share of attention and by far the most malicious aggregation and individuals disparaging of the Jewish state are from the left of the political spectrum.
Professors, writers, students, left-leading media, and clergy particularly from the reform movement denounce what they see as the ill’s of Zionism – the right of Jews to their historic ancestral homeland. They seek to draw a boundary between Judaism the religion and the right to such a homeland.
‘Progressives,’ as many Jews within the anti-Zionist camp deem themselves relish any action of repudiation of the Jewish state, some going as far as renouncing their rights under the law of return. At a ritual circumcision a Jewish couple made the following pronouncement to their yet to be cognizant newborn: “We are thrilled to pronounce you a Jew without the Right of Return. Your name contains our deep hope that you will explore and celebrate your Jewish identity without confusing it with nationalism.”
Hopefully the child once recovered from the ordeal of circumcision will be circumspect enough to ask the parents why people of other religions can have national homelands but he as a Jew couldn’t.
On a daily basis you pick up a newspaper or google the Web and find inaccurate condemnations of alleged Israel human rights violations, along with ideologue professors denigrating her while leading their wards in divestment and boycott campaigns.
Why, some might ask, should anti-Zionism be considered antisemitism? The answer is simple. None of these idealistic individuals or activist groups equally denounce years of Palestinian atrocities such as the killing and maiming of innocent men, women and children in buses, restaurants, or murdering babies sleeping in their cribs.
During the Al-Aqsa intifada, which began in September 2000 and lasted about 5 years, 1,100 Israeli citizens and 5,500 Palestinians were killed. In 10 months alone, Bashar al-Assad has massacred 5,400 of his own people. Has anyone heard a peep of outrage or denunciation from these sanctimonious ‘progressives?’ Quite clearly, the term anti-Zionism as used by these people is nothing short of subterfuge for antisemitism.
In their continuing effort of delegitimizing Israel and casting her as a pariah state they disguise their motives in lofty terms such as peace, reconciliation and justice.
Unfortunately, if they had their way, none of this would apply to Israel whose sovereignty would no longer exist upon the dissolution of the Jewish state. The Jews still therein, they most assuredly would return to the protective status; dhimmitude, as long as they paid the poll tax; the humiliating jizzia – a tax Jews were forced to pay their Arab masters for hundreds of years during a degrading ceremony made to acknowledge their debasement. All this for the honour of being permitted to live amongst the Arabs as second-class citizens.
Pointing out this reality to the previously mentioned Jewish, MD, PhD I had been corresponding with, his matter of fact reply was: “Muslims paid zakat, non-muslims paid jizza. So what. Do you have a problem with people paying taxes?”
No I don’t, but I do have a problem with antisemites, particularly Jewish ones.Share on Facebook
Another freedom of expression issue has raised its head in the Jewish community in Australia.
This time, it involves a series which recently appeared on SBS and is now being sold as a DVD.
The Promise, written and directed by the UK film-maker Peter Kosminsky, gives a picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of a British soldier (Len), in 1948 Palestine fresh from seeing the horrors of the Holocaust. (Kosminsky himself has been interviewed on a number of occasions on his reasoning and method adopted in the series.)
The long and very detailed series is set in 2005 and looks at his granddaughter (Erin) who wishes to return a key that came into Len’s possession to its Palestinian family. Erin is a rather conflicted, brash young person and the story of the key is used as a device to develop conflict and argument over questions of ethics and morality with her wealthy Israeli host family.
There are also Palestinian characters linked to the key, who similarly, are used as a means of provoking responses.
The principal objection from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry to the series – as explained in a strongly worded and detailed complaint to SBS – is that the “insidious” series involves a collective group libel that:
“Unrelentingly portrays the entire Jewish presence throughout the country, including modern-day Israel, as an act of usurpation by Jews who, without exception, are aliens, predators and thieves and who enforce their usurpation by brutal, racist policies akin to those inflicted by the Nazis upon the Jewish people.”
They also object that SBS marketed a fictional account as a historical truth.
This is an extraordinary charge. In addition the ECAJ’s concerns are going to be raised via political allies at Senate Estimates hearings in mid-February, to which SBS director Michael Ebeid has been summoned. There is an implied threat to SBS funding.
It is also reported that the ECAJ wants the DVD withdrawn from sale until the complaint is adjudicated, and the issue has now had a three-page spread in the monopoly print Australian Jewish News, in the online Jwire, and doubtless is being carried by Jewish wire services internationally.
How seriously should the ECAJ’s complaint – or feelings in the Jewish community that the series is anti-Semitic and grossly insulting to Holocaust survivors – be taken?
It should be taken very seriously, because it has major implications (once again) for artistic licence and the capacity of broadcasters to carry controversial programs. It also has implications for defining the meaning of “anti-Semitism” and discussion of Israeli history and the Holocaust. Mind you, the ECAJ has not complained about Israeli Hebrew-language films which appear on SBS that also carry disturbing messages about Israeli and Palestinian politics and identity.
The ECAJ also objects on the basis that Jews in the film are subjected to a degree of critique that is not imposed upon more generously-depicted Palestinian as victims of oppression, without accounting for Palestinian violence. There are also objections to the literary licence used in the series which has collapsed the time and geography of some events so that some are not “real”.
In fact, the film is a fiction based on considerable historical research but unavoidable simplification: Israel is born out of violence and caught up in violence and division. All its characters are metaphors for different aspects of the conflict, including Omar, the Palestinian who is now part of a joint Israel-Palestinian organisation of former combatants (there is a scene at a meeting of the organisation which would also be confronting for many Palestinian viewers). There is also one terrorist bombing involving Palestinians and other confronting events or allusions to Palestinian actions but there is no attempt at “equivalence”.
Part of the complaint also seems to be that the film presents nothing of Israeli ethnic and cultural diversity: they are a monotype. I would argue that while this is a regrettable slip in the series, it is a metaphorical device: a wealthy family represents privilege over Palestinian poverty, the state of being refugees in their own land. The comparison of the ability to live one’s life as one wants as distinct from having to pass through checkpoints is used to promote discomfort and questioning on the part of the viewer. None of this is made up or akin to anti-Semitic stereotyping, and the main Palestinian character is Christian, not Muslim. Furthermore, much of the first episode is devoted to the horrors of the death camps and Len’s reactions to it, and the Holocaust comes up in many conversations between the Jewish characters, because it continues to traumatise them (and perhaps, most disturbingly, blind them to the effects of Israeli actions).
The film is thus about the difficult relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, and it uses what happened in the 1940s and what happens today, through the eyes of its major characters, to question not the existence of the State of Israel (that is never raised), but the trauma on which it came to exist and how it can continue today.
That is indeed a highly controversial question, but given that the series was written and produced by a British Jew, and that the crew and actors are predominantly Israeli Jews and it must therefore reflect their own sentiments as well about the country they live in. To think of them contributing to such an “insidious” series or being manipulated for anti-Semitic purposes by the writer (as implied by the ECAJ complaint), smacks of conspiracy theory reasoning, rather than understanding that the series is a political and moral examination of one of the most enduring and intractable conflicts of the past century. It is about the confronting trauma that effects Israeli society in its unresolved relationship with Palestinians, not Jewish stereotypes.Share on Facebook
In an interview with Iran’s Fars News Agency on Sunday, Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said of the 44,000 Palestinian inmates currently languishing in Israeli prisons, seven are women and 23 are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Abu Sabah described the desert prison of Naqab (Negev), where the detainees are kept in tents, as the Israeli regime’s worst prison.
Last year, an Israeli TV station released video footage of Palestinian detainees being tortured by Israeli troops in the notorious Naqab prison in 2008, as a result of which one Palestinian died and several others sustained injuries.
The Palestinian official further confirmed reports that the relatives of the inmates and sometimes even their lawyers are forced to strip and are interrogated.
In late December 2010, a human rights group called Public Committee against Torture in Israel revealed that Palestinian detainees are systematically denied the right to meet a lawyer during interrogations.
Being shackled to chairs for long periods, sleep deprivation, intimidation, torture and excruciating detention conditions are some of the instances documented by the rights group in its report.
Abu Sabah went on to add that stripping captives in the subzero cold in the winter is one of the most common torture methods of the Israeli regime.
The ill captives, he said, are deprived of even the most basic medical treatment, adding that the inmates suffering from medical conditions are not few in number and face gradual death in the regime’s prison
Israel has some secret prisons where it keeps some of the first captives of the Resistance Movement, Abu Sabah said, adding that the regime has even abducted activists from other Arab countries, whose fate is unknown.
Israel Prison Service (IPS) Director Aharon Franco announced in October that there are several prisons in Israel, including Damon prison, Ramle’s Neve Tirza prison, and the Ma’asiyahu prison, that are no longer fit for inmates.
Franco also said the standard in the US is to allocate eight meters of space for each inmate and the standard is six meters in Europe. In Israel, however, just four meters are allocated for each inmate.Share on Facebook
Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, who fought German soldiers in WW II and later thought about converting to Judaism, led a three-Senator delegation to Israel Sunday, starting off with a meeting with President Shimon Peres.
Sen. Inouye, chairman of the powerfulSenate Appropriations Committee, is being accompanied by the committee vice chairman, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, and senior committee member Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat. They arrived in Israel after a stop in Tunisia.
President Peres thanked Sen. Inouye for his “contributions to strengthen the securityof Israel” and added, “The United States has stood by us for years, and this true friendship is unquestioned.”
The senators asked him for his views on Iran, the Middle East in general and the Palestinian Authority specifically. The President said that Iran is not a “problem” but instead is a “threat to peace in the Middle East and the entire world” because of its nuclear ambitions. He continued to promote his theme for direct “negotiations” between Israel and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Sen. Inouye fought in World War II and was a sergeant who led a platoon in the war. Now 87, he wrote in his book “Journey to Washington” that his platoon attacked German soldiers in France and Italy. He later was promoted to an officer and returnedhome with a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 other medals and citations.
He lost an arm and suffered gunshots in his stomach and spent 20 months in army hospitals. Sen. Inouye heard about the horrors of the Holocaust from another soldier who had been in Germany, and he then studied Jewish history.
After Israel was re-established as a Jewish State in 1948, the senator signed on as a registered Israeli bond salesman without commission and considered converting to Judaism, but his Methodist mother talked him out of it.
After his delegation’s meeting with President Peres Sunday, Sen. Inouye said, “We are here to say clearly and out loud that in this period of uncertainty in the Middle East, the United States stands with you.”Share on Facebook
“You would think people in public life are much more attuned to these issues,” Danny Stone, director of the Parliamentary Committee Against anti-Semitism Foundation, told the Star on Friday.
“Some people do need help understanding that debate properly.”
The voluntary seminars would likely begin next month through the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against anti-Semitism, a government group which Stone’s foundation supports.
The groom, Mark Fournier, posed for the newspaper photographers wearing a World War II Nazi SS officer’s uniform at his party Dec. 3 in a restaurant in the French Alps. The guests also chanted Nazi officers’ names and toasted the Third Reich.
The local French state prosecutor’s office is investigating the incident, RFI the French media. Wearing Nazi uniforms is illegal in France.
“There is no excuse for my foolish behaviour,” Burley said in a long statement on Christmas Eve. He denied he took part in chants or toasts.
“It’s difficult to understand why someone wouldn’t have got that,” Stone said of Burley. “He should have left straightaway.”
Flynn has also apologized.
“Clumsily expressed remarks of mine have caused anger and upset,” he said. “Greatly respected friends have urged me to withdraw the remarks and apologize. This I am happy to do.”
At a parliamentary inquiry last month, Flynn questioned whether a string of meetings involvingLiam Fox, Adam Werrity, Gould and Israelis could be the genesis of a plan to attack Iran. Fox was forced to resign as defence minister after revelations about his close relationship with Werrity, whose travels with Fox were financed in part by Israeli backers.
Gould was a “self-professed Zionist,” said Flynn, and two of Flynn’s constituents imprisoned in Israel had complained that Gould seemed to act more for Israel than Britain when he met them.
Flynn noted the exchange on his blog.
In later remarks to the Jewish Chronicle, Flynn said Britain’s ambassadors to Israel had never previously been Jewish because Britain needed “someone with roots in the UK who can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty.”
MPs “are against racism and anti-Semitism in principle, but they do need help understanding that debate properly,” said Stone.Share on Facebook
Two residents of Bet Shemesh, aged 26 and 55, were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of distributing a poster that portrayed Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Niso Shaham in Nazi uniform. The men were arrested for incitement to violence.
The police’s National Serious and International Crimes Unit oversaw the arrests.Share on Facebook
The pupils in class 9S at the Grabbe Gymnasium in Detmold have a particular reputation for boisterousness. But on the day that the package from Jerusalem arrived, you could have heard a pin drop, said 15-year-old Charlotte Schimanovsky.
“Our teacher came late to history class,” Charlotte remembered. “We were all wondering what was going on. Then he arrived with this package, and we opened it and out came these beautiful books.”
The six yellowing books were once the proud possessions of a Jewish girl named Ada Brodsky. Born in Frankfurt an der Oder in 1924, Ada was barely 15 when she was forced to flea Nazi Germany – almost exactly the same age as Charlotte and her classmates.
“She was an amazing woman,” said Charlotte, who studied the little biographical pamphlet included in the package with growing admiration. “I’m so impressed by everything that she achieved.”
Bridging the culture divide
Despite the horrors of the Holocaust, Ada Brodsky remained determined to celebrate the good things about the culture she had grown up in. She lovingly preserved the German books which had escaped with her, and even built a successful literary career on introducing German classics to a Hebrew-speaking audience.
Now, after over half a century, her books have arrived back in Germany as part of a project called No Lightweight Packages. It’s the brainchild of Simone Lenz, director of the Goethe-Institut in Jerusalem.
When Lenz arrived in Jerusalem six years ago, she found herself inundated by requests from the families descended from German Holocaust refugees hoping to find a home for the books they had brought with them from Germany.
Most second and third-generation Israelis have long since lost contact with the German language of their grandparents, so the volumes were simply gathering dust. Something about the books, however, caught Lenz’s eye.
“I was moved that they brought us these books of the very authors who were burned in Germany in the 30s,” recalled Lenz, who immediately set about hatching a plan to return the books to their country of origin.
A literary homecoming
Together with the young scholar Caroline Jessen, Lenz worked on compiling biographical information about the books’ donors. Then she contacted various German schools, offering teachers the chance to receive a parcel of books intimately linked to the biographies of individual Holocaust survivors living in Israel.
Steven Förster, a 31-year-old teacher at the Grabbe Gymnasium in Detmold, jumped at the chance to get involved in the project.
“The problem is that if you don’t have a personal story which the pupils can relate to, then it’s just an ordinary lesson,” Förster explained. “But if you can get them to emotionally connect to the life of Ada Brodsky, then it goes much deeper and lasts a lot longer. That’s what history lessons should be about.”
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Förster says it’s crucial to connect students to personal storiesAccording to Förster, the benefits of developing a personal connection to historical events are social, as well as educational. “If a pupil really reflects on something, then he or she can reach the right conclusions,” said Förster. “That doesn’t just help the pupil, it helps society as well.”
Sadly, Ada Brodsky died before her parcel of books reached Germany. Nevertheless, Förster’s pupils have sent a package of their own to Israel, full of letters expressing their thanks for the gift of her books. They are hoping that her family will read the letters, and that this will be the beginning of a lasting connection.
In the meantime, their teacher has been so inspired by the project that he is keen to try out a similar scheme with people who lived through the communist dictatorship in East Germany.Share on Facebook
The anti-boycott law is a deviation from the ancient Jewish tradition; only an ignoramus when it comes to Torah could be caught in such an heretical act.
And more about the Boycott Law, which was passed this week by irresponsible people, while the frightened captain hid in the belly of the ship. The 18th Knesset will become infamous as for being light-headed but causing heavy damage, which is probably irreparable.
It seems everything possible has already been said about this law: That it’s anti-democratic and anti-constitutional, and exposes Israel to public disgrace. But nobody has said that it’s a deviation from the ancient Jewish tradition, from a rich national culture. Only someone lacking in Jewish awareness, an ignoramus when it comes to Torah, could be caught in such an heretical act.
What is the value of purification and cleansing on Yom Kippur eve, in the Kol Nidrei prayer, without the boycotts of the preceding year and those to be decreed in the coming year? And how can we be released after the fact from all the vows, obligations, oaths or anathemas, if we didn’t impose them in the first place? The new law obviates the purpose of the prayer.
After all, it’s well known that every good Jew needs at least two synagogues, one to pray in and one to boycott: He will not set foot in it under threat of death, nor cross its threshold. A congregation that does not have a few ostracized people or institutions cannot be considered a holy and mentally sound congregation; and a boycott on Shabbat is a pleasure.
It’s not clear that boycotting and ostracism are a Jewish invention, but there’s no question that Jews are among its outstanding developers. Some kind of demon suddenly entered this coalition, which is inciting it to deeds that are not part of Jewish nature – for that alone they deserve to be boycotted.
I would expect the minister of education – another deserter from the Knesset plenum – who nurtures heritage and Israeli culture studies, to enlighten his culturally disadvantaged colleagues: What do you have to do with this legislation – as though you were “post-Jews” – that ignores the boycott that was imposed on Akavia Ben Mahalel; that rejects Shimon Ben Shetach, who wanted to boycott Honi the Circle-Maker; that hardens itself against Rabbi Gershom – the “Light of the Diaspora” – whom we would probably not remember were it not for his boycott.
And where are those guys Baruch Spinoza and Uriel D’Acosta, whose names are familiar to the initiators of the law only due to the boycott imposed on them by the rabbis of Holland, and not necessarily due to their philosophical teachings?
And how will we learn and be taught about historical boycotts of Hasidim against Mitnagdim, and mainly Mitnagdim against Hasidim? And about the Orthodox world that observes negiah (prohibition against physical contact between unmarried men and women ), and has been excommunicating the Reform movement for over 200 years.
How goodly are your boycotts, O Jacob, your ostracized ones, O Israel, only some of which we have enumerated, and why interrupt a magnificent historical chain? But the minister of education is silent, finding refuge in the den of the patriarchs.
The law is not only anti-Jewish, it is anti-Zionist. The path of the nascent state was paved with boycotts: Boazim (Jewish farmers ) boycotting halutzim (pioneers ) and vice versa; protectors of Israeli produce boycotting Arab labor; Ze’ev Jabotinsky boycotting the Zionist Histadrut labor federation, and David Ben-Gurion paying him back.
If only the disciples of Jabotinsky had learned how to break – yes, to break – and not only how to boycott. But as post-Zionists, they knew only how to climb the iron wall.
And eventually, after independence, Ben-Gurion removed Herut (the forerunner of Likud ) and Maki (the Israel Communist Party ) from the Israeli community and buried them outside the fence. They were great men, the founding fathers, with great boycotts and great dreams; their successors are grasshoppers, for whom even a small boycott is too big.
Faithful to tradition, let us boycott settlements and their products, and even call on others to follow in our footsteps. And we won’t be counted among post-Jews and Zionists, the new Hellenists, Zeev Elkin and his partners. And the more they legislate for us, the more we will violate unacceptable laws. Because there is no longer a choice: If we don’t want to swallow them, then we can only vomit them out.
- Jewish groups join voices against boycott law (jta.org)
- PA Minister: Boycott Companies Adhering to Boycott Law (israelnationalnews.com)
- How You Can Help Defeat the Boycott Law (desertpeace.wordpress.com)