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ZGram: Where Truth is Destiny

August 9, 2001

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

I am repeating the brief introduction I sketched yesterday for the conclusion of the annotated essay below which appeared in the following Newsgroups:

talk.politics.mideast, soc.culture.mideast, soc.culture.palestine, soc.culture.israel, soc.culture.usa

Here we continue with one of the most thoughtful, highly condensed, critically honest looks at Israel's midwives, founders and present leaders as well as Israeli policies and society in general. Unfortunately, the author regurgitates the standard, one-dimensional Hollywood version of National Socialist (German) policies and aims, but this is not the place for an ABC on National Socialism, and the rest of the essay is ruthlessly frank. It bears careful study and deserves wide distribution.

The essay is titled: What is Zionism if not racism? - Conclusion


* Recently, a number of Israeli intellectuals and supporters around the world have expressed horror over the prospect of the Palestinian refugees "right of return." Israeli doves like Amos Oz and David Grossman express grave reservations about this potentiality. Israeli political analyst and journalist, Julian Schvindlerman, argues that the Palestinians "right of return" is "but a euphemism for the destruction of Israel." (9)

Others, including Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have invoked the expression "national suicide." And it is not limited to Israeli political thinkers. For example, in his New York Times Op-Ed^ (10), Elie Wiesel complained that Israels absorption of four million Palestinians would be tantamount to committing "national suicide."

These transparent racists assume that all four million Palestinians will return to their homeland, a highly unlikely prospect. However, let us grant them their fear that if all four million Palestinian exiles were permitted to return, they would. The Israeli objection to their return is not based on the matter of absorbing four million people, an extraordinarily difficult demographical and logistical nightmare for countries far larger than Israel. No, their fear of a massive Palestinian immigration wave is based solely on preserving "the Jewish character of the Jewish State."

If for example, four million Jews from around the world decided to migrate en masse to Israel, the Jewish State would be compelled to take in each and every one of them. The Law of Return imposes just such a policy. Any Jew, regardless of origins, has a legal right to automatic citizenship upon "return," and that right takes precedence over Palestinian Muslims and Christians who wish to return to the land of their birth. An interesting note: How a Jew who was not born in Israel/Palestine can "return" is beyond comprehension.

* All inhabitants of Israel are required to carry with them at all times an ID card. Israel Shahak informs us that the "ID cards can list the official nationality of a person, which can be Jewish, Arab, Druze, and the like, with the significant exception of Israeli." (11) Even when a number of left-wing Israelis applied for ID cards that identified them as "Israeli" or "Israeli-Jew", the Ministry of Interior rejected their requests. (12)

One is hard pressed to find a "democracy" that requires of its citizens ID cards that stipulate their ethno-religious identity without ever mentioning nationality. ID cards were common in the Soviet Union, and today can be found in such bastions of democracy like Saudi Arabia (the Saudi "eqama" designates both national and religious identity), Iraq, Singapore, China, North Korea, and Cuba.

* Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip, is the linchpin of an expansionist policy that harkens back to its founding. Israels settlement policy is no different than Lord Protector Oliver Cromwells "Plantation of Ulster" nearly 345 years ago in Ireland. Cromwell settled thousands of Scottish Protestants in the hope of rendering Ulster free of indigenous Irish Catholics. Ideally, Israel would love the "holy land" to be "Palestinenser-Frei" in the way that National Socialists wished for a "Juden-Frei Europa." Expulsion may not be so far off.

However, Israeli settlement policy has made one fact abundantly clear: it is not the Palestinians whom Israel desires to control, it is their land. Now the "only democracy" in the Middle East touts the virtues of segregation, of ethno-religious separation. Such odious policies formed the backbone of the Kibbutzim system, and apply to modern-day settlements. Settlements marked by Jewish-only housing supported by a network of Jewish-only bypass roads, laughingly called "security roads" that secure nothing but the permanent "Bantustanization" of formerly integral Palestinian lands.

Again, try locating a single democracy that continues with ethnic and racial segregationist housing polices. Find a democracy that espouses the virtues of separation. An Israeli apologist might point out the plight of Native Americans. Their plight remains a national disgrace, however, no reasonable person can argue that Israeli Arabs and occupied Palestinians have equal or more rights than Americas indigenous people.

* Israeli Arabs continue to exist as second-class citizens of Israel. Their housing, education, social services, and employment opportunities resemble the second-rate conditions offered African-Americans less than a generation ago. Israels Ashkenazi elites discriminated against the Sephardim for decades; it does not require a Ph.D. to imagine the treatment meted out to non-Jews, given the history of racial hostility experienced by the Sephardim.

Evidence mounts that Israel is a pariah State. The Israeli Army (13) openly admits that soldiers routinely circumvent rules against random use of lethal force. The recent murder of thirteen Israeli Arabs during some of the worst rioting in Israel-proper only adds more evidence to the charge that Israel is a pariah nation. (14 )

* Democracies do not routinely fire upon their citizens, and when such tragedies occur, the offending nation is traumatized. For example, on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard killed four students at Kent State. That tragedy traumatized America for an entire generation. The police departments' excessive use of lethal force to suppress Americas urban riots in the late 1960s led to a number of reforms.

Another example occurred in South Korea. Throughout most of the 1980s, pro-democracy South Korean students and workers violently clashed with security forces and police. The protesters often threw Molotov cocktails, iron bolts, hammers, rocks, lead-packed bottles, yet the South Korean police forces never resorted to lethal force. (15)

But the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) apparently has never heard of water cannons, smoke and tear gas grenades, and the use of anti-riot forces in large formations. True, the last option may no longer be feasible, since Palestinian gunmen occasionally commit the crime of retaliatory return-fire. However, had Israel used just such methods during the first Intifada (1987-1992), perhaps the current lethal crossfire between opposing forces would occur with less frequency.

Instead, Israel sends a tiny number of soldiers in lightly armored vehicles to man checkpoints that fall under a barrage of stones. There is an old adage: "Soldiers make bad policemen." Heavily armed young soldiers, with weapons at the ready, are going to use whatever is immediately available. Israels policy of sending small patrols of soldiers into situations that demand the use of a large number of riot-trained police indicates a total disregard for the safety of both these soldiers and the Palestinians. The net effect of such "policing" methods is hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded Palestinians. Today, in Israel, the news of yet another Palestinian teenager shot dead is treated with blas�.

Israel. A "democracy" that does not offer its citizens civil marriage and divorce. A "democracy" that requires ID cards that do not designate nationality but rather race and ethnicity.

Israel. A "democracy" that has placed a major part of her civil society in the hands of the Rabbinate, a medieval theocratic body that once refused DNA evidence in a case involving an Israeli who tried to prove his children were "Jewish."

Israel. A "democracy" that openly boasts of segregation as in a June 1999 Barak campaign billboard near Jaffa that stated: "Peace Through Separation: Us Here - Them Over There." (16) A "democracy" that implements the "Law of Return" patterned on the National Socialists Nuremberg Laws.

Israel. A "democracy" that establishes exclusionary housing, bypass roads, and shopping centers in illegally occupied territory.

Israel. A "democracy" on the verge of electing a longtime, well-known war criminal as Prime Minister, a man who has promised to implement a national political agenda that resembles Italy and Germany several decades ago.

Israel. A "democracy" of assassinations (17), blockades, checkpoints, curfews, torture, administrative detention, collective punishment, segregated housing, theocratic rule over marriage and divorce, home demolition, arbitrarily administered "entry passes" to Jerusalem, open defiance of international laws and conventions (Hague, Geneva, UN Resolutions 242, 338, 181, 194), and noncompliance with nuclear nonproliferation. A "democracy" in possession of a NATO-caliber Army, Tank Corps, and Air Force, not to mention over two hundred nuclear warheads (18) that in turn makes her the Sparta of the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

Israel could have established herself as a secular, pluralistic, liberal democracy - an Israeli Nation as opposed to an exclusivist Jewish State. What makes this so tragic and reprehensible is the fact that Israel remains the last European colonizer of non-Europeans. And worse, this occurred in 1948, after the calamities of two World Wars dispelled the legitimacy of colonialism. True, France, Great Britain, and even the United States dabbled in colonial adventures in Indochina, North Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean shortly after World War Two. However, a combination of Third World resistance and morally outraged citizenries in the respective countries put an end to those misadventures.

The prospects for a similar moral awakening in Israel are dim. Until such a movement emerges in the "Jewish State" there will be no fulfillment of any democratic promise for all the inhabitants of Israel-Palestine.

We return to the wisdom of the ancient Chinese. Let us call Israels political system by its proper name: Israel is not a democracy; it is an Apartheid Garrison-State, a modern-day Sparta.


1 Recall the prolific amount of anti-Semitism in the South, indeed in the general culture. Hollywood tackled such bigotry in a 1950s classic, Gentlemen's Agreement, starring Gregory Peck. Even the Defense and State Departments, respectively, discriminated against American Jews, withholding high-level positions solely on the anti-Semitic charge of "dual loyalty."

2 Norman G. Finkelstein, Image and Reality of The Israel-Palestine Conflict, (London: Verso, 1997), 7.

3 Ibid., 8. Finkelstein cites Hans Kohn, whom he calls the "most eminent authority on modern nationalism."

4 Ibid., 8.

5 Ibid., 9.

6 See Boas Evron. Jewish State or Israeli Nation? Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995.

7 Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, (London: Pluto Press, 1994), 7.

8 Ibid., 7.

9 Julian Schvindlerman, "The Right To Destroy Israel," The Miami Herald, January 4, 2001, 7B.

10 Elie Wiesel, "Jerusalem In My Heart, " The New York Times, January 24, 2001. See NYT Internet address of Wiesel Op-Ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/24/opinion/24WIES.html

11 Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, 6.

12 Ibid., 6.

* See Nomi Morris, "Possible Election Boycott By Israeli Arabs Could Benefit Sharon," The Miami Herald, January 26, 2001, 5A.

13 See Independent Media Center, Israeli Army admits to unprovoked shootings of Palestinians.Tuesday 23 Jan 2001, Israel http://www.indymedia.org.il / Author: AFP Newswire Service.

14Ori Nir, "We Accuse," Haaretz, January 22, 2001. See also, "Israel Must End The Hatred Now," The Observer, October 15, 2000.

15 The controversy over the Kwanju [sic] Massacre still lingers; South Korean dissidents claim the ROK Army, supported by the US military, shot down over 2,000 student protesters in 1980. The ROK and police demonstrated reform was possible from 1981 onwards. Only one South Korean student died in confrontations with police; he fell and hit his head against a sidewalk curb during a scuffle.

16 This was mentioned on National Public Radios Weekend Edition, Sunday, October 29, 2000, in a commentary by Allegra Pacheco. Ms. Pacheco is a human rights attorney who represents Palestinians. Hear her commentary:


17 Keith B Richburg, "Israelis Confirm Wider Policy of Assassinations: Palestinian Peace Activist Among Targeted Victims," The Washington Post, January 8, 2001.

18 See Israel Shahak. Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies. London: Pluto Press, 1997.


Thought for the Day:

"The child's sob in the silence curses deeper than the strong man in his wrath."

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

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