Is it Zionism or Jewishness? You decide

July 30, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Greenstein vs. Atzmon – a radio debate moderated by Tony Gosling

In the early 2000s I realised that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we must first ask who are the Jews, what is Zionism, what is Jewishness and how these notions relate to each other and affect Israeli politics, Jewish political lobbying, Jewish pressure groups and so on.

No one in Israel has ever criticized my argument. Israelis are naturally intimately familiar with the above notions. Israelis know that Jewishness and Jewish culture are at the core of Israeli politics. But the Jewish so-called  ‘anti’ Zionists were rather upset by my observation. It interfered with their delusional and largely deceptive dichotomies between Jews and Zionists, Zionism and Judaism, Israel and the Diaspora etc. Rather than saying that Jews and Zionism are opposites (Jewish anti Zionists) or that they are identical (messianic Zionism), I have been arguing that we are dealing with a complex continuum that can only be realised within the context of Jewishness and Jewish ID politics. Israel is what it is because Jewishness is driven by choseness – a Judeo-centric expetionalist doctrine.

Since 2005 Tony Greenstein has been my arch anti Zionist nemesis. He worked day and night trying to stop my concerts, my talks. He contacted venues and festivals and the many humanists who praised and endorsed my work. I offered Tony many times to share a platform with me so we could discuss that which we disagree upon. It never happened. Even when Tony was willing to do it, his ‘comrades,’ according to him, begged him not to do so.

Things clearly changed recently for Tony.  He was expelled from the Labour Party. He was a victim of the Zionist witch-hunt. He was accused of anti semitsm and had a chance to taste his own poison. Tony didn’t have any excuse. He had to face the man he vowed to eradicate yet failed.

In this radio program moderated by the great Tony Gosling, Tony Greenstein and myself debate what I believe to be the most crucial question  to do with Israel and Zionism. Is it Zionism or actually Jewish ideology that drives the barbarism of the state that calls itself  “the Jewish State”?

 

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The God of israel Is a Bloodthirsty, Vindictive Sociopath

Source

Does This Explain the Misanthropy of the Jews?

Laurent Guyénot — Russia Insider July 22, 2018

Laurent Guyénot is the author of From Yahweh to Zion: Jealous God, Chosen People, Promised Land … Clash of Civilizations, 2018  ($30 shipping included from Sifting and Winnowing, PO 221, Lone Rock, WI 53556). RI published a review of it in June, 2018: Small Minority of Jews Are the Real ‘Jewish Question’ – Laurent Guyenot’s Important New Book

Introduction

This article follows and concludes a series of four articles I wrote recently for the Saker blog. In the first one, “How Biblical is Zionism?” (reproduced under a different title on Russia Insider), I wrote: “When Israeli leaders claim that their vision of the global future is based on the (Hebrew) Bible, we should take them seriously and study the (Hebrew) Bible.” In the second one, “How Zionist is the New Word Order?

I explained that Zionism was never a nationalist movement like others; insofar as it is rooted in the biblical narrative, it contained from the outset a plan for world domination. In the third article, Who the Hell is the Prince of this World? I contended that the core characteristic of the biblical ideology—and the best-kept secret of Judaism—is its materialistic anthropology, best summarized by American rabbi Harry Waton: “the only immortality there is for the Jew is the immortality in the Jewish people.” In the fourth article, Is Israel a Psychopath?

fire from the sky

I argued that “Israel is the psychopath among nations, and that means a tremendous capacity to manipulate, intimidate, corrupt morally, and get what they want.” In this fifth and final part, I wish to address once again the issue of the biblical root of Jewishness, by arguing that the psychopathic behavior of Israel—understood both as a national state and as an international organized community—is the end result of the psychopathic “personality” of the Jewish God portrayed in the Bible.

Let me first state that I take no pleasure in offending anybody’s religious faith. Some Christians tell me that I do not read the Old Testament correctly, through New Testament glasses. My answer is: read it as you like, and convert the Jews to your reading if you can.

My purpose is to explain how the Jews, by whom and for whom it was written, have been reading it for more than a hundred generations, and how it has shaped their worldview, and continues to shape the worldview of many elite Jews. I understand and even empathize with Christians’ difficulty to engage in this effort, but I believe there will be no lasting cure from the corrupting influence of international Jewry without unprejudiced etiological inquiry.

To assess correctly the underlying ideology of the Hebrew Tanakh and its influence on those who hold it as their “roman national”, requires that we put aside the notion that it was inspired by “God” in any way, for this notion induces a cognitive dissonance which impairs our rational and moral judgment.

In fact, we should perhaps renounce looking at the Hebrew Bible as a religious book, because the category of “religion” fails to account for its strong influence on non-religious Jews. As I have shown in “How Biblical is Zionism?” most Israeli leaders, from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu, are non-religious, but their worldview is profoundly biblical nonetheless.

The biblical outlook is the essence of Jewishness, of which Nahum Goldman said that it is impossible to decide if it “consists first of belonging to a people or practicing a religion, or the two together.”i This ambivalence is strategic: it is used by organized Jewry to ward off criticism by qualifying it either as anti-Semitic or as an assault on religious freedom, depending on the circumstance.

We should not fall into this trap. What I am dealing here is biblical ideology. Whether this ideology should be categorized as religious is irrelevant. Any idea, any ideology may be criticized, no matter how sacred or ancient it is held to be. And since the first victims of a toxic idea are the men and women who believe it, they are the first who need to be enlightened on its toxicity.

The most appropriate category to understand both the Torah and Jewishness is not “religion” but “covenant” (berit in Hebrew, meaning also treaty or oath of allegiance). The foundation of Jewishness is the Mosaic Covenant. While religious Jews consider it a covenant of Jews with God, non-religious elite Jews such as members of the B’nai B’rith (“Children of the Covenant”) or the Alliance Israélite Universelle, regard it as simply a covenant between the Jews themselves. That is why Jewishness could so easily shift from being defined as an oath of allegiance to Yahweh, to being today indistinguishable from an oath of allegiance to Israel.

The Jealous One

Ancient Egyptians believed that “the gods are social beings, living and acting in ‘constellations,’” wrote German Egyptologist Jan Assmann.ii Yahweh, on the other hand, is “the Jealous One” (Exodus 34:14). He is a solitary god who manifests toward all other gods an implacable intolerance that characterizes him as a sociopath among his peers. Egyptians tried to explain this aggressive exclusiveness of Jewish religion by identifying the Jewish god with Seth, the evil god of the desert, famine, disorder and war, who had been banished by the council of the gods after having murdered his elder brother Osiris out of jealousy.iii

From the third millennium BCE onward, nations founded their diplomacy and foreign trade on their capacity to match their gods, thus acknowledging that they were living not only on the same earth but under the same heavens. “Contracts with other states,” explains Jan Assmann, “had to be sealed by oath, and the gods to whom this oath was sworn had to be compatible.

Tables of divine equivalences were thus drawn up that eventually correlated up to six different pantheons.” But Yahweh could not be matched up with any other god; his priests forbade doing so. “Whereas polytheism, or rather ‘cosmotheism,’ rendered different cultures mutually transparent and compatible, the new counter-religion [Yahwism] blocked intercultural translatability.”iv And when Yahweh directed his people, “You will make no pact with them or with their gods” (Exodus 23:32), or “Do not utter the names of their gods, do not swear by them, do not serve them and do not bow down to them” (Joshua 23:7), he was in effect preventing any relationship of trust and fairness with the neighboring peoples.

Yahweh taught the Hebrews contempt for the deities of their neighbors, making them, in the eyes of these neighbors, a “race hated by the gods” (Tacitus), and therefore a threat to the cosmic and social order. For, wrote Tacitus (and that was long before the Talmud), the Jews show a “stubborn loyalty and ready benevolence towards brother Jews. But the rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies” (Histories V.3–5).

No other nation, in fact, treated its enemies as are said to have done the Hebrews in biblical times. The war code of Deuteronomy 20, which commands to exterminate “any living thing” in nearby conquered cities, and which was applied to the people of Jericho (Joshua 6:21) and to the Amalekites (1Samuel 15:3)—whereas among the Midianites were spared, as booty, the “young girls who have never slept with a man” (Numbers 31:18)—is unheard of in other nations’ archives.

The Assyrians, whose god Assur was no angel, did not slaughter the Israelites, but deported and resettled them, and the Babylonians did the same to the Judeans, who were even allowed to keep their tradition and their cohesion, and to prosper on the riverbanks of the Euphrates.

Yahweh is the most cruel of all national and military gods, even by the standards of biblical time. But Yahweh would have us believe that all other gods, not him, are abominations that need to be eradicated from the face of the earth. It all started with Assur. Yahweh’s jealousy really became pathological after the destruction of Israel by Assyria. In the oldest strata of the book of Isaiah, composed around that time, we hear Yahweh unable to cope with the frustration and humiliation, and consumed with the lust of vengeance:

“Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn it, ‘Yes, what I have planned will take place, what I have decided will be so: I shall break Assyria [Assur] in my country, I shall trample on him on my mountains. Then his yoke will slip off them, his burden will slip from their shoulders. This is the decision taken in defiance of the whole world; this, the hand outstretched in defiance of all nations. Once Yahweh Sabaoth has decided, who will stop him? Once he stretches out his hand, who can withdraw it?’” (14:24–27).

Listen to Yahweh raging after his defeat, and you hear a narcissistic megalomaniac:

“By my own self I swear it; what comes from my mouth is saving justice, it is an irrevocable word: All shall bend the knee to me, by me every tongue shall swear.” (Isaiah 45:23)

Children of the sociopathic god

In the Bible, the fate of the Jewish people is linked exclusively to the criterion of their obedience to Yahweh’s covenant, which includes prohibition of any alliance with the people inhabiting the promised land, and the destruction of their sanctuaries (Exodus 34:12-13). Every reversal of fortune is explained by a breach of contract on the part of the people and serves to strengthen the submission of the people. When a hostile people attacks the Hebrews, it is never because of what the Hebrews did to them, but because of the Hebrews’ infidelity to Yahweh. In Kevin MacDonald’s words:

“The idea that Jewish suffering results from Jews straying from their own law occurs almost like a constant drumbeat throughout the Tanakh—a constant reminder that the persecution of Jews is not the result of their own behavior vis-à-vis Gentiles but rather the result of their behavior vis-à-vis God.”v

It is important to recognize that, in the Bible, the first victims of Yahweh’s violence are the Jews themselves. Deuteronomy orders the stoning of any parent, son, brother, or wife who “tries secretly to seduce you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ […] since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God.” Worse still, Yahweh orders the complete slaughter and burning of any town where such “scoundrels from your own stock […] have led their fellow-citizens astray, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods.’” For that is “what is right in the eyes of Yahweh your God” (Deuteronomy 13:7–19).

When some Israelites married Moabite women, who “invited them to the sacrifices of their gods,” “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of the people. Impale them facing the sun, for Yahweh’” (Numbers 25:1-4).

Those Jews who socialized with their neighbors rather than slaughtering them, who ate with them, who intermarried with them, and who, while doing all this, showed respect to their gods, are the dregs of the Jewish people, according to the Bible. This is how Jews have been taught to see things for a hundred generations (and Christians too, for that matter).

The biblical message is, in essence: “Do not socialize with idolaters (non-Jews), despise their traditions, and—if possible—exploit them, enslave them, and exterminate them. If, after that, they violate you, it is your fault: you have not obeyed scrupulously enough.” Such is the insane cognitive logic, internalized over 25 centuries, that encloses the Jews in the infernal dilemma of election and persecution.

This mode of thinking is based on the denial of the other’s humanity, which is indeed the essence of psychopathy. It does not occur to the psychopath to question the feelings of the other in order to try to understand his anger, because the other is fundamentally an object and not a person: his motivations are irrelevant. Never does the Jewish community take into account the grievances of its persecutors. Its elites forbid it.

To his chosen people, the biblical Yahweh is behaving as a psychopath preventing his only son from building nurturing bonds with others, in order to keep total control over him and make him an extension of himself. If such a psychopath father succeeds, his son will find no comfort, no substitute parent figure, and therefore no level of resilience.

He will be trained to perceive all generous attention as a threat, any gesture of sympathy as an aggression. All around him he will learn to see only potential enemies. Yahweh convinces the Jews that all non-Jews who wish to be their friends are in fact their worst enemies; that any confidence in Gentiles leads only to disaster. The cultic and food prohibitions are there to prevent any socialization outside the tribe. “I shall set you apart from all these peoples, for you to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26).

Strict endogamy is the central command, and it is directly linked to Yahweh’s demand for exclusive worship. After the conquest of Canaan, it was forbidden to marry one’s children to the natives, “for your son would be seduced from following me into serving other gods; the wrath of Yahweh would blaze out against you and he would instantly destroy you” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

In the ancient world, marriage required the mutual adoption of each other’s gods, or at least their cohabitation in the same household. This does not pose a problem to the extent that the gods are social beings who accept each other. But the god of the Hebrews is a jealous god, who tolerates no other. Although most Zionists pretend to be atheists, the fundamental rule has not changed, because it is the essence of Jewishness. To intermarry is, according to Benzion Netanyahu, father of the Israeli prime minister, equivalent to “an act of suicide.” vi What better proof do we need that the Israeli elite think biblically?

We need a revisionist approach to biblical history. It portrays all other nations than Israel as repulsive idolaters. But they were not. The abominable Egyptians had built the first great civilization; they had introduced wheat growing to the world. They were a peaceful and highly spiritual people. So were the Canaanites. Whenever the biblical Israelites resisted Yahweh’s antisocial order to keep separate from them, they are called “stiff-necked.”

But should we not feel sympathy for those rebellious Jews, who tried to befriend their neighbors, and assimilate into the civilizations that hosted them? What about those Jews who resist Yahweh’s orders to kill men, women and children indiscriminately? How should we judge King Saul, who was deposed for sparing one man? If we insist that Yahweh is God, how can we criticize the Jews of today for their strong communitarian loyalty? They learned it from the Bible!

Are Yahweh and Molech the same?

A quick look at Yahweh’s unauthorized biography by biblical scholars will enlighten us on his personality. Long before he claimed to be the Creator of the Universe—that is, long before Genesis was written—Yahweh was a local and tribal god attached to Mount Sinai (also called Horeb), located in Midian, north-west Arabia, according to Exodus 2 (and not in Egypt, as the Roman church would locate it in the 4th century, despite the fact that even Saint Paul knew that “Mount Sinai is in Arabia” Galatians 4:25).

This region is volcanic, with eruptions recorded up to the Middle Ages, and Mount Sinai is clearly a volcano: when Yahweh spoke to Moses on the mountain, others only perceived “peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, dense cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast. […] Mount Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke because Yahweh had descended on it in the form of fire.

The smoke rose like smoke from a furnace and the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the trumpeting. Moses spoke, and God answered him in the thunder” (Exodus 19:16-19).vii Yahweh would never totally forget his volcanic background. He remained “a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24), especially in apocalyptic literature: in the Last Days, “glowing like a furnace,” Yahweh will “set ablaze” all evil-doers, “leaving them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 3:19).

Yahweh retained other primitive traits. He is known as the God who ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, but then held back his hand and satisfied himself with a ram (Genesis 22). He has therefore been compared favorably with the Canaanite god Molech, to whom firstborn infants were said to be ritually sacrificed. But biblical scholars like Thomas Römer believe that Molech was in fact none other than Yahweh himself.

The name mlk, vocalized as Molech in the Masoretic text (the 9th century Tanakh which first introduced vowels into the Hebrew script), but Melech in the Greek Septuagint, is identical to the Hebrew word for “king”, applied more than fifty times to Yahweh and used to form such Hebrew names as Abimelech (“Melech is my father”) in Genesis 20:2 or Elimelech (“Melech is my god”) in Ruth 1:2.

Some psalms contain the acclamation Yahweh melech, “Yahweh is king,” still in use in Jewish religious songs. The Leviticus verses which prohibit infant sacrifice indirectly testify that they were done in Yahweh’s name and in Yahweh’s sanctuary: “You will not allow any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, thus profaning the name of your God. I am Yahweh” (18:21); “Anyone, be he Israelite or alien resident in Israel, who gives any of his children to Molech, will be put to death. […] for by giving a child of his to Molech he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name” (20:2-5). Jeremiah 7:30-31 confirms that “the people of Judah” continued “to burn their sons and daughters […] in the Temple that bears my name, to defile it.”

Although Yahweh declares it to be “a thing I never ordered, that had never entered my thoughts,” the very fact that a scribe wrote this indicates, according to Thomas Römer, that the people who sacrificed their children did claim it was required by Yahweh. It is only in the Persian era that human sacrifices became taboo, and that they were dissociated from the cult of Yahweh. viii Nevertheless, Israelites are portrayed as believing in their efficiency, for when the Moabites (Israelites’ relatives as descendants of Abraham’s nephew) were besieged by the Israelites, the king of Moab “took his eldest son who was to succeed him and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. Alarmed at this, the Israelites withdrew and retired to their own territory” (2 Kings 3:26-27).

Is the Mosaic Alliance satanic?

The Exodus story probably reflects a very ancient and sacred tradition regarding the origin of the Mosaic covenant. This covenant, or alliance, was sealed with a ritual sacrifice: altars were built at the foot of Mount Horeb, and oxen were killed as “communion sacrifices”. “Moses then took half the blood and put it into basins, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar.” After reading the “Book of the Covenant,” he “took the blood and sprinkled it over the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you, entailing all these stipulations’” (Exodus 24:4-8). As orientalist William Robertson Smith has shown, this manner of sealing in blood an alliance between tribes, or an oath of loyalty to a chief, was common in pre-Islamic Arabia.ix

The “Book of the Covenant” mentioned in Exodus refers to the complex code of laws that the Hebrews are to follow, which is detailed in the rest of the Torah (Pentateuch). Moses’s speeches in Deuteronomy give us the basic terms of the covenant. When reading it, we should keep in mind that, at this stage of the story, Yahweh is not believed to be God; he has only introduced himself to Moses as “the god of your ancestors” (Exodus 3:6).

“Today you have obtained this declaration from Yahweh: that he will be your god, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his customs, and listen to his voice. And today Yahweh has obtained this declaration from you: that you will be his own people—as he has said—but only if you keep all his commandments; then for praise and renown and honour, he will raise you higher than every other nation he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to Yahweh, as he has promised.” (26:17-19)

“Yahweh will make you abound in possessions: in the offspring of your body, in the yield of your cattle and in the yield of your soil, in the country which he swore to your ancestors that he would give you. For you Yahweh will open his treasury of rain, the heavens, to give your country its rain at the right time, and to bless all your labours. You will make many nations your subjects, yet you will be subject to none.” (28:11-12)

What Yahweh promises is material prosperity, to the detriment of other peoples. On this point, the Tanakh is remarkably consistent: “You will suck the milk of nations, you will suck the wealth of kings” (Isaiah 60:16); “the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be heaped together: gold, silver, clothing, in vast quantity” (Zechariah 14:14). Spiritual rewards are not part of the bargain.

In fact, if we remember that Yahweh taught the Jews that they have no individual souls (read my article Who the Hell is the Prince of this World?), which is tantamount to claiming their souls for himself, we can say that the Mosaic covenant has the nature of a Faustian pact: Israel will obtain every worldly success in exchange for his soul: “you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession” (Exodus 19:5).

It is instructive to compare Yahweh’s promise to his people that they will rule over “every other nation in the world” if only they “faithfully obey the voice of Yahweh your God, by keeping and observing all his commandments” (Deuteronomy 28:1), with Satan’s bargain with Jesus in Matthew 4:8-10: “the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all these if you fall at my feet and do me homage.’”

At the least, it is hard to see what distinguishes Yahweh from Mammon (a personification of Wealth in Matthew 6:24), when he shows himself possessed by greed for precious metals: “I shall shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will flow in, and I shall fill this Temple with glory, says Yahweh Sabaoth. Mine is the silver, mine the gold! Yahweh Sabaoth declares” (Haggai 2:7–8). This can be contrasted with Jesus’s admonition “store up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20–21), which is totally foreign to Yahwism.

Yahweh against Baal

Yahweh alone is the true God, he says, whereas all other gods are demons. This is called blame shifting and is typical of psychopaths. We need to see through it and break the spell.

Let us take an unprejudiced look at Baal, Yahweh’s most formidable rival in the Bible. In the Books of Kings, Baal is presented as a foreign god imported by Jezebel, the Phoenician wife of Ahab (1Kings 16:31–32). But Baal was actually worshipped all over Syria long before Yahweh was imported from the semi-desert lands south of Judah.x Baal Shamem, the “Heavenly Lord,” was identified as the God of Heaven and his worship transcended ethnic boundaries.xi So it is ironic that Yahweh, the god of the Jews exclusively, should compete with him for the status of supreme God.

The Cycle of Elijah (from 1 Kings17 to 2 Kings 13) admits that the cult of Baal received royal support in the powerful kingdom of Israel under the Omrid dynasty (9th century BCE). The priests of Yahweh condemned Baal worship, and the biblical tale shows Elijah challenging 450 prophets of Baal to conjure lightning upon the burnt offering of a bull: “You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of Yahweh; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.” The prophets of Baal exhaust themselves by shouting to their god, performing “their hobbling dance” and gashing themselves with swords and spears, with no result, while Yahweh sets fire to Elijah’s bull after Elijah has drenched it with twelve jars of water to spice up the challenge.

People then fall on their faces and scream “Yahweh is God!” Then they seize all the prophets of Baal, and Elijah slaughters them (1Kings 18). Thus was proven Yahweh’s superiority, in a showdown worthy of Hollywood. Elijah, however, had to flee retaliation and walked 40 days to Mount Horeb, where after a hurricane, an earthquake and a fiery eruption, he received the word of Yahweh. He was to go back to Israel and anoint the general Jehu who, after a coup against the Omrid king in 842 BCE, would first promote the cult of Yahweh in the kingdom of Israel.

Baal was for the Syrians what Osiris was for the Egyptians: both god of fertility and lord of the dead. So Baal worship was associated with the afterlife and what is presented pejoratively as necromancy.xii Such religious beliefs and practices had also strong connections with the symbol of the serpent, associated with the ambivalent nature of death. We are told that the Israelites worshipped and offered sacrifices to a bronze serpent called Nehushtan, supposedly built by Moses until the great king Hezekiah “smashed” it (2 Kings 18:4).

In Genesis, the serpent has undergone an inversion, as part of the campaign to demonize other religions: when the serpent offers to the first humans the means of “having their eyes opened and be like gods” (Genesis 3:5), it borrows the language of initiatory mysteries meant to acquire immortality; but the Yahwist scribes present him as a liar. As a result, the idea of trying to become like gods passes today as Luciferian, although the Greek fathers of the Christian Church stressed man’s potential for deification (theosis) under the logic that “God became man so that man might become a god.xiii

The Queen of Heaven

Yahweh’s hatred for Baal is matched only by his repulsion for Asherah, the Great Goddess worshipped throughout the Mediterranean world under many names. Under the name of Ishtar, she was the “Queen of all the inhabited places, who keeps the people in order,” according to a Mesopotamian anthem.xiv Asherah and Ishtar were also identified to the Egyptian Isis, sister-spouse of Osiris, the “myrionyme” goddess (“of ten thousand names”), who calls herself the “Queen of Heaven” in Apuleius’s novel The Golden Ass, and declares: “My name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in diverse manners, in variable customs and in many names.”xv More than Baal, the Queen of Heaven (a title which would later be inherited by Christ’s mother) was a truly universal deity, with no “chosen people”, and that is perhaps the deeper reason for Yahweh’s hatred towards her.

In chapter 44 of the Book of Jeremiah, Yahweh declared to the Judeans who had fled to Egypt, that the destruction of Jerusalem was his punishment for their “wicked deeds […] committed to provoke my anger, by going and offering incense and serving other gods” (44:2-3). Yahweh, said his spokesman Jeremiah, could not bear the smell of incense offered to other gods (what he liked is the “pleasing smell” of carbonized animal offerings called holocausts, as we know from Genesis 8:21). Yahweh threatens the Judeans exiles in Egypt with complete extermination if they persist.

Unimpressed, they responded to Jeremiah: “We have no intention of listening to the word you have just spoken to us in Yahweh’s name, but intend to go on doing all we have vowed to do: offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, as we used to do, we and our ancestors, our kings and our chief men, in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem: we had food in plenty then, we lived well, we suffered no disasters. But since we gave up offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, we have been destitute and have perished either by sword or by famine” (44:16-18).

Why not lend a friendly ear to those Judeans’ alternative interpretation of the fall of Jerusalem: it is not because they worshipped other gods than Yahweh that their plight started, but on the contrary because, since the reform of Josiah, they gave up worshipping the Queen of Heaven. For what reason, other than ancestral habit, should we believe Jeremiah and his Deuteronomistic scribes?

In fact, we know they were wrong. Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh is loathed for having done “what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed, he set up altars to Baal and made a sacred pole [an Ashera], as Ahab king of Israel had done, he worshipped the whole array of heaven and served it. […]

He built altars to the whole array of heaven in the two courts of the Temple of Yahweh” (2 Kings 21:2–5). But historians tell us today that Manasseh’s 55-year reign, when the Queen of Heaven was worshipped inside the Jerusalem temple, was a time of peace and prosperity.

It is Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, who brought disaster to Judea, by removing from the temple “all the cult objects which had been made for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven. […] He exterminated the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed and who offered sacrifice on the high places, in the towns of Judah and the neighborhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrifice to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and the whole array of heaven” (2Kings 23:4–5). In Samaria, over which he regained partial control, Josiah ordered the sanctuary of Bethel destroyed, and “All the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars, and on those altars burned human bones” (2 Kings 23:20). It was Josiah’s reign that was to provoke Babylonian anger and the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem.

The Jewish Question is the Biblical Question

According to the biblical paradigm, the Creator of the Universe became the God of Israel when he chose the Hebrews. But according to biblical scholarship, the historical process was the reverse: it is the god of Israel who became the Creator of the Universe. This process, which was only completed during the Persian period, was not so much due to a progress in metaphysical thought as to a political cunning. The book of Ezra betrays a calculated effort from the Levites to confuse, in the mind of the Persians, “the god of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” (7:12–15) with the “God of heaven” whom the Persians also called Ahura Mazda, with the aim of obtaining the support of the Persian king for their theocratic project in Palestine.

In Ezra, only the kings of Persia, in the various edicts attributed to them, recognize Yahweh as “the God of Heaven,” while in the rest of the text, Yahweh is merely “the god of Israel”. The same can be observed in the book of Daniel, when Nebuchadnezzar, impressed by the gifts of Daniel’s oracle, prostrates himself and exclaims: “Your god is indeed the God of gods, the Master of kings” (Daniel 2:47). Such passages give away, for those willing to see it, the deepest secret of Judaism, which is the key to understanding the relationship of Judaism to universalism: Yahweh is really the god of the Jews, while Gentiles are led to believe that he is the supreme and only God. “In the heart of any pious Jew, God is a Jew,” confirms Maurice Samuel in You Gentiles (1924).xvi

This secret is not a fully conscious thought for most Jews, it is more like a family secret running unconsciously through generations. Nevertheless, it is the binding force of the Jewish people, and I am reminded of Carl Jung’s remark that secrets “are of vital importance on the primitive level, for the shared secret serves as a cement binding the tribe together. Secrets on the tribal level constitute a helpful compensation for lack of cohesion in the individual personality.”xvii

As he usurped the majesty of the Heavenly Father of all mankind, Yahweh in no way lost his character as a military god bent on looting and slaughtering the enemies of his only chosen people. Against the Babylonians, his sword is expected to “devour until gorged, until drunk with their blood” (Jeremiah 46:10). Against the Edomites, “it is greasy with fat” (Isaiah 34:6).

If Yahweh had remained a tribal god from the desert, he would simply be recognized as particularly primitive and cruel, perhaps a demon escaped from hell through an Arabian volcano. But his successful claim to be honored as the true and only God is the biggest sham in human history and a civilizational disaster of incomparable magnitude.

It is ultimately responsible for the spread of atheism in the West. As long as Christians were discouraged from reading the Old Testament, they were not much disturbed by it. As soon as it became widely available, it started corroding Christianity. Philosophers like Voltaire had an easy job denigrating Christianity by quoting the Old Testament: “Never was common sense attacked with so much indecency and fury” (Sermon of the Fifty). Rather without God than with such a God, became the logical and morally decent thinking.

“The finest trick of the devil, Charles Baudelaire wrote, is to persuade you that he does not exist” (Paris Spleen). Perhaps he was mistaken. His finest trick, I believe, is to convince the world that he is God.

i Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif. Conversations en français avec Léon Abramowicz, Stock, 1976 (archive.org), p. 9.

ii Jan Assmann, Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, p. 47.

iii According to an Egyptian legend recorded by Plutarch (Isis and Osiris), Seth wandered in Palestine where he fathered two sons, Hierosolymos and Youdaios, that is, “Jerusalem” and “Judah”. Tacitus and other historians also mention rumors that the Jerusalem Temple harbored a golden donkey’s head, the donkey is the symbol of Seth.

iv Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, Harvard University Press, 1998, p. 3.

v Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism, Praeger, 1998, kindle 2013, e. 6187–89.

vi Benzion Netanyahu, The Founding Fathers of Zionism (1938), Balfour Books, 2012, k. 2203–7.

vii The volcanic nature of Mount Sinai and its location in Arabia were first argued by Charles Beke in Mount Sinai a Volcano (1873) and in Sinai in Arabia and of Midian (1878). It is today largely accepted by biblical scholars and has been popularized in books and films by adventurers such as Bob Cornuke and Larry Williams. Read also Howard Blum The Gold of Exodus: The Discovery of the True Mount Sinai, Simon & Schuster, 1998.

viii Thomas Römer, The Invention of God, Harvard UP, 2015. I read the original French version, L’Invention de Dieu, Seuil, 2017, pp. 181-183.

ix William Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites: The Fundametal Institutions, A&C Black, 3rd ed., 1927, p. 314, quoted in Thomas Römer, L’Invention de Dieu, op. cit., p. 112.

x Thomas Römer, L’invention de Dieu, op; cit., pp. 71-93.

xi Norman Habel, Yahweh Versus Baal: A Conflict of Religious Cultures, Bookman Associates, 1964, p. 41.

xii Klass Spronk, Beatific Afterlife in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East, Verlag Butzon & Bercker, 1986, pp. 344–345.

xiii John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, Fordham University Press, 1974.

xiv Gérard Chaliand, Les Voix du Sacré, Robert Laffont, 1992, p. 32.

xv Françoise Dunand, Isis, mère des dieux, Actes Sud, 2008, p. 232.

xvi Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, New York, 1924 (archive.org), pp. 74–75.

xvii Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflexions, Pantheon Books, 1963, p. 342.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

The Azov Battalion uses the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol as its logo. Its founder Andriy Biletsky (center) has moved to ban “race mixing” in the Ukranian parliament. (Azov/Twitter)

Israeli arms are being sent to a heavily armed neo-Nazi militia in Ukraine, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

Azov Battalion online propaganda shows Israeli-licensed Tavor rifles in the fascist group’s hands, while Israeli human rights activists have protested arms sales to Ukraine on the basis that weapons might end up with anti-Semitic militias.

In a letter “about licenses for Ukraine” obtained by The Electronic Intifada, the Israeli defense ministry’s arms export agency says they are “careful to grant licenses” to arms exporters “in full coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government entities.”

The 26 June letter was sent in reply to Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack who had written a detailed request demanding Israel end all military aid to the country.

Azov’s official status in the Ukrainian armed forces means it cannot be verified that “Israeli weapons and training” are not being used “by anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi soldiers,” Mack and 35 other human rights activists wrote.

They had written that Ukrainian armed forces use rifles made in Israel “and are trained by Israelis,” according to reports in the country.

The head of the Israeli arms export agency declined to deny the reports, or to even discuss cancellation of the weapons licenses, citing “security” concerns.

But Racheli Chen, the head of the agency, confirmed to Mack she had “carefully read your letter,” which detailed the fascist nature of Azov and the reports of Israeli arms and training.

Both the defense ministry letter and Mack’s original request can be read in the original Hebrew below.

Israeli rifles in Ukraine

The fact that Israeli arms are going to Ukrainian neo-Nazis is supported by Azov’s own online propaganda.

On its YouTube channel, Azov posted a video “review” of locally produced copies of two Israeli Tavor rifles – seen in this video:

A photo on Azov’s website also shows a Tavor in the hands of one of the militia’s officers.

The rifles are produced under licence from Israel Weapon Industries, and as such would have been authorized by the Israeli government.

IWI markets the Tavor as the “primary weapon” of the Israeli special forces.

It has been used in recent massacres of unarmed Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return protests in Gaza.

Fort, the Ukranian state-owned arms company that produces the rifles under license, has a page about the Tavor on its website.

The Israel Weapon Industries logo also appears on its website, including on the “Our Partners” page.

Starting as a gang of fascist street thugs, the Azov Battalion is one of several far-right militias that have now been integrated as units of Ukraine’s National Guard.

Staunchly anti-Russian, Azov fought riot police during the 2013 US and EU-supported “Euromaidan” protests in the capital Kiev.

The protests and riots laid the ground for the 2014 coup which removed the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

This photo from Azov’s website shows an officer of the neo-Nazi militia armed with a version of Israel’s Tavor rifle. The Tavor is made under license from Israel by Ukraine’s national arms maker Fort.

When the civil war began in eastern Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists, the new western-backed government began to arm Azov. The militia soon fell under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian interior ministry, and saw some of the most intense frontline combat against the separatists.

The group stands accused in United Nations and Human Rights Watch reports of committing war crimes against pro-Russian separatists during the ongoing civil war in the eastern Donbass region, including torture, sexual violence and targeting of civilian homes.

Today, Azov is run by Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister. According to the BBC, he pays its fighters, and has appointed one of its military commanders, Vadym Troyan, as his deputy – with control over the police.

Avakov last year met with the Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri to discuss “fruitful cooperation.”

Avoz’s young founder and first military commander Andriy Biletsky is today a lawmaker in the Ukrainian parliament.

As journalist Max Blumenthal explained on The Real News in February, Biletsky has “pledged to restore the honor of the white race” and has advanced laws forbidding “race mixing.”

According to The Telegraph, Biletsky in 2014 wrote that “the historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led untermenschen.”

At a military training camp for children last year, The Guardian noticed that several Azov instructors had Nazi and other racist tattoos, including a swastika, the SS skull symbol and one that read “White Pride.”

One Azov soldier explained to The Guardian that he fights Russia because “Putin’s a Jew.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, another praised Adolf Hitler, said homosexuality is a “mental illness” and that the scale of the Holocaust “is a big question.”

An Azov drill sergeant once told USA Today “with a laugh” that “no more than half his comrades are fellow Nazis.”

An Azov spokesperson played that down, claiming that “only 10-20 percent” of the group’s members were Nazis.

Nonetheless, the sergeant “vowed that when the war ends, his comrades will march on the capital, Kiev, to oust a government they consider corrupt.”

After Azov’s founder Andriy Biletsky entered parliament, he threatened to dissolve it. “Take my word for it,” he said, “we have gathered here to begin the fight for power.”

Those promises were made in 2014, but there are early signs of them being fulfilled today.

This year the battalion has founded a new “National Militia” to bring the war home.

This well-organized gang is at the forefront of a growing wave of racist and anti-Semitic violence in Ukraine.

Led by its military veterans, it specializes in pogroms and thuggish enforcement of its political agenda.

Earlier this month, clad in balaclavas and wielding axes and baseball bats, members of the group destroyed a Romany camp in Kiev. In a YouTube video, apparently shot by the Avoz thugs themselves, police turn up towards the end of the camp’s destruction.

They look on doing nothing, while the thugs cry, “Glory to the nation! Death to enemies!”

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman (left) met with the Ukranian prime minister last year to discuss deeper military ties. (Ukranian Government Portal)

Israel’s military aid to Ukraine and its neo-Nazis emulates similar programs by the United States and other NATO countries including the UK and Canada.

So obsessed are they with defeating a perceived threat from Russia that they seem happy to aid even openly Nazi militias – as long as they fight on their side.

This is also a throwback to the early Cold War, when the CIA supported fascists and Hitlerites to infiltrate from Austria into Hungary in 1956, where they began slaughtering Hungarian communist Jews and Hungarian Jews as “communists.”

Recent postings on Azov websites document a June meeting with the Canadian military attaché, Colonel Brian Irwin.

According to Azov, the Canadians concluded the briefing by expressing “their hopes for further fruitful cooperation.”

Irwin acknowledged receipt of an email from The Electronic Intifada, but did not answer questions about his meeting with the fascist militia.

A spokesperson for the Canadian defense department later sent a statement claiming that their “training of Ukrainian Armed Forces through Operation Unifier incorporates strong human rights elements.”

They said Canada is “strongly opposed to the glorification of Nazism and all forms of racism” but that “every country must come to grips with difficult periods in its past.”

The spokesperson, who did not provide a name, wrote that Canadian training “includes ongoing dialogue on the development of a diverse, and inclusive Ukraine.”

The statement said nothing about how alleged Canadian diversity training goes down with the Azov Battalion.

Also part of Colonel Irwin’s meeting was the head of Azov’s officer training academy, an institution named after right-wing Ukrainian nationalist Yevhen Konovalets.

Konovalets is one of the group’s idols, whose portrait frequently adorns its military iconography.

Konovalets was the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which later allied itself to Nazi Germany during its invasion of the Soviet Union.

The OUN took part in the notorious 1941 Lviv massacre, when the Nazis invaded Soviet territory.

During the pogrom, thousands of Jews were massacred in the now-Ukrainian city.

US aid to Nazis

Canada is of course not the only NATO “ally” to be sending arms to Ukraine.

As Max Blumenthal has extensively reported, US weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, and training have been provided to Azov.

Under pressure from the Pentagon, a clause in the annually renewed defense bill banning US aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion was repeatedly stripped out.

This went on for three straight years before Democratic lawmaker Ro Khanna and others pushed it through earlier this year.

For his trouble Khanna was smeared in Washington as a “K Street sellout” who was “holding Putin’s dirty laundry.”

Despite the ban finally passing, Azov’s status as an official unit of the Ukrainian armed forces leaves it unclear how US aid can be separated out.

In 2014, the Israel lobby groups ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help a previous attempt to bar US aid to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine.

A now-deleted photo from an Azov website showed US-licensed RPGs were going to the neo-Nazi militia.

The ADL argued that “the focus should be on Russia,” while the Wiesenthal Center pointed to the fact that other far-right leaders had met at the Israeli embassy in Ukraine – as if that somehow absolved their anti-Semitic views.

Attempts by some in Congress to bar US military aid to Nazis in Ukraine may explain military aid from Israel.

Israel’s “deepening military-technical cooperation” with Ukraine and its fascist militias is likely a way to help its partner in the White House, and is another facet of the growing Zionist-White Supremacist alliance.

Israel has historically acted as a useful route through which US presidents and the CIA can circumvent congressional restrictions on aid to various unsavory groups and governments around the world.

In 1980s Latin America, these included the Contras, who were fighting a war against the left-wing revolutionary government of Nicaragua, as well as a host of other Latin American fascist death squads and military dictatorships.

It also included the South African apartheid regime, which Israeli governments of both the “Zionist left” and Likudnik right armed for decades.

As quoted in Andrew and Leslie Cockburn’s book Dangerous Liaison, one former member of the Israeli parliament, General Mattityahu Peled, put it succinctly: “In Central America, Israel is the ‘dirty work’ contractor for the US administration. Israel is acting as an accomplice and an arm of the United States.”

Amid an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, Israel now appears to be reprising this role in eastern Europe.

With translation from Hebrew by Dena Shunra.

Asa Winstanley is an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada

Jews, Immigration, Syria and Israel

June 29, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 “Now I’m White Will You Deport Me?” – Africans in Israel Paint Their Faces White To Avoid Deportation

“Now I’m White Will You Deport Me?” – Africans in Israel Paint Their Faces White To Avoid Deportation

By Gilad Atzmon

The Israeli press reports this morning that “Israel transferred aid to Syrians seeking refuge near border in overnight mission.”

On first glimpse it seems that Israel has made a crucial and timely humanitarian effort. The IDF says it provided tons of food, medicine and clothing to Syrians living in makeshift encampments on the Golan border. But the IDF also made it clear that it

“won’t allow Syrians fleeing the country into Israel and will continue to defend Israel’s national security interests.” We are entitled to presume that the Israel humanitarian aid was given to discourage Syrian refugees from approaching the Israeli border. The Israelis were in effect telling the Syrian evacuees, ‘we will give you water and food, just make sure you don’t seek refuge in our Jews only State.’

This attitude is in stark contradiction to the message we hear from Diaspora Jews. Just a week ago American Jewish organisations, “alarmed by the U.S. government’s zero tolerance policy to immigration,” submitted a letter to the American administration.  “As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression,” the letter said, “We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation.”

It seems that this understanding of alleged ‘Jewish values’ does not apply to the Jewish State. We have yet to hear a single American Jewish organisation calling on Israel to open its gates to Syrian refugees. While American Jewish organisations claim to understand the “plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression” we have not heard that any of those Jewish organisations called on Israel to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their land.

In the eyes of the American Jewish organisations “the USA is a nation of immigrants,” but Israel is a Jews only State. The Indigenous people of Palestine are either expelled, living in open air prisons or endure the reality of being seventh class citizens. When it comes to immigration, no country in the world can compete with Israel’s anti immigration attitude. As we learn today, loving your (Syrian) neighbours and inviting them in is not even an option.

This raises the question of whether the Jewish Diaspora institutional approach to immigration is hypocritical. There is a clear expectation that the Goyim ought to support immigration. This is understandable. Diaspora Jews would love to see themselves as one ethnic minority amongst many. However, when it comes to the Jewish State, this attitude changes radically. Israel sees itself as the Jews only State. This vision is approved by Jewish organisations around the world. From a Jewish political perspective, multiculturalism is the goyim’s affair, the Jewish State prefers to see itself as a mono-ethnic planet.

Maybe the Jewish organisations that allegedly care so much about the way Trump’s immigration policy reflects on American values might bear in mind that the way Israel ‘treats the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals’ of their own nation.

Converted Jews of today are not the Hebrews of the bible.

Meet The Fake Hebrews

By CUFPa

Converted Jews of today are not the Hebrews of the bible.

They have been using the “Jew” appellation since the late 18th Century in order to appear to be Judahite Hebrews – see How The Ashkenazi Jews Conquered the West.

That way people could see them as the Chosen People, while they endeavored to steal Palestine and create modern-day Israel without the objection of the Christian world, especially since they were Eastern-European Nomads seeking a new country following the loss of their homeland Khazaria.

As Jewish land thieves disembarked in Palestine in the 1940s to seize Palestinian lands and homes that Zionist terrorist groups – such as the Irgun, the Stern gang, and Haganah – had stolen in order to turn the country into Israel, they adopted Hebrew names to complete their “Hebraization” process – not unlike what they did when they scattered throughout Europe and America and assumed European surnames.

Jews with Fake Hebrew Names

Then they – who originally spoke Yiddish – resurrected the dead Hebrew tongue after thousands of years in the dustbin of oblivion to make it Israel’s official language. In so doing, they consolidated in the world’s mind the impression that they were Hebrews rightfully returning home, when in fact they were not.

However, in their lust to deceive the world they got blindsided and completely overlooked the fact that, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C., not even the Hebrews spoke Hebrew. They spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Consequently, Israeli Jews are nothing but impostors living on stolen Palestinian land.

Their very presence in historic Palestine is the working of dark spiritual forces, which are trying to destroy the New Covenant of Christ by “resurrecting” the obsolete Old Covenant, using converted pharisaic Jews who are NOT even remotely descendants of the patriarch Abraham.

“To your (Abraham’s) descendants I give this land….” Genesis 15:18

In so doing, they hope to totally muddy up the Christian faith, and obscure the truth of the superseded Old Covenant and of Christ’s fulfilled prophecies concerning the total annihilation of the Hebrew people and the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place in 70 A.D.

“For the land is full of adulterers; it mourns because of the curse. Their pastures have dried up into a wilderness. Their course also is evil, and their might is not right.” Jeremiah 23: 10

There has not been peace in the Middle East the moment non-Hebraic, pharisaic Jews set their sight on Palestine and created Israel in 1948.

The founding of that Apartheid country was forged on lies, especially on the misrepresentation that today’s Jews are Hebrews rightfully taking possession of inherited land, when in fact they’re NOT Hebrews at all – all Hebrews are irrevocably dead, their land inheritance buried along with them.

“The LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight… And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.” 2 Kings 17:18,20

israel’s “making the deserts bloom” myth

The Real Story Behind Israel’s “Blooming Desert”

A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) Click to enlarge

It has often been said that Israel, since its establishment in 1948, has presided over the “miracle” of making the country’s “desert bloom.” That heavily promoted narrative — which asserts that the Palestinians have long lacked the capacity, knowledge or desire to properly develop agriculture in the region — has often been used as a legitimizing factor in Israel’s establishment. As former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres once said, “The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel’s [cultivated] land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.”

Were it not for Israel, the desert would have remained unproductive and fallow – or so the story goes.

There is, however, another side to this story, one that shows that the “blooming desert” of Israel is a convenient disguise for the degradation and destruction of Palestine’s natural resources, a means of obfuscating the worst of occupation by wrapping it in the cloak of Zionist mythology. While a central theme of Zionist mythology has long been the need for the Jewish Diaspora community to re-establish itself by returning to agricultural labor, the truth of Israel’s agricultural “success” involves the unsustainable use of occupied resources and the deliberate destruction of the land and water still used by Palestinians today.

Erasing a rich history

Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story. Indeed, prior to 1948, the historical record demonstrates that Palestinian farms were very productive and that both Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers were successful farmers. For example, a UN report on agriculture in Palestine between 1945 and 1946 recorded that Palestinian-grown crops accounted for nearly 80 percent of Palestine’s total agricultural yield that season, with Palestinian farms producing over 244,000 tons of vegetables, 73,000 tons of fruit, 78,000 tons of olives, and 5 million liters of wine.

Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge

Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge

Two years later, when the majority of Palestinians were forced from their land during the “Nakba” that founded the state of Israel, the farms and orchards that had previously been tended by Palestinians were left abandoned, as their owners fled under the threat of death at the hands of Zionist militias.

As Israeli historian and journalist Meron Benvenisti detailed in his book Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948:

By April 1948 Jewish farmers had already begun harvesting the crops that had ripened in the abandoned fields and picking the citrus fruit in Arab groves. […] by mid-1949 two-thirds of all land sown with grain in Israel was abandoned Arab land.”

Thus, it was land theft that was largely responsible for Israel’s initial agricultural production, not the labor or agricultural expertise of Zionist settlers.

In addition, the claim that Israel turned an undeveloped desert into an agricultural wonder seems to be – in part – projection on the part of the Israeli state. Indeed, as Benvenisti noted, following the removal of Palestinians, the vast majority of centuries-old fruit orchards that had long been maintained by the native inhabitants of the land were untended, neglected and, in some cases, bulldozed to make room for ever-expanding settlements.

According to Benvenisti’s research, that neglect led to a situation in which “entire tracts of productive citrus trees, especially in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, were earmarked for the construction of housing developments,” as was the case for Palestine olive groves and pomegranate orchards that the land’s new occupants considered “an annoyance.” Part of the reason for the destruction of the land was that it would weaken Palestinian claims to return to the land, as keeping agricultural infrastructure intact “might have made possible the absorption of the returning refugees.”

Current Israeli government policy, particularly its support for the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is the continuation of this effort to erase Palestine’s history by targeting its agricultural heritage as well as its natural wonders. Indeed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted back in 2011 that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s steady push for Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory had been coupled with “his insistence on seeing nature and landscape as no more than an obstacle to the realization of his settlement vision.”

Covering a crime with water-sucking pines

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president's residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge

Another project central to the “desert bloom” mythology is Israel’s “afforestation” of the desert, which has helped “turn the desert green” through the planting of non-native pine trees. These forests, largely planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been touted as a “miracle.” Yet, the pine stands, much like Israel’s treatment of Palestine’s agricultural legacy, have been motivated by a need to cover up the events that led to the creation of the Israeli state.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of all JNF forests and sites lie on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished during and after the founding of Israel, and the group’s continuing afforestation efforts are aimed at acquiring land in the occupied West Bank to prevent “trespassing” and “conceal” Palestinian villages in order to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.

Moreover, the effort to maintain a forest of non-native trees – regardless of whether its chief aim is to cover up the true history of Palestine or “green” a desert — has come at a great cost to the natural environment. As journalist Max Blumenthal has noted:

Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.”

They also become fodder for forest fires that have caused major damage and mass evacuations throughout Israel over the years.

Another ecological consequence of JNF forests is their likely effect on Israel’s horrendous drought, considered to be the worst the region has faced in over 900 years. As studies have shown in other countries where non-native pine plantations have been introduced in vast numbers, pines consume a significant amount of water – leading to droughts and even the disappearance of entire rivers – as well as fundamentally alter and degrade the soil. While these forests have been presented as an ecological miracle, they are instead destroying the environment and degrading the land’s resources, suggesting that the main driver behind the long-standing project is aimed at covering up the ruins of Palestine.

Continuing the attack on Palestinian agriculture

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh) Click to enlarge

Today, the stark difference in agricultural development in the land tended by Israelis and Palestinians derives from policies that often receive little coverage in the media and are largely absent from the “desert bloom” narrative. Indeed, much of the coverage the issue has received paints Palestinian agricultural successes as either the work of foreigners offering aid or resulting from the “theft” of Israeli-settlement agricultural infrastructure.

Such reports fail to acknowledge the realities of the issue, such as the illegal blockade of Gaza that has crippled its economy and agricultural sector, as well as Israel’s destruction of agricultural infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. Gazan agricultural infrastructure was ravaged by Israel in times of war and, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines and irrigation systems installed by Palestinians, citing as a reason that such structures lacked the “proper authorization” from Israel. Farmers themselves, mainly in Gaza, are often targeted directly by Israeli soldiers if they come too close to the border fence.

The Israeli government has also targeted Palestinian agriculture through chemical warfare. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon against Gaza, for example, has had major consequences for the area’s farmers. In addition to the chemical weapon’s often deadly effects on the human body, it has destructive effects on the environment and plants, as its incendiary nature often leads to the spontaneous ignition and burning of trees, forests and farmland. It also lingers in the environment for several years.

Beyond the use of chemical weapons, Israel has also directly targeted Gazan farmland with herbicide. In 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted to using herbicides and germination inhibitors to kill off vegetation along the Palestinian side of the border, damaging over 420 acres of land. A year later, tactic was repeated, this time destroying around 400 acres of farmland. The IDF has stated that it sprays the chemicals over the vaguely defined “no-go zone” it has established along the border “in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.” However, the area accounts for a third of Gaza’s arable land and 17 percent of the entire territory.

Furthermore, the herbicides, like white phosphorus, have consequences for the environment long after they are sprayed. As Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture told Al Jazeera in 2016:

Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population.”

The targeting of Palestinian agriculture in the present and its treatment by the Israeli and American press suggest another and nefarious way in which Israel’s “desert bloom” mythology has manifested. In order for Israel’s agricultural “superiority” to remain unchallenged, Palestinian agriculture must also be suppressed. Were Palestinian agriculture able to develop unimpeded and flourish, it would call into question the idea that the land was barren before the Zionists, threatening the latter’s legitimacy.

The cover-story for all conquerors and colonizers

The myth of Israel “making the desert bloom” has its basis in neo-colonial narratives that have long been used in other settler states such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia. In the cases of the latter countries, the native inhabitants and their culture have also inaccurately been depicted as “primitive” and incompetent, a narrative that suggests that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. Such narratives cast the settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

AMERICAN PROGRESS EAST GOING WEST USA 1872 BY JOHN GAST LARGE PRINT REPRO

American Progress East Going West USA 1872 by John Gast

Zionist mythology reinforces similar themes. For example, as in the United States, Native Americans were considered as uncivilized and wild as the natural environment, Zionist mythology reinforces the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert similarly represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development.

Another historical analogue is the 19th-century concept of “manifest destiny” — the idea that the expansion of the United States had been preordained by God himself, which led the U.S. to break many of its numerous treaties with indigenous tribes and even go to war with Mexico in order to acquire the land it coveted. The Israeli government similarly sees its expansion and control of all of Palestine as a matter of fulfilling prophecy and “redeeming” the Holy Land. This effort of redemption continues to feed Israel’s expansion. As Netanyahu has said, Israel is “obligated to develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev [the West Bank].”

Living the myth and the lie

Yet, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, Israel will never tell the real story behind the “miracle” of making “the desert bloom.” It will never tell the real story precisely because it can’t – to do so would mean demolishing the neo-colonial narrative at the center of the settler state, a narrative that is the pillar of its legitimacy.

Indeed, if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.

With Israel now facing the consequences of its mistreatment of the land and its resources, the historical revisionism once used to sell the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian agricultural prowess has become ineffective. For that reason, Israel must now use other tactics — chemical warfare through toxic agrochemicals, the physical destruction of Palestinian agricultural infrastructure, and illegal blockades – in order to keep the artificial narrative alive, creating the illusion of primitivism and scarcity where none exists.

Top Photo | A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he was arrested for planting olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, April 8, 2014. Mohammed Ballas | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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It’s official, israel is only a democracy if you are Jewish and that of course is no democracy at all

Knesset Officially Declares That Israeli Democracy Is for Jews Only

Flags at Peace Now rally, May 27, 2017, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. Photo by Phil Weiss.

As the names hints, the bill would have declared that Israel belongs not to its Jews but to all its residents. The Knesset Presidency decided the bill was too dangerous to come to a vote.

The bill was put forward by the Joint List, a mega-party composed of three Israeli-Palestinian parties, forced to run together because the Zionist majority hiked the percentage of votes needed for a seat in the Knesset to 4%, which none of the parties would pass on its own, in an explicit attempt to ban them.

The chances of the bill passing even a preliminary reading was slim: similar to the chance that a baked pig, an apple in its mouth, would spread its wings and fly. The following parties supported the Presidency decision: Likud, Labor, Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Israel Beteinu and Torah Judaism. A member of another party, Betzalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home (Naftali Bennett’s party), abstained, saying that even though he thought the decision was justified, he did not think the Presidency had the authority to disqualify a bill.

Together with the eight Members of Knesset of the Jewish Home, the Presidency could field 95 MKs out of 120 to vote the bill down. And yet, it was considered too dangerous to debate.

Just what was so problematic in the bill? The Knesset legal counsel, Eyal Yanon, said it clearly:

“[The bill] contains several articles which are meant to change the character of Israel from the national state of the Jewish People into a state which grants equal status, from the national point of view, to the Jewish nation and the Arab nation.”

That is, the very debate about the bill would have raised troubling questions, proving yet again that a Jewish state and a democratic one cannot co-exist. They’re a contradiction in terms. A democratic country allows for a peaceful change of its form of regime. Capitalistic Great Britain lived under a socialist government. Almost every democratic country (sorry, Switzerland!) granted women the vote in the 1910’s or 1920’s. The franchise in the US today does not resemble what it was in 1791 or even 1871. Western countries have changed – not without blood and fire, true – from a regime controlled by the upper and bourgeois classes to one that, through gritted teeth, was forced to give rights to the working classes. This came about as a result of a stubborn struggle, which often had a grassroots wing, but always had a parliamentary one.

This wasn’t so long ago: As Obama noted in his Selma March speech, the marchers were “called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them.” The Selma march was the grassroots wing; the violence used by the white regime – violence which is essential, without which, without the “grave downhill” which is necessary for “taking the top” – forced the parliamentary wing, always more hesitant and “decent”, always a few steps behind the activist wing, to accept the Civil Rights Acts.

Even though relatively passive, the parliamentary wing is critical. No peaceful change can come without it.

Now the Zionist parts of the Knesset struck down the option of parliamentary change. There can be only one regime in Israel: a Jewish one. Democracy is a surplus: in Hebrew we say “medina Yehudit ve’democratit.” A state Jewish and democratic. But the “ve” meaning “and” precedes democratic. The state’s Jewishness is essential; democracy, less so.

But what is this “Jewish state” all about? Embarrassingly, the parties which disqualified the bill can’t seem to agree on that. It’s not easy, nowadays, to know the Likud’s position; as part of its metamorphosis into the monarchical party of the House of Netanyahu, it did not publish a platform in the last two elections. But there are sharp disagreements between Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, between Labor and the Jewish Brotherhood, and even between the placeholders MKs in Lieberman and Kachlon’s parties there are endless divisions on just what “Jewish state” means.

But on one point, all these parties can agree: Be the Jewish state what it will, whatever face it will wear, it will not be the state of the Israeli Palestinians, and its features will never reflect theirs.

Liberal Zionists have been fond, for the past 50 years, of wasting precious oxygen and time on the question whether there can be a Jewish state which is also democratic. However, in reality as it is lived, not in some ideal, Platonic plane: that is, in the reality as it is shaped by the representatives of the vast majority of Israel’s Jews, 20% of the country’s citizens may not express, in the highest forum of the body politic that calls itself Israel, their views as to the ways the country should be governed and how it would express itself to its citizens.

They can vote, yes; they can even be voted into office; but they cannot have any influence. And we allow them to be elected, more and more, because we desperately need to pretend to the world we’re not Russia, not yet anyway.

The diminishing of the rights of the Palestinians MKs is a slow, slippery process. During the two earlier Knessets, no bills were disqualified. The last time this power was used, in the 18th Knesset (elected in 2009), it was used – you guessed it – to quash two bills authored by a Palestinian MK, Ahmed Tibi. Prior to this case, no use of this power was made.

At the same time, the Knesset and its homo sovieticus chairman, Yuli Edelstein, are busy promoting the Nationality Bill, which will delimit the space allowed Palestinian Israelis even more. The Knesset has made its choice; now let it live with it.

Update: ‘Adala, a human rights organization dealing with protecting the rights of Israeli Palestinians, has petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding it will declare the Presidency decision illegal.

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