israel’s plans for a “Greater Jerusalem” would mean no Churches or Mosques

Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem: ‘Greater Jerusalem Means No Churches and No Mosques’

‘There can never be peace until the Jerusalem file is satisfactorily resolved,’ says chairman of Jerusalem Endowment.

The 9th International Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem discussed the city's importance to Islam and Christianity [Getty Images]

The 9th International Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem discussed the city’s importance to Islam and Christianity [Getty Images]

Palestinian interfaith officials have warned against monopolising the city of Jerusalem by the Israeli government and the effects that would have on Christianity and Islam.

Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Palestinian Authority‘s Muslim-Christian Committee said that more than 95 percent of Jerusalem had already been “Judaised” by Israel, and that “Greater Jerusalem” would alter the city’s identity and importance to Christianians and Muslims.

“Israel wants to establish its so-called ‘Greater Jerusalem’ on an area of 600sq km, which would mean the destruction of the city’s churches and mosques,” Issa said.

The warning came during the 9th International Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem on Wednesday, which kicked off in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The conference was attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and numerous delegations from across the Arab and Muslim world.

Munib Masri, chairman of the Jerusalem Endowment, stressed Jerusalem‘s importance for both Muslims and Christians.

“The world must understand that there can never be peace until the Jerusalem file is satisfactorily resolved,” he said.

He added: “Jerusalem requires practical initiatives and financial support with a view to strengthening the resolve of its people.”

Speaking at the event, Youssef Edies, Palestinian minister of religious endowments, described Jerusalem as “the birthplace of religions”.

“We must focus on Arab, Muslim and international efforts on resisting the fierce Western onslaught against the Holy Land,” he asserted.

Israeli control

Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the June 1967 War, in a move that was never recognised by the international community.

Since then, Israel has built more than a dozen housing complexes for Jewish Israelis, known as settlements, some in the middle of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s settlement project, which is aimed at the consolidation of Israel’s control over the city, is also considered illegal under international law.

About 200,000 Israeli citizens live in East Jerusalem under army and police protection, with the largest single settlement complex housing 44,000 Israelis.

Such fortified settlements, often scattered between Palestinians’ homes, infringe on the freedom of movement, privacy and security of Palestinians.

Call for free access

Last Saturday, a United Nations envoy accused Israel of trying to block him and other diplomats from a pre-Easter “Holy Fire” ritual in the packed Jerusalem church Christians revere as the burial site of Jesus.

Robert Serry, the UN’s peace envoy to the Middle East, said in a statement that Israeli security officers had stopped him and a group of Palestinian worshippers and diplomats in a procession near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, “claiming they had orders to that effect”.

Last month, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said church authorities had applied for around 600 permits for Palestinian Christians in Gaza to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter, but none were granted.

Father Ibrahim Shomali, chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said: “We have to have free access to the Holy Land, free access to our holy places.”

Jerusalem: Media flashpoints and erased narratives

The Listening Post

Jerusalem: Media flashpoints and erased narratives

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Jeremy #Corbyn must stop pandering to Labour’s israel lobby #enoughisenough

Jeremy Corbyn must stop pandering to Labour’s Israel lobby

Jewish Voice for Labour activists demonstrating against false claims of anti-Semitism, in London on 26 March.

 

For almost three years now, the Labour Party has faced a consistent barrage of allegations that it has a “problem with anti-Semitism.”

This mendacious campaign has had the same aim all along – to topple Jeremy Corbyn.

The party leader’s history in Palestine solidarity groups, and past endorsement of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, have made him the number one enemy of the Israel lobby.

This fraudulent campaign has been led by an ad hoc alliance: establishment press, right-wing Labour lawmakers and a network of front groups for the Israeli embassy.

This week it reached a crescendo, as the chair of the Jewish Leadership Council unleashed an unprecedented personal attack on Corbyn.

Jonathan Goldstein claimed on the BBC’s Today program that Corbyn is “the figurehead of an anti-Semitic political culture.” Yet again, grave assertions of anti-Semitism against a man with a long, proud history of fighting racism were made with no evidence presented.

This campaign of lies has proceeded in the same fashion all along.

When former Israel lobby intern Alex Chalmers in February 2016 claimed “a large proportion” of the student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally” had a “problem” with Jews, almost the entire conservative and liberal press parroted his claims without even the most cursory checks.

And yet it was a lie deliberately calculated to cause maximum damage to the party.

Chalmers and his co-conspirator – who were part of the far-right corporate Progress faction – ultimately defected to the Liberal Democrats.

But as far as I can tell, I was the only reporter to cover these highly relevant facts. The press didn’t care about the truth – the point was that the damage to Corbyn was done.

Don’t be fooled by the latest stories about the problematic “Rothschilds” mural.

Yes it was a mistake for Corbyn to defend the mural in a comment on Facebook six years ago – even if his comment was not anti-Semitic.

But this is not news, it is a pretext for another coup attempt.

The Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who organized the right-wing demonstration against Corbyn outside Parliament in London on Monday, don’t care about anti-Semitism – they care about defending Israel at all costs.

If as the Board of Deputies claims, the demonstration was really against anti-Semitism, then why did its attendees use anti-Semitic abuse against left-wing Jews who held a counter-protest in support of Corbyn?

Ben Southern-Thomas, a young Jewish Voice for Labour member, told me he “came away crying” after anti-Semitic abuse from two attendees of the Board of Deputies demonstration. He said they told him he was “not a real Jew” and was just “pretending to be a Jew.”

Being Jewish is “a really important part of my identity,” Southern-Thomas said. He also said he was told to “Go back to the ghetto.”

This kind of abuse targeting non-Zionist Jews is all too common. Another frequent epithet used by Israel supporters is to call Jews who support Palestinian rights “kapos” – a word describing Jews who collaborated with the Nazis – or saying that Hitler should have killed them.

Far from being a demonstration by the “Jewish community” as front pages claimed, it was packed with Conservatives, and their right-wing colleagues from the Labour backbenches.

A cursory glance at the relevant Twitter hashtag shows the demonstration was led by Tory party activists and attended by right-wing bigots.

Among the leading Conservative Party participants were local government minister Sajid Javid, one of his predecessors Eric Pickles, and Zac Goldsmith, who in 2016 led a campaign for London mayor which was so openly racist that even some Tories found it hard to stomach.

Other hard-right grandees showing their disingenuous concern over anti-Semitism included Ian Paisley Jr., of Northern Ireland’s notoriously anti-Catholic Democratic Unionist Party, and Norman Tebbit, one of Margaret Thatcher’s most loyal ministers with a long history of xenophobia and racial stereotyping.

At the same time as Labour launched its campaign to win May’s local elections (which it has been predicted to win) all the headlines were instead about “Labour anti-Semitism.”

The Board of Deputies’ claims of concern over anti-Semitism ring hollow when their leader Jonathan Arkush personally congratulated Donald Trump on his election as US president.

Trump’s campaign and administration frequently coddled anti-Semites and even neo-Nazis – as long as they were pro-Israel.

Leading figures in the Trump White House have included a sworn member of a Hungarian group which was allied to Hitler and a man who reportedly didn’t want his children going to school with “whiny brat” Jews.

The only defense offered for these people has been that they couldn’t possibly be anti-Semitic because they support Israel.

Far from it: Israel has long been in an increasingly open alliance with some of the worst white supremacist anti-Semites.

But for far too many on the left, the only response to this lying campaign to smear Labour and Corbyn has been appeasement. And this inaction goes to the very top.

Time and again, Corbyn has refused to speak out in support of comrades – primarily Jewish non-Zionists – who have been booted from the party by the right-wing bureaucracy on bogus pretexts.

And he has even rolled back his previous support for BDS.

The purge has targeted Corbyn supporters and Palestine activists as “anti-Semites.”

Jewish Voice for Labour supporters demonstrating against false claims of anti-Semitism, in London on 26 March.

Instead of openly confronting what one prominent leftist has described as a “frenzied witch hunt,” the leadership’s response has been ostrich-like.

Activists are told to hold their peace, do nothing and it will all blow over. Or they are privately told to work quietly behind the scenes to clear their names of the grave accusation of anti-Semitism – even in cases where it is completely fabricated.

Instead of calling the fraudulent “Labour anti-Semitism” story what it really is, Corbyn has for three years attempted to appease Israel lobby groups as if the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish Leadership Council were genuine anti-racists.

They are not.

Their primary function is to lobby for Israel, an institutionally racist, apartheid state.

Joan Ryan, a member of Parliament who heads the lobby group Labour Friends of Israel, was even caught red-handed last year fabricating charges of anti-Semitism against a party member who questioned Israel’s policy of colonizing occupied Palestinian land.

Glyn Secker, secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, a group critical of the witch hunt, writes that he was reinstated only after “a chorus of angry voices, letters to the disputes committee, motions passed through party branches, support from senior members of the party [and] a statement signed by 100 plus.”

He was given no explanation and “no apology for the defamatory allegation” of anti-Semitism against him that led him to be suspended by the party bureaucracy earlier this month.

Others were at least given a pretext.

They cannot be appeased

Israeli anti-Zionist Moshe Machover was summarily expelled on fraudulent grounds, and only grudgingly reinstated after an intense international campaign.

Time and time again, prominent figures on the left have made concessions, and thrown former comrades under the bus.

People like former London mayor Ken Livingstone, and Jewish anti-Zionists Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, have been incessantly demonized.

Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth was smeared by right-wing Labour lawmaker Ruth Smeeth, a former Israel lobbyist who issued a press release attributing to him a fake quote portraying him as an anti-Semite.

Too many on the left seem to think: if we throw them a bone by sacrificing a few token “extremists,” the anti-Semitism story will die down and we can move on to the real business of electing a Labour government.

But years later, Labour is still being beaten with the same stick.

Any close observer of Israel and its lobby groups knows this: they cannot be appeased.

For instance, after years of hesitation, European Union officials limited themselves to the timid step of merely requiring labeling of goods from Israeli settlements – rather than banning them outright. But for Israeli officials, EU leaders were still no different from Nazis.

The message time and again is that Israel and its lobby groups cannot be satisfied except through total capitulation. They want Corbyn to go.

Nonetheless, there are some encouraging signs.

Fighting back

Jewish Voice for Labour – a group less than a year old – is cutting through to mainstream media.

Graham Bash, a member of the group, told BBC television that in his experience, the Labour Party has always been a “safe haven” from anti-Semitism. He said that just once in his 50 years as a party member had he witnessed any incident of anti-Semitism.

Labour has a new general secretary Jennie Formby. She is a left-winger, a supporter of Palestinian human rights and a veteran trade unionist. Because of these three things she has, of course, been falsely attacked as an anti-Semite.

But unlike the Labour leadership, her union, Unite, strongly refuted the Israel lobby attack on her as “a lie motivated by hostility to anyone who supports the struggle of the Palestinian people for justice.”

Unite condemned “smears [which] have no place in Labour’s democracy or political culture.”

The resurrection of the smear against Formby appeared timed deliberately to foil her election as general secretary. But because Unite stood up to it, it failed.

Unite’s leader Len McCluskey last year correctly dismissed the campaign as “mood music that was created by people who were trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.”

Chris Williamson, a left-wing Labour MP re-elected last year, has also condemned “lies and dirty tricks” around the “anti-Semitism smears.”

“Many people in the Jewish community are appalled by what they see as the weaponization of anti-Semitism for political ends,” he told The Guardian last year.

Since then, Israel lobby groups have been gunning for him.

On Monday, Board of Deputies leader Jonathan Arkush demanded Corbyn discipline Williamson and McCluskey, and expel Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone, as preconditions to meet with Corbyn – who in another effort at appeasement invited them into the leader’s office.

As I wrote two years ago – the “anti-Semitism” witch hunt – whose real target is Corbyn and anyone else who supports Palestinian rights – will not end until it is either victorious or defeated.

It’s time for the whole left to finally step up to this task.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.

 

The Jew, the Vulture and the Eagle

March 24, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 This image is a collage of screenshots taken from youtube.

This image is a collage of screenshots taken from youtube.

by Gilad Atzmon

This parable provides a devastating glimpse into Jewish self-identification.

A Jew is a wounded little bird. The Goyim (the rest of humanity) are vultures. And the eagle is the messiah – the savior of the Jews.

https://youtu.be/1U6KkkKKYJw

This is the view of the poem, “The Little Bird is Calling”, that was written in 1947 by Malka Steinberg Saks in the aftermath of the devastation of World War II. The poem came to life a year before the establishment of the Jewish State and the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. In 1947 Steinberg Saks could not foretell that in a short time, the little wounded birds, would transform into merciless vultures. Steinberg Saks’ hope that the eagle would be the savior of her people is revealing. The ‘Jewish messiah’ in the parable is a mighty animal that feeds on carcasses.

The Little Bird is Calling

Malka Steinberg Saks

The little bird is calling,
It wishes to return.
The little bird is wounded,
It cannot fly but yearn.
It’s captured by the vultures,
Crying bitterly,
Oh, to see my nest again,
Oh, to be redeemed.

The little bird of silver,
So delicate and rare,
Still chirps amongst the vultures,
Outshining all that’s there.
How long, how long it suffers,
How long will it be,
When will come the eagle,
And set the little bird free.

The little bird is Yisroel,
The vultures are our foes,
The painful wound is Golus,
Which we all feel and know,
The nest is Yerushalayim,
Where we yearn to be once more,
The eagle is the Moshiach,
Whom we are waiting for.

I learned this morning that Steinberg Saks’ parable is very popular in Jewish diaspora circles especially in the USA. I find this perplexing. With Kushner in the White House, George Soros funding the so-called ‘opposition’  and Israel terrorising an entire region, I can’t see that there is much remaining of the ‘little hunted bird.’  Instead I see the little bird turning into a catastrophic amalgam of a vulture and an eagle; murderous and  plunderous. The little bird’s state is racist, expansionist, an instrument of ethnic cleansing and settled in a nest belonging to another people. In contrast, the Palestinians, the indigenous people of the land,  despite their ongoing plight, do not call for a eagle to save them. They no doubt have grasped that they will have to save themselves.

A final  comment on the musical performance by Sha-Rone Kushnir (piano & vocal). I was initially touched by the gentle piano playing. It drew me in, it was sad, dark and subtle. The choice of notes and dynamic were somehow original, verging on magical. Then Kushnir opened his mouth and pretty much killed it. Somehow  I found the first verse tolerable, but that was all. As the song progressed, Kushnir accelerated into whiny mode. Gradually, the music became unlistenable. By the time the song neared its final bars, I could barely hear the piano. I was too upset by the victim spiel.

If The Little Bird is Calling  tells us something about Jewish self identification and Jewish victimhood, my reaction to Kushnir’s performance may explain why Jewish history is dotted with disasters. By the time Kushnir hit the 3rd verse I was deaf to his cry.

Watch an ardent Zionist video edit of the same song.

https://youtu.be/rUfXau47rIM

 If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

cover bit small.jpg

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk)

Apartheid israel

Apartheid Israel

By Jonathon Cook | AMEU | 2018 – Volume 51

North from Nazareth’s city limits, a mile or so as the crow flies, is an agricultural community by the name of Tzipori – Hebrew for “bird.” It is a place I visit regularly, often alongside groups of    activists wanting to learn more about the political situation of the Palestinian minority living in Israel.

Tzipori helps to shed light on the core historic, legal and administrative principles underpinning a Jewish state, ones that reveal it to be firmly in a tradition of non-democratic political systems that can best be described as apartheid in nature.

More than a decade ago, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter      incurred the wrath of Israel’s partisans in America by suggesting that Israeli rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories was comparable to apartheid. While his bestseller book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” broke a taboo, in many ways it added to the confusion surrounding discussions of Israel. Since then, others, including John Kerry, when U.S. secretary of state, and former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, have warned that Israeli rule in the occupied territories is in danger of metamorphosing into “apartheid” – though the moment of transformation, in their eyes, never quite seems to arrive.

It has been left to knowledgeable observers, such as South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to point out that the situation for Palestinians under occupation is, in fact, worse than that suffered by blacks in the former South Africa. In Tutu’s view, Palestinians under occupation suffer from something more extreme than apartheid – what we might term “apartheid-plus.”

There is a notable difference between the two cases that hints at the nature of that “plus.” Even at the height of apartheid, South Africa’s white population understood that it needed, and depended on, the labor of the black majority population. Israel, on the other hand, has a far more antagonistic relationship to Palestinians in the occupied territories. They are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing.

Not surprisingly, Israel’s supporters have been keen to restrict the use of the term “apartheid” to South Africa, as though a political system allocating key resources on a strictly racial or ethnic basis has only ever occurred in one place and at one time. It is often forgotten that the crime of apartheid is defined in international law, as part of the 2002 Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court at The Hague. An apartheid system, the statute says, is “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” In short, apartheid is a political system, or structure, that assigns rights and privileges based on racial criteria.

This definition, it will be argued in this essay, describes the political regime not only in the occupied territories – where things are actually even worse – but in Israel itself, where Jewish citizens enjoy institutional privileges over the 1.8 million Palestinians who have formal Israeli citizenship. These Palestinians are the remnants of the Palestinian people who were mostly dispersed by the 1948 war that established a Jewish state on the ruins of their homeland. These Palestinian citizens comprise about a fifth of Israel’s population.

Although it is generally understood that they suffer discrimination, the assumption even of many scholars is that their treatment in no way undermines Israel’s status as a western-style liberal democracy. Most minorities in the west – for example, blacks and Hispanics in the U.S., Asians in the U.K., Turks in Germany, and Africans in France – face widespread prejudice and discrimination. Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian minority, it is claimed, is no different.

This is to profoundly misunderstand the kind of state Israel is, and how it relates to all Palestinians, whether they are under occupation or Israeli citizens. The discrimination faced by Palestinians in Israel is not illegal, informal, unofficial, or improvised. It is systematic, institutional, structural and extensively codified, satisfying very precisely the definition of apartheid in international law and echoing the key features of South African apartheid.

It was for this reason that the United Nations’ Economic Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report in 2017 concluding that Israel had “established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” including its Palestinian citizens. Under severe pressure from Israel and the U.S. , however, that report was quickly retracted, but the reality of apartheid in Israeli law and practice persists.

This argument is far more controversial than the one made by President Carter. His position suggests that Israel developed a discrete system of apartheid after the occupation began in 1967 – a kind of “add-on” apartheid to democratic Israel. On this view, were Israel to end the occupation, the apartheid regime in the territories could be amputated like a gangrenous limb. But if Israel’s treatment of its own Palestinian citizens fits the definition of apartheid, then it implies something far more problematic. It suggests that Jewish privilege is inherent in the Israeli polity established by the Zionist movement in 1948, that a Jewish state is apartheid-like by its nature, and that dismantling the occupation would do nothing to end Israel’s status as an apartheid state.

Citizenship Inequality

Tzipori was founded by Romanian and Bulgarian Jews in 1949 as a moshav, a socialist agricultural collective similar to the kibbutz. It specialized in dairy production, though most of its 1,000 inhabitants long ago abandoned socialism, as well as farming; today they work in offices in nearby cities such as Haifa, Tiberias and Afula.

Tzipori’s Hebrew name alludes to a much older Roman city called Sephoris, the remains of which are included in a national park that abuts the moshav. Separating the moshav from ancient Sephoris is a large pine forest, concealing yet more rubble, in some places barely distinguishable from the archeological debris of the national park. But these ruins are much more recent. They are the remnants of a Palestinian community of some 5,000 souls known as Saffuriya. The village was wiped out in 1948 during the Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe” – how Palestinians describe the loss of their homeland and its replacement with a Jewish state.

The Palestinians of Saffuriya – an Arabized version of “Sephoris” – were expelled by Israel and their homes razed. The destruction of Saffuriya was far from an isolated incident. More than 500 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed in a similar fashion during the Nakba, and the ruins of the homes invariably covered with trees. Today, all Saffuriya’s former residents live in exile – most outside Israel’s borders, in camps in Lebanon. But a proportion live close by in Nazareth, the only Palestinian city in what became Israel to survive the Nakba. In fact, according to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Nazareth’s current population is descended from Saffuriya’s refugees, living in its own neighborhood of Nazareth called Safafri.

Nowadays, when observers refer to Palestinians, they usually think of those living in the territories Israel occupied in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.  Increasingly, observers (and peace processes) overlook two other significant groups.  The first are the Palestinian refugees who ended up beyond the borders of partitioned Palestine; the second are the 20 percent of Palestinians, some 150,000, who managed to remain on their land.  This figure was far higher than intended by Israel’s founders.

It included 30,000 in Nazareth – both the original inhabitants and refugees like those from Saffuriya who sought sanctuary in the city during the Nakba – who avoided being expelled. They did so only because of a mistake. The commander who led the attack on Nazareth, a Canadian Jew called Ben Dunkelman, disobeyed an order to empty the city of its inhabitants. One can guess why: given the high profile of Nazareth as a center of Christianity, and coming in the immediate wake of the war crimes trials of Nazis at Nuremberg, Dunkelman presumably feared that one day he might end up in the dock too.

There were other, unforeseen reasons why Palestinians either remained inside or were brought into the new state of Israel. Under pressure from the Vatican, a significant number of Palestinian Christians – maybe 10,000 – were allowed to return after the fighting finished. A further 35,000 Palestinians were administratively moved into Israel in 1949, after the Nakba had ended, when Israel struck a deal with Jordan to redraw the ceasefire lines – to Israel’s territorial, but not demographic, advantage. And finally, in a far less technologically sophisticated age, many refugees who had been expelled outside Israel’s borders managed to slip back hoping to return to villages like Saffuriya. When they found their homes destroyed, they “blended” into surviving Palestinian communities like Nazareth, effectively disappearing from the Israeli authorities’ view.

In fact, it was this last trend that initiated a process that belatedly led to citizenship for the Palestinians still in Israel. The priority for Israeli officials was to prevent any return for the 750,000 Palestinians they had ethnically cleansed so successfully. That was the only way to ensure the preservation of a permanent and incontrovertible Jewish majority. And to that end, Palestinians in surviving communities like Nazareth needed to be marked out – “branded,” to use a cattle-ranching metaphor. That way, any “infiltrators,” as Israel termed refugees who tried to return home, could be immediately identified and expelled again. This “branding” exercise began with the issuing of residency permits to Palestinians in communities like Nazareth. But as Israel sought greater international legitimacy, it belatedly agreed to convert this residency into citizenship.

It did so through the Citizenship Law of 1952, four years after Israel’s creation. Citizenship for Palestinians in Israel was a concession made extremely reluctantly and only because it served Israel’s larger demographic purposes. Certainly, it was not proof, as is often assumed, of Israel’s democratic credentials. The Citizenship Law is better understood as an anti-citizenship law: its primary goal was to strip any Palestinians outside the new borders – the vast majority after the ethnic cleansing of 1948 – of a right ever to return to their homeland.

Two years before the Citizenship Law, Israel passed the more famous Law of Return.  This law effectively opened the door to all Jews around the world to immigrate to Israel, automatically entitling them to citizenship.

Anyone familiar with modern U.S. history will have heard of the Supreme Court decision of 1954 in the famous civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. The judges ruled that the creation of separate public schools for white and black pupils was unconstitutional, on the grounds that “separate is inherently unequal.” It was an important legal principle that would strike a decisive blow against Jim Crow, the Deep South’s version of apartheid.

If separate is inherently unequal, Israel’s segregated structure of citizenship is the most profound form of inequality imaginable. Citizenship is sometimes referred to as the “foundational right” offered by states because so many other basic rights typically depend on it: from suffrage to residency and welfare. By separating citizenship rights on an ethnic basis, creating Jewish citizens with one law and Palestinian citizens with another, Israel institutionalized legal apartheid at the bedrock level. Adalah, a legal rights group for Palestinians in Israel, has compiled an online database listing Israeli laws that explicitly discriminate based on ethnicity. The Law of Return and the Citizenship Law are the most significant, but there are nearly 70 more of them.

Marriage Inequality

Ben Gurion was prepared to award the remnants of the Palestinians in Israel this degraded version of citizenship because he assumed this population would pose no threat to his new Jewish state. He expected these Palestinian citizens – or what Israel prefers to term generically “Israeli Arabs” – to be swamped by the arrival of waves of Jewish immigrants like those that settled Tzipori. Ben Gurion badly miscalculated. The far higher birth rate of Palestinian citizens meant they continue to comprise a fifth of Israel’s population.

Palestinian citizens have maintained this numerical proportion, despite Israel’s strenuous efforts to gerrymander its population. The Law of Return encourages – with free flights, financial gifts, interest-free loans and grants – any Jew in the world to come to Israel and instantly receive citizenship. More than three million Jews have taken up the offer.

The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, effectively closed the door after 1952 on the ability of Palestinians to gain citizenship. In fact, since then there has been only one way for a non-Jew to naturalize and that is by marrying an Israeli citizen, either a Jew or Palestinian. This exception is allowed only because a few dozen non-Jews qualify each year, posing no threat to Israel’s Jewish majority.

In practice, Palestinians outside Israel have always been disqualified from using this route to citizenship, even if they marry a Palestinian citizen of Israel, as became increasingly common after Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine in 1967. During the Oslo years, when Palestinians in Israel launched a legal challenge to force Israel to uphold the naturalization of their spouses from the occupied territories, the government hurriedly responded by passing in 2003 the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. It denied Palestinians the right to qualify for Israeli residency or citizenship under the marriage provision. In effect, it banned marriage across the Green Line formally separating Palestinians in Israel from Palestinians under occupation. The measure revealed that Israel was prepared to violate yet another fundamental right – to fall in love and marry the person of one’s choice – to preserve its Jewishness.

Nationality Inequality

Most citizens of the United States correctly assume that their citizenship and nationality are synonymous: “American” or “U.S.”

But the same is not true for Israelis.  Israel classifies its citizens as holding different “nationalities.”  This requires rejecting a common Israeli nationality and instead separating citizens into supposed ethnic or religious categories. Israel has recognized more than 130 nationalities to deal with anomalous cases, myself included. After I married my wife from Nazareth, I entered a lengthy, complex and hostile naturalization process. I am now an Israeli citizen, but my nationality is identified as “British.” The vast majority of Israeli citizens, on the other hand, hold one of two official nationalities: Jewish or Arab. The Israeli Supreme Court has twice upheld the idea that these nationalities are separate from – and superior to – citizenship.

This complex system of separate nationalities is not some arcane, eccentric practice: it is central to Israel’s version of apartheid. It is the means by which Israel can both institutionalize a separation in rights and obscure this state-sanctioned segregation from the view of outsiders. It allows Israel to offer different rights to different citizens depending on whether they are Jews or Palestinians, but in a way that avoids too obvious a comparison with apartheid South Africa. Here is how.

All citizens, whatever their ethnicity, enjoy “citizenship rights.” In this regard, Israel looks – at least superficially – much like a western liberal democracy. Examples of citizenship rights include health care, welfare payments, the domestic allocation of water, and education – although, as we shall see, the picture is usually far more complex than it first appears. In reality, Israel has managed covertly to subvert even these citizenship rights.

Consider medical care. Although all citizens are entitled to equal health provision, hospitals and major medical services are almost always located in Jewish communities, and difficult for Palestinian citizens to access given the lack of transport connections between Palestinian and Jewish communities. Palestinian citizens in remote communities  are denied access to basic medical services. And recently it emerged that Israeli hospitals were secretly segregating Jewish and Palestinian women in maternity clinics. Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, a Palestinian physician in Israel, documents these and many other problems with health care in his book “A Doctor in Galilee.”

More significantly, Israel also recognizes “national rights,” and reserves them almost exclusively for the Jewish population. National rights are treated as superior to citizenship rights. So if there is a conflict between a Jew’s national right and a Palestinian’s individual citizenship right, the national right must be given priority by officials and the courts. In this context, Israel’s rightwing justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, observed in February 2018 that Israel should ensure “equal rights to all citizens but not equal national rights.” She added: “Israel is a Jewish state. It isn’t a state of all its nations.”

The simplest illustration of how this hierarchy of rights works can be found in Israel’s citizenship laws. The Law of Return establishes a national right for all Jews to gain instant citizenship – as well as the many other rights that derive from citizenship. The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, creates only an individual citizenship right for non-Jews, not a national one. Palestinian citizens can pass their citizenship “downwards” to their offspring but cannot extend it “outwards,” as a Jew can, to members of their extended family – in their case, Palestinians who were made refugees in 1948. My wife has relatives who were exiled by the Nakba in Jordan. But with only an individual right to citizenship, she cannot bring any of them back to their homes now in Israel.

This distinction is equally vital in understanding how Israel allocates key material resources, such as water and land.  Let us consider land.  Israel has “nationalized” almost all of its territory – 93 percent. Palestinian communities in Israel have been able to hold on to less than 3 percent of their land – mostly the built-up areas of their towns and villages – after waves of confiscation by the state stripped them of at least 70 percent of their holdings.

It is not unprecedented in western democracies for the state to be a major land owner, even if Israel’s total holdings are far more extensive than other states. But Israel has successfully masked what this “nationalization” of land actually means. Given that there is no recognized Israeli nationality, Israel does not hold the land on behalf of its citizens – as would be the case elsewhere. It does not even manage the land on behalf of Jewish citizens of Israel. Instead the land is held in trust for the Jewish people around the globe, whether they are citizens or not, and whether they want to be part of Israel or not.

In practice, Jews who buy homes in Israel effectively get long-term leases on their property from a government body known as the Israel Lands Authority. The state regards them as protecting or guarding the land on behalf of Jews collectively around the world. Who are they guarding it from? From the original owners. Most of these lands, like those in Tzipori, have been either seized from Palestinian refugees or confiscated from Palestinian citizens.

Legal Inequality

The political geographer Oren Yiftachel is among the growing number of Israeli scholars who reject the classification of Israel as a liberal democracy, or in fact any kind of democracy. He describes Israel as an “ethnocracy,” a hybrid state that creates a democratic façade, especially for the dominant ethnic group, to conceal its essential, non-democratic structure. In describing Israel’s ethnocracy, Yiftachel provides a complex hierarchy of citizenship in which non-Jews are at the very bottom.

It is notable that Israel lacks a constitution, instead creating 11 Basic Laws that approximate a constitution. The most liberal component of this legislation, passed in 1992 and titled Freedom and Human Dignity, is sometimes referred to as Israel’s Bill of Rights. However, it explicitly fails to enshrine in law a principle of equality. Instead, the law emphasizes Israel’s existence as a “Jewish and democratic state” – an oxymoron that is rarely examined by Israelis.

A former Supreme Court judge, Meir Shamgar, famously claimed that Israel – as the nation-state of the Jewish people – was no less democratic than France, as the nation-state of the French people. And yet, while it is clear how one might naturalize to become French, the only route to becoming Jewish is religious conversion. “Jewish” and “French” are clearly not similar conceptions of citizenship.

Netanyahu’s government has been trying to draft a 12th Basic Law. Its title is revealing: it declares Israel as “the Nation-State of the Jewish People.”  Not the state of Israeli citizens, or even of Israeli Jews, but of all Jews around the world, including those Jews who are not Israeli citizens and have no interest in becoming citizens. This is a reminder of the very peculiar nature of a Jewish state, one that breaks with the conception of a civic citizenship on which liberal democracies are premised. Israel’s ethnic idea of nationality  is closely derived from the ugly ethnic or racial ideas of citizenship that dominated Europe a century ago. Those exclusive, aggressive conceptions of peoplehood led to two devastating world wars, as well as providing the ideological justification for a wave of anti-semitism that swept Europe and culminated in the Holocaust.

Further, if all Jewish “nationals” in the world are treated as citizens of Israel – real or potential ones – what does that make Israel’s large minority of Palestinian citizens, including my wife and two children? It seems that Israel regards them effectively as guest workers or resident aliens, tolerated so long as their presence does not threaten the state’s Jewishness.  Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, implicitly acknowledged this problem during a debate on the proposed Nation-State Basic Law in February. She said Israel could not afford to respect universal human rights: “There is a place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights.”

The hierarchy of citizenship Yiftachel notes is helpful because it allows us to understand that Israeli citizenship is the exact opposite of the level playing field of formal rights one would expect to find in a liberal democracy.  Another key piece of legislation, the Absentee Property Law of 1950, stripped all Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war of their right to any property they had owned before the Nakba. Everything was seized – land, crops, buildings, vehicles, farm implements, bank accounts – and became the property of Israel, passed on to Jewish institutions or Jewish citizens in violation of international law.

The Absentee Property Law applied equally to Palestinian citizens, such as those from Saffuriya who ended up in Nazareth, as it did to Palestinian refugees outside Israel’s recognized borders. In fact, as many as one in four Palestinian citizens are reckoned to have been internally displaced by the 1948 war. In the Orwellian terminology of the Absentee Property Law, these refugees are classified as “present absentees” – present in Israel, but absent from their former homes. Despite their citizenship, such Palestinians have no more rights to return home, or reclaim other property, than refugees in camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Residential Segregation

Although Tzipori was built on land confiscated from Palestinians – some of them Israeli citizens living close by in Nazareth – not one of its 300 or so homes, or its dozen farms, is owned by a Palestinian citizen. In fact, no Palestinian citizen of Israel has ever been allowed to live or even rent a home in Tzipori, seven decades after Israel’s creation.

Tzipori is far from unique. There are some 700 similar rural communities, known in Israel as cooperative communities. Each is, and is intended to be, exclusively Jewish, denying Palestinian citizens of Israel the right to live in them. These rural communities control much of the 93 percent of land that has been “nationalized,” effectively ensuring it remains off-limits to the fifth of Israel’s population that is non-Jewish.

How is this system of ethnic residential segregation enforced? Most cooperative communities like Tzipori administer a vetting procedure through an “admissions committee,” comprising officials from quasi-governmental entities such as the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization, which are there to represent the interests of world Jewry, not Israeli citizens. These organizations, effectively interest groups that enjoy a special, protected status as agents of the Israeli state, are themselves a gross violation of the principles of a liberal democracy. The state, for example, has awarded the Jewish National Fund, whose charter obligates it to discriminate in favor of Jews, ownership of 13 percent of Israeli territory. A Jew from Brooklyn has more rights to land in Israel than a Palestinian citizen.

For most of Israel’s history, there was little need to conceal what the admissions committees were doing. No one noticed. If a Palestinian from Nazareth had applied to live in Tzipori, the admissions committee would simply have rejected the applicant on the grounds that they were an “Arab.”  But this very effective mechanism for keeping Palestinian citizens off most of their historic homeland hit a crisis two decades ago when the case of the Kaadan family began working its way through Israel’s court system.

Adel Kaadan lived in a very poor Palestinian community called Baqa al-Ghabiyya, south of Nazareth and quite literally a stone’s throw from the West Bank. Kaadan had a good job as a senior nurse in nearby Hadera hospital, where he regularly treated Jewish patients and had on occasion, he told me when I interviewed him in the early 2000s, helped to save Israeli soldiers’ lives. He assumed this should entitle him to live in a Jewish community. Kaadan struck me as stubborn as he was naïve – a combination of personality traits that had got him this far and ended up causing Israel a great deal of legal and reputational trouble.

Determined to give his three young daughters the best opportunities he could manage, Kaadan had built the family an impressive villa in Baqa al-Ghabiyya. While I sat having coffee with him, one of his daughters played the piano with a proficiency that suggested she had a private tutor. But Kaadan was deeply dissatisfied with his lot. His home was grand and beautiful, but Baqa was not. As soon as the family stepped outside their home, they had to wade into the reality of Palestinian life in Israel. Kaadan was proof that it was possible for some Palestinian citizens, if they were determined and lucky enough to surmount the many obstacles placed in their way, to enjoy personal success, but they could not so easily escape the collective poverty of their surroundings.

Like many other Palestinian citizens, Kaadan was trapped by yet another piece of legislation: the Planning and Building Law of 1965. It advanced a core aim of Zionism: “Judaizing” as much land as possible. It achieved this in two main ways. First, communities in Israel were only recognized by the state if they were listed in the Planning Law. Although nearly 200 Palestinian communities had survived the Nakba, the law recognized just 120 or them.

The most problematic communities, from Israel’s point of view, were the dispersed Bedouin villages located among the remote, dusty hills of the semi-desert Negev, or Naqab, in Israel’s south. The Negev was Israel’s biggest land reserve, comprising 60 percent of the country’s territory. Its vast, inaccessible spaces had made it the preferred location for secretive military bases and Israel’s nuclear program. Israel wanted the Bedouin off their historic lands, and the Planning Law was the ideal way to evict them – by de-recognizing their villages.

Today the inhabitants of dozens of “unrecognized villages” – home to nearly a tenth of the Palestinian population in Israel – are invisible to the state, except when it comes to the enforcement of planning regulations. The villagers live without state-provided electricity, water, roads and communications. Any homes they build instantly receive demolition orders, forcing many to live in tents or tin shacks. Israel’s aim is to force the Bedouin to abandon their pastoral way of life and traditions, and relocate to overcrowded, state-built townships, which are the poorest communities in Israel by some margin.

In addition to creating the unrecognized villages, the Planning and Building Law of 1965  ensures ghetto-like conditions for recognized Palestinian communities too. It creates residential segregation by confining the vast majority of Palestinian citizens to the 120 Palestinian communities in Israel that are officially listed for them, and then tightly limits their room for growth and development. Even in the case of Palestinian citizens living in a handful of so-called “mixed cities” – Palestinian cities that were largely “Judaized” after the Nakba – they have been forced into their own discrete neighborhoods, on the margins of urban life.

The Planning Law also drew a series of blue lines around all the communities in Israel, determining their expansion area. Jewish communities were awarded significant land reserves, while the blue lines around Palestinian communities were invariably drawn close to the built-up area half a century ago. Although Israel’s Palestinian population has grown seven or eight-fold since, its expansion space has barely changed, leading to massive overcrowding. This problem is exacerbated by Israel’s failure to build a single new Palestinian community since 1948.

Like the other 120 surviving Palestinian communities in Israel, Baqa had been starved of resources: land, infrastructure and services. There were no parks or green areas where the Kaadan children could play. Outside their villa, there were no sidewalks, and during heavy rains untreated sewage rose out of the inadequate drains to wash over their shoes. Israel had confiscated all Baqa’s land for future development, so houses were crowded around them on all sides, often built without planning permits, which were in any case impossible to obtain. Illegal hook-ups for electricity blotted the view even further. With poor refuse collection services, the families often burnt their rubbish in nearby dumpsters.

Adel Kaadan had set his eyes on living somewhere better – and that meant moving to a Jewish community. When Israel began selling building plots in Katzir, a small Jewish cooperative community located on part on Baqa’s confiscated land, Kaadan submitted his application. When it was rejected because he was an “Arab,” he turned to the courts.

In 2000, the Kaadans’ case arrived at the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Aharon Barak, the court’s president who heard the petition, was the most liberal and respected judge in Israel’s history. But the Kaadans’ case was undoubtedly the most unwelcome he ever adjudicated. It placed an ardent Zionist like him in an impossible situation.

On one hand, there was no practice in Israel more clearly apartheid-like than the ethnic-based residential exclusion enforced by the admissions committees. It was simply not something Barak could afford to be seen upholding. After all, he was a regular lecturer at Yale and Harvard law schools, where he was feted, and had often been cited by liberal counterparts on the U.S. Supreme Court as a major influence on their judicial activism.

But while he could not be seen ruling in favor of  Katzir, at the same time he dared not rule in the Kaadans’ favor either. Such a decision would undermine the core rationale of a Zionist Jewish state: the Judaization of as much territory as possible. It would create a legal precedent that would throw open the doors to other Palestinian citizens, allowing them also to move into these hundreds of Jewish-only communities.

Barak understood that much else hung on the principle of residential separation. Primary and secondary education are also  segregated – and largely justified on the basis of residential separation. Jewish children go to Hebrew-language schools in Jewish areas; Palestinian children in Israel go to Arabic-language schools in Palestinian communities. (There are only a handful of private bilingual schools in Israel.)

This separation ensures that educational resources are prioritized for Jewish citizens. Arab schools are massively underfunded and their curriculum tightly controlled by the authorities, as exemplified by the 2011 Nakba Law.  It threatens public funding for any school or institution that teaches about the key moment in modern Palestinian history. Additionally, teaching posts in Arab schools have historically been dictated by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, to create spies in classrooms and common-rooms.

A side-benefit for Israel of separation in residency and education is that Palestinian and Jewish citizens have almost no chances to meet until they reach adulthood, when their characters have been formed. It is easy to fear the Other when you have no experience of him. The success of this segregation may be measured in intermarriages between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. In the year 2011, when the Israeli authorities last issued statistics, there were only 19 such marriages, or 0.03 percent. Israeli Jews openly oppose such marriages as “miscegenation.”

In fact, Israel is so opposed to intermarriages, that it prohibits such marriages from being conducted inside Israel.  Mixed couples are forced to travel abroad and marry there — typically in Cyprus — and apply for the marriage to be recognized on their return.  Notably, the 1973 United Nations Convention on Apartheid lists measures prohibiting mixed marriages as a crime of apartheid.

Residential separation has also allowed Israel to ensure Jewish communities are far wealthier and better provided with services than Palestinian ones. Although all citizens are taxed on their income, public-subsidized building programs are overwhelmingly directed at providing homes for Jewish families in Jewish areas. Over seven decades, hundreds of Jewish communities have been built by the state, with ready-made roads, sidewalks and public parks, with homes automatically connected to water, electricity and sewage grids. All these communities are built on “state land” – in most cases, lands taken from Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens.

By contrast, not one new Arab community has been established in that time. And the 120 recognized Palestinian communities have been largely left to sink or swim on their own. After waves of confiscation by the state, they are on the remnants of private Palestinian land. Having helped to subsidize housing and building programs for millions of Jewish immigrants, Palestinian communities have mostly had to raise their own money to install basic infrastructure, including water and sewage systems.

Meanwhile, segregated zoning areas and separate planning committees allow Israel to enforce much tougher regulations on Palestinian communities, to deny building permits and to carry out demolition orders. Some 30,000 homes are reported to be illegally built in the Galilee, almost all of them in Palestinian communities.

Similarly, most of the state’s budget for local authorities, as well as business investment, is channeled towards Jewish communities rather than Palestinian ones. This is where industrial areas and factories are built, to ensure greater employment opportunities for Jewish citizens and to top up Jewish communities’ municipal coffers with business rates.

Meanwhile, a central government “balancing grant” – intended to help the poorest local authorities by redistributing income tax in their favor – is skewed too. Even though Palestinian communities are uniformly the poorest in Israel, they typically receive a third of the balancing grant received by Jewish communities.

Residential segregation has also allowed Israel to create hundreds of “national priority areas” (NPAs), which receive preferential government budgets, including extra funding to allow for long school days. Israeli officials have refused to divulge even to the courts what criteria are used to establish these priority areas, but it is clearly not based on socio-economic considerations. Of 557 NPAs receiving extra school funding, only four tiny Palestinian communities were among their number. The assumption is that they were included only to avoid accusations that the NPAs were designed solely to help Jews.

Israel has similarly used residential segregation to ensure that priority zoning for tourism chiefly benefits Jewish communities. That has required careful engineering, given that much of the tourism to Israel is Christian pilgrimage. In the north, the main pilgrimage destination is Nazareth and its Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel reputedly told Mary she was carrying the son of God. But Israel avoided making the city a center for tourism, fearing it would be doubly harmful: the income from the influx of pilgrims would make Nazareth financially independent; and a prolonged stay by tourists in the city would risk exposing them to the Palestinian narrative.

Instead the north’s tourism priority zone was established in nearby Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, a once-Palestinian city that was ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and is now a Jewish city. For decades investors have been encouraged to build hotels and tourist facilities in Tiberias, ensuring that most coachloads of pilgrims only pass through Nazareth, making a brief hour-long stop to visit the Basilica.

Although Nazareth was very belatedly awarded tourism priority status in the late 1990s – in time for the Pope’s visit for the millennium – little has changed in practice. The city is so starved of land that there is almost no room for hotels. Those that have been built are mostly located in the city’s outer limits, where pilgrims are unlikely to be exposed to Palestinian residents.

Public transport links have also privileged Jewish communities over Palestinian ones. The national bus company Egged – the main provider of public transport in Israel – has established an elaborate network of bus connections between Jewish areas, ensuring that Jewish citizens are integrated into the economy. They can easily and cheaply reach the main cities, factories and industrial zones. Egged buses, however, rarely enter Palestinian communities, depriving their residents of employment opportunities. This, combined with the lack of daycare services for young children, explains why Palestinian women in Israel have long had one of the lowest employment rates in the Arab world, at below 20 percent.

Palestinian communities have felt discrimination in the provision of security and protection too. Last November the government admitted there was woefully inadequate provision of public shelters in Palestinian communities, even in schools, against missile attacks and earthquakes. Officials have apparently balked at the large expense of providing shelters, and the problem of freeing up land in Palestinian communities to establish them. Similarly, Israel has been loath to establish police stations in Palestinian communities, leading to an explosion of crime there. In December Palestinian legislator Yousef Jabareen pointed out that there had been 381 shootings in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm in 2017, but only one indictment. He said the town’s inhabitants had become “hostages in the hands of a small group of criminals.”

In all these different ways, Israel has ensured Palestinian communities remain substantially poorer than Jewish communities. A study in December 2017 found that the richest communities in Israel – all Jewish ones – received nearly four times more welfare spending from the government than the poorest communities – Palestinian ones. A month earlier, the Bank of Israel reported that Palestinian citizens had only 2 percent of all mortgages, in a sign of how difficult it is for them to secure loans, and they had to pay higher interest charges on the loans.

Among the 35 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel has the highest poverty rate. This is largely because of poverty rates among Palestinian citizens, augmented by the self-inflicted poverty of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, most of whose men refuse to work, preferring religious studies. In evidence of how Israel has skewed welfare spending to benefit poor Jews like the ultra-Orthodox, rather than Palestinian citizens, only a fifth of Jewish children live below the poverty line compared to two-thirds of Palestinian children in Israel.

Back at the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak was still grappling with the conflicting burden of Zionist history and the expectations of American law schools.  The judge  understood he needed to fudge a ruling.  He had to appear to be siding with the Kaadan family without actually ruling in their favor and thereby creating a legal precedent that would let other Palestinian families follow in their path. So he ordered Katzir to rethink its decision.

The Jewish community did so, but not in a way that helped Barak.  Katzir responded that they were no longer rejecting the Kaadans because they were Arab, but because they were “socially unsuitable.”  Barak knew that would not wash at Yale or Harvard – it too obviously sounded like code for “Arab.”  He ordered Katzir to come back with a different decision regarding the Kaadans.

The case and a few others like it dragged on over the next several years, with the court reluctant to make a precedent-setting decision. Quietly, behind the scenes, Adel Kaadan finally received a plot of land from Katzir. Unnerved, cooperative communities across the Galilee started to pass local bylaws – insisting on a “social suitability” criterion for applicants – to pre-empt any decision by the Supreme Court in favor of the Palestinian families banging at their doors.

By 2011, it looked as if the Supreme Court was running out of options and would have to rule on the legality of the admissions committees. At that point, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in to help out the court. There was no statutory basis for the admissions committees; they were simply an administrative practice observed by all these hundreds of Jewish-only cooperative communities.  The Netanyahu government, therefore, pushed through an Admissions Committee Law that year. It finally put the committees on a statutory footing, but also made them embarrassingly visible for the first time.

As the parliament backed the legislation, reports in the western media labeled it an “apartheid law” – conveniently ignoring the fact that this had been standard practice in Israel for more than six decades.

A petition from the legal group Adalah against the new law reached the Supreme Court in 2014. Barak had by this time retired. But in line with his aversion to issuing a ruling that might challenge the racist underpinnings of Israel as a Jewish state, the judges continued not to make a decision. They argued that the law was too new for the court to determine what effect the admissions committees would have in practice – or in the language of the judges, they declined to act because the law was not yet “ripe” for adjudication. The ripeness argument was hard to swallow given that the effect of the admissions committees in enforcing residential apartheid after so many decades was only too apparent.

Even so, the legal challenge launched by the Kaadans left many in the Israeli leadership worried. In February 2018, referring to the case, the justice minister Ayelet Shaked averred that in “the argument over whether it’s all right for a Jewish community to, by definition, be only Jewish, I want the answer to be, ‘Yes, it’s all right’.”

Two Modes of Apartheid

It is time to address more specifically the nature of the apartheid regime Israel has created – and how it mirrors the essence of South Africa’s apartheid without precisely replicating it.

Close to the forest planted over the ruins of the Palestinian homes of Saffuriya is a two-storey stone structure, an Israeli flag fluttering atop its roof. It is the only Palestinian home not razed in 1948. Later, it was inhabited by Jewish immigrants, and today serves as a small guest house known as Tzipori Village. Its main customers are Israeli Jews from the crowded, urban center of the country looking for a weekend break in the countryside.

Scholars have distinguished between two modes of South African apartheid. The first was what they term “trivial” or “petty” apartheid, though “visible” apartheid conveys more precisely the kind of segregation in question. This was the sort of segregation that was noticed by any visitor: separate park benches, buses, restaurants, toilets, and so on. Israel has been careful to avoid in so far as it can this visible kind of segregation, aware that this is what most people think of as “apartheid.”  It has done so, even though, as we have seen, life in Israel is highly segregated for Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Residence is almost always segregated, as is primary and secondary education and much of the economy. But shopping malls, restaurants and toilets are not separate for Jewish and Palestinian citizens.

The same scholars refer to “grand” or “resource” apartheid, which they consider to have been far more integral to apartheid South Africa’s political project. This is segregation in relation to the state’s key material resources, such as land, water and mineral wealth. Israel has been similarly careful to segregate the main material resources to preserve them for the Jewish majority alone. It does this through the establishment of hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities like Tzipori. As noted previously, almost all of Israel’s territory has been locked up in these cooperative communities. And in line with its Zionist sloganeering about making the desert bloom, Israel has also restricted the commercial exploitation of water to agricultural communities like the kibbutz and moshav. It has provided subsidized water to these Jewish-only communities – and denied it to Palestinian communities – by treating the commercial use of water as a national right for Jews alone.

A thought experiment using Tzipori Village guest house neatly illustrates how Israel practices apartheid but in a way that only marginally differs from the South African variety. Had this bed and breakfast been located in a white community in South Africa, no black citizen would have been allowed to stay in it even for a night, and even if the owner himself had not been racist. South African law would have forbidden it. But in Israel any citizen can stay in Tzipori Village, Jew and Palestinian alike. Although the owner may be racist and reject Palestinian citizens, nothing in the law allows him to do so.

But – and this is crucial – Tzipori’s admissions committee would never allow a Palestinian citizen to buy the guest house or any home in the moshav, or even rent a home there. The right a Palestinian citizen has to spend a night in Tzipori Village is “trivial” or “petty” when compared to Israel’s sweeping exclusion of all Palestinian citizens from almost all the country’s territory. That is the point the scholars of South African apartheid highlight in distinguishing between the two modes of apartheid. In this sense, Israel’s apartheid may not be identical to South Africa’s, but it is a close relative or cousin.

This difference is also apparent in Israel’s treatment of suffrage. The fact that all Israeli citizens – Jews and Palestinians – have the vote and elect their own representatives is often cited by Israel’s supporters as proof both that Israel is a normal democratic country and cannot therefore be an apartheid state. There are, however, obvious problems with this claim.

We can make sense of the difference by again examining South Africa. The reason South African apartheid took the form it did was because a white minority determined to preserve its privileges faced off against a large black majority. It could not afford to give them the vote because any semblance of democracy would have turned power over to the black population and ended apartheid.

Israel, on the other hand, managed to radically alter its demographic fortunes by expelling the vast majority of Palestinians in 1948. This was the equivalent of gerrymandering the electoral constituency of the new Jewish state on a vast, national scale. The exclusion of most Palestinians from their homeland through the Citizenship Law, and the open door for Jews to come to Israel provided by the Law of Return, ensured Israel could tailor-make a “Jewish ethnocracy” in perpetuity.

The Israeli-Palestinian political scientist Asad Ghanem has described the Palestinian vote as “purely symbolic” – and one can understand why by considering Israel’s first two decades, when Palestinian citizens were living under a military government. Then, they faced greater restrictions on their movement than Palestinians in the West Bank  today. It would be impossible even for Israel’s keenest supporters to describe Israel as a democracy for its Palestinian citizens during this period, when they were under martial law. And yet Palestinians in Israel were awarded the vote in time for Israel’s first general election in 1949 and voted throughout the military government period. In other words, the vote may be a necessary condition for a democratic system but it is far from a sufficient one.

In fact, in Israel’s highly tribal political system, Jews are encouraged to believe they must vote only for Jewish Zionist parties, ones that uphold the apartheid system we have just analyzed. That has left Palestinian citizens with no choice but to vote for contending Palestinian parties. The one major Jewish-Arab party, the Communists, was in Israel’s earliest years a significant political force among Israeli Jews. Today, they comprise a tiny fraction of its supporters, with Palestinian citizens dominating the party.

With politics so tribal, it has been easy to prevent Palestinians from gaining even the most limited access to power. Israel’s highly proportional electoral system has led to myriad small parties in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. All the Jewish parties have at various times participated in government in what are effectively rainbow coalitions. But the Palestinian parties have never been invited into an Israeli government, or had any significant impact on the legislative process. Israel’s political system may allow Palestinian citizens to vote, but they have zero political influence. This is why Israel can afford the generosity of allowing them to vote, knowing it will never disturb a tyrannical Jewish-majority rule.

Palestinian parliament member Ahmed Tibi has expressed it this way: “Israel is a democratic state for Jewish citizens, and a Jewish state for Arab citizens.”

‘Subversive’ Call for Equality

But increasingly any Palestinian presence in the Knesset is seen as too much by Israel’s Jewish parties. When the Oslo process was initiated in the late 1990s, the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships agreed that Israel’s Palestinian citizens should remain part of Israel in any future two-state arrangement. In response, Palestinian citizens began to take their Israeli citizenship seriously for the first time. A new party, Balad, was established by a philosophy professor, Azmi Bishara, who campaigned on a platform that Israel must stop being a Jewish state and become a “state of all its citizens” – a liberal democracy where all citizens would enjoy equal rights.

This campaign was soon picked up by all the Palestinian political parties, and led to a series of documents – including the most important, the Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel – demanding major reforms that would turn Israel into either “a state of its citizens” or a “consensual democracy.”

The Israeli leadership was so discomfited by these campaigns that in 2006 the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, held a meeting with the Shin Bet. Unlike usual meetings of the secret police, this discussion was widely publicized. The Israeli media reported that Shin Bet regarded the so-called Future Vision documents as “subversion” and warned that they would use any means, including non-democratic ones, to defeat any campaign for equal rights.

A year later, when Bishara – the figurehead of this movement – was out of the country on a lecture tour, it was announced that he would be put on trial for treason should he return. It was alleged that he had helped Hizbullah during Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon – a claim even the Israeli newspaper Haaretz dismissed as preposterous. Bishara stayed away. Effectively, the government and Shin Bet had declared war on demands to democratize Israel. As a result, most Palestinian politicians turned the volume down on their demands for political reform.

However, their continuing presence in the Knesset – especially as a succession of governments under Netanyahu has grown ever-more rightwing – has enraged more and more Jewish legislators. For years, the main Jewish parties have used their control of the Central Elections Committee to try to prevent leading Palestinian politicians from standing in parliamentary elections. However, the Supreme Court has – by ever-narrower margins – repeatedly overturned the CEC’s decisions.

Avigdor Lieberman, the Soviet-born Israeli defense minister who has been leading the attack on Palestinian legislators, managed to push through a Threshold Law in 2014 that raised the electoral threshold to a level that would be impossible for any of the three major Palestinian parties to surmount. But in a major surprise, these very different parties – representing Communist, Islamic and democratic-nationalist streams – put aside their differences to create a Joint List. In a prime example of unintended consequences, the 2015 election resulted in the Joint List becoming the third largest party in the Knesset.

For a brief while, and to great consternation in Israel, it looked as if the List might become the official opposition, entitling Palestinian legislators both to gain access to security briefings and to head sensitive Knesset committees.

The pressure to get rid of the Palestinian parties has continued to intensify. In 2016 the Knesset passed another law – initially called the Zoabi Law, and later renamed the Expulsion Law – that allows a three-quarters parliamentary majority to expel any legislator, not because they committed a crime or  misdeed but because the other legislators do not like their political views. The law’s original name indicated that the prime target for expulsion was Haneen Zoabi, who is now the most prominent member of Bishara’s Balad party.

According to commentators, it will be impossible to raise the three-quarters majority needed to approve such an expulsion. But in a time of war, or during one of the intermittent major attacks on Gaza, it seems probable that such a majority can be marshaled against outspoken critics of Israel – and supporters of a state of all its citizens – like Zoabi.

In fact, it only requires the expulsion of one member of the Joint List and the other members will be placed in an untenable position with their voters. They will be in the Knesset only because the Jewish Zionist legislators have chosen not to expel them – yet. This is why the Haaretz newspaper referred to the Expulsion Law as the first step in the “ethnic cleansing of the Knesset.”

As Israeli officials seem increasingly determined to abolish even the last formal elements of democracy in Israel, the country’s Palestinian leaders are finding themselves with limited options. Their only hope is to bring wider attention to the substantial democratic deficit in the Israeli polity.

In February, responding to the government’s moves to legislate a Basic Law on “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” Knesset member Yousef Jabareen submitted an alternative Basic Law. It was titled “Israel, a Democratic, Egalitarian, and Multi-cultural State.” In any western state, such a law would be axiomatic and redundant. In Israel, the measure stood no chance of gaining support in the Knesset except from Palestinian legislators.

Jabareen admitted in an interview that the bill would be unlikely to secure backing even from the five members of Meretz, by far the most leftwing Jewish party in the parliament. Optimistically, he observed: “I want to hope that Meretz will be among them [supporters]. I have shared with Meretz a draft of the bill, but I have not asked them at this stage to join, in order to give them time to mull things over.”

There could hardly be a more ringing indictment of Israeli society than the almost certain futility of seeking a Jewish legislator in the Knesset willing to support legislation for tolerance and equality

How Zionist is the New World Order? and How Biblical Is Zionism?

March 13, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

guyenot-yahweh-1068x607.jpg

GA: If Zionism was intially all about the ‘promised land’, Neoconservatism stands for the shift towards a ‘promised planet.’ How do we bridge the gap between the nationalistic aspiration and the  globalist agenda?   From Yahweh to Zion by  Laurent Guyénot offers some interesting answers. Guyénot doesn’t attempt to tell us what Yahweh is but instead what the notion of Yahweh represents within the contexts of Judaism, jewish culture, Jewish politics and Jewish identification.  Guyénot’s offers a  very important contribution. I hope that is books are made of fire resistant materials.      

How Zionist is the New World Order? and How Biblical Is Zionism?

Laurent Guyénot

https://www.veteranstoday.com

Editor’s note: In these two articles, historian Laurent Guyénot explores questions that you are not even supposed to ask…much less actually think about. Those of us who still read, and think, are grateful.  –Kevin BarrettVeterans Today Editor

How Zionist is the New World Order?

by Laurent Guyénot, first published at Vinyard of the Saker

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, POB 221, Lone Rock, WI 53556).

The Zionist paradox

Jewishness is full of paradoxes. For example, remarked Nahum Goldmann, founder and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress: “Even today it is hardly possible to say whether to be a Jew consists first of belonging to a people or practicing a religion, or the two together” (The Jewish Paradox, 1976)[1]. The answer has always depended on the circumstances. Another paradox is the relationship of Jewishness to both tribalism and universalism: Israelis, “the most separatist people in the world,” in Goldmann’s words again, “have the great weakness of thinking that the whole world revolves around them.”[2]

This great weakness is, of course, a great strength, and so is the ambiguity of Jewishness. It has served Israel—a secular “Jewish state”— very well. Theodor Herzl thought of Zionism on the model of European nationalistic movements, lobbying for the right of the Jews to become a nation among nations. But everyone can see now that Israel is no ordinary nation. It never was and never will be. It is the paradoxical nation.

Part of the ambiguity comes from the very name Israel, which already had a twofold meaning before 1948: it referred to an ancient kingdom supposedly founded in the first millennium BCE, and destroyed by the Romans in the first century CE. But for the following two thousand years, Israel was also a common designation for the Jewish community worldwide, “international Jewry” as some call it. That was the meaning of “Israel”, for example, when the British Daily Express of March 24, 1933 printed on its front page: “The whole of Israel throughout the world is united in declaring an economic and financial war on Germany.”[3] The members of Israel were then called Israelites interchangeably with Jews. Although quite contradictory in terms, the two notions (national Israel and international Israel) have been conflated by the 1948 Law of Return, which made every Israelite of the globe a virtual Israeli.

Today, Zionism has shifted into a kind of meta-Zionism where the greatest number of the Israeli elite—including individuals with no stamped Israeli citizenship but a profound loyalty to the Jewish state—reside outside Israel. Some of them hold key positions in state administrations, particularly in the United States. As Gilad Atzmon remarks, “there is no geographical center to the Zionist endeavor. It is hard to determine where Zionist decisions are made”; “the Israelis colonize Palestine and the Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support.”[4] The neoconservatives—“an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim,” as correctly assessed the Jewish Daily Forward[5] — are the most influential group of Diaspora Jews dedicated to Israel. They are no conservatives in the traditional sense, but rather crypto-Likudniks posturing as American patriots in order to align US foreign and military policies with the Greater Israel agenda—high-level sayanim, so to speak (read John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2008).

Their mentor Leo Strauss, in his 1962 lecture “Why We Remain Jews,” declared himself an ardent supporter of the State of Israel but rejected the idea that Israel as a nation should be contained within borders; Israel, he argued, must retain her specificity, which is to be everywhere.[6] Indeed, this paradoxical nature of Israel is vital to its existence: although its stated purpose is to welcome all the Jews of the world, the state of Israel would collapse if it achieved this goal. It is unsustainable without the support of international Jewry. Therefore, Israel needs every Jew of the world to define his/her Jewishness as loyalty to Israel. Ever since 1967, the hearts of an increasing number of American Jews began to beat secretly, and then more and more openly, for Israel. Reform Judaism, which had originally declared itself to be exclusively religious and opposed to Zionism, soon rationalized this new situation by a 1976 resolution affirming: “The State of Israel and the Diaspora, in fruitful dialogue, can show how a People transcends nationalism while affirming it, thus establishing an example for humanity.”[7]

How do they both affirm and transcend nationalism? The biblical way. The Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, is the unalterable prototype of Jewish history: everything that follows the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom has to be biblical—the Holocaust, for example. Inevitably, Jewish nationalism, or patriotic love for Israel, resonates with the destiny of Israel as outlined in the Bible: “Yahweh your God will raise you higher than every other nation in the world” (Deuteronomy 28:1). Every nation is a narration, and Israel’s narrative pattern is cast into the Hebrew Bible. To love Israel is to love Israel’s biblical story, no matter of how mythical it is. And through biblical prophecy, the vision of the past becomes the vision the future: Solomon’s empire will come to pass.

That is why Zionism was never an ordinary form of nationalism, nor can Israel ever be a “nation like others.” The paradoxical nature of Israel is best embodied by its founding father Ben-Gurion: a secular Jew who saw himself as a new Joshua,[8] hoped for “the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon,”[9] and prophesized that Jerusalem will be “the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.”[10]Let us be fair and assume that Ben-Gurion was simply referring to Isaiah’s prophecy that “the Law will issue from Zion” and that Yahweh will “judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples” (2:3-4), not to the Second Isaiah’s prophecy that Israel “will feed on the wealth of nations” (61:6), and that nations who do not serve Israel “will be utterly destroyed” (60:12).[11] Ben-Gurion’s vision lives on: a 2003 “Jerusalem Summit” attended by three acting Israeli ministers including Benjamin Netanyahu and many American neoconservatives including Richard Perle, affirmed that “one of the objectives of Israel’s divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets.”[12] Zionists have always been in love with the Bible.

Such are the geopolitical implications of the Jewish paradox: Zionism cannot be a mere nationalistic aspiration, as long as it claims to be Jewish, for “Jewish” means “biblical”. And more than two thousand years ago, the ancient prophets had bent over the cradle of Israel to predestine it as “a nation above other nations.” Israel carries in its biblical genes the plan for a world order headquartered in Jerusalem. I’m not talking about a secret conspiracy here: the Jewish plan to rule the world has been plainly outlined in the global bestseller for more than two thousand years. If most people in the Christian world don’t see it, it is because it is right under their nose. Christians claim that the Jews don’t read their Bible correctly, or that they got their Zionism from the Talmud or the Kabbalah. Both claims are pitiful attempts to exonerate the Old Testament from the Zionist catastrophe: the Hebrew Bible was written by Jews for the Jews, and I have never heard a Zionist quote the Talmud or the Kabbalah, whereas they quote the Bible every day.

The prophetic spirit that inspired Isaiah long ago has been very active since the beginning of the 20th century. It spoke through religious leaders like Kaufmann Kohler, a leading figure of American Reformed Judaism, who wrote in his major work on Jewish Theology (New York, 1918) that “Israel, the suffering Messiah of the centuries, shall at the end of days become the triumphant Messiah of the nations.”[13] And it spoke through secular thinkers like Alfred Nossig, a Zionist who collaborated with the Gestapo in the Warsaw ghetto for the emigration of selected Jews to Palestine, who wrote in his Integrales Judentum (Berlin, 1922):

“The Jewish community is more than a people in the modern political sense of the word. It is the repository of a historically global mission, I would say even a cosmic one, entrusted to it by its founders Noah and Abraham, Jacob and Moses. [. . .] The primordial conception of our ancestors was to found not a tribe but a world order destined to guide humanity in its development.”[14]

The Feuerbachan approach

The paradoxical nature of Jewishness (combining separatism and universalism), which is reflected in the ambiguous nature of Zionism (combining nationalism and internationalism), is ultimately linked to the Jewish conception of God. Is the biblical Yahweh the national god of Israel or the universal God of humankind? Let’s search for an answer into the Book of Ezra, the paradigmatic episode for the Jewish colonization of Palestine. It begins with an edict of the Persian king Cyrus, which says:

Yahweh, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. […] Let [every Jew] go up to Jerusalem, in Judah, and build the Temple of Yahweh, the God of Israel, who is the God in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2–3).

Here Cyrus speaks in the name of “the God of Heaven” while authorizing the Judean exiles to build a temple to “the God of Israel […] the God in Jerusalem.” We understand that both phrases refer to the same God, called Yahweh in both instances, but the duality is significant. It is repeated in the Persian edict authorizing the second wave of return. It is now Artaxerxes, “king of kings,” who switches from the “God of Heaven” to “your God” or “the God of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” when addressing Ezra (7:12–15). The phrase “God of Heaven” appears one more time in the book of Ezra, and that is again in the edict of another Persian king: Darius confirms Cyrus’s edict and recommends that the Israelites “may offer sacrifices acceptable to the God of Heaven and pray for the life of the [Persian] king and his sons” (6:10). Elsewhere the book of Ezra only refers to the “God of Israel” (four times), “Yahweh, the God of your fathers” (once), and “our God” (ten times). In other words, according to the author of the book of Ezra, only the kings of Persia see Yahweh as “the God of Heaven” (a fiction, of course: for Persians, the God of Heaven meant Ahura Mazda) while for the Jews he is primarily the “God of Israel”. That is the deepest secret of Judaism, and the key to Jews’ relationship to universalism and to the nations: success rests on their ability to make Gentiles believe that the national god of Israel residing in the Jerusalem Temple is the God of Heaven who happens to have a preference for Israel.

The misunderstanding led to a public scandal in 167 CE, when the Hellenistic emperor Antiochos IV dedicated the temple in Jerusalem to Zeus Olympios, the supreme God. He was simply expressing the idea that Yahweh and Zeus were two names for the supreme cosmic God, the Heavenly father of all mankind. But the Jewish Maccabees who led the rebellion against him knew better: Yahweh may be the Supreme God, but He is Jewish. Only Jews are intimate with Him, and any way the Pagans worship Him is an abomination.

So is Yahweh God, or just the god of Israel? Why should we care? Well, let’s call it the Feuerbachan approach to the Jewish question. In his famous work The Essence of Christianity(1841), which was to influence greatly Karl Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach sees the universal God as “the deified and objectified spiritual essence of man”: theology is anthropology in disguise, and “The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man.” But if we regard the biblical Yahweh as a creation of Jews alone, rather than humanity at large, then we can consider him as a personification of the national character of the Jewish people—or, more correctly, a reflexion of the mentality of the Jewish elite who invented Yahweh.

It is known to biblical scholars that, in the oldest strata of the Bible, Yahweh appears as a national, ethnic god, not the supreme God of the Universe. “For all peoples go forward, each in the name of its god, while we go forward in the name of Yahweh our god for ever and ever” (Micah 4:5)[15]. “I am the god of your ancestors,” Yahweh says to Moses (Exodus 3:6), who is then mandated to declare to his people, “Yahweh, the god of your ancestors, has appeared to me,” urging them to talk to Pharaoh in the name of “Yahweh, the god of the Hebrews” (3:16–18). The Hebrews chant after the miracle of the Red Sea engulfing Pharaoh and his army, “Yahweh, who is like you, majestic in sanctity, among the gods?” (15:11).[16] And in Canaan, a Hebrew chief declares to an enemy king: “Will you not keep as your possession whatever Chemosh, your god, has given you? And, just the same, we shall keep as ours whatever Yahweh our god has given us, to inherit from those who were before us!” (Judges 11:24).[17] In all these verses, Yahweh is an ethnic or national god among others.

What sets him apart from other tribal gods of his kind is possessive exclusivism: “You shall have no other gods to rival me” (Exodus 20:3); “I shall set you apart from all these peoples, for you to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). This is the justification for strict endogamy: it is forbidden to marry one’s children to a non-Jew, “for your son would be seduced from following me into serving other gods” (Deuteronomy 7:4).

Yahweh is known as “the Jealous One” (Exodus 20:5 and 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, and 6:15). But jealousy is an euphemism for outright sociopathy, because what Yahweh demands from his people is not just exclusivity of worship, but the destruction of their neighbors’ shrines: “Tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles and burn their idols” (Deuteronomy 7:5). Judean kings are judged on the unique criterion of their obedience to that precept. Hezekiah, whose disastrous policy of confrontation with Assyria led to a shrinking of the country, is praised for having done “what Yahweh regards as right,” namely abolishing the “high places” (2 Kings 18:3–4). His son Manasseh, whose 50-year reign is known to historians as a time of peace and prosperity, is blamed for having done “what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites” (2 Kings 21:2). Manasseh’s son Amon is no better. Josiah, on the other hand, proved worthy of his great-great-grandfather Hezekiah, 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” (2 Kings 23:4–5).

It is ironic that Yahweh, originally a minor tribal god, should compete with the great Baal for the status of supreme God, as when Elijah challenges 450 prophets of Baal in a holocaust contest, which ends up with the slaughter of them all (1Kings 18). In ancient Syria, Baal Shamem, the “Heavenly Lord,” was identified as the God of Heaven and honored by all peoples except the Jews.[18] The goddess Asherah, whom Yahweh loathed even more, was the Great Divine Mother worshipped throughout the Middle East. In Mesopotamia, she went under the name of Ishtar, while in the Hellenistic era, she was assimilated to the Egyptian goddess Isis. The Hebrews themselves called her “Queen of Heaven” and turned to her in times of trouble, to the dismay of their priest and prophet Jeremiah, who threatened them with Yahweh’s exterminating wrath (Jeremiah 44).

Historians of religion tell us that Yahweh was still a national god at a time when the notion of a supreme God was widespread. When and how the Levites declared the god of Israel to be the true and only God is not entirely settled, but it is generally admitted that it happened shortly before the time of Ezra, when the Book of Genesis was composed (with much borrowing from Mesopotamian and Persian myths). The process is easy to imagine, for it follows the cognitive logic of a narcissistic sociopath among the community of gods: from the commandment of exclusive worship and the destruction of other gods’ shrines, it is a small step to the denial of the very existence of other gods; and if Yahweh is the only existing god, he must be “The God.”

A curious story about King Hezekiah can serve as an illustration of this process. The Assyrian king threatens Hezekiah in the following manner, explicitly identifying Yahweh as the national god of Israel:

“Do not let your god on whom you are relying deceive you with the promise: ‘Jerusalem will not fall into the king of Assyria’s clutches’ […] Did the gods of the nations whom my ancestors devastated save them?”

Hezekiah then goes up to the Temple and offers the following prayer:

“It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but human artifacts—wood and stone—and hence they have destroyed them. But now, Yahweh our god, save us from his clutches, I beg you, and let all the kingdoms of the world know that you alone are God, Yahweh” (2 Kings 19:10–19).

So here we witness how Yahweh was promoted from the status of a national god to that of universal God by the prayer of a devout king. In response to that prayer, according to the biblical story, “the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp,” then struck their king by the hand of his sons (19:35–37). Pure fiction: the Assyrian annals tell us that in reality, Hezekiah paid tribute to the Assyrian king. Which proves that Hezekiah’s claim was deceptive.

Conclusion

The exclusive monotheism demanded by Yahweh is a degraded imitation of that inclusive monotheism toward which all the wisdoms of the ancient world converged by affirming the fundamental unity of all gods. As Egyptologist Jan Assmann emphasizes, the polytheisms of the great civilizations were cosmotheisms, insofar as the gods, among other functions, form the organic body of the world. Such a conception naturally led to a form of inclusive or convergent monotheism, compatible with polytheism: all gods are one, as the cosmos is one.[19] The notion of the unity of the divine realm naturally connects with the notion of a supreme God, creator of heaven and earth, enthroned atop a hierarchy of deities emanating from him—a concept familiar to Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and most ancient philosophers. The exclusive and revolutionary monotheism that the Yahwist priests crafted for their own benefit is of a totally different kind: it is, in fact, the exact opposite of the inclusive and evolutionary monotheism of neighboring peoples.

From the historical perspective, it is not the Creator of the Universe who decided, at some point, to become the god of Israel; rather, it is the god of Israel who, at some point, was declared the Creator of the Universe by the Levites and their scribes. The Jewish conception of Yahweh parallels that historical process: for the Jews, Yahweh is primarily the god of Jews, and secondarily the Creator of the Universe. This is what Maurice Samuel kindly tried to tell us in You Gentiles(1924): “In the heart of any pious Jew, God is a Jew.” “We [Jews] and God grew up together,” that is why “we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build.”[20]

And so the paradoxical nature of Yahweh is, in reality, a deception. The idea that the Heavenly Father of humankind, somewhere in the second millennium BCE, chose a particular people and ordered them to dispossess and slaughter other peoples is, any way we look at it, an outrageous absurdity. The fact that billions of people have believed it for thousands of years makes no difference. Or rather, that is the problem: many peoples throughout history have believed themselves to have been chosen by God, but only the Jews have managed to convince others that they have. That has turned this outrageous absurdity into the most devastating idea in world history.

The deceptive nature of biblical monotheism is the key to understanding traditional Jewish attitude to universalism. For the Jewish conception of God is reflected in the Jewish conception of Humanity. Just like their tribal god speaks of himself—through his prophets—as the God of humankind, Jewish communitarian thinkers speak of Jewishness as the essence of humanity: Judaism constitutes a “particularism that conditions universality” so that “there is an obvious equation between Israel and the Universal”; in other words, “Israel equals humanity” (Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, 1990).[21] It is almost always in reference to their Jewishness that such opinion makers, who are often ardent Zionists, proclaim themselves universalists: see for example how Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a German Zionist who in 1934 had applauded the Nazi state for being “built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race,” declared in 1963, as chairman of the American Jewish Congress, that he supported the African-American civil rights movement “as a Jew.”[22] “Jewish universalism” is a contradiction in terms and therefore necessarily deceptive. It is self-deception in the case of most Jews, who believe what they have been taught by their representative elites ever since the Haskalah: that there is no contradiction in being a tribalist at home and a universalist in the street—provided that, in each of their universalist stand, they do not lose sight of the important question: “Yes, but is it good for the Jews?”[23] Of course, there are many remarkable exceptions: Jews who have broken through the mental “Jewish prison” (as Jewish journalist Jean Daniel calls it)[24] to reach for some universal truths. I call it the genius of the escapee.

Ultimately, the deceptive nature of both biblical monotheism and Jewish universalism is a key to unraveling the Zionist paradox: nationalism and internationalism go hand in hand in Israel’s destiny, because Israel is, fundamentally, a biblical and therefore universal project. For the Jewish cognitive elites who determine Jewish public opinion to a large extent, the New World Order is an ancient et eternal idea. It is Israel’s destiny carved in the Bible. It is inherent to Jewishness.

  1. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif. Conversations en français avec Léon Abramowicz, Stock, 1976 (archive.org)p. 9. 
  2. Nahum Goldmann, Le Paradoxe juif, op. cit., p. 6, 31. 
  3. Alison Weir, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, 2014, k. 3280–94. 
  4. Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, Zero Books, 2011, pp. 21, 70. 
  5. Gal Beckerman, Jewish Daily Forward, January 6, 2006, quoted in Stephen Sniegoski, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Enigma Edition, 2008, p. 26. 
  6. Leo Strauss, “Why We Remain Jews,” in Shadia Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right, St. Martin’s Press, 1999, pp. 31–43. 
  7. Quoted in Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism, Praeger, 1998, kindle edition 2013k. 5463–68. 
  8. Dan Kurzman, Ben-Gurion, Prophet of Fire, Touchstone, 1983, pp. 17–22. 
  9. As he declared before the Knesset in 1956, quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 10. 
  10. David Ben-Gurion and Amram Duchovny, David Ben-Gurion, In His Own Words, Fleet Press Corp., 1969, p. 116 
  11. All Bible quotes are taken from the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible, which has not altered the divine name YHWH into “the Lord,” as most other English translations have done for unscholarly reasons. 
  12. Official website: http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/declaration.php. 
  13. Kaufmnann Kohler, Jewish Theology, Systematically and Historically Considered, Macmillan, 1918 (www.gutenberg.org), p. 290. 
  14. Alfred Nossig, Integrales Judentum, Interterritorialer Verlag, 1922, pp. 1–5 (on http://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/item/DXCTNNZZ3INPTI2S3MYPGLQOFR3XSW22). 
  15. Most translations use a uppercase for the “God of Israel”, and a lowercase for other national gods, but ancient Hebrew does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters, so here, and in further quotes, I have used a lowercase g for all national gods, including Israel’s, and reserved the uppercase G for the One supreme God. 
  16. See also Psalms 89:7. 
  17. Jean Soler, Qui est Dieu?, Éditions de Fallois, 2012, pp. 12–17, 33–37. 
  18. Norman Habel, Yahweh Versus Baal: A Conflict of Religious Cultures, Bookman Associates, 1964, p. 41. 
  19. Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, Harvard University Press, 1998, p. 3.  
  20. Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, New York, 1924 (archive.org), pp. 74–75, 155. 
  21. Online on monoskop.org/images/6/68/Levinas_Emmanuel_Difficult_Freedom_Essays_on_Judaism_1997.pdf. 
  22. Prinz’s pro-Nazi statements from his 1934 bookWir Juden are quoted in Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Pluto Press, 1994, p. 86. Prinz’ introduction to King’s “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963, beginning with “I speak to you as an American Jew,” is at http://www.joachimprinz.com/images/mow.mp3. 
  23. Jonny Geller made this paradigmatic question the title of his humorous book Yes, But Is It Good for the Jews? Bloomsbury, 2006. 
  24. Jean Daniel, La Prison juive. Humeurs et méditations d’un témoin, Odile Jacob, 2003

The AZZ Freak Show starring Tom Pessah

March 05, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 By now, the discourse of the oppressed is defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor. 

By now, the discourse of the oppressed is defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor.

By Gilad Atzmon

If you want to understand how Jewish domination of the Palestinian solidarity movement has derailed the Palestinian struggle and caused complete paralysis of the movement, the explanation can be found in 972.com and Tom Pessah .

“Anti-Semitism is unlike most other forms of hatred” writes Pessah at 972.com today.  And why? Because  “it is both a form of bigotry and a false accusation.”  An Israeli Jew ‘pro’ Palestinian is telling us that while hatred of Jews is based on lies, other forms of hatred (misogyny, anti black, Islamophobia) must be factually supported. Can you think of a more telling example of morbid Judeo centrism?

“Bigotry is always bad,”  Pessah writes. And it seems that the tribal merchant has uttered what seems like a universal sentiment, until it becomes clear that again he is only referring  to his tribe. “It is bad for Jews inside the pro-Palestine movement .. it is bad for attracting Jews from outside the movement… and it provides plenty of ammunition for those seeking to silence Palestine solidarity activism by equating it with anti-Semitism.” Pessah’s  attack on ‘bigotry’ is only as it applies to Jews.

If self-love were a Jewish sport, Pessah would be an Olympic gold medalist . His Jews-only organisation, Jews For Racial and Economic Justice’s (JFREJ) new booklet, “does a good job of defining anti-Semitism as an ideology that uses lies and stereotypes about Jews in order to blame them for society’s problems.” Can  Pessah tell us how many goyim are members of the board of this exclusionary Jews-only oranisation? I looked at the booklet. I saw a lot of the usual ‘Zionism is not Judaism’ but I didn’t see  any attempt to explain what was meant by Jewishness. There were no references to the Jewishness of the Jewish State. The demography of the Ziocon club wasn’t mentioned in the booklet either.  What the JFREJ offers instead is the usual  lame  solidarity Hasbara — a desperate attempt to conceal the embarrassing fact that Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and is supported by a vast majority of Jewish institutions.

In his article, Pessah, an Israeli Jew who dwells on Palestinian land, attempts to impose boundaries on the Palestinian solidarity movement. It is no secret that Jewish activists feel threatened by the Palestinian Right of Return. In fact, the entire Jewish solidarity project can be seen as an attempt to weaken the Right of Return by diluting its content with as many misleading slogans as possible; For example: ‘End of Occupation, ‘Colonialism,’ ‘settler colonialism,’ ‘Apartheid’ etc. These terms are designed to divert the solidarity movement from the essential Palestinian cause and, in practice, to provide Israel with the right to exist.

To read more about The Jewish Solidarity Spin.

Pessah admits that he was initially concerned by the Palestinian Right of Return. But his anxiety was allayed when some “non-Arab pro Palestinians” explained to him that “Palestinians returning to their homeland didn’t have to mean expelling the current Jewish inhabitants. From then on, I started to make the right of return a central part of my advocacy work.”

And so, once again, we see that Pessah’s ‘solidarity’ is primarily concerned with Jews. It was only when he understood that Israelis would not be affected by the Right of Return that Pessah decided to integrate the slogan into his pro Palestinian phrase-book.

An Israeli Jew is now an authority on the true meaning of the Right of Return? It makes me wonder if Pessah has confirmed that the Palestinians have now given up on their villages, cities, orchards and fields? If this is the case, then please, set up a meeting immediately with Pessah, 972’s editorial staff and Bibi Netanyahu, seal a peace deal and once and for all put this Israeli/Palestinian conflict behind us.

But then, what is the meaning of the powerful Palestinian chant, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free?”  Pessah offers an interpretation. “We meant freedom for everyone.” Apparently the Zionists didn’t buy his nonsense. So Pessah and his ‘solidarity’ group have “promised to stop using this chant.”

Pessah writes,

“We had gone out of our way to be sensitive, taking the claim of Jewish safety seriously, while ignoring the politics these (Jewish)  lobby groups were trained to promote.”

Precious, isn’t it?

The followers of my work know that I contend that the result of Jewish domination within some segments of the Palestinian solidarity movement can be described in very clear terms:

The discourse of the oppressed is defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor.

Pessah has been stupid enough to bring this devlopment to light.

“When one of our allies confused the terms ‘Jews’ and ’Zionists,’ I wrote a long letter to my colleagues about the differences between the two.” We do not need Pessah  or Ali Abunimah to tell us that Zionism and Judaism aren’t identical. Leibnitz has provided us with the relevant theory.

The problem is that we cannot determine where Zionism ends and Jewishness starts. Similarly, it is impossible to determine where Pessah and the AZZs end and Netanyahu begins. All of them care primarily about Jews and their interests, they may disagree on the details.

Pessah proudly informs his 972 Jewish followers how he helped to silence a Muslim preacher, Abdul Malik Ali,  because he had claimed that

(a) “Zionist Jews” were behind a series of violent incidents that were blamed on Muslims, including 9/11, and that

(b) these same Jews owned the media. “Since then,” Pessah writes,

 

“Abdul Malik Ali has never been invited back to speak, and we were taken seriously after demonstrating that we did not conflate anti-Semitism with opposition to Israel’s policies.”

The generally admired Alison Weir is also an “enemy” as far as Pessah is concerned.  Pessah apparently  takes pride in her expulsion from the Leading BDS coalition.

As usual, yours truly is the ultimate enemy. This time I am accused of being

“a Holocaust denier and an active proponent of Nazism.”

I guess it really gets under these tribals’ skin that I insist that we stop treating the holocaust as a religion and instead elevate it to an historical chapter subject to the usual open scrutiny. Pessah boasts about the call made in 2012 for my disavowal. As Pessah and others surely know, this call had zero impact on my work or my career. If anything, it confirmed to many much that I have to say about Jewishness, choseness and the duplicity inherent in the AZZ camp. I have never worked closely with any Jewish groups or solidarity bodies dominated by tribal interests. I am a writer. I wrote The Wandering Who, which is, without a doubt the best selling book on Jewish ID politics. The book digs into the corrosive work of Jewish solidarity groups. It explains the tribal ideology that drives Pessah, Mondoweiss JVP, 972 and future Judeo-centric bodies to come.

If Pessah weren’t offended by my work and did not try to discredit me, I  would take it as an insult and consider early retirement.

If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk)

 

No Fly Zone over Israel

February 13, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Syria possesses the ability to impose a no fly zone over northern Israel.

Syria possesses the ability to impose a no fly zone over northern Israel.

Interview with Gilad Atzmon on recent news by Alimuddin Usmani

http://lapravda.ch/

Alimuddin Usmani: On the 10th of February, Syrian anti-aircraft units managed to use an old Soviet anti-aircraft missile built in the sixties to shoot down an Israeli F-16.

 What is the significance of this military incident?

Gilad Atzmon:  I do not know much about the type of anti air missiles the Syrians used.  It seems that the Israelis were also perplexed by Syrian anti air capacity. But what we do know is that the Israeli F-16 wasn’t in Syria’s air space. It was well within Israel, in fact not too far from Haifa’s sky. This means that Syria possesses the ability to impose a no fly zone over northern Israel. This is undoubtedly  a positive development. It may even restrain Israeli aggression.

AA: According to Israeli minister Bennett, “Israel must act systematically against the Iranian octopus“.

GA: The reference to Iran as an octopus is new to me. I have seen the octopus imagery used to portray the idea of Jews having  domineering powers.  The image I am referring to is one of octopuses  decorated with a Star of David and holding the planet in their hands.  I do wonder what led Minister Bennett to use such a metaphor. Is it the fear of being encircled and eventually squashed by mighty Iran or maybe Bennett was simply projecting, attributing his own characteristics to the Iranians. This question can remain open. I can say with certainty that since Bennett is a religious Jew, he won’t eat calamari any time soon and he probably doesn’t even know what he misses.

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What is fascinating  about the incident is that for years we have seen Israeli politicians vow to attack Iran. We have seen Jewish leaders worldwide push for military actions and sanctions against Iran. The facts are undeniable: Israel feels surrounded and Bennett seems to admit it by employing the octopus metaphor.

AA: Recently a French-Syrian woman was forced to quit a song show due to some comments she made a while ago on Twitter criticizing the French government’s stance on terrorist attacks.

 What is you take on the above?

GA: This farce highlights the duplicity at the core of so-called multi culturalism and ‘diversity.’ We love and care for the ‘other’ but only so as long as the other conceals his or her otherness. We love Muslims as long as they pretend to be Jews. I see this form of  progressive  ‘diversity’ as an anti humanist oppressive force.

AA: Ahed Tamimi, a young Palestinian activist was arrested on the 19th of December for slapping an Israeli soldier who was standing outside her home. She is still in prison, awaiting a trial. What is your opinion about this girl?

GA: I am afraid that my linguistic abilities fall short in describing my admiration for this Palestinian teenager. I am not impressed by the Palestinian solidarity movement. And now many see the solidarity movement as a controlled opposition apparatus, largely dominated by Jewish organisations and outlets  (JVP, IJAN, Mondoweiss etc.). This has led to a discourse of the oppressed  shaped by the sensitivities of the oppressors. Instead of talking about the Right of Return we have been subject to a barrage of notions, ideas, tactics and political tools that are set to limit the resistance and in practice, facilitate recognition of the Jewish State and its right to exist (to read more  http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2015/5/16/the-jewish-solidarity-spin).

Ahed Tamimi represents uncompromising resistance. She wants her land to be free, and I don’t doubt  that her wishes will come through

AA: Tell us something about your next gigs.

GA: I am on my way to Barcelona. I am writing to you while seated in a plane. Tonight I will be talking about my new book Being in Time. I will probably be asked about Catalan independence in light of my  post political theory although I have nothing to say about it. I do not really understand the Catalan situation nor do I know how or where to locate it within my criticism of the current global dystopia, I hope that by the end of the night I will have learned  more about Catalonia. A lot of my ideas were born out of intense exchanges with the many people I have encountered while being on the road. It is the differences that  spark thinking and originality, concepts that are seriously lacking in the monolithic tyranny of correctness that is imposed on us.

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