Fed up with myths, these American Jews are challenging their israel (apartheid state) education

Fed up with myths, these American Jews are challenging their Israel education

They grew up on the myths of a heroic Jewish state, joined Zionist organizations, and learned the talking points. But something along the way made them question everything.

By Tom Pessah

Members of Jewish-American anti-occupation group IfNotNow protest Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Washington D.C., May 14, 2018. (Gili Getz)

Members of Jewish-American anti-occupation group IfNotNow protest Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Washington D.C., May 14, 2018. (Gili Getz)

Some of the strangest encounters I had in the years I spent living and studying in the United States were with American Jews. I often felt like I had been dropped into a musical, with people expecting me to fit the mythical image of how an Israeli was supposed to behave. The only problem: I had no idea what my lines were supposed to be.

I was asked about my time in the Israeli army or about the ins and outs of Jewish religious practice. Pro-Israel students assumed I would be there to validate their advocacy.

Many of them were visibly disappointed when I didn’t play the part. Only gradually did I begin to understand how central Israel education had been in their lives, and just how big of a stumbling block it truly was.

To understand this process better, I spoke with four Jewish American activists, all of them in their late 20s and products of mainstream American Jewish education. Over the last few years they have all joined non-Zionist and anti-occupation groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. Michal, Susannah, Malkah, and Aaron told me how their Israel education shaped their worldview, and what led them to challenge what they had learned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

An editor’s note: Susannah and Malkah asked to use only their first names; the other two interviewees asked to use aliases, citing fears that using their real names could threaten their status in their communities and future job prospects.

Whether Modern Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative, all of the four interviewees said that Israel was an integral part of their experience in the Jewish community from a young age. None of them could remember a time when it wasn’t a part of their Jewish communal experience.

Illustrative photo of American Jews taking part in New York City's annual 'Celebrate Israel Parade.' (GIli Getz)

Illustrative photo of American Jews taking part in New York City’s annual ‘Celebrate Israel Parade.’ (Gili Getz)

“When I was younger I went to synagogue every week. Israel would inevitably be part of divrei tora (the Rabbi’s talk on topics relating to the weekly Torah portion – T.P.),” says Michal, a former Hasbara Fellow who would eventually be banned from entering Israel because she volunteered with Palestinian organizations in the West Bank.

“On Yom Kippur there was always a plug for Israel. During ne’ila (Yom Kippur’s concluding service – T.P.), in the midst of talking about our sins, being humble, and reflecting on what we’ve done wrong, there is this tonal shift: ‘Look at what we’ve done to create the State of Israel! and here – we’re going to pass around some pledges to give to Israel bonds.’ This is a deeply reflective and somber ritual, and you’re doing a complete 180 to advocate for Israel. This was every Yom Kippur and Shabbat — all the time. We would finish Adon Olam on Saturday morning and the senior rabbi would say from the stage: ‘we’re bringing in an AIPAC delegation and you can sign up.’”

For Susannah, who began in the Reform Movement and would eventually work for Jewish Voice for Peace, Zionism was also part and parcel of her Jewish upbringing. “You don’t really think about Israel and Zionism when you’re a practicing Jew in the Reform Movement. It’s just there.” It was at a summer camp organized by Young Judea, an American Zionist youth movement, where that conflation was most apparent. “It was straight up ‘America and Israel Forever.’ One of the most painful experiences to look back on now is that every morning we would wake up and go to the flagpole. You sing Hatikva and the Star-Spangled Banner. You stand there at attention in front of both flags along with the Israeli scouts who were there. I loved it, because it was just about singing and being with your friends. It felt like a source of pride.”

Illustrative photo of American Jews participating in the annual AIPAC conference in Washington DC. (Gili Getz)

Illustrative photo of American Jews participating in the annual AIPAC conference in Washington DC. (Gili Getz)

Into their teenage years, the aim of building an emotional connection to Israel was replaced by more straightforward advocacy.

“In high school we were encouraged to take part in programs to advocate for Israel,” Malkah explained. The David Project, one of the most well-known American pro-Israel organizations, sent her to a three-day training in Massachusetts, where she says she was exposed to a heavily anti-Muslim agenda. “One video was called Obsession, and it seemed like the main message was about Muslims wanting to violently take control of the world and how we would have to fight back against that.”

“I don’t remember any dissent or discussion,” she continued. “We were all just shocked by the horrible things we were seeing. You see a lot of really scary images in that movie. We didn’t have a lot of time to socialize, there were mainly these sessions and I took a lot of notes. They probably intentionally didn’t give us time to process – you’re being bombarded with someone else’s opinions.”

Malkah recalled coming home from the training and experiencing pushback from her family members who felt that the right-wing views she had been taught were bad for peace. “I’d come back and say everything is justified for national security reasons. My views shifted to the right of center after having had that experience.”

 

Yet taking part in more explicit

Hundreds fill New York City's Washington Square Park to protest President Trump's decision to ban Muslim refugees from entering the U.S., January 26, 2017. (Gili Getz)

Hundreds fill New York City’s Washington Square Park to protest President Trump’s decision to ban Muslim refugees from entering the U.S., January 26, 2017. (Gili Getz)

Israel advocacy also began to sow doubts about their ability to defend the cause.

It was expected in my high school that all the high-achieving students would be going on extra-curricular Israel advocacy programs,” said Aaron, who would later become heavily involved with JVP and now devotes his time to the International Socialist Organization. “All the training sessions were at the local Jewish Community Center. We were told it looked good for college admissions. The manhigim (Hebrew for “leaders” – T.P.) program was focused on preparing us to be advocates for Israel on campuses, which were presented to us as hotbeds of anti-Semitism. The program was mostly a rehearsal of talking points from a liberal Zionist perspective (Israel as a liberal democracy, etc.). I didn’t reject any of that, but I distinctly remember thinking ‘Wow, if we’re the people who will be advocating for Israel, then Israel is screwed.’”

“There was one session we were doing which was a mock debate with a supposed member of Students for Justice in Palestine,” he continues, “I got cast in the role of the anti-Israel debater. I pulled out the ‘key of my grandmother’s house in Yaffa,” he said, referring to Palestinian refugees, many of whom keep the keys to the homes they lost in the Nakba. “At that point the entire room just screeched to a halt and didn’t know how to respond at all. I was still a Zionist, and I was very disappointed that they had no real response to my challenge.”

“Later, a delegation from my high school was sent to an AIPAC conference in Washington, DC. While lining up to enter the conference, I saw the counter-protest and was expecting it to be vitriolic and anti-Semitic. Instead I saw casually dressed people and some Neturei Karta folks waving signs that said “Don’t Bomb Iran!” I remember thinking: “am I on the wrong side of this protest?” I’m here in a suit with a bunch of old men while across the street are some people dressed like I normally do waving signs I don’t really disagree with.”

For Michal, a pro-Israel program in Israel was the tipping point, and the first time she considered that not everything she had been taught about Israel was true. “Aish HaTorah, [the organization] that runs Hasbara Fellowships, were teaching us talking points: here is a template for advocating for Israel on campus, here are the points your opponents will use, and here is how you turn it around on them and humiliate people in the process. Then they would have us practice — one person would play the aggressive pro-Palestine advocate and we would have to use the arguments they gave us. I remember being so embarrassed because I just couldn’t do it. I’m a really bad bullshitter. They’re using the word ‘apartheid,’ and I’m supposed to say ‘there are Israeli Arabs in the cabinet.’ I couldn’t memorize all those steps and then spit them back out like I was supposed to do.”

“What tipped me off was when they took us to Hebron. You walk there and it’s a ghost town with [Palestinian] shops boarded up. There is a barrier in the main street that separates Palestinians from Israelis. And you have menacing settlers. Something felt off: it was the first inkling I had of ‘is this really necessary in order to have this miraculous Israel?’ I didn’t have the words then — it was just a feeling. I didn’t have enough information to understand where this feeling was coming from.”

“I studied Middle East studies in part to be a better Israel advocate,” Michal continued. “But after Hebron I started to think that maybe I shouldn’t be out to get my professors. Maybe I should listen to them. That started the process of actually learning about the occupation and Palestinian experiences and taking them seriously. I studied abroad in Jordan, and after graduating I spent a couple of weeks in the West Bank helping local Palestinian organizations. As a result I was banned from Israel.”

For Susannah and Malkah, one of the factors that turned these doubts into full-blown opposition to Israeli policies was the personal relationships they formed with Palestinians.

Police arrest a young American Jew during a sit-in organized by IfNotNow at the offices of the Anti-Defamation League in New York City to protest the institution’s support for Israel’s occupation policies. (photo: Gili Getz)

Police arrest a young American Jew during a sit-in organized by IfNotNow at the offices of the Anti-Defamation League in New York City to protest the institution’s support for Israel’s occupation policies. (photo: Gili Getz)

When Susannah’s university program required her to do a field study abroad, she chose to go to Israel. Not knowing a lot about local civil society groups, she decided to join the only group that responded to her inquiries — a commune where Jews and Arabs worked and lived together. There she met Ibrahim, a Palestinian from Jaffa who had a cousin in Gaza. Ibrahim witnessed the moment his cousin was killed, as Israel shelled Gaza University during Operation Cast Lead, which Susannah said “shook him to his core.” She would eventually fall in love with him. “That’s how you learn – you fall in love with a Palestinian.”

But personal relationships don’t have to be romantic. Deep friendships also have their effect.

“By 2014 there was a pretty strong push for divestment in my school,” said Malkah. “There were a lot of people in my undergraduate program who were Arab, and some of them were Palestinians. They had family immediately affected by Israel’s policies as well as family histories of expulsion. I remember sitting with them in the school lounge watching folks speak at the divestment hearings for hours, usually until two in the morning. I just sat there and watched people talking so passionately about the subject, and felt that the students who opposed divestment didn’t have compelling arguments. Having been in my high school and in the David Project made divestment a dirty word. But just being in that environment, listening to people talk and having relationships with people affected by these policies — that made a huge difference for me.”

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israeli (apartheid state) Police Fire Tear Gas at Palestinian Christians Protesting israeli Exhibit Mocking Jesus Christ

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12 Jan
7:37 PM

Hundreds of Palestinian Christians and their supporters gathered Friday in Haifa, in northern Israel, to protest an Israeli exhibit that featured Ronald McDonald taking the place of Jesus on the cross.

The so-called “McJesus” exhibit was created by Finnish artist Jani Leinon, and has been on display at a gallery in Haifa as part of a gallery exhibition called ‘Sacred Goods’.

It recently came to the attention of church authorities in Haifa, who called for the protest.

The Greek Patriarchate said “While we express freedom of expression, this should not include mocking and targeting our religion and religious figures”.

The Patriarchate added that they blame the municipality of Haifa for this exhibit. They said that the Municipality collects taxes, including from those Christians that were insulted by this exhibit. This was especially insulting because the timing of the exhibit came just as the Greek Orthodox Christians were celebrating Christmas, according to their calendar.

The Israeli authorities claimed that the night before the protest, an unknown person threw a flaming bottle at the museum, causing minimal damage.

During the protest on Friday, Israeli police say that three of their officers were hit by rocks and bottles and injured. Dozens of Palestinian protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The Israeli Cultural Minister, Miri Regev, on Thursday weighed in on the issue, saying that she had received “ many complaints of serious offense caused to the Christian community’s feelings”, and asked the Director General of Haifa Museums to remove the controversial artwork.

 

5 Jewish Teens Arrested for Stoning Death of Palestinian Woman

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08 Jan 5:18 AM

Palestinians carry the body of 48-year-old mother of eight, Aisha Rabi, who died of her wounds after the car she was travelling in with her husband was hit by stones, during her funeral in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit, on October 13, 2018. – An Israeli police spokesman confirmed a car had been hit by stones but did not identify the perpetrators. He said an investigation was underway but did not give further details. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Five Jewish teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Palestinian woman in the West Bank, three months ago.

Aisha Mohammed Rabi, a 48-year-old mother from Biddya, was driving with her husband Yacoub near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus when the settlers began to throw stones at their vehicle. Rabi was hit in the head and died shortly after being transported to the hospital.

According to the PNN, Israeli police soon arrived at the scene and opened an investigation. Five teens have been arrested since December 30, as part of a major Jewish terrorism probe in the West Bank. The Shin Bet internal security agency said, in its Sunday statement, that all the suspects were students at the “Pri Ha’aretz” yeshiva, in the nearby settlement of Rehelim. A gag-order has been placed to prevent publication of more details in the investigation, including the names of the attackers.

A group of far-right Israeli activists gathered outside the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest the arrests and call for his intervention on Saturday night.

Palestine In Pictures – April 2018

Blood is seen on the clothes of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar, who treats injured Palestinian protesters during Great March of Return protests, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 1 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Thirty-three Palestinians were fatally injured by Israeli occupation forces and armed civilians during the month of April. Four others died of injuries sustained the previous month.

All but three of them were killed in Gaza as Israel continued its lethal crackdown on the Great March of Return protests. Fifty-one Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since the outset of the protests on 30 March.

No Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the month of April, and no Israeli injuries have been reported as a result of the Great March of Return protests.

More than 6,400 Palestinians, including at least 530 children, have been injured during the protests, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Nearly 2,000 people have been wounded by live ammunition. Many of those injured will have disabilities for life.

“Over the course of four Fridays of demonstrations, far more Palestinians have been injured in the Gaza Strip than in the preceding three years combined,” United Nations humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick stated.

Five children and two journalists were among those killed by Israeli forces in Gaza’s eastern perimeter during April.

West Bank slayings

Israeli civilians and soldiers killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in April.

Iyad Zabarka, 30, from Qalansawa, a Palestinian town in Israel, was shot dead by a soldier on 3 April after he crashed the car he was driving into a bus stop near the Ariel settlement. The soldier fired on Zabarka when he attempted to flee the scene by foot.

Zabarka was reportedly driving a stolen car and was being pursued by a private security company before the crash.

Muhammad Subhi Anbar, 46, died from his injuries on 8 April after he was shot by private security guards at a military checkpoint south of Tulkarm.

Anbar was hit with three bullets fired by the guards, who claimed that Anbar ran towards them in a suspicious manner. No weapon was found on Anbar and no Israeli was reported hurt during the incident.

Muhammad Abd al-Karim Marshoud, 30, was fatally wounded by an Israeli man after allegedly using a screwdriver to try to stab a second Israeli, who was unhurt, at the Mishor Adumim industrial park in an occupied West Bank settlement east of Jerusalem on 8 April.

It was reported during the month that residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran reached an agreement with the Israeli government to relocate to the town of Hura in the southern Naqab region.

A town leader said that the Israeli government’s Bedouin resettlement authority forced residents to sign the agreement in the early dawn hours as police and demolition teams arrived to Umm al-Hiran. Israel plans to build a Jewish-only town in Umm al-Hiran’s place.

Among the structures demolished or seized by Israeli forces in the West Bank during the month were classrooms at a primary school serving 24 students in the herding community of Khirbet Zanuta in southern Hebron and a car wash and public playground for children near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Israel also punitively demolished a home in the West Bank city of Jenin, displacing seven persons, including two children, on 23 April. The home belonged to the family of a Palestinian imprisoned for his involvement in the killing of a settler in January 2018. Two homes have been demolished or sealed on punitive grounds since the beginning of the year, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA.

Rafah crossing opened

Rafah crossing, the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of Gaza’s two million residents, was opened by Egypt on 12 to 14 April and for another three days on 28 April.

Rafah crossing has been opened fewer than 20 days so far this year.

Palestinians in Gaza endured rolling power cuts of up to 20 hours per day after the sole power plant in the territory shut down on 12 April due to lack of fuel.

More than 40 Palestinians were reported killed in April as a result of the ongoing war in Syria.

More than a dozen of those killed were civilians who died as the Syrian government and allied forces launched an offensive to purge armed insurgents from Yarmouk refugee camp.

Around 20 Palestinian pro-government fighters were killed during battle in April, most of them in southern Damascus.

Palestinian protesters use a mirror to divert the attention of Israeli soldiers during Great March of Return protests east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 2 April.Yasser QudihAPA images

Jewish settlers look at garments displayed by a Palestinian vendor in the West Bank city of Hebron on 3 April. Wisam HashlamounAPA images

Palestinian protesters take part in a tent city protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 4 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Israeli soldiers remove a Palestinian flag from the Gaza boundary fence as Palestinian protesters gather on the other side, east of Gaza City, on 6 April. Oren ZivActiveStills

A Palestinian woman uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards Israeli occupation forces at the Israel-Gaza boundary east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 6 April. Yasser QudihAPA images

A medic treats wounded journalist Yaser Murtaja, shot by an Israeli sniper while covering Great March of Return protests east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 6 April. Murtaja died of his injuries hours later. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinian medics hold a protest outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem demanding an end to Israeli attacks on paramedics and journalists in Gaza, 8 April.Wisam HashlamounAPA images

A Palestine sunbird is seen on a tree in the West Bank city of Nablus on 9 April.Shadi Jarar’ahAPA images

Palestinians gather at a Great March of Return site east of Gaza City after Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh spoke during a rally demanding Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland on 9 April.Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinians hold a symbolic birthday party for Hussein Madi, shot in the heart and killed by an Israeli sniper three days earlier, east of Gaza City on 9 April — what would have been his 14th birthday.Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinian pupils attend class in a tent at the site where their school, demolished by Israeli occupation forces, once stood in the West Bank city of Hebron, 10 April.Wisam HashlamounAPA images

Palestinians hold posters depicting Sami al-Janazra, a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in Israeli jail, during a solidarity protest in the West Bank city of Hebron on 10 April.Wisam HashlamounAPA images

A Hamas security officer inspects a site hit by Israeli tank fire on the outskirts of Gaza City, near the boundary with Israel, on 11 April. Israeli tanks targeted sites in eastern Gaza City in what the Israeli army and media reported was a response to an explosive device that was detonated near an Israeli military bulldozer along the boundary with Israel. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinian groom Ramadan Abu Sukkar celebrates during his wedding at the Great March of Return tents east of Gaza City on 11 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Israeli soldiers are seen from the Nahal Oz kibbutz as Palestinian protesters burn tires in Gaza’s eastern boundary on 13 April. Oren ZivActiveStills

Relatives of Palestinians jailed by Israel call for their loved ones’ release on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners Day, West Bank city of Nablus, on 17 April. Shadi Jarar’ahAPA images

A Palestinian man stands next a wall vandalized with Jewish supremacist slogans by suspected Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Nablus, 17 April. Shadi Jarar’ahAPA images

Dozens of used tear gas canisters are seen next to a home during confrontations between the Israeli army and youth in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on 21 April. Anne PaqActiveStills

A Palestinian boy flies a kite during Great March of Return protests east of Gaza City on 18 April.Yasser QudihAPA images

A counterprotester holds an Israeli flag during a demonstration in front of the QEII Centre in London, where HSBC’s annual general meeting was taking place on 20 April. Activists protested what they called the bank’s complicity with Israel. Ahmad Al-BazzActiveStills

A staff member prepares a prosthetic leg at Gaza’s Artificial Limbs and Polio Center in Gaza City on 24 April. Gaza’s health ministry announced that 17 Palestinians had limbs amputated after being injured by Israeli snipers during Great March of Return protests. Mahmoud AjourAPA images

Palestinian football player Muhammad Abu Obaid, 26, shot in both legs by Israeli occupation forces during Great March of Return protests, at his home in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, 24 April.Mahmoud KhattabAPA images

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian scientist Fadi al-Batsh, assassinated in Malaysia on 21 April, during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip on 26 April. Reportedly a member of the Hamas movement, al-Batsh was shot dead in a hail of bullets by motorbike-riding assailants as he walked to a Kuala Lumpur mosque for dawn prayers. Mahmoud AjourAPA images

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein during his funeral in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on 26 April. Abu Hussein died a day earlier, succumbing to his injuries after he was shot in the stomach by an Israeli sniper while covering Great March of Return protests on 13 April. Mofeed Abu ZaidaAPA images

Palestinians confront Israeli occupation forces during Great March of Return protests east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 27 April. Sanad LatefaAPA images

Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, takes part in a Great March of Return protest east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 27 April. Sanad LatefaAPA images

Israeli soldiers replace sections of the wall in Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp, separating it from Pisgat Zeev settlement, on 27 April after it collapsed the day before due to heavy rainfall and floods.Oren ZivActiveStills

Palestinian leftists protest against suspended public servant salaries in front of the headquarters of the Council of Ministers, Gaza City, on 29 April. The Palestinian Authority suspended payments to 20,000 civil servants in Gaza the previous month. Mahmoud AjourAPA images

Rogue regimes like israel (apartheid state) with illegal nukes present real danger to peace

Rogue regimes like Israel with illegal nukes present real danger to peace: Analyst

Rogue regimes like Israel with their illegal stockpiles of nuclear weapons present the real danger to global peace, according to independent political analyst and writer,Adam Garrie.

A senior Russian official has cautioned the United States against a plan to withdraw from a landmark Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, saying such a move would have grave consequence for the world.

US President Donald Trump announced last month that Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed toward the end of the Cold War in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The treaty — seen as a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers — banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers and led to the elimination of nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a news briefing on Monday that leaving the treaty would provoke “a new round of arms races.”

In an interview with Press TV on Tuesday, Garrie said, “Intermediate range nuclear weapons and tactical nuclear weapons are going to be the things in the 21st century.”

“Many may not want to hear that and many may not have anticipated that in the late 1980s when the denuclearization among the superpowers was something of a rule rather than the exception.  Today, the world is going towards the opposition direction as the technology to deploy small nuclear weapons or smaller becomes ever more sophisticated,” he added.

“So does the proliferation of any weapon make the world more dangerous? Generally yes depending on whose they are in.  But I think this whole tit-for-tat business with the US and Russia is really more of a side show especially when what we’ve got the rogue states like the Zionist regime which illegally has nuclear weapons and no one is saying a thing about it. Koreans are deescalating their nuclear program and cooperating with South Korea, US, Russia, China and with others. That’s really a positive development. While on the other end of this spectrum is Israel,” he stated.

“And then of course you have nuclear weapons in south Asia, where the next war between India and Pakistan could turn into a nuclear war a lot more easily than people think,” he added.

“I think those are the real issues to consider in respect of the problems of nuclear proliferation. I am not particularly worried about the US and Russia dropping nukes on each other. It did not happen in the last century and I don’t think it is going to happen in this one,” the analyst concluded.

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel

November 23, 2018

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel: Separateness, ontological uniqueness and Jewish morality are its characteristics

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

Western thinking and intellectual endeavor is very much epitomized by formality, rationality and clear boundaries or limits. These qualities no doubt derive from the Aristotelian philosophical and analytical basis of Western Christendom, in which the Excluded Middle of Aristotelian logic reigns supreme when it comes to the formulation of a thesis or argument. Aristotelian logic posits an absolute binary division between opposites. Its basic formula is an either/or contrast. Truth and falsehood are opposites: there is no half-truth or half-falsehood. This binary division permeates all other fields of quantifiable intellectual endeavor and finds expression in such opposites as good/evil, right/wrong, friend/enemy, legal/illegal, etc. There are obvious benefits to such clarity of thought, and no doubt it is this methodology which has contributed to the scientific achievements of the West. While such sharp divisions cannot always be imposed upon contingent reality because it is situational and circumstantial, rather than absolute, when this principle is violated in the law, the outcome is not only, or merely egregious, it defies ordinary human understanding and contributes to an inaccurate, if not corrupt, view of reality.

The Jewish oxymoron as an instrument of overcoming the limits set by Aristotelian logic

One of the binary opposites of Aristotelian classification in modern times is the democracy/dictatorship opposition. Democracy is recognized and understood to be of whole cloth, such that there is no such animal as a “somewhat” democratic state, or a “nearly” democratic state. A political system is not democratic if all the citizens of the country cannot participate on an equal basis. Either a political system is, or is not, democratic. Jewish genius however, has overcome this opposition with a number of oxymoronic legal definitions. The Jewish state of Israel characterizes itself as a “Jewish and democratic” state, although the latest law of the Knesset wishes to raise “Jewishness” above “democracy”. However, it must be blindingly obvious to anyone not in thrall to the ruling narratives, that when a minority of a population is regarded as hostile, is unwelcome and therefore is never part of a governing coalition, democracy must be a casualty, especially when that minority has been singled out for discriminatory and dispossessory treatment, despite the legal somersaulting of the greatest of Jewish legal minds.

The designation of Israel as an apartheid state characterized by apartheid- style laws has been accepted by leading jurists and many international organizations. As a former South African I not only know the meaning of the term in its original language of Afrikaans– separateness- but saw its effects upon the non-White population. In political practice, separate means unequal. It was only many years after my coming to Israel on aliya as a young Jewish woman and subsequent to obtaining a law degree from the Hebrew University and engaging in legal work for Palestinians, that the resemblance of Israeli legal system to South African apartheid really struck me. In fact I was quoted on the front page of the Ha’aretz intellectual daily newspaper as making this comparison. The first person to invoke the comparison was Dr. Uri Davis, an Israeli sociologist, who wrote a book called Israel: An Apartheid State.

I would like to elaborate on those elements which contribute to making Israel not only an apartheid State, apartheidbeing confined to the law, but rather the wider sociological cultural phenomena of discrimination in which the legal system is placed. The matrix of the society is based on force, violence, and inhumanity which derive from “values” of the Jewish religion.

The basic values of the Jewish religion as the basis of Israeli culture and politics

It can be stated without any fear of contradiction, that the Jewish state of Israel is built upon the principle of separation, which is why the apartheid comparison holds. But it must be understood how and why this is the case as well as the limits of the comparison. It is not an accident, nor a choice based merely upon economic, political or cultural considerations. Rather the principle of separation is at the heart of the Jewish religion itself and Zionism is the political expression of the Jewish religion. Normative Judaism in Israel is Rabbinical Judaism or Talmudic Judaism, which, historically, has been normative for nearly two thousand years. This is the Judaism developed by the Rabbis following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, or who were then known as the Pharisees. This Judaism is not a biblical religion: rather it is a religion based upon the interpretation of the Torah – the relevant parts of the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy – by a succession of Torah interpreters known as rabbis. I would like to stress that the bible is not normative In Judaism, that is, it is not binding nor is it obligatory for Jews: only the Talmudic rulings are binding. It is for this reason that the politically-concocted “Judeo-Christian” heritage does not hold. Christianity sees the Bible, both Old and New Testaments its standard-setting texts. Not so for Judaism. Judaism and Christianity do not share a parent/child relationship nor an older sibling/younger sibling relationship, as per the politically correct Roman Catholic Church.

The first codification of these interpretations was made in 200 CE and consisted of the six-part Mishnah. To this was subsequently added further interpretations; the Gomorrah and later, the Responsa literature – all products of Jewish community-acknowledged rabbinical experts of the law. This Judaism held a monopoly which began to be challenged only in the mid-nineteenth century in Germany as a result of the influence of what is called the Enlightenment, the source of the secularism of the West and the secularism of a majority of Western Jews, most of whom, nonetheless, have not broken with Judaism’s basic rituals of circumcision, the bar-mitzvah, Jewish divorce and burial.

The late Professor of Biblical studies at the Hebrew University, Shemaryahu Talmon, explained in a lecture to Catholic Christian Zionists, that the basic value of Judaism is the principle of separation. He illustrated his point with the binary opposites of sacred and profane, holy and unholy, Shabbat and non-Shabbat or weekdays, and, of course, kashrut, the laws governing pure and impure food and clothing. All of these pairs are exemplars of the underlying opposition of purity and impurity with purity being the ideal state.

At that meeting He did not however explicate in detail the source and full effects no doubt in deference to his audience. He left out the most significant binary opposition of Rabbinical Judaism: the Jew/Gentile or Jewish/goy oppositionthe consequences of which have always been, and remain, central to Jewish life. Talmon did not explain that the principle of separation derives from kadosh – which is translated as holy, but its literal meaning is “set aside” or “separate from”. The separation that both exists and is demanded for Jews is the separation from the “impure”. God is kadosh and His people must be kadosh too. This is the significance of “chosenness” – chosen by God to have the existential quality of purity. The Jew is pure because he possesses a soul – – nefesh in Hebrew. The purpose of all Jewish ritual is to sustain the state of purity of the Jew. Jews are commanded to do all in their power to avoid being contaminated by what is considered impure. In contrast to Jews, goys or goyim, the latter having the same dictionary meaning as gentium, people, fall into the category of the impure because they are not born with souls and are therefore, existentially separated from God without any possibility of “closing the gap”. Hence in the Jewish lexicon the term goy has a pejorative meaning while gentium does not. This is the fundamental reason that the Jew is not required to the treat the goy as an equal because, according to Judaism, he is not equal. In fact, the goy is considered as chattel because chattel do not have souls. The goy is therefore not fully humanIn this essay I shall only use the term goy for this reason.

This existential distinction between the Jew and the goy is reflected in the absence of a Jewish universal moral code, an absence which is not found within either Christianity or Islam. Judaism’s moral code is characterized by its particularity: it only binds Jews vis-à-vis Jews, not Jews vis-à-vis goys. The most outstanding exemplar of this system is that a Jew is not bound to save the life of a goy if saving the life requires the use of electricity or travelling in a motor vehicle, such as an ambulance, because such activities are forbidden on the Sabbath as they are considered forms or work, and a Jew may not work on the Sabbath. a Jew may do so for another Jew according to the law known as pikuah nefesh which translates as saving a soul. A Jew not only may break the Sabbath to save a Jewish soul, he is obligated to do so. Pikuah may be translated as to take care of and to oversee, and nefesh means soul: because goys do not have souls, pikuah nefesh cannot be applied. In addition, another exceptional phenomena of the Jewish moral code is that it does also not make truth binding upon the Jew with respect to the goy. There are only two instances where it is recommended that a Jew ought to tell the truth to a goy: when there is a danger to his life, or if it is in the interests of the Jew or the Jewish community.

The question may now be asked as to why this information has been placed as a prolegomena to a description and analysis of the laws and practices of the Jewish state. The reason is quite straightforward: everything that I have described does not fall within the written laws passed by the legislative body of Israel, the Knesset, but serves, rather, as the matrix in which the laws are embedded and out of which the laws spring.

The Israeli legal system

It is this background that serves to explain why Aristotelian logic does not have an exclusive hold on the Israeli legal system and why a formal legal analysis cannot, by definition, grasp the entire experiential reality of the separateness/apartheid of the Jewish state. Once the lives of goys have no more value than chattel, the Jewish Israeli legal system cannot provide value to that which has no value to Jews. The minute a Jewish/goy conflict is encountered, that which is regarded as universal morality does not apply. A personal experience of this nature found expression during a hearing on a petition I submitted to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice (Court of Equity concerning Administrative law and practice) requesting the voiding of a sale of Palestinian land by the majority of its owners (the land was not parcellated and therefore owned jointly by all the owners). A Justice in the hearing asked me what was wrong with an affidavit containing a blatant lie concerning the “sale” of Palestinian land to a Jew in militarily occupied territory, which is forbidden in international law. My response was that the perjury occurred to make the sale “kosher” at least in Jewish eyes. So the Justice asked what would happen if we just removed the affidavit to which I answered that the “sale” could not go through. The “sale” was not voided by the Court.

The State of Israel does not recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilians and hors de combat as legally binding upon it, although it is recognized as conventional international law, and not just treaty law, and hence binding upon all states. It is not that the Jewish state denies its conventional status but rather because the preamble refers to “High Contracting Parties” and the Palestinians are not, or at least were not, a High Contracting Party. This is a perfect instance of Talmudic logic – catch on to an irrelevant point and avoid the substance and rationale of the Convention. Therefore the Jewish state denies Palestinians, who are both civilians and hors de combat legal protection whilst living under a brutal military occupation whilst the Jewish appellation of the nature of the military occupation is “a benign military occupation” – one of the many oxymorons of Jewish thinking. Therefore the High Court cannot evoke this Fourth Geneva Convention to protect Palestinians in the militarily occupied territories from the Israeli army and refers instead to “humanitarian” considerations with respect to Palestinians, but never ever spells them out. But how could “humanitarian” considerations apply to Palestinians? After all they are goys, and goys have no souls and are therefore like chattel. They don’t deserve humanitarian considerations. This term therefore, in this context, is no more than flatus vocis – empty air, having no corresponding reality.

It is more than interesting to note, in contrast, that while South African apartheid was motivated by cultural concerns, not to say economic and political ones, it was not based upon an understanding that blacks and whites constitute different species of mankind. In fact, the South African government had to legislate criminal laws to prevent “miscegenation” i.e. the marriage or sexual relationships between people of different races, yet despite the attempts at prohibition, the fact is that as a result of “miscegenation”, a whole new category of “race” or “color” grew up in South Africa numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The children of such unions were called “Coloreds”.

In contrast to that situation, the marriage ratio of Jew and Arab in Israel is infinitesimal and there are no laws against it. Instead, Israel has preserved the millet system from the Ottomans, millet meaning religious community, according to which people can only marry legally within their own religious group. Naturally this was not considered discriminatory at the time, because secularism had not yet set in. “Mixed marriages” involving Israeli Jews and goyshave to take place abroad or abroad by proxy. But any Jewish woman wanting to divorce a non-Jewish man and remarry a Jew, has to have a Jewish divorce. There are special types of divorces for these cases, when they are applicable. Otherwise if she remarries a Jew without obtaining a Jewish divorce, called a get, her children and their descendents will be Jewish bastards and forbidden to marry within the normal Jewish community for ten generations! The Rabbinate keeps a list of the names of bastards.

Amongst the most egregious discriminatory laws are those legislated soon after the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine. There is a full list of them with comments compiled on the Israeli Arab legal site Adalah and may be accessed by anyone interested. I shall not deal with all of them naturally, but will touch on the most outstanding of them. www.adalah.org/en/law/index?page=4

One of the first and most crucial of such laws for the Jewish state is the Law of Return 1950. This is another oxymoronic manifestation of Jewish genius. This law says that Jews, who were not born in the Jewish state, may return to it because it is their “land of birth”. The term in Hebrew is moledet the root of which means “to be born”. What the law does is ignore the fact of birth outside of Israel of a Jew, that is, the de facto status of a foreign-born Jew, while assigning to him a de iure legal right of birth in the Jewish state. The legal right overcomes the fact. This translates into a situation that a Jew not born in the Jewish state may return to his land of birth of Israel where he was not born.

An Arab Palestinian refugee, born in Palestine has no right of return to the country of his birth according to the Citizenship Law. One of the mechanisms for the application of this law is the ius sanguinis – the law of blood. That is to say, that if you are born to a Jew you have acquired birthrights in Palestine whether you were born there or not. This is what accounts for the free entrance of Diaspora Jews into Israel.

The Arabs acquire citizenship in Israel according to the ius soli, that is to say, because they were born in this territory – on the soil, so to speak. But these are not inheritable rights. In other words, if a Palestinian Israeli family with Israeli citizenship moves abroad for a few years, any child born abroad has no automatic right of return to Israel, particularly as an adult. This is the law that forbids the return of the 1948 refugees and their descendants. But it must be understood that this law is crucial in order to have a Jewish state in Palestine. You have to keep out Palestinians to keep Israel Jewish.

A second crucial law, also from 1950 is the Absentees Property Law concerned the dispossession of Arab private property within the Jewish State. The state invented a new category of persons, who, despite enjoying de iure property rights prior to the creation of the Jewish state, suddenly found themselves deprived of property rights, a status unheard of elsewhere in the world, seeing as the central significance of the scope of property rights is erga omnes – rights against anyone encroaching on these property rights. Jewish genius not only managed to by-pass this exclusionary factor but transformed the de iure right into a de facto issue with the wave of a pen contingent upon a factual situation. What the Jewish law created was a new status of a “present absentee” for the Arab property owner another somersault defying Aristotle’s Excluded Middle without any difficulty whatsoever. What is a “present absentee”? Well, first of all only an Arab can be an “absentee”, an Arab born in Palestine or in the Ottoman Empire before Palestine was extruded from Greater Syria. It never applies to a Jew born in Palestine nor to Jewish immigrant to Palestine nor to Jews who live abroad but who own property in Israel. The “absentee” of the law, through its labyrinthine twists refers to Arabs who own property in Palestine/Israel but who were absent from their homes, even if for only one day during a period beginning on the 29th November 1947 – even before the Jewish state existed. It refers to those people who fled from the war, who were in “enemy territory” in Palestine and those who were expelled from Palestine itself or were ordered to leave their homes by the Jewish forces. That is to say, even someone who was “absent” from his home since that date, continuing through the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, but who managed to remain in the Jewish State of Israel, lost his property rights. The villages in Northern Galilee of Ikrit and Bir’in are examples of their populations being expelled by the Jewish forces and who were prevented from returning when the war was over. For the purposes of all other laws in Israel, a Palestinian Arab is “present” in the Jewish state. I estimate that Palestinians have lost more than 90 % of their privately owned land. Since then, the Town Planning Law has been eating away at the rest.

The latest laws which have caused stirs abroad concern the downgrading of the Arabic language from being an official language – in law – but never in practice. And the other law, the National Law posits that the Jewish state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation leaving out all reference to the Palestinian Arab population but I am not sure how it is going to be applicable, particularly as there are other discriminatory pracises to do its business.

The Discriminatory administration of non-discriminatory Laws

What I would like to bring to the reader’s attention here is where the repugnant discrimination, humiliation and deprivation are felt on a daily basis. It must be understood that the outcomes of administrative decisions are deliberate and the destruction they wreak is foreseeable. Administrative law, that is to say, those norms governing the actual administration or laws, is based on equity. Included in equity is treating equals equally, justice, fairness, honesty, and using the law for the said purposes of the law itself. These values are included in what is called “discretionary power”. Discretion is one of the difficult or “hard” issues in laws because it is a power, yet a power which is exercised contingent upon circumstances and the judgment of the person or persons wielding that power. The greatest danger with discretionary power is that it may veer towards its opposite very quickly which is arbitrary power. It is at this juncture of the law and equity that one finds the intrusion of those norms characteristic of Judaism. Compared to the total number of laws on Israel’s law books, the actual number of discriminatory laws, or sections of laws, is not very large, although key with respect to certain subjects, such as land use, ownership, disposition and rights to family. Where the real, hard, anti-Arab forces kick in is in the discretionary or arbitrary application of laws which in themselves make no reference at all to either Jew or Arab.

The budget of the government is unashamedly discriminatory and funds are not distributed proportionately amongst Jews and Arabs. Naturally there has been an unbroken verbal against this situation, but the Arabs have no power at all to change anything. It is important to take cognizance of the fact that no Jewish government has ever gone into coalition with an Arab party in order to form a majority government. This is, or would be, considered treason, to put it mildly. Therefore they have no way of influencing governmental decisions. Although the Arabs constitute approximately one-fifth i.e. 20.9% of the population, their fraction of the national cake, so to speak, is nowhere near proportional to their numbers. See reliable figures from those compiled by the Adva non-profit organization and http://adva.org/en/ and http://din-online.info/pdf/ms2.pdf from the Mossawa non-profit organization – both of them highly reliable sources. An internet search for budgetary discrimination against Arabs in Israel will yield a rich treasure.

With the discrimination in the budget as the starting point, and keeping it in mind, I would like to concentrate on other areas where this administrative apartheid is not only apparent, but which has had, and continues to have, disastrous effects upon the Arab population in Israel, not to speak of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Arab Land Use

Arab land ownership has been exponentially diminished in the Jewish State. The following is an excellent article on how this was achieved but it is not my intention to further explicate this subject. https://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/historical-israeli-planning/

What I shall only deal with the actual use of Arab-owned land because this remains the chief instrument of deprivation financially and socially as well as actual emotional suffering affecting a person’s well-being, under Israel’s apartheid. The prime weapon in this on-going war against Arab Israeli citizens is the Building and Planning Law of 1965. That it is old-fashioned and dates from the time of the British mandate in its approach, utterly undemocratic, top heavy with apparatchiks, has not prevented its usefulness to the Jewish population. Israel has set up new towns all over Israel proper as well as in the Occupied territories with modern, admirable infrastructure and public spaces. I believe that within the Jewish community women and Jewish institutions may have an input. The importance of this law lies in the fact that it is used as the main administrative tool of control over the Arab population. Town Planning is the central and main tool used for urbanization and therefore modernization, industrialization, socialization and economic development. It developed as a result of the industrial revolution, mass production and urbanization of the peasants and it plays a critical role in a country’s development. Israel has settled most nearly all of its Jewish population – most of which is of course an immigrant population in cities, towns and what are called development towns crucially located within the country according to perceived needs of Jewish society.

In contrast the Arab community has had no town planning in the modern meaning of the word and neither do Arabs have any planning rights. They are also not consulted as to the needs of the communities. The town planners are 90% Jewish with an occasional Arab brought in for appearances sake and their “planning” is devoted to the inhibition of growth Arab “towns” or overgrown villages. The Arab “towns” are actually “townships” equivalent to the South African black townships. I remember Alexandra township just north of Johannesburg way back when. A “township” lacks modern planning for modern facilities and modern land disposition: there is no proper infrastructure of any kind: sewage, drainage, electricity, road design, transportation facilities, and no proper land parcellation and zoning! Modern cadastral zoning takes into account current ownership and possibilities of parcellation, allocation of uses of land and can increase building space. As a striking example, on land taken from Arab owners in the Galilee to build a Jewish settlement as part of the “judaization of the Galilee” building rights on Jewish parcels can range well above 100% as a result of permission to build upwards, while on Arab land in the identical vicinity it was 20%. This is repeated in the entire country. Modern land use builds to height and creates separate private properties within single buildings called condominiums. In Hebrew it is called cooperative housing. Arab land has not been zoned to permit this multiplication of space within the “town” or village limits. In the township in which I live, the population of which is approximately 30,000, there are not more than five buildings taller than three storeys! No public housing has been erected in any of them, no public facilities have been developed and there are no parks, no proper sidewalks nor parking arrangements. It is all higgledy-piggledy. And this is not because the Arabs do not know how to plan or how to build. In contrast to the South African townships where the housing is often leanto’s, Arab private housing is built up to the most modern standards and can be exceptionally elaborate with attention to aesthetic details. But the building is at strangulation levels. The main intended effect of the lack of planning is that it is almost impossible to get a building license. So the vast majority of all homes are built without licenses: according to the law they can be destroyed by administrative decision. And many are. Many organizations have spoken up against house demolition but they have not questioned the basic cause of such demolitions. Jewish town planning is based on the principle, according to them, of “natural increase”. This principle is totally absent from the town planning for Arabs and one could say that its opposite governs town planning considerations: rather than expansion the aim is restriction and constriction.

Another outcome of this approach is that there is no distinction between industrial zones and city and residential uses of land. What this means, is that the infrastructure required for certain industries, such as the food canning industry, is absent where an Arab has managed to set up a factory. The lack of sewage facilities leads to land pollution with the intendant fines imposed by the government for “breaking the laws”.

The municipal courts are packed full of Arab “scoff law” cases about homes built without building permits. The list of cases in the Jerusalem municipal court hardly mentions Jews and when it does, it is for building a verandah without a license or something similarly negligible.

On the other hand, new Jewish towns and settlements have been planned and built on Arab land such as to not only dispossess Arab owners, but to literally trespass into actual housing. The land allocated to a Jewish settlement includes huge “border” land swathes of hundreds of meters which are not necessarily needed or used for building, but the purpose of which is to prevent Arab building. A visit to the town of Sakhnin illustrates this perfectly. The Jewish settlement is built at the top of the hill whilst its border went through the Arab home’s living room in which I sat at the bottom of the hill.

In another Arab “town plan” a line was drawn through a plot dividing it with no rhyme or reason. It imposed an almost unbearable burden on the owners of the land, because they could not use the land properly. After eight years there were murmurings of it having been a mistake, just like that, but no change was made to the plan.

In a word, every single decision concerning Arab town planning is based on an attempt to make life as difficult and as uncomfortable as possible for Arabs. It also completely arbitrary and therefore there are no logical or coherent arguments that one can use which are persuasive within the system. Outside the system their rationale is obvious, but not within it and there are no officials to whom they may turn for salvation. And this rationale cannot be used in the courts.

Another result is that there is no building inspectorate because if there is no town plan permitting building, why do you need inspectors? However a vacuum has not been left: in place of an inspectorate used to enhance living, there is a policing of illegal buildings – not for the purposes of safety, efficiency of use, functionality or aesthetics, but rather for the purpose of imposing fines to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per building. The state sues the person who built illegally, and as a consequence, after a show trial, the owner finds himself having to pay a fine which is about ten or twenty times the size of his monthly earnings. Naturally this is deliberate. Not only shall an Arab man not have his castle, but he shall not have the means to even live comfortably, if not at all lavishly. After one has been present in many of these hearings, they are so transparently evil that it becomes unbearable.

I would like to interject my own personal experience in the municipal court of Jerusalem, in my attempt to prevent the demolition of a home built without a license. The judge was an American Jew who had come on aliya to Israel so he and I shared at least the same language barriers, if not the same language. In defense of my client I quoted a South African court decision, S v. Govender, 1982 of the Transvaal Supreme Court, reported as 1986 (3) SA 969 (T)concerning the Urban Areas Act, which determined which areas or towns or neighborhoods were reserved for which racial groups. Govender, an Indian, had moved into a White area in Johannesburg and the State wished to expel him from that area. Justice Goldstone argued that seeing that housing was a basic need of a human being, and that there was no housing available for Govender, it would be unjust to expel him from the only housing he could find. This case marked the beginning of the collapse of the Urban Areas Act. I used this case, mutatis mutandis, in favor of my client, arguing that there was no housing available for him and that as he owned the land upon which he had built, but which had been zoned as “open landscape area” – a designation absent in all Jewish town plans – he built his house under duress, which is a mitigating circumstance of the Israeli criminal code, in order to protect his family. If the state wanted to destroy this house, it would have to provide alternative dwelling for my client.

Nobody had ever argued this before, and I understand that this was taken up to the Supreme Court behind the scenes, where my argument being dismissed on the grounds that “it was not from Israel’s legal system”. Naturally the moral and existential values included in it played no rôle in the court’s decision rejecting my argument. But there was a quite unexpected outcome to this case. I was called into the Justice’s chambers a short while thereafter and he told me he was leaving the municipal court and going to the family court. When I asked him the reason for this move he looked at me and said “How long can a man sign demolition orders for family homes?”

I wanted to cry and still do, even while writing this. Why? I believe that this Jewish principle of separation, this principle that determines that Jews are not the same species as goys, enforces a psychopathy on its adherents. The justice could not bear what he was doing, so he just ran away. He did not stop and stand up and ask what the hell was going on? What the hell was a state destroying the housing of human beings? Yet he knew that it was wrong. He knew that it was evil.

It is for this reason that I believe that Zionism has wrought is the destruction of the Jewish heart. After all, what is touched when we see the suffering of others? Our hearts. And I discovered that this heartlessness was not confined to Arabs. In a labor case, I represented a man of about 63 who was the head of a government hospital kitchen accused of stealing food. The “food” stolen was the leftovers of chicken soup the bones of which had been through three preparations, together with leftover vegetables on his and others’ plates. He took this “food” home for the thirteen cats which his mentally ill wife looked after in her madness. He was a religious Jew and would not consider putting her in a mental home. The reason for the accusation was that someone wanted his job. After I clarified the nature of the food and provided his history, his having been through four camps during the war, and his wife having lived underground in hiding for a couple of years, I burst out into tears, pointing out how grotesque the entire process was in all its aspects. The prosecutor replied by telling me “not to be so emotional” and my reply to her was that as soon as I no longer felt emotional about human suffering, I would give up the profession of law. I did win the case however, and the judge in the trial always spoke to me fondly when we met in other venues.

This hardness of heart finds expression with respect to the marriage of Arabs – both Christian and Moslem. There is no overall protection of non-Jewish marriage either in the Jewish state or in the militarily occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel controls all ports and points of entry and exist into the Palestinian territory east of the River Jordan. The Jewish State treats some non-Jewish marriages as neither sacred nor as the basic building block of society. On the contrary. For twelve years now, marriage between Arabs with Israeli citizenship who live in Israel proper with spouses from either the militarily occupied West Bank and Gaza or even from abroad receive no conjugal rights in the Jewish State of Israel. Therefore an Israeli Arab has no rights to create a family in Israel if his spouse is from Palestinian territories or from abroad. West Bank Arabs are not allowed to bring in spouses from Jordan or elsewhere. In other words, Israel does its best to limit demographic growth of Arabs under its control. The hardships are unbearable in most cases: some couples have to split up, others lose their homes and/or their livelihood, are split off from families etc. etc. The barrier wall built on Palestinian land to protect Israel has split towns, village, families and homes to an egregious extent. It can take up to one or two hours for people to make a one-way trip to the other side of the wall.

It is clear therefore that there is a profound cruelty and inhumanity at the basis of the Israeli system and as the one example I gave demonstrated, it is not always confined to Arabs, except in 99% of the cases.

What can be observed from this overview of interlocking fields of endeavor, is that the Jewish regime in Palestine has done and continues to deprive Palestinians of many of their rights in law as well as their rights as human beings. Is it unreasonable to suspect that the Jewish regime has not let up in its efforts to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its non-Jewish residents, following the huge success of the Naqba or Catastrophe, as the Arabs call it, in 1948 when 90% of the Arab Palestinian population was expelled from Jewish-controlled Palestine?

I have been asked as to what I consider to be the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There will never be a freely-agreed upon political solution unless the Jews admit to their theft and destruction of Palestine which nobody can see happening. But I do see Israel “bleeding” its Ashkenazi or “white” population leaving behind a far weaker country with no proper ruling elite. In this case, I do not see how a Jewish State will survive, despite its being a creation of the international banking cartel.

The author is an Israeli lawyer who has represented Palestinians in the Israeli courts. She has lived in Israel/Palestine for over fifty years and considers herself political dissident and lives in an Arab township. She writes out of her own experiences.

Talmud and Israel

November 23, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

The title of Ronen Bergman’s book, ‘Rise and Kill First,’  comes from the Babylonian Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”

In his recent appearance on Democracy Now, Bergman repeated this phrase, arguing that the Talmudic verse defines the lethal vindictive practice that Israel has used for three generations. Yet, for one reason or another, Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now’s leading hosts, failed to do their jobs.  They didn’t question or  challenge Bergman’s observation regarding the Talmudic origin of Israel’s vengeful impetus.

Being a well meaning character I decided to remind González and Goodman  what  journalism is all about.

https://vimeo.com/302406300

 

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