Jews vs. Israelis

 

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by Gilad Atzmon

 Now would be the correct time for Ali Abunimah, JVP,  & CO to form an orderly queue to issue their deep and sincere apology to me. Since the early 2000s my detractors within the so called Jewish ‘Left’ together with  their sometime stooges, have been harassing me, my publishers and my readers for pointing out that Zionism is an obsolete concept with little meaning for Israel, Israelis  and their politics let alone the conflict that has been destroying the Eastern Mediterranean region

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In my 2011 book The Wandering Who, I argue that “Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for.” Just before the publication of the book I was urged by both JVP’s leader and Ali Abunimah to drop the J-Word and focus solely on Zionism. In Britain, a gang of so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews relentlessly terrorised my publisher and promoters. Funny, most of these authoritarian tribals who worked 24/7 to silence me have been expelled from the British Labour Party for alleged anti-Semitism. Now, they promote the ideal of ‘freedom of speech.’

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In ‘The Wandering Who’ and in the years preceding its publication, I realised that the Palestinian solidarity discourse has been suffocated with misleading and often duplicitous terminology that was set to divert  attention from the root cause of the conflict and that acted  to prevent intelligible discussion of  possible solutions.

Let’s face it. Israel doesn’t see  itself as the Zionist State: not one Israeli party integrated the word ‘Zionism’ into its name. To Israelis, Zionism is a dated and clichéd concept that describes the ideology that promised to erect a Jewish homeland in Palestine. For Israelis, Zionism fulfilled its purpose in 1948, it is now an archaic term. In ‘The Wandering Who’ I presented a so-far unrefuted argument that an understanding of ‘Jewishness’, a term familiar to every self-identified Jew, may provide answers to most questions related to Israel and its politics. It may also help us to grasp the fake dissent that has dominated the so- called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist campaign for the last two decades.

Though I was probably the first to write about the crucial shift in Israeli society in favour of Judeo-centrism, this shift is now mainstream news.  Haaretz’s lead writer, Anshel Pfeffer, just wrote a spectacular analysis of this transformation. Pfeffer’s view is that Israelis are going to the polls this Tuesday to decide whether they are “Jews” or “Israelis.” 

According to Pfeffer, in the mid 1990s it was Netanyahu’s American campaign guru, Arthur Finkelstein, who promoted  “a message that could reach secular and religious voters alike. In his polling, he had asked voters whether they considered themselves ‘more Jewish’ or ‘more Israeli.’ The results convinced him there was a much larger constituency of voters, not just religious ones, who emphasized their Jewish identity over their Israeli one.”

In light of Finkelstein’s observation, Likud focused its message on Jerusalem. Its campaign slogan was:  “Peres will divide Jerusalem.” In the final 48 hours before Election Day there was also “an unofficial slogan, emblazoned on millions of posters and bumper stickers distributed by Chabad Hasidim: “Netanyahu is good for the Jews.”

In a Haaretz interview after his narrow 1996 defeat, Peres lamented that “the Israelis lost the election.” When asked then who had won, he answered, “The Jews won.”

Pfeffer points out that Netanyahu learned from Finkelstein that the “Jew” is the primary unifier for Israelis. This certainly applies to religious Jews but also to those who regard themselves as secular. After all, Israel has really been the “Jewish State” for a while.

This is probably the right place to point out that Netanyahu’s move of locating Jewishness at the heart of Israel is a reversal of the original Zionist promise. While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them “people like all other people,” the present adherence to Jewishness and kinship induces  a return to Judeo-centric chauvinism. As odd as this may sound, Netanyahu’s transformation of Israel into a ‘Jewish realm’ makes him an ardent anti Zionist probably more anti Zionist than JVP, Mondoweiss and the BDS together.

Pfeffer points out that when Netanyahu returned to power in 2009 and  formed a right-wing/ religious coalition, was when “the Jews prevailed — and have done so ever since in four consecutive elections, including the last one in April 2019.”

To illustrate this Pfeffer cites the 2012 Israeli  High Court of Justice decision to deny a petition by writer Yoram Kaniuk and others to allow themselves to be registered solely as ‘Israelis’ as opposed to ‘Jews.’

Every so often we hear from one Torah rabbi or another that “Zionism is not Judaism.” Those who have reached this point surely grasp that ‘Zionism vs. Judaism’ is a fake dichotomy. It serves to confuse and to divert questioning minds from the path toward an understanding of the conflict: In Israel Zionism is an empty concept, politically, ideologically and spiritually. Israel defines itself as ‘The Jewish state’ and orthodox rabbis are at the centre of this transition in Israeli politics and life.

I guess that Abunimah and JVP were desperate to silence me at the time as they foolishly believed that shooting the messenger or alternatively burning books was the way forward for human rights activism. I stood firm. The observations I produced in ‘The Wandering Who’ were endorsed by the most profound thinkers associated with the conflict and the anti war movement. My observations are more relevant than ever and in Israel they have entered mainstream analysis. When it comes to Palestine solidarity we have managed to waste a good two decades of intellectual progress thanks to authoritarian lobbies operating in our midst. For truth and justice to prevail, we have to learn to speak the truth as we see it, and to accept JVP and Abumimah’s apologies when they are mature enough to come clean.

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The End of Israel

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by Gilad Atzmon

The lesson to be drawn from the current Israeli political stalemate is that Israel is imploding, breaking into the elements it has never managed to integrate into one. The schism is no longer the more quotidian dichotomy of Ashkenazi vs. Arab Jews (aka Sephardim); this divide is ideological, religious, spiritual, political, ethnic and cultural. Nor does it break down to Left and Right, Jewish Israelis are politically with the right even when they pretend to be ‘Left.’ Although some of the most astute critical voices of Israeli politics and Jewish fundamentalism are Israelis (such as Gideon Levi, Shlomo Sand, Israel Shamir and others), there is no political Israeli Left. Israeli politics break down into a lot of extreme right voters and many ordinary hawks. The Arab Joint List Party is practically the only Left party in the Israeli Knesset. This should not be surprising any more. Jewish Left, as I have been arguing for many years, is an oxymoron; Jewishness is a form of tribal identification and Left is universal. The ‘tribal’ and the ‘universal’ are like oil and water, they do not mix very well.

What is peculiar about the Israeli political divide is that the Israelis are more united than ever in their nationalist beliefs and in the primacy of their Jewish symptoms. Why is it, if the Israelis are so unified, that no one can form a government in their so-called ‘Jewish State’?

 Avigdor Lieberman, formerly an enthusiastic Netanyahu ally and himself a radical Jewish nationalist, delved into the Israeli political deadlock yesterday. He maintained that the elections had already been decided: “The ultra-Orthodox and Messianic bloc reaches 62-61 seats.” The leader of the rabid nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu said, “If there is no voting rate of at least 70% in Gush Dan and Sharon, the Halacha government will be established.”

Basically, Lieberman said that unless secular Israelis in Tel Aviv go to the polls, they should expect to live in a Halacha State under an ultra right wing Netanyahu government.  Lieberman appears to hold the key to Israel’s political stability. Although he and Netanyahu are ideological twins regarding Israeli security and nationalist matters, the two are bitter rivals who fight aggressively against each other. Netanyahu has known for a few years that, absent a strong ultra right wing government, he can expect to spend some time behind bars, an adventure that has become common for Israel’s prime political figures.  Netanyahu’s natural partners are the ultra right parties and the orthodox parties. Ideologically, Lieberman should also feel comfortable within such a political coalition but Lieberman has made a crucial political decision, essential for his political survival. A while back he grasped that his political home base, Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of them barely Jewish and subjected to constant rabbinical terror, regard the Jewish Orthodox parties as their ultimate foes. Many of these Russian and Ukrainian Jews hold ultra right wing political positions but also see the Rabbis as an imminent threat to their survival.

Theoretically, Lieberman could broker a huge unity coalition with Netanyahu at the top, joined by Blue and White (Kachol Lavan) and its three right wing field marshals, Lieberman’s own party and probably the Labour party. Such a coalition would hold around 80 Knesset seats, more than enough to sustain a strong government but this coalition would refuse to guarantee Netanyahu’s immunity.

 Netanyahu gambles instead on a weak ultra right wing religious government, a government that may not hold for very long but would buy more time for its PM to stay out of jail.

 This conflict at the heart of Israeli politics is a window into the Jewish state and its fears. Israel is rapidly becoming an Orthodox Jewish state. Israel’s Orthodox Jews are the fastest growing group in the country. They are also the country’s poorest population, 45 percent live below the poverty line in segregated communities. Ordinarily, one would expect the poor to support the left, but Israeli Torah Jews are rabid nationalists and openly lend their support to Benjamin Netanyahu and his party.

Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University warned recently that Israel could cease to exist in a couple of generations. He pointed to the astonishingly high birth rate among ultra Orthodox Jews and predicted that, based on current trends, they will comprise 49% of Israel’s population by 2065. The ultra Orthodox parties are destined to dominate the Knesset within a generation or less. Ben David  predicts that their dependence on Israel’s welfare system will lead to a rapid decline is Israel’s economy. This is economically damaging enough and is made worse by the refusal of most rabbinical schools to incorporate standard Western subjects such as mathematics, science and English into their core curriculum. Consequently, Israel is educating a growing percentage of its population in a fashion that fails to equip them to contribute to the needs of a hi-tech society that is immersed in a conflict for survival.

 The picture that comes across is peculiar. As Israel becomes increasingly Jewish and fundamentalist in its nationalist and religious ethos, it has also become more divided on everything else. The Russian immigrants find it impossible to live alongside the ultra Orthodox and vice versa. The secular enclave in Tel Aviv is committed to seeing their metropolis as an extension of NY. The Israeli Left has morphed into an LGBT hasbara unit. It has practically removed itself from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Jewish settlers adhere to the concept of a ‘Two Jewish States Solution.’ They want to see the West Bank become a Jewish land. Orthodox Jews are barely concerned with any of these political issues. They well know that the future of the Jewish state belongs to them. All they need to do is sustain a productive secular Jewish minority to serve as their milk cow.  On top of all of that we face Bibi’s survival wars that threaten to escalate any minute into a world conflict.

In light of all of this, the Palestinians are in relatively good shape.. They simply need to survive. Israel seems to be Israel’s fiercest enemy.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

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Hamas Won Again

April 10, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a decisive victory yesterday. He is likely to carry on to a fifth term in office. As of this morning, the right-wing bloc has a clear advantage of 65 seats (out of 120) over the centre/left parties and seems more likely to form a coalition.

The meaning of yesterday’s election results are obvious and undeniable. The Israeli left is now marginal, verging on non-existent. The Israeli Labour party has been reduced to a miniature caricature, pretty much the size of Meretz, themselves a parody of left thinking. Needless to mention that these two parties are Zionist to the core. They deny the Palestinian right of return and believe in segregation between Jews and Arabs by means of a two-state solution.

Netanyahu is, beyond doubt, the most sophisticated player in the Israeli political theatre. In the weekend he  vowed to annex the West Bank Settlements. By performing this election ploy, he managed to completely obliterate his hard-line rivals on the right such as Bennett-Shaked’s New Right and even Zehut, which promised to be a ‘rising political force.’ As for this morning neither Zehut nor Bennett, who promised his voters he would be the next Defence Minister, made it to the Knesset.  Netanyahu has also managed to reduce the USA into a subservient colony.  We saw President Trump working hard for his friend in Jerusalem, recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and castigating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a ‘terror organisation’. But most significantly, Netanyahu is also Hamas’s favourite prime minister.

Hamas knows very well that Israeli centrist government are genocidal in their approach to Arabs and Palestinians in particular. Hamas remembers Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak. They clearly prefer Bibi. They know very well that Bibi has been anxious to operate in Gaza. Hamas knows very well that Israel is running out of military and political options, let alone solutions to the conflict. Hamas voted Bibi. It entered ceasefire negotiations with Israel just a few days before the election. There is good reason to believe that Hamas would prefer to deal with Netanyahu rather than with a ‘centrist’ party led by three war criminals. Hamas won again, it has pushed Israel into a state of further paralysis. Israel does not have a prospect of a future in the region. Israel may not be defeated by Quasam rockets but by its own Ghetto mentality. 

Netanyahu is not the Disease, he is a Symptom

March 25, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

In a recent thought-provoking article Gideon Levy, probably one of the last genuine Israeli voices for peace, claims that “It is not Netanyahu who is responsible for Israeli ‘racism, extreme nationalism, divisiveness, incitement, hatred, anxiety and corruption.’” Behind Netanyahu, Levy says, there’s a nation of voters and other elected officials that aren’t very different from their leader.

“Simply put, the people are the problem… There are those who have hated Arabs long before Netanyahu. There are those who despise blacks, detest foreigners, exploit the weak and look down their noses at the whole world – and not because of Netanyahu. There are those who believe they are the chosen people and therefore deserve everything.”

Levy reaffirms the observation that I have been pushing for two decades. The problem with Israel is not of a political kind. The conflict with the Palestinians or the Arabs is not of a political nature as some delusional characters within the Palestinian solidarity movement have been proclaiming for years. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state. In order to grasp Israel, its politics, its policies and the intrusive nature of its lobby, we must understand the nature of Jewishness. We must learn to define the differences between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the ideology). We have to understand how those terms are related to each other and how they influence Israeli and Jewish politics globally.

Levy writes that “there are those who think that after the Holocaust, they are permitted to do anything. There are those who believe that Israel is tops in the world in every field, that international law doesn’t apply to it, and that no one can tell it what to do. There are those who think Israelis are victims – always victims, the only victims – and that the whole world is against us. There are those who are convinced that Israel is allowed to do anything, simply because it can.”

In order to understand what Levy is referring to we must dig into the core of Jewish identification and once and for all grasp the notion of Jewish choseness. Levy contends that “racism and xenophobia are deeply entrenched here, far more deeply than any Netanyahu…The apartheid did not start with him and will not end with his departure; it probably won’t even be dented. One of the most racist nations in the world cannot complain about its prime minister’s racism.” Netanyahu as such, is not the disease. He is a mere symptom.

The devastating news is that neither the Israeli ‘Left’ nor the Jewish so-called ‘anti’ Zionist league are any less racist than their Zionist foes. The Israeli Left pushes for a ‘two state solution.’ It crudely ignores the Palestinian cause i.e. the Right of Return. The Israeli Left advocates segregation and ghettoization; not exactly the universal message of harmony one would expect from ‘leftists.’ Disturbingly, the Diaspora Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist Left is even more racially exclusive than the Israeli Right. As I have explored many times in the past, Corbyn’s ‘favourite Jewish political group namely, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)  is a racially exclusive political cell. It wouldn’t allow gentiles into its Jews-only club. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is no better. It will happily take donations from Goyim but will never allow those Goyim to become its board members.

Levy proclaims that “Netanyahu is the best thing to ever happen to Israeli politics – you can dump everything on him.” But in his most astute observation, which has been explored before by Uri Avnery (may he rest in peace) and yours truly, Levy continues, “It would be great if some local Nelson Mandela would arise, a brave leader with vision who would change the country’s basic values and lead a revolution. But no such person has been born here, and it’s doubtful he ever will be.”

Levy points at the core of the Zionist failure. If early Zionism was a promise to civilise the diaspora Jew by means of ‘homecoming,’ Israel happened to do the complete opposite. Not much is left out of the Zionist promise to make the Jews ‘people like all other people’: as Israel is about to perpetrate another colossal war crime in Gaza, we have to admit that we are dealing with an institutionally racist and dangerous identity like no other.

Israel Migrates to the Right

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Israel’s Tragic But Predictable “Migration” to the Right—An Analysis (22 March 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

 

Part I—Israel’s Movement Right

An article published in the Israeli news blog +972 on 19 November 2018posed the question: Why does the right keep winning elections in Israel? The answer offered was “because Israelis are right wing.” Simple enough, and apparently, quite true. The article estimates that over half of Israeli Jews think of themselves as “right wing.” Self-defined centrists are about 25 percent, and those Israeli Jews who still cling to “leftist” ideals are now only about 15 percent of the population. The remainder are non-committal.

This movement to the right is often blamed on the Palestinians, but that is largely an evasion. As the story goes, it was the Second Intifada (occurring from late 2000 to early 2005) that so scared a majority of Israeli Jews that it “led to a migration of left-wingers to the … political center… [and] centrists [to the] right, causing the percentage of Jewish right-wingers to drift upward over the decade.” While the “migration to the right” has certainly taken place, it is better understood as follows: under Palestinian pressure for democratic reforms and justice, along with corresponding resistance to oppression, Israeli Jews who could not face the prospect of real democracy had nowhere politically to go than to the right—what should properly be described as the racist right. And, so they went. From this point on there was no more obfuscation—Israeli “security” is now clearly a stand-in phrase for the maintenance of Israeli Jewish domination over non-Jews.

Part II—Enter the Fascists

The present shifting about on Israel’s political landscape prior to its April 2019 elections confirms this basically rightwing racist scene. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed that Israel is “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.” A minority of Israeli Jews might denounce such racism, but Israel’s recently adopted nationality law states that the right of national self-determination in Israel is “unique to the Jewish people.” And

whether the “left” acknowledges the fact or not, this law is in perfect sync with Zionist ideology.

It should be noted that the prime minister’s personal preference is not for “the Jewish people” as a whole. Indeed, in his eyes, if you are an anti-Zionist Jew you are an anti-Semitic Jew—whatever that might mean. The prime minister is more comfortable with Jews of the fascist, racist right, with whom he has so much in common. This is the kind of Jew he has politically allied with. What in the world is a fascist Jew? Well, in this case, it is someone who uses violent methods to  realize the logical consequences of Zionism—if Israel is a “Jewish state,” then non-Jews must go. How they ultimately go has been left an open-ended question, though Israel is engaged in a continuous effort to destroy Palestinian infrastructure. Fascist Jews advocate expulsion of all Palestinians and sometimes engage in direct violence—akin to classic pogroms—in an effort to fulfill this goal.

You might shake your head in wonderment at the notion of Jewish fascists, but they have always been an important element in Zionist history. You can trace their activity from Vladimir Jabotinsky and his notion of an “iron wall” (1923) that would force the Palestinians to acquiesce in Zionist domination, right up to Meir Kahane, an advocate of expulsion, and his Kach Party (1971-1990). It is Kahane’s followers who now are political partners of Netanyahu. The “migration” of Israeli Jews to the right has narrowed the gap between the majority of “ordinary” citizens and the fascists. So, back into favor come the Kahanists.

Part III—What Is an Israeli Centrist?

Nor should we look for anti-racist activism among the 25 percent who see themselves as centrists. Presently, those who seek to capture the centrist vote are Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. Gantz is former chief-of-staff and a man who is being sued for war crimes. He is leader of the Israeli Resilience Party (Hosen Israel). That party has allied with Yair Lapid, a former TV celebrity, and his There is a future Party (Yesh Atid).

Both of these politicians call themselves “new centrists” and concentrate their platforms on “socio-economic issues such as the cost of living.” However, when it comes to the Palestinians, neither of them are interested in a democratic Israel that would afford non-Jews equal rights—nothing particularly “new” here for “centrists.” Gantz is the classic military maven so prevalent in Israeli politics. Here is his view of where “resilience” should take Israel relative to the Palestinians: “The Jordan Valley will remain our eastern security border,” Gantz declared. “We will maintain security in the entire Land of Israel … we will not allow the millions of Palestinians living beyond the separation fence to endanger our security and our identity as a Jewish state.” For someone who is campaigning on the theme that, under its present government, “Israel has lost its way,” Gantz’s intentions in this regard are remarkably similar to those of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yair Lapid’s position on the Palestinians is little different from that of Gantz. He says that “we need to separate from the Palestinians,” as if Israeli Jews haven’t been doing just that for the past 71 years. He goes on to demand that all issues of security have to “stay in Israel’s hands,” there is no such thing as a “right of return,” and Jerusalem will not be divided into two capitals.

On the Palestinian issue—the one that now divides Israel from increasing numbers of citizens in the democratic world—there is little difference between the Israeli rightists and the centrists except that the latter do not publicly talk about the forceful expulsion.

Part IV—Conclusion

That approximately 85 percent of Israeli Jews should end up unwilling to grant equal rights to the 20 percent of Palestinians who are their segregated neighbors; that they should support, or at best not act against the relentless, vicious process of illegal settlement in the Occupied Territories; and finally that they should react to Palestinian resistance to Zionist oppression by “migrating” to the right, is both tragic and predictable.

It must be realized that any country that allows racism to rule its public sphere cannot pass itself off as a democracy. It is simply a contradiction. The Zionist experiment looking toward a democratic Jewish state might have gone differently if it had been tried somewhere devoid of a non-Jewish population (like the moon), but then, in the end, the Zionists became obsessed with Palestine, fell in with the colonial mentality still prevalent during the first half of the twentieth  century, and have never progressed beyond it.

To this point, I beg the reader’s patience as I repeat an argument I have made more than once in past analyses: It is impossible to create a state exclusively for one people (call them people A) in a territory already populated by another people (call them people B) without the eventual adoption of racist policies by A and eventual resistance on the part of B. Under such circumstances, for A, there can be no real security, nor can there be anything like a healthy national culture.

Indeed, unless a majority of Israeli Jews are willing to go the route of South Africa and renounce their program of discriminatory dominion over millions of non-Jews, they have nowhere else to go but head-first into the hell that is the racist right. With 85 percent sharing, or at least acquiescing, in the views of Netanyahu, Gantz, and Lapid, the chances for redemption do not look good. In fact, it is probably the case that the “light unto the nations” has long since gone out.

About Lawrence DavidsonImage result for Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

“Largest Land Grab Since 1948” — israel (apartheid state) to Expel 36,000 Palestinians From Negev

“Largest Land Grab Since 1948” — Israel to Expel 36,000 Palestinians From Negev

Given the Israeli state’s rejection of their existence, government officials have called the Palestinians living in these villagers “violators” and “squatters” – accusing them of illegally occupying “state lands.”

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — According to an Israeli media report, the Israeli government has completed work on a massive, far-reaching plan that would expel an estimated 36,000 Palestinians from “unrecognized” villages in the Negev Desert. If the plan is approved by the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, its implementation could begin as soon as this year and would take four years to complete. News of the plan was first published by Israel Hayom – Israel’s largest Hebrew-language newspaper, funded by Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to both U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.The plan — compiled by Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his staff — features the seizure of an estimated 260,00 dunams (64,247 acres) from Palestine’s Bedouins. The size of the territory in question and the high number of Palestinians set to be affected has led some to call the plan the largest “land grab” of Palestinian-inhabited land since 1948, when the state of Israel was founded.

Israel Hayom’s report stated that, per the new plan, the Palestinian villages would be demolished and the ruins of their homes would then become the sites of “national projects,” infrastructure projects, and “security” installations after the forcible “transfer” of the land’s current inhabitants to other “state-approved” settlements such as Tel Sheva, Abu Talul and Umm Batin. The report noted that a major motivation behind the plan’s creation was the transfer of an arms-industry factory from another part of Israel to the Negev, as well as the expansion of the “Trans-Israel Highway” system.

Furthermore, the plan involves calling for a budget increase to boost the presence of law enforcement officials involved in the forcible “transfer” and in the demolition of Palestinian villages.

Rights groups have yet to comment on the newly announced plan targeting Palestinian communities in the Negev. However, Human Rights Watch has previously condemned Israel’s targeting of “unrecognized” Palestinian villages in the region. In 2016, Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, stated:

The forcible eviction of Bedouin residents to make way for a new Jewish town would be a blatant and ugly episode of discrimination mirroring Israel’s unlawful settlements. Long after most of the rest of the world has such rejected racist policies, the Israeli government keeps building and razing communities on the basis of religion and ethnicity.”

 

No recognition, no rights

The Bedouin Palestinians who inhabit these lands face an uphill battle in any effort to oppose the newly drafted plan. This is because their villages have long been “unrecognized” by the state of Israel, which has claimed that Palestinian Bedouins cannot “prove” their ownership or claim to the land. This has been used to justify the withholding of basic services, such as running water and electricity, from these areas. Residents, even though they are technically Israeli citizens, also lack addresses and their villages do not appear on official Israeli maps.

As a consequence of their lack of formal recognition, Israeli authorities do not regard the Palestinian inhabitants of these villages as having any rights to the land, even though many of the villages were established several decades ago by Palestinians forced from their homes following the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Given the state’s rejection of their existence, Israeli government officials have called the Palestinians living in these villagers “violators” and “squatters” – accusing them of illegally occupying “state lands.” As a result, these villages have constantly been under threat of demolition, with the Israeli government even forcing the inhabitants of demolished villages to pay for the destruction of their own homes.

Israel | Palestinians Negev

A Bedouin boy carries timber after demolished his home in the village of El Araqib near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba in 2010. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

 

Pushing towards complete annexation and ethnic cleansing

The newly announced plan is part of a wider Israeli government push to annex Palestinian territory and ethnically cleanse areas that have already been annexed by Israel. With the support of the Trump administration in the United States, right-wing Israeli politicians have been emboldened to introduce and promote measures that would result in the Israeli government’s complete annexation of Palestine’s West Bank, which has been under Israeli military rule since 1967 and has lost substantial amounts of land to the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements supported by the Israeli government. Those efforts prompted the UN to warn last July that Israel’s government was poised to formally annex the West Bank in the coming years.

In addition, within areas already controlled by Israel, the effort to erase Palestinian communities is also picking up steam, as evidenced by the promotion of this new plan to expel 36,000 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship from their homes.

Last year, an Israeli Supreme Court ruling essentially authorized and justified the Israeli government’s demolition of “unrecognized” Palestinian villages after hearing the case of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem. That ruling has now set a precedent that critics claimed would allow the Israeli government to “ethnically cleanse” any Palestinian village within its territory, despite the fact that the practice is considered illegal by international law.

 

A man on a mission

It should be no surprise then that Uri Ariel, who drafted this latest plan, is one of the Israeli government’s top proponents of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian-inhabited territories. A member of the far-right Jewish Home party and vocal proponent of illegal settlements, Ariel stated last June that the Israeli government should forcibly annex 60 percent of the West Bank.

This past December, Ariel then stepped up his rhetoric regarding Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev, stating:

I am happy to announce a revolution in the Negev regarding the illegal construction. The enforcement agencies, together with the proper activities of the Bedouin Settlement Authority according to my instructions, created a new situation in the Negev: in 2019, we will aspire to zero illegal construction in the Negev.

We have increased the means of enforcement, we have demonstrated the validity of an attack along with significant land marketing, and we are on the right path to dramatically reduce and later eliminate the illegal takeover of state land in the Negev. The Negev will no longer be a no-man’s-land area without governance.”

Ariel reiterated this policy in January, stating that he would implement a “zero tolerance” policy for “illegal” Bedouin construction on Bedouin land, and again accusing Bedouin Palestinians of “taking over” Israeli state land.

A recent Haaretz report found that Ariel has been drafting plans to evict Palestinian Bedouins from their homes since the 1970s. Now, with a top post in Netanyahu’s government, Ariel seems to have finally garnered the power and the political support to make his long-planned push to ethnically cleanse Palestinian communities a reality.

Top Photo | Bedouin women sit outside a demolished home by Israeli forces in the southern village of Umm al-Hiran, Jan. 18, 2017. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

West Bank Settler and American Patriot

Yonatan Stern interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

http://www.unz.com/

After the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, I posted a short news item about Cherev Gidon, an ‘Israeli Tactical Training Academy’ in Pennsylvania. The Israeli-style military school teaches American Jews some of the IDF commando’s essential manoeuvres. Yonatan Stern, Cherev Gidon’s founder, contacted me a day later. He said that my report had been balanced. He wrote an open and intellectually engaging note. I replied, asking whether he would agree to an interview. We met earlier this week in a kosher pizzeria in Monticello, a small town in the Catskills of New York.

Those who follow my work know that despite my sharp disagreements with Zionism, Israeli politics and West Bank setters in particular, I find more honesty in Right Wing Zionism than in the entire spectrum of the Jewish Identitarian Left. Although I probably agree on many crucial political matters with JVP activists and Mondoweiss readers, I see the Jewish left as an inherently duplicitous project. My point is that notwithstanding my almost complete ideological differences with right wing Zionists, their frankness about their principles allow our disagreements to be honestly debated. Unlike the Jewish Left that speaks of universal principles but thinks and acts tribally, the Jewish nationalist position is as coherent as it is immoral.

At the Kosher pizza place in Monticello, I met a nice and friendly young man. Yonatan’s political views were well developed: authentic, rational and totally consistent with his core beliefs. He had no gated enclaves, no ‘no go’ zones that he attempted to keep out of our discussion.

Yonatan was born about 100 miles outside of New York City, not far from where we were in the Catskill mountains. His parents made Aliyah when he was a child. The family settled in Kiryat Arbah, in what was probably the most radicalised, belligerent West Bank settlement. The second Intifada caught Yonatan when he was 16 years old. He was practically living in a war zone for the next seven years, and according to him, it was this extended experience that shaped his worldview. I spent my formative years from ages 16 to 23 in Hebron during the 2nd intifada. You saw gun battles day after day, you saw people being hit.” In his early twenties, Yonatan left Israel and returned to the United States.

In a recent Israeli TV interview, Yonatan explained that he was motivated to form an Israeli military training school in America by the March in Charlottesville. The chants of “Jews won’t replace us” reminded him of the rise of the Nazis. But he doesn’t like the leftists either. The Antifa evokes in him bad memories of Stalin’s antisemitsm. So I asked Yonatan why Jewish history repeats itself. How is it possible that Jews are once again opposed by both the right and the left? The ex settler’s answer may take some readers by surprise.

“In your work” he said, “you, Gilad, argue that Jews need to do introspection. Rather than saying ‘the world hates us,’ we should ask whether there is anything we are doing to provoke this antisemitsm. This is an essential question that Jews both left and right refuse to ask themselves. It is the one question you [Gilad] ask, it is the one question I ask.”

I was thrilled that Yonatan was familiar with my writings. I mentioned that I didn’t invent this question. The theme was thoroughly explored by early Zionists who tried to grasp the logos in the anti-Semitic argument.

“There is a very good reason history repeats itself,” Yonatan continued. “Antisemitsm is not about evil goyim who want to kill us. A lot of Antisemitsm is a result of actions Jews take which cause antisemitsm. We cannot effectively counter antisemitsm just by the ADL shaming people who say things about Jews, I don’t support this approach at all. I believe in freedom of speech. I don’t even support laws against holocaust denial and as a grandson of a holocaust survivor I know how real the holocaust was… I believe that Jews play a large part in antisemitsm and in order to fight antisemitsm we have to fight it in two ways and I am fighting it in both ways: I am reacting physically to the symptoms but I also try to challenge the basis of antisemitsm by speaking out, telling Jews that the root of a lot of antisemitsm in America is the adoption by many Jews in the last century of multi-culturalism, leftism, socialism, cultural Marxism, communism, all these evil ideologies of the left which started with Karl Marx and even before him. All these ideologues corrupted Jews to the core.”

Yonatan is clearly not a liberal Jew.

“You, Gilad, speak about Jewish exceptionalism. We [Jews] are supposed to be a light to the nations, but we do the opposite… When Jews promote open borders they actually undermine the nations in which they live. When the average white Christian American sees Jews pushing for thousands of Islamic terrorists and Somali refugees and Latin American criminals and members of cartels to come into the country and pushing for affirmative action and a homosexual agenda and they do all of it in the name of Judaism… What they do, they tell people , ‘this is Judaism, we exploit your gratitude, we are coming to your country, we are undermining it from within, [we] cause the country to collapse on itself and if you call us ‘dirty Jews’ we will say you are a ‘filthy anti-Semitic Nazi’.”

Yonatan, an ultra Zionist Jew, is presenting what many liberals may identify as the core right wing anti-Semitic argument. Although it would be practically impossible for a goy to survive after making such statements, I somehow don’t think that Yonatan suffers any form of exclusion for saying what he thinks about his people.

“You seem to have predicted the synagogue shooting; you saw it coming, how?” I asked him.

“For decades now so many liberal Jews have been pushing for cultural Marxism. So many Jewish political leaders are behind this. The movement is funded by George Soros who is clearly a Jew. But I consider him the opposite of a Jew. I see him as a malevolent force and other Jews who are in government and the Left … all of it really started with Saul Alinsky who set the foundation for the Antifa. They have been pushing it for 50 years. Of course, not all Jews subscribe to these ideas. There are many orthodox Jews who believe in the complete opposite. But because these people do it in the name of Judaism [so naturally] we all get pushed into the same boat. It was obvious that at some point somebody would snap…. the only question was when.. someone on the right would have to take action to respond to what they see as an assault on American heritage.”

Yonatan asked to make it clear that he was by no means justifying the attack on the synagogue. What he did, instead, was to attempt to understand the rationale that led to the Pittsburgh attack. Yonatan further predicted that “the next attack will come from the Left. They are very violent, subversive in the spirit Lenin and Trotsky.”

In the Israeli TV item about Cherev Gidon, Yonatan mentioned that the goal of his training unit is for “every synagogue to have an armed Jew ready to defend it.” I asked Yonatan if he believes that American Muslims should be entitled to explore the same right. Should they also train with submachine guns and automatic riffles and be ready to defend their mosques?

As you might expect, Yonatan wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea. “If they [the Muslims] were peaceful people yes, but the reality is that they, through their own actions, are showing us that they are not a peaceful people for the most part. There is a tremendous radicalism amongst Muslims these days.”

I challenged him again. “Let’s try to understand what is going on here. You clearly see yourself as entitled to enjoy the 2nd amendment but you think Muslims are not.”

“In regard to Muslims as a group, once they are in a mosque in America and across the West they are extremely radicalized, they use armaments for the purpose of terrorism and not for the purpose of self defense. We have to understand the difference, Judaism is not a religion that is looking to attack anyone.”

I told Yonatan that his statement can be easily challenged: Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli physician, a settler and an orthodox Jew like himself, was a mass shooter in 1994 at the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding 125. Goldstein didn’t use his automatic riffle for ‘self defense.’ Nor is the Jewish State deploying its F16s and drones in a ‘self defense’ mode in Gaza, Lebanon or Syria. Statistics of casualties in the region do not really help the Israeli or the Jewish case.

I asked Yonatan, “Do you want to live in a society where people defend their shrines with sub machine guns and automatic rifles?”

“Yes, absolutely,” was Yonatan’s answer; “an armed society is a polite society.”

“So you basically believe that it is a good idea to live in a society where people are armed to their teeth?”

“I think that it is a wonderful idea. This is the America I want to live in. People respect each other when everyone is armed.”

Since Yonatan was immersed in part of the American ethos, I wanted to examine his approach to the American ideals of equal opportunity and no discrimination. “Will you agree to train Hammed or Ibrahim and to share with them the deep secrets of Israeli tactics?”

Yonatan was absolutely clear. “I have the right to deny service to anyone I want…I train many non Jews, what you may call rednecks, Mexicans, but if a Jewish Lefty, a Jew member of Antifa, asks to join my course I will tell him as well to go away.”

I guess that Hamed and Ibrahim aren’t going to be amongst Cherev Gidon’s graduates. They may have to enrol in another military training gymnasium.

Before we ended, I asked Yonata

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