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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2010 arrow April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010
April 26, 2010: Zionism: Israeli and Christian Style   

 

 

Avnery leads and I end:



In the Name of Zionism

By Uri Avnery

 
ISRAEL IS a Zionist State. Everybody knows that.

 

 

There is no (Jewish) politician in Israel who misses an opportunity to repeat this.

Last week, when we celebrated the 62nd Independence Day, we were flooded by a deluge of patriotic speeches. Each of the Ciceros, without exception, declared his total commitment to Zionism.

 

 

By the way, when it comes to the Zionist character of Israel, there is complete agreement on this between the leaders of Israel and their enemies. The Iranian big-mouth declares at every opportunity his conviction that the “Zionist regime” will disappear. Arabs who refuse to utter the name of Israel speak about the “Zionist entity”. Hamas and Hizbullah condemn the “Zionist enemy”.

 

 

But no one of them – friends and enemies alike – spells out what it means. What makes the state into a “Zionist” one?

 

 

FOR ME, this is Chinese. I mean, everybody knows that China is a “communist” country. Friends and enemies speak about “Communist China” as something that is self-evident.

 

But what does this mean? What makes it communist?

 

When I was young, I learned that communism means the nationalization (or “socialization”) of the means of production. Does this describe the reality in China? Or rather the exact opposite?

 

Communism aimed at creating a classless society, leading in the end to the “withering away” of the state altogether. Is that happening in China? Or is a new class of capitalist tycoons coming into being, while hundreds of millions vegetate in utter poverty?

 

The Communist Manifesto declared that the proletariat has no fatherland. But China is as nationalistic as any country on the globe.

 

So what remains of communism in China? Only the name, which serves as a cover for a group of powerful rulers who use the communist party as a means for maintaining a despotic regime.

 

And, of course – the ceremonies, symbols and banners. Karl Marx would have called them “opium of the people”.

 

AND BACK from the Manifesto of Marx and Engels to the “Jewish State” of Theodor Herzl, the official “Visionary of the State”.

 

Herzl’s Zionist vision was quite simple: the Jews, all the Jews, must go to the Jewish State. Those who do not will be Germans, Britons, Americans or members of any other nation, but definitely not Jews.

 

In the Zionist school in Palestine we were taught that the essence of Zionism is the negation of the Diaspora (called Exile in Hebrew). Not just the physical negation, but the mental, too. Not only the demand that every single Jew come to the Land of Israel, but also a total repudiation of all forms of Jewish life in Exile, their culture and their language (Yiddish/Jewish). The absolutely worst thing we could say about anybody was to call them an “Exile Jew”. Herzl’s own writings exude, in places, a strongly anti-Semitic odor.

 

And lo and behold, “Zionist” Israel is embracing the Diaspora, loving the Diaspora, kissing the Diaspora. The Zionist Executive is sending emissaries to the Jewish communities throughout the world in order to reinforce their “Jewish culture”.

 

The leaders of the “Zionist State” depend to a large extent upon the Diaspora and use it for their own purposes. The Exile-Jewish AIPAC ensures the subjection of the US Congress to the will of the Israeli government. The “Anti-Defamation League” (which should more properly be called the “Defamation League”) is terrorizing the American media in order to prevent any criticism of Israeli policy. In the past, the United Jewish Appeal was essential for the economic wellbeing of Israel.

 

For years, the foreign policy of Israel has been based upon the power of the Jewish “exile” community in the US. Every country, from Egypt to Uzbekistan, knew that if it wanted aid from the American Congress, it had first of all to acquire the support of Israel. In order to get access to the American Sultan, they first had to get past the Israeli gate-keeper.

 

WHAT HAS all this to do with Zionism?

 

What has remained of Zionism, except the historical fact that the Zionist movement has given birth to Israel? Empty platitudes, and an instrument for achieving quite different objectives. Inside our political system, Zionism serves various and contradictory aims.

 

If one speaks in Israel of “Zionism”, one means “not Arab”.

 

A “Zionist” state means a state in which non-Jewish citizens cannot be full partners. Eighty percent of Israel’s citizens (the Jews) are telling the other twenty percent (the Arabs): the state belongs to us, not to you.

 

The state constructs settlements in the occupied territories because it is Zionist. It builds in East Jerusalem because it is Zionist. It discriminates against its Arab citizens in almost every field because it is Zionist. It mistreats African refugees who manage to reach its borders because it is Zionist. There is no dastardly act that cannot be wrapped in the Zionist flag. If Dr. Samuel Johnson were living in Israel today, he would say “Zionism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

 

THE “ZIONIST Left” is also waving this flag in order to show how patriotic it is. In the past, it used it mainly to keep its distance from the radical left, which was fighting against the occupation and for the two-state solution. Nowadays, after the “Zionist Left” has itself adopted this program, it continues to wave the Zionist flag in order to differentiate itself from the “Arab” parties (including the Communist Party, 90% of whose voters are Arab).

 

In the name of Zionism, the “Zionist Left” continues to reject any possibility of including the Arab parties in a future government coalition. This is an act of self-mutilation, since it prevents in advance any possibility of the “Left” returning to power. That’s simple arithmetic. As a result, the “Zionist Left” has practically disappeared.

 

THE WAY the Israeli Right is using the Zionist flag is far more dangerous. In their hands, it has turned into a banner of pure hate.

 

For years now, the plague of “talkbackists” has been spreading. Unidentified persons are filling cyberspace with their outpourings. Here and there a liberal citizen posts some interesting remarks. But the immense majority of the talkbackists belong to the extreme Right and express themselves in a style reminiscent of the darkest periods of the last century. The appellation “traitor” for leftists is the most moderate in this lexicon, and the demand for their execution has become quite commonplace.

 

(When my name happens to be mentioned on one of the websites, it routinely draws behind it a train of dozens, and sometimes more than a hundred talkback epithets spewing pure hatred. All this in the name of Zionism.)

 

The public has become accustomed to this phenomenon and tends to ignore it or to shrug it off. They think that the talkbackists belong to the political underworld, together with the fanatical settlers and assorted marginal rightist groups.

 

But are they still “marginal”? Or are they closing in on the center of the stage?

 

RECENTLY, THE public has been exposed to a song that lit red lights all over the place.

 

A popular singer by the name of Amir Banyon has decided to tell those Leftists exactly what he thinks of them. Here are some choice samples:

 

“I defend the children / I risk my life for your family / And you spit in my face. / After the enemies outside did not succeed in killing me / You are killing me from the inside.”

 

“I am storming the enemy lines / With my back exposed to you / And you sharpen the knife.”

 

“I am your brother, you are the enemy … When I weep, you laugh behind my back … You are handing me over to the foreigner … You are killing me!”

 

By the way, those who distributed this masterpiece forgot to mention that the author, he who “risks his life” and “always storms forwards”, has never served in a combat unit. Actually, he was released from the army after three days (!) because of drug problems. Later he became a pious Jew and joined Chabad, the sect of the ultra-nationalist Lubavitcher rabbi who never visited Israel.

 

THE WORDS “handing me over to the foreigner” are the most serious accusation in Jewish tradition. “The moser” (he who hands over) was a Jew who betrayed another Jew to the gentile authorities and deserved death. It was precisely this accusation that sealed the fate of Yitzhak Rabin.

 

Lately, this has become the main accusation hurled by Israeli fascists against the Left. Recently, an extreme campaign of incitement was launched against the New Israel Fund, a US-based institution that supports many leftist NGOs in Israel. The fund is accused of financing organizations that “helped Judge Goldstone”, the “anti-Semitic Jew” who is spreading despicable lies against the Zionist State. (Disclosure: the organization I am active in, Gush Shalom, which is also uncovering war crimes, never received a dime.)

 

Anat Kam, a soldier who “stole” secret documents from the army command and helped Haaretz to exclose a war crime, was also accused of “serving the enemy”. She has been indicted for “aggravated espionage”, a crime bearing a life sentence.

 

“Traitors”, “Enemy Agents”, “Destroyers of the Fatherland”, “Knife in the back” – these epithets are becoming part of the mainstream discourse in Israel. One should not dismiss them.

 

Not so long ago, just such language led to historic tragedies in Europe.

 

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1272099579/



Jesus spoke in parables; I tell stories.

Excerpted from KEEP HOPE ALIVE

by eileen fleming


Chapter 16: A CONFRONTATIONAL CONVERSATION


“Father Paul, you cannot possibly be telling me that an Episcopal priest has been taken in by fundamentalist theology?” Terese incredulously asked the new assistant to the rector at St. Joan of Arc Episcopal Church in Orlando, who also served at the noon mass every Wednesday.

 

 

Father Paul Hendricks was a passionate evangelist on a mission to convert every Jew he encountered to become a Christian. Terese had kept her silence for the first six months she had been listening to his Wednesday noon sermons, but finally broke her silence after the rest of the parishioners had departed.

 

 

Paul sighed and shook his head. “Look, Mrs. Hunter, I read your op/ed in the newspaper about Israel and Palestine, and we both agree we want peace; we just go about it differently.”

 

 

“Father, let me say that the fastest growing cult in the U.S.A. is the cult of Christian Zionism. Approximately 25 million U.S. Christians believe as you do, and I am most depressed to see that the simple answers of fundamentalism have reached their tentacles into the thinking man’s church. You just preached for thirteen minutes on Genesis 12:3--‘I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse: and in you all the families of the world are blessed’--as if God meant blessings to be political power and military might. Father, surely you understand that the belief of the ancient Israelites, who held that they were chosen, as if they were somehow special from others, as if God esteemed them above others, is just basic primitive nationalism. Come on, Father, looking down on one’s enemies to foster one’s own tribal interest and praying to God to smite one’s enemies is what the ancients did. Isn’t it about time we moved beyond that limited thinking?”

 

 

Father Paul clenched his fists and held them behind his back, as he suppressed a simmering rage. He stood nine inches above Terese’s upturned head, and with a slick smile and condescending tone told her, “Mrs. Hunter, you are very misled. The text is understood to mean a blessing to Abraham’s lineage--”

 

 

Terese cut in. “Agreed! And Genesis 12:3 was promised even before Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation, and Isaac, the Jew, were born! And what about the very first mention of Israel?

 

Jacob was renamed Israel for having wrestled and struggled with God. That is how I understand Israel; everyone who struggles and wrestles with God is Israel, too. Israel means more than a geographical location, Father Paul.”

 

 

“Mrs. Hunter, the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of the prophetic scriptures, and God’s covenant with Israel is eternal, exclusive, and will not be abrogated. I refer you to Genesis 12:1-7, 15:4-7, 17:1-8; Leviticus 26:44-45; and Deuteronomy 7:7:8.”

 
“And Father, I refer you to Matthew 5:43-45, which does not only critique Genesis 12:3; it blows it apart, for Christ commanded, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despite-fully use you, that you maybe children of your Father.’”

 

 

The two had reached Paul’s SUV and he silently prayed he could make a swift escape, but Terese had positioned herself at the driver’s door, and if he were to open it swiftly, she could be easily moved aside. Father Paul entertained the thought for more than a moment, but remained mute and still, as the tiny woman exploded with a torrent of words.

 

 

"Look, blind allegiance to the Israeli government has allowed them to become a big bully, and isn’t God always on the side of the oppressed? My sense is that you Zionists see the political state of Israel as a replacement for Christ, at the center of the Christian faith, and that certainly is not Christianity!

"How do you take Genesis 12:3 to literally mean that blessings equal land and political power, yet ignore God’s promise in Genesis 21:17-20 to ‘make a great nation out of Ishmael’s descendants and that ‘God was with the boy.’ Yet your way of thinking allows the growing apartheid wall to continue, and supports occupation and oppression of people that God also made promises too.”

 

 

“Mrs. Hunter, why don’t you make an appointment and we can discuss this further? I really have to go.”

 

 

“Okay, I can take a hint, but let me leave you with this: when religion and politics are in bed together, everybody gets screwed! The Israeli government is using you Zionists as apologists in support of their agenda of illegal occupation and settlements in the West bank, Golan, and Gaza, on literal biblical grounds taken out of context. Your blind allegiance to every act of Israel, understood as being orchestrated by God and which should therefore be condoned, supported, and even praised, makes me want to puke! And I wonder about the true motives of Christians who actually relish the idea of Armageddon and love to speculate on who gets ‘left behind.’ Christ was very clear that there will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who were so sure they were in, but get left out. God has always been on the side of the oppressed, and your uncritical endorsement and justification for Israel’s racist and apartheid policies are an abomination.”

 

 

The stunned and silent priest watched in relief as Terese turned, flipped her braid, and walked away.

 

 

PS-Dear Reader: This chapter is based on an actual email conversation I had with an Episcopal priest. He gave up talking to me after my third email to him. I have been informed that he is now in Jerusalem connected with the Holocaust Memorial.

 


   
 
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