The tragedy of the Israeli mentality is that there is no room for Palestinian anger and frustration in its make-up but plenty of room for Jewish wrath. I found myself reflecting on this proposition after participating in a discussion thread on Facebook the other day.
Harvey Stein, an American-Israeli filmmaker and blogger in The Times of Israel, recently generated a long heated thread on Facebook by embracing Peter Beinart’s vision of the end of the two-state “solution,” and inviting his friends to comment. He finally abandoned the thread, saying: “The genuine debate I try to inspire here is impossible.”
When people begin discussion of an issue with two different premises, the discussion is destined to remain on parallel tracks that never meet. But what I observed and am exploring in this post goes beyond the obvious. It has to do with how emotions are perceived on each side — perhaps a little like the difference between Dr King’s perception of black riots in 1966 as “the language of the unheard…to make justice a reality,” and Trump’s perception of the riots today in the context of black protests as an opportunity to exploit the racist fears of white nationalists in order to be reelected.
Neal Hugh Hurwitz, a “soft” Zionist participating in Stein’s thread was alarmed by my show of anger in the discussion. He commented: “Harvey Stein — — so we know about the bad guys on our side — — whatcha goin do about the Rima Najjars from Indiana???:) I think she’d slit your throat.”
In his mind, my anger as a Palestinian at the injustice and thievery of the Zionist project is equivalent to the aggression of hard-core Zionists, who were trolling on Stein’s thread, and whose terror tactics in the West Bank are ongoing.
The fear that Palestinian anger might lead to terror against Israelis is a fundamental principle of the Zionist Jewish state. Brutally repressing any and all expression of that anger has been the premier job of the state for all of its 72 years.
Debate that does not embrace historical facts is destined to produce anger and frustration on both sides, but only one side’s anger can honestly be characterized as righteous. Harvey Stein, a Jewish immigrant from New York, believes his right to belong in Jerusalem is equal to mine, a Palestinian exile in Indiana denied return, by virtue of his being a Jew (he may or may not be religious, I don’t know). He and other soft Zionists are willing to go as far as declaring that their “profound belonging” to Palestine-now-Israel does not supersede mine — and no farther.
I understand Harvey Stein actually discovered the name of the Palestinian family who owned the house he now lives in. How can he sleep at night — in Jerusalem or in New York, I wonder. (It’s worth noting here that Miko Peled in his book The General’s Son mentions how his mother, who was born and raised in Jerusalem, refused to occupy the home of a Palestinian family who had been forced out of West Jerusalem in 1948 when it was offered to her.)
Every morning without fail, as I read the news coming out of Palestine/Israel, my helpless anger rises to a boiling point at the relentless march of violent events inherent in the makeup of the national/Judaic state that would have been legitimate only if, at the end of the 19th century, its founders had happened to discover an uninhabited piece of land somewhere on the globe and immigrated there.
Instead, its criminally-minded founders (their own words attest to their unconscionable aggression) finagled their way into Palestine (their campaigns of advocacy and early lobbying in Britain and the US are well-documented) and executed a meticulous plan of terror, as described in Thomas Suárez’ book State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel.
I am not sure to what the word “modern” in Suárez’ title refers. There is no such thing as modern and ancient Israel in the same sense we use these terms to differentiate between modern and ancient territorial polities like Greece, for example, or modern and ancient Egypt. The word “modern” in association with Israel is totally misleading, as is the ubiquitous term “diaspora” used to describe Jews outside Israel for the purpose of emphasizing their mythical religious/spiritual connection to the Holy Land.
The name Palestine to describe the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River was most commonly used from 1300 BC onward, and it has evolved from a multiplicity of beginnings — ancient, medieval, modern, nationalist — into a geopolitical concept and distinct polity. This is unlike the myth-narratives of the Old Testament with its single “beginning.”
The idea of a “modern” Israel has thus necessitated the obliteration of thousands of years of Palestinian history, jumping, as Israelis do, from the Old Testament to the 20th century.
Israel’s state terror has been met in some instances by retaliatory acts of terror against Israelis by Hamas. That is true. But those acts are not comparable with the racist/supremacist, indeed systemic, actions of the Zionist Jewish state that regards Arabs as inferior and accepts “revenge” as a “mitigating circumstance” for a brutal lynching — (that report was in my news-pouch today).
According to a 1954 “fatwa” by Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, Jews are allowed to kill enemy civilians–men, women, and children (“massacre of revenge” — milhemet nakam). Also in self-defense. The massacres perpetrated on Palestinians by terror gangs as described in Suárez’ book pre-Israel, and those perpetrated on Gazans, are all today rationalized by the Israeli forces as acceptable and ethical conduct.
It is no accident the Jewish offensive warfare pre-1948 turned into “defense” forces of the Jewish state. Offense is defense in the Zionist mentality.
In 2011, Sari Nusseibeh, at the time a professor of philosophy at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem and also its president, published an article in Al Jazeera that explains why the Israeli demand to be recognised as a “Jewish state” by the Palestinians is an inherently problematic concept:
… recognising a “Jewish state” in Israel — a state which purports to annex the whole of Jerusalem, East and West, and calls Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided capital” (as if the city, or even the world itself, were eternal; as if it were really undivided, and as if it actually were legally recognised by the international community as Israel’s capital) — means completely ignoring the fact that Jerusalem is as holy to 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims, as it is to 15–20 million Jews worldwide.
… Nevertheless, it remains true that, in the Old Testament, God commands the Jewish state in the land of Israel to come into being through warfare and violent dispossession of the original inhabitants. Moreover, this command has its roots in the very Covenant of God with Abraham (or rather “Abram” at that time) in the Bible and it thus forms one of the core tenets of Judaism as such, at least as we understand it. No one then can blame Palestinians and descendents of the ancient Canaanites, Jebusites and others who inhabited the land before the Ancient Israelites (as seen in the Bible itself) for a little trepidation as regards what recognising Israel as a “Jewish State” means for them, particularly to certain Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox Jews. No one then can blame Palestinians for asking if recognising Israel as a “Jewish State” means recognising the legitimacy of offensive warfare or violence against them by Israel to take what remains of Palestine from them.
At the beginning of Zionist terror in Palestine, the impetus for it came from a secular national/supremacist construct that professedly had little to do with religion. But religion now permeates the psyche of the state, and the bigots it has let loose on the West Bank dramatize that fact.
*(Top image: Rabbi Ya’akov Yosef on his release after being arrested on suspicion of incitement to racism for his endorsement of the book The King’s Torah, which says it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews (including children) who threaten the lives of Jews (July 3, 2011)
*This article was originally published on the Medium.
Ancient grey haired naked rebel and activist always looking to better the Human condition. Dreaming about what could be. Lifting the veil on the imposed illusion. Only a few will survive the depopulation wars fought by the (self proclaimed) 'Chosen Ones'. Only a few will survive the mindfuck. Maybe some of the stuff I write or share will be of some value (to you). I share it out of love knowing Mankind deserves so much better.
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