More news

the rejectionists
Originally uploaded by marcynewman.

Things have not improved on the ground in Ghaza or Lubnan. I can’t tell if things are getting worse or not. From this short distance it certainly seems like things are deteriorating every day. But it’s hard to say without seeing things for myself. So I judge by what my friends say. One friend has an amazing set of eyewitness accounts in Lubnan:

Another Day in Beirut

In Lebanon, We Have No Bomb Shelters

Tomorrow night is a benefit to help raise money for humanitarian aid to Lebanon in New York City. It will have an art auction and should be excellent.

There are also some good reports on some of the issues that I don’t think are being widely circulated in the U.S., such as Israel’s use of illegal chemical weapons, which are being used in Ghaza as well as in Lubnan.

Here are some other articles not to be missed:

Five Myths That Sanction Israel’s War Crimes

Five Myths That Sanction Israel’s War Crimes

Talks Fail on Mideast Truce

And, especially for those who were so horrified by my letter the other day, I’m going to post here an article from England’s Independent that is written by an Israeli and states many of the same facts that I did in my blog entry:

Who are the real terrorists in the Middle East?

By Oren Ben-Dor

The Independent
26 July 2006

As its citizens are being killed, Israel is, yet again,
inflicting death and destruction on Lebanon. It tries to
portray this horror as necessary for its self-defence.
Indeed, the casual observer might regard the rocket
attacks on Israeli cities such as Haifa and my own home
town, Nahariya, as justifying this claim.

While states should defend their citizens, states which
fail this duty should be questioned and, if necessary,
reconfigured. Israel is a state which, instead of
defending its citizens, puts all of them, Jews as well as
non-Jews, in danger.

What exactly is being defended by the violence in Gaza and
Lebanon? Is it the citizens of Israel or the nature of the
Israeli state? I suggest the latter. Israel’s statehood is
based on an unjust ideology which causes indignity and
suffering for those who are classified as non-Jewish by
either a religious or ethnic test. To hide this primordial
immorality, Israel fosters an image of victimhood.
Provoking violence, consciously or unconsciously, against
which one must defend oneself is a key feature of the
victim-mentality. By perpetuating such a tragic cycle,
Israel is a terrorist state like no other.

Many who wish to hide the immorality of the Israeli state
do so by restricting attention to the horrors of the
post-1967 occupation and talking about a two-state
solution, since endorsing a Palestinian state implicitly
endorses the ideology behind a Jewish one.

The very creation of Israel required an act of terror. In
1948, most of the non-Jewish indigenous people were
ethnically cleansed from the part of Palestine which
became Israel. This action was carefully planned. Without
it, no state with a Jewish majority and character would
have been possible. Since 1948, the “Israeli Arabs”, those
Palestinians who avoided expulsion, have suffered
continuous discrimination. Indeed, many have been
internally displaced, ostensibly for “security reasons”,
but really to acquire their lands for Jews.

Surely Holocaust memory and Jewish longing for Eretz
Israel would not be sufficient to justify ethnic cleansing
and ethnocracy? To avoid the destabilisation that would
result from ethical inquiry, the Israeli state must hide
the core problem, by nourishing a victim mentality among
Israeli Jews.

To sustain that mentality and to preserve an impression of
victimhood among outsiders, Israel must breed conditions
for violence. Whenever prospects of violence against it
subside, Israel must do its utmost to regenerate them: the
myth that it is a peace-seeking victim which has “no
partner for peace” is a key panel in the screen with which
Israel hides its primordial and continuing immorality.

Israel’s successful campaign to silence criticism of its
initial and continuing dispossession of the indigenous
Palestinians leaves the latter no option but to resort to
violent resistance. In the wake of electing Hamas – the
only party which, in the eyes of Palestinians, has not yet
given up their cause – the Palestinian population of Gaza
and the West Bank were subjected to an Israeli campaign of
starvation, humiliation and violence.

The insincere “withdrawal” from Gaza, and the subsequent
blockade, ensured a chronicle of violence which, so far,
includes Palestinian firing of Kasem rockets, the capture
of an Israeli soldier and the Israeli near re-occupation
of Gaza. What we witness is more hatred, more violence
from Palestinians, more humiliation and collective
punishments from Israelis – all useful reinforcement for
the Israeli victim mentality and for the sacred cow status
of Israeli statehood.

The truth is that there never could have been a partition
of Palestine by ethically acceptable means. Israel was
created through terror and it needs terror to cover-up its
core immorality. Whenever there is a glimmer of stability,
the state orders a targeted assassination, such as that in
Sidon which preceded the current Lebanon crisis, knowing
well that this brings not security but more violence.
Israel’s unilateralism and the cycle of violence nourish
one another.

Amidst the violence and despite the conventional discourse
which hides the root of this violence, actuality calls
upon us to think. The more we silence its voice, the more
violently actuality is sure to speak.

In Hebrew, the word elem (a stunned silence resulting from
oppression or shock) is etymologically linked to the word
almut (violence). Silence about the immoral core of
Israeli statehood makes us all complicit in breeding the
terrorism that threatens a catastrophe which could tear
the world apart.

What exactly is being defended? Is it the citizens of
Israel or the nature of the Israeli state?

The writer teaches the philosophy of law and political
philosophy at University of Southampton


2 thoughts on “More news

  1. There is some truth in what this jewish American writes. But its just one side of the medal. One can put his question the other way round, directed at Hamas, Hezbollah and Co:

    Who exactly is being harmed? Is it the citizens or the nature of the Israeli state?

    And you may pardon me, but I just see civilian slaughtering terrorists when looking at what Hamas and Co call to be a people fighting for a just cause.

    If we are honest, its a “deal” between the extremists of both sides. I mean who would need Hamas anymore if there would be no evil Occupator, but a neighbor that does its best to find peace in the end and to solve the tensions through compromise? On the other side, who would need people like Sharon or Olmert?

    Also Europe had and in some areas still still has up today areas where hate rules. Once it starts its unbelievable hard to stop it again. Just look at North Ireland. You may find out that it has quite some similarities to your situation. After all it now seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel. But look there, what did the terror bring the people of North Ireland except suffering? Nothing but death.

  2. Oren Ben-Dor makes at least two points that make his argument far more effective than yours.
    One, he doesn’t make the insidious parallel comparing Israeli policies to Nazi methods, a claim that I find belitting to all victims of the Holocaust, Jews as well as non-Jews (gypsies, homosexuals, Communists), as well as undermining the Palestinian plight. It’s not an effective argument. It might work well for Ahmadinajad, but not for you. Find a new one!
    Second, Oren Ben-Dor doesn’t tell Israelis to seek a new home in Europe or the U.S. You mistakenly think that we all possess foreign passports, and can hop over to Europe or to NYC whenever we want. The majority of Israelis were born in Israel, and this is their home. Most people don’t have an alternative.
    Isn’t it better to urge Israelis and Jews to work for a better Israel? A more tolerant, coexisting Israel? An Israel that is not based on ideologies of hatred, racism, and discrimination? Unfortunately, you seem to have internalized the language of hatred rather than tolerance and coexistence.

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