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Anti-Semitism in Israel – Racism Against Arabs and Arab Jews and its effects by Mark Ulyseas
A special thanks to Professor Ella Habiba Shohat, Departments of Art & Public Policy, Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, for giving us access to her writings covering the historical aspects of racism including Zionism from the standpoint of its Jewish victims.
“Israel is threatened with severe existential dangers if the existing leadership does not have the wisdom to understand that Israel is not located in the peaceful northern regions of Europe but in the turbulent center of a tormented Middle East. We have no place in the Middle East in the future since we made ourselves detestable to it, after we have stressed day and night that it is detestable to us. If we do not find a solution besides the machine gun and the tank – which we have already seen to be helpless against a barefoot child with a stone in his hand – we may lose it all. The State of Israel is liable to become a passing phenomenon like the First Temple and the Second Temple.” - Sami Michael, journalist, acclaimed novelist and President of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel.+972mag.com
Whenever someone criticises the State of Israel the knee jerk reaction from self-appointed gendarmes of Judaism is to accuse the person of anti-Semitism. It is obvious that these people confuse Zionism with Judaism because if both were the same then all Jews would be happily settled in Israel. But this reality escapes a German Judge who has ruled that anti-zionism is code for anti-Semitism!
- The term anti-Semitism was created in 1879 by German agitator Wilhelm Marr to label anti-Jewish campaigns. The use of the word anti-Semitic in describing solely anti-Jewish feeling/action is incorrect because the word comes from Semite. It refers to the ancient peoples of the Middle East, which includes Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, Akkadians, Arameans and their descendants. The anti-Semitism that we witness in Europe, USA, Israel and elsewhere is not just directed against Jews but also Arabs!
With the rise of anti-Jewish feeling, particularly in Europe (where anti-Semitism has been intrinsic to the population well before Islam), there has been a 40% rise in migration to Israel. Some claim that this violence, threats and intimidation against Jews is also a reaction to Israel’s ‘dealings’ with the Palestinians and the Arab world in general. The propaganda mills keep churning out conflicting reports from both sides. The bloody conflict last year has prompted a number of IDF soldiers to come forward and report that they were ordered by their superiors to shoot indiscriminately at the Palestinians. What is the truth? How does one discern what is right or wrong? Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at the State of Israel since its inception. And what better way to do it than by listening to what its own citizens have to say. The prickly issue that invariably causes much angst is the decades old discrimination of Arab Jews and others by Ashkenazi (white) Jews.
Professor Ella Habia Shohat in her article, ‘Dislocated identities…’ writes,
- ‘I am an Arab-Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the United States. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the United States, England, and Holland. When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the ‘50s, she was convinced that the people who looked and ate so differently—the European-Jews—were actually European- Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of “us” as Jews and “them” as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction has always been “Muslim,” “Jew” and “Christian,” not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that “Arabness” referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences…What for Ashkenazi immigrants from Russia and Poland was a social aliya (literally “ascent”) was for Oriental Sephardic Jews a yerida (“descent”).’
The recent violent protests by Ethiopian Jews in Israel against the police beating of an Ethiopian Jewish IDF soldier (in uniform) is reflective of the deep rooted malaise. And this cannot be wished away for it is also inherent in the political set up. Take for instance PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s words on Arabs during the election campaign. He did apologise (it was quite obvious that he had spoken his mind) but the damage had been done. So did he mean Arabs which included the Arab Jews? Or was it only Arabs – Muslims and Christians? How does one distinguish between the two?
Arab citizens of Israel face entrenched discrimination in all fields of life. In recent years, the prevalent attitude of hostility and mistrust towards Arab citizens has become more pronounced, with large sections of the Israeli public viewing the Arab minority as both a fifth column and a demographic threat. www.acri.org.il
A huge majority of Israelis (95 percent) believe that at least one population group in Israel is subject to forms of racism. According to a survey, when Israelis were asked which population groups suffered from racism, if any, 79% replied that Ethiopians suffered from racist attitudes and 68% said they believed the Arab population was subject to racism. Only 4.4% of respondents believed there was no racism in Israel toward any of these groups. The Jerusalem Post
- “What should be done? Removing state-employed rabbis guilty of racial incitement from their positions is the obvious first step, but in some ways that will only strengthen their positions by turning them into martyrs in the eyes of their impressionable followers. What we really need in Israel is a structure for allowing citizens of all religions and backgrounds to interact with each other. This almost never happens because Israel is so segregated. The schools are segregated between Arabs and Israelis, between religious and secular Jews, and segregated even further in the religious sector by gender.
- There are programs that try to humanize Arabs to Israelis and Israelis to Arabs, but they are too few in number. When you have no personal experience in dealing with your neighbors it is easy to believe any horrific story a person in a position of authority tells you about them. This has been true throughout Jewish history in the Diaspora. Now that we are the majority, we are becoming guilty of the same sin. One legitimate criticism of this article is that I do not dissect the other side of the conflict. The reality is that there are far more Muslim clerics, in all Arab countries, that use their positions and pulpits to teach hate, violence, and anti-Semitism than the 50 rabbis that are abusing their positions here in Israel.
- It is not my goal here to present a comparison of who is worse. I am a Jew living in Israel and it is my hope that by taking ownership of the actions of the religious leaders in my own community, their voices will one day be so marginalized that the comparison will be obsolete.”
Civil and human rights is the bedrock of a democracy. A democracy means equal rights for all citizens of a State. Is this happening in Israel? No. And why is this so? Why is there continued racism against Arabs and an unhealthy attitude towards Arab Jews that borders on the pathological? Is it a socio-economic problem that is being confused with racism? Or, as some claim, is it a mix of both insidious elements? Some will attribute the ground realities to multiculturalism. The side effects of forcibly attempting to amalgamate people from different cultures based purely on a common religion. But what about social values and customs particular to a Jew from another culture?
Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims by Professor Ella Habiba Shohat (Ella Shohat, Social Text, No. 19/20 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 1-35, Published by: Duke University Press, Article Stable http://www.jstor.org/stable/466176) bites the bullet and lays bare the heart breaking historical aspects of the State of Israel, its intrinsic racism and the role of the European Ashkenazim in perpetrating a fraud on the Arab Jews and Arabs. The following excerpts (reprinted by special permission of Professor Ella Habiba Shohat) highlight the genesis of hate, racism and land grab. Her essay, written over two decades ago, resonates even today as Israel faces an unprecedented rise in racism and violence.
- Zionism claims to be a liberation movement for all Jews, and the Zionist ideologists have spared no effort in their attempt to make the two terms “Jewish” and “Zionist” virtually synonymous. Zionism has been primarily a liberation movement for European Jews. Sephardi Jews were first brought to Israel for specific European-Zionist reasons which deployed its energies and material resources differentially, to the consistent advantage of European Jews and to the consistent detriment of Oriental Jews…Prime Minister David Ben Gurion repeatedly expressed contempt for the culture of the Oriental Jews: “We do not want them Israelis to become Arabs. We are duty bound to fight against the spirit of the Levant, which corrupts individuals and societies, and preserve the authentic Jewish values as they crystallized in the Diaspora”. Over the years Israeli leaders constantly reinforced and legitimized these prejudices.
- “One of the great apprehensions which afflict us…is the danger lest the predominance of immigrants of Oriental origin force Israel to equalize its cultural level with that of the neighboring world.” Golda Meir projected the Separdim, in typical colonialist fashion, as coming from another, less developed time, for her, the sixteenth century (and for others, a vaguely defined “”Middle Ages”): “Shall we be able,” she asked, “to elevate these immigrants to a suitable level of civilization?”
- Ben Gurion called the Moroccan Jews “savages” at a session of a Knesset Committee, and who compared Sephardim, pejoratively (and revealingly), to the Blacks brought to the United States as slaves, at times went so far as to question the spiritual capacity and even the Jewishness of the Sephardim. The PM praised European Jews for having “led our people in both quantitative and qualitative terms”
- Zionists writings and speeches frequently advance the historiographically suspect idea that Jews of the Orient prior to their “ingathering” into Israel, were somehow “outside of” history, thus ironically echoing 19th century assessments, such as those of Hegel, that Jews, like Blacks, lived outside of the progress of Western Civilization.
- An essential feature of colonialism is the distortion and even the denial of the history of the colonized. The projection of Sephardi Jews as coming from backward rural societies lacking all contact with technological civilization is at best a simplistic caricature and at worst a complete misrepresentation. Metropolises such as Alexandria, Baghdad, and Istanbul, in the period of Sephardi emigration, were hardly the desolate backwaters without electricity or automobiles implied by the official Zionist account, nor were these lands somehow miraculously cut off from the universal dynamism of historical processes. Yet Sephardi and Palestinian children, in Israeli schools, are condemned to study a history of the world that privileges the achievements of the West, while effacing the civilizations of the East.
- Filtered out by a Euro-centric grid, Zionist discourse presents culture as the monoply of the West, denuding the peoples of Asia and Africa, including Jewish peoples, of all cultural expression. The rich culture of the Jews from Arab and Moslem countries is scarcely studied in Israeli schools and academic institutions. While Yiddish is prized and officially subsidized, Ladino and other Sephardi dialects are neglected – “Those who do not speak Yiddish,” Golda Meir once said, “are not Jews” – Yiddish, through an ironic turn of history, became for Serphadim the language of the oppressor, a coded speech linked to privilege.
- Sephardi children are inculcated with the historical memory of “our ancestors, the residents of the shtetls of Poland and Russia,” as well as with a pride in the Zionist Founding Fathers for establishing outposts in a savage area. Jewish history is conceived as primordially European, and the silence of historical texts concerning the Sephardim forms a genteel way of hiding the discomfiting presence of an Oriental ‘other”, here subsumed under a European-Jewish “We”.
- The European-Jewish scorn for Eastern-Jewish lives and sensibilities–at times projected onto the Sephardim by Ashkenazi orientalising “experts’ who claimed that death for Sephardim was a “common and natural thing” – was evident as well in the notorious incident of the “kidnapped children of Yemen”…some six hundred Yemenite babies were adopted by childless Ashkenazi couples (some outside Israel)…the Yemenites (natural parents) were told that the children had died of natural causes.
- Although Zionist historiography concerning Sephardim consists of a morbidly selective “tracing the dots” from pogrom to pogrom (often separated by centuries), part of a picture of a life of relentless oppression and humiliation, in fact the Sephardim lived, on the whole, quite comfortably within Arab-Moslem society.
- Sephardi history can simply not be discussed in European-Jewish terminology, even the word “pogrom’ derives from and is reflective of the specificities of the European-Jewish experience. At the same time, we should not idealize the Jewish-Moslem relationship as idyllic. While it is true that Zionist propaganda exaggerated the negative aspects of the Jewish situation in Moslem countries, and while the situation of these Jews over fifteen centuries was undeniably better than in the Christian countries, the fact remains that the status of dhimmi applied to both Jews and Christians as “tolerated” and “protected minorities was intrinsically inegalitarian. But this fact, as Maxime Rodinson points out, was quite explicable by the sociological and historical conditions of the time, and not the product of a pathological European-style anti-Semitism.
- The Sephardi communities, while retaining a strong collective identity, were generally well integrated and indigenous to their countries of origin, forming an inseparable part of their social and cultural life. Thoroughly Arabized in their traditions, the Iraqi Jews, for example, used Arabic even in their hymns and religious ceremonies. The liberal and secular trends of the twentieth-century engendered an even stronger association of Iraqi Jews and Arab culture allowing Jews to achieve a prominent place in public and cultural life. Jewish writers, poets and scholars played a vital role in Arab culture, translating, for example, books from other languages into Arabic. Jews distinguished themselves in Iraqi Arab-speaking theatre, in music, as singers, composers and players of traditional instruments. In Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Tunisia, Jews became members of legislatures, of municipal councils, of the judiciary, and even occupied high economic positions; the Finance Minister of Iraq, in the forties, was Ishak Sasson, and in Egypt, Jamas Sanua-higher positions, ironically, than those achieved by Sephardim within the Jewish state.
- Ethnic discrimination against Sephardim began with their initial settling. Upon arrival in Israel the various Sephardi communities, despite their will to stay together, were dispersed across the country. Families were separated, old communities disintegrated and traditional leaders were shorn of their positions. Oriental Jews were largely settled in ma’abharot, remote villages, agricultural settlements and city neighborhoods some of them only recently emptied of Palestinians.
- As the absorption facilities became exhausted, the settlement authorities constructed “Ayaror Pituha” (development Towns) largely in rural areas and frontier regions, which became, predictably, the object of Arab attack.
- The paradox of secular Zionism is that it attempted to end a Diaspora, during which Jews suffered intensely in the West and presumable had their heart in the East – a feeling encapsulated in the almost daily repetition of the phrase “next year in Jerusalem” – only to found a state whose ideological and geopolitical orientation has been almost exclusively turned toward the West.
- Those Sephardim who continue to constitute the majority of the Jewish blue-collar workers are constantly placed in competition with the Palestinians for jobs and salaries, a situation which allows the elite to exploit both groups more or less at will. The considerable government expenditures for West Bank settlements, similarly, prod some Sephardim to move there for economic reasons rather than the ideological reasons that motivate many Ashkenazi settlers – and thus provoke Palestinians. Finally, because of the segregation between the two groups, Sephardim and Palestinians in Israel tend to learn about each other through the Ashkenazi-dominated media, with little direct contact. Thus the Sephardim learn to see the Palestinians as “terrorists” while the Palestinians learn to see the Sephardim as “Kahanist fanatics,” a situation which hardly facilitates mutual understanding and recognition.
Some claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. I don’t agree. Free elections are only one element of democracy…There are other contributing factors like equal rights for all citizens. In Israel this is not so as civil and human rights are subjective. And this has been proven time and again by disturbing incidents. It appears from historical accounts that racism by the Ashkenazim was also prevalent in India. In Jew Town in Mattencherry, Cochin, in the Indian State of Kerala hundreds of years ago there were two synagogues – the Black Synagogue and the Pardesi (white) Synagogue. The Black Jews were forbidden from entering the Pardesi Synagogue. When the State of Israel was born the Black Jews left India for the homeland where they were given farmland on the volatile border with the Arabs. Unknown to them, they acted as a buffer for the Ashkenazim against the Arabs.
As Reuben Raymond (Indian Jew), a community leader, explained, the reality of life in Israel from what they imagined it to be was a shock to many Indian Jews. “In India, we never had to fight for our rights but in Israel we did, and this was something new for us,” he says. “In the early ’50s, people had a problem because of their colour. They were subjected to differential treatment in everything. In employment, they got bad jobs and had less money. One group even returned to India in 1952.” Outlookindia
Sami Michael, journalist, acclaimed novelist and President of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has termed Israel as “The most racist state in the industrialized world”. He describes himself as an Arab Jew, a patriotic Israeli (not Zionist) and an Iraqi. +972mag.com
- “……the rise to power of the right in general, and of the Haredi right in particular, the racist divide has become an almost acceptable fact. Racism is gradually becoming entrenched in Israeli society with the political strengthening of the religious right. Racism is directed at Jews from Arab and Islamic countries, immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia, Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinians in the occupied territories, refugees and working migrants, gays, and the list goes on. The rising tide of racism continues to mount with the encouragement of Knesset and government members, both through infamous public statements and by legislating draconian anti-democratic laws against outsiders, foreigners, and against human rights organizations. In any case, Israel can pride itself on having the dubious title – the most racist state in the developed world.
Acri.org’s latest report - East Jerusalem: Facts and Figures 2015 – Presents a reality – persistent neglect and increasing violence that those in power in Israel refuse to acknowledge.
- These figures are well known to the authorities: Palestinians constitute 37% of the population of Jerusalem. 75% of them live under the poverty line. 33% of Palestinian students in Jerusalem do not finish Year 12. Only 64% of households are properly connected to the city’s water network. Only 7% of the postal workers operating in Jerusalem provide services to the Palestinian neighborhoods. 39% of houses are built without permits. There is no urban development, and the city will not even fix broken roads in neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier. During
the summer of 2014, there were fierce confrontations with the police, following which at least 5 children lost their sight in one eye due to the use of sponge-tipped bullets. The youngest of these children was 6 years old.
Unfortunately, discrimination also exists against Israeli women. Organisations like irac.org led by Civil & Human Rights Activist, Anat Hoffman have been fighting at the forefront for women’s emancipation in all walks of life, including the right to pray at the Wall.
Perhaps it is time to redefine the State of Israel, truthfully. Is it a creation by European Jews to fulfil their dream of a homeland? Is it exclusive or inclusive? Exclusive for whom – European Jews or all Jews? Inclusive for whom – all Jews and Others?
…while discussing his opposition to Knesset legislation that would offer same-sex parents the same tax breaks as their heterosexual counterparts, Ben Dahan told Maariv that homosexual Jews were superior than gentiles — gay or straight. “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual,” he said. – Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Defense Minister, The Times of Israel
It has to address the Palestinian issue. The two nation theory must be made a reality. It’s policy of bulldozing Palestinian homes to make way for the building of homes for Jews has now reached about 70 Bedouin families living in Umm al-Hiran. The residents have lost their battle in the Supreme Court with a ruling 2-1 going against them. For some Jewish settlers the question is about law and order. Further, the land apparently belongs to the government. There are about 240,000 Bedouins in Israel, descendants of the 13,000 who remained in Israel after its creation. Most members of the community, estimated at 65,000 at the time, fled or were forced out during the 1948 war, said Eli Atzmon, an expert on Israel’s Bedouin community.
The Begin-Prawer plan, first approved by the Knesset in September 2011, was a five year economic plan that could potentially have caused the demolition of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev and the forced expulsion to urban areas of 40,000 Israeli Bedouin. These villages either existed before Israel was founded or were created in locations to which the Israeli army moved Bedouins to in the early years of the state. Early Zionist documents even prove that 2.6 million dunam of land was recognized as belonging to the Bedouin prior to the establishment of the state. As “unrecognized villages,” they receive no services, their homes are automatically considered “illegal” and are subject to demolition, and their crops are sprayed and killed. – Rabbis for Human Rights
Interestingly, the Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) have said that this policy is against international law and tradition. Its open letter followed PM Netanyahu’s announcement that over 400 Palestinian homes in Israel controlled part of the West Bank will be demolished. The RHR have said that, “there is no representation or true ability for Palestinians to determine how to properly plan for their communities since local and district planning committees were abolished in 1971. The Israeli army plans for them.”
“Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year in Area C alone,” RHR stated in their letter, adding that Israeli planning and zoning laws “severely restrict the ability of Palestinians to build homes, even on the lands that the State recognizes as belonging to them.”
The self-hypnosis of exceptionalism must be discarded along with age old pathological racist tendencies based on colour, language, region and faith.
I grew up with Armenians, Iranians, Tibetans, Indian Jews, Nepalese, Burmese et al. We celebrated each other’s festivals. Did all the things that children normally did in those days like bunking school and covering for each other. We never spoke about our religion or for that matter, country. We were one…as one tribe. When my Jewish friends left for Israel I lost them in the labyrinth of international intrigue. When my other friends from the Middle East departed I lost them to the vagaries of insidious politics. And now all that one reads and hears is about slaughter of civilians and the wail of mothers moaning their dead.
This essay is about insaanyat…humanity and how it has been lost in the mad rush to be ‘exceptional’. To be exclusive. Above the rest, above the perceived great unwashed. That my God is Greater than your God. The overall effect of mindless violence, hate and the deliberate distortion of history that some have manipulated to devastating effect, is truly disheartening.
Now that you have read what prominent Arab Jews, Jews in general and others with a conscience have to say about the continuing strife in Israel…let us ask the question – Do Jews need a Homeland? This is what Mahatma Gandhi has to say…
- “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
- The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will?” (Gandhi & Zionism:‘The Jews’ – November 26, 1938. www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org)
A week ago the UN declared Israel as the worst violator of human rights in the world. This is viewed by many as more a political gesture than one based on fact. So how do we rate human rights? Here are some questions that can lead us to the answer:
01. How many people killed by bombs, starvation?
02. How many countries subjugated by political or economic colonisation?
03. How many countries invaded illegally, and since occupied in the last few hundred years?
04. How many legitimate governments brought down by outside Powers jostling for control of a country’s natural resources?
05. How many people have been made unsuspecting guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies?
06. How many women and children raped, murdered or trafficked?
07. How many people killed or displaced by ethnic cleansing?
08. How many countries that manipulate the lives of their citizens through invasive surveillance?
09. How many of the above affected people get justice?
10. And are there equal rights for all in any country in the world?
The above answers will reveal that in fact there are no worst or best countries when it comes to human rights. It is simply subjective degrees of subjugation through humiliation, torture and death. The justification may come under the banner of promoting ‘democracy’, when in reality it is ‘imposing’ democracy.
The State of Israel has been a human rights violator and this is confirmed by the citizens of Israel in this article. But how does one change the mind-set?
The utterances by politicians and government officials does not endear them to any right thinking person, not in Israel and not anywhere else in the world. But this ‘problem’ appears to growing since the period of the first PM of Israel Ben Gurion who called Moroccan Jews ‘savages’. PM Netanyahu and his new cabinet appear to be on a roll…with Likud lawmaker Tzipi Hotovely saying
“the time has come to tell the world that we’re right – not only smart.” Hotovely, who favors the annexation of the West Bank and opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, told envoys, “We must return to the basic truth about our right to the land.” She also cited the 11th-century Bible commentator Rashi, who explained the Bible’s focus on the story of the Jewish people’s origins in the Land of Israel and its exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land was meant to shore up the Jewish claim to the land in subsequent generations. The Times of Israel
Ms Ayelet Shaked (Israel’s New Justice Minister) last year likened Palestinians to “snakes” in a post later removed from her Facebook page but widely reported on by the Israeli media, and said all Palestinians, including mothers of attackers, should be eliminated. – www.smh.com.au
This is exactly why opinion is growing against Israel because there appears to be no difference between the statements of Israeli politicians and those leaders of the Muslim faith who use the Koran as an excuse to commit acts of inhumanity.
The reports by the Rabbis for Human Rights on the demolitions of legitimate homes of the Palestinians suggests that racism has become intrinsic to governance. And this is probably why organisations like the UN and others point accusing fingers at Israel because it is giving them reason to do so.
Often when the subject of Israel’s abusive actions are highlighted in the media the gendarmes of the absurd scream anti-Semitism. This reaction has now convinced many that Judaism and the State of Israel are synonymous. Hence, anti-Jewish feeling is rising in European countries and the USA. And this has helped the propaganda of Hamas, Hezbollah and to some extent Iran. Europe through the ages (before Islam and even after) and certain parts of the USA have displayed and continue to display inherent qualities of anti-Semitism by white non-Muslim people. The Holocaust was committed by a white European.
But this glaring truth usually escapes many when it comes to Arabs speaking up for their rights in Israel. The Arabs are viewed as the great unwashed, illiterate masses that follow a medieval religion. Only the white European Jews are head and shoulders above the rest (even the Arabs Jews in Israel are unequal).
The Arabs can’t be trusted with a nuclear weapon but Israel can, a country that has threatened Iran with a nuclear strike, courtesy PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The response from Iran is unsurprisingly predictable. Iran views Israel and USA as two sides of the same coin and therefore the feeling is mutual.
The term Arab has now become synonymous with Islam whereas an Arab could be either Muslim, Christian or Jew.
It is said that 43% of all Jews in the world reside in Israel, 39% in USA and the rest mainly in Canada and Europe. A small percentage is scattered all over the world. Many Jews hold two passports and this is where the problem lies. To which country does the Jew hold allegiance to? And this question is often asked by detractors of Israel. Why does the State of Israel permit its citizens to hold two passports if Israel is the homeland of the Jews? I have asked this question to many Israelis and the answer has been the same “because in some countries the Israeli passport is banned”. This makes a mockery of being a citizen of the Jewish homeland. What is the worth of an Israeli passport? A get out of jail card? A Jewish identity card?
All these factors add to the overall image of the State of Israel, which at present is in dire need of an overhaul, no thanks to its arrogant politicians and their actions.
Could it be that Israel needs a ‘Gandhi’ more than ever in its decades old existence to lead it unto the path from which it has strayed, the path of being ‘a light unto nations’?
The enemy is within. And it is called exceptionalism. And it can’t be fought with guns and hate. One hopes that those with wisdom in Israel acknowledge the failings of the past and work towards a brave new world, that is, if some have not already begun the journey.
I shall leave you now with these words of Hillel The Elder, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
“And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. As it is, they are co-shares with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them.” – Mahatama Gandhi ((Gandhi & Zionism: ‘The Jews’ November 26, 1938. www.gandhiserve.org/www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org)
© Mark Ulyseas