As Holocaust Day comes around again, a day which should be dedicated to all who have suffered from genocide but which has been ‘confiscated’ by Judaism, it is hard not to think of what has been done in the name of this Jewish experience of holocaust. And never has the word sounded so hollow! The bitter truth is that Israel gives Jews and Judaism a bad name, betrays the very best of that religion and makes a mockery of those who died at the hands of the Nazis.
I am sure those who died would be spinning in their graves at the reality of the Israeli State today – a state which calls itself a democracy and yet which is a theocracy, a religiously defined State which discriminates on the basis of religion and which holds the indigenous people of the land it colonised under one of the most murderous and brutal military ‘boots’ in modern history as it seeks to establish an apartheid State which can entrench injustice.
I know many Jews and a few Israelis who grieve for what has been done in the name of Judaism and are filled with shame at the State which claims to represent that religion. The only consolation is that more and more people around the world now know the truth of Israel’s foundation and its behaviour and the prospect of bringing this bloody mess to just resolution is closer than it has ever been.
In a matter of years, more people are now aware that the real ‘facts on the ground’ are that Israel is a racist, apartheid State which commits human rights abuses and war crimes as part of State sanctioned terrorism to maintain its elitist nature. Most importantly, more and more Americans, whose money pays for the State of Israel and without which it could not survive, are becoming aware of what is being done with their money and in their name. And they do not like it.
A decade ago if you read posts on article threads you would find that there was about 60% support for Israel and 40% criticism. That has changed to 95% criticism and 5% support. In terms of Americans the change is even more dramatic. Before the murderous attack on the Gaza concentration camp a few years ago, in essence, Israel’s Sharpeville, you could expect American posters to be 90% pro-Israel whatever it did and 10% critical. Now those percentages are switched around and most Americans who post comments in regard to Israel are vigorously if not bitterly opposed to the Israeli State. And for good reason. Prior to the attack on Gaza most Americans did not know what Israel was and did and it was and is modern technology which makes the truth harder to hide. In addition, given the parlous state of the US economy there is greater resentment of wasted money or money spent on such an egregious injustice.
In that irony of life while modern technology makes it easier to spread propaganda, it makes it harder to to convince people and to hide the truth. You can tell lies more easily but they are more easily discovered.
And to be fair to some Israelis, in recent years Israeli historians have had the integrity and courage to print the truth about their nation and its foundation and human rights and peace groups like B’Tselem, Peace Now and Breaking the Silence, among others, have done wonderful and courageous work to bring the reality of Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid State to the world. This work has been carried on by Jewish groups around the world and all have played a part in bringing greater understanding of this deadly and tragic conflict, which is, and always was, a colonial war. Understanding how something came about and how it functions is the first step to resolution.
At the most basic level, the UN had no right to partition Palestine against the will of the people living there, into a State for them and a racist state for followers of a religion. That is the core reality. The UN partition was most certainly immoral and probably illegal.
It would NEVER happen in this day and age. And the concept of a religiously defined State, a theocracy in essence, which gives superior rights to followers of a religion is not simply non-democratic it is utterly unjust. The UN’s actions forced a racist State upon the Palestinians and one which has held them under occupation, colonisation and apartheid ever since.
It was only the power of the Zionist lobby, an inherently bigoted and racist organisation which got it pushed through the UN in the first place. And while it has many foaming at the mouth to hear it, the reason given for the foundation of a Jewish State on Palestine, the death of 6million Jews, was talked about by the Zionists decades before Hitler ever appeared on the scene, or a Nazi manifesto came to be written. The plan to colonise Palestine in the name of Judaism and a Jewish holocaust, existed long before any literal holocaust took place. However, the why and the what of it matters little compared to the reality of the injustice today and what needs to be done.
Whatever plans and lies the Zionists may have had or told, what needs to be dealt with is the reality of Israel in the here and now. Israel not only dispossesses and abuses the indigenous Palestinians it gives superior rights to followers of a religion – Judaism. If any other nation which called itself a democracy did that it would be rightly condemned. South Africa was not allowed to keep its apartheid State and Judaism should never have been allowed to create one in the first place and should not be allowed to keep it now. One state with equal rights for all regardless of religion – just like every other coloniser and democracy has done is the only answer and always was.
As indigenous people dispossessed and colonised and essentially powerless, the Palestinians have never been to blame. Their violence, and I don’t condone violence in the name of anything, has been done to free themselves from occupation and colonisation while Israeli violence has been and is done to maintain that injustice. The Palestinians have mitigating factors while the Israelis have none.
Perhaps a little known fact, but a fact all the same is that many if not most orthodox Jews opposed the creation of a literal State of Israel because they said Israel was only ever a metaphor. Just as the concept of a Jewish people was a metaphor.
Just because a few followers of Judaism camped in Palestine millenia ago gives them no more right to that land than to any of the non-Jewish other tribes who were there. Religions do not get homelands or have land-rights and do not make for indigenes and never did.
Having said that, Israel does have a right to exist just like all other historically recent colonisers. What it DOES NOT have the right to is a racist, apartheid State nor to continued occupation and colonisation. The reality of Israel is even more appalling given that it claims to be a democracy. Patently it is not!
Let’s deal with reality, not fantasy. Jews are not a people. Not any more than Catholics, Hindus, Moslems are a people. They are members of a religion. Drop the religion and you are not Jewish as many have done and still do; convert and you are Jewish as many have done and still do. That is exactly the same for any religion.
Equally, followers of Judaism comprise all races and hundreds of nationalities – just like any other religion. More to the point, most do not live in Israel, never wanted to and still do not want to. In addition, nearly a quarter of Israelis are not Jewish which makes them second-class citizens in a symbolic and literal sense.
One can understand the delusion, lies, guilt, fantasy and ignorance which led to the foundation of a religious State in Palestine for a select few, but there is no justification for supporting it now when the reality of its foundation and its form is so well known and so cruelly seen.
And the bitter irony, given how much blood, death and suffering have come through this colonial enterprise is that followers of Judaism never needed their own State and most never wanted to live there and most do not live there and still do not want to live there.
I realise no-one is innocent but generally we take the view that those who are occupied and colonised and who are essentially powerless are more innocent than others. In other words, there are mitigating factors. We do not judge the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa or Australasia for their resistance against colonial oppressors and yet many seek to do just that in regard to the Palestinians.
There is a colonial war waged in Palestine and it is no different to colonial wars waged everywhere else, in the past and now. Except for the fact that Israel is the only democracy waging a colonial war. And it is the supposed democratic West which supports it by omission or commission.
Israel uses State sanctioned terrorism to maintain occupation and colonisation and the Palestinian freedom fighters use it to fight against occupation and colonisation. The right of the Palestinians to fight is enshrined in the Geneva Convention and UN Resolutions – the Israelis have no right to commit war crimes and human rights abuses to maintain their occupation of Palestine and certainly not to defend an apartheid State based on a belief that Jews are superior and anyone with a Jewish ancestor, even if non-practising, even if he or she never practised and neither did their parents, is something called a secular Jew and therefore superior to an indigenous Palestinian is disgraceful in a State which calls itself a democracy.
The idea that you can be a secular Jew is no more than racist propaganda. There is no such thing as a secular Jew any more than there is a secular Christian. There are lapsed Jews and lapsed Christians but that is quite different. If you call yourself Jewish you align yourself with the religion. Otherwise you do what millions have done, drop it, and you are no longer Jewish. Ditto for Christians, Muslims, Hindus – any religion.
The concept of a secular Jew is laughable to the religion itself and was ‘created’ by Zionism on the basis of racism to ensure that the indigenous Palestinians could never be a majority. That is why Israel has taken ‘Jews’ whose only claim to Judaism is a grandparent or great-grandparent who practised the religion. On that basis even I could become a citizen of Israel where a Palestinian in a refugee camp, holding keys to a home in Jerusalem where his family lived for 600 years could not!
But times have changed for Israel and the days of the apartheid State are numbered. The boycotts and sanctions movement will bring a one-state solution and justice, just as it did in South Africa. While South Africans felt the pain mostly through being banned from international sport and Israelis will feel the pain being banned from academic and scientific events, because, contrary to all evidence, Israelis do believe, as part of the religious teaching, that they are superior to others, particularly intellectually, the truth is that Israel will be brought to its senses for the same reason South Africa was – money! Only when SA was teetering on the edge of economic collapse did it bring about change and Israel will be no different. It won’t take as long with Israel because it is far less economically viable than South Africa was but no politician or leader can maintain a practice which destroys his or her country’s economy.
On that basis one can feel sorry for those who wanted a theocratic Israel – a religious State for Jews – but such a State was always doomed because it has no place in a democratic or civilized world. Such a State is racist in conception and expression.
If Israelis had been smart, and so much for the much lauded superior intelligence of members of the Jewish religion, they would have negotiated legitimate borders and a two state solution with the Palestinians long ago. At least then they could have had their religious State for a time although it would never have lasted long as such.
Instead, racism and bigotry have set them on a path which has caused such terrible suffering to the Palestinians that when the inevitable one-state solution comes into being, with its Palestinian majority, it is highly unlikely it will be called Israel. So not only will there not be a Jewish State, there will not be a State of Israel. And the Israelis will have no-one to blame but themselves.
Justice will best come through non-violence and supporting the BDS movement is a responsibility for anyone of conscience who believes in ending injustice wherever it appears.
Some examples of the growth of the BDS movement just in the past year are:
The world of football has joined the growing BDS movement against the apartheid state of Israel. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has donated 1.5 million euros to fund schools in Gaza following Israel’s recent military assault. The money was raised when Ronaldo auctioned the Golden Boot he was awarded for being Europe’s top goal scorer last season.
A special rapporteur for the UN’s Human Rights Council has called for a boycott on all companies involved with Israeli settlements until they adhere to international rights standards. Israel and the US have condemned the move.
A prominent Roman Catholic NGO in Germany has called for a wide-ranging boycott of Israeli products.
The petition represents an expansion of the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel in Germany, where efforts by pro-Palestinian activists to delegitimize the Jewish state continue to pick up momentum.
The global reach of the BDS movement is maybe best highlighted by this year’s edition of the BDS Global Day of Action which took place in 23 countries and the fact that the 8th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was organized this year on campuses in 202 cities across the world, causing near panic in the Israeli public diplomacy ministry, which scrambled 100 envoys to counter IAW around the world.
Popular consumer boycotts of Israeli products and campaigns against companies that export and sell Israeli products, particularly those implicated in Israel’s illegal colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory, have not only raised awareness among ordinary citizens in countless cities across the world but led to significant damage to complicit Israeli companies:
Some of the world’s biggest stars – from Madonna to the Red Hot Chili Peppers – are being accused of putting profit before principle in a growing backlash against artists performing in Israel.
An academic boycott of Israeli universities isn’t an attack on freedom of speech. The evidence tells us these institutions are key battlegrounds for breaches of international law towards the Palestinians, argues Antony Loewenstein.
New Zealand’s $20 billion national pension fund announced this month that it was divesting from three Israeli companies that were complicit in the building of colonies in the West Bank and the annexation wall that runs deep into Palestinian territory.
To name just a few………………………………
The world of football has joined the growing BDS movement against the apartheid
South Africa’s Ruling Party Endorses Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Against Israel
The ANC is ‘unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel’
While in the UK:
Since the landmark policy passed at the TUC last year to boycott all companies complicit in the illegal Occupation, the PSC has launched a new campaign calling supermarkets to stop using suppliers that profit from the Occupation.
Gaza, the West Bank and Eat Jerusalem are all under an illegal occupation by Israel, which profits from exporting goods, including fruit and vegetables and herbs, grown in illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land, in to the UK.