Category Archives: Racism

Razorwire over the Wadi

Shakhaf returns home from school. Daddy, who recently returned from his reseve duty, asks how was her day. Shakhaf, who is in the first or second grade, says she has homework to do: answer the question whether Israel has a right to exist. Daddy, and you can see how much it costs him (“if it has a what?” “a right to exist”), keeps his cool and asks what she thinks of the question. Shakhaf says it’s a simple one; he asks for the answer. She says “yes, it does”; he asks “why?”. Shakhaf is stuck: “I don’t know”.

Here comes the expected Zionist answer: a house which we’ve abandoned and yet remains ours, the 2,000-years exile and all of the usual mythos. But, daddy says, when we’ve come back, we’ve forgotten other people have lived here in the meantime – “and these people are right, and these people are right as well, and because of that we’re entangled with ourselves for a 100 years already”.

And perhaps the recognition of tragedy, the collision of two sides in the right, is a bit too much for a seven year old child. Especially in a reality where this collision takes the form of terrorist attacks and unfocused assassination strikes.

[] Touching every open sore

The new movie of the brothers Tomer and Barak Hayman, “A Bridge over the Wadi”, tells the story of the mixed school for Jewish and Arab children so named, residing in Qafr Qara. The school is supposed to promote coexistence among Jews and Arabs – and the movie takes a good look at every pothole on that road.

It begins well: excited kids go to school. An Arab mother says she grew up hating Jews and she doesn’t want her son to grow up like her. Asaf, a Jewish boy, goes to school with mixed feelings: he is afraid of a terrorist attack, the school is in an Arab town. The year is 2004. The children reach school, balloons go up, and everything looks fine. The teachers teach the children trust-games: one child closes his eyes, and the other leads him throughout the school grounds, guiding him so he won’t fall or harm himself.

Then Hanukah comes along. All of the children, Jewish and Muslims, sing holiday hymns. They light “eight candles of light and love”. Some of the Muslim parents feel ill at ease – which is noticeable when their own children sing “[and we thank thee] for the salutations, and for the wars You fought for our forefathers”.

The first flashpoint comes during Ramadan: A Muslim child leads all of the children in a holiday prayer, and the children bow and pray. This is too much for Moni, who takes her son out of school. She claims to be an atheist, but says Jews have, over the generations, have preferred death to bowing. It’s very hard to blame her for this.

A short while afterwards comes the suicide attack in Be’er Sheva. Asaf is hosting his friend, Bashir, in his grandmother Bruria’s house. During lunch, Bruria cross-examines Bashir: Are you sad when Jews are killed? Did your parents teach you life has intrinsic value? Asaf is trying to defend his friend (“they don’t speak to them about it, so they won’t be afraid”); the grandmother carries on with the crucifixion. When the two finally escape towards the video games, she fires at the camera: “we educate the people who will kill us”.

The Hsymans aren’t going easy on themselves, do not act as toy leftists, and don’t pretend the occupation is the source of all the problems in the universe. At a campfire, after Shakhaf and her friend are taken by the friend’s father, Farouq, to the Luna Park, she asks Farouq about love. Farouq says there are no such things among them, it’s forbidden. Shakhaf, amused and curious and detecting bullshit a mile off, asks what would happen if her friend would tell Farouq she was in love. Farouq, noticeably agitated, repeats his reply. Shakhaf asks, wondrous: what do you mean? There are no rules in love, if she falls in love she falls in love. Farouq does not reply. The director intervenes, and repeats Shakhaf’s question. Farouq finally answers: “If this happens, I’d shoot her and turn myself in, I’d go to prison”. Shakhaf, terrified: “You’d kill her?”

And all this is a bit too much. It’s not clear why kids in second class have to learn about Land Day. It’s not clear why the school, which always makes certain all lessons are bilingual (which, as the teacher Yasmin justly notes, means in practice that the Arab pupils are losing their mother’s tongue, because they speak Hebrew with their friends), is split particularly on Independence Day. Some learn about Independence Day, some of the Naqba. And what will they say to each other, when they return to school after two days?

The movie is well edited, the directors’ involvement is minimal (aside from the question directed at Farouq, they asked no other question), and it leaves the viewer with huge despair, huge fear. After all, this school was established by the more tolerant people of the two groups, and if this is the result when their children meet, what would be the result in the general public, where xenophobia is a central ingredient of identity?

The last scene is a conversation among the children. One child, Jewish, all children, even civilians, will have to be soldiers at one point. Another Jewish child is trying to soften the message: no, not everyone. Yes, everyone, the first child insists; it’s either the army or the prison. The second speaker, defensive, says: but you don’t have to serve in a position which forces you to kill Arabs. The first speaker replies: it’s your commander who decides what you’ll do, not you.

One of the Arab children blows a fuse: if you kill Arabs, I will come to your house and blow you up. The second Jewish children gives it his last shot: but maybe, by the time we grow up, there’ll be peace. The first speakers nods dismissively: I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

And if this is the level of pessimism among second graders, and second graders who know the “other side” intimately, maybe it’s time to close up shop.

(Written by Yossi Gurvitz for Nana Culture, published November 4 2007, translated into English today, November 6.)

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How I Became an Enemy of the Race

(Note: This article, a polemic whose original and pretentious name was “Apologia pro fide sui”, was published in December 2006 in Nana News, after an Orthodox commentator charged me with anti-Semitism. He replied, and I replied again – I plan to translate the second reply later.)

(For Dena Bugel-Shunra)

Ariel Lavi, who writes Parshat Ha’Shavua columns in these pages – caveat: I edited most of them – wrote yesterday a somewhat confused and emotional column, in which he blamed of anti-Semitism. And that’s about it. Even though he wrote that “the full refuting for Gurvitz’s claims could be detailed here”, and even though he was offered a podium precisely for that purpose, Ariel has, lo and behold, declined to do so.

I was skeptical whether the strange mishmash written by a person who supposed, for some reason, that the [Jewish] Hellenizers were an obstacle in the war against, err, the Romans, and who has in the past claimed that Plato learned his wisdom from the Hebrew prophets, actually merits a reply. Normally, I’d say no; but, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to a polemic with the opponent you have, not the one you’d wish for.

Anti-Semitism? Bullshit

Lavi’s first accusation is that I am anti-Semitic. Crying anti-Semitism has become, of late, the ultimate excuse for dodging debate on troublesome ideas. There’s no point in arguing with an anti-Semitic. I guess I got off lightly: Lavi did not claim I’m a holocaust-denier.

The accusation is false, and I’ll explain why in a minute. But first, it should be noted that the labeling of someone as anti-Semite is not a refutation; were I to consider all Jews the descendents of apes and pigs, and to hold decidedly unkosher debauched feasts on Yom Kippur which happened to be a Saturday, while listening to Wagnerian operas – that would still say nothing about the value of my arguments, and would not refute them.

Anti-Semitism is the claim that all Jews are guilty of something. Classical, which is to say Christian, anti-Semitism was of the opinion that all Jews are eternally, mystically, guilty of the murder of the son of God – a guilt which could only be expiated through the waters of baptism. Modern anti-Semites claimed that Jews are, by nature and without power of change, loathsome creatures.

I reject with disdain the claim that a “set nature” can be decided for over 13 million people, different in one another by ethnicity, character, education, social position and residence. Anti-Semitism is yet another prejudice, another sub-category of the disease which is xenophobia. I believe that the word “Jew” has only religious significance: a Jew is someone who accepts a certain set of beliefs.

I find that set of beliefs to be detestable – more on that in a minute – but it’s interesting to look and see how Lavi sees things. The results may be interesting.

Reverse Anti-Semitism

According to Lavi, the Jewish people is entrusted with a heavy burden of “Tikkun Olam”, fixing the world. It is not, by any means, a new concept, and it is brought ad absurdum by Jewish law: there is a correct Jewish way to lace your shoes, and a Jew who deviates from it is harming Tikkun Olam. The Kaballah, which lurks like a malignant tumor behind many Jewish customs, whispers that incorrect lacing of the shoe creates demons.

Lavi hastens to enlist me, due to my mother’s lineage, in the ranks of his devil-banishing legion. He believes I have no choice but to play the part he and the rabbis set for me in their divine farce. And, since I refuse, he is left with no option but declaring me a race traitor.

Which is to say that, according to Lavi, my function in life is set by my blood. When I renounce the part others want me to play, he decides that my behavior is irrational and is only intended to provide me with excuses. By the same logic, the Venerable Peter – one of the most influential churchmen in the Middle Ages – reached the conclusion that Jews are irrational creatures: they have, after all, rejected by various excuses the self-evident (according to Peter’s thinking) truth of the Gospel, and by so doing denied their divinely-allotted part.

So who, precisely, is the anti-Semite around here? I report, you decide. Does it mean I have no issues with Judaism – and let us be exact: Judaism and not Jews? Not at all. But it requires an explanation, and it won’t be short.

A Religion suffering from PTSD

The historical development of Jewish thought is the result of a dreadful paradox: Jews believed they were the chose people, but, how should I put it, God was on the side of the Roman legions. The Temple, which was the center of Jewish life, was destroyed in 70 AD. The defenders of the Temple were betting Jehova won’t let His name be besmirched. They were wrong.

And as if to add insult to injury, a small and cheeky cult which broke the tribal limits and believed God has expiated the Original Sin, by sacrificing himself for the sins of the world, has taken over the Known World. The majority of Jews, with no need for pogroms or persecution, went over to Christianity; within a century after “the realm turned heretic”, St. Jerome could crow that “Not one in ten remains of Judea”.

The trauma among the survivors was horrible. It is expressed in the anti-Christian curse uttered by Orthodox Jews three times a day unto this day: “Let the heretics be deprived of hope…”. The heretics are the Christians. During the Middle Ages, under pressure of censorship, the curse was changed minutely – Minim turned to Malshinim­ – and is now ostensibly directed at snitches. Pious Jews are familiar with this story.

Ever since then, Judaism was hanging between two polar points: the proper status of Jews facing their actual status. The pressure was particularly jagged in Ashkenaz – western and northren Europe – where Jews sometimes lived, literally, under the cross: the Jewish quarter was often built around the cathedral.

The result was a wild hatred, unlimited because it was powerless, to the people among whom the Jews lived. In one vengeance hymn the word “blood” appeared 77 times. (And this, as far as we can tell, is also the cause of the Blood Libel. The Christians knew the Jews hated them, and they made a logical deduction: the Jews hate us so much, they are willing to murder their own children so they won’t become Christians; what, then, shall they do with our children?).

This relationship became more and more poisoned as time passed. And as if that wasn’t enough, Judaism kept bleeding: in a desperate attempt to circle the wagons, it became anti-intellectual. The Jewish world closed more and more, and the very act of peeking outside became an offense. The philosophical writings of Maimonides were handed over to the inquisition for burning in 1232, and that was a price the rabbis were willing to pay in order to prevent Ashkenazi Jews from learning of the world beyond the walls. This turning inwards, towards the Talmud page, beget degeneracy.

And degeneracy, among a people accustomed to a high level of critical culture, led to escape – assimilation. During the Renaissance, Judaism was already an empty shell; Jews had nothing to contribute to the most stirring period in the history of the western world. Nothing – except the curse of the Kabballah, for which it was its hour of greatness; night is darkest just before dawn. The last crisis came when Orthodox Judaism, losing its wits under the waves of Enlightenment which swept the Middle Ages away, has declared that “the new is forbidden by the Torah”.

And when that happened, anyone who could, anyone with sense, fled. The 19th century saw the demolition of the legal walls between Jews and Christians, and almost any thinker of importance made the short, odious trip to the baptismal font – or merely declared himself an atheist. Once more, not one in ten was left in Judea.

Judaism reached the 19th century as a wreck. Like Islam, it crashed on modernism. It dragged a poisoned baggage with it to the century of the Enlightenment: Kill the best of the gentiles, smash the brains of the best serpent, all non-Jewish women are prostitutes, you are called man and they are not, it’s a law that Esau hates Jacob. The world outside the ghetto – and the ghetto, it should be remembered, was almost always the result of Jewish choice – was so scary.

Internal Tension and its Results

The Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam mentioned by Lavi brought about a significant branching: A large number of Jews decided, during that terrible and beautiful century of Enlightenment, to indeed fix the world. They became revolutionaries and communists and reformers. Many of the descendants of the persecuted decided no one should be persecuted any longer. They were prominent in the political, literary and scientific movements – in a time when it was taken as dogma that science will save humanity – with no proportion to their number in the general populace.

The century of Enlightenment, between the end of the Napoleon Wars and the First World War, was also the century of the Jews. Marx, Einstein, Freud, and many others – by breaking the world into which they were born, they created the world in which we live today.

(And some of them, indeed, when chasing the highest good, when love of humanity overcame love of man, when they decided to demolish the old world to its foundations, became the worst of killers. Trotsky, Kaganevich, Frenkel, Yagoda – these are names no longer mentioned).

But Tikkun Olam has two versions, and while the Enlightenment Jews chose fixing the world, and accordingly became more and more distant from Judaism, those left behind, those who kept the fire-spitting ember of Talmud and lawgivers, Kabbalah and legends, saw Tikkun Olam as something entirely different: as the restoration of things as they should be – the control of others by Jews, the Messianic times according to Maimonides. They had no interest in the world, but they had one hell of a grudge against it.

And Zionism, who created this country, was torn between these two poles. Whose heart will not bleed at Shaul Tscharnikhovski’s roar, “My sword! Where is my sword!” – when he knows well there is no sword? And, when he dreams – lying prostate before the statue of Apollo – about “the conquerors of Canaan by storm” – only someone who does not know oppression and occupation will mock the feelings of the oppressed. But Tscharnikhovski was also capable of singing the praises of human brotherhood; few Zionist could do likewise.

Yet following the Uganda Debate, after Zionism has given up its ambition of a normal state, first and foremost a shelter, when it became addicted to the bad old necromancy of messianism, based on mystical “Eretz Israel” – then the tension was discharged. Zionism became the refuge of those who chose to see the concept of “chosen people” as Herrenfolk. This attitude is not new; contrary to the claims of the Zionist left, it did not spring into being following the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Ehad Ha’Am, visiting Palestine in the 1900s, complained that the “pioneers” were treating the locals – who may not have occupied the place by storm, but did live in it for centuries – abominably. Zionism became a magnet for the racist among the Jews.

By thy Sword Shall thou Live

And so, when we look at the list of Nobel Prize winners, note the large number of Jews and the pitiful number of Israelis – even though Israel contains almost half of the world’s Jewry; when we see the achievements of American and British Jewry, and compare it to the lamentable state in Israel; when we stare into this mirror, we see, staring back, the difference between implementing Tikkun Olam as responsibility for the world, and Tikkun Olam as a wild, desperate quest of vengeance against history.

There are millions of people in Israel, whose soul is still that of the refugee, and whose minds are consumed by that old hatred, that 2,000-years old hatred, against the world. Such a situation will always be loaded – and in Israel we have given those people, who credo is “the whole world is arrayed against us”, advanced weaponry. Isolationist, Orthodox, human-hating Judaism is the variant that reigns in Israel.

And it has some frightening parallels with the Nazi movement. The attitude of Nazis towards homosexuals, women, and foreigners is dangerously similar to that of Orthodox Judaism towards them – a religion which has never abolished slavery, whose males pray daily that they were born neither woman nor slaves, whose laws do not punish the Jew who kills the gentiles, whose Chief Military Rabbi has concluded a POW must not be given medical treatment, unless it brings about some intelligence benefit, or there’s fear that his death will cause harm to Israelis.

Nazism was an attempt to cancel out modernism, to leap backwards to an imagined Middle Ages – much more violent than the real one was; and all of the faculties of Orthodox Judaism are employed in an attempt to avoid confronting the modern world, a desperate attempt of flight from recognizing that its basic thesis – that the Jewish male is the center of the world, the pinnacle of creation, above the inert, the plant, the animal and man – has crumbled 200 years ago.

But this is probably too much history for a person who keeps mixing the Greeks and Romans – hey, what’s the difference, they’ve both persecuted Jews – and way too much philosophy for a person who still believes, for reasons beyond human ken, that the Greeks worshipped statues. This demands too much thinking. Better call it anti-Semitism.

Because, as everyone knows, there is no point in arguing with anti-Semites. There’s nothing to argue about. What a nice, easy solution.

Judeo-Nazis

Gevalt! A gang of neo-Nazis was discovered in Petah Tikva. Why, oh why did we import those anti-Semite Russians? So what if, in all likelihood, they came to the country as small children and grew up here – they’re truly bred anti-Semites, just like all gentiles (spit!) are.

Just what don’t you get? They’re not Jews! Gevalt! They have only a Jewish father, or a Jewish grandfather; maybe a father and two grandfathers, and one grandmother, but they lack a Jewish mother! Maybe their mother has a Jewish father and grandfather, but she doesn’t have a Jewish mother! To make a long story short, somewhere down the line, one non-Jewish mother cropped up. That’s how it is, when you grow up without a worrying Jewish mother: you wind up a Nazi.

These Nazis, they’re not Jewish enough. They may be half, quarter, or three-quarter Jews, but they’re not full Jews. They don’t have the pure Jewish blood, which is why they lack the spark of Jewish soul, the spark which connects them to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Why did we bring these goyim here anyway? So they’d get mixed up with pure Jews and cause assimilation?

They should be kicked outta here, and in the meantime, they should be reminded – every day, every hour – that they’re not one of ours. They’re not Jewish enough for us – and what is it to you, if we go to the discos on Saturdays and drive to smoke a few joints in Sinai during Yom Kippur? When it comes to the purity of the Jewish race, we’re all Satmer Hassidim, and anyone who has just a Jewish father is beyond the pale, and we won’t let him forget it.

Which is right and proper, and here’s the thing: when those little goyim grew up, turns out they became Jewish-haters. What more proof do you need?

(Hebrew original posted on September 10 2007 by Mad Max, translated by Yossi Gurvitz. The police have arrested several members of a “neo Nazi” gang; the prisoners are all Russian immigrants, and a racist outcry as to their “Jewish purity” and demands for their expulsion – picked up by the Minister of the Interior – took over the Israeli news sites. This is, of course, a parody).

Return of the Repressed

The Japanese have a big problem with their history, and it occasionally breaks through to the surface. The Japanese Minister of Defence, Fumio Kyuma, was recently forced to resign after stating the obvious: that the American use of nuclear bombs against the atrocity his country has been inevitable at the time. What is perceived as an extreme to psychotic right-wing notion outside of Japan, but constitutes the mainstream inside it, made him pay the price for offending the national myth. The former Prime Minister, Koizumi Junichiro, mostly a benign character, insisted on odd visits to the Yasukuni Temple where senior Japanese war criminals are commemorated. It is entirely plausible that the American effort, right after the war, to prevent the prosecution of the Emperor Hirohito – a step the Americans feared might lead to a general uprising – badly distorted the Japanese conception of history.

The Turks have a big problem with their history, and it keeps generating headlines. During the first world war the military junta conducted a genocide against the Armenian minority. This genocide is a self evident truth world wide, except in Turkey and Israel; but what, to outsiders. is perceived as an extreme to psychotic right-wing notion, is the Turkish mainstream; and it insists on prosecuting even nationally-recognized writers, if they uncover the conventional fallacies. Sometimes it murders as well.

The Israelis have a big problem with their history, and it’s difficult even to walk down the street without bumping into it. Those who took Canaan by storm did it a little too late, in a time when the whole idea of ethnic cleansing started being rejected by international consensus. Ironically, it happened because of the efficiency with which the Nazis conducted their ethnic cleansing against the Jews (The Soviet ethnic cleansing in eastern Europe is beginning to draw attention only in recent years). Hundreds of villages and quite a few Palestinian cities where demolished when the Zionist phoenix rose from the Palestinian ashes; ;dozens of massacres were carried out, hundreds of deportations; the language, the traditions, the landscape – all changed beyond recognition. Often by means of bulldozers and demolition charges.

Today the Minister of Education, Yuli Tamir, stated the obvious: the Palestinian citizens of Israel would no longer have to learn about the mighty pioneers who tamed the wilderness and fought the evil savages, but could learn history as it was experienced by their ancestors: the deportation, the massacres, the Naqba. What is perceived, outside Israel, as the extreme to psychotic right-wing – the Israeli mainstream – has already confronted the minister with raging fury. She hasn’t resigned yet, but it’s very possible that the decision will be used by Ehud “no High Court of Justice” Barak as means to her dismissal. MK Zvi Hendel, that exceptionally rabid dog, whose discontent over being unable to continue abusing the inhabitants of Gaza has become his icon, has already informed that he will propose a bill to automatically revoke the citizenship of those who commemorate the Naqba.

Tamir’s decision is idiotic, of course. If there was a Naqba, if there were deportation and massacre and ethnic cleansing and Ben Gurion’s famous hand gesture, it should appear in Jewish schoolbooks as well. If it didn’t happen, as the Zionist propaganda claims, then there is not reason for the Naqba to appear in the Arab schoolbooks. Two so different schoolbooks on the same subject are a recipe for increasing and radicalizing the tension.

But Tamir doesn’t have the required political capital to oppose the raging rabble which is the majority of the Israeli public, that same rabble that enthusiastically supports turning Israel into an apartheid state, that believes it is the Chosen People returning to its “long lost home”; her political capital barely sufficed for marking the Green Line, the 1967 borders, on schoolbooks’ maps. The Zionist myth – equality, national independence, progress for all the land’s inhabitants, the unabated righteousness – these turned S. Yizhar’s Hirbet Hiz`ah, that account of “how to create a diaspora”, unbearable even at the seventies. What the conquerors themselves knew, their descendants prefer to forget.

And since the Israelis simultaneously believe both that they are the takers of Canaan by storm, and that the storm was only a gentle spring breeze, they cannot look in the face at the ruins their existence is founded on. Anything that might remind of what must not be reminded is brutally pushed aside. And that brutality is often turned towards those witnesses of the horror that was the birth of Israel, the Palestinians who brazenly did not flee, who remained despite the massacres, despite the arbitrary land expropriation, despite the discriminatory laws and all the foul legal shticks the Jewish genius managed to devise.

No other place craves normalcy as much as Israel, an evidence of how badly it is missing here; but a nation that was founded on graveyard remnants and mosque ruins will never be normal, until it admits the debt it owes its past, look it straight in the eye and make its peace with it. We can see just how abnormal it is, how badly it terrifies those who inhabit it, in a recently published research; it shows that 46.1% of youths between 14 and 18 prefer living outside of Israel, and that 68% of them think its situation is “not good”. A country that so many of its young want to flee, will never be normal. The first generation conquered and kept silent, the second generation concealed, the third generation escapes.

And we can understand them: they are being raised from childhood on the conception that life in Israel is a mission, that in fact they are doing the country a favor by living in it. They are, after all, the vanguard of the Jewish People returning to its motherland. And it seems that for amazingly high number of them, this burden is too heavy to shoulder.

They were never taught that they are natives to this land. They were never taught that their country was founded on injustice, on crime, but that it was founded; that it is here; that it has nowhere to go; they were never taught that they do not bear their fathers’ sins, but do have to face the crimes themselves and deal with their consequences; they were taught they were born over a bottomless pit. They were taught that exposing the historical truth, what every thinking man knows, is lethal. They weren’t taught, but rather deliberately misled, as to the difference between the ’48 Arabs and the ’67 Arabs, and now they can’t tell the difference, or tell why only some of them have Israeli citizenship. The difference between Jewish and Israeli has been deliberately blurred. The entire past had been made to vanish, and any sliver of it that is suddenly exposed is as shocking as the revelation of a family tragedy.

Some consolation may be found in the idea that the Israeli public cannot face the facts because they are too horrid, because they say shocking things about the foundation of its existence, because it wants to avoid the deep feeling of shame that will justly confront it. But denying history – whether it’s denying the holocaust, or denying the atrocities of occupied China, or the stern denial of the genocide in Anatolia and Syria – is a symptom of a grave disease, of an irreparable rupture between reality as it is and reality as we would want it to be.

And to heal ourselves from this disease, we need a cold and ruthless history of our Independence War, one that will document all the crimes. We need a comittee of truth and reconciliation. We need to know exactly where we live, and who lived here before us. Only thus can we build this place anew, and not on foundations made of broken tombstones.

Perhaps. Because a place almost half of its children want to flee, has few reasons for hope.

(Orignally posted to Friends of George by Yossi Gurvitz. Translated by Yair Mahalalel on July 31st, 2007)

Don’t steal, the government hates competition; The wave of censorship; The civil marriage bluff; The list of shame – four comments on the situation.

Israbluff: The Chief Rabbi – the one of the kidnap and assault, not the one of the bribery and molestation – surely laughed all the way to the office, if he bothered to get there at all. The “breakthrough” he agreed on with Minister of Justice Friedman, according to which those who are not a part of any millet will be allowed to marry each other in a civil ceremony, only served to strengthen him.

When the Rabbinate allows civil marriage “only to those forbidden from being married by the rabbinate” it gives up nothing. Quite the opposite. It absolves itself of a headache. And the Government of Israel? It made another racist step to preserve the Jewish endogamy – the fear of “blood mixing”. Jews, everybody knows, should only marry Jews. And the latest decision staves off any concern that a kosher Jewish woman might marry some “irreligious”. The Rabbinate now has a wonderful excuse for preventing the marriage. Let the uncircumcised marry one of his own. Now that there is a “solution”, the danger of mixed marriages is dramatically reduced.

It is no coincidence that this decision bears a close resemblance to the way converts and born-again Jews are treated in orthodox and ultra-orthodox societies: they are asked to marry their own. Otherwise murmurs ensue, and occasionally a little violence. And since we are a Jewish state – i.e. misanthropic – there are now in Israel 300,000 more people, who are semi-officially defined as having lesser rights. It is very clear why Amar agreed to that. It is completely unclear why Friedman agreed to it. Perhaps he was too busy scheming against Beinisch.

Third time a charm: A strange wave is sweeping through the Knesset recently, as it tries to censor left and right. There was bill 892, by Yehiel “brain in the warehouse” Hazan, which fell through; Minister of Communications Atias proposed a slightly different version of it; Collette Avital proposed the hideously moronic proposal to not only ban the use of holocaust symbols in debates, but also to incarcerate those who do; and all were outdone by that match made in moronic heaven, Yuval Steinitz and Danny Yatom.

These two clowns proposed a bill that bans publication of pictures taken in public without the consent of all concerned. In one swift blow they destroyed journalistic photography in Israel, to say nothing of televised news, since, technically, everyone covering a demonstration will need the approval of all those present in order to release the pictures or video. Not to mention that if one photographs a policeman brutalizing a demonstrator – not a rare event in these places – then technically, the officer can claim that the photograph offends him (which is true enough) and prevent its publication.

Moreover, this idiotic bill destroys not only journalistic photography, but photography as a whole. If I walk down the street, and see someone doing something interesting or wearing a unique expression, I would not be able to post the picture to Flickr without approval of the man himself, and anyone else in the frame. Photographers will be asked to focus on flowers from now on.

It is unclear what Yuval “launching missiles to God” Steinitz and Danny “Whistling ping pong balls” Yatom wanted to achieve with this bill. After all it is unlikely, I hope, that this stupid proposal will survive a preliminary reading. So what is the point? What is it good for.

No one may break the law, except the government: I only noticed this late – It so happens that the government insists it has a right to employ companies violating labor laws. I would have called it new and shocking, hadn’t the government tried to pass an amendment to the minimum wage law at Nov. 2003, that will make it the only employer exempt from it.

And the situation is no better when the government isn’t the felon: Only ten violations of the minimum wage law where prosecuted at 2006, according to Ha’aretz reporter Ruthi Sinai. That same year, a routine investigation by the ministry of industry, trade and labor showed that 92% of employers violate labor laws. This is what happens when there are exactly 22 inspectors for all the country’s employers.

The ministry of finance opposes adding inspectors, and not without reason. When they speak of “a free market”, they mean the freedom of action of the 19 families. The rest have the freedom to sleep under the bridge, with the ministry of finance cutting their leeway every year. American style capitalism, third world level conception of human rights – that is probably a concoction unique to Israel.

The list of shame: The list of MKs who voted for the JNF law has been published. 16 of them are from the Kadima party, the center of all centers. Three Gil MKs, which is officially a part of Kadima, supported it as well. I would say that such a strong support from the ruling party practically guarantees it will be made into law.

The most bitter disappointment is Ami Ayalon, one of the two Labor MKs who supported the bill (the other being Shalom Simhon, the Moshavim representative). Pity, I had high hopes of him. It seems like Meretz is the only option left, alas. They don’t even have a branch in Petach Tikva.

(This was posted on Friends of George on July 20 2007, and was kindly translated by Yair Mahalalel).

An End to the Story

In July the Israeli Knesset voted in a preliminary reading to approve a law proposed by members of the Likud, the National Union, and Kadima – the center of the right side of the Zionist spectrum. The proposed law forbids the Jewish National Fund to lease its land to any person who is not the son of a Jewish mother or alternatively, a convert.

Sixty-four of the 120 members of Knesset supported the proposal; nineteen voted against it. One can cautiously state that a proposed law that gain such support – or rather, such a lack of resistance – at its preliminary stage will also pass in its first, second, and third reading, and thus become the law of the land.

The Jewish National Fund holds approximately 13% of the land in the State of Israel. Most of this land was transferred to it by the state itself, and not – as the JNF tirelessly and misleadingly claims – purchased lawfully. Most of this land was looted from the Arab population of Palestine. The Knesset is now electing to complete the task of looting and to ensure that as long as the State of Israel stands, this land will not be returned to its owners. And while its at it, the Knesset covers the entire country with an official stamp that reads “Apartheid”.

Israel has been an Apartheid state since the day it was born, but shame kept the facts undercover, as did a trepidation about “what people might say”. In his book The Claws of the Devil, Uzi Ornan skillfully described how the Knesset masked its discriminatory laws. Apparently, such trepidation is no longer with us. When a prime minister dares to say that he is not Israeli but Jewish, and thus admits that he leads the government of only 81% of the citizens, it would seem that such time has come.

But if the Knesset does not hasten to shake off this law, the State of Israel will have lost any right to demand loyalty from its Arab citizens. One cannot demand loyalty of someone who is explicitly disenfranchised, deprived of basic rights. Apparently, this does not particularly trouble the Knesset. It is another important step on the road to an ethnocracy, another grand step on the path out of the roster of democratic nations.

What hurts most is that this law will receive enthusiastic public support, more so even that it found in the Knesset. The mob – and it has long since ceased to be a nation – has never accepted Israel; it has always dreamed of Judah, cleansed of gentiles. Here is another state taken in that direction. Many words can be said – but what’s the point. Their world is split into Jews and gentiles; humans and beasts.

The time has come to cut any bond with this country, and with anything it represents. A line has been crossed here: this country can no longer be supported. Any person who sees human rights as important must carefully consider his actions after today – and those of us who live inside Israel should also consider emigration. This country can no longer be saved. One can only hope that the world will put an end to in soon – as it did to the original Apartheid regime.

(Written by Yossi Gurvitz, July 18 2007; translated by Dena Bugel-Shunra, 29 July 2007)

Lieberman – As Israel Deserves

An Arab woman who lives in the northern town of Tarshicha was not hired by an Israeli company because she is not Jewish. The express position of the local Supersol grocery store chain is they employ only Jews. Other citizens of the country? Not their problem. They won’t be hired.

If the case were reversed – say, a Jewish woman were not hired for an American store, whose owner employs only Christians – there would be a public outcry: Anti-Semitism! Everyone hates us! The nation would crumple up in its favorite posture of self-pity and bemoan its bitter fate.

One could expect, then, that an Israeli store showing a sign saying “entrance for Jews only” would be boycotted, that its name would be reviled, and that angry protestors would picket it around the clock. But no. That sort of thing would happen in America. In Israel the response was one of heated support. “Don’t give the Arabs salaries!” shouted one website response; “They’re right to have done that!” hollered another, in equally poor Hebrew.

No survey has been done on this to date, but other surveys demonstrate that most of the Jewish public abhors Israel’s Arab citizens and refuses to employ them, to live near them, and has generally internalized the Judeo-Nazi values of Kahane’s cohorts. When Baron De Rothschild rejected Herzl’s appeal for support of Zionism, this was exactly what he warned against: a Jewish state would bring into practical application the misanthropy embedded in Judaism, and its residents would soon harass the non-Jews.

Such a state swiftly loses its right to exist. This week another important step was taken, which further undermines this right.

The Mob Wants A Dictator

Avigdor Lieberman will presumably join the Israeli government in the near future. He so wants to be in the government that he will make do with only one portfolio. Rumors say that Yvette (as the Russian émigré is still called by his friends) will have a special portfolio put together for him: the Ministry of Strategic Threats. The man who has gone on the record with threats to bomb Teheran and the Egyptian Assuan dam with nuclear weapons – attacks that would lead to the death of millions of innocent Iranians and Egyptian farmers – will now man one of the most senior positions in the security system. What will that do to Israel’s position in the world, and especially in the Arab world? Strengthen it, perhaps?

But hey – we elected him. His party got eleven seats in the Knesset and surveys show that he is likely to get twenty seats in the next elections. More than 50% of surveyed Israeli Jews support his participation in the Government. What are his achievements/ Never mind, he threatens and talks tough.

His plan for a “presidential regime” is built not on the Jeffersonian model but on the Putinian one. In his model there would be no parliamentary supervision of the president, and his “cabinet of professionals” will not require authorization by the Knesset. Since the president will be the one who fills cabinet level positions, who can dispute his claim that his brother, for example, is worthy of being a minister? After all, it worked well for Cuba. Even in the United States of America we saw President Kennedy appointing his brother to the position of Attorney General. When the ministers are entirely subordinate to the president, when the collective accountability of the government disappears, when the parliament has no ability to influence government – who will stand between Avigdor Lieberman and his dream of waging eternal war?

Down the Roads Trodden By Rhodesia And South Africa

International acceptance of Israel’s existence stands at its very foundation. Israel is swiftly eroding the last vestiges of its legitimacy, and including Avigdor Lieberman in the government – not to mention, having his party win an election – would topple the last claim by Israel to being a democratic country.

The nationalists among us rely on the strength of the Israeli military. In this summer’s war we saw the true value of that strength: generals who stay away from the front, regiment commanders who hide behind plasma screens, soldiers forced to loot in order to survive after the collapse of the logistical system. And this was only a sample taste: the enemy was a militia, not an army.

The world has already seen racist countries who relied on their military might. There was Rhodesia, the white man’s country in the heart of Africa, which fought well for more than a decade and a half – the Rhodesian army was considered to be the best in the world, at the time. It was a very dirty war it fought against the dark-skinned majority. In 1976 President Ford decided that the existence of Rhodesia was getting in the way of his campaign – he lusted in vain after the African-American votes – and Rhodesia was forced to hold a plebiscite that included its brown residents. Three years later the country fell apart. It is called Zimbabwe today.

Rhodesia’s closest ally, South Africa, held on for another eighteen years. In 1994 it was forced to hold democratic elections, and the rule of Apartheid – which may be the best known word of Afrikaans derivation besides commando – ceased to exist. Rhodesia and South Africa, two close allies of Israel (sources outside of Israel claim that Israel held its nuclear testing programs in South Africa), ceased to exist, despite their superior military power, because they had no international legitimacy. That was not too long ago. South Africa even had nuclear weapons. They did not help it.

Israel relies on the power of the United States, but that power is close to the breaking point – the American military is close to collapse, and the Bush administration has left the United States entirely devoid of any moral capital. The cycles of American history would tend to indicate that following the Iraqi adventure, we will see a period of withdrawn separatism. Israel simply isn’t worth all that trouble; A non-democratic Israel even less so.

What a time to bring Lieberman into the government. What a time to turn Judeo-Nazism and its dictatorship into the aspect Israel shows the world. What a time to follow our African pathfinders into history’s slop pail. A society which elects Lieberman to be its leader, which makes racism its slogan and discrimination its life’s breath – such a society indeed has lost its right to exist.

(Note: this Nana News article was, obviously, written before Avigdor Libermann became minister – in 15 October 2006. Translation: Dena Bugel-Shunra).