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ARCHIVE

ISRAEL IMPERIAL NEWS
Summer 2001

CONTENTS:
1. Editorial
2. The Third Dove
3. Ethnic Cleansing From The Word Go
4. Land is the Name of the Game
5. Mamilla Pool
6. Appeal
7. A Letter To Another Editor
8. An Offer Too Good To Refuse
9. Is The Intifada Winnable?
10. Don't Be A War Criminal

IIN cover Summer 2001: Occupied territories


Editorial

Thirty three years ago, after the Six Days War in Palestine, we, a small group of Israeli dissidents called on the Israeli army to get out of the occupied territories. Some of us, realising that we could not alter the attitude of the government and the public from the inside, came to London and published a satirical magazine, Israel Imperial News in which the horrors of the occupation were exposed. We did it in the hope that it would trigger international public opinion against the occupation. The magazine had little impact. The Israeli government kept the occupied territories under an iron rule, and continued to treat the conquered Palestinians with contempt and abuse. This situation lasted for more than twenty years and was the reason for the first Palestinian revolt against Israeli rule, the first Intifada.

The Intifada forced the Israeli government to offer some concessions to the Palestinians in the famous Oslo agreement between the Israeli government and the PLO. However, the Israelis were not serious in their promised concessions and violated the agreement as often as it suited them. They continue to treat the Palestinians with contempt. As a result, the second Intifada erupted in September 2000.

Now, with the new bloodshed, we are renewing the publication of the Israel Imperial News. We confront the Israeli authorities with three basic demands: 1) To end the occupation of Palestine. 2) To evacuate all settlers from their illegal settlements inside Palestine 3) To allow the return of the Palestinian refugees to their or to their ancestors' homes. Until these demands are met, we call for a boycott of Israeli goods, trade and tourism.

illustration: no i don't want to negotiate


Antisemitism or Political Critique?

The Third Dove
Israel Shamir

The sign to submit is still with us. Whenever people discuss things done in the name of Jews by, for instance, Sharon or Abe Foxman, and the discussion starts to get out of hand, one of the leaders of the community chants the magic words 'anti-Semitism', and, as if under a spell, we immediately give in. It is amazing that grown men and women who have never personally experienced any prejudice in their life, still fall under this spell.

The machine of the official Jewish establishment and its offshoot, Israel, nauseates many Jews. The Israeli government commits war crimes on a day-to-day basis. It is run by a certified mass murderer. Unprecedented siege, mass starvation and summary executions are now routine. Bombing, strafing and shelling civilians is no longer anything to get worked up about. Many Jews see it, and are ready to say so in a cosy 'entre-nous' environment. They read news from Israel with resignation and disgust, like an English Victorian squire learning of the new exploits of his wild brother in a far away colony.

The American Jewish establishment is no better than Israel's leadership. It provides unconditional support to Israeli and other Jewish criminals, from Sharon to Gusinsky, the Russian media lord. Abe Foxman, the head of ADL, files compromising materials, bugs phone calls and intrudes on the privacy of many Americans. The whining voice of Elie Wiesel and his colleagues traffic in schmaltzy self-righteousness. Conrad Black and others of his ilk take morally unsustainable positions, supporting freaks such as the Chilean torturer, Augusto Pinochet, and Henry Kissinger, the destroyer of Cambodia.

But the moment a word of objection exits our lips, we whisper it to ourselves: "Sh-sh-sh! It will cause anti-Semitism!" We can't help ourselves. Like a spoilt child, we take any criticism as a sign of hate. We dared to rebel against kings,but we do not dare to fight our self-proclaimed and self imposedleadership, as "it will cause A-S".

Abe Foxman, besieged for taking a $100,000 check from the Marc Rich Foundation, proclaimed in the New York Times (March 21/2000), that 'anti-Semitism is a disease, and we have seen a big eruption of that disease in New York'. But it misfired. Rabbi Lapin of Toward Tradition called him 'a guy who's not in close touch with reality', and a 'dealer of the Anti-Semitism Manufacture'. He noted that the ADL gets paid (by contributors) according to how much anti-Semitism it finds.

The Guardian (March 28, 2001), to prove its pluralism, published an op-ed by Simon Sebag Montefiore, who declared that 'the most energetic media campaigners against Israel are, in private, virulent anti-Semites'. He pictures the British journalists and public figures as 'dogs besetting the bear'. "Dog" refers to Lord Gilmour; "bear" to Conrad Black.

He specifically objects to the 'most wicked implication that Israel is replicating German behaviour: this approaches Holocaust denial in its iniquity'. Well, it is a question of standards. Years ago, an Israeli writer noted that the Jews measure their actions by the Nazi stick, and invariably find themselves 'a good and benevolent occupier'. Maybe even this 'generous' standard has been set aside. Yes, the Nazi chapter in Poland was much worse than the thirty-four year Israeli military rule in
the occupied territories. But the Nazi occupation of France was probably milder for the French than the Israeli occupation is for Palestinians, and mercifully it has been much shorter. Daily life under the Vichy government was certainly better than life in the 'autonomous' Gaza strip.

Montefiore calms the Brits as his aim is 'not to launch witch-hunts, just to warn decent people' of the abyss ahead. Another purpose of this op-ed, which was probably sponsored by Black, is to frighten British Jews into supporting General Sharon.

This game is not for the right-wing only. An Israeli liberal, Amnon Rubinstein, called his compatriots to fight the danger of anti-Semitism. This plague, in his opinion, was manifested by Greece bringing to court a Jewish stock market swindler, a local Milken or Rich. For Rubinstein, Jews must be immune to persecution, and all Jews must support every Jewish rascal. The Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, called Arabs to fight anti-Semitism, as "anti-Semitism brought one million Russian Jews to Israel". He could say anti-Semitism brought half a million Chinese guest workers to Israel, as well.

In order to deliver peace to your souls, I will give my personal testimony. An aging baby-boomer, I have travelled the world, lived among Russians and Palestinians, Germans and Swedes, the English and the Japanese, Indians and Africans, and I can tell you, on the basis of my experience, anti-Semitism no longer exists. As a Jew, you can walk freely in any city of men; you will be safe everywhere, if you come as a friend. The prejudice to Jews has vanished. You can find a Jew-hater, but there are many more people who hate the Poles or the Irish or have a beef against the WASPs. You are much more likely to encounter an Arab-hater or those who hate blacks or Asians.

I met with many people who have been branded with the scarlet letter of the anti-Semite. These so-called anti-Semites object to the policies of the organised Jewish community, of the unholy alliance of Sharon and Abe Foxman, Gusinsky and Mark Rich, Conrad Black and William Safire. I concur with them wholeheartedly, as it is not a question of prejudice.

The professional anti-Semitism fighters know this very well. Their true purpose is not to fight anti-Semitism, but to frighten ordinary Jews into submission. That is why the pillars of the community write them generous checks, and they report every insult, magnifying it by a factor of ten. The Holocaust Industry is but a branch of the Anti-Semitism Manufacture, a two-pronged weapon: it pumps money from Gentiles and forces Jews into obedience to the leaders of the community.

In 1991, when Iraqi Scuds landed in Israel, and the gas warfare alarm sounded, a dozen Israelis suffocated in their gas masks and died. There was no poisonous gas outside, just the fresh and fragrant air of the Judean hills, but they would not breathe it. They thought they would die the moment they took their masks off. Instead, they suffocated in their masks. This is the paradigm of modern Jewish existence in the shadow of fear.

When Noah released the first dove from the ark, it had to return. The second dove, however, brought back an olive branch. The third dove did not come back. He found the deluge was over, and saw no reason to come back to the stifling air of the Arc. I am your third dove. You may take off your masks. The air outside is perfectly good. The deluge has subsided. Step outside to greet the human race, your brothers and sisters.

Jews and Gentiles, we have the same enemies and the same friends. The enemies are those who push us back into a goy-hating ghetto; for a Jew-hater is but a mirror image of a goy-hater. A few generations separate us from the stifling world of traditional Jewish community life. Those who pine for it can take a trip to Brooklyn.

Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli-American journalist, wrote about his childhood: "We lived on the border of Borough Park. Beyond our Brooklyn enclave. were Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Scandinavians. They evoked no curiosity in us, only fear. We saw them all as members of the same ethnic group: Jew-haters. Goyim we called them, a Hebrew word that literally means 'the nations' but that we understood to mean the enemy. We lived in a sealed Jewish world.... had it been possible, we would have surrounded Borough park with a moat..... Borough Park's interests were limited to its own borders, and leapt over the Christian neighbourhoods to embrace other Jewish enclaves - as if the only civilized parts of the world were Jewish, the rest being inhabited by rabid creatures capable at any moment of unprovoked violence. 'The world' existed only insofar as it affected Jews. The Jews and 'the world' could never coexist; at best we would endure each other from a distance. Some of our religious laws seemed
meant not to bring us closer to God but to separate us from the goyim, and I accepted that estrangement as self-evident".

Keep in mind, he was writing of modern New York with its large Jewish population, not of some medieval town. It is not strange that Halevi, brainwashed in his youth, became an activist of the goy-hating Nazi group, Meyer Kahane's Jewish Defence League. He moved on, but even now, this correspondent for the New Republic in Israel supports settlers, who behave "as if the only civilized parts of Palestine were Jewish, the rest being inhabited by rabid creatures capable at any moment of unprovoked violence".
A few generations ago, all the Jews lived in such enclaves, subservient to the Jewish elite of wealth and learning. The rule of the elite was based on patronage and on our fathers' fear of anti-Semitism. The Jewish aristocracy has adapted to new conditions and continues to reinforce this fear in order to control us.

The 'mutual support' of the Jewish community is immoral. If an Irishman or an Italian steals, he goes to jail, and his parish priest might send him a Christmas pie. If an influential Jew steals, be it Vladimir Gusinsky or Mark Rich, the Jewish community demands his impunity. If the Jewish state commits war crimes, the Jewish community supports it without reservations. This is abnormal behaviour for an ethnic community, a shameful remnant of our habit of dealing with the outside world as if we were members of a medieval guild.

Let us help one another to overcome the impulse to give in. A man should be able to voice objections to the homicidal policies of his leadership without being called a traitor. That was the position of Mark Twain who fought the US intervention in the Philippines. That was the position of Thoreau during the war over Texas. These were the positions of Alexander Solzhenitzyn, Thomas Mann, and Berthold Brecht. It should be easy for Jews to emulate these men, as the self-styled Jewish leadership has no real power over Jews; it can only resort to scare tactics.

The pursuit of the bogey of anti-Semitism leads away from the real problem. During WWII, the brilliant Russian Jewish writer, Iliya Ehrenburg, in a moment of rage called out (on the pages of Pravda) to his countrymen to 'Kill the German vermin'. Marshal Joseph Stalin rebuked him: 'The Nazis come and go, but the German people remain forever'. The German propaganda made a killing out of the hate speech of Ilya Ehrenburg, trying to obscure the fact that the problem was not the anti-German remark of the Jewish writer, but the German war crimes. In the same vein, the problem today is not a mythic anti-Semitism, but Israeli war crimes and US complicity in these crimes.

Anti-Semitism is a weapon of the scoundrel, said Lenin in the1920's, echoing the maxim of Samuel Johnson. This sentence, as so many Biblical verses, has retained its validity in a changed context: scoundrels still use anti-semitism as a weapon, but now most of these scoundrels are Jewish.


Ethnic Cleansing From The Word Go
A few pages from the autobiography of a Palmach fighter way back in the 1948 war

1949 …After our wedding, for which I got one day off from my army duties, I looked for a place to live. When I returned to my unit the next day, my army commander said to me: "Since you have just married, accept my congratulations. I imagine, though, that you don't have a place to live. I will give you and your wife a special permit to enter Jaffa. Look around, choose a house and give me the address. I will arrange with the authorities that you shall have it."

Jaffa was at that time, enclosed by the army. Most of its inhabitants had fled because of the fighting so close to the Jewish city of Tel-Aviv. Having got the permit, we were allowed in. We walked for hours in the dead Arab city. Most, if not all of the houses, were empty and abandoned. There was not a soul in the streets, except for an occasional military vehicle driving through. We could choose any house. The entire city was at our disposal. We looked at a few houses, took down a few addresses and then, worn out, went back to Tel-Aviv and sat down in a café to discuss which house to choose.

After discussing this or that house, a sort of uneasiness enveloped us. We had visited a dead city, a ghost town. The people who lived in those houses had fled because of the fighting, because they wanted to stay alive. Now, we, the victors, dividing the spoil. Since I happened to belong to the victors, I would get my share of the spoils: a house to live in. And, being luckily one of the first to arrive on the scene, I could choose the best house. The term "ethnic cleansing" had not yet been invented, but this is what it was. Having just said how I was converted to Communism, you might think that our unease was political. No, it was not. Politics never entered our heads. Not even the notion of social or political justice. I don't know about Naomi my wife, but my uneasiness was more of an aesthetic nature; I will call it a violation of my moral symmetry. There was something wrong there that I couldn't pin down. In the end, we both declined to take up the offer, and found ourselves a room in a shanty town of corrugated huts on the beach, in the north of Tel-Aviv that was known at the time as Shekhunat Mahlul.

This was not the only time that I had that feeling of upheaval in my moral symmetry. Twice more have I been offered an Arab house. The second time that it happened was only a few months later. I was still in uniform and limping, with my foot still in some discomfort and I resumed my studies at the art school. One day one of the students came rushing in with sensational news. We can all have studios. Every one of us can have a studio for himself in ancient Jaffa. All we have to do is to clean a cellar from the accumulated rubble.

Jaffa, like any other big Arab city, had an old quarter - the Kasbah. This was a burrow of very old and crowded houses, with narrow convoluted streets or alleys, many of them cul de sacs that go nowhere. It was a very good environment for people to evade detection or to run away from law and order. During the Palestinian revolt against the British in 1936, the Kasbah was a source of trouble. The authorities then decided to get rid of it. And so they did. They flattened the place and filled the cellars of the Kasbah with the rubble of the buildings above. These cellars had now been discovered, and since nobody owned them, the first one to clean a cellar, could have it.

We all ran to the ruins of the Kasbah in old Jaffa. The cellars were filled to the brim with rubble and rubbish. Not only old mortar, stone and bricks, but also simple, shit-smelling rubbish, because these holes in the ground had been the toilets of beggars, at least since 1936. But we, the aspiring young artists didn't care. To own a studio was the ultimate in artistic achievements. Every one of us chose a hole, because this was all that was left of the cellar, and started to clear away the rubble. It took me a week to clear my cellar. All I had with me to do the job was two buckets and a spade, but this was enough. After a week of hard labour I could see my studio and the light that shone through a window, far up, near the domed ceiling.

Once the place was clean and mine, I looked at it with pride. Suddenly, the same feeling of uneasiness crept into my soul. This was much more kosher than a house in Jaffa. Nobody else had owned it before; nobody had escaped from it to save his or her skin and yet... I could not understand it myself. After brooding on the subject for some time I decided not to take up the studio. Another young artist took it over. It was next to what is now a night club, which was also a dirty cellar taken over by a young painter who had cleaned it. A few years later, the young painter found it more lucrative to turn his studio into Omar Khayam, a glossy night club and a restaurant.

And there was also a third time. Some years later, in the mid 1950s, I received a letter from the Painters' and Sculptors' Association, of which I was a member, saying that the government had allocated a village at the foothills of Mount Carmel, to be a village for artists. It was called Ein Hod. All I had to do to get a house there was to pay fifty Israeli pounds as a registration fee and choose where I wanted to live. I didn't have that amount of money so I borrowed it from a friend, Hana Shofman, the daughter of a Likud MP. I paid the money and rushed to Ein Hod to choose a house in the country. I found a very nice Arab house, because this village had been an Arab village before. I kept this house as a weekend retreat. A few weeks later when I came to my house in Ein Hod, I walked around the village and strolled uphill along the main road. After a while, I met a Palestinian shepherd boy with two mongrel dogs. The dogs started barking at me while the boy tried to keep them away. By and by we started a conversation. The boy spoke Hebrew quite well. I asked him where he was from. He said that he was from Ein Hood. The same Ein Hod where I had acquired a house. The boy told me that a few years ago, the Israeli army had come to the village and asked its people to move for a week to the next Arab village, that was a few kilometres uphill, because they were going to do some live ammunition manoeuvres around the area and did not want anyone to get hurt. Since then they had not been allowed back. That is how the village had become deserted and been given to us, the artists.

I relinquished the house and asked for my £50 registration fee back, which I promptly returned to Ms Shofman.


Land is the Name of the Game
A copy of a poster published in Israel by 'Between the Lines' - Jerusalem, March 2001


In 1976 the state announced its intention to confiscate 6300 dunams of Arab private property in the Galilee region for 'security and public needs'. As a protest against this intention to confiscate, on March 30 1976, demonstrations took place in which six Arab citizens were killed by Israeli security forces. Since then, the Palestinian minority in Israel commemorates the day as 'Land Day' with popular rallies and demonstrations.

Since 1948 about 76% of the Palestinian-Arab land in Israel has been confiscated.

Since the establishment of the state, not one new Arab locality has been founded.

Less than 1% of the public buildings in Israel are designated for the Arab population which constitutes 20% of the citizens of the state.

The jurisdiction area of Arab municipalities comprises only 2.5% of the state area.

In about 80% of the state areas, Palestinian Arabs are prohibited from leasing or purchasing lands.

Since 1948 the Arab population has increased six fold, while the land under its ownership has decreased half.

Dozens of Arab localities founded before 1948 are not recognized by the state and are not supplied with basic services.

Palestinian citizens of Israel don't have access to the Planning Branch, to the Israel Authority of land and of course to the state Zionist bodies which hold lands, such as the Jewish National Fund.

The division of land in the Galilee expresses the national distortion in the society between Arabs and Jews. 62.3% of the lands in the Galilee are under the jurisdiction of local municipalities of Jewish governorates which compose 6% of the population of the region. The jurisdiction areas of the Arab municipalities comprise only 16% of the lands, while the Arab population constitues 72% of the entire population of the Galilee.


Have We Always Been The Victims?

Mamilla Pool
Israel Shamir

Things move really fast nowadays. Just yesterday we hardly dared to call the Israeli policy of official discrimination against Palestinians by the harsh word 'apartheid'. Today, as Sharon's tanks and missiles pound defenseless cities and villages, the word barely suffices. It has become an unjustified insult to the white supremacists of South Africa. They, after all, did not use gunships and tanks against the natives, they did not lay siege to Soweto. They did not deny the humanity of their kaffirs. The Jewish
supremacists made it one better. They have returned us, as if by magic wand, to the world of Joshua and Saul.

As the search for the right word continues, the courageous Robert Fisk proposes calling the events in Palestine a 'civil war'. If this is civil war, the slaughter of a lamb is a bullfight. The disparity of forces is just too large. No, it is not 'civil war', it is creeping genocide.

This is the point in our saga, where the good Jewish guy is supposed to take out his hanky and exclaim: 'how could we, eternal victims of persecutions, commit such crimes!' Well, do not hold your breath waiting for this line. It happened before and it can happen again.

Jews are not more bloodthirsty than the rest of mankind. But the mad idea of being the Chosen ones, the idea of supremacy, whether of race or religion, is the moving force behind genocides. If you believe God chose your people to rule the world, if you think others but subhuman, you will be punished by the same God whose name you took in vain. Instead of a gentle frog, he would turn you into a murderous maniac.

When the Japanese got a whiff of this malady in 1930s, they raped Nanking and ate the liver of their prisoners. Germans, obsessed by the Aryan superiority complex, filled Baby Yar with corpses. As thoughtful readers of Joshua and Judges, the father-pilgrim founders of the United States tried on the 'Chosen' crown and succeeded in nearly exterminating the Native American peoples.

The Jews are no exception. Outside of Jerusalem's Jaffa gate (Bab al-Halil), there was once a small neighbourhood called Mamilla, destroyed by real estate developers just a few years ago. In its place they created a monstrous 'village' for the super-rich, abutting the plush Hilton Hotel. A bit further away, there is the old Mamilla cemetery of the Arab nobles and the Mamilla Pool, a water reservoir dug by Pontius Pilate. During the development works, the workers came across a burial cave holding hundreds of skulls and bones. It was adorned by a cross and a legend: 'God alone knows their names'. The Biblical Archaeology Review, published by the Jewish American Herschel Shanks, printed a long feature by the Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich on this discovery (See issue March-April 1996, pp.26-33(60).

The dead were laid to their eternal rest in AD 614, the most dreadful year in the history of Palestine until the 20th century. The Scottish scholar, Adam Smith, wrote in his Historical Geography of Palestine: until now, the terrible devastation of 614 is visible in the land, it could not be healed.

By 614, Palestine was a part of the Roman successor state, the Byzantine Empire. It was a prosperous, predominantly Christian land of well developed agriculture, of harnessed water systems, and carefully laid terraces. Pilgrims came in flocks to the Holy places, and the Constantine-built edifices of Holy Sepulchre and of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives were among the manmade wonders of the world. The Judean wilderness was enlivened by eighty monasteries, where precious manuscripts were collected and prayers offered. Fathers of the church, St Jerome of Bethlehem and Origenes of Caesarea, were still a living memory.

There was also a small wealthy Jewish community living in their midst, mainly in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Their scholars had just completed their version of the Talmud, the codification of their faith, Rabbinic Judaism; but for instruction they deferred to the prevailing Jewish community in Persian Babylonia.

In 614, local Palestinian Jews allied with their Babylonian co-religionists and assisted the Persians in their conquest of the Holy Land. In the aftermath of the Persian victory, Jews perpetrated a massive holocaust of the Gentiles of Palestine. They burned the churches and the monasteries, killed monks and priests, burned books. The beautiful basilica of Fishes and Loaves in Tabgha, the Ascension on Mount of Olives, St. Steven oppositeDamascus Gate and the Hagia Sion on Mt. Zion, are just at the top of the list of perished edifices. Indeed, very few churches survived the onslaught. The Great Laura of St. Sabas, tucked away in the bottomless Ravine of Fire (Wadi an-Nar) was saved by its remote location and steep crags. The Church of Nativity miraculously survived: when Jews commanded its destruction, the Persians balked. They perceived the Magi mosaic above the lintel as the portrait of Persian kings.

This devastation was not the worst crime. When Jerusalem surrendered to the Persians, thousands of local Christians became prisoners of war, and were herded to the Mamilla Pool area. The Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich writes: 'They were probably sold to the highest bidder. According to some sources, the Christian captives at Mamilla Pond were bought by Jews and were then slain on the spot'. An eyewitness, Strategius of St. Sabas, was more vivid: 'Jews ransomed the Christians from the hands of the Persian soldiers for good money, and slaughtered them with great joy at Mamilla Pool, and it ran with blood'. Jews massacred 60,000 Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem alone. The earth's population was probably about 50 million then, 100 times smaller than today. A few days later, the Persian military understood the magnitude of the massacre and stopped the Jews.

To his credit, the Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich does not try to shift the blame for the massacres onto the Persians, as is usually done nowadays. He admits that 'the Persian Empire was not based on religious principles and was indeed inclined to religious tolerance'. This good man is clearly unsuitable to write for the New York Times. That paper's correspondent in Israel, Deborah Sonntag, would have no trouble describing the massacre as 'retaliatory strike by the Jews who suffered under Christian rule'.

The holocaust of the Christian Palestinians in year 614 is well documented and you will find it described in older books, for instance in the three volumes of Runciman's History of The Crusades (More references in: "Jerusalem, Mamilla Area, Excavations and Survey in Israel 10 [1991]. Also: "The Ancient Burial Grounds in the Mamilla Neighborhood, Jerusalem", in Hillel Geva, ed. Ancient Jerusalem revealed [Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1944), pp.111-118.

It has been censored out of modern guides and history books. It is a pity, as without this knowledge one cannot understand the provisions of the treaty between the Jerusalemites and Caliph Omar ibn Khattab, concluded in year 638. In the Sulh al Quds, as this treaty of capitulation is called, Patriarch Sofronius demanded, and the powerful Arab ruler agreed to protect the people of Jerusalem from the ferocity of the Jews.

After the Arab conquest, a majority of Palestinian Jews accepted the message of the Messenger, as did the majority of Palestinian Christians, albeit for somewhat different reasons. For local Christians, Islam was a sort of Nestorian Christianity, but without icons, without Constantinople's interference and without Greeks. (The Greek domination of the Palestinian church remains a problem for the local Christians to this very day.)

For ordinary local Jews, Islam was the return to the faith of Abraham and Moses, as they could not follow the intricacies of the new Babylonian faith anyway. The majority of them became Muslims and blended into Palestinian population. The accommodation of Jews to Islam did not stop in the 7th century. A thousand years later, in the 17th century, the greatest spiritual leaders of the new-founded Sephardi Jewish community of Palestine, Sabbatai Zevi and Nathan of Gaza, the successors to the glorious Spanish mystic tradition of Ari the Saint of Safed, also embraced 'the law of mercy', as they called Islam. Their descendants, the comrades of Ataturk, saved Turkey from the onslaught of the European troops during WWI.

Modern Jews do not have to feel guilty for the misdeeds of Jews long gone. No son is responsible for the sins of his father. Israel could have turned this mass grave with its Byzantine chapel and mosaics into a small and meaningful memorial, reminding its citizens of a horrible page in the history of the land and of the dangers of genocidal supremacy. Instead, the Israeli authorities preferred to demolish the tomb and create an underground parking lot in its place. It did not cause a murmur.

The Israeli guardians of the Jewish conscience, Amos Oz and others, have objected to the destruction of the ancient remains. No, not of the tomb at Mamilla. They ran a petition against the keepers of the Haram a-Sharif mosque complex for digging a ten-inch trench to lay a new pipe. It did not matter to them that, in an op-ed in Haaretz, the leading Israeli archaeologist of the area denied all relevance of the mosque works to science. They still described it as 'a barbaric act of Muslims aimed at the obliteration of the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem'. Among the signatories, I found, to my amazement and sorrow the name of Ronny Reich. One thinks, he might tell them who obliterated the vestiges of the Jewish heritage at Mamilla Pool.

Why do I find it necessary to tell the story of the Mamilla bloodbath? Because there is nothing more dangerous than the feeling of self-righteousness and perpetual victimhood reinforced by a one-sided historical narrative. Here again, the Jews are not unique. Eric Margolis of he Toronto Sun[ii] wrote about Armenians inflamed by the story of their holocaust. They massacred thousands of their peaceful Azeri neighbours in the 1990s, and caused the uprooting of 800,000 native non-Armenians. 'It's time to recognize all world's horrors', Margolis concludes.

Censored history creates a distorted picture of reality. Recognition of past is a necessary step on the way to sanity. The Germans and the Japanese have recognized the crimes of their fathers, have got to grips with their moral failings and have emerged as humbler, less boastful folks, akin to the rest of human race. We Jews have so far failed to exorcise the haughty spirit of the Chosenness, and found ourselves in a dire predicament.

That is why the idea of supremacy is still with us, still calling for genocide. In 1982, Amos Oz met an Israeli, who shared with the writer the dream of becoming a Jewish Hitler to the Palestinians. Slowly this dream is becoming a reality.

The Haaretz published an ad on its front page[iv], a fatwa, signed by a group of Rabbis. The Rabbis proclaimed the theological identification of Ishmael, i.e. the Arabs, with the Amalek. 'Amalek' is mentioned in the Bible as the name of a tribe that caused trouble for the Children of Israel. In this story, the God of Israel commands His people to exterminate the Amalek tribe completely, including its livestock. King Saul botched the job: he exterminated them all right, but failed to kill nubile unwed maidens. This 'failure' cost him his crown. The obligation to exterminate the people of Amalek is still counted among the tenets of the Jewish faith, though for centuries nobody made the identification of a living nation with the accursed tribe.

There was one exclusion showing how dangerous the ruling is. At the end of WWII, some Jews, including the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, identified the Germans with Amalek. Indeed, a Jewish religious socialist and fighter against Nazis, Abba Kovner, hatched in 1945 a plot to poison the water supply system of German cities and to kill 'six million Germans'. He obtained poison from the future President of Israel, Efraim Katzir. Katzir supposedly thought Kovner intends to poison 'only' a few thousands of German POW's. The plan mercifully flopped when Kovner was stopped by British officials in a European port. This story was published last year in Israel in a biography of Kovner written by Prof Dina Porat, head of Anti-Semitism
Research Centre at Tel Aviv university.

In plain English, the Rabbis' fatwa means: our religious duty is to kill all Arabs, including women and babies and their livestock; to the last cat. The liberal Haaretz, whose editor and owner are sufficiently versed to understand the fatwa, did not hesitate to place the ad.

Some Palestinian activists recently criticized me for associating with the marginal Russian weekly Zavtra and for quoting the American weekly Spotlight. I wonder why they have not condemned me for writing in Haaretz? Zavtra and Spotlight have never published a call to genocide, after all.

It would be unfair to single out Haaretz. Another prominent Jewish newspaper, The Washington Post, published an equally passionate call to genocide by Charles Krauthammer. This adept of king Saul cannot rely upon his audience's knowledge of the Bible, so he refers to General Powell's slaughter of routed Iraqi troops at the end of the Gulf war. He quotes Colin Powell saying of the Iraqi army, "First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it." For Krauthammer, with his carefully chosen quotes,
multitudes of slain Arabs do not qualify for human pronoun 'them'. They are an 'it'. In the last stage of the war in the Gulf, immense numbers of retreating and disarmed Iraqis were slaughtered in cold blood by the US Air Force, their bodies buried by bulldozers in the desert sand in huge and nameless mass graves. The numbers of victims of this hecatomb are estimated from one hundred thousand to half a million. God alone knows their names.

Krauthammer wants to repeat this feat in Palestine. 'It' is already cut off, divided by the Israeli army into seventy pieces. Now it is ready for the great kill. 'Kill it!', he calls with great passion. He must be worried that the Persians will again stop the bloodbath before the Mamilla Pool fills up. His fears are our hopes.


Appeal

The authors of this appeal are Israeli citizens and Jews of other nationalities whose families have been victims of racism and genocide in past generations, and who feel they cannot remain silent.

After six months of relentless military oppression of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories, the government of Israel has made daily life even more intolerable for the Palestinians by imposing a physical siege on their villages and towns. This siege has brought upon the Palestinians a complete cessation of "normal" life. For the majority of them there is no going to work, no shopping for food and other necessities, no medical services, and in many cases no water or electricity.

In 1948 the state of Israel dispossessed the Palestinians, evicted hundreds of thousands of them from their homes into refugee camps and did not allow them to return when the war ended. The same state is now preventing the victims of 1948 from having even the most basic services in their refugee camps and remaining villages and towns.

The inhumane oppressor hopes that starving will help force the Palestinians to surrender, without having any "negative public opinion problems" that live ammunition may have had in Western media. Indeed, public opinion in the West has largely relaxed any protest against the Israeli government's policies of killing civilians -- men, women and children -- since much of the killing is now being done away from the TV cameras. Human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority have also helped Israel
to falsely portray itself again as the righteous victim.

We call on the world community to organize and boycott Israeli industrial and agricultural exports and goods, as well as leisure tourism, in the hope that it will have the same positive result that the boycott of South Africa had on Apartheid.

This boycott should remain in force as long as Israel controls any part of the territories it occupied in 1967. Those who squash the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians must be made to feel the consequences of their own bitter medicine.

We urge every recipient of this appeal, irrespective of origin and nationality, to:

1.
Start practicing the boycott on a personal level immediately, and make sure that the steps taken are known in the community (for example: tell your shopkeeper why you will not buy Israeli products; avoid leisure travel to Israel).

2.
Add your name to the appeal, circulate it to your friends, and do whatever you can to have it endorsed by groups concerned about human rights.

3.
Organize activities to put pressure on your government to cut economic and commercial ties with Israel and to rescind preferential economic treaties with Israel.

List of original signatories:

01.Meir Amor, Toronto, Canada
02. Yael Arbel, Tel-Aviv, Israel
03. Dita Bitterman, Tel-Aviv, Israel
04. Hagit Borer, Los Angeles, USA
05. Ouzi Dekel, Paris, France
06. Esty Dinur, Arena, USA
07. Aviva Ein-Gil, Tel-Aviv, Israel
08. Ehud Ein-Gil, Tel-Aviv, Israel
09. Arie Finkelstein, Paris, France
10. Rachel Giora, Tel-Aviv, Israel
11. Zamir Havkin, Givataim, Israel
12. Zvika Havkin, Princeton, USA
13. Haggai Katriel, Haifa
14. Irit Katriel, Haifa, Israel
15. Justin Kodner, Princeton
16. Helga Kotthoff, Fulda,
17. Miri Krasin, Tel-Aviv, Israel
18. Debby Lerman, Tel-Aviv, Israel
19. Mely Lerman, Tel-Aviv, Israel
20. Moshe Machover, London
21. Yael Oren Kahn, London, UK
22. Akiva Orr, Kfar Shmaryahu
23. Rachel Ostrowitz, Tel-Aviv
24. Eran Razgour, Tel-Aviv, Israel
25. Eyal Rozenberg, Haifa, Israel
26. Hilla Rudich, Givataim, Israel
27. Hertzl Schubert, Tel-Aviv
28. Ilan Shalif, Tel-Aviv, Israel
29. Oz Shelach, New York, USA
30. Ur Shlonsky, Geneva. Switzerland
31. Toma Sik, Budapest, Hungary
32. Ehud Sivosh, London, UK
33. Gideon Spiro, Jerusalem, Israel
34. Guy West, Herzliya, Israel
35, Adeeb Yaffawy, Jaffa, Israel

There is an additional list of later supporters. If you wish to add your signature, go to:



A Letter To Another Editor
An English translation of a letter published on the 11 of May 2001 in the tabloid "Yedioth Aharonot"

image of published letter in hebrew

I, who have lost two of my sons, with all the pain and sorrow and with a torn and a bleeding heart, can see clearly the thread that connects the occupation, the settlements in the occupied territories, the death of my sons and the death of the teenagers in Takoa.

On the 22nd of September 1967, with the first issues of the illustrated books of the victory, an advert appeared in the Haaretz newspaper, signed by members of the Matzpen group, which said:

' Our right to defend ourselves does not grant us the right to oppress others.
Occupation means foreign rule. Foreign rule triggers resistance. Resistance triggers oppression. Oppression triggers terror and counter-terror. Victims of terror are always innocent people. Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murdered. Out of the occupied territories immediately.'

that was the text of the advertisement. That was not a prophecy. That was chemistry. So it was and so it will always be for the conqueror.

I, who have lost two of my sons, from the place I stand, with all the sorrow and the pain with a torn and a bleeding heart I see clearly the connection between the occupation, the settlements and the death of mine and other people's sons.

A lot has been said on the seventh day of the Six Day's War and on the false song that every one was singing then: "The marketplace was deserted". No! the market place was not deserted. The market people and their offspring that we came to inherit are killing us and we are killing them.

There is not a piece of land that is worth the price of a human being. Whoever is not ready to pay for peace must know that no-peace has its price and the price is painful…

Signed by Roni Hershenson, one of the organisers of the " The Circle of Parents", bereaved parents that are supporting peace, tolerance and democracy.


An Offer Too Good To Refuse
Amira Hass in 'Haaretz', April 18 2001

Day by day, the State of Israel decreases its chances of getting the most generous and essential gift for guaranteeing a normal future for itself in the region from the Palestinians. This "day by day" began way back in the years of the Oslo process, when it became clear that Israel was taking advantage of the process to expand the area of the settlements andincreasingly to establish their hold on the land of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.Seven months have passed since the outbreak of the second Intifada, and its main slogan has not weakened: The Palestinians continue to demand the founding of an independent state alongside Israel on the basis of the borders of June 4, 1967. In dozens of public meetings and assemblies of activists - when people do not speak to the microphones of foreign news stations or to Israeli journalists, but talk among themselves and picture their independent future - it becomes clear to what extent they take this border for granted. The majority of Palestinians, as they are represented in the various organizations comprising the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), still consider the Green Line a possible and logical border. They believe that, if it is honored (alongside the UN Security Council resolutions that legitimized it), it will allow for reasonable neighbourly relations between two political entities, with potential for a more positive development of their future.

The gift which the Palestinians have been offering to the State of Israel for over a decade, is that Israel should rid of the urge to continue expanding its sovereign territory at the expense of the Palestinians and to settle more and more Israelis in their territory. The Palestinian gift is a golden opportunity for Israel to give up its habit of raising generations of citizens who take for granted their special privileges; Israelis who refuse to see how the Palestinians are methodically being dispossessed of their
basic rights to land, to water, to movement, to independent planning of their future; Israelis who refuse to understand that this dispossession, more than anything else, is what threatens their chances of developing a normal future.

This is a gift that is important to re-examine - especially now, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is a gift that should be meaningful to us, that should reach our hearts, the hearts of the first generation of survivors of the Holocaust and their offspring - or at least those of them who do not interpret the murder of their people and their families in Europe as an eternal seal of approval for suppressing and dispossessing the Palestinian people, and for presenting them as the enemy which replaced the Germans. This is a gesture of Palestinian generosity toward them and toward their past, as well as toward the future generations of the State of Israel, the grandchildren of today's soldiers.

For years, the Arabs, the Palestinians and various radical leftist groups all over the world presented Israel as a direct, if somewhat belated, product of Western colonialist tendencies and concepts, and of the Jewish colonialist movement: Zionism. This explanation for the founding of the State of Israel completely ignored the fact that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Zionism was one answer among the many developed by the Jews to counter suppression and discrimination in Europe, and that only a minority of Jews adopted it. It completely ignored the fact that the Nazi regime and European collaboration had expelled the Jews of Europe, a Diaspora nation, which maintained its character as such. These were the condition under which the Zionist solution was accepted by most of the Jews. (That doesn't say anything, by the way, about the validity Zionism's claim that only a Jewish state could save the Jews from the German death industry. Had the Allies not defeated Nazi Germany, Hitler's army could have conquered Eretz/Israel/Palestine, as well.)

It is hard to believe that the United Nations would have voted for the founding of a state for the Jewish People at the expense of another people, had it not been for the Holocaust. Had it not been for their past, it is hard to believe that European countries would have been so forgiving - during the past thirty four years, and especially during the last seven - of the Israeli disregard for international decisions and conventions.

When the Palestinians rely religiously on the UN resolutions, they are actually internalizing the historiographic explanation that Israel is not simply a temporary colonialist state, that the roots of its existence lie not only in the supremacist, colonialist history of Europe, but also in the murderous, anti-Semitic past of the continent. It is not a question of "doing justice" and recognizing it: The State of Israel, in spite of the "Holocaust and Rebirth" propaganda, could not revive the six million and their civilization, which were wiped out. It is a question of a most painful historical chain of events. During an unavoidable process of resettlement of the Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and with the aid of colonialist foundations which do, in fact, exist in the Zionist settlement movement, another nation was dispossessed of its land, became a nation of refugees - and its entire way of life fell apart.

Now this nation is making it clear that it knows that there is no way to turn back the wheel. It proposes drawing boundaries that will allow for mutual development of another future, based on rapprochement: Two states that will, perhaps, become a confederation; or one state for two peoples; or any other logical and fair solution - at a time when it is hard to imagine solutions other than the continued expansion of settlements, the drafting of reservists, the addition of fortifications and living by the sword .


Is The Intifada Winnable?

Many people in Europe are baffled. They cannot understand how can such a small and weak community as the Palestinians fight a powerful nation like Israel?

The fact is that the Palestinians had no choice. This war was forced upon them. Israel declared itself the state of the Jews in 1948, and since then trampled on the legitimate rights of the indigenous population. They confiscated the tracts of land they wanted and kicked out whole communities not just during the war, but long afterwards. Towns such as Ashkelon and villages such as Ein Hod were cleared of their inhabitants long after the war ended. Since the Israeli military victory in the Six Day's War in 1967, their treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories became even worse. Palestinians were often beaten on the streets if they ventured into Jewish towns. Their temporary dwellings, while working inside Israel, were sometimes set on fire together with their occupants. They were (and still are) arrested with or without any reason and are tortured in prison with the blessing of the judges. Once they were even massacred within their own mosque by the settler Goldstein in Hebron. In the beginning they relied on the Arab nations surrounding Israel to come to their rescue. Egypt, Syria and Jordan tried, more than once, but failed. The Palestinians came to the conclusion they had no other option. They must do it themselves. In the first Intifada they had no weapons other then stones but even this was enough to drag the Israelis to the conference table in Oslo.

That in itself shows that winning or losing a war is not a simple case of arithmetic. The Palestinians may not have tanks, canons, planes and helicopters but they have stamina and no other choice if they wish to survive, and this also counts.

If the Israelis wish to live in the Middle-East in peace, as they claim they do, they must learn to respect their neighbours and not treat them like slaves as they seem to do. Their superior firepower may be a good weapon against other superior firepower nations but it won't work against a guerrilla army of people determined to survive.


Don't Be A War Criminal

Copy this picture and pass it to your Israeli friends (if you have any). Distribute it especially among young people who are to join the army as conscripts or older ones who serve in the reserve.

illustration: don't be a war criminal