Archive for June 8th, 2007

40 sad years

June 8, 2007

Uri Avnery, 83 years old now, former member of the Knesset is surely one of the wise elders of modern Zion. His last posting,extremely sad to read, reflects just how low a certain type of Judiasm has sunk.Read on.

The first settlers were real idealists. It did not occur to them that they were hurting human beings of another people. The Arabs were to them a part of the romantic landscape. They believed in all innocence that they were bringing blessings and progress to all inhabitants of the country.

As seen from today, four or five generations later, they look quite different. Their innocence is forgotten. It looks to many like rank hypocrisy, a cover for robbery and oppression.

That is one of the results of 40 years of occupation. The current settlers claim to be the successors of those pioneers of the 20s and 30s. They say that they are today’s pioneers. These violent, thieving thugs really expect us to view the pioneers of old as their spiritual forebears.

When we add up all the damage that the occupation has done to us – to us too, and not only to the direct victims, the inhabitants of the occupied territories – let’s not forget this. The occupation poisons the national memory. It soils not only the present, but also the past, not only in the eyes of the world, but also in our own eyes.

IT IS enough to see what the occupation has done to the Jewish religion.

In my childhood I was taught at home that Judaism was a humane religion, a “light unto the Gentiles”. Judaism means to loathe violence, to value the spiritual above the powerful, to turn an enemy into a friend. A Jew is allowed to defend himself – “If somebody comes to kill you, kill him first”, as the Talmudic injunction goes – but not as a lover of violence and the intoxication of power.

What has remained of that?

Concerned friends recently e-mailed me some hair-raising quotes from a statement by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the settlers and the entire religious Zionist camp. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the rabbi decreed that it is impermissible to have compassion with the civilian population of Gaza if that imperils Israeli soldiers. His son, Shmuel, interpreted this decree on behalf of his father: if the killing of 100 Arabs is not sufficient to stop the launching of Qassam rockets at Israel, then 1000 must be killed. And if that is not sufficient, then 10,000, and 100,000 and even a million. All this to stop the Qassams, which in all the years have not succeeded in killing a dozen Jews.

What is the connection between this “religious” view and the God who (in Genesis 18) promised not to destroy Sodom if 10 righteous people could be found there?

What is the difference between this moral perception and that of the Nazis who executed 10 hostages for every German soldier killed by the resistance?

The rabbi’s decree did not arouse any reaction. There was no outcry, neither from his flock nor from the general public. The number of rabbis who publicly support such methods has risen to the hundreds. Most of them come from the settlements. This is a “religious” outlook that grew up in the poisoned atmosphere of the occupation, a religion of occupation. It shames the Jewish religion, present and past.

No wonder that a person with a strong religious conscience, Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset and Head of the Jewish Agency, this week renounced Zionism and demanded to abolish the definition of Israel as a Jewish State. [Leaving the Zionist ghetto – Ha’aretz Magazine.]

IT IS no longer anything new to point out that the occupation is destroying the Israeli army.