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January 11, 2011

Palestinian prisoners speak about ordeals

To such an Israel I shall be a traitor

Friday, January 7 2011|+972blog

By: Rechavia Berman

Demonstrators holding up a blood-stained Israeli flag, in a protest following the death of Bil’in’s Jawaher Abu-Rahmah (photo: Lisa Goldman)

I have a little something (little for a certified graphomaniac, of course) to say about the contemptible inquiry committee passed yesterday in Israel’s Knesset by MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Kremlin agent Evet Lieberman’s doll). But before I begin, a technical note:

The shameful step taken by Israel’s laughingstock of a parliament yesterday is, at least for now, political circus and nothing more. This “Inquiry Committee” has no real authority. It has no power of summons and no power to punish. One may comfortably ignore any summons from it and one may, like the wonderful Mikhael Manekin, accept the summons in order to spit its foul temerity right back in its face. But to repeat the main issue of this note, the headline reads: The Gestapo is not yet at the door. That may yet happen, and this pathetic circus may be the high water mark after which the slime will recede. Now, having said that, let us for a moment address the issue as though Michael Ben Ari’s fantasy has any actual teeth, and respond as follows:

If being an Israeli means to forever rule another people, steal its land, deny it basic rights and trample upon its dignity, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means to strive for ethnic cleansing as a means of escaping the tightening death trap of occupation, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means to steel the lands and crops of dirt-poor subsistence farmers, while ignoring one’s own Supreme Court, to suppress with beastly brutality non-violent demonstrations held with almost unimaginable restraint in the face of ongoing slaughter, and then lie about it when the slaughter happens, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means dismantling all facets of civil society, education, infrastructures, healthcare, all the while subsidizing a primitive culture of sloth that even the greatest rabbis of history would retch to behold, leaving the people of said culture trapped in a lack of self-sufficiency, captive to the rule of rabid rabbis, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means sending brave men and women to combat a wildfire without basic gear, leaving the poor periphery to ignorance and neglect, all the while spending vast fortunes on apartheid settlements in the occupied territories in the name of the Jehovah cult’s ideology, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means leaving 20 percent of the population in an ever-worsening state of second class citizenship, forbid them to import schoolbooks in their own language, speak their ostensibly official language in mixed schools, spread irrational fear of them “stealing our women”, condition their employment as teachers to their own children upon approval of the Shin Bet-Stasi, not building a single new settlement for them or approving zoning plans and then conducting a smear campaign about their “illegal construction”, or launching a reprehensible witch hunt when they choose not to build illegally and come to live in “our” towns, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means signing a “blood alliance” with the Druze minority, and then letting the sewage run free in their villages, discriminate against them in any setting out of uniform, form a unit with an overwhelming Druze majority and after fifty years feel oh-so-enlightened because we deigned to appoint a Druze as its commander, bar it from any career opportunity outside their pale of settlement except that of jack-booted thugs to do our dirty work for us, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means accepting a parliament in which a party, whose head undermines our legitimacy every time he opens his filthy mouth, launches a witch hunt against perfectly transparent “funding sources” of organizations who save what’s left of out tattered international respect, while the same kangaroo parliament refuses to investigate clear debacles by it inhabitants, let alone reach personal conclusions following fiascoes that have levied a toll in blood, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means subscribing to the superiority of the Jew by virtue of birth as such and placing at the heart of the collective identity the persecution, victimization and woe-is-me attitude in a manner that Hitler himself would have viewed as a historical victory and vindication, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means treating the persecuted and the sanctuary seeker the same way we cried foul over when directed at us back when we were in their shoes, then yes – such an Israel I shall betray.

If being an Israeli means calling yourself “the state of the Jews” while actively discriminating against the denominations of Judaism to which the absolute majority of the world’s Jews subscribe, rendering them invisible and illegitimate, then yes, indeed – such an Israel I shall betray.

I shall betray it openly and without a shred of guilt. I shall advertise its shame the world over, and take the largest hatchet I can find to its false pretense of legitimacy. I shall hand over the names of its criminals – from general and minister to corporal and private, to anyone who will bring them to justice. I shall make sure you cannot set foot anywhere a civilized person would want to go. I shall do all this and more, and you can investigate me to your putrid hearts’ content.

I shall betray such an Israel because I am loyal to a very different Israel. An Israel of a people proud and unafraid. An Israel that shall accord full and true equality to all its citizens. An Israel that does not wish to rule another people for decades in the name of its traumas and fears, and definitely does not wish to use these fears as an excuse to steal that people’s land and colonize it. An Israel guided by the morals of the prophets and not by the racism of the Talmud. An Israel of “Blessed be my people Assyria, blessed be my people Egypt”, and not of “You are called man and they are not called man.” And I know I will not be alone in this betrayal, because as the Reverend Martin Luther Ling Jr. said: “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Now, can I get an Amen?

Rechavia Berman is an Israeli journalist and Blogger. This post originally appeared in Hebrew on Rechavia’s blog


Arrival of the Mavi Marmara at Eminönu, Istanbul

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