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ISRAEL’S EXISTENTIAL DILEMMA: “What must be said” April 12, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Israel-Palestine, Peace.

The Israeli Government did not like Gunter Grass’s poem, “What must be said”. They were not content to brand him as persona non grata, but label him as being anti-Semite and associate him with the Nazi past and the Holocaust.

So what did Gunter Grass say?

Is it not true that the pressure to bomb Iran is coming from the Israeli Government, given despite the nuclear submarines, the fighter aircraft and the bunker bombs they do not have the capacity to effectively bomb Iran on their own. There are suggestions of fractures with the United States. It is not to be forgotten that Iran is a member of IAEA. Israel is not. Why does Israel, or any other country need nuclear weapons anyway?

Somewhere along the line Israel has gone off the track, or perhaps its trajectory was blinded by violence from the start. Take the case of the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946:

Two years later there was the massacre at Deir Yassin:

Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover. In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.

Israeli violence has continued, with an increasing sense of impunity.

So the Israelis have not and do not treat their fellow “Semites” as human beings. Edward Said referred to the callous inhumanity and racism of the State of Israel:

Then it might be suggested that Israel is a settler society like others, and its brutality towards the indigenous peoples has been replicated elsewhere. Gunter Grass poem is important, Hamid Dabashi writes at Al Jazeera because it reveals a repressed history. In this frame, the Holocaust is an example of the treatment dished out to others by European colonialists. He writes:

Given the history that culminated in the Jewish Holocaust, Jews around the globe, including Israel, have every right to get agitated with a prominent German public intellectual lecturing them about violence. But Zionism is chiefly responsible for having wasted the moral authority of the Jewish Holocaust – through what Norman Finkelstein has aptly called “the Holocaust Industry” – on establishing a racist apartheid state called “Israel” – a colonial settlement as a haven for the victims of a whole history of European anti-Semitism, on the broken back of a people who had nothing to do with that travesty.

With a leading German public intellectual openly criticising Israel, pointing to European hypocrisy, and blaming his own country for aiding and abetting in the aggressive militarisation of the Jewish state – a gushing wound is opened that implicates both Europe and the colonial settlement that in more than one sense is its own creation. In two specific terms, both as a haven for the victims of the Jewish Holocaust and as the legacy of European colonialism, Israel reflects back on its European pedigree. It is here that Grass’ poem reveals more than meets the eye.

For over 60 years, Palestinians have paid with their lives, liberties and homeland for a European crime with which they had absolutely nothing to do.

The Zionist project precedes the European Jewish Holocaust -that ghastly crime against humanity following the horrid history of European anti-Semitism expressed and manifested in systematic pogroms over many long and dark centuries. Palestine was colonised by the victims of European anti-Semitism – as a haven against Jewish persecution. That paradox remains at the heart of a Jewish state that cannot forget the truth of its own founding myth.

There is a link between the Jewish Holocaust and the history of European colonialism, of which Zionism (perhaps paradoxically, perhaps not) is a continued contemporary extension.

It was Aimé Césaire who in his Discourse sur le colonialisme/Discourse on Colonialism (1955) argued that the Jewish Holocaust was not an aberration in European history. Rather, Europeans actually perpetrated similar crimes against humanity on the colonised world at large.

With German atrocities during the Holocaust, Europeans tasted a concentrated dose of the structural violence they had perpetrated upon the world at large. Colonialism and the Holocaust were thus the two sides of the same coin: the aggressive transmutation of defenceless human beings into instruments of power – into disposable “things”. Long before the Jewish Holocaust, the world Europeans had conquered and colonised was the testing ground of that barbaric violence they had termed the “civilising mission of the white man”.

While Israel welcomes immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States – whose children typical for migrants do better at school than the native born – it is a source of emigration of people who are concerned by the policies and who have sometimes little humans they are responsible for.

Emily Hauser in the Daily Beast explains, Dear Israel this is why I left:

As Israel has become more deeply entrenched in the settlement enterprise, more dedicated to an increasingly violent and dehumanizing occupation, and indeed, increasingly less democratic toward even those with the good fortune to be Jewish, we’ve come to realize that we’re not likely to ever move back. I don’t know if our children are any physically safer here than there, but I do know this: They’re not being groomed for service in a military now devoted less to the defense of the state, than to the oppression of another people. They’re not caught in an educational system made small and narrow by lack of funds, even as the government pours funds into settlements built illegally on stolen land. They’re not being lied to daily by leaders who mouth platitudes about peace, even as their actions do nothing but undermine the possibility of peace.

Personal attacks have been made on Gunter Grass. Spiegel suggested his banning was absurd. The Israeli Government would do better to look at the criticism full on, which is something they cannot do and that is their tragedy. There must have been those among the settlers of Palestine that understood that the well being of people, as it is everywhere, is enhanced by peace and justice.

It is abundantly clear that Israel, supported to the hilt by the United States, threatens world peace. The continued dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people  is criminal and inhuman.  Simply stated it has to stop, followed by reconciliation and reparations.



Philip Giraldi writes at AntiWar.com in relation to the US-Israel alliance, The Babylonian Captivity of Washington:

Many critics of the perennially lopsided relationship that the United States enjoys with Israel have noted a disturbing shift in the relationship during the first three years of the Obama Administration. To be sure, Obama appears to genuinely dislike Israel’s arrogant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a sentiment that is fully reciprocated. But Obama is bound hand and foot into an engagement with Israel in which he lacks leverage over what might or might not take place. Even George W. Bush was able to say no to Israel when it was mooted that Tel Aviv might attack Iran, but Obama has painted himself into a corner where the United States has little influence over what might occur. Whether the Obama reticence is due to the control exercised by his Chicago billionaire patrons, the Crown and Pritzker families, both of which are strong supporters of the Middle East status quo, or whether it is just a more generalized fear about what might happen in the upcoming national elections, the result has been paralysis in Washington. Recent war games conducted by the Pentagon have confirmed that a new conflict with Iran started by Israel would quickly draw the United States in and would become regional in nature. The war would not produce a good result for anyone involved and would be particularly bad for the United States, which would again slide into deep recession as energy prices soar.

So Israel can start a war and the United States can do nothing to stop it and will become a major victim of whatever plays out. If that is true, why is the mainstream media ignoring the story? The account of the disturbing Pentagon war games did indeed appear in the New York Times and was picked up in a number of other places, but it quickly died out, as always happens with stories that are critical of Israel and its policies. Supporters of Israel might also be quick to note that the hue and cry against another war is largely coming from the usual suspects who are philosophically opposed to interventionism, including supporters of Ron Paul and a number of contributors to this website. But given their underlying pretense that the US is supporting Israel due to its own national interests, perhaps they should take another look at a document that recently surfaced on WikiLeaks. The document enables one to better understand that where Israel leads in foreign and security policy the United States will inevitably follow.

The summary of the Secret message, which I reproduce in full, is:

“SECRET cable from U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv, dated 12 December 2009.

“1. (S) Summary: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher visited Israel December 1-2. U/S Tauscher focused her visit on setting the stage for a successful Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon) in May 2010. She consulted with GOI interlocutors on potential strategy in addressing Egyptian insistence on pushing for the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, as a way to divert attention from Iran to Israel. U/S Tauscher reiterated that the United States will not take any action to compromise Israel’s security and would consult closely with Israel — which GOI officials greatly appreciated. Nevertheless, U/S Tauscher said the United States is interested in exploring possible small steps involving Israel to address some of Egypt’s NWFZ concerns regarding the lack of implementation of the 1995 resolution. GOI officials for the most part were critical of these tactics, questioning why Israel should be portrayed as part of the problem. They recommended a more direct approach to President Mubarak – thereby circumventing the Egyptian MFA — in which Egypt is reminded that Iran is the regional nuclear threat. Other topics discussed include President Obama’s arms control and nonproliferation agenda, the P5 1 process and Iran’s nuclear program, the FMCT and CTBT, Jordan’s plans for a nuclear reactor, and Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).”

Washington is sacrificing a vital interest, control of nuclear proliferation through the establishment of a nuclear free zone, to protect Israel’s ability to remain a secret nuclear power and dominate its neighbors. Read the message any way one wishes, but it would seem clear that Washington is colluding with Israel to shield the latter’s nuclear program from any scrutiny, a successful Non-Proliferation conference being one in which Israel is not discussed at all. If the US is seriously interested in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons one would think that Israel’s program is part of the problem, but Israel is making clear that any such suggestion is unacceptable and the Obama Administration agrees without pushing any alternative policy. Tauscher even goes one step further, pledging Washington to never act in any way that would “compromise Israel’s security” (as defined by Israel itself).

Amira Hass, Israel must understand it cannot be America (Ha’aretz) and it should understand that the United States is not like Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.



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