28.7.06

What is rotten about the state of Israel?

I was asked to join a candle-light vigil for Lebanon in California. I had attended a lecture at Stanford and am on their mailing list. They asked us to carry Lebanese flags. The intention was honourable.

I was, however, more than disappointed to read this: “The US government is not only betraying its values by permitting this destruction to continue unabated. It is undermining the safety of the American people by exponentially increasing anti-Americanism and extremism in the region. The US seems to have adopted an abhorrent strategy that theorizes that blood-letting is the solution for "peace" in the MiddleEast.The people in the Middle East and around the world look to the United States to uphold the values that are at the heart of America, and it is tragic tosee US leaders unwilling to act in accordance with them.”

So is it all about the fear of anti-Americanism? Then why a hue and cry when Muslims express such fears about anti-Islamism? And who has informed the United States that the people of the Middle East or the rest of the world look to America for “values”?

Most of the nations of the world were born before the US was discovered by default.

Besides all this, carrying Lebanese flags in the heart of the country that is abusing it amounts to intellectual colonisation, in my view. It would be far better to ask the government of the US to shut up and work on its internal politics and save its soldiers from death, desperation and behaving in often utterly dehumanising ways. For, unnecessary wars are a show of machismo – and they have to live upto the role-playing.

I am giving excerpts from a piece I wrote on Israel and Palestine:




Ariel Sharon had once said, “We control America”. This is such a change from the former Prime Minister, the late Golda Meir, stating, “Israel is really a safeguard for the maintenance of American interests in the area, and the first line of defence for the American interests in the Mediterranean basin.”

It is important to evaluate the rotten state of Israel. Let me clarify here that it is only when I got a first-hand account that I started speaking up for the Palestinian cause. The minute I saw the Palestinian embassy in Delhi, I knew that we were talking about a displaced people. Anyone who has passed through the diplomatic enclave will vouch for the plushy facades of the various consulates and embassies; not this one. It was a drab off-white structure with no armed guards. A few young men stood inside the reception area that consisted of a table and chair around which they gathered. They looked unkempt. However, they were most polite and within minutes I was ushered in to meet his Excellency, Dr. Khalid el Sheikh. He was a man in position, so his could have been the ‘official’ version.

The Israeli voice:

Moshe Dayan openly declared, “There is not a single Jewish village in this country that has not been built on the site of an Arab village.”

What is the historical perspective? Can the Holocaust be compared to the Palestinian diaspora? Can the Jews become the Nazis in the latter half of the same century and the beginnings of the new one? As Bertrand Russell wrote, “I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy.” Even Einstein, a Jew, rued the terror of Zionism.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 by the British called for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. Under the UN resolution of 1947 Palestine was to be divided into Arab and Jewish states, with Israel being granted 57 per cent of the total land when that under their possession did not exceed six per cent, and they constituted only a third of the population. The Palestinians rejected the partition plan. But within six months, 78 per cent of the land had come under the Israelis, exceeding the UN stipulation, dispossessing its inhabitants and replacing them with Jews from Europe and other parts of the world. This is the only country created by the UN defying the UN. In 1967, the West Bank and Gaza were taken over and the inhabitants were under an oppressive military rule. They were treated as refugees.

While the natives whose families lived on this land for thousands of years are not allowed to return, Jews from all over the world are welcome to instant citizenship. Even as peace talks are carried on, settlements come up, armed with the most sophisticated weapons. Negotiations are one-sided – Palestinians can have their municipalities but the borders, water, airspace, and anything else of importance remains an Israeli domain. Such gumption is made possible only because there is an American Israel Public Affairs Committee that can make all the forces of the world powerless against it, including the UN, as the American veto is there to block any condemnation of Israeli war crimes.

Some revered figures committed massacres and later became Prime Ministers. In 1948, Menachem Begin’s unit slaughtered the inhabitants of Deir Yassin. In 1953, Ariel Sharon led the slaughter of the inhabitants of Qibya, and in 1982 arranged for their allies to butcher around 2,000 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla.

He had once declared, “We must hit, hit and hit them incessantly…not by means of large-scale war. Suddenly someone disappears there, someone is found dead here and somewhere else someone is found stabbed to death in a European nightclub.”

Today, in bigtime political warfare, you do not fight your own battles; the superpowers do it. There have been attempts to even justify the existence of Israel by harking back to Biblical times. But Dr. Khalid el Sheikh had explained to me, “The Jews of today are mostly converts to Judaism and had no racial links with the Israelites or Hebrews who lived in Palestine at or before the time of Christ. This in fact raises the controversy about Judaism being a religion or a race. Since there can be an American, Indian, European or an Arab Jew like in Christianity and Islam, how then these conglomerations of people from different races could form a nation?”


(c) Farzana Versey