Saturday, February 20, 2010
Gulamhusein A Abba
Finkelstein Banned in Berlin: A Democracy that isn't a Democracy
February 18, 2010, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/24.htm
“By calling the genocide of the Jews the "original crime",
the unique and incomparable act, every other crime is
devalued as being not so important’.
“Germany has decided to do penance for the Nazi crimes
by means of supporting the State of Israel”
“Hitler has won in the end, for the violence that made this
criminal a criminal in the first place, this violence has not
stopped. On the contrary: the compulsive "Never again!"
serves as a justification of violence and killing. This works
only because the genocide of the Jews was taken out of
its historical context and floats around freely”.
Dr. Norman Finkelstein has written several books in the field of Israel/Palestine/Holocaust and is one of the most sagacious analysts of our time. Like Professor Ilan Pappe, he formulates sharp criticism in respect to past and present of the State of Israel. Both use very rational arguments and are reliable researchers.
Especially after the mass murders in Jenin and Gaza, these two men and many other Jews (also in Germany) speak out, because they do not want to be counted among supporters of violence by a state that arrogates to itself the right to speak on behalf of, and act in the name of all the Jews worldwide.
As is known now, both the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation have canceled Finkelstein talks that were already scheduled in Berlin. While the foundation close to the Green party did not even bother to explain its behavior, the board of the foundation close to the Left party explained its drawback in a media info with the empty statement that such a talk would be "explosive" ("brisant"). One wonders what is going on there. Does Finkelstein call for violence? Are his views outside legal norms? Does he disesteem human rights? Nothing of all this. On the contrary.
The reason for banning him is the veto of groups that seek to avert criticism of Israel, connecting this issue with the reproach of anti-Semitism. This is an old chestnut and not specifically interesting. What is interesting, though, is that the German public buys this nonsense and denies a man, who lost his family in German concentration camps, to talk on German soil. What is interesting is that the German public tolerates his being labeled an anti-Semite for his reflections on violence in Israel. The same thing happened only some months ago to the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in Munich, when the city's Lord Mayor canceled a scheduled talk. Pappe
then wrote in an open letter that his father "was silenced in a similar way as a German Jew in the early 1930s".
The German Self-Conception
So let us revisit the German self-conception and then take a short look at the historical background to understand this apparently great fear that is going around in Germany. Recently, when the Israeli politician Shimon Peres talked on the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day in the German Bundestag, he received a standing ovations. The few, who did not stand up because of their rejection of Peres' and Israel's violent policies, were publically attacked.
There is, for example, the quote of a member of the Bundestag: "The Nazi crimes, the Shoa, and the war of annihilation are the original crime of humanity. (...) The Jewish victims of National Socialism are memorized on January 27 in the Bundestag memorial. On this occasion, only they and the reminder of 'Never again!' can be the topic. Everything else in this context is a relativization of the Nazi crimes." It is a quote typical for Germany and reveals the German angst as well as the great danger that goes with it.
The genocide of the Jews in this quote is taken out of any historical context and declared a unique event. Firstly, this reveals a "We (We!) are the greatest" narcissism. Secondly, it reveals a pro-Jewish racism, as if one racism could make up for another one. It is not victims in general who are important, Only the Jewish victims are! The Nazi killing of Sinti and Roma (The Nazis also killed Sinti and Roma -- considered "gypsies" -- communists, homosexuals and others) thus is kind of OK. And how much then will the killing of Palestinains be OK if conducted by Jews.
Put in a more general way: by calling the genocide of the Jews the "original crime", the unique and incomparable act, every other crime is devalued as being not so important. Finkelstein and Pappe do not fit in here. They disturb the celebration by entering the historical framework, which is all the more embarrassing as they are Jews with family ties to Nazi victims. Banning them shows that in the end even Jewish Nazi victims are not what the whole circus is about, despite all the pathetic oaths and solemn declarations. This is what Germany fears, that people realize that the public "Remembering the Holocaust" is a fake and that Finkelstein and Pappe are eloquent and powerful enough to unmask this farce.
Germany has decided to do penance for the Nazi crimes by means of supporting the State of Israel. When it stands in solidarity with the Zionist state, then Germany would fulfill its historical responsibility. This dogma is not questioned, although it is beyond any logic to support Zionism, of all things, in order to do penance. Perhaps not beyond logic because there had been fruitful cooperation between Nazis and Zionists. (It was in the interest of both ideologies to bring Jews out of Germany.) What is much worse is that violence is not recognized as the problem.
Thus Hitler has won in the end, for the violence that made this criminal a criminal in the first place, this violence has not stopped. On the contrary: the compulsive "Never again!" serves as a justification of violence and killing. This works only because the genocide of the Jews was taken out of its historical context and floats around freely.
The Israeli Self-Conception
Both Finkelstein and Pappe write about the missing historical context and this is what people are afraid of, because both use their arguments brilliantly, even compellingly, and they are concerned as Jews whose families have Nazi experiences. Like Goldstone, Chomsky, and some others, the two academics are subject to hate and rejection of the ruling Zionism and its strenuous friends. Finkelstein lives in the USA, where Zionism is even stronger than in Israel, and he does not lead an easy life. Pappe needed to go to exile in England, because life in Israel became unbearable for him. He wrote the book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" in which he clearly shows how the Israeli state was built on heavy violence. Considering that both authors face bans in Germany it is no wonder that there is not much heard of the events around 1948 other than flat stereotypes.
According to the Israeli self-conception the Zionist state emerged out of a "War of Independence". In this view, the Jewish victims of National Socialism created a state to protect themselves and were immediately attacked by their evil Arab neighbors. This version of the story is sacrosanct and is defended with great hysteria, be it in Israel or in Germany, because it does not stand up to a neutral analysis. The fact is that when Israel was founded in May 1948, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine had already been going on for half a year.
This was called "Plan Dalet/Plan D" and everybody can read about it. Hundreds of indigenous Palestinians were killed and hundreds of thousands were expelled from their villages by Zionist militias. According to the Israeli self-conception, many Palestinians went away voluntarily, as if anybody would voluntarily leave their home and property just like that. International pressure, orchestrated by US arm twisting, led to the UN partition plan which deprived the native population of a little more than half of Palestine which was to be given to the Zionists.
Yet the Zionists were not content with that. They received weapons and took more of the land by force. When they then built a state on this land, they did not do it in agreement with anybody, but unilaterally and surprisingly. The dogma of the "right of existence" was invented so that people would not talk about these events anymore. Here is the seed of the problems we are confronted with tilll today. It is possible to begin earlier, with the Sykes Picot Treaty or the first settlers from abroad who, for the most part, did not integrate, but appeared aggressively. One can talk about the British and about Zionist and Arab terrorism, about Jabotinsky and other pioneers.
But it is the founding of the state and Plan D which show most clearly why history is escalating until today. The massacre of Deir Yassin happened in the framework of this plan. Iit was covered in the world press. Nobody was ever held responsible for this blood-spree and thus a precedent was created which is working until today. Nobody has been taken to account for the mass murder in Gaza either, or for nay of the other massacres that Israel habitually commits. The Plan D land theft is another precedent. Up to this day the Israeli territory gets wider while the Palestinian territory shrinks. All this is inherent in the biased concept of "right of existence", as are the race laws from 1950 which guarantee all Jews in the world a "right of return" to Israel while the expelled native population has to keep out, an unprecedented act in the long history of the country. Their land and property was confiscated by the new masters who clung to a blood-and-soil ideology.
A lot of this reminds one of the Nazis, which by no means is a wonder when you consider the victim/perpetrator dynamics. It is known that victims, because of their traumas, are prone to become perpetrators and it is so obvious that it takes a whole lot of energy to suppress the respective discourse. It is suppressed in militarized Israel just as it is in Germany. It is taboo. For this reason, a government of right-wing extremists in Israel is not a problem. Right-wing extremism is not right-wing extremism, when it comes to Israel!.
The Tip of the Iceberg
The cancelation of Finkelstein's talks are but the tip of a huge iceberg. Even as these lines are written, Palestinian houses in Barta'a Ash-Sharqiya are being demolished, and, in Sheikh Jarrah/Jerusalem new land thefts are scheduled. A big historic Arab graveyard is to be confiscated to build a "Museum of Tolerance" on it while in Bil'in the nonviolent resistance against the wall enters its sixth year. The protesters are injured by the army on a regular basis, and also killed.
The world press says almost nothing about the heroes of nonviolent resistance, because it does not fit the image. Russian Jews in Be’er Sheva in the Negev have just killed a Bedouin boy and heavily injured another, while a group of fundamentalist settlers have injured a Palestinian child in Hebron. About 11.000 Palestinians are kept in Israeli prisons. The "checkpoints" to Nablus have been closed down recently so that nobody can enter. The Gaza fishermen are being shot at by the Israeli navy and Gaza is still under siege. The head of the Dubai police just confirmed that according to police investigations there is a very high probability that the Mossad is behind the murder of a Hamas politician in the Emirates.
Every day you can read on www.theheadlines.org what happens in the country and that since 1948 there has been no change of the routine. In Germany, the Palästina Portal is one of the sources one can turn to. Most of what happens remains unknown to us.Our media skips most of it, for fear of inciting an increasing "anti-Semitism". It is for the same reason that we are not to listen to Finkelstein and Pappe, for they verify the terrible events and the historical development sketched above. Instead, we are fed with "information" on "terrorism".
It is well-known to some of the leading politicians and opinion-leaders that the Israeli policy can only lead to the self-destruction of the State of Israel. Call it a culture of death. Maybe self-hatred is another reason for this behavior, something human rights advocates like Finkelstein and Pappe are labeled with by exactly those who display it themselves. But even according to our mainstream dogmas we have a big problem here, for this development is bad for the Jews, too, the Zionists among them and the anti-Zionists.
Norman Finkelstein (www.normanfinkelstein.com) will talk about Gaza in Munich on Feb. 24, 7 p.m. Amerikahaus, Karolinenplatz 3, and on Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Kulturhaus Milbertshofen, Curt-Mezger-Platz 1
Monday, February 15, 2010
Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Out in the wilderness
Of an emaciated Present
Are the dampened ashes
Of a people
Incarcerated by hope
And the choiceless visions
— Dom Martin
Excerpt from “The Damnation to Exist”
Dom Martin is a unique combination of all three – a renowned artist whose paintings adorn the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, a poet who has penned gut-wrenching poetry, and a visionary who has created prophetic images. His latest volume of poetry, NAKBLINKA: The Cleansing of Co-Existence, commemorates the first anniversary of the brutal attack on Gaza by Israel. It is a step beyond other books on the subject.
Filled with thought provoking and emotional poems, arresting photos and unique drawings and paintings, the 108 pages of NAKBLINKA: The Cleansing of CoExistence, will grip the reader from the onset and move one to tears. But more importantly, the volume speaks to an understanding of what the Gazans are up against, with admiration for their tenacity, resilience, courage and unflinching resistance in the face of the brutal, illegal, and longest lasting current occupation by Israel of their land.
Those who appreciated Dom Martin’s CoEexistence: Humanity’s Wailing Wall (2006) and Genocide: The New Order of Imperialism (2008) will appreciate his latest work even more. The title itself is a play on words, recalling both Nakba (the “day of catastrophe” when Palestinians were expelled from their homeland in 1948) and Treblinka, where the Jews suffered unimaginable inhumanity at the hands of the Germans during the Nazi regime. As Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) has observed in her Foreword to this book: “Dom Martin cries out for an end to the infliction of cruelty and death upon the oppressed peoples of the world”.
Among the poems in the book are ones with such challenging titles as: The Displacement Of Humanity; The Second Crucifixion; Icons Of Innocence; Omer Abed Al-Aziz Mosque; and The Discoloration of CoExistence.
For a preview of the book and to read the Foreword go to: http://www.propheticimagery.com/Nakblinka%20Book/Index.htm
NAKBLINKA: The Cleansing of CoExistence (2009)
Pencil on Paper (16cm x 18 cm)
PALESTINE'S WAILING MT. RUSHMORE (2009)
Pencil on Paper (18cm x 12 cm)
Monday, February 1, 2010
January 30, 2010
Palestinian women huddle amid their belongings after Israeli
In the West Bank's stony hills, Palestine is slowly dying
In the richest of the Occupied lands, Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes.
Area C doesn't sound very ominous. A land of stone-sprinkled grey hills and soft green valleys, it's part of the wreckage of the equally wrecked Oslo Agreement, accounting for 60 per cent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that was eventually supposed to be handed over to its Palestinian inhabitants.
In Area C, there are up to 150,000 Palestinians and 300,000 Jewish colonists living - illegally under international law - in 120 official settlements and 100 "unapproved" settlements or, in the language we must use these days, "illegal outposts"; illegal under Israeli as well as international law, that is - as opposed to the 120 internationally illegal colonies which are legal under Israeli law. Jewish settlers, needless to say, don't have problems with planning permission.
But in one way, this storm of permission and non-permission papers is intended to obscure the terrible reality of Area C. Many Israeli activists as well as western NGOs suspect Israel intends to force the Palestinians here to leave their lands and homes and villages and depart into the wretchedness of Areas B and A. B is jointly controlled by Israeli military and civil authorities and Palestinian police, and A by the witless Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. Thus would the Palestinians be left to argue over a mere 40 per cent of the occupied West Bank - in itself a tiny fraction of the 22 per cent of Mandated Palestine over which the equally useless Yasser Arafat once hoped to rule. Add to this the designation of 18 per cent of Area C as "closed military areas" by the Israelis and add another 3 per cent preposterously designated as a "nature reserve" - it would be interesting to know what kind of animals roam there - and the result is simple: even without demolition orders, Palestinians cannot build in 70 per cent of Area C.
January 30, 2010
While some of the editors/moderators published the piece, several rejected it, claiming that Mazin’s statement about “the myth of the exodus from Egypt” was unsubstantiated and unacceptable. That made me evaluate the claim and the following article is the outcome of that research.
Even more than the oft averred promise by God to the Jewish people, exile is central to the Jewish claim on Palestine. Because they were exiled, they have a right to return. (Incidentally, this is precisely why the Zionists keep denying, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the Palestinians were forced out of their homes and villages by the Zionists during the formation of an Israeli state. If they admit that they were forced out, they would have to admit Palestinians’ right to return. But if the Palestinians, as the Zionists insist, left of their own accord, they have no such right!)
The Jewish “exile” claim raises two questions. First: Even if they were exiled, and had a right to return, does that mean they have a right to claim Palestine, or a part of it, as a Jewish state? Second, the more important one: Were they in fact exiled from Palestine?
Research scholars, several of them Jewish and some of them ardent Zionists, have been asserting for quite some time that the claim of exile is a myth propagated by the Zionists.
Dr.Mazin Qunsiyeh, PhD, recently wrote : “….archeologists and historians have long shown that this notion of enslavement in Egypt and redemption is simply not consistent with the facts or the historical record”.
This is by no means a new or far fetched claim.
Dr. Shlomo Sand, the author of “Invention of the Jewish People” and an expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, has claimed in his book that "The Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land…. most of today’s Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel”.
His earlier book, “When and How Was The Jewish people Invented”, has been on Israel's bestseller list for 19 weeks.
Sand annotates what prompted him to write the book: "I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled." The original Jews living in Israel, contrary to the propounded history, were not exiled. Sand argues that most of the Jews were not exiled by the Romans. They were permitted to remain in the country.
Sand suggests that the story of the exile was a myth promoted by early Christians to recruit Jews to the new faith. They portrayed that event as a divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel. Sand writes that "Christians wanted later generations of Jews to believe that their ancestors had been exiled as a punishment from God."
Elaborating further, Sand continues: "The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of 'the people of the Bible' that preceded it."
Jeremiah Haber, an orthodox Zionist and a professor Jewish studies, writing under the nom de plume Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber, was critical of columnists like Charles Krauthammer and Leonard Fein. In the July 29, 2007 issue of the Magnes Zionist, Jeremiah admonished the two columnists for accepting “the myth that the Jews were forcibly expelled from the Land of Israel, and taken into captivity by the Romans.”
Jeremiah went on to emphasize: “To this day, most lay people, Jews and non-Jews, accept the myth of the exile, whereas no historian, Jew or non-Jew, takes it seriously.” And to further detox the seemingly blind addiction to this myth, he presented two assertions: : “The first point to make is that well before the revolt against Rome in 66-70 c.e., there were Jewish communities outside Palestine, most notably in Babylonia and in Egypt, but elsewhere as well. References to the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the civilized world are found in the book of Esther, Josephus, and Philo. There is no indication that these communities were small, satellite communities.
“Second, there is no contemporary evidence – i.e., 1st and 2nd centuries c.e. – that anything like an exile took place. The Romans put down two Jewish revolts in 66-70 c.e. and in 132-135 c.e. According to Josephus, the rebels were killed, and many of the Jews died of hunger. Some prisoners were sent to Rome, and others were sold in Libya. But nowhere does Josephus speak of Jews being taken into exile. As we shall see below, there is much evidence to the contrary. There was always Jewish emigration from the Land of Israel…..”.
Similarly, in a post dated March 25, 2008 of the Jews Sans Frontieres, it was claimed that there are “a couple of pervasive racial myths upon which Zionism is founded. One is that of exile and the other is that of the common origin of the Jewish people…”
Yet another learned critic of the Jewish Exile is Israel Jacob Yuval, director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center in Jewish Studies, Backenroth Senior Lecturer in Medieval Jewish Studies. In his book, The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship, Jacob Yuval extended his sincere empathy to the Palestinians. “On the one hand, I am a Zionist loyal to awareness of the need for the existence of the State of Israel. On the other hand, I am deeply troubled by the price paid by the Palestinians for the fulfillment of this dream. Like many others, I desperately seek a fair solution that will minimize the pain and suffering for both sides”
All this leads one to ask by whom was this myth of exile concocted and why?
As already stated, the suggestion made by Sand is that the story of the exile was a myth promoted by early Christians to recruit Jews to the new faith.
This myth suited the Zionists exceedingly well.
Jerry Haber, in his post dated July 29, 2007, suggests that though the myth was not invented by the Zionists, they dropped the “punishment” part and used it and nurtured it, “in part, to justify the return of the Jews to their ancestral homeland. For the tacit assumption of the Zionists was that if the Jews had left the land willingly, if they had merely ‘emigrated’ because they found opportunities beckoning in the Diaspora, then they would have betrayed their allegiance to the land, and their return would have been less justified….. it (the myth)dovetailed nicely with the historical view of the wandering Jew that finds no rest outside of his native place from which he was expelled”.
In Sand's view, at a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people "retrospectively," out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people. From historian Heinrich Graetz on, Jewish historians began to draw the history of Judaism as the history of a nation that had been a kingdom, became a wandering people and ultimately turned around and went back to its birthplace.
The third chapter of Sand’s book “The Invention of the Diaspora” starts with the quotation from the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence: "After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom" As we have seen, Sand argues that the Jewish people's exile from its land never happened.
Sand goes on to state that the description of the Jews as a wandering and self-isolating nation of exiles, "who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland," is nothing but "national mythology." Like other national movements in Europe, which sought out a splendid Golden Age, through which they invented a heroic past - for example, classical Greece or the Teutonic tribes - to prove they have existed since the beginnings of history, "so, too, the first buds of Jewish nationalism blossomed in the direction of the strong light that has its source in the mythical Kingdom of David."
Sand asserts: “Zionism changed the idea of Jerusalem. Before, the holy places were seen as places to long for, not to be lived in. For 2,000 years Jews stayed away from Jerusalem not because they could not return but because their religion forbade them from returning until the messiah came.”
These revelations about the oft asserted exile of the Jews being a myth are indeed revealing and shocking. They completely demolish the Jewish claim of their right to return to the Holy Land. But this is not all. Modern researchers and historians go further. They claim that the Jews never existed as a nation and that the vast majority of the present day Jews have no connection to the Biblical Jews or the Biblical Holy Land.
But that is another story. (Please watch for: “Was there a Jewish nation?”)