Ranjan Solomon -PNN/ Bethlehem/
Dr. Firoz Osman, a medical doctor by profession and a respected South African commentator on the Zionist occupation of Palestine writing in the Middle East Monitor in March this year had these powerful words to say: “Zionist fulminations against the evocative A-word will now have to contend with the ignoble G-word. That Israel is an Apartheid entity is now indisputable, with international institutions and academics declaring it to be a crime against humanity. To this must now be added the increasingly obvious fact that the Palestinians are facing Genocide at the hands of the Israeli colonists. The creation of the state of Israel in May 1948 was a settler-colonial enterprise in which Palestinians were displaced through a deliberate policy of terror and ethnic cleansing that made room for alien colonists, drawn largely from Europe and North America. Colonial Zionism differed from other European colonial enterprises in its much more ambitious intentions; it set out not only to exploit the indigenous people and steal their resources, but also to expel them and move Jews onto the stolen land…From the outset, Zionism — the ideology underpinning Israel — held terrorism to be one of its indispensable weapons for the achievement of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Innocent Palestinian civilians were massacred by the score, and British Mandate officials were also targeted”.
It is possible, although unpopular, to compare proponents of Zionist apartheid with other of the world’s most cruel war criminals and to equate the Israeli army and those who command it as brutes who are out to exterminate anything that comes between them and their intent to kill, abuse, maim, imprison, torture, accumulate weapons of mass destruction, to steal land, and destabilize the Palestinians with its genocidal ways. Israel is complex and thrives in self-deceit. It hoodwinks itself to believing that its neighbours are primitive, and uncivilized. It deems that it has the most moral army in the world. It befools itself that it practices methods of democracy that make it different from the dictatorships that manage the affairs of many of its Arab neighbours. It likes to fantasize that it is developed and technologically advanced. Israel is wrong on all counts.
Zionists whose ignorance of history is obvious do not realize that Muslim believers rapidly founded a new and dynamic civilization that for centuries was the only bright light in an otherwise culturally and intellectually stagnant world. Indeed, while Europe was experiencing its “Dark Ages,” the Arab/Islamic civilization was at its apogee. The Arab world of the seventh to the thirteenth centuries was a great cosmopolitan civilization. It was an enormous unifying enterprise, one which joined the peoples of Spain and North Africa in the west with the peoples of the ancient lands of Egypt.
The Jews of Israel are desperately stressed to construct an authentic identity from thin air, in many ways. Eminent historian, Shlomo Sand, shuns his own identity as a Jew: “I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing and, because of this, feel in no way obliged to apologize. This absence of a need for self-justification has made Israel a particularly prized reference point for many movements of the far right throughout the world, movements whose past history of anti-Semitism is only too well known. Sand argues that it is likely that the ancestry of most contemporary Jews stems mainly from outside the Land of Israel and that a “nation-race” of Jews with a common origin never existed, and that just as most Christians and Muslims are the progeny of converted people, not of the first Christians and Muslims, Jews are also descended from converts.
According to Sand, 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. Following the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century, many local Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the Arab conquerors. Sand concludes that these converts are the ancestors of the contemporary Palestinians.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invention_of_the_Jewish_People. Sand believes that the idea of Jews being obliged to return from exile to the Promised Land was alien to Judaism before the birth of Zionism, and that the holy places were seen as places to long for, not to be lived in. On the contrary, for 2,000 years Jews stayed away from Jerusalem because their religion forbade them from returning until the Messiah came.
Molly Roberts, editor, writer and producer for The Post’s Opinions section says calls on Young American Jews to take a side- the side of justice and truth. She observes that many Americans were even finding it hard to condemn the cold blooded killing of Gaza residents with live ammunition, whether they were carrying rocks or tires or makeshift kite bombs or nothing at all. Israel swears that the protesters were armed militants. Gazans went forward with their ineffective tools of resistance knowing that that their only guarantee was prison time. Their question: What, would the difference be, in any case? Gaza felt like a prison in any case.
Pew has found that younger Americans feel more distance from Israel than previous generations. Some have spoken up, and even founded organizations to defy conservative forces like American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Sadly, as Roberts’s notes, “It has been easy enough to say we’re pro-Israel but not pro-occupation or to use the truth that there’s no simple solution as an excuse to avoid unpleasant complexity”. That conflation has “emboldened Israel’s leaders to act with impunity. Yet, as the U.S. government draws closer to Israel, the rising generation of Jewish Americans has already started to push further away. The recent assaults on Gaza will accentuate this.
This article was originally published by Palestine Updates