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Thursday, 16 December 2010

300 Israeli rabbis support a refusal to rent to Arabs





55% of Israelis Back Safed Chief Rabbi's Ruling Forbidding the Renting of Flats to Arabs

A month ago, Gideon Levy published in Ha'aretz, an article about a ruling by the chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, that Jews were forbidden to rent homes and flats to non-Jews. For a month Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister kept quiet for fear of upsetting his religious coalition partners.

However the story started to take off internationally especially when Eli Tzvieli, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor, was threatened with having his house burnt down for renting to Arabs. Prime Minister Netanhayu was left with no option but to condemn the ruling having remained silent through similar utterances. We should be under no illusions that Netanyahu's words are mere diplomatic verbiage by someone who hasn’t the slightest difficulty with the razing Arab villages to the ground, who supports loyalty oaths for Israel’s Arabs and their transfer out of Israel, the settlement and eviction of non-Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem as well as the panalopy of other measures intended to 'Judaise' Israel and which are directed against Israeli Arabs. A Jewish settler state is inevitably a racist state as it demonstrated at its birth when it expelled some ¾ million Arabs.

A poll in Israel’s most popular daily paper, Yediot Aharanot, tells us the real story. That 55% of Israeli Jews, including 41% of secular Israeli Jews, support the ruling not to rent to Arabs in Safed. This is the true measure of Israeli racism and its deep, popular roots.

Despite all their posturing about ‘delegitimation’ and apartheid, the fact is that the Israeli state is now shedding its mask.

If Arabs were to say such things in Israel they would be arrested and if employed by the state dismissed. Yet nearly 300 municipal chief rabbis have signed up to the statement, whilst still being employed by the Israeli state and not a thing has been done about it.

Israeli propaganda in the West would have you believe that it is the Arabs who hate the Jews whereas in fact the exact opposite has always been true in Palestine.

The uproar about Safed comes after the scandal of the publication of Torat HaMelech, the King’s Story, by Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira (Lubavitch is a fast growing sect with luminaries such as the Chair of the United Synagogue Rabbis in Britain, Rabbi Schochet, as members). Shapira’s masterpiece explains why the killing of non-Jews is allowed, including infants and babies. On that occasion Netanyahu and the Zionist movement said absolutely nothing.

Safad however, became an international story and that led Yad Vashem, the Zionist Holocaust Propaganda Museum issuing a rare statement of condemnation. Built adjacent to the ruins of Deir Yassin, a village whose inhabitants were massacred in 1948, YV has sacked staff members who have even pointed out the fact that a memory to the slain of the holocaust is sited next to the butchery of Deir Yassin, where over 100 Arab women, children and men were slaughtered.

Tony Greenstein

Ynet – published 15.12.10.

Poll: 55% back rabbis' anti-Arab ruling

Survey shows 41% of secular Israelis support municipal religious leaders' call not to rent apartments to non-Jews, as do 64% and 88% of Israel's traditional and haredi Jews, respectively

A significant segment of Israel's adult Jewish population agrees with a religious ruling forbididng Jews from selling or renting apartments to Arabs or other non-Jews, according to a recent survey commissioned by Ynet and the Gesher organization.

The controversial ruling was issued by a group of 50 municipal rabbis.

Some 55% of those polled said they agree with the ruling; 26% of the respondents said they agree with it for the most part; 13% agree with the ruling to "some degree," while 42% disagree with the rabbis' call entirely.


The survey indicated that more than half of Israel's secular Jews (about 53%) oppose the ruling, while 41% of them agree with it to some extent (18.4% support the ruling to a large extent; 12.1% agree with it to a certain extent; 13.6% back the rabbis' ruling to a small extent).

Among Israel's traditional population, 64% agree with the ruling and about 30% do not agree with it at all, the poll indicated.

The survey further showed that some 66% of religious or haredi Israelis support the call not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews, 22% of them agree with the ruling to a lesser extent, while only 10% do not agree with the rabbis' ruling at all.

In addition, some 58% of those polled said they were against dismissing the rabbis over the ruling, while 42% support such a move.

Asked what they would do in case an Arab family planned to purchase or rent an apartment in their neighborhood, some 57% of the respondents said it would not bother them, 24.5% said they would act or consider acting to prevent the Arab family from moving into their neighborhood, while 7% said they would move out.

Analyzing the results according to religious affiliation shows that 69% of Israel's secular Jews would not have a problem living near Arabs; 52% of the traditional respondents and 15% of the haredi respondents also said they wouldn't mind having Arab neighbors. However, some 24% of the secular respondents said they would act or consider acting immediately to prevent Arabs from moving into their neighborhood, as would 31% of the country's traditional Jews and 78% of the haredim.

'Not about halacha'

Only 6% of Israel's secular Jews and about 5% of its religious and ultra-Orthodox citizens would consider moving out of their neighborhood should an Arab family move in.

Gesher General Manager Ilan Gael-Dor said the fact that close to 60% of Israel's Jews agree with the rabbis' call not to sell or rent out flats to non-Jews "expresses the desire of most Israelis to preserve the country's Jewish character, but what about democracy? How does a Jewish and democratic state treat a minority group?

"In my opinion, the rabbis erred when they made the issue into a halachic one. This debate is about the characteristics of the Jewish-democratic state. The agreement with the rabbis does not stem from halachic considerations," he added.

The survey was conducted among 500 respondents constituting a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel. The maximum sampling error was 4.4%.

Haaretz, 07.12.10

Netanyahu slams top rabbis' call to forbid renting homes to Arabs

The prime minister says such things cannot be said in a democratic country, emphasizes that anti-Arab declarations are not acceptable in Israel.

By Barak Ravid and Chaim Levinson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday harshly condemned a move by a number of leading rabbis who signed on a ruling to forbid renting and selling homes to Arabs.

"How would we feel if we were told not to sell an apartment to Jews?" asked Netanyahu. "We would protest, and we protest now when it is said of our neighbors."

Earlier on Tuesday, a number of top rabbis who signed on to a religious ruling to forbid renting homes to gentiles – a move particularly aimed against Arabs – defended their decision with the declaration that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.

"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."

Speaking at the National Bible Contest for adults, Netanyahu emphasized that such declarations are not acceptable in Israel.

"Such things cannot be said, not about Jews and not about Arabs. They cannot be said in any democratic country, and especially not in a Jewish and democratic one. The state of Israel rejects these sayings."

Education Minister Gideon Saar also related to the rabbis' letter during his speech at the Bible contest on Tuesday evening, saying that the Torah commands one to have good relations with Gentiles.

Concurrently, dozens of people gathered in front of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv for a spontaneous demonstration against the rabbis' letter forbidding the sale or rental of properties to Arabs or other non-Jews.

A number of cultural figures were present at the demonstration, including Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz. Horowitz said, "These people receive a salary from the state and break the law. As a Jew and an Israeli, I am embarrassed that these men are municipal rabbis."

Horowitz continued, "There is no connection between what they preach, and Judaism. In the Declaration of Independence [of the State of Israel] it states that everyone has equal rights. We see a wave of fascism and racism that is trying to cut off sectors of Israeli society."

Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Judaism movement in Israel, said, "The fire of racism will completely destroy Israeli society. If there is a lesson to be learned from what took place over the weekend, it is the danger of complacency. The rabbinical decree is abominable, and desecrates the seal of God that lies within every human being."

The director Ibtisam Mara'ana said, "Instead of lighting a Hanukkah candle, I would like to light a memorial candle and say Kaddish, the Prayer of the Dead, for the democratic state that we once had."

Mara'ana continued, "The rabbis took advantage of the state and usurped it for themselves. It is not only the state of the Jews. Today it is against Ibtisam the Arab, and tomorrow against Esther the lesbian, and next week against a woman with her hair exposed."

On Tuesday morning, it was revealed that dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis signed on to a ruling urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

In their ruling, the rabbis called on the religious community to voice support Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who could face trial for incitement against Arabs for initiating the move against renting to gentiles.

Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman has also asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to begin the process of suspending Eliyahu immediately from his post as municipal rabbi.

Politicos from the national religious sector believe that the mass of prominent figures who signed on to the ruling – all of whose salaries are paid by public funds - will send a message to the attorney general to take Eliyahu's position seriously.

Upon news of the religious ruling, Meretz faction whip Ilan Ghilon immediately asked the attorney general to dismiss each of the rabbis who had signed their names.

"We are witnessing an epidemic of racism and xenophobia and we must act firmly," he said.

Deputy Knesset chairman MK Ahmed Tibi decried the letter as a "mass crime [committed] by a group of racist rabbis who should be given intensive course in Jewish history."

"The entire group should be tried for "incitement to racism," added Tibi, "Muslim clerics have recently been tried or fired from their jobs for much less but the rabbis are able to pursue their unruly behavior without concern."

Among the rabbis that signed the letter are the following: Yaakov Edelstein of Ramat Hasharon, Yosef Sheinin of Ashdod, David Wolpe of Rishon Letsion, Avraham Margalit of Carmiel, Simcha Hacohen of Rehovot, Yitzhak Yaakobovitch from Herzliya, and David Tsedakah from Pardes Hannah.

A campaign of racism and anti-Arab incitement is turning one of Israel's holy cities into a ticking bomb

Ha'aretz,Published 10:39 12.11.10

By Gideon Levy

The telephone rings. "Hello, this is Mustafa, I'm calling about the apartment." The response comes quickly and emphatically: "No, it's already been rented." Or, "I only rent to women," or "I only rent to families." Or, in an angry tone: "Heaven forbid, do you want to stop me from reading the Torah on Shabbat," or "I'm afraid of the rabbis."

For an entire hour, student Mustafa Shahin, a resident of Sakhnin who studies sociology and human resources at Safed College, made telephone inquiries - in vain. Because he is an Arab, the rental listings on the college bulletin boards are irrelevant. Mahmoud Abu Salah, Shahin's representative in the student union (there are a total of eight representatives, but only one is an Arab ), says that he sometimes introduces himself on the phone as "Tomer" to get the conversation started. Now everyone has started calling Mahmoud "Tomer." But that doesn't mean people want to rent to Arab college students in Safed.

The city is roiling: It recently hosted an "emergency conference" of 18 rabbis and 400 of their followers on this issue. There was an armed attack on an Arab student apartment. A Jewish legal ruling was handed down by the city's chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu. Mayor Ilan Shohat and veteran resident Eliyahu Tzvieli, who rented an apartment to Bedouin students, have received threats. The message is: Arabs, go home.

In response to plans for establishing a medical school in Safed, flyers were circulated last week by some sort of "campaign headquarters," declaring: "The smokescreen called a medical school obscures an evil scheme: to establish a refugee camp for psychotic, sadistic and debased Arabs, whose deceptiveness is, and always has been, aimed at tempting [Jewish women] and cruelly abusing them. On orders of the great rabbis of Safed, may they be blessed with a long life, we declare our protest and vehement resistance, and reiterate that it is forbidden under the law of the Torah to offer these people apartments for sale, rent, work or any form of entry. Our city will not succumb to wanton behavior - go back to your own locales and do not defile our camp."

The language of this flyer slams the Safed College Internet site, which touts "a city that blends academia, tradition, kabbala and a magical atmosphere."

Abu Salah reads the flyer and puts it in his pocket without uttering a word. For the time being, he and his peers are showing restraint, but a time bomb is ticking here. Safed is a war story in the making.

Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria was born on Safed's slopes, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was born nearby. Today, the town's artists' quarter is being snuffed out by ultra-nationalist zeal. On Jerusalem Street, where Safed College is located, there is a Rav Hesed supermarket; a Galgal Hakodesh store that sells Jewish religious articles; and a furniture store with a special "bride-and-groom" deal for furnishing an entire apartment for NIS 8,888.

Safed College, operated under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University, has 1,700 students, and the whole campus seems to speak Arabic. Indeed, when we visited the institution last week, it seemed to have an absolute Arab majority. The most obvious exceptions were a policeman and a prison warden, both enrolled as students, and two lecturers who wore skullcaps and ritual fringes. Strolling around the sun-drenched campus, with its olive and cypress trees, were dozens of Arab students from the Galilee. Some, but not all, of the female students wore traditional head coverings; male students had hair gel. On the lawn, next to the modest library, a student set down his jacket, and kneeled to pray in the direction of Mecca.

The whole area is full of surreal contradictions: There is the bearded driver who shouts threateningly, in Arabic, at what he calls "el Yahud [the Jews]" - a group of Arab students, who cross the street and stare at him apathetically. The campus seems tranquil, while the city seethes with racist hatred. One sees Bratslav Hasidim and newly Orthodox and other pious Jews roam the streets along with hijab-clad, traditional Muslims.

A recent editorial, titled "The Ishmaelites," in the Hamevaser newspaper proclaimed that one of the city's rabbis conducted an inquiry and discovered that funding from the European Union and Saudi Arabia finance the college's Arab students.

"I wish they did support us," reflects the student activist, Mahmoud Abu Salah, aka Tomer, with a wistful smile. He embodies several contradictions: He claims that he served in the Israel Defense Forces as an undercover soldier, yet he is the student union delegate of the "Arab sector" (an Israeli expression ), and his dream is to become the state comptroller or an ambassador. "I don't have any problem representing the state - this is my state," he says wanly.

Not exactly minted in the "Danny the Red" mold, the young man allowed himself to be photographed in a triumphant pose, alongside the memorial to the "Liberators" who expelled his forefathers from the city. A second-year law student who already has a degree in social work from the college, he wears preppy white shoes and a Puma belt.

Abu Salah has already resided in four apartments in Safed. At present, he is compelled to commute each day from his village because it is nearly impossible for Arabs to find a room to rent in the city. Out of the college's 900 Arab students, he says, only a few live in rented apartments, not including the 120 who live in the dormitories.

On a recent Saturday, Abu Salah met MK Ahmed Tibi in Jenin's market, and asked the parliamentarian not to visit the college.

"We don't need Arab MKs here," he explains now. "We keep things quiet on our own. I think the college should take care of things here. I don't want to organize demonstrations; I want to keep things calm. I stay silent, but the college has to do something. That's what I told the college president. We have never encountered racism on the campus grounds - so they [Knesset members] can come make the rounds in Safed, but shouldn't come here."

This week Abu Salah met the Arab students' representative at Netanya Academic College, and learned that it is also nearly impossible for Arab students in that coastal town to rent an apartment. He says he has Jewish friends who signed a rental contract in the name of Arab students. But after it was discovered, the landlord was threatened; he was told that his own house would be burned down if Arab tenants were to remain in the Safed apartment.

Abu Salah: "Rabbi Eliyahu thinks that we want to return Safed to the Arabs. They think that we want to remain in the city after our studies. But only a few [Arab students] remain here on Saturdays. An [Arab] student comes here solely for the purpose of studying. After that he'll go anywhere, to get the hell out of here - what is there for us in such a poor town? A student spends an average of NIS 50 a day in the city, not including rent. We help Safed's economy. I'm not even talking about the money they make from parking fees. Most come to study here, and are not looking for trouble. Nobody comes looking to compile a criminal record ... They [those who object to the Arab students] want us to organize; they want to remove us from here. But we want to be smarter than that, to show them that we exist, without causing an uproar," explains Abu Sabah.

During his studies, he says, he has been employed in two local hotels, Rimonim and Canaan Spa, working as a shabbas goy - someone who assists devout Jewish guests on the Sabbath. He has provided similar services for neighbors: "I would return home, and a neighbor would tell me, 'It's cold.' At first, I didn't get it. What was I supposed to do, warm him up? But they spoke to me with gestures, so that I'd understand what they meant and light their furnace on Shabbat."

He also has stories of residents spitting at Arab students, and of students entering stores and being told that they were "closed." He has heard chants on streets, like: "An Arab is a son of a bitch." I asked him how he would respond were someone to call him a dirty Arab. "I would ask him, am I really dirty? I take a shower twice a day and dress better than you," Abu Salah quips.

At Hummus Atika, an ultra-Orthodox waiter served a smooth, kosher version of the chickpea paste, which was actually pretty tasty. The restaurant walls were covered with colorful portraits of past and present rabbinical sages, including the late Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, father of the Safed rabbi who is spearheading the Arab expulsion.

Haaretz's Galilee correspondent, Eli Ashkenazi, told us he heard recently from Eliyahu Tzvieli, 89, the resident who was threatened after he rented an apartment to Bedouin students, that an Arab student entered a falafel joint Tzvieli rents to a Jewish proprietor, and ordered a meal. "I'll give you poison," was the response. Tzvieli tried to cancel the rental contract for the falafel stand, but was unsuccessful.

The student Mustafa Shahin lived last year in rental apartments located off Safed's main pedestrian thoroughfare, and also in the Canaan neighborhood. This year, he spends 70 NIS a day on bus travel to and from his home. He has phoned dozens of landlords, explaining, "This is Mustafa, I'm calling about the apartment." He was always rejected.

He phones a man named Viktor, who has an apartment for rent.

"Only women," says Viktor.

"But I live alone," pleads Mustafa. "I don't make trouble and keep quiet."

Viktor responds: "I have a problem. I would take you, but there are the rabbis. They give me problems. I would rent to women, I'm not afraid, but not to men. Good luck, Mustafa."

Then there was a "fully furnished" apartment.

"Good afternoon, this is Mustafa, I'm calling about the apartment," the student says.

"Try calling at night, I'm driving right now," replies the landlord.

After several more fruitless phone calls, Mustafa gives up. Some students come up to us and relate their own experiences. A college bulletin board lists some living-room furniture for sale, and a wooden kitchen cabinet. Mustafa calls up, but is told the furnishings are no longer for sale.

11 comments:

Erez said...

Eliyahu Tzvieli IS a Zionist EX Palmach fighter. would it heart You not to mention just his victimized positions - first by the Nazis, and now by the Israeli racists ?

For your knowledge, some people haven't fallen yet for the postmodern idea that if You are the victim
so the truth and the moral edge must be on your side.

Does it hurt You to see A Zionist that opposes racism ?
(most of them ever were and steel do)

BTW, Tzvieli continues to suffer from harassment, but that doesn't prevent him from expressing himself against racism, and against sanctioning Israeli Arabs.

Racism is a huge problem in Israel (as in the majority of the the countries in the world, hidden or visible racism, that is)

It crosses all sectors of Israel: Zionists, non-Zionists, Arabs, religious, secular, native or newcomers.

you write "against all racism".

hundreds of mass murder events are done from a combination of economical and racist reasons all over Africa, while global corporations steal African natural resources and contribute to the the continues killings.

racism and incitement are very wrong and dangerous, but mass murder is a bit more, ain't it ?

Where are your posts about those issues ???

Why are You so obsessed with Israel ? meaning, against Israel ?

by picturing All Israel as racist, You provide a huge aid for the Israeli Fascism by false propaganda and supporting General boycott .

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/strenger-than-fiction/three-cheers-for-israel-s-right-1.321726

why wouldn't you support Israeli groups against racism ?

like "Banish the Darkness" coalition, for example:
http://lolagizanut.wordpress.com/english/

Your obvious hate towards every Zionist puts You in the same political side with Arab and Israeli fascists.

I wouldn't care much if You and that Hoffman clown fight each other for the next decade with paper clips, but when it comes to serious business, can't You behave a bit more morally ? (responsible morality, not intentional morality)

Tony Greenstein said...

Erez,

Posting a comment 3 times doesn't make it any more eloquent!

You ask if it hurts me to see a Zionist who opposes racism? No not at all. I am just amazed that the species you describe has not yet become extinct! But then Eliyahu Tzvieli is, as you say an 89 year old holocaust survivor who is able to make the connections.

In Marxist terms this is fragmented consciousness. Holding 2 contradictory ideas in your head at one and the same time.

I am in admiration for both Tzvieli and someone like Zeev Sternhall, also an ex-holocaust survivor who was attacked with a bomb by the Zionist far-right.

But these are two old people. They do and did believe that a Jewish state was not incompatible with ab anti-racist society. As you say the fact that you are a victim doesn't mean you are right.

I believe that Tzvieli and Sternhell, and also others who have corresponded on this blog are mistaken to believe that the idea of a racially/ethnically pure Jewish state, which is what Zionism aspires to, is compatible with the most basic notions of a non-racist democratic society.

The very fact that a state which calls itself Jewish has in it Zionist activists who even attack Holocaust survivors in their hatred of Arabs is proof positive enough.

In fact a jewish state could not but contain, given its colonial antecedents, the basic structures of racism and Tzvieli probably knows this too from his days in Palmach, which was primarily responsible for the massacres in 1948.

There are people in Britain who sincerely oppose racism but also support immigration controls which are, by their very nature, racist. This is the consequence of capitalist ideology.

Israel is different and I concentrate on it, not exclusively for 2 reasons:

i. I'm Jewish and what is done is done in my name

ii. It is where I can be most effective

Erez said...

well, that was a week response

that line you pictured goes both-ways.

what You do is done in my name.
though only I might suffer the consequences.

If you think that Zionism is the cause of the worst crimes in humanity its your problem.

the fragmented consciousness is yours to the full of it.
The Palestinian Arabs refused to support any kind of Jewish immigration, even for refugees during the holocaust.
1. Does it surprise You that the majority of survivors became Zionists ?
2. Do You think that Palestinian Arabs who initiated a lot of pogroms and a civil war against
Jews shouldn't achieve a national state of some sort ?

immigration control might have saved the chance for Tibet, but Chinese ethnic settlers that changed all demographic balance are probably a legitimate policy according to your views.

3. Is the entire national idea racist in your mind ?

4. who would You trust in the chance of racist persecutions against Jews?
We have seen how well democratic countries treated Jews in the holocaust (except for Denmark). Were they all racist to the bone ? might the Jewish people have the right and duty to defend itself, for a change ?

Nationalism is still the ruling framework of the world.
It is the framework of the UN, not democracy or socialism.
We can be sorry about that, we can fight it, but we have to accept it as the fact of today.
Without a national state, there would be no Jewish people in our era.

by defaming Israel essentially, and putting the racist tag all over it, and just on it, you actually help Israeli racist achieve their goals, and their Arab counterparts.

I will suffer from this. not You.
with all due respect for Tzvieli and Zeev Sternhall, there are a lot of young Zionists who doesn't demonstrate in favor of racism or 'Ahava' capitalism, but against it.

Today more than 500 young and old people will attend an anti-racist congress in Jerusalem, by 'Banish the dark' coalition, who represents 12 organisations, of religious Jews, secular Jews, and general (meaning Jews and Arabs) Israelis.

our racist rivals in Israel would target us. not You.
At the end, If we win, it wouldn't matter.
But if we lose (and your blog shows a lot of reasoning for that possibility)
You can be proud in your contribution for the destruction of Israel,
The only sovereign Jewish state in the last 2 millenniums.

If You are interested in changing matters for good, and not eradication of millions of Jews, who might just give up their homes to 7 million Palestinians,

If democracy of human rights mean anything to You,
I wish You would put some balance to your Blog, so Extremists would stop finding basis for their twisted views in it.

Tony Greenstein said...

A weak response methinks! Or not as the case maybe.

You might indeed suffer the consequences of partaking in and supporting the settler colonial dispossession of the indigenous population. That is the risk you take.

No I don't think and never have said that Zionism is the cause of the worst crimes in humanity. That is your interpretation.

It was the right of the Palestinian Arabs to refuse to accept any more Jewish immigration when it was designed to supplant them. Palestine historically had always had Jewish immigration, jewish immigration to Jerusalem in the 19th century meant that by about 1850 the largest community was Jewish, but that was not a Zionist immigration.

During the holocaust the Zionists opposed immigration to anywhere but Palestine. Refugees from Hitler were used as a battering ram to open the gates to Palestine. When given the choice between saving jews and building a Jewish state Zionism took the latter, and in some cases actually opposed immigration of those who could get out (Stephen Wise and the US Zionists, Australia, Britain etc).

The majority of survivors didn't want to go to Palestine. They like the Russians after them wanted to go to Britain or the US. The Hagannah ran a terror campaign in the Displaced Persons camp to stop this and actively campaigned AGAINST lowering the immigration barriers in the US. I believe they called it 'cruel Zionism'. god knows why when Zionism is cruel by definition.

I believe in a democratic secular state in Palestine of all its inhabitants.

Chinese settlers aren't seeking to dispossess and expel the native inhabitants of Tibet, though that is not of course to excuse what has happened. However this is a typical cold war human rights concern in the US. As such it is false and fake.

No nationalism is a fact of life, however unpleasant. But the Jews were never a nation so the question does not arise.

Tony Greenstein said...

You ask who I would trust? The working class and oppressed of all nations. Jews aren't under threat any longer. Anti-semitism was a product of the middle ages whcih Nazism just about managed to fashion into a weapon. What I do know is that when a neo-Nazi regime took power in Argentina between 1976 and 1983 Israel was best of friends with it, supplied it with arms and in many cases tore up applications from Jews for visas (up to 3,000 were murdered).

There wasn't so much as a pip squeak from Israel which was more concerned with its own interests.

Not only in Denmark but throughout Europe non-jews helped save Jews, including about 300,000 Jews in Poland. No Jews were deported from Albania or Morocco either, both of course Muslim!

So my response is that I would trust anyone except the Zionist movement and their fascist friends.

The attitude of non-Jews during the Holocaust is a 100 times better than Israelis who turn a blind eye to the treatment of Palestinians today. Why we even have Auschwitz Commandos among soldiers and retired judges saying we should be a bit more like the Nazis! We even get Zionist hecklers of Jewish supporters at Sheik Jarrah that it's a pity Hitler didn't get them!!

Such is Zionism.

You say that without a national state, there would be no Jewish people in our era. But Israel is not a national state of the Jews. I live in Britain not Israel. It is a nasty racist state that calls itself Jewish. I would prefer Jews as individuals to this pogrom ridden excuse of a state.

Israel was set up as a Jewish state in a land where the majority were non-Jewish. First they fought to make the existing Jews Zionists and brought calamities to them (the 1929 pogroms). The defining characteristic of being Jewish, the badge of the settler, was as racist as the badge of settlers in southern Africa - i.e. being white.

I don't doubt that there are some, not a lot, of young Zionists who are not happy with this. In fact there used to be far more. If you go further back you'll find out that the Gdud Avodah work brigades that Ben Gurion starved into submission in the 1920's did join the dots and conclude that Zionism was a false and reactionary movement.

What you want is the benefits but not the pain and criticism. But as Ben Gurion said to Martin Buber, when the latter was going on about being nice and more peaceful etc. 'Did you come to this country by invitation of the Arabs' - and of course the answer was no. There is no settlement by agreement with the natives and that is your dilemma. There may be 500 of you but you are growing smaller as the logic of Zionism makes its mark.

Once upon a time Mapam got 19 seats in the 1st Knesset of 1949. The left Zionists were the second largest party then and in the subsequent elections. But they did this by confining 'socialism' to the Jews. None more so that Ahdut Ha'avodah who were certainly militant on social goals but also became militant settlers under Yitzhak Tabenkin and Israel Galili and Yigal Allon.

Militancy and racism are quite common features of a settler working class. But your younger Zionists don't represent any working class. You are the disenfranchised middle class who see which way the wind is blowing. It is Lieberman who makes the waves. It is the Labour Party under Barak who sits in cabinet with him. Your duty is to break from Zionism not try to reform the irreformable.

Either what matters is being Jewish, in which case you go down the chauvinist road, or it is being a human being, a socialist, a worker, who has more in common with the non-Jewish worker than the Jewish bourgeois.

Tony Greenstein said...

Follow the example of the Bund in Poland who organised hit squads to deal with the Endeks with the PPS (Polish socialist party and also left-PZ - which was barely Zionist by the end).

I do not pour cold water on your 'banish the darkness' conference but it will fail because you refuse to grapple with the cause of Israel's problem. If you are racist and chauvinist and barbaric, as the occupation is, to the natives then it will also come to affect your own Jewish society.

No doubt your racist rivals in Israel may target you. Here they target us but that is irrelevant. The main targets are the Palesitnians, thousands of whom have died.

I want the destruction of the Israeli state, just like the Apartheid state, not its people. My contribution is to supporting the victims not those settlers who have qualms about what is happening in their name.

When you say that Israel is the only sovereign Jewish state in 2 thousand years that is nonsense. The last Jewish state was a Roman vassal. When Israel and Judah existed they went to war. They were at best city states. Forget these nonsensical myths. Jews today are from Europe. Zionism was the product of non-Jewish Evangelical Christians in the 19th century who were the first Zionists.

Zionism is a product of imperialism, not the bible!

Anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism are seen as extreme only by those who defend the present system whereby trillions of dollars are devoted to making war to protect the profits of the rich. What it can't do is wage war against poverty. Israel is a strategic ally of the US. That is the level of its sovereignty and for that it does as its master desires.

I prefer to take my chances in the diaspora.

Erez said...

when you are so remarkably mistaken about so many issues, there is some inner coherency to it. second thought, not even that.

a few remarks:

"The majority of survivors didn't want to go to Palestine. They like the Russians after them wanted to go to Britain or the US."

what a bunch of crap!

"Chinese settlers aren't seeking to dispossess and expel the native inhabitants of Tibet", only thwart the chance for free tibet, meaning nationally.

"But the Jews were never a nation so"

come on... even marxists have given up antisemitic concepts like this.

http://www.marxists.de/religion/leon/

the first chapter is enough to deny that idea.

if you deny Jewish nationality, you'd have to use methods that deny all nationality.

the problem with your one state solution is that the people who are supposed to live in that state, doesn't want it.
Majority of Jews and Palestinians, want national states, with a national culture, aka, Jewish or Palestinian.


"Jews today are from Europe"
are you serious ????
maybe 80% originated at Europe at 1939.
Do you deny the existence of all the rest just because Hitler didn't murder them ?

the 300,000 polish survivors didn't survived at Poland, but, in general, under Russia.

The Poles, in spite of those who saved Jews, helped Hitler murder, more than 95% of the Jews under his control, and take over their homes and valuables.

to free the oppressed is a good strategy, but to "trust them"? as a general idea, it is Utopian crap.
morality has to be backed up with social and political power, not the yelling of those who suffer.
Hisotry tells that very rarely victims refuse to become the new opressors.

Elkind group of Gdud Haavoda, that thought Zionism is reactionary, went to the USSR.
almost all were murdered by Stalin.
One of only woman survivors of that group made Alyia a few years ago.

I could continue on an on, but why bother ?

at least You revealed your true wishes about destroying Israel
and no, practically that woudln't happen without destroying its people, either by Iranian bomb or by other means
by showing this, You side yourself with Iran, Hamas Hizbulla - not exactly anti-imperial, or anti-capitalists.
though your reasoning is proto-democratic, your political views are extreme

"I would prefer Jews as individuals to this pogrom ridden excuse of a state."

Indeed, You send us to be pogrom victims again.
well, make that your choise if you wish.
not mine

I trust the Jews and Arabs who want peace and democracy, with respect for the other nation - and raise the social power to make it so.
the amount of those might be larger than what You think.

Erez said...

seems like your attempt to discribe Hoffman as a reactionary, fits yourself even more than it fits him

Tony Greenstein said...

Erez demonstrates all the faults and failings of the 'left' Zionist. And they wonder why Meretz and Mapam have all but disappeared. They just can't see that forbidding Palestinians inside Israel from renting 'Jewish' land, talking about Judaising the Negev and Galilee might just have something to do with it.

The problem for the 'left' Zionist was that they based their reasons for going to Palestine on a god that didn't exist!

I'm not aware I've sided with Hamas, Iran or Hezbollah except when under attack by imperialism. That is a standard socialist position. The nationalism of the oppressed and oppressor are not similar as Marx made clear and Lenin after him.

I'm very well aware of Abram Leon's book, 'The Jewish Question - A Marxist Interpretation' and nowhere does he even imply that Jews are a nation. What was subject to argument was whether the Jews of East Europe were a national minority, as per the Bund. An entirely different question.

When Jews fled from the pogroms all but 2% went to Britain or the USA between 1850 and 1914, some 50,000 out of 2.5 million to be precise. Hence why in the Soviet Jewry campaign the Zionist movement fought tooth and nail to stop Jews going anywhere but Israel. It's so well documented I don't know why you are arguing this.

You are wrong on Polish Jews too. From 3/4 million to 1.5 million Polish and Ukranian Jews are estimated to have survived in the Soviet Union. This is separate from those who survived within Poland.

Instead of coming out with the kind of anti-Polish racism that Claude Lanzmann made famous in Shoah, when he deliberately distorted what Jan Karski, who first revealed the secret of the death camps to the West at some personal risk, why don't u try reading things which are not Zionist inspired?

There was actually LESS collaboration in Poland than any other country. There was no Polish quisling for example. 3 million Poles were murdered by the Nazis and for the first 2 years more Jews died because they were part of the Polish elite than because they were Jews.

Read Gunnar S Paulsson, (2002). Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945. New Haven: Yale University Press where at one stage up to 30,000 Jews were living on the Aryan side of the city. Of course many were betrayed but it only took 1 collaborator to undo the work of a 100 saviours.

Or read the book I Escaped from Auschwitz by Rudolph Vrba, one of only 5 Jewish escapees from Auschwitz, who bitterly condemned the Hungarian Zionist leaders for collaboration in the murder of nearly 1/2 million Jews to save the elite. On his journey to Slovakia he was given much aid by Poles and he was careful to avoid the Ethnic Germans who had been settled in Poland, for obvious reasons.

Instead of this Zionist crap you've imbibed with your mother's milk, try doing a bit of independent reading. Why did the real heroes of the Holocaust like Vrba and Edelman condemn Zionism for its record?

Erez said...

I'll do independent reading if you take the advice of actually understanding texts.

"The concept of class does not at all contradict the concept of people. It is because the Jews have preserved themselves as a social class that they have likewise retained certain of their religious, ethnic, and linguistic traits... There is evidently a continuous interdependence between racial or national and class characteristics. The social position of the Jews has had a profound, determining influence on their national character."

he adds:
"The economic development of the country results in the growth of the Arab population, its social differentiation, the growth of a national capitalism. To overcome Arab resistance the Jews need English imperialism. But its “support” is as harmful as is Arab resistance... it is intensely hostile to the establishment of a big Jewish population in Palestine, to its industrial development, to the growth of its proletariat. It merely uses the Jews as a counterweight to the Arab threat but does everything to raise difficulties for Jewish immigration. Thus, to the increasing difficulties flowing from Arab resistance, there is added the perfidious game of British imperialism."

Leon criticizes Zionism as "not good enough" to solve the Jewish question.
I agree.
Only, in reality, Zionism achieved more than every other idea.
It didn't become the prevailing idea for Jews because they were rationally convinced it is a good idea, but, because all other ideas failed completely, and millions of Jews were murdered, while Zionism had, relatively, achieved miracles.

The 'Bricha' from Poland didn't start because of propaganda. The bund had better propaganda and funding after the war. The 'Bricha' started because reactionary Poles murdered an average of A Jew for a day. The USSR inspired poles officials couldn't stop it, nor did the bund.

Zionists activist - with unofficial permission from the poles, opened the door for them.

Edelman did not submit to soviet style Poland, and took the effort of finishing the bund as an operative organistion, after he understood his comrades would just fit-in in the new regime, accepting its antisemitism. A lot of other bundists made Alyia at the time. Luden, head of Israeli 'brit avoda' - ex bund members club in Tel-Aviv, for example.

He too, has criticism, but unlike you, he doesn't admit of having mutual interests with extreme Islamic terror groups affiliated with dictatorships like Iranian hagmony. How do you sleep at night after such remarkable reactionarism?

Only Palestine had at least 60,000 Jewish incoming immegrants at the time. If it is so well documented why do you twist the numbers every time you use numbers?

"Between 40,000 and 100,000 Polish Jews survived the Holocaust in Poland by hiding or by joining the Polish or Soviet partisan units. Another 50,000–170,000 were repatriated from the Soviet Union and 20,000–40,000 from Germany and other countries. At its postwar peak, there were 180,000–240,000 Jews in Poland mostly in Warsaw, Łódź, Kraków, Wrocław and Lower Silesia, e.g., Legnica, Dzierżoniów and Bielawa. "wikipedia

About collaboration: Yadvavne is more their style. With all due respect to Karski, Sendler and many others, a lot of poles were deeply antisemitic.
Especially in the right wing Endeks but also a lot of centric 'Armia Karajova' members. Detailed descriptions from within in: 'A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle f the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.' by 'Antek', a.k.a Yitzhak Zuckerman.

BTW, polish left inspired Zionism, in the attempt to combine socialist ideas in a national framework.
They too, had a lot of trouble of fulfilling those ideas on national minorities,
But it works quite well in social-democratic Scandinavia, even to this day, with reflections of it on the fate on Scandinavian Jews in the 20th century.

Try that in Britain instead of building a community on 'Gvirim'.

Tony Greenstein said...

I understand Abram Leon very well, who wrote that 'Zionism transposes anti-Semitism to all of history and saves itself the trouble of understanding it in its many forms' That's from memory but is pretty exact.

Yes Leon wrote about social class and Jewish nationalism intertwining. But what was the context?

He was speaking about feudalism where class had a wholly different meaning. There were no workers as we understood them now but journeymen and artisans. Leon was quite specific. Jews preserved their distinctiveness, raciall, religiously etc. because of their specific social role - traders, money lenders and associated trades - goldsmiths, diamond cutters

He also showed how Jews were trapped between the hammer of capitalism and the anvil of feudalism, in other words it was capitalism, which decayed as it was born in Eastern Europe which exacerbated and ignited the flames of anti-semitism. But this was not feudal or religious but racial anti-semitism.

This is the problem of you left Zionists. You think you can just quote chunks of text minus context. Leon was the leader of Hashomer Hatzair in Belgium before jetisoning zionism for the Fourth International.

As for the sly little dig. It is you Zionists who supported the most reactionary Islamic fundamentalism and now hypocritically protest about Iran. Who sponsored and indeed helped in the formation of Hamas but Shin Bet and the Israeli state, as a counter to secular Palestinian nationalism. It was the same among Israeli Arabs.

You like the US in Afghanistan sponsored the Bin Ladens and now come crying with your crocodile tears as Frankenstein's monster bites back. Hamas was only voted for by Palestinians because they weren't quislings.

Left Zionism unfortunately has quite a history of finding pliant and quisling Arabs and then wondering why the majority of Arabs turn elsewhere

You're doing it again with the demonisation and attacks on the only secular Arab MK Haneen Zoabi. So yes, how do u sleep at night?