This is written by a Jew which clearly shows that many Jews are
Justice loving people who believe that the only way towards peace and
security is by enforcing justice to all.
Oren Ben-Dor: Who are the real terrorists in the Middle East?
What exactly is being defended? Is it the citizens of Israel or the
nature of the Israeli state?
Wednesday, 26 July 2006
As its citizens are being killed, Israel is, yet again, inflicting
death and destruction on Lebanon. It tries to portray this horror as
necessary for its self-defence. Indeed, the casual observer might
regard the rocket attacks on Israeli cities such as Haifa and my own
home town, Nahariya, as justifying this claim.
* Mark Steel: Here comes Tony, gazing adoringly at his masters
* Charities and religious leaders condemn Blair
* Robert Fisk: Israeli missiles had clearly pierced the very
centre of the red cross on the roof of each ambulance
* Four UN observers die in Israeli air strike as heavy fighting
continues in Lebanon
* Annan accuses Israel over attack on UN post
While states should defend their citizens, states which fail this duty
should be questioned and, if necessary, reconfigured. Israel is a
state which, instead of defending its citizens, puts all of them, Jews
as well as non-Jews, in danger.
What exactly is being defended by the violence in Gaza and Lebanon? Is
it the citizens of Israel or the nature of the Israeli state? I
suggest the latter. Israel's statehood is based on an unjust ideology
which causes indignity and suffering for those who are classified as
non-Jewish by either a religious or ethnic test. To hide this
primordial immorality, Israel fosters an image of victimhood.
Provoking violence, consciously or unconsciously, against which one
must defend oneself is a key feature of the victim-mentality. By
perpetuating such a tragic cycle, Israel is a terrorist state like no
Many who wish to hide the immorality of the Israeli state do so by
restricting attention to the horrors of the post-1967 occupation and
talking about a two-state solution, since endorsing a Palestinian
state implicitly endorses the ideology behind a Jewish one.
The very creation of Israel required an act of terror. In 1948, most
of the non-Jewish indigenous people were ethnically cleansed from the
part of Palestine which became Israel. This action was carefully
planned. Without it, no state with a Jewish majority and character
would have been possible. Since 1948, the "Israeli Arabs", those
Palestinians who avoided expulsion, have suffered continuous
discrimination. Indeed, many have been internally displaced,
ostensibly for "security reasons", but really to acquire their lands
Surely Holocaust memory and Jewish longing for Eretz Israel would not
be sufficient to justify ethnic cleansing and ethnocracy? To avoid the
destabilisation that would result from ethical inquiry, the Israeli
state must hide the core problem, by nourishing a victim mentality
among Israeli Jews.
To sustain that mentality and to preserve an impression of victimhood
among outsiders, Israel must breed conditions for violence. Whenever
prospects of violence against it subside, Israel must do its utmost to
regenerate them: the myth that it is a peace-seeking victim which has
"no partner for peace" is a key panel in the screen with which Israel
hides its primordial and continuing immorality.
Israel's successful campaign to silence criticism of its initial and
continuing dispossession of the indigenous Palestinians leaves the
latter no option but to resort to violent resistance. In the wake of
electing Hamas - the only party which, in the eyes of Palestinians,
has not yet given up their cause - the Palestinian population of Gaza
and the West Bank were subjected to an Israeli campaign of starvation,
humiliation and violence.
The insincere "withdrawal" from Gaza, and the subsequent blockade,
ensured a chronicle of violence which, so far, includes Palestinian
firing of Kasem rockets, the capture of an Israeli soldier and the
Israeli near re-occupation of Gaza. What we witness is more hatred,
more violence from Palestinians, more humiliation and collective
punishments from Israelis - all useful reinforcement for the Israeli
victim mentality and for the sacred cow status of Israeli statehood.
The truth is that there never could have been a partition of Palestine
by ethically acceptable means. Israel was created through terror and
it needs terror to cover-up its core immorality. Whenever there is a
glimmer of stability, the state orders a targeted assassination, such
as that in Sidon which preceded the current Lebanon crisis, knowing
well that this brings not security but more violence. Israel's
unilateralism and the cycle of violence nourish one another.
Amidst the violence and despite the conventional discourse which hides
the root of this violence, actuality calls upon us to think. The more
we silence its voice, the more violently actuality is sure to speak.
In Hebrew, the word elem (a stunned silence resulting from oppression
or shock) is etymologically linked to the word almut (violence).
Silence about the immoral core of Israeli statehood makes us all
complicit in breeding the terrorism that threatens a catastrophe which
could tear the world apart.
The writer teaches the philosophy of law and political philosophy at
University of Southampton