Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Israel: A Stalemated Action of History


"In late 1949 I worked on a boat taking Jews from Marseilles to Haifa, Israel. Jews from Arab nations were in the front of the boat, Europeans in the rear. I was regarded by many of the Europeans as some sort of freak because I had a United States passport and so could stay in the land of milk and honey. One man wanted me to marry his daughter – which meant he too could live in the land of milk and honey. My Hebrew became quite respectable but the experience was radicalizing or, I should say, kept me radical, and I have stayed that way.

Later I learned from someone who ran a displaced persons camp in Germany that the large majority of Jews wanted to go anywhere but Palestine. They were compelled to state Palestine or else risk receiving no aid. I understood very early that there was much amiss in the countless Arab villages and homes I saw destroyed, and that the entire Zionist project – regardless of the often venal nature of the Arab opposition to it – was a dangerous sham.

The result of the creation of a state called Israel was abysmal. Jews from Poland have nothing in common with Germans and neither has anything to do with those from the Arab world. It is nationality, not religion, that counts most. Jews in Israel, especially the Germans, largely ghettoized themselves by their place of origin during the first generation, when a militarized culture produced the mixed new breed called sabras – an essentially anti-intellectual personality far different from the one the early Zionists, who were mostly socialists who preached the nobility of labor, expected to emerge. The large majority of Israelis are not in the least Jewish in the cultural sense, are scarcely socialist in any sense, and daily life and the way people live is no different in Israel than it is in Chicago or Amsterdam. There is simply no rational reason that justifies the state’s creation......."

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