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Israeli Criticism of Zionism and of Israel's Treatment of the Palestinians: The Politicians

By       Message Edward C. Corrigan       (Page 4 of 6 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Perhaps the most bizarre antiIsrael expatriate....is Yigal Arens, who works at the University of Southern California in computer technology. Arens is the son of Moshe Arens, the militant nationalist political leader of the Likud in Israel, who served as Israel's Minister of Defense. Arens junior however has devoted himself to demonizing Israel and promoting boycotts of Israel. Perhaps he enjoys making his daddy angry. (( "Network of Expatriate Treachery," by Steven Plaut, FrontPage Magazine, July 9, 2007.))

What Plaut does not acknowledge is that a highly regarded authority on International law Richard Aren's, the brother of Moshe Arens, also was a strong critic of Israel. He equated Israeli policies towards the Palestinians with the Nazi persecution of the Jews. (( Rosie DiManno, "Israeli policies like Nazi persecution Arens' brother says," Toronto Star, September l9, 1983, (published only in the Metro edition). See also John Motavalli, "The Arens brothers, agreeing to disagree," The Middle East, March 1983, p. 1920.)) Their family gatherings must have been interesting.

Uri Davis, author of Israel: An Apartheid State (London: Zed Books, 1987) and many other studies ((See for example Uri Davis, Palestinian Arabs in Israel: Two Case Studies (co-author), (London: Ithaca Press, 1978); Citizenship and the State: A Comparative Study of Citizenship Legislation in Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, (Reading, Berkshire UK: Ithaca Press, 1997); and Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the struggle within, (New York: Zed Books, 2003).)) on Israel and Zionism was elected in August 2009 to serve on the Fatah Revolutionary Council. ((See, "First Jew is elected to Fatah Revolutionary Council," by DPA, Haaretz., August 15, 2009.)) In an interview with the British daily newspaper The Observer Davis explained his views on Zionism. To quote the article:

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Davis is careful with his definitions of both "Zionism" and his own "antiZionism". The Zionism that he opposes is the "political Zionism" of Israel's founders, the Zionism that amounts, he says, to land grab based on ethnic cleansing.

Davis himself insists on reclaiming a wider meaning for the word, not least because he was shaped, as he grew up, by a different school: the "spiritual Zionism" of thinkers such as Ahad Ha'am, religious philosopher Martin Buber and Judah Magnes, cofounder of Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

In contrast to political Zionism, which saw Jewish statehood alone as a solution to the Jewish question, these spiritual Zionists believed Palestine could not accommodate a Jewish homeland but should become a national spiritual centre that would support and reinvigorate the Jewish diaspora. (( "Why Israeli Jew Uri Davis joined Fatah to save Palestine," by Peter Beaumont, The Observer, August 23, 2009. See also "The lonely struggle of Uri Davis: The Jewish born Fatah councillor is widely mocked but his secular vision for a binational Israel is not so crazy," by Seth Freedman, The Guardian, September 1, 2009.))

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Davis is not the first Palestinian Jew to serve in Palestinian governing structures. Ilan Halevi, a Jewish Palestinian, held a topranked position in the PLO. He was the PLO ambassador to Europe and its representative to the Socialist International. ((Brendan Weston, "An Interview with Ilan Halevi: Both Jew and PLO Member," The Arab World Review, April 1988, p. 16. For an example of his work see Ilan Halevi, A History of the Jews: Ancient and Modern, translated by A. M. Berrett (London & Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books, 1987).))

The antiZionist Neturei Karta Jewish religious sect has also asked for affiliation with the Palestine National Council. Rabbi Moshe Hirsch has even offered to serve as minister for Jewish Affairs in a Palestinian governmentinexile.
((Press release: Tevet 20, 5748, January 10, 1988, from Sevenman Neturei Karta Supreme Council. See also Ed Krales, "Orthodox Jews Oppose Israel," Palestine Focus, JulyAugust, 1987, p. 8.)) Rabbi Hirsch stated:

We are as Palestinian as Yasser Arafat. There are Jewish Palestinians, and there are Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians. In regard to issues relating to the Palestinian people, we also have our interests. If a state is established we would like to have our representation in the government.

Another example of the type of discussion that goes on in Israel is the following statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "For sixty years there has been discrimination against Arabs in Israel. This discrimination is deepseated and intolerable." Olmert made this statement while addressing a meeting of the Knesset committee that was investigating the lack of integration of Arab citizens in the Israeli public service. ((See "PM slams 'discrimination' against Arabs," by Elie Leshem and Jpost.com Staff, Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2008. For another example of see "Olmert voices sorrow for plight of Palestinian, Jewish refugees," by Shahar Ilan, Haaretz, September 15, 2008.)) Prime Minister Olmert also made the following comment in an interview with Haaretz: "If the day comes when the twostate solution collapses, and we face a South Africanstyle struggle for equal voting rights, then as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished." ((See "Olmert to Haaretz: Two-state solution, or Israel is done for," by Aluf Benn, David Landau, Barak Ravid and Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz, November 29, 2007. "Olmert: Clock ticking on Jewish state," Jewish Telegraph Agency, November 29, 2007. See also "Olmert warns of end of Israel," BBC, November 29, 2007. Olmert also made similar statements in an interview in November 2003. See "Maximum Jews, minimum Palestinians," Haaretz, November 13, 2003.))

Yet another example is Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (from the right-wing Likud Party) who called for a fundamental change in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. He urged the founding of a "true partnership" between the two sectors, based on mutual respect, absolute equality and the addressing of "the special needs and unique character of each of the sides." The Speaker was reported to say all this in an address to be delivered at the president's residence in Jerusalem on August 3, 2009. Quoting from Rivlin's prepared speech which was released to the media:

...the establishment of Israel was accompanied by much pain and suffering and a real trauma for the Palestinians (in large part due to the shortsightedness of the Palestinian leadership). Many of Israel's Arabs, which see themselves as part of the Palestinian population, feel the pain of their brothers across the green line a pain they feel the state of Israel is responsible for.

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Many of them encounter racism and arrogance from Israel's Jews; the inequality in the allocation of state funds also does not contribute to any extra love. ((See, "Knesset Speaker: Establishment of Israel caused Arabs real trauma," by Haaretz Service, Haaretz, August 3, 2009.))

Can you ever imagine a top American or Canadian politician making statements like these, or a leading Canadian or American newspaper publishing comments like these ones? If the politicians did make statements like these what would be the reaction?

Rivlin, however, still tried to focus the blame on the Palestinian leadership for the problems and does not fully acknowledge Israel's part in the expulsions. These expulsions and massacres started before the official declaration of Israel's Independence on May 14, 1948 and before the "intervention" of the Arab armies. According to Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe there were expulsions of the Palestinians from 30 villages after the War had ended in 1949 and in fact continued until 1953. ((See "Completing the Job," Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006) p. 179-198. See also "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," by Ilan Pappe review by Stephen Lendman, Global Research, February 7, 2007.))

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EDWARD C. CORRIGAN SHORT BIO Edward C. Corrigan holds a B.A. in History and a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. Ed also has a Law Degree from the University of Windsor and was called to the Bar of the (more...)

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