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Ah Palestine: a non-existing land without people for a non-existing people

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Ah Palestine: a non-existing land without people for a non-existing people

The Israeli Supreme court has recently ruled that there is no such thing as an "Israeli" recognized by the legal system of the State of Israel. (see article by Ofra Yeshua Lyth, from Mondoweiss.org, June 3, 2014,
You can be classified as a Jew, an Arab, a Druze, a foreign visitor, but nobody is "Israeli." Just a short while ago the Knesset created a new status, "Christian." So now a Palestinian Christian, who had previously been classified as merely an "Arab," can now not be an Arab but a Christian and be accorded some rights that are currently denied to regular Palestinians, who are classified as Arabs. Israel has never wanted to give any credence to the fact that there ever was a place called Palestine that had people in it.

But now it has definitely been ruled that there is no common ground, no catch-all status of "Israeli." Therefore, Israeli citizenship is an empty category. It does not resemble any idea of "citizenship" that we as citizens of the USA, or Canadian, or Mexican citizens can recognize. In Israel citizenship is meaningless and "Nationality" is everything (if you can get past the idea that a religion is also a nationality...I wonder if someone presenting a Unitarian Church passport would get through customs.)

This all makes sense if you are running a caste system in which the Nationality/Religion "Jewish" gets full rights and others get less, or no rights at all. This is what Israel is. It is not a modern Western style democracy that just happens to have a "discrimination" problem, or to have by accident acquired extra territory with some undesirable people on it.

In the news media when someone quotes an "Israeli" source, or a government representative they always mean "Jewish," but they never say "a Jewish government source has said..." But according to the Supreme Court of the State of Israel (I don't want to say "Jewish Supreme Court") Israelis don't exist. The leaders of the State of Israel are always thumping their chests proclaiming "we are the Jews!" "We are the only Jewish state in the world and we represent all the Jews of the world."

But if some critic were to say, " I don't like what the Jews are doing in the West Bank." The reaction would be, "Anti-Semite!!! Jew hater." Well...maybe this isn't an important point. After all, whenever someone says, "I don't like what the Israelis are doing in the West Bank," the response is "Anti-Semite! Jew hater!"

Many of us who support human rights for Palestinians have encountered retorts from defenders of Israeli Apartheid who say, "there are no Palestinians, they don't exist." This is a popular line. A lot of people who think they are clever, worldly and liberal like to say this (like ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg). Think about it though. There are over 5 million Palestinians living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (about the same as the number of Jews living there). they are Arabs (native speakers of Arabic) whose ancestors have lived in a place known as Palestine at least since the 5th century BC (as attested to by Herodotus, who started the genre of History writing) and certainly longer than that.

For the Zionists to deny their nationality is to deny their right to exist..or to exist within the lands that the Jews of Israel claim as their exclusive property. This is an eliminationist, ethnic cleansing, rabid xenophobic point of view. There is no left, right or center here, just push them out. Get rid of them.

So now Israelis don't exist and Palestinians don't exist. Leaders of the state of Israel are always wailing about an "existential threat" to Israel presented by...everyone and everything. BDS, halting settlement construction, protest marches, African refugees (officially called "infiltrators"), you name it.

But how can there be an existential threat to non-existing Israelis from Palestinians who also don't exist? Jean Paul Sartre seemed to corner the nothingness market with his tome "Being and Nothingness." But now he's been outdone.

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adjunct professor teaching ESL in the CUNY system. Old '60s person: active in civil rights, anti vietnam war organizing, spent time in Nicaragua in the '80 & worked against US funding of contras. Currently focused on Palestine struggle for equal (more...)
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