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Red Rag Column
Red Rag column

By Gideon Spiro
11 August 2010 (English translation posted 17 August 2010)

Hiroshima Day

The anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, 6 August, is commemorated all over the world with varied and diverse events, all with the objective of reminding humanity of the danger of the holocaust that will hang over our heads as long as nuclear arsenals exist.

That danger is particularly acute in the Middle East, a sensitive and conflicted region with a history of violence. Israel, which possesses a nuclear arsenal of hundreds of atom and hydrogen bombs as well as an arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, constitutes an incentive for other states to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, and so it is a matter of the highest urgency that the nuclear fuse be extinguished in our region and that the Middle East be turned into a region free of weapons of mass destruction.

Public opinion in Israel does not perceive the danger that awaits us. Successive Israeli governments have succeeded not only in lulling public opinion in this regard, but they have also succeeded in instilling the belief that the vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction for which Israel is a receptacle constitute a wonder drug that will guarantee Israel’s survival.

The nuclear disaster that is likely to wipe Israel and its neighbours off the map is not the fruit of the feverish imaginations of a few eccentrics, but a real danger. The international community must take up this issue and ensure that no Middle Eastern state possesses these doomsday weapons.

The bleak situation in Israel regarding this subject was expressed in a demonstration held by members of the Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons on 6 August, in front of the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. Five of us were demonstrating and the demonstration was not reported in the press, so it was a non-event. In Israel we are treated like a bunch of naifs at best, and more often like a bunch of traitors. We console ourselves with the knowledge that on the international level we are part of a big family that just might save the world from destruction.

On 8 August Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison after completing a three-month sentence for talking to people with foreign citizenship. He was kept under conditions of isolation in the most heavily-guarded wing of the Ayalon Prison, where murderers and other criminals from Israeli crime families are housed.

Why was it necessary to imprison Vanunu in that wing? After all, we are talking here about a non-violent man of peace who presents no danger. The answer is obvious: the Israeli security services cannot forgive Vanunu for the fact that 18 years in prison did not break him, he remains faithful to the struggle against nuclear weapons and has expressed no regrets for having in 1986 given to the English Sunday Times information about what was going on behind the walls of the nuclear reactor at Dimona. For that they continue to humiliate him.

It hardly needs saying that the latest period in prison did not break him either. The man is made of stainless steel, unbreakable.

It is clear to all rational people that he presents no danger to Israel’s security. The time has come for Israel to stop tormenting Vanunu, lift the restrictions and permit him to leave the country and go some place where he wants to live.

The Political Commissar

The Chief of Staff has appointed a new Chief Education Officer, Colonel Erez Wiener. Who is this Wiener? It turns out that he is a settler who wears a kippa. [1] He has had a military career as the commander of units of the army of Occupation that took part in the suppression of the Palestinian uprising. In military terms, he has a lot of blood on his hands; but since it is Palestinian blood he is not sitting in prison but high in the military hierarchy. My hope is that in the future human rights activists will succeed in sending him to the international court for war crimes and war criminals.

What is the role of the Chief Education Officer in an army of occupation? Among other things it is to ensure that if any soldiers are found who harbour doubts about the justice of the mission, their brains will be washed and the tiniest question-marks removed.

In the past Wiener has spoken out on the subject of refusal to serve in the army, and he called the refusers “rags.” He does not distinguish between right-wing and left-wing refusal. To him, a young person who refuses to serve in the army because the army will not expel all the Arabs is no different from a youth who refuses to enlist because he does not want to take part in murderous and oppressive actions against a civilian population. Both of them are rags. One who refused to serve in the army of South Africa during the time of Apartheid because of its racism is no different from one who today refuses to serve in the army of the new South Africa because he is not willing to live together with Blacks. To Wiener, both are consigned to ragdom.

Officers like Wiener are every dictator’s dream, rags in the service of tyranny.

The Volunteers

Recently a special flight arrived from the USA carrying a large group of Jewish American youths who had volunteered to serve in the Israeli army. It was considered such an important and special occasion that the 87-year-old President of the State, Shimon Peres, undertook to go to the airport, where he personally welcomed them with flowers and a smile.

What is happening to Jewish youth in the US? Have they gone crazy? To volunteer to serve in a racist army that denies basic human rights, rights they enjoy in the US?

The sad truth must be admitted: the State of Israel has succeeded in morally and ideologically castrating more than a few Jews all over the world. The Jewish Agency, which is responsible for immigration to Israel, takes full advantage of the freedom of action it enjoys in the US and organizes camps to prepare Jewish youth for military service.

It reminds me of the German Templars in Palestine in the 1930s, some of whom identified with Nazi Germany, and founded youth movements that ran camps for training and the inculcation of identification with Germany. Many of them returned to Germany to serve in the army.

I am preparing myself for the angry response: again he is making comparisons with the Nazis? Calm down. I am not making a comparison with the Nazis, but describing points of similarity between the two groups, both of which identify with a racist state and see military service as the ultimate expression of identification with it.

”The party’s over”

The racist interior minister, Eli Yishai, who is campaigning to expel from Israel all the children who were born in Israel to migrant workers, never rests. After accusing them of spreading drugs and diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis and tuberculosis (a style similar to that of the Nazis against “disease-spreading Jews”), he has adopted a new style. In a discussion that took place at a special Knesset session (the Knesset is now in recess), Yishai proposed to say to the expelled children: “the party is over. Mom and Dad have made enough money, they have enriched themselves, now go back to grandma and grandpa.”

Migrant workers in Israel do the work that Israelis are not willing to do, for pay that is usually below the minimum salary. To call that a “party” requires a great deal of brutishness.

The Zionist Left too was exposed in all its nakedness in that discussion. MK Ilan Gil’on of Meretz heckled Yishai by calling him a “primitive racist” and added that the children of the migrant workers “serve in the army more than your children do.”

Minister Yishai is indeed a primitive racist, and the fact that Israel’s government and society do not vomit him out is shameful. But why does a man of the Left who considers himself a socialist have to bring up the army as a reason to confer rights? If some of the children of migrant workers turn out to be pacifists or Occupation refusers, will they be entitled to fewer rights than the others?

Translator’s note

1. A ritual skullcap that when worn by Jewish men signifies religiosity, and in Israel, often a right-wing political orientation as well.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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