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Red Rag: A rabbinical gift for Human Rights Day
Gideon Spiro

Red Rag Weekly Column, 10 December 2010

A rabbinical gift for Human Rights Day

Dozens of rabbis who serve in public positions and receive salaries from the public coffer have given a special gift to the citizens of Israel for International Human Rights Day, which is marked on 10 December: a halachic [1] ruling that forbids Jews to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews. It doesn’t quite look like the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany, but it is very much taken from the Nazi school. Proponents of human rights should thank those rabbis, because they have helped to remove the veil of hypocrisy from the words “Jewish and democratic.” Moreover, the very lukewarm reactions of the Prime Minister, the President of the State and the Attorney-General (who enigmatically said that the ruling “raises problematicness”), strengthen the thesis that the State of Israel, which according to the law is Jewish, is not democratic. A place where religion and ethnic affiliation come before democracy creates racist monsters in the form of such rulings. Still more proof that what happens in the Occupied Territories ends up seeping into the State of Israel behind the Green Line. Apartheid is already here.

I will commemorate Human Rights Day in Germany with friends who have learned the correct lessons from the Holocaust and are struggling to uproot racism. They have difficulty understanding how it happens that Israel, which was born in the wake of the Holocaust, has come to resemble the German society of the late Weimar Republic in many ways. I explain to them the syndrome of the abused child who grows up to become a violent and cruel parent. The German writer Heinrich Böll, a laureate of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was aware of that syndrome and in a speech in Jerusalem in 1974 warned Israel with these razor-sharp words: “Whoever knows exile and the fear of it, will be compelled by the necessity of terrible reality to exile others, and while searching for a new homeland will put others in that same situation that he himself had escaped not long before.” That is an accurate definition of Zionism. The rabbis believe that they are projecting an image of strength, but in fact it is an expression of weakness and fear of the Other, it is fraudulent strength that has already destroyed states and regimes bigger than Israel.

Translator’s note

1. Halacha: Jewish religious law.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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