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Red Rag column: Israel as Auschwitz? Pavlov`s dog - Hillary Clinton is right
By: Gideon Spiro
11 March 2012 (English translation 18 March 2012)

Israel as Auschwitz?

If we remove the masks of flattery and ongoing ringing mutual praise from
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to the US, we are confronted
with the extraordinary phenomenon of a small state trying to goad a global
power into initiating a war. For that was Netanyahu’s objective: to cajole
President Obama to open a new military front against Iran. Not only is the
Israeli dwarf trying to dictate policy to the US; it adds the threat that “if
you don’t do it, we will launch a war with Iran and get you involved against
your will.”

Netanyahu is taking advantage of the fact that this is an election year in the
US. President Obama will run for a second term. Netanyahu has enlisted US
Jewry as well as Obama’s Republican adversaries to advance his war position,
and those fools are going along with it. The last thing Obama needs in an
election year is to open a new front that could bring disaster on the US. He
has just gotten out of Iraq and he is still stuck up to his neck in
Afghanistan. He needs a war with Iran like he needs a hole in his head.

As we have seen, the leaders spoke politely in their public appearances. Obama
lays the praise thickly on Israel, he commits to its security and rules out an
Iranian Bomb, but also he adds very politely that the diplomatic process and
the sanctions have not yet been exhausted. I do not know what Obama said to
Netanyahu in private conversations behind closed doors. If he said to him,
“listen little Churchill, if you launch a war against Iran, I’ll rip your
image to shreds. I arm you and you will not make trouble for me – certainly
not in an election year. You will not get new planes to replace the ones that
get shot down, we will not replenish your reserves of armaments like we did in
the Yom Kippur War, and relations between us will become chilly if not
hostile.” If that’s what he said, I breathe easy. Israel will not launch a
war. And I also hope that the US won’t do it after the elections, either.
Someone somewhere within the Obama Administration has learned, maybe, the
bitter lessons of American military involvements in foreign fields, which have
generated so much blood, tears and war crimes and served so little public
interest.

Netanyahu has enlisted the Auschwitz extermination camp in his campaign to
launch a war against Iran. The context is incorrect. Ahmadinejad is not
Hitler, Obama is not Chamberlain and Netanyahu is not Churchill. Moreover, we
must bear Auschwitz in mind when where nuclear weapons are concerned. Nuclear
weapons are indeed an existential threat, to those who possess them as well as
their neighbours. Israel`s nuclear arsenal of hundreds of atom and hydrogen
bombs is an existential threat to Israel, to Iran and to our neighbours, and
the same would be true of an Iranian nuclear arsenal. The use of doomsday
weapons would cause mass destruction to human beings on a scale similar to
that of Auschwitz. The solution is not the nuclear arms race that Israel has
initiated in our region, nor is it in a war of choice against Iran the
consequences of which would likely be disastrous; but rather nuclear
disarmament, of both Israel and Iran.

The regime in Iran is a dreadful one from point of view of human rights. But
such a regime can also act rationally, as outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan
pointed out in an interview with an American television network. Israel’s
arrogant stance, to the effect that Israel is democratic and sane and
responsible unlike the unpredictable tyrannical Iranian regime, does not
currently withstand a critical examination. First, because Israel too
maintains a dictatorial regime that violates human rights every day, and
secondly because, since the Khomeinist revolution in 1979 Iran has not
initiated a war against any other state. So-called “democratic” Israel, on the
other hand, has initiated and accumulated 3 wars during the era of the
Ayatollahs: the First Lebanon War, the Second Lebanon War and Gaza (Operation
“Cast Lead”), to which should be added the war on the Palestinian people to
suppress the First and Second Intifadas.

When it comes to nuclear weapons I do not want to rely on any government,
however rational it may be. Already we have seen and learned that governments
that enjoyed the labels of rationality and democracy have had serious lapses
of judgment, and woe to us if it happens with nuclear weapons. In my columns I
have pointed out more than once that the very existence of these weapons in
the hands of a government creates the temptation to use them. This danger
lurks at our door all at all times. The correct prescription, therefore, is
nuclear disarmament for everyone.

For years this column has been promoting the struggle to remove nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons from this region, and I am happy to see that
the writer David Grossman has now joined in this campaign. (article in
Haaretz, 11 March 2012) I am convinced that President Obama knows in
his heart that converting the Middle East into a region free of nuclear
weapons of mass destruction is the right thing to do, for it is surely clear
to him that if these weapons are dangerous in the hands of any government,
they are surely all the more so in the Middle East, where so many of the
leaders in the region have a direct line to the Almighty, and everything is
done “with God’s help” – to the constant background music of the Apocalypse.
Better to have a rational Israel and Iran that are not tested by the
temptation of the red button. Unfortunately, it looks like internal American
pressures have not yet matured enough to produce the desired action on Obama’s
part to achieve that end. To sum up: whoever wants to prevent a second
Auschwitz must do all they can to destroy weapons of mass destruction.


“Pavlov’s dog” syndrome

“Silence is filth”, said Netanyahu’s leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky. [1] Sometimes
it is important to maintain silence and sometimes it is important to break it.
When it comes to an armed conflict, silence is positive. But it is precisely
that which irritates the Netanyahu-Barak government. There were several months
of quiet on the Gaza-Israel border, and the Israeli regime could not stand
that. Like Pavlov’s dog, who was conditioned to salivate when he heard the
ringing of a bell, here in Israel we have a conditioning to make aggressive
use of the army in order to break the silence. What’s the point of possessing
this mighty arsenal, if not to use it? The pilots of the air force were
getting antsy because they had not dropped any bombs or missiles on Gaza for
some time. Therefore Barak and Netanyahu decided to do something: they ordered
the execution of the general secretary of the Popular Resistance Committees,
Zoheir al-Qaisi. The Palestinians, as expected, responded with a barrage of
rockets at southern Israel.

It worked like a golden bullet. National unity prevails again. Newspapers that
are normally bitter rivals are suddenly prophesying as one, and all the news
broadcasters of the three television channels jumped to attention and started
broadcasting as if they were IDF spokespersons. There are no question-marks,
everybody accepts the Israel Security Agency (ISA)’s version, according to
which al-Qaisi was planning an action against Israel. As one who knows from
other experiences the ISA’s disinformation techniques, I greet all reports
from that quarter with skepticism. As we have seen, the Israeli forecast that
Palestinian organizations in Gaza would respond by launching missiles and
rockets at Israel after the execution has come true. Once again we can speak
of “poor Israel, the victim of Palestinian terror”, and “the disruption of the
lives of a million Israelis” and calls to “teach the Palestinians a lesson”
are again heard and the Israeli airplanes start bombing again and civilian
victims fall, and it is forgotten that it all started because the heads of the
military establishment in Israel were itching for “action”.

And moreover: executions don’t work. Already al-Qaisi has been replaced.


Her Honour the President has retired

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch retired a few days ago. There were
ceremonies for her departure and replacement as President, and many words were
said in her praise, especially about her contribution to the preservation and
advancement of human rights. In her farewell message at the traditional
ceremony at the President’s residence, Dorit Beinisch shed a tear or two and
got choked up with emotion, mentioned her relatives who had perished in the
Holocaust, and stressed the importance of human rights. This looks all very
nice – but it just looks that way. Because Dorit Beinisch, like her
predecessors in office, does not deserve to be described as the keeper of the
seal of human rights. At the most she was concerned to preserve the rights of
Jews, but human rights have meaning only if they are applied universally.
Dorit Beinisch did not pass that test. Space constraints prevent me from
enumerating all her rulings that backed the Occupation and the forces of the
Occupation. Here are a handful: she ruled in favour of expropriating
agricultural land belonging to a Palestinian farmer whose livelihood depended
on it, for the construction of a fence around the settlement of Efrat. An
illegal expropriation for an illegal settlement. She upheld the Attorney
Aeneral’s decision not to press charges against Border Guard police who shot
to death Abir Aramin, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl from Anata village, who
had just left her school to go to a kiosk to buy candy. She ruled against Yesh
Gvul’s appeal to press charges against those responsible for dropping a one-
ton bomb on a densely-populated area in Gaza, which caused the death and
injury of dozens of Palestinians, including women and children (Supreme Court,
Shehadeh). In another ruling she supported the apartheid roads for Jews only.
She supported the State of Israel’s violations of the human rights of
Mordechai Vanunu. In the Judges Selection Committee she voted in favour of the
appointment of the settler Noam Solberg as a judge in the Supreme Court. On
the whole, it can be said that whenever it came to the Occupation and
deference to the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the army, she was
disciplined, like her colleagues.


In praise of Hillary Clinton

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an appeal to Syrian
soldiers to refuse to obey orders. She should be supported for that. That is
what should be done when soldiers receive orders to violate human rights. But
her appeal lacks a certain degree of credibility as long as she does not also
call on Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories, where
their mission consists entirely of policing to protect war criminals and to
oppress the indigenous Palestinian population.


Letter sent to the President of the Supreme Court

To the Honourable Asher Grunis
President of the Supreme Court
Jerusalem

In the newspaper Haaretz (9 March 2012) a report appeared under the
headline, “Judge acquits defendants of smuggling drugs to settlements because
they are not Israel”.

The body of the report states that two youths, residents of the settlements of
Ofra and Tekoa were put on trial for “importing a dangerous drug”. Jerusalem
Magistrate’s Court judge Haim Liran accepted the defence’s claim that the
settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore the accusation
of “importing to Israel” did not apply in this case.

The judge is right, and his ruling should also apply to the settlement of Noam
Solberg who has recently begun to serve as a judge in the Supreme Court. Since
Solberg lives outside Israel, in the Settler State in the Occupied
Territories, it is your duty as the President of the Supreme Court and as a
member of the Judges Selection Committee to take action to annul Solberg’s
appointment as a judge.


Translator’s note

1. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, 1880-1940, was the founder of Revisionist Zionism, of
which the current incarnation is Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. The most
notable feature of Revisionist Zionism was the belief that not only all of
Palestine, but all of Transjordan (today the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) too
should become a Jewish state. A poem by Jabotinsky, which became a popular
Revisionist song, contains the refrain, “The Jordan River has two banks; one
is ours, and so is the other” (Hebrew: Shtei gadot la-Yarden, zo shelanu,
zo gam ken
). The Likud subsequently renounced the old Revisionist claim to
the east bank of the Jordan. `Silence is filth` (Hebrew: `Sheqet hu
refesh
` is a line from another of his poems, `The Song of Betar`, which
was also set to music and adopted as the anthem of the Revisionist youth
movement, also called Betar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze%27ev_Jabotinsky

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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