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Red Rag column: The secret plan
By: Gideon Spiro
1 May 2013 (English translation 10 May)


Racism 1 – The Knesset

How typical and symbolic that the first resolution passed by the new, racism-
tinged Knesset was to extend the law that bans Palestinian citizens of Israel
from uniting with their spouses from the Occupied Territories in the state of
their citizenship. For ten years now that law has been extended every year.
What was supposed to be temporary becomes permanent, and one of the hallmarks
of the State of Israel is that there is no limit to temporariness, especially
when it comes to discriminating against Arabs. This prohibition is
rationalized on the grounds of security. In Israel the cow of “security” is
guaranteed never to run out of milk. And her product is always poisonous. In
this case: denial of citizens’ right to start a family in their own country.

The “security” pretext stands behind many of Israel’s unjust actions. You
could
say that the Israeli authorities’ abuse of the “security” cow has become
routine. Until the passage of the law that bars Palestinian family unification
in Israel, thousands of Palestinian men and women established residency in
Israel upon their marriage. The percentage of those who have been suspected of
involvement in terrorism is very small, nearly negligible – nearly the same as
the number of Jews who have been suspected of similar crimes. We must yank the
cloak of “security” off the government and the obedient majority in the
Knesset
and tell the truth: the true reason for the prohibition is based on the fear
that marriages between Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and Palestinians
who are residents of the Occupied Territories will affect the demographic
balance and endanger the Jewish majority.


Racism 2 – Religion

Israel is a country of many contradictions. It defines itself as a Jewish
state, but it is the only state in the world that does not recognize Reform
and
Conservative rabbis, who constitute two thirds of the spiritual leadership of
the Jews of the United States and Canada. In Israel, where there is no
separation between religion and state, the conservative Orthodox version of
Judaism, part of which is also fundamentalist/racist, reigns supreme. They
consider Reform and Conservative rabbis, to say nothing of female rabbis, to
be
Jews who have renounced their religion. Accordingly, some within the religious
establishment see them as idol-worshippers, which is one of the most despised
categories in the religious Jewish value-system. But regardless – US Jewry
continues to channel millions of dollars in donations to Israel every year.
Their faces are being spat on, and they pretend it’s raining.

Israel continues to take pride in being the only democracy in the Middle East
and most of its citizens are unaware of the contradiction between Israel’s
pretension to democracy and its being a colonial society that subjugates
another people and denies them their basic right to national independence.
With the collapse of the communist states in Europe, which had raised the
banner of
“popular democracies”, only three democracies remain today that make a mockery
of democracy: the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (North Korea) and democratic and Jewish Israel. Israel has a
special place within the three, because it is the only democracy in the world
that is maintaining a regime of apartheid within its borders.


Racism 3 – The secret plan

As I wrote in the first section, the government of Israel, using a special
law,
is barring its Palestinian citizens from reuniting in Israel with their
spouses
from the Occupied Territories. The formal rationale for this is security, but
the real objective stems from the Zionist principle of “as few Arabs as
possible in as much land as possible”. Some see these marriages as part of a
sophisticated Palestinian plot to implement the Right of Return. In other
words: Palestinians do not marry for love but out of the political aspiration
to change the demography of Israel. In any case, the policy according to which
the growth of the Palestinian population within Israel behind the Green Line
must be stopped would seem to have become irrelevant, because Israel, having
for all practical purposes erased the Green Line, comprises all the territory
between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, so the Palestinian
population of Israel is not just a million, but four million, most of whom
live under a military regime with no human rights.

Among other things, Israeli governments have functioned as companies that
specialize in the export of human beings, and as such they have had gratifying
success: today half a million Israeli Jewish settlers live in the Occupied
Territories. Even the Israeli Right understands that the policy of keeping
millions of human beings without civil rights is unsustainable in the long
run;
so to understand what Israel has in mind we will have to have a look at the
contents of the locked filing-cabinets in the offices of the army and the
Israel Security Agency.

Apart from a few small groups, there is no disagreement between the Israeli
Left and Right that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Nor do
they differ in their unwillingness to annex to the State millions of
Palestinians, who would put the Jewish majority in jeopardy. There was once an
argument between the author A. B. Yehoshua and the author and translator Anton
Shammas. A. B. Yehoshua belongs to the Left, but that did not prevent him from
telling Shammas, an Israeli citizen: “You don’t like it here? You’re free to
leave.” In blunter terms: “get out of my sight!” And Shammas did in fact
leave. He is now a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA.
The loss is ours. Shammas, whose command of both the Hebrew and Arabic
languages can only be envied, is a top-ranking author and translator who has
enriched the culture in Israel. Zionism sometimes has the effect of distorting
minds that were healthy and honest, with the result that A. B. Yehoshua – a
leftist (heaven help us!) – is willing to give up a literary and cultural star
in
Israel’s firmament like Anton Shammas. One less Arab – so much the better! –
is
the motto shared by Israelis in both camps.

The main difference between the two camps is in their territorial appetites.
While the Left is satisfied with Israel within the Green Line and supports the
creation of a Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli Right
sees the Occupied Territories as an inheritance from our Fathers with a title-
deed from God Himself. The Israeli Right sees the occupation of the
Territories
in 1967 as a continuation of the War of Independence of 1948, and to them,
that
war has not ended as long as millions of Palestinians continue to live in
those
territories. The Israeli Right is waiting for an opportune moment to complete
the Nakba of 1948.

This is the context in which the never-ending “Peace Process” should be
viewed.
They are waiting for the right moment to carry out an ethnic cleansing that
will empty the Occupied Territories of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli threats of war against Iran are part of this picture. Israel is
willing to risk starting a regional war that will bring down a rain of
missiles
on our heads and convert our lives into hell, but the hope that persists in
the
Israeli heart is that when the attention of the world is focussed on the war
with Iran, Israel can expel the Palestinians in a secondary blitzkrieg. That
operation will not require trains or trucks. All that is needed is to cross
the
Jordan River to the Kingdom of Jordan. True, that would abrogate the peace
treaty with Jordan, but the Israeli Right never took that treaty very
seriously
anyway.

That brings me back to the army’s locked filing-cabinets. They contain plans
for wars under various scenarios. One of them deals with the expulsion of the
Palestinian population. The army is determined not to repeat the mistakes of
1967, when the “transfer” failed.

The plan will probably fail, just as Sharon’s plans in the First Lebanon War
for a “New Order in the Middle East” failed as well. We paid a heavy price for
that megalomania, and it will be the same if Israel launches a new adventure.
It will likely end up being a thousand-year war with the Arab and Muslim
worlds.


Racism 4 – Orit Struk and Shai Dromi

The settler Orit Struk, who lives outside of Israel in the compound of the
looters and thieves in Hebron, is, to our shame, also a Member of the Knesset
for the Jewish Home Party (its slogan: “My brothers”). She submitted a bill
to
expand the purview of the “Shai Dromi law” to the West Bank and Gaza Strip as
well, in order to defend “Jewish property”. Racism, both covert and overt,
triumphs throughout.

To those who have forgotten: Shai Dromi is one of those “isolated farmers” in
the Negev at the disposal of whom the government has put vast tracts of land
order to prevent the Bedouin, who owned the land in the past, from re-
establishing themselves there. By means of deception the State has effectively
nationalized the land and expelled the Bedouin from their lands. In some cases
the military government promised them that they could return to their homes
within six months – a promise that has not been fulfilled in the 65 years that
have passed since the independence of Israel.

Successive Israeli governments have turned the land over to Jews who were
willing to settle on remote farms in the Negev. Whereas the Bedouin who were
dispossessed of their lands live in shacks in villages that are not recognized
by the State, and which therefore receive no basic services such as water,
electricity, health-care etc., an “isolated farmer” gets thousands of dunams
of
land, builds a splendid villa and of course gets all the services to which
citizens are entitled.

In the small hours of the morning on a day in January 2007, the farmer Shai
Dromi discovered that someone had broken into his home. He picked up a rifle
which he possessed without a licence, opened fire at the burglars, killed one
of them, Khaled al-Atrash, and seriously wounded another. Dromi was put on
trial for manslaughter. The incident provoked a great deal of public debate.
The Right claimed that immunity should be given to those who harm burglars and
demanded that a new law be passed accordingly. Since the Right has the
majority in the government and the Knesset, they managed to pass a law that
absolves of criminal responsibility anyone who harms someone who has broken
into their property. This all happened while Dromi’s trial was in progress.
The outcome of the trial was no surprise: Dromi was acquitted of the charge of
manslaughter and went home hale and hearty. And what had happened, after all?
Dromi killed an Arab. Big deal. That law is an example of covert racism. The
letter of the law does not say that you’re allowed to kill an Arab, but that
is exactly what the message of the law is. The racism that is concealed within
it cries out to the heavens, because that law was passed first and foremost in
order to facilitate Dromi’s acquittal. That is why the law bears his name.
This law is a message to Jews that Arab blood is cheap. It is hardly necessary
to state that in an inverse situation, if it happened – an Arab killing a
Jewish burglar – the verdict would be that the circumstances did not justify
opening fire.

Now we have MK Struk asking the Knesset to include the Occupied Territories
under the jurisdiction of the Dromi Law. I will not here go into the issue of
whether or not the Knesset has the right to pass laws that apply to
territories
beyond Israel’s borders. The point to be focussed on is that Ms Struk is not
satisfied with the privileges she enjoys as a settler under a regime of
Occupation and apartheid. Even without Struk’s law, the lives of Palestinians
in the Occupied Territories – men, women, children, babies, youth and old
people – are not worth a fig. But that’s not enough for her; no, she wants
explicit authorization to kill Arabs. But this time she has not taken into
account the fact that the passage of such a law, which would apply to the
Occupied Territories, would give the Palestinians themselves the right to kill
half a million settlers; for after all, they are all burglars who have broken
into someone else’s home, robbing and looting the property of the
Palestinians. For all the hostility and disgust I harbour for the racism of
the settlers, and my solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle against
the Occupation, I
would not want to see hundreds of thousands of settlers killed for being
burglars, looters and thieves. And so I hope that Struk’s bill is shelved.


Racism 5 - Purity of the race

The evil wind of Krystallnacht continues to blow over Israel. Every
week
there is at least one pogrom against Arabs just because they are Arabs. The
settler terrorism under the rubric of `price tag` has crossed over from the
Occupied Territories to within Israel inside the Green Line. In Jerusalem, 15-
year-old yeshiva students in attacked a 13 year old Palestinian just because
he
is an Arab. He required hospitalization. In their yeshiva they had absorbed
the
toxic message that it is permissible to attack Arabs. Things came to a head
when Jewish terrorists from the city of Safed in the Galilee attacked the
nearby Arab village of Akraba, burned four cars and scrawled `Hands off our
girls` on the walls of houses. This let the cat out of the bag. The idea of an
Arab youth befriending a young Jewish woman drives them crazy. This is a well-
known hallmark of fascism and racism which are obsessed with the purity of the
race and seek to safeguard it by means of violent deterrence, lest they be
infected with impurity by those whom they consider to be on the lowest rung of
the human hierarchy. In the USA, from the time of slavery up to the 1950s, it
was the Blacks who were hanged in the public squares if they were suspected of
having relations with Whites; in Germany the Jews and the Roma were the
contaminators of the race, and in Israel it is the Arabs who play that role.
An evil wind.


Reflections before sending out this column

I imagine a young Jew, 24 years old, who is living under occupation in the
Warsaw Ghetto. He suffers from the horrors of the siege, he cannot leave the
confines of the ghetto, there is no work, his stomach is grumbling due to
economic hardship, his parents suffer from poor health and there is no medical
care available, and some of his relatives have been arrested, tortured and
murdered. The anger within him is a volcano that threatens to erupt at any
moment. This Jew picks up a knife in the kitchen and decides through personal
action eliminate a German, either an armed soldier or an armed civilian who
works for the machine of occupation and oppression. On the street he sees a
German in civilian clothes, armed with a pistol, and he decides to act. He
stabs the German, takes his gun and gets into a firefight with troops of the
occupation.

Question: what would we say about such a Jew? First of all we would praise his
courage and his willingness to sacrifice his life in resistance to the
occupation, even if he knew that the chances of extinguishing the massive
conflagration with his act were approximately zero. The State of Israel would
promote his story as an example of heroism, municipalities would name streets
after him, and Yad Vashem too would find ways to immortalize him. That is the
way of peoples who have passed from oppression, occupation, humiliation and
slaughter, through to redemption. Terrorists in the eyes of the occupier are
heroes of liberation in the eyes of the occupied. And if anyone tries to find
points of similarity to what is occurring in another place – well, that is the
responsibility of the reader.


The First of May

On the occasion of 1 May 2013: may the tycoons in Israel and the world be cut
down to size; may the banks be nationalized and the Occupation eliminated. May
the settlers return to the State of Israel, may there be solidarity with the
oppressed of the Earth and those who struggle against regimes of oppression;
may the Occupation-refuser Natan Blanc be freed, may nuclear weapons be
eliminated and may the torment of the prisoner of conscience Mordechai Vanunu
come to an end. May the national assets be redistributed and may there be
equality for all humanity and aid for war refugees; may the national anthem be
changed and may we be a free people in our land. [1]


*** *** ***

To those who have not yet seen it, I attach a link to a story in
Haaretz: [The link is to an article in Hebrew about Gideon Spiro that
appeared recently. It has not yet been published in Haaretz’s English
edition. A translation of the text appears below the link. A photo of Spiro
appears with the linked Hebrew article. Trans.]

http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/law/1.1993552#commentsForm-1993552

[Link to an English translation of a column Gideon Spiro wrote about his
experience of being arrested in 2011 – “Red Rag – report from a police
holding-cell” – appears below - trans.]

The State will compensate left-wing activist for false arrest for
incitement

By: Revital Hovel
Haaretz
24 April 2013

The State has reached an agreement with the left-wing activist Gideon Spiro,
according to which he will receive ten thousand shekels in compensation for
his arrest in 2011 on suspicion of incitement in an article that was published
on left-wing websites. The compromise and the compensation follow a lawsuit
Spiro filed against the State with the help of the lawyer Hisham Shabaita of
the human rights clinic at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, for one
hundred thousand shekels for having been falsely jailed for no legitimate
reason whatsoever. The compromise was given legal force last week by a
judgement of the Magistrates` Court in Tel Aviv.

In September 2010, Spiro, a left-wing activist and former journalist,
published an article entitled `Heart-rending scenes` in the website Occupation
Magazine, and later in the websites The Left Bank and Eretz Hatzvi.

[link to the English translation: http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?
num=42202]

The article appeared a few days after a shooting-attack near Hebron that
killed four people, residents of the settlement of Beit Hagai. `The two
guerrilla actions in the Occupied Territories that killed four settlement
residents and wounded two others are a reminder that the Occupation continues
and so does the resistance to it,` wrote Spiro, adding, `[i]nternational law
forbids an occupying state from transferring its population to the territory
it occupies, and accordingly the settlers – certainly those who are armed –
are not innocent civilians, but part of the forces of the Occupation. Nearly
every male settler carries a gun, sometimes he is in uniform and sometimes he
is not, and so attacking them is not the same as attacking a non-combatant
civilian population. That is not the case with women, children and old people.
Even if they live in settlements they are not a fighting force, and so attacks
on them by those who are conducting an armed struggle against the Occupation
should be avoided and condemned.`

Spiro went on to compare the actions of Hamas to the [Jewish] underground
organizations during the British Mandate, and wrote that `when it comes to the
struggle against the Occupation, Hamas does not diverge from what is known and
accepted throughout human history.` Nevertheless, Spiro made it clear in his
article that he opposes violent struggle against the Occupation. `I cannot
dictate, but I do have the right to support an unarmed struggle,` he wrote.
`Confronted with the armed struggle carried out by Hamas and others, I support
the non-violent Palestinian struggle of the type that is occurring in Bil’in
and Ni’lin.` Regarding the aforementioned incident, Spiro said that `[t]he
four settlers who were killed left behind seven children. It is heart-rending
indeed to see small children weeping for their parents, crying `mommy!` before
the coffin goes into the grave.`

In June 2011, nine months after the article appeared, a police investigator
from the Tel Aviv District called Spiro, then 76, and invited him to report
for questioning. Spiro requested a summons in writing, which duly arrived the
next day, and Spiro immediately reported to the police. He did not know the
reason for the interrogation, but over its course it became clear to him that
it was related to the article he had written. At the end of the questioning
the police investigator, Inspector Osnat Peleg-Shvili informed Spiro that he
was under arrest. He was asked to empty his pockets and hand over his personal
effects, and a DNA sample was even taken from him. When he arrived at the
detention facility in Abu Kebir, Spiro contacted Attorney Michael Sfard, who
called Shai Nitzan, then Deputy State Attorney, and Spiro was freed. Since
then the police have not contacted Spiro in connection with the affair.

In the replies of the State to the suit Spiro filed, it emerges that the
Judicial Forum for the Land of Israel filed a complaint against Spiro with the
Attorney General immediately after the publication of the article, and
requested that an investigation be opened. Three months later the State
Attorney`s office decided not to order an investigation, on the grounds that
the content of the article did not constitute incitement. A second request by
the Judicial Forum led the State Attorney`s office to change its mind and
investigate Spiro on suspicion of the crimes of incitement and violence.

According to a letter to MK Zehava Galon from Dan Eldad, director of the
special assignments section of the State Attorney`s office, the State
Attorney`s office interpreted the words in Spiro`s article as `statements that
are evidently serious in nature and raise the question of when a `settler` is
a legitimate target for attack.` Eldad indicated that one of the reasons for
Spiro`s arrest was that he did not immediately report for questioning, and
several summonses were required in order to get him to the police station.
However, this contradicts what is written in the State`s own Statement of
Defence, according to which on 2 June a police officer went to Spiro`s home to
invite him for questioning, but Spiro was not at home. Three days later police
called Spiro and informed him that he was to report for questioning the next
day. Spiro asked for a written summons, which he received the next day, and he
reported for questioning the same day. His interrogation lasted for 45 minutes
and his detention lasted an hour and a half. In addition, the State claimed in
its Statement of Defence which it submitted to the court that its actions had
been taken in good faith and that `the imputation to the police or the
prosecution authority of responsibility for damages will discourage the legal
authorities from carrying out their duties.`

[English version of Gideon Spiro`s account of being arrested on 6 June 2011,
“Report from a police holding-cell”: http://kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?
num=47231 ]



Translator`s note

1. An allusion to the penultimate line in the Israeli national anthem,
Hatikvah: `To be a free people in our land`. The author wants a change to the
lyrics of the song because it expresses the aspirations of Jews only, to the
exclusion of all others.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

gm
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