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Red Rag: folly of the parents, the Liar, the Preacher, From Russia, with Love
By: Gideon Spiro
6 October 2013 (English translation 15 October 2013)


Children pay for the folly of their parents

A nine-year-old girl from the settlement of Psagot near Ramallah has been
wounded by gunfire. Suspicion immediately fell on Palestinians, and the so-
called “security forces”, which should be called the goons of the Occupation,
are in the process of tightening the noose of the Occupation as these lines
are being written. The girl’s wound was minor, the bullet did not strike any
vital organs, her life is not in danger and she will recover, thank God.

People who shoot children do not love them. Children are not a legitimate
target in war or any armed struggle. Period. And by the same token, those who
knowingly take children to a territory outside their country, where a struggle
is taking place between the occupier and the occupied, an area replete with
danger – they too do not love children, and are gambling with their lives.
Parents like that are either fools or idiots or religious fanatics. They may
produce children in large numbers, but in reality they hate them. Psagot
should be dismantled and its children returned to Israel. Parents who refuse
should be investigated by the child-welfare authorities, as is done with all
parents who abuse their children or gamble with their fate.


The liar

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is right to react with suspicion to the
charm-offensive being conducted by the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.
He does not believe Rouhani or the spiritual leader of Iran, Khamenei, when
they say that Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons, which, they say, are
counter to the values of Islam. Netanyahu thinks they are deceiving us. If
they do not want nuclear weapons, asked Netanyahu in his speech at the United
Nations General Assembly, why have they built underground facilities to enrich
uranium? And why have they built intercontinental missiles? Netanyahu’s
answer: because their true objective is to become a nuclear power that
controls the region and is immune to military attack. Netanyahu warns the
world not to fall for the sweet-talking from the new leaders of Iran; they are
a bunch of liars. With one eye they smile, while the other remains firmly
focussed on the Bomb.

How does Netanyahu know that Rouhani is a liar? From personal experience. For
generations now all Israeli governments have been composed of liars on the
nuclear issue. Starting with Ben-Gurion, who lied to President Kennedy with
his fairy-tales about a textile plant in Dimona. When Kennedy told Ben-Gurion
he was lying, that based on photos of the building it was clear that it was a
nuclear reactor, Ben-Gurion was forced to admit the truth, but he insisted
that it was a civilian reactor for research purposes only. Another lie.
President Kennedy opposed the whole project. He correctly believed that Israel
would set the Middle East on a course towards a nuclear arms race, and he
wanted to prevent that. Periodically he sent inspectors to see what was going
on in the reactor and Israel succeeded in misleading them with various tricks,
the main component of which was mendacity. If Kennedy had acted according to
Netanyahu’s policy towards Iran, he would have had to impose sanctions along
with a warning that that all options, including the military one, remained on
the table. And Israel would have immediately stopped building the nuclear
reactor and converted it into a textile plant. Kennedy probably would have
done that if he had not been assassinated. Kennedy’s vigorous opposition to
the reactor at Dimona has been the source of conspiracy theories to the effect
that Israel had a hand in his assassination.

One day in 1960 Ben-Gurion walked up to the Knesset podium and made a short
announcement: Israel was building a nuclear reactor in Dimona, a research
reactor for peaceful purposes that would be open to scientists from all over
the world. Ben-Gurion was lying, of course. Since then Israel has denied that
it has developed nuclear weapons, another lie, of course. Subsequently the
mendacious policy of nuclear ambiguity was adopted. Since then all Israeli
prime ministers, from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu today brazenly lied to our
faces. As we all know, lies have no legs, and the truth will come out in the
end. Today everybody knows that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear bombs and
nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles. I assume that in Iran they are
asking the same question that Netanyahu is asking of Iran: who are those
missiles aimed at? Why does Israel need them?

And yet, for all that, there is a difference between the liar Rouhani and the
liar Netanyahu. Rouhani is not threatening Israel with war. True, the Iranian
leadership believes that Israel has no right to exist. In Israel too there are
more than a few citizens, Jews and Arabs, Zionists and non-Zionists, who
believe for reasons different from those of the Iranians that the colonialist
racist Israel that has set up an apartheid state in the Occupied Territories
has no right to exist, just as Khomeinist Iran that violates human rights has
no right to exist, Apartheid South Africa had no right to exist and Cambodia
under the leadership of the murderer Pol Pot had no right to exist. And other
states that can be added to the list.

The difference is that Rouhani has not declared that Iran cannot accept the
Dimona reactor and if Israel does not divest itself of its nuclear weapons
voluntarily, all options are on the table, including the military one.
Netanyahu is acting in exactly the opposite way. He constantly brandishes the
military option and in a megalomaniacal pose announces that if “the world” –
i.e. the US – does not implement the military option, Israel will go to war
against Iran on its own. If the Iranians did not have a real reason to develop
nuclear weapons before, Israel has now stupidly handed it the pretext it
needed on a silver platter. Iran needs nuclear weapons in order to defend
itself against an Israeli attack.

There can be no avoiding the conclusion that if Iran is determined to become a
nuclear power, it will do so – with generous help from the government of
Israel. The only way to avoid the emergence of a nuclear Iran is to create a
Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. In order to achieve that, the
liars on both sides need to be put under control of a responsible adult.

The New York Times published an editorial against Netanyahu’s shrill
warmongering and his attempts to drag the US into war. That newspaper’s
writers and editors know very well that the US pours vast quantities of modern
weapons into Israel, and all for free. It is a subsidy the US government
provides to domestic arms manufacturers. The weapons the US gives Israel are
state-of-the-art offensive weaponry that constitutes the infrastructure of the
Israeli machine of destruction and death.

If not for US generosity, Israel would think twice before going to war. The US
knows that the Israeli leadership sees war as a force that unifies the tribes
that have immigrated to Israel. All of Israel’s wars except the war of 1948
have been superfluous, but they are encoded in Israel’s DNA, which requires a
war every few years.

In recent days we have seen an outpouring of nostalgia in Israel over the 40th
anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Much talk about the trauma of Yom Kippur.
The conclusion Israel’s leaders drew from that trauma was that still more
modern weapons were needed, which would make it easier for the masters of war
to pull the trigger for the next trauma. America generously provides the war
toys. And why not? Israel is a US warship and an excellent testing ground for
new weapons. For several years now we have not had a fully blown war, and
today the maniacs are sure that they can defeat Iran.

Israel cannot destroy the nuclear facilities in Iran, but it can run the risk
of bringing a rain of missiles down on its own cities. That will certainly
distract attention away from economic problems towards wartime solidarity for
a while, but that solidarity is unlikely to survive this round. The army has
become somewhat less of a unifying factor in Israeli society, and an
unsuccessful war is likely to dissolve bonds of solidarity rather than bind
Israel’s citizens together.

It must be said openly that a comprehensive peace with the Arab and Muslim
worlds based on open borders is a prospect that fills the leaders of Israel
with dread. Their big nightmare is mass Arab tourism in Israel. There will be
marriages between Arabs and Jews, which is an appalling prospect to official
Israeli racism. Constant war with at least one Arab or Islamic country
prevents this development. From that perspective the Occupation fulfils an
important role in the preservation of the constant tension, mutual hostility
and avoidance.


The preacher

The Second World War is a dark chapter in the history of Hungary. The
collaboration by Hungarian governments led by Horthy and Szálasi with Nazi
Germany in the destruction of Hungarian Jewry fills the civilized Hungary of
today with feelings of shame and remorse. Today’s Hungary does not bear
responsibility for the actions of the criminals, but it does have a
responsibility to learn the appropriate moral lessons so that the crimes are
not repeated. And the first lesson of all is that racism and antisemitism,
which are still alive and brazenly kicking in today`s Hungary, must be
completely extirpated.

In the context of the civilized Hungarian people’s soul-searching, Israel`s
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a scion of Hungarian Jewry, was invited to
address the Hungarian parliament. He gave his speech a few days ago. Lapid was
unsparing of his hosts. He thrashed them left and right, excoriated them and
preached morality about their racism, and the members of parliament applauded.
Yair Lapid repeatedly mentioned his father, the journalist and the politician
Yosef (`Tommy`) Lapid, a native of Hungary and a Holocaust survivor. We
therefore cannot avoid the question: is Lapid Junior and the legacy of Lapid
Senior a fitting Jewish answer to the horrors of the Holocaust? Are members of
the Hungarian parliament aware of the racism of both the father and the son?

Yosef (`Tommy`) Lapid was one of the most brazen racists in Israel who enjoyed
access to the public stage in journalism, radio and television. Some examples:

Victor Ostrovsky, a Canadian citizen (apparently also an Israeli citizen) was
formerly a member of the Mossad. He published a book that was not very
flattering to the Mossad. Those were the days of the popular television
programme “Popolitika” that was broadcast live on the state-owned channel, and
Lapid was featured on the show. Ostrovsky’s book was discussed in an edition
of the programme broadcast on 3 October 1994. Lapid saw the book as treason
and called for Ostrovsky to be liquidated. He suggested that the Mossad
execute him by staging a car accident. At one point in the discussion
Ostrovsky himself was hooked up to the show from Canada, and Lapid told him,
live on the air, that “I hope the Mossad finds a way to liquidate you”.
Lapid’s proposal to one of the Israeli government’s covert agencies to extra-
judicially execute a person, coming as it did from a major public figure in
the media, provoked a heated discussion, and some said that it represented the
embrace by Lapid of the methods used by the fascist regime in his Hungarian
homeland.

Lapid did not get excited about this, and as if to prove that it was no mere
slip of the tongue, on 7 October 1994 he published an article in his newspaper
Maariv, which was then the highest-circulation newspaper in Israel,
under the headline, “in praise of murder”, in which he reiterated his
position, saying “yes, I think Ostrovsky should be liquidated”. In so doing,
Lapid introduced the idea that it is legitimate to murder traitors into
respectable public discourse in Israel. The publicist and journalist B.
Michael pointed out in a column dedicated to Lapid’s journalistic pearls that
a year after Lapid issued his secular fatwa that it was permissible to murder
traitors, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a man who believed
that Rabin was a traitor, and so he could legitimately be executed.

In the Popolika programme broadcast on 22 January 1995, Lapid proposed to
detonate ten car-bombs in crowed population centres in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip that would cause a huge slaughter. It was incitement to murder,
broadcast live on the air. The State Prosecutor at the time, Dorit Beinish,
saw it as a criminal offence, but she accepted the “clarifications” from the
judicial advisor of the Broadcasting Authority that “the rules about what is
permissible and what is forbidden in live broadcasts would be revised”. It is
easy to imagine the fate of an Arab citizen who called for car-bombs to be
detonated in crowded Jewish population centres: at least ten years in prison.

The journalist Haim Baram, in his column in Kol Ha’Ir, called Lapid’s
proposal a “cannibalistic and fascistic [proposal] which calls for the IDF to
act in the West Bank and Gaza Strip like the Nazis acted in Yugoslavia or
Italy (after 1943)”.

Lapid Sr. called the Rabin government a “Judenrat government”, that is, a
government of traitors. As for the Haredim, whom he loathed as a group, he
used terminology straight from the Nazi lexicon, such as “a gang of
extortionists”, “money-grubbers”, “thieves and tyrants” and other such gems.
(Maariv 7 April 1990)

Yair Lapid is following in the footsteps of his father, whom he saw as his
teacher. Like his father he founded a party that he runs as a dictator. He has
joined the most racist government Israel has ever had, he supports the
Bantustan solution that will perpetuate the Occupation and the apartheid
regime and he is a believer in swinish capitalism like his father, who among
other positions served as the right-hand man of the British newspaper mogul
Robert Maxwell, who turned out to have stolen from his employees’ pension
funds. If I had been asked to advise the president of the Hungarian
parliament, I would have proposed a list of more suitable people to address
the parliament.


A disappearing people?

A US research institute has published the findings of a study US Jewish
community, and the finding that has received the most attention in Israel is
the high rate of what is called “mixed marriage”. Nearly 70 percent of US Jews
are married to non-Jews. Demographers and those who are considered experts on
the Jewish people were interviewed in the media and expressed concern for the
future of the US Jewish community. If this trend continues, the day is not far
off when we can say kaddish for the Jews of the US. What worries the
leaders of Israel in this regard is the prospect of the decline of the power
and influence of the Jewish community in the corridors of power in the US. A
civilized person cannot but welcome the fact that people are choosing their
marriage-partners based on personality rather than religious affiliation.

Marriage between Jews and non-Jews need not lead to the withering-away of the
community, if only the insistence on holding to medieval religious norms, such
as the linking of Jewish status to the religion of the mother, which, besides
being anachronistic, alienate people from the community, were dropped. My
brother, may he rest in peace, was a rabbi. His son married a woman whose
father was Jewish and whose mother was not. In the accepted jargon she was
“half Jewish”, but since the father is a transparent entity in all related to
the Jewish status of his children, she is not recognized as a Jew. Their
children are “quarter Jews” and they too are not recognized as Jews, for their
mother was only “half Jewish” on her father’s side. Without getting into the
question of whether Jewishness is a religion, a culture, a nationality or a
bit of each, it seems strange to me that the secular Jewish and Zionist
establishments have adopted the religious code. If Jewishness can get rid of
the racist mildew that has clung to it and if the community can bring itself
to welcome all who knock on its gates, without checking to see how much Jewish
blood flows in their veins and from which side, US Jewry will grow, blossom
and flourish.


Greetings from Russia

My partner and I have avoided organized tours abroad provided by tour
companies. The reasons are simple: we have been exposed over and over to
complaints about group tours: once the guide was incompetent, another time the
company changed the routes without informing the participants in a advance,
another time the company broke its promise about the quality of the hotels.
Not to speak of the random composition of the groups. No one knows who will be
in the group, everyone who pays is accepted, and only once the tour is under
way do you learn that one or two of the participants are problematic types who
will convert the tour into a nightmare, and there’s no one to turn to.

For some time we have wanted to visit Russia, but we have been warned
repeatedly that it is best to join a group with a guide, because we do not
speak Russian and most Russians do not speak English, and Moscow is a city in
which those who do not know it well can get lost and also get themselves into
difficult situations.

So that is what we did. We sought a reliable company, requested
recommendations and signed up for a tour in Russia. We hoped that the group
would be a pleasant one, and that what was promised for the tour would be
fulfilled.

The following is a short report of the trip.

The group was heterogeneous and no one knew the others before the trip, but we
were lucky, because we all got along very well. The group was a small mirror
of Israeli Jewish society. We got to know people we probably would never have
met otherwise. The charming couple Levana and Itzik Ben-Shabat, for example.
Itzik is deputy chairman of the workers’ committee of the port of Haifa and he
did not conceal his joy at meeting an Israeli who speaks in favour of
organized labour, who does not begrudge workers a decent wage for hard and
grinding work, and who supports their struggle against the Transport
Minister’s plan to build two private ports, which are completely unnecessary
and are intended to break the public-sector port workers and to convert them
into low-paid contractors. Nor would I have met the couple Yuval and Yonah
Sharon, farmers from Rosh Pina, who reminded me of the Israel of my youth, if
not for the tour. The rest of the participants in the tour I will not mention,
because I did not receive their permission to do so, but all of them were
people whose company I enjoyed.

The tour included Moscow and Saint Petersburg, two impressive cities, rich
with museums and luxurious palaces of Czars. There were so many palaces that I
no longer remember which Czar lived in which palace. Four places in particular
are engraved in my memory: The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (formerly
Leningrad), one of the three largest museums in the world, an impressive
collection of paintings and a cultural gem; the Summer Palace of Catherine the
Great in the town of Pushkin (named after the writer) near Saint Petersburg
(before they withdrew, the Germans blew up the palace and stole its artifacts.
The Russians painstakingly rebuilt it and the result is wonderful); the Red
Army Museum in Moscow, which was very emotional for me, because if the Red
Army had not defeated Hitler’s army, we almost certainly would not be here
today (the post-Soviet regime did not delete pages from history, and the
pictures of Stalin have not been concealed. Attached is a photo I took of a
painting of Stalin leaning over a map next to Marshal Zhukov, who signed the
surrender of Nazi Germany on behalf of the Soviet Union); and on the last day
of the tour we visited the mausoleum in Red Square where the embalmed body of
Lenin rests. It is amazing to see how 23 years after the dissolution of the
Soviet Union, people still line up every day to view the body of its founder.
Some of them are certainly foreign tourists, but most of them are Russians.

The path that leads to Lenin passes by the graves of Stalin and other Soviet
leaders who died while in office. As such they are entitled to the special
honour of being buried in the Kremlin. Lenin’s body rests in a darkened room
with his face illuminated by a beam of light. There are always those who
believe that it is a dummy and not the body of Lenin. In 2010 scientists
examined it and confirmed that it was indeed the body of Lenin.

A group tour in a foreign country led by a local guide will always focus on
the interesting and beautiful aspects of the country. Tour guides from the
host nation are usually patriots who will not say a negative word about the
leaders of their state, at least not to tourists. That is the way it is in
Russia, just as in Israel. Are there any poor neighbourhoods in Moscow and
Saint Petersburg? For sure there are, but we did not see them. We were exposed
to the beauty of the cities in the day as well as at night when the beauty of
the sites is enhanced by rich illumination.

To judge by the view through the windows of the bus and from hanging out in
malls, capitalism has taken root in Russia. The tyranny of deprivation has
been replaced by the tyranny of consumption: buy, buy, buy, without any regard
for true needs. A number of US restaurant and fast-food chains have opened
branches in Russia. The most expensive international brands are sold in
Russia. The cities are bursting with traffic jams and the cars are almost all
made in Korea, Japan and Europe, just like in Israel. There is hardly any
trace of the old Soviet Ladas. If you want to see a Lada, the guide told me,
you have to go to the villages.

In conclusion, a warning: in late September the weather is still summery in
Israel, but in Russia it is autumn, and although there is still no snow, it is
already as cold as the harshest winter in Israel. The skies are grey and the
cold is bone-chilling. Two degrees at night and 5 in the daytime, and it’s
nearly always raining. And since a tour like this involves walking,
participants get thoroughly damp even if they are suitably dressed. It is not
suitable weather for strolling, which reduces the enjoyment. I am gradually
emerging from a chill that has refused to go away. It will take a few more
days.

As I alluded at the beginning of this section, we too were not spared by the
saga of broken promises by tour companies – “Discovery”, in our case. But I
will not burden my readers further, and we raise the matter with the company.


Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
Stalin and Zhukov (Photo: Gideon Spiro)
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