The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it
Occupation magazine - Commentary
Send To friend
Red Rag column - Victory Day over Nazi Germany - Independence Day ceremonies
By: Gideon Spiro
9 May 2017
Victory Day over Nazi Germany
The 8th of May is Victory Day over Nazi Germany for the West, and for the Soviet Union it was 9 May. It is fittingly symbolic that on that date the fascist Marine Le Pen was defeated in the French presidential elections. The defeat of Nazism did not extirpate the roots from which fascist movements are now sprouting. No one foresaw in 1945 that the Jews themselves would be carriers of the fascist virus. Seventy-two years have passed and fascist parties are partners in the government of Israel. The state in which many survivors of Auschwitz who were liberated by the Red Army found refuge is currently experiencing a fascist efflorescence. My hope for the residents and citizens of Israel is that on 9 May 2018 we will be able to celebrate the defeat of Israeli fascism and the Occupation that feeds it.
After the Independence Day ceremonies
This year I broke with my usual practice and watched all the official Remembrance Day and Independence Day ceremonies. Starting with the Memorial Day opening ceremony at the Western Wall, and ending with the Israel Prize award ceremony. Since all the ceremonies were dedicated to the fraud called “Fifty years of liberation and unification of Jerusalem”, I decided to count how many times those words appeared in the speeches delivered at the ceremonies.
I had a counter that registered every time one of the speakers used those words, and when I got to 100, I gave up. The bigger the fraud, the more the slogan is repeated. It is abundantly to all who have not lost their grip on reality and awareness of current events that it is a mendacious slogan in which the speakers themselves do not believe; otherwise they would not repeat it so many times. And it made no difference if it was rabbis, President Rivlin, Education Minister Bennett, Mayor Barkat or Chief of Staff Eizenkot. All of them payed the tribute to Moloch.
Education Minister Bennett carried the use of language Orwellian to new heights when in his speech at the Bible quiz for Jewish youth he spoke of the State of Israel as a moral state and a light unto the nations. In that regard I will not be surprised if the Minister or his spokesperson issues a statement to the press on this along these lines:
“The unification and liberation were manifest in the expressions of joy and the dancing in the streets in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians were beside themselves with happiness, and joined their brothers in the west of the city in the awestruck trembling experienced by all who have been liberated and unified. Tears flowed down their cheeks from the joy that swept over them upon their liberation. With my own eyes I saw Palestinian children waving Israeli flags every time the Israeli liberation army appeared on the screens.”
Particularly conspicuous in the celebrations was the dominant role of the army. Almost like North Korea. From the opening Memorial Day ceremony at the Western Wall to the military ceremonies at the cemeteries to the marching formation exercises on the evening of the torch-lighting, all the way to the awarding of certificates to distinguished soldiers at the President’s residence and the ceremonial flyovers by fighter planes in the skies of the Greater Land of Israel.
Since I had not watched the ceremonies in many years, I must thank the Chief of Staff, the Rabbi of the Wall, the Chief Military Rabbi and the Minister of Defence for reminding me that God is on our side and that all those buried in the military cemeteries are heroes. With their deaths, they all commanded us to live.
What cast a pall over the torch-lighting ceremony for me was the refusal of the football player Uri Malmilian to condemn the racism of his team, Betar Jerusalem (interview in
the day after the holiday) and Prof. Ahmad Eid’s failure to protest against municipal apartheid. It wasn’t quite his fault, because the text was dictated to him in glorification of the State of Israel.
The Israel Prize ceremony, which concludes the Independence Day ceremonies, was also full of disappointment. I had hoped that the awarding of the prize for Lifetime Achievement to the archaeological hooligan David Be’eri would elicit some protest, but it did not come. I had hoped that Prof. Nili Cohen, recipient of the Israel Prize for legal research, who gave thanks in the name of recipients of the prize, would warn the leaders of the State, who were assembled on the stage, of Israel’s decline to a totalitarian apartheid state.
My hopes were disappointed. That’s the way it is in rhinoceros season.
Since 1998 the Yesh Gvul movement has marked Independence Day with an alternative torch-lighting ceremony. This year the movement marked the 20th anniversary of the alternative ceremony. This year, as in previous years, the local establishment press and media ignored the event, based on the principle of the public’s right not to know.
The real heroes in my eyes are those who light the alternative torches and those who participate in the alternative memorial service – the Israeli-Palestinian one, of Combatants for Peace and the Bereaved Families’ Forum (Parents Circle – Families Forum).  Rising to meet the threat of peace that hovers over the alternative ceremony, the Occupation army barred 225 Palestinians from coming to participate in the ceremony with their Israeli brothers and sisters in pain and bereavement.
I am not in the habit of quoting myself, but this time I see fit to reproduce a short article I wrote on the occasion of the 24th Independence Day in the Haifa University student newspaper
, of which I was editor.
6 Iyar 5732/20 April 1972
The State of Israel, seen from the point of view of a guided tour, is a wonderful creation. A long procession of achievements and successes.
Let us follow this tourist for a while, as he sees:
New cities, towns, housing developments and many new industries, from textiles to mines. Splendid temples of knowledge, museums, and luxurious hotels. Modern agriculture. Forests and groves that were planted on barren land. Kibbutzim and moshavim, an original Israeli contribution to the quest for a more just society. Bustling cities, lively cafes, nightclubs and discotheques, beautiful healthy young people standing tall and proud. Cultural life, theatres, orchestras and bands. A strong, modern and victorious army.
And that’s just for starters.
We could also do another tour, which the tourist will have to seek out on his own, because it is not on the itinerary of the guided tours.
Then he would see “ugly Israel”. The Israel of slums. Small, ugly houses, some of which are close to collapsing. In some of them 10 people live in one room. An Israel in which hundreds of thousands of citizens live on or below the poverty line. An Israel of ethnic disparities, social unrest and polarization, with wealth and luxury alongside poverty and decay. An Israel of bankrupt businesses, of corruption and bureaucracy. An Israel of wars and chauvinism, of religious coercion and intolerance.
Both pictures are accurate, and bringing them together will give us a comprehensive picture that is close to reality. A reality of achievements and failures.
Israel enters its 25th year in an era which is hard to call one of its finest hours. An era of growing chauvinism, and its twin brother, intolerance, is biting hard. This is an era in which the Six Day War is turning from a defensive war into a war of conquest. An era in which the prospect for peace is receding, and not through the fault of the Arabs alone. An era of war profits, of corruption and poverty – the list is long.
I am among those who are entering the State’s 25th year with joy mixed with apprehension.
Apprehension, because I believe that the hands on the wheel are not reliable ones. Apprehension, because the chosen route looks like a dangerous one. I hope I will be proven wrong.
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
Links to the latest articles in this section
Has The BDS Campaign Really Achieved So Little?
As a journalist in the First Intifada, I learned not to believe what the IDF says
On Boycotts, Academic Freedom, and the Struggle for Justice in Israel-Palestine