Israeli Society Collapses .. Leaders Remain Silent

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Views: 3070
3070

The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.

There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Nor is this merely an internal Israeli affair. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out. If the pillar collapses, the upper floors will come crashing down.

The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Arik Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.

It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.

It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. From the window you can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Traveling on the fast highway that takes you from Ramot on Jerusalem's northern edge to Gilo on the southern edge, a 12-minute trip that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it's hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied.

This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger forever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing.

We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don't hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don't even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands.

Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated.

We could kill a thousand ringleaders and engineers a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below - from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption.

If all this were inevitable, divinely ordained and immutable, I would be silent. But things could be different, and so crying out is a moral imperative.

Here is what the prime minister should say to the people:

The time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.

Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state - not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish.

Do you want the greater Land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let's institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages. Qalqilya Ghetto and Gulag Jenin.

Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse - or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements - all of them - and draw an internationally recognized border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish Law of Return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state.

Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater Land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box.

That's what the prime minister should say to the people. He should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racialism or democracy. Settlements or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire, roadblocks and suicide bombers, or a recognized international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem.

But there is no prime minister in Jerusalem. The disease eating away at the body of Zionism has already attacked the head. David Ben-Gurion sometimes erred, but he remained straight as an arrow. When Menachem Begin was wrong, nobody impugned his motives. No longer. Polls published last weekend showed that a majority of Israelis do not believe in the personal integrity of the prime minister - yet they trust his political leadership. In other words, Israel's current prime minister personally embodies both halves of the curse: suspect personal morals and open disregard for the law - combined with the brutality of occupation and the trampling of any chance for peace. This is our nation, these its leaders. The inescapable conclusion is that the Zionist revolution is dead.

Why, then, is the opposition so quiet? Perhaps because it's summer, or because they are tired, or because some would like to join the government at any price, even the price of participating in the sickness. But while they dither, the forces of good lose hope.

This is the time for clear alternatives. Anyone who declines to present a clear-cut position - black or white - is in effect collaborating in the decline. It is not a matter of Labor versus Likud or right versus left, but of right versus wrong, acceptable versus unacceptable. The law-abiding versus the lawbreakers. What's needed is not a political replacement for the Sharon government but a vision of hope, an alternative to the destruction of Zionism and its values by the deaf, dumb and callous.

Israel's friends abroad - Jewish and non-Jewish alike, presidents and prime ministers, rabbis and lay people - should choose as well. They must reach out and help Israel to navigate the road map toward our national destiny as a light unto the nations and a society of peace, justice and equality.

Translated by J.J. Goldberg.

Avraham Burg was speaker of Israel's Knesset from 1999 to 2003 and is a former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He is currently a Labor Party Knesset member. This essay is adapted by the author from an article that appeared in Yediot Aharonot.

Source: The Jewish Forward


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
Views: 3070
 
COMMENTS DISCLAIMER & RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Older Comments:
D ALBAGLI FROM U.S.A said:
Life is too short.We should all find love and kindness in our hearts,regardless of race or religion.
2003-12-01

EHAB HASAN FROM USA said:
First of all, this entire article is, factually, incorrect. It is yet another example of how Zionists have manipulated others into accepting their premise before even beginning the debate. The "just path and ethical leadership" Mr. Burg alludes to is anything but. The founding fathers of Zionism knew what they were getting in to and successive leaders of Zionism even commented that had they been on the other side (i.e. Palestinians, Muslims) they would have chosen the most violent means of resisting Zionism. This is because they know what this Zionism stands for and what the grand scheme is. There is no alternative in Israeli politics be it right or left because there is no alternative to the settling of the lands in the Zionist agenda by Jews only. To talk of two states where refugees must chose to return to or lose all is not justice. The only just and practical solution is to call a spade a spade and to work to dismantle Zionism. It is apartheid and racist. It is no more a romantic vision than the settling and massacring of native America was. Perhaps this is why so many right-wing Christian Americans identify with it. As Mel Gibson's character referred to the English occupation of Scotland in the movie "Braveheart", "Leave. Leave and stop by every home and apologize to every man, women and child. Ask for forgiveness for 100 years of rape, injustice and torture". Go back where you cam from and take your horrors with you. In the case of Palestine, that would be 53 years, Mr. Burg.
2003-12-01

KIKEBOT FROM UK said:
Hey Lilah, New York is Israel. Stay there and quit your obnoxious yiddish whinning.
2003-11-30

BONGOBONDHU FROM UK said:
Response to Lilah :

The jews have enough space, money and power in USA and Europe to settle peacefully and fulfil their dreams and needs in. They dont have to be in Palestine's land either!!

Thank you.
2003-11-29

LILAH FROM CANADA said:
The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.
They have eoungh Arab countries to go to and fulfill their dreams in, they don't have to be in Israel's land.
Thank you.
2003-11-25

LEENA FROM UK said:
Hitler was not wrong in pointing out men's forgetfulness as great. As Muslims have completely forgotten that they were the ones to embrace the orphan Jew race fifty years ago, Jews are even more forgetful to appreciate that it was not a conflict between Muslims and them but Christians and Jews. Since selectivity is engrained in men's psychy, they have moulded the entire policy in a way as Muslims were their ultimate rivals. The guilt-ridden Christians kept quiet to turn the tide. And here are we (three communities) striving hard for our identities. Christians with their might can change the course of history by demanding peaceful resolution of the dispute. But, intent has to be there. Despite more peaceful propaganda, Muslims are helpless to do any thing, when innocents are being killed.
2003-11-25

MIKE KAD FROM USA said:
Israel will go, it is only a matter of time.
2003-11-24

MAHMOUD ABDUSSALAM FROM USA said:
If we all think alike and be considered of each other I think we can solve the Palestenian Israeli problem. I believe that governemnts run us like herds of sheep all alike, Israle's or Arab's, and thats why the whole world is suffering today. With all of the progress we have made as human biengs in technological advances to make a better world, politicians still rule with stone age mentality and throw us way behind the dark ages, Iraq, Afghanstan, Palestine, Chechenia, Bosnia, and so on...may god help us all
2003-11-24

ZOHEB FROM CANADA said:
First of all lets talk about how the nation of 'Israel' came to be. After the occurance of the holocaust, Jews came in the thousands like a swarm of killer bee's to Palestine from Germany and other parts of Europe and Russia. They were welcomed by the Palestinians with open arms and received enormous hospitality. Some Palestinians sold land to the jews (even after forewarnings from muslim scholars from around the south asian sub-continent).

We now look at a Palestine which has been raped and butchered. Innocent civilans are dying (from both sides) because of corrupt evil zionist agendas.

I beleive the only way there can actually be 'peace' in the middle-east is if the Israeli government cleans it's act up, and the Israeli people have a voice and speak up against the inhumane acts that are being put upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli government.
If that can happen, I believe that suicide bombings will stop along with the suffering from both sides(inshallah).
The israeli occupiers in the settlements should remeber that their ancestors were greeted with open arms from the same people they are occupying and realize that this is not only morally wrong but also biblically wrong.
2003-11-24

H.A. FROM ABC said:
LET MUSLIMS tighlty hug the Jews, Israelis, crusaders, and Americans. It's ok if they don't hug MUSLIMS.

2003-11-24

INTY FROM UK said:
Very well written article!

This is an indication that voices of justice do exist in the Jewish society. We must separate between Jews and Zionists. The latter being the unjust.

But before that we must look at ourselves! (The Muslim Ummah). It amazes me how a nation of a few million can hold to ransom its neighbours of many millions.

If Islamic renaissance is to take shape, much of the momentum will be from the new converts. Arab nations have let down their Palestinian brothers.

China for example gained independence in 1948, she is a major power in the world. While the Islamic countries have been wrangling internally.

The net result, The Chinease have dignity, they have a standing in the world stage. But the Islamic countries are humiliated, and could not even deter the killing of thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Disgraceful! A source of shame for all conscious Muslims
2003-11-24

INTY FROM UK said:
Very well written article!

This is an indication that voices of justice do exist in the Jewish society. We must separate between Jews and Zionists. The latter being the unjust.

But before that we must look at ourselves! (The Muslim Ummah). It amazes me how a nation of a few million can hold to ransom its neighbours of many millions.

If Islamic renaissance is to take shape, much of the momentum will be from the new converts. Arab nations have let down their Palestinian brothers.

China for example gained independence in 1948, she is a major power in the world. While the Islamic countries have been wrangling internally.

The net result, The Chinease have dignity, they have a standing in the world stage. But the Islamic countries are humiliated, and could not even deter the killing of thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Disgraceful! A source of shame for all conscious Muslims
2003-11-24

INTY FROM UK said:
Very well written article!

This is an indication that voices of justice do exist in the Jewish society. We must separate between Jews and Zionists. The latter being the unjust.

But before that we must look at ourselves! (The Muslim Ummah). It amazes me how a nation of a few million can hold to ransom its neighbours of many millions.

If Islamic renaissance is to take shape, much of the momentum will be from the new converts. Arab nations have let down their Palestinian brothers.

China for example gained independence in 1948, she is a major power in the world. While the Islamic countries have been wrangling internally.

The net result, The Chinease have dignity, they have a standing in the world stage. But the Islamic countries are humiliated, and could not even deter the killing of thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq (to mention just two).

Disgraceful
2003-11-24

HANNAHZARAH AVARRASCHILD FROM U.S.A. said:
Two things. Biblically the children of Isreal were called to be a nation of priests and a light to the nations. The modern nation of Isreal is failing miserably in that for certain.

Secondly in considering the magic work democracy, you have to keep in mind that there are many forms of democracy. In classic (Greek) democracy only 10% of the population was free, the rest were slaves. In Hamiltonian (Alexandar Hamilton) democracy the rule of the land is in the hands of the rich, the well born and the well educated. Before you support those talking about democracy it would pay to pin them down to what they mean by the term.

Peace and blessings.
2003-11-23

HASSAN FROM USA said:
the only way jews can have 'jews only' israel is to adopt the nazi policy of gas chambers. what they do now to the palestinians are no less inhumane and immoral than nazis, but gas chambers are cheap and effective in mass murder.
why dont the israeli jews ask their mentors in US 'what would US do if the native americans want to reoccupy the entire USA?' afterall, their ancestors lived here for centuries before the genocide committed by the civilised europeans. arabs never committed genocide of jews but in fact welcomed them whenever jews were butchered around the world. where is the proof that the land israel wants to occupy belongs to them in the first place? the very concept that god choose very few people over others and promised a tiny piece of land to them doesnt fly in the 21st century. what israel has acheived is to show the world they could be as murderous as nazis and keep the anti-semitism around the world alive and kicking.
2003-11-23