Photos of expulsion plastered to Jewish Nat’l Fund wall reveal a society in crisis

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 30 Comments

Something that made me feel great today: a report from Israel that activists have plastered the sides of the Jewish National Fund building, the organization that for over a century has bought up land for Jews, with photographs of JNF’s work: the recent destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib. Here is the original Hebrew report, with photos of the Al-Arakib pictures on the side of the JNF building in Tel Aviv. Here is the report from Haaretz:

The photos were posted "to protest the JNF’s complicity in the crime of pushing the Arab and Bedouin residents of the Negev from their lands," according to a statement.

As part of the effort to "Judaize" the Negev, the government leased much of the unrecognized village’s lands to the JNF, for forestation purposes, said the activists.

(Thanks to Lia Tarachansky for passing this along. As most people who come to this site know, I’m ethnocentric. I grew up in a Jewish world, in a very tribal culture; and though I’ve become more worldly, I love my tribe, and Zionism is the unhealed wound, the triumph of unbridled ethnocentrism. As the signs on the building show, there’s not just a political crisis in Israel, but a war on in the soul of Judaism, and there are many, many Jews on my side. And yes, I know, the only way to win this struggle is to join hands with many many non-Jews.)

P.S. On the Never again front, France and other European countries are turning on the Roma, fellow victims of the Jews during the Holocaust, seeking to expel them and destroy their camps. Read Ethel Brooks, a US Romany writer, in the Guardian.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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  1. Avi
    August 29, 2010, 9:53 am

    Ha’aretz August 29, 2010

    *

    The spiritual leader of Shas, Rabbi Ovadya Yosef, wished yesterday (Saturday) night death to the chairman of the [Palestinian] Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and to the Palestinian people.

    In his weekly class, Rabbi Yosef spoke of the blessings for the new year and said among other things, “May our enemies and haters perish. Abu Mazen and all those evil [like him], may they disappear from this world. May God, the holy and blessed strike them with a plague of locusts, they and those Palestinians – Evil oppressors of Israel.”

    The Rabbi’s words succeeded the Minister of Interior’s, Shas’ Chairman Ely Yishai’s, proclamations when he said that he would oppose the continuation of the [colonial] construction freeze. Yishai indicated that he, “[Does not] pin [his] hopes on the negotiations” with the Palestinians and expressed opposition to concessions.

    The following is in excerpt from the English version of the newspaper, information that was not included in the Hebrew version:

    In 2001, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox faction gave a speech in which he also called for Arabs’ annihilation.

    “It is forbidden to be merciful to them,” he was quoted as saying. “You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

    *I translated those excerpts from the Hebrew version as it’s slightly more accurate than Ha’aretz’s translation.

    • rmokhtar
      August 29, 2010, 1:46 pm

      I saw that today on Al Jazeera Arabic and thought….wow, Israeli spiritual leaders make Dua in Ramadan too? ;)

      Let’s make all the necessary replacements, shall we?

      “May our enemies and haters perish. Netanyahu and all those evil [like him], may they disappear from this world. May God, the holy and blessed strike them with a plague of locusts, they and those Zionists – Evil oppressors of Palestine.”

      Great! Now I’m heading to prayer.

    • potsherd
      August 29, 2010, 4:11 pm

      It is not simply that the old crock said these things, it is the total absence of denunciation. Netanyahu used weasel-language to “distance himself” from the remarks, as of course he must to “preserve the coalition.” Jewish MKs defended Ovadia’s language.

      From Foxman – silence. From the Jewish leadership in Congress? From that spineless blob of pulp, Obama?

      When Arabs are constantly being harassed and harangued to “denounce terrorism,” a prominent Israeli rabbi promulgates hate and genocide with barely a “tut-tut” in response.

  2. Mooser
    August 29, 2010, 10:12 am

    ” I grew up in a Jewish world, in a very tribal culture;”

    What was the date of your Bar-Mitzvah, Phil? How long did you study for it? Did you do well, read the Haftorah like a champ, and davan like “howler monkey”?

    Tribal culture my foot! If what you have printed here in this blog is correct, you came from a bigoted family, which bigotry you were happy to indulge and indulge in, especially when it was combined with personal advantage, until you were well over fifty, and said “oops, what do you know, I’m a nostril flaring asshole, and they’re gonna kick me out of the Thoreau Club”.

    Listen pal, I have an awful lot of shortcomings myself, but I try not to blame Judaism for them. As far as I can see, you grew up an American, with the typical bigotries of the American All-rightnik. Being Jewish, they were a rather unique set of bigotries, but to each his own.

    • Philip Weiss
      August 29, 2010, 10:45 am

      bar mitzvah: chizuk amuno synagogue baltimore 1968
      didn’t do well. studied for it with taperecording of chazan’s chanting the haftorah for probably 6 months

  3. Mooser
    August 29, 2010, 10:12 am

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Yeah, till hell freezes over.

    • Philip Weiss
      August 29, 2010, 10:44 am

      beat the devil, i did

      • silencenolonger
        August 29, 2010, 12:50 pm

        Not trying to detour the thread, but in light of your remark “And yes, I know, the only way to win this struggle is to join hands with many many non-Jews.”

        What do you think of longtime ME correspondent Alan Hart’s (and friend to many Israeli leaders) post on what he thinks the core of the issue is
        link to alanhart.net

  4. Mooser
    August 29, 2010, 10:14 am

    “And yes, I know, the only way to win this struggle is to join hands with many many non-Jews.”

    Oh look, permission!

    • Chaos4700
      August 29, 2010, 11:19 am

      Hmm. Mooser, I understand your frustration with how Jewish culture in the United States is functioning. Believe me, I have similar condemnations about white culture in general here.

      But I’m not sure it’s fair to berate Mr. Weiss when he’s expressing candor and a genuine spirit of both humanism and interfaith / intercultural cooperation. He’s being very honest that he comes from an ethnocentric background and he’s specifically reaching beyond that. It’s very hard to overcome those deeply ingrained “circle the wagons” mentality that most ethnic / religious groups have — I lack the same attitude mostly because I turned out to be a minority in my ethnicity and religion, after all, but otherwise I recognize that there were very deeply etched attitudes that my parents unconsciously passed onto me, which they themselves had passed down.

      And heck, when they got married, it was still notable that a German and a Polish family were intermarrying, so it isn’t as if there haven’t been even more arbitrary barriers that have been coming down for the better part of the last century.

    • Keith
      August 29, 2010, 2:34 pm

      MOOSER- Don’t listen to Chaos! I thought your comments were a hoot!

  5. Chaos4700
    August 29, 2010, 11:28 am

    As part of the effort to “Judaize” the Negev, the government leased much of the unrecognized village’s lands to the JNF, for forestation purposes, said the activists.

    Anyone else struck by the extreme irony of Ashkenazi Jews trying to replant the Black Forest on the Mediterranean Coast?

    • syvanen
      August 29, 2010, 12:00 pm

      One of my pet subjects. Last winter there was a major wild fire in the north. These were JNF planted lands. Simply the wrong kind of trees for a semi arid place. Too dry, burns quickly. I noticed within weeks JNF had fund raising adds in English speaking Haaretz (audience is primarily England, N. America and Australia) pleading for money to replace the recently burned forests.

      Now this latest effort where the Bedouin villages were is even crazier — this is in the Negev, not just semi-arid but a real desert. I suspect that even these fools have learned by now that one doesn’t plant forests in deserts, this story is just for their foreign supporters to put a soft and cuddly spin on this latest act of ethnic cleansing.

      • potsherd
        August 29, 2010, 4:04 pm

        Not to mention that this is a country in the midst of a drastic water shortage, that has drained its major source of water to a fetid trickle in order to sustain these alien trees and support a subsidized irrigated agriculture. “Making the desert bloom” has drained the Jordan dry.

    • Keith
      August 29, 2010, 2:53 pm

      CHAOS- I don’t know if I would call it irony, but the reality is that the Ashkenazi Jews that formed the Zionist leadership have consistently tried to Europeanize Palestine. Rather than embrace the land and culture of their mythical forefathers (this land is sacred to the Jewish people), they have transplanted a European culture into Palestine. This has included the massive cutting down of indigenous olive trees, which were replaced by inappropriate forests in the European tradition. Of course, many of these forests were planted over the remains of destroyed Palestinian villages in an attempt to erase the memory of the pre-state inhabitants.

      • Antidote
        August 30, 2010, 3:58 pm

        The reality is that settlers everywhere have attempted to recreate their homeland at their destination, and imported plants and animals — the so-called ‘alien species’, for sentimental and economic reasons, or even for the purpose of pest control. That’s how rabbits came to Australia, and honey bees to North America, for instance. The native Americans called the latter ‘white man’s fly’. The European settlers all but wiped out the native Americans, and the Euorpean bees did the same with the indigenous bee species. So it goes.

      • Keith
        August 31, 2010, 8:18 pm

        ANTIDOTE- Perhaps there is irony here after all. In the examples you provide, the settlers are attempting to recreate their homeland. Yet, Zionism insists that Palestine is the “homeland” of a great Jewish Diaspora. Therefore, one would expect that these “returning” Jewish wanderers would show reverence to the land and culture of their mythical heritage. A land and culture we are told which is sacred to the Jewish people. Yet, what do they do? They attempt to transform the area into a European oasis in the desert. In short, typical colonists! I don’t consider it ironic because I am aware of the manifest Eurocentric orientation of the early Zionists, hence, not some curious twist of fate that they would try to grow a “Black Forest” where olive trees once stood.

      • Antidote
        September 4, 2010, 8:03 pm

        Keith — more irony: restoring not only a European oasis, but also a biblical past:

        link to huffingtonpost.com

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  6. munro
    August 29, 2010, 12:00 pm

    “Anyone else struck by the extreme irony of Ashkenazi Jews trying to replant the Black Forest on the Mediterranean Coast?”

    While bombing forests in Lebanon.

    link to reforest-lebanon.com

    (Thoreau club comment added to Best of Mooser!)

  7. sherbrsi
    August 29, 2010, 1:43 pm

    The photos were posted “to protest the JNF’s complicity in the crime of pushing the Arab and Bedouin residents of the Negev from their lands,” according to a statement.

    As part of the effort to “Judaize” the Negev, the government leased much of the unrecognized village’s lands to the JNF, for forestation purposes, said the activists.

    Where is Witty with his usual sermons? Is this act of Judaizing the Negev a part of Israel’s Jewish character or its alleged democratic nature?

    After all I can’t make the better argument if I don’t know which part of Israel’s ideals this falls under.

  8. radii
    August 29, 2010, 2:26 pm

    with respect, what you all need is deprogramming

    the “tribal” stuff is the most insidious, but all religious and ethno-centric programming is harmful in the modern world

    when you realize you’re an atheist it is so freeing it can hardly be described … it is also humbling/maddening to realize all the myth/mysticism/theology is made-up crap to promote social cohesion and an elitist structure for those who want its power

    you may feel rudderless for a while, navigating a sea of zombie-like believers, but once you get past the smugness and self-satisfaction you see the world, the universe as it really is

    when it comes to I/P some really awful people are doing terrible things to another people

    • RoHa
      August 30, 2010, 6:54 am

      Exactly.

      Israel is one of the nastiest results of ethnocentrism, but all ethnocentrism, all “celebrating differences”, all “identifying as a [fill in ethnic group]” is pathological because it turns attention away from common humanity and concentrates on a limited group and limited possibilities.

    • MHughes976
      August 30, 2010, 3:02 pm

      I don’t think that atheism is the antidote to Zionism, a movement whose leaders have often been, or often passed themsevles off as, atheists. Modern philosophy has always been trying to extract the good juice fromthe bad husk of religion and Zionism has managed to look like an extremely successful effort to do exactly that. From ancient prophecy, a modern, science based project, bringing development where there had been backwardness, democracy where there had been tribalism, roses where there had been thorns! From religion, from the wisdom of the ancients, but not necessarily of religion and certainly not ancient – just what we had wanted! – all adumbrated by George Eliot, one of the most important sceptical thinkers of her age, in a way the mother of Zionism just as Herzl was the father.
      Of if you prefer you can simply have old-time bible truth, prophecy fulfilled against the carpings of sceptics.
      Zionism manages to appeal to old-time religion and to progressive streams of thought that are deeply integrated with philosophy of the highest quality – both at once. That’s its genius.

  9. yishai
    August 29, 2010, 2:45 pm

    So glad to see this activism in Israel on this issue. This racist ethnic cleansing is disgusting, and ongoing, and escalating, and needs to stop! The JNF operates paramilitary organizations called the Green Patrol, supposedly to protect the environment, but in reality to ethnically cleanse, confiscate sheep and goats, destroy houses, uproot trees and crops, etc. This nationalist organization should have its Charitable status removed in all 50 countries where it lies to extort Jewish charity contributions for its evil ends.

  10. alexno
    August 29, 2010, 4:33 pm

    P.S. On the Never again front, France and other European countries are turning on the Roma, fellow victims of the Jews during the Holocaust, seeking to expel them and destroy their camps. Read Ethel Brooks, a US Romany writer, in the Guardian.

    Superficial remark on a complicated issue. An American such as Brooks writing about this subject is as believable as Europeans writing about US politics (automatically dismissed). Certainly Sarkozy was stupid in making a public statement of policy, but the same reactions are occurring all over Europe, from Denmark to Spain. The reaction is visceral, not thought out.

    Gut reactions happen, particularly in France, where I live. The Roma might make more of an effort to fit in with society, as is usual with immigrants, but they don’t. They are happy to advertise their separateness, and it leads to gut reactions.

    The comments on Ethel Brooks’ article are to read, as they show the variety of opinions, but there’s little from southern or middle Europe, where the problem is the same.

  11. yourstruly
    August 29, 2010, 9:42 pm

    and so, from the mouth of his most esteemed of ultra-orthodox holies, predictably, a call for the annhilation of people, Arabs as it turns out. But how is this any different from Adolf Hitler’s calling for the annihilation of Jews? Oh, why of course, Hitler turned his dream into reality.

  12. yourstruly
    August 29, 2010, 9:44 pm

    and so, from the mouth of his most esteemed of ultra-orthodox holies, predictably too, a call for the annhilation of a people, Arabs, as it turns out. But how is this any different from Adolf Hitler’s calling for the annihilation of Jews? Oh, why of course, Hitler turned his dream into reality.

  13. Chu
    August 30, 2010, 9:17 am

    Is the continued land theft & occupation a absolute requirement to maintaining the state of Israel? It’s seems as though it’s more of result of Zionism and it’s nationalistic desires to take as much land as possible. Are they embarrassed that their formed state will look like Swiss cheese after a peace agreement? They keep pushing for more, but it’s yielding little return, in my eyes.

    Can they still survive as a state on the border of 1967? of course.

  14. Antidote
    August 30, 2010, 10:11 am

    Another society in crisis: Germany and racism/anti-Semitism (?)

    slightly OT, but relevant to an issue frequently discussed here — see, for example Phil’s post on national myth formation and the controversial ethnobiological case for Jewish nationalism and Zionism in the wake of recent genetic research which allegedly – like Phil I don’t think it actually does — challenges or even refutes Sand’s main thesis in his “Invention of the Jewish People”:

    link to mondoweiss.net

    So now we have the charge of anti-Semitism against German Central Banker Thilo Sarrazin, a Social Democrat, for the following comments:

    “All Jews share a particular gene that makes them different from other peoples.”

    “The cultural peculiarities of the peoples is no myth, but determines the reality of Europe.”

    Sarrazin has struck a nerve and come under fire for his critique of Muslim migrants and the failure of their integration into German society. Last year, he remarked that he would prefer immigration by Eastern European Jews because of their IQ being higher than that of the German population. His recent remarks on the ‘Jewish gene’ were rejected as ‘racial profiling’ by S. Kramer, secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany:

    “Whoever tries to define Jews by their genetic makeup, even when it is superficially positive in tone, is in the grip of a race mania that Jews do not share.”

    link to dw-world.de,,5953098,00.html

    I agree with Kramer in principle, yet some Jews/Zionists apparently do share this view, even though Kramer denies this. Why?

    How can the same argument — the ‘Jewish gene’ — alternately be interpreted anti-semitic and racist, and pro-Israel/Zionist?

    Logical or not?

  15. MHughes976
    August 30, 2010, 3:08 pm

    Of course there is no Jewish gene. There is no scientific basis for the distinction between Jewish people and other people. There is one human species. That is a nail that Sand has hit fairly and squarely on the head.

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