Shimon Gapso and the racism of Israeli life

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Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso (Photo: Tomer Appelbaum)

Some five years ago I wrote disparagingly of Shimon Gapso’s open racism.
At the time he tried to woo his constituency, the residents of the city of Upper Nazareth, on the occasion of the last mayoral elections by resorting to venomous diatribes against the city’s Arab citizens. His main competitor at the time, Ronen Plut, used the same scare tactic of warning the electorate of the danger of Arabs sullying the purity of their Jewish city. When he lost to Gapso, Plut apparently gave up, sold his home to Arabs and moved to a purer locality. He had expressed his discomfort at the fact that those same Arabs had not forgotten that till the 1950′s they had owned the land on which Upper Nazareth was built. So, I presume, he told them and Gapso to shove it.

Gapso is at it again. But now I feel I owe the man an apology. He has exonerated himself in the most logical of arguments. In an op-ed piece in Haaretz  he writes:

Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it’s important that it remains so. If that makes me a racist, then I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of “racists’” who started with the “Covenant of the Pieces” …

He then proceeds to list a long roster of Jewish historical figures and of Zionist heroes to whom he wants us to compare him. I find it difficult to argue with the man.

To start with, my last name, “Kanaaneh,” is the Arabic version of the biblical “Canaanites.” Apparently it was my ancestral land that his (and perhaps the reader’s) good Lord promised to Moses, commanding him to cleanse it of its then current inhabitants. You, kind reader, will understand why He and I never really got along after that. And I don’t mean Shimon Gapso; he is too powerful for me to take head-on: He belongs to the dominant political stream which is working diligently in the Knesset in the most democratic of ways to obliterate my cultural identity as a Palestinian and to outlaw my obscene secret thoughts, such as feeling sad on Nakba Day. It is the good Lord that I have a bone to pick with. If Gapso’s Yahweh orders him and his ilk to “cleanse the land of its current inhabitants,” Allah commands me and my crowd to “kill them wherever you meet them and drive them out from where they have driven you out; for persecution is worse than killing.” (Chapter 2, verse 192.) And mind you, there are more of us, Allah’s fans, than there are of you, Yahweh’s clique. I am discounting the Christian Zionists, of course, since they want to convert or slaughter all of us, but especially all of you, Gapso!

But I remain hopeful especially now with prime minister Netanyahu’s new obsession with genetics and DNA testing to determine who is really a Jew.
If and when one’s rights devolve back to the sequences of his amino acids, Gapso may loose out. In these parts, we determine one’s roots through the female line of genetic evolution. So while his figurative Jewish grandmother stuck to her faith but fooled around with Arabs and Berbers in Spain and North Africa (take a look at him, will you!) my Canaanite grandma converted to the Jewish, then to the Zoroastrian, the Christian and the Islamic faiths but fornicated only with the locals. You can judge for yourself, dear reader, who has the purer bloodline.

Then I check on my man online. Lo and behold, Gaspo is reported to have admitted to launching a campaign against himself with fabricated attacks against his character by particularly unpopular leftist and Arab politicians. I told you I have no desire to tangle with the man!

Then the weekend paper arrives and, as usual, I check the magazine first: The cover story is a 13-page spread about the “Most influential cultural figures” in Israel. I leaf through the piece: Some 17 critics and journalists attempt to encapsulate for us the significant achievements and outstanding public images of ten (actually 13) prominent cultural icons, each with four alternative deputies. I smile at each of the prominent men and women expectantly but none smiles back at me. I fail to discover the name of a single Palestinian/Arab man or woman in the entire list. Perhaps that is to be expected when none of the critics/journalists is Arab. I go on line and check the full list of 100 most influential cultural figures. I waste another half hour but not a single Arab is to be encountered. And this is in Haaretz, the most liberal and best established paper in the land. I struggle with the existential meaning of this for me, a citizen of a country where I have zero impact on its culture. Finally I settle for a wimpy explanation: “It is a matter of definition,” I reassure myself.

Gapso is a more daring man than I am. He makes a list of all those with whom he wants us to associate him starting with Abraham and Moses, skipping through to Theodor Herzl, and ending with Ben-Gurion. He has one word for the whole lot: “RACIST.” Of course, he must be mistaken or misguided. But if I do the same, and believe me, from where I stand, I am tempted, for the straw man he constructs is very convincing, then I am anti-Semitic.

(Crossposted at Hatim Kanaaneh’s blog A Doctor in Galilee)

About Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. His collection of short stories entitled "Chief Complaint" will be published in the spring of 2015.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government

{ 12 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. flyod says:

    this pretty much gets to the heart of this unfortunate affair….god’s chosen racist creed…how 458 bc

    • MHughes976 says:

      Is that your date for Nehemiah’s mission?

      • flyod says:

        close. nehemiah, about 13 years later, began enforcing that racist law with the help of an outside persian king and his force..sound familiar? nehemiah, the prototype of the later day zionist adviser to foriegn governments. his mission: to ban all those happy and peaceful mixed marriages that were prevalent, lest one face excommunication from the “tribe”. the purifying of the blood lines if you will. that which has become israel today…
        it’s all rather fascinating. to understand this is to realize the hopelessness of the present situation.
        458, the year the levites inserted that law which put all this in motion. a people to be set apart from the rest of humanity.
        “and all the people wept when they heard the words of the law”..

  2. MHughes976 says:

    Since Ezekiel 47:22 prescribes equality for strangers sojourning in the land, who shall be treated as if they were Israelites, it seems that the prophet does not share in the glorious heritage of Ben-Gurion and should be dug up for his DNA to be tested.

  3. Citizen says:

    I am ashamed of Dick and Jane, who fund the Israeli chauvinism, and their stupid biblical justifications for what people were hanged for at Nuremberg, and so many millions died to end during WW2.

  4. Israel, the ODME (‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’) aka
    Obscenely Determined Megalomaniacal Entity.

    megalomania. — noun
    ‘a symptom of mental illness marked by delusions of greatness, wealth, etc. allied to an obsession of self-importance and superiority’

    Sounds to me like a reasonably correct description. No genuine democracy treats human rights, civil rights and individual rights with such continuous contempt.

  5. Walker says:

    Shimon Gapso. The name sounds vaguely Tibetan, but not the ideology.

    • gamal says:

      Ah yes Songtsän Gampo who opened Tibet to Buddhism.

    • eljay says:

      >> Shimon Gapso. The name sounds vaguely Tibetan, but not the ideology.

      At first glance, the name Gapso registered as “Gestapo”. I clearly got the name wrong. Not sure sure about the ideology, though…

  6. RE: “Gaspo is reported to have admitted to launching a campaign against himself with fabricated attacks against his character by particularly unpopular leftist and Arab politicians.” ~ Hatim Kanaaneh

    NOTE THE SIMILAR TACTIC:

    ~ ~ ~ JIDF 4chan operations for Feb 2011 ~ ~ ~
    Jewish Internet Defense Force (offsite) – link to thejidf.org

    This upcoming February we will be launching our largest operation on 4chan and other popular image boards, our objective is to create an image of Palestinians and Lebanese being virulently anti-American and anti-Western.
    • Create threads against Israel and fill them with posts from violent Jihadist Palestinians, claim to want to immigrate into the West to do Jihad, later on in the threads post links to propaganda films like Pallywood.
    • Exploit massive Lebanese immigration into Australia as a reason why the Australian people should support Israel.
    • Claim that Israel helps stop Muslim immigration into the West.
    • Post propaganda threads linking to Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers and other Muslim extremism, in these threads also reply as a Jew who has been affected by Jihadist violence, explain to the readers that Muslims are a threat to the West.
    Start threads claiming to be Lebanese-Americans or Palestinian-Englanders, portray yourselves as extremely anti-Israel, later on in these threads claim to be a Jew disgusted by the behavior of the Lebanese/Palestinian man.

    MD5: 98bc2f5ba195396e3958bcec640a4292-7-6-6-2-5-8-2-1-8-9-3-6-7-8-4-5-6

    SOURCE – link to niqnaq.wordpress.com

  7. RE: “But I remain hopeful especially now with prime minister Netanyahu’s new obsession with genetics and DNA testing to determine who is really a Jew. If and when one’s rights devolve back to the sequences of his amino acids, Gapso may loose out.” ~ Hatim Kanaaneh

    MY COMMENT: So now they are saying that Zionism does equal racism?!?! Just a few years ago they were incensed that anyone would dare say such a thing.*
    I’m so confused. I just wish they would make up their minds.
    * United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 – link to en.wikipedia.org

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Birthright, Israeli Government Demand DNA Tests to Prove Jewishness”, By Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 8/04/13
    EXCERPT: The dreams of Nazi racialists appear alive and well in Likudist Israel.
    LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com

  8. ziusudra says:

    Greetings,
    DNA proof?
    Nitwit-jahu can ask Dr. Eran Elhaik, an Israeli Geneticist who stated in an interwiew with Haaretz, the DNA of World Jewry in Dec. 2012; Semites they ain’t!
    ziusudra