Dov Yermiya, who said, ‘I renounce my belief in Zionism which has failed,’ dies at 101

Middle East
on 14 Comments

Dov Yermiya died on Saturday at 101 at the kibbutz in northern Israel where he lived. Yermiya was a leading Israeli dissident who had fought in Israel’s war of independence but renounced Zionism in 2009, in the wake of the “crimes” of the assault on Gaza. From Ronnie Barkan’s Facebook page:

Dov Yermiya, a Zionist founder turned into dissident, passed away at the ripe age of 101. may he rest in peace…

Yermiya was [a] founder of the Zionist state and held many key roles to that effect. He was born in Palestine and had tried to create a moral kind of Zionism, an attempt which he later admitted to have failed miserably. At the ripe age of 95 he had officially renounced Zionism and its crimes.

Yermiya became famous for an antiwar book he published in 1982 called My War Diary, and today he is remembered for a letter he wrote in 2009, quoted by Uri Avnery.

I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel,

Declare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions, that I shall not sing anymore its nationalist anthem, that I shall stand at attention only on the days of mourning for those fallen on both sides in the wars, and that I look with a broken heart at an Israel that is committing suicide and at the three generations of offspring that I have bred and raised in it.

Dov Yermiya memorial image by Ronnie Barkan

Dov Yermiya memorial image by Ronnie Barkan

…[F]or 42 years, Israel turned what should have been Palestine into a giant detention camp, and is holding a whole people captive under an oppressive and cruel regime, with the sole aim of taking away their country, come what may!!!

The IDF eagerly suppresses their efforts at rebellion, with the active assistance of the settlement thugs, by the brutal means of a sophisticated Apartheid and a choking blockade, inhuman harassment of the sick and of women in labor, the destruction of their economy and the theft of their best land and water.

Over all this there is waving the black flag of the frightening contempt for the life and blood of the Palestinians. Israel will never be forgiven for the terrible toll of blood spilt, and especially the blood of children, in hair-raising quantities… ”

As a veteran of the 1948 war, who was already wounded in face to face combat two weeks before the Declaration of the State, I feel obliged herewith to return the invitation to you, as Minister of Defence. I do so regretfully but see this as my duty.

I consider you, Ehud Barak, as one of the top military commanders and prominent political leaders who were responsible for converting the army from ‘the Israeli Defence Force’ to an army of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people and defender of the criminal settlements in their country.

Forty years of occupation have utterly corrupted the Israeli army and all strata of Israeli society.They are both characterized by the nationalist ‘east wind’ [the east wind brings the chamsin and locusts ]which blows and kindles conflagrations of endless wars, which threaten our people and land with the third and final destruction. Your share in the responsibility for all this is enormous, and therefore I return your invitation to you, without thanks…

Here’s a trailer from a documentary about Yermiya, published five years ago by Avi Dabach, in which the charming nonagenarian says that Israel will not exist in another 50-100 years:

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14 Responses

  1. xanadou
    February 1, 2016, 11:48 am

    Respect!

    It must have been a very hard decision to make and act on for a Man in his late years, at a time when most slowly succumb into their calcifying beliefs.

    To look back and see, with so much regret, what he had once participated in and understand that “Israel will never be forgiven for the terrible toll of blood spilt, and especially the blood of children, in hair raising quantities…”, takes great courage.

    I hope that Mr. Yermiya found solace in raising his family. And should Mr. Yermiya’s fear come to pass that “Israel will not exist in another 50-100 years”, I hope that this Man will be remembered by more than his immediate survivors.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Yermiya.

    • eljay
      February 1, 2016, 12:16 pm

      || xanadou: February 1, 2016, 11:48 am ||

      +1.

      || … And should Mr. Yermiya’s fear come to pass that “Israel will not exist in another 50-100 years” … ||

      Mr. Yermiya must not have gotten the memo that MaxNarr, Mayhem and others received, telling them that Israel will be the world’s first “Thousand Year ‘Jewish State'”.

      • lysias
        February 1, 2016, 5:38 pm

        Der tausendjährige Judenstaat.

      • Steve Grover
        February 1, 2016, 11:18 pm

        eljay is simply sounds like an Israel hating Neo Nazi with this comment. Not surprising.

      • eljay
        February 2, 2016, 11:34 am

        || Steve Grover: eljay is simply sounds like an Israel hating Neo Nazi with this comment. … ||

        Right, because neo-Nazis is simply notoriously for advocating the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

        So, are you actually saying that the “Jewish State” won’t last a thousand years? Why do you hate Jews so much?

      • Cliff
        February 3, 2016, 7:24 am

        @Stevie

        How is someone calling someone/something else a Nazi, in-turn a Nazi themselves?

        Great zio-logic.

      • echinococcus
        February 3, 2016, 3:09 pm

        Grover,

        Nazism is characterized by the justification of landgrab, right of conquest, war of aggression, suppose-racially based state, hyper-nationalist ideology and military repression of opponents, inside and abroad with no regard for international law.
        I’ll avoid doing a point-by-point comparison to avoid making some moderators nervous.
        Describes Zionism to a tee. Or to a zee.

    • pabelmont
      February 2, 2016, 8:02 am

      Israel will never be forgiven? I disagree. Germany has been forgiven, generally.

      That said, I believe that Israel will not be forgiven while its crimes are on-going and, indeed, increasing. The nations (by which I really mean the EU) seem to be far-too-gradually moving toward recognition of those crimes. But South Africa persisted quite a while before the total acquiescence-in-evil typical of the nations was overcome. There is HUGE resistance among nations to challenging other nations (interfering with their internal affairs).

      Well, at least while the USA protects them. There have of course been sanctions against Iraq and Iran based on military arguments — alleged danger to principal states. Israel is not seen as dangerous to “other states” because Lebanon and Gaza are ho-hum not “principal” states in the view of the white-Western-oligarchic-blah-blah).

  2. pabelmont
    February 1, 2016, 12:23 pm

    There are still prophets. He was not 101 or even 95, and safe, when he wrote “My War Diary” (1982 ?).

  3. Froggy
    February 1, 2016, 4:15 pm

    You were a Mensch

    Bless you, sir. RIP.

  4. Nevada Ned
    February 1, 2016, 10:24 pm

    In his book, The Fateful Triangle, about Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Chomsky drew on Yermiya’s book, My War Diary.

  5. gingershot
    February 3, 2016, 9:43 am

    ‘No Longer Chosen’

    Apartheid psychologically requires the abuser-abused dynamic. ‘We of the gods and masters – you slaves’. ‘We the sadistic parent – you the abused child’

    Question us or resist us and you will no longer exist, we will make sure of it

    Zionism as practiced by Israelis is not only a crime against humanity (which is precisely what Apartheid slavery is according to UN law and Geneva), it is the abusive psychological dynamic of sadomasochism incorporated as a political/Israeli state foundation

    Zionism as practiced by Israelis is racism, because Zionism as practiced by Israelis is apartheid

    ‘No Longer Chosen’ is the motto of a man psychologically free of a toxic tribal/parental dynamic. It’s the motto of one free of being a sadist.

    It is the renunciation of a toxic tribal/religious/psychological dynamic. It’s a beautiful thing

    ‘No Longer Chosen’ and now free …

  6. echinococcus
    February 3, 2016, 3:03 pm

    It’s all so nice to get out in protest at 95. I only see him protest the post-1967, however. His part in the invasion, dispossession and ethnic cleansing prior to that still goes unexamined:

    converting the army from ‘the Israeli Defence Force’ to an army of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people and defender of the criminal settlements in their country…
    Forty years of occupation have utterly corrupted the Israeli army and all strata of Israeli society.They are both characterized by the nationalist ‘east wind’…

    The “defense force” nonsense and the terrorist past remain untouched there. Sounds like some kind of Uri Avnery. If there is more from Yermiya to indicate a more in-depth analysis, it wasn’t reflected in this paper.

  7. Whatt
    February 7, 2016, 9:28 am

    I met Dov Yermya around 1983 or 1984, he was visiting the home of a Palestinian friend of his in Northern California. The Palestinian was from the Galilee where Dov was one of the military commanders of the Jewish Army occupying Northern Palestine during the Nakba period. I remember him as a good man, charismatic and handsome. I think he had just written a book, and signed it for me. I remember that he said he felt more comfortable with Northern Galilee Palestinians than his Israeli compatriot. The Palestinian from the Galilee is long dead now, and I have this memory telling me that that Dov somehow refused orders from Rabin and Ben Gurion ordering him to completely cleanse the Galilee of Palestinians, in the now infamous “operation Matate”. Matate means broom in hebrew. For an interesting quote on Operation Matate see the great documentary “Route 181” by directors Michel Khleifi (Palestinian), and Eyal Sivan (Israeli).

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