I am not a jew

Activism
on 63 Comments

reflections on the taxi ride
to Midway airport in Chicago upon leaving the
Jewish Voice for Peace conference
april 3 2017

according to the taxi driver
Israeli and jewish,
shouting with fervored hatred
over his shoulder at me
as I sit
in the back seat of his car,
I am not a jew

and he is right
and it is true

for as I accept the
well-used small glass
brimming with sweet tea
from the hands of
the brown-skinned farmer in his
fields outside Hebron
and
as we sit next to his home
demolished to rubble
by Israeli bulldozers a
week earlier
and
as we look across the bypass road
at the freshly grown houses of
settlers, glimpsing through windows
the flicker of their candles
while they recite their
Sabbath prayers
I am not a jew

and as I witness the stories of babies,
as beloved as I love my own,
stolen by an eager zionism
from newly arriving
Mizrahim mothers and fathers
told heartless lies, left
disregarded and broken
to provide human fodder for
an Ashkenazi nation
I am not a Jew

and as I stand pressed
shoulder to shoulder
at Kalandia or any checkpoint
in a crowd anxious to get home,
and
as we are made to wait for useless hours by
18-year-olds dressed up as soldiers,
boasting with the power
of the gun at their waists
and
as they casually control the fate
of old men and pregnant women
standing too long on swollen feet
I am not a jew

why would I claim this tribe
whose leaders weave a civilized silence
and distorted denials
in the name of
never again

what I would give to be a jew
once more, to lay claim to
a tikkun o’lam
beseeching me to see
the stranger as myself;
how I long to belong
to a people who care more
about who we are becoming than
a state hijacking us daily
body and soul

but the taxi driver is not finished
and his accusations reach fever pitch
as I am again and again not a jew
but also a liar and a
terrorist

captive to his rantings
as he drives on enraged
I just want to
go home
where I can be not a jew
in peace

About Tema Okun

Tema Okun is a long time activist, teacher, writer, and artist. Like many Jews, she worries. She worries mostly that g-d is crying.

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63 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 18, 2017, 10:54 am

    Jeez, what a train of mirrors home.

  2. Philip Weiss
    April 18, 2017, 11:13 am

    Thank you Tema for this unbelievable piece of writing.

    • Mooser
      April 18, 2017, 12:16 pm

      “Thank you Tema for this unbelievable piece of writing.”

      I agree. Completely unbelievable.

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2017, 1:37 pm

        I guess the definition of good poetry is whether it fits your politics. This Judaeophobic wicked child poetry – the poet defines Judaism exactly as Islamophobic writers define Islam – seems determined to claim that Judaism and Zionism are the same thing. Weird. I thought you were trying to suggest the opposite here.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 2:00 pm

        “seems determined to claim that Judaism and Zionism are the same thing. Weird. I thought you were trying to suggest the opposite here.”

        “Hophmi”, really, does it matter what a bunch of ideologues like us say about that? Nobody will ever take us for authorities on that subject!

        So why don’t you tell us what Judaism and Zionism there very own selves have to say about the relationship between them, “Hophmi”?
        Did they get a divorce, or did they just never meet and don’t know each other?

      • eljay
        April 21, 2017, 3:41 pm

        || hophmi: … This Judaeophobic wicked child poetry … seems determined to claim that Judaism and Zionism are the same thing. … ||

        In which case it’s echoing the claim you Zionists frequently make.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 4:20 pm

        “This Judaeophobic wicked child poetry…”

        WTF? When did they put cabdrivers in loco parentis over their customers?

        But, we all know it’s a mitzvah for a Zionist Jew to assault or intimidate any questioning Jew.

      • Talkback
        April 21, 2017, 7:38 pm

        eljay: “In which case it’s echoing the claim you Zionists frequently make.”

        Well, self hatred is a “sad disease” accordíng to Hophmi.

      • Talkback
        April 21, 2017, 7:40 pm

        hophmi: “I guess the definition of good poetry is whether it fits your politics.”

        Like your definition of antisemtism?

      • jd65
        April 22, 2017, 11:02 am

        @ hophmi:

        I guess the definition of good poetry is whether it fits your politics.

        No. I’d say that that’s an awful definition. However, I would say that you may letting your own politics define what qualifies as bad poetry. That’s the feeling I get from your post. There’s plenty of art/writing/film that posits the same attitude I have toward Palestine/Zionism that I think is pretty lousy work, and other excellent artworks/writing that take a stance on the issue that I wholly disagree with. I’m guessing hophmi is not an artist…

    • Bob Herbst
      April 19, 2017, 10:43 am

      Beautiful poem Tema. I’m afraid we get no peace at home as well. Being a Jew is a lot like being an American these days: terrible things are done in our name. No justice, no peace.

    • Freija
      April 22, 2017, 6:14 am

      beautiful poem Tema!
      It confirms the deep problem of jewishness in the context of zionism:
      here is the open letter from french philosopher Alain Badiou to french Zionist Alain Finkielkraut:

      http://bibliobs.nouvelobs.com/idees/20151112.OBS9357/lettre-ouverte-a-alain-finkielkraut.html

      necessarily a ‘convulsive identity problem’ in Finkielkraut’s zionist justification.

  3. AddictionMyth
    April 18, 2017, 11:31 am

    Ye of little faith. ;-)

  4. yonah fredman
    April 18, 2017, 11:51 am

    The mizrachim ashkenazi passage subtracts from the piece. (tokenism)
    Otherwise quite disturbing.

    • Tema Okun
      April 18, 2017, 1:34 pm

      That passage refers to the thousands of children stolen by Israeli health officials from Mizrahi/Yemen mothers and fathers when they relocated to Israel in the late 40s and 50s. Women would go to give birth and be told their child had died, or parents would take their sick children to hospital and be told their child had died, when in reality they had been secretly, illegally, and inhumanely “disappeared” for adoption by Ashkenazi parents. Read: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/world/middleeast/israel-missing-yemenite-children.html and/or http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.761799 or this from Mondoweiss: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/secret-israels-stolen/

      • jd65
        April 18, 2017, 4:07 pm

        I very much enjoyed reading this piece, Tema. Thank you for sharing here.

        I wouldn’t assume to know how others feels about this for themselves. And poems can, of course, be endlessly interpreted. For myself, I feel that when I look at it objectively, my internal struggle of whether or not to regard myself as a Jew, or as “Jewish” comes down mainly to self-absorbed navel gazing (not that I can stop…). And I either need to A) Scrap the label entirely as I’ve never actually embraced/practiced Judaism, or B) Get over it already and simply accept the fact that the word(s)/idea of Jew and/or “Jewish” have been mangled beyond any possibility of being untangled. “Tangled Up In Jew,” anyone? That’s Dylan’s original title, by the way. Look it up…

        I would also say that quite possibly, I’d not be having any internal conflict over my “Jewiness,” or lack thereof, if not for Israel being the monstrosity that it is, while claiming to act in the name of Jews worldwide. I absolutely had none of these “Jewish Identity” issues before I started understanding what Israel/Zionism had done, and continues to do, to Palestine and Palestinians.

    • Mooser
      April 18, 2017, 1:54 pm

      “Otherwise quite disturbing.”

      You don’t think she tipped the cabbie? As you say, “Yonah”:

      “those who hate judaism are antisemites. which puts critics of judaism or those alienated from the strict observance of their parents wishing to water down judaism in the boat of being slightly antisemitic.” “yonah fredman” http://mondoweiss.net/profile/wondering-jew/?keyword=boat#sthash.4E6h8hM5.dpuf

      Who needs people like that? To paraphrase Mr Allen ‘Reform Rabbi today, Nazi goon tomorrow!’

  5. eljay
    April 18, 2017, 12:22 pm

    The (pro-)Zionist taxi driver appears to believe that Jew = injustice + immorality. It’s strange that (pro-)Zionists are so anti-Semitic.

    • Tema Okun
      April 19, 2017, 7:39 am

      I think the formula is anti-Zionist Jew = injustice + immorality. Our sense is that the taxi driver was waiting outside the Jewish Voice for Peace conference, which had just hosted Linda Sarsour and Rasmea Odeh as plenary speakers, to pick up passengers like us so that he could deliver the rant that was living inside him and wanting so desperately to get out. He had preprinted “shame” flyers that he shoved at us as he ranted. In his mind he was the real Jew and we were not Jews at all in the distorted and all too familiar equation that real Jew = uncritical support of Israel.

      • eljay
        April 19, 2017, 8:07 am

        Right: He believes that he – a Zionist (injustice + immorality) – is (equals) the “real” Jew.

  6. yourstruly
    April 18, 2017, 12:56 pm

    very inspirational

  7. pabelmont
    April 18, 2017, 4:24 pm

    Terrific poem.

    For myself, I think I’ve never been a Jew but I’ve sometimes thought there was something attractive in Jewish ethics (well, in SOME Jewish ethics) that made me want to be a Jew. Of course, the overwhelming landslide support for Israel among Americans claiming rather loudly (shrilly?) to be Jews is quite off-putting. I mean Einstein, Marx, and Freud were terrific and all, but did they persuasively argue in favor of Zionism?

    But some taxi-drivers love and respect Israel. How do they explain the Israeli oppression of Palestinians?

    “They made me do it” is a great excuse, could fit on a taxi bumper. “I’m strictly moral and deeply ethical, as everyone knows, but when push comes to shove, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do”, and “you have to break someone else’s eggs to make an omelet for yourself”, and other wonderful too-long-for-a-bumper-sticker slogans supportive of the idea of an ethical Zionism.

    But did the Palestinians really make the Zionists “do it”? Did the Palestinians create or motivate Hitler for the final solution? Did the Palestinians really make Balfour do what Balfour did (commemorated in this its 100th year)? Did the Palestinians really demand massive Jewish immigration into Palestine 1920-1948?

    The Palestinians were invisible in all this, not actors. And Elijah didn’t come — again — this passover.

    And when the Zionists discerned (1930s) that there would be some objection to their hoped-for take-over of Palestine, did the Palestinians really force the Zionists to say, as they said — in actions louder than words — we want the whole country for our own, and get the Arabs outta here!

    Or did the Zionists just decide to take what they wanted to take, claiming that might makes right, still their slogan today?

    Trump’s slogan too, I guess. I mean he won in the electoral college! He’s mighty and so he’s righty! Like Israel.

    • JeffB
      April 19, 2017, 6:22 am

      @Pablemont

      And when the Zionists discerned (1930s) that there would be some objection to their hoped-for take-over of Palestine, did the Palestinians really force the Zionists to say, as they said — in actions louder than words — we want the whole country for our own, and get the Arabs outta here!

      That’s not what happened. Starting in 1927, because of the citrus boom, a solid majority had developed among Zionists of moving towards a classical colonial structure. There was a strong economic need for Palestinian labor and a more inclusive Zionism was mainstream. In the early 1930s transfer was not a serious option for the Zionist project. The violence in 1936 was directed against Jewish immigration and British control, not Zionist control. Arguably the mass violence of the 1930s was against a less violent, more inclusive Zionism.

      • CigarGod
        April 20, 2017, 10:08 am

        Ha!
        Hysterical revisionism.
        That’s right, pal.
        It’s all about oranges.
        Palestinian Jews were welcoming Zionists as long lost brothers.
        Move your hand, dude.
        I’ll pour more some more Aviv into your juice.

  8. Annie Robbins
    April 18, 2017, 4:56 pm

    wow, this is incredible.

    • inbound39
      April 19, 2017, 4:37 am

      I agree Annie….What Tema wrote was fantastically clear and Pabelmonts post gave it all crystal clarity. It’s why I love coming to this site.

  9. RoHa
    April 18, 2017, 10:28 pm

    “She worries mostly that g-d is crying.”

    The poem shows that she worries about the victims of Israel, and quite rightly.

    She doesn’t need to worry about g-d. He’s old enough to look after himself.

  10. JosephA
    April 19, 2017, 12:29 am

    Excellent, heart felt prose. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Maghlawatan
    April 19, 2017, 10:12 am

    Great stuff. Reminds me of Hass and Finkelstein who got it from decent parents who saw past the groupthink. The groupthink is Hitler’s victory.
    Judaism doesn’t have a central authority so is vulnerable to charlatans. And Zionism is so much misplaced emotion. It is also proof that violence is a trap. The pity of it all.

    It is like a deal with the devil.

  12. YoniFalic
    April 19, 2017, 12:44 pm

    When I think of my Jewish heritage and ancestry, I want to jump in the shower and scrub.

    When I think of the murders I committed in IDF uniform and have not taken my meds, I want to kill myself.

    • Eva Smagacz
      April 19, 2017, 4:25 pm

      Not sure if this will be of help, but I am sorry that you feel so bad.

    • Tema Okun
      April 19, 2017, 11:42 pm

      I cannot know your experience. I do not want you to kill yourself; your witness is important to me. We are all complicit; that’s the nature of what it means to be Jewish now just as it is the nature of what it means, for me, to be a U.S. citizen. Take care of yourself.

      • echinococcus
        April 20, 2017, 12:35 am

        He’s not “Jewish”. “Heritage and ancestry” do not transmit religion.

        Thanks for the beautiful poem.

      • YoniFalic
        April 20, 2017, 7:02 am

        My wife, who is psychiatric resident and a non-Jewish anti-Zionist activist originally from Ireland, keeps careful watch on my mental state and on the effect of my medications on it.

      • echinococcus
        April 20, 2017, 9:24 pm

        Yoni,

        There is a slight distance between psychiatric resident and Psychiatry resident. We don’t have the corresponding distinction about criminal lawyer. Best wishes to both of you.

      • YoniFalic
        April 21, 2017, 5:30 am

        Thanks. I now understand how this particular idiom is used.

  13. LisaAK
    April 19, 2017, 3:48 pm

    I wish there was a “like” button on Mondoweiss comments because this poem has inspired some great ones. Just a few of my thoughts:
    1) amazing and inspired poem;
    2) I’m from Chicago and was at the JVP conference. Tema, you were kidnapped and harassed by that driver. I have no doubt that he knew about the conference and deliberately went to McCormick Place to pick up JVP’ers. I hope you got his name and/or cab number. If you haven’t already, you can report him here: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/provdrs/consumer/svcs/consumer_cab_complaint.html
    3) I consider my Judaism to be a form of my resistance. I hold onto to it despite what Hitler did and the deaths of my grandparents. It is my legacy. I hold onto to it despite Zionism holding Judaism hostage, perverting it and giving people like that cab driver the immense chutzpah to believe they have the right or the power to decide who is Jewish and who is not. If I give up my Judaism, all of these assholes win. I refuse to let that happen.

  14. gamal
    April 19, 2017, 8:00 pm

    “I did not use poetry for anything at all, I didn’t hope to gain a thing. I was moved by intense impulses overwhelmed with magnanimity a feeling of love that flowed through my heart which drove me to raise my voice with poems or at least to chant them because I did crave solace for my spirit”

    “the most fatal corruption
    seeing the Tyrant oppressing
    seeing his praises sung
    At public gatherings”

    mahmoud sami Barudi in exile. and “the will of patient people doesn’t weaken”

  15. YoniFalic
    April 20, 2017, 7:10 am

    Aesop provided an excellent metaphor for the E European “Jewish” invasion of Palestine.

    http://www.litscape.com/author/Aesop/The_Wolf_And_The_Lamb.html

    My grandfather, who was a Third Aliyah invader and a mass murderer in 47-8, was one of the wolves.

    He deserved to hang just like the German Nazis found guilty by the Nuremberg IMT. Unfortunately, he died peacefully in his bed.

    It is important to address Zionist criminals (including former Zionists like me) in exactly this fashion.

    • CigarGod
      April 20, 2017, 10:18 am

      I ceased being a Zionist at 16. Males don’t even gain maturity until age 25.
      I think people get a lot of forgiveness until they gain awareness. They gain even more forgiveness by doing good works after that.
      Helping others is more productive than self-flagellation.
      Peace.

    • eljay
      April 20, 2017, 10:58 am

      YoniFalic, for what it’s worth I can’t condone any of the crimes you say you committed, but if I correctly understand correctly that…
      – you regret and accept responsibility for your actions; and
      – you are prepared to be held (appropriately) accountable for them,
      …you have my respect.

    • echinococcus
      April 21, 2017, 9:19 am

      Falic,

      Your point about who gets effectively prosecuted for crimes against humanity is extremely relevant.

      In practice, only the top tier of leaders get indicted and punished (if ever), as the action is rather symbolic. I can understand that going after each participant is highly impractical. It would probably paralyze society.

      Only, the absence of prosecution and punishment for low-level actors is being twisted into a perverse interpretation: that the physical torturers and executioners and support personnel, i.e. the ridiculous fiction that the little bastards who make any war crime possible are not guilty. That absurdity must be resoundingly rejected. Thank you for contributing to that.

      Anyway, deserters who turn against the criminal camp have done as much if not more than what is necessary to remedy the situation, so they should never be included. You cannot include yourself in this.

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2017, 1:32 pm

        Is fake academic Gilad Atzmon still permitted to post here?

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 2:23 pm

        “Is fake academic Gilad Atzmon still permitted to post here?”

        “Hophmi” you are “permitted” to post here. And you don’t even have an Organ trio.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 2:50 pm

        “Is fake academic Gilad Atzmon still permitted to post here?”

        For contrast, here’s some real, down-home, sock-it-to-me academic writing:

        “Phil has internalized anti-Jewish hatred, and like those secularist Jews in Europe who looked down upon their brethren or converted to Christianity to escape their Judaism, Phil adopts the classic tropes of the self-hater.
        Self-hatred is a disease. It is a sad disease borne of many generations of persecution, but it is a disease. And Phil is afflicted with it, as many Jews have been in the past. And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.”
        “Hophmi”

        I don’t want to intimidate “YoniFalic”, but he needs to know what he is taking on if he dares to contradict “Hophmi”. Sociologist, political analyst, medical doctor, and you should hear him davan!

      • jon s
        April 21, 2017, 5:30 pm

        Yonifalic , the Anti-Semitic meshumad, is also a self-confessed murderer. Why not encourage him to surrender himself to the appropriate authorities to stand trial for his crimes?

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 6:46 pm

        “Yonifalic , the Anti-Semitic meshumad, is also a self-confessed murderer. Why not encourage him to surrender himself to the appropriate authorities to stand trial for his crimes?” “Jon s”

        Just so that everybody what a peach of a guy and good Jew “Jon s” is, here’s this:

        “Yoni Falic” was raised in Israel, and was conscripted into the IDF when he reached draft age. And served during a war, in which he fought.

        Were you, “Jon s”?

        Just great, isn’t it, the respect and empathy for IDF vets evinced by American -born dual-passport settler “Jon s” from Beersheba.
        Gives an insight into “Jon s” character, and shows him to be a sterling guy. A real grown-up too, with a lot of insight into the serious issues confronting Israel.
        “Jon s” of course, never got near any war in the IDF. He’s “Israeli left”.

        A “meshumad” is a contemptuous term for a convert from Judaism. It’s all about belonging.

      • Talkback
        April 21, 2017, 7:07 pm

        jon s: “Yonifalic , the Anti-Semitic meshumad, is also a self-confessed murderer. Why not encourage him to surrender himself to the appropriate authorities to stand trial for his crimes?”

        A very good idea. Cause if he emptied his rifle into a little Nonjewish girl he may get compensated and promoted like “Captain R.” by the “appropriate authorities” of the so called “Jewish state”.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iman_Darweesh_Al_Hams

      • YoniFalic
        April 21, 2017, 8:26 pm

        The Elor Azaria affair indicates how I would be praised and lionized in Israel for following orders to murder unarmed Palestinian men, women, kids (including infants), all attempting to flee a battle area.

        While such treatment of me would help teach the world what Israel, Zionism, and Zionists are, my sanity would not survive it, and I would end up probably in a catatonic state as I was after Cast Lead.

      • YoniFalic
        April 21, 2017, 8:53 pm

        And if I am מְשׁוּמָד, I am because my soul was מוּשׁמָדה (destroyed) by service to Israel, Zionism, and the Jewish people.

        To be honest, the accusation of apostasy is moronic. The last three generations of my family like possibly most of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd aliyot have been secular.

        I was taught by my parents and grandparents to consider Judaism silly and repugnant. I tried out a few returnee yeshivas after I came to the USA. They just showed how correct my family is about Judaism.

        In retrospect, scorn for Judaism is the only point of agreement between me and my grandfather.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2017, 10:23 pm

        “Yonifalic , the Anti-Semitic meshumad, is also a self-confessed murderer.”

        And it’s not like “Jon s” has an obsession with “Yoni”. “Jon s” is scared to death of him. He goes into a panic.

        “If you think yonifalic is not an Anti-semite, and is trying to “save ” Israel, you probably haven’t been reading his comments.”“Jon s”

        “Not a word of condemnation for Yonifalic,a despicable murderer of innocent Palestinians. Does he get a pass because he’s at present a despicable Anti-Semite?” “Jon s”

        “Yonifalic is therefore a self-confessed war criminal and should be prosecuted.” “Jon s”

        Oh, here’s a beaut:

        “When I respond to Yonifalic’s hatefilled and outrageous comments- other commenters jump to his defense and attack me.” “Jon s”

        Gee, “Jon s” that’s a reflection of your ability to make friends and influence people. Yer doin’ great, pal!

        “I recall that he has also confessed to being a murderer of Palestinian civilians. He should turn himself in and stand trial for his crimes.” “Jon s”

        “YoniFalic, the Anti-Semitic meshumad:”

        Meshumad is a contemptuous term for ‘convert’ or ‘apostate’. I guess “self-hater”, traitor, and kapo wore out.
        Hey, but lets double down on stupidity, shall we:

        “yonah, The sewer has overflowed with with YoniFalic’s latest Anti-Semitic comment , blaming the Jews for the Holocaust”

        Oh look, here’s our new friend “meshumad again:

        ” and here it is, vicious Jew-hatred, from a meshumad, no less.” “Jon s”

        “YoniFalic’s bizarre crackpot theories, genocidal intentions and Anti-Semitic propaganda reach a new low” “Jon s”

        Yeah, yeah, write that indictment “Jon s”!

        “Are the moderators on Mondoweiss asleep? YoniFalic calls Judaism “silly and repugnant”.“Jon s”

        “Jon s” is on the job, he’s awake!

        “Allow me a question for you: what do you think about Yonifalic’s idea of “removing” the Israeli “invaders”? “Jon s”

        He’s interrogating the other posters about “YoniFalic” to see if a case should be filed against them, too.

        “YoniFalic has called repeatedly for the “invader population ” (=the Jews of Israel ) to be “removed”. I wrote that his comments constitute Hate Speech,” “Jon s”

        And you know about “hate speech”.

        Ah, but that “Jon s” is such a gracious fellow. There he is, got YoniFalic by the short hairs, Jon s knows he can get him banned anytime. But “Jon s” is a gentleman:

        “Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not urging the moderators and editors to censor or ban anyone. “

        We’re all breathing a big sigh of relief.

      • jon s
        April 22, 2017, 1:42 am

        Absolutely, Yonifalic, I suggest that you surrender yourself to Palestinian authorities. Preferably Hamas.

      • YoniFalic
        April 22, 2017, 9:42 am

        When the white racist genocidal European settler colonist invaders (and their lackeys) are removed (except for those to face trial under international genocide law) from the region and a legitimate independent Palestinian state replaces the criminal genocidal white racist European genocidal settler colonist invader regime, I will certainly turn myself in.

        My wife goes crazy when I explain, but I must describe my post-Cast-Lead so-called life. I suffer from eidetic memory. Unlike the usual genocidal IDF murderers, I can’t forget and can’t edit my memories. Every morning in my last dream, I see the Palestinian woman, who is fleeing with an infant in her arms, as I shoot them under orders from my commander.

        I am only functional because a psychiatrist realized after he spoke with me in one of my few lucid moments that the negative side effects of certain drugs to treat depression and bipolar disorder might actually help me. I now take a psychiatric cocktail that includes SSRIs, bipolar disorder medication, and ADHD medication that helps me maintain mental acuity despite the other drugs. Unfortunately, I seem to develop tolerance for the medications. Eventually they will stop working, and I will return to an apathetic catatonic state or kill myself.

        Sinéad believes that she and her colleagues will find a permanent effective treatment. I tell her that she watches too many movies (maybe in this case Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). She and some of friends (including some Palestinians) consider me (maybe potentially) a hero, who can help end the Zionist state. This perception of me is disturbing. I only see myself as a monster.

      • Mooser
        April 22, 2017, 11:24 am

        “To be honest, the accusation of apostasy is moronic”

        No, it is not, since Zionism is “Jon s’s” religion. As far as “Jon s” knows, Zionism is all there is to the Jewish religion.

        And my oh my, didn’t Zionism turn out a sterling product in him.

      • echinococcus
        April 22, 2017, 11:30 am

        John S,

        You still don’t get it. Where it says,

        “the absence of prosecution and punishment for low-level actors is being twisted into a perverse interpretation: that the physical torturers and executioners and support personnel, i.e. the ridiculous fiction that the little bastards who make any war crime possible are not guilty”, the last phrase means just your good self.

      • Mooser
        April 22, 2017, 11:34 am

        Gosh, can’t help but wonder what “Jon s” would say to an American veteran of the War on Iraq who came home with PTSD or emotional trauma?

        Would “Jon s” tell him to ‘ go turn yourself in to Al Queada’ if he expressed regret about his part in the war?
        Yup, it’s nasty, but I think I hit it on the nose:
        “A cracker who thinks he’s a matzoh, that’s “Jon s”.

      • Bumblebye
        April 22, 2017, 8:56 pm

        Yoni, you have unmade the monster from your nightmares. There is no going back. You have undone the programming inflicted on you by the Israeli government, society and your family. The programming that made you a tool, not a person. You live with horrific memories, but the monster is long gone.

        You have become an incredible real you.

      • jon s
        April 23, 2017, 1:58 pm

        As to Yonifalic’s alleged “eidetic memory”:

        From the Brittanica:
        “Eidetic image, an unusually vivid subjective visual phenomenon. An eidetic person claims to continue to “see” an object that is no longer objectively present. Eidetic persons behave as if they are actually seeing an item, either with their eyes closed or while looking at some surface that serves as a convenient background for the image. Furthermore, eidetic persons describe the image as if it is still present and not as if they are recalling a past event. The incidence of eidetic imagery is very low in children (2–10 percent) and almost nonexistent in adults.”

        Also see:
        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-such-a-thing-as/

      • Mooser
        April 23, 2017, 3:45 pm

        You can’t stop, can you “Jon s”?

        Why do Israeli Left Zionists hate IDF veterans so much?

      • oldgeezer
        April 23, 2017, 4:23 pm

        @jon ‘s

        Not sure why you question it so much Jon. It is generally accepted that it exists. I had a photographic memory in my youth. I remember sitting in exam rooms, closing my eyes and reading text book pages. Including images and their captions. It came naturally and easily. I lost that ability gradually between the ages of 20and 45. Now I forget where my car keys are and when I find them where exactly I parked my car at the mall.

        Eidetic memory or not there is no reason a traumatic or horrific event can’t be firmly imprinted on one’s memory making them unable to forget. I doubt many holocaust victims ever forget. I doubt many soldiers forget either. The lucky ones might. I know I will never forget a single split second of sitting by the side of my first two wives as they died. Never. Not even a slight dulling. All I can do is try not to think about it. Or my dad as well for that matter. Even 25 yrs later.

      • Mooser
        April 23, 2017, 5:40 pm

        “Not sure why you question it so much Jon.”

        Oh, that’s easy, “oldgeezer”! When “Jon s” shows us how much compassion and how much empathy he has for an injured Jewish IDF vet, he is showing us just how capable he is of being compassionate to Palestinians. Cause people are really all the same.

        (Of course, “jon s” is an Israeli psychiatrist as well as historian. He knows that psychologically healthy Israelis no more regret killing “Arabs” than swatting a fly.
        An Israeli vet who does experience trauma must be doing it to, uh, get back at Israel and Judaism! Yeah that’s it!)

        And “Yoni” committed the major sin in “Jon s” eyes: “Yoni” is making his own mind up about something regardless of whether it increases his “belonging” to the Jewish people. For “Jon s” that’s a capital offense.

  16. larick
    April 20, 2017, 10:23 am

    Professor of history Charles O’Connell at UC Irvine documented “outbreaks” of Palestinian-Jewish labor cooperation in Palestine throughout the 1930’s and 40’s. They were all systematically blocked by the Zionist movement’s leadership which was united in enforcing their policy of “Hebrew Labor” excluding such cooperation. This was often in direct opposition to Jewish rank and file outpourings of support for cooperative actions. The largest such case was in a rail strike in Haifa in the Forties. Histadrut was the most powerful actor in the blocking of such actions. (I will try to get more details today, if possible.)

  17. Stephen Shenfield
    April 22, 2017, 7:07 pm

    YoniFalic: You have some responsibility for what you did, but there were mitigating circumstances. You were young and immature and your commander was bullying you to commit those murders. I regard him as the main culprit even though he was acing through you. To put someone under pressure to commit a terrible act, knowing that he is incapable of resisting your pressure, is itself a terrible crime. You were a perpetrator but you were also a victim. It does not make you a monster.

    There is a powerful scene in Feng Xiaoning’s film Purple Sunset — a Japanese drill sergeant is training young Japanese, members of the Japanese settler community in Manchukuo / Manchuria, to kill, each of them has to charge and use his or her bayonet to kill a Chinese prisoner tied to a post. One girl hesitates, she can’t bring herself to do it. The sergeant yells at her: “Useless! What use is a soldier who is unable to kill?” and punches her in the face, knocking her down. She picks herself up, her nose streaming blood, and does the job. How much guilt is it fair to pin on her?

    I saw a video about an American soldier, a veteran of the war in Vietnam, who tracks down a woman whose father he killed to beg her forgiveness. Have you tried tracing relatives of your victims and going to apologize to them? Perhaps it will help heal both you and them.

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