Brooklyn-Jenin: A farewell prayer to Zionism

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When MK Ahmad Tibi proposed a bill in the Knesset outlawing the denial of the Nakba, and in support of promoting Palestinian equality and a sense of collective and individual belonging, based on my March 28 post, I was filled with pride, hoping that such a proposal will serve as the beginning of a long and difficult process of tikkun (repair) in Zionist ideology.

However, when even such a simple and humanistic bill was turned by the Knesset’s president into an existential threat on the state of Israel, so much so that Tibi’s bill was not even allowed to be brought to a vote, I was filled with shame. At the same time I have realized that it really is time for Jewish Israelis to say their farewell prayer to Zionism.

Today, the state of Israel and a vast majority of its Jewish citizens deny that the ideological foundation underlying their lives is flawed and obsolete. In order to save this place from destruction, we must develop an alternative system of thought, one that will recognize the wrong-doings of the past, and will open a sincere dialogue with its victims, so that we could start fostering a future for a new place, one where all inhabitants can feel equally at home; a new place for a new love.

I do not ask of Israel’s Jewish citizens to at once disavow Zionism. I ask of them to determine its death and bring it to a decent burial.

Today, unfortunately, the relationship between the Knesset and the Zionist ideology is remarkably similar to the relationship between Norman Bates and his dead mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s celebrated film Psycho. In the film, Norman hides his mother’s corpse in the basement of their home-castle, that dark and vertical building at the top of the hill. There lives the son, going about his life as if his mother were alive, and plays both roles, both mother and son. Throughout the film, whenever someone threatens to expose the mother’s body, or the fact of her death, or harm the son’s belief that his mother is still alive, Norman right away takes upon himself the role of the mother, and dressed in her clothes he murders whomever challenges the ideological structure of the castle, namely the denial of the mother’s death.

Of course, when a woman his age arrives to Norman’s motel, that horizontal and democratic motel, Norman is attracted to her and hence must murder her in an incredibly gruesome manner in the notorious and timeless shower scene. He is obliged to kill whomever and whatever threatens or rattles the basis of his love for his dead mother, because there is nothing that symbolizes the death of the mother more than a falling in love with an other, new woman. Similarly, there is nothing that signals the death of Zionist ideology more than an acceptance of an egalitarian value system that will embrace the natives of the land as equal and beloved. Therefore, the sons of Zionism act in the same murderous perversion of the son Norman. As they increasingly realize that someone might expose their dead mother’s body and offer a new and more relevant love, they increasingly try to pass more and more absurd and draconian laws.

There is no fundamental difference between the “King’s Torah” book recently published, allowing the killing of non-Jews, and the bill known as the “Nakba bill”, or the denial of MK Tibi’s right to propose a bill against the denial of the Palestinian catastrophe. The forgetfulness of various Israeli lawmakers, be it the ostensibly crazed rabbis from Kiriyat Arba, or the seemingly sane MKs from the Rivlin family, functions in a similar fashion, all reacting in the same hysterical and perverse manner to their inner realization that Zionism is dead. The justification for their rule and their status as rulers had become obsolete and anachronistic with respect to the “free-world’s” system of beliefs, and thus we see a fundamental and irreconcilable contradiction in them between Zionism and universal values.

Therefore, they increasingly lay out perverse laws in order to deny the death of their big mother, Zionism. It comes therefore as no surprise that the Nakba bill the Knesset is looking to pass is a bill regarding the erasure of memory, and that the law proposed by the King’s Torah book is a law permitting murder. Ahmad Tibi had attempted in his proposed bill to offer us a new love. Hanin Zoubi, on last year’s Gaza flotilla, attempted to offer us a new comradery. Both Tibi and Zoubi are not only willing to accept us, but welcome us as equals on their ancestors’ land. Let us pray together and bid Zionism farewell in the rich Hebrew language it left us with its passing.

P.S- Dear Knesset and rabbis: the more you intensify the introduction of your horror laws, the faster the odor of your rotten ideological corpse will spread around the globe, laying bare your crimes.

Translated by Matan Cohen. For more from Udi Aloni’s Brooklyn-Jenin column about his experience living between New York City and the Jenin refugee camp, see here.

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