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After the Gaza massacre, how can Jews sleep well at night?

on 35 Comments

Can we really? In our name, horrors are committed, supposedly so that we would be able to “sleep well at night”. To have a “safe haven”, while others are uprooted from their homes, maimed and killed for protesting the injustice.

We constantly downplay this horror, because looking it in the eye means not only scrutinizing Israeli policy, but its very existence as a “Jewish state”. It means to scrutinize Zionism, and so few want to do that.

This is really what is looking at us through the fences at the Great March of Return. Sure, many want to frame it as “terrorist”, not because of the actions, but because of the notion – the notion of “return” is for Zionists synonymous with “destruction” and “denial of our right to exist” – as a “Jewish state”, that is.

This is why Zionists (that’s really another name for Israeli apologists), fear this notion so much. It’s not because they are threatening to “infiltrate the border”. We don’t have a border to Gaza because we never delineated it, so they can’t infiltrate it. What we have is a massive outdoor prison fence perimeter. And we don’t want those prisoners to remind us that we threw them there and threw away the key.

And Zionists love to be cynical about Palestinian rights. “Oh, how unrealistic”, they go. “Can’t they just accept their defeat?”.

But this is not really a war as such. It’s an ethnic cleansing, it’s Apartheid – and you know what it’s all part of? Colonialism.

Oh, let’s not pretend. Every Zionist knows deep in their hearts, that not only were the Palestinians expelled as an act of ethnic cleansing, but that the denial of their return is a present and active confirmation of that ethnic cleansing, which every Zionist is today and now an ideological active part of. To be a Zionist, is to be an ethnic cleanser. It’s a horrible logic, and probably offensive to most ‘liberal-Zionists’ because of its language, but that’s what it is.

Calling the return of Palestinians “unrealistic” is like the Apartheid regime calling appropriation of equal rights “unrealistic”. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. We are supposed to believe, that maintaining Apartheid is “realistic”. To whom, might we ask. And what merit does this “realism” really have?

That’s why many Israelis are often amused by cynical “humor” about the horrors they inflict. It reduces them to a level that they don’t have to deal with morally. A prime example of it is when Israeli Air Force Chief Dan Halutz was asked about the assassination of Hamas Military Chief Salah Shehadeh in Gaza, 2002. The assassination involved a one-ton bomb dropped upon a residential building. In addition to Shehadeh and his aide, the “collateral” was 13 civilians, including eight children, and many dozens wounded. In a discussion of the morality of such an act, Halutz was asked what he felt. His answer:

“No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.”

Halutz later became Chief of Staff, and a much later probe into the event concluded (2011), of course, that the act was “imperative”, “justified” and “lawful”.

See, that’s how we sleep tight at night. It’s because we don’t feel, and it’s not legitimate to do so. Oh, yes, we can feel for “our own”, so much feeling. But those “others” are basically just terrorists, in some way and form.

And it’s all part of that great big paradigm – “defending ourselves”, because of our “right to exist”. We are not merely defending ourselves as individual people. The bigger picture is always the Jewish State – always. Israel is thus doing this on behalf of all Jews, by its own proclamation – in order to secure them a “safe haven”, an “insurance policy”. This is what it’s about. This is where it all stems from. The rest is commentary.

And for this colonialist construct to exist – Israel continually ethnically cleanses Palestinians – and this happens in all denominations of the territories under the control of Israel – not only in territories it occupied in 1967. It continually subjugates them, besieges them, and inflicts upon them an incremental genocide in various forms and levels. Any dissent to this is deemed “incitement”, any resistance generally seen as “terrorism”.

Israel cannot stop doing this, because the human nature is to resist such injustice, and in order to crush that resistance you need to apply violence. Of course, the resistance itself is labelled “violence”, in order to justify the violent blow against it.

Many ‘liberal Zionists’ have believed that this is possible to solve by simply addressing 1967 as the starting point of it all, and provide remedy accordingly – two states. But the nationalist thrust of Zionism would not allow this. It was never in the cards anyway, as the 1967 conquest was not made for the purpose of a “2-state solution”, but rather for “finishing the job” of 1948 – the conquest of all of historical Palestine.

The ‘liberal Zionists’ somehow believed that if 1948 was forgotten and put away, a fictive start with 1967, without an actual return of refugees and with “less than a state” for Palestinians might, somehow, legitimize the original massive ethnic cleansing of 1948. But this was unrealistic – not because Palestinians wouldn’t concede to a ‘2-state solution’ (in fact, they did, long before Israel became ostensibly willing to negotiate it) – it was unrealistic because no Israeli leader would give up control over Palestinians, in order to maintain ‘options’ for the future, under the notion of ‘security’, of course.

And ironically, the Israeli colonialist dominance has also basically eradicated any remaining pretense and facade, laying on the ground bare a reality of a one state – what Zionists really always wanted and dreamed of. But that state can only be ‘Jewish’ by Apartheid – as was and is the case also in the 1948 paradigm.

So the people across the fence in the Great March of Return, they are merely a mirror to this. Their presence near the fence is a gigantic mirror, saying not only “we are still here”, but ” this is who you are”. And Israel wants to shatter that mirror, so it sends hundreds of snipers to shatter it. And every attempt to shatter it shatters another life. And the mirror only grows stronger.

Oh, how Israel hates that mirror. Away with it! Who is the most beautiful of them all? And the most moral? Israel! Only Israel!

The ‘Jewish State’ is only an image. In reality it is the colonialist Apartheid genocidal state. And it proclaims itself as the representative of all Jews all over the world, existing for our behalf, as it were.

All Jews should consider whether they can bear possessing such a mirror for their narcissistic self-image, while it tears apart Palestinian existence and has done for over 70 years.

And the alternative, smart guy, you ask? Justice, freedom, equality. Unrealistic you say? They said the same in South Africa only a few decades ago.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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35 Responses

  1. Kay24
    Kay24 on May 16, 2018, 2:38 pm

    The majority in Israel seems to be sleeping well, for years. It was heartening to see many Jews, obviously not Zionists, protest in Tel Aviv yesterday, showing their disapproval of Netanyahu policies to kill civilians. Unfortunately, with the support the zionists keep getting from American zionists like Adelson, creatures in the media, and the Congress, the sane voices, will never be heard. The zionists have grown thick skins, and no amount of protests, condemnation, and disgust shown, for their war crimes, and massacre of Palestinians, seems to make them hesitate. The zionists are vicious, and their hatred for those they occupy, and steal from, is always shocking.

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz on May 17, 2018, 7:44 am

      Protest in Tel-Aviv drew crowd of 600.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on May 17, 2018, 11:41 am

        If that is correct, then it is disappointing.

    • inbound39
      inbound39 on May 18, 2018, 3:10 pm

      I think it is only a matter of time before the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC is asked to act or stand down from her Job. At the same time The American Government cannot continue to support Israel and its Apartheid State as it is becoming clear it is winding up in the exact same no win position as it did with South Africa. Trump has actually increased opposition of Israeli actions by adding fuel to the fire.

  2. Citizen
    Citizen on May 16, 2018, 3:04 pm

    97% of Americans remain ignorant of this, just saying.

  3. annie
    annie on May 17, 2018, 1:08 am

    jonathan, i’m not sleeping well, at all. not only do i have a very dear friend in gaza whom i worry about, i care about lots of people there. not only that, but i feel complicit because my government and my country and my taxes are complicit in this genocide. and too many of us(americans) are way to cowardly to speak out or do anything. i know i’m not alone, and there are lots of people who are not jewish who are having trouble sleeping over this massacre, and the ones who are sleeping like a baby, how can they sleep after this massacre?

    just thought i’d mention and ask that question in case i am not the only one who felt left out by your jew centric headline, as if the non jews amongst us have absolutely no agency whatsoever.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      Jonathan Ofir on May 17, 2018, 7:34 am

      Thanks Annie.
      I am absolutely aware that there is a wide range of complicity here. I could have asked the question universally. Nonetheless there is a particular Jewish aspect here, stemming not least from the Jewish State’s own definition of itself as THE Jewish State, singularly so and supposedly representative of all Jews worldwide.

      This notion is one that makes it singularly important to address this notion to all Jews, and to question their response to that. If Israel does not represent them – will they speak it out? If it does, what do they say about this? What do they have to say about their “insurance policy”? Do they want to keep it?

      If I were speaking about a more normal state, and I would ask, as a citizen of that state, “can you, the xxxx nationals, sleep well?”, it would probably seem quite logical that I’m addressing them and not the whole world. But Israel doesn’t leave that kind of option really. Because Israeli nationals don’t exist. Israel is solely the state of the JEWISH proclaimed ‘nation’, and the rest are just citizens. That’s why my address is a kind of ‘national’ one. It’s challenging that notion, that complicity.

      The complicity by other nations in this is built upon this notion, and it’s inherent notion of victimhood. So there’s a logic in addressing it. Simply put, the only thing standing in the way of equality, freedom and justice in historical Palestine is the Jewish State. The Jewish ‘nation’ is the core concept holding that together, and many Jews around the world are very much holding that together (not to mention others). If that support and subscription is lost – then there is less in the way of addressing Israel as simply a state that represents nothing but itself. Without the Jewish card, I doubt it could sustain the impunity.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan on May 17, 2018, 9:00 am

        Surely it is pretty obvious by now that Israel has very little to do with Jewish values. Israel is paranoid, cruel and vicious. How many Jewish schools teach those values to kids? Why is it so hard for Jewish people to say that Israel does not reflect their Judaism, their values?

  4. DaBakr
    DaBakr on May 17, 2018, 2:25 am

    Pretty arrogant to believe you know what’s ‘deep in every zionists heart’. I sure as hell don’t know what’s really inside yours. It cited easily be hatred

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on May 17, 2018, 10:36 am


      Take a rest, or better yet, get a hobby. All you ever manage to do is spew forth bullcrap.
      Zionism is on its way to history’s sewer. No surprise.

      Meanwhile, further confirming other news reports of dramatically increasing Jewish emigration from Israel:

      NEWSWEEK – 5/10/18

      “More Israelis are moving to the U.S.—and staying for good”

      “Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves​.​” B​y Yardena Schwartz

      “In April, as her family in central Israel prepared to celebrate Independence Day, Rachel Ohal was preparing for what she calls ‘every Israeli’s dream.’ The next morning, she awoke in her home in Los Angeles and drove to a ceremony to become an American citizen. She is one of at least 1 million Israelis residing in the United States. And if Israel—home to 8.8 million people—doesn’t change course, many more may soon join her.

      “Israel celebrates its 70th birthday in May with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Yet the country is grappling with an existential crisis—one that doesn’t involve Iranian nukes or Palestinian protests. Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves, trying to build their lives elsewhere, mostly in the United States. Many of these young Israelis are moving to big cities, and yet, even in these often expensive places, they see more opportunities to advance.”

      “The available data is telling, analysts say. Between 2006 and 2016, more than 87,000 Israelis became U.S. citizens or legalized permanent residents, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. That’s up from 66,000 between 1995 and 2005. These figures take into account only those who took the legal route (many Israelis, analysts say, arrive on temporary tourist, student or work visas, then stay). And in addition to the Israelis now living stateside, according to the country’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, hundreds of thousands have moved to Europe, Canada and elsewhere.

      “The country’s brain drain isn’t new. For years, many of its most talented scholars and researchers moved to the U.S., where the salaries are far higher and there are more jobs at top-tier universities. One report by Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel Aviv University, found that the emigration rate of Israeli researchers was the highest in the Western world. Recently, however, the exodus has expanded to include average young people, many of whom say there’s simply no future in Israel.

      “Though this embattled country has become known as the “Startup Nation”—it has more early-stage tech companies per capita than any other country—the average Israeli has little connection to that prosperous field. According to government data, 8 percent of Israelis work in high-tech, which pays up to seven times the national average salary of $2,765 a month (before taxes). Israel has one of the highest poverty rates and levels of income inequality in the Western world. Meanwhile, it also has one of the highest costs of living. Tel Aviv ranks ninth among the world’s most expensive cities, higher than New York and Los Angeles; five years ago, it ranked 34th. The situation is so dire that a 2013 survey by the financial newspaper Calcalist (the most recent Israeli study conducted on this topic) found that 87 percent of adults—many with children of their own—depend on substantial financial support from their parents.

      “In the summer of 2011, these economic pressures spilled onto the streets, as half a million young Israelis spent months protesting against the high cost of living, as well as decaying health and education systems.”

      BTW, if perchance you live in Israel and intend to stay there, I would advise you to learn Arabic.

      • chocopie
        chocopie on May 17, 2018, 11:03 pm

        It’s true, lots of Israelis flooding out of Israel to the US but unfortunately the ones I’ve met remain rah-rah for Israel. They won’t criticize it, but they won’t live there either. Also they love to make friends with U.S. Muslims, I guess it makes them feel cleansed.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on May 17, 2018, 6:29 pm

      ” I sure as hell don’t know what’s really inside yours. It cited easily be hatred” “DaBakr”

      “DaBakr”, if you’re so upset by what people think of it, why are you a Zionist?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on May 20, 2018, 12:45 am

        because nobody likes know-it-all’s. you should know a lot about this yourself.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on May 20, 2018, 1:54 pm

        “because nobody likes know-it-all’s.”

        Oh yes, that’s true.

        And when intellectual modesty is paired with a pleasant equanimity, well, that’s a commenting combo that can’t be beat.

    • annie
      annie on May 17, 2018, 7:19 pm

      Pretty arrogant to believe you know what’s ‘deep in every zionists heart’.

      you mean this: Every Zionist knows deep in their hearts, that not only were the Palestinians expelled as an act of ethnic cleansing, but that the denial of their return is a present and active confirmation of that ethnic cleansing,

      it’s not arrogant. you can deny it til kingdom come but no one really believes you don’t know what happened and what continues to this day. they want the land without the people.

      • chocopie
        chocopie on May 17, 2018, 11:12 pm

        At the end of every Hebrew sentence that you utter, there sits an Arab smoking nargileh.

      • annie
        annie on May 17, 2018, 11:21 pm

        pass the pipe!

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on May 20, 2018, 12:48 am


        you just confirmed what I wrote. You can believe whatever you want to believe until the cows come home but it doesn’t made it true. when you’ve talked to more then half of the stories zionists you can report back

    • Marnie
      Marnie on May 18, 2018, 12:51 am

      It’s not arrogant at all DaBakr, it is manifested daily on these pages, on the news, everywhere a zionist’s heart years to breathe free it’s demonstrated quite clearly that a zionist has no heart for anyone or anything that isn’t a jew or at least a zionist . Holy moley if you don’t like that zionist message, why don’t you attack those zionist messengers, idiot!

      • Mooser
        Mooser on May 18, 2018, 9:22 pm

        ” Holy moley if you don’t like that zionist message, why don’t you attack those zionist messengers, idiot!”

        More’n likely, because “DaBakr” is banned from any site which tries to put a positive face on Zionism. So he ends up here at Mondo.

      • chocopie
        chocopie on May 19, 2018, 9:46 pm

        Good call! You are probably right!

      • Mooser
        Mooser on May 20, 2018, 2:11 pm

        “You are probably right!”

        If you were running or moderating a site that tried to put any kind of positive face on any aspect of Zionism, in English, would you let them post? “Dabakr” knows what I’m talking about, he says in his profile:

        i try and see all invlolved POV. Have no tolerance for people/groups that say one thing in one language or tsxt and then say the complete opposite in another language or text. I expect ALL parties to say what they mean and mean what they say.” (“Dabakr’s” profile)

        And “Dabakrs” search for a place where he can “say one thing in one language” and get all the “tolerance” he needs is over.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on May 20, 2018, 7:29 pm


        I can read all the intolerance I need to right here on MW and it’s not coming from yonah.

        But all in all, it’s good that Zionist haters have a few safe places to go on the web. I could care less if you frequent Zionist web sites. Maybe you find it entertaining. It’s just the internet

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan on May 21, 2018, 12:12 am

        “If you were running or moderating a site that tried to put any kind of positive face on any aspect of Zionism, in English”

        I would sell the site to Jon S, No, I would pay him. Because he knows the words. He knows where the g spot is. Do you believe in Israel after Gaza ?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on May 21, 2018, 1:01 pm

        ” I could care less if you frequent Zionist web sites”

        Oh, I do “frequent Zionist web sites”, lots. Why don’t you?

  5. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan on May 17, 2018, 3:18 am

    Zionism is a naive ideology. I think it’s partly due to messianism. Party due to the lack of geopolitical experience in the group. Partly because Palestine was a bad choice of site.
    Partly due to this from Shulman in the NYR in 2014:

    “One has to bear in mind that Israelis live in a largely mythic world, a somewhat modified and vastly simplified version of the Iliad. In this starkly polarized vision of reality, in which Israelis are by definition innocent victims of dark, irrational forces operating against them, heroic death in war always makes sense, and violent coercion is the option both of necessity and of choice”

    No victories are permanent or final. Hegemony has constantly to be worked on, maintained, renewed, revised. Excluded social forces, whose consent has not been won, whose interests have not been taken into account, form the basis of counter-movements, resistance, alternative strategies and visions …and the struggle over a hegemonic system starts anew.

    There is no Yahweh rooting for Likud. It is the same as it ever was. There is risk management and if there is none there is the wolf. There are Warriors coming in from either the East or the West and trashing the Temple.

    Israeli groupthink is fake news. Israel is deluded. If we were in the Old Testament there would be Jeremiah. The bots would denounce him as a self hater.

  6. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz on May 17, 2018, 7:47 am

    This is squarely on the shoulders of judge Goldstone.

  7. gamal
    gamal on May 17, 2018, 10:51 am

    Why do all those who advocated a Gandhian approach not celebrate the Palestinians quintessentially Gandhian confrontation with injustice…where are all the Gandhians?

    the picture of the wheel chair warrior who Israeli snipers killed made me think of

    “The strength to kill is not essential for self-defence; one ought to have the strength to die. When a man is fully ready to die, he will not even desire to offer violence”

    “I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully.
    The strength to kill is not essential for self-defence; one ought to have the strength to die. When a man is fully ready to die, he will not even desire to offer violence”

    or you can read the whole thing sounds like Fearless in Gaza to me but then Gandhi isn’t supposed to make you feel bad its about revolting condescension towards Palestinians, not a goddamn Gandhian in sight…he never said it would be bloodless…even children facing death..

    i get the feeling that most Americans get nothing from Palestinian heroism, it doesn’t compute the urge to demean to lecture is just irresistible just more disgust with Arabs …weird do I not have my finger on the white pulse..often surprise me

    check it out …

    • niass2
      niass2 on May 19, 2018, 11:07 pm

      That is why this is going to work. Finally. This is the MLK Gandhi Dall Bhat approach, it works well. When it happens again in two weeks or 6/5 whatever the impact will be even more impactful. I am serious this one had impact yes its horrible but you can’t beat a nonviolent crowd. ASk the British. Like the Oakland reaction to that lady who called the cops on the barbecue thing, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THIS WILL BLOW UP. Its working so, as they said at Woodstock, sit down stand up and fight fight fight. Try Kevlar also maybe.

      • annie
        annie on May 20, 2018, 3:48 am

        Like the Oakland reaction to that lady who called the cops on the barbecue thing, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THIS WILL BLOW UP.


  8. echinococcus
    echinococcus on May 18, 2018, 3:55 pm

    With all the atrocities that left Jews sleeping well, it’s not as if one more massacre would suddenly wake them up. Arguably in 1948, most obviously in 1967 they did embrace Zionism. It’s no use denying this. Also, it’s no use pretending that it will be enough to observe that one’s own little precious person does not approve –as long as one remains attached to this tribe.
    Still speaking to your Zionist relatives is approval. The only really effective protest is to reject them.

    • niass2
      niass2 on May 19, 2018, 10:55 pm

      that is true. Being born in 68 made it hard to be upset about 67.

  9. niass2
    niass2 on May 19, 2018, 10:54 pm

    as a jew, no this does not affect how I sleep or think about this issue. I expected this from them (The Israeli fascist state and people and Zionists everywhere and liberal zionists if there is such a thing), they are criminals, so no it changes nothing, except my determination to laugh in the Zionists faces, specially my relatives who think they’re so damn smart but now seem kind of pathetic…… This changes nothing. We expected it, didn’t we?, being Jewish may matter to some but it doesn’t affect me. I know and always knew They are criminals just like the Einsatzgruppen. I’m not sitting her debating myself about it. I did that when I was 3 and realized right versus MMMKaay? The title of this is kind of dumb if your a fan of the grateful dead since we don’t think in such linear terms anyways. Can’t relate 420. Sharpeville-drums-space-Morning Dew./JBG/We Bid U Goodnite Its fun to stop talking to your relatives in Maryland they are racists anyways and always were plus what good are they anyways! they are weird regardless its not just this issue I assure you!

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