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Amos Oz’s daughter offers ‘the best possible justification of Zionism’ at DC memorial

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Amos Oz, the Israeli writer who died last December at 79, was a hero to liberal Zionists in America, and on March 31, J Street and other groups held a memorial to him at a Washington synagogue, Temple Sinai. The headline on the memorial was that Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended. The highlight of the memorial was a speech by Oz’s daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger.

Below is an excerpt of her eulogy in which Oz-Salzberger offered the “best possible justification of Zionism,” by way of her father’s diagnosis of a malady that bedevils Palestinians and Jews, the desire to reconstruct the past, “Reconstritis.” Oz-Salzberger quoted a lecture in Hebrew that her father gave last year. Jonathan Ofir translated that lecture back in January. I have appended some of Ofir’s rendering of the same remarks below.

Fania Oz-Salzberger:

“The other little idea that I wanted to share with you from that lecture… is a medical term my father invented… In English it sounds very medical, Reconstritis. The romantic, dangerous, damaging idea of reconstructing our past exactly as it was. Nothing can be more dangerous than that to an individual or to a nation, Amos said.

“And he went on to tell about a meeting with a Palestinian intellectual in Paris who said to him, ‘I hail from the village of Lifta. That is, not me but my grandfather, Lifta near Jerusalem, the beautiful Lifta with the spring of fresh water and the goats with the bells down the hill and the vineyards. All I want is to be able to come back to Lyfta to reinhabit my grandfather’s little house, not forever, just in the vacance coming from Paris, and listen to the bells on the necks on the goats.’

“And my father said to this young man, ‘Dear sir, I totally and deeply understand you, but you have quote dangerous case of Reconstritis. Because you see if all Palestinians come home to Lifta it will not be the village of 300 people that your grandfather knew. It would be a big town, a suburb of Jerusalem, with supermarkets, shopping malls and huge traffic jams, take it from me.

Amos Oz (Photo: Michiel Hendryckx/Wikimedia)

“The same thing goes for the settlers in Judea and Samaria wishing to bring back the biblical landscape of our patriarchs. This will never be. Because even if we [Hebrew] God forbid, pushed out the Palestinians from the Temple Mount and reconstructed the third temple of the Jews, can you imagine what the holy days would look like? [Laughter] Can you imagine the sheer traffic jam? Can you imagine the failure of the air conditioning? He goes on like that for a while…

“Reconstritis is a dangerous disease. You cannot– and here I am quoting a beautiful sentence from the lecture and the book– you cannot find in space what you have lost in time.

“What about Zionism? Isn’t that one big case of Reconstritis? ‘Well,’ says my father, ‘I thought about it for a little bit. But you know, We are in the danger of becoming a case of Reconstritis to our own damage. But it wasn’t to begin with. Of course there was the flavor of the biblical path, and the longing, the nostalgia, and the Jewish continuity… There was all that. But this was only the flavoring, not the gist of the Zionist project. The gist of the Zionist project was saving Jewish lives in real time in the 20th century.’

“The rest was a wonderful cultural additive. But the truth of the matter is that had it not been for Zionism, neither my father or my grandparents or me would have been able to live. Nor the Jews of Baghdad and Morocco who had to flee as soon as the British left Baghdad and the French left North Africa. Zionism was a lifesaver, deeply flavored with a cultural sense of belonging, but first and foremost a lifesaver. And strangely enough, this universal human notion of a nation-state for the stateless, the persecuted, and the refugee– this non-specifically Zionist need to save the lives of a million Jews from Europe in the last moment, and of a million Jews from the Middle East in the last moment– this non-specifically Zionist need that was served, is the best possible justification of Zionism that we have.

“And we should hope and pray, which I do in my secular way, that Reconstritis in the form of nationalist nostalgia will not take over the Israeli project. Because despite our deepest biblical roots, which are not biological or physiological or genetic, but deeply, beautifully textual. Despite these roots, it is not the whole house we need, it is a partition of the house. A lifesaver for one nation and a lifesaver for the next-door nation. Reconstritis versus realism.”

Now here is some of Jonathan Ofir’s rendition of Amos Oz’s lecture, which he translated after the writer’s death.

“Oz tells how, just over 20 years ago, he had met a ‘Palestinian intellectual’ in Paris. Oz doesn’t remember the name, but remembers he was a lecturer in some social science department in some university and that the man was about 30 at the time. Oz recalls that the first sentence this man said to him when meeting was “I’m from Lifta” (a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed in 1948). ‘It seemed a bit odd for me,’ Oz says in his lecture. ‘A man of 30, how could he be from Lifta? I remember Lifta well – my parents’ house at Kerem Avraham was about 1.5 kilometers from Lifta.’….

“So the Palestinian man said to Oz, that he wants to return to Lifta. He says he doesn’t care who controls Palestine, he doesn’t want to expel the Jews, or seek revenge; he wants the house in Lifta. He says that his office and his home are plastered with photos of his home in Lifta.

“Oz interrupts the man: ‘Excuse me, were you ever there?’ The man says no, I have it in the photos. The man says that his family was expelled from there. Oz says, ‘Expelled, fled, doesn’t matter.’

“Then the man said, assertively: ‘Know, that you will not have peace or rest until I get the house that was my family’s house in Lifta’.

“Oz sighs, and says in a somewhat deriding tone, that this was ‘very impressive, because the man has never seen the house in Lifta.’ Oz says he thought about it a bit, and then said to the man: ‘You know, your house in Lifta – you will never get it [back], and not because of the Zionists. Even if tomorrow the Jewish nation will decide with an overwhelming majority that Zionism was a mistake and that we all pack and leave and give you back the keys – you will never get your house in Lifta back.’ The man wonders: ‘Why?’ Oz responds, ‘Tell me, do you want to live in that house in Lifta? Will you leave your position in Paris?’ The man says, ‘No way, I want to come every summer, to sit under the vine and the fig tree, to listen to the spring and the sound of the goat bells as they come down the mountain. That’s all I want.” Oz says the man can’t get the house even if there was an agreed right of return, because at the time, the village was about 1000 people and now if they returned, they would be a village of 15-20,000, and this would mean ‘high-rises, at least one pharmacy, two or three supermarkets, a few streetlights, very difficult parking problems…’ Thus, Oz tells the man that he would hear ‘neither the goats nor the spring.’ And he tells him: ‘You are ill.’

And I also diagnosed the illness. Those who have medical or paramedical education, take out the notebook and write: You are ill with Reconstritis. You are seeking in space, what you have lost in time.

“Oz does not condemn the man for longing or missing Lifta. His suggestion is simply to write a book:

‘If you miss Lifta so much, write a book. Make a film. Write a play. Write up a research. Seek what you have lost in time, not in space… You miss your childhood? That’s OK, but if you start behaving like a 5-year old child [Oz is literally shouting here] because of your childhood longings, you need to be hospitalized!'”

(For more of Ofir’s commentary, here is his original post.)

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About Philip Weiss

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61 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    April 6, 2019, 2:40 pm

    ” …The man says that his family was expelled from there. Oz says, ‘Expelled, fled, doesn’t matter.’”

    if it didn’t matter to Oz the rejoinder would not be part of his story and he wouldn’t have spoken the words.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      April 6, 2019, 8:57 pm

      It mattered to the part of Oz that said ‘expelled, fled’; a second part of Oz then overrode the first part by saying: ‘doesn’t matter’ (ref. Alice in Wonderland, Inside the Wizard).

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 8, 2019, 9:06 am

      @annie, et al

      For the record re Amos Oz:

      http://links.org.au/node/828

      Michael Warschawski on Gaza: “Blaming the `two sides,’ International intervention now!”

      December 30, 2008

      Excerpt:
      “Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, defence minister Ehud Barack, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and army chief Gabi Ashkenazi will one day have to answer to war crimes charges in an international court of justice, like other war criminals. Accordingly, our duty today is to document their acts and statements in order to be sure they will pay for the massacres they ordered and commit.

      “There is, however, a second category of criminals who may escape the tribunals. They do not dirty their hands with the blood of civilians, but instead provide the intellectual and pseudo-moral justifications for the murderers. They are the propaganda unit of the killers’ government and army. Israeli writers Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua are a typical example of such miserable intellectuals. And not for the first time! In every war they volunteer for the Israeli war effort, without even having been officially drafted. Their first function is to provide the justifications for the Israeli offensive, then, later on, they cry about their lost virginity while accusing the other side of having forced us to behave brutally.

      “The justification provided by Oz (in Corriera de la Serra) and Yehoshua (in La Stampa) is, of course, the need to react to the rockets fired on Sderot, as if everything started with these rockets. ‘I had to explain to the Italians,’ said Yehoshua to Haaretz (December 30, 2008) ‘why the Israeli action was necessary.’

      “Both Yehoshua and Oz have forgotten the nineteen months of Israel’s brutal siege imposed on one and a half million human beings, depriving them of even the most basic supplies. They have forgotten the Israeli and international boycott of the democratically elected Palestinian government. They have forgotten the forced separation of Gaza and the West Bank, a separation made in order to isolate and punish the Gaza population for its incorrect democratic choice.”

      “After having chosen to re-write the chronology of events, Oz and Yehoshua are using the symmetry argument: violence is used by both sides and there are innocent civilian victims in both Gaza and in Israel. Indeed, and every civilian killed is an innocent victim. Chronology and quantity, however, are not irrelevant: three Israeli civilians were killed in the south of Israel, but only after the Israeli Air Force committed its planned massacre in the center of Gaza city, killing over 300.”

      Also:
      On Dec. 28/18, renowned Israeli author and activist, Miko Peled, son of Israeli General Peled, and acclaimed author of “The General’s Son,” tweeted the following regarding Amos Oz:
      “#AmosOz was a #Zionist settler-colonizer, a racist supremacist. He spent his life whitewashing & acting as a liberal, intellectual fig leaf unashamedly covering the most heinous crimes committed by the state of #Israel which he loved & represented.”

  2. Keith
    Keith
    April 6, 2019, 3:40 pm

    AMOS OZ- ” The gist of the Zionist project was saving Jewish lives in real time in the 20th century.”

    This is utter BS and I suspect that Amos Oz knew that we he said it. The purpose of Zionism has always been the return to and preservation of Jewish peoplehood. The whole history of Zionism makes this quite clear. Individual Jews mattered little, the establishment of a Jewish state the overriding objective, particularly in 1897 at the first Zionist congress.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      April 6, 2019, 6:09 pm

      Jacob Rothschild, on the 100th anniversary of Arthur Balfour’s famous letter to his uncle Baron Lionel Rothschild, said that the reason his family’s bank financed the establishment of Israel was specifically NOT to provide a safe haven for Russian Jews, but specifically for “that sacred goal, the return of Israel to its ancestral homeland”. (He never mentions the Palestinian human sacrifices made in pursuit of this “sacred goal”.)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FMVhjv42Gs

      The well-armed, overwhelming Zionist invasion of Palestine, kicked off by the slaughter of sleeping Palestinians in Deir Yassin, took place in 1948, three years AFTER the end of WWII in 1945.

      Amos Oz’s fictitious “history” is yet another attempt to squeeze reality into a deeply emotionally held myth.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        April 6, 2019, 9:09 pm

        @JWalters

        Jewish emigration = Invasion
        Arab emigration = indigenous inhabitants.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 7, 2019, 12:32 am

        The perversion of Jewish history indulged in by certain antiZionists serves to illustrate the overlap of Jew hatred and hatred of Israel in certain sick minds.
        The fact that Leon Pinsker was an eager and willing assimilationist until confronted by the pogroms of 1881- irrelevant.
        The fact that Theodore Herzl was an eager and willing assimilationist (with his Christmas tree and his uncircumcised sons) until confronted by the Jew hatred of Austria, and then the French mob during the Dreyfus affair – irrelevant.
        The fact that the second aliya was spurred on by the Kishinev pogrom of 1905 – irrelevant.
        The fact that the greatest explosion of hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Palestine was in the 1930’s from the Jew hating countries of Germany and Poland – irrelevant.
        The fact that these antiZionists themselves accuse the Jews of antiGentilism because Jews believe in the eternal irrational hatred of the Gentile for the Jew -irrelevant.
        The only thing that is relevant is the disregard for the individual in the pursuit of the overriding national goal of the 1897 Zionist congress and the statements of a Rothschild in 2017. Those are the only things that are relevant.
        Thus we see the lying and venom of certain antiZionists who are also Jew haters.
        Illustrated to perfection in the Mondoweiss comments section.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 7, 2019, 12:21 pm

        Check it out! “Yonah” has all of a sudden discovered the shift-key. He’s even got paragraph breaks!
        Just shows how five days in Jerusalem can improve a guy’s English.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        April 7, 2019, 12:28 pm

        ‘Jewish emigration = Invasion
        Arab emigration = indigenous inhabitants.’

        What are you talking about ‘arab emigration’? It’s called returning to the home you were expelled from in the 20th century, specifically 71 years ago. Not the story in a book that took place thousands of years ago. Get a grip would you?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 7, 2019, 12:33 pm

        “- irrelevant…– irrelevant…irrelevant.”

        Jeez, I almost forgot- ‘Hey “WJ”! What is grey and big and always carries a trunk?’

      • Donald
        Donald
        April 7, 2019, 1:05 pm

        WJ—

        Fair point. I think one can and should be critical of the early Zionists for their colonialist attitudes towards Palestinians ( it was part of the culture) while also acknowledging the vicious antisemitism that drove many Jews into believing Zionism was the answer. But some of the people here are also pointing out the cynicism of some Zionist leaders regarding the plight of their fellow Jews. Afaik, those criticisms are also true.

        Btw, this particular antizionist first heard about the Kishinev pogrom when reading Chomsky’s “The Fateful Triangle”. There are a few pages about it that begin the chapter on the Sabra Shatila massacre.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 7, 2019, 1:25 pm

        || mondonut: … Jewish emigration = Invasion
        Arab emigration = indigenous inhabitants. ||

        People living in or up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine: Indigenous.

        Large numbers of non-indigenous people migrating to geographic Palestine from homelands all over the world and doing all manner of “necessary evil” in order to establish and maintain a religion-supremacist state in as much as possible of the region: You’re right – that sounds a lot like invasion.

      • Keith
        Keith
        April 7, 2019, 3:39 pm

        WONDERING JEW- “The fact that these antiZionists themselves accuse the Jews of antiGentilism because Jews believe in the eternal irrational hatred of the Gentile for the Jew -irrelevant.”

        Irrelevant? No, critically important. The return to the ideology of Classical Judaism in secular garb with its emphasis on tribal sectarianism which divides humanity into two antagonistic groups: Jews and non-Jews. This is the essence of Zionist “Jewishness,” of which you are a prime example. A sectarianism out of place in our multicultural society misrepresented as a defensive necessity, in spite of relative wealth and power.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        April 7, 2019, 6:13 pm

        @eljay, People living in or up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine: Indigenous.

        Hundreds of years of migration and immigration from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Yemen, Arabia, and other Gulf and Arab states: non-indigenous.

        Singling out only Jewish migration and immigration as an evil “invasion” while falsely claiming every other resident is indigenous: yep, there’s a word for that as well.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 7, 2019, 7:03 pm

        || mondonutL @eljay, People living in or up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine: Indigenous.

        Hundreds of years of migration and immigration from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Yemen, Arabia, and other Gulf and Arab states: non-indigenous.

        Singling out only Jewish migration and immigration as an evil “invasion” … ||

        I wrote: “Large numbers of non-indigenous people migrating to geographic Palestine from homelands all over the world and doing all manner of “necessary evil” in order to establish and maintain a religion-supremacist state in as much as possible of the region: You’re right – that sounds a lot like invasion.”

        If Egyptians, etc., did the same, they’re guilty of invasion too. Nobody got “singled out”. That’s your Zionist Lie #1.

        || … while falsely claiming every other resident is indigenous … ||

        I never claimed that “every other resident is indigenous”. That’s your Zionist Lie #2.

        || … yep, there’s a word for that as well. ||

        There is: Zionism.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        April 7, 2019, 7:19 pm

        For a bit more historical data Google
        “07. A Closer Look at Poland and Eastern Europe”

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        April 7, 2019, 7:28 pm

        “Those are the only things that are relevant.”

        Those are the merest tip of the iceberg.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 7, 2019, 9:01 pm

        @mondonut

        “Hundreds of years of migration…” blah blah blah.

        There were people in the land before the first Jews ever set foot on a square in of the land. There were people there all the time the Jewish faith was spread. There were people there when the criminal zionists showed up to spread terror and commit murder.

        They are indigenous. No one is singling out Jewish people. I will hazard a guess that there are some but I’ve never met a person who doesn’t agree that some Jews are indigenous to the territory. The recent zionist thugs that have killed their way into the land are not indigenous and have no case to remotely consider in terms of that classification.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 7, 2019, 9:27 pm

        “Just shows how five days in Jerusalem can improve a guy’s English.”

        No-one is beyond redemption.

        I hope this new-found virtue extends to his usage of commas.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 7, 2019, 9:36 pm

        “Hundreds of years of migration …”

        Those immigrants who entered the country with the intention of integrating and becoming part of the existing society were immigrants.

        The Zionists entered the country with the intention of setting up a separate society, creating a state for themselves, and taking the country from the residents. That is what makes them invaders.

        “while falsely claiming every other resident is indigenous”

        I haven’t seen anyone claim that. The point is that the European Zionist Jews were not indigenous.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 7, 2019, 10:48 pm

        “while also acknowledging the vicious antisemitism that drove many Jews into believing Zionism was the answer. ”

        But we should not let that acknowledgement act as a justification.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        April 8, 2019, 9:20 am

        @wondering Jew

        “Thus we see the lying and venom of certain antiZionists who are also Jew haters. Illustrated to perfection in the Mondoweiss comments section.”

        Pure unadulterated bullcrap! Just another pathetic attempt by a Zionist zealot to rationalize and dismiss the thoroughly documented violent, extremely brutal dispossession and expulsion (i.e., by force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation) of well over one million indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants of historic Palestine between late 1947 and the summer of 1967 by Zionist Jews of foreign origin in order to create what is undeniably a fascistic/racist so called “Jewish state.”

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        April 8, 2019, 9:55 am

        @mondonut

        “Jewish emigration = Invasion
        Arab emigration = indigenous inhabitants.”

        “Hundreds of years of migration and immigration from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Yemen, Arabia, and other Gulf and Arab states: non-indigenous.”

        Good grief mondonut!! I can’t believe you’re trotting out this canard.
        You must be truly desperate.

        Reality:
        It seems like many others, you have been duped by Joan Peters’ long since debunked mountain of mendacity, “From Time Immemorial…”

        To wit:
        Professor Porath, one of Israel’s leading demographic historians, called Peters’ book a “forgery… [that] was almost universally dismissed [in Israel] as sheer rubbish except maybe as a propaganda weapon.”(New York Times, Nov.28, 1985)

        Rabbi Arthur Herzberg, vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, agreed: “I think that she’s cooked the statistics…. The scholarship is phony and tendentious. I do not believe that she has read the Arabic sources that she quotes.”(ibid)

        To again quote Professor Porath: “The precise demographic history of modern Palestine cannot be summed up briefly, but its main features are clear enough and they are very different from the fanciful description Mrs. Peters gives…. [S]he has apparently searched through documents for any statement to the effect that Arabs entered Palestine. But even if we put together all the cases she cites, one cannot escape the conclusion that most of the growth of the Palestinian Arab community resulted from a process of natural increase.” (“Mrs. Peters’ Palestine” New York Review of Books, 16 January 1986.)

        Peters ignored the population figures for Palestine carefully calculated by demographers during the 19th century as well as censuses taken by British officials during the British mandate. Her “thesis” is also riddled with contradictions, easily detected misrepresentations of documented history and invalid data plagiarized from a long since discredited source. Indeed, the general consensus among leading scholars is that Ms. Peters did not write the book herself, but served as a front for others whose motives are obvious.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 8, 2019, 11:58 am

        ” The return to the ideology of Classical Judaism in secular garb with its emphasis on tribal sectarianism which divides humanity into two antagonistic groups: Jews and non-Jews”

        Let’s see: 7 billion divided by a generous 10 million equals 700.
        Faced with odds like that, I don’t see why non-Jews don’t just give up.

    • JaapBo
      JaapBo
      April 7, 2019, 8:15 am

      There is a notorious Ben-Gurion quote about this: “If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 7, 2019, 1:21 pm

        Do we have a primary source for that quote, Jaap?

      • annie
        annie
        April 7, 2019, 2:21 pm

        i read it was allegedly in this book pg 121 The Jewish Paradox: Conversations in French by Nahum Goldmann, Leon Abramowicz
        https://www.amazon.com/Paradoxe-juif-Conversations-fran%C3%A7ais-Abramowicz-ebook/dp/B0166YR2CW

      • jon s
        jon s
        April 7, 2019, 4:18 pm

        The “notorious ” quote from Ben Gurion is authentic. Without justifying it I would point out that it’s from the 1930s , before the ghettos, gas chambers and death camps. So when BG talked about the prospects for” saving” the children he coud not have imagined that they would need to be saved from actual physical annihilation.

      • gamal
        gamal
        April 7, 2019, 5:30 pm

        “Do we have a primary source for that quote”

        At some point Hughes you have to recognize that the primary source for your experience is as Luciano and Beenie man extol “Running Away” its ok its the Taxi Gang and you can’t runway from yourself, imagine if prophets were going preach in patois boy you gonna miss it (my submission includes MLK), the primary source is reality ..look at it without bias without prejudice without ignorance like a grown up, can’t run away from yourself, and I have the legitimated quotes with their sources for all of it. can’t runway from self Hughes.

        https://youtu.be/kJIdGBl3p7Y

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 7, 2019, 9:23 pm

        “Do we have a primary source for that quote,?”

        I don’t see why one is needed.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 7, 2019, 10:42 pm

        Zionists, of course, can say anything they want about Palestinians, but demand a “primary source” for any invidious quote by a Zionist.

        The funny part is this: That Ben Gurion “quote” was often thrust proudly at us by Zionist sources, as showing Ben Gurion’s unceasing devotion to the cause. And willingness to sacrifice.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 8, 2019, 8:18 am

        || jon s: The “notorious ” quote from Ben Gurion is authentic. Without justifying it I would point out that it’s from the 1930s , before the ghettos, gas chambers and death camps. So when BG talked about the prospects for” saving” the children he coud not have imagined that they would need to be saved from actual physical annihilation. ||

        jon s, I’m stunned by your f*cked up justification (“without justifying it”) of BG’s statement.

        He shouldn’t have had to imagine the annihilation of all Jewish-German children in order to be able to state that he would want to save all of them, any more than you should have to imagine the annihilation of your entire family in order to state that you would want to save all of them.

        (Or have you actually told your family that if the choice were yours you would let half of them die?)

        What’s clear from his statement – and your greasy justification (“without justifying it”) – is that to Zionists Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism matters more than Jewish lives.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        April 8, 2019, 9:36 am

        @Jaapo, et al:

        On 7 December 1938, during a meeting of the Mapai Central Committee (precursor of the Labour Party), David Ben-Gurion, who had emerged as the Yishuv’s top leader, revealed his true feelings regarding the plight of German Jews: “If I knew it was possible to save all the [Jewish] children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second…” He attempted to explain his twisted reasoning by adding that he would make such a choice “…because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.” Ben-Gurion also expressed his fear that “‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger!'” (Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, Hill and Wang, New York, 1994, p.28.)

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 8, 2019, 11:38 am

        @Mooser

        Yes. His willingness to sacrifice other Jews for what he wanted to have.

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo
        April 8, 2019, 2:34 pm

        @MHughes1976:
        In the NYT Norman Finkelstein attributes such a quote (“in a different translation”) to Shabtai Teveth, a Zionist historian.

        Finkelstein mentions another quote about the 1938 Evian conference that “threathened” to save German Jews outside of Palestine, Dan Kurzman:
        ”The Jews could have only one destination -Eretz Yisrael. So in June 1938, shortly before Allied representatives met in Evian, France, to seek ways of rescuing Jews, Ben-Gurion frankly voiced his concern to colleagues in the Jewish Agency Executive. He did ‘not know if the conference will open the gates of other countries. . . . But I am afraid [ it ] might cause tremendous harm to Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. . . . Our main task is to reduce the harm, the danger and the disaster . . . and the more we emphasize the terrible distress of the Jewish masses in Germany, Poland and Rumania, the more damage we shall cause.’ So be silent, Ben-Gurion cautioned his comrades. . . . And in the silence . . . Evian failed.”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 9, 2019, 12:09 am

        Some people wish to define Zionism by Ben Gurion. Certainly Ben Gurion and the nakba he inflicted on the Palestinians and bequeathed to the Yehudim living on the land is certainly quite an identifying feature of Zionism, but in regards to saving Jews from the Diaspora, that really wasn’t his thing, per se. He was out to create a state and when you’re single minded, you tend to be single minded, that’s how it is with zealots and dreamers and builders of nations. He was a hard nut and not someone i’d enjoy being in the room with. He made history. And worrying about the European Jews, that was for the Jewish people to worry about and not for a single minded zealot visionary like Ben Gurion. Yes, it shows a flaw in his personality, but no, it does not define Zionism, nor is it surprising that a zealot of the first half of the 20th century would be single minded.
        Now, we are in a new century (have been for almost 20 years) and we need to define Zionism once again. Unfortunately the nakba was never “solved” and in addition there was a kibush and a settler movement and the settler movement has conquered the reins of power and that is our Zionism today. I think a Sharett or a Rabin was a long shot in the single minded nature of Zionism, that once it starts with a nakba and then continues on to a kibbush, that the odds of turning it into a friendly member of the neighborhood are slim. in any case neither sharett nor rabin got to see their vision through and instead there is bibi.
        The stubborn Israel is the prototype. Move forward and don’t listen to anybody who tries to dissuade you is how they got so far. but “democracy” demands that they stop being stubborn and find some way to change and i wonder how history is going to play out.

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo
        April 9, 2019, 11:54 am

        @wondering jew:
        Often Zionism works this way:
        – the more radical wing creates facts, e.g. the Nakba, or starting the 1967 war
        – almost all Zionists distort the facts and defend the morality of what was done
        This dynamic works to make Israel more and more right wing.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      April 8, 2019, 9:02 am

      This is utter BS and I suspect that Amos Oz knew that we he said it.

      I suspect not. I think Oz is a fairly decent chap and decent people do need to believe their own BS when the truth is ugly.

  3. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    April 6, 2019, 3:59 pm

    Well, I don’t think that it’s so impossible to recapture and deeply repossess a space which people with whom you identify have ‘lost in time’. I am sure that many of Oz’s compatriots think that they have done exactly that, with the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof nicely replicated by today’s tanks and nukes and with the very same divine command to take the inheritance of the children of Israel in the Land of Canaan (it wasn’t the ‘Land of Israel’) once again in force. Oz seems to be inventing a phoney metaphysical reason to make Zionism (in our terminology) ‘liberal’ and pressing a parallel but even more phoney reason for liberalism and restraint on the Palestinians.
    Zionism may have been intended to save lives but it is hard to see how it could work if the situation in occupied Poland 1940 were to be, let it not be, recreated. The last thing a rampaging Nazi style army would permit is the escape of Jews to a Jewish National Home. Zionism created risks to Jews as well as hope. There would be a significant Jewish population in Baghdad and Rabat, as there had been for so long, if Z had not become operative. And it should be noticed that Z has destroyed lives also.

    • jon s
      jon s
      April 7, 2019, 4:26 pm

      MHughes,
      Maybe it’s the other way around: Jews in Baghdad and Rabat became Zionists because their existence had become untenable.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 8, 2019, 1:00 pm

        @js

        of course it was. in the minds here there are a few documented stories about mizrahi recruited and sent in ’48 to stir up jews in iraq and scare or induce them to leave. and that, to them explains the ethnic cleansing of 100,000s Iraqi jews(and another half million from the other arab nations). the oldest jewish community and wealthiest outside Europe. and , they lost their lands, possessions and wealth after centuries under the ‘wonderful’ system of dhimmi where they paid for their protection with very few civil rights.( and a select few ‘influential’ jews as advisors. Iraqi muslims benefitted as much from this community as a nation could. and of course, without being able to say publically, many iraqi muslim people understood the jewish drain weakened their nation.

        but of course, this was all part of the zionist plot. there was absolutely ‘nothing’ Iraqi leaders could have done to persuade thousands of their ‘jews’ to not give up their land, money and homes to them. its almost like the other evil lie the zionist entity spreads when it mentions that in many cases in ’48 there were very public calls urging arabs to stay in israel and not flee.(funny hw there are no jews in any arab nations. but so many muslims and others stayed in Israel) But there were other villages at points thought strategic where the exact opposite was done. arabs-some absolutely ‘indigenous’ and many others more recent migrants from syria, egypt, Libya, and other arab states- were chased out, lost their lands and homes. that is not disputed .
        and as for the mizrahi recruited by BG to spy on arab states and their jewish communities. they had every reason after ww2 to be concerned that arab jews-while supposedly protected- could easily be vulnerable to another mass slaughter. and why should they not have sought new immigrants to israel? most jews in the ME lived in abject poverty with very low status and no civil rights(the irony not being lost on our own struggle within israel)

        this whole propaganda point of trying to seperate out jews who migrated to europe -wether through spain or up through persia- as being the spawn of evil zionist conspiracy is as bad as most conspiracy theories except its taught as ‘fact’ in ‘illustrious’ universities where israel is hated. of course there was and remains a culture clash based on skin, custom, practice, etc and it still remains but is being openly discussed the same way the civil rights of all Israelis are constantly being discussed and fought for in Israeli courts.

        not saying doesn’t have strategic motives that have nothing to do with security. only the blind believe a wealthy well armed nation is completely devoid of injustice and dark secrets). the arabs could have pursued a completely different policy in ’48 and things would have turned out differently but they did not. whats the conspiracy theory on that: im sure there is one here.

  4. eljay
    eljay
    April 6, 2019, 8:25 pm

    … “Reconstritis is a dangerous disease. You cannot– and here I am quoting a beautiful sentence from the lecture and the book– you cannot find in space what you have lost in time.

    “What about Zionism? Isn’t that one big case of Reconstritis? ‘Well,’ says my father, ‘I thought about it for a little bit. But you know, We are in the danger of becoming a case of Reconstritis to our own damage. But it wasn’t to begin with. Of course there was the flavor of the biblical path, and the longing, the nostalgia, and the Jewish continuity… There was all that. But this was only the flavoring, not the gist of the Zionist project. The gist of the Zionist project was saving Jewish lives in real time in the 20th century.’

    “The rest was a wonderful cultural additive. …

    It sounds so sweet, this notion that Zionist terrorism, ethnic cleansing, militarism, oppression, colonialism, torture and supremacism weren’t the “gist” of the Zionist project, they were all just “a wonderful cultural additive”.

    But I’m pretty sure the Palestinians – the indigenous population of geographic Palestine – could have done without this “wonderful cultural additive”.

    Sometimes Zionists aren’t just hateful and immoral – they’re out-and-out insane.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 7, 2019, 12:24 pm

      “Sometimes Zionists aren’t just hateful and immoral – they’re out-and-out insane.”

      And they all look so lovely (they know it, they can help it) in their “Jews sui generis” lapel buttons.

  5. klm90046
    klm90046
    April 6, 2019, 9:23 pm

    The Zionist narrative was created, has survived and continues to thrive on making things up as you go along.

    Jewish leadership in the US ignored calls for help from European Jews, and in fact held the view that the worse the European Jews were persecuted, the more likely the creation of a Jewish state would be.

    We are often given the exact opposite argument. Stand by for more self-contradictions in this vile ideology.

  6. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    April 7, 2019, 6:26 am

    This from Richard Silverstein, referring to original 2009 Haaretz article:

    “Golda Meir became foreign minister in 1958. (…) Though in 1948 Israel was desperate to populate its territory with any Jews it could entice to make aliyah, by 1958 it could afford to be more particular in that regard. (…) She wanted a better quality of immigrant.  So she wrote by diplomatic cable to Israel’s ambassador to Poland:

    “A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration.

    In other words, Israel no longer wished to accept all Holocaust survivors. It was happy to accept the professional class and those who could contribute to commerce, education and similar professions. But it no longer wished to take those who would be a burden on society (in their view).
    Considering the immense suffering the survivors experienced and the level of mental and physical torture they’d undergone, you’d think Meir wouldn’t have the temerity to consign them to oblivion in a Polish backwater. But she did. Her considerations were the same that drove Ben Gurion to declare that he’d prefer to save half of European Jewry if they made aliyah, than to save all knowing they’d resettle in the Diaspora. Zionism to them was a cold, hard, brutal calculation. Another striking aspect of her memo is the use of the word “selection.”
    As I don’t have the original Hebrew, I don’t know what word was used in it. But anyone with any experience of the Holocaust would know the dreaded word selektzia used by the Germans to choose who among the Jewish victims would live or die. (…) She would have known the meaning and implication of it.  Unconscionable perhaps, but unsurprising, no.

  7. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 7, 2019, 7:31 am

    @WJ
    “The fact that these antiZionists themselves accuse the Jews of antiGentilism because Jews believe in the eternal irrational hatred of the Gentile for the Jew -irrelevant”

    I think you forgot to take your pills again.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 7, 2019, 12:27 pm

      No, anti-gentilism is not irrelevant when Israel has nuclear weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons under the control of Israeli field commanders.

      What if one of them suddenly recalls (while cruising around in a sub) what happened in old Austria?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 8, 2019, 1:10 pm

        @ms

        life on planet earth has progressed to the point where we can more quickly destroy ourselves with technology and weapons then we can progress into a future where weapons become obsolete and technology has humane limitations. there are theories that even the most supposedly irrational nuclear armed nations have leaders unwilling to destroy the entire earth. but its just a theory. i am sure you worry so much more about Israel (and some crazy jewish nut) launching a bomb then you do anybody else. everybody else is so rational.

        enjoy the moon landing

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 7, 2019, 8:03 am

    Meanwhile the moronic clown from the White House rants and raves on during a speech at the “National Jewish Coalition” an American (sic) about all the things which he has done for “their country” and “their” Prime Minister whilst having a pop at Ilhan Omar who was savaged by Republicans and some of the Dinosaur Democrats for accusing Jewish Lobbying Groups of having “dual loyalty”. Absolutely hilarious.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-7Bpxq_OMg

    And Sheldon was there of course. Looks as if he might not live to witness his long cherished dream of America ( on behalf of his country of first loyalty Israel ) dropping a nuclear bomb on Teheran. Such a shame. Perhaps Jared should urgently arrange for him to fly out in Airforce One and for him to have a consolation prize visit to the Gaza fence so he can neutralise a few defenceless Palestinian men women and children. No need for any form of “sniper” training just point the weapon at the crowd and keep firing.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      April 7, 2019, 8:59 am

      Rep.Omar was attacked by Trump, just after it was revealed that a man had threatened to kill her.
      She was threatened most probably by a Trump deplorable, or maybe the usual hate group that operates in the US that tries to silence criticism of Israel, who knows.

      Trump never fails to disappoint, you can expect him to behave like a barbarian, every time.
      All this to kiss up to Adelson and show the unwavering support towards those who keep the contributions flowing into the republican coffers.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-ilhan-omar-speech-israel-antisemitism-death-threat-twitter-a8858606.html

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 7, 2019, 9:12 pm

      ” a speech at the “National Jewish Coalition”

      I think you left out the “Republican” in “National Jewish Coalition”

      Where all-rightniks go to the right.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 8, 2019, 1:12 pm

        @ms

        wow. sure isn’t like the old days. republicans. sheesh.

  9. JaapBo
    JaapBo
    April 7, 2019, 8:22 am

    “But the truth of the matter is that had it not been for Zionism, neither my father or my grandparents or me would have been able to live. Nor the Jews of Baghdad and Morocco who had to flee as soon as the British left Baghdad and the French left North Africa. Zionism was a lifesaver, deeply flavored with a cultural sense of belonging, but first and foremost a lifesaver.”

    Isn’t this utter nonsense about Arab Jews? If it weren’t for Zionism Arab Jews could have lived in Arab countries just as save as Arab Christians!

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 8, 2019, 1:28 pm

      @jb

      you understand only half the story. you need to know how the bulk of the arab jews lived in muslim society. yes, there was a wealthy class, some rabbis advising their ‘kings’ but most not only lived in abject poverty but they had to pay ransom (or taxes, as did christians) for protection. subject to numerous and insidious laws such as; not being allowed to wear shoes, ride horses, camels or ever be higher then a muslim. all of these things apparently offended muslims. if a jew/christian was murdered or raped they could not testify against a muslim. jewish lives were not unmolested as israel-haters like to imagine. it wasn’t as if the arab sheiks and kings were not exposed to 20th century liberal cultures.
      it is also absurd and insulting to arabs to suggest that zionism and israel forced arab leaders to kick out and steal the property of all their jews. as if they had no choice.
      putting the cart before the horse as many conspiracy adherents do- you have to believe that Israeli leaders knew the arabs would kick all their jews out and confiscate their land, homes and money. and why would they believe this when they (and yes, i know many arabs were forced out by jews. not all, but many) were making efforts in some parts of Israel to encourage arabs to stay. and the proof of this for the doubters is Israels 20% muslim/arab/christian population. but as the dastardly Hilel Neuer has asked the arab members at the UN: where are all your jews?

      • JaapBo
        JaapBo
        April 8, 2019, 2:44 pm

        What you describe appears to desribe the Dhimmi status, but was this still valid in the 20th century. I do believe Arab regimes became more hostile to the Jews of their country, but there were also Arabs that didn’t want to give Jews reasons to leave.

        Weren’t there Israeli terror attacks in Iraq in order to make Iraqi Jews emigrate to Israel?
        Weren’t there Zionist agents all over the Arab world to encourage Arab Jews to emigrate to Israel?

        I would like to know more of the subject, but I have never seen a reliable book giving an overview of the reasons Jews fled or left. It’s all rather shrouded.

  10. Jejasalo
    Jejasalo
    April 8, 2019, 12:45 pm

    It takes a lot of advanced intellectual gymnastics to continue to defend modern Zionism.
    What a relief it will be when those searching for a legitimate rationalization of Israel’s current and historical behavior figure out that contemporary Zionism is simply unjustifiable.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 8, 2019, 1:37 pm

      @jp

      again, cart before the horse. only in the bubble of israel-haters does the need for rationalizing the existence of israel have a need to be countered. most of the world doesnt think about rationalizing zionism as they understand israel is a nation that continues to strive to resolve its conflicts at a pace they believe will assure their future as a nation. (it would be like rationalizing Hezbollahs meaning and its Kalashnikov flag-the only flag in the world with a gun)
      there is one thing thats true. israel is probably the only nation where other folks who arent israeli fret and fume and obsess about wether we have a ‘right’ to exist and referring to what we call our national aspirations as an evil conspiracy. i guess if you hate israel and hate jews harping on zionism (when the vast majority of jews worldwide identify as zionist making the claim, ‘I don’t hate jews, just zionists’ ludicrous) its a good strategy to focus on seperating zionism out. I don’t think its working but good luck. my personal theory has always been the ‘Z’. get rid of the capital Z and move to: Tzyonism and the world would love us. folks are scared of the Z

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 8, 2019, 3:35 pm

        I see “Dabakr” has got it up his nose again.

      • Jejasalo
        Jejasalo
        April 8, 2019, 9:49 pm

        Please define what you mean by “national aspirations “. It comes across like a euphemism in your message. Or possibly a cover up.

        You spelled “separating” and “whether” wrong. “ Its” should be “it’s; and there’s no such thing as a “right to exist”.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      April 9, 2019, 2:39 am

      Zionism was never justifiable.

  11. amigo
    amigo
    April 8, 2019, 4:54 pm

    “I see “Dabakr” has got it up his nose again.” Mooser.

    Go easy on duh baker , he has just received a negative review from Hasbara central , with emphasis on under performing .

    He is in damage control mode and we can expect a flurry of Hasbara over the next several months.

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