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Ahad-Ha'am; Isaac Deutscher; Baruch Kimmerling; Victor Klemperer on Israel



Asher Ginzburg, Jewish thinker, wrote a remarkably prescient text, warning against the crude and racist stereotypes of Arabs circulating within Jewish communities in Europe. A Zionist fundamentalist myth that Palestine was a ‘land without people,’ designed for Jews was demolished.

‘We believe, abroad, that Palestine is entirely desolate, a desert without vegetation, and anyone can buy land there. This is not the case. There is no arable land that is not cultivated, only sandy or rocky areas suitable only for planting trees, these areas are not cultivated by Arabs because they do not work hard at present for the distant future. We used to believe Arabs are savages, ignorant like animals who fail to understand what happens around them. This is a mistake, Arabs, like all Semites are sharp minded and very cunning. The Arabs, living in the towns, see and understand our aims and activities in Palestine. They pretend not to know, because they try to exploit us too. The peasants rejoice when a Jewish colony is established because they good wages for their labour there. The big landowners are happy because we pay a high price for sandy and stony soil. Should they push out the Palestinians, the indigenous population, then they will not easily give up their place.'

The envisaged state cannot be regarded as Jewish if it becomes an admirer of physical power.

'So that the state of the Jews will finally be a state like that of the Germans, only inhabited by Jews. An example of this process exists in Palestine. History teaches that during Herod’s kingdom Israel was indeed the ‘State of the Jews’ but Jewish culture was rejected and persecuted. Such a state of the Jews will be mortal poison to our people and will grind its spirit into the dust. This small State will only by diplomatic intrigues and by constant servility to the powers that happen to be dominant. Thus, it will really be a small miserable people, a spiritual slave to whoever happens to be dominant. Is it not preferable for an ancient people, which has been a light unto nations, to disappear from history rather than reach such a final goal?’


Winston Churchill, at the Peel Commission, 1937, justified the racial superiority of the Jews:

‘I do not agree that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may lain for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians, or the Aboriginies. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to theses people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly wise race, has come and taken their place.’


Yael Oren Kahn, born in Israel 1953, lived where Palestinians were invisible recounts:

‘We walked in magical gardens and orchards. I imagined paradise would be like this. The scattered ruins disturbed me. Who would abandon such a paradise? Basheet became Aseret, paradise destroyed and replaced with new houses. Many years later I met the former residents of Basheet in Rafah Refugee Camp on the Gaza Strip. Looking at the refugee shacks embarrassed me. One woman saw how distressed I was and comforted me. She had so much compassion. I discovered that she lost a husband on an Israeli building site and a son to Israeli bullets.’


Isaac Deutscher referred to Israelis as the 'Prussians of the Middle East'.

Germans sum up the bitter experience thus: 'Man kann sich totseigen' - 'You can rush victoriously into your grave'.

Arabs represent 40% of the population in the captured territories, will the Israelis expel this mass of people? Yes, this expulsion would ensure this victory is worse for Israel than a defeat. Israel seeking a higher degree of security has rendered it much more insecure. Deutscher wrote a biography of Trotsky.


Baruch Kimmerling, professor of Sociology at Hebrew University indicted the Israeli Military:

'I accuse, in a tribute to Émile Zola, Ariel Sharon of instigating a regional war through complete ethnic cleansing of the Arabs from the Land of Israel. I accuse Yossir Arafat as a collaborator in Sharon's plans. I accuse the military leadership of inciting public opinion, against the Palestinians. This is public brainwashing. The civilian and military leadership must be judged following the 2002 catastrophe. Yashayahu Leibovitz was correct, the occupation has destroyed the moral infrastructure upon on which Israeli society exists. Stop this march of fools, build society anew, clean of militarism and oppression and exploitation of other people and reestablish an inclusive modern state.'


Victor Klemperer recounted his relentless degradation as a German Jew during the first eight years of Hitler's rule. Klemperer showed immense compassion for Palestinian Arabs who feared they would lose their homeland to a Jewish state. 'I sympathise with the Arabs who are in revolt, in 1933, whose land is being bought a Red Indian fate.' Klemperer wrote in 1934, 'The Zionists want to return to the Jewish state of AD 70... are just as offensive as the Nazis. with their nosing after blood, their ancient 'cultural roots', their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world they are altogether a match for the National Socialists...'

Israeli Jews believe that by taking back he land they will hasten the return of the Messiah; Orthodox do not not believe in the land of Israel; So, what future for this cruel, apartheid State?


Source: Collected Works of Ahad-Ha’am, Jerusalem, 1950, Hebrew edition, Ahad-Ha’am (One of the People), the pseudonym of Asher Ginzburg, (1856-1927); Secrets and Lies: A Journey to the Truth, unpublished memoir by Yael Oren Kahn; The Clash of Fundamentalists, Tariq Ali, Verso, 2003

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