“K A H A N E”
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
July-August 1988 Tamuz – Menachem Av 5748
Forty Years Of The Jewish State
A State Of Confusion (excerpts)
Rami Huri, and Israeli Arab who is a member of the city council of the northern Israeli city, Acre, announced on the eve of Independence Day, that he would refuse to participate in the torch-lighting ceremony, celebrating Israel’s 40th anniversary. His reason? The official invitation spoke of “40 years since Acre’s liberation.”
Just two months, earlier, at an Acre City Council meeting, Israeli Arabs refused to rise to sing the Ha’Tikva, the national anthem of the Jewish state, “liberated” by the Jews. Two clear political statements by the Arabs of the Jewish state called Israel.
On the other hand, there was the Jewish citizen of Israel named Reggie Peralson.
The Independence Day issue of the Palestine (a.k.a. Jerusalem) Post ran a story about a kibbutz and an Arab Beduin village in the Upper Galilee. Clearly, the purpose was to show the fraternal ties that bind Arab and Jew in the state of schizophrenia. The kibbutz is Kfar Hanasi, founded in 1948 by some 100 Jews, mostly from Britain (a point to consider carefully in analyzing what I am about to write). The village is Tuba, and its 5,000 residents are quite aware that they live in a Jewish state, with all that that implies. Not so the Jewish heirs of Rudyard Kipling who manfully carry the “Jew-man’s burden of dispensing civilization to the native along with massive doses of condescension. Thus, Reggie Peralson, a female kibbutznik from Kfar Hanasi, eagerly tells the Post reporter that she makes it a point to visit Tuba “at least twice a month”, and attends Arabic classes given by a Tuba resident, Mohammed Abu-Yussuf. And thus speaks a daughter of benevolent Jewish imperialism:
“I feel a real need for contact. I think every Israeli Jewish family should “adopt” an Israeli Arab family to help coexistence. I just like the Beduin. I love sitting on their mattresses, drinking their coffee and eating their labane.” Spoken as a true Victorian! How they loved little children and little natives… And how the natives – and Arabs – love the Jewish Kiplings of our time…
The difference between the clear-thinking and rational Arab and the muddled, confused Jewess is a mirror of the reality of Israel, at 40. The Arab firmly believes that he is a “Palestinian”, and that the country was taken from the “Palestinian” majority by the Zionists. He understands fully that the issue in Israel is not “co-existence” or the disgusting condescension on the part of British-born (or any other kind of Jews, that sees them gushing over the quaint natives and their mattresses and labane.) He knows that the issue is Jewish sovereignty in a Jewish state that must, by its very nature, make the Arab – at best – a second-class citizen. He knows that the issue is whether the law of return of Israel which limits the privilege of automatic immigration and Israeli citizenship to JEWS, will remain as is and thus continue to symbolize the JEWISHNESS and ZIONIST character of the state. He knows the issue is whether Jews will ever agree to the Arab right to peacefully and non-violently become a majority which can then control and direct the state as they see fit. He knows that “coexistence” and “tolerance” and “love” are frantic liberal-devices to avoid having to think about and deal with the most frightening contradiction of ideology and soul imaginable for a western oriented, liberal, progressive Jew. He looks with contempt and hate on the Reggie Peralsons of Israel and she (if she would only admit it) hates the Arab with an even greater passion for being there and forcing her, daily, to wallow in a guilt from which she flees as it turns into a cancer of self-hate.
The irony of ironies is that the greatest ideological and spiritual mental problem facing the secularists of the State of Israel, THE JEWISH STATE, is the “Jewishness” of that state, which must by its very definition, contradict its “Israeliness” The “Jewishness” of the state both widens its proprietorship and right of title to all Jews, no matter where they live, both in and outside the country, while denying it to the Arabs, the non-Jews, who are nominally citizens of it.
It is forty years; that Biblical two-score years that, again and again, reoccurs as a symbol of sin and punishment. In this, the fortieth year of its existence, the State of Israel becomes less and less the Jewish State, and more and more a state of confusion, in deep need of a national couch. The state that was created by the secular founding fathers and mothers of secular political Zionism is far less a Jewish state than a state of schizophrenia, a state hovering on the verge of ideological-mental collapses. It is ripped by Jewish-Arab struggle; it is torn by Jewish self-hatred. It has an identity crisis of stupendous magnitude. If it were an individual, it would certainly be looked upon in psychological circles as a fascinating case study of complexes galore, of schizophrenia of identity that has resulted in no identity, and of terrified flight from reality that is the result of deep and abnormal guilt and self-hate
For those who can and who wish to see beyond the simplistic issues – “occupied territories”, national determination for the “Palestine people”, equality of economic and social conditions for the Arabs of Israel – the real and central and insoluble issue rears its terrible and frightening head, casting an ominous and chilly cloud over the fortieth year of a state called Israel, an issue that sends real fear and terror into the hearts of liberal and western-oriented Jews, an issue that demands to be addressed and met and a choice made Now, before it is too late
Now, before it is horribly late, too late, is the time to reject the thousand-and-one frauds of Jews who invent them so as to enable themselves to flee from the excruciating painful reality of the immutable and inexorable contradiction and ideological war between the basic definition and concept of a Jewish State and its conceptual opponent, western democracy.
Rami Huri and all the Arabs of Acre understand it. And all the “simple” Beduins of Tuba understand it. And the Arabs of Nazareth and Haifa and the Galilee and Um al Fham and Taiba and the triangle and the Beduins of Rahat and the Negev. They all understand the contradiction. And they all understand the condescension and fraud on the part of the guilt-stricken, guilt-ridden and self-hating Jews, who are compelled to visit them and “love” them and deceive themselves. How the Arabs love them, the liberal and progressive Jews! How much better off are “our” Arabs than those in Syria and Iraq! How just a little “good will” will persuade them to accept the Jewish state. How happy and content will be the natives who live in a Jewish state in which they – the natives – were once the majority before the English came to Kfar Hanasi to rule over them and to patronize them by eating their labane.
If only Reggie the British Jewess knew how the Arabs of Tuba despise her! But surely even she, deep in her British heart suspects it and is terrified by it and is driven, therefore to visit them and demonstrate her “love” for them. Of course, they will have none of it. She is a Jewess and a foreigner who took their land. That is how the Arabs of Israel see it. And deep in her complex set of complexes, one fears that so does Reggie, heir of Kipling, but without his ability to accept the lordship without a trace of guilt.
In this fortieth year of a Jewish state that opens its doors freely to Jewish immigrants, and that breathes Jewishness, whose national anthem speaks of the soul of a Jew yearning”, whose Independence Day celebrates Jewish liberation of the country from Arabs, and which was created for the Jewish people – not one Arab feels that it is his state. But each and every one of them feels that it is his land and all dream of the day when they will change the reality of today.
In this fortieth year of schizophrenia, not one Arab believes the hypocrisy of “equal rights for all its (Israel’s) citizens”, as pledged by the Declaration of Independence, itself a mode of schizophrenia, as it simultaneously proclaims the establishment of a “Jewish State”. In this state of confusion, every Arab knows that Zionism and its offspring, a Jewish state, are incompatible with western democracy that rejects a “Jewish” or any hyphenated state and that demands that Arabs be exactly equal to Jews and that the state be open to all citizens to have control over it. In this fortieth year of a state called Israel that lies on a national couch, it is clearly the Arabs who are clear-minded, sane, and rational, as they articulate the contradictions of a state, which from birth, was a confused attempt to flee from the truth.
And the Jews? Or rather say “the Israelis” whose secularism inexorably led them down the path of schizophrenia? Not one of them does not know in his pain-racked soul, the truth of the contradiction and intellectual antagonism between the Jewish state he proclaims and the western democracy that is so close to his soul. For decades and until this day, the secular Zionist has suffered from an agonizing malignancy of soul; had lied to himself, deceived himself, deluded himself, fled from himself – in awesome effort to escape having to face the agony of truth, a truth that destroys his very ideological basis, his very reason to live.
The secular Jew – in Israel and without – knows that western democracy and a “Jewish state” are things than can never meet except in deadly battle. He knows that if he is to preserve a Jewish state for himself and his children he must deny the Arabs equal political rights and, above all, the basic democratic right of being the majority and thus controlling the state. He knows that he has lived a lie; that he lives a lie. He knows that
time is running out for him – and he must soon make that terrible Hobson’s choice from which he and Ben Gurion and all the schizophrenic dishonest secular Zionists fled, for decades.
And more, in his secular, non-religious bones, he fears that perhaps the Arab, who shouts at him: “You are a thief,” is right. He, for whom G-d plays no role and who thus, must rest his Zionist case on the fact that Jews “once lived here,” feels his ideological knees buckle and turn to water as he thinks the heresy of “perhaps they are right; perhaps we are indeed thieves…”
And so, the Jewish master of a thousand complexes wanders about, wallowing in self-hate and desperately supporting the Arab right to a state in “Palestine” Anything to let him escape having to face the terrible suspicion that his kibbutz in the Galilee and his home on the Sharon plain, and his Israel within the Green Line are also “Arab” in the eyes of the “Palestinians”. And so he supports the Arab cause on each and every issue, in the desperate gasping hope that he will thus win a crumb of Arab forgiveness and love that will allow him a brief respite from his guilt over his kibbutz and his villa and his city that is as much “Palestine” as are the “occupied territories”.
The illness is deep and vast; the spiritual and mental and ideological disease, pain and anguish, awesome. The incurable disease or contradiction between a Jewish state and a western democratic one. The incurable disease of contradiction between a Jewish state and an Israeli one. The Jewishness of the people and of the state, an unbridgeable barrier to the creation of a “normal” modern one. THAT IS THE AGONY OF THE SECULAR ISRAELI!
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