Monday, May 30, 2005

Breaking a Vicious Circle

Israel Shahak, when he researched Jewish history over the last 2000 years, was in his book " Jewish Religion Jewish History" describing a pattern, .
Jews have been both in Muslim and in Christian society outsiders, who sometimes had been isolated by decree of some political authority, most often however they have isolated themselves and walled themselves in, so that the lower class Jews had little contact to their Christian or Muslim neighbour. The contacts the upper class had with gentiles was one of hostile business dealings at least towards the lower classes of the gentiles.
Most often those upper class Jews worked as some kind of middle men between the king or other aristocratic rulers and the peasant and artisan population. They were very good tax collectors, even in times when the peasants had problems paying. They also became monopoly money lenders, since the taking of interests was forbidden in Christian and Muslim society. In both professions they put a lot of hardship on the gentile peasants. And when the pressure became unbearable, riots and progroms occured.
And then the whole Jewish community was attacked not only the oppressors.
And I think, that the ordinary Jews who had not done anything to hurt the gentiles, most often had never even had direct contact with them, didn´t even know what hit them.
They were probably told that the gentiles had gone crazy like gentiles normally do once in a while.
One other pattern was, that when the Jewish upper class had a very good contact to the ruling king, the gentile aristrocracy had very little to say. However when this aristocracy became stronger, they pushed the king or the Church to get rid of the Jews, because the Jews were in direct competition with them for power at the court.
This time the Jews were forced to leave the country, leaving their homes and most of their possessions.
And again the ordinary Jews did not know what hit them.
And so hostility and distrust grew with every of those occations. And so besides certain attitudes in the Talmud it was also those memories of past abuses which made Jews even less ready to show compassion in their dealings with their gentile neighbours.
And there was hostility and distrust on both sides over and over again.
Israel Shahak took the Nazi persecution of Jews out of this pattern. And he thought that modern antisemitism has totally different quality from that of earlier years, since it is far more racist.
Maybe this is right in one way, since in older times Jews were allowed to fully integrate into gentile society, if they converted honestly.
The differences were religious not racist.
But if you overlook the racist aspect, a similar pattern seems to be visible in the beginning of the 20.century as well.
In the Balfour declaration the head of the Rothschild family got the promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, if he could get the Americans to join the war against Germany on the British.
Maybe the Americans would have joined anyway for their own reasons. But one way or the other the Germans believed that their defeat was the fault of the Jews.
The heavy reparation payments were pressed unto Germany and the ordinary people suffered. The only ones who actually profited were banks which were in a good part in Jewish hands. The anger of big parts of German middle class, who had lost their life savings grew. The industrial class saw the Jewish banking elite a direct encroachment on their own business and so they helped Hitler with his radical antisemitic rhetoric come to power, so he could ban the Jews from business and public life as he had promised.
And so the hate propaganda campaign began which then led to terrible Jewish suffering. And once again the ordinary Jewish had no idea what hit them.
They had been well integrated in all parts of German society and lived as equals and very often as friends with their German neighbours. They sure that the Hitler times would blow over and things would return to normal, that they didn´t even leave the country when their citizen rights were taken and they had to suffer all kind of discriminations.
And the cynical Zionists who instigated the whole affair and profited from it to the boot, were telling each other, that "one cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews of Europe" and did nothing whatsoever to save the European Jews. Instead they sometimes even sabotaged efforts to help Jews to emmigrate from Europe, efforts made by compationate gentiles in other countries.
After the war, they treated the survivors with disdain. And when it suited them, they lit fire under the paranoia caused by this terrible trauma.

And thanks to those cynics, many ordinary Jews who had been liberated from the ghetto after the Enlightenment are isolating themselves again behind psychological walls and in the case of Israel the walls are physical, isolating themselves in fear and deep distrust against gentiles.
And the way it looks like with the Neocons in Washington and the Likudniks in Israel pushing for a new round of the vicious circle by oppressing Palestinians to the edge of absolute despair, destroying other Arab societies and through their expansive warmongering the American military and the American economy at the same time.

But we do no longer live in the middle ages, the ghetto is no longer obligatory and information can flow freely.
For their own sake, ordinary Jews have to break this vicious circle. They have to distance themselves from leaders who show just as much contempt for their Jewish brothers and sisters as they show for gentiles.
Those leaders are either dumb enough to have not learned anything from history or they are just so full of themselves, so full of hybris, that they think they can get away with anything.

But so many ordinary Jews have been integrated in the societies of all the countries they live in, except in Palestine.
Ordinary Jews work in many humanitarian causes. They have universal ethics which they share with their gentile neighbours and they have friendly relationships with them.
Ordinary Jews do not need to protect criminals who call themselves the leaders of Jewish society.
They have to realize that their safety does not lie with those warmongering zynics, who have already brainwashed the Israelis into committing terrible crimes.
Their safety lies with us, their brothers and sisters in humanity.
They have to denounce Zionism and the belief that gentiles cannot be trusted.
They have to realize that the golden rule, which is also part of the OT, applies towards everybody in absolute the same. Only this way we can live in peace with each other.


The vicious circle can be broken, there still is time, but it´s running out soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Trauma, Healing and History

From Avigail Abarbanel´s website:

I believe that( ) Jewish Israelis will never be happy (even if there were no Palestinians left — God forbid) and that is because they have done nothing to heal their own trauma and are spending their entire life going around in circles and acting it out on others.........
.......Abusers hide the truth not only from others but also from themselves. They do so by telling themselves that they are the real victims. They wholeheartedly believe that because of their suffering they are justified in everything they inflict on their victims. They are often successful in eliciting sympathy from others and it is usually the victim that is left isolated....


Jewish people in Israel and in the diaspora feel traumatized, but it´s not only the atrocities and murders the Nazis committed against Jews, which make up this trauma.
The trauma goes back far longer, a trauma of thousands of years. There were progroms and Jewish communities have been over and over again driven out of the places were they had settled.
The Jewish narrative goes like this:
Ever so often gentiles get inflicted by some kind of insanity and start persecuting Jews. And the only thing Jewish people can do to prevent this kind of crazy persecution is to become stronger and more powerful than their gentile neighbours.
This is the reasoning behind Israel´s constantly growing military expenditure.
This is the reasoning behind the denial of Israel to give equal rights to Palestinians as to Jews and the denial of the right to return.

In these American court-movies you can sometimes hear from the prosecution, when the councill for the defendant in a murder trial asks his client under oath about his or her problematic relationship with the victim: "Objections! We are not here to put the victim on trial!"
In German court TV shows you never hear this kind of objection, and I really think it is a pretty stupid one. Of course, the court needs to hear what happens before the crime, what were the motive, what were the reasons. Only then judge and jury can decide, if it was premeditated murder out of greed or maybe manslaughter out of some other reasons. The deed is never justified, to be sure, but the circumstances should determine how high the sentence should be, and they can tell the court if the perpetrator can be rehabilitated one day or not and if the perpetrator is likely to commit a similar crime again.
So, if take this analogy to Palestine, then we can see, that Palestinians have been the victims from the day the Zionist project was conceived. You can read in Zionist lterature itself, how even the early Zionist showed disdain for the indigenious population of Palestine, you can read about mistreatment of Palestinian workers, of misappropiation of property, about the driving of peasants from land they had cultivated for many generations after it was bought from absentee owners and other examples of mistreatment. There were many instances of violence against Palestinian towns and villages already before the foundation of the state of Israel.
When Palestinians fought back, they had good reasons for it.
After the terrible atrocities of 1948, the reasons became even better, and still better after the occupation of the West-Banks and Gaza. And these are the reasons for Palestinian suicide bombings and other violent acts of resistance against an oppressive power.
Seeing the history of the conflict, it´s clear, who are the victims here.
And it´s just as clear, that the Palestinians did not cause the Jewish trauma.
Some victims, like abused children are innocent, and the reason for their victimization does not lie in them, but some place else.
But then, some former victims, like in this case the Jewish Israelis, become perpetrators who victimize others. Ms Abarbanel says, because they have not healed their trauma.
But how do you heal a trauma? As a professional therapist Ms Abarbanel has probably other answers to this than I as a lay person have.
I think a trauma only can heal, when you can overcome the fear that the traumatic event might happen again any time.
As a victim of abuse the worst feeling is the one of helplessness, of being unable to stop it. You try to find strategies to prevent further abuse and find safety. And you base those strategies on the information you have.
But when your information is false, your strategy will be wrong.
If you believe that the reasons for your victimization is the mental illness of your aggressor, it makes sense to contain this aggressor, because what else can you do against a mental illness.
But if there are other reasons like, if you have provoked the aggressor, it makes a lot more sense to stop the provocation.

In the case of the Jewish trauma it is necassary to put the victim on trial, for the victim´s sake.
Only if the patterns leading to progroms and other prosecutions historically are brought out into the open, the vicious circle can be broken, fear can be banned, hatred and the compulsion to senselessly beat around in retaliation on those, who never were responsible for the trauma, can be overcome.
Truth is important, so very important.
Truth can heal a trauma.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Differences and Strategy

Thinking about the ethnic cleansing of Germans from areas which belong now to Russia, Poland and Tschekoslovakia there seem to be some similarities to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from large parts of Palestine.
But there are also differences:
Germany had just lost a war, which the German government had started and in which the German army and special units had committed terrible atrocities against the peoples whose country they were occupying.
While the first years after the war were difficult and hard on all Germans, especially on the refugees and deportees, after those years, when the country was rebuilt and economy grew, everybody became integretated in the process, including the people who had been driven out of East-Prussia, Schlesia and the Sudetenland. There also were paid some compensation money by the German government.
Because of all this, the acceptance of historical guilt, the economic integration and the policy of compensation, most of the younger generation of those people from former German areas accepted the loss and so did the next generations.
Nowadays there are extremely few people who actually even think about a return of these areas to Germany or of a return of Germans to these areas.

Policies were totally different in Palestine:
Palestinians had only defended their own land, homes and property and had never invaded other people´s countries or committed atrocities against them.
So, of course, they never had the feeling of being at least partly at fault for their predicament.
The refugees were never compensated for their loss, instead even their long history of living in Palestine for thousands of years was flatly denied.
The refugees never were integrated into the population of the countries which had taken them in, but many still have to live in seperate areas, refugee camps. They are often discriminated against and in some places have no legal rights or even legal passports to travel at will.
Worst of all, however, is the fact that the ethnic cleansing, the driving of people off their property and the destruction of their homes and the killing of people has not stopped and is still an ungoing process.
If the German people would have to live under similar conditions, they would never have accepted the situtiation either, historical guilt or not.
The question is, was there a chance or even is there still a chance, that Palestinians could or can accept their losses.
I recently read excerpts from the diary of Moshe Sharett, a Israeli prime minister in 1954 and 55. In there Sharett contemplated on an agreement with neighbouring Arab countries and even on matters of compensation, but his efforts were sabotaged by the hardliners Ben Gurion and others.
This made me think, that possibly in the 1950s there was a time, when there could have been made a compromise between a Zionist Israel, the Palestinian people and the neighbouring Arab countries.
Sure, compensations could never have made up for what was lost in homes, land and human life, but it would have helped the Palestinians to start a new life away from home. Compensations could have given the Palestinian economy within the rest of Palestine and in the neighboring countries a boost and would have helped Palestinians to establish themselves there.
For Israel it would not have been too hard to make those compensations really substantial. By making peace treaties with both the Palestinians and other Arab nations, Israel could have spent far less on military expenditure, so that part of German compensations and American aid could have been diverted to compensation for the Palestinians.

But then, when I tried to google those diary excerpts again, I found some other excerpts and they made me doubt, that there ever was a possiblity of compromise for the Palestinian people with Zionism.
On the Al-Bushra website of Arab American Roman Catholics I found this article about the Moshe Sharett diaries:
Here is an excerpt:

Sharett's diary, for 5/26/55 records the thinking of some of those who orchestrated Israeli attitudes and also influenced world opinion. The principal spokesman for the opponents of the possible peace was Dayan. And the diary reports:

"We do not need (Dayan said) a security pact with the U.S., such a pact will only constitute an obstacle for us. We face no danger at all of an Arab advantage of force for the next 8-10 years. Even if they receive massive military aid from the west, we shall maintain our military superiority thanks to an infinitely greater capacity to assimilate new armaments. The security pact will only handcuff us and deny us freedom of actrion, and this is what we need in the coming years. Reprisal raids which we couldn't carry out if we were tied to a security pact are our vital lymph. First (the reprisal raids) make it imperative for the Arabgoernmentsto tkae strong measures to protect the borders. Second, AND THAT'S THE MAIN THING, THEY MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO MAINTAIN A HIGH LEVEL OF TENSION AMONG OUR POPULATION AND THE ARMY. Without these actions we would cease to be a combative people and WITHOUT THE DISCIPLINE OF A COMBATIVE PEOPLE WE ARE LOST....We will have to cry out that the Negev is in danger SO THAT ANGRY MEN WILL GO THERE."


Sharett then adds his own comments:

"The conclusions from Dayan's words are clear: This state has no international worries, no economic problems. THE QUESTION OF PEACE IS NON-EXISTENT. IT must calculate its steps narrow-mindedly AND LIVE ON ITS SWORD. It must see the sword as the main, if not the only instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Towards this end it may, no, IT MUST, INVENT DANGERS AND TO DO THIS IT MUST ADOPT THE METHOD OF PROVOCATION AND REVENGE....and above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries so that we may finally GET RID OF OUR TROUBLES AND ACQUIRE OUR SPACE...Ben Gurion himself said it would be worth while to pay an Arab a million pounds to start a war."


Of course these diary entries are taken out of context, so that it is not quite clear to me, if Sharett did actually share the same opinions as Dayan or Ben Gurion or if he just interpreted their words. But since Sharret was only in power for a couple of years and everybody else in the Zionist movement seems to have been against even minimal compromises, his real opinion didn´t make a real difference one way or the other.
It seems quite obvious to me now, that even then, there never was a chance for compromise with Zionism.
The Zionist ideology does not allow for compromise, it only wants to overcome all obstacles towards its goals by the ruthless use of military power and by deceit.

But then, while Zionism surely has its roots in the "Jewish exceptualism-chosen people-eternal victim" narrative, I think we still have to make a difference between the opposition to Zionism and the opposition to Judaism or the Jewish people.
Just as you have to make a difference between the Nazi ideology and the German people, although the Nazi ideology does have its roots in some part of German culture.
And this is not just a matter of mushy heart, humanitarian, liberal thought. It´s a matter of strategy.
Here is another excerpt from the al-bushra article:

The eternal, Zionist dialectic again! If the people are not obsessed with fear, create conditions to frighten them. If there are no visible enemies - create them! Ignore any hand outstretched in friendship, for the friendship CAN DISSOLVE THE IDEOLOGY.


I agree with their view on this.
Zionism is an ideology built on fear and distrust of gentiles. Somebody like Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli with a 100% Jewish background, might be able to do a total critizism of Judaism without doing harm. If non-Jewish persons do this, it might become counterproductive to their cause. Open hostility towards the Jewish People per se or the insistance that Judaism has no right to exist, will feed into those feelings of fear and distrust against the rest of the world and reinforce this Jewish national paranoia.
I don´t think, there is much hope to convert Ariel Sharon or other extremists away from Zionism, but I do think, it is possible with most of the ordinary Jewish people in the diaspora and even in Israel.
I think it is necessary to to find the words which make it quite clear, that the Zionist ideology is unacceptable to us, but that we still reach out in friendship to the Jewish people.

I know, that it sounds unfair, that we should tiptoe around the Jewish people, a people who is overrepresented in the media and in the economic, political and academic upper classes of western society. And given the terrible atrocities committed in Palestine and by proxy in Iraq and other places, it sounds even more unfair.
But then, only a minority of Israelis or diaspora Jews is personally responsible for those crimes. For most the only guilt they bear is the silence and failure to oppose those crimes. If we do not seperate between the Zionist ideology and the Jewish people, Zionism´s hold on ordinary Jews will become even stronger. The false believe, that Zionism is in the long run the only way of survival for individual Jews or the Jewish people, will be strengthened. Fear and paranoia can strangle logical thought and ordinary compassion for the suffering of others.
And this special paranoia is so dangerous exactly because the Jewish people are over-represented in the media and other influencial professions.
There needs to be a strategy to counter the paranoia.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Non-Violence

According to international law the struggle of the Palestinians against Israeli occupation is legal. According to Church doctrine it would probably constitute a "just war".
So nobody has the right to criticize Palestinians for a militant struggle.

So what I´m doing now, is asking hyopthetical questions as some kind of personal brain-storming.
The question is, what is strategically the best course.
When I talk about "loving the enemy", it for sure cannot mean to accept abuses against Palestinians silently, because actually this is not really love.
For the Israeli Jews, by acting inhumane, they are destroying part of their humanity through these actions and hurt their eternal souls. And quite obviously is, that Israelis, through the acceptance of brutalizing Palestinians, are more and more starting to brutalize each other as well. After having committed untold crimes against other human beings, people just don´t come home and live a normal life. The same happens to many American veterans. They come home and become violent towards family or neighbours. If you love them, you try to stop their self-destructive behaviour.


So non-violence in my opinion cannot be passive, it must be very active and demanding; in the spirit of Martin Luther King, who led the civil rights movement as a movement for joining hands in common humanity. Justice for him did not mean seeking revenge, although, considering the really horrendous crimes white Americans had committed against the people abducted from their African homes and also against their descendents, a call for revenge might be understandable. But to demand an eye for an eye would make everyone blind in the end.
So "loving" means most often: forgiving - and allowing a new start for a relationship between people. But it cannot mean to allow injustice to continue.
The non-violent civil-rights movement worked, but when King was killed, not all goals were reached.
Racism had not been overcome in all aspects of life.
There still was, for instance, alot of economic discrimination.
And racism had not been overcome in everybody´s mind.
And recently, looking at the ever increasing prison population of predominantly non-white people and at the disenfrenchment of African Americans at the voting polls, there even seems to be a back slide.
So the question is would an exclusive non-violent movement like this work in Palestine?
There are many differences in the situation.
The civil-rights movement, seemed to have an enormous positive media coverage in the USA.
Mainline media throughout the western world would not cover a Palestinian movement in the same positive way. There are so many non-violent demonstrations already going on against the "Wall", and the international media takes rather little notice of them.
Would the coverage of alternative media and the work of activist make up for the lack of positive mainline media attention?
The growing effort by Zionist groups to censor pro-Palestinian voices on campus in the US seems to indicate that Israel is afraid of their influence.
Another difference to the American civil rights movement would be the ruthlessness Israeli forces already show against non-violent demonstrations and other actions, even using poisoned gas. American police could by far not risk the same ruthlessness against demonstrators. The degree of ruthlessness risked depends naturally on the public attention paid to it.
And there again, can international activists help focus enough attention on Israel´s behaviour to influence her against state terrorist acts?
Can the mainline media be forced to pay attention?
Another question is of course, if it is possible, that all Palestinian organisations could come to agree on the same short time and long time goals. A big coordinated non-violent effort over a long time would need to put up concrete demands, which have to be fulfilled.
One thing is for sure, Sharon wouldn´t like Palestinian non-violence.
Zionist Israel does everything to portray Palestinians as aggressors and herself as just answering the violence. It is quite obvious that Sharon deliberately tries to provoke violence whenever Palestinian groups try to negotiate a seize fire. And when violence then comes forth, Sharon escalates his terror. Although on a lower level Israeli terror, while not reported in mainline media, is on going constantly.
And I´m convinced, that some attacks credited to some or other Palestinian group are actually Mossad black ops (like the suicide-bombing where more than 50 people died, but nearly all of them foreigners,since it went off in quarters of town, where only guest workers live). There have been documented instances of such tactics against other Arab people before, like against Egypt in the Lavon affair, whose perpetrators actually have recently received some medals or so.
(I´d say, a real chutzpah, since their victims were partly Americans. How can they dare to anger and humiliate the Americans so publicly, when they so very much depend on American financial and military help? Well, it looks as if Israel can get away with anything because of her influence on the media.)
So an organized non-violent movement would actually have each and every single Palestinian group to agree upon non-violence, to counter any possible Mossad false flags.
Violent groups can act on their own with all their own goals. However, non-violence as a main strategy needs to be coordinated.
Is this actually possible? And would it work?
One other probable strategic reason for Israel in killing Palestinian leaders is, besides provoking violence, also to kill off possible popular coordinators in non-violent strategies.
Israel, of course, would not give in one iota on its own. Only the international community could force Israel to make real concessions. But would the West do this?
How much publicity is needed so that western sympathizers could put enough pressure on their own government?
How far would Israel go to prevent being pressurized?
What tactic would she use?
How much influence does she have on western countries?
Is there any way to counteract Israel´s tactics?

One thing is sure. Non-violence is a powerful tool.
The enemy is using it. In the majority of cases in the recent years, where
governments were overthrown and replaced by American puppets, it was done by non-violent means. American sponsered NGOs were using youth-groups or student movements, paying a few instigators and using the others´ enthusiasm for democratic changes in bringing to pass an American agenda, which really isn´t interested in democracy, just in looting the place for corporate interests.
It happened for instance in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. It was tried unsuccessfully in Lebanon and Venezuela. And they are still trying it in Iran. However, the Neocons in the Pentagon opt rather for a military campaign there and in Syria,since the Likudniks in Israel think a new government in Iran and Syria wouldn´t be safe enough. They want Iran and Syria destroyed and cut into tyni pieces.

So non-violent strategy is not just an idea of a few other worldly Christian, or in case of Mahatma Ghandi Hindu, dreamers. It needs however far more consistency and coordination than violent tactics. And it only works in combination with lots of public attention.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Anger and Fear

Many people in the pro-Palestine movements have witnessed Zionist atrocities up close, others have friends who have been hurt. I can understand, when criticize me for too much philosemitism.
It´s so much easier for me, who has never been touched directly by all the cruelty inflicted in the name of Zionism, to have a concilatory attitude towards Jews.
If I´d ever been hurt personally I quite likely would be a loud raving anti-semite. But if this should ever happen to me, I hope that people would realize, that those ravings would just be a reaction on being hurt and would weigh the things I have said and written before as my more accurate attitude.
For I believe, that reaching out to the Jewish people is not only a religious duty for a Christian, it is also a very important tactic in the struggle for peace.

Gilad Azmon and Israel Shamir believe that Jews need to give up their identity of being Jewish in order to reconcile with the rest of humanity. I have not subscribed to Shamir's newsletter, although I read it regurlarly, because I believe that to demand from Jews to give up their Jewish identity will probably not work.
A feeling of identity is such an important psychological factor wihtin a person, it´s for many people next to impossible to give it up.
I didn´t realize before I started living permanently here in Iceland, how important my German identity is for me. And I´m definitly not one who keeps yelling: I´m proud to be a German. That´s considered a Neo-nazi attitude.
I have lived here for so many years, I could apply for Icelandic citizenship, but I haven't done it yet because until recently I thought I would loose my German one.
There would be a lot less historical baggage and sometimes negative attitude to carry, if I could identify as an Icelander, but I just can´t. For better or worse I´m German.
The same is true for my religion. In my late teens I went from the Catholic to another church, because I was turned off by the insincerity and the liberal sexual attitudes of my catholic peers and fell for the promise of a more family oriented church with no drinking, smoking and more strict sexual rules.
With time I realized, that I couldn´t stand the Old Testamentarian attitude and the America centeredness of that church, but I would have stayed anyway for the sake of family and friends, found some niche for me somehow, but I didn´t because I couldn´t find any spirituality there.
I finally realized why I couldn´t find it, when I went back to the Catholic church: I had missed the rituals most and foremost. I do not believe, that only Catholics go to heaven, or only Christians or only religious people, but I do believe that I myself go to heaven as a Catholic or not at all, for my spirituality I only can find in the Catholic church.

Of course not everybody is like me and there are many who can find a new national identity or spirituality outside their childhood faith, but nevertheless there are for sure a lot of people who can´t.
Jewish national identity is not bound to national borders, but still it is a traditional national identity. And many Jews have a religious identity as well, but this does not mean, that they have to indentify with all the ancient precepts. There are quite a lot of different attitudes to what it means to be a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu.

So I think, for a Jew to reconcile with the rest of the world does not necessarily mean he has to give up Jewish identity, he could reconcile with Jewish history instead.
Avigail Abarbanel writes on her blog, that the Jewish people is traumatized and that this is what lies mostly behind the Zionist atrocities.
Of course most Jews living today have not lived through Nazi persecution themselves. It is not what has them traumatized, rather what was told to them about this persecution together with other instances of persecution in history is traumatizing Jews.
And again its not the historical events, but the perception of those historical events, what traumatizes Jews.
Into this perception belongs the belief, that the Jewish people has been the most persecuted in the world and that they are in danger of persecution all the time.And so, very often when Jews perceive that gentiles are angry at some Jews even for quite legitimite reason that trauma comes up. Trauma, that´s true for Jews and for Gentiles, makes normally decent people act, talk and think irrational. For decent people to justify Zionist injustice and brutality in any way, is irrational.

Many people within the pro-Palestine movement feel angry when they hear about another act of Zionist oppression and murder. And because there are so many Jews who justify Zionism, this anger is sometimes directed at Jews per se. And its natural, that people get angry, when somebody they care for is hurt so badly. And the members of the pro-Palestine movements have all started to care deeply for the Palestinian people, even if they are not Palestinian themselves.
The trouble is, that Jews, who are conditioned by this certain perception of history, will perceive this anger as hatred, as unreasonable anti-semitism and react with an even closer bond to Zionism.
Anger is in my opinion counterproductiv, if you want to break this bond.
"Love your enemy" is actually a method to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles to peace.
You keep on trying to get the enemy to reciprocate your love, even if it takes a long time.
On the other hand I do not think, that it is productive to accept and even promote a distorted perception of history, in order to make Jewish people trust you.
It quite obviously does not work. At the memoration of the Ausschwitz liberation, the whole UN was singing, or at least listening to, the Israeli national anthem, in spite of there having died many people from many other nations as well, and Israel had not even existed at the time. It was as if everybody was agreeing to that Jews, represented by Israel were the only victims of Nazi brutality. And still Zionist does not trust gentiles and feel constantly threatened.

"And they will know the truth, and the truth shall make them free."

The cause for Jewish trauma, persecution-complex or mass-paranoia, however you will call it, is a misconception of history. And this has to be overcome.
And yes, when you start to attack Jewish history, most Jews will perceive it as attack on the Jewish people, since national history is often tied to identity and yes, they will react with anger or fear.
But there is just no way around it. And in the long run one doesn´t have to loose one´s identity when one accepts a more accurate and less sanitized version of one´s people´s history.
We Germans had to do it, and we can live with it.
And for me personally it means to not only stifle anger when it comes up in me, but to do my best to actually overcome it and overcome fear as well.
For yes, of course I´m afraid. I fear, that Zionist pressure on the American government for war in behalf of Israel will lead to an unlimited world-war. But fear is just as big a hinderance for a peaceful world as anger is.
Racism is just another word for xenophobia (fear of strangers), antisemitism another one for judeophobia (fear of Jews) and there is no word for what Zionists feel for non-Jews, but you can call it Gentile-phobia.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Make It Personal

The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic.
I don´t remember where I read this quote, but I know, it is true.

We humans are social beings. We are created to live in groups and relate to each other. We can feel empathy for each other, even feel each others emotional pain. Some neurologists say that there are devices in our brains,neural patterns, for feeling empathy.
But we are also emotionally limited. We cannot feel for people we do not know. So when people get hurt or killed some place far away from us, people we never met, we never heard about on the other side of the world, our intellectual knowledge may tell us about the injustice being done to them. But intellectual knowledge is just not enough to act on it, to give up some comfort and conveniences for those who suffer injustice, we need emotional knowledge, we need to feel.
But then for us humans there are other ways of getting to know a person than seeing him or her face to face. We can see his picture, listen to her story told by others or watch a documentary on TV.
A few weeks ago there was a short documentary in a news-magazine on German TV about the Gaza withdrawal plans of Sharon. We saw an elderly Jewish couple who lived in one of those Gaza settlements. They had lost their daughter in an attack a few years back. Her daughter was buried in the cemetary of the settlement. We were told that in Jewish religion it was impossible to exhume bodies and bring them to another cemetary. We watched the mother going to the cemetary mourning for their daughter. She said she would never leave the settlement voluntarily.
Then the moderator of the news-show told us, that it was indeed difficult, the Gaza disengagement. Injustices would been done no matter what happened.
It would have worked on me, if I had not known better.
It would have worked,
if I had not known about the security zones around those illegal settlements, where Palestinians are shot at sight, when they came close,
if I had not known about the stealing of farm-land and water in a densely populated area, where Palestians went hungry and had to scrimp with water while Israeli settlers lived in luxury,
if I had not known about the little boy who was shot close to one of those security zones while trying to catch birds to sell on the market because his family was poor and needed the money.
I did not feel sorry for this elderly couple, I did not feel them to be justified for their attitude, but I would have, if I hadn´t known better.

The media can form opinions in the way they show an issue, in the way whose plight they show and whose they leave out. We need to see the faces of those who have suffered, we need to hear their stories. We need to get to know them.
Often even fictional stories told in movies or TV-shows can bring a point across.

Yesterday I watched a show from the TV-series "Without a Trace":
Here an old man went missing, a Peter Dusek. He had been a juror in a murder trial.As the story unravels we find out, that Dusek had recognized one of the witnesses of the trial,a Max Reinhard a former Gestapo officer who had lived in the US under a false name. During the war Reinhard had searched out Jews who lived in hiding with non-jewish families. Reinhard went up to children of the towns he was searching through to persuade them to become informers on their families or their neighbours. Peter Dusek was one of those children. He lived in the same apartment building as the family who were hiding Greta´s family. Greta was Peter´s friend, but he became an informer. He was maybe twelf years old. After Peter had recognized Max Reinhard, he went to Greta, who had survived Auschwitz and gave her a painting, her family had owned and Peter had taken into custody after their deportation. He also told her the truth of what he had done 60 years ago as a child, hoping for forgiveness, but he didn´t get it. So Peter Dusek went to Max Reinhard and turned him over to a Mossad agent, who was able to abduct him to Israel. In the end a policewoman said, that justice sometimes takes a long time.

Only a year ago I would have liked the show about fictional Greta, Peter Dusek and Max Reinhard, glad that justice was done in the end.
A year ago I knew so very little about the people of Palestine and of course I did not know anything about Ahmed Salah.
I read about him on Umkhalil`s blog. He lives in Al-Kahder village near the west bank city of Bethlehem. He is 14 years old.

(Ahmed)Salah(...),told reporters that soldiers arrested him from inside a grocery shop, took him to the nearby Road 60, and asked him to lead them to the homes of three teens who earlier had thrown stones at traveling Israeli vehicles.
"I told them I saw no stone throwers," Salah said.
Yet, soldiers took Salah to his home, searched the place and asked him to call his father. When the father, Taha Salah arrived, a soldier told him that his son threw stones at them. Taha then slapped his son on the face, but the officer told him that his son did not throw stones, but that they wanted him to lead them to the homes of three teens who had thrown stones at soldiers.
Salah told his father that he didn't see anyone throwing stones at soldiers, but soldiers didn't believe him and strongly pushed him and his father.
"I told them that you say my son didn't throw stones, leave him alone. You have no right to force him to lead you to the homes of other villagers" the father said.
One soldier pushed the father once more and warned him that if Ahmed refused to lead them to the homes of alleged stone throwers, they were going to arrest him.
"I told them to do what they want, and asked Ahmed to step out of the military Jeep. Ahmed jumped out and started to run towards our home. At this point, two soldiers started chasing Ahmed, a third soldier fired at him from few meters' distance," the father said.
"I jumped off the Jeep and ran towards home. I heard shooting and felt something penetrating my body. I fell on the ground besides the fence of my home, and woke up in the hospital," (Ahmed) Salah said.


Ahmed was wounded in the back and the chest. It happened last Wednesday.
Maybe Ahmed really didn´t see who threw the stones, but knowing the kids of the village, he probably knew anyway or he could have guessed. He knew he would be arrested when he didn´t collaborate. He probably had heard what happens to Palestinians in Israeli jails.
He did not become an informer.

Ahmed Salah´s story, the story of his family, his friends and his village would make a great movie.
Why doesn´t anybody make one?

To Be Chosen

In Christian and Jewish Theology the Jewish People is chosen by God.
In Christian Theology it was chosen to bring forth the Messiah of the world,Jesus Christ, God incarnate, Son of Man and Son of God.
In Jewish theology the Jewish people was and will always be specially chosen by God.
But what does that mean?
It could mean that the Jewish people is seperated and superior to all other peoples of the earth. Some Jews believe this, many others don´t.
Christian monks and nuns believe that they were chosen by God for special tasks, like praying for the souls of their fellowmen or serving the poor and the destitute.
Catholic priests believe they are chosen by God to perform the rites of the Sacraments in order to serve the Christian community.
The orthodox Jews of Naturei Karta believe, that the people of Israel was chosen to perform the acts of the law, and so serving all human kind and bring the light of God to the world.
Chosen to serve is a good way of feeling chosen.
By serving you heal yourself and you heal others.
There was a time, when I thought the most urgent reform the Catholic Church should make should be to throw out the Old Testament.
And I still can´t read it or listen to it without a few cramps in my stomach. People tell me,I must learn to read it in a different way. But I just can´t overlook the violence and, what I consider, injustices. I only can tell myself, that probably those parts were not inspired.
But I´ve come to the conclusion that there must be a reason, why Jesus, who created a religion of the most egalitarian principles for all mankind, was chosen to be born inside the nation who already was the most alienated from the rest of mankind.
Simon Jones argues on his blog in the post "We are all Jews now", that in our capitalist society whose motor is the taking of interest, which before was a Jewish privilige, we all have become alienated from each other and from nature. And we all need to heal from this alienation.
But healing, I think, is a spiritual task. We need ourselves to be healed and help others to heal.
So when our late Pope John Paul and our current Pope Benedict talk to the Jewish people they are trying to heal Jewish alienation from us Christians and from the world by using what Jesus has taught us: "Love your enemy, love those who curse and abuse you."
Maybe you believe the Jewish people must heal themselves. I think they can´t, due to mass-paranoia through misconceptions of history.
The main-tool the Zionist leadership uses to keep the Jewish people in line of their Zionist goals, is fear.
The Catholic church tells the Jewish people:
You do not need to be afraid of us!
You are our brothers and sisters, we do not wish you harm.
At the same time the Catholic church opposes globalized capitalism, the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and wars against the Muslim world obviously fought in behalf of Israel.
This opposition has caused rather vicious attacks by the Zionist dominated media of the US. The child-abuse scandal is, in my opinion, just an overblowing by the media of a few isolated real incidences, with a lot of bandwagon cases, when it was clear how much money can be made out of those accusations. And while the Church did allow herself to be blackmailed for money, she did not give up in her opposition to war and exploitation of the developing world.
While the Church has probably no illusions about changing the minds of the leadership of Zionism, she does still actively reach out to the ordinary Jews. There is a psychological aspect in it: If you touch somebody, who is angry at you for whatever reason, in a friendly, non-threatening way, it is very likely that his anger will recede.

So, I do not believe, that the Jewish religion is beyond redemption and that the Jewish people can only be healed by mass-conversation to Christianity.
Healing lies in facing uncomfortable historical and present truths.
Healing lies in overcoming fear and mistrust.
Healing lies in accepting universal rights.
Healing lies in universal love for all mankind alike.
Healing lies in the interpretation of being chosen:
To feel chosen not for being superior in any way but, like the Jews of Naturei Karta, to feel chosen to serve for the universal good of all human kind.

And since we in the west are actually "all Jews now", we have to heal in just the same way, so war, oppression and exploitation will finally be a thing of the past.

Monday, May 02, 2005

"Die Kinder von Izieu"

"Die Kinder von Izieu" is a song by Reinhard Mey, my favourite German composer, singer and songwriter. It used to be also one of my favourite songs.
I listened often to it and taught it to my children.
The song is about a group of 44 Jewish children between the ages of 4 to 17 years, who in 1944 were hiding from the Nazis in a house in Izieu in the mountains above the Rhone valley in France.
The song gives us the names of some of those children like Elie, Sami, Max und Sarah. It tells us that Joseph painted landscapes with horses, Theodore liked to feed the chickens and the cows, Liliane could write like a poet and Raoul would sing all day long. The song also tells us, that these children were betrayed to Germans. On the Thursday before Easter, the day of Getsemane, they were picked up by trucks, sent to Auschwitz in a train and that none of them escaped the murderers.
This song made me see those children in my mind, even though they died years before I was born. The song let me feel their hopes and then their fear, their pain and their despair.
Those children were real human beings, with names and a life history, who suffered because of the Nazi ideology of racism and racial superiority. And they were victims of war against the ethical values of humanity.
To remember those children, meant for me, that never, never again should children be murdered for such ideologies.
We should do everything to work against racism.
We should become a society that shows respect for all human beings, a society that shows respect for differences of religion and culture, a society that sees the value of every human being as absolute, to protect his dignity as the maxime of all political acts, just as our constitution, the "Grundgesetz" states.
This is what the rememberence of those real children symbolized for me.

But then, not very long ago, I found out that remembering the murderous atrocities of Nazi-Germany meant something a whole lot different for Zionists.
Zionists do not see those atrocities as acts of racism and an ideology of superiority, they see them exclusively as acts directed against the Jewish people per se. For them those atrocities show what they thought all along, that gentiles are inflicted with the uncurable decease of Anti-Semitism, a murderous insanity which can break out without warning erverywhere, and that all Gentiles are a potentially lethal danger for Jews.
Some Zionists use those Nazi atrocities as a justification for their own atrocities against other people, other children. They do not object racism or an ideology of "√úbermenschentum". They believe in that same ideology in a value system where the Jewish race is on top.
Some Zionists do not see the children of Izieu, with their names and their history. They do not see Elie, Sami, Max, Sarah, Joseph, Theodore, Liane and Raoul. They see numbers adding up, the higher, the better, sacrificed for an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine, for
"One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe",
said Izaak Greenbaum -- head of Jewish Agency Rescue Committee February 18, 1943.

So, no longer do I sing the song "Die Kinder von Izieu", but I still remember those children and I cry for them, as I cry for all those other Kinder:
The Armenian Kinder of Turkey in 1915,
the Ukrainian Kinder in 1932,
the Chinese Kinder of Nanking in 1937,
the English Kinder of London and Coventry in 1941,
the Tschek Kinder of Lidice in 1942,
the Polish Kinder of Volhynia in 1943,
the German Kinder of Hamburg in 1943 and of Dresden in 1945,
the Japanese Kinder of Tokyo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945,
the South African Kinder of Sharpeville in 1960,
the Vietnames Kinder of My Lai in 1968,
the Indian Kinder of Killevanamani in 1969,
the El Salvadoran Kinder of El Mozote in 1981,
the Nicaraguan Kinder of El Juste in 1987,
the Rwandan Kinder of Kigali in 1994,
the Chechnyan Kinder of Grozny in 2000,
the Russian Kinder of Beslan in 2004,
the Darfur Kinder of Sudan in 2004
and the Iraqi Kinder of Fallujah in 2005.
I cry for the children of wars against humanity.
I cry for the children shot, bombed, burned, or starved to death or humiliated, beaten, maimed, imprisoned, tortured and raped because some grown-ups believe themselves or their race or their people or their class as more deserving of life and the treasures of the earth than others.
And I cry for the Kinder of Palestine,
the Kinder of Deir Yassin in 1948,
the Kinder of Qibya in 1953,
the Kinder of Kafr Qasim in 1956,
the Kinder of Sabra and Shatila 1982,
the Kinder of Hebron in 1994,
the Kinder of Jenin in 2002.
I cry for Shayma Al Masri, 4 years old, killed together with her brother Arafat and three neighbour children Mohammed, Bara and Aziza on March 4, 2002 in a failed Israeli assassination attack.
I cry for Raghda Adnan Al-Assar, 10 years old, struck in the head by Israeli fire while sitting at her desk in UNRWA’s Elementary C Girl’s School in Khan Younis camp on September 10,2004
I cry for Imam Al-Hams, 13 years old, killed on her way to school when she came too close I to a check point and an Israeli officer empied his weapon into her, on October 5, 2004.
I cry for Rajeh Ghaben, 10 years old, killed by Israeli shells together with his brothers Jaber and Mohammed and his cousins Hani, Mohammed and Bassam, while he was picking strawberrys on his family’s fields in northern Gaza on January 4, 2005.
I cry for Nouran Iyad Dib killed by an Israeli sniper during recess in her school in Rafah on January 31, 2005
I cry for Ashraf Moussa, 14 years old, and his friends Hassan and Khaled who were killed when they played soccer in a field in Rafah on April 9, 2005
And in my heart and in my mind those children are there, together, on exactly the same place as the children of Izieu.
And I see them when I close my eyes and hear Reinhard Mey sing in the end:
"..I talk and I sing
And if necessary I scream
So that our children
Will know who they´ve been….
They were just like them,
Like all children everywhere…
Die Kinder von Izieu
Above the Rhone valley there
."