Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jewish Settlers - Now... & Then

British novelist Howard Jacobson may be a master of "intense, cerebral comedies, which gnaw away at his Anglo-Jewish identity, the convolutions of the male mind and the battle of the sexes," (Interview: Howard Jacobson, Lindesay Irvine, The Guardian/SMH, 25/9/10) but he obviously doesn't have a clue about the Zionist project, which has been gnawing away at the body of Palestine for almost a century now:

"Grief was not the only real-life shock to find its way into [his new novel The Finkler Question]. As Jacobson began working on it, Israel's incursion [!] into Gaza was fueling a rising tide of anti-Zionist feeling in Britain, by which Jacobson was intrigued. 'At what point does anti-Zionism become anti-Semitism? That's the big question that was being asked. I can quite see why one might object to a lot of Israeli policy and much that Israel does. But the hating of Zionism itself is a very strange thing'. He says the country's fiercely secular roots have been obscured. 'I hate the sight of religious Jews wanting to build their settlements. I think they're a curse on the land. But that doesn't make one anti-Zionist. It actually makes one pro-Zionist'." (ibid)

So, for Jacobson, the religious fanatics who have spearheaded the Jewish colonisation of the occupied West Bank since 1967 are a plague and a curse, but the secular Zionists who ethnically cleansed and colonised Palestine from 1948 to 1967 were sterling fellows.

Perhaps he'd find a heart to heart with Likud MK and Speaker of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, enlightening. In railing against those Israeli actors and artists (people not unlike Jacobson) who are currently boycotting a theater in the Jewish colony of Ariel, Rivlin said, "I say to those who want to boycott, beware! Those who expelled Arabs from Ain Karem, from Jaffa, and from Katamon [in 1948] lost the moral right to boycott Ariel." He added that those Jews who settled in Ariel and the rest of the West Bank did so on "the orders of Zionism." (Knesset speaker Rivkin's admission: Israel 'expelled Arabs' across Palestine in 1948,, 3/9/10)

Jacobson, it seems, can't bring himself to acknowledge what is obvious to a plain-speaking (at least in the Hebrew press*), red-blooded Zionist such as Rivlin: that the kibbutz colonists of pre-67 occupied Palestine and the settlers who have gone viral in the occupied West Bank since 1967 are part of the same inexorable and pitiless colonial process of wiping Palestine, from the river to the sea, off the map. [*Rivlin's scoldings were reported first in the Hebrew language Ma'ariv newspaper, 1/9/10]

As for Israel's fiercely secular roots being obscured, as Jacobson has it, the latest Israeli polling indicates that only 42% of Israelis now regard themselves as secular. (See Poll: Fewer than half of Israelis see themselves as secular, Moti Bassok, Haaretz, 13/9/10)

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