Michael Brull has a great article about the future of Israel on ABC (published yesterday). Brull questions the moral character of the modern Israeli political structure and laments on how Israel has strayed from what the country was meant to be and how far it is from what it should be. The article starts with the following:
Shortly after Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, one of Israel’s most brilliant intellectuals, Yeshayahu Leibowitz called for an immediate withdrawal from the occupied territories.
In Occupation and Terror, he also issued a prophecy about Israel “endeavouring to impose colonial rule on the territory of a foreign people”, and its “internal implications”. This “colonising situation will lead to the establishment of a political structure combining the horrors of Lebanon with those of Rhodesia – the state of a people possessing a common national heritage will turn into a system of imposed rule over two peoples, one ruling and the other ruled… It is unlikely that human rights and civil freedoms can exist even in the Jewish sector.” Every “day of continued occupation increases the… hatred along with their inevitable consequences. Corruption of state, society, and people is continually exacerbated.”This policy will lead to “self-destruction of the Jewish state, and of relations with the Arabs based on perpetual terror. There is no way out of this situation except withdrawal from the territories.”
Eight long years ago, one of Israel’s most eminent sociologists, Baruch Kimmerling declared that Ariel Sharon’s cruel war on the Palestinians showed that “Leibowitz was right – the occupation has ruined every good part and destroyed the moral infrastructure upon which Israeli society exists. Let’s stop this march of fools and build society anew, clean of militarism and oppression and exploitation of other people, if not worse.”
Throughout the article, Brull offers examples of how Israel has morally strayed from the ideals of its founders. A brief resume:
- “[Israel] quietly deported Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire. Other than Gideon Levy’s brave voice of dissent, it largely passed here, and there, unnoticed – like when Israel’s occupation soldiers shot her at a non-violent protest.”
- “In the last Israeli election, the major new force was Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu. Even Martin Peretz thinks of him as a “neo-fascist” in the style of Jorg Haider.”
- “Lieberman explained that when ‘there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important.'”
- “There has been the passing of laws to more closely monitor their [civil rights groups] activities.”
- “‘Centrist’ Kadima pushed a bill to ‘outlaw any Israeli non-profit associations or other organisations that give information to foreign authorities and work toward prosecuting Israeli politicians or military officers for war crimes.'”
- “There has been a campaign to purge the universities of those with unacceptably unorthodox political views.”
- “In August, Israel demolished a Bedouin village, within its Green line borders, destroying the homes of 300 people.”
- “There is more, such as Israel’s increasing intolerance of refugees, and other discriminatory legislation.”
- “Also notable is the proposed Nakba Law, which would criminalise public mourning of the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians from 1947-1979.”
[tweetmeme] This list does not include the humiliation of Palestinians living under occupation or the many violations of Palestinian rights that are used as a means of enforcing the occupation. It does not include the systematic deportation of non-Jews from Israel or the harassment of Palestinians often record by IDF soldiers. It does not include the consistently expanding settlements; nor the daily attacks on Palestinians by settlers or the complicity of such attacks by the IDF. This list down not include the diplomatic isolation Israel has imposed on itself through its hubristic rhetoric and actions. It does not include Israel’s policy of disproportional response that has killed many innocent Palestinians. Nor does it include actual and proposed international assassinations by Israel. The list does not include any of the actions or alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the last few years. Nor does it include mention of the Lebanon War, the Gaza War or the Flotilla Disaster.
Brull ends his article by saying that: “And they must recognise – as Yeshayahu Leibowitz did so many years ago – that Israel’s colonial rule is corroding its society. Israel cannot be free until the Palestinians are too.” I don’t think that the colonial rule is corroding Israeli society, but rather it is slowly stripping the country of its collective sense of morality. The leadership of Netanyahu and Lieberman is simply a manifestation of the moral erosion.
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