State of Israel

Pro-Israel advocacy with news and views.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

In Favor Of Israel

In Favor Of Israel

Pilar Rahola

When Hermann Broch, in the bloody madness of the Hitler era, launched this terrible assertion: "The indifference of Europe is the worst of the crimes", he was building something else than just a historical statement. In fact, he was trying to throw a dart to the core of the European conscience, obliging it to look in the mirror in order to meet itself. The result of this introspective look, if it had been taken place, would have had the same effect as the picture of Dorian Gray: monstrosity was not only far away from the European conscience, but it was born in itself. Europe was indifferent on the surface because it felt guilty within, in that inner abyss where for centuries it had looked after and fed the egg of the snake. Judeophobia was not a historical contingency limited in time and space, but a background culture that could explain the entire history of Europe. Somehow, Europe was founded by the hate of the Jews: they were its most remarkable co-founder. That is why Broch was wrong when he launched this desperate cry: Europe was not indifferent, Europe was the problem. Precisely for that same reason it never did a truly introspection, for historically it had managed to minimize its own guilt. Hitler? Hitler was just the last link of a growing destructive process of the Jewish soul that built the European soul; a destructive process that, in turn, was necessarily a self-destructive process. As Benjamin Netanyahu said, seriously affected, during one of his last official visits to the USA representing Israel, "Europeans wanted to exterminate us once in the past". That is to say, it was Europe that intended to exterminate the Jewish - and in fact it succeeded in exterminating many layers of their hard skin - and it is Europe again which, somehow, pleads for its extermination.

Is this true? Unfortunately I am convinced of it, and it is this belief that makes me write these lines. The conviction of taking part of a European entity that has committed the worst crime against humankind, the industrialized extermination of an entire culture, and despite of it, it has never gotten vaccinated to fight its hate. Europe had gotten rid of the Jewish, but it has not gotten rid of its Judeophobia.

This explains its uncritical Pro-Palestinian hysteria, its ferociously anti-Jewish left, its macabre trivialization of the Shoah - that "death of the human soul" that Lanzmann has turned into a close combat against oneself -, and its pseudo-intellectuals so fond of liberty that they have periodically been fond of all the dictators throughout history: Mao-Tse-Tung, Stalin, Pol Pot, and now Arafat. This explains the new ideological construction of anti-Semitism, adapted as anti-Zionism - and which Bernard Henry Levi considers as the most purified modern version of racism, although its origin had been a classic within the Soviet way of thinking...-, and it also explains the fascination that gets to inflict, among certain European intellectuals, any form of fascism that includes anti-Americanism as one of its totalitarian phobias. Saramago1 would be the best example of what August Bebel typified in 1884 as "the socialism of fools". For one person can be a wonderful writer and still think as an idiot...

Europe is Kafka. And Heine (considered as too Jewish in Europe and too "European" among Jews), and Freud, and Marx, and even Einstein. Nevertheless, as Kafka himself, Europe not only ignores its identity, but it also denies and destroys it, so exiled from itself that has made self-hate a type of reaffirmation. Europe's relationship with the Jewish, natural and weird at the same time, has always been the chronicle of a planned hara-kiri, up to the point of reaching a historical nonsense: Europe cannot be explained without the Jewish, and, at the same time, it has always been explained against the Jews; that is, against itself. Its collective conscience is formed via the different ways that Judeophobia invents, and there it is the origin of it. Just as its pathological anti-Americanism, so disloyal to the thousands of American men who lost their lives trying to rescue it from its deepest miseries, its anti-Semitism is pathological as well. Finally, after over five thousand years of attempts, it has succeeded in destroying its Jewish soul. By doing so, it has degraded so much that, somehow, has died. For this reason, the remains of Europe after the Holocaust are so similar to the esperpentos of Valle-Inclán2: the splendid epic hero is reflected in the concave mirror. Distorted. Stupefied. Lacking all kind of greatness.

I write in favor of Israel because, first of all, I am European and cannot forget the direct responsibility of Europe in everything that affects the Jewish society. Europe is responsible for the creation of the State of Israel. Europe creates the conscience, the need of state as the last hope for survival. Europe writes "Der Jüdenstaat" in 1896 through Theodor Herzl; In 1906 Europe sends Yafo, a young man from the Russian Poland, legendary David Grin, later named Ben Gurion in Hebrew. As sons of the Progrom, the regular dispersion and the destruction of its people, Europe sends thousands of young men to that "land without people to provide it with people without land". Young men who at the beginning wanted to be French, German, Polish, Russian, Hispanic, but who were obliged to be only Jews; Europe created the Jewish nation, making their people the only people in the world intended for total extermination; Europe builds the Ausschwitz terminus; Europe turns the creation of Israel into the very last solution... Can Europe provide itself with an ethical role in the conflict of the Middle East without bearing in mind its radical, monstrous, huge historical immorality? Perhaps that is the key to understanding the attitude of its official way of thinking: with its Manichaeanism and its uncritical fondness for the Palestinian victims, Europe redeems its guilt, it denies it and makes it vanish. It is not about being indifferent, as Broch denounced. Now it is about being the accuser, a nice way to stop being guilty ...

The trivialization of the Shoah is part of this same process of extermination. And regarding this subject we must be very clear: the perverse use of the memory of the Holocaust as a point of view in the conflict of the Middle East is a radical degradation of morality, and, undoubtedly, it is the spearhead of a deeply reactionary way of thinking. The irony that this way of thinking succeeds, especially among liberal intellectuals, lefty leaders and human rights organizations, is not surprising. After all, this irony historically defines a "so truthful" left that has sometimes been the executor arm of the most reactionary postulates. Since these movements are well settled on what Glucksmann calls "the black holes" of our collective memory - Vichy, the war of Argelia, the Soviet Gulag, the prosecutions against the Jews - they rewrite history as to tend to deny it. And only from this denial, from an overwhelming denial of the European conscience, the Holocaust can be used as a throwing weapon against Israel. This has got nothing to do with belonging to the Hasbara, or with being fond of the principles of information beyond propaganda, or with wishing to be reporters of the truth and not of the hate. It has got to do, above all, with respecting the victims of the industrialized crime. For someone must tell all the Saramagos in the world that trivializing the victims of the Shoah is like killing them again. As somebody said once, historical rigor is not only a scientist requirement; in the face of the holocaust it is a moral requirement.

By the way, and with the permission of Joan Culla, who used this reasoning in one of his articles: if the 52 Palestinian victims of Jenin (counted by a not suspecting NGO as is Human Rights Wath), plus the over 23 Israeli victims - or are they not important? - are comparable to the Holocaust, what can the nearly half a million people killed during the bloody Islamic process of Sudan, or the 20,000 victims of the revolts in the city of Hama in Syria by Hafed the Assad; or the 100,000 victims whose macabre responsible is the Argelian Islamic terrorism be compared to? And, would it not be compared to the regular destruction of Christian Lebanese settlements at the hands of Palestinian factions? Would it not be compared to the slaughter of Palestinians that the good Hussein of Jordania carried out in his particular black September?

However, all this seems unimportant for a left that, bearing in mind data, does not get indignant with the Muslim victims, with its legendary Third-World aureole so appreciated by these reactionary liberals, but only with those Muslim victims hit by Israeli bullets, in the middle of a conflict that in fact is a war. That is to say, the same left who is unable to remember that the communists were the main responsible for the death of communists throughout history, does not show any interest in knowing that Palestinians have killed more Palestinians than the Arabs themselves.

Why should they care about numbers, when the facts that promote indignation, planned protest, media scandal and claim to the always friendly and caring UN - which had this nice Nazi named Kurt Waldheim as president-, are exclusively connected with the Jewish guilt? Here are the roots of the immorality of Saramago, the roots of these lefty reactionaries, so concerned for the human rights, those who even consider the fall of the Berlin Wall as a tragedy. The left involved in Stalinist totalitarianism, and which on the other hand only recalls the guilt of fascism...; the same left fascinated by a local Third-World able to minimize and even comprehend fundamentalist totalitarianism; the same left that hates America because it actually hates, not its mistakes, but the values it stands for; the same left that hates Israel because it represents the most resistant and real rationalism. To state this among military news, terrorist attacks, and invasions would seem an inappropriate daring. However, only a state based on rational values could bear over 50 years filled with attempts of destruction. But still, the same left that has found in the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank the perfect excuse for channeling its anti-Semitism...

Obviously I cannot forget a key aspect: ignorance. The Middle East is the most mentioned subject in any distinguished group. But it is not very well known. The amount of lies has come to be so important, continuous and accurate that it has been able to create a parallel truth. A parallel reality.

Therefore, I write in favor of Israel because I am sick of the perverse use of the Holocaust, the pornographic trivialness used to play with the memory of the worst tragedy of humankind; and because, if I am Kafka, and Heine, and Freud, I am also each one of the victims who were killed in the final solution... Being European implies this terrible and unavoidable duality: either you are on the side of the victims, or you are on the side of the executioners. The indifference Broch highlighted cannot exist: no one who is not a victim turns out to be innocent.

The denial of the Holocaust leads naturally to the very process of distortion, the denial of the Palestinian violence. So, while Israeli victims do not exist, since they are made inevitable contingency, Palestinian victims are wrapped in an epic aureole that makes them greater beyond suffer. As if they were the chronicles of martyrdom, of this new religion that is, for some, the Palestinian cause. For this reason little Lea Schijverschunder, nine, who got seriously injured and lost five members of her family does not exist. A bomb-man... Galila Bugal, eleven, does not exist, or Shani Avi-Tzedek, fifteen, two of the victims of one of the buses crowded with civilians that bomb-men made explode. The dozens of children victims of the Bar Mitzva that a bomb-man decided to celebrate on his own way do not exist. Or the 23 people killed during the celebrations of the Pesaj, or the 8-month pregnant woman killed during the same terrorist act where among others, a baby was killed. Jews refugees do not exist either - a concept not even admitted by UNHCR- despite the fact that over 800,000 of them have had to leave the Arab countries, over 95% in many cases. Israeli victims to not exist because they are Jewish and, for that reason, they are responsible for their own death, a fatal destiny for those who have been born in the land chosen... for the extermination. Within the official Manichaeanism that dominates European media grammar, the victims can only be Palestinian; and the murderers can only be Jews. Any information that might twist this perfectly drawn duality is simply ignored.

This is how we create a new language for a new epic, since we lack old epics. The fanatical Palestinian murderers are called militiamen, a nice concept of old romantic resonance. They are not, then, madmen with hate in their soul and shrapnel in their stomach, they are resistant fighters. The indiscriminate bombs, designed to kill civilian victims and cooked in the kitchen of total hate are called fight acts. The very hate, planned from the Palestinian authority and perfectly structured as a collective way of thinking - hate at schools, at parties, in songs, in life - that old hate that led Golda Meir to pronounce a historical statement: "Peace will come when Palestinians love their children more than they hate Jews"; that is not hate, it is just simple and reasonable resentment.

A violent and totalitarian Arafat does not exist either, although his biography as a terrorist is as big as the hundreds of dead people he has left on his way. That blind leader that has been destroying every possibility of peace, who has cheated each of the Israeli leaders he has treated and who, above all, dynamited the big white hope of the Oslo Treatments; that man who embraces the Palestinian cause and who at the same time is allergic to a Palestinian state - a very significant nuance, since state means logistics, contradictions, trouble, and maybe liberties...- that character who never wanted a pact with Israel, but the extermination of Israel, and who deserved Clinton's contempt as he felt betrayed, just as the entire Israeli left; that leader of violence, main responsible for the current wave of terrorist attacks - and for many others - and whose love for the life of his people is quite slim. "We can survive Sharon but, can we survive Arafat?" said a Palestinian not long ago; that man who accumulates as many civilian deaths as historic mistakes, violent totalitarianism and corruption, and whose unique ecosystem is war: that man does not exist. For the Europe of the new morality before the Jews, he is seen as a poor and old resistant fighter, the last chance to fall in love again with a dictator. He is not a strategist, he is a terrorist. But we have decided that he is our terrorist, just as when our pirates were not pirates, but corsairs. As when Kissinger said about Pinochet: "He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch".

All despite the fact that European media, those that write scandalized about Belen or Jenin or Gaza, could have had a feast after Palestinian violations of Oslo Agreements. And despite the fact that the accusations against Arafat for corruption of European aid, have been published even in Kuwait. And despite the fact that, if willing to demand trials for crimes committed again humankind, Arafat carries some bloody suitcases on his shoulders. Wouldn't the extermination of 30,000 Christian Libanese, some 10,000 at the hands of Arafat's militia, be a very nice headline? And despite the millions of petrodollars given to the Palestinian terrorism, and not to the schools and hospitals, or to infrastructures. That would be a great object of analysis. Despite the fact that when Gaza and the West Bank were under the control of the Arabs no one suggested a Palestinian state there, a nice debate subject ... And despite... But the media that determines that the occupation of the basilica of Belen by 150 heavily armed terrorists who put up to 40 bombs on the walls of the basilica is not a terrorist occupation, but the siege of the Israeli army against a sacred place... in that type of media, how important is information, rigor, truth and impartiality? Especially impartiality, after having chosen a comfortable and cathartic "pro-Palestinian impartiality".

In the bottom of this conscious or unconscious distortion of reality there is no room for a new way of fascism, the Islamic fundamentalism. There is only a justified fight. The fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf or the disgusting "Protocols Of The Learned Elders of Zion", created by the czarist secret services, are best-sellers in the Arab world might be a reasonable symptom of the civilized logic of things... It might also be reasonable that some Nazi European groups have celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center and consider Bin Laden as a new Fürher: everything makes sense. Everything except that Europe is making the same mistakes again - "they are betraying us once more" can be heard in the streets of Israel -, unable to stand the Jews even now that they are no longer among them. How was that? They first said: "You cannot live among us as Jews". Then, "you cannot live among us". Eventually, "you cannot live". You cannot even live in Israel, a state created by Europe itself. That is the reason why Israel has to apologize for its acts, even if it is right. And it can never, ever, make mistakes.

Just as it can never lose. For after an Arab defeat another war comes, and another one, and another one. But the first Israeli defeat would lead to its absolute disappearance. "If somebody says that they want to destroy you, believe them", said Menahem Begin; and ten years after his death, this statement is truest than ever. Even among the most dogmatic sectors of the European way of thinking, there is something very clear: among the collective Israeli way of thinking, the irreversibility of a Palestinian state lies underneath, sooner or later. Its requirement is not the territory, it is peace. Let's think, for example, about the return of the entire Sinai to Egypt when peace with this country succeeded. "It is just desert", told me one of these ignorant intellectuals I have mentioned above.

He did not know, or wanted to know, that the Sinai was certainly a desert when it was occupied by Israel, but it was taken back with urbanized villages, hospitals, schools, and... petrol! The petrol Arabs did not even know that they had, and bearing in mind that Israel has no petrol. By the way, it was Sharon in person who obliged the colonists who had settled on the Sinai to return. Israel's obsession is security, and consequently, peace. Therefore, the continuous Arab defeats in the wars against Israel have a price: the price of Israel's security. In the collective Israeli way of thinking, and beyond some perfectly minimized radicals, there is no denial of the Palestinian right. Israel wants to live safely as a state, and it is precisely from security that it interacts with the environment, which has been completely aggressive so far. Among the collective Palestinian way of thinking, on the contrary, the will of making Israel disappear is what lies underneath while nearly nobody accepts the existence of two states. "After 32 years, where is the Palestinian movement called "Peace Now"?, tryingly wondered Mario Wainstein, co-founder of the movement Shalom Ajshav and active militant for the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue. "Where are the Palestinian intellectuals who show their condolences for our victims in terrorist attacks, like the twenty remarkable Israeli writers who went to the homes of the Palestinian victims to show their condolences?" Without ancient roots, lost within the great magma of the Arab identity - the very unreal myth of the Palestinian people was invented as an excuse for the Arab occupation - Palestinian identity is not only a recent phenomenon but it is, above all, built on hate of Israel. That is to say, if Europe can be explained in turn by its Jewish component and by its hate of the Jews, as if they were two sides of the same coin, Palestinian identity can essentially be explained only by its anti-Jewish component. It is for this reason that the Palestinians have such difficulty putting an end to their violence. Not only due to the irresponsibility of violent leaders like Arafat, or the close connection between the petrodollar and fundamentalism. There is a more subtle fact, maybe less tangible: If the Palestinians renounced their hate of the Jews, they would at the same time lose a significant part of their identity. In other words, they would have to reinvent themselves. But, are they ready to do such a thing? It does not seem so... So, Menahem Begin, if somebody says that they want to destroy you, believe them...

I write in favor of Israel, therefore, because I do not want to take part in the deliberate, continuous, and dangerous distortion of reality carried out by the European media, with very few exceptions. They are so close to the Palestinian cause that they even feel bad when they have to report something whose responsibility does not fall on Israel. Even the dead Israelis are reported as victims of Israel itself. As if Israel, actually, killed them. In favor of Israel, therefore, because I do not accept the use of defense of the Palestinian cause as a pretext for a new epidemic of anti-Semitism. Because I truly dislike the blindness of a left, my left, which is still based on its most retrograde habits, and which, led by its Judeophobia - never admitted but still perfectly proved - is unable to foresee the enormous danger of the new face of totalitarianism: Islamic fundamentalism. Glucksmann warned the Arab world on this situation not long ago: "Islam either manages to stop the madness of its militias, its young fighters of God, or will start its own ending once it falls in the hands of fanaticism, as it happened with other totalitarian ideologies in the 20th Century".

And adds, regarding the indiscriminate deaths of civilians: "Just as you cannot sleep with whoever you want to, you cannot kill whoever you want to either. Religion and culture must put the limit to his homicide nihilism in order to rule the warrior violence. When everything is permitted, God and tradition die; if everything continues to be permitted, society secular order also dies". Hate is legitimated when everything is permitted. When something is legitimated in the name of God, it reaches madness. As I am writing these lines, I hear about a new terrorist act: this time in the cafeteria Frank Sinatra, crowded with students from the Monte Scopus Hebrew University of Jerusalem. So far seven young people who were studying for their exams have been killed, while other 74 are injured. The headless nails inserted in the suicide bombs in order to increase the destructive power have no pity... The news arrive in the form of a bloody headline, but once again, the grammar is full of ideology: "Palestinian militiamen", "expected revenge", and "resistant"... Eventually, they will make us believe that Sharon has killed these young students. The legitimization of hate...

In favor of Israel, therefore, because, not forgetting the Palestinian cause, I can and I want to understand the Israeli cause as well. Does understanding mean accepting everything, justifying everything, assuming the many responsibilities it also has in the conflict? Obviously not, but I will not make the mistake committed by all those who, like me, express themselves in terms of comprehension towards Israel: I will not justify myself. The long series of multiple excuses, congratulations and justifications we have to write; all those who shyly raise our hands to say that Israel is also right is one of the most clear and exasperating processes of degradation of the opinion of our times. No one who writes in favor of the Palestinian reasons, although they show an abhorrent simplistic Manichaeanism, need to explain themselves. Universal reason is on their side even beyond reason. Nevertheless, the simple fact of trying to recover some of the pieces of this broken mirror that truth is and trying to recall that Israeli reasons, victims and pain also exist, implies a suspicious gesture by nature, a gesture that immediately makes us accomplice of terror. We almost have to prove that we are democrats, sometimes before long time democrats who do not feel ashamed when they defend acts of totalitarian terrorism. Within this coarse context of criminalization of the opinion that is not intensely pro-Palestinian we can find what many Jews call "Europe's current guilt" and which can be summarized in the statement that a Catalan Jewish, Ari Elijarrat, wrote to me in an e-mail: "the intense pro-Palestinian position of Europe is an enemy for the peace in the area". I am convinced of it, so I am going to put in words a real provocation: The European and the Palestinian meet in a common place full of connection and symbols, and that is why they are so close: their meeting point is Judeophobia. Europe is the main responsible for feeding it inside, for permitting it outside and for the fact that, at the moment, peace is not even in the far horizon... The Palestinians feel legitimated in their hate because Europe legitimates them day after day. By saying this I am not excluding the fact that Europe legitimated the reasons of the Palestinian cause, an appropriate and legitimate attitude. What I am denouncing is the legitimization of hate, which differs hugely.

A nice picture, a picture containing the pieces of the puzzle: Europe destroys an entire nation, it sends the rest of the wreckage far away from home convinced of its low value - the surprising Israeli victory in the wars to which the Jewish people were abandoned to are still recalled in the offices of Europe's power -. Then they deny the right to use the land they were thrown to, that piece of desert which everyone disregarded. Hence, the victorious Jewish is now again an uncomfortable and indigestible character, and, in addition, notoriously unpleasant, as unpleasant as the permanent vision of the own guilt. From the victorious Jewish we move on to the prosecutor Jewish, a much more digestible concept and in addition linked with our glorious past: Is it not the contemporary reappearance of the evil, monstrous usurer Jewish of our Middle Ages mentality? What a wonderful way of finding ourselves again! Even Elizabeth the Catholic, the one who is going to be made saint, was probably right!

I am and I feel of the left, although after reading this, Maruja Torres3 will have kicked me out of the Olympus, for in Spain the left is pro-Arab or otherwise is not... But, leaving gender subjects aside, being a lefty is, for me, something else than just an ideological label, it is, above all, an existential position toward life, toward society, toward the way of thinking. Being of the left implies exercising the dialectical sense, the critic and the self-critic, and the wish of transgressing reality in order to improve it. I have never understood why when this position turns into ideology, at times it becomes an excuse for channeling uncritical dogma, a simplistic Manichaeanism, indeed racism. Or directly, for verbalizing nonsense. Anti-Americanism, for instance, a huge nonsense owned by the way of thinking of the left that does not think too much. Or Judeophobia, never admitted but always present. Or anti-Zionism, an umbrella used to comfortably protect old anti-Semitism. Or... That is the reason why I write in favor of Israel, because a left that does not follow propaganda must exist, a left that embraces causes without killing others', a left that loves Palestine because it also understands and loves Israel. A left, in any case, that when reading about 'refugees camps in Jenin' - refugees? In Jenin? - starts laughing instead of crying hurt by the betrayal that information suffers in the hands of reporters. A left that feels accomplice of the Israeli left, and it looks for and cannot manage to find the Palestinian left... A left that can defend a cause, but that will never accept the fact that a cause can do anything; indiscriminate death, for instance... A left, after all, which feels guilty as European, and is not willing to betray again its Jewish soul. Does it exist? I claim it for me and for many others, despite of being aware of the minority within the uncritical Pro-Palestinian magma that covers us. I say this in case I have not made myself clear enough: its defect is not its Palestinian complicity. Its fault is its uncritical position.

Therefore: In favor of Israel, the most intelligent, reasonable, cautious and honest way of being in favor of Palestine.

"Am Israel jai be-Israel" ("The people of Israel live in Israel"). It was on the 14th of May 1948 and this statement, uttered by Ben Gurion, closed a cycle of thousands of years full of dispersion, prosecution, death, and resistance. Nevertheless, nothing kept Palestinian people from living as a neighbor. People who arrived massively in the deserts of Judea precisely because Jewish did... Over 50 years later, Palestinians have not yet understood the fact that Israel is entitled to exist. However, and despite the camaraderie they receive from their European allies, their only chance to win is by understanding...


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