[OPE] Sixty years of the UDHR, Nakba and the state of Israel: Memorycide, Mammon and Marx's revenge

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Wed May 28 2008 - 06:18:38 EDT

Since I wrote this bit http://ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu/~cottrell/OPE/archive/0706/0170.html I haven't written much more on Israel, but recent events (the 60th anniversaries) made me ponder stuff again... thought I would post these significant excerpts, in case anybody is interested:

The American mathematician David Mumford, co-winner of the 2008 Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics, announced upon receiving the award yesterday that he will donate the money to Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah, and to Gisha, an Israeli organization that advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement. (...) "When I visited Israel in 1995, there was a feeling of hope, but that is not the situation today," he added. "Education for people in the occupied territories gives them a future. The alternative is chaos." He said his decision was not aimed at Israel. "I have tremendous regard for Israel, which is without a doubt a major force in the mathematics world.  But unfortunately, the Palestinians cannot take part in this prosperity." http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/986898.html Compare http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/13B9BB0F-90C8-42E3-A40A-69CB1676D778.htm

On the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you can get an idea of what it is like, legally speaking, to be an non-Jew in Israel by having a look at http://www.hamoked.org/

"For ethnic cleansing to be an effective and successful operation you also have to wipe people out of memory and the Israelis are very good at it. They did it in two ways. They built Jewish settlements over the Palestinian villages they expelled and quite often gave them names that reflected the Palestinian name as a kind of testimony to the Palestinians that this is totally now in the hands of Israel and there is no chance in the world of bringing the clock backwards. The other way they did it is planting trees - usually European pine trees - over the ruins of the village and turning the village into recreational spaces where you do exactly the opposite of commemoration - you live the day, you enjoy life, it is all about leisure and pleasure. That is a very powerful tool for 'memorycide'. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/5C0036C5-83C9-4720-853D-0BFA9A4E1BC4.htm?FRAMELESS=true&NRNODEGUID=%7b5C0036C5-83C9-4720-853D-0BFA9A4E1BC4%7d)
"in the narrower, and more precise, sense, post-Zionism is a political attitude that recognizes the legitimacy of Zionism as a national movement of Jews, but specifies a certain date, a kind of watershed, from which point on Zionism concluded its historical role or lost its legitimacy because of injustices it did to others (not only to Arabs but also, for example to Holocaust survivors from Europe, Yiddish speakers, Jews from Arab and Islamic countries, ultra-Orthodox Jews and women). This viewpoint also gives rise to a political conclusion, according to which Israel must disengage itself from its Zionist elements, which are the foundation of its Jewish character, because they are preventing it from being a democratic state. In the eyes of its opponents, this conclusion by the post-Zionists places them in a saliently anti-Zionist camp." 
"For the term "post-Zionism" to be meaningful, it is necessary to start out from the acceptance of Zionism as a fact and a reality and to try to go beyond it. Thus, for example, post-modern criticism starts out from the acceptance of modernity, grapples with its dialectical outcomes and its contradictions and tries to go beyond it. This is not the case for those who call themselves "post-Zionists": They do not see Zionism and the State of Israel as a reality that has come to pass, but rather as something that is not legitimate from the outset and that must be eliminated down to its very foundations. However, in this their claims are identical to those of the old-style anti-Zionists. (...) The intellectual dishonesty is in the attempt to create a sense of something new, supposedly "post" and fashionable: This is simply an old car they are trying to sell as though it has just this minute come off the production line of the latest intellectual innovations." http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/878936.html

"WHAT'S happening today is Marx's revenge. Marx taught us that ideologies often serve as a superstructure camouflaging the real issues. Today there is no more camouflage. Mammon stands before us nakedly proclaiming: 'I am thy God, O Israel!'" This is not a citation from a leftist visionary, but rather from Israeli attorney Yaakov Weinroth, interviewed by Gidi Weitz in Haaretz on May 9, 2008. Weinroth, an orthodox Jew and self-proclaimed Zionist, is famous for defending powerful figures accused of corruption. Is Zionism too, we wonder, an ideology camouflaging other interests? The evidence is now in the affirmative."http://www.challenge-mag.com/en/article__211 (BTW the Matzpen site with Machover's articles is here: http://www.matzpen.org/index.asp?p=130 )

"As with the US, the Israeli state is outsourcing its military authority - and this is not merely a tactical change. It signals a loss of confidence in its own ability to carry out what have so far been fundamental tasks of the State, and its inability to convince its own people of the political case for carrying those tasks out. In Western activist and media circles it is popular to view the Israel-Palestine conflict as a David and Goliath case, a clear-cut struggle between victims and aggressors, and to denounce Israelis as a bunch of Zionist imperialist land-grabbing ideologues. While Israel clearly is still aggressive towards the Palestinian territories, where many are suffering terribly, this Western view is a caricature, revealing great ignorance about the character of Israeli society today. Rather than celebrating the fulfilment of the 'Zionist dream', Israelis' dreams have changed and in its sixtieth anniversary the country seems to be having a profound identity crisis." http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/5151/

An identity crisis is of course a powerful source of fresh apologetics, insofar it implies that a proposition A might also mean -A, or that 2 could be equal to 1 in some sense. The meanings could shift to and fro without being definite, constant and certain, or by being dependent on context, confounding even a mathematician. Something could mean all sorts of things. Thus, one could argue that it is precisely an identity crisis that ideologically sustains and perpetuates the state of Israel, enabling it to survive: its political power - apart from military power - resides in the ultimate moral ambiguities, subtleties and divisions about its very existence, rather than any constructive consensus about future goals, or a mandate committing the citizenry to resolve moral contradictions. 


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