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The fate of the Jews : a people torn between Israeli power and Jewish ethics
: The fate of the Jews : a people torn between Israeli power and Jewish ethicsBy
: Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht Date of issue
New York: Times Books
0704324482 Topic(s) addressed
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Pages 131-132 (113-114 in the UK edition):
A handful of Jewish men and even fewer Jewish women controlled much of the money and all of the power of the American Jews. The press published what they said, the White House listened to them, and no one ever asked who they really represented.
A study of Jewish leadership made after World War II revealed that "in eight major national Jewish organizations ... 28 individuals occupied a total of 108 directorships, and 4 families held 31. One family occupied 11 directorships, and another 8, and another 7." One man held 7 positions; his wife held 8. "The implication drawn is obvious," wrote political scientist Samuel Halperin. "The millions of dollars collected in the community for various causes were dispensed by the 'arbitrary wishes' of a few wealthy individuals."
No faint hearts or closet leftists there. Jewish thinking and Jewish philanthropy was and is controlled by an oligarchy of millionaires and professional Jews, who not only moved the
community to the right because the oligarchs felt most comfortable there but smothered dissent with a false unanimity imposed by the power of position and leadership.
In just two generations, the freest Jews in the world had stepped back into the nineteenth century and had restored power to the wealthy and the rabbinate, where it remains to this day. ... With few exceptions Jewish groups wanted a Palestinian solution: Bring the persecuted Jews to Palestine, not America. They feared that a vast influx of Jewish refugees would raise the level of anti-Semitism and set assimilation back sixty years. In 1939, a bill that would bring 20,000 refugee German Jewish children to America got some gentile support but important Jewish leaders were silent.
Neither the United States nor any other Western democracy really wanted the Jews. In the documentary film Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die, Senator Claiborne Pell said that at first Hitler did not want to kill the Jews, he just wanted to be rid of them. But, said Pell, the only country in the Western world that would take some was the Dominican Republic. Dictator Rafael Trujillo wanted more whites to offset the rising number of blacks in his country.
When World War II ended, there were perhaps half a million Jewish survivors in Europe. Had they been admitted to America and other countries of their choice, there would be no Middle East problem today; or if there were, it would be an intra-Arab squabble. The cost would have been trivial compared to lives lost, military aid, oil crises, and the political and economic drain of Third World enmity. There also would have been no need to displace hundreds of thousands of Arabs to make room for hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews.
To serve the Zionist dream, refugees were to be taken from the lands where they barely survived extinction to a land where they faced it again. The Zionists needed them, because you cannot have a land without people. American Jews acquiesced because it seemed a perfect solution for a touchy problem; they did not want the refugees here.
Pages 173-174 (150-151 in the UK edition):
Nonetheless, the peace treaty was signed by Begin and Sadat at the White House on March 26 ; Carter signed as witness. Terms for peace between Egypt and Israel had been set, but the Palestinian problem was no nearer solution than it had been when Sadat first flew to Jerusalem. Sadat's death went largely unmourned in the Arab world because it was felt that he had betrayed the Palestinians.
The Times noted that the day the peace was signed, few of the 8,000 residents of the city of Halhoul, on the West Bank, were available for comment; they were all under house arrest for demonstrating against the peace treaty. During the demonstrations, Israeli soldiers and armed civilians had killed a twenty-one-year-old laborer and a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl. The curfew, which had been in effect for twelve days, was almost total. Telephone lines had been cut, and all shops, businesses, and schools shut down. The residents could leave their homes for only one hour a day, overseen by Israeli soldiers. "I don't feel bad about what we're doing here," said a Bronx-born Israeli
soldier. "We'll just keep them penned up until the situation quiets down."
Begin reiterated at every opportunity that Israel would never return the occupied territories or cease to settle there. The Israelis would cede the Palestinians limited self-rule while remaining in control of defense and security. When Begin was asked what he would do if elected Palestinian leaders ultimately proclaimed independence, he said he would have them arrested.
Aware that Carter could not pressure Israel during the campaign, Begin continued his own campaign of provocation and destruction. In March, Israel had marked the first anniversary of the peace treaty with Egypt by reestablishing a Jewish presence in the city of Hebron on the West Bank, a hotbed of Arab nationalism. A White House official described the move as "throwing carpet tacks into the road."
The consequences were inevitable: Arab fanatics killed six Jewish fanatics. The following day, the mayor of Hebron, the mayor of Halhoul, and a Moslem judge were deported to Lebanon, though there was no evidence that the three men had any role in the attack. The son of the mayor of Hebron said, "They are making the Arab people hate the Jewish people and the Jewish people hate the Arab people. This is the policy of the government."
When the Security Council rebuked Israel for illegally deporting the three Arab leaders, the United States abstained. Carter was not about to make the same mistake twice.
On June 2, two other Arab mayors had their legs blown off by booby traps. In August, an Israeli journalist reported in the Washington Star that Begin had personally intervened to prevent Israel's security forces from following up clues that led to the fanatic Israeli movement, Gush Emunim, and that the head of security had resigned in protest. Begin screamed "calumny," the security chief said he was going to resign anyway, Israel threatened to arrest the reporter for espionage, and the crime is still unsolved.
Uri Avnery wrote, "Zionist literature, taught to every Jewish child in Palestine, depicted Jewish life in Eastern Europe as despicable, the whole tradition and folklore of the ghetto as cowardly, crooked, parasitical." He noted that Jews were "depicted in Zionist schoolbooks in a way rather reminiscent of anti-Semitic literature," and because of this, Israelis consider themselves "vastly superior" to diaspora Jews, "treating them at best with a paternalistic, rather colonial attitude."
Yehezkel Kaufman, professor of Bible studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote that Jewish nationalism was built "on a foundation of anti-Semitism." It blamed Jews themselves for their misfortunes and said they deserved to be hated. To shed their iniquities they had to leave the diaspora and become a nation and a people like others. "The poison which flows from Jewish nationalist sources," wrote Kaufman, "is perhaps the most dangerous of them all."
Kaufman offered examples of what some prominent Zionists called their brethren in the diaspora: "gypsies, filthy dogs, inhuman; parasites, people fundamentally useless; slaves, helots, worms, filth, rootless parasites."
He noted that every nation has its diaspora -- those who emigrated -- yet "none are considered slaves and dogs except the Jews -- and by themselves." He wrote, "Many Zionists ... are completely convinced that in order to become 'good Zionists' we must first become 'good anti-Semites,' that we must first hate ourselves."
Preeminent Zionist Theodor Herzl was a self-hating Jew. As a correspondent in Paris he wrote, "I took a look at the Paris Jews and saw a family likeness in their faces: bold, misshapen noses; furtive and cunning eyes." He also wrote that anti-Semites were "fully within their rights."
Herzl believed that gentiles would realize a Jewish state was in their own interests; it would help them get rid of Jews.
Herzl wrote, "It is the anti-Semites who will be our staunchest friends, and the anti-Semitic countries which will be our allies." He appealed to "honest anti-Semites" to donate funds for the establishment of a Jewish state and said that he hoped to "derive some measure of advantage" from the Kishinev pogrom. Herzl met with V. K. Plehve, the Russian minister responsible for the pogrom, because he considered him a "sensible anti-Semite" who would help the Zionist movement clear the Jews out of Russia.
Weizmann bemoaned the alacrity with which some Zionists were willing to compromise with evil and their "tragic, futile, un-Jewish resort to terrorism."
Hans Kohn wrote, "Military victory created the new state; and, like Sparta or Prussia, on military virtue it remained based." But military virtue was not its only flaw. Morris Raphael Cohen observed, "Zionists fundamentally accept the racial ideology of [the] anti-Semites, but draw different conclusions. Instead of the Teuton, it is the Jew that is the pure or superior race." Cohen dismissed these beliefs as "beneath contempt," but they made it possible for Zionists to feel untroubled when they violated the rights of the non-Jewish population of Palestine.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called "the Jewish winning of Palestine and surroundings ... Manifest Destiny." One of his Jewish law clerks called Brandeis's brand of Zionism "Jewish Hitlerism."
In 1891, when there were fewer than 25,000 Jewish settlers in Palestine, Ahad Ha'am visited and was appalled at their behavior. Jews who were serfs in the diaspora, he wrote, were despots in Palestine: "They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds; and nobody among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination." It was a "grave error," said Ahad Ha'am, for Jews to believe that Arabs "are all savages who live like animals and do not understand what is happening." He later wrote that "it was evident" that one day "the Arabs would stand up against us."
Israel is the only nation in the world where Conservative and Reform Jews are not recognized as religious Jews but as sinners. Neither Conservative nor Reform rabbis can perform a marriage ceremony in Israel: if they do, it has no legal standing.
Sephardic Jews have menial jobs and less education; they live in overcrowded rooms in overcrowded slums. They are Israel's blacks; some Ashkenazic women refer to their Sephardic maid as the "schvartze."
Sephardic children go to schools where they learn about Ashkenazic heroes and European culture; their own culture is ignored or denigrated. There is a high rate of juvenile delinquency and petty crime among them. According to Yakim, when a crime is committed in a Sephardic community, the police don't necessarily look for the criminal; instead there is collective punishment. A group of Sephardim are rounded up, beaten, and released.
In Israel, when an Ashkenazic Jew marries a Sephardic Jew, it is called intermarriage. The rate of such marriages is only 10 percent, while in America the rate of Jews marrying non-Jews is estimated at nearly 50 percent. Gibel told an anecdote about a Tunisian Jew who said the highest rate of intermarriage in Israel is between Yemenites and German Jews because "they both recognize each other's blue blood."
During the Agenda workshop on the Sephardic problem, Yakim and Gibel discussed the question of why Oriental Jews had gone to Israel to begin with. Both agreed that while there had been some persecution, historically, Jews had far better lives in Moslem lands than they did under Christianity.
Yakim said that "Zionism created the conflict between the Jews from Arab countries and the Arab people." He repeated the allegation, which is not new, that Israeli agents were responsible for bombings in synagogues in Arab countries in order to stampede Jews into leaving.
I have heard this charge, or variations of it, many times. An Israeli student told me, "It already came out in public that in Iraq, for instance, Israeli agents threw bombs into synagogues to terrorize the Jews. This is well known. It is also known that in Morocco there was close cooperation between the Moroccan government and the Israeli government to induce the Jews to leave. All of that part of history is still shrouded in mystery, but when it comes out, people will be amazed."
In his book on the Middle East, Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former CIA operative, wrote that three months before he arrived in Iraq in 1950, a bomb had exploded "outside a Passover gathering," which led 10,000 Iraqi Jews to emigrate to Israel.
"Just after I arrived in Baghdad," wrote Eveland,
an Israeli citizen had been recognized in the city's largest department store: his interrogation led to the discovery of fifteen arms caches brought into Iraq by an underground Zionist movement. In attempts to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel.
Although the Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had "rescued" really just in order to increase Israel's Jewish population.
One of the most enthusiastic, committed, knowledgeable Zionists I interviewed did not speak of bombings, but he did say, "You don't think that the Sephardic Jews just rushed to Israel, do you?" He said Israel had sent emissaries to Arab lands to warn the Jews that they faced pogroms and persecution, which was not true. It was propaganda to frighten them into leaving because, he said, Israel "needed bodies" to settle the land, build up the armed forces, expand the economy.
According to Yakim, to prevent the Sephardim from allying themselves with the Arabs, Israel deliberately created or enlarged the hostility between the two groups. In the 1950s, Sephardim were settled in development towns where they would be exposed to Arab attacks. "They built a belt of protection around the borders by throwing thousands and thousands of Sephardic Jews there," said Yakim. "They didn't care about their housing, they didn't care about their jobs. They purposely didn't protect the places militarily." The Sephardim not only helped to protect the kibbutzim but provided them with cheap labor.
The level of conflict between Sephardim and Ashkenazim reached an explosive point in December 1982. Because a Yemenite Jew in a Jerusalem slum added a room to his two-room house without a government permit, the police came with a bulldozer to demolish it as "land robbery."
Members of the family explained that the court had issued a restraining order, and one of them had gone to get it. Nevertheless, the police used the bulldozer to wreck the room. When the family threw stones at them, a policeman shot and killed one of the sons.
Rioting broke out in the Sephardic slum. Sephardim painted swastikas on the homes and cars of Ashkenazic Jews; they also painted signs that said, "Ashke-Nazis," "Ashkenazim to Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Dachau," "End the Oppression," and "Free the Prisoners of the Neighborhoods."
One sign said, "The Sephardic Revolution has begun."
Israelis often say that Sephardim are no worse off than they were in the Arab countries from which they came. But if Jews are not better off in Israel, what is the point of a Jewish state? If Jews are not equal in Israel, what is the point of a Jewish state?
Israel realized it needed more Ashkenazic Jews to balance out the Sephardim; since they were not coming from the West, they had to come from Russia.
Israeli officials want support for Soviet Jews in Israel, where it benefits their economy, but nowhere else. When American Jews wanted to help Soviet Jews gain religious and cultural freedom in the Soviet Union, Israel objected because that might stop the exodus. When it became apparent that, given the choice, a majority of Soviet Jews preferred to go to America, Israel exerted massive pressure to stop all aid to them. Denied help by American Jewish organizations, emigrating Soviet Jews have been aided by the U.S. government, by Caritas, a Catholic organization, by the Tolstoy Foundation, by the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism, and by the anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidim. Jews in distress not only have no certain homeland, they cannot be assured of help from American Jewry unless Israel approves. If other nations are judged by their treatment of their Jewish minority, Israel must be judged by its treatment of its non-Jewish minority. If it is hard to be a Jew in Israel, it is even harder to be an Arab. The Proclamation of Independence of the state of Israel declares that it will "maintain complete equality of social and political rights for all citizens, without distinction of creed, race, or sex. It will guarantee freedom of religion and conscience, of language, education and culture." These words have no more meaning than they do in similar documents all over the world. Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League in America and the extremist Kach movement in Israel, has called the proclamation "schizophrenic" because it calls for "a Jewish state, a Jewish this and a Jewish that, and then says all citizens are equal." Kahane wants all Arabs out of Israel; he also wants a mandatory five-year prison sentence for any non-Jew who has intercourse with a Jewish woman. That the Zionists never realized their dream of a homeland would dispossess another people is part of Zionist mythology. In 1895, the year before Herzl published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), he wrote in his diary: "We shall have to spirit the penniless population [the Palestinians] across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." At the time of the Balfour Declaration, which Zionists interpreted as a commitment to a Jewish state in Palestine, Jews were only 10 percent of the population; the camel's nose was in the tent. In 1930 when Jews were 17 percent of the population, Ben Gurion said they "must root themselves in this land, and become a self-ruling nation;" the camel's shoulders were in. In 1946 Jews were still only 31 percent of the population, but they wanted all of Palestine, assuring the Arabs that they would of course have equal rights. The camel's hump was in the tent, and the assurances were never meant to be honored. The attitude of most Zionists toward the Arabs was comparable to the attitude of most American settlers toward the Indians. Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund, wrote, "It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country. ... There is no room for compromise on this point! ... We must not leave a single village, not a single tribe." When the state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, there were 900,000 Arabs in Palestine. The camel was able to fill the tent because most of the Arabs -- 750,000 of them -- fled or were expelled. Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president, called this "a miraculous simplification of Israel's tasks," while David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, said, "We must do everything in our power to ensure that they never return." The simplification was not entirely miraculous. An Israeli censorship board prohibited former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin from including in his memoirs an account of how 50,000 Palestinian civilians were forcibly expelled from two towns near Tel Aviv during the War of Independence in 1948. Rabin said the decision was Ben Gurion's. Many elderly Arabs and Arab children died of the heat during the forced march to Arab lines. The expulsion was characteristic of Israeli policy. In March 1983 Meir Cohen, a member of the Israeli parliament, said that the Israelis should have driven out two or three hundred thousand Arabs on the West Bank when they captured it in the Six Day War, as they had driven out Arabs during the War of Independence. "I learned exactly how it should be done from the ... commanders of my unit in the Israeli Defense Forces in the 1948 war," he said. There has long been disagreement over why so many Arabs fled; Zionists insist that the Palestinians were ordered to leave by their own leaders. This was rebutted by Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, who is a member of the Palestine National Council, which defines itself as the legislative branch of the Palestinian people. Said wrote that "no one has produced any evidence of such orders" and that a study made of Arab newspapers and broadcasts of the period not only revealed no such orders but, on the contrary, proved that the Arabs were urged to stay. The Palestinians fled because they were civilians in a war zone. It is not unnatural for civilians to flee during wartime. As the massacre at Deir Yassin demonstrated, the Palestinians had reason to flee. Before dawn on the morning of April 9, 1948, the two Israeli terrorist groups, LEHI and the Irgun, attacked the Arab village of Deir Yassin, west of Jerusalem. When they met resistance, the Israelis decided to dynamite the village, house by house. Anyone who tried to escape was shot. By late afternoon, Deir Yassin was in ruins, and some 250 Arab men, women, and children were dead. Their bodies were dumped into a quarry, and an attempt was made to burn them, to hide the evidence of the atrocities. The few Arabs who survived said that the Israelis had not only massacred but also raped, looted, and mutilated. The savaging of Deir Yassin was condemned by a commander of the Haganah, the regular Israeli army. He wrote that the terrorists "chose one of the quiet villages in the area ... and slaughtered men, women, and children, not in the course of the operation, but in a premeditated act which had as its intention slaughter and murder only." Menachem Begin, who was head of the Irgun, later wrote that the village was a legitimate military target and that the description of it as a massacre was a lie told by "Jew-haters all over the world." Uri Avnery wrote, "The impact of this carnage on the Arab population of Palestine was immense and accelerated the flight of villagers in other areas of the country." The Arabs didn't have to be told to flee Palestine; Israeli terror and force gave them little alternative. When Arab soldiers retreated from any area, the villagers retreated with them because they feared for their fate at the hands of the Israelis. When the war ended, Arabs were not permitted to return to their land. Instead, their homes and villages were destroyed. Weitz wrote in 1948, "I went to visit the village of Mu'ar. Three tractors are completing its destruction. I was surprised; nothing in me moved at the sight of the destruction. No regret and no hate." Israel was not built on empty land but on the ruins of Arab villages, with homes, mosques, schools, and cemeteries. Professor Ian Lustick noted that the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv was built upon a Moslem cemetery. Arab buildings may not have looked like much to Western-oriented Israelis, but they were home to the native population. To build upon the ruins of the defeated is the privilege of the conqueror, but he normally does not dissemble about it. Professor Israel Shahak, chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, has said that almost 400 Arab villages were completely destroyed, "with their houses, garden-walls, and even cemeteries and tombstones, so that literally a stone does not remain standing, and visitors are passing and being told that 'it was all desert.'" Moshe Dayan once said bluntly, "We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here.... Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.... There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." Most of the land was expropriated, not only from Arabs who fled, but from Arabs who did not flee. Those who fled were not permitted to return, even if they went no farther than the next village. Arabs who never moved an inch had their land taken from them, usually without compensation. It is estimated that at least 40 percent of the land was confiscated from Arabs who were legal residents of Israel. An Israeli journalist described land seizures as "wholesale robbery in legal guise." Using a maze of laws and regulations, Israel systematically displaced the Arabs. Under Ottoman and British rule, land surrounding an Arab village had been considered the property of the local population. Under the Israelis, all land belongs to the "national patrimony." An authority on Israeli land policies that relate to Arabs has said that "national patrimony" means "the Jewish population only." He wrote, "Land settlements and development on areas adjudicated to the State ... have been assigned exclusively to Jewish institutions.... New legislation, administrative regulations, and executive policies and procedures have been focused ... on restricting or altering the legal basis on which the villagers could claim land and on cutting down land already held by them." Virtually every Arab claim to land ownership has been challenged, with the burden of proof upon the Arabs. Ian Lustick, in Arabs in the Jewish State, listed the agencies, laws, and regulations established for the purpose of taking property from the natives of Israel. Land can be seized when an Israeli official believes it is uncultivated or will not be properly cultivated; when officials declare it is necessary for security; or when they want to use it for immigrants or wounded veterans or some similar purpose. These laws also retroactively justify past confiscation "regardless of the violation of due process which had occurred." Israel's land policy dispossessed a people who depended upon their land for sustenance and made the Arabs implacable foes of the Israeli state. The purpose of the government's land policy has been not only to acquire land on which Jews can settle but to destroy the basis of Arab wealth in order to make the Arabs wholly dependent upon the Jewish population. According to Lustick, Israel deliberately denies the Arabs an independent political, social, or economic framework. The result is "internal colonialism." There are two nations and two economies in Israel, the dominant one Israeli Jewish; the subject one Israeli Arab. Just as Israel's land seizure policy is reminiscent of the American treatment of the Indian, personal relationships parallel that of whites and blacks in segregated America. Thought the Book of Numbers says, "One law and one ordinance shall be both for you and for the stranger that sojourneth with you" (15:16), there is virtually no social mixing of Jew and Arab in Israel. Israeli Arabs are, in every sense, separate and unequal. Lustick wrote that Israel created and continues this segregation by implementing three policies, each of which reinforces the others: segmentation, dependence, and cooptation. Segmentation keeps the Arabs fragmented and isolated so that they cannot unite in opposition to Israeli policy. The object is to enhance existing divisions -- clan, village, religious -- and create new ones. Christian and Bedouin Arabs can volunteer for the Israeli army, while the Druse are drafted. But other Moslem Arabs cannot serve in the army; they cannot even volunteer. This eliminates an important area where Jew and Arab, or even Arab and Arab, might fraternize; it also denies Arabs the jobs and public assistance that are given only to veterans. Israel promotes feuds and factionalism in Arab villages, supporting the most reactionary forces because they are less threatening. Nor are Israelis loathe to interfere with the internal politics of Arab villages. Local councils believed to be hostile to Israel are disbanded. Since a council is necessary for the village to qualify for government loans, grants, and permits, the Arabs are compelled to elect a council satisfactory to the Israeli government. Travel permits, except for those going to work, are generally denied in order to minimize contact between villages, to prevent Arabs from returning to their villages to reclaim their land, and to prevent political organization. An Israeli official was quoted as saying, "Nationalist Arabs will be isolated in the village; simply closed off from the society." Segmentation keeps the Arabs divided so that they cannot effectively engage in political action; dependence keeps them in thrall to the Israelis. Economic dependency on the Israelis also makes independent political activity virtually impossible. Lustick described the Israeli goal as the "continuing underdevelopment of the Arab sector" and the "increased dependence of Arabs on the Jewish population." Not only have most Arabs been deprived of their source of survival -- the land -- but there is very little Arab industry in Israel. Jewish industry is backed with subsidies, loans, and whatever else is required, which makes it impossible for Arab industry to compete. Many Arab men commute from their villages to nearby Jewish urban centers, where they usually hold the meanest unskilled positions, such as porters. Even these jobs are insecure, since Arabs can be fired to make room for unemployed Jews. When the distance from the village is too far for daily commuting, Arabs sleep in primitive shacks, paying part of their salary as rent. Some Arabs sleep in the shops in which they work, locked inside by their employers until morning. Arabs who still have enough land to cultivate are forced to sell their crops to Israeli marketing monopolies for as little as one-third market value. Since they cannot compete with Jewish farmers or cooperatives, which get many kinds of assistance and subsidies from Israeli or Jewish aid groups, they are limited to crops that Jewish farmers disdain. Israeli Arabs do not get help from rich Arab nations because they are, after all, citizens of Israel, and these funds would strengthen the Israeli economy. Meanwhile Israeli Jews receive billions of dollars of aid from abroad, particularly America. These funds are funneled through Jewish organizations, such as the Jewish Agency or the Jewish National Fund, rather than the government, and thus go directly to Israeli Jews rather than Israeli Arabs. Jewish settlements have water, electricity, and roads and are equipped with the latest agricultural technology; Arab settlements have little or none of these advantages. In 1975-76, 43 percent of Jewish land was irrigated; the figure for Arab land was 7.6 percent. In 1974-75, Arab farmers cultivated over 20 percent of the crops but received only 2 percent of the water. It is not necessary to expropriate all Arab land; many Arabs just give up and sell to the Jewish National Fund.
Pages 251-253: Thus the Israelis have made Arabs the Jews of Israel. There is nothing inadvertent about the subjugation of Arabs in Israel. It has been and remains government policy to entice pliable Arabs and to destroy hostile ones. In September 1976 a confidential report was leaked to the press. Written by two prominent Israeli Arabists for the Labor government then headed by Yitzhak Rabin, it is known as the Koenig memorandum, after its main author, Israel Koenig. To preclude any possibility of political union, Koenig recommended more Jewish settlements in areas that are predominantly Arab. He wanted hostile Arab leaders replaced by compliant ones, whom Israel was to "create." He wanted the number of Arab intellectuals reduced, because their frustration is potentially dangerous. He would encourage "the channeling of [Arab] students into technical professions, the physical and natural sciences. These studies leave less time for dabbling in nationalism and the dropout rate is higher." The memorandum also recommended making it easier for Arabs to study abroad and harder for them to return and find jobs. Graduates who remained in Israel were to be coopted. Koenig also proposed a smear campaign against Arab activists, reducing liquid savings to limit funds available in the Arab community to support political causes, and reducing the effectiveness of Arab student organizations. The Israelis did not work out their subjugation of the Arabs only on paper, and only after Begin was in power. On October 29, 1956, because of the Sinai War, the curfew on Israeli Arab villages near the Jordanian border was moved forward from 9 P.M. to 5 P.M. This decision was made after the villagers left for work that day, so they were unaware of it. That evening, in the village of Kafr Kasem, the first workers to return were four men on bicycles. They were halted by the Israeli border police. When they identified themselves, the Israeli police opened fire. Two died at once; two survived by pretending to be dead. Soon after, a wagon came with an Arab and his young daughter, followed by two men and a boy on foot. The children were permitted to pass into the village. One of the men, seeing the bodies of the first Arabs, asked, "Why do you want to shoot us?" He was told to "shut up." Then the three men were shot. As others returned to the village, some were arbitrarily permitted to enter unharmed; others were just as arbitrarily murdered. By the end of the evening, forty-three Israeli Arabs were dead, including seven children and ten women. None of this happened in the heat of battle; Israelis simply stood at the entrance to a peaceful village and decided who shall live and who shall die. Some victims were killed while they lay wounded on the ground. One man was shot from behind after he was given permission to enter the village. Israeli officials tried to keep details of the murders secret. Two weeks after the massacre at Kafr Kasem, the government said that the earlier curfew was declared "in order to protect the lives of the villagers" and that "several villagers were hurt." When a member of the Israeli parliament spoke of the massacre, the censor had the speech removed from the public record. For two months, Israeli newspapers were forbidden to print news of what had happened at Kafr Kasem. But news of the massacre could not be suppressed forever. Israeli officials told the men involved that if they would plead guilty "fast and quietly" they would be given prison sentences of only two years. However, Israeli public opinion and the International Red Cross forced the government to hold a public trial. At the trial it was revealed that the border police had been given orders to enforce the new curfew in a manner that would impress the inhabitants of all the local Arab villages: Violators were to be shot, not arrested, even though they did not know about the curfew. Several of the defendants testified that the police officer in charge had said that if some Arabs were killed it would make the task of enforcing the curfew that much easier. The officer also said he did not want any wounded, or special treatment for women and children. The police officer said he was obeying the orders of the military officer in charge; the military officer denied this. Several of the defendants said they were just obeying orders. The Israeli judge, Binyamin Halevi, rejected this defense, saying they should have been able to recognize an "illegal" order. Halevi said that when an order has a "clear criminal character ... if the eye is not blind and the heart not corrupted ... the soldier is free from his obligation to obey orders and is responsible for the criminal acts." Some of the defendants received prison terms ranging from seven to seventeen years, but the military officer was freed with a nominal fine of the smallest Israeli coin. On appeal, all of the prison terms were reduced; one year after sentencing, the defendants were free.
Page 258: In 1978, during an Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, an Israeli lieutenant took four civilians to an abandoned house, tortured and killed them, then threw their bodies in a well. Every army has its madmen; what is significant about this story is that it was cloaked in military censorship and became public knowledge only after it was published in the Los Angeles Times. The officer was unanimously found guilty of first-degree murder by a military court and sentenced to twelve years in prison. On appeal, this was reduced to eight years. The army chief of staff reduced the sentence to two years; the officer was freed after sixteen months.
Pages 259-263: Despite what has happened to the Lebanese and the Druse, no Arabs are as consistently and intensively oppressed as the Palestinians on the West Bank. Outside help is denied them; in 1979 Israel ordered the Quakers to stop assisting the Palestinians with legal aid. Israel has also refused to permit other relief agencies to assist the residents of the occupied territories. Projects that would improve economic conditions for the Palestinians have been rejected by Israel, including generators for electricity so that light industry could be established, vocational training to teach Arabs skills, and roads for shipping produce to market. An aid official said, "There seems to be an idea that anything good for the Palestinians is bad for the Israelis." It is, to the extent that it undermines Israel's determination to keep the Arabs dependent. An Israeli official said, "We know who is who [on the West Bank], who needs what, to whom all this support should be given." Publicly on the West Bank there are school closings, mass arrests, beatings, collective punishment, censorship, the shutting down of Palestinian newspapers. Privately, there is torture. Felicia Langer, an Israeli attorney and human rights activist, has reported on the torture and brutality in West Bank prisons, as well as the arbitrary ways Israelis choose their victims. After a peaceful demonstration at an Arab high school, Israeli soldiers pulled the students out of class and determined guilt by placing their hands on the boys's hearts. A rapid heartbeat meant the boys were excited because they had taken part in the demonstration. Langer, who often represents Palestinian suspects, has seen the inside of West Bank prisons. She has seen distinguished Palestinians -- doctors, editors -- thrown into solitary cells to eat off the floor and live in their own filth. She has described crowded prison conditions, bad food, inadequate medical care. Prisoners are beaten and tortured, often on the genitals. They are given pills that bring on hysteria and hallucinations. They are hung upside down. Noxious, poisonous gases ("Made in the USA") are thrown into their cells or sprayed into their faces. Cigarettes are stubbed out on their bodies. Their jailers spit into their mouths and threaten to rape their wives and sisters in front of them. Some are made to stand for days in special boxes too small for them to either sit or lie down. Some are made to stand for a week or more, usually without food or toilet facilities, their heads covered with layers of bags, their hands cuffed behind their backs. Langer has written, "Prisoners are being put to death.... This crime is occurring gradually and is being covered up efficiently." The object seems not so much to kill Palestinians as to humiliate them, publicly as well as in prison. Every Palestinian must have an identity card; if he does not, he is usually imprisoned and beaten. Yet Israeli soldiers sometimes confiscate ID cards at random, making the Palestinian a prisoner in his own home. If he goes out, he may be arrested; when he goes to the authorities to get his card back, he is usually beaten or humiliated. Young men and boys are particularly singled out for humiliation. Soldiers will seize a group coming out of school or a mosque or even on a bus. Sometimes they are beaten, sometimes they are ordered to clean the streets with their shirts, sometimes they are forced to run the gauntlet, sometimes they are taken to camp to clean the latrines. It is common to take the boys during their exam period and keep them two or three days. This cripples their education; the Israelis seem to be paranoid about educated Arabs. Of course the Palestinian youths are educated; they are educated to hate their oppressors. Every humiliated schoolboy becomes a ripe recruit for the PLO. In February 1981, the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights issued a report on the treatment of Arabs on the West Bank using information that came from Israeli army reservists who were troubled by what they had experienced. One reservist reported that when his unit arrived in Hebron they were given an orientation session on the Arabs. They were instructed that Arabs "are not like human beings" and should be treated like "animals." The lecturers emphasized that Arabs learn from "exercise of authority" as well as humiliation, and that they "want to be beaten." Instructions were that "when searching inside houses, the father should be beaten in front of the family, mainly in front of the children," and that "beating the mother is not the same thing." The reservist said they were also told, "If there is any resistance, then we should break all the bones of the father and the older sons, but if there is no resistance and especially if the father begs us for mercy in front of his children, then he should be slapped on the face once or twice, but some minimal beating there must be." One of the instructors said that if a member of the family is arrogant, or even looks hostile, property important to the family should be broken; this could be a television set or living room furniture or the parents' bed. Food supplies should also be ruined; oil could be poured into the flour. When one of the soldiers asked if it wasn't better to urinate into the flour, he was told to "use your own imagination." The reservist said that most of the men in his unit "enjoyed the whole thing," but a few decided to emigrate from Israel after the experience of serving on the West Bank. A second reservist said that a member of the extremist Gush Emunim had lectured his unit. The man told them that the Arabs must be driven out of the land, which was given to the Jews by God on the condition that they live in it alone, without gentiles. This reservist said that whenever there was a curfew, Israeli soldiers would go from house to house, "to beat, to frighten, and to humiliate." Soldiers who refused to beat Arabs or break their property were "mocked by the others." Destruction included throwing sand into the flour or the sugar, or urinating into the cooking oil. Someone was always beaten; "the amount and the kind of beating were left to the free choice" of the search party, said the reservist. He said they were told by Gush Emunim to concentrate on the ribs or the lower part of the hands because "there it is easier to break bones." They were also told that an Arab isn't fully humiliated until he cries in front of others. The reservist refused to mention or describe some of the humiliations that were advised. Before the end of his service, there was another lecture by a member of Gush Emunim, who told them, "Don't fear that what you have done you have done to human beings.... You didn't beat or humiliate Jews, and that's what counts." A third reservist said that what frightened him was that, after a few days, Jewish soldiers became addicted to sadism "more and more," the way people become addicted to drugs, "unable to get free of it." A fourth reservist described a barbed wire encampment in a field, where some 300 Palestinian men and boys were being questioned, beaten, and tortured; while they screamed, Israelis stood around laughing. The Israeli guard at the gate told the reservist and his comrades, "It is a free cinema here. If you want, you may watch." When the reservist asked why the Arabs were being beaten, another Israeli soldier replied, "Wouldn't you enjoy beating an Arab? Where else do you get such an opportunity?" A fifth reservist who had protested the brutality was told by an officer that his views "might be a sign of mental disturbance. Maybe you should be hospitalized.... In our kibbutz, the psychologist handled several cases with success." Israel has become a Jewish nation that not only trains killers but attracts them. One of the strangest stories to come out of Israel was that of Eli Hazeev, one of the six Israelis killed by Palestinians in Hebron, on the West Bank. Hazeev was an American Protestant named James Eli Mahon, Jr. Twice he volunteered for active duty in Vietnam, where his name was "killer." After the war he became an informer for the FBI, spying on antiwar organizations. When Israel went to war in 1973, Mahon decided he had found a country that fought for what it believed in. He converted to Judaism, choosing the name Hazeev, which means "wolf," and went to Israel to join the violent ultranationalists. He liked to strut around Hebron with his rifle, forcing Arabs to back away in fear. An Israeli friend said Hazeev was a "psycho" who frightened his own friends: "He once took a couple of guys outside and showed them how to kill people with bare hands, ripping off nostrils, fingers in eyes, ears, like an Indian scout gone wild." At Hazeev's funeral, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren told Hazeev's parents that their son's name will be remembered among the heroes of Israel.
Page 265: Foreign and Israeli journalists on the West Bank have been harassed, arrested, charged with criminal offenses; cameramen have had films and videotapes confiscated. Television reporters have been branded "terrorists" by Ariel Sharon, who warned, "I fought terrorists successfully ... and I'll fight you successfully." Palestinian newspapers have been heavily censored and are frequently confiscated. Books and art that displease Israeli censors are banned. Anthony Lewis of The New York Times noted that a curious feature of the "occupation index [of prohibited literature]" is that it is not generally published: "Someone may be prosecuted for possessing a book that he did not know was prohibited." English philosopher John Locke once wrote, "No government can have a right to obedience from a people who have not freely consented to it." The Palestinians on the West Bank have not freely consented to Israeli rule; even under torture and oppression they do not consent to it. Yet Israelis and American Jews troubled by the situation on the West Bank rarely criticize it because of what it is doing to the Palestinians. Terror, injustice, cultural genocide, and murder of Arabs count for very little in the West. After all, the Arabs are strangers, a barbaric desert people either too rich or too poor, and altogether unfamiliar. The most acceptable way to criticize Israel's Arab policies is to say they are bad for Israel.