Sunday, September 01, 2013

Zionist 'Humanitarianism'

AnnArbor.com has a recent article about the 10th anniversary of the Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends vigil in front of Beth Israel Congregation. In the article, reporter Ryan Stanton quotes congregant Barry Gross touting congregants who "pledge to donate money to humanitarian causes for every protester who shows up on Saturdays".

Their two recipient organizations are the Magen David Adom (MDA)--the Israeli counterpart of the American Red Cross--and Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (NSWAS), which is described in the article as "a cooperative village jointly founded by Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinian Arabs to show they can live side by side in peace." The humanitarian value of these two entities is, at best, questionable and, thus, they are very appropriate charitable choices for Zionists.

Emblem of the Magen David Adom
(lit. "Red Shield of David")
The MDA is an adjunct of the Zionist movement and the Israeli military and has a track record of not serving all citizens of Israel equally (see here and here). Two anecdotes will give you a further sense of the values of the Magen David Adom. Last year, the MDA created a rabbinical committee to "dictate religious guidelines" to MDA volunteers. The head of the committee is Shmuel Eliyahu (also transliterated as "Eliahu"), the Chief Rabbi of Safad, and who is on the Israeli government payroll. I first wrote about Eliyahu in 2008 when he was singing the praises of "a revenge that is so painful, it will burn into their souls the message of all our enemies that Jewish blood is more valuable than gold and platinum."

A year earlier Eliyahu had been calling for mass killings of Palestinians. Eliyahu has a track record of violent incitement and racism that even embarrasses the 'progressive' Zionist Jews who are calling for his ouster--it's a shande far di goyim don't you know? Please ponder for a moment the outcry if the American Red Cross appointed a similar committee of liberal Christian clergy, let alone violent reactionaries on the government payroll.

My second MDA anecdote concerns its Greater Tel Aviv spokesman, Mydan Ben Yoash. It seems Ben Yoash is a funny man who shared his humor on Facebook. Here's a joke that got him into a bit of trouble last June:
Q: How long does it take an Arab woman to bring down the garbage?
A: Nine months!
Get it? Ha, ha. Is this guy a card or what?

As for NSWAS, here's a description from Mulham Assir writing in the Palestine Chronicle: "Neve Shalom is a fraudulent propaganda construct created (like the Wall of Shame itself, on stolen land) to fool the world with the slogan 'peaceful coexistence is possible.' The subtext is 'if only Palestinians would accept the occupation, the dispossession, our refusal to allow the refugee to come home even as we import people from all over the world to man our "Jewish state" machine, if they accepted their "métèque" and wog status in their own land, but above all, if only most of them would go away voluntarily so we wouldn't have to allay our demographic fears by using tanks, missiles and bulldozers that put a crimp in our image abroad.' "

Elsewhere, Assir refers to NSWAS as a Potemkin village. His critique is underscored by information on the NSWAS web site. For instance, the community is not self-supporting but dependent upon funding from "International Friends' Associations around the world," the European Union, the Israeli government, and, of course, Zionists like Barry Gross and friends. Also, the village is for "Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel," Palestinian refugees from 1948 Nakba or 1967 Naksa need not apply. And, yes, you must apply to live in NSWAS and be approved first by "a committee" and then by "the plenum".

Furthermore, the goals and achievements of NSWAS are quite limited: "We talk about 'living with the conflict', 'conflict management', sometimes 'conflict transformation'. We don’t look at our work as 'conflict resolution' because realistically, the conflict requires a political solution." Elsewhere, discussing "problems" arising "in the current political and economic situation" the community admits "Issues also revolve around the imposition of inequalities, rules and trends by the wider society upon the village. An obvious example is that Jews are recruited into the army where they are exposed to danger and possibly active service against Arabs. Another is the fact that Arabs are subject to subtle and less subtle forms of discrimination in the wider society." All this has resulted in the "lowering of optimism regarding chances for an equitable coexistence since September 2000 [the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada]" and "a questioning of the degree to which NSWAS's own form of coexistence is successful."

As an aside, there is also the irony that NSWAS was founded by the Rev. Bruno Hussar, a Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism who became a Dominican priest, on land leased and later donated, by a Christian monastery. Yet, today, "the majority of the village members are either secular or regard religious belief as a personal matter, religion is seen more in terms of being a component of one's cultural identity."

All in all, I'd say that MDA and NSWAS reflect the values of Barry Gross and friends quite well. The MDA supports the Israeli military, discriminates against Palestinians, and appoints Jewish racists to high profile positions and NSWAS is a, perhaps, noble experiment that is in fact powerless to address that circumstances responsible for its creation. Why deal with Jewish supremacism when you can simply evade the issue, write a check, and feel smug about it to boot? 

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