domenica 26 ottobre 2008

un grande israeliano rigetta il sionismo

commovente intervista di un uomo che ha capito che prima si è uomini, e poi ebrei, o cristiani, o atei, o italiani, o israeliani, e quindi prima viene la difesa dell'umanità e dopo quella delle caratteristiche accidentali che ci troviamo ad avere. Come diceva Montesquieu:

se conoscessi qualcosa che mi fosse utile ma che fosse dannoso per la mia famiglia lo scaccerei dal mio spirito; se sapessi qualcosa di utile per la mia famiglia ma non per la patria lo dimenticherei; se sapessi qualcosa di utile per la mia patria ma dannoso per l'Europa o che fosse utile all'Europa ma dannoso per il genere umano, lo considerei come un crimine, perchè sono uomo per necessità, mentre non sono francese che per accidente

Leaving the Zionist ghetto
By Ari Shavit

Avrum Burg, I read your new book, "Defeating Hitler," as a parting from Zionism. Am I wrong? Are you still a Zionist?
"I am a human being, I am a Jew and I am an Israeli. Zionism was an instrument to move me from the Jewish state of being to the Israeli state of being. I think it was Ben-Gurion who said that the Zionist movement was the scaffolding to build the home, and that after the state's establishment it should be dismantled."

Does this mean that you no longer find the notion of a Jewish state acceptable?
"It can't work anymore. To define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite."

And a Jewish-democratic state?
"People find this very comfortable. It's lovely. It's schmaltzy. It's nostalgic. It's retro. It gives a sense of fullness. But 'Jewish-democratic' is nitroglycerine."

Do we have to amend the Law of Return?
"We have to open the discussion. The Law of Return is an apologetic law. It is the mirror image of Hitler. I don't want Hitler to define my identity."

Your book is anti-Israeli, in the deepest sense. It is a book from which loathing of Israeliness emanates.
"When I was a boy I was a Jew. In the language prevalent here: a Jew-boy. I attended a heder [religious school]. I was taught by former yeshiva students. After that, for most of my life I was an Israeli. Language, signs, smells, tastes, places. Everything. Today that is not enough for me. In my situation today, I am beyond Israeli. Of the three identities that form me - human, Jewish and Israeli - I feel that the Israeli element deprives the other two."

We are one of the most threatened countries in the world.
"The true Israeli rift today is between those who believe and those who are afraid. The great victory of the Israeli right in the struggle for the Israeli political soul lies in the way it has imbued it almost totally with absolute paranoia. I accept that there are difficulties. But are they absolute? Is every enemy Auschwitz? Is Hamas a scourge?"

Ahmadinejad is saying that our days are numbered. He is the real world - a world you ignore.
"I say that as of this moment, Israel is a state of trauma in nearly every one of its dimensions.

Is there sufficient basis for the Israel-Germany analogy?
"It is not an exact science, but I will describe to you some of the elements that go into the stew: a great sense of national insult; a feeling that the world has rejected us; unexplained losses in wars. And, as a result, the centrality of militarism in our identity. The place of reserve officers in society. The number of armed Israelis in the streets. Where is this swarm of armed people going? The expressions hurled publicly: 'Arabs out.'"

OK, we will leave Nazism. Are you concerned about a fascist debacle in Israel?
"I think it is already here."

Do you really believe that the racist slogans which, appallingly, do indeed appear on the stone walks in Jerusalem are akin to the slogans of the 1930s in Germany?
"I see that we are not weeding out those utterances with all our might. And I hear voices coming out of Sderot .... We will destroy and kill and expel. And there is a transferist discourse in the government .... We have crossed so many red lines in the past few years. And then you ask yourself what the next red lines that we cross will be."

In the book you both ask and answer. "I feel very strongly," you write, "that there is a very good chance that a future Knesset in Israel ... will prohibit sexual relations with Arabs, use administrative means to prevent Arabs from employing Jewish cleaning ladies and workers ... like the Nuremberg Laws ... All this will happen, and is already happening." Didn't you get carried away, Avrum?
"When I was Speaker of the Knesset, I heard people talking. I conducted in-depth conversations with members from all parts of the House. I heard people of peace say -I want peace because I hate Arabs and can't stand to look at them and can't tolerate them, - and I heard people on the right use Kahanist language. Kahanism [referring to the ultranational doctrine of Rabbi Meir Kahane] is in the Knesset. It was disqualified as a party, but it constitutes 10 and maybe 15 and maybe even 20 percent of the Jewish discourse in the Knesset. These matters are far from simple. These are roiling waters."

You describe Israel as a Prussian Sparta living by the sword, and that is not the Israel I see outside. Certainly not in 2007.
"Look at the fence. The separation fence is a fence against paranoia. And it was born in my milieu. In my school of thought. With my own Haim Ramon. What is the thinking here? That I will erect a big wall and the problem will be solved because I will not see them. You know, the Labor movement always saw the historical context and represented a culture of dialogue, but here we have terrible pettiness of soul. The fence physically demarcates the end of Europe. It says that this is where Europe ends. It says that you are the forward post of Europe and the fence separates you from the barbarians. Like the Roman Wall. Like the Wall of China. But that is so pathetic. And it is a bill of divorce from the vision of integration. There is something so xenophobic about it. So insane. And it comes just at a time when Europe itself, and the world with it, has made such an impressive advance in internalizing the lessons of the Holocaust and has fomented a great advance in the normative behavior of nations."

"Is there a well-grounded romanticism? Is your Israeli romanticism grounded?"
"We do not want to accept this, but the existence of the Diaspora dates from the beginnings of our history. Abraham discovers God outside the borders of the Land. Jacob leads tribes to outside the borders. The tribes become a people outside the borders. The Torah is given outside the borders. As Israelis and Zionists, we ignored this completely. We rejected the Diaspora. But I maintain that just as there was something astonishing about German Jewry, in America, too, they also created the potential for something astonishing. They created a situation in which the goy can be my father and my mother and my son and my partner. The goy there is not hostile but embracing. And as a result, what emerges is a Jewish experience of integration, not separation. Not segregation. I find those things lacking here. Here the goy is what he was in the ghetto: confrontational and hostile."

Emotionally, you are with German Jewry and American Jewry. They excite you, thrill you, and by comparison you find the Zionist option crude and spiritually meager. It broadens neither the heart nor the soul.
"Yes, yes. The Israeli reality is not exciting. People are not willing to admit it, but Israel has reached the wall. Ask your friends if they are certain their children will live here. How many will say yes? At most 50 percent. In other words, the Israeli elite has already parted with this place. And without an elite there is no nation."

You are saying that we are suffocating here for lack of spirit.
"Totally. We are already dead. We haven't received the news yet, but we are dead. It doesn't work anymore. It doesn't work."

And you see in American Jewry the spiritual dimension and the cultural ferment that you don't find here.
"Certainly. There is no important Jewish writing in Israel. There is important Jewish writing in the United States. There is no one to talk to here. The religious community of which I was a part - I feel no sense of belonging to it. The secular community - I am not part of it, either. I have no one to talk to. I am sitting with you and you don't understand me, either. You are stuck at a chauvinist national extremity."

You are actually preparing tools for exile.
"I have been living with them from the day I was born. What is it when I say in prayer that because of our sins we were exiled from our land? In Jewish history the spiritual existence is eternal and the political existence is temporary."

Because the energy needed to establish and maintain this place is tremendous, and you are saying that we must not give our all to this place.
"There is no Israeli whole. There is a Jewish whole. The Israeli is a half-Jew. Judaism always prepared alternatives. The strategic mistake of Zionism was to annul the alternatives. It built an enterprise here whose most important sections are an illusion. Do you really think that some sort of floating secular Tel Aviv-type post-kibbutz entity will [continue to] exist here? Never. Israeliness has only body; it doesn't have soul. At most, remnants of soul. You are already dead spiritually, Ari. You have only an Israeli body. If you go on like this, you will no longer be."

You were an Israeli. You were more Israeli than I was. But no more.
"Accordingly, I am going to the world and to Judaism. Because the Jew is the first postmodernist, the Jew is the first globalist."

You have taken a French passport, and as a French citizen you voted in the French presidential elections.
"I have already declared: I am a citizen of the world. This is my hierarchy of identities: citizen of the world, afterward Jew and only after that Israeli. I feel a weighty responsibility for the peace of the world. And Sarkozy is in my eyes a threat to world peace. That is why I went to vote against him."

Are you French?
"In many senses I am European. And from my point of view, Israel is part of Europe."

Do you recommend that every Israeli take out a foreign passport?
"Whoever can."

You are playing with your multiple passports and your multiple identities, which is a course not available to many others. You are dismantling something very basic.
"Those are your fears, Ari. I suggest that you not be afraid. That is what I say in the book. I propose that we stop being afraid."

You describe the occupation as an Israeli Anschluss. An Israeli Anschluss?

"That is what we are doing there. What do you want me to say about what we are doing there? That it's humanism? The Red Cross?"

And the targeted assassinations are murder?
"Some of them, certainly."

We are being dragged into carrying out war crimes?
"I have no other way to see it. Especially if there is no horizon of dialogue. The Israelis are very calm. One more Arab, one less Arab. Ya'allah, it's alright. But in the end, the pile grows high. The number of innocent people is so large that it can no longer be contained. And then our explosion and their explosion and the world's will be infinite. I see it happening before my eyes. I see the pile of Palestinian bodies crossing the wall we erected so as not to see it."

And you are not only Leibowitz. You are also Gandhi. You say that the right reaction to the Holocaust was not Anielewicz [commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising] but Gandhi.
"I believe in the doctrine of nonviolence. I do not think that to believe in nonviolence is to be a patsy. In my eyes, Gandhi is as Jewish as there is. He embodies a very ancient Jewish approach. Like Yochanan ben Zakkai, who asked for Yavneh and its sages. Not Jerusalem, not the Temple, not sovereignty: Yavneh and its sages."

And your Gandhiist approach has a political expression: You believe Israel should be relieved of nuclear weapons.
"Of course, of course. The day the Bomb is dismantled will be the most important day in Israel's history. It will be the day on which we get such a good deal with the other side that we will no longer need the Bomb. That has to be our ambition."

ovviamente gli zeloti sionisti sono insorti e vogliono sbatterlo fuori dal cimitero di Gerusalemme, più o meno come Stalin faceva con Trotzky facendone cancellare la faccia dalle fotografie.

questo e altro nell'unica democrazia del Medio Oriente.

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