Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Avnery: Shocking manifestos in Israel: "Two shocking manifestos were published this week. Both call for comment. One of them declares that dismantling the settlements in the Gaza Strip is a 'crime against humanity'. It does not mention that they were set up on the land reserves of a million Palestinians crowded in the tiny strip, and rob them of their scarce water. Their removal, it says, is an 'expression of tyranny, evil and arbitrariness'. Officers and soldiers are called upon not to take part in this 'ethnic cleansing'.

"This manifesto is signed by the father and brother of Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as Meir Har-Zion, the favorite pupil of Ariel Sharon, who became famous in the 1950s for slitting the throats of several innocent Beduins with his own hands in revenge for the killing of his sister. Two former Directors General of the Prime Minister's office also signed. Most of the signatories are not religious."

"People of this kind can be found all over the world. In other countries they are called fascists (but, because of the Holocaust, we do not like to use this term in our country). What unites them is a primitive, atavistic morality that says that "we" are a superior race, God's chosen people, a master race etc., while "they" are inferior races, untermenschen. We may do to them whatever we please, with a clear conscience; they are not allowed to do to us anything at all."

"The second manifesto declares that the Halakha (Jewish religious law) commands the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians if this helps to save Jews. It is signed by the heads of the 'Arrangement Yeshivot', the West Bank settlement rabbis and other religious leaders. They were later joined by one of the two Chief Rabbis (the Sephardic one)."

"The chiefs of the religious-nationalistic wing, and especially the settlers, have for years now been engaged in a systematic effort to capture the army from the inside. In the first decades of the IDF, kibbutz members had a decisive influence on the army command, but nowadays the settlers and other religious-nationalist people are taking over. They fill the lower and middle ranks of the officer corps. This development, together with the deepening occupation, has completely changed the face of the IDF. It's a different army now.

"The manifesto of the Yeshivot chiefs, calling for the killing of Palestinian civilians, exposes this situation. Since not one single head of an Arrangement Yeshiva has spoken out against it, we have to assume that they are unanimous on this."

"Many of the most heinous crimes in human history were committed in the name of religion. The Book of Joshua says that God commanded the Children of Israel to commit a general ethnic cleansing in the land of Canaan. The crusaders carried out horrible massacres in this country (and against the Jews on the way here) while shouting "Deus le volt!" (God wills it). Three years ago today, Osama Bin-Laden sent his people to kill thousands in the New York Twin Towers in the name of Allah. May God protect us from those who would speak in His name."

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