|THE STATE OF MIND
By Israel Shamir
Steep slopes of Wadi Kziv in Western Galilee are covered by thick
vegetation; oleanders and cypresses look into shallow ponds formed
springs. I like this secluded canyon. In hot summer days one can hide
intricate deep cave and lay in its cool clear waters, waiting for deer
hoping for a nymph. In cooler days, I would climb up the Crusader castle
Monfort rising on a hill amidst the canyon, sit in its donjon and gaze
towards distant Mediterranean Sea.
It keeps many memories. The 12th century Zionists, Teutonic knights
the castle and founded here the movable state of the Order. They were
defeated by Salah ad-Din, this paragon of valour and compassion, who
them to depart with their weapons and honour for Eastern Europe.
On the steep path leading to the spring, met and parted lovely characters
Arabesques, the exquisite novel by a Palestinian writer Anton Shammas.
Shammas, a native of nearby Fassuta, is probably the only non-Jew in
world who writes his books and poems in Israeli Hebrew.
Farther west, the brook of Kziv flows into the sea at the ruins of a
Christian village of Ahziv, destroyed by Jews in 1948. In this village,
long-gone 1920s, a local Palestinian girl was visited by another local
Palestinian woman, the Virgin. In other words, it is a typical place
unusual land of Palestine.
These days, you can roam it all by yourself. It is empty of people as
rest of countryside. The land of Palestine is in trouble, deepest trouble
since black 1948. People do not venture down here anymore, leaving
canyon to its lean and wiry boar. Walking downstream, I spotted a few
these gracious animals, so different from their domesticated cousins.
out of the gorge, on the plain of Acre, I came across some human presence.
There were a few Thai or Chinese peasants working the fields of local
kibbutz. A middle-aged kibbutznik sat in the shadow overseeing their
joined him for a smoke and a drink of cold water.
He looked like an epitome of a good Israeli, large, sunburned, with
friendly smile, bushy mustachio and brisk talk. Fifty years ago, he
rather his predecessor, a fighter of the Jewish Storm Troops, the Palmach,
would seize the lands of Ahziv and expel its peasants to Lebanon. Some
thirty years ago, he would work the stolen land with his own hands.
oversees the Thais working this land. Very soon, he told me, he will
a while to New York, to visit his son. Then, some Russians from Maalot
will do the overseeing for the kibbutz. Not many Jews are interested
working the land, or even in overseeing Thais working it, he said.
hopes to get a building permit, build housing and sell the real estate.
is a valuable site, near Naharia and Acre, and it will sell well, despite
the crisis, he said.
I shook hands and bid farewell to him, to the sweaty Thais, to the green
fields, to the mountains of Lebanon to the north, concealing the refugee
camps with the former dwellers of Ahziv, to the Galilee range with
Russian town of Maalot, and took train homewards, to Jaffa. The train
carried a few Africans, probably illegal immigrants judging by their
looks. A Romanian building team was gulping beer and burping loudly.
were imported from their impoverished East European land to build the
for immigrants, as the Jews do not want to be employed in construction
Israel as well as in California. A Jewish Israeli lawyer in black yarmulke
leafed papers in his semi-opened briefcase. A blond and armed Israeli
soldier talked Ukrainian with its fricative h’s to his corpulent girlfriend.
He extolled his own heroic fight against multitude of Arab terrorists
her admiring eyes. A group of Moroccans discussed the closure of Acre
plant and their slim chances to find another work. The crisis is deepening,
one of them said, it is as bad as in 1966.
The train rode through Haifa, and I thought of hundreds of thousands,
millions of Americans, Jews and Christian Zionists, who lobby, pray,
and pay – no, not for the Jewish state built on the ruins of Palestine.
would be bad enough; but reality is worse. I thought of millions of
Palestinians, rotting in refugee camps and jails, dispossessed, expelled
not by the monster of evil occupation and land grabbing, but by something
worse – by a ghost.
The Jewish state is a virtual state that quickly loses all remaining
connection to reality. This ghost of a state kills people and collects
in America; it continues some nefarious existence, like the legal term,
‘estate of the deceased’. Its fields are worked by imported guest workers,
guarded by imported Russians and Ethiopians, explained by Israeli professors
teaching forever in American universities and by brave generals on
lookout for a big shake. The unemployment grows daily, vital services
strike; the tourist industry collapsed, hotels are boarded up and other
branches of national economy are close to collapse. Israelis buy flats
Florida and Prague, while houses in Israel could not be sold. Sharon’s
desire to punish Palestinians was similar to punishing one’s own left
Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined and integrated, and this
separation kills the economy of both.
>From far away of America, Israel looks like a giant, nuclear state,
friend of the United States, a Jewish state that is a source of pride
American Jews. A visitor leaves our shores with a strong feeling of
identity and prosperity. Only we, permanent residents, know that it
cardboard sham. Israel is collapsing, as its active citizens emigrate
despair, while generals complete the destruction of the country. A
fate befalls the native Palestinians: a ghost kills them, a spiritless
walking in Zombie-like trance the corridors of the Congress and the
of Middle East.
For the sake of this spectre, important American Jews squeeze every
from their employees and countrymen, cut down on pensions to old and
assistance for children, reduce the health and education budget, dry
to Africa and Latin America, build improbable coalitions with notorious
racists of Pat Robertson’s kind, demand destruction of Iraq, bless
of Afghani refugees, keep Afro-Americans in their ghettos, undermine
host society, making enemies to themselves and to America. These deeds
vile enough, but they are useless as well. Zionist experiment practically
collapsed. It can run for many yeas to come on life-supporting machine,
brain-dead vegetable. It can kill people, maybe even start the world
cannot become alive.
The Jewish state of Israel is a state of mind; it is but a projection
American Jewish mind. Worries and problems it articulates are American
Jewish problems. For Israeli ‘Jews’, there is no need of segregation,
war, of subjugation of natives. We eat no bagels with lox, speak no
read no Saul Bellow or Sholom Aleichem, and avoid synagogues. We prefer
food and Greek music. My neighbourhood has seven pork butchers to a
one. Forty per cent of Tel Aviv weddings are done outside Jewish framework:
young Israelis prefer to go to Cyprus to get married, just to avoid
with Rabbis. Tel Aviv is the gays’ capital of Middle East, though according
to Jewish law, gays should be exterminated. If American Jews would
Israelis on a large scale, we would just forget about the Diaspora
dissolve into the hospitable Middle East. If they continue to bankroll
we shall oblige them with a small show of Jewishness.
We are master-sellers of illusion, and as long as there are buyers,
provide. In 1946, a group of dedicated men from all over the world
Palestine under the aegis of the UN. They were sent to prepare the
for partition of the land. Among other places, they came to the southernmost
kibbutz Revivim in the arid Negev, and came across a wonderful flowerbed
with roses, anemones, and violets in front of the kibbutz office. In
report, the members of the delegation expressed their amazement and
‘Jews make the desert bloom, let them have Negev’.
As they left, the kibbutz youngsters went out and pulled the flowers
sand: they have bought fresh flowers same morning on the Jaffa market
have planted them as props for the duration of the visit. This small
transferred Negev with its two hundred thousand Palestinians to the
state. Majority of them were expelled across the newly drawn border,
camps of Gaza or Jordan. It was cruel and useless: even now, fifty
later, Negev south of Beersheba has smaller population than in 1948.
In order to populate depopulated lands, Mossad broke and terrorised
communities of North Africa. The Jews were brought in, sprayed with
lice-killer and placed into refugee camps that soon became towns of
Dimona, Yerucham. They are still there, in the towns of unemployment
misery, drawing social benefits and probably disliking Ashkenazi Jews
much as anybody could. Not in vain, they write ‘Ashkenazim to Auschwitz’
the walls of their towns.
A few weeks before the Intifadah, Israeli establishment imprisoned hugely
popular leader of Oriental Jews, Rabbi Arie Deri. Tens of thousands
Moroccans gathered at the gates of the jail demanding his release.
saved the skins of Ashkenazi Jews from the civil war, but not forever.
Thus the conjuring tricks of Revivim, conquest of Negev, expulsion of
Palestinians, destruction of Moroccan Jewish community succeeded separately
and failed altogether. Zionist leaders dreamed to make Palestine as
as England is English. They failed. Palestine is Jewish as Jamaica
The land of Palestine is being ruined now, in front of our eyes. Its
beautiful old villages are bombed to oblivion; churches are emptied
flock; olives are uprooted. Such ruin did not befall the land since
Assyrian invasion 2700 years ago. Nothing could comfort us in face
great destruction, and certainly people connected to it - whether Israeli
killers or their American Jewish supporters - will be damned forever.
Still, a wry irony of history will remain as a footnote in the books
future: the Jewish leadership committed these crimes in vain, and received
no profit out of it. Even if the last Palestinian would be crucified
hill of Golgotha, even that would not bring to life the virtual Jewish
Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer and journalist living in Jaffa. His
articles could be found on his site, www.israelshamir.com This article
be freely transmitted and published in electronic media; hard copy
publications must ask for permission at Shamir@israelshamir.com