As part of their racist campaign against the indigenous Palestinians, Israeli lawmakers are now insisting upon making the commemoration of the Nakba illegal. Recently a number of Israeli cabinet and Knesset Members proposed a "draft law" that would criminalize the remembrance of 1948 Palestinian holocaust (Nakba) by Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship. Interestingly enough, the Jewish state that sets its raison d'être around the remembrance of Jewish suffering is attempting to ban Palestinians from doing exactly the same with their own."For me racism is categorically wrong and it is that very realisation that made me into a devoted opponent of Israel and of Zionism. Anyhow, in case you in find an idea or a thought in my writings that may contain a trace of racism please contact me immediately. I will then either clarify my position or amend my text." Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון, born June 9, 1963, Israel) is an Israeli-born British jazz musician, and is known as an author and activist who is critical of both Zionism and Judaism.His album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003, and he has been described as "one of London's finest saxophonists". Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz". His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East. He has also written two novels, which have been translated into over 20 languages.
As we know, Israel had wiped out every possible remnant of Palestinian existence on the ground. Palestinian villages, towns, orchards, fields and cultural assets had been erased soon after 1948. Currently, the Israeli lawmakers are taking the war against the Palestinian heritage one step further. It is not just a physical expulsion and erasure of facts on the ground, it is not just racially motivated ethnic cleansing, starvation, land confiscation, house demolition, bombing schools or spreading white phosphorous over populated neighbourhoods, from now on, Israel wants to invade the Palestinian mind. Israeli Knesset members insist upon eradicating the Palestinian collective memory. At least formally, they are trying to ban the right to remember.
As Khalid Amayreh pointed out a few days ago, “one Israeli Palestinian parliamentarian compared the proposed law with an imagined promulgation by Germany of a law banning all Jewish activities commemorating the holocaust.” The equation between the Nakba and the Jewish holocaust is well placed. We are talking about two racist crimes of a colossal magnitude. Yet, it is rather obvious that while Germans came collectively to terms with their past, the Jewish state is advancing into its seventh decade of denial bonded with total abuse of an innocent civilian population.
In the light of the new measures of Israeli merciless brutality it is rather interesting to explore a Jewish ‘voice of reason’. The odd voice of a person who stood up against this very ludicrous draft law. Professor Ruth Gavison is such a voice. Gavison is an Israeli Law professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is also ‘the president’ of, try not to laugh, ‘The Centre of Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanitarian Thought’. Last week she published an article in the highly popular Hebrew Ynet online news magazine denouncing the new proposed law.
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Professor Gavison believes that Zionism could be interpreted as humanist and a liberal endeavour. However, a brief scrutiny of her thoughts reveals the devastating truth, the Law professor lacks the essential comprehension of the notion of universal ethics or humanism. Her vision of justice, is rather Zionised. She, seemingly, tries to juggle some old Zionist symbolic clichés hoping that her Hebrew readers would be too bored to challenge her lame argument.
Gavison is against the draft law. She rightly argues that the proposed law is, “Unjustified and foolish for misidentifying the core problem in our public life.” She argues that legalism is the least appropriate route to confront the core issue. But this is more or less where Professor Gavison runs out of kindness.
In spite of the promising departure, it doesn’t take too long before the Israeli law professor shows her spots.
Here is Gavison on the Nakba.
“It is an accepted fact that the day when the Jewish majority celebrates their independence in their own land, is the same day that symbolizes for some of the Arab minority the day of their disaster.” It is indeed revealing to know that as far as Professor Gavison is concerned, it is not the Palestinians as a whole who commemorate their Nakba as a disaster but only just “some” of them. However, for Gavison, the Palestinians have themselves to blame for it and no one but themselves.
“It must be remembered,” says Gavison, that “it could as well be different… this day could have been a celebration for both Israelis and Palestinians who could celebrate the foundation of two national states.” One may wonder at this stage, who is it exactly which Gavison is trying to fool or mislead. Surely she must know that the plan to expel the Palestinians was well imbued in the Zionist agenda from the very beginning. “The Palestinians,” she continues, “stood up against the partition resolution and the consequences of this war is the fact that the Israeli state was erected on the wreckage of the Palestinian
society and over the Palestinian land. Many Palestinians became refugees and a Palestinian state is yet to be established.”
One would expect that at this stage, the Israeli law professor who is also a ‘president’ of an institute that is there to promote an image of ‘Jewish humanism’ would come with the necessary conclusion: time is more than ripe to bring the expelled Palestinians back to their lands and homes.
Do not hold your breath, Gavison is not exactly a universal humanist, she is just a Zionist one. All she really wants is to stop the current legislation that bans Palestinians from mourning. In other words, she wants to allow Palestinians to be sad so they can lament as much as they want.
“Sadness is a natural feeling for people who suffer so much,” acknowledges the gracious professor, “We should never deny the history, we should never ban it legally, our challenge is to confront it.” One would expect that such a revelation from an alleged humanist would lead her to acknowledge the Zionist sin and even take responsibility.
This is not going to happen. The president of ‘The Centre of ‘Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanitarian Thought’ doesn’t fit easily into our common notion of a humanist. She is more of a Jewish tribal campaigner that tries to mould some liberal sporadic terminology to justify some relentless and crude non-ethical behaviour. Gavison doesn’t really want to bring justice to the region. All she demands is to develop an “awareness of the past, that would eventually evolve into a civilian future in which Arab and Jews live side by side,” never together I guess.
True, Gavison is indeed compassionate enough to let the Palestinians lament over their past. But she is clearly reluctant to take responsibility for the consequences of the Jewish national colonial apparatus. She clearly prefers to dwell on Palestinian land and even to call it “homeland” rather than giving it back to its true owner. More than the right wing Zionist zealots who brought up the sinister draft law, it is actually Professor Gavison, the so-called ‘humanist Zionist’, who embodies the true meaning of Israeli brutality and ugliness. In the name of humanist symbolism she promotes the maintenance of the Jewish nationalist crime.
Professor Gavison ends her article by declaring that, “denial of the past is inappropriate, but failing to take responsibility for it is unacceptable either. We have to come with solutions that approve the right of the Jews of self determination in (part of their) homeland.” I would really expect the profound ‘Zio-humanist’ professor to open our eyes so we understand once and for all what gives the Jews the right to ‘self determination’ at the expense of others. Once we understand that, we may be mature enough to let professor Gavison or any other ‘Humanist Zionist’ enlighten us so we grasp what is it in Palestine that makes it into a legitimate Jewish homeland.
Reading Gavison reveals once again how devastating the truth of the matter is: Zionism and liberal Jewish thought have very little to do with humanism, ethics or universalism. If anything, Zionism and humanism are opposing concepts for the simple reason that Zionism is a racially orientated tribal philosophy and humanism aims at the universal.
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