The Guardian newspaper today printed a letter from over 100 British Jews, including yours truly, making it clear that in the midst of the ruling class’s celebrations of the establishment of their regional rottweiler, Israel, they would not be welcoming the 60th anniversary of the Nakba – the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes and lands and the massacres that accompanied it. It is but a small contribution from Jewish anti-Zionists, but it makes it clear that not all Jews support the establishment of the Israeli state or its terrorist activities since then.
Two people who are reported to be as outraged as the Israeli Ambassador to London is Gilad Atzmon and his faithful bag carrier, Mary Rizzo. When asked for a comment on the letter Atzmon replied:
‘I really do not understand those who fight Zionism in the name of their secular Jewish identity. I have never understood them. By fighting Zionism in the name of their Jewish identity they approve Zionism. By declaring ‘not in my name’, one affirms the totality of that which one tries to oppose. By saying not in ‘my’ name, they label the rest of the Jewish people as criminally liable for Zionist crime…. Jews cannot criticise Zionism in the name of their ethnic belonging because such an act is in itself an approval of Zionism.’
In case anyone things I have made this up, then I suggest you go read the utterly crazy essay by Atzmon, 'NOT IN MY NAME’ – An analysis of Jewish righteousness’ in which all the above quotes appear.
Mary Rizzo when contacted replied that ‘once again we see the gatekeepers putting Jewish interests above those of the Palestinians.’ Her faithful Palestinian echo, Adib S. Kawar, when asked for a response said that he’d have to talk to Mary first before he could say anything.
In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.
In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa's market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.
In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.
In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.
We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.
We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
Seymour Alexander , Ruth Appleton, Steve Arloff, Rica Bird , Jo Bird, Cllr Jonathan Bloch, Ilse Boas, Prof. Haim Bresheeth , Tanya Bronstein, Sheila Colman, Ruth Clark, Sylvia Cohen, Judith Cravitz, Mike Cushman, Angela Dale, Ivor Dembina, Dr. Linda Edmondson, Nancy Elan, Liz Elkind, Pia Feig, Colin Fine, Deborah Fink, Sylvia Finzi, Brian Fisher MBE , Frank Fisher, Bella Freud, Catherine Fried, Uri Fruchtmann, Stephen Fry, David Garfinkel, Carolyn Gelenter, Claire Glasman , Tony Greenstein, Heinz Grunewald, Michael Halpern, Abe Hayeem, Rosamine Hayeem, Anna Hellman, Amy Hordes, Joan Horrocks, Deborah Hyams, Selma James, Riva Joffe, Yael Oren Kahn, Michael Kalmanovitz, Paul Kaufman, Prof. Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Prof. Eleonore Kofman, Rene Krayer, Stevie Krayer, Berry Kreel, Leah Levane, Les Levidow, Peter Levin, Louis Levy, Ros Levy, Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, Catherine Lyons , Deborah Maccoby, Daniel Machover, Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Mike Marqusee, Laura Miller, Simon Natas, Hilda Meers, Martine Miel, Laura Miller, Arthur Neslen , Diana Neslen, Orna Neumann, Harold Pinter , Roland Rance, Frances Rivkin, Sheila Robin, Dr. Brian Robinson, Neil Rogall, Prof. Steven Rose, Mike Rosen , Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Leon Rosselson, Michael Sackin, Sabby Sagall, Ian Saville, Alexei Sayle, Anna Schuman, Sidney Schuman, Monika Schwartz, Amanda Sebestyen , Sam Semoff, Linda Shampan, Sybil Shine, Prof. Frances Stewart, Inbar Tamari, Ruth Tenne, Martin Toch, Tirza Waisel, Stanley Walinets, Martin White, Ruth Williams, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Devra Wiseman, Gerry Wolff, Sherry Yanowitz