To read Jesse prose click here
Inherent to the culture and its maintenance is self-love. “I was forever reminded how intelligent my family was, how important it was to remember where we had come from, and to be proud of all the suffering our people had overcome in order to finally achieve their dream in the perfect society of Israel.”
Of course Jews hold many different, and even contradictory, political beliefs. But however diverse their views may be somehow, those who are identified as Jews politically always unite against any attempt to criticise the cultural and ideological foundation of their tribal bond. Young Jesse is clearly aware of this. On the surface, it was the crimes against the Palestinians that provoked his ethical sense. “I grew more concerned. I routinely heard about unexplained mass killings, attacks on medical bases, and other alarmingly violent actions for which I could see no possible reason. ‘Genocide’ almost seemed the more appropriate term, yet no one I knew would have ever dreamed of portraying the war in that manner; they always described the situation in shockingly neutral terms.”
One of the most sophisticated tribal aspects of Jewish culture maintenance is the gradual manner in which criticism is silenced. “Whenever I brought up the subject, I was always given the answer that there were faults on both sides, that no one was really to blame, or simply that it was a “difficult situation.” This common Hasbara argument on the surface sounds reasonable but it ignores the fact that in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict there is a clear distinction between the aggressor and the victim. The Israelis are the ethnic cleansers and the occupiers. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are the expelled, the racially discriminated, the abused, deprived, locked behind walls and barbed wire in open air jails and, in some cases, even starved.
But Jesse seems to be made of the stuff of honesty. Unlike some of the Jewish leftists who presents a pseudo-moral argument only to gain credibility so that he/she can then vet the discourse, young Jesse presses on, stripping himself of any trace of choseness and exceptionalism. “It was not until eighth grade that I fully understood what I was on the side of. One afternoon, after a fresh round of killings was announced on our bus ride home, I asked two of my friends who actively supported Israel what they thought. “We need to defend our race,” they told me. “It’s our right.”
This “We need to defend our race,” is a common excuse Jewish activists use amongst themselves. Although Jews do not form a race, Jewish identity politics is still overtly racist. In fact, any form of Jewish secular identity politics is racially driven and fuelled with racial exclusivity. This applies not only to pro Israeli Jews but unfortunately also to Jews-only ‘anti’ Zionist groups.
I guess it is obvious where Jesse is heading. He clearly sees an ideological continuum between the civil right movement in America and the Palestinian liberation struggle. In both struggles, there is clearly a racially driven oppressor and a victim collective - and Jesse draws the necessary conclusion, “I felt horrified at the realization that I was by nature on the side of the oppressors. I was grouped with the racial supremacists. I was part of a group that killed while praising its own intelligence and reason. I was part of a delusion.”
Young Jesse has already grasped that an appeal to his Jewish friends is not going to lead anywhere. He writes, “I decided to make one last appeal to my religion…The next time I attended a service, there was an open question-and-answer session about any point of our religion…When I was finally given the chance to ask a question, I asked, ‘I want to support Israel. But how can I when it lets its army commit so many killings?’ I was met with a few angry glares from some of the older men, but the rabbi answered me. “It is a terrible thing, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘But there’s nothing we can do. It’s just a fact of life.’ I knew, of course, that the war was no simple matter and that we did not by any means commit murder for its own sake, but to portray our thousands of killings as a ‘fact of life’ was simply too much for me to accept.”
It seems that Jesse has the courage to redeem his soul. “I thanked him (the Rabbi) and walked out shortly afterward. I never went back…. If nothing else, I could at least try to free myself from the burden of being saddled with a belief I could not hold with a clear conscience.…I did not intend to go on being one of the Self-Chosen People, identifying myself as part of a group to which I did not belong.”
Gilad Atzmon's New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Zionist's global interests Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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