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Red Rag column: Netanyahu and the Mufti - Palestinian Grynszpans? - One-State solution
Gideon Spiro (R) and Faisal Husseini
By: Gideon Spiro
7 November 1015 (English translation 11 November 2015)

Netanyahu’s legacy

These days Israel is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the assassination
of Yitzhak Rabin. One of the questions that is coming up in the public
discussion is: is there such a thing as “Rabin’s legacy”? I am among those who
incline to the view that Rabin left no legacy. That is not the case with
Netanyahu. He has managed to leave a legacy while still alive: a legacy of
racism, of living by the sword forever, a welfare state for the rich and
distortion of history, including Holocaust denial.

For what else could be the meaning of the declaration by the Prime Minister of
the Jewish State that Hitler had not envisioned the destruction of the Jewish
people, on the contrary, he had adopted the Zionist idea of gathering the
Jewish people in Palestine, and the one who incited and ignited Hitler to
destroy the Jews as a whole was none other than that evil Mufti of Jerusalem,
Hajj Amin al-Husseini at that one meeting in 1941? It never happened.
Netanyahu invented it. He crudely twisted history for the sake of a transient
political interest. Netanyahu’s declaration, which was made in the course of a
talk that was prepared well in advance, and not as a heckling interjection
made in the heat of the moment, took on a life of its own, and all Netanyahu’s
attempts to explain and to rationalize it away have been in vain. Netanyahu
has enabled future generations of Holocaust deniers.

Now I am waiting in dread for Netanyahu to put on another horror-show by
rewriting history for the sake of momentary political convenience. Imagine a
declaration to the effect that we should look at Eichmann in a new light. He
was not a Jew-hater, but an army officer who had to obey orders, just as we
demand of our soldiers. In cases when he could exercise discretion, he showed
himself to be a friend of the Jewish people and saved Jews, as he did with
Israel Kastner’s train full of selected passengers. A lie along the lines of
“Hitler and the Mufti”.

As far as I know, Netanyahu has no plans to leave this world any time soon.
After all, he’s still a young man in his 60s and enjoys the best health care
available. He has many years of life ahead of him. But after he has made his
departure at a grand old age, I suspect that the anniversary of his death will
be celebrated in beer-halls by various neo-Nazi organizations and cults who
will promote his image as one who absolved the German people of responsibility
for the Holocaust. In the background will be projected over and over
Netanyahu’s statement: It wasn’t Hitler; it was the Mufti.


Israel on the totalitarian track

Since the Security Cabinet decided to impose collective punishment on
Palestinian Jerusalem with the barbaric measure of blowing up the houses of
families that committed no crime, Netanyahu’s feverish brain has not stopped
coming up with legislative proposals inspired by tyrannical regimes. He is now
proposing to set up an additional judicial authority that will deal only with
state security cases. State security courts are a hallmark sinister
dictatorships of various stripes. Moreover there is no need for such an
authority in Israel because the existing systems, military courts in the
Occupied Territories and civilian courts within the Green Line, are obedient
in all regarding what is called the security of the State. The conviction rate
is 100%, or 99.99% at best. I do not recall one single case when the Israel
Security Agency accused someone of harming state security and the accused was
acquitted.

Another idea of Netanyahu’s, withdrawing resident status from thousands of
Palestinians in Jerusalem, dramatically expands collective punishment, backed
by a regime of apartheid. Withdrawal of residency is tantamount to expulsion,
and recalls to my mind the expulsion of Jews with Polish citizenship who had
lived in Germany for years. That expulsion began in March 1938 and the
expellees were taken to the German-Polish border, but the Polish authorities
turned them back and they were left in the neutral area between the two
countries, suffering from the intense cold. Their suffering became known to a
17 year old Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, who lived in Paris and whose
parents were among the expelled. His anger boiled over. With the last of his
money he bought a pistol, headed for the German Embassy and assassinated a
low-level German diplomat named Ernst vom Rath. The assassination provided a
pretext for Germany to stage violent demonstrations against Jews, which
entered history as the Krystallnacht pogroms. German Jewry paid a heavy
price for the assassination: a hundred killed, tens of thousands put in
concentration camps, synagogues went up flames, and Jewish shops and homes
were looted and set aflame.

With the rise to power of the Likud, Prime Minister Menahem Begin ordered that
the memory of Grynszpan be honoured and that he be immortalized by having a
street named after him. The Israeli Right complains, with its famous
hypocrisy, that the Palestinian Authority honours murderers by naming streets
after them, who in Palestinian eyes are seen as freedom fighters. A Jew
murdered a German, a junior clerk in an embassy, who had nothing at all to do
with the expulsion of Jews with Polish citizenship, and the result was that
thousands of Jews in Germany were persecuted to the hilt. That is the logic of
collective punishment, of which the government of Israel is a proponent.

For what, after all, is the difference between burning the homes of Jews in
Berlin and the destruction of the homes of Palestinian families? In both cases
governments are behind the crime. Occasionally I hear the argument that if it
hadn’t been Herschel Grynszpan, another pretext would have been found for the
pogrom. That is not relevant. Maybe it is true and maybe not, it is in the
realm of speculation. What we do know is what did in fact happen, and there
were two consecutive events: the murder, which unleashed the collective
punishment. If Herschel’s action was justified, then among the Palestinian
people in the Occupied Territories and in exile there are thousands of 17 year
old Palestinian Herschels, whom the Israeli Occupation has harmed, along with
their families, and they are angry, frustrated and thirsty for revenge. The
solitary protests staged by young Palestinians against the injustices and
crimes of the Occupation represent the adoption of the path taken by Herschel,
even if they never heard of him.

If the people are sovereign, as we learned in our first lesson on democracy,
then I, as a link in the chain of sovereignty, consider it my duty to warn
Netanyahu not to embark on the dangerous venture of withdrawing residency. In
addition to the basic injustice such a policy entails, it is likely to be a
catalyst for the formation of a network of Herschels, for which the Jewish
Herschel will serve as a Guide for the Perplexed.


A few words about a binational state

In the 1980s there was a Likud-Labour government, a government of rotation
between Shamir and Peres. Rabin was then Minister of Defence, one of whose
instructions to the Occupation forces was to break arms and legs as well as to
use a hard and heavy hand to intensify the repression against those rising in
revolt.

In response, the Committee against the Iron Fist was founded. Which as far as
I know was the first Israeli-Palestinian committee. The late Faisal Husseini
and I served as its spokesmen. Our joint activism brought us together for many
hours. We appeared together at press conferences, interviews with the media
and international gatherings, but mainly I must thank the ISA and the Israel
police who imposed various restrictions on him, including house arrest from 6
PM to the next morning, which gave me the opportunity to be a guest in his
home for hours and have conversations with him about the conflict, its causes
and ways to resolve it. We agreed on many things, and we also had
disagreements. I knew him and admired him. He was a man of peace who preferred
non-violent struggle even though he was faced with a cruel and violent army of
occupation. He would say to me: “Gideon, the biggest goal I am working for is
one state from the river to the sea, a secular democratic state in which the
two peoples can live in equality and fraternity.”

“Faisal my friend,” I would reply, “I share your goal, which is an enlightened
and challenging one, but the path towards realizing it is strewn with I don’t
know how many obstacles, but they are many. A hundred year old conflict that
has generated hatred, hostility, racism, Occupation, religious extremism,
dispossession and mutual bloodshed just for starters will not disappear with
the wave of a magic wand. You need a prolonged intermediate stage in which the
conflict will end, the settlements evacuated and a Palestinian state created.
We must hope that the two neighbouring states, Israel and Palestine, will
establish democratic regimes based on similar values regarding human rights
which will cooperate on matters of shared interest like agriculture, education
and tourism. Each one will create an educational programme that will not
whitewash or revise the past, but will emphasize that we are in a new stage of
changing each side’s consciousness regarding the other, which will lower the
fevers of suspicion and fear until they disappear. Thus, in a gradual process
the road will be paved to the stage of integration. Look at the European
community. Right after the war no country wanted to admit Germany. Only when
Germany proved that it was committed to democracy and recognized the new
borders that had been imposed on it and had no revanchist intentions did it
pave the way to the family of nations as a full partner. Of course the
conflict in the Middle East has unique aspects, but the principle behind
Germany’s cooperation with its neighbours applies here too.”

To which Faisal would reply to me that even if some kind of interim stage was
inevitable, he would still keep his eyes on the goal toward which he was
working.

I was reminded of the above by a pattern of behaviour I have observed among
several leftists, including well-known journalists. They pick fights with the
Right in general and the settlers in particular by saying to them: “instead of
a Jewish state that was the objective of Zionism, you are leading us to a
binational state in which Arabs will be the majority, over sixty seats in the
Knesset” – which is supposed to inspire fear among much of the population.

Much can truthfully be said about the settlers: that they are racists,
robbers, thieves, murdering looters and religion-hucksters, and most of that
is correct; but they cannot be accused of being stupid. They have demonstrated
political astuteness. So far they have successfully implemented their master-
plan in planting settlements in the Occupied Territories, sometimes dragging
the State along with them and sometimes with the State’s enthusiastic support.
Whenever leftists write that the settlers are creating an irreversible
situation, the settlers mark another “V” in their diaries. They smile with
contempt when they read some leftist columnist lamenting the drift towards a
binational state. Their master-plan is clear: to annex as much territory of
the West Bank as possible with as few Arabs as possible. Far from the public
eye they are working day and night with the army’s help to “cleanse” the
territory of Arabs. In the Jordan Valley the work of transfer has nearly been
completed, and in other areas the army, using mendacious security pretexts, is
packing the Palestinian residents into enclosures that are more like corrals,
as well as imposing restrictions on their freedom of movement. And as for
Israel’s international position, the settlers have nothing to worry about.
Netanyahu has proven that it is possible to taunt with the whole world without
paying a price. Germany keeps sending nuclear-tipped missile-carrying
submarines and Obama wipes off the insults and keeps providing the last word
in fighter planes and other toys from the best of the American arsenal.

History proves that the false messiahs that have emerged throughout the
history of the Jewish people were exposed, but not before they did a lot of
damage. Today’s false messianism too is destined for defeat, but with one
important difference from its predecessors: the present false messianism is in
possession of nuclear weapons and could cause an apocalyptic war that will
destroy the region, including Israel. And so I recommend preparing for mass
emigration from Israel, leaving the lunatics here to commit suicide. A
binational state will not emerge, but the suicide will be multinational.


The badge returns

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has introduced a bill that would require
lobbyists from human rights organizations operating in the Knesset to affix
badges to their clothing indicating the name of their organization and the
governments that support it. The thinking behind the yellow badge and the
Minister’s badge is the same: to induce contempt and hatred against those who
wear it and the organizations they represent.

Perhaps those who have not understood why the Jewish Home Party has earned the
fascist label will understand now.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent.
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