After the last episode of the 'Fateful Elections', the actors amiably shared the trophies backstage. The muse of Israeli politics, like Coca-Cola, wishes to please everybody. Whoever thought that Barak was the best candidate, will be pleased to have him back in power as the Minister of Defense. Those who were about to get nostalgic for Shimon Peres, and were upset that he was not allowed to run, will have Peres in the secondbest bed, as Shakespeare's widow. And yesterday's monster Sharon has miraculously evolved into a wise statesman. It really did make no sense to vote.
The elections were a sham, but the siege of Palestinian villages is very real. Soldiers, who can't find enough demonstrators for target practice, shoot at passenger cars. Gaza is awash with a new sort of gas. Israeli tanks barrage suburbs of Bethlehem. A UN commission, sent to investigate the war crimes, received the short shrift: how dare they speak of war crimes?
The Mitchell commission also got brushed aside last week. As the response, the US warplanes bombed : Iraq (surely some mistake?) Innocent outsiders must question how Israel can get off scot-free with war crimes and receive the blessings of the US congress as a bonus? Could it be the Divine intervention? The answer is no. There is another agent to thank for this state of affairs. We, Israelis, enjoy full immunity, and have no doubt, if and when our government decides to turn the Palestinians into canned meat, the New York Times will celebrate its nutritional values. If that is their intent, they should hasten the process, because with the present blockade, the Palestinians are losing weight with every passing day.
All is fine on the Israeli side of the barricades. The Israeli shekel remains strong. Even George Soros knows that it would not be healthy to take a position against it. The Tel Aviv stock exchange rallies on the news that Intel has decided to invest a cool five billion dollars in Israel. The beauty of it all is that the siege of the Palestinians and the prosperity of Tel Aviv are maintained at the expense of the American taxpayer and investor.
Since 1967, we have received some 170 billion dollars from the people of the US. This money could be used to feed and school all the underprivileged kids of America. It could pay to compensate the descendants of the African slaves and help them out of their hardship. It could save the sick and comfort the miserable; it could turn Africa into a paradise. But it was kidnapped and shipped to our shores. Every dollar invested by the Israeli lobby into senators and congressmen has been returned a hundred fold, as promised by the Bible.
Besides the taxpayer's money, the supporters of Israel—business executives—invested billions of dollars that their shareholders entrusted them with. There is no sound business reason behind Intel's investment, or other similar investments—Israel has no pool of qualified workers, they have to be imported like everything else. The risk of the investments in our country is great and the profits are meager. But then again, they are playing with somebody else's money.
Israel's supporters fleece America in a grand way, but they also go after other prey. In England, a Czech Jewish emigre who adopted the name of Robert Maxwell, stole millions of dollars from the pension funds of his British employees and shipped the money to Israel. He was found dead in suspicious circumstances, but Israel never refunded the stolen goods.
In another English scandal, Dame Shirley Porter, daughter of salesman Jack Cohen, the supermarket chain owner and the one-time mayor, misappropriated 50 million dollars and presented lavish gifts to the Tel Aviv University, built on the ruins of the destroyed Palestinian village of Sheikh Munis. She was found guilty by the British High Court and sentenced to the fine of 27 million pounds. As all her property had already been transferred to Israel, the fine remains unpaid. Again, Israel did not return the stolen goods.
Moving on to France, a group of Israeli and local Jewish financiers transferred to Israel some 40 million of public funds and disappeared to Tel Aviv. A Russian Jew and Israeli citizen Lev Cherny, a great supporter of Yeltsin's democracy, 'privatized' the Russian aluminum industry, which has the biggest reserves in the world. Now the income from that industry flows directly to lovely Savion, the Beverly Hills of Israel. While back in the frozen wastes of Siberia, the population has been reduced to poverty. The
Swiss and the Germans keep paying umpteen billions of dollars to Israel for the confiscated property of Jews, though Israel never paid even one penny for the confiscated Gentile property. The Europeans meekly comply under threat of the toughest of brothers Cray, the mightiest enforcer of Jewish loans, the US.
Israel's supporters overseas are like a giant Hoover machine, sucking out money and sweat from all over the world. Witness Mark Rich, the thieving billionaire, pardoned by the best supporter of Israel, Bill Clinton? He was a Mossad agent. Remember Fujimori, a thieving ex-president of Peru? Israeli banks helped him to launder the money. Sometimes, the Palestinians and their friends bemoan their inability to build up their own Arab lobby to counteract the Israeli lobby. They miss the most important point. The Israeli lobby should not be just a Palestinian concern, but the concern of all Americans.
When oil runs out of a tanker's hulk, it should concern the crew and the owners, not only the fish. Israel's supporters swindle all Americans of their money, and antagonize America's potential friends abroad. Many American politicians support the swindle in order to remain in power. For personal political ambitions, they betray the trust of their voters.
John F. Kennedy told Gore Vidal, that in 1948, Harry Truman was on the verge of losing the presidential election, but a Zionist supporter brought to him two million dollars cash and saved his skin. It caused America to vote for the creation of the Jewish State. This pattern perpetuates itself. The politicians take bribes, sell pardons, accept 'donations', and help the Israeli lobby to rob the people of America.
The actual direct contribution of American Jews for the welfare of Israel is quite small and tax exempt. It would hardly cover the cost of the missiles and nerve gas to kill Palestinians, much less support the Israeli life style to which we have become accustomed. But what Israel supporters collect in campaign contributions is enough to bribe politicians and embezzle a good chunk of American money from the US treasury. If such a swindle would be hatched by, say, the Libyan lobby, the media would rightly demand these people be registered as foreign agents of influence. That is where the Israeli lobby cashes in on the solidarity of the many American Jews and right-wing Christian Zionists in the national media.
Ahmed Amr, an independent journalist from Seattle, Washington, has lamented the total absence of the Arab-Americans in the American media, saying “Could it be, that like white men can't jump, the Arab-Americans can't write? Could it be that mainly Jewish gentlemen can write?” Well, he should know better. Even Jews, who can write but fail to support Israel, are also deprived of access to the national mainstream media. Israel's supporters have silenced the voice of Americans who would speak up for the Palestinians, including notable Jewish intellectuals like Chomsky. They silenced also the "native" voice of Americans. The stock exchange rises and falls, but there is no new Faulkner out of the South, no new Cheever in New England, no new John Barth from Maryland. The Hollywood-made films have degraded into sheer escapism and production of Arab-hate crap.
The enemy of Palestinians and of ordinary Americans, British and French citizens is not 'the Jew', as some people tend to think. There are thousands and thousands of wonderful folk of Jewish descent—doctors, artists, rabbis, unemployed. A lot of them object to Israeli crimes and to AIPAC policies. Some of them are on the front line of the struggle for human rights. Now the time has come for us to stand up and be counted.
The hesitating American Jews are in the position of the elder sister in Raymond Chandler's Big Sleep, who covers up the crimes of her wild kid sister. Probably you remember it by one of the best American movies of all times, scripted by William Faulkner, directed by Howard Hawks and acted by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. As the cover up continues, the young sister comes to believe that she has immunity and keeps on her killing spree. Eventually her crimes endanger the seemingly secure position of the elder sister. It is not a day too early for misguided Lauren to call for Bogart and to rein the crazed youth in, before she will bring the house down on the heads of her blind supporters.
In spiritual terms, the blind support of Israel divided the Jews into the sheep and the goats (Mt 25:32), into sons of saints and sons of Mamon worshippers, the descendants of prophets and of their killers, those who profess unity of mankind and adepts of national exclusivity, those who wait for the saviour of man and those who expect the enslaver of gentiles. The former ones will make the name of Jews blessed, but those who would partake in the starving of poor peasants under Israeli-imposed siege, those who would let them rot in jails, they will certainly bring shame to all of us.
The covenant of Israel's supporters is not an ethnic monolith. It admits Gentiles, as well; it is enough to disregard the poor, the weak, the oppressed, and you can enter it. On the other hand, every Jew can opt out of it by rejecting Israeli crimes. There is no biological guilt or virtue. The believing Jews of Naturei Karta opted out and supported the Palestinian right to life. So did Jews for Justice, and many others who did not care to join a political group, but stood away from evil. Wise French noblemen opted out of the Ancienne Regime in 1789; they did not wait for the “national razor” of 1793.
It is in interests of Americans, Jews and Gentiles alike, to start with a full embargo of Israel. The idea of an exclusive Jewish state is as wrong as the idea of an exclusive Aryan or White State. Palestine/Israel should become a democracy based on the principle of ONE MAN-ONE VOTE. Do not worry for us, Israelis and Palestinians, we, the sons of Abraham, can live together. Just cut off the supplies to the Generals' Junta, and we shall see the light.
A democratic Israel/Palestine will turn off the Zionist Hoover machine. The long madness of Don Quixote will be over, and he will be called again Don Quexana the Good. The fruits of labor will come to those who need it, not to Israeli generals. Americans will again become welcome guests in the Middle East. Who knows, maybe even the great American cinema will be reborn from its golden ashes. Jaffa, 17.2.2001
Israel Shamir is one of best-known Russian Israeli writers and journalists. He wrote for Haaretz, BBC, Pravda and translated Agnon, Joyce and Chandler into Russian. His articles The Rape of Dulcinea and The Test Failed could be found on many Internet sites, www.thestruggle.org, www.antiwar, www.NileMedia etc. He can be reached at [email protected], or write P.O.B. 23714 Tel Aviv 61236