Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Netanyahu, the Pied Piper of Zion, Leading
Apartheid Israel to the Destruction
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 1, 2016
|Uri Avnery writing on the
Israeli Apartheid Wall, protesting the Israeli occupation of
Netanyahu: The Pied Piper of Zion
HAMELIN, A small town in Germany (not so far from where I was born), was
infested with rats. In their despair, the burghers called upon a
rat-catcher and promised him a thousand guilders for liberating them from
The rat-catcher took his pipe and played such a sweet
melody that all the rats came out of their holes and joined him. He
marched them to the Weser river, where they all drowned.
freed from this plague, the burghers saw no reason to pay. So the piper
took out his pipe again and produced an even sweeter melody. The enchanted
children of the town gathered around him and he marched them straight down
to the river, where they all drowned.
Binyamin Netanyahu is our pied piper. Enchanted
by his melodies, the people of Israel are marching behind him towards the
Those burghers who are
aware of what is happening are looking on. They don't know what to do.
How to save the children?
THE ISRAELI Peace Camp is in despair.
No savior is in sight. Many just sit in front of their TV set and wring
Among the rest a debate is going on. Will redemption
come from within Israel or from outside?
The latest contributor to
this debate is Amos Schocken,
the owner of the "Haaretz" newspaper. He
has written one of his rare articles, arguing that only outside forces can
save us now.
Let me first say that I admire
Schocken. "Haaretz" ("The Land") is one of the last bastions of Israeli
democracy. Cursed and detested by the entire rightist majority, it leads
the intellectual battle for democracy and peace, All this while the
written media are in dire financial straits, in Israel and around the
world. From my own experience as a magazine owner and editor who lost
this battle I know just how heroic and heartbreaking this job is.
In his article Schocken says that the battle to save Israel from within is
hopeless, and that we must therefore support the pressures coming from
outside: the growing worldwide movement for boycotting Israel politically,
economically and academically.
Another prominent Israeli who
supports this view is Alon Liel,
a former ambassador to South Africa and current university lecturer. Based
on his own experience, Liel asserts that it was the worldwide boycott that
brought the apartheid regime to its knees.
Far be it from me to
contest the testimony of such a towering expert. I never went to South
Africa to see for myself. But I have talked to many participants, black
and white, and my impression is a bit different.
IT IS very tempting to compare
present-day Israel with apartheid South Africa. Indeed,
the comparison is almost unavoidable. But what does it tell us?
The accepted view in the West is that it was the international boycott of
the atrocious Apartheid regime that broke its spine. This is a comforting
view. The conscience of the world woke up and crushed the villains.
But this is a view from the outside. The view from the inside seems to be
quite different. The inside view appreciates the help of the international
community, but it attributes the victory to the fight of the black
population itself, its readiness to suffer, its heroism, its tenacity.
Using many different methods, including terrorism and strikes, it finally
made Apartheid impossible.
The international pressure helped by
making the whites increasingly aware of their isolation. Some measures,
such as the international boycott on South African sports teams, were
especially painful. But without the fight of the black population itself,
international pressure would have been ineffective.
respect is due to the white South Africans who actively supported the
black struggle, including terrorism, at great personal risk. Many of them
were Jews. Some escaped to Israel. One was my friend and neighbor, Arthur
Goldreich. Strange as it seemed to some, the Israeli government supported
the apartheid regime.
Even a superficial comparison between
the two cases shows that the Israeli apartheid regime enjoys major assets
which did not exist in South Africa.
The South African white
rulers were universally detested because they quite openly supported the
Nazis in World War II. The Jews were the victims of the Nazis. The
Holocaust is a huge asset of Israeli propaganda. So is the labeling of all
critics of Israel as anti-Semites a very effective weapon these days.
(My latest contribution: "Who is an anti-Semite? Someone who tells
the truth about the occupation.")
The uncritical support of the
powerful Jewish communities throughout the world for the Israeli
government is something the South African whites could not even have
And, of course, there is no Nelson Mandela in sight.
Not after Arafat's isolation and murder, at least.
there is a little bit of racism in the view that it was the whites in the
Western world that delivered the blacks in South Africa, and not the black
South Africans themselves.
There is another big difference between
the two situations. Hardened by centuries of persecution in the Christian
world, Jewish Israelis can react to outside pressure differently than
expected. Outside pressure can turn out to be counterproductive. It may
re-confirm the old Jewish belief that Jews are persecuted not for what
they do, but for who they are. That is one of Netanyahu's main selling
Years ago, an army entertainment group sang and danced to
the joyful tune of a song that started with the words: "The whole world is
against us /But we don't give a damn
This also concerns the BDS
campaign. 18 years ago, my friends and I were the first to declare a
boycott on the products of the settlements. We wanted to drive a wedge
between Israelis and settlers. Therefore we did not declare a boycott of
Israel proper, which would drive ordinary Israelis into the arms of the
settlers. Only direct support of the settlements should be rejected.
That is still my opinion. But everyone abroad should make up his/her own
mind. Always remembering that the main objective is to influence public
opinion in Israel proper.
THE "INSIDE OUTSIDE" debate may sound
purely theoretical, but it is not. It has very practical implications.
The Israeli peace camp is in a state of despair. The size and power
of the right wing is growing. Almost daily, obnoxious new laws are
proposed and enacted, some of them with an unmistakable fascist flavor.
The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has surrounded himself with a
bunch of male and female rowdies mainly from his Likud party, compared to
whom he is a liberal. The main opposition party, the "Zionist Camp" (alias
Labor), could be called Likud B.
Apart from some dozens of
fringe groups who brave this wave and do admirable work, each in its
chosen niche, the peace camp is paralyzed by its own despair. Its
slogan could well be "Nothing can be done anymore. No point doing
(Jewish-Arab cooperation in the common fight inside
Israel now sadly lacking - is also essential.)
In this climate,
the idea that only outside pressure can save Israel from itself is
comforting. Somebody out there will do the job for us. So let's enjoy the
pleasures of democracy while it lasts.
I know that nothing is
further from the thoughts of Schocken, Liel and all the others, who fight
the daily fight. But I am afraid that this may be the consequence of their
SO who is right: those who believe that only the fight
inside Israel can save us, or those who put their trust entirely in
My answer is: neither.
Those who fight inside need all the outside help they can
get. All the moral people in all the countries of the world should see it
as their duty to help those groups and persons inside Israel who continue
to fight for democracy, justice and equality.
If Israel is dear to
them, they should come to the aid of these brave groups, morally,
politically and materially.
But for outside pressure to be
effective, they must be able to connect with the fight inside, publicize
it and gain support for it. They can give new hope to those who are
despairing. Nothing is more vital.
The government realizes this.
Therefore it is enacting all kinds of laws to cut Israeli peace groups off
from foreign help.
So let the good fight go on inside,
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