From the Judaic tradition to Zionism

May 28,2018 – JORDAN TIMES

I was a boy of l6, a student in high school, when Israel was created in l948. Over these 70 years, the frustration and puzzlement over the ease with which Israel succeeded and our Arab total defeat still remain with me, along with the question: What happened to the character of the Jews, themselves? How did these “people of the book”, with their rich Judaic tradition, turn into what their state of Israel now represents: a nuclear-armed, highly-efficient, merciless killing machine, a vigorous tool of imperialism and a pariah to humanitarian and international law?

This question is vitally important, not only to its victims, the Palestinians, but also to the Arabs in general. It is even of more importance to the Jews, themselves. As part of the great Arab-Muslim civilisation and its pluralistic millet system, they were part and parcel of the cultural scene, neighbours to the Sunni, Shiite, Druze, Christian, Maronite, Coptic, Armenian, Assyrian, Yazidi, Shabak and other communities. They were law abiding, their community regulated by strict rules that governed every aspect of the life of the community and its relations with all other communities. Like all communities, they kept to themselves within their space, respecting the space and the culture of the others.

The Zionisation, really the Westernisation of the Judaic tradition over the past five centuries corresponding to the development of Western civilisation, perhaps explains to some degree how the religion turned from a peaceful creed into the aggressive ideology of Zionism today.   Historical perspective tells us of the existence of pockets of anti-Zionist Jewish groups that continue to resent and resist the dehumanisation of their tradition and the near total hegemony of the Western Ashkenazim ethics over those of the Semitic, oriental Sephardim.

Aristotle believed man to be a “social animal”, which begs the question: How much “animal”? What lurks beneath the veneer of civilisation? While social conditioning may hide the basic animal instincts, it seems never to fully change them. As for the most part true on the individual level, it is just as true among groups, including nations. How else can one justify the Western attitude regarding the daily abuse of the Palestinians by the Israelis, which is met with their deafening silence or more often finding excuses for the continual disregard for the rules of law and humanity on the part of Israel.

Historically speaking, the Zionasation or, Westernisation of Judaism has been a disaster for the Arabs, and, in the long run, for the Israelis themselves. The Ashkenazim who have been the leaders since l948 are products of the Western civilisation that has always viewed itself as superior in every way, thriving on exceptionalism and exclusivism. Nevertheless, the hope remains that the paranoia they have instilled in their own people will abate and more civilised, cooler heads will one day replace them.

In spite of all that happened during the last century, the average Arab still differentiates between Judaism, a monotheistic Middle Eastern religious creed, and Zionism that has become a tool of hatred and Western colonialism. Jewish communities thrived only in the Muslim culture in Arab lands: It is incumbent on a good Muslim to bestow blessings upon Abraham, Moses and the other Jewish prophets. The Jews prospered in Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo, and were partners in Andalusia. The first civil constitution in the history of man, “Dustur Al Medina”, was specifically crafted to accommodate the Jews, both socially and politically. They should remember that. The Ashkenazi descendants, Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, are aliens to this rich pluralistic culture of the Sephardim: Products of “the Pale of settlements”, a culture of hate, hemmed in by the walls of the ghetto, where the Jew was always a “wandering stranger”.

I am sure there are many sane people among the Jews of today who can see beyond the ecstatic euphoria manufactured by the Ashkenazim sense of victory and power. While Israel has won many battles, it has not yet won the war, and it would be well to remind those non-Semitic graduates of Western ghettos, of the true essence of Judaism. To remind them that the Semitic Palestinians, and all Arabs, have a memory that stretches back to the dawn of creation and that neither Donald Trump, nor Arthur Balfour before him, can obliterate that memory.

It may be that the Arabs of today are weak, and some of their leaders may have caved in, but that is not the end of the story. The Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular, are today in the mood of compromise and hope that one day their “Jewish cousins” will see that they too are the victims of the Western Nazi and Fascist Holocaust from which they are still suffering.

United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and others are not ultimate justice, but merely a compromise. They were further articulated by the Arab peace plan, which should become the basis for an honourable peace settlement, otherwise, Israel will remain but a colonial project, surrounded by ghetto-like high walls and pending realisation.

The Jews, of all people on the face of this earth, should be aware of the common history they share with the Palestinians and all of their Arab neighbours. The time has definitely come for them to rehumanise their ideology for the conclusion of a honourable peace. They alone, not Trump, Angela Merkel, Theresa May or Emmanuel Macron can introduce some sense of order and justice into the erratic and chaotic contemporary international system, especially pertaining to the Middle East.


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