Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fascist Israeli "Rabbis" ostracize Jews who rent to Palestinians

I am a Jew who has made being an anti-fascist a lifelong commitment. I have long written about and fought against the revival of the eugenics movement – see Democratic Individuality, ch. 10 on status and eugenics in Max Weber contrasted with radical views and evidence from American multi-racial movements – and underlined its connection with Nazism. I have written many essays about Leo Strauss, a Jew who turns out to have been pro-Nazi as well as Carl Schmitt whose Catholic anti-semitism was medieval and mind-boggling before he became genocidal as a Nazi (calling, for instance, for the labeling of every Jewish writer in German legal journals "the Jew so and so" at a legal conference he organized as Prussian State Councilor in 1936). See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. So the article below from Haaretz comes home to me pretty strongly. I often say that the Palestinians are the Jews of the occupied territories and that the occupiers I do not recognize, but these rabbis, who urge the ostracism of Jews who rent to Arabs are unfortunately, pure fascists…See also here.

This stance is of a piece with loyalty oaths for Arab Israelis in the Knesset. It is a fundamental component of the scheme for greater Israel – a religion- and race-“pure,” fascist state. See here. By the way, in the Jerusalem Post two days ago, Netanyahu, after long silence, finally found the right words, "How would we feel if someone said not to sell apartments to Jews? We would protest, and we do protest when it is said among our neighbors. It is forbidden that such things are said about Jews or Arabs."

It is too bad that these decent words are for Netanyahu empty. He lets the rabbinical pogromists lynch a few Palestinians and Jews as well, and then at last says something sensible. But he does nothing to stop it. Netanyahu is ultimately the boss of these municipal rabbis. Perhaps these 50 gentlemen should no longer be state employees…More importantly, perhaps racism toward Arabs and Jews who are not bigots should not be the intellectual currency of a “Jewish” state.

One of the reasons for the statement of the 50 rabbis is that the Minister of Minority Affairs had rightly acted against the aging bigot who first issued the call to ostracize Jews who rent to Arabs. Even within the government, there is still some memory of democracy – many Israelis started with the idea of a democratic and rights-based regime (one therefore opposed to the national-socialist element in Zionism, which, for instance, excluded Palestinians from unions or kibbutzes). Most of the Arabs who are in Safed are students going to the local university. The article below neglects the original ban on Jews renting to Arabs in Safed and the harassment and threats against individuals who have (h/t Ilene Cohen). Read carefully the rabbi’s injunction to other Jews to report Jews who rent to Arabs “to the neighborhood,” forbid them religious participation…

Multiracial unity is the key to a decent society. And as Edward Said’s Orientalism underlines – and I have long experienced – Jews and Arabs are near cousins, scorned by the European racisms of which these rabbis are a contemporary version. Jews were once stigmatized for their avowal of the Enlightenment. These rabbis are also the worst enemies of “lumieres.”

I also post a statement reported in Haaretz by Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, that he will honor the decision of a Palestinian referendum creating a Palestinian state on a remainder of the occupied territories. That, too, went unreported in the United States – “all the news that’s fit to print” in censorship of the New York Times. But there is no disagreement now among Palestinian factions about a two state solution. I should add: the Palestinians have once been “transferred” – ethnically cleansed – in the creation of Israel (it was the only place Europe would let Jews, the victims of genocide, settle; but Israel then drove out Palestinians who had done the Jews no harm...). The Palestinians currently live in territories illegally occupied by Israel. They have no airport or control over their borders or over trade (Israel takes an exploitative tax out of every good sold abroad by Palestinians).

Thus, the enemy of any reasonable solution is the Israeli government – which is hell bent on achieving "greater" Israel - a second transfer - and enacting fascist policies, increasingly inside Israel as well as in the occupied territories (as my Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy? argues, imperialism/occupation poisons the occupier at home) and secondarily, the United States (though the blowing up of Obama’s attempt to bribe the Israeli government into “limiting” the illegal settlements is perhaps a good thing; it may motivate Obama, for instance, to strike out on a new and decent path such as proposing potential borders for a two state agreement). That is the real situation.

Published 07.12.10

Dozens of top Israeli rabbis sign ruling to forbid rental of homes to Arabs
The religious ruling comes just months after a group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call to that effect.

By Chaim Levinson

Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis have signed on to a new religious ruling that would forbid the rental of homes to gentiles in a move particularly aimed against Arabs, Haaretz has learned.

The religious ruling comes just months after a group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

Most of the signatories are from Safed, a city that has seen an increase in its Arab student population that is enrolled at the town's local college. Safed chief rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who has been criticized in the past for incendiary remarks against Arabs, is the most prominent figure to sign the letter.

The group to sign on to the religious ruling includes the chief rabbis of Ramat Hasharon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Rishon Letzion, Carmiel, Gadera, Afula, Nahariya, Herzliya, Nahariya and Pardes Hannah, among a number of other cities.

The signatories also called on the religious community to voice support for Rabbi Eliyahu, who could face trial for incitement against Arabs. Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman has also asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to begin the process of suspending Eliyahu immediately from his post as municipal rabbi.

Politicos from the national religious sector believe that the mass of prominent figures who signed on to the ruling – all of whose salaries are paid by public funds - will send a message to the attorney general to take Eliyahu's position seriously.

The rabbis' letter, which was first published months ago and reprinted in October, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood.

"Their way of life is different than that of Jews," the letter stated. "Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger."

The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.

"The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed," the letter reads.

December 1, 2010

Hamas vows to honor Palestinian referendum on peace with Israel
Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh says he would accept a deal with Israel based on 1967 borders and denies that Gaza has become a stronghold for al-Qaida.

By Reuters

The Islamist Hamas movement, whose charter advocates the elimination of Israel, would accept the outcome of a Palestinian referendum on a future peace treaty with Israel, its Gaza leader said on Wednesday.

Ismail Haniyeh, addressing a rare news conference in the Israeli-blockaded enclave, signaled a softening of Hamas's long-standing position prohibiting the ceding of any part of the land of what was British-mandated Palestine until 1948.

"We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.

"Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles," he said, provided it included all Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora.

The Hamas charter, drafted in 1988, regards all of the land of Palestine, including what is now Israel, as the heritage of Muslims. The idea of a referendum on a future peace accord with Israel was rejected by some Hamas leaders when it was proposed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas several months ago.

Negotiations between Abbas and Israel have since faltered over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

No Al-Qaida here

Haniyeh said Israel was not willing to give the Palestinians a fully sovereign state and he therefore had no hope the fragile U.S.-brokered attempts to revive peacemaking would succeed.

He said his movement was willing to cooperate with Western and European countries "who want to help the Palestinian people regain their rights". The United States and European Union shun Hamas as a terrorist organization and do not recognize its Gaza authority.

"We urge European foreign ministers to revise their position regarding meetings with the elected government," Haniyeh said, adding that contacts were being made with United Nations officials in the Gaza Strip in this regard.

Haniyeh denied Israel's claim to have killed three members of the al-Qaida organization in Gaza in the past month. Israel said two of three militants it killed in November were planning attacks against Israeli and western tourists in the Egyptian territory of Sinai.

He said a priority of his government was to avoid a military escalation with Israel by persuading other militant factions to preserve a de facto ceasefire. Hamas had repeatedly distanced itself from al-Qaida and had not hesitated to condemn al-Qaida-claimed attacks in some Arab and western capitals, he noted.

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