Palestinian activist Reem Abdehadi, when asked for her opinion
about Jewish anti-Zionist campaigners, said sarcastically: "they
are very nice, all fifteen of them
I was rather
happy to read in yesterday's Guardian that "A group of prominent
British Jews will today declare independence from the country's
Jewish establishment, arguing that it puts support for Israel
above the human rights of Palestinians."
It is indeed
about time that Jewish people with influence in art, academia,
business and the media raise their voices against Israel's crimes
and its supportive lobbies around the globe. It is rather crucial
that Jewish people should openly succumb to true ethical and universal
thinking rather than clannish monolithic discourse solely concerned
with tribal maintenance.
I logged on to check out what the Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)
have to say. If to be honest, though I found more than a few of
my friends enlisted, I was rather disappointed with the views
expressed by the group.
it was an 'image' of moral thinking rather than an authentic ethical
commitment. Once again it was a glorifying exposition of Jewish
righteousness rather than simply acknowledging the Palestinian
cause, i.e., the 'right of return'. Disappointingly, the declaration
wittingly avoids confronting the kernel of the Israeli-Palestinian
is rather established that the Palestinian cause is largely orientated
around the mass expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians in 1948
and the failure to resolve the refugee catastrophe, avoiding the
issue is nothing less than denying the Palestinians the most elementary
human right: the right to live on one's land. Avoiding the refugee
issue is nothing less than dismissing the Palestinians of the
most basic human rights.
words, when the JIV says "Human rights are universal and indivisible
and should be upheld without exception. This is as applicable
in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as it is elsewhere,"
what they really mean is "Human rights are universal as long as
you are not a Palestinian who wants to return to his land." I
may admit that I find this approach rather disappointing. I would
really love to believe that more than a few of the Jewish Independent
Voices do agree with me on that one. I want to believe that they
really fail to grasp what they were signing.
But the independent
Jewish humanists do not stop just there; they also say "Palestinians
and Israelis alike have the right to peaceful and secure lives."
This may be true. Yet somehow, it sounds to me too much like the
highlight of Olmert's speech. People are entitled to live in peace,
nevertheless, the occupier and the colonialist cannot expect to
live a secure life. I would even suggest that Jewish intellectuals
who dismiss this crucial point might find it hard to secure their
position as 'independent ethical voices'.
Jewish Voices expect all sides as well to comply with 'international
law'. And I think to myself, in a world where America is a single
superpower, international law and UN resolutions have very little
to do with ethical thinking. Moreover, even the historically accepted
1947 partition resolution is non-ethical to the bone. Once again,
I would expect the ethically orientated Independent Jews to stand
out and promote ethical thinking rather than resolutions that
are grounded by hegemony and military might.
the prominent independent Jews spit it out. They are really against
anti-Semitism. "The battle against anti-Semitism is vital and
is undermined whenever opposition to Israeli government policies
is automatically branded as anti-Semitic."
the verge of complete dismay, I wonder, wouldn't it be sufficient
to just be against racism in general? Why is it that Jews who
regard themselves as Independent Jewish Voices have to declare
that fighting anti-Semitism is 'vital'? The reason is simple.
They insist upon not being seen as anti-Semites by their 'less
independent' brothers. In other words, they, the independent voices,
are far from being liberated. They are far from being independent.
They are totally imbued within the Jewish discourse. And their
message to the world is nothing more than the old two state solution.
I am not
Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli
military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is
also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe.
His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by
the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: [email protected].
here to order Gilad Atzmon's CDs and books.
by Gilad Atzmon:
Pour Out Your Fury Upon The People Of Lebanon And Gaza
The Tyranny Of Pronouns
The Myth Of
The Open Society: The Politics Of Auschwitz
And Other Marginal Thoughts
Liberating The American People, by Philip Cheah