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Uri Avnery: Anti-Semitism - A Practical Manual

Avnery on truth and abuse of antisemitism & the little racist in each of us

GUSH SHALOM pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 âåù ùìåí, ú.ã.,3322 úì àáéá

[a] On truth and abuse of antisemitism & the little racist in each of us
Uri Avnery writes about the subject of his lifetime

[b] Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals - activists take care of the families - Yosef Algazi in Ha'aretz about a too little noticed group

[c] "Welcome to Abu Dis Ghetto" painter detained for incitement

[d] Kate Raphael of IWPS was denied staying under Law of Return

(Tonight last chance to do something)

[e] Next week (24.1): a mass pro-Geneva demo in Tel-Aviv

\\// //\\ \\// //\\ \\//

[a] On truth and abuse of antisemitism & the little racist in each of us Uri Avnery writes about the subject of his lifetime

Anti-Semitism: A Practical Manual

Uri Avnery


A Hungarian Joke: During the June 1967 war, a Hungarian meets his friend. "Why do you look so happy?" he asks. "I heard that the Israelis shot down six Soviet-made MiGs today," his friend replies.

The next day, the friend looks even more jubilant. "The Israelis downed another eight MiGs," he announces.

On the third day, the friend is crestfallen. "What happened? Didn't the Israelis down any MiGs today?" the man asks. "They did," the friend answers, "But today someone told me that the Israelis are Jews!"

This is the whole story in a nutshell.

The Anti-Semite hates the Jews because they are Jews, irrespective of their actions. Jews may be hated because they are rich and ostentatious or because they are poor and live in squalor. Because they played a major role in the Bolshevik revolution or because some of them became incredibly rich after the collapse of the Communist regime. Because they crucified Jesus or because they infected Western culture with the "Christian morality of compassion". Because they have no fatherland or because they created the State of Israel.

That is in the nature of all kinds of racism and chauvinism: One hates someone for being a Jew, Arab, woman, black, Indian, Muslim, Hindu. His or her personal attributes, actions, achievements are unimportant. If he or she belongs to the abhorred race, religion or gender, they will be hated.

The answers to all questions relating to anti-Semitism follow from this basic fact. For example:

Is everybody who criticizes Israel an anti-Semite?

Absolutely not. Somebody who criticizes Israel for certain of our actions cannot be accused of anti-Semitism for that. But somebody who hates Israel because it is a Jewish state, like the Hungarian in the joke, is an anti-Semite. It is not always easy to distinguish between the two kinds, because shrewd anti-Semites pose as bona fide critics of Israel's actions. But presenting all critics of Israel as anti-Semites is wrong and counter- productive, it damages the fight against anti-Semitism.

Many deeply moral persons, the cream of humanity, criticize our behavior in the occupied territories. It is stupid to accuse them of anti- Semitism.

Can a person be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite?

Absolutely yes. Zionism is a political creed and must be treated like any other. One can be anti-Communist without being anti-Chinese, anti- Capitalist without being anti-American, anti-Globalist, anti-Anything. Yet, again, it is not always easy to draw the line, because real anti-Semites often pretend just to be "anti-Zionists". They should not be helped by erasing the distinction.

Can a person be an anti-Semite and a Zionist?

Indeed, yes. The founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, already tried to enlist the support of notorious Russian anti-Semites, promising them to take the Jews off their hands. Before World War II, the Zionist underground organization IZL established military training camps in Poland under the auspices of the anti-Semitic generals, who also wanted to get rid of the Jews. Nowadays, the Zionist extreme Right receives and welcomes massive support from the American fundamentalist evangelists, whom the majority of American Jews, according to a poll published this week, consider profoundly anti-Semitic. Their theology prophesies that on the eve of the second coming of Christ, all Jews must convert to Christianity or be exterminated.

Can a Jew be anti-Semitic?

That sounds like an oxymoron. But history has known some instances of Jews who became ferocious Jew-haters. The Spanish Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, was of Jewish descent. Karl Marx wrote some very nasty things about the Jews, as did Otto Weininger, an important Jewish writer in fin-de-siecle Vienna. Herzl, his contemporary and fellow-Viennese, wrote in his diaries some very uncomplimentary remarks about the Jews. If a person criticizes Israel more than other countries which do the same, is he an anti-Semite?

Not necessarily. True, there should be one and the same moral standard for all countries and all human beings. Russian actions in Chechnya are not better than ours in Nablus, and may be worse. The trouble is that the Jews are pictured and picture themselves (and indeed were) a "nation of victims". Therefore, the world is shocked that yesterday's victims are today's victimizers. A higher moral standard is required from us than from other peoples. And rightly so.

Has Europe become anti-Semitic again?

Not really. The number of anti-Semites in Europe has not grown, perhaps it has even fallen. What has increased is the volume of criticism of Israel's behavior towards the Palestinians, who appear as "the victims of the victims".

The situation in some suburbs of Paris, which is often cited as an example of the rise of anti-Semitism, is a quite different affair. When North African Muslims clash with North African Jews, they are transferring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to European soil. It is also a continuation of the feud between Arabs and Jews that started in Algeria when the Jews supported the French regime and Muslims considered them collaborators of the hated colonialists.

Then why did most Europeans state in a recent poll that Israel endangers world peace more than any other country?

That has a simple explanation: Europeans see on television every day what our soldiers are doing in the occupied Palestinian territories. This confrontation is covered more than any other conflict on earth (with the possible exception of Iraq, for the time being), because Israel is more "interesting", considering the long history of the Jews in Europe and because Israel is closer to the Western media than Muslim or African countries. The Palestinian resistance, which Israelis call "terrorism", seems to many Europeans very much like the French resistance to the German occupation.

What about the anti-Semitic manifestations in the Arab world?

No doubt, typically anti-Semitic indications have crept lately into Arab discourse. Suffice it to mention that the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" have been published in Arabic. That is a typically European import. The Protocols were invented by the secret police of Czarist Russia.

Whatever inanities may be voiced by certain "experts", there never was any widespread Muslim anti-Semitism, such as existed in Christian Europe. In the course of his fight for power, the prophet Muhammad fought against neighboring Jewish tribes, and therefore there are some negative passages about the Jews in the Kor'an. But they cannot be compared to the anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament story about the crucifixion of Christ that have poisoned the Christian world and caused endless suffering. Muslim Spain was a paradise for the Jews, and there has never been a Jewish Holocaust in the Muslim world. Even pogroms were extremely rare.

Muhammad decreed that the "Peoples of the Book" (Jews and Christians) be treated tolerantly, subject to conditions that were incomparably more liberal than those in contemporary Europe. The Muslims never imposed their religion by force on Jews and Christians, as shown by the fact that almost all the Jews expelled from Catholic Spain settled in the Muslim countries and flourished there. After centuries of Muslim rule, Greeks and Serbs remained thoroughly Christian.

When peace is established between Israel and the Arab world, the poisonous fruits of anti-Semitism will most probably disappear from the Arab world (as will the poisonous fruits of Arab-hating in our society.)

Aren't the utterances of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Muhammad, about the Jews controlling the world, anti-Semitic?

Yes and no. They certainly illustrate the difficulty of pinning anti- Semitism down. From a factual point of view, the man was right when he asserted that the Jews have a far bigger influence than their percentage of the world's population alone would warrant. It is true that the Jews have a large influence on the policy of the United States, the only super-power, as well as on the American and international media. One does not need the phony "Protocols" in order to face this fact and analyse its causes. But the sounds make the music, and Mahathir's music does indeed sound anti- Semitic.

So should we ignore anti-Semitism?

Definitely not. Racism is a kind of virus that exists in every nation and in every human being. Jean-Paul Sartre said that we are all racists, the difference being that some of us realize this and fight against it, while others succumb to the evil. In ordinary times, there is a small minority of blatant racists in every country, but in times of crisis their number can multiply rapidly. This is a perpetual danger, and every people must fight against the racists in their midst.

We Israelis are like all other peoples. Each of us can find a small racist within himself, if he searches hard enough. We have in our country fanatical Arab-haters, and the historic confrontation that dominates our lives increases their power and influence. It is our duty to fight them, and leave it to the Europeans and Arabs to deal with their own racists.

[b] Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals - activists take care of the families - Yosef Algazi in Ha'aretz about a too little noticed group

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 15:50:56 +0200
From: rayna moss
Subject: Children Tel Hashomer, Ha'aretz Article, Friday



`An island of sanity'

They are required to obtain entry permits, to be at the bedside of their sick children, and arrive at the checkpoints without any personal effects to shorten the wait there. A day in the hospital with Palestinian parents from Gaza

By Joseph Algazy

"I visited Tel Hashomer Hospital on Friday. As usual, most of the work was carried out in the intensive care unit, to which I brought cooked food and non-perishables (tea, coffee, sugar). The telephone cards were grabbed up, and even though I had brought a sufficient quantity, none were left for the other departments. All the adults in all the departments received food. I brought disposable diapers in two sizes - for newborn infants and for 2- year-olds."

This was the report that volunteer Nava Harnam made to her colleagues about her most recent visit to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. For more than a year now, she has been part of a group of volunteers that has been regularly helping to care for Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who are hospitalized there, and to assist the parents who are looking after them. Physicians for Human Rights has taken the entire project under its organizational - and material - wing.

"In October 2002, I got a phone call from Widah al-Khatib, a Palestinian resident of Beit Iba, a small village west of Nablus. He told me that the parents of a 2-week-old infant from his village, Shihab Ishtawi, who was born with a heart defect and was hospitalized at Tel Hashomer, were crying for help," relates the coordinator of the volunteer group, Bilha Golan, describing how it was conceived and how it works. "When I met them the next day they were very worried about the baby's condition, and because they had left three small children behind in the village. To my astonishment, I discovered that for several days they had not eaten properly, had not bathed and had not changed clothes. Later I found out that other parents of Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank who are also inpatients at the hospital live in the same conditions."

Golan decided to relate her experiences at the hospital to the public via the Internet communications network of the Actleft human rights organization, and called upon people to volunteer to help the families of the hospitalized children. In this way a group was organized, which works mostly in the intensive care, oncology, thoracic and cardiac surgery and rehabilitation units at Tel Hashomer. It is now comprised of about 12 people - women and men, Jews and Arabs.

One of them, T.G., a conscripted soldier, came to visit Shihab Ishtawi at the hospital every day. Often he enlisted buddies from his unit to his aid. "After a few days, the mother had to go home to take care of the rest of her children," says Golan. "The father, Ka'ed Ishtawi, remained at [the child's] side. From him we learned about the obstacles encountered by family members who care for a Palestinian child hospitalized in Israel. He praised the hospital, but complained of the difficulties he encounters on the way to it.

"Equipped with a hospitalization certificate from a hospital, a sick child's father, mother, grandfather or grandmother applies to the Israeli- Palestinian liaison committee and asks for an entry permit into Israel. After a few days they get the permit, but it is valid for only one day - from morning till evening. It can happen that the application is rejected `for security reasons.'"

According to Golan, a resident of Moshav Beit Shearim and a public health nurse in Zarzir in the north, the Ishtawis came to the hospital without any personal effects in order to make the passage through the checkpoints easier for them

selves and to spare detailed searches of their things and the consequent delay. At the entrance to the hospital, the parents deposit their identity cards. As they usually have to stay there - with the staff's knowledge - for days or weeks, they avoid leaving the hospital complex so as not to risk arrest as illegal sojourners.

NIS 20 in their pockets

"At the hospital, close to where their dear ones are patients, the Palestinians are protected, but the moment they leave, they are vulnerable," says Golan. Thus, for example, Ka'ed Ishtawi was caught outside the hospital when he went to get some food for himself and was arrested by security personnel who took him to the Ramat Gan police. With the intervention of the volunteers, who explained his situation, he was released.

During the recent Ramadan month of fasting, Ishtawi went home, but then the baby's condition worsened and he was called back by the doctors. He was delayed at roadblocks, and only after Golan contacted the Civil Administration was he able to get to the hospital and be at his son's bedside.

In the end, however, despite all the doctors' efforts, his son died. "The fact that their baby died was unbearably difficult for his parents, but they know that the doctors and nurses at the hospital gave their baby the best medical care and did all they could to save him," says Al-Khatib.

On their way to Tel Hashomer, patients and their relatives who reside in Gaza pass through the Erez checkpoint; West Bank residents go through the Oranit roadblock. In either case, they are detained for anything from half an hour to two hours and often much longer. In an attempt to shorten the procedures there, most of them enter Israel without any personal effects, even though they will remain at the hospital for days or even weeks. Many of them, because of their economic distress, come into Israel with barely NIS 20 in their pockets. The volunteers try to provide them with what they need.

Harnam, a retired teacher who lives in Herzliya, relates that on her shift on Friday two weeks ago, she brought along cooked food, disposable diapers, bars of soap and telephone cards. Like others in the group, it is she who pays for these items out of her own pocket. Her husband drives her to the hospital.

Last Friday, one of the volunteers, Amal Shehadeh of Haifa, a master's student of translation at Bar-Ilan University, came along with her aunt with cooked food that her aunts had made, in her father's car. Sometimes neighbors also volunteer to prepare the food that is delivered, and add soap, sweets and toys for the sick children.

Last week the volunteer group took care of 18 children. The needs of the parents who are tending them are great.

Apart from the contributions provided by the members of the group, it also receives donations. In the explanatory page that is distributed to new volunteers, it says that the group members "do not give out money, cannot provide medications, treatment, entry permits into Israel, sojourning permits or payments to the hospital."

Two ambulances, one body

Yousra Dib, who lives in the Al-Zeitun neighborhood in Gaza, made arrangements by telephone to have an ambulance from Gaza bring her grandson - 3-month-old Abed al-Rahman Dib, who had died the previous day of cancer that had spread throughout his body - home from the hospital. She found out that under the new security regulations, the Red Crescent ambulance from Gaza would not be allowed to enter the hospital grounds. When the vehicle arrived at the hospital gate, therefore, another ambulance, from the hospital, transported her grandson's body to it. According to Dib, the doctors had treated her grandson devotedly and also told the family to bring his 4-year-old sister Nura to the hospital for examination.

"They found a hole in the heart of my 2- year-old daughter Ranya, who suffers from Down syndrome," explains Iman Irba'I of the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza. "She is the youngest of my eight children. My husband is unemployed. After great efforts, the Palestinian Authority agreed to pay for the surgery and for the girl's hospitalization in Israel. I'm worried, but I'm confident that the child is getting the best medical care."

Golan and her colleagues stress that since the day it began, the group's volunteer activity has been carried out with the agreement and full cooperation of Tel Hashomer's management and the various units. As an example of the facility's openness, Golan cited the case of Muhammad Kot, 9, from the environs of Nablus, who suffered from pernicious anemia and urgently needed a bone marrow transplant. While the Palestinian Authority paid for the costs of the hospitalization and care - about NIS 95,000 - the hospital underwrote the cost of the transplant itself - over $50,000. The transplant was successful and Kot will receive follow-up care at the hospital.

"Through the bone marrow transplant, the child received life," says Dr. Amos Toren, head of the pediatric hemato-oncology and bone marrow transplant unit at Tel Hashomer. "In recent years we have performed 5 bone marrow transplants on Palestinian children from the territories. The medical team relates in the most natural way to this medical activity, and the hospital management gives it full backing."

Touching encounters

In the pediatric intensive care department, the parents of the Palestinian children have at their disposal a waiting room, a kitchenette and two small bedrooms, one for men and one for women, where there are bunk beds. Last Wednesday a Jewish man wearing a skullcap and his wife sat down to rest in this waiting room. The man made efforts to engage the Palestinians who were also sitting there in a conversation.

"Sometimes, we overcome the communications difficulties with the help of people who know both languages, Arabic and Hebrew, and sometimes we use English, and when there's no alternative, we use gestures like in a silent movie," explains one of the Palestinian mothers.

"The attitude and the atmosphere in the department are really contagious. Girls who are doing National Service help us willingly," relates volunteer Rina Moss. "The illnesses of their children bring Israeli parents close to the Palestinians. Thus, for example, not long ago a mother from central Israel was standing in despair near the door to the intensive care unit where her 10-year-old daughter was being treated for a brain hemorrhage. The father of a Palestinian child who noticed her distress brought her some hot tea that he made himself and started a conversation with her. The two of them sat there, relating their troubles to each other and comforting each other. It was a wonderful scene."

Moss also tells, however, of a certain group that distributes food only to the parents of sick Jewish and Israeli Arab children, but not to Palestinians from the territories. The Palestinians spare no praise and gratitude for the doctors, the nurses and the volunteers. They are wary when they speak about the difficulties at the roadblocks at the entrance to Israel and do not say anything specific about the conditions of their life in the territories. Indeed, to the direct question of whether they hate Israel and the Jews, a young Palestinian woman replies: "We hate, but not everybody, not the ones who treat us like human beings, for example, here at the hospital, but those who make us suffer."

Says volunteer Shehadeh: "The people who come to the hospital and witness the medical care that their dear ones are given suffer from an inner conflict because of the gap between the reality in which they live in the territories, and the reality that they encounter here at the hospital."

"The reality in the territories," adds Golan, "is familiar to me from the weekly volunteer medical project in which I have participated. The occupation creates a destructive reality, whereas here at the hospital, there is an island of sanity."

Physicians for Human Rights,52 Golomb Str, Tel Aviv 66171, Israel Tel: 972 3 6873718

[c] "Welcome to Abu Dis Ghetto"

For spraying this sentence on the nine meter high wall which cuts right through Abu Dis (suburb of Jerusalem) Israeli painter Angela Godfried was detained by the Border Guards. At the police station she was told: "This is incitement; if you say 'Ghetto', you say we are Nazis." "But isn't it true you are creating a ghetto?" answered Godfried...

photos from: Heidi: +972-54-437590 & Mahpuz +972-57-748932 to contact Angela ph: +972-67-366393

[d] Kate Raphael of IWPS was denied staying under Law of Return

(Tonight last chance to do something)

-----Original Message-----
From: IWPS []
Sent: Sat, January 17, 2004 12:58 AM
Subject: Defend the Right of Palestinians to International Jewish Support

Defend the Right of Palestinians to International Jewish Support

An Israeli administrative judge today rejected the petition of international peace activist Kate Raphael to remain in the country in order to establish residency under the "Law of Return," which guarantees all Jews the right to live in Israel. Saying that "I fear the appeal is without good will," the judge ordered her to leave the country today, January 17, as agreed under the terms of her release from Hadera prison one week ago.

Kate was arrested on December 31, along with three other internationals, at a nonviolent protest against the destruction of olive groves in Budrus village in Ramallah District. She was jailed for 9 days. In the last two weeks, seven men who are organizers in the village have also been arrested and are held virtually incommunicado in military prisons. The Ministry of Interior and the judge are attempting to deny Kate's right to live in Israel/Palestine because she does not support the apartheid policies of the government. This is part of the campaign to isolate Palestinian activists from the outside world and crush their resistance. However, we maintain that Jews who stand against injustice must have equal rights with Jews who support it.

Kate will leave the country as agreed, in order not to jeopardize her future ability to live in Palestine or Israel. She will attempt to return as soon as possible in order to file her application for residency with the Ministry of Interior.

Our lawyer is requesting an immediate hearing on the appeal of the deportation order against her. Your support is urgently needed: Call or fax the Ministry of Interior (by Sunday morning if possible) and demand that they repeal the decision to cancel Kate's visa and deport her.

Tell them to let her return to the country to live and work for peace.

Minister of Interior Avraham Poraz

Fax No. (972) (0)2-566-6376

Phone (972) (0)2-670-1402

To Minister of Interior Avraham Poraz

Fax No. 02-566-6376

Please repeal your decision to cancel the visa of Kate (Kathryn Eve) Raphael and deport her from Israel. As a Jew, she has an equal right with every other Jew to live in Israel. Moreover, she is doing important volunteer work to promote a better society and support nonviolence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Kate has said for a long time that she wanted to live in Israel/Palestine.

She requested information about aliyah before she left San Francisco in July. She said when she entered Israel on November 30 that she was considering making aliyah. She was unable to file her application for a residency visa before she was arrested on December 31 because the Ministry of Interior was closed.

Israel should welcome Jews like Kate who want to come to Israel to build true democracy and peace.


[e] Next week (24.1): a mass pro-Geneva demo in Tel-Aviv


In Support of the Geneva Initiative

Saturday January 24th, 19:30, Tel-Aviv

Intersection of Ibn-Gvirol and Rokach ("Sportek")

[due to winter activities at Rabin Square, the demonstration is taking place at a new location]

Free Parking

For more information and Transportation: 03-7655070


Reservist refusers don't receive the IDF salary compensation for lost income. Many of them have a family to maintain. With an increasing number of refusers, the Keren Yesh Gvul (specific fund for compensations) is emptying rapidly. If you want the refusniks also in the future to receive at least something, send a cheque to: "Keren Yesh Gvul", POB 10276, Jerusalem 91102, Israel. More information at


ôòåìåú ðîùçåú îùåèôåú éùøàìéåú-ôìñèéðéåú ðâã äçåîä éåðúï 066-327736 - ôøðö'ñ÷ä 064-494030

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