Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Being Honest about the Dominant Zionist Narrative

Being Honest about the Dominant Zionist Narrative

Mayor of Upper Nazareth exposes the logic of exclusion that defines the current Israeli political and social landscape

By Neve Gordon
August 18, 2013

The Israeli mayor of Upper Nazareth, Shimon Gaspo, is an honest man. As part of his bid for re-election in the town which overlooks the ancient Palestinian city of Nazareth, he has launched a well-orchestrated political campaign. During the first stage, which began early in August, he furtively posted billboards which quoted left-wing politicians—including Haneen Zoabi from the political party Balad and Ahmed Tibi from the United Arab List-Ta'al—clamouring for his removal.

Zoabi was quoted as saying, "Upper Nazareth was built on Arab land. We will fight to the end against Shimon Gapso's racism. [Send] the racist home; Arabs to Upper Nazareth.” The Tibi poster quoted the member of Knesset saying: "Shimon Gapso is racist scum and a neighbourhood bully who boorishly tramples the basic rights of Arab citizens to live wherever they want and to buy lands which, in any case, were theirs and were stolen from them by force!"

But because Gapso is an honest man, a few days after the self-initiated negative campaign had commenced, he admitted that he was actually behind it. He then hung his “real” campaign posters.

One reads, "Upper Nazareth will be Jewish forever; no more shutting our eyes… this is the time to defend our home."

Another poster reads: "I will not allow the city’s Jewish character to be changed. I will block the establishment of an Arab school and will build neighbourhoods for Jewish residents ... Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city!"

In a letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, two Israeli organizations Tag Meir and the Israel Religious Action Center condemned Gapso’s election campaign as “consisting wholly of racist incitement." Writing on behalf of both organizations, Israel Religious Action Centre attorney Einat Hurvitz wrote that the remarks by Gapso on his campaign posters “do not belong in an equal, pluralistic society, especially not when made by an elected official. These are utterly racist quotes, since all of Gapso's re-election campaign is based on a clear racist line – the prevention of equal resources from Upper Nazareth's Arab residents, and an effort to drive out the Arabs from the city."

Gapso, of course, did not remain silent. In an incredibly forthright Oped, which appeared in Ha’aretz, he complained that many people had been calling him a racist. “Sometimes they also call me a Nazi, a bully or even Hitler. One need only look at the comments on Haaretz’s website, [where people want] to put me before a firing squad,” he wrote; and then rhetorically asked the readers: “What’s my crime? What act of bullying did I commit?”

He, of course, immediately responds: “I made a clear and unequivocal statement that Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city. Yes — I’m not afraid to say it out loud, to write it and add my signature, or declare it in front of the cameras: Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it’s important that it remains so.”

After this pithy statement, Gapso lays out his manifesto. “If that makes me a racist,” he declares, “then I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of ‘racists’ that started with the ‘Covenant of the Pieces’ [that God made with Abraham, recounted in Genesis 15:1–15] and the explicitly racist promise: ‘To your seed I have given this land’ [Genesis 15:38].”

He goes on to note that “When the Jewish people were about to return to their homeland after a long journey from slavery in Egypt, where they were enslaved for racist reasons, the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants.”

Fast forwarding 3000 years, Gaspo claims:

“The racist Theodor Herzl wrote ‘Der Judenstaat’ (‘The Jewish State,’ not ‘The State of All Its Citizens’). Lord Balfour recommended the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Arlosoroff, Moshe Sharett and other racists established the Jewish Agency, and the racist UN decided to establish a Jewish state — in other words, a state for Jews. The racist Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel, and during the War of Independence even made sure to bring in hundreds of thousands of Jews and drive out hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had been living here — all to enable it to be founded with the desired racist character.”

“Since then,” the mayor concludes, “racially pure kibbutzim without a single Arab member and an army that protects a certain racial strain have been established, as have political parties that proudly bear racist names such as ‘Habayit Hayehudi’ — ‘the Jewish home.’ Even our racist national anthem ignores the existence of the Arab minority — in other words, the people Ben-Gurion did not manage to expel in the 1948 war. If not for all that ‘racism,’ it’s doubtful we could live here, and doubtful that we could live at all.”

Gapso’s clear-sighted analysis of the dominant Zionist narrative speaks volumes about Israel’s state in the new millennium. With jingoist pride he reveals the logic of exclusion that defines the current Israeli political and social landscape. The novelty is not so much in what he says, but that he is has no shame in saying it. The only thing that he forgets to mention, however, is that racism is not “natural,” something one is born with or should be proud of, but rather a trait one acquires by internalizing the horrific lie that certain human beings are less than fully human.

*************

Neve Gordon is the author of Israel’s Occupation and can be reached through his website.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Dunne Speaks: Robertson's Budget Gamble On Treasury
The popular test of the success or failure of Grant Robertson’s fifth Budget will be its impact on the soaring cost of living. In today’s climate little else matters. Because governments come and governments go – about every six to seven years on average since 1945 – getting too focused on their long-term fiscal aspirations is often pointless... More>>

Keith Rankin: Liberal Democracy In The New Neonationalist Era: The Three 'O's
The proposed ‘New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme’ (‘the scheme’) has attracted strong debate among the more left-wing and liberal groupings, within New Zealand-Aotearoa. This debate should be seen as a positive rather than negative tension because of the opportunity to consider and learn from the implications and sharpen advocacy... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Words Matter, Prime Minister
Words matter, especially when uttered by politicians. History is littered with examples of careless or injudicious words uttered by politicians coming back to haunt them, often at the most awkward of times. During the 1987 election campaign, when electoral reform was a hot issue, Prime Minister David Lange promised to have a referendum on the electoral system... More>>


Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>




The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>