Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"I / Thou." Could Martin Buber outwit Israeli Terrorism?

“If you explore the life of things and of conditioned being you come to the unfathomable, if you deny the life of things and of conditioned being you stand before nothingness, if you hallow this life you meet the living God.”
—Martin Buber

If, in order to be allowed to act as the duly democratically elected leaders of the Palestinians, Hamas must renounce violence and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, should not the Israeli government also renounce violence and acknowledge the right of a Palestinian nation to exist?

“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”

—Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”

—David Ben-Gurion. May 1948, to the General Staff. (From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar. New York: Delacourt, 1978.

“There is no more Palestine. Finished . . .”

—Moshe Dayan. TIME Magazine (30 July 1973)

“[The Palestinians] would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”

—Israeli Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers. New York Times. April 1, 1988.

“…a new State of Israel with broad frontiers, strong and solid, with the authority of the Israel Government extending from the Jordan [river] to the Suez Canal.”

—Moshe Dayan (April 1973. From The Iron Wall, by Avi Schlaim. New York: Norton, 2001. p. 316)

“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

—Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ian University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many [Palestinian] hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours...Everything we don't grab will go to them.”

—Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”

—Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online

“We must settle the whole land of Israel [from the Jordan to Suez Canal]. The Arabs are squatters. I don't know who gave them authorization to live on Jewish land. All mankind knows that this is our land. Arabs came here recently. And even if some Arabs had been here for 2,000 years, is there a statute of limitations that gives a thief a right to its plunder?”

—Rabbi Schlomo Avner, spiritual leader of Ateret Cohanim1 (quoted in Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History. New York: William Morrow, 1998. page 52

1 The Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, “Ateret Yerushalyim” headed by Rav Shlomo Aviner,
is the spiritual focus for the return of Jews to the “Moslem” (once known as the Mixed) Quarter of Jerusalem. Today this historic building serves as the main study hall for 150 students from all over the country, all of whom serve in the

“The main purpose of the Jewish people is to attain both physical and spiritual redemption by living in and building up an integral Eretz Yisrael. The territory of Eretz Yisrael is assigned a sanctity which obligates its retention once liberated from foreign [sic] rule, as well as its settlement, even in defiance of government authority.”

— Gush Emunim2, meaning "Block of the Faithful," (Gilbert, 406-7)

2 Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful), a right-wing ultranationalist, religio-political
revitalization movement, was formed in March 1974 in the aftermath of the October 1973 War…. The major activity of Gush Emunim has been to initiate Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. From 1977 to 1984, Likud permitted the launching of a number of Jewish settlements beyond the borders of the Green Line. The Likud regime gave Gush Emunim the active support of government departments, the army, and the WZO, which recognized it as an official settlement movement and allocated it considerable funds for settlement activities.

“In 1967, with the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (and Sinai and the Golan Heights), the original, full dream of Zionism --- of Jewish statehood in the whole of Palestine-- once again burst forth, to inflame and complicate the conflict. Again the concept of transfer [of Palestinians from their homes---otherwise known as ethnic cleansing] came to the fore, with 200,000 to 300,000 Palestinians fleeing the newly conquered territories, some of them under duress, and with Israeli policy in the following years geared, at least in part, to squeezing out of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip as many additional Arabs as possible.”

—Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. New York: Vintage Books, 2001. pages 659-60. (see: http://hnn.us/articles/3166.html)

“If Rabbi Kaplan [an American Zionist rabbi] really wanted to know what happened, we old Jewish settlers in Palestine who witnessed the flight could tell him how and in what manner we, Jews, forced the Arabs to leave cities and villages. In the last analysis, these are the bare facts which strike our eyes: here was a people who lived on its own land for 1,300 years. We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and of trying to undo some of the evil we committed by helping these unfortunate refugees, we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them.”

—Nathan Chofshi, a Russian Jew and compatriot of David Ben-Gurion. (The Jewish Newsletter, 9 February 1959.)

“We will have to face the reality that Israel is neither innocent, nor redemptive. And that in its creation, and expansion; we as Jews, have caused what we historically have suffered; a refugee population in Diaspora.”

—Martin Buber, Jewish Philosopher, addressed Prime Minister Ben Gurion on the moral character of the state of Israel with reference to the Arab refugees in March 1949.

And Buber, again, to the Speaker of the Knesset, 7 March 1953:

“We know well...that in numerous cases land is expropriated not on grounds of security, but for other reasons, such as expansion of existing settlements, etc. These grounds do not justify a Jewish legislative body in placing the seizure of land under the protection of the law. In some densely populated villages, two thirds and even more of that land have been seized.”

(Quoted in Gilbert, Israel: A History, p. 256.)