Monday, January 14, 2008

Leading Zionist foretells end of the Zionist enterprise, and Pope announces his conversion to Judaism

Avraham Burg: Apostate or Avatar? by John F. Mahoney

This article profiles a number of prominent Israeli critics of the Israeli government - or "self-hating Jews" in American English. The focus of the article is on Avraham Burg (see his essay "The End of Zionism") a leading Zionist who warns that Israel today is disturbingly similar to pre-Nazi Germany in a number of respects.

"Following their loss in World War I and the humiliating way they were treated by the victors, Germans felt a sense of national insult, a feeling that the world was against them. When a strong leader came along who promised to restore their national pride and to confront their enemies, they were ready to forego individual rights. Thus the centrality of militarism crept into their national identity.

And so it is today with the Israeli national character, argues Burg. The horror of the Holocaust created a paranoia that sees every gentile as anti-Semitic; and 40 years of maintaining a brutal occupation have spawned a militaristic spirit and widespread contempt for universal norms. As settlers take ever more Palestinian land—and a 2007 report by the Israeli advocacy group Peace Now shows a pattern of illegal seizure of private land that the Israeli government has been reluctant to acknowledge, never mind prosecute—Palestinian violence increases, as Ami Ayalon, the former head of Shin Bet acknowledges. As violence increases, fear increases to the point where Israelis will elect as their prime minister the hardliner, Ariel Sharon, a man once convicted of complicity in the massacre of Palestinians, and they will willingly let him build a wall around their fortress state."

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