The tempest that broke out after the Yom Kippur war in 1973 was instigated by none other than Efraim Katzir, the pleasant and affable President one of the last true Mapainiks to hold high office. Katzir was a senior and well respected scientist, as well as a veteran of the Labour movement and a counselor in the Socialist Youth movement, a vanguard fostered by Berl Katznelson, a Mapai ideologue. Katzir was uprooted from the Weizmann Institute and sent to the Presidential residence to thwart the candidacy of the “inexperienced” Yitzhak Navon, a former Rafi member and hence unacceptable in the eyes of the all-powerful Golda Meir. When he became president in April of 1973 no one in the party dared to question Golda’s decisions. Katzir was a genial person and was perceived as a perfect combination of wisdom and virtue, as he was described by the press.
Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka, an old friend of mine, once said that he is not particularly afraid of those who cry “Death to Arabs”. The real threat comes from those who sing “We Have Brought Peace Upon You”. Causticity and joking aside, there is much bitter truth in those words. Way back in the days of the Hasmoneans, Alexander Yannai expressed concern about the hypocrites, who were worse than the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
As in a boxing match, Ehud Barak beat his rival on points, not by knockout, but the final decision is yet to be made. Ami Ayalon remains a close contender with a large supportive base, mainly in the kibbutzim and large cities. It is likely that Ayalon will also receive the votes that went to Ofir Pines in the first round, including the large numbers this young contender received in Jerusalem. The big unknown is the failing incumbent, Amir Peretz. Despite our expectations, before the primaries, Peretz received a little over 22% of the vote, and maintained his lead among the mizrahi party members. If Peretz decides to join Barak’s camp to get a ministerial position, he will again be betraying his social-democratic followers, and ally himself with the most neo-liberal and hawkish contender.
Seen from this side of the Mediterranean, the Western (and especially European) view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exhibits a strange trait. One often feels that one is playing a part in a play scripted by others, and that deviations from the allotted role may be frowned upon by the audience. Of course, the most obnoxious version of this theatrical piece is the one in which the Israeli is cast as a brave liberal David, up against the brutish Muslim Goliath. Seeing as I am writing for a left audience and not for The New York Times, this play does not concern me here. Often, though, one feels that the international left is also sitting down to watch a drama; one that might be entitled Colonialism.
Last week, I took part in a tour through Hebron organized, in conjunction with Breaking the Silence, by Israeli young people who are members of a group that calls itself The Sons of Abraham.*
Interviews over the past few weeks with several Palestinian workers revealed that hundreds of Palestinian workers are being seriously exploited by their Israeli settler employers.
Cooperation between the left and the peace camp requires a proper look at the balance of power and the social situation in Israel. The fact is that the right is growing stronger, relying especially on the growing hatred of Arabs, particularly of Palestinians in the occupied territories and Israel.
I would like to thank those responsible for organizing the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Internal Refugees for allowing me to speak during the ninth march of return to the village of Umm al-Zinat, located in Mt. Karmel, on behalf of Jewish-Arab organizations, including Zochrot, Bat Shalom, Taayush, the Coalition of Women for Peace, and Another Voice in the Galilee.
Recently the print and electronic media in Israel has been talking about two settler girls, aged 15, who were standing in a parking lot in the occupied territories when they were almost kidnapped by three Palestinians armed with handguns.
“The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” (Future Vision) published by the Higher Follow Up Committee of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel last month is extraordinary in a number of senses. First, the 27 page detailed programmatic document was issued under the auspices of the Higher Follow Up Committee, which is by far the most representative body of Palestinian society. Second, the document is based on a wide consensus reached by scores of academicians and public figures who come from all sections of the Palestinian public in Israel. Third, the document presents, in addition to a clear bill of indictment against continuing discrimination by all Israeli governments, a radical reconceptualization of Palestinian collective rights and formulates bold demands in this area.