Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Root Causes of Tragedy: The Ethical and Legal Challenges Facing Palestine
Dor talks about a "metaphorical" wall which is "fortified" by people who opppose the physical wall. He calls this the "wall within."
The heart of the matter is what we might call the "wall within", the psychic wall of unquestioned identification and uncritically accepted conventions about historiography which confines Israeli Jews, a wall that does not allow them to see the suffering and humiliation inflicted on others.
The "wall within" precludes people from construing "the very nature of the Jewish state as an international legal problem"
Without a challenge to Zionism itself,"the pain of millions, of a wholly forgotten and dispossessed People is added to the historical reservoir of "shelved" and "dust-covered" suffering."
Ben-Dor says that those who approach the root causes of the conflict are maligned as "anti-Semitic" and "self=hating," "unreasonable," "extremist," and "unrealistic."
He talks about "insincere" challenges to Zionism such as the artists at Ein Hod who "masquerade" as "active protestors agains the treatment of Israeli Arabs" whilst living on a village "erected on and with the use of, the remains of an Arab village of Any Hawd."
The essay speaks to the futility of the left's fighting against a physical wall unless one is also prepared to mount a legal challenge against Zionism, which he states they are not.
Zionism itself should be subjected to a legal challenge. It is because of Zionism that Israel is a racist state and will ever be.
Zionism is the stumbling block to the return of (the descendants of the) three quarter of a million refugees that were ethnically cleansed in its name, destined to live in refugee camps outside the borders of pre-1967 Israel or even outside Palestine.
A racist policy of de-arabisation masquerading as the need for security leads to laws declaring internal refugees absentees even if as a matter of fact they have never been absent. Such laws mean that their property, their dignity, their memories, their longings can be robbed by the state.
These are only brief excerpts. Ben-Dor advocates truth and reconciliation committees, he notes the "dissonance" between Jewish philosophers and Zionism. He notes that a land of "milk and honey" is simply an ongoing tragedy that has turned into a land of "lead and blood."
He concludes: It is time to admit, before it is too late, that Zionism has succeeded at the price of both inflicting a calamity, catastrophe, Nakba, on another People, preventing just restitution, and maintaining systematic daily legal oppression and domination. It is time to admit that Zionism is an ethical failure, as well as the recipe for the persistence of such failure. As such Zionism should be declared illegal as the root cause for unethical practices of everyday life in Palestine.