Middle East atemporal

Septembrie 26, 2012

A Basic History of Zionism And Its Relation to Judaism

Filed under: Uncategorized — mihaibeltechi @ 6:15 am

By Hanna Braun

04/10/06 „ICH” – – I would like to start with a quotation by Amira Hass, a very courageous Israeli journalist who lives in Ramallah. She writes for the most respected though by no means left-wing daily „Ha’aretz” (Il Ard in Arabic, one of many examples of the great similarity of the Arabic and Hebrew languages; both derived from an ancient form of Aramaic). Although threatened several times with sacking, as well as with numerous death threats, she carries on.

Hass ends one of her recent articles with this question: is transfer an inseparable part of the founding ideology of the state of Israel, or a twisted mutation, which should not be allowed to rise up against its creator?

Whereas the increasing number of refuseniks and Israeli peace activists believes the latter (and I respect their sentiments), I, like Hass, do not share them; my belief is that the state of Israel was bound to end up with what we have today.

In order to understand the circumstances that led to the birth of Zionism I shall sketch an outline of the history of Judaism and the Jews.

Even in biblical times there was a great deal of ethnic and even religious mixing in ancient Judea and Israel, which never constituted an entirely ethnic/religious entity. A cursory reading of the Old Testament reveals that practically all the biblical prophets were perpetually railing against this mixing, particularly in religious terms and intermarriage. Moreover, even during that time, there were Jewish communities established in Arab lands, in Persia, as well as in East and North Africa. With the destruction of the Temple and the final fall of their autonomous Roman colony of Judea in 70 AD, the important families such as the High priests (Cohanim/Cohens), priests (Levyim/Levys), members of the Sanhedrin, the Judaic internal court that handed Jesus over to the Roman authority, and others, felt insecure. There had been a number of revolts and uprisings against their hegemony and their collaboration with Rome, Jesus being one non-violent example, and so they decided to leave when the Romans pulled out. Most of the indigenous subsistence farmers, craftsmen and small-time traders stayed put and continued their lives as before. Some of these inhabitants were early Christians and form the ancestors of many of today’s Palestinian Christians, others remained vaguely Jewish. Modern research shows that when Islam arrived in the area in 638 AD many of these Jews converted and that their descendants form a considerable part of today’s Palestinians. Numerous surnames, such as Moussa, Dini, Mansoor and Canaan inter alias are even nowadays shared by Arab Jews, Muslims and Christians. (Incidentally, people with the surnames Da Souza and Sassoon were originally from the Jewish community in Suza, the ancient capital of Persia). Those who left with the Romans later dispersed to other parts of Europe and even central Asia, where there were some trading outposts. A considerable part of European Jews, however, consisted of Khazars, inhabitants of an important kingdom in the early middle ages, roughly between the Caspian and the Black Seas. One of their Khans or kings converted to Judaism around 740 AD and made Judaism the state religion. In the 9th century Khazaria finally fell to the Viking hordes and its inhabitants dispersed throughout much of Europe. Thus the idea of a „return” of European Jews to their roots is something of an absurd myth. 

The various Jewish communities in Asia (including what is termed the Middle East) and North Africa were on the whole well integrated into their respective societies and apart from some isolated incidents did not experience the persecutions that later became so prevalent in Europe. In Palestine, for instance, Muslims repeatedly protected their Jewish neighbours from marauding crusaders; in one instance at least, Jews fought alongside Muslims to try and prevent crusaders from landing at Haifa’s port, and Salah ad-Din Al-Ayoubi (Saladin), after re-conquering Jerusalem, invited the Jews back into the city.

The Jews in Moorish rule in the Iberian Peninsula flourished and experienced a renaissance mirroring that of the great Islamic civilisation and culture at the time. As Christianity spread from the north of Spain, Jews were again protected by Muslim rulers until the fall of Granada-the last Moorish kingdom to pass into Christian hands-when both Jews and Muslims were expelled at the end of the 15th century (Jews in 1492 and Muslims some 10 years later). Most of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula settled in North Africa and the lands under Ottoman rule, including Palestine, and continued their peaceful co-existence with Muslims in those countries. It is interesting to note that some of these displaced Jews who had settled in Safad (Palestine) wrote laments about their expulsion from their “promised Land”, which for them had been Spain.

The bulk of Portuguese „converted” Jews (these were forced conversions and such Jews from Spain and Portugal were called Marranos, i.e. swine, by the Christian Authorities, who suspected them of still practicing their old religion in secret) settled in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, presumably because they had long established trading connectionsto that city. They reverted to their original religion and in 1655 were invited hence to Britain by Oliver Cromwell. Many of them were glad to resettle since at the time the Netherlands had just freed itself from the Spanish yoke in 1648 and the shadow of the dreaded inquisition was still uncomfortably close.

The fate of Jewry in European countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, was very different: persecutions, killings and burnings were widespread and Jews were forced to live in closed ghettos, particularly in the Russian Empire, where they were confined to the „Pale” of Jewish settlement, an area which consisted of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Byelarus or White Russia. Anyone who wished to move outside these borders needed special permission, although there were large communities in the western and south-eastern part of what had been Poland, but became part of Prussia and Austria respectively By the mid-19th century some of the more progressive Jewish communities had established themselves in the big cities of St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev.

In central and western Europe religious tolerance, followed by the granting of full citizens’ rights and emancipation came relatively early, in the wake of general liberalisation. However, Russian rulers remained opposed to any liberalisation, including religious tolerance and emancipation, and as late as 1881, Tsar Alexander the third initiated a series of particularly vicious pogroms to divert unrest amongst the population, at a time when Britain, for instance, boasted a Jewish prime minister. 

Total segregation was not always imposed from outside, however, but was frequently enforced from within by highly authoritarian rabbis who exercised absolute power over their congregations, often including the right to life and the imposition of the death penalty (via denunciation). Thus it was a major decision for anyone to leave these congregations and to look for a broader education (known as „enlightenment”). In Eastern Europe „enlightenment” was a relatively late phenomenon and it found expression initially in the early-19th century, in a revival of Hebrew language and literature and in the modern idea of Jews seeing themselves as a people. 

This distinction between a people and a religion was of course anathema to Orthodox Jews, who still today regard Hebrew as a sacred language to be used solely for prayers and religious studies and the Jewish people and religion as indivisible. The concept of the Jews as people closely mirrored the relatively new European idea of a homogeneous nation state. An exception to this was the socialist „Bund” organisation whose members rejected nationalism and later Zionism. 

Some of these early proto-Zionists, calling themselves „Hovevei Zion” (Lovers of Zion), started the first settlements in Palestine in the 1840’s with the help of Jewish philanthropists such as the Rothschilds and the Montefiores who themselves were not Zionists, and a larger number of immigrants followed after the Russian pogroms of 1881-82. These settlers distinguished themselves by their deliberate segregation from the indigenous population and their contempt for local customs and traditions. This naturally aroused suspicion and hostility in the locals. (There were long established religious Greek and German colonies, mostly in the midst of Palestinian towns, to which the locals showed no objection). This exclusivity was largely based on a sense of superiority common to Europeans of the time, who believed they were the only advanced and truly civilised society and in true colonial fashion looked down on „natives” or ignored them altogether.

However, beyond that there was also a particular sense of superiority of Jews towards all non-Jews. This belief in innate Jewish superiority had a long tradition in rabbinical religious Jewish thinking, central to which was the notion of the Jews as God’s chosen people. Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides) had been an exponent of this theory and quite often thinkers with a more humanist outlook, e.g. Spinoza, were excommunicated. The accepted thinking in religious communities was that Jews must on no account mix in any way with gentiles for fear of being contaminated and corrupted by them. This notion was so deeply ingrained that it quite possibly still affected, albeit subconsciously, those Jews who had left the townships and had become educated and enlightened. Thus the early settlers from Eastern Europe transferred the „Stettl” (townlet) mentality of segregation to Palestine, with the added belief in the nobility of manual labour and in particular soil cultivation. In this they had been influenced by Tolstoy and his writings.

The „father” of political Zionism, Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), came from a totally different perspective. Dr. Herzl was a Viennese, emancipated, secular journalist and author who was sent by his editor to Paris in 1894 to cover the Dreyfuss affair. Dreyfuss had been a captain in the French Army who was falsely accused and convicted of treason, although he was acquitted and completely cleared some years later. The case brought to light the remainder of a strong streak of anti-Semitism prevalent in the upper echelons of the French Army and in the French press, with profound repercussions in emancipated Jewish circles. Herzl himself despaired of the whole idea of emancipation and integration and felt that the only solution to anti-Semitism lay in a Jewish Homeland. To that end he approached various diplomats and notables, including the Ottoman Sultan, but mainly European rulers, the great colonial powers of the time, and was rewarded for his effort by being offered Argentina or Uganda by the British as possible Jewish Homelands.

Herzl would have been quite happy with either of these countries, but when the first Zionist Congress was convened in Basle in 1897 (it was to have been in Augsburg but had to be transferred at the last moment because of local rabbinical protests), he came up against Eastern European Jewry, by far the greatest majority of participants, who, although broadly emancipated and „enlightened” (orthodox Jews at that time completely rejected any Jewish political movement and did not attend the congress), would not accept any homeland other than the land of Zion. Not only had some of them already settled in Palestine, there were strong remnants of the religious/sentimental notion of a pilgrimage and possibly burial in the Holy Land. The last toast in the Passover ceremony is „Next year in Jerusalem” although this was a religious/sentimental rather than a national aspiration, and it was common amongst the orthodox communities to purchase a handful of soil purporting to come from the Holy Land to be placed under the deceased’s head.

Herzl was quick to realise that unless he accepted the „Land of Zion”, i.e. Palestinian option, he would have hardly any adherents. Even so this solution was only definitely accepted after his death, during the 5th Zionist Congress. Thus the Zionist movement started with a small section of mainly eastern European Jews who saw the solution to anti-Semitism in what they termed as a return to their „roots” and in a renewal of a Jewish people in the land of their ancestors. Herzl wrote his book „Der Judenstaat” (The State of the Jews) in which he wrote, inter alias, that the Jews and their state will constitute „a rampart of Europe against Asia, of civilisation against barbarism”, and again regarding the local population, „We shall endeavour to encourage the poverty-stricken population to cross the border by securing work for it in the countries it passes through, while denying it work in our own country. The process of expropriation and displacement must be carried out prudently and discreetly. Let (the landowners) sell us their land at exorbitant prices. We shall sell nothing back to them.” 

Some early Zionists, such as Max Nordau, a French Zionist who visited Palestine, were horrified; Nordau burst out in front of Herzl: „But we are committing a grave injustice!” Some years later, in 1913, a prominent Zionist thinker and writer, Ahad Ha’am (one of the people), wrote: „What are our brothers doing? They were slaves in the land of their exile. Suddenly they found themselves faced with boundless freedom … and they behave in a hostile and cruel manner towards the Arabs, trampling on their rights without the least justification … even bragging about this behaviour.” 

But these early Zionists’ dismay at the injustices to, and total lack of recognition of, the indigenous population was silenced and indeed edited out of Jewish history and other books, as was some of Herzl’s writing. The widely perceived Zionist truism of „a land without people for a people without land” prevailed and within a matter of a few years the immigrants were perceived as „sons of the land” (Bnei Ha’aretz or Ibna El-Ard) whereas the inhabitants were seen as the aliens.

The Arab population of Palestine was well aware of the Zionist danger; as early as 1896 a math teacher in Jerusalem wrote in the newspaper „Philisteen”: „I have no problems with Jews; it’s the Zionists that I am most concerned about.” In 1916, after there had been an agreement with the British Government that after the fall of the Ottoman Empire Palestine, Lebanon and Syria (the fertile triangle) would gain independence, leaders of the Arab communities called upon every Arab Muslim, Christian and Jew to rise against the Ottomans. Many did so.

Following renewed efforts and lobbying after Herzl’s death, the Balfour Declaration in 1917-shortly after Palestine was conquered by Britain-that granted Zionists a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, set the official seal of approval on their aspirations. Protests and representations by local Arab leaders were brushed aside. Lord Balfour wrote in 1919: „In Palestine, we do not even propose to consult the inhabitants of the country and (Zionism’s) immediate needs and hopes for the future are much more important than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who presently inhabit Palestine”. This idea was closely mirrored by an early Zionist, Israel Zangwill, who wrote in 1920: “There should be an Arab exodus based on race distribution…..a trek like that of the Boers from Capetown”.

Settlements grew slowly for a long time, but the systematic occupying village lands that had not been officially documented since the respective inhabitants had known for centuries what acreage belonged to each family, as well as the frequent buying up of lands from absentee landlords, which left tenant farmers homeless, contributed to the first Palestinian uprising in 1921-22 and other outbursts of hostilities, including a massacre of some 65 Jews in Hebron in 1929, after orthodox Jews from Eastern Europe had founded a „Yeshiva” (a religious study centre) in the town and had aroused the suspicions and hostility of the indigenous population who prior to this had lived in peace and harmony for hundreds of years with their non European Jewish neighbours. (A small number of the original, non- European community, still lived in Hebron until recently and repeatedly petitioned successive Israeli governments to evict the new rightwing religious settlers who cause endless trouble to the Palestinian population).

Another contributing factor to growing Arab hostility was the policy of neither employing Arabs nor buying their produce. This was termed „Hebrew work for Hebrew workers”. Zeev Jabotinsky the revisionist rightwing Zionist, wrote in 1939:”We Jews, thank God, have nothing to do with the East….the Islamic soul must be broomed out of Eretz Yisrael” (One wonders how this sounded to the many Arab and Eastern Jews in Palestine and elsewhere). The slogan of Hebrew work for Hebrew workers was very much in force when I came to Palestine in 1937. It was, however, not entirely and strictly enforced and there were various examples of co-operation and good neighbourly relations. This was particularly evident in Haifa, where our next-door neighbours were Arabs and where large sections of the downtown area were mixed. This lasted until the „liberation” of Haifa, when the most of the Arab population of the city were expelled and only a small, run down area (Wadi Nisnas) remained in what became effectively a ghetto. There were other such examples in Jerusalem and other places.

For many years Zionism remained a minority movement of mainly Eastern European Jews, excluding the whole religious establishment and most central and western European Jews. My family’s views on Zionism were fairly typical of western European Jews who regarded this ideology as a help line to those Jews, mainly eastern European ones, who had trouble making ends meet). Last but not least, Zionism was quite meaningless to non-European communities, who unbeknown to Herzl and his contemporaries, form the majority of us. These communities were ignored by early Zionists and indeed the latter had little interest in their aspirations till the establishment of the state of Israel and after the „independence” war of 1948-49. After this the new state unleashed a massive propaganda campaign to induce the Sephardi (of Spanish origin) and Oriental Jews to „ascend” to the land of their ancestors, mainly to for demographic reasons- in 1948 only about one third of the population and about 10% of the land were Jews or in Jewish hands-but also as cannon fodder. The same happened in the 1980s with the Jews of Ethiopia. However, upon arrival these non-European newcomers were treated very much as inferior second- class citizens. They were sprayed with DDT at their point of entry and within less than a fortnight the men were drafted into the army, while their families were usually accommodated in inferior reception camps or abandoned Arab houses. This European dominance is still prevalent in modern Israel where for example the national anthem even nowadays speaks about Jewish longing for the East towards Zion, whereas for many of the non-European communities Palestine lies to the West. Sadly, this has led to some groups of Sephardi and Oriental Jews becoming extreme right-wing chauvinists, so as to “prove” their credentials.

Immigration („Aliyah” = „ascent” in Zionist parlance) took off in seriously large numbers with the rise of Hitler, who initially declared himself quite sympathetic to Zionism, as had other right-wing anti-Semites before him. New Jewish settlements mushroomed by leaps and bounds, leading to a bitter and prolonged Palestinian uprising from 1936 till 1939, when it was crushed by the British mandatory powers. But it was not until the end of WW2 that the demographic issue came openly to the fore. Numerous delegates from the Jewish “Hagana” (“Defence” underground movement) in Palestine arrived at the displaced refugee centres in Europe in order to prevent survivors from immigrating to any countries other than Palestine, occasionally by force. Illegal ships packed with survivors tried repeatedly to land in Palestine. On at least one occasion the occupants of the ship “Exodus”, setting out from Germany, after being prevented from landing by the British authorities, were offered asylum by France and Denmark, but the then leader of the Jewish Yishuv (settlement), David Ben Gurion, forbade this solution, deliberately forcing the hapless survivors to land back in Germany, purely for propaganda porposes. Ben Gurion also stated repeatedly that had there been a possibility prior to WWII to save one million Jewish children by sending them to Britain or only half that number by sending them to Britain, he would have always opted for the latter.

With the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 Zionism started to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Jewish society. After the six day war in 1967 the vast majority of Euro/American Jews became fervent supporters of the Israeli state and since that time we have witnessed an increasing and deliberate confluence of Judaism and Zionism, to the extent that today it is widely regarded as treason and self- hate for a Jew to criticise the state, let alone Zionism. In my view, this development was almost inevitable given the preconception of an exclusive Jewish state. If it is not a religious state, i.e. a theocracy, what is a Jewish state and what purpose does it serve? It is certainly not an ethnic entity; one only has to walk through Israeli streets to realize that we are as diverse as the countries we have originated from. As for the argument that Israel provides a bolthole, a safe haven from anti-Semitic attacks, this is hardly sustainable because firstly, Israel today is extremely powerful with huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons and secondly, at present it is probably the most unsafe country for Jews to reside in. Moreover, the claim that nothing like the holocaust should ever happen again is true, but only insofar as it applies to the whole world. We are not seeking “homogenous” ethnic states all over the world to rid us of the threat of genocide, and Israel is no exception to this. In a post-colonial world the notion of a homogenous nation state based on demography is completely unacceptable and ridiculous. How then, can Israel and the majority of its citizens justify their claim and indeed be convinced that theirs is a modern, democratic society? (I shall demonstrate later that Israel was never a democracy to its Arab citizens and is no longer a democracy to its own people.) The last resort, when all logical justifications fail, is that God has promised the land to his people, namely us. (This rather begs the question of where it leaves a non-believing Jew). I have found over the years, and particularly in the last 30 or so years, that the numbers of young people wearing the skullcap and generally observing at least some of the religious laws has increased dramatically and I believe this is no coincidence.

The religious establishment has gone along with the general flow and has, indeed, profited from it. Since the late 50’s there has also been a notable and frightening change in the orthodox community, which led to the establishment in 1974 of the „Gush Emunim” (the block of the faithful), initiated by Rabbi Tsvi Yehuda Kook the younger in the USA. This is the fundamentalist movement which believes in accepting the state of Israel and striving to make it entirely and exclusively Jewish in all areas that the Torah mentioned as God’s promise to his people. (They do not appear to have noticed that nowhere in the Old Testament does God say that the Jews will take the land from its inhabitants). Gush Emunim also form the backbone of continuing and expanding settlements inside the Occupied Territories. Prior to this time orthodox Jewry played no important role in politics except in pressuri

sing successive governments to introduce more Jewish religious regulations into state law. The ultra-orthodox group „Neturei Karta” has never recognised the state of Israel and is exempt from army service. 
Although Gush Emunim is small in numbers, they wield disproportionate influence and power since successive Israeli governments covertly (and nowadays overtly) endorsed their aspirations. Their followers have been allocated special army units so as to enable them to observe Jewish religious laws and rituals in every detail (although even in the regular army only Kosher food is served and the Sabbath is observed as far as possible). These units have a reputation as dedicated crack-troops. What is less well known but silently condoned is their refusal to give medical aid or even drive wounded persons to hospital on the Sabbath unless they are Jews. But in my view this is an extremely shortsighted and dangerous road, leading in the end to a fundamentalist theocracy much like that of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The fundamentalists’ belief is that the Messianic age is already upon us and that any obstacles to a total elimination of any non-Jews in the promised land, i.e. the whole of what was Palestine including the Holy Mount, is God’s punishment for sinful Jews, namely all those who are westernised and secular. This fully exonerates, and indeed sanctifies, a man like Baruch Goldstein who murdered 29 Palestinians praying in the Ibrahimi mosque, as well as the assassination of PM. Yitzhak Rabin. Like the Hamas movement, which was initially encouraged by Israel’s secret services, this is another genie that, having been let out of the bottle, can no longer be controlled.

This version of a Jewish theocracy is not accepted by secular Israelis who form the bulk of the population but most of whom still cling to their belief that Israel is a modern democracy. It was never a democracy to its Arab population, starting from birth, when Israeli nationals receive Jewish, Arab or Druze nationality rather than Israeli one, and continuing with the Histadrut’s (the most powerful trade union) continued policy of promoting the rights of Hebrew workers and Hebrew culture. Arab citizens cannot serve in the army, which in turn deprives them of further/higher education grants and other help available to those who have completed their three years compulsory service. The budget for Arab-Israeli towns and villages is approximately one third of that of their Jewish counterparts. Land is still continuously expropriated from Arab and Beduin villages and settlements, while according to recent statistics by Human Rights Watch some 250,000 persons, descendants of those who managed to hide or flee to nearby hills when the Israeli army destroyed their villages in 1948, can never reclaim their lands even though their former village have been razed to the ground and are uninhabited and despite many of them still holding the title deeds. Moreover, no Israeli land can be sold to Arabs.
Only a month ago the government tried to oust Arab MKs from the Knesset (parliament) when they expressed support for their fellow Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Fortunately on this occasion the High Court overturned this ruling.

Democratic rights of Jewish Israelis are also increasingly being eroded. The number of “refuseniks”, young people refusing to enlist in the Israeli Army, is growing despite the personal cost to themselves. Israel refuses to recognise conscientious objectors and imprisons them repeatedly, so that some of them have now served a prison sentences for a total of almost two years. In addition they forfeit the various benefits that veterans receive such as grants for higher education/apprenticeships, help with employment and housing. Academics are nowadays far from secure in their academic freedom: one of them, Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, was about to be expelled and only an international protest forced the University’s authority to suspend the expulsion. Likewise, a MA student at the same university who wrote his dissertation on yet another massacre he unearthed (in Al-Tanturah), was initially awarded a distinction for his paper; however, a year later his degree was withdrawn altogether and he was expelled from Haifa University.

The Israeli Peace Bloc (Gush Shalom) has likewise come under fire. Some months ago they wrote an open letter to all officers serving in the Occupied Territories which warned them that by ordering their troops to execute actions in breach of the Geneva Convention of human rights they could be liable to be brought before the international court of Human Rights at a later date. PM Sharon was incensed and claimed that the activists were betraying Israel “to our enemies” (sic). He wanted them tried for treason but at the time there was no Israeli law to try them under. This was speedily amended by a sweeping new law, now in place, which makes the provision of any information of whatever kind that might harm Israeli security a treasonable crime.

It seems a bitter irony that a movement that initially saw itself as progressive, liberal and secular should find itself in an alliance with, and held to ransom by, the most reactionary forces, but in my view this was inevitable from its inception although the founders, and most of us (including people like myself, growing up in Palestine in the thirties) did not foresee this and certainly would not have wished it.
Nowadays the deliberate blurring of the distinction between Zionism and Judaism, which includes a rewriting of ancient as well as modern history, is exploited to stifle any criticism of Israel’s policies and actions, however extreme and inhuman they may be. This, incidentally also plays directly into anti-Semitic prejudices by equating Israeli arrogance, brutality and complete denial of basic human rights to non-Jews with general Jewish characteristics.
Growing up in Israel makes it quite difficult to see all the historical falsifications and myths that underpin Zionist ideology except for academics, and some of them have indeed researched and publicised the truth, often at great cost to themselves. 
Zionism has now assumed the all-embracing mantle of righteousness; it claims to represent and to speak for all Jews and has adopted the slogan of „my country right or wrong,” with the West tolerating Israel’s continuous breaches of human rights that it would not tolerate if perpetrated by any other country. Few Western states and not many Jews dare take a stand against Israel, particularly as many of the former still feel a sense of unease and guilt about the holocaust which Zionists Jews inside and outside Israel have exploited in what to me seems an almost obscene manner.

In the USA, the Jewish Zionist lobby is still strong enough to keep successive governments on board. Moreover, the USA regards Israel as an important strategic ally in its fight against Middle Eastern „rogue” states that have supplanted the Soviet Union as the great satanic enemy of the free world. The latest phenomenon is that of American Christian Fundamentalists who advocate the return of all Jews to their God-given land. I fear that unless and until Israel is judged by the same criteria as other modern states, this is unlikely to change. It is the duty of everyone, and particularly of Jews with a conscience and a sense of justice to speak out against the falsifications of history by the Zionist lobby, and the dangerous misconceptions it has led the West to accept.
It is also high time to build a boycott campaign similar to the anti-apartheid one against Israel. (Called for by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu among others).

Hanna Braun, London, September 2001 (updated February 2006).

Hanna Braun is a retired lecturer, living in London. She is a former Israeli, having emigrated to Palestine as a child in 1937 to escape Nazi Germany – her grandmother later died in the Terezin ghetto. She was in the Haganah in 1948 but left Israel in 1958 for Britain, after having become disillusioned with the Israeli government. 


Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Prof. Israel Shahak (died 2nd July 2001)

Fundamental Judaism in Israel, Prof. Israel Shahak

A History of the Jews, Ancient and Modern, Ilan Halevi

Western Scholarship and the History of Palestine, Rev. Dr. Michael Prior (ed.)
Arab Nationalism and the Palestinians 1850-1939; Abdelaziz A. Ayyad 
Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict; Dr. Norman Finkelstein
The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict; Prof. Ilan Pappe

Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood; Idith Zertal

The Myths of Zionism; John Rose


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