Opinion: Israel has taken the wrong path

Jake Javanshir is an Iranian Jew whose family emigrated to Israel in 1950. Jake knows Israel well: he grew up there and served in the army, and he has many family members there still. Jake confides that, years ago, he became disillusioned with Israeli politics and moved to Canada. He has visited Israel a few times since, and was saddened by the “deterioration of [Israeli] society’s humanity” and the rising discrimination and abuse of Palestinians, inside Israel and especially in occupied Palestine territories. In his most recent visit, a few months ago, he was disturbed to witness how Israeli society has become openly extremist, racist and totally intolerant of Palestinians.
Jake is a member of Don Heights Unitarian Congregation in Toronto and a member of CUSJ. The email below, sent originally to CUSJ forum, is shared with his permission. 

Time and time again I am dismayed to note that very well-meaning Western people who already know some of the history of the last 150 years, starting with the first Zionists, still find excuses for Israel or have the idea of being “nice and balanced” and buy into talks about it being a “complex situation” etc. I thought that over the years we have seen, read and witnessed enough to realize that Israel has taken the wrong path.

Of course, the “first sin” was when the British, like Lord Balfour and others, with the cooperation of the Americans and influential small groups of Jews, helped to promote the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. Remember that the British and others at the time were, in one way or another, Antisemites. For them it was a good way to get rid of the European Jews, while assuaging their guilt over the Holocaust. It resulted with horrific atrocities to the indigenous Palestinians in 1947-48.

Almost all European Jews did not want to go to that “undeveloped desert area” – (this is well documented). They wanted to go mainly to the UK and North America. And once it became apparent that the Zionists’ aim was to get rid of the indigenous residents by any means, the European Jews, including the Jews who lived in Palestine, were totally against the Zionists. They called them terrorists who did harm to Jewish life and identity. They did not want them around Palestine.

The Oriental Jews, (of the Middle East and North Africa), had no interest in establishing a Jewish state there or anywhere else. They were very comfortable and had a good life, in every country where they lived.

Also remember that many of the Oriental/Sephardi Jews suffered some backlash in those countries as a result of the horrific actions of the Zionists in 1947-1948, and they suffered great discrimination in Israel by the European Jews, after they  emigrated to Israel, due to intense Zionist propaganda. By the way, originally the Zionists did not want any Oriental Jews. They meant to establish a Jewish white European country in Israel. Later they were forced to change course due to demographics and needing cheap labor.

As to whether the Jews need or are owed a state, my opinion is, absolutely not. Here is my reasoning:

* First, Jews are neither a race nor a nation – they are simply people around the world who share one faith, but have geographic and cultural differences, just like people of other religions. They are not homogeneous at all.

For example, some years ago, when the population was about six million, 33 different parties ran for election… thirty-three! That shows you the divisions of that society and hatred between factions. (As they say in Israel, ‘The Arabs are ones who keep us together’.)

* Second, no country had the right to give someone else’s land to a group who did not live there, and the Jews had no right to take it, as they did with acts of brutality too numerous to count and too difficult to imagine.

* Third, many Jews did not want to go to Israel, knowing as they did that they would do as well or better in the West, which proved to be true. Most Jews still have no desire to settle there.

* Finally, having an exclusive Jewish state, as Israel declared recently with the “nation-state law,” is, in the long run, the worst thing that could happen to Israelis, to Palestinians living in Israel and occupied Palestine territories, to Israel’s neighbours, and to the world. For a single religious state to amass so much power with the support and influence of evangelical Christians  around and total support in many ways from many countries in the world, is inevitably destructive, racist, nationalist and elitist. (Lately, Israel is intensely seeking the friendship and support of groups that are white supremacists in US and Europe, who were and are Antisemites, but now they have found a “new Jew”- the Muslims).

Israel was artificially and destructively created, and still behaves as a psychopath who is getting worse day by day. Israelis of today have a psychotic problem: On one hand they feel superior to everyone else, on the other hand they feel that they are forever victims. This is the result of decades of brain washing aimed at eliminating any feeling of empathy toward the Palestinians/Arabs, and eliminating public resistance from Israelis in relation to the occupation, so the land theft can continue.

I and other peace seeking activists are told that “being enraged and using inflammatory language at times”, is not contributing to peace, and that we should be “balanced” and “talk nice to Israel” in order to convince them to change their ways. I can tell you, as have many Israeli/Jewish scholars and writers – this will have zero results.

It is said that the only way to affect Israel is by outside pressure. Israel has deteriorated to a place of no return, period. In today’s Israel you have extremists and super-extremists. The Left, having shrunken to a very small group, is marginalized and forcibly silenced.

Outside pressure will not come from politicians or governments, since they have a vested interest in dealing with Israel, from whom they buy weapons and other items to “fight terror” and moreover, they fear being labeled as Antisemites. Israel sells arms around the world to anyone, without limits: to Myanmar regime, Rwanda in the days of the massacre, billions of dollars to former South Africa’s white regime, to South Sudan’s murderous regime, to all drug lords and dictatorial rulers in central America and South America, former Soviet countries, China, India, the West and more. That’s how they buy silence and cooperation.

Keep in mind that Israel is benefiting enormously from the Occupation. It has no incentive to make peace. It benefits from stealing land and resources in many ways, including the Golan Heights; selling billions of dollars of products to West Bank Palestinians; developing new arms and surveillance products and testing them on the Palestinians. Getting billions of dollars from many sources which allows them to develop it all.

Israel achieves this by eliminating any possibility of peace, while placing the blame for this state of affairs on the Palestinians. Just look at what’s happened in the last 50 years, as every successive Israeli government acted to prevent peace and promote conflict. Not one of them wanted genuine peace. In fact, Zionists/Israelis later expressed regret that they did not take over the West Bank in 1948.

Which brings me to the point about the importance of educating the public. Once more and more people everywhere know the truth, it will put pressure on governments and Israel. The more people know, the more they’ll buy into BDS and similar measures. One example: For the past 15 years, a few Jews and non- Jews have been standing in front of the Israeli consulate for one hour every Friday, handing out material. This is also done in other cities. Informing the public of the truth and Israel’s deeds and hidden agenda is of great importance. Standing up to those who support Israel unconditionally, is also important and should not be feared.

I did not suggest that everyone should fly into a rage. That said, I am definitely angry –  every decent person who knows the truth should be somewhat angry. If I’m forwarding material which shows Israel in a bad way, it’s because that is what I must do to educate people. Until people face the facts, they have no motivation to stand against Israel and our/other governments. Just imagine if you yourself had not been informed through many channels in the last few years.

Israel imprisoned two million Palestinians in Gaza and put 800,000 Jewish Taliban in the West Bank, and assassinated many. Israel has made peace an impossibility. This knowledge should stop us from “being nice and balanced” and move us to take peaceful actions.

We must stop making excuses for Israel.

– Jake Javanshir

9 thoughts on “Opinion: Israel has taken the wrong path”

  1. Ted, of course it’s colonization. The aim of Israeli policy makers all along was to take over Palestine with as few non-Jews, (Muslims and Christians), as possible. This is done in slow motion by many methods: Physically taking over the land and settling it with ultra religious violent extremists, destroying homes, uprooting or cutting over a million fruit trees, burning crops, denying proper education, closing water to areas in the summer, with the pretence of water shortages, limiting movement, road blocks, denying Palestinians permits to build any homes or schools or any structure, mass incarceration and killings.

    A clear example is the plight of the Bedouins, inside Israel and outside. These nomadic people who live small villages, committed no acts of violence against Jews/Israelis, but systematically their villages have been bulldozed for decades, in order to confiscate their land. Many villages do not get any services, like education, health, electricity etc.
    Yes there are calls by some people to call it Genocide, it certainly can be soon labeled as such in Gaza.

  2. I agree with most of what you say, but you do load the dice a little, Jake. You write: “The Oriental Jews, (of the Middle East and North Africa) … were very comfortable and had a good life, in every country where they lived”; but “suffered great discrimination in Israel by the European Jews.” I’ve never heard it was that great for Jews in Arab lands nor that miserable in Israel. In any case, if Oriental Jews were so well accepted in Arab lands, why would there be a backlash against them for what Ashkenazi Zionists did in Palestine?

    You write: “Originally the Zionists did not want any Oriental Jews. They meant to establish a Jewish white European country in Israel. Later they were forced to change course due to demographics and needing cheap labor.” You treat “Zionists” as if they all agreed with each other. My understanding was that the Ashkenazi Zionists adopted a language they didn’t speak (Hebrew) over one they did (Yiddish) specifically to make Zionism more attractive to Oriental Jews. That may be myth. But they did it quite early, in 1922 I believe, and they chose Oriental over Ashkenazi pronunciation. To attract cheap labour? Perhaps. For demographic reasons? Absolutely. Attracting Jews was the Zionists’ chief strategy.

    You write: “As to whether the Jews need or are owed a state, my opinion is, absolutely not.” I agree. But Israel is a state. Does Israel get a formal say in whether it continues to exist or not?

    • Arthur, Thank you for commenting, let me reply to each point.

      Re Oriental Jews having comfortable life in Muslim countries…
      Yes indeed for the most part, they were comparatively comfortable BEFORE 1948. Many were among the elite in their societies. Of course there were poor ones, but not discriminated against.
      I know first hand about Iranian Jews. Although I was very young when my parents left for Israel and although we lived among Muslims, I never heard anyone comment about being treated badly for being Jewish. Iran of today has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East and they are certainly treated no different than others, in spite of the animosity between between Iran and Israel. I even heard, (not verified), that some years ago Israeli agents and Evangelists went to Iran offering great deal of money for each Jewish person to come to Israel. None took the offer, because they already knew that they’d be second class citizens in Israel.

      In order to expedite immigration to Israel, Israeli agent went to Iraq, recruiting young Jews to ride motorcycles and throw bombs where Jews congregated and blame it on the Iraqi government. They killed quite a few Jews. One of those bomb throwers, Naem Giladi, became aware later in life of what he did and wrote a book: “Ben Gurion’s Scandals – How the Haganah and Mossad Eliminated Jews”. You may find it in the library. He had to flee Israel after publishing, due to threats to his life.

      Re Oriental Jews…
      I did not say that they had miserable life in Israel. I said that they were and to some extent still are, discriminated against and were second class citizens.
      It’s absolutely out in the open, every Israeli and many others are aware of it. It’s a fact PERIOD.
      Take the case of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel, they are treated as third class citizens, because they are of darker skin and poorer.
      Not to mention the most inhumane treatment of some non-Jewish refugees from Africa who entered Israel asking for asylum in recent years. A fenced camp was built in the middle of the desert to contain them. A law was passed so that any Israeli helping them even with a piece of bread, could end up in jail. A minister called them cancer in the body of Jewish purity. Israel has been sending them back slowly. (Google if you like).

      Re why backlash against Oriental Jews in the Arab countries after 1948…
      It is a normal reaction and done all over the world in similar cases. Once they became aware of the Zionists’ atrocities to Muslims, some citizens lumped all Jews together, as is done today in Europe and North America against Muslims.

      Re all Zionists were not in agreement…
      Absolutely right.There were a few militia factions. The only difference between them was the level of brutality they wanted to use and the means of achieving the final goal.

      Re Hebrew language…
      It had nothing to do with Oriental Jews. The first Zionists very much aspired to change the image of Jews in Europe–The way the ultra religious dressed and congregated in very close communities, spoke Yiddish etc. The Zionists felt that they had to create “modern Jews”. As I said, not only did they originally not want any Oriental Jews, they did not want the ultra religious ones either, but could not stop them. Zionists didn’t care much as to what might happen to these other Jews by the Nazi regime. (People may find this statement offensive, but it is a fact).
      If I’m not mistaken, it was Ben Gurion who said that Oriental Jews were human dust and compared them to the African slaves.

      Re Israel being a state…
      I did not say that it should not exist. Israel is there to stay. That is a fact, although not a just one. I say that one state for all is the best outcome for the whole world. Also I say that Israel should be stopped from its injustices and accept responsibility for what’s done, as first step to reconciliation.
      Israeli policy makers have no right to decide what type of country it should be. There are many, many, Israeli Jews who object to a “Jewish state”, also it is not fair toward the 20% non-Jews living in Israel. Also still the right of the Palestinians to return, by International law, has to be resolved, one way or another.

      • Jake, first you wrote that Oriental Jews “suffered great discrimination in Israel”; then you modified it to “to some extent.” That’s a big difference. Essentially, you wrote that Oriental Jews were far better off in Arab lands than in Israel. If you’re sticking with that, I’d like to see some evidence.

        I’m pleased you think it’s a normal reaction for Europeans and North Americans to hold all Muslims responsible for acts of terrorism by some Muslims, just as you think it’s a normal reaction for Arabs to hold all Jews responsible for atrocities by some Jews. I’m sure we’ll agree that normal as it is, it is evidence of anti-Muslim sentiment in the former situation, and anti-Jewish sentiment in the latter.

        I’m pleased you accept the existence of Israel, even if its existence is unjust (what country’s isn’t?); but I’m not sure what you mean by “Israeli policy makers have no right to decide what type of country it should be.” I assume by “policy makers” you mean “the government,” and I accept that Jewish Israelis, Palestinian Israelis, the UN, the BDS movement, not to mention AIPAC, etc., will try to influence that government, but do you really mean that the Israeli government has “no right to decide what type of country it should be”?

  3. A good article. My concern is with the description as an “Occupation” when it is recognized by you, Jake, that zionism is a colonial project. I suggest that “Occupation” not be used and “Colonization” be used instead. It’s also clear to me that Palestinians are being subjected to “Genocide” by the zionist project and this should be acknowledged in discussion of zionism

  4. Thank you for your comments.
    There’s absolutely no correlation between Judaism and Zionism. Zionism was a colonial and racist ideology which started by a few Jews who were mainly atheists in Russia and Austria. Even the funds that they collected was called:” Jewish Colonial Trust Fund”.
    As an example, the story that been promoted by the Zionists and perpetuated all along that some Jews came to Palestine after the Holocaust to live there peacefully, but five Arab armies attacked them in 1948, as the UN partition plan was passed, in order to wipe them, is total myth. Already during 1947 about 200,000 Palestinians were expelled, many killed and villages destroyed.
    The Zionists used Judaism as a perfect tool to promote the idea among Jews and non Jews, that naturally Palestine is a Jewish land. Of course it’s still being used today.
    Also it’s been discovered in recent years by few scholars that the Jews were not majority in Palestine, they lived more toward south of Turkey and never were expelled in droves.

    Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv university historian in a detailed book : “The Invention of the Jewish People”, plus other writings re modern Jews are not descendants of the ancient Hebrews. (he has other books).
    The first Zionists even collaborated with the Nazis – See writings by Lenny Brenner, an American civil rights activist: “Zionism in the age of the dictators”.

    So many lies and cover ups has been told by the Zionists, by Israel and by the Jewish lobby, and with the collaboration of western governments, that it’s an insurmountable task to dispel the notion that Israel is such a tiny country that only wants to live in peace, but all those “terrorists” want to wipe them out.

  5. Thank you Jake for this heartfelt letter. I admire you.

    In my opinion, we should start focussing more on the basic issue of “Zionism”.

    Zionism is a very hard one to tackle without sounding anti-Semitic.

    For many non-Jews, the difference between Judaism and Zionism is not clear. (I was’t really clear on this until a couple of years ago.) As a result, they are hesitant to question Zionism.

    Yet, as i see it, Zionism is the underlying political philosophy that justifies (or tries to justify) the refusal to allow the Palestinian refugees to return, the collective punishment of Gaza, the special rights and privileges for Jews over non Jews inside Israel, and of course, for the insatiable gobbling up of land in the West Bank.

    We have to tackle Zionism carefully, and respectfully. It is a discussion to which progressive Jews like you can make a significant contribution.

    Congratulations again and best wishes for the holiday season.


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