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January 07, 2002
Chosen and Choosing

By Israel Shamir



By Israel Shamir

In my Yuletide Controversy, I wrote: “If Christ existed, he surely did not care about Goyiim, non-Jews, some Jewish scholars say. Why would a good Jewish Rabbi care about the rest of mankind? This is the underlying idea of the book of Hiyam Maccobi where the Jewish nationalist writer claims Christ was a Jewish extreme nationalist, a Rabbi Kahane of his days”.

This challenge was well met by Miss Deborah Maccoby, of London, a correspondent and a friend. She wrote:

Dear Shamir,

I've been meaning for some time to write to you about the completely distorted picture of my father you present in the Yuletide Controversy.

I have some disagreements with him, as I am more to the left than he is. But he cannot be described as a right wing Jewish nationalist. In the 1970s, he was one of the signatories of a letter to the Times advocating a federal solution to the Israel/Palestinian problem. He is now a supporter of the two-state solution. His views are very close to those of Amos Oz, who is hardly a right-wing Jewish nationalist. My father was recently one of the signatories to a British Friends of Peace Now advertisement of support for a recent joint Israeli/Palestinian peace declaration - the advertisement was published in the Jewish Chronicle on Rosh Hashonah, if you would like to check up on this.

As for your statement that my father claims that Jesus "was an extreme Jewish nationalist, the Rabbi Kahane of his day", I can't see how you can possibly say this. It is an utter travesty. Have you actually read my father's book, "Revolution in Judaea?" My father argues that Jesus was a charismatic Pharisee rabbi who was a rebel against Rome and believed he was the Messiah - in the sense of the non-divine liberator who would bring about the Messianic Age, freeing the Jews from Roman occupation and the whole world from oppression. How does this make him a Rabbi Kahane figure?

I suspect you are so much against my father because he points out in all his writings the appalling Christian historical record of persecution of the Jews.

It makes no sense to say that the struggle against Christianity is the raison d'etre of Judaism, since Judaism existed long before Christianity - it makes a good deal of sense to say that the raison d'etre of Christianity - or at least of one form of Christianity - is the struggle against Judaism.

I would be very grateful if you would publish this reply in your next article, because I would like the record to be set straight.

With best wishes,

Deborah Maccoby

Dear Deborah,

It is nice to know that the important British Jewish scholar, Dr Maccoby, does not belong to the right wing of Jewish nationalism. Or is it? He would like the Gentiles of Palestine to have their separate state, permanently disarmed, broken into a few separate pieces, its borders permanently guarded by the Jewish state next door, its newspapers and TV programmes censored by the Jews, their holy places under Jewish control. He would not return the properties confiscated from the Gentiles in 1948 and 1967, probably not even the lands confiscated last year. In other words, Dr Maccoby stands for creation of a ghetto for Goyiim on a small sliver of their land.

Let us translate his position into British realities. How would you call a man who supports creation of a separate Jewish state in [the London suburb of] Golders Green, transfer of all the Jews into this state, confiscation of Jewish properties outside of Golders Green, disenfranchisement of the Jews in Britain? Would he qualify for a right-winger? Oh yes. For a lunatic fringe? Absolutely. For a mad Nazi? Probably. He would surely be well to the right of any British party, to the right of the National Party or the National Front. But in the Jewish politics, such a man would not be even a right winger, but a moderate.

Unwittingly, you touched the core problem of the Jewish community in England and the US. If the opinions I described above are ‘moderate’ for the community, the community needs a psychoanalyst. Probably a programme of de-Nazification would do even better. You are right; these opinions are considered moderate among Jews. As I do not wish to hurt your filial feelings, I’ll tell you that my own mother considers your father’s opinions as left-wing and defeatist. She would have the Gentiles expelled or killed. As many Israeli Jews, she is dreaming and hoping for a Jewish Hitler.

Apparently, the Jewish community nurtures dark thoughts. I do not know whether these thoughts are induced by the conflict in Palestine, or whether the conflict in Palestine just made these thoughts visible. If the desire for Palestine unhinges their minds, Jews should forget Palestine and save their soul. Let my right hand forget me, if I forget Jerusalem, said R. Judah ha-Levy, but it is better for you to lose one hand than for your whole body go into hell, replied the Gospel.

If the conflict in Palestine just made these thoughts apparent, the British society should limit the influence of the sick community until it hales. It is an illusion or self-deception to presume the opinions on Palestine/Israel do not influence their vision of the world. Prominence and influence of the sick Jewish community in your country is a major source of trouble in our troubled world. Rise of the man-eating ogre, Conrad Black, this friend of Pinochet, Sharon and Thatcher, husband of Barbara Amiel, owner of Telegraph and numerous other newspapers to the peers of the realm is a proof of influence and infectious nature of the malady. He is the pillar of the Tories, but what about Labour? Another freshly minted lord, Michael Levy aka Viscount Reading, a friend of Sharon, is the grey eminence behind the New Labour leader, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the US envoy plenipotentiary, Tony Blair.

A fervent Zionist, Levy was the man who made Tony Blair the Prime Minister of England. He found youthful Tony, managed his election campaign and brought him to power. Levy learned a lot from Bronfman, who was instrumental in bringing Clinton into the White House. Blair made Levy his special envoy to the Middle East, but the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook blocked Levy’s attempts to re-Zionize British policy. He even refused to give the freshly knighted Michael Levy a room with a secretary in the Foreign Office. It was short-sighted of Cook, who once annoyed Israelis. After Blair’s re-election, Cook received the boot, Levy was elevated.

You can see the consequences at work. Intrepid Robert Fisk of The Independent reported on August 4, 2001: “BBC officials have banned their staff from referring to Israel's policy of murdering its guerrilla opponents as "assassination". BBC reporters have been told that in future they are to use Israel's own euphemism for the murders, calling them "targeted killings". Robert Fisk concluded it was due to ‘Israel’s diplomatic pressure ’. Probably that is how it looks from Beirut, but if Fisk would check the story with London, he would find another source of influence, the British Jewish community and its prominent members in both major parties.

We have a perfect witness of racism inherent in the Jewish community, the well-known feminist writer and a good person Andrea Dworkin, who wrote:

“I realized only as a middle-aged adult that I was raised to have prejudice against Arabs and that the prejudice wasn't trivial. I was taught that Arabs were irredeemably evil. Over the years, I learned about Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners; I knew Jewish journalists who purposefully suppressed the information so as not to "hurt" the Jewish state. I was fine for my kind. My opinions put me into constant friction with the Jewish community, including my family, many friends, and many Jewish feminists. I don't believe that American Jews raised as I was are free of this prejudice. We were taught it as children and it has helped the Israeli government justify in our eyes what they have done to the Palestinians. We've been blinded, not just by our need for Israel or our loyalty to Jews but by a deep and real pr ejudice against Palestinians that amounts to race-hate.”

Now, this race-hate produces horrible fruits of genocidal war. Dave Edwards wrote last week in ZNet: “We live in a world where Tony Blair can insist that "nothing can justify the killing of civilians", even as B52s are doing just that in Afghanistan. Never has the deep, unconscious racism of Western society been more apparent. And at the heart of this belief, in turn, I fear, lies a truly lethal conceit: that our men, women and children really are more valuable, more precious, more fully human, than their men, women and children”.

Do you recognise the source of this lethal conceit? Could it be the idea of chosenness, rejected by Christ but upheld by our community? Does it remind you of the maxim, “life of hundred Gentiles is not worth one Jewish toenail” ? Do you think the increased influence of the Jewish community is purely coincidental with this outburst of racism, with bombing of Afghanistan, with approaching destruction of Iraq, with the full scope Nazi treatment of Palestinians?

Look at another coincidence. The Jewish state has the biggest gap in the developed world between the richest ten percent of income and the middle classes. Bank managers earn ten thousand dollars a month, after taxes, Jewish office and industrial workers - up to about 1,250 dollars a month, native Gentiles earn 1200 dollars a year. Do you think that increased influence of the Jewish community is purely coincidental with steep rise of the social gap in England and the US, the next two states on the ladder?

You are my friend, Deborah; you do not have to feel accused because you aren ’t. We do not choose where to be born. You could be born in a family of a Prussian Junker, a steadfast supporter of the Third Reich. I could be born to a family of cannibals who ate Captain Cook. Still, children of Junkers and Cannibals have a choice: to stick to the family and community tradition or to reject the evil ways of their fathers and embrace humanity. We are not Chosen, we choose. That was the message of Jesus misunderstood by your respected father.

Yours truly,

Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer and journalist. He lives in Jaffa. His other articles are available on the site www.israelshamir.net They can be freely transmitted and displayed on the Web. For the hard copy publications, write to shamir@IsraelShamir.com