26 May 2008

Memorycide and self-hating Jews

Posted in previous post at 3:59 pm by lilithhope

Part of any ethnic cleansing operation is not just wiping out the population and expelling it from the earth. A very typical part of ethnic cleansing is wiping people out of history. For ethnic cleansing to be an effective and successful operation you also have to wipe people out of memory and the Israelis are very good at it. They did it in two ways.

They built Jewish settlements over the Palestinian villages they expelled and quite often gave them names that reflected the Palestinian name as a kind of testimony to the Palestinians that this is totally now in the hands of Israel and there is no chance in the world of bringing the clock backwards.

The other way they did it is planting trees – usually European pine trees – over the ruins of the village and turning the village into recreational spaces where you do exactly the opposite of commemoration – you live the day, you enjoy life, it is all about leisure and pleasure.

That is a very powerful tool for ‘memorycide’. In fact, much of the Palestinian effort should have been but was never unfortunately – or only recently began – was to fight against that ‘memorycide’ by at least bringing back the memory of what happened.”

Read more from Ilan Pappe here.

Pappe has been accused by many Israelis and Jews of fabricating historical evidence for his theory of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine (also the title of his most famous book), but has also been revered by many, including the brilliant investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

The thrust of many arguments against Pappe has been of a sort of ‘self-hating Jew’ nature: how can any Jew or Israeli rationally criticize the actions of their community/government? Similar to non-Jews against whom the accusation of anti-Semite is leveled as soon as they criticize the state of Israel, Jews who speak out against the mistakes, indeed atrocities, committed by their community are dismissed as pathological self-haters.

There was a very interesting article about that tactic that appeared on the Guardian in March, and I’ve linked it here because it really is a very insightful read. It was written by Mike Marqusee, an author who has written about everything from boxer Mohammed Ali to the counter culture in the sixties. The link is an excerpt from his most recent book, which is an autobiography. An edited version was posted on the CIF website and generated huge debate.

I find these issues extremely interesting because it makes us realise how strong the drive to silence critics inside Israel is, and how we should therefore be very supportive to those who sacrifice their own reputations, careers and lives for the power of dissidence. In doing so, they consdolidate the anti-Zionist Jew movement, whose voices are necessary and fundamental if the problem of Israel/Palestine is to be resolved.

the shoemaker’s elves

Posted in previous post tagged at 3:58 pm by lilithhope

Written on 16 May 2008

And like little mythical creatures that only operate at night, by this morning Hizbullah had removed all the roadblocks in Beirut… The city is back to its normal, noisy, bustling and vibrant self, and i’m sure tonight we will all be celebrating…