Uriel Kon is an Argentine born Israeli. He is a writer and publisher and vocal opposer to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This is a translation of an open letter he published, calling the Jewish community to stand up against Zionism.
Shame, anger, impotence – what I feel living in, or aside of, Israeli society. In their great majority we are talking about a heap of individuals who have been the victims of a systematic brainwash, since they were kids. Washed brains and professional brain-washers. Perpetrators that somehow managed to develop a denial mechanism, a complete insensitivity to other people’s suffering – all this in combination with an indelible feeling of superiority, paradoxically mixed with ignorance, vulgarity and a virulent racism. Racism and discrimination, applied both in the personal as well as the institutional levels.
A society that never searched nor wanted peace, like the Israeli society, is destined to disappear. That is the destiny of ethnic democracies. To speak now is dangerous: the papers and online news sites in Hebrew narrate the war in ways that do not give the smallest space to doubt. The news are uttered like fragments of the indoctrinating discourse, that one that is repeated like a mantra in the bar, the café, the universities, from parent to child, from officer to soldier. That is why there are no interstices in the local imaginary, there is little of a left, little criticism – they are abolished. Self-criticism is treason. The look, a mix both of pleasure and hatred, of the Israeli Sabra is too evident.
A couple of minutes ago I bumped into an Argentine friend. We agreed that it is impossible to speak with most Sabras. Their eyes change, they roll back in – they look like zombies. Their bitterness and rudeness are innate, but they grow exponentially with hatred. For them the war, all Israeli wars are moral affairs – they were impossible to avoid. These are wars imposed by the enemy. And they are the oasis of the Middle East, the miracle of the Chosen Ones. Or like Ney Matogrosso says: they are the rose of Hiroshima. They shoot and cry; cry while they kill and build new settlements in the Occupied Territories. They do not want to kill but they kill. They want peace in war. And they believe it!
Do not get confused anyone visiting Tel Aviv – mini-shorts central, a place of American pop and multi-sexuality. Underneath the manicured grass, of people walking dogs or skating, behind the petty local literature – a literature of infantilism and daily dramas. Behind the posh boutiques and the corporate or artistic world creeps a warmongering perversity, a sanctification of ones’ and others’ death. There is cult of the eternal conquest and oppression.
And yet all these words, all these adjectives, were intended as a request, to my Jewish friends, to those who – like me – grew up inside the Jewish communities of Latin America, with that after-taste of Yiddish leftism, with a certain joy in living surrounded by different human beings, seduced by diversity: the time has arrived to separate ourselves from Israel, to separate Judaism from the doctrine of this ill-fated country. Against what we have learned in school, zionism is racism. The prototype of the Aryan-Israeli failed, and like during the last weeks of nazism during the war, they want to eradicate us all, they want to blow up all the bridges. They want to die in their auto-hatred and their erotic passion for war.
No more support for Israel. No more money that was and will be destined to build forests over destroyed Palestine villages. The money will keep on building infrastructure for settlements in the Occupied Territories, in order to spoil any plan of territorial division. Money that is used to kill people, murder children, test new weapons, to create new zombie-soldiers lacking any independent ideas.
Staring at these people on the face, and more during times of war, is scary. Faces of people that feel nauseous when they hear the words “human rights”. For them human rights are anti-Semite – them who are the first anti-Semites in the world, who mock those who do not live in Israel, considering them half-human. They are the ones using the history of Jewish People to kill. And all to create a flat country, lacking creativity, humanism, literature, imagination. They have created a country in which military men are cultural heroes. A country in which women, to receive equal rights, become and imitate men. Their inner world denies the imagination of a peaceful territory, in which life, creation, and happiness replace the erotism of violence.
How do I live in this country? How can I reconcile with the idea that my taxes support the perpetuation of an oppressive and antidemocratic system? These are the things that I have been asking myself for some years now. In the past I entertained the narcissist and innocent idea that maybe I could contribute towards change, that things could change. But now I think the only solution is re-emigrating – it will be hard but not impossible. I think I am getting closer.
This country is doomed and it is shameful. We are shameful. And I do not want to live with the shame to which I was driven by the decision I made as a teenager.
[image source: Pedro/Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fanega/14455141437/in/photolist-o2mnWv-ogceWw-nYLK52-oiNTdU-nYKGzr-nYKrDK-ofHpYR-kZhoKZ-kZiRvE-jCmEVi-nTRG79-nZP2rb-ofPyMd-kE3E7H-nYvjkL-oiYbxt-ohfLPm-o11BAG-nZNEpJ-nZLog2-ofghhf-o12D4P-kEebbR-nAn5HE-nCpHLF-nCbJrb-nkV1FE-nZcc - used under Creative Commons Licence]