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The Viennese playwright, journalist and boulevardier Theodor Herzl was a typical fin-de-siècle man of letters but for one exception. Having spent the first 35 years of his life ever-more pleasantly, mostly in Paris, reporting this and reviewing that, he then spent the last nine years of it, founding, without land, an army, a population – or permission – a national state. This he did in reaction, specifically and generally, to two things. The first, specifically, was the Dreyfus Affair, in which an innocent French Jewish officer was convicted of treason in late 1894. The second was the ineradicable anti-Semitism of enlightened France, of unenlightened Russia (where, in 1881, the assassination of Emperor Alexander II launched years of fierce pogroms, and, consequently, the start of the mass exodus of Jews from Russia looking for safe haven), of benighted Austria, (in particular Herzl’s residence of Vienna), and of Germany. When, at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, January 5, 1895, these two historical forces coalesced for ten minutes in the main courtyard of the Paris Ecole Militaire, Herzl was witness. As Captain Dreyfus, in full dress uniform, was degraded – stripped of his insignia, badges, buttons and stripes, his sword broken in two, paraded in rags – the crowd of 20,000 began to bay for Jewish blood, screaming “Death to the Jews.” Herzl, an assimilated non-practicing Jew himself, suddenly grasped a single momentous fact. There was no place for Jews in Europe; in order to live in peace and dignity, they would have to return to Zion. This letter tells the story of the beginning of that beginning…
“The whole thing is one of those balancing feats which look just as natural after they are accomplished as they seemed improbable before they were undertaken.” Theodor Herzl, Diary, Vienna, August 24, 1897.
“Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word… it would be this: At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.” Theodor Herzl, Diary, Vienna, September 3, 1897.
The founder of the Jewish State spoke neither Hebrew nor Yiddish, had no Jewish education, and was so thoroughly secular as to appear, in late 19th century Paris and Vienna, the very image of a dashing boulevardier. Had not the Dreyfus Affair exposed Europe’s dark underside of vicious anti-Semitism, Theodor Herzl would not have nourished, in bitter reaction, his vision of a publicly and legally secured home for the Jewish people. Nor, had he not proclaimed this same vision in his 1896 pamphlet entitled ”The Jewish State”, would this unlikeliest of leaders ever have become, to a great many Jews, a modern Moses. Indeed, even as he lays the foundation here, in this letter from May 4th, 1896, of the work which would result in the First Zionist Congress – and, astonishingly, almost 50 years to the day after the Congress, the founding of the State of Israel – Herzl, writing to a potential supporter only three months after publishing his visionary pamphlet, makes a promise which, like that of Moses, would prove prophetic:
“We will perhaps, but probably not live to see it, but the Jews will receive Palestine! Of this I am convinced to the depth of my soul.”
Herzl’s friend and fellow critic Stefan Zweig said that this time in Herzl’s life, “while the idea [of Israel] was still a dream of vague outline, was decidedly the happiest in Herzl’s short life.” Even the incredible disunity of the Jewish people – between the secular, the socialists, the ultra-Orthodox – seemed easily solvable then. Believing that “the faith of our fathers” would prove the common link between the traditionalist and impoverished Jews of Eastern Europe and the assimilated and cosmopolitan Jews of Western and Central Europe, Herzl was adamant, as he argues in the letter, that the Rabbis had a crucial role to play in the creation of the Jewish homeland.
But by the end of July 1896, Herzl was unable to make either the leading English Jewish philanthropists, or the French Baron Edmond de Rothschild, see what he saw as their role in founding a Jewish state. So, typically, he looked further – to a different, and far vaster body. At the Congress, he started to envision, finally, a modern ”Ingathering of the Exiles,” which would unite all the various forces for one great and tremendous effort…
On August 29, 1897, in Basel, Herzl’s idea manifested in the form of the First Zionist Congress, and, after 2000 years in the Diaspora, it proclaimed: the Jewish people were going home.
Herzl in Basel, site of the First Zionist Congress, almost exactly a year before his death, and signed on the 6th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. Shapell Manuscript Collection.
Read more here.
You don’t expect turn of phrases when you listen to Bassem Eid. He won’t apologize when clearly and precisely he shatters before you one after the other, all the icons of the pro-Palestinan narrative: the victimization of the Palestinians by the Israelis, the willingness of the Palestinian leaders to find a peaceful solution to the most mediatized and enduring postwar conflict, the intrinsic goodness of those organizations that proclaim to fight in defense of Palestinian people rights, the evil nature of the Israeli “occupation”.
Eid, born in East Jerusalem when the city was still under the control of Jordan, has dedicated a big part of his life to defend human rights and reporting abuses, in particular those of the Palestinian Authority. In 1996, he founded The Palestinian Humans Right Monitoring Group after leaving Israeli ONG B’Tselem due to its refusal to take into account a report of supposed human rights violations by the Palestinians.
An international lecturer, political analyst and pundit of Palestinian politics and society he is acknowledged by many as the leading Palestinian human rights activist around.
L’Informale has met him in Jerusalem.
In 1919, the General Syrian Congress emphasizes that the people living in then British Mandatory Palestine actually lived in what was know as Balad esh sham (the province of Damascus) or Surya–al–Janubiya (Southern Syria). In 1974, Hafaz al Assad declared, “Palestine is not only part of our Arab nation but a fundamental part of Southern Syria”. What is your opinion?
I am a person who tries to forget the past and tries to look forward, at least for the future of our children. I think that the Palestinians exists on this land like the Jews, there is no difference about this, and as the Palestinians have the right to exist also Israel has the full right to exist. Unfortunately such a kind of statement as the one you cited, from Hafez al Assad or whoever, just add more fuel to the flames. I don’t see a statement as this one as a possible solution to the conflict, it just make it harder and harder. Since 1948 until today, I haven’t seen either that the Arabs or the Muslims have provided any kind of help to the Palestinians. There have just been slogans, and slogans and slogans. The Arab leaders have used the Palestinian case to continue corrupting their own people under the umbrella of liberating the Palestinians from the Israeli occupation.
What are the goals of the Palestinians and how are they to be achieved?
We, the Palestinians, should be more and more realistic about our goal. Are we really interested in solving the conflict or just interested in managing it? Since the Oslo Agreement of 1993, after the arrival of the PLO in the West Bank and Gaza there has been no serious evidence that the PLO or the Palestinian Authority, from Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas, have been really interested in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arab-Israeli conflict has become the major source of money for the Palestinians leaders and as it has become a huge source of income I don’t believe that these leaders will ever think seriously to find a solution to the conflict. For example, think about Gaza. After the Israeli disengagement from it in 2005, Gaza is living in a huge disaster. The situation in Gaza before the Israeli disengagement was a 100% better than it is today. Hamas is holding two millions Palestinians by force and nobody there can speak not even one word against them. We have failed on every aspect of the political level so let us try at least to survive and try to improve the economic situation. Right now I don’t believe neither in the one state solution nor in the two state solution, and you know why? Because I think that we are not mature enough for a state, so if we are not mature enough for a state, at least we want to survive and in order to do so we need an economy that works. So, this, for the moment being is the most important goal to achieve.
What is your opinion in relation to international organizations such as the United Nations, UNRWA and UNESCO, which, on different levels, operate clearly one-sidedly against Israel?
Last year in May I was invited at the United Nations to a big conference called “Ambassadors against BDS”. It was the first time I entered in the United Nations headquarter in New York. When I got to the stage to speak, the first thing I said was, “I wish I could hold the keys of this building because if I would have them I will seal it forever”. UNRWA today and the UN and UNESCO and all of these international organizations have as their main aim in relation to this conflict, not to solve it but to manage it, and the reason is simple. This is because, as I have already said, the conflict has become a huge source of income. It is clear enough that while the UN is promoting resolutions against Israel and UNESCO is doing the same thing, they are receiving funding from countries with a precise anti-Israeli agenda. When UNESCO, through its deliberations uproots Jewish cultural roots in Palestine it is the equivalent of saying that Israel has no right to exist. This brings in huge amount of money, and this is what UNESCO is waiting for. The Palestinians are the victims of these international organizations. UNESCO denial of the right of Israel in Jerusalem, the right of the Jewish heritage in Hebron will not serve me as a Palestinian, it won’t give me a state. What we Palestinians obtain from these decisions is the opposite effect. They just make things harder for any peace talks. This is not the way to bring peace. All these international organizations of which UNRWA and UNESCO are part of should start evaluating their policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because by acting the way they do they are just creating more and more obstacles on the way to any opportunity of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To what extent, according to you is religion interwoven into the Arab-Israeli conflict?
Unfortunately Muslims, including the Palestinians are trying to politicize religion because the politicization of religion is a very attractive thing for Muslims around the world and this is exactly also what Mahmoud Abbas is doing, what Hamas is doing, what Hezbollah is doing and all of the terrorists around the world who are using Islam against the Jews, are doing. The main problem is that we don’t have right now a serious, charismatic sheik or imam to come and to stand up and say, “By what you are doing you are bringing more and more tragedy upon us and other people” and this is leading me to the current situation in Jerusalem and Al Aqsa, where the Israelis have decided to put metal detectors after the terrorist attack of last Friday. Listen, if you go to the Kotel you go through electronic gates, what is the problem? While the Muslims refuse today to enter Al Aqsa through the metal detectors this means that we are trying to incite the Islamic world against Israel and unfortunately it looks like it is going very smoothly. I am sure that beside Mecca and Medina there are mosques throughout the world were you enter by going through some kind of security control, why not here? I don’t want to be killed inside Al Aqsa or outside it. I don’t want to be a shahid. I don’t want my child to be a shahid. If you kill you kill, never mind what you call yourself. This is the tragedy in my opinion and I think there is a great problem today with the Muslims non with Islam, because it seems to me that the Muslim attitude today is completely against the rules of Islam. So I wish that the Muslims will wake up one day and start realizing what they are causing for themselves.
What is your opinion of the Palestinian Authority, and in general of Palestinian leadership?
I would never trust the Palestinian leadership neither in the West Bank nor in the Gaza Strip. The main job of the Palestinian leadership is how to continue keeping the Palestinians as hostages for the sake of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the main aim. We are the hostages of our leadership we are not the hostages of Israel, not of the occupation. It is exactly the opposite. If we look today what is surrounding me here in the Middle East we will find that compared to other realities around what goes one here, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, makes it the safest place to be. I don’t want to be in Syria, I don’t want to be in Iraq, I don’t want to be in Yemen. The main problem is the blind eyes of the international community in relation to the Palestinian leadership. It looks like that the international community wants a sort of revenge against the Jewish people by using the Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership, it looks like Europe is going backwards to its history, because Antisemitism was founded in Europe not in the Islamic countries. Europe today is giving more and more power to the Palestinian leadership for it to continue to refuse any kind of deal with Israel and it looks like that the Palestinians have no choice right now until Abbas will go away. I have a little bit of hope that after Abbas probably our situation will get better. I hope that a young charismatic serious and courageous Palestinian leader will come after Abbas and that probably will give a great hope not only to the Palestinians but also to the Israelis.
I don’t think that the any of the names you have mentioned can represent a real future for the Palestinians. To me the main option today for an alternative leadership for the Palestinians is probably Mohammed Dahlan, who recently made a very interesting deal with Egypt in relation to Gaza, a deal that was accepted by Al Sisi and by Hamas. This means that Mohammed Dahlan will control the Rafah passage between Gaza and Egypt, not Hamas, and if this will happen the Rafah passage will be probably open for twenty four hours a day. This will progressively weaken Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, because from what it seems today, the relationship between Abbas and Al Sisi is not a 100% good. Abbas is very upset about the fact that Al Sisi is allowing Dahlan to enter in Cairo and even to conduct a press conference over there. So, my hope is that this deal will be finalized as the Egyptian government wants to hit two birds with one stone. The first bird is that of keeping the situation calm between Hamas and Israel while the second one is to allow Al Sisi to fight against terrorism without Hamas intervention in Sinai. If this deal will succeed, and I believe it will, the situation in Gaza will improve.
You are an outspoken critic of the BDS movement which is quite popular in Europe and has been doing an effective campaign in campuses in the USA. Many people think that the BDS is fighting for the right of the Palestinian people. This is the opposite of what you think. Would you like to specify?
These people are trying to benefit themselves instead of benefiting the Palestinians, they have found for themselves a job forever. Boycott will never bring peace. The BDS is not really seeking any kind of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, what they are trying to accomplish is one important mission, declaring that Israel has no right to exist. This is what they are working for. As a consequence of the closing of factories in the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians workers have been kicked out. I haven’t seen any instance of the BDS helping Palestinian workers who have lost their job as a consequence of boycott, of moving the factories from one place to another one. I haven’t seen the BDS trying to cover the medical insurance of those workers who lost their jobs. Unfortunately some Palestinian NGO’s are supporting the BDS because Europe put it as a condition, “If you want us to fund you you must obey our policies and to sign in favour of the BDS”. This is exactly what Mustafa Baraghouti is doing today around Europe, collecting money for his organization. The good news is that BDS policy has no real effect on Israel. If you succeed in closing one small factory or another small factory, be it, but these are certainly not the main source of income for the state of Israel. Israel economy is not based on Coca Cola, or on Soda, Israel has technology, has military equipment, has start ups. Three months ago there has been an agreement signed between Israel and Jordan according to which Israel will export natural gas to Jordan for 15 billions dollars. Where is the BDS? Show me the BDS in Jordan. Egypt is going also to sign another agreement with Israel. Where is the BDS of Egypt? The BDS is very lucky, and for one simple reason, it is operating in Europe and in no Arab country. If they will operate in an Arab country they will be put in jail for life. They know exactly where are the most comfortable places for them, Europe and the campuses in the USA. I met a lot of these people in the United States, they demonstrated against me, they published leaflets against me, they disturbed my lectures from time to time. These people just don’t believe in the freedom of speech, they hate the freedom of speech. They think that they are the only ones who have the right to speak, but that I, as a Palestinian that doesn’t share their view, have no right to speak. My big question to the BDS is, who authorized you to speak on my behalf?
During the First Intifada you were a senior field researcher for B’Tselm, the Jerusalem based independent NGO whose aim is, like that of another NGO, Breaking the Silence, to document supposed human rights violations by Israel in the Israeli occupied territories. What is your opinion today about these organizations?
These organizations today have their own precise political agenda. They want to satisfy their funders rather than the Palestinians and their rights. I didn’t see any evidence that organizations like B’Tselem or Breaking the Silence have done anything positive to change the current situation. B’Tselem has been operating from 1989, and what has been its big achievement? Zero, just zero. Their main agenda is a political one with the cover up of human rights. For the most it is European policy. Just imagine that Europe tomorrow decides to stop funding these organizations like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence or the BDS, what will happen of the people working for them? They will become jobless. Germany is one of the biggest founders of B’Tselem. It provides more than half a million euro a year, and I am talking of just one funding country, not to mention what comes from France, Spain, the UK. B’Tselem today looks very much like an Israeli UN. It is funded by governaments, not by fundations. This is the issue. One of the sources of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the European money. If this flow of cash from Europe and also from the US will stop, I am very positive that the situation will change for the better.
What option do you endorse for a solution to the conflict, a one state solution, a two state solution, emirates, the incorporation of part of the West Bank into Jordan and Gaza into Egypt
To return to the pre ’67 status which means that the West Bank will be annexed to Jordan and Gaza will be annexed to Egypt is unrealistic. Neither of these countries will accept it. Even the confederation between the Palestinian state and Jordan has been rejected. The Palestinian Authority today is much more interested in a three state solution for two people. Hamas is fighting for its own Islamic Emirate in Gaza, Abbas is fighting for his own empire in the West Bank and then there is the state of Israel. This is how we have been living in the past ten years since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Forget for ever that any unity or reconciliation will take place between the West Bank and Gaza. The situation is very difficult and this makes any solution even more difficult. We, the Palestinians, need to wait at least for twenty years and maybe, by then a charismatic leader will come forward from the coming generation and will take new initiatives, but with the leadership we have today no peace initiative will come out.
When we talk about Palestinian society what are we exactly talking about?
We are essentially talking about tribes. In 1977 when Sadat visited Israel he gave an interview to one of Israel’s major newspapers, Yedioth Ahronot. One of the questions that was asked to him by the interviewer was how many Arabs countries existed in the world. Sadat answered, ‘One, the Republic of Egypt’, so the journalist asked, ‘What about the others?’ and Sadat said, ‘The others are tribes with flags’. Each Palestinian movement has its own flag, the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, whatever you want. Yes, Sadat was right, we are tribes with flags.
According to you, what are the main problems that affect Palestinian society?
The main problems stem from culture and education. In our culture we don’t have an education that teaches peace or the acceptance of the other, we don’t have a civil society. These are concepts coming from Europe, from the United States, in other words, from the West, but they don’t belong to us. So, as I said, culture is the major problem and another one, which is also deeply connected to culture, is that Palestinian society is based on the Quran instead than on the realities of daily life.
Original article: http://www.linformale.eu/bassem-eid-not-mincing-words/
To the left:
The International Synagogue in Tel Aviv, today, a lazy and sunny Friday afternoon. Still quiet before Shabbat. No iron fence. No military guards outside, armed with automatic rifles. No bullet proof windows. No heavy, extra double doors. No x-ray scanner. No security guards asking invasive questions. No fear of getting attacked outside. No fear of wearing a kippah on the way there. No fear of attending. No fear. Period.
To the right:
Any and every synagogue in Europe in 2017.
Just in case y’all, Jews and non-Jews, need a reminder of why we need our own country.
Take a step back and look at the funny dance of craziness happening right in front of our eyes. The world has lost its mind and whatever little sense it had.
Europe is once again the center stage. The civilized, liberal, we-have-learned-from-our-past-mistakes continent, has once again gone insane.
Jews are told to hide any religious symbols to stay safe, and have to send their kids to schools surrounded by heavily armed police.
Islamist terrorists are shooting people point blank on the streets, and Europe is preparing itself for a new 9/11.
The establishment is terrified of the right wing parties gaining strength all over Europe, and doesn’t realize that they are mainly to blame for them coming to life in the first place. Action causes reaction, remember?
Young women are sexually harassed and raped by gangs of Muslim immigrants, and the media tries to cover it up in order to protect the perpetrators. Slowly the news are finding its way out into the light, and there are reports of similar events taking place in Stockholm last summer: this beautiful Scandinavian city is now officially living up to its reputation as the rape capital of Europe.
I read this, and all I can think of is my soon-to-be-a-teenager niece, and how she is in great danger of being raped because of the inability of the politicians to see the truth and their illogical fear of being politically incorrect. It’s killing me. It’s breaking my heart and it makes me so angry I just want to punch someone really hard (preferably one of the rapists).
Now I ask you to please stop. Think. Breathe. Think again about what I just told you.
Our sisters, mothers, and daughters are being sacrificed. The media is covering it up out of fear to be called racists. Isn’t that just so absurd it’s almost funny? Funny in a dark, evil, heart-wrenching kind of way?
The people of Europe are about to pay a really high price for their governments stupidity. The seismograph has been trembling for a long time, and been ignored just as long. Anyone trying to point out the inevitable has been systematically shunned and silenced.
All to protect men who hate women, and people with a religion that hate the West and our way of life. All in the name of political correctness.
What did you think would happen when you invited the devil for dinner, Europe? And how on earth do you think you’ll be able to fight back if you hide the truth and stick your heads in the sand? Did you think the people would just sit back and enjoy the show? Even the liberal and civilized Europeans will not like having their daughters raped. Trust me. Remember, WW2 is not that far away, and under that polished surface there’s still a fighting spirit. At least I hope so. Or we will all be watching Europe’s funeral very soon – it already has its left foot in the grave.
It has started my friends. The main act is on. The players are ready. We are in for a hell of a ride. A clash between civilizations. In the Middle East, in Europe and in the World. It will be ugly. God save us all.
Oh, and to top that off, The Theatre Of The Absurd today offered a sweet bonus act: the infamous Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström thinks it’s vital that the act of self-defense, aka Israelis defending themselves from knife-stabbing, car-ramming, shooting Palestinian terrorist murderers, should be looked into as possible extrajudicial killings. Apparently we should also, just like the European women, sit back and enjoy the show. “Just take it and be quiet bitches!”
It. Is. Fucked. Up. (And yes, it’s my blog and I can swear and say whatever I want too. In fact, NOT swearing about this would be insane). And fuck you Ms Wallström AND your coward political ostrich bonnet* wearing cohorts.
*This drawing by Dr. Seuss from WW2 is still valid today. Just exchange Hitler for, well, you know what.
Facebook petition urges Zuckerberg to act on anti-Semitism. Online initiative launched by Swedish Jew gets nearly 17,000 signatures.
Comfort or agony? Facebook fights and friends.
Une pétition contre l’antisémitisme sur Facebook.
פנייה לצוקרברג: הסר התכנים האנטישמיים מפייסבוק
Ten thousand sign petition urging Facebook to remove anti-Semitic pages.
Facebook urged to act on hate.
Upprop kräver att Facebook tar bort antisemitiska inlägg.
Facebook petitioned to stop anti-Semitism
Dear Mr Zuckerberg.
Kritik täckmantel för antisemitism.
Fler manifestationer för Israel utlovas.
Stockholm for Israel: Social Media In Action.
Exclusive: Labour urges Facebook to ‘enforce its own rules’ on anti-Semitism.
The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.
George Orwell was a wise man indeed.