Judaism vs. Zionism
The main confusion and the fate of the Lebanese Jews
This peculiar topic may not be a popular one. On the contrary it’s the type of topic people are even afraid to think about, let alone talk about, fearing of being misunderstood and labeled mercilessly as “traitors”. I, for once, am not.
This is addressed to the tolerant, it is addressed to everyone holding the paper in his or her hands, because we all are tolerant and we all are open minded, but some of us choose to wake our tolerance up, while others leave it dormant. My aim is to try to wake the tolerance where it’s sleeping. And so, to all of you, the tolerant, and the tolerant to be, I ask, very simply: Were all the Christians Crusaders? And are all the Muslims Terrorists? No.
Then why are all Jews assumed to be Zionists?
Ever since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict erupted, wars, occupation and forceful takeover of the Palestinian State followed, Lebanon witnessed an exodus of its Lebanese Jews, but not for them to go to Israel. They fled to Europe, The States, anywhere in the world but to Israel, fearing they might inevitably be the prey of prejudice and harassment if they were to stay. For some, it’s hard to believe that Jews have different nationalities, ethnicity and countries that they belong to and cherish much more than their own faith and « promised land » phenomenon and it saddens them to have their religion manipulated to serve Zionist politics.
As a matter of fact, Uri Avnery, Avi Mograbi and many others are living proof of Jews that criticize and oppose the Israeli Government and its actions.
Mograbi, a documentary filmmaker, in his film « Avenge but One of My Two Eyes » says much more than all of the Arabs have been wishing to try to say over the years. In his work Mograbi clearly cries out that the Israeli need to reevaluate their culture and their deeds, his message is conveyed in a genius comparison between the current situation in Israel with the Palestinian bombings and the « death culture » label glued to the Muslim Palestinians, and a much cherished Hebrew biblical anecdote. He dug 2,000 years back in history, back to Masada where 936 zealots committed suicide while besieged by the Romans. In this case, the roles reversed, the Romans are the Israelis and the Palestinians the Jews.
In a way, Mograbi proves that Samson, Israel’s Ulysses and legendary hero is nothing but the first suicide bomber in history. On site at the national monument of Masada, Mograbi juxtaposes the guide’s sinister methods of talking about the fanaticism of Palestinian suicide bombers with the much-praised suicides on Masada and the murder-suicide instigated by the popular biblical figure Samson.
Mograbi is a Jew, not a Zionist. Mograbi left a mark, when the Arabs didn’t.
Avnery, on the other hand is nothing less than the passionate activist, writer and founder of the Gush Shalom Movement. Among his writings is the famous « Israel without Zionists; a plea for peace in the middle east ». He crossed the front lines and met Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, during the Siege of Beirut. His principles cost him to be disinherited by his mother and the victim of many assaults along the years that were never a cause for him to review his ideals or take a single word back.
Avnery is a Jew, not a Zionist. Avnery left a mark, when the Arabs wouldn’t.
« The recruitment of Jews all over the world into Israel is pure deceit » the Israelis say. They were lured in, with promises and life plans and with the illusion of having freedom of choice to going back to their nations if they did not adapt. « We belong to certain cultures, countries and people that we miss, and life in Israel is a living hell, primarily because of the Israeli Government itself and the iron fist its ruling us with. » Many Jews forced to stay in Israel are the prime critics and opponents of it.
And I do hope all of this doesn’t shock you.
Don’t the Muslims criticize Saudi Arabia and Iran? I don’t believe any of the moderate Muslims wish to live here or there. As for the Christians I don’t even need to point out the critiques that they are hailing over the Vatican, and how none of them nearly try to live by its rules.
So why are we all for cultural diversity on the campuses of foreign universities and we apply exactly the opposite when we are back in our land among our people? And why is talking about Jews and Lebanese Jews in Lebanon taboo? They weren’t the ones found spying on our nation for Israel and they weren’t the ones recruited in the Lahed army. Why can’t we ask about our Jews to come back to where they belong? To restore the balance that was reigning during Lebanon’s golden age where none of this hatred ever had the chance to surface?
How can one start by trying to find a solution if one refuses to open up to the different other? I will conclude on this advice, beware of media control, or any sort of mind control, take a step back and think, question everything and free your minds and always give the other party the benefit of the doubt, for that’s when you’ll truly deserve to be called « free ».
Sherine El Zein