Often meeting Uri Avnery at Israeli demos and in Palestinian villages, I came to admire this active octogenarian and the perennial symbol of Israeli peace camp. But even more I love reading Uri Avnery for his skilful pen and for his glib ability to make palatable even the least acceptable ideas. Bertolt Brecht wrote: a perfect propaganda man could make cat lick mustard, at least by pushing mustard up under cat’s tail. Avnery’s last essay called The Bi-National State is a similar exercise: he wants us to love and accept the Jewish state, for (he claims) the fate of Palestinians would be worse without it.
Why it is better for Palestinians to be locked up in their small enclaves than to be equal citizens of the whole of Palestine? In a mental somersault, Avnery breaks a new ground in public discourse and proclaims: Jews can’t live with non-Jews. The Jew and the Goy are like wolf and lamb; if you want the Wolf dwell with the Lamb, please provide a fresh lamb every day. There was, I understand, a slight difference of opinion who of the twain is a wolf, (classic Zionists clamoured the lamb skin), but Avnery leaves us in no doubt: while sojourning together, the Goy will lose to the Jew. In his own words, “In a joint state, if it were to be set up, the Jews would dominate the economy and most other aspects of the state, and try very hard to preserve that situation.”
Well, this is the opinion of many men in many countries. They point up Jewish dominance in Hollywood and the media, as well as in banking and finance from Moscow with its oligarchs to New York and Washington and conclude as Avnery does: the Jews can not live in one state with non-Jews, for the Jews would dominate the economy and most other aspects of the state. Usually they call for transfer of Jews, too. However, until the present publication of the Avnery’s ground-breaking article, this opinion was effectively banned from majority of websites and printed media. Now, the Counterpunch presented the discerned reader with the opinion, and none of the ADL gang expressed shock or dissatisfaction. Indeed, if you support Zionism you may express any opinion including that “the Jews can not live in one state with non-Jews”.
Avnery made a great improvement upon the old line by presenting it as benevolent care for the weak goy: “Let them have a separate state, for otherwise Jews will dominate them”. But there is no reason to distinguish between Palestine and other lands with sizeable Jewish communities. Here is Rhodes, as Greeks said to a man who claimed he can jump very high – on the isle of Rhodes. Avnery’s idea is fully applicable everywhere, if it applicable in Palestine. It should be equally applicable in the US, where a Jewish state should be created soonest so that Jews wouldn’t dominate the Goyim.
The Jewish State of America (the JSA) does not have to be contiguous: it can use the pattern established by Jews for the Goyim in Palestine. However, the citizens of the JSA should not be allowed to vote in the USA, or influence its discourse, or hold property in the USA, in full compliance with Avnery’s ideas on Palestine. Their property outside the boundaries can be dealt with the same way the Jewish state in Palestine dealt with Gentile property. It will solve the main problem on the way to democracy in Palestine presented by Avnery, namely: “American Jewry has immense political, economic and media might, and they will not lose it for many years to come”. The might of American Jewry contained within the limits of the JSA would not matter much for the rest of the world. It will solve the second problem presented by Avnery: “the Arabs are becoming more and more the bogyman of the Western world”, for with the Jews safely contained in the JSA, the USA will pay attention to its own interests and will become the best friend of the Arabs.
If that doesn’t suffice, Jewish states can be created elsewhere too: the Jewish state of France, the Jewish state of Russia, the Jewish state of Germany, for Avnery’s approach to Palestine contains a universal message. (Germans actually tried to create a Jewish state in Poland, probably for the same altruistic reasons.)
And then, we will be able to undo the Jewish state in Palestine. Extreme Jewish nationalists from the settlements will trek back home to Brooklyn (surely an integral part of the JSA), while millions of ordinary dwellers of Palestine, of Jewish or other origin, will be able to live together in peace.
For the witty construction of Uri Avnery is built on a mirage.
- He says: “according to the bi-national idea, the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River–Palestine / Eretz Israel-will again constitute one state, as in the days of the British Mandate before 1948.” But it is not an idea, it is the only reality on the ground. The existing apartheid state occupies the territory, so it has to be democratised, not created.
- He says: basically it is a clash between the Zionist movement and the Arab-Palestinian national movement, of two nationalistic peoples. It is an attempt to create symmetry where is none. Palestinians are real people possessing their language, literature, culture, growing their olives in their own terrain. They do not need nationalism. “Jews of Israel” are nothing without their Zionist idea, a mishmash of sundry immigrants without single unifying element. That is why Avnery’s comparison with Cyprus, Yugoslavia, Russia and Canada is misleading. De-zionised “Jews of Israel” can become Palestinians, like de-zionised Jews of America can be just Americans, but they can’t create a new nation.
Not only is his position immoral, as he supports equality for Jews elsewhere and their supremacy in Palestine. A Jewish state is impossible, because in any state, somebody has to work, and I do not mean work in advertising, sales, real estate and security & intelligence apparatus. In the Jewish state in Palestine, the work is done by native Palestinians, and imported Chinese, Thai and Russians.
This arrangement is collapsing. One-million-strong Russian community is increasingly restless. “The Israeli elites ruined us, sucked our blood through their real estate schemes, hooked us on their mortgages, while keeping at the arm’s length from real positions of influence in the society”, editorialised Globus,usually docile Russian Israeli weekly. Restless are the North Africans represented by the “single mothers” march?, for the neo-liberal Bibi Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon inverted the usual Jewish approach to Goy and applied it inside the “Jewish society” to consume its weaker elements.
The Wolf has to eat; and if there are no lambs, it will eat itself, starting from the weaker tail. It won’t be a Wolf anymore, but rather Ouroboros, the emblematic serpent of ancient Egypt and Greece represented with its tail in its mouth continually devouring itself. Now the Jewish Ouroboros already devoured itself up to its neck. Avnery’s “two-state solution” is a means to reinforce the controlling positions of the old Ashkenazi elite, but it is unsustainable. The creation of the Jewish state was a great experiment that proved the futility of this idea. It has reduced itself ad absurdum and pointed out the true dichotomy of the world: not Jews versus Gentiles, but Wolf versus Lamb. Instead of creating a Wolf state, we should de-fang wolves and peacefully live together ? in Palestine, in the US, in France and elsewhere.
Too many things in Avnery’s writing remind us: Zionism and Nazism grew of the same desire to combat Communism. He writes:
“The 20th century has seen several “utopias” that have caused terrible disasters. The communist vision, for example, was based on the assumption that there is a perfect human being or that human beings can be perfected. It clashed with a reality of imperfect human beings. As the German post-communist leader, Gregor Gysi, once told me: “We tried to impose the perfect system on imperfect human beings. So we tried to impose it by force.” Thus a system of terror came into being and millions were slaughtered, from the Ukraine to Cambodia”.
As if the imperfect system of Mammon worshipping replete with consumerism, egoism and alienation had not been imposed by force. As if the system of terror established by the US did not slaughter millions from Hiroshima to Guatemala. Avnery’s preference for the Zionist anti-utopia reminds me of a man who preferred to marry an ugly woman for beauty passeth.
Zionism is Protean if anything. It has its tentacles in all lines of thought. It is represented in the extreme right, who says “Saving Israel is even more crucial than defeating the Left” and We should not relax in the battle against cultural Marxism, but even more urgent than waging war on Marxism is the need to save Israel from its own leaders and from total destruction?. It is represented in the left, who says, “The cause of Israel is the quintessence of Marxist liberation struggle It is represented by Jared Israel and plethora of other “libertarians”, by anarchists of Antifa, by finance analysts of Wall Street Journal and by some pseudo-communists of Eastern Europe, old buddies of late Robert Maxwell, the Mossad agent. It would be strange if Zionism would not be represented in the extremely important struggle for Palestine. Alas, Avnery’s essay confirms that the good man is a proponent of Zionist line in the peace camp. It should not surprise us for he actually sued an Israeli newspaper that called hi m “non-Zionist” and won. Witty Uri Davis called him “the only Jewish citizen of the State of Israel who can produce a court ruling attesting to his Zionist credentials”.
There is a non-Zionist Israeli peace camp. In the same time the Avnery’s essay appeared, his good friend and a member of his Gush Shalom, Yehudith Harel from Tel Aviv published her impassionate call to return Palestinian refugees home: “This beautiful and rich human resource could not only boost the local economy but also contribute to our cultural richness and diversity”, she wrote. Harel supports One State, and calls for “de-zionization of Israel, equality and rejection of apartheid”. There are many less privileged Israelis who have no place in the self-devouring Ouroboros. They should be brought together.
There is an urgent need to create a Palestinian version of Mandela’s ANC that would integrate all non-elitist forces in a united front. The Native Palestinian leadership should give up chasing the Fata Morgana of “independent Palestinian state’ and assume the key position in the new alliance.