Needed: Regime Change in Israel
EDITORIAL, 11 August 2014
#336 | Johan Galtung
Like so many, like millions, this author’s heart is bleeding for the killed and bereaved in Gaza–so disturbingly similar to the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 and Warsaw 1944. With Arab and Western governments doing nothing; like the Red Army in 1944. But the latter was heading for Berlin. And the West uses Ukraine as a distraction.
Like Rabbi Michael Lerner, my non-Jewish heart is also bleeding for Judaism and the Israel that could have been. The present regime is a traitor to both, driving into the abyss. Yet they have parliamentary and democratic, voter, support? Except that parliaments are not infallible, democracies can be wrong; even more so if the people think they have a divine mandate. England, the mother of parliaments–once thought it had; colonized 25% of the world and is now hanging on to the “united kingdom”. The USA still feels covenanted to the Lord but is lording over less and less; Japan suffers from similar Sun Goddess delusions.
So does the present Israeli regime, but there is enough sanity left. By “pathology” it is meant not only the megalomaniac-paranoid component but the deficient sense of reality. Particularly:
Pathology 1: The delusion of victory being feasible, destroying tunnels, rockets and hard core Hamas. Finite goals, reachable. But this is autistic actio with no sense of reactio. Kill one Hamas, produce ten. Rule over ruins of mosques and UN schools and children’s corpses in Gaza and occupied West Bank-East Jerusalem moves, inside Israel moves. Floods of tears, grief and hatred, and strong forces rejecting the tamed Arab state system now fight for an Islamic State. An Ottoman caliphate with no special role for Turkey and Istanbul?
And sooner or later pressure inside Western countries to withdraw ambassadors from Tel Aviv, like the UN recognizing Palestine, step up BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Down the road: US ire overflows, “Israel: you have become a liability”. Like Philippines, South Africa. And asylum in the USA.
Pathology No. 2: imputing symmetry to conquest-colonialism. Throughout history the conquered-colonized resist, fight back, for freedom; Palestine is no exception. To see Hamas just as a belligerent with rockets, as the real enemy to be defeated, is the delusion of all terrorists, state like Israel or non-state: “If you only get rid of what we hate terrorism will stop”.
To the contrary, the terrorized turn against the terrorists instead–later on maybe settling some political accounts. True, the wisdom of fighting a militarily very strong regime with military means can be doubted, however psychologically understandable, but who are we to judge? Norway occupied by the hated Germans also combined violence and nonviolence. The German regime collapsed, a new Germany emerged.
Pathology No. 3: to believe that at the end of this expansionism “secure and recognized borders” are waiting, and hence “peace”. From the Nile to Euphrates, the Genesis promise, involving 9 states by the present map, with Y-h as guarantor? Face it, the regime prefers expansion to security, and may end up with neither one, nor the other.
The obvious alternative, 1-2-6-20 may not be available forever:
1: A Palestine fully recognized, also by Israel;
2: A 1967 two-states nucleus for sustainable peace, with some swaps, and Israeli cantons in sacred places on the West Bank, and Palestine cantons in Northwest Israel where most of the Nakba took place;
6: A six-states Middle East Community of Israel with its five Arab neighbors–Lebanon-Syria-Jordan-Palestine recognized-Egypt. Model: the six-state Treaty of Rome European Community of 1 January 1958.
20: An Organization for Security and Cooperation for West Asia. Model: OSCE for Europe, related to the Helsinki 1972-75 conference, with the neighbors of the five neighbors and some of their neighbors–also with Iraq-Syria, IS(IS), Kurds on the agenda. Initiative: UN.
In short: security through peace, not the delusion of the opposite.
There is nothing anti-Israel in this. Israel as a state with Jewish characteristics–not a “Jewish state” (read: only for Jews) is there, learning how to live in peace with others. True, it is Buber, not Jabotinsky–the latter leads but to the Wall and to:
The Underlying Pathology: Displaced aggression against the Palestinians. To dump the bill for European, particularly Nazi-German atrocities at the feet of the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians, instead of carving out an Israel on German lands is bad enough. But there is historical legitimation for a Zion-Israel in the Middle East, like the pre-1967 accepted by most. Horrendous: to do to the Palestinians, step-by-step, escalating, what Germans did to Jews. Proving “manhood” or whatever on somebody weaker than themselves. The Warsaw ghetto was emptied; there are voices for an empty Gaza. The genocide on top of the sociocide is already there in the killing of children and women. Nobody believes the IDF to be bad at targeting.
The many steps of Nazi atrocities not trodden by this ill-conceived scenario should not be used to legitimize the steps taken. Just like belligerent cannot hide behind “we did not use nuclear bombs”, the present regime cannot hide behind “no gas chambers”.
That pathological regime has to yield to sanity. In my own numerous visits to Israel, talking about 1-2-6-20 (six visits from early 1971), Israeli women have invited me to contemplate their situation, caught between the definition of a Jew as born by a Jewish mother and the way they are treated by the religious aspect of Zionism, orthodox zionism (not reformed). Make no mistake, they favor an Israel with Jewish characteristics, but distance themselves enough from the four pathologies to constitute a solid basis for an alternative. Very, very many men will join them. Look at statements from the “secret” agencies and army leaders themselves these recent years, much stronger than anything said above. My intuition tells me that some of them may even be preparing a regime change.
Not even the USA can force change upon Israel. Antisemitism certificates will be issued, history will be invoked. But everything has its limits. And the present regime has overstepped theirs.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 August 2014.
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