Tag Archives: israelis

Open Letter to the Palestinians

27 Mar

Dear Palestinians,

please cut it out? And I don’t mean the beating heart of another zionist. I understand your anger, I agree you are right to be angry, and the extent that I am capable of, even share it. What the Israeli government – my government – has been doing to you since the foundation of the state, is a disgrace and an atrocity, from the razing of houses to the shooting of children.

But for fuck’s sake. You will never free Palestine or end the occupation by stabbing, car-ramming, shooting, bombing, or otherwise attacking Israelis. Israel will always be stronger; you will never have our military power. And I understand that beyond logical motivations, there is the urge to continue a historical resistance, though futile, just to demonstrate your defiance and hatred of the situation. That, too, I understand. Only dead fish swim with the current.

But for fuck’s sake. You are helping the zionist agenda. Yes, you are helping the Israeli government oppress, rob, and kill you. Every time you attack an Israeli, my government says, “Look world, this is why we have to oppress them! This is why we have to take and control their land! This is why we bulldoze their homes! This is why we have to shoot them at the slightest suspicion of a butter knife in their pocket! Because they keep attacking us!”
You are doing my government a great favour by perpetually attacking us. You are justifying being treated like animals by behaving like animals. You think a prison is going to release a convict if and because he beats up the guards every time he’s let out into the cafeteria? No. This prolongs his sentence.

And Allah’s will? Seriously? Allah, the Gracious, wants you to walk into your death, break your family’s hearts, just so the zionists have an excuse to make your family homeless and abuse your people some more? Your struggle isn’t the only thing historical here. Your people, the Palestinians, being abused more every time one of you attacks an Israeli, is also a historical event that repeats itself without failure.

Every attack from you against us, makes your situation worse. I’m not telling you to love us. You’re right to hate us (well, not me, I’m nice, I give great head). I hate the government and its executioners, too. Hate us till the cows come home. We have not given you a reason not to. But for fuck’s sake, please internalize that your “armed resistance” is only making your situation worse. Yeah, we mourn our losses… But every single time, you get a disproportionately worse response, don’t you?

For fuck’s sake, cut it out. It’s stupid, pointless, and only moves you farther away from your goals. We will never lose to you, and my government will never leave you alone if you keep giving it excuses to abuse you. Stop this shit. I want both our people to live in peace, even if we can’t stand each other’s smell. But my government wants you to continue attacking us, because you are helping it abuse you.

Don’t do the zionists that favor.

Sincerely,
an Israeli

Drip drip boom

11 Jul

Drip drip boom
The rhythm of the region
Drip drip boom
The song of God’s Chosen People 
The chant of Allah’s Chosen Men

Drip, hatred seeps into your home
Drip, hatred creeps into your heart
While it sleeps.
Boom, in the morning it awakens
Sirens blaring, walls are shaking

Drip, three sons, one dying breath
Drip, a young boy burned to death
Blood freezes in their mothers’ hearts
Boom it breaks, blood spills from scars
Another mother soon joins in

Drip, one more green uniform falls
A flower reported, painful calls
Drip, one more green headband dies,
A martyr reported, streets echo with cries
A warrior’s blood, it drips on dirt
It drips unheard
Boom, a mother’s heart has ears

Drip, all mothers’ hearts bleed the same
For Eyal, Mohammed, for the losers of this game
Boom goes the mutual retribution
To make sure the others, too, remain in pain.

Drip goes the conscience after dark
Drip goes the sight that “the others”, in their eyes,
Boom – are us.

Sudanese vs. Jewish refugees

23 May

My favorite nostalgic band, Die Toten Hosen, have just reminded me of a topic that I feel needs addressing. They shared a video clip by another band, about refugees/asylum seekers and about how they really don’t want to be in the country they fled to. About how they would rather be in their home country, going about their lives, but can’t, because, bombs’n’shit.

I understand them. I sympathise. Having to run, suffer tremendous losses in the process, and leaving your reasonably good life behind, is something I’m familiar with personally, and in terms of ancestry. 

Many arguments against Israeli politics, policies, actions and inactions, are valid. As someone who loves this country, I refuse to be in denial or glorify it; I want true change and improvement so Israel can be truly great and keep the moral standards it parades about in empty words. Love is to want the best for someone. I want Israel to be better.

But there is one anti-Israel “argument” that perpetually makes me angry for its profound and inherent hypocrisy. The world is screaming at us, not in the nicest terms (racists, Nazis, murderers,…), to embrace and welcome those poor refugees from Sudan, Eritrea, and of course, the native Palestinians. It is screaming at us to be humane and warm towards those who were forced to flee their home country.

Except when these refugees are Jewish. Ultra-rightwing Zionists are propagating the lie/ideological bullshit that Jews living in diaspora, are “in exile”. They are not. Nobody is forcing you to stay out of Israel; Israel pays you to move here. Maybe their far (faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar) ancestors have been exiled, but let’s face it – if your name has been rather German (Rosenzweig, Bernstein) or otherwise non-Middle Eastern for the past 20 generations, you have very little claim on the exile pity party. A ginger Braunstein family does not originate from the Middle East, unless we go almost as far back as our ape ancestors originating in Africa, and then we can all say we’re Africans in exile. Oh my, poor Africa, all those white people “returning home”.
Are you a Jew living outside of Israel? Great, stay there, because your life over there is probably better than it’d be here. You are not in exile, stop pitying yourself over harm that has not been done to you or your family in a very long time. You happen to live wherever you happen to have been born. That is all. People have migrated throughout history, some by force, some not. Jews are no exception and have little claim on more drama or pity than others for being part of this phenomenon. Stop asking for VIP status in the history books, thank you.

However, Jewish refugees are a reality. Not the happy family from Virginia wallowing in the exile self-pity party, no, actual refugees and their offspring, having actually had to flee from actual dangers. 
Jewish refugees have come from Nazi-Europe.
Jewish refugees have been bombed out of Iraq.
Jewish refugees have fled Morocco. 
Nevermind the Jewish Ethiopians who are given hell to come here for “obscure” reasons or reasons I shall not name. For example, the fact that David Ben Gurion had been a passionate racist and white supremacist, and if he disrespected and scoffed at Arab Jews, how would he feel about these dark-skinned blacks? And the legacy of his attitude runs deep and feroceously through Israeli politics and people.

Whatever the details, Jewish refugees are a reality no less valid or tragic than Sudanese refugees or Palestinian refugees in Israel or outside, after having been forcefully removed from the land. 
My own ancestry is like so: Naeim Giladi owned a gold refinery which even earned him his original family name. He bred Arabian horses, owned vast lands, and was generally rich and respected. Actually, most Jews were in most parts of Iraq. Don’t believe the “OMG pogroms everywhere” propaganda. But at some point – let’s not discuss the identity of the launchers of those bombs – the Iraqi Jewish communities were attacked and Jews started to flee – to Israel. It had been promised to them as a safe haven. Let’s not discuss how the Arab Jews were fooled in that respect. My grandfather, his family, and the many Jews he helped cross the borders, were legitimate refugees with nowhere else to go. Just like the Sudanese, the Palestinians, or the Eritreans. The same is true for Jews who fled Nazi-Europe. 

Yet, while we are demonized for not welcoming non-Jewish refugees enough, the refugees among our own ranks are demonized for having succeeded in entering and settling in Israel. We, descendants of refugees, are not occupiers. Unless you would say the same about Sudanese refugees. You want us out, yet you want them in. But – does it matter who occupies “stolen” lands? While I don’t believe this land was exclusively owned by non-Jewish Arabs, we Israelis are constantly vilified for occupying it. So if not who you believe are the land’s rightful owners, what does it matter who comes to “steal” the land? Does it matter whether they are Jewish refugees from Poland, or Muslim refugees from Sudan? Do Sudanese have a bigger right to asylum in Israel than Polish? Why? Logic? 

Let’s simplify this:
You have a house in Palestine and 3 Arab men live in it.
The organized Zionists come and kick the Arab men out of the house.
Now, 1 Jewish refugee from Iraq moves into the house.
1 Jewish american from a happy background moves into the house to live with the previous Jew.
Then, 1 Sudanese refugee moves in to the same house to live with the Jews.
The world screams at both of those Jews equally to get the fuck out, although one had nowhere else to go and only one is there by choice, but supports the Sudanese, while all three are occupying the same house, and all three are making it impossible for the Palestinians to live in their former house.
If you’re going to hate one of these occupiers, hate occupier number 2, but 1 and 3 are there for the same reasons. So why is one to be embraced, while the other is to be demonized for the exact same reason?

Why?

Romeo & Juliet in Israel

6 Nov

Romeo & Juliet, or Anna & the Arab

I came to Israel to join the army and partake in the epic saga of Zion. Or so I thought. Instead, I learned an important lesson about ethnic divides, skin-deep hostility, racism, and where love comes in.

I made Aliyah at the end of December, 2010 as a returning minor. Being born in Israel, I never felt quite at home anywhere else. Not in Poland, not in Ireland, not in Germany, and not in Belgium. I thought that Israel would be where I’d find myself, my home, my belonging, and my soul. And I did. But I didn’t find it in the form, or the place, I had thought. And I certainly didn’t find a defined group to belong to. Not even Jews. Here’s what I thought would happen: the army would die to recruit me, put me in an epic combat position, and there I would meet my soulmate. A raggedy, typical Sephardic or Mizrachi Israeli, with black curls flowing in the desert breeze, his Reserves uniform revealing the manliest of chest hair.

Wrong. And that’s okay.

The army may take amputees, blind people, deaf people, people with severe cerebral palsy, people too fat to run, people with multiple organ transplants and a poor outlook – but not an eager, healthy, though overweight, female at the age of 27. Needless to say, I was offended. I had actually paid a personal trainer good money back in Belgium to prepare me for the army. Instead, I spent my days after ulpan at home, looking for a job, and taking care of orphaned kittens. And a puppy who would change my view on Israeli society.

The guard at my local post office had always been a latent crush of mine. He was sassy, confident, and always sported a cheeky smirk. His light tan skin was perfectly smooth, his black hair dense and thick. He was a bit on the short side, but his charisma grew him by a foot. He embodied what I thought, back then, was the typical Israeli man. And one day, he left his post to say: “I like your puppy. Can I have him?”

Since then, I had to find new ways of blowing him off whenever I walked my puppy past the post office. Until one day, my landlord decided he would tolerate my dog no more and we clashed, Israeli style. Yelling, threats, strong language. Desperate to keep the apartment – I had just moved there and was all out of money – I could only do one thing to save my puppy: rehome him. I grabbed a bag for his stuff, wedged the dog under my other arm, and ran down to the post office.

“Hey, you!” I panted at the guard. “You still want my dog?”

His enthusiasm was dulled by perplexity. “Uh… yeah?”

“Here you go.”

We added each-other on Facebook so I could stay updated on my ex-dog’s antics, and I learned the young man’s name was about as Israeli as Alon or Liran. I’m not revealing his “real” name as I have given this man enough grief. I also learned that he was in a relationship with a woman one quarter of my size.

Yet, a month later “Liran” broke up with his girlfriend and invited me over for a one-night-stand, no strings attached: the man was sick of love and feelings. Foolish as I was, I agreed hoping to sway him and persuade him to develop feelings for me after all. After the first night, I was smitten. I’d learned that he had served in combat, was rather Zionist, and agreed with me that Arabs made crappy dates. He fully supported my decision to only date Jews now that I had returned to Israel.

After the second night, I was in love and when he returned to his ex a month later and hardly talked to me anymore, I was heartbroken. I spent six months thinking about him until I came up with the perfect scheme: if I wanted to get to know him and how to get back on his radar – he’d been single again in the meantime – I would have to befriend his ex and extract as much intel from her as possible. Two nights after first contacting her, I was back at his place. And curious as I am, I asked him about his ethnicity. He stiffened for a heartbeat, as if caught off guard, then mumbled, “Yemeni”. I thought his reaction was strange, but thought no more of it either since love makes you a fool, blind to any vices or secrets that may disturb your revery.

One fine evening, I was out with his ex – we’d become actual friends – and suddenly, while gossiping about “Liran”, she said, “But you do know he’s not Jewish, right?”. I stopped dead in my tracks a few steps behind her. “What?” I gasped. “Then what is he?”

Bedouin.

Also, Muslim.

Well, still Zionist.

And a sweetheart.

And a true lover of everything cute and fluffy.

And addicted to sushi.

With a great taste in music.

But Arab.

And a liar.

Also, his real name was a far cry from what everybody called him. He was more of a Mustafa than a Liran.

Basically, he had committed the crime of “rape by deception”, which consists of a person lying in order to obtain the other person’s consent. Had I been raped? Three times? And enjoyed it? And cried for the man? No, this did not feel like rape. But legally, it seemed to be.

At first, I decided not to reveal this knowledge to him. After all, he was still the same charming man – except, as far as he was concerned, he was still deliberately deceiving me. Did I still want to try and build a relationship based on my knowing that he knows he’s deceiving me into violating my own principles? At some point, we fought and I told him I knew – I did so in the ugliest ways, wishing the worst upon him and insulting him for all he was, treading well into racist territory.

And then I calmed down. Had a good think. And then I realized something that made my chest tighten and my eyes sting. A realization that filled me with deep shame and remorse.

It was absolutely not okay that this man lied to his dates about his identity. He had no way of knowing that their parents wouldn’t disown them, or worse, if they ever found out that their good Jewish daughters were dating an Arab. Lying to someone who cares about you, is rarely ever okay.

On the other hand, should I, as an Israeli Zionist, not be ashamed, and deeply so, that my people, including myself, led this charming, hardworking, Zionist, gentle man to believe that he had to lie about his very self? Is being Arab a crime? Is it something one should be ashamed of in a “democracy”, in the “Holy Land”? What kind of society do we live in, am I a part of, where a good person has to lie about their identity in order to be loved? He has no love for Islam, and even if he had – I have, in the meantime, met Jews who are a far bigger scourge on Israeli society than this Arab who raises puppies and takes care of his parents. Who forgives whatever hateful insults you throw his way, and who smiles through all hardship. This Arab, who works two jobs to support his girlfriend, her daughter, his parents, and his sheep, and who serves proudly in the reserve, makes a far better citizen than specific groups of Jews I shall not name.

And are he and I different? My mother is not Jewish, I never cared to convert. I’m a 30-year-old single who gets defensive and uncomfortable during dates when the question comes up: So your mom worked in Ramallah, as a Jew? No, she didn’t work there as a Jew. I’m a patrilineal mamzer, born out of wedlock to a Protestant Atheist mother. I am nothing, or at least nothing to this state where being a full Muslim or Bahai is still preferable to being half a Jew. I have found myself lying about this fact, so scared of losing a man I had begun to developed feelings for. Am I a rapist now? For being scared of admitting something I had never thought relevant, because I am looking for the same love, relationship, and happiness as all the “real” Jewish girls? And while all of the men I’ve met are too kind to say it, I’m sure that is why, in many cases, one date was all I got.

I’m a half-Jew, and I enjoyed my fling with that Arab. I’m not the only one in such a situation, neither is he.

Romeo & Juliet is happening all over this country minus the reconciliation part, because a Rabbinate thinks it gets to dictate to people not adhering to it, who they are and who they may love. And way too many people agree that what happens between two individuals of “hostile” sides, should concern the entire country. Meital, how can you date an Arab, Mahmoud, how can you date a Jew, Moshe, how can you date a half-Jew, Ruthie, how can you date a Gentile – you can’t, not without facing consequences love should never have to face. Does this truly feel right to anybody?

At least in Shakespeare’s tragedy, the pain endured by the love-driven Montague and the defiant Capulet led to reconciling the two feuding clans. Sadly in Israel such relationships only seem to inspire more hostility from their spectators, rather than point out the obvious: we are capable of unity. But we are even more capable of taking baseless offense in seeing it blossom. God forbid we’d all just allow ourselves to love and be loved.

Just an Arab.

23 Oct

My fellow Jewish Zionists will hate me for this, but I don’t believe in exclusionism or whatever you call it, when this country insists to be morally superior to the whole damn world.

I want to give an eyewitness example of how the ever-so-praised Israeli Jews do their part in keeping the Jewish-Arab chasm as deep as possible. It’s not just “settlers” who bully Arabs in news-worthy ways, it’s the whole system that does not honor its promise of racial and ethnic equality where it comes to things that have nothing to do with Jewish identity.

A few weeks ago, I had a guy over for the night. Woke up around 4, went to the living room. Even before falling asleep I had heard a girl screaming angrily at someone but couldn’t make out what, or in what language. Now it was still going on and I looked out the window to see what was happening. I found an Arab girl, not very religious from the looks of her outfit and hair, no older than perhaps 22, but more around 18, 19. 3 Arab guys the same age were with her. From what little Arabic I understood, she was angry at at least one of them, lots of “Achosharmuta” and something about mothers. At some point she shoved one of the guys who then grabbed her arm and pulled her into all 3 guys’ reach. She tore free and ran onto the road where a bus was pulling in. She begged the driver to let her in, but when he spotted the three other men, he decided he wanted nothing to do with this and drove off, almost hitting her.

The guy she had shoved, who seemed to be her main “opponent”, ran up to her, pulled her to her feet, punched her to the ground, and kicked her in the back.
At that point I shouted down at them that they need to weigh their actions with witnesses around. I was utterly ignored and the girl, being upset beyond coherent thought, lunged at the guy again, but only weakly lashing at him, not really dangerous in any way.
From just before I shouted at them, my date had joined me and while I was shouting and thinking about what chair to beat those guys up with, he grabbed me and said, “They’re just Arabs, don’t get yourself into trouble for those apes”. Ignored his remark and called the cops.

Now while the bus driver and my date were merely very damn disappointing (does it matter if they’re Arabs when 1 girl is attacked by 3 men?), the police really drained what little was left of my “Holy Land Yay”. Dispatcher asked, all guilty-like, “Are they Arabs?” and at first I thought she just wanted to know for identification purposes. Only later did I stop to think that “3 young men pouncing on 1 screaming girl” should be enough.
I understood why she’d asked that when the police came. They had sent 1 single young man to deal with this. Now the girl was screaming in Hebrew, and it turned out that one of those men had gotten her pregnant against her will (don’t know if it was rape or just irresponsible consensual sex), and in doing so, hurt her mother and her family honor. Judging by how upset she was about this, she must have been in real trouble or at least convinced that she was. The thing is, you don’t send a man to deal with these issues, you send along a woman, ideally an Arab woman who knows about Arab family values and understands why this girl was so distraught. In the end nobody was arrested and my neighbor, as much as I hate that ars for many valid reasons, walked her to safety.

So basically, Arabs here tend to be what African Americans are in the States. Only worth police attention when they (seem to) endanger white people, or here, Jews. Otherwise, send way to few cops way too late and have them do way too little because hey, it’s just Arabs. I don’t care how crazy that girl went on those guys and that she made too little attempts to walk away (when she did, they didn’t let her), they were three men ganging up on a pregnant girl. And the cops took their jolly time to send ONE utterly useless guy.

It’s no wonder Arabs are less than appreciative of their Jewish co-citizens. We desperately squeal Hasbarah all over the Internet and beyond and act all inclusive and accepting and make it all seem like the Arabs’ fault, but when you call the cops on 3 guys beating up 1 girl, ethnicity should not matter and all of Israel’s Hasbararians should be ashamed of this. Jews are doing their share to keep the hate flowing just as much as Arabs are. And it’s bad enough individuals are doing it, but police???