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Translated for IAM from German by Gudrun Eussner, www.eussner.net
Yossi Schwartz: Could all be different? Discussion
6. November 2009
Could all be different? Some Remarks concerning Zionism, Colonialism, and Apartheid
Video Two. Discussion.
Question 1: When has it started to become evident, that the Zionist project is not conceivable with the Palestinians?
Ref. book by Avraham Burg: Defeat Hitler. "Land without people".
Answer: It is interesting or appalling to see, how in the beginning lot of groups of Jews in Palestine, intellectuals and politicians, up to the late 30ties accepted the multinational situation. Several reasons, some ideologically, some pragmatically. German-Jewish group Brit Shalom http://www.britshalom.org/ is mentioned by everyone, they were half ideologists, half pragmatists, they were afraid of Zionist impertinence.Many groups welcomed the mulinational situation. First Zionist groups saw themselves as colonialists, but when in Palestine, the same groups saw themselves as anti-colonialists, like the Indians, anti-colonialists first against the Ottomans, then against the British Mandate. They were extreme- leftists, workers, they called for universalistic ideas.
From extreme right and extreme left, there were groups who wanted to accept the multinational situation, the universal solution. 1977 most of the Jews in Israel were just born others just immigrated, they did not know any other alternative. They went for Ben Gurion.
What happened when the soldiers came home after 1948? Some of them became writers, very popular ones. They have documented the situation as they have lived it. At that time there was no debate about destroyed Palestinian villages, about the Palestinian problem, they told about it. But in 1978 an Israeli film director, Ram Levi, made a movie about it, and all of Israel was blaming him, how he could do it, a politician even said, Goebbles could not have done it. When the author S. Yizhar has written it, in 1950, it was no problem. Those who complained in 1978, none of them was there, they were educated in Zionist propaganda. (6:30) The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for pragmatic reasons during the talks among Israel and Arab states about reparations developed a new narrative, and this narrative became part of the Israeli existence. (6:50) If I went to an Israeli school today telling the pupils how it really was, they would answer: "Than we have no right to exist any more."
Question 2: The Zionist propaganda seems to be efficient. For example all the flags. Wherever the Israeli flags are in Israel and the occupied territories, there is a claim of ownership. I have the impression, that this now are the official policies of Israel, the colonisation policies. The Palestinians in Israel of whom Israel can't get rid of are not taken into consideration, as Israel is naming herself as a Jewish state, instead it is covered up. (8:00) And now we are having a new coalition government in Germany and in the Coalition Treaty Israel is referred to as a Jewish state, instead of a democratic state with Jews as majority as it would correspond to reality. First question: Would you agree that this Zionistic exaggeration is official policy? Second question: There is a CIA study that is predicting the implusion of Israel in the next 20 to 25 years, she will because of her own internal contradictions loose her character. Jewish Israelis will emigrate to the USA and Russia, and into this vacuum the Palestinians will step. A One State solution will happen.
(9:25) Answering each of these questions is very complicated. Israel's Zionist left, like Shimon Peres is using racist ethnic rhetoric. We are in a paradoxical situation today, having an extreme right-wing government and the society has become more right-wing today. But my concern today is not as much the government but the Israeli youth. An Israeli general asked: What do you want from us? The Israeli education system is sending us 1000 faschists per year. My kids, 18 and 20 years old, I am very proud that they did not join the military. They were the only ones from their class. From this one can predict that the situation in 20 years will be worse. The destruction of the Israeli society from inside in general is not as fast as one may think. The last 30 years was spoken about it once and again. The question is, what will happen to the absurd situation of the millions of Palestinians without civil and human rights. Two States solution necessary. Israel would never have had the opportunity of 40 years of occupation without the support of USA and Europe. All the money from Europe has gone to Israel only. Israel is privileged.
Question 3: not audible.
(17:35) American and European interests are concerned, in our days also the new anti-Islamic sentiments are concerned. Israel is using this new atmosphere of the world. They reconstruct again and again what Israel has destroyed, delivers the money to Israel and the occupied territories. Europeans and Americans are helping to continue Israeli occupation daily. What would happen in Gaza without American and European food? European support makes the Israeli occupation possible. A lot of cynical and economic elements in this. the only possibility is a civil pressure on the governments. (20:00) Everybody knows that the sentiment of European governments is pro-Israeli, the sensibility in the streets is different. The question is whether it will be possible to mobilize this sensibility for pressure on the governments.
Question 4: Relation between Israel and Turkey concerning Iran? Was there a possibility in the 60ties and 70ties for Israel to have an enlightened colonialism, better and more professional, integrating the Palestinians into the state?
(20:05) Two technical problems for Israel attacking Iran. First the target is far away, further than the target in Iraq, I think 1984 (it was 1981, before Lebanon - G.E), second how many bombs to be dropped to destroy the Iranian industry totally, and whether it will be possible at all. Israel has a strategical pact with Turkey. Israel has used Turkish territory to attack the Syrian atomic plant. No other possibilities, submarines not possible. The scenario would be different if Iran was attacking Israel.
Ben Gurion have ordered 1949: from now on, we all speak Hebrew, there is one school system, all have to join the military service. This would have been the typical kind of Middle European nationalism. The reason for not managing it this way was, that he did not want to found a state including the Arab minority. Until today Israel in the occupied territories is implementing Ottoman and British law.
Gudrun Eussner, December 27, 2009
Yossi Schwartz Lectured on 06 November 2009 in Berlin
A talk with Yossi Schwartz, professor of history at the Tel Aviv University and others, Chairman of the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Jerusalem and Hamoked, Center for the Defense of the Individual. "Can everything be different? Some Comments about Zionism, Colonialism and Apartheid", organized by BAOBAB Info Shop One World.
To read IAM's previous posting on Yossi Schwartz go to: