• September 9, 2008

From Skokie to Um-el-Fahm

From Skokie to Um-el-Fahm

When members of the National Socialist Party of America (the Nazi Party) declared their intention to march through the predominantly-Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie in 1977, Jewish groups vociferously denounced the “attempted re-enactment of the Nazi nightmare.”


And while the American Nazis claimed the right of free speech in accordance with the First Amendment, the Jews and their supporters claimed that their right to live without intimidation and harassment did override the Nazis’ right to freedom of speech and expression.


Eventually, after exhaustive legal actions by both sides, the Nazis were allowed to parade in Skokie.


Ironically, the American Nazi group never did march in Skokie as its leader, Frank Collin, himself the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, decided at the last moment that the court verdict was a big victory for freedom of speech and that this was good enough for the group.


The reason I am  invoking this story, which took place 35 years ago, is because  the government of Israel is finding itself today  in the shoes of the American Nazi group, while the Arabs of Israel are forced to play the role of the people of Skokie.


Last week, the Israeli High Court decided to allow the  followers of the infamous racist Rabbi Meir Kahana, to march through the Arab town of Um-el-Fahm in northern Israel.


The Kahana disciples argued through their lawyer that they were only exercising their freedom of speech and expression.


The truth, however, is that freedom of speech and expression is the last thing these people would value, especially when their political opponents, Arab or Jewish,  are involved.


Indeed, these Judeo-Nazi thugs  openly teach that basic human rights, including the right to life, don’t apply to non-Jews in general and Arabs in particular.


Kahana himself back in the mid 1970s wrote a book entitled “They Must Go” in which he urged the Israeli state to ethnically cleanse all non-Jews from Israel-Palestine.


To be sure, the racists will not be marching in Um-el-Fahm in order to assert their right to freedom of expression. It would be more than naïve to think that this is  their real  purpose.


The main goal behind their planned  provocative parade is to assert their genocidal ideology and shout “Mawet le Arabim” (death to the Arabs) and “Arabs out of Israel.”


This is very much similar to  the  anti-Jewish behavior by the Nazi youth groups  in Germany throughout the 1930s. We  all know the rest of the story.


The Kahana group may look small in terms of sheer  numbers and political representation. However,  it is very clear that the group enjoys a lot  of backing by powerful political parties such as the Likud, National Union, MIFDAL, Shas as well as the powerful Jewish settler lobby. Moreover, there is conspicuous flaccidity displayed by the Israeli occupation army toward this terrorist group.


Furthermore, it is also well known that the group, which had produced Baruch Goldstein, the American-Jewish physician who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslim worshipers while praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, is backed by powerful rabbinic circles , especially from the Merkaz Harav Talmudic college in West Jerusalem which teaches the doctrine that non-Jews living under Halacha or the Jewish law must be enslaved as water carriers or wood-hewers, or expelled or exterminated.


The Israeli court decision to allow these  racist thugs to march through Um-el-Fahm coincided with the screening in Israel  last week of a blatantly anti-Islam film produced by a notorious Dutch Islamophobe who had called for banning Islam from the Netherlands.


On Wednesday, 3 September, the Nazi-minded Israeli parliamentarian Aryeh Eldad, who sponsored the screening of the hateful film, said he would seek to form an international parliamentary front with European colleagues against Muslim and Arabs.


This is the same Jewish lawmaker who a few years ago referred to Jews as “human beings” and to non-Jews as “non-human beings.” According to the Israeli press,  when the Israeli army and border police forcibly vacated Jewish settlers from the small settler outpost of Ammona in the West Bank a few years ago, Eldad castigated the police for treating “human beings” (the settlers) the way Arabs were being treated.


I am not really presenting these facts in order to incite hatred against Jews or Judaism. I know true Judaism is not like this. I also know that probably most Jews are reasonable people who reject racism.


 After all, Jews had been premier victims of  the most virulent form of racism, and it is only logical that they should  adopt an uncompromising stand against it.


However, it is also important to expose these hypocritical and morally duplicitous Jews who  would react vociferously to racism when the victims are Jews but remain silent, or even be  enthusiastically supportive, when the perpetrators happen to be Jews or Israelis.


A few years ago, when a Russian court decided to ban Shulhan Aruch, a summarized Talmudic text, Jews around the world cried out against the ugly face of Russian anti-Semitism. Eventually, the Russian court reconsidered its verdict.


However, today in Israel, we see that the entire Israeli state, including the government, the intelligentsia, the media as well as the religious establishment,  is  totally silent as Islam, the religion of nearly one fourth of Israel’s citizens, is openly vilified by a member of the Israeli parliament, in cooperation of a later-day European disciple of Adolph Hitler.


Moreover, one is  really prompted to  ask where are the voices that are being raised  in Israel and among Jews worldwide against allowing the thugs of Kahana to march through Um-el-Fahm?  Have you all forgotten Skokie?


We know and you know that this  is not an issue of freedom of speech. This is an issue of a manifestly fascist group inciting against and trying to delegitimize  the very existence of 1.5 million Israeli citizens and another 3.5 million Palestinians living under a nefarious  military occupation across the Green Line.


In short, Jews, like the rest of humanity, are expected to be morally consistent.


This means they must speak up against racism, not only when Jews are victims, but also when Jews happen to be perpetrators as well.