Steve ApfelThe writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist and commentator on ‘enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His books are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo: The whys and wherefores of Israel’s critics, 2012; War by other means: Israel and its detractors, Contributor. Israel Affairs, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication in 2015); Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress.). Webpage: http://sbpra.com/SteveApfel
Contrary to that old worn out wisdom, history does not repeat itself but describes patterns. One would be hard put to find clearer patterns than the pair which history, uneven-handedly, has inscribed for civil rights. One vein is universal and progressive, the other narrow and constrictive.
Thus History, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to split off the civil rights fate of the ‘People of Israel.’ However well known, the fateful pattern is worth recalling at the present juncture of that people, via the effective decrees of epochal powers.
The Greeks and Romans decreed: “You have no right to live among us as Jews.”
The Church decreed: “You have no right to live among us.”
Hitler decreed: “You have no right to live.”
So we arrive at the ascending power of our own epoch: the anti -Zionist power, an axis of two religions allied with a secular ideology. Anti-Zionism has decreed what rights for the people of Israel? Wait for the shock; no more than the rights Hitler for the final solution decreed. The anti-Zionist, like Hitler, tells Jews: ‘You have no right to live.’
It may be difficult not to smile when thinking of Al Qaeda, Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran and so forth – the existential threats in the parlance of Israeli leaders. But I don’t mean those anti-Zionists. Or one might think of the fiery placards in London, Durban or Tahir Square: ‘Kill the Zionists;’ ‘If Hitler was around.. ’ and have a chuckle or shrug them off.
But I have not the radical hotheads in mind. Think of the BBC; think of The Independent and the Guardian; think of CNN and the UN General Assembly; think of the Human Rights Council; think of the European Parliament and Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; think of the BDS movement; and yes—think of some Israeli NGOs and you will know from whence that decree issues: ‘You have no right to live.’
Googling will turn up nothing. No statements or reports contain the dreaded sentence. Anti-Zionists, the Western chapter definitely, never pronounce or intimate ‘No right to live.’ Then where to look? Look not for the meaning of words, but into what words mean.
The demands of pro-boycotters for instance; what do they mean for Israel? Or UN resolutions? And what are the implications of human right standards set for Israel, and Israel alone, by bodies such as the European parliament and the Goldstone Report? Wording may be tempered, demands may look reasonable, standards applied civilised, allowances moderate, quoted laws fair and objective, human rights principles deservedly strict. But follow all through and they lead implacably – resolutely – to that decree on the people of Israel: ‘You have no right to live.’
Unspoken but real, the anti-Zionist decree comes from all quarters – ‘moderate’ to radical. For an op-ed it’s possible to treat no more than one anti-Zionist grouping. Let it be international lawyers, real or ‘the mob,’ groups which draw breath when Israel conducts military operations.
Even a cursory read through one of many UN reports on Israel’s military conduct, be it in Gaza or the West Bank or Lebanon, plucks the oddest note. Seemingly bizarre standards of law and human rights are set for Israel to meet. The authors allow Israel to strike Palestinian or Arab attackers, but only with iron-clad provisos: military action must not involve Palestinians being killed or injured, or property being damaged. If any of the above happens lawyers or lawfarers cry foul. They level war crime allegations. The demand for waging war safely, so that that no one gets hurt and nothing gets damaged, is clamped on no military besides that of Israel’s.
If a little rich and fanciful to stomach then let Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer, clarify what is going down.
“But, if none of these defences is permissible, what's left? Ah, but that's the point. Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defence. ..The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, six million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.”
Now the iron clamping makes sense. The bizarre standards set for Israel, and no other country, are far from naive. They’re clever, frighteningly clever, especially when hooked up with a parallel method for turning Israel into a pariah state. Once it becomes that, attacks from Gaza or the West Bank or Lebanon would, ipso facto, be legitimized. And the circle will close when the rogue retaliates, and on standby the court of public opinion will cry: Disproportionate! War Crime!
To bubble wrap the Hitlerite decree on a people with no right to live, consider the all-too prescient Jean-Paul Sartre and his timeless model. “The anti-Semite has …murderous instincts, but has found a means of sating them ... Those thunderous diatribes he hurls at the ‘Yids’ are really capital executions ... He is a murderer who represses and censures his tendency to murder without being able to hold it back, yet who dares to kill only in effigy.”
Now we know what anti-Zionists have in mind when they iron clamp Israel’s military operations. The idea is to soften up and prepare the people of Israel for the final solution. And along with it will go that genocidal decree: ‘No right to live’ – perhaps aloud this time.