This insider's report will very likely alter the images you've had of Israel and raise many more questions.


The State Of Mind

I...took [the] train homewards, to Jaffa. The train carried a few Africans, probably illegal immigrants judging by their shy looks. A Romanian building team was gulping beer and burping loudly. They were imported from their impoverished East European land to build the houses for immigrants, as the Jews do not want to be employed in construction in Israel as well as in California. A Jewish Israeli lawyer in black yarmulke leafed papers in his semi-opened briefcase. A blond and armed Israeli soldier talked Ukrainian with its fricative h's to his corpulent girlfriend. He extolled his own heroic fight against [the} multitude of Arab terrorists under her admiring eyes. A group of Moroccans discussed the closure of Acre steel plant and their slim chances to find another work. The crisis is deepening, one of them said, it is as bad as in 1966.

The train rode through Haifa, and I thought of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Americans, Jews and Christian Zionists, who lobby, pray, support and pay - no, not for the Jewish state built on the ruins of Palestine. It would be bad enough; but reality is worse. I thought of millions of Palestinians, rotting in refugee camps and jails, dispossessed, expelled - not by the monster of evil occupation and land grabbing, but by something worse - by a ghost.

The Jewish state is a virtual state that quickly loses all remaining connection to reality. This ghost of a state kills people and collects money in America; it continues some nefarious existence, like the legal term, "estate of the deceased". Its fields are worked by imported guest workers, guarded by imported Russians and Ethiopians, explained by Israeli professors teaching forever in American universities and by brave generals on the lookout for a big shake. The unemployment grows daily, vital services are on strike; the tourist industry collapsed, hotels are boarded up and other branches of national economy are close to collapse. Israelis buy flats in Florida and Prague, while houses in Israel could not be sold. Sharon's desire to punish Palestinians was similar to punishing one's own left hand: Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined and integrated, and this separation kills the economy of both.

From far away America, Israel looks like a giant, a nuclear state, a great friend of the United States, a Jewish state that is a source of pride for American Jews. A visitor leaves our shores with a strong feeling of our identity and prosperity. Only we, permanent residents, know that it is a cardboard sham. Israel is collapsing, as its active citizens emigrate in despair, while generals complete the destruction of the country. A cruel fate befalls the native Palestinians: a ghost kills them, a spiritless body walking in Zombie-like trance the corridors of the Congress and the deserts of [the] Middle East.

For the sake of this spectre, important American Jews squeeze every penny from their employees and countrymen, cut down on pensions to old and assistance for children, reduce the health and education budget, dry up help to Africa and Latin America, build improbable coalitions with notorious racists of Pat Robertson's kind, demand destruction of Iraq, bless [the] bombing of Afghani refugees, keep Afro-Americans in their ghettos, undermine their host society, making enemies to themselves and to America. These deeds are vile enough, but they are useless as well. [The] Zionist experiment practically collapsed. It can run for many years to come on [a] life-supporting machine, as a brain-dead vegetable. It can kill people, maybe even start [a] world war. It cannot become alive.

The Jewish state of Israel is a state of mind; it is but a projection of the American Jewish mind. Worries and problems it articulates are American Jewish problems. For Israeli "Jews", there is no need of segregation, of war, of subjugation of natives. We eat no bagels with lox, speak no Yiddish, read no Saul Bellow or Sholom Aleichem, and avoid synagogues. We prefer Arab food and Greek music. My neighbourhood has seven pork butchers to a kosher one. Forty per cent of Tel Aviv weddings are done outside [the] Jewish framework: young Israelis prefer to go to Cyprus to get married, just to avoid contact with Rabbis. Tel Aviv is the gays' capital of [the] Middle East, though according to Jewish law, gays should be exterminated. If American Jews would not bribe Israelis on a large scale, we would just forget about the Diaspora and dissolve into the hospitable Middle East. If they continue to bankroll us, we shall oblige them with a small show of Jewishness.

We are master-sellers of illusion, and as long as there are buyers, we shall provide. In 1946, a group of dedicated men from all over the world came to Palestine under the aegis of the UN. They were sent to prepare the ground for [the] partition of the land. Among other places, they came to the southernmost kibbutz Revivim in the arid Negev, and came across a wonderful flowerbed with roses, anemones, and violets in front of the kibbutz office. In their report, the members of the delegation expressed their amazement and stated, "Jews make the desert bloom, let them have Negev".

As they left, the kibbutz youngsters went out and pulled the flowers out of [the] sand: they [had] bought fresh flowers [the] same morning on the Jaffa market and [had] planted them as props for the duration of the visit. This small outlay transferred Negev with its two hundred thousand Palestinians to the Jewish state. [The] Majority of them were expelled across the newly drawn border, to the camps of Gaza or Jordan. It was cruel and useless: even now, fifty years later, Negev south of Beersheba has [a] smaller population than in 1948.

In order to populate depopulated lands, Mossad broke and terrorised [the] Jewish communities of North Africa. The Jews were brought in, sprayed with DDT lice-killer and placed into refugee camps that soon became towns of Netivot, Dimona, Yerucham. They are still there, in the towns of unemployment and misery, drawing social benefits and probably disliking Ashkenazi Jews as much as anybody could. Not in vain, they write "Ashkenazim to Auschwitz" on the walls of their towns.

A few weeks before the Intifadah, Israeli establishment imprisoned [a] hugely popular leader of Oriental Jews, Rabbi Arie Deri. Tens of thousands of Moroccans gathered at the gates of the jail demanding his release. Intifada saved the skins of Ashkenazi Jews from the civil war, but not forever.

Thus the conjuring tricks of Revivim, conquest of Negev, expulsion of Palestinians, destruction of Moroccan Jewish community succeeded separately and failed altogether. Zionist leaders dreamed to make Palestine as Jewish as England is English. They failed. Palestine is Jewish as Jamaica is English.

The land of Palestine is being ruined now, in front of our eyes. Its beautiful old villages are bombed to oblivion; churches are emptied of their flock; olives are uprooted. Such ruin did not befall the land since the Assyrian invasion 2700 years ago. Nothing could comfort us in [the] face of this great destruction, and certainly [the] people connected to it - whether Israeli killers or their American Jewish supporters - will be damned forever.

Still, a wry irony of history will remain as a footnote in the books of [the] future: the Jewish leadership committed these crimes in vain, and received no profit out of it. Even if the last Palestinian would be crucified on the hill of Golgotha, even that would not bring to life the virtual Jewish state of Israel.

The Real Israel and Its People
By Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer and journalist living in Jaffa. His other articles could be found on his site, This article can be freely transmitted and published in electronic media; hard copy publications must ask for permission at

Posted on the Independent Newswire on 20 December 2001

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