6 Apr 2009

A Sad Story Of Mutual Exploitation

By Jeff Halper
The Jewish Diaspora uses the Israeli conflict to keep their community together, argues Israeli professor Jeff Halper. And Israel uses the Diaspora to defend its indefensible policies
Visiting Israeli professor Jeff Halper conducted a speaking tour of Australia in March. His tour attracted strong criticism from some within the local Jewish community, with the Australian Jewish News describing him as a "hardline detractor of Israel" and refusing to run advertisements of his tour, and one Sydney synagogue withdrawing its invitation for him to speak. Here Halper responds to his critics.

The uproar in the organised Jewish community over the prospect of my speaking in Australia is truly startling to an Israeli like me.

Granted, I am very critical of Israel's policies of occupation and doubt whether a two-state solution is still possible given the extent of Israel's settlements, but this hardly warrants the kind of demonisation I received in the pages of the Australian Jewish News. Opinions similar to mine are readily available in the mainstream Israeli media. Indeed, I myself write frequently for the Israeli press and appear regularly on Israeli TV and radio.

Why, then, the hysteria? Why was I banned from Temple Emmanuel in Sydney, a self-proclaimed "progressive" synagogue? Why did I, an Israeli, have to address the Jewish community from a church? Why was I invited to speak in every university in eastern Australia yet, at Monash University, I was forced to hold a secret meeting with Jewish staff in a darkened room far from the halls of intellectual discourse? Why, when the "leaders" of the Jewish community were excoriating me and my positions, did the Israelis who attended my talks express such appreciation that "real" Israeli views were finally getting aired in Australia, even if they did not all agree with me?

Given the support for my right to speak that was evident in many of the letters published in the AJN, this all raises disturbing questions over the right of Australian Jews to hear divergent views on Israel's conflict with the Palestinians held by Israelis themselves.

It raises an even deeper issue, however. What should be the relationship of Diaspora Jewry to Israel? Whatever threat I represented to the organised Jewish community of Australia had less to do with Israel, I suspect, than with some damage I might to do to the idealised "Leon Uris" image of Israel that they hold onto so dearly. This might seem like a strange thing to say, but I do not believe that those in the Diaspora have internalised the fact that Israel is a foreign country that is as far from their idealised version of it as Australia is far from its image as kangaroo-land.

Countries change, they evolve. What would Australia's European founders think — even those who until very recently pursued a "white Australia" policy — if they were to see the multicultural country you have become? Well, almost 30 per cent of Israeli citizens are not Jews; we may very well have permanently incorporated another four million Palestinians — the residents of the Occupied Territories — into our country; and, to top it off, it's clear by now that the vast majority of the world's Jews are not going to emigrate to Israel. Those facts, plus the urgent need for Israel to make peace with its neighbours, mean something. They mean that Israel must change in ways Ben Gurion, Leon Uris and Mark Leibler never envisioned — even if that's hard for the Jewish Diaspora to accept.

Yet I see this as a positive thing, a sign of a healthy country coming to grips with reality, some of it of its own creation, even if it means that Israel will evolve from a Jewish state into a state of all its citizens — a bi-national or democratic state. Rather than "eliminating" Israel, this challenge is in fact a natural and probably inevitable development. It will not be easy, but if Australia can become multicultural, so can we.

But that's our problem as Israelis. So what's the Jewish Diaspora's problem? Why should discussing such important issues for Israel be the cause of such distress for them? Because, I venture to say, they have a stake in preserving Israel's idealised image. In my view, Israel is being used as the lynchpin of their ethnic identity in Australia; mobilising around a beleaguered Israel is essential for keeping their kids Jewish.

I would even go so far as to accuse them of needing an Israel in conflict, which is why they seem so threatened by an Israel at peace, why they deny that peace is even possible, why a peaceful Israel that is neither threatened nor "Jewish" cannot fulfill the role they have cast for it, and thus why they characterise my message as "vile lies".

This, to be honest, is the threat I represent. Only this can explain why rabbis, community "leaders" and Jewish professors choose to meet me secretly rather than have me, a critical Israeli, in their synagogues or classrooms.

This is all understandable. The Jewish Diaspora does need a lynchpin if they are to preserve their identity as a prosperous community in a tolerant multicultural society. I would just question whether the real country of Israel can fulfill that role, or even if it's fair to Israel to expect it to.

We are different peoples. Israel can no more define Diaspora Jewish life than they can define Israel. Rather than knee-jerk defense of an imaginary place, they need to develop a respect for Israel and Israeli voices, a respect that will come only when they start regarding Israel as a real country. And they have to get a life of their own. They have to develop alternative Diaspora Jewish cultures and identities. Ironically, after all I have said, the Israeli Government will resist that, for it uses them as agents to support its policies, often extreme right-wing and militaristic policies that contradict the Jewish Diaspora's very values of cultural pluralism and human rights. Remember: Israel does what it does in the name of the world's Jews. Unless they take an independent position, they are complicit.

What befell me in Australia is just a tiny piece of a sad story of mutual exploitation: the Jewish Diaspora using Israel to keep their community together; and Israel using them to defend its indefensible policies.

Perhaps something good can emerge from all this: robust discussion on the nature of Israeli-Diaspora relations. I'm going home to Jerusalem. The Australian Jewish community needs to let Israel go and get a (Jewish) life.

Read our interview with Jeff Halper here.

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Posted Monday, April 6, 2009 - 23:11

The problem with the Israel/Palestine issue isn't helped one bit by the stifling of open discussion.

This is highlighted by the other recently shut down topic on this site where the issue of road access was bounced back and forward without resolution.

Most Westerners including Australians that debate on the issue of Israel aren't even aware that when they hear the the term "Israeli settlers", it's in reference to app. 250,000 Israeli squatters/settlers in Palestine Proper ie outside the world and UN recognised borders of Israel.
These 'settlements' number over 200, and with the exception of a handful, are reserved exclusively for Jewish Israeli inhabitants, and make a map of Palestine resemble Swiss Cheese.
Them machine gun toting 'settlers' occupy positions with high vantage points and their planing layout has certainly made them ideal military outposts for an expansionist regime.

Anthony Lowenstien really stuffed up on this one, and that's why he can so easily be ridiculed by the anti-anti-Israel mob here.

The roads in question which connect these settlements, further cutting up the map of Swiss Cheese, are not exclusively for Jews, as Lowenstein claims.
The roads in question are exclusively for Israelis, and their employees.
But bearing in mind that the 'settlements' in West Bank are not just mainly but almost exclusively inhabited by Jews, who also happen to boycott Palestinians from employment, it's easy to see why some people might mistakenly believe that these roads are exclusively for Jews.
The anti-Lowenstein mob are 100% right; witnesses have observed some non Jews on these roads too. ;-)

Iwonder if any of the informed Zionist mob here knew that.
It seems that we at least can't expect to be given any intellectual quarter.

It sure must be tough attempting to negotiate with people that walk around with machine guns, and believe in a divine right to usurp another people's land even though they exclaim a desire for brotherhood as all the while they dream for a Eretz Yisrael (Greater Israel) as represented by the lines above and below the Israeli flag.
From the Nile to The Euphrates (Genesis 15:18) (Deuteronomy 11:24)

And the whole issue is a holy cow. No wonder we can't get anywhere.... shhhh!

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 07:43

it's even tougher negotiating with a people that walk around with c4 strapped to their chests and believe in a divine right to kill all infidels!

phoneyid - what planet do you live on?

i guess israel is to blame for 11/9, bali and london too?

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 11:07

Well said, Jeff Halper, a good addition to the increasing discussion on the Jewish reality. Without the 'myths' and 'traditions', sometimes real, mostly a pure manufacture for purposes ulterior, the israeli occupation of Palestine some 60 years ago, and their desire to become a 'pure' Jewish Religious nation, could never have happened, and could not have endured. Without the, as you say' Leon Uris' effect, the USA Zionist lobbies could not have obtained and held their sway over all of US politics, and to this day, as in Australia, control so much of process, dialogue and information, and keep the Americans so totally, mindlessly, unreasonably tied to and supportive of israeli Zionist atrocities.

I, not a Jew, was a 'victim' of the myth of the wonderful Jewish pioneers, making a life for themselves under extreme circumstances in kibbutzes always under fire from the 'enemy', 'the bloody Arabs'. It was all so romantic seeming! I was not made aware back then that these 'bloody Arabs' had been forced from their own lands by this Invader, their homes burned or bulldozed, all records of their ownership destroyed, their towns and villages totally wiped from the Earth, and that the reason why they were fighting back was that they were like anyone who has been displaced and occupied by a murderous reqime (called Terrorists back then, mind you, by the Poms), rejecting what had happened to them.

I am not going to attack Antony Lowenstein because he may or may not have got one point wrong, He and Jeff Halpin and some others are showing incredible bravery in coming out against the powerful Zionist lobbies and trying to get, in Australia and other places in the world, at least as much truthful discussion as indeed you can read in some of the israeli press. How is it that you can read of IDF atrocities in the israeli Haaretz newspaper, and some others, but we in Australia are not allowed to discuss this matter, or any matter pertaining to this brutal, genocidal occupation, at all; or certainly under continuing vituperative assault? But other than that, I agree with the input of 'phoneyid'.

I hear Obama continuing to bleat that they must have a two-state solution to the Palestine/israeli problem, along with H.Clinton (owned and operated by the AIPAC Lobby), his Sect. of State. he is wrong! There is no chance whatsoever for any 'two-state solution', because the israelis have made damned sure of this by all their actions over the past many years (they most certainly do not want ANY solution that includes ANY Palestinians), and they and the Yanks propping up a weak, controllable puppet like Abbas will not alter this fact one little bit. The ONLY viable solution, and hinted at above, is that eventually Palestine will become a Nation of All the Jews, Christians, Muslims etc. as a fully democratic county, with full citizen rights to all citizens, no matter their religion or origin.
As I have said before, this may necessitate quite a number of people, including around 100,000 Russian Jewish Mafia members (the Lieberman party) and many other Religious Fundamentalists moving on to somewhere else.

I doubt that any of these people can ever accept any democracy, they have too much commitment to their Religious and Criminal belief systems, which do not allow for any contradiction.
One has to wonder if any Criminal charges indicated by the israeli Police against Lieberman will get past the Govt. Attorney General or law Officer, this man having such power in the Likud Coalition. Is he above the Law? Will be interesting to watch. But at least it indicates that there are some in the israeli corridors of power who have some semblance of moral authority.

Other than their atrocities in Palestine, what is real is that now, israel is one of the most criminal places on Earth, exporting Arms and munitions (both supplied from America and made in israel) to all places on the globe, and the jewish israeli Mafia being renowned as utterly ruthless and all pervading where illegal money can be made. israel has lost all moral authority as a state (which I do not accept as such) and it is about time that it's supporters here and in the USA in particular, woke to this fact, and acted accordingly.

Professor Halpin, Antony Lowenstein and a lot of other Jews with a moral sense, and a good understanding of reality, are doing their best for their own people, it is just up to those people to realise this, and stop the always attempted censorship of their views. More strength to them!


Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 15:21

Let's get some perspective here. There are only 120,000 "jews" in Australia yet they shriek and scream at us so loudly we all go deaf.

It is not brave to stand against this tiny community of zealots who are about 10% of the 120,000.

I was one of the first to yell loud and long about the brutality of our own concentration camps, I got thousands of death threats from fellow Australians for daring to suggest the Bakhtiyari kids were just kids and Afghan kids at that.

I was abused, sworn at, got death threats and so on and then I discovered a note in Senate estimates that implied we had locked up at least 33 Australians and went exploring.

Out of that exploration Vivien Alvarez Solon was found to have been deported and dumped in the Philipinnes in the most brutal of circumstances, that there were in fact over 240 such cases and that some had been locked up over and over again after the DIMA mob knew they were Australians.

I helped to expose the deportation of Australian residents in the hundreds, and so on.

I and a few thousand others were fighting against a brutal and powerful liberal government, Howard and Ruddock were torturing children by policy and they got away with it for years.

Jeff is brave in Israel, but the media in Israel is far better than ours. Ours won't even bother to point out that it is a RIGHT in Australian law to arrive without a visa and ask for refugee protection. They prefer to whine about non-existent people smugglers and to keep demonising the refugees by implication.

Antony is not brave in Australia, he only has a handful of zealots and extremists to fight against and he is not in any danger of being harmed.

Halper and 350,000 other US citizens though could pack up tomorrow and go home to the US and stop squatting in Palestine.

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 15:23

Haaretz today is reporting that the IDF are war gaming attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza strip again.

Peace? Huh.

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 15:50

Shouldn't the state of Israel have been established by partitioning those European countries that persecuted the Jews the most after World War 2 than putting it in the Middle East? Wouldn't this have been more fair?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. jnightin
Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 16:36

Oh dear, jewboy, I guess that's why you live here and not in Israel, or perhaps you do live there. But you don't have to.

The Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank have nowhere to go, and their land is continually being stolen by jewish settlers. Some few token closures of settlements have taken place, but the new Israeli govt is not going to do that again.

What would you do if your house, your farm, your livlihood, was stolen by migrants backed by a powerful military, leaving you cooped into smaller spaces, cut off from your villages, markets, schools, hospitals, by high walls of wire and concrete? I think a belt of c4 might spring to mind as a way of ending anger, desolation and deep depression.

If Israel allows their immigrants and citizens settle in Palestine by stealing land, and making life unsupportable for Palestinians, isn't suicide/murder an expected outcome? We should just be surprised that there isn't more of it.

As Halper points out, it is poor policy that causes the continuing disaster. It will change, eventually, but not yet. And that is extremely unfortunate for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 19:55


nowhere to go? and why not? why don't their brethren take them in? i think we have witnessed just how the egyptians, jordanians and lebanese feel about their displaced cousins.

when were their houses, farms and livelihoods stolen? in 1948 according to international law or in '56, '67 or '73 when israel was attacked from all sides? but i guess you're right, killing and violence is the only language they understand.

the fact that you think that killing is an acceptable solution is worrying but at least the readers understand you and your views a little better.

you just don't get it!

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 20:40

No jewboy you don't get it. Palestine is their land, not yours.

Got that. Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.

European jews have no right to it and never did.

As they are illegal migrants they can simply pack up and go home.

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 20:50

hey maryj

just a quick question considering that you're the authority around here...where do jews originate from? sydney? you should open an encyclopaedia sometime!

illegal immigrants? is that what you're calling UN declarations? i guess you're an illegal immigrant is australia too? maybe you should pack up and go home!

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 22:09

Crikey, the meshugganahs are out in force tonight.

Newsflash, not all Jews are rocket scientists!
The diaspora is for the Jews who can't stand the heat.
Israel is for the Jews who can't stand the hypocrasy and bullsh*t.

Now, whetre do you really think the poor old Palestinians would be if it were'nt for the Jewish Israelis.

They would have evaporated long ago, between the Egyptian and Jordanian onslaught.
Maybe the Lebanese and Syrians could have divided up the Golan and northern Kineret between them.
That is if the grand muftis had relented their malaria -ridden swamps for less extorted prices than they charged the Jews.

So if Halpern and his ilk and Idiotic Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV)
really gave a toss about anyone but their own backsheesh and bruised egos they might realize that trying to divide the Jews has never worked, and attacking Eretz Yisrael will only strengthen the Zionist state.
Zionist is not a dirty word.
Unlike Jihadist which is a murderous cult.
Look at Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, not to mention Iran, and anywhere else thses guys operate. Save Palestine from the Jihadists before it is too late, and support Israel in its attempts to rid the country of this dark and diabolical evil.
Chag Sameach Pesach,

Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 00:14

Jihad? Holly Struggle?
Keep it up revilo.
Perhaps Israel will erect a monument to you one day; just like they have for Baruch Goldstein or Meir Kahan.
Or perhaps you already engage in tours of duty to Israel as some other Australian Zionists do.

You just need to brush up on your smiting of Amalek.
Here.... http://www.forums.torah.org/viewtopic.php?t=834&postdays=0&postorder=asc... there's a healthy debate going on about the finer points of killing babies.

Authoritative Israeli elements support it.

Thank goodness for the internet;
we at least can now gain an understanding of each other.

What have you been doing to earn some baksheesh?

Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 12:12

Jewboy, how is it that when they are helpful to israel, UN Declarations are wonderful and are to be treated as gospel (the United States controls the UN, always has) but when the UN passes the very rare and mild condemnation of israeli actions (such as after the Gaza offensive and after US intervention to make sure it IS very mild), it is the Devil incarnate! Let us have a little bit of consistency, please.


Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 15:51

'What should be the relationship of diaspora Jews to Israel'?
Or what is the relationship of diaspora Jews to Israel?
There's a big difference in believing that as a Jew you have a genuine connection to Eretz Israel (Land of Israel - not Greater Israel as one ignorant blogger translated it) due to your ethnicity and religious heritage.
Forget the politics - try and concentrate on the genuinely religious, ethnic and historical nature of the relationship Jews have with the land, not just with the modern nation of Israel - a political compromise for Jews when compared with the religious sites sacred to Judaism in the Near East.
And then you may just begin to understand the deep feelings most diaspora (and of course Israeli) Jews have about keeping at least some of the more important of the ancient and historical Jewish heritage sites in Jewish hands.
And think about it - if it wasn't for the Jews in the Holy land, the other religious sects would probably be at each other's throats!

Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 16:47

hey dazza

i should be asking you for exactly the same thing...how about some consistency!?! whilst were on the topic, i should say the same for the use of violence, the right to self-determination and morality...but i wouldn't want to confuse you.

Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 19:55

"There’s a big difference in believing that as a Jew you have a genuine connection to Eretz Israel (Land of Israel - not Greater Israel as one ignorant blogger translated it) due to your ethnicity and religious heritage." (denise )

Your <u>literal translation</u> may be more accurate than the one I presented, but the truth is that 'Eretz' is in reference to the <u>biblical land in it's promised entirety</u>, and not even to do with the current map and therefore 'greater' would be a far more accurate <u>interpretation</u>.

Fair suck of the sav' denise. Look it up somewhere.

"if it wasn't for the Jews....."
If it wasn't for the Arabs, Jews wouldn't have been safe anywhere over the last many many centuries.
Things were just fine for Arabs and Jews until the <u>Askenazi</u> raised their heads in the late 1800's.
85% + of Jewish persons are Eastern European Non Semites who follow a Semitic Faith and somehow its a divine right of return to the 'motherland' as though they were ever there.
Yea right.

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 08:31

Are we allowed to have 'JEW' on number plates or is it still considered an offensive word like ;'PIG'?
Anyway to understand the deep seated antisemitism you just have to see how the Korachs in the community continually try to divide their Jewish brethren aided and abetted by the backsheesh.

No Jewboy I don't need or want any backsheesh because I have an honest and enduring profession. Because I was brought up by honest hard working decent people. Not like some who would sell their granny for a few pieces of silver.

So whether you are part of the organized jewish community or the disorganized one, a true Jew can spot or better still smell a phoney yid anywhere anytime, even on the internet.
By the way antisemitic blogs are not Gospel, just more of the 90% spam that is the internet.

Wake up and get real please you phoneys out there.

Shalom, bracha,
Tzvi aka oli

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 09:39

The number plates you speak of are effectively already in use in Israel and it's expanded or 'disputed' territories, except they are there to work against the Palestinians.
Israeli number plates travel around more free through the check points and roads scattered around Palestine; it's the others that are treated like pigs.

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 13:56

Maybe phoney yid you could source the number plate "phillistine" or maybe IM1 RU12. ha ha.

I believe you can get in Jenin "Jesus H Christ" State of Sunny Palestine, but it will cost you.

Don't choke on your Nigerian Easter eggs will you.