The Jews of Russia and Palestine: A Comparison

Black days have descended upon the Israeli people; black because everything that our fathers and ourselves have said, bewailed, and complained about has been as genuine as a three-dollar bill. Back in 1968 I painted on a wall in the USSR: “Hands off Czechoslovakia.”

Russian-Jewish poet Alexander Galich sang in his beautiful, deep voice: “Citizens, our Fatherland is in danger! Our tanks are rolling through a foreign land!” Bearing such a slogan, several Jews stepped out onto Red Square, and were roughed up by the police. As Russian citizens who cherish honor even when this contradicts falsely-understood patriotism, we protested against Russian tanks in Budapest, Prague, and Kabul. Many years have passed. Now it is Jewish tanks that are rolling through a foreign land. They are not just rolling — they are killing peaceful civilians, destroying houses, keeping millions of Palestinians emaciated and blockaded. One might expect that many Jewish intellectuals have rushed into our Israeli squares and public places to protest this?

Absolutely nothing of the kind. Our intellectuals just celebrate our “valiant Jewish fighters,” the steady hands and the sharp eyes of our Jewish snipers, and the unlimited humanism of the Jewish people, who could turn all Palestinian goys into mincemeat, but limit themselves to wounding several hundred each day.

“Human rights” activists, such as Sharansky, have opposed the propiska [registration of residence] laws, just the way our grandfathers fought the Pale of Settlement under the Czar. But after our grandfathers won their battle, they herded the Palestinian goys into reservations, compared to which the Pale of Settlement looks like an open society: a Palestinian may not visit a village next to his without requesting permission of the Israelis, without being searched and having his documents checked. Of course, he would not even dream of visiting the sea, just a few kilometers from his house.

Jews have protested against discrimination at work and in high schools. But now we have created a system of total national discrimination. Out of 13,000 workers at the Israeli State Electrical Company, only six are goyim. That’s 0.0004%!

Goyim comprise 40% of the population from Jordan to the sea, but only one quarter of them are allowed to vote. There is not a single goy on the Israeli Supreme court, in the executive branch of government, among the generals, in aviation, or in the secret services. There is not a single goy working even in the leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

That is why everything that Jews have been saying in Russia should be rewritten in view of recent events. We have fought not for human rights, but only for Jewish rights. We have been advocating freedom of movement and occupational choice only for Jews. We are not against our own tanks rolling through foreign lands, we were only against Russian tanks.

Upon seeing an unhappy child holding his hands up in front of a machine gunner, we are sorry only if this child is Jewish. The goy’s child can be shot as one wishes.

When Byalik wrote “the devil has not invented a suitable punishment for killing a child,” he apparently visualized only a Jewish child. When he was terrified by visions of pogroms, he was terrified of pogroms against Jews. A pogrom by itself is a usual and even a normal occurrence. Recently the Jews of Upper Nazareth conducted a pogrom against the Arabs of Lower Nazareth, but none of the pogromists were prosecuted. Rather, the police shot dead several of those who were victims of the pogrom. Yet another pogrom on a mass scale was perpetrated against the peaceful and innocent Palestinian town of Beth Jallah.

In Czarist Russia – which our grandparents cursed in every way they could and ruined – pogroms killed fewer people over one hundred years than we kill in a week in Palestine. The most terrible Kishinev pogroms in Russia, took the lives of 45 people, with 600 wounded. The total number of recent Arab victims of the Israelis from September to now (October 31, 2000), is 150 killed and 4,000 wounded.

After a pogrom in Russia, hundreds of honest goyim, the Russian writers and the entire intelligentsia, raised their voices against the pogromists who participated in the violence. But in Israel, there have been merely a handful who protested, while the Union of Jewish writers supported the Israeli murderers.

When in 1991 Jews in Russia advocated private property rights in defiance of Communism, they meant only Jewish private property rights, because the private property of the goyim we confiscate freely, as if it belonged to no one.

Just walk along the luxurious districts of Jerusalem – Talbieh, old Catamon, the Greek and German townships. All these palaces belonged to gentiles – Germans, Armenians, Greeks, Palestinians, Orthodox and Muslims.

They have been confiscated and given to Jews. In recent weeks, hundreds of hectares have been confiscated from gentiles, and dozens of Palestinian houses were destroyed.

Russian-Jewish tycoon Gusinsky flew in to support us in our struggle. Not too long ago he appealed to the world community, at the time that Russia was trying to liberate television broadcasting from his clutches. His support for the state of”Israel” means that Gusinsky agrees with segregation and arrests based on ethnicity. He is only against confiscation of Jewish property. He is only against Jews sitting in prison. The goyim can sit in prison for decades without being convicted in court, that’s what happens in our Jewish state.

What was it that we did not like about the German Nazis? Their racism? We don’t have any less. The Russian-language Jerusalem newspaper Pryamaya Rech conducted a survey among Russian Jews regarding their attitudes towards Palestinians. The Russian Jews said, “I want to kill all Arabs,” “All Arabs must be killed.”

We must admit that we have been against racism as long as it was directed against us. We have been against Nazism while it was a foreign Nazism. Our own native Jewish butchers are the objects of our delight.

Before us are open two paths. We can, like the people of Nineveh, repent, return the looted goods, grant full equality, stop the discrimination and the killing, and hope for God’s forgiveness. Or, we can persist in our sins, like the inhabitants of Sodom, and prepare for the fire and brimstone to rain down from the furious skies of Palestine.

(Mr. Israel Shamir, is one of best-known and most respected Russian Israeli writer and journalist. He wrote for Haaretz, BBC, Pravda and translated Agnon, Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Tel Aviv and writes a weekly column in the Vesti, the biggest Russian-language paper in Israel.)

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