Saturday, October 2, 2010

All the professor’s cats

Salman Masalha

All the professor’s cats

For years a certain peddler roamed the streets with a laden sack on his back, declaring he has many good things. Every morning he set out to try to sell his wares. However, only the sharp-eyed knew what he kept in the bag.

One day, a “Canaanite slave” passed through the town and threw down a banana peel. The peddler, who was so engaged in concealing the contents of his bag of good, slipped and fell. However, he continued to hold on tight to the sack and its contents. This peddler had a fine reputation in the town and he is a very respected professor.

Recently Prof. Shlomo Avineri tried in every possible way to conceal his wares from everyone (“A Palestinian people yes, a Jewish people, no?” Haaretz English Edition, August 13, 2010). As a concerned Zionist he exalted the role of “the Zionist revolution” in transforming the Jews into a nation like all nations. He went so far as to make a ridiculous comparison between a Jewish nation and a French nation.

In a second article he published on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (“Biladi, Biladi”, Haaretz English Edition, September 8, 2010), Prof. Avineri left no room for doubt as to his hidden intentions. Apparently a “sensitive Jewish nerve” under his Zionist skin has been damaged. This nerve is making him edgy and keeping him awake nights. Once again he limps to his desk, types his worst nightmare onto the screen and in on go spills out the contents of the “Zionist revolution” sack.

It is worth pausing first over the headline given to his article. “Biladi, Biladi” cries the Hebrew (and English) headline, in transliteration (of the title and opening words of the Egyptian national anthem), and this in order to pluck at the Hebrew readers’ most sensitive strings with the aim of injecting primordial fear into their world, as though this were another Arabic battle cry. It is important that the readers understand what this headline means and not stumble about in the fog. Indeed, translated into Hebrew the title will sound familiar to every man and woman in Israel. The Russian-born Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernikovsky (1875-1943) wrote the Zionist line “My country, my native land” – which is exactly what this headline says and this is a phrase often uttered by Prof. Avineri and many others. The transliterated title aims at arousing panic by means of using the savage sound, the Arab sound that is not understood.

From reading the article it also emerges that the bag Prof. Avineri carried on his back for years indeed contains many “good” things; a trick here and a trick there, a cat here and a cat there and all manner of goods including some Meir Kahane. Prof. Avineri sets forth for the readers an imaginary horror scenario by means of which the tried to warn of a “disaster” lying in wait for the state of Israel: “‘We're all Israelis, equal citizens in our common homeland," declared the Knesset speaker,’” he has the speaker of the Knesset declare in an imagined future session of Israel’s parliament.

Prof. Avineri’s Zionist lie is revealed in this last article. Here, his “Zionist revolution” that exalted belonging to the Jewish “nation” has vanished into thin air in favor of belonging to the Jewish religion.

It seems to me he deserves an Olympic medal for the impressive backwards somersault he executed in his return to the religious origins that shaped him. Indeed, in his second article he reveals in a single stroke everything he previously tried to hide. Suddenly, his main concern is “Jewish sovereignty.” Suddenly he returns to “the synagogue,” to “the Jewish people” and “the God of Israel.”

Equal citizens? A shared homeland? Democracy? Equality and things like that? You’re kidding. Forget it. It’s warmer and cozier in the bosom and in the laws of the Jewish shtetl, the backwards hamlet in the eastern European Pale of Settlement.

True, the “Canaanite slave” has a Canaanite soul and like the Jewish soul in the Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah,” it too “throbs.” However, according to Avineri, who is familiar with his religious tradition, the law for a Canaanite slave or servant is not the same as for a Hebrew servitor.

Your faithful servant had naively believed that Shlomo Avineri is a professor of political science who propounds democracy, equality, the rule of law and an enlightened state. I was wrong. It turns out he is just another revered Jewish master teacher who lays down rabbinical rulings.

***
For Hebrew, press here


See:
Salman Masalha, "A Jewish and democratic restaurant"
Shlomo Avineri, "A Palestinian people, yes, a Jewish people, no?"

Alexander Yakobson, "What's in the name?"
Uri Avnery, "Poisonous Mushrooms"
Lev Grinberg, "You can't be a Jewish Muslim"
B. Michael, "A Pravoslavic and republican tomato"
_________________________________

Share:


Facebook comments:
Middle East
  • The Arab world's quagmire

    Only a society that can engage in introspection and self-examination can emerge from its dark past and march confidently to a different future. Otherwise, it will continue to sink into the same marshy swamp.

    Read more

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” and gave an encouraging shot in the arm to Iran, which is forging ahead.

    Read more

  • The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more


    Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

  • another title

Israel - Palestine
  • Our troubles come from us

    And so we have reached a situation in which every Arab is concerned with his own problems and everyone talks about what preoccupies him personally – that is, his own troubles.

    Read more


  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more


Racism
  • They see not, nor know

    The term "neutralize" is very popular with people who have served in the security and expulsion forces. The question to be asked is, What did the poet who spoke of "neutralization" mean in this plan?

    Read more

    For Jews only

    From the moment the pundits followed in the footsteps of the politicians, both large and small, they carried this noxious melody everywhere. They were part of legitimizing the illegitimate in Israeli politics.

    Read more

  • With yearning soul

    The Zionism that aspired to establish a "Jewish home" in the Jews' "ancient homeland" did not take into consideration the fact that the land was not empty. It thus adopted the principle of population transfer, based on the same ancient biblical tradition.

    Read more

    Rabbis of the Dry Bones

    Racism surfaces when a society loses its self-confidence and turns to seeking ways to defend itself against what is different and perceived as increasingly threatening.

    Read more

  • الحلم

    حلمتُ:
    أنّي في سجن جدران بيضاء
    حيث لا يعرفني أحدٌ، وأصواتٌ
    تختفي في الرّدهات، وأضواء تستنشقُ
    جمجمتي اللّاهثة.
    ...
    تتمة الكلام


Press photo to Email

Classic

***
Jazz




Site Archive

Selected Topics

 
Essays
  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • another title

Poetry
  • Balkrishna Sama

    Man Is God


    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

  • Martin Niemöller

    First They Came

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.


    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    The Song About the Child

    Boston Gospel Choir

    Text: Salman Masalha
    Composer: Stephen Feigenbaum


    listen

TOPICS