Bird’s Eye: We start with a savagely bitter Gideon Levy looking back at what 2010 revealed about the current state of affairs in Israel. Bradley Burston, in Haaretz, muses about what would happen if the Messiah came to Israel today. And we look at how this increasing swing to the right in Israel is causing many UK Jews to find themselves increasing torn, though the same is certainly true for both the US and Canada.
* The Year Of Truth Gideon Levy Haaretz
This was (also) a good year – the year of truth….No one is talking anymore about peace; we even put the “peace process” in quotes this year, to make fun of it, as it deserves. All that’s left of peace this year is U.S. special envoy George Mitchell. And nothing remains of the prime minister’s two-state vision or the majority in the surveys: This year the Israeli government said no, even to a temporary freeze on settlement construction, and the Israelis said nothing.
After this year of truth, no one will be able to claim seriously that Israel seeks peace with the Palestinians, or with the Syrians, who spoke peace but were left unanswered. All the excuses have lost their value – Palestinian terror has halted and there is at least half a partner who is more moderate than any other. Still, we’re sticking to our positions. The truth shouts out: The Israelis don’t really want peace, they prefer real estate.
The inner workings of Israeli society have also been unmasked. The appearance of a tolerant, democratic and egalitarian society has been suddenly replaced by an authentic portrait, one that is terrifyingly nationalist and racist. Rabbis and their wives, mayors and parliamentarians all sang together in a discordant choir: no to Arabs and no to foreigners. In the years preceding this year of truth, racists still used to be excommunicated.
* When The Messiah Comes, Israel Will Deport Him Bradley Burston Haaretz (Thanks, David!)
When the Messiah comes, the Occupation will end.
But before it does, a global social network led by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Fox News, The Zionist Organization of America and Daniel Pipes, will launch a campaign aimed at exposing the Messiah as a Muslim.
When the Messiah is crucified, the army will deny that he was even present at the time.
When the Messiah comes, an Israel political party whose voters are routinely denigrated by native-born Israelis as whores and non-Jews will propose legislation declaring him a delegitimizer of Israel and the army (over the crucifixion), a blasphemer of Zionism (for suggesting that the Palestinians were not the sole obstacles to peace), and rendering him ineligible for citizenship unless he signs a loyalty oath stating that even if Israel did practice crucifixion, it did so in a democratic and Jewish manner.
Our contacts at the Board of Deputies of British Jews described the crisis ripping through Britain’s Jewish institutions in stark terms. One said:
Our support for Israel, especially its attack on Gaza in 2008-09, is creating ruptures in the wider Jewish community in Britain and placing institutions such as ours under unbearable pressure. The fact that the Board of Deputies’ support for Israel is couched in relatively anodyne terms and in a superficially impartial context no longer works. The wider Jewish community, and the general public at large, are beginning to see through this.
For the first time in my memory, we are being pressed by British Jews to answer questions that have always been in the backs of our minds but which we can no longer brush aside. Are we British or are we Israelis? If we are British, then is it not incumbent upon us to question, as the wider British public is questioning, the policies and behaviour of the State of Israel without harbouring any feelings of disloyalty – because our loyalty is to the UK and not to Israel?