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Cited in a recent Ha’aretz piece about the decline of the israeli left, the late academic Yeshayahu Leibowitz is described as remarking that he is not sure whether Israel’s policies since 1967 are evil stupidity or stupidly evil. In another, verbatim citation, Leibowitz is quoted as having said, more resolutely, in 1990: “Everything Israel has done, and I emphasize everything, in the past 23 years is either evil stupidity or stupidly evil.“
Along with a number of other academics such as Ilan Pappe and Neve Gordon, journalists such as Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, and other critics of conscience such as David Grossman, it is good to see instances of intellectuals fulfilling their proper role of speaking up. In Liebowitz’s case, he is not as well known outside Israel. In 1969 he reportedly began describing the “inevitable Nazification” of Israeli society. Further, by the time of the (first major, 1982) Lebanon War, he became known for using the term Judeo-Nazi to describe the Israeli army. He also called for soldiers to refuse to serve in the IOF.
Interestingly, an online search for the Liebowitz quote cited above returns less than 10 hits — presumably because it was originally in Hebrew — which makes it all the more worthwhile to highlight for a critical English-speaking audience. There is a sizeable collection available online of incriminating quotes of past — and present — israeli “leaders”, few of them in dispute (usually the few that are disputed are because they were attributed but not authoritatively recorded. One recalls the infamous and hotly contested and denied Menachem Begin quote attributed to him by the late Amnon Kapeliouk, for example). Yet not all the critics make it to the Anglophone media.
A Latvian-born Orthodox Jew, Yeshayahu Leibowitz moved to Palestine in 1935 and reportedly opposed a religiously-based state. More about his interesting life and career can be gleaned in English here, and there are a number of videos on YouTube.
For quotation references, see Edward Alexander, ‘Israelis Against Themselves’, chapter three in Alexander and Bogdanor (eds.), The Jewish Divide Over Israel (2006), p. 36. The same author repeats much of the content in this piece at an academic “monitor” site, apparently in the same likudnik thought-police vein as the execrable Campus Watch.
A Martial State: Picks
Kasrils: Who Said Nearly 50 Years Ago that Israel was an Apartheid State?
“We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map”
Genocidal intent of apartheid regime confirmed: Israeli minister warns Palestinians of holocaust
Israeli Laureate: Indeed there is Apartheid in Israel
Israeli intellectuals petition for contacts with Syria, Hamas
Israeli Intellectuals Love the War by Ran HaCohen
Compendium of zionist quotes, sourced
Yeshayahu Leibowitz page in English
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The popular notion that anti-Semitism caused the Zionist movement makes the mistake of post hoc ergo propter hoc - "after the fact, therefore because of the fact."
Sixty-six years ago, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of Palestine into two States: the “birth certificate” for Israel, and the “death certificate” for Palestine.
Native Americans held a special knowledge of the land and its inhabitants, and believed they were only a small part of the whole circle of life, and that each part of creation played a significant role in the contentment and survival of the other.
The assassination of the President of the United States on national television by the “lone” assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald—who according to authorities used an obsolete bolt-action WWI rifle that was not capable of firing bullets fast enough to wound John F. Kennedy—who is then assassinated the next day by another “lone” assassin, is so stupid that whoever is behind the assassination didn’t expect you to believe it.
Would the planet be at serious risk, according to a massive United Nations Environmental Report, due to “the dangers of climate change, water scarcity, dwindling fish stocks and the pressures on the land and the extinction of species,” had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963.
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