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30 Oct, 2005

Rabin’s Death Anniversary – Time for Jews to do Some Soul-Searching

Originally Published: 30 Oct 2005

November 4, 2005 will mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish terrorist named Yigal Amir.

The violence that it spawned effectively fulfilled the killer’s aims of ending the Middle East peace process. It continues to this day, and has expanded into a veritable low-grade world war.

Islam and Muslims are identified with most of the violence. The attacks of 9/11 paved the way for the drumbeat sloganeering on the grounds that the attackers were all Muslims and mostly Saudis. Plenty of non-Muslim commentators became instant experts, spewing out vast amounts of ‘analysis’ with a vehemence that would have done Goebbels proud.

But long before Osama bin Laden, it was an act of violence by a Jew that set back years of careful peace talks, during which incidents of terrorism were at an all-time low. Since then, Jews have been involved, directly or indirectly, in two more catastrophic international debacles — the speculative attacks on the Thai baht that triggered the 1997 financial meltdown in Asia, and the invasion of Iraq.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad referred to George Soros as a ‘financial terrorist.’ The unauthorised and illegal attack on Iraq has been called ‘state terrorism’ by anti-war British MP George Galloway.

Clearly, Muslims are not the only ‘terrorists’ in town. If the violence by Muslims raises serious questions about Islam, what kind of a religion is Judaism?

Rabin was shot for trying to make peace with the Arabs on the basis of a land-for-peace deal. Saddam Hussein never had any weapons of mass destruction but never mind, because it’s really about gaining access to the world’s oil and protecting Israel.

How do George Soros and the Jewish neo-cons who plotted the invasion of Iraq compare with others like Noam Chomsky, one of the most outspoken critics of US foreign policy who was recently voted the world’s Number One Public Intellectual in a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll. Or the many Jewish peace groups like B’Tselem, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, Jewish Voice for Peace, Women in Black, etc?

Or even Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel laureate for literature who, upon winning the Wilfred Owen prize for poetry earlier this year, said in his acceptance speech:

“What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of International Law. An arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public. An act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading — as a last resort (all other justifications having failed to justify themselves) — as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.”

Sounds like what I have long been saying in these columns.

Although Jews, like the Muslims, have their moderates as well as fundamentalists, fanatics and terrorists, Islamic extremists are on the lunatic fringe, while Jewish extremists are sitting in top positions of power.

Former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin were both members of the militant Irgun Zvai Leumi resistance movement that used terrorism to get the British out of Palestine, including the 1946 destruction of the central British administrative offices in the King David Hotel, killing 91 people.

Present Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was defense minister of Israel at the time of the massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in September 1992. The Kahan Commission set up by the Israeli government found that he bore “personal responsibility”, recommended his dismissal as defense minister and suggested that he should not hold public office again.

Perhaps Jews need as much introspective soul-searching and reform as Muslims.

Being a landless people for centuries before the creation of Israel, with no access to natural resources, allowed the Jews to sharpen the most important natural resource of all — the human mind. That is why Jews dominate many sectors like law, insurance, information technology, military, media, marketing and the most critical sector, money. It also explains why the oil-rich Arab world stagnated intellectually — becoming rich without having to work for it can really dull the brain.

Since WWII, and more recently, since the fall of Communism, Jews have converted their knowledge base and economic power into political power. Through the use of media conglomerates, lobbying groups like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington DC as well as fancy-sounding “think tanks” like the Ayn Rand Institute, the Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute, and many more, government policies in the US, Europe and more recently in Australia have been influenced to ignore the Israeli occupation of Palestine and make it appear that “terrorism” is the real problem.

To contest that view is to be immediately struck with an “anti-Semite” fatwa. Indeed to say or do anything that offends Jews is an automatic invitation to that label.

When Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorovsy was arrested, Jewish groups denounced it as anti-Semitism. When Mel Gibson made “The Passion of the Christ” that resurrected the claims of Jewish involvement in the death of Christ, some Jewish figures in Hollywood called it anti-Semitism. Shakespeare has been accused of anti-Semitism for writing “The Merchant of Venice.” When the U.N. passes resolutions against Israel, that’s anti-Semitism. When moderate Jews speak out against fanatic Jews, they are self-hating Jews.

As the world continues to spiral into conflict, militarism, curbs on travel and civil liberties, and security checks at entrances to hotels and department stores, Jews need to hark back to the fateful night of November 4, 1995, take a good hard look at their home-grown fundamentalist, fanatic terrorists, and ask to what extent do they themselves bear responsibility?

I vividly remember the assassination, because I was in Tel Aviv that fateful night, attending an annual convention of the International Hotels and Restaurants Association. In his last speech, with me in the audience barely 20 metres away, I heard him say that he wanted to see the Middle East conflict settled so that the future generations of Israel would not have to fight the wars of survival that he did.

A little more than 24 hours later, one amongst that ‘future generation’ shot him.

Are these the kind of people produced by the Holocaust? What kind of a Jewish ‘madrassah’ did Yigal Amir go to? Who indoctrinated him into that act of terrorism?

Perhaps it is time for Jews, too, to join Muslims in some soul-searching to rein in their own fanatic terrorists and peacefully settle one of the longest running conflicts in modern history.

The world is running out of time, money, resources and options. And the body-count is rising, with no apparent end in sight.