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The Myth of the "Promise" : Promised Land or Conquered Land? - The Jewish prophetic exegesis

(Conference by Rabbi Elmer Berger, ex-president of the "Jewish League" in the United States) "It is inadmissible for anyone to plead that the setting-up of the present state of Israel has been the fulfillment of Prophecy and that therefore all acts performed by the Israelis in order to set their state up and to maintain it have been automatically ratified in advance by God. The present-day political Israel has, for all of us, obliterated or, at least, adumbrated, the spiritual Israel. I propose to examine two fundamental elements of the prophetic tradition.

"a - First when the Prophets evoked the restoration of Zion, it was not the land itself which was of a sacred nature. The absolute and indisputable criteria of the prophetic concept of the Redemption was the restoration of the Alliance with God, at a time when that Alliance had been broken by the King and his people.

"Micah spells it out clearly : "Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel that abhor judgment and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with inequity...Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high place of the forest."

Source : Micah III,1-12. " Zion is holy only if the Law of God reigns above it. And this does not mean that every Law edicted at Jerusalem is a holy one.

"b- It is not only the land which depends on the observance and fidelity to the Alliance : the people reinstalled in Zion have the same obligations of justice, uprightness and faith to the Covenant with God.

"Zion could not expect the restoration of a people resting on treaties, alliances, military balances of power or a military hierarchy seeking to establish its superiority over the neighbours of Israel. ....The prophetic tradition clearly shows that the holiness of a land does not depend on its soil, nor that of its people's sole presence on that territory. The only thing that is sacred and worthy of Zion is the divine Covenant which expresses itself in the deeds of its people.

"The present State of Israel has no right whatsoever to claim the accomplishment of the divine project for a Messianic age.... It is pure demagogy of soil and blood. Neither the people nor the land are holy and deserving of any spiritual privilege in this world. Zionist totalitarianism which seeks to subject the entire Jewish people, even by violence and force, makes it a people among others and like others."

Source : Rabbi Elmer Berger : "Prophecy, Zionism and the state of Israel." Ed. American Jewish alternatives to Zionism. Conference at Leiden University (Netherlands) on March 20th 1968. Ygal Amir, Isaac Rabin's assassin, is neither a delinquent nor a madman, but a pure product of Zionist education. The son of a rabbi, an excellent student at the clerical University of Bar Ilan near Tel Aviv, he has been brought up on the teachings of the Talmudic schools. A first-rate soldier in the Golan, one of his books was the biography of Baruch Goldstein (who murdered 27 Arabs praying at the tomb of the Patriarchs at Hebron a few months ago). Ygal Amir probably saw, on Israeli State television, the long documentary on the "Eyal" group (the Warriors of Israel) swearing on the tomb of Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, to "execute whoever would yield to the Arabs the 'Promised Land' of Judah and Samaria" (present-day Cis-Jordania).

The assassination of President Rabin, (like the killings of Goldstein) are inscribed in the strict logic of the mythology of the Zionist integrists : the order to kill, says Ygal Amir, "comes from God", as in the days of Joshua.

Source : "Le Monde" (AFP) November 8th 1995. Ygal Amir was not an isolated case within Israeli society : on the day of Isaac Rabin's murder, the Kiryat Arba and Hebron settlers danced for joy, reciting the psalms of David, round the mausoleum erected to the glory of Baruch Goldstein.

Source : "El Pais" (Spain), November 7th 1995. p. 4. Isaac Rabin was a symbolic target, not because he supposedly "fought for Peace all his life". as Bill Clinton claimed at Rahin's funeral. In fact, Rabin was at the head of the occupying forces at the begining othe "Intifada", and it was he who gave the order to "break the bones" of the children of the Palestinian soil, whose only weapon was the ancient stones of their land with which to defend their ancestral soil.

But Isaac Rabin was a realist who had understood (like the Americans in Vietnam and the French in Algeria) that there could be no definitive military solution when an Army clashes not just with another army but with an entire people. He had therefore agreed on a compromise solution with Yasser Arafat: a portion of the territories, whose occupation had been condemned by the United Nations, would be granted administrative autonomy. But the Israeli army would continue to protect the "colonies" stolen from the natives and which had turned into seminars of hate such as Hebron.

This was already going too far for the integrists who had benefited from this colonialism: they created round Rabin - whom they presented as a "traitor" - the climate of hatred which led up to his infamous assassination. After thousands of Palestinians, Isaac Rabin was a victim of the myth of the "Promised Land", ancient pretext for bloody colonialism.

This assassination by a fanatic shows once more that a genuine peace between a State of Israel, secure within the frontiers established by the 1947 partition, and a wholly independent Palestinian State, must involve the radical elimination of the present-day colonialism, in other words of all the colonies which are from within the future Palestinian State, unending sources of provocation and so many detonators for future wars.

Adopted from the book: "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics" by: "Roger Garaudy"

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