I believe that the recent developments in French and Israel have a profound lesson for all of us to learn. The people of these two nations (given that you can consider Israel a nation… as I don’t) have made very succinct and opposite choices in recent months, that I believe calls for some reflection. We all face choices between the “me” or ‘us” and the “them” in our daily lives as individuals and as peoples. Which of these choices we choose, and which of those tendencies we enrich in ourselves, tells a lot about who we are and what we stand for in life.
When the French public at large learned of the percentage of their countrymen who have cast their vote for the right wing racist leader Le Pen in the preliminary presidential elections, they hit the streets by the thousands demonstrating against such a choice. They basically were saying to the world and to themselves, we are better then this. We are better then reducing ourselves to a racist bunch of people that worship our kind and no one else. They were saying a person with such racist views as Le Pen doesn’t represent us or represent the values that we hold dear; those values that are reflected by our great French revolution that set the tide for equality, freedom and democracy in the modern world.
In contrast with that you have the Israeli public, who cheered up and elected the renowned war criminal Sharon. While about 20 % of the French elected Le Pen and 80% protested. About 80 % of Jewish Israelis elected Sharon and the remaining 20% stayed silent. Le Pen is an angel compared to Sharon. While Le Pen has racist views, he hasn’t had the opportunity to act on these views, as he hasn’t yet put them to action (his participation in atrocities against the Algerian people, and participation in the attack on Egypt in 1956 not withstanding, as he wasn’t in control of policy at the time). Le Pen is not advocating the dehumanization and destruction of other peoples. His basic premise is the upholding of French people’s interests (as he sees them), while holding racist animosity against others. Sharon on the other hand, voices evil, plans evil, and has proven a great desire to inflict evil (his war crimes and massacres from qubayat, to sabra and Shatila to Jenin proves that). Yet, the Israelis enthusiastically voted him into power and enthusiastically support his ethnic cleansing and brutality and racist practices, and are calling for more.
They’re two different peoples all together. The French’s main aspirations in life are depicted in the great principles inherent in the French revolution. The other’s aspirations in life are reflected in the racist genocidal Zionist ideology that has harbored, advocated and practiced nothing but hate, racism and disregard to all human values. While the French resisted the Nazis in WWII and refused to succumb to them. The Israelis, who were the most targeted victims of the Nazis, chose to copy cat them and inflict the same atrocity, dehumanization and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.
One can’t excuse the brutality and atrocity inflicted by the French against their former subjects of occupation in Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the middle east and Africa; but it seems that the French have learned from their history, and are proclaiming loud and clear that these are not the values that they want to harbor or uphold in themselves. The Israelis, on the other hand, have chosen not only to uphold their dark history of rape, ethnic cleansing and murder against the Palestinians, but insist on continuing the genocide and ethnic cleansing and on justifying them. Every Israeli, knows well enough that the majority of his/her Jewish co-citizens lives on stolen land that had been robbed from it’s original people. He/She knows that the majority of his Jewish co-citizens were born on foreign land and most chose willfully to be part of this monumental atrocity where millions of Palestinians were dislodged, killed or tortured (and continue to be) to clear room for him/her. He/She has either directly participated in atrocity and brutality against the Palestinians, or watched it first hand. Yet, most of them choose to ignore that dark aspect of their existence and history, and insist on continuing the brutality while acting like a victim. Each one of the Israelis knows that the compromise offered by the Palestinians and the Arabs for the conflict is beyond anyone in their position could be expected to offer. Each one of them knows that whatever the Palestinians do in resisting their occupation and genocide, is nothing compared to the pain and brutality their butchers of the IDF (Israeli “defense” forces) and their co-citizen settlers inflict everyday in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet, they insist on wanting more and on ethnically cleansing “their” land at whatever price that would inflict on the Palestinian people.
What a different a basic idea makes. On the one hand you have the French people whose basic idea is freedom, equality, democracy and the furthering of the “us” and the “them”. On the other, you have the Israelis who hypocritically proclaim democracy (and only practice it for Jews) while holding the basic idea of separation, persecution and the ultimate worship of the “us” and the destruction of the “them”. So, which idea do you aspire to and support? Those of the French revolution and it’s humanistic message, or the Zionist one of racism, ethnic cleansing and superiority?