The Old Testament and the Genocide in Gaza
By Gilad Atzmon, January 8th, 2009
"You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.
Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten
thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you."
Leviticus, Chapter 26, verses 7-9
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are
entering to possess and drives out before you many nations…then you must
destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy."
"…do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely
destroy them…as the Lord your God has commanded you…"
There is not much doubt amongst Biblical scholars that
the Hebrew Bible contains some highly charged non-ethical suggestions, some
of which are no less than a call for a genocide. Biblical scholar
has found in the Old Testament 600 passages of
explicit violence, 1000 descriptive verses of God's
own violent actions of punishment, 100 passages where God expressly commands
others to kill people. Apparently, violence is the
most often mentioned activity in the Hebrew Bible.
As devastating as it may be, the Hebrew Bible saturation
with violence and extermination of others may throw some light over the
horrifying genocide conducted momentarily in Gaza by the Jewish state. In
broad daylight, the IDF is using the most lethal methods against civilians
as if their main objective is to ‘destroy’ the Gazans while showing ‘no mercy’ whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, Israel regards itself as a secular
state. Ehud Barak is not exactly a qualified Rabbi
and Tzipi Livni is not a Rabbi’s wife. Accordingly, we are entitled to
assume that it isn’t actually Judaism per se that directly transforms
Israeli politicians and military leaders into war criminals. Moreover,
early Zionists believed that within a national home Jews would become
'people like all other people', i.e., civilised and ethical. In that very
respect, Israeli reality is pretty peculiar. The Hebraic secular Jews may
have managed to drop their God, most of them do not follow Judaic law, they
are largely secular, and yet they collectively interpret their Jewish
identity as a genocidal mission. They have successfully managed to transform
the Bible from being a spiritual text into a bloodsoaked land registry. They are there, in Zion i.e., Palestine, to invade the land and to
lock up, starve and destroy its indigenous habitants. Accordingly, it seems
as if the artillery commanders and IAF pilots that erased northern Gaza two
nights ago were following Deuteronomy 20:16 they indeed did ".. not
leave alive anything that breathes." And yet, one question is left
open. Why should a secular commander follow Deuteronomy verses or any other
Some very few sporadic Jewish voices within the left are
insisting upon telling us that Jewishness is not necessarily inherently
murderous. I tend to believe them that they
themselves consider their words as genuine and truthful. But then one may wonder, what is it that makes the Jewish state
brutal with no comparison? The truth of the matter is actually pretty sad.
As far as we can see, Zionism is the only secular ideological and political
Jewish collective around and as it happens, it has proved once again this
week that it is genocidal to the bone.
As far as genocide is concerned the difference between
Judaism and Zionism can be illustrated as follows: while the Judaic Biblical
context is soaked with genocidal references, usually in the name of God,
within the Zionist context, Jews are killing Palestinians in the name of
themselves i.e., the ‘Jewish people’. This is indeed
the ultimate success of the Zionist revolution. It taught the Jews to
believe in themselves. To believe in the Jewish state.
‘The Israeli’ is Israel’s God. Accordingly,
the Israeli kills in the name of ‘his or her
security’, in the name of ‘his or her democracy’. The Israelis destroy in
the name of ‘their war against terror’ and in the name the ‘their America’. Seemingly, in the Jewish state, the Hebraic subject reverts to mass
killing as soon as he finds a ‘name’ to associate with.
This doesn’t really leave us too much room for
speculation. The Jewish state is the ultimate threat to humanity and our
notion of humanism. Christianity, Islam and humanism came along with an
attempt to amend Jewish tribal fundamentalism and to replace it with
universal ethics. Enlightenment, liberalism and emancipation allowed Jews to
redeem themselves from their ancient tribal supremacist traits. Since the
mid 19th century, many Jews had been breaking out of their
cultural and tribal chain. Tragically enough, Zionism
managed to pull many Jews back in. Currently, Israel and Zionism are the
only collective voice available for Jews.
The last twelve days of merciless offensive against the
Palestinian civilian population does not leave any room for doubt. Israel is
the gravest danger to world peace. Clearly the nations made a tragic mistake
in 1947 giving a volatile racially orientated identity an opportunity to set
itself into a national state. However,
the nations’ duty now is to peacefully dismantle that state before it is too
late. We must do it before the Jewish state and its forceful lobbies around
the world manage to pull us all into a global war in
the ‘name’ of one banal populist ideology or another (democracy, war against
terror, cultural clash and so on). We have to wake up
now before our one and only planet is transformed into a bursting boil of
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