I’m an Israeli Leftist and I’m Not Afraid

The right is dismantling Israel. If that’s what you want, go for it. We’ll reassemble it after you’ve gone.

Avraham Burg
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Activists at a rally organized by Peace Now ordering a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of an escalation in terrorism, Oct. 24, 2015.
Activists at a rally organized by Peace Now ordering a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of an escalation in terrorism, Oct. 24, 2015.Credit: Moti Milrod
Avraham Burg

I’m a leftist and I’m not at all afraid. Not of any [right-wing rapper] “shadow” or of any thug. Let them vilify me and paint my Facebook page black. I’m not moving anywhere. I’m a leftie! Deal with it.

I regret having voted for Isaac Herzog and think that Meretz is pathetic. I can’t believe how easily [Arab Joint List leader] Ayman Odeh was subsumed by the nationalist elements in his party, the bigamists and the fundamentalists. I’m not scared by Netanyahu’s intimidations – they’re pathetic. The Labor party is part of the right wing and Yair Lapid, well ... never mind.

I read Haaretz and the leftist website Sikha Mekomit (Local Call). I believe Gideon Levy and Amira Hass and think that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is a decent guy, but blind, that Netanyahu is a liar and that Yair Lapid, well ... never mind.

This is not my government and this is not my opposition. The Chief Rabbinate does not reflect my Judaism and Dani Dayan and Danny Danon are not my ambassadors. Lieberman is an ultra-nationalist and so is Bennett. Uri Ariel is a fundamentalist and Arye Dery is of no consequence.

No one represents me. I’m an activist. Activism means groups such as Kav LaOved (Worker’s Hotline) and Tarabut-Hithabrut (Arab-Jewish Association for Social and Political Change), which is working for Negev Bedouin rights. I don’t quite understand the natural gas debate, but where is [social activist] Dafni Leef when she’s needed? Choosing between her and [tycoon] Yitzhak Tshuva, my respect goes to her. The Israeli-Palestinian group Fighting for Peace includes brave and wonderful people. They and we are not alone. I believe Breaking the Silence. They are patriotic like no other people.

The hilltop youth are skullcap-wearing criminals and many of the rabbis in Judea and Samaria are inflammatory racists. I laughed when the right-wing group Im Tirtzu was compelled – after the Supreme Court reversed a District Court decision determining that they are fascists – to donate to “Let the Animals Live.” The result actually indicates that the animals were the ones contributing.

I believe human beings, I want peace and detest wars. I can’t stand armies although I realize there is no choice, but being a policeman who protects bullies and settlers – forget it. I wore a red beret, I killed and was killed. My heart is red today. The settlements are a malignant cancer. The doctor has ordered their immediate removal. We’re talking about life-saving surgery.

There are wonderful Arabs and awful Jews. These are part of my family, I know that. There are also Palestinians and Muslim people who are awful. I don’t feel an automatic blood and racial solidarity with every Jew. I only identify with ideas and values.

The Peace Now movement is soporific and boring – the village of Bil’in, with its weekly clashes against the separation barrier, is where the front line lies. Conscientious objection requires courage. There can be peace here. The United States cannot be a mediator since it is totally one-sided. There is one state with two regimes between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, one which is good for the Jews while the other discriminates against Palestinians.

In one enlightened state everyone would have equal rights. I’ll send my kids to a bilingual school. And no, I’m not worried about them falling in love. On the contrary, better a good Arab than an awful Jew.

I love this country but I don’t need to own it. Not every right needs to be fulfilled and I can live here without being the sovereign or master. I don’t cross the 1967 border and will not do reserve duty there. If you call I won’t come. I don’t buy mushrooms from [the settlement of] Tekoa and [right-wing freebie] Israel Hayom is a terrible newspaper. There is no such thing as “the chosen people” and the messiah is a dangerous imaginary friend. His donkeys are for real.

I want to live. I think that rabbis are charlatans. There is no God, but he has a fascinating tradition behind him. If there were a God he’d be female. Women are equal to men, even superior to them.

A democracy belongs to all its citizens. The state must be secular. The place of religion is in synagogues, not in the Knesset or in army barracks. The Knesset law is supreme, particularly over the halakha and sharia religious laws. I’m for letting every person establish the family of their choice, including straights, homosexuals, lesbians and all the rest. It’s not my concern. I don’t want to be involved in their dinner plates, wombs or pockets. The state and its Knesset members should quickly extract themselves from these locations.

Once I was a fan of the Hapoel Jerusalem soccer team but their “ultras” are also despicable fascists. So I support non-political teams such as Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa and Hapoel Katamon. Beitar Nordiya Jerusalem is a respectable and great rival team. Reuven Rivlin is my president and Shimon Peres was Avigdor Lieberman’s foreign minister. Anyone who doesn’t want my truth in civics won’t get my service either. The right is dismantling Israel. If that’s what you want, go for it. We’ll reassemble it after you’ve gone.

I’m not breaking because a civil disobedience campaign will break out here. The cold war will heat up but will not be violent, at least not from our side. Believe me, they can be finished off without resorting to force. Violence is the weapon of the weak and primitive, and that’s what they are. They bully and we can refuse to serve and pay taxes, putting red ballots in the ballot box. We can fill their detention centers and shame them here and overseas. We can refuse to play by their rules. Maybe then you’ll understand? Only this way will the right crumble and our alternative take over power. The left is alive and well! Today it’s a radical minority but tomorrow Israel will be an enlightened state of all its citizens. Despair is their lot – ours is hope.

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