The Lousiness Test
by Israel Shamir
[Courtesy of Ingrid Rimland]
IN THE MERRY NIGHTS OF TEL AVIV, amid the colorful idlers at Allenby, in overflowing restaurants, where crowds of content Israelis leisurely take their relaxation, I see the camouflaged angel writing three words on the wall: "Mene tekel upharsin."
My Angel-Russian dictionary translates these words as follows: "We have tried you, and you have not passed the lousiness test".
Black days have descended upon the Israeli people; black because everything that our fathers and ourselves have said, bewailed, and complained about has been as genuine as a three-dollar bill. Back in 1968 I painted on a wall in my native Akademgorodok: "Hands off Czechoslovakia." Jewish poet Alexander Galich sang in his beautiful, deep voice: "Citizens, our Fatherland is in danger! Our tanks are rolling through a foreign land!" Bearing such a slogan, several Jews stepped out onto Red Square, and were somewhat seriously roughed up by the police. Galich, Daniel, Ginzburg, Golomshtok were referring to the Russian tanks in Prague. As Russian citizens who cherish honor even when this contradicts falsely-understood patriotism, we protested against Russian tanks in Budapest, Prague, and Kabul.
Many years have passed. Now it is our Jewish tanks that are rolling through a foreign land.
They are not just rolling - they are killing peaceful civilians, destroying houses, keeping millions of people emaciated and blockaded. One might expect that many Jewish intellectuals have rushed into our Red Square equivalent? Absolutely nothing of the kind. Our singers just celebrate our valiant Jewish fighters, the steady hands and the sharp eyes of our Jewish snipers, and the unlimited humanism of the Jewish people, who could turn all Palestinian goys into mincemeat, but limit themselves to wounding several hundred each day.
Human rights fighters, such as Sharansky, have opposed the propiska [registration of residence] laws, just the way our grandfathers fought the Pale of Settlement. But after our grandfathers won their battle, they herded the goys into reservations, compared to which the Pale of Settlement looks like an open society. A Palestinian may not visit a village next to his without requesting permission, without being searched and having his documents checked. Of course, he would not even dream of visiting the sea, just a few kilometers from his house.
Jews have protested against discrimination at work and in high schools. But now we have created a system of total national discrimination. Out of 13,000 workers at our State Electrical Company, only six are goys. That's 0.0004%! Goys are 40 per cent of the population from Jordan to the sea, but only one quarter of them are allowed to vote. There is not a single goy on the Supreme court, in the executive branch of government, among the generals, in aviation, or in the secret services. There is not a single goy working even in the leading Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.
That is why everything that Jews have been saying in Russia should be rewritten in view of recent events. We have fought not for human rights - but only for Jewish rights. We have been advocating freedom of movement and occupational choice only for Jews. We are not against our own tanks rolling through foreign lands - we were only against Russian tanks. Upon seeing an unhappy child holding his hands up in front of a machine gunner, we are sorry only if this child is Jewish. The goy's children can be shot at as one wishes.
When Byalik wrote "the devil has not invented a suitable punishment for killing a child," he apparently visualized only a Jewish child. When he was terrified by visions of pogroms, he was terrified of pogroms against Jews. A pogrom by itself is a usual and even a normal occurrence. Recently the Jews of Upper Nazareth conducted a pogrom against the Arabs of Lower Nazareth, but none of the pogromists were prosecuted. Rather, the police shot dead several of those who were victims of the pogrom. Yet another pogrom on a mass scale was perpetrated against the peaceful and innocent town of Beth Jallah.
In tsarist Russia - which our grandparents cursed in every way they could, and ruined - pogroms killed fewer people over one hundred years than we kill in a week. The most terrible Kishinev pogroms [in Russia] took the lives of 45 people, with 600 wounded. The total number of recent victims in Israel [to 31-Oct-2000] equals 150 killed and 4,000 wounded. After a pogrom in Russia, hundreds of honest people, all the writers and the entire intelligentsia, raised their voices against the pogromists who participated in the violence. In Israel, there have been merely some tens who protested in Tel Aviv, and the Union of Jewish writers supported the murderers.
When in 1991 Jews in Russia advocated private property rights in defiance of Communism, they meant only Jewish private property rights - because the goy's private property we confiscate freely, as if it belonged to no one. Just walk along the luxurious districts of Jerusalem - Talbieh, old Catamon, the Greek and German townships. All these palaces belonged to goys - Germans, Armenians, Greeks, Palestinians - Orthodox and Muslims. They have been confiscated and given to Jews. In recent weeks, hundreds of hectares have been confiscated from goys, and tens of houses were destroyed.
Gibraltar Jewish tycoon Gusinsky flew in to support us in our struggle. Not too long ago he appealed to the world community, at the time that Russia was trying to liberate television broadcasting from his clutches. His support of Israel means that Gusinsky agrees with sequestration and arrests based on ethnicity. He is only against confiscation of Jewish property. He is only against Jews sitting in prison - goys can sit in prison for tens of years without being convicted in court - that's what happens in our Jewish state.
In the shortest time we have managed to render null and void all the efforts Jews have been making through the ages in the field of democracy, human rights, and equality. But what is it that we did not like about the German Nazis? Their racism? We don't have any less. The Russian-language Jerusalem newspaper Pryamaya Rech [Direct Speech] conducted a survey among Russian Jews regarding their attitudes towards Palestinians. "I want to kill all Arabs," "All Arabs must be killed," "The Arabs must be expelled, the gates must be closed behind them and locked securely," "An Arab is an Arab. They must be smashed." I am not sure whether a survey of Germans in, say, 1938 would have painted such a clear picture. The Nazis were not planning to kill their Jewish enemies even in 1941.
Therefore, we must admit - that we have been against racism as long as it was directed against us. We have been against Nazism while it was a foreign Nazism. We have been against Sonderkommando butcher troops while these belonged to other people. Our own native Jewish butchers are the objects of our delight. Today Israel is the only country in the world where execution squads are officially active, where the Supreme court just yesterday put limits on how torture may be applied. Don't worry, you will not be affected: our butchers operate strictly in accordance with article five [the nationality law].
We were against ghettoes as long as they drove us into ghettoes. According to the most liberal Jewish plan, several ghettoes for goys are to be created, ghettoes behind barbed wire fences, with tanks around the perimeter, plus a Jewish factory near the fence. It is there that goys will be able to verify whether Arbeit macht frei. We shall give these ghettoes full independence, but taking away from them all possibility of earning a living first.
After that, when the angel has written his terrible words, after the prophet has appealed to the nation of Israel to repent, before us are open two paths. The choice is ours. We can, like the people of Nineveh, repent, return the looted goods, grant full equality, stop the discrimination and the killing - and hope for God's forgiveness, if not for our own sake, then at least for the sake of our cats and dogs. Or, we can persist in our sins, like the inhabitants of Sodom, and prepare for the fire and brimstone to rain down from the furious skies of Palestine.