THE IDEA OF ISRAEL by Ilan Pappe.
THE INVENTION OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL by Shlomo Sand.
Both are worth reading in order to help understand what is happening there right now. I am older than the State of Israel, six when it was founded. In my thirteen years of visiting two or three times a year one of the factors that I felt helped maintain its existance was self-deception.
Some people actually believed that it was a democracy. A democracy does not censor history books in schools if they fail to tell the story approved by government. Neither does it reduce the funding of schools that fail to tell the official tale.
But that belief about it being a democracy was comforting to very many people. Alongside that notion was trust in the legal system, very much based upon English Law by the way.
Israel is also a capitalist country. If you wish to invest in a country you need to believe in its stability: in the consistency of its legal system and the relative trustworthiness of its politicians.
Today international companies are removing their investments. When that happens jobs are lost and wages fall. Interested in cars I would often watch them go by on the promenade in Tel Aviv. Among them there would always be the latest models. I wonder if that is still the case.
People and companies are leaving. The fantasy of stability is fading fast.
I do not think that all of the blame can be laid upon Netanyahu because the foundations of the fantasy were always dodgy, but here is a man, a dedicated Zionist, son of a very dedicated Zionist, follower of a fanatical dedicated Zionist, Jabotinsky, who has very clearly now put his own interests way ahead of his country.
In 1996 I was complaining about our Prime Minister in the hearing of my Jewish Israeli students. Their response? “You are complaining? We have got Netanyahu.” And they still have.
In order to stay out of prison for corruption he has linked with some very unsavory characters and is wrecking all those symbols of stability that made the people and investors from overseas feel content.
We now learn that the Israeli Government is suppressing a group dedicated to bringing together Palestinian and Israeli families that have shared suffering and lost family members. Such a group could be a solid foundation for a state commited to humanity. Instead we have Netanyahu and a bunch of lethal lunatics.
Not every Israeli has both eyes open yet and can see the inhuman injustice meted out to the indigenous people, but they can clearly see that their old fantasy is crumbling.
Yes, Israel was an invention. Reading Pappe and Sand will help to understand this, but today that invention is not working.
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