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Amos Mokadi, the New Jewish Paradigm and the Rumsfeld Factor
Last uploaded : Monday 1st Apr 2002 at 01:17
Contributed by : The Editor



On 24th March I attended a talk by the Israeli writer and actor Amos Mokadi, who presented his thesis for the ‘new Jewish Paradigm,’ a vision of co-existence that he feels ‘temporarily died’ with the assassination of Anwar Sadat and again with the bullets Yigal Amir pumped into Yitzhak Rabin. Mokadi showed a poignant film about a group of Palestinian and Israeli nine-year-olds who spent a year cultivating a ‘city farm’ outside Jerusalem in 1999-2000.

I have a problem with this.

I came home from the event to see on my television screen scenes of hordes of angry Palestinians carrying the corpses of their most recent dead through the streets of their towns, just a stone’s throw from greater Israel. Their rage, their relative youth and their sheer numbers -- maybe 50,000? – make a terrifying image to behold. These strapping young men, all well-dressed and sturdy-looking, could comprise a formidable invasion force. When I was in Israel some six years ago, with Oslo in full swing, these scenes occurred with just as much ferocity as they do now in the midst of a full-scale conflict. I would often ask my Israeli friends, on both the left and right , ‘What would happen if all these angry people decided to force their way into Tel Aviv and Caeaarea and even Eilat? My friends, perhaps justifiably so, thought I was a lunatic and said, ‘Are you kidding? Get past the IDF? Do you think the Shabak doesn’t know what everyone is doing all the time—including its own citizens?’

Frankly, if I turned on the television and saw hordes of men holding rifles aloft and calling for holy war just a few miles down in, say, Kilburn or Earl’s Court, I would be frightened witless, notwithstanding the fact that the fortresses of Her Majesty’s Household Cavalry and Paddington Green Police HQ are on my main roads.

What troubles me about these young men, whose rage could be compared to that of the men who flew the aeroplanes to a deadly doom on 11th September, is that they seem to have no leaders to lead them, no great artists to inspire them to create, no genius scientists to encourage them to discover the cure for cancer, and -- most puzzling of all – no loving parents to tell them to pursue these dreams and to cherish the life that they have been granted.

This past week, President Bush attended a summit of nations at which it was determined that poverty breeds terrorism. The hijackers of 11th September came form middle-class families, and some were from prosperous backgrounds. Osama bin Laden is not exactly on skid row. Conversely, one could identify a number of ethnic groups who emigrated to the New World in the past century, arriving in their host countries penniless and hungry only to achieve respectable livelihoods within a generation. Impoverished Poles, Irishmen Jews, Greeks, Italians and Orientals who arrived at Ellis Island spent many of their early years hungry and desperate in the land supposedly paved with gold. Had every one of these people become a suicide bomber, hijacker or destroyer of Buddhist statues there would not be much of America left.

Why is it that wherever Jews have gone they have established little enclaves of Torah study and scientific research, even when they have been dying on their feet in closed European ghettoes?

A few months ago some friends invited me to a restaurant where we were joined by their acquaintances. These guests, whom I had never before met, heard my American accent and began to berate me about the millions of ‘starving slave workers’ harvesting raw materials for rich American companies. They told me that these people were – literally – rich pickings for bin Laden, as they hated America so much. It was not possible for me to get my brain around the concept of a coffee farmer fulminating about the evils of Hollywood, but as I tried to have an intelligent discussion I was shouted down about Americans’ protracted mourning for 11th September that they thought bordered on the tawdry. (Anyone who watches the CBS Evening News on Sky cable in the UK and sees the hard-nosed Dan Rather breaking down in tears on live TV six months on will understand that this was not just the Boston Tea Party.)

My dinner combatants – as opposed to dinner companions -- further asserted that the very reason for 11th September was the phenomenon of the impoverished Starbucks coffee-bean-picker. In other words, America brought it on itself due to exploitation of the rest of the world.

One could look at it from my combatants’ viewpoint: in 1775 we colonials had had enough of exploitation by King George III’s empire 3,000 miles away, and staged the very Tea Party mentioned above. We declared that taxation without representation was tyranny and threw off the Empire in a bloody rebellion known as the American Revolution.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that September 11th was a noble statement by the kamikaze hijackers to liberate the poor of the world from ruthless American exploitation.

More than likely, September 11th was the symbolic successor to the Taleban’s destruction of the sacred twin Buddhist statues, and the prelude to a much wider, meticulously organised campaign to rid the world of Americans and Jews.

I believe this.

Change ‘sacred’ to ‘scared.’ I admit I am scared. Amos Mokadi, a well-meaning Israeli who truly wants peace, has his heart in the right place. Ironically, in the 24th March lecture he made it clear at the outset that he did not want to talk about the present situation. Perhaps, like many Israelis, he is in denial.

The reason why I left the peace movement is because I do not believe any movement can do what the United States is trying to achieve. Much as I do not admire the Republicans, we are stuck with them. Donald Rumsfeld (see photo) is an inspiration compared to the overweight, America-bashing Parliamentarians pontificating across Europe with breathtakingly misguided bluster.

The anger and hostility of the British public and its officials of all parties at present towards the American war on terror is a sorrow to behold. Lest we forget that the binoculars on the ‘Titanic’ were locked away on the night the men in the crow’s nest needed them most. Lets we forget Neville Chamberlain waving his slip of paper declaring ‘peace in our time.’

The mobs marching in Ramallah who were marching even when Rabin was masterminding Oslo are a frightening force of young men who see no future without a gun in their hands. Oddly enough, they do not look poor; their smart clothes and shoes suggest they are not suffering under what the British media call ‘the brutal Israeli occupation.’ To wit, the most recent suicide attacks were perpetrated by young men from areas abandoned by Israel in Rabin’s time.

Though I fear that something much more terrible than September 11th is just around the corner, let us pray that the peace plan proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah for the Arab Summit this week in Beirut is a ‘new paradigm’ that may defuse the rage in the West Bank and unite the Arab world with Israel and America in their war against a wayward, death-worshipping movement that I still like to believe bears no resemblance to the true meaning of Islam.

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