by Stephen Lendman
Israel is second only to America in imperial lawlessness. Both nations partner in high crimes too grave to ignore.
Neither admits fault. One conflict leads to others. Both nations are modern-day Spartas. They live by the sword. Perhaps one day they'll perish by it. Humanity may not last that long.
State terror is official policy. Palestinians suffered for decades. Professor Yehuda Bauer is Hebrew University's Institute of Contemporary Jewry Professor Emeritus.
He's a holocaust scholar. He studied genocide for decades. He prioritizes ways to stop it. He boycotts Yad Vashem ceremonies. He does so on the eve of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day.
He calls juxtaposing "heroes" and "martyrs" "foolish." He can't bear vapid speeches. They're "void of content and packed with cliches."
What does "Never again" mean, he asks? It's an "empty slogan." It belies the fact that holocausts repeat. He deplores messianic hard-right rabbis. They incite mass murder.
They're "potentially responsible for genocide." They advocate killing non-Jews and Israeli opponents. They desecrate the meaning of "Thou shalt not kill." They claim it only applies to one Jew killing another.
They're "heretics," They believe murdering Muslims and Christians is OK. Religious extremism is dangerous. More harm has been done in the name of religion than much else.
"Beware those who believe in the coming of the messiah," says Bauer. Zionism betrays its roots "when it doesn't treat (its) non-Jewish minority equally."
At his age, he calls himself "a dinosaur."
He says Netanyahu doesn't know history. For sure he doesn't know or care about rule of law principles.
He's an ideologue, says Bauer. He believe Jews should rule greater Israel. He uses anti-Semitic rhetoric "demagogically."
Bauer deplores "fascist-religious-messianic settlers." They're unrestrained. They "burn mosques, cut down trees, and attack Palestinians." They do so with impunity.
He hopes Israel will change. "There are good people here," he says. They're "sensitive to the suffering of others." Perhaps they'll turn things around. It's "worth living" for, he adds. He identifies with this type thinking.
In April, he turns 87. He's still active. He's outraged by Israel's attitude toward persecuted Africans. They fled to Israel for safe haven. They're treated like criminals.
In May 2011, Bauer joined others. They signed a "declaration of independence from the occupation." They called for Israel to recognize Palestinian self-determination.
He fears for Israel's future. Right wing extremism threatens it.
He supports a "democratic state within the 1967 boundaries, with certain territorial exchanges, will be a Zionist Jewish state that is obliged not only to make peace with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors, but offers the possibility for national-cultural development and full equal rights to the Arab minority living in the State of Israel."
"The settlement policy is working against us and endangering us. We have to remove the majority of the settlers from the territories, which are actually areas of the State of Palestine."
"The only way to remove the settlers…is by means of pressure that will be exerted on Israel by the major powers which have no interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"An agreement between the United States and the European Union and Russia, with China's involvement, could create a situation in which pressure will be applied to both sides in the conflict to engage in serious negotiations until white smoke emerges."
"Both sides are extremely susceptible to pressure. It would be enough if the EU were to discover that it has problems of financial liquidity and announce that it will have difficulty paying the salaries of the officials in the PA or in Gaza; or for the Pentagon to announce that it has a problem supplying spare parts to the Israel Air Force."
"If so, within eight months the Air Force's planes and equipment turn into junk. It makes no difference whether there are 30 or 40 settler outposts at this moment."
"The instant it is decided to stop financing the settlements, that story will come to a swift end."
Continuing it he believes may result in Masada 2.0. Israel "isolated in the face of the world is liable to stir an extreme nationalist reaction and a posture of 'Let me die with the Philistines.' "
"Our situation today recalls what happened in the Roman period, in the military revolt and confrontation against the 'United States' of that period."
"So, maybe we are not talking about a possible military clash with America, but about total isolation, sanctions and starvation, which could lead to extreme reactions deriving from pessimism and despair."
He thinks a binational state for all its people won't work. Trying "would mean permanent civil war and mutual killing."
Settlements and right-wing extremism erased the original Zionist dream. Minority Israeli Arabs deserve "national-cultural autonomy."
There's no reason they "should be compelled to sing 'With eyes toward Zion (in Israel's national anthem) and hoist the blue-and-white flag."
"As far as I am concerned, there is no problem with a Palestinian flag flying alongside the Israeli" one in every Arab community.
Bauer favors joint textbooks. Arabs and Jews should learn about each other. Doing so substitutes truth for myths. Understanding can replace longterm hostility.
He believes in "liv(ing) the moment without ignoring either the past or the future, and to take things factually and realistically."
He's appalled at how Israel treats Palestinians. Millions of others share his view. They're treated like subhumans. They're targeted and persecuted. They're locked in gulag hell. They languish there for wanting to live free.
Samer Easawi's been hunger striking for justice. He hasn't ingested food for over 200 days. In October 2011, he was released with others in exchange for Gilat Shalit.
In July 2012, he was rearrested. He's lawlessly held uncharged. He's one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.
He had his day in court. Injustice continued. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment. It begins from his day of arrest. He has another month to serve.
He should have been released immediately. He should be compensated for his ordeal. He vows to keep hunger striking. He may not survive another 30 days. Who knows if Israel will release him?
He's yet to face its military committee. It can arbitrarily give him another 20 years. It won't surprise if it does. Israel wants Samer held longterm.
Netanyahu and previous prime ministers violated lower and High Court rulings. They do what they wish. They do so with impunity. Samer's life hangs in the balance.
He's been brutally treated in prison. He's been tortured and psychologically abused. He's been isolated and denied counsel at times. He's been pressured to confess to crimes he didn't commit and implicate others.
Hundreds of Palestinians rallied supportively. They did so for him and three other longterm hunger strikers. Israeli security forces attacked them violently. Many were injured.
Journalists were assaulted. Dozens of Palestinian ones languish in Israeli custody.
Samer's family faces harassment. Israel does it repeatedly. On December 18, 2012, Israeli forces arrested his sister, Shirin. She was held 24 hours.
She was sentenced to 10 days house arrest. She was prevented from attending Samer's hearings for six months.
On January 1, 2013, Israel demolished Ra'fat Samer's home. He's Samer's older brother. They did so claiming he had no building permit.
On February 16, Israeli soldiers raided Tareq Samer's home. They did so pre-dawn. He's Samer's father. He was pressured to bring soldiers to Mid'hat's house.
He's Samer's brother and Tareq's son. He was arrested and imprisoned. Shadi was brutalized and arrested at the time. He's Tareq's other son.
He's still held. He's prohibited from seeing counsel and family members. Thousands of other Palestinians get similar treatment. Doing so violates international law.
It's official Israeli policy. It's longstanding. Wanting to live free is criminalized. Rogue states operate that way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.