For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Easter Offensive 1

By Israel Shamir


The war in Palestine has become a global war between followers and deniers of Christ.



“Here in Palestine, Jesus is again walking the Via Dolorosa. Palestinians are being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha”, wrote Canon Naim Ateek of Jerusalem Anglican Church a year ago. This parallel between the Passion of Christ and the present onslaught of the Jewish state on the human rights in Palestine and elsewhere caused a great controversy; supporters and deniers jousted for a few months[i].

His words became even more relevant now, as during this year the suffering of Palestinians grew immensely. Just before the Easter, Sharon’s government began what careful Kofi Annan described as a ‘conventional war’ with jets, tanks and helicopters against defenceless civilian population. Two thousand years ago, only people of Jerusalem were present, while Christ was rushed to Golgotha. Now, in the global village of 21st century, the whole mankind became a witness of this tragic and lasting event. We all stand on the sidewalk of Via Dolorosa. The fateful question, ‘whether this man should be crucified’, applies to all of us. If we stop the execution, we shall change history.

The adversary acutely feels the fatefulness of the struggle. That is why the war in Palestine became a part of the global war between followers and deniers of Christ. It is not an accident that at the same time, the Virgin in Bethlehem was shelled[ii] by Jewish tanks; in the US and elsewhere, the Jewish-dominated media[iii] began a vicious smear campaign against Catholic clergy; while in France, a film Amen denigrating the late Pope Pius came to cinemas. Suggestively, the Cross on the movie’s posters turns into Nazi swastika.

Christendom made a grave mistake by unilaterally abandoning ideological struggle against the Jewish paradigm. One should make a clear distinction between Jews as persons, and the Jewish paradigm as ideology. Jews are just human, and deserve to be treated and accepted as human. The Jewish paradigm should be confronted and counteracted. Two important issues were confused: the question of external relations, human and civil rights, human dignity on one side and ideological difference and variance, on the other side. They can, and should be treated separately.

Christianity and Judaism offer two different, indeed opposing approaches. Their struggle is a natural competition. At first sight, the two sister-faiths are similar; both celebrate at Easter/Pesach their accepted sacrifice by a narration, the liturgy of Passion for Christians and the family narrative of Haggadah for Jews. But at the second thought, they could not differ more. Passion is a story of supreme self-sacrifice of the Chosen one for the sake of universal salvation, the Haggadah is a story of sacrificing the enemies and salvation of the Chosen ones. At Easter, Christians celebrate resurrection of one who sacrificed himself for us. It is affirmation of altruism to the highest degree. Jewish Passover has an opposite idea: it is our salvation and their death. Egyptians and the people of Canaan should be sacrificed, so we would live better, that is the Passover idea, the affirmation of national egoism.

It is not a pure scholastic dispute, but a question of praxis as well. Since the rise of the Jewish paradigm, the prosperous nations sacrifice the poor nations so they would live even better. The growing poverty of the Third World is the proof of it. Look at the figures. Between 1960 and 1980 per capita income in Latin America grew 73%, and in Africa, 34%. During the period of ‘economic liberalization’, or the rise of Jewish paradigm, 1980 to 2000, that growth plummeted to 7% in Latin America and in Africa it went into reverse - minus 23%.[iv]

This paradigm does not stop at the border; it works in the ‘core country’, in the US, as well. There, the rich sacrifice the less affluent so they would live even better. A new study, Divergent Paths[v], proved that ninety percent of young workers in the US now doing worse than they would have 20 years ago. Since 1980, only a small percentage of Americans improved their lot, while for the rest, the perspectives of ‘upward mobility’ are gloomy. In the best ally of the US, in Britain, the figures are even worse. Both these countries have now poorly educated youth and inefficient health care. In the same period of time, rich people became richer by far, tells the study; while the Jewish community’s average income became twice that of Gentile American.

In Israel, an average Jew has eight times the income of a Gentile. Nowhere the praxis of Easter/Passover dispute is obvious as much as in Palestine. When the Jews came to Palestine, they were quite poor. The British administration enacted a local statute allowing building only of stone in Jerusalem. Stone was expensive, Jews were poor, and the statute was described as ‘anti-Semitic’. In 1948, the Gentiles’ stone mansions of Jerusalem were confiscated and given to Jews, while the legal owners were pushed into refugee camps. They languish in poverty so we can live better.

In the bare hills around al Halil/Hebron, Palestinian villagers have no water, and their flocks die near dried-up spring. The spring water goes by a pipe into the swimming pool of a Jewish settlement. It is also a realisation of the maxim, ‘let them die, if we can live better’. Using the Passover idea, the Talmud rules[vi] on priority for drawing water at a well, “need of a Jew to do his laundry takes precedence over the lives of Gentiles”. It is implemented in real life, in real time, in Israel.

Theology is ideology, and there is no place for ideological compromise between these opposing paradigms. The perceived difference between the twain was stated by the sides as follows. A prominent modern Jewish scholar and editor of Talmud, Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz described Christianity as ‘simplified Judaism, adapted to the childish minds of Gentiles’. On the other hand, a grandson of a Rabbi, Karl Marx, wrote: ‘Christianity is the sublime Judaist thought, while Judaism is a sordid utilitarian application of Christianity’.

Now, in these days, we should decide what to celebrate – the altruism of Easter or egoism of Passover. I would conclude with the marvellous words of Robert Leverant, “What the Jews are doing to the Palestinians is abominable. To participate in a service where the Jews are going to say “we are victims” is beyond my ability to stomach”.

[i] see Controversy on my website Friends and Foes

[ii] See my article Our Lady of Sorrow

[iv] April 30, 2001  Democracy and the Quebec Summit, Murray Dobbin, National Post

[v] Co-authors of the book are Martina Morris, a University of Washington professor of sociology and statistics, Annette Bernhardt, senior research associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Mark Handcock, professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington; and Marc Scott, assistant professor of educational statistics at New York University.  The research was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

[vi] Tosefta Baba Metzia 11:33-36