Leon Rosselson's Blog

‘A Zionist without qualification’

By Leon Rosselson
November 17th, 2020

Israeli army razes entire village in occupied West Bank Bulldozers and diggers demolish Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa, leaving 74 people, including 41 minors, homeless.

On 3 November, Israeli security forces carried out demolition work to clear the Palestinian settlement of Khirbet Humsa al-Foqa in the northern Jordan Valley, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Seventy buildings and other structures were destroyed, including housing and sanitary facilities for eleven Palestinian families. The United Nations has recorded the demolition of 557 Palestinian-owned structures, an umbrella term for houses, huts, tents and basic infrastructure, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year.

The forces also demolished 29 tents and sheds used as livestock enclosures, three storage sheds, nine tents used as kitchens, 10 portable toilets, 10 livestock pens, 23 water containers, two solar panels, and feeding and watering troughs for livestock. 74 people were displaced including 41 children, one as young as three months old.

Abdelghani Awada, left homeless by the operation, told the AFP news agency that the Israelis gave people “10 minutes to evacuate our homes”.
“Then, they started bulldozing,” he said.
He said his family had lived in the area for generations and accused Israel of trying to “empty the Jordan Valley of its Palestinian population”.

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“Did you read that …?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Israeli solders.”
“A whole village.”

“Why did they do that?”

“Because they could.”
“But why?”
“The people in the village were being punished”
“For what?”
“For a crime.”
“What crime?”
“The crime of not being Jews.”
“Since when has not being Jews been a crime?”
“In this little corner of the world, since 1967.”
“The Israeli authorities say the village didn’t have planning permission.”
“Yes, they always say that.”
‘So the village should have applied for planning permission?”
“And then they would have got permission and been allowed to stay?”
“Why not?”
“Because they are not Jews.”
“So they must be punished.”
“Maybe they were Jews once. Maybe they are descendants of the original Judeans-”

“Have you been reading Shlomo Sand?”

“-and then they converted to Christianity or Islam.”

“I doubt that argument would impress Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.”
“Who are they?”
“They’re the only ones who decide who is Jewish in Israel.”
“Can’t people decide for themselves?”
“Certainly not.”
“Are the soldiers Jewish?”
“I expect so.”
“So is it Jewish to destroy villages of non-Jews?”
“Better ask the Chief Rabbinate.”

“And the villagers only got 10 minutes to retrieve their goods.”
“That was generous. Sometimes they get no time at all.”
“As the most learned scholar of the Torah said, a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”
‘But many of the villagers left homeless were little children. One was a baby”
“Little snakes according to the Israeli Minister, Ayelet Shaked.”
“How awful! Was she sacked?”
“Of course not. Her post calling for the destruction of the entire Palestinian people, ‘including its elderly and its women, its cities and villages, its property and its infrastructure’ got five thousand Likes.”
“What about the soldiers? I can’t help wondering what the soldiers were thinking when they were destroying these poor people’s property.”
“Since when has it been the job of soldiers to think?”
“So they were just obeying orders?”
“Of course.”
“Isn’t that what the Nazis said? The Nuremberg Defence?”
“ Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of antisemitism.”
“Is it?”
“According to the IHRA definition.”
“So I’m an antisemite?”
“According to the IHRA definition.”

An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian in the West Bank 1 September 2020

“Oh dear. We’d better change the subject.”
“It might be safer. Ask me another.”
“Why did Corbyn get suspended from the Labour Party?”
“Sorry. We’re not allowed to comment on that.”
“Who said so?”
“Sir Keir Starmer.”
“Did he protest to the Israeli government about the destruction of the village?”
“Don’t make me laugh.”
“He didn’t?”
“Not to my knowledge.”
“Why not?”
“He’s a Zionist without qualification.”
“Can you be a Zionist with qualification?”
“I’ll come back to you on that one.”
“What does a Zionist without qualification mean?”

“Ask Stephen Kinnock.”
“He’s an MP and the son of a former Labour Party leader.”
“I don’t remember him.”
“You weren’t born then.”
“So what has he done?”
“Infuriated Keir Starmer.”
“He said in Parliament that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law so the UK should not buy produce from them.”
“Is that a bad thing to say?”
“Starmer thought so. Kinnock suggested it was comparable to Israel profiting from the proceeds of crime.”
“Isn’t it?”
“Starmer didn’t think so. He reportedly gave Kinnock a dressing down.”
“Ooh! Scary.”
“I hope you aren’t being sarcastic.”
“Must be like being confronted by a startled rabbit.”
“You are being sarcastic.”
“What did Kinnock say?”
“Nothing as far as I’m aware.”
“Amnesty International says that ‘it is time for the UK and other countries around the world to stop being complicit in Israel’s unlawful killings, forced evictions, ill treatment, arbitrary arrests and deaths in custody’.”
“Criticism of Israel beyond that levelled against any other country could be antisemitic.”
“What’s that?”
“An IHRA example of antisemitism.”
“So Amnesty is antisemitic?”
“According to the IHRA definition.”
“Anyway, why is Mr Starmer being a Zionist without qualification?”
“He wants the approval of the Jewish community.”
“Which Jewish community?”
“The Jewish community.”
“Is there only one?”
“So all Jews think alike?”
“That sounds like an antisemitic conspiracy theory.”
“An antisemitic trope.”
“What’s a trope?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea. It just sounds more sinister than a theory.”
“So are you saying Mr Starmer is antisemitic?”
“I couldn’t possibly comment.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re still young.”
“If he’s a Zionist without qualification, how can he be antisemitic?”
“As I said, you’re still young.”
“You haven’t explained what a Zionist without qualification is.”
“I haven’t time.”
“Just a simple definition will do.”
“ A Zionist without qualification is someone who has two countries.”

“Why does this someone need two countries?”
“One to live in, one to worship.”
“Isn’t that an antisemitic trope according to the IHRA definition?”
“You learn fast, my son.”

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