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(DV) Petersen: Subtle Loyalties of Zionism







Subtle Loyalties to Zionism
by Kim Petersen
July 4, 2006

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“Everything must be done to win Gilad Shalit’s release,” writes Gideon Levy of the captured Israeli fighter in his most recent piece. [1]

Levy who laments that “Israelis [are] totally indifferent to the sufferings of the other” [2] is well regarded in progressive circles for his articles that decry the daily suffering of Palestinians at the hands of the occupiers. A closer examination of his recent article, however, reveals that the difference between Levy and the occupation regime is more nuance than substance.

Why, for example, does Levy not list off the names of all the Palestinians held prisoner by the Zionist regime and declare: “Everything must be done to win their release”?

According to Ayed Abueqtaish, a former political prisoner and presently a research co-coordinator with Defense for Children International in Ramallah, since the outbreak of the second intifada, over 30,000 Palestinians have been arrested by the occupiers, of which 9,000 remain in prison. Ten percent of those arrested are children; 400 children were still in the occupiers’ prison. [3]

Typically, the children are arrested in an assault by Zionist troops while in their homes. This, according to the soft-spoken Abueqtaish, is designed to terrify Palestinians. The children are beaten and cursed before being taken away to prison, where they are subjected to both physical and psychological torture.

The Palestinians are under assault, but Levy’s article is replete with euphemistic language. He writes of the “‘rolling’ operation in Gaza” and the “‘summer rains’ we are showering on Gaza.” He writes of a “weekend lull,” as if the Palestinians have ever had a lull during their 39 years of occupation.

He refers to the “steps” of cutting off electricity, clearing Palestinian towns, and “penetrating” (not “violating”) Syrian airspace as “illegitimate.” These “steps” are war crimes and acts of aggression. Levy adds, “The harsher the steps, the more monstrous and stupid they become, the more the moral underpinnings for them are removed.”

What moral underpinnings did such “steps” ever have? The entire occupation is devoid of morality. In the absence of morality, of what use are moral underpinnings? Any claims to morality cannot be made so long as the occupation continues, so long as the occupiers torture, so long as Palestinians languish in the prisons of occupiers, so long as the results of ethnic cleansing remain in place, so long as Palestinian refugees are denied the right of return.

But Levy peppers his article with 10 mentions of “legitimacy,” as if that is the concern. There is, however, no legitimacy to the occupation. If the occupation, itself, is illegitimate (a euphemism for “evil”), then everything originating from it is likeliest illegitimate. Does evil spawn good?

Levy also repeats the falsehood that Shalit was kidnapped. That he also refers to the kidnapping of two Palestinian civilians does not balance his writing. Shalit is a soldier. Soldiers are not kidnapped; they are prisoners of war.

Although no one should wish Shalit harm, by virtue of his choice to serve in the occupation forces, he is not a sympathetic character. The occupation forces hinder and prevent passage of the Palestinian people across their territory; they humiliate and heap abuse on the Palestinian people; they brutalize and murder Palestinians. The occupation army wages a grotesquely asymmetric war against Palestinian people.

But he describes the army’s response as “a widescale act of vengeance ... mostly motivated by the deep frustration that the army commanders feel about their impotence against the Qassams and the daring Palestinian guerilla raid.” Levy implies that the horror “showering” upon the Palestinians in Gaza is the revenge of a “frustrated” army. The murders of many Palestinians before the guerrilla raid that captured Shalit were seemingly non-provocatory; hence, Levy denies Palestinians revenge and makes them the instigators of the Zionist assault in Gaza.

Levy’s sympathies are manifest. His primary concern is for Shalit and the future of the regime whose inexperience “does not bode well, not only for the chances of freeing Shalit, but also for the future management of the government.” How about the Palestinians? How does this bode for the people that Levy disparages as “miserable.”

Levy further asserts, “The legitimate basis for the IDF’s operation was stripped away the moment it began.” What possible “legitimate basis” did the frustrated army ever have? Levy never enlightens the reader about this.

Elsewhere Levy revealingly writes: “[W]e are a state and they are a terror organization.” Levy did not write that Israel is an illegitimate terror state. He chooses to demonize the Palestinians -- who have the unmentioned legitimate right to fight occupation -- as terrorists.

Levy feebly notes, “Collective punishment is illegitimate and it does not have a smidgeon of intelligence.” Collective punishment is a euphemism for terror inflicted on the Palestinian people. It is much more than unintelligent; it is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Ergo, the perpetrators are war criminals.

Levy is a wordsmith by trade. As such, he is fully aware of the content of his writing. Supporters of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people must beware of the skillful guising of Zionist loyalties through the expression of a professed concern for the Palestinians. 

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in the traditional Mi’kmaq homeland colonially designated Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.


[1] Gideon Levy, “A black flag,” Haaretz, 2 July 2006.

[2] Claude Lévesque, “Gideon Levy, the voice of Palestinians in Israel,” Le Devoir, 6 March 2006.

[3] From speech organized by the Sumoud Political Prisoners Solidarity Group on second annual Free Palestinian Political Prisoners presented at St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 6 April 2006.

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