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A Declaration of Independence

July 12, 2014   ·   4 Comments

21st Zionist Congress 1939 Geneva

Above: The 21st Zionist Congress 1939 in Geneva, Switzerland.

By Eugene Schulman:

Eugene Schulman was raised in Detroit and California, graduated from the University of Southern California, and worked in investments. Before retiring, he owned Encounter Book Shop in Geneva, Switzerland. He has been reading and writing about Judaism and Israel for more than forty years. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

A typical news account in recent days:

Palestinian deaths from four days of Israeli aerial assaults surpassed 100, with hundreds wounded. As of Friday, no Israelis had been killed by Gaza rockets, although one caused the first serious instance of multiple injuries on the Israeli side since the hostilities intensified.

“No international pressure will prevent us from operating with full force against a terrorist organization that calls for our destruction,” Mr. Netanyahu said in remarks broadcast from a news conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

With the government considering a ground invasion of Gaza, Mr. Netanyahu did not lay out his battle plans but said, “We are weighing all possibilities and preparing for all possibilities.”

New York Times, July 12, 2014

Given the recent renewal of ethnic cleansing/genocide in Gaza by Israeli Defense Forces, I pronounce this declaration of independence — Eugene Schulman.

The United States declared its independence from the British Empire in 1776, stating that it wished freedom from domination, claiming that all men are created equal and are entitled to unalienable rights such those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (We now know better.)

The state of Israel declared its independence in 1948, after the end of the British Mandate over Palestine. Although the land was to be partitioned between the indigenous Arab population and the trespassing Jews, the Zionist led territory claimed a state for themselves, excluding the Arabs. The declaration stated that the state of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. (We now know better.)

My own declaration:

Like most people who are born into a religion, I had always accepted the fact that I was Jewish because my family assumed the Jewish religion as handed down through their own families. Though ours was not very religious in practice, it considered itself a “member of the tribe.”

Jewish tradition was followed in our home for the sake of my maternal grandmother, who insisted that her children adhered. Thus, we observed the usual Jewish holidays: Pesach, Hannukkah, etc., and my eldest brother was Bar Mitzvaed. However, when my grandmother died, all such nonsense ceased in our family, and we lived very secular lives henceforth. Neither I, nor my other two brothers, one older and one younger, underwent the rite of Bar Mitzva. I have never attended a seder, nor attended synagogue.

From a young age, thanks to the atheist influence of my paternal grandfather, I have always denied the existence of God. Religion or God was never an issue or a subject of discussion in our home. However, during the years of my youth, prior to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, my mother, as a member of Haddassah, essentially as a social network, did support the immigration of Jews to the Holy Land, and collected funds for the planting of trees. So I was aware of the Zionist movement.

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WWII and the discovery of the Holocaust did make me aware of my Jewish roots, and like most Jews, was appalled at what the Nazis had done to “my people”. Innocent as I was at the time, at the age of 18, I believed that Israel would be a solution to the problem of finding homes for the survivors of the death camps, and supported the creation of Israel in Palestine as a homeland for Jews.

The notion that Palestine was already populated with an indigenous people did not escape me. But I had no idea that the Zionist plan was to create a Jewish state and drive out the existing population (ethnic cleansing).

Between the 1948 war and the 1967 war, i.e., the calm between Israeli independence and the aggression against the Palestinians, I had thought of Israel rather benignly as a place of refuge for the people who had suffered under Nazism and those in the Diaspora who wanted to find a home among their own. The 1967 war, as was presented to the world, gave us in the West the idea that Jews could now be safe among their own, and henceforth would be able to protect themselves. This, of course, is just what the Zionists wanted the world to believe.

But a reading of history since has shown that this is not the case. We now know that the Zionist intention, then and now, was to expand its borders and to subsume all of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan and perhaps beyond.

The delegates at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

The delegates at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

Books have shown that, despite their claim of victimhood, Israel has become an aggressor state, and claims hegemony over all the Middle East. In so becoming, Israel has become for Muslims what Nazi Germany was for the Jews, not to speak of the millions of others who suffered equally.

Although they were not the only people who suffered, the Holocaust has been co-opted by the Jews who use it as a weapon against all who would claim that Israel and Judaism are the cause of much trouble in the world.

I am one of those who believe that, not only Israel, but also the Jewish people who support it, are now the enemies of peace. Thus, I hereby renounce any support for Israel, but also any adherence to Judaism. Judaism is a religion, and as an atheist who does not accept the existence of a God or gods, it would be hypocritical to observe any religious practices, even in their "tribal form."

Via this declaration of independence, I now feel free to criticize all who I believe are enemies of freedom and justice, whether political or religious entities, sans remorse!

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Gene Schulman says:

    Thanks Chris. Great graphics.

     
  2. Michael McKinley says:

    Admission: I know, admire and respect Gene Schulman – his thoughts and words have helped keep me sane in theses days of obfuscation, intellectual-political cowardice, and the displacement of education by neoliberal training and instruction.
    This Declaration has an honourable tradition – some would say it’s Luciferan but I prefer more recent historical examples: Luther (since Gene Schulman lives in Geneva, close to the origins of the Reformation), but I prefer Giordano Bruno. Many, many others would not be out of place to mention. The point is, Gene Schulman has a point – disagree with it as some will – which needs to placed front and centre of today’s essential concerns.

     
    • Gene Schulman says:

      Thanks Mike. Yours is a voice that that I attend carefully. Free dinner whenever you get to Geneva.

       
  3. Ormond Otvos says:

    Kudos to anyone who gets beyond the tribe/religion false dichotomy.

    Failure to assimilate into modern humanity is the crime we see. And that goes for Muslims and Christians and Hindus, ad infinitum.

     

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