By Richard Edmondson
Uri Davis, the gentleman featured in the video above, became the first Israeli Jew to join the ranks of Fatah, back in 1984, after being invited to do so by the late Yasser Arafat. In 2009, he won election to the organization’s Revolutionary Council, placing 31st out of a field of more than 600 candidates. He is the author of a number of books, including Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, and is believed to have been the first person to describe Israel as an apartheid state.
Yesterday I posted an article by Allan C. Brownfeld (reposted from Salem-News.com) in which the author laments the fact that American Jewish organizations, which historically have been “vocal in opposing all forms of racism and intolerance in our own society,” have turned a blind eye to glaring manifestations of racism and intolerance in Israel. Among other things, Brownfeld mentions the publication in 2009 of the book, Torat Ha’Melech, or The King’s Torah, which justifies the killing of non-Jewish babies and was written by two prominent Israeli rabbis.
Torat Ha’Melech was written as a guide for soldiers and army officers seeking rabbinical guidance on the rules of engagement. Shapira and Elitzur urged a policy of ruthlessness toward non-Jews, insisting that the commandment against murder “refers only to a Jew who kills a Jew, and not to a Jew who kills a gentile, even if the gentile is one of the righteous among the nations.”
The rabbis went on to pronounce all civilians of the enemy population “rodef,” or villains who chase Jews and are therefore fair game for slaughtering. They also justified the killing of Jewish dissidents. “A rodef is any person who weakens our kingdom by speech and so forth,” they wrote.
Apparently Davis qualifies as a “rodef.” Recently a close friend of mine—very descriptively, but quite accurately, I think—described Israel as a “sick, violent, devolving society.” Of course, you don’t have to read The King’s Torah to figure that out. It’s something that is apparent every day—with each rubber-coated steel bullet fired, each olive tree destroyed, each Palestinian home bulldozed, and each new, biblically-themed military operation against Gaza launched. Worth considering in the context of all this is that Davis, a voice of peace and sanity, has been called a “traitor,” “scum,” “mentally unstable,” and probably much worse, by fellow Israelis.
The video above is from a talk Davis gave at Stanford University in 2007. You’ll hear him self-identify as an anti-Zionist Jew. He has also referred to himself as a “Palestinian Hebrew of Jewish origins.” Some of what he says about Israeli apartheid you may have heard before; some of it may be new to you. But what I find especially interesting here is that in 2008—the year after he gave this talk at Stanford—Davis married a Palestinian and converted to Islam.
As more and more decent Jews depart the scene, the baseline inevitably drops lower and lower. And what we are left with is a sick, volent, devolving society—one growing sicker, more violent, and more devolved as time passes.