A MESSAGE TO ALL JEWS EVERYWHERE, FROM IMAD ABUSHAMSIYA (who videoed the murder of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif by Israeli soldier Elor Azaria in Hebron on March 24, 2016

“My message is to all the Jews, [calling them] to raise their voices and to say that those who are committing these crimes every day against my people, against me and against my family, do not represent Judaism, that they are the despicable face of the Israeli Occupation.

“Our message is that we are acting to achieve justice and liberty for our people, without bloodshed, but with resistance in peaceful ways, and documentation of the truth by means of the camera.”


These sentences are from the conclusion of Imad Abushamsiya’s message as posted in Hebrew by Tamar Goldschmidt. I’ve translated the message in the hope that his call will be heeded & responded to by many Jews everywhere – & not only by those who adhere to the Judaist religion. I, as one of many non-Judaist, secular, Jews (& who has neither the qualifications nor the interest to say what does or does not represent Judaism), hereby raise my voice to say that those who are committing these crimes do not represent Jews, or Jewry – they are indeed the despicable face only of the settler-colonist apartheidist Zionist Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Below is my translation of Tamar’s Hebrew intro & her translation from Arabic:

Sent to me by my Facebook friends Imad Abushamsiya and Badee Dwaik, whose lives are being made hell by settlers with the army’s help (or vice versa).

imad2

I’m Imad Abushamsiya عماد ابو شمسيةfrom Hebron. I met the well-known activist Badee alDwaik بديع الدويك, and together we started the Human Rights Defenders تجمع المدافعين عن حقوق الانسان organization. Our goal was to expose the truth (by means of pictures and documentation) of the Occupation’s crimes and injuries, as part of the non-violent struggle against the Occupation – a legitimate right according to international law.We set up a project that we called “Capturing the Occupation on Video”. Ten months ago we received a donation of four cameras from American activists, some of them Jewish. This was after they raided Badee’s home, destroyed its contents, smashed the camera with which he was documenting the raid and the fear gripping his family and his children.

I documented several cases of injury, the most important being the documentation of the murder of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif عبد الفتاح الشريف.

The goal was to expose the Occupation’s crimes, not to defame the Jews, because we are against injuries to Jews or to any other religion or faith. We believe that our problem is not with the Judaism but with the Occupation.

After I documented this event on video my life totally turned about. Death threats against myself and my family started reaching in anonymous phone calls, on Facebook and in other written incitements made up by known settlers in Hebron. one of the known settlers in Hebron, one of the most aggressive of them – whose name I don’t want to mention here – threatened my life and that of my friend Badee. I had to sleep away from my home for several nights in order to protect my family frim a fate of murder, because we received a threat that a fate like that of the Dawabshe family awaits them. And since then several soldiers have started harassing me and constricting my life and they’re trying to punish everyone who tries to visit me or to prevent them from visiting me, The last time this happened was when they prevented the activist Badee from passing through the area after he left my home the night of the fourth day of Eid al-Adha.

My message is to all the Jews, [calling them] to raise their voices and to say that those who are committing these crimes every day against my people, against me and against my family, do not represent Judaism, that they are the despicable face of the Israeli Occupation.

Our message is that we are acting to achieve justice and liberty for our people, without bloodshed, but with resistance in peaceful ways, and documentation of the truth by means of the camera.

David Palma: OUT OF EGYPT / לצאת ממצרים

I’ve enjoyed many of the statuses posted on Facebook by Hebrew poet and author David Palma, and today I felt I needed to translate this one, which he posted a couple of days before the Passover Eve “Seder”, together, happily, with an Arabic translation.

passover meme

And this is the article by Rachel Elior, followed by my translation:

rachelelior blessing

 

Rachel Elior:

On the eve of the Passover holiday, it is timely to recall that the main purpose of this holiday is to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt, or the first transition in human history from cruel slavery imposed by humans to freedom, which is divine in origin. Berl Katznelson expressed the ancient essence of this holiday well, and his words are relevant and become new each year:

“Passover. For thousands of years a people remembers the day of its exodus from the house of bondage! Through all the burrows of subjugation & forced conversion and the Inquisition and extermination and pogroms, this people carries in its heart the yearning for freedom and gives them a folk expression that does not pass over a single Jewish soul, a single poor & wretched soul! From parents to children, through all the generations, the story of the exodus from Egypt is passed on as a personal memory that neither pales not fades.

“‘In each generation everyone must see themselves as though they exited from Egypt’. I don’t know any literary work that teaches more to loathe slavery and to love freedom than this story of enslavement and exodus from Egypt. And I don’t know any ancient memory that is more oriented to the future and more a symbol of our present than the story of the exodus from Egypt.”

To Berl’s words we need to add something from a hundred years on:
A people that loved freedom and sanctified the days signifying liberty and the joy of cyclic rest from the enslaving workdays, and placed it as the first of its holidays – the festival of freedom in the first month of the year – has, against its best interests, turned into a subjugating occupying power that steals the freedom of others, imprisons them in enclosures behind walls and checkpoints and…
Let us say, instead of “Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem” –
“Next year may we be blessed with a life of freedom, justice, equality, blessings, fraternity and peace for all the inhabitants of the land, its men & women, its children & old people, its gentiles & its citizens.”
Happy holiday

A Jew is a Jew

a jew is a jew

The other day I read a post on Facebook by Jonathan Ofir, an expatriate Israeli musician living in Denmark who has recently published a number of excellent, eloquent & well-informed critical writings on Israel/Palestine that I have followed with much appreciation, & I’ve shared quite a few of them. In this post, which also appeared as an article in Mondoweiss, he wrote:

JUST BEFORE LEAVING ISRAEL (I’m on way to airport), I had a little conversation with my nephew aged 7. He asked me whether Denmark was a Christian country. I said that whilst the majority are considered Christians (most of whom don’t go regularly to church), there are people of other religions and faiths. He asked me whether Christians were enemies of Jews, and I said they weren’t. He said that was good, because then he would be enemies with my children, his cousins (who in fact are not Jews). / Then he said he’s not Jewish himself, because he was born in USA…I told him that Judaism is a religion – and here I had to tell him a truth which caused a roaring silence amongst the family bystanders – I told him that a Jew can be born anywhere in the world, because Judaism is a religion and not a nationality… and this is where I was obviously speaking diametrically against the deceit of the State of Israel, in its considering Jews a ‘nation’, […]

Then this morning I read an article in The Guardian by Nick Cohen titled “Why I’m becoming a Jew and why you should, too”. The article began: “It took me 40 years to become a Jew. When I was a child, I wasn’t a Jew and not only because I never went to a synagogue. My father’s family had abandoned their religion so he wasn’t Jewish. More to the point, my mother and my grandmother weren’t Jewish either, so according to orthodox Judaism’s principles of matrilineal descent, it was impossible for me to be a Jew.”

Both Ofir and Cohen define being a Jew as a matter of religion. But it isn’t.
& reading these things I was moved to write the lines above. I know how many people get confused about what being a Jew is, & I hope these lines will help. Because being a Jew is not a matter of religion. Nor is it a matter of nationality.
& I’m going to share them with Jonathan Ofir, because I feel he has misled his young nephew & in the hope that he can correct this in another communication with him. As for Nick Cohen, there are too many other things in his article that I think are way off the mark….