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Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University - Moshe Zuckerman's (Dept. of History) anti-Israel rhetoric gets quoted by the traitor and spy Azmi Bishara

Azmi Bishara- An Advanced Post of "Israelization" and Internalization of Defeat Against National Liberation and Arab Unification

by Salih Mahammeed

Until opportunism is exposed, confronted and terminated, no genuine revolution for change in an oppressive reality can be possible, as history teaches us. The struggle in Palestine is a good example, where the uniqueness of the struggle manifests itself into another mode of opportunism, and the opportunism of the defeat. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the leftists and the supposedly "revolutionary" of the past became reactionary and backwards, while creating harsh psychological problems in the political positions they take, which is often times shown in their writings.

This is the case of Azmi Bishara, who is received often times as one of the greatest Arab Nationalists and anti-Zionist, despite his reactionary and contradicting position. Despite the numerous pieces written in response to Azmi Bishara's political program and doctrine, I feel compelled to discuss this, due to many recent developments to write another piece so we may augment the existing assessment of Mr. Bishara's reactionary and defeatist doctrine.

I would like to refute all of the unwarranted proclamations that Mr. Bishara's receives as the great Arab Nationalist, who understands Zionism in ways of fighting their oppressive political movement, and one who stands for the rights of the Palestinian refugees, as well as the slogan that he receives, "Al-Monadel," the Arabic word for fighting for the Arab cause. In 1998, Mr. Bishara told the "Israeli" newspaper Haaretz, "It is this "Israeli" Jewish people who was created by Zionism that I recognize today. Though I do not recognize the legitimacy of Zionism historically, I am compelled to recognize its product. "Israel" for language, culture and generations that have been born here, though the creation of "Israel" was born outside the frame of legitimacy." Well, if the struggle for the Palestinians and the entire Arab world has descended to the recognition of Zionism, then Azmi Bishara is certainly the greatest leader of such struggle.

So, once Mr. Bishara recognizes its product of "Israel," does it matter whether or not he recognizes the legitimacy of Zionism? Is it not like consuming American products, while the masses boycott them and simultaneously chanting the American occupation of Iraq is illegal? Is it also true that "Israel" was the creation of Zionism only? But, how about U.S. Western Imperialism? It seems that Azmi Bishara deliberately ignores the U.S. and Western Imperialism. I will touch on this point later, but I want to examine the question of Jewish culture and heritage. For example, is it true that Hebrew was created by Zionism, and does "Israeli" culture truly exist? Also, are all Jews/Zionists in Occupied Palestine (OP) alike?

Dr. Moshe Zuckerman of Tel-Aviv University provided an interesting answer to these questions, by saying, "Zionism always wanted to create an "Israeli" identity, however the realities constantly challenges this aspiration and contradicts it and regardless of how hard Zionism tries to fabricate "Israeli" identity and by force, the outcome is that the "Israeli" identity does not exist. Dr. Zuckerman continued by saying, "There has never been a unique culture and civilization that is different than the culture of the local communities that they lived in. In other words, the culture of the Jews who lived among the Arab people was a reflection of the Arab culture, as the culture of German Jews reflected the German culture, and so on."

In other words Dr. Zuckerman recognizes the constituents for Nation building that Jews in general lack. Jews are merely a religious group. They have no common language, no common history, no common culture, no common territory and no common economical system to form a Nation that might be entitled for the right of self-determination. Yet, Mr. Bishara accepts the Zionist-fabricated "Israeli culture" as sufficient constituent for forming a Jewish state on Palestinian stolen land. So, it could very well be that Mr. Bishara is more Zionist than Dr. Zuckerman. Most importantly, Mr. Bishara did not bring the issue of culture and heritage simply out of ignorance, because he has prepared the Arab masses to accept the Zionist existence in Arabia, while preparing the Zionist masses for accepting the Arabs within 1948 OP as a cultural/National minority, and to grant them culture autonomy, as he calls it. And, what is worse is that Mr. Bishara prepares the Arabs within 1948 OP to assimilate and to integrate in the "Israeli" society, which is a contradiction to his doctrine of recognizing the Arabs as a "National minority."

In another "Israeli" newspaper, Mitan'an, Azmi Bishara was asked, "Would you be willing to live with a goal where the making of "Israelization" comes first, i.e. "Israeli" identity first and second Jewish or Arab?" His response was "Yes, of course, no doubt. The political program that I'm presenting has two parts; the first part in which I call the vision of the future is to convert "Israel" to a State for all it's citizens, which will lead to Arab assimilation." In the Jerusalem Post, he once said, "My goal is a State for all its citizens with cultural autonomy for the Arab minority. Once such autonomy is realized for all of it's citizens then this will lead to assimilation and integration."

These are clear evidence to the "Israelization" of the Arabs within 1948 OP process that Azmi Bishara voluntarily leads. This is also an obvious contradiction to all Nationalist aspiration of all Arabs and their right to liberation, freedom, self-determination and dignity in their homeland. Professor Sami Smooha, a Jewish Iraqi professor of Haifa university reveals in his study on the "State policies towards the Arabs" that the "Zionist State" has set up a goal for itself to force the Arabs within its territories to submit within the new reality and that they no longer belong to neither, and that they are an integral part of the Palestinian people. Rather, they are a new group that is called "Israeli" Arabs." The decoupling of the Palestinians within 1948 OP from the rest of the Palestinian people is indeed a Zionist endeavor. As Azmi Bishara preaches on working to assimilate with this group into what is called "Israel" and "Israeli" identity, he offers the Zionists what they couldn't achieve through the use of force.

The Political Program of Azmi Bishara

From the beginning, it was Azmi Bishara's main objective to join the "Israeli" Knesset. In 1997, when asked what his main objectives were and what he was trying to achieve in joining the Knesset, he responded "To win and join the Knesset safely without encountering any damage." According to the Knesset election law , and in particular Article 17, any individual or party who is running for the Knesset cannot negate the recognition of the State as a State of the Jews or they are unqualified and prohibited from being a valid candidate to the Knesset. Therefore, Azmi Bishara and his political program never negated such recognition. In fact, he claims that his party would seek to convert the State to "a State for all its citizens." Professor Smooha's study shows that the Zionist State has worked tirelessly on disabling and countering attempts made by the Arabs within the territories it controls in order to claim a powerful position that would enable them to influence or changing the State of being Jewish, a Jewish majority and controlled by the Jews. Also, Smoha makes it clear that the State controls all Arab resources and means and controls all civic institutions, which is the educational board and program to counter any attempt made by Arabs to claim self-autonomy.

Azmi's call to recognize the Arabs within in 1948 OP as a National minority is troubling to the Zionist entity, since National minorities may be entitled to territorial and economical autonomy. However, he makes it clear that the issue of recognition of Arabs as National minority is out of the frame of territorial disengagement. He once quoted in Mita'an that "I'm referring to a National minority that has no territorial claims" and once said "We, the Arabs within 1948 OP are not seeking to claim independent territories...rather culture independence only." However, cultural independence will ultimately lead to assimilation", Azmi told the Jerusalem post. He also stated, "if you don't grant me cultural autonomy others would demand a lot more." Thus, as Azmi serves as advisor to the State, he proclaims that either "cultural independence is granted or others would rise and demand for much more." In this context, Azmi calls for cultural independence only as a secured and safer settlement that serves the interest of the Zionist State more than it serves the Arab aspirations. However, the biggest award that he promises to grant in return of cultural independence is full acceptance of "Israel" as a normal State in the Middle East. He once said, "Let me have the privilege to live in Nazeret Elite (referring to Nazareth Hills/Upper Nazareth, which is a Jewish elite township relaying in upper occupied Nazareth) so I'll be able to negotiate a long lasting settlement." He also said, "We, the Arabs within 1948 OP are not seeking to claim independent territories, but rather culture independence only." Azmi Bishara is against territorial disengagement and independence. He told the same source, "I am against any form of territorial disengagement and cannot stand listening to those voices who wish to disengage Arab territories in the Galilee and Al-Naqb and annex these areas to a Palestinian state". He added, "this is meaningless and absolutely strange. There will be no geographical independence since Arabs are scattered all along the state of "Israel. " He also said, that if he were able to live in Upper Nazareth, he would forget about his memories and history and he will teach his children to forget, too.

Recently, the Arab popular committee of Tarshiha, Azmi's home village in the upper Galilee adjacent to the Lebanese borders, planned an event to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the fall of the village in 1948. The joint local authority Maa'alut-Tarshiha, which unlike other Arab towns and villages doesn't have its own independent Arab local authority, and that Tarsheiha unlike others doesn't have its independent local authority but instead has a joint city council Maa'alut-Tarshieha, which refused to allow such an event to take place in the city cultural center. Instead, the villagers of Tarshiha held the event in one of their public schools. Amazingly, the members of Azmi's party protested the decision and accused the authority of wanting the Arabs to forge t their history and National identity." Of course, this was a surprise since Azmi Bishara's supporters wanted exactly that! Tarshiha has given up its right for local Arab independent authority and joined the joint municipal administration with the Zionist settlement Maa'alut and the result speaks for itself.

The Two-State Solution:

Many Arab and non-Arab intellectuals have mistaken Azmi's doctrine of recognizing the Arabs within 1948 OP as a National minority for the doctrine of "bi-National State." Although its clear from the above mentioned that Azmi does not rally for a bi-National State , since his goal has been to assimilate and integrate within the "Israeli" foundation and identity. He told Mtia'an "The center of the Palestinian political power has moved to the territories occupied in 1967. This center has been moved and it's final. The question remains what would happen here." Therefore, Oslo has become a reality despite all preservation Azmi may have on Oslo. The question how to resolve the disputed issues not to cancel or debunk Oslo. There is nothing to cancel, since Oslo is like the United States of America . He was asked, "Can one can topple the United States?" "Impossible", Azmi told Mita'an. So, in other words, Oslo has become a new status quo since this is what the U.S. and " Israel" wants and who dares to dispute it?

Azmi Bishara and the Palestinian Right of Return

When Azmi created his party, the National Democratic Assembly, the third principal stated, "transferring " Israel" to a democratic State, that is a State for all its citizens only, Arabs and Jews." Though the current phrasing of the third principle is slightly different but nevertheless carries the same meaning. "Transferring " Israel" to a State for all its Arab and Jewish citizens equally." When you combine these principals and the rest of the key principals, i.e. recognizing t he Arabs within 1948 OP as National minority and a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it provides clear evidence that Azmi Bishara's support for the refugee's right of return means the return to the State created in the West bank and Gaza Strip, which is resettlement and not return to their original towns and villages. Most importantly, Azmi is compelled to recognize the right of the Zionist State to exist and is also compelled to accept Oslo as the new status quo, as a U.S. dictate, and if he were able to force the Zionists and Americans to allow the refugees back to historical Palestine, then that would be the ultimate threat to the existence of "Israel." When Azmi pledged as accepting "Israel" as a legitimate State in the Middle East, he unfortunately didn't make the effort of fulfilling the Palestinian right to return to their homeland. In an effort to be accepted in the "Israeli" Knesset and their political system, he denied the recognition of the National rights f or the Palestinian refugees to their homeland and accepted resettlement for his own people. This is unacceptable!

The Citizen Azmi Bishara

In a Haaretz interview, titled "The citizen Azmi Bishara," Azmi Bishara declared his recognition that the Zionist State should exist and introduced his political program of full and equal citizenship for Arabs and Jews alike. It is imperative to revisit the nature and the role "Israel" that was installed in the heart of the Arab world and to argue the anti-Nationalistic nature of Azmi's doctrine. To summarize the role of "Israel" in the region by quoting what the aids of the U.S. president, Henry Truman advised him to respond to the attempts of creating a "Jewish State" in Palestine. The State of "Israel" could become a strategic asset - a kind of stationary aircraft carrier to protect American interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East . Therefore, it was not accidental that Azmi Bishara ignored the American and Western Imperialism's role in creating "Israel. " It was a deliberate omission of this part to avoid being received as attempting to serve the American interests against the Arab National cause. Shlomo Gaziet, the former chief of the "Israeli" army intelligence added to this definition of the Zionist State is that the role of "Israel" remains unchanged even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The State of "Israel" will continue to serve American interests in the area, as well as preventing any radicalization of any Arab regime". Indeed, Azmi Bishara cannot seek the radicalization of any Arab regime unless it falls within full agreement with the American interests. Since after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Azmi's abandonment of "leftist" ideology, no one is capable of blocking, countering and working against the U.S. aspirations. While America illegally occupies Iraq and following Azmi's logic, he would have abandoned the resistance and joined the "Iraqi National Council" appointed by the American invaders had he been an Iraqi.

Recently, the Knesset was trying to pass a new law where army service would become mandatory to all "Israeli" citizens." Afterwards it was suggested that Arabs can perform "National service duty" instead of formal army service. So, what did Azmi's party member think of their program of "full and equal citizenship? Is not that full citizenship means equal rights and duties? This is yet another critical contradiction of Azmi's political program and agenda that many of his party's members would have hard time living with. One can attribute the anger of some of Azmi's party member towards such possible legislation that " Israel" has not changed, it's still an illegally occupying and oppressive entity. It's still hostile to the Arab Nation. But what would happen if "Israel" does change? What if it stops its racist laws? Can it cease from being Zionist? Would it no longer be the advanced post of U.S. imperialism in the region? What if the Palestinian refugees decide to intensify their fight, which is within their National rights, against "Israel," so they can return to their homeland? What happens if some radicalization of Arab regime, i.e., Egypt, takes place in the near future, and where will the Arabs within1948 OP be? The internal reports of the CIA predicts that a massive Arab uprising in the entire Arab world taking place in 2007, which will lead to the cancellation of the "Camp David" accord and to a collective Arab war against "Israel." According to the report, the Arabs will manage to liberate Palestine, but the U.S. would rush to "Israel's" aid. But, according to Azmi's doctrine - were would the Arabs of 1948 OP, the citizens of "the State for all its citizens" be?

Azmi Bishara, A Model of Bankrupt Politician

Azmi Bishara's political doctrine has degraded the struggle in Palestine from anti-Imperialist and struggle for Nat ional liberation to a philosophical model of human rights and civil liberties, which in return alienates the National and historical rights of the Palestinian people, while fortifies the colonial-settler project in Palestine. Azmi Bishara's best respond to the recent massacre and terrorist attack in the Arab town of Shefaa'mer was to urge the state of "Israel" to form a special committee to look into the massacre. Indeed, the doctrine of a "State for all its citizens" cannot produce anything other than "citizens" protesting a misconduct of the State but is this really what the struggle in Palestine is about! There is no shortage of incidents and occasions where Azmi Bishara channels our people's struggle into unimportant directions and promotes defeatist and accomodating "Israel's" thoughts. However, one remarkable occasion was the anti-racism International conference convened in Durban, South Africa in 2001. At the time, Azmi Bishara firmly opposed the slogan "Israel" is a colonial Apartheid State and "Israel" is a non-legitimate State, which was used by all Arab NGOs participating in the Durban conference. In justifying his reluctance to the slogan, he claimed that the South African solidarity campaign would not be receptive to it and thus, rendered the whole Arab participation as offensive to the conference organizers. Later, it was revealed that when the Arab delegations arrived in Durban, the South African organizers never expressed any concern nor did they oppose such a slogan. In fact, they were extremely supportive of it and backed by the vast majority of the non-government International community, as they all rallied favorably for the slogan "Down with Israel." Azmi Bishara also opposed all of the rallying to the slogan, because it violated his principles and political doctrine and most importantly, his principled commitment to the "Jewish State" as a member of its Parliament.

Indeed, the Zionist State has not changed, but its presence is being reinforced as a result of the U.S. invasion and the regime change in Iraq. While the Zionist State remains the same and while it continues to be extremely hostile to the Arabs, Azmi Bishara accepts his nomination as a member of the Committee for writing the first "Israeli" constitution. He will preside to all sessions that are intended to look through the issues of the Arab minority rights that the new constitution should include. It would be no surprise that when "Israel" launches another attack against the Palestinians or perhaps against Iraq or Lebanon, that AIPAC officials will be touring the U.S. to justify such atrocities as an act of defending "Israeli democracy," as they used to exploit the Arab presence in the Knesset to market the false and empty "Israeli democracy." As an example to the defeatist political stance of Azmi Bishara, it has resulted in a documentary by Dr. Ariela Azulai of Bar-Elan University titled "In your people I live, too" in an effort to market Azmi as the only Arab influential intellectual. When Maa'riv newspaper asked Dr. Azulai why she chose Azmi in particular, her response was "what we see in Azmi is that this Arab minority is producing a doctrine of universality, a doctrine of citizenship rather than doctrine of self-autonomy that wishes to disengage from the State. Azmi Bishara suggests transferring "Israel" to a new State where such minority can be absorbed."

There is no shortage of evidences that throughout the history of the struggle in Palestine, masses demonstrated strong willingness to sacrifice their individualistic needs and interests, not to mention lives, for the sake of combating Zionism, imperialism and for the sake of the liberation of Palestine. However, such courageous sacrifices have yet resulted in the long waited liberation can be attributed to the absence of revolutionary leadership. Azmi Bishara, in contrast to how he is usually received, is by no means a revolutionary, but rather a defeatist who internalizes the defeat and poisons people's minds for self-promoting interests and must therefore be combated and his reconciliatory doctrine with the Zionist-settlers must be shattered.


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