BEIRUT — Being subjected to the Zionist lobby can get tedious—particularly its chronic parading of an often disoriented and fast-deteriorating fellow who should surely be tending a vegetable or flower garden somewhere in Occupied Palestine, where he lives on stolen land. International lawyers, even some at Hebrew University, have come to recognize the half century of crimes against humanity meted out by Shimon Peres upon hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, and thus one could be forgiven for rolling eyes at the Israeli president’s concerns over demons said to be haunting his sleeping and waking moments, as he complains that perhaps, just maybe, he was wrong in his calculations 70 years ago.
Those demons are Palestinians, and it is perhaps the supreme irony of ironies that Peres now finds himself lamenting over what became of the ideals of Judaism—the very same ideals he spent half a century of his life destroying in the name of Zionism. “I could not face my parents were I ever to see them again,” the Israeli president, an avowed agnostic, told a member of Congress a few months back.
‘Peres’ Complaint’ has been increasingly heard over the past couple of years, confided to some of his US and EU Zionist lobby hosts during fundraising and legacy-reinforcing appearances. It often manifests itself as a continuous monologue, much as if narrated at his psychoanalytic group therapy session, and often about the same subjects he claims have haunted him for decades. One of these reportedly is the whole concept of an Eretz Israel land grab as a divinely-ordained destiny for a “chosen” Jewish people.
At a cocktail party last year, Peres was overheard telling Vice President Biden, “Who knows if there is a god or not? But if so, I doubt he deals in real estate!” Biden appeared shocked, quickly summoning a waiter for replacement glasses of scotch, hoping to cheer the president of Israel up a bit. “He needs to be more philosophical,” Biden said, reporting on his “psychoanalytic session” with Peres, later explaining, “Sure the handwriting is on the wall regarding a future for Israel is clear for all to see, but it could be worse!”
Peres’ Complaint, like Portnoy’s in Philip Roth’s 1969 novel, revolves around the dilemma of, as Roth penned, “his sense of himself, his past, and that his ridiculous destiny is so fixed“.
Portnoy’s Complaint is a disorder in which claimed ethical impulses are perpetually warring, almost Hamlet-like, with extreme longings, often of a perverse nature, reminding some of a sort of sexual dysfunction.
Peres’s Complaint is similar in many ways, but takes a varied form. In an interview published by the Brazilian newspaper the Folha de Sao Paulo, Peres was asked what he would say to Iran’s President Rouhani if the two were to pick up the telephone and speak directly.
“I would tell him nobody in the world is threatening Iran. So why does Iran threaten other countries? Tell me. I don’t understand why Iran threatens Israel. Why?” he replied.
Peres knows that Iran has not threatened other countries, but rather that it is Israel which has threatened the whole region, and which did so within minutes of his Zionist-Labor terrorist-backed associates declaring themselves a “state.”
Peres ended his short interview with Folha de Sao Paulo with this bit of sage erudition:
“In politics, and in life, you can only judge things based on facts. There has been no change on Iran—the facts contradict the speeches.”
The words were spoken as if the speaker were satisfactorily contemplating the last remaining 19th century European colonial enterprise—along with his own role in setting up and governing it.
Peres’ Complaint to colleagues is that he has to say things to the public that are beginning to sound hollow after six decades of trying to parry and neutralize the Palestinian resistance to Zionist theft and colonization. Peres no longer believes what he used to “about the Zionist BS,” as one congressional source put it.
During his last visit to Washington, while rushing from a meeting at the Rayburn House Office Building with AIPAC and some Congressional staffers, Peres in his haste handed half an armload of documents and reports to an aid to carry for him. Unnoticed at the time, one of the documents slipped under the table where the meeting was held, and was found later. On it were some handwritten comments, in Hebrew, in Peres’ hand.
Common respect for individual privacy bars this observer from revealing what the handwritten notes said, but the document itself is most certainly in the public domain and includes some of the latest reports on the status of the Zionist occupation.
The first few pages are a summary of the UN Human Rights Council’s report criticizing the deep water drillings by the Israeli national water company Mekorot and the Israeli agri-industrial firm Mehadrin in the occupied Jordan Valley. These drillings have caused the drying up of Palestinian wells and springs. As Dr. Elias Akleh reminds us, nearly 80% of all drilled water from the Jordan Valley is consumed by illegal Israeli colonies in the West Bank. The Palestinians are not allowed to drill their own water wells, and the Israeli government routinely destroys Palestinian pools for collecting rain water, claiming “construction without permits”—permits which, of course, are impossible for Palestinians to obtain. Many other wells and water springs have also been destroyed, poisoned and contaminated as Israeli colonies have intentionally channeled their raw sewage into Palestinian towns and agricultural areas.
But getting back to the document, circled in pen is a statement in a 1941 speech by David Ben-Gurion: “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders, the waters of the Jordan and Litani [Rivers].”
And there is another excerpt of note—documenting the decades-old practice of declaring a coveted piece of land a “military area” and then evicting its residents, surrounding it with barbed wire, uprooting all trees, stripping the land of vegetation, and facilitating the arrival of extremist squatters with mobile homes who later start building their colonies.
Still other findings relate to the intensification of home demolitions, citing recent figures showing that armed, religious-extremist squatters are allowed to illegally build their small colonies on top of confiscated Palestinian hills while enjoying the protection of the Israeli army. Palestinians are forbidden to build new homes or even remodel existing ones to make additional space for family expansion. The Israeli terrorist forces increasingly exercise their early hour routine of driving their bulldozers into some Palestinian suburbs to demolish a Palestinian home that was built without a permit.
“The army breaks into the Palestinian home, gives the Palestinian family ten minutes to evacuate and starts demolishing the home,” says Dr. Akleh. “Palestinians are denied building permits. Many Palestinians are given the order to demolish their own homes, otherwise the Israeli army would demolish it and the home owner will be charged exorbitant fees. In contrast, Israel continues its plans of illegal colonies (settlements) building. This Israeli systematic policy of Palestinian home demolishing and colony building on confiscated Palestinian land contravenes the 4th Geneva Convention.”
On and on the president’s document reads…
Included in bold type are excerpts from the recent Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights report documenting what Palestinian schools and students have suffered in recent weeks—a remarkable escalation in attacks by Israeli soldiers and extremist settlers. The report claims the attacks, including school raids, destruction of school property, as well as detaining and assaulting students, have become more frequent, especially by settlers. Recent examples include the Jalud School and Beit Dajan School in Nablus, and the Khader School in Bethlehem. The international community is increasingly reacting to these terrorist practices. Recently a letter by a group of British intellectuals entitled “Action for Palestine” and calling upon Israeli authorities to end the pattern of abuse of Palestinian children, was published in the UK Guardian newspaper.
But the army has also intensified its arrests and kidnapping of Palestinian children accused of stone throwing. Many children are routinely intercepted on their way to school at Israeli military checkpoints, searched, humiliated, and at times arrested. Israeli forces conduct routine middle of the night raids of Palestinian homes, where they break into the homes, smash furniture, and terrorize the families, dragging young boys from their beds and blindfolding them before dumping them on the floor of a military jeep and driving them to a prison in Israel. In the prison, where their parents are not allowed to see them, the children are harshly interrogated, threatened, tortured; some raped and imprisoned.
The 213 page document was presumably heavy reading for the polish-born Szymon Perski, ardent protégé of Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan and an early supporter of the West Bank settlers during the 1970s.
Shimon Peres’ guilt-edged insecurity these days is far more important when it comes to the masking—and unmasking—of an abettor of racist Zionism. His complaint, like Portnoy’s Complaint, is also emblematic of the times during which he has lived and his uncertainty as to whether he has squandered his life in an evil cause.
“I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and fear.”
Portnoy’s Complaint… or Peres’?