CAIRO â€” Israel is behaving like Nazi Germany and has turned into a “Zionist” ghetto with a lot of paranoia about its existence as it builds a separation wall and uses military force as the only language to solve crises, the former Knesset speaker, Avraham Burg, has said.
“I will describe to you some of the elements that go into the stew: a great sense of national insult; a feeling that the world has rejected us; unexplained losses in wars. And, as a result, the centrality of militarism in our identity. The place of reserve officers in society. The number of armed Israelis in the streets. Where is this swarm of armed people going? The expressions hurled publicly: ‘Arabs out,'” Burg told the Haaretz Weekend Magazine in an interview published Friday, June 8.
Burg disparaged Israel as a “Zionist ghetto.”
“The strategic mistake of Zionism was to annul the alternatives. It built an enterprise here whose most important sections are an illusion,” he said.
Burg, a Knesset speaker from 1999 to 2003, has newly written a book criticizing Israel’s Zionist nature.
In the book, “Defeating Hitler”, Burg says Israel is a “Zionist ghetto, an imperialistic, brutish place that believes only in itself.”
Burg is also against identifying Israel as a “Jewish state.”
“To define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end,” he told the weekly. “A Jewish state is explosive. It’s dynamite.”
“People find this very comfortableâ€¦ It’s nostalgic. It’s retro. It gives a sense of fullness. But ‘Jewish-democratic’ is nitroglycerine,” he added.
He said today’s Israelis are bodies without souls.
“You are already dead spirituallyâ€¦ You have only an Israeli body. If you go on like this, you will no longer be. I see my society and the place I was raised in and my home being destroyed,” he said pessimistically.
Burg said that Israeli society was paranoid and is comparable to pre-Nazi Germany.
“Israel is a frightened society,” he said. “Israel is a state of trauma in nearly every one of its dimensions.”
A case in point, he said, is the West Bank separation wall, which reflects how terrified the Israelis are.
“The separation fence (built by Israel in the West Bank) is a fence against paranoia … There is something so xenophobic about it. So insane.”
The Israeli separation barrier is a mix of electronic fences and concrete walls that will eventually snake some 900 kilometers (540 miles) along the occupied West Bank and leave even larger swathes of its territory on the Israeli side.
After the International Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling branding the wall as illegal, the UN General Assembly asked Israel to tear it down and compensate the Palestinians affected.
But Israel is defiantly pressing ahead with the construction of the wall which Palestinians see as nothing but a new Israeli land-grab and an attempt to pre-empt the borders of their future state. Israel says it is necessary for its security.
Chief among Israeli figures opposing the wall is a grandson of Israel’s late prime minister Menachem Begin.
Avinadav Begin, 32, is used to joining Palestinians in facing off with Israeli soldiers in riot gear during a weekly demonstration against the barrier.
Maariv newspaper quoted the young Begin as declaring his desire to “blow up this wall.”
“This (barrier) will not help bring peace between Israel and Palestine because none of that exists,” he had said.
Language of Force
Burg said Israel cannot take the Holocaust an excuse to use force as the only answer its challenges.
“We are gripped by dread and fear and make use of force because Hitler caused us deep psychic damage,” he said.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Holocaust refers to “systematic state-sponsored killing of Jewish men, women, and children and others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.”
The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million. But the figure has been questioned by many European historians and intellectuals, chiefly French author Roger Garaudy.
Burg said the simplest way for Israel to deal with the Palestinians is using its military juggernaut.
“â€¦.And what is the Gaza discourse? We will smash them, we will erase them. Nothing has sunk in. Nothing. And it’s not just between nation and nation.
“Look at the relations between people. Listen to the personal conversation. The graph of violence on the roads, the discourse of the battered women. Look at the mirror of Israel’s face,” he said.
Burg also criticized Israel’s targeted killings of Palestinian activists, saying it is amounting to murder.
“We have crossed so many red lines in the past few years. And then you ask yourself what the next red lines that we cross will be,” he said.