mercoledì 9 marzo 2016

Gideon Levy : An Israeli Theory of Justice Only for Jews

People who were forced to abandon their homes during a war or riot are entitled to get them back, a professor says. Well, maybe not Palestinians.

ops, I was wrong. Actually I wasn’t – I was lying. I thank Prof. Asa Kasher for correcting my lie. In my op-ed Thursday, I described recent events at Etzion Junction in the West Bank, with all the soldiers, dogs and barricades. I wrote that the Palestinians would never give up the junction, which was built on their land by use of force.

Suddenly, the renowned professor of philosophy and ethics turned up, he who “usually doesn’t waste a minute reading Gideon Levy’s propaganda columns in Haaretz,” he wrote on Facebook. “Even as blatant propaganda these columns are absurd, pathetic, worthless.” He only read my piece this time “because a dear, wise friend hinted that I should read the column.” I thank Kasher’s dear, wise friend.

In brief – Etzion Junction, as it turns out, belongs to Asa’s grandfather. “On the seventh day of Sukkot 1926, the chairman of the Zichron David NGO, Rabbi Menachem Kasher (my grandfather), accompanied by an attorney, set out for Migdal Eder. Ten Arab landowners gathered in a large room there …. Each received his share in cash and signed his consent to sell his part of Migdal Eder’s land,” Kasher quotes from the Hebrew-language book “Abandoned Communities.”

He adds: “Migdal Eder was the first Jewish community in Etzion …. The community was located exactly where Etzion Junction is today. Gideon Levy is lying.” A knockout.

No occupation, no expulsion, no oppression and no land theft, only historical justice and all’s well that ends well at Etzion Junction. The stolen land was returned to its owners, the Jews returned to it after fleeing in 1948. The Palestinians of course have no claim to it.

Drive on, dear settlers, on your blood-soaked junction, it’s all yours. The landlord, grandson of Rabbi Menachem, has bequeathed it to you. Again he has proved that he has lost none of his vigor and vitality – he remains the state’s Mr. Morality and Sir Ethics. None better than this Dr. Strangelove to draft Israel’s real ethics code, none more suitable to reflect its chauvinist, brazen double standard.

After declaring everything kosher – every abomination and war crime, from phosphorus bombs to the mass killing of children in Gaza (“adults aged 15 to 18 who actively participated in the war”) – Kasher reminds us what we’ve forgotten – abandoned property must be returned to its owners. People who were forced to abandon their homes during a war or riot, as Kasher’s grandfather was, are entitled to get their land back and return to their homes. Is anything more just? More understandable?

You don’t have to have a professional ethics chair at a university to understand this chapter in natural justice theory. Due to this justice Jews returned to Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and evicted Hebron’s residents, as they’re doing now in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah – what am I saying? Not Sheikh Jarrah, the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood. Even the High Court of Justice has ruled that this is the right thing to do and perfectly legal.

I’d like to become an ardent student of Kasher. I crave to walk in his light and watch his principles being implemented in full. I’d like Israel to adopt his sublime ethics code – all stolen property and abandoned land, whether because its owners fled for their lives or were expelled – must be returned to its owners.

The same law that was implemented at Malikhi Junction – at the Palestinian village Qastina – applies to Etzion Junction. What’s right for Jerusalem’s Talbieh neighborhood is right for the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Let Jaffa’s Green House and Ramat Aviv’s Green House be returned to their rightful owners, along with Hebron’s Hadassah House and that city’s Avraham Avinu neighborhood. From all these places people fled or were expelled, and to all these places they have a right to return.

I’m convinced that Kasher will support this move with all his heart. After all, he’s Israel’s Mr. Morality. And nobody would suspect that his justice theory is for Jews only.

Gideon Levy

Haaretz Correspondent
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