Dutch Treat

On November 12, 2005, the leading Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published an article Op kruistocht met de duivel by a Jewish writer Joost De Haas attacking me, in the good company of the Dutch PM Dries van Agt and the wonderful Dutch lady, a friend of Palestine Gretta Duisenberg. The last two were condemned for keeping in touch with me, while I was proclaimed guilty of being at the same congress as the US right-wing anti-war activist David Duke. Alas, this Talmudic construction of secondary impurity collapses at the first fact check. I had no honour and pleasure to meet with Mr van Agt or Mrs Duisenberg. As for the congress in Ukraine I attended, it was not organised by ‘extreme right’ but by the largest Ukrainian private university, well recognised by UNESCO and Dutch Universities. As a matter of fact, I sat at the presidium of the congress, but not next to David Duke, as de Haas claims, but next to the Palestine Ambassador in Ukraine, His Excellency Walid Zakut. Here is an official photo of this occasion:

The writer Israel Shamir (seated left), at a recent conference in the Ukraine.
Mr Duke was just one of many participants of the congress, next to many writers, diplomats, members of parliament. Anyway his views are quite similar to those of the late Dutch politician Pym Fortuyn. However, de Haas had no problem meeting with Pym Fortuyn and writing about him. Neither was he ostracised by other Dutch politicians and media. There is no problem for any Dutch politician who would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, though he personally is guilty – not of some unpleasant right-wing views, but of outright war crimes, from mass murder in Qibie to Sabra and Shatila to siege of Beirut to massacre of Jenin. Thus Mr. Duke is chosen as the object of de Haas’ hate for something else – for his stubborn objection to the US-led war in the Middle East. Likewise, Mr de Haas and others of his ilk never minded Pym Fortuyn, for he was an obsessive Islamophobe, and it fitted into their plans for encouraging strife between the Christians and the Muslims in Europe and elsewhere.

The rest of de Haas’ piece is equally sloppy and dishonest. He says I wrote about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Big deal! So did Umberto Eco. Writers are, and will be interested in this political pamphlet. In a bout of anti-Communist rage, de Haas claims that the Protocols were published and used in the Communist Soviet Union. It was the other way around! The Soviet authorities punished the possession of this book by heavy terms of imprisonment, and even by death. It was, contrary to de Haas’ claims, banned in Tsarist Russia as well. So, the man really does not know what he writes about.

His complaint that my writing appears on some right (and left-) wing sites can’t be taken seriously by anybody who ever used the Internet. Everything is linked in the World Wide Web, and just one step separates de Haas writing from mine on this or any other site. However, I do not mind: as a flower does not check credentials of the bee coming to collect its nectar, I rely upon various websites, left, right, green and multicoloured, to deliver my message to as many people as possible, and this message is: ‘there will be no peace until Jews are considered equal to non-Jews, in Palestine and elsewhere’. Now Jews are not equal: they may have nuclear weapons, while their neighbours are forbidden, they may travel everywhere in the whole of Palestine, while a goy has to use special roads. Jews are not equal in Netherlands, either: Pym Fortuyn was proclaimed (after his untimely death) ‘not bad a guy’ for he was good to Jews. Never mind what he said about the Muslims. Jews are not equal in neighbouring Denmark, whose Queen Margareta said recently: “We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us”. But what about opposition to Judaism? One would be crucified for this very thought.

De Haas condemns me for my objection to Judaism. It was good that Spinoza who had similar views did not survive to the present time. But Spinoza was among the first Jews who rebelled against Judaism for a good reason – until advent of freedom in Netherlands, even in the 14th century, such Jewish heretics were burned at the stake by decision of autonomous Jewish rabbinical authorities. Such persecution persists: in the Jewish state, propagation of Christianity is punishable by five years of jail, while outside of Israel, de Haas and others of his ilk are doing all they can to make the life of a Jewish heretic unbearable.

De Haas objects to my call to my fellow Israelis to accept Christ. He does not even mention, nor object to, to the official plan of Israeli government to convert 300,000 Israeli Christians to Jewish faith within next five years, though this plan was made public and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption received budgeted funds for it. Why is it permissible to spend taxpayer’s funds to remove people from the church, and it is forbidden to convince others to come to the Church? Alas, de Haas and his ilk hate the Church and Christ as much as they hate Muslims. Not in vain did his friend and associate Abe Foxman of the notorious ADL recently publish a hysterical piece on ‘excessive Christian influence’ in the US.

De Haas claims I consider the Jews as ‘Christ-killers’. To the contrary, I wrote in Galilee Flowers, that there is no more reason to blame modern Jews for that crime than to blame French for killing of Joan of Ark. But we may disprove those of de Haas ilk who are proud of killing Christ and consider it their right duty well done.

De Haas claims I called Jews ‘bacilli’. Let him quote verse and chapter from my writings; he won’t find it. But he will find without effort that our previous Prime Minister, whom he met and publicly admired, Mr Barak, called the native non-Jewish Palestinians a ‘virus’ in an official interview in the Ha’aretz newspaper, and Telegraaf did not call upon the Dutch prime minister to cancel his visit.

He notes that my book Galilee Flowers (called in French The Other Face of Israel) was banned by a French court. This is true. I find this verdict of the French court a compliment for me, as I have now joined the great list of authors whose books were burned and banished in France, from Voltaire to Baudelaire, from Nabokov to Joyce, from Wilhelm Reich to Vladimir Lenin, and I hope to come back to the French readers out of this bonfire as their books did. However, I find this court decision extremely shameful for France, as instead of hatred and war, my books call for peace and equality. Not in vain, my Galilee Flowers (buy it here) has the subtitle “The Case for Israel and Palestine United in Love to Their Land.” But this dream of peace can’t be achieved until there is full equality, until a Muslim and a Christian gets the same treatment as a Jew.

Yes, I do feel betrayed by the French court. When Spinoza was condemned by Rabbinical authorities, he knew that the Christian Netherlands wouldn’t deliver him into their tender clutches. The French court reverted back into the days of Pedro the Cruel who would surrender a Jewish heretic to the Synagogue for its quick justice. The French judges easily rejected the demands to ban Salman Rushdie or Oriana Fallaci in the name of freedom of thought. But why does this freedom stop at the Jewish door? Last week when I was in France, many ex-Jews who came to Christ met me and expressed their serious concern. Is Christianity dead? Is the Church dead? Is there no counterbalance to the Jewish influence? It is symptomatic that the attack on me, published in the day of my publisher’s trial by the French left-wing weekly Politis was penned by a Frenchman, Jean-Yves Camus, a recent convert into Judaism? Though he spoke at length about my baptism, he forgot to refer to his apostasy.

De Haas makes a lot of mileage out of old hat, that I supposedly do not live in the Holy Land but in Sweden, and that my name is something else. This silly stuff was first published by the ADL-financed Expo website, whose ties with Israeli intelligence were made public. Then it was republished by its sister publication of Searchlight, which proudly describes itself as a ‘Jewish antifascist magazine’. Somehow this nonsense never made it to Israel. There, the right-wing, extremely nationalist daily Maariv recently published a five-full-pages-long expose of my modest self, which included interviews with my elderly mother, a prominent member of an Israeli nationalist party, and everybody who had ever met me. But even this hostile article did not lower itself to publish such obvious nonsense. In my home in Israel, I receive visitors daily, including those from the Netherlands; I feel comfortable enough, and if I am to be tried for my betrayal of the Jewish cause, for my belief in equality of Jew and goy, I’d rather be tried in Israel than in once-Christian Europe.

As for the names I supposedly use, I shall quote the Talmud, which I know better than de Haas: “R. Joseph b. Judah was known as Joseph of Huzal and as Issi b. Gur Aryeh and as Issi b. Gamaliel and as Issi b. Mehalalel. What was his real name? Issi b. Akabia” (Pesachim 113b) Likewise, I may be known as Samir in Jordan, or Irmas in Sweden, or Mirosami in Japan, or Smirnov in Russia, and even as Jersma in the Netherlands, while my real name is Israel Adam Shamir; it is quite irrelevant; as irrelevant as the ‘real name’ of Leon Trotsky (Bernstein) or of Ariel Sharon (Schneidman) or of Andre Maurois (Wilhelm Herzog) or of Salman Rushdie when he was in hiding in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, living under an assumed name. Usually such a discussion is not considered comme il faut, especially referring to Israel, where even an ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps an American passport on another name. But apparently this game is crooked, and what is forbidden to one side, is permitted to the opponent.

P.S. And here is my letter to my Dutch (and not only Dutch…) friends who are so permanently scared that run for cover at the first attack of the adversary; who had asked me to place a link or to bless their activity until they came to recognise that I am not a lighting rod, nor an insurance policy against such an attack. Then they ask me to resign, to remove the link or to submit to questioning. This is a letter for those innocents who still think that I may serve them as their pet Jew in order to deal with the Palestinian tragedy; here I spell out my disagreement with this role.

To my Dutch friends:

I have received the article in the Telegraaf and have written a response which you may attempt to publish. I have a problem, and it is not with de Haas’ writing, but with you. He is an obvious enemy, and he considers me an enemy. He stands for the subjugation of Palestine, for war in Iraq, for the destruction of Iran, for exclusion of Islam, he is against the Church and Christ; and he probably curses apostates like me during his morning prayer as his faith demands. I really do not care about his views. I am upset about the weak knees of our friends. You are too fearful, submitting at first demand. You won’t say “boo” to a goose, let alone the Jewish lobby. As a result, you are forever carrying out our adversaries’ agenda, busily condemning the Iranian President and the Malaysian Prime Minister whenever they stray from the narrow path drawn by the enemy. Instead of condemning Israel for stopping Mohammed Mahathir from praying in the Al-Aksa Mosque, you object to his talk of Jewish power. Instead of condemning Israeli threats of bombing Iran, you discuss the Iranian President’s words. Instead of discussing the real issue of the equality of Jew and non-Jew, you ask me for my biography. You retreat too easily. Now you wish to sacrifice me in order to keep an immaculate appearance. In vain: when you show your weakness, it will be exploited to the full. A young Cabbalist Joseph della Reina trapped Satan in a magic pentagram (so sayeth a story told in Safed, in Galilee), and asked him to release the captive soul of Messiah. Satan agreed on one condition: let della Reina light a small candle in his honour. Reina thought of it – a small sacrifice! And lit the candle. Immediately Satan was free, and he threw della Reina all the way from Safed to Tiberias. His tomb is still shown to pious pilgrims. This is a lesson for you, for us all – do not bend even a little tiny bit, for otherwise you will end like Joseph della Reina. This is unless the enemy is right and you do not deserve equality.

Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.