Good News from Palestine, or One Jew Less

Two boats Free Gaza and Liberty manned by fourtysome activists from various lands, safely reached the shores of besieged Gaza. They passed through the naval blockade established by the Israelis, and brought a message of hope, and even some provision for the besieged. This was far from obvious and expected conclusion of the daring enterprise; some 20 years ago, a similar attempt ended in catastrophe. In 1988, the PLO staged an unsuccessful effort to sail from Cyprus to Haifa. The Israeli frogmen attached a limpet mine to the ship, named the Sol Phryne and re-christened Exodus-2, while it was in the Cypriot port of Limassol, while a day earlier they planted a bomb in the car of the crew and killed three of them. That voyage had been timed to coincide with 40 years of Nakba and the founding of Israel. For twenty years, nobody even mentioned it, nor tried to repeat the suicidal trip. This trip marked the 60th anniversary, and it went off successfully.

This is a happy event: we should be glad that the boats arrived safely. Let these small vessels be remembered together with Granma and Exodus, if not with Santa Maria of Columbus, for they did an historic deed. The siege of Gaza is breaking down. The Israeli authorities said they did not want to interfere with the boats in order to give it less publicity. But events have their own dynamics; and we may hope that Israeli leaders won’t find it that easy to go back to their bad old ways. One small demonstration may lead to revolution. This operation should be extended, and multiplied; instead of one boat, hundred boats should sail.

Our congratulations to brave and intrepid men and women who sailed these boats to the shores of Gaza. And our special congratulations to Uri Davis, one of the Free Gaza activists, who saw the light in more ways than one. After being a life-long godless atheist, he came to God, and accepted Islam. After being a single man for a long time, he got married to a Palestinian lady of the noble Husseini family. So many blessings to Uri Davis! One Jew less and one bachelor less, in one go!

By his triple deed, Uri Davis gave a powerful answer to his erstwhile friend Uri Avnery.

Avnery wrote a piece warning the Palestinians: don’t you dream of living with Jews in one state, because the Jews would rather expel or exterminate you. An Indian-style reservation is as good as you may ever hope to get from us. Our friend John Spritzler wrote a strong reply to Avnery, saying: “This is no different from a Mafia thug giving “friendly advice” to a shop owner, warning what the consequences will be for failure to pay the Mafia’s “protection” fee. Here we see Avnery the Zionist dropping his facade of “kindly friend of the Palestinians” and making it perfectly clear where he stands: challenge the Zionist project of an exclusively Jewish sovereignty in most of Palestine, and we will all unite as a “fascist right wing” to drive you out of Palestine.”

Uri Davis came and slapped Avnery’s face: if even he, a paragon of Jewish atheism, can convert and embrace Palestinians, not only in One state, but in One community believing in One God, in One family and in One bed, the Jewish steadfastness is surely collapsing.

Israel is the only place where it seems to be an oddity: in the US and in Russia, majority of marriages are mixed ones. Jews are opting out of Jewry as fast as they can. Inshallah soon there won’t be enough Jews left to man the naval blockade.

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.