BEIT-HALLAHMI, Benjamin. Israeli psychology professor: "All Israelis have come to recognise Zionism's original sin against the Palestinians. The terrible secret of the injustice is known to everybody, but cannot be openly faced"

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi is a professor of psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel, and the  author of  “Original Sins : Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel” (1998), “The Israeli Connection” (1987) as well as works about the dynamics of religion, most recently Prolegomena to the Psychological Study of Religion (1989) and Despair to Deliverance (1991) (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Beit-Hallahmi ).

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi  on genocidal racist Zionism (1998): Looking at Zionism without taboos means seeing the hard reality of the domination and oppression it has created. Out of the original sins of the world against the Jews grew the original sins of Zionism against the Palestinians. The issues are often raised through a counting and recounting of massacres and victims on both sides. The problem is one of principles, not atrocities. Even if nobody died, there is something wrong with Zionist principles. The problem is a moral one. Raising the moral question is not a mark of idealism but of realism.

Israelis seem to be haunted by a curse. It is the curse of the original sin against the native Arabs. How can Israel be discussed without recalling the dispossession and exclusion of non-Jews? This is the most basic fact about Israel, and no understanding of Israeli reality is possible without it. The original sin haunts and torments Israelis; it marks everything and taints everybody. The memory of the original sin poisons the blood and marks every moment of existence.

Can we speak of an Israeli 'collective responsibility' for the colonialist enterprise of Zionism?

Are all Israelis responsible for this sin? People cannot be held responsible for a situation created long before they were born, and this is the case for most Israelis. They have been born into a colonialist structure which favours them over the class of non-Jews. They cannot be blamed for it. At the same time, a person may be held responsible for the continuation of a colonialist situation, once he is in a position to change things. Most Israelis today, born after 1950, cannot be held responsible for early Zionist injustices. They can, and should, be held responsible for the present reality of injustice, which is a direct sequel of early Zionist principles.

All Israelis have come to recognise Zionism's original sin against the Palestinians. The terrible secret of the injustice is known to everybody, but cannot be openly faced.” [1].

[1]. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, “The Israeli Question”, epilogue from “Original Sins”, Pluto Press, London, pp.207-211: http://israel-academia-monitor.com/index.php?advice_id=104&cookie_lang=en&page_data[id]=172&type=large_advic .

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