Sunday,19 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)
Sunday,19 August, 2018
Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)

Ahram Weekly

The return of the golems

The 16th century tale of the creation of the golem can illuminate Israel’s present Middle Eastern role, writes William A. Cook

Al-Ahram Weekly

“AIPAC urges congress to grant the president the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons. The civilised world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children,” (AIPAC, 3 September 2013).

To understand the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) press statement to the US Congress and the American people, we must understand what is not said: “urges” means “demands”; “protect America’s national security interest” means “protect Israel’s national security interests”; “dissuade” means “destroy”; “Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons” means “prevent by total destruction Syria’s use of the weapons Israel uses against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and the Palestinian people”; “civilised world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons” means “Israel, which does use these barbaric weapons even against children as in the Christmas devastation of Gaza in 2008/9, calls itself civilised, knowing in truth that it acts in a barbaric manner but doesn’t want the world to think that is true.”

Thus do words become the vehicles of mass deception, draped in the tailored suits of diplomats, bankers and lobbyists who gather to lament that “barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.” How softly they speak, these civilised men, in respectful damnation of a neighbour tangled in a web of Western intrigue to dismember the Syrian state while they, the lackeys of the Zionist government, hide the 400-mile wall that incarcerates the Palestinians, the network of hundreds of checkpoints that ensures no free movement even within their own land, robs the people of the taxes they have paid to help the poverty that stifles them, imprisons them without charge in indefinite detention for 10 to 20 years, destroying home life and economic growth, confident that they carry the seal of impunity of the American Congress for crimes against humanity for their barbaric behaviour.

How did it come to this? Centuries ago in Prague before the Jewish people established a state for the Jews, before they had the means to impose their will on the people of the Middle East, the Jewish population huddled in ghettos behind walls, fearful of annihilation, isolated from the communities that surrounded them, condemned by discrimination, envy and ignorance. Out of that destructive environment, one Rabbi Lowe sought a solution to the isolation and weariness of his congregants by seeking consolation and security through the magical creation of a creature fashioned from the mud of the Vltava River that runs through Prague. This creature had the form of a human, though huge in body and greater in strength, but it lacked intelligence, reason and spirit, for he had no soul.

The good rabbi brought this monster to life to protect the ghetto and to labour on behalf of the residents there. Legend tells that this creature, the golem, obeyed only his master and only his master could control him. Yet, to live without a soul guarantees only indifference to others, as a consequence of absolute obedience to the master. That danger the rabbi warned about: “even the most perfect of golem, risen to life to protect us, can easily change into a destructive force. Therefore let us treat carefully that which is strong, just as we bow kindly and patiently to that which is weak. Everything has its time and place,” he said. 

Things have changed since the mid-1500s. While the wall surrounding the Prague ghetto remains, the reality of Jewish life evolved over the years there, until in the years just preceding World War II, when Franz Kafka roamed its streets and felt the suffocation of the oppressive air pounding in his head, monsters stirred as Germany found that might indifferent to plight could command and mould minds to do its bidding as the ancient golem did in the damp and murky fingers of Rabbi Lowe. And in that indifference the fate of Europe’s Jews rested.

Today, it seems the vision that formed the golem in the mind of Rabbi Lowe has metamorphosed, like in Kafka’s story, into an ugly image unable to discern its own being even as it constructs a disassociated life, pretending that all is well with the world. I see AIPAC as the rabbi, the controller of the Jews enlisted to his care, as the contemporary controller of all the Jews in America and around the world. Like the rabbi, AIPAC defines the victimised condition of the Jews despite their military and financial power, despite their possession of weapons of mass destruction, despite their ability to mobilise the greatest military the world has ever known, to mould America into its golem as the rabbi used his power over his monster. Thus does the curse of the rabbi bloom in our world.

We witnessed the return of the golems recently, when approximately 375 US congressmen and women in the House of Representatives and 100 per cent of the senate, gathered on call to AIPAC’s command, the US commander-in-chief being but the mouthpiece for the resurrected rabbi in the form of this committee of all the Jewish lobbies that buy the diligence and votes of the people’s representatives or face the depletion of their re-election coffers and ultimate defeat should they disobey. Under this subterfuge rests the disintegrated bones of America’s democracy.

The vote before the representatives is simple enough; destroy yet one more enemy of the Jewish state to ensure its security regardless of the consequent insecurity this act will thrust on the citizens of the United States who adamantly oppose yet another war executed for the people of Israel by the people of the United States, as they wait once more for the draped coffins of their sons and daughters to be carried from the innards of cargo planes returning from the Syrian killing fields. But what congressman or woman will stand against the master that controls his or her future as a politician? Have they not already succumbed to the indifference of lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria? We need only check the record of their obedience that denies the opinions of people around the world who have been repulsed by the deceitful and heinous acts perpetrated by the Zionist state against the people of the Middle East.

The US House of Representatives voted 344-36 in support of House Resolution 867, a vote to reject the findings and recommendations of the Goldstone Report, thus protecting Israel against indictment for crimes against humanity and illegal acts of war as determined by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s special investigation into the Christmas invasion of Gaza. A cursory review of US actions taken on behalf of Israel demonstrates conclusively the obedience its elected representatives pay to their owners: 2003, a resolution supporting force against the Palestinians, 399-5; 2004, a resolution forbidding a return to the 1967 borders, 407-9; 2006, a resolution defending Israel’s illegal invasion and destruction of Lebanon, 410-8; 2009, a resolution defending Israel’s Christmas invasion of the defenceless people of Gaza, 390-5.

Now the golems gather to voice their obedience on Syria: “the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday authorising a limited US military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a debate in the full senate next week on the use of military force.” Every one of these resolutions supports Israel’s illegal actions, while the remainder of the world’s nations, excepting a few controlled by the US, vote against the crimes of the state of Israel.

With the return of the golems, the obedient servants of the Zionist state that has refused to find a route to peace in the Middle East, to live in harmony with its neighbours, to take to heart the admonition of Rabbi Lowe “to bow kindly and patiently to the weak”, has decided to conquer the weak and to arrogantly force their golems to support the illegal confiscation of Palestinian land and the illegal invasions of sister states in Lebanon and Iraq and Syria, and then to demand of its golems that they send the sons and daughters of their districts’ citizens to be maimed or die in lands that have no desire to destroy America or the means to destroy it. Thus does America become the soulless power that rampages across the peoples of the Middle East, indifferent to the slaughter it has wrought with its missiles, bombs and chemical weapons, while the Israeli war machine sits on the sidelines watching with envy and joy the holocaust brought to its neighbours.

I do not believe that I am exaggerating here. Listen to the rabbis as they make their appeal to US representatives, imposing on them a moral dilemma not addressed in World War II when the US government failed to bomb the Nazi concentration camps in Europe — their way of raising guilt in their hearts while conveniently omitting the reality that exists today when the Zionist state is the force threatening the destruction of the people of the Middle East, but with US golems acting on their behalf, saving the lives of Israeli citizens by bringing death and destruction to their neighbours.

“Leading rabbis covering the religious and political spectrum urged lawmakers in congress to support President [Barack] Obama’s plans to strike Syria to stop its use of chemical weapons. ‘We write to you as descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees, whose ancestors were gassed to death in concentration camps,’ said the letter sent Wednesday, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. ‘We write to you as a people who have faced persecution for many centuries, and are glad to have found a safe refuge where we can thrive in the United States,’” ran one newspaper report.

They called on congress “with great urgency to authorise the president to use force in Syria ‘in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction’, as outlined in his 31 August draft legislation. Through this act, congress has the capacity to save thousands of lives, (Israeli lives),” the letter said. This was but one of many pleas to the golems that roam the halls of the US Congress waiting patiently to cast their vote for more wars.

This is not a prediction of the outcome, nor is it truth. It’s the people of Syria and Iran who are now caught in the vice of Israeli and American power, awaiting the slaughter from the skies that will wreak havoc on them and their families. The consequence of this attack will be just as deadly to those caught behind the Auschwitz walls of the Syrian and Iranian borders as the victims of the Holocaust imprisoned behind the concentration camps’ barbed wire. All are dead, and it is indeed the vanquished that know most about war.

Realising this, why do US representatives not respond to the voices of the American people and the peoples of the world? What corrosive force compels them to do the bidding of a few who have the most to gain while their own people have the most to lose? “For months, polls have shown that most Americans do not favour US military involvement in Syria’s civil war. Even with news of last week’s chemical attack — presumably by the Al-Assad regime — that killed hundreds of civilians, the percentage of those favouring an aggressive US response increases only slightly, according to the most recent survey,” wrote commentator Brad Knickerbocker on 29 August.

In 2009, I wrote a piece entitled “A Nation of Golems,” reflecting the control of US representatives by the Zionist forces that occupy the congress. Let me offer the closing of that piece now as a moment of reflection before the vote.

“This is the fate of our congressmen and women, indeed, it is the fate of the Jewish people in Israel who have built a wall around themselves, as the Jews in Prague did in the 16th century, fearing all but themselves, victims of all beyond the wall. Golems all, abandoning their God to placate their masters, the ruling secular golems that have created a state of fear instead of a state for Jews, a state of oppression and indifference, a state of moulded minds lacking human sympathy, a state willing to use its only friend in the community of nations for its own ends turning its representatives into pliant, obedient, mindless, soulless clay forms as heedless of the weak as their masters.”


The writer is a US professor of English and the author of The Plight of the Palestinians.


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