By Jamil I. Toubbeh
If John Milton were constructing his epic, Paradise Lost, today Zionism would be his protagonist Lucifer, Adam and Eve his US and its seven-member cherubic choir, the G8.
Dr. Ruth Webster was a Shakespearian scholar and an authority on John Milton (1608-1674). She was an outstanding lecturer and mentor. She was also a pre-Zionist era intellectual who believed that a fabricated truth is a lie, and she was not afraid to debate the point openly and without fear of being defrocked by a Campus Watch. Although she was aware of Zionism, she was not fully aware of the extent of Zionism’s destructive impact on Palestine and the Palestinian society. In the early 50’s, communism (or so we were told) was not only chipping away at the foundations of our democracy but also at our ideological and theological inclinations. Interestingly enough, Islam, and not any other established religion, was our firewall against Soviet intrusion in our then recently-inherited (from Britain and France) sphere of influence-the Middle East and its oil reserves.
Dr. Webster’s style of teaching was reminiscent of that of my high school teachers. In the Midwest where I attended undergraduate college, and in Jerusalem, Palestine, where I attended high school, sonority overpowered the senses, and teachers behind well-worn lecterns were reincarnations of the literary giants of centuries or millennia past. Surely, outstanding teachers can become as immutable as one’s mother land.
When I failed to understand Shakespeare (1564-1616) in Dr. Webster’s class, she invited me to register for a 2-credit elective course in Milton. Perhaps she felt that I would develop a deeper appreciation for Shakespeare through Milton. It didn’t work: Milton’s course was too demanding. It required weekly assistance from a mathematician-turned-minister friend and a biblical encyclopedia. (Eastern Christians have been described by Western evangelicals as “not bible-oriented”, pseudo-Christians, and dare I say, who have lost their biblical credentials and souls in the desert of Islam). While not a member of any congregation, the minister owed me some time for having lectured gratis on the subject of Palestine and Palestinians to his enlightened congregation. At the time, US media, was beginning to build the infrastructure for the Zionization and mental colonization of Israel’s eventual alter ego–its most intimate and constant companion, the USA. The Zionist octopus had yet to enfold Capitol Hill, focusing instead on covering up the initial phases of Zionism’s 1948 crimes against Palestinians, and on winning the hearts, minds and checkbooks of those who read history in biblical circumlocutions and myths. Some 58 years later, this topic would become the subject of an insightful Counterpunch article by Jean Bricmont titled, The De-Zionization of the American Mind, dated April 13, 2006. Today, the Z-Syndrome is so much part of US culture and psyche that, without it, we feel like the Athabascan mother who, 40 years ago, took her baby to a physician because his ears were not oozing pus and blood. Israel is not only the 51st state; it is the most privileged, especially in our laws.
Webster and Milton came to mind when Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, ironically a historian by education, threatened a shoa on Gaza’s 1.5 million imprisoned people. One does not have to speak Hebrew to decipher the word’s meaning, context suffices. The 20th Century boasted some 50 shoas and some 85 million violent deaths, excluding war dead. Thus far, the 21st century has shown that the civilized world has the capacity to up the ante on collective and indiscriminate violence against those who stand in their way.
Vilnai’s threat (and later, its execution) is Miltonian in character and style: “[If] Qassam fire intensifies [on Ashkelon] and the rockets reach a longer range, the Palestinians will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." His apocalyptic statement represented a variation on an overused Zionist theme, one that emanates from the soul of a desperate society that has lost its connection with the world community and humanity—Milton’s “reason.” In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the language of the defeated Lucifer (Satan), underscores the magnitude of the protagonist’s defeat in more elegant language than that of Minister Vilnai’s or, for that matter, the language of any other Zionist leader. Vilnai failed to mention a few relevant facts in his threat: one, Qassams are far less of a threat to Jewish lives than a single M16 in the hands of a settler or an IDF at checkpoints; two, the target of threat is the imprisoned, starving 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, the majority being children, women, and the elderly; and three, in 1948, Ashkalon was the town of Majdal, and like its 500 other sister Palestinian towns and cities, was ethnically cleansed of its 10,000 Palestinian Arabs. Their homes and lands were proffered freely to elite Western Jews and to not-so-elite Arab Jews from the Arab World.
The Zionist Lucifer is a master of doublespeak—especially in defeat.
"What though the field be lost?” says Lucifer, “All is not lost; the unconquerable Will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome? That Glory never shall his wrath or might Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace With suppliant knee, and deifie his power, […] Farewel happy Fields […] The mind is its own place, and in it self Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n. What matter where, if I be still the same, And what I should be, all but less then he Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts." [sic]
The “field was lost” to Zionism some 70 years ago when the Jewish Russian Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky announced the opening of his hunting season on Palestinian Muslims and Christians, then owning more than 95% of the land in Palestine. Jabotinsky, as other Zionist leaders, was well versed on the subject of violence, having been exposed to it first hand in Russia. His followers did not only heed his advice, but elaborated on his theme of violence. Palestinians, in particular, and Arabs in general, do not differentiate between Zionism and violence. Zionism (and its offspring, Israel) were (and continue to be) immune to criticism vis-a-vis its acts of violence.
Demonization, torture, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and their supporters went hand-in-hand with brain-washing the Israeli and Western public with the idea that Palestinians did not exist, or if they did, were sub-human. The G8, with the US leading the choir, played, first, Eve’s role, then added Adam’s, to Lucifer’s Machiavellian designs. The most powerful nations in the world, condoned and supported Israeli violence, and fed its fires with volleys of embargoes and condemnations of Palestinians and their democratically elected leadership, reinforcing Israel’s policies of collective punishment: acts of expiation for not doing enough to save the “Six Million”, or perhaps, acts that have their origin theological doctrine. Zionism and the G8 continue to tango under the Tree of Knowledge, spinning tales of deserts-turned-Edens and raining depleted uranium dust on Lucifer’s foes.
If the Zionist-Syndrome has become an undifferentiated part of Western societies’ gray matter, the Lucifer-Syndrome has become Western governments’ resident anaconda.
Milton writes that of all the animals Lucifer had studied during the eight days he was out of Eden, he considered the serpent to be the “subtlest Beast of all the Field”—thence the Zionist scheme unfolds.
On the day of Lucifer’s return to Eden, Adam and Eve had decided to work apart despite Angel Raphael’s warning. In the form of a serpent, Lucifer speaks to Eve alone. The serpent, we are told, is excited to find Eve tending flowers and, for a few moments, becomes enraptured and forgets his evil nature–to destroy God’s creation. When he recovers his senses, he approaches Eve “upon on (its) tail”. When his initial acts fail to attract her attention, the serpent plays on her vanity and curiosity. She responds. She becomes especially curious about the serpent’s ability to learn to speak, to which the serpent replies that he had done so by eating the fruit of a particular tree in the Garden. That fruit, he told her, allowed him to seek her out and to worship her as the most beautiful of God’s creations. When Eve tells the serpent that eating the fruit of Tree of Knowledge was forbidden by God, the serpent tells her that God had tricked her and Adam because he was jealous. He convinced her that by eating the fruit of the forbidden Tree, she would have God’s knowledge. Eve was taken in by the words of the serpent and she and Adam succumbed to the wiles of the serpent. The sexual orgy she and Adam experience after eating the fruit was followed by bitter arguments and accusations. Milton tells us that Adam and Eve had given way to “Appetite” and reason was lost–the end of Paradise.
Lucifer’s Eden in Milton’s new version of Paradise Lost is Palestine—that “country without a people, for a people without a country.” (Many Zionist texts adopted Mark Twain’s description of Palestine as “A desolate country […] a silent mournful expanse [where] we never saw a human being on the whole route.” The man who coined the word ‘A-rab, today a Louisiana town of 2000 that still retains Twain’s racist flavor, visited Palestine in the summer of 1867, when the country was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans considered Palestine a prized possession–the spiritual and physical link between the Ottomans, the rest of the Muslim World and Western countries because of its holy sites. The Ottomans had Zionist connections and were aware of Zionists’ interest in Palestine. In exchange for some millions in European currency, the Ottomans would have given land to Zionists in Syria, not Palestine, but the deal never materialized. Twain’s observations in Palestine were so incredibly faulty as to make one conclude that his guide was a Zionist who demanded that his tourist wear special blinders and ear plugs ‘To Use as Directed by Guide’, a common practice in Israel since its invention in 1948!).
In the new version of Paradise Lost Lucifer retains his Machiavellian character and schemes: “And study of revenge, immortal hae(?)…” As in Pavlov, Lucifer thrives on reward. Vilnai’s threat to Gaza is only a variation on a Zionist theme of violence. Here are more variations:
Ze’ev Jabotinsky (aka Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsk, b. Russia)
-Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force…”
David Ben Gurion (aka David Grün- b. Poland)
–“We must expel Arab [i.e. Palestinians]and take their places."
–"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab [i.e., Palestinian] population."
–"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either… There is not a single place built in [Israel] that did not have a former Arab population."
–"Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country."
Golda Meir (aka Golda Myerson-b. Russia)
–"There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist."
–"How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to."
— "This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy."
Yitzhak Rabin (b. Jerusalem, Palestine)
1994 Nobel Prize for Peace
President Clinton’s s “Prince of Peace”.
The NY Times called him a hawk. As Defense Minister during the 1st Intifada, he instructed his soldiers to use all means available to suppress the nascent Palestinian uprising, including crushing the bones of the resisters (mostly young people).
–"Israel will create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza…." (On the method of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians: negotiating transfer deals with King Hussein and Yasser Arafat–both deceased).
Menachem Begin (b. Russia)
Headed a notorious terrorist organization targeting Palestinians, British and UN officials, and was on Britain’s Wanted List.
— "The Palestinians are beasts walking on two legs."
–"The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever."
Yitzhak Shamir (aka Yizhak Yzernitzky-b. Poland)
Terrorist /assassin; headed a terrorist organization in Palestine that targeted Palestinians and British and UN officials.
–"The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It’s that simple."
— (The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers …heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
Benjamin Netanyahu (b. Tel Aviv, Israel)
His gem: “Palestinians never miss an opportunity… to miss an opportunity”. He was “as American as apple pie,” more popular in the US than the intellectual Abba Eban, he of the distinctive British accent.
–"Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories."
Ehud Barak (b. Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon, Palestine)
One of his bio-sketches shows, under the heading “Sex orientation,” that the warrior PM was “Straight”. One presumes that this description is a ‘character’ rather than an ‘ethnic’ cleanser.
–"Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more….”
"If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force…."
Ariel Sharon (aka Ariel Scheinermann-b. Palestine)
Accused of Crimes against Humanuy
Presisdent Bush’s “Man of Peace”
–Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay…Everything we don’t grab will go to them."
–"It is the duty…[ensure]that there is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands."
Raphael Eitan (b. Palestine)
Drowned in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year.
–"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”
The passage of time has failed to mask Zionism’s malevolence; rather, it has exacerbated it. As the epic flows, Milton’s protagonist, Lucifer, becomes delusional psychopath, one who believes in his own lies. Sharon says: –"Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial", or the rabbi who issues, recently, “an opinion” carried by Ha’aretz, that “All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts." Milton gives us visual images of Satan’s degeneration: creeping on the misty ground of Eden as he takes the form of the serpent crawling along the ground—his shape changing from cherub to cormorant, then to lion and tiger, and finally to toad and snake. Surely Zionism is no longer the charming serpent who approached Eve in Eden. Zionism has gained too much weight to stand on its tail and charm the world with lies. The Zionist connection in the war on Iraq has changed public attitude toward Zionism. Milton describes Lucifer and his comrades in arms–Beelzebub, and the other rebel angels–as lying on a Lake of Fire, from which Satan rises up to claim hell as his own domain and, to his followers, delivers the rousing speech, the well-known passage quoted above, "Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n", reminiscent of the Zionist cabal that instigated the war that led to disastrous human and economic consequences.
When Mark Twain’s racism, “A desolate country […] a silent mournful expanse [where] we never saw a human being on the whole route.”, became Zionism’s biblical beacon, “A country without a people for a [Jewish only] people without a country.” That Rhode Island-sized ‘country’ had a population of 1.3 million Palestinian Arabs, Muslim and Christian. In 1948 Zionism’s systematic terror against them resulted in the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians. Today, there are more than 9 million Palestinians, half of whom live on less than 15% of their ancestral land. Israel’s Jewish population comprises 80% of the state’s population of 5.3-5.6 million; the remaining is Palestinian. Israel’s Jewish population comprises between 35%-40% (14+ million) of Jewry worldwide. In the process of executing his plan, Lucifer alienated not only Golda Meir’s nonexistent Palestinian people, but also 22 other Arab nations with a total population of more than 325 million people, in addition to more than 700 million Muslims worldwide.
Milton will have Zionism sitting atop 300 nuclear weapons in an Ocean of Fire hallucinating, ad infinitum, about his next mortal foe, and volumes of lies, his promised land a Paradise Lost.
Reading this script, Dr. Webster would advise a different ending to Milton’s 21st Century rendition of Paradise Lost. She would insist that Zionism does not represent the majority of world Jewry, and would recommend, nay insist, on a sequel to Milton’s 21st Century Paradise Lost–Paradise Shared. And being a liberal Midwesterner and truly an American, she would tell me, with an Aristophanic comic twist: “Lucifer has already chosen to reign in hell rather than to serve heaven, so let him have his democracy. Hell is an exclusivist domain!"
-Jamil I. Toubbeh is a Fellow ASHA and is an Adjunct Professor of Public Health and Senior Researcher on Asian Health issues. Dr. Toubbeh has been recognized by the Chair of the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities for his contributions to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is also a recipient of the Eagle Feather, for his advocacy in behalf of Native Americans with disabilities. He is author of Day of the Long Night: a Palestinian Refugee Remembers the Nakba (McFarland & Co.) He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.