The Yoke of Zion

By Israel Shamir


A small band of determined warriors takes on and fights off the mightiest army of the region: this is the stuff history is made of. Thermopylae, move over, Bint Jbeil comes in! Bishop Philip of Antioch compared the levelling of this small Lebanese town with the destruction of Stalingrad, but these cities are also comparable by courage of their defenders. Not often, not every generation merits to witness such a shining example of valour: for three long weeks a handful of Hezbollah warriors – two thousand by the most optimistic count – fought off to standstill ten, twenty, thirty times more numerous Israeli troops. Forty years ago, Israelis defeated three armies in one week, but now the invaders’ charm wore off, or passed over to the vanquished. In today’s somewhat feminine victim-centred narrative, suffering attracts more attention than masculine gallantry. Thus Qana massacre had overshadowed a greater going-on, that is the steadfast resistance of the Lebanese fighters. But Andromache’s sorrow should not obscure Hector’s courage: Hezbollah’s deeds deserve to be immortalised by poets.


Why the war? Leave small details to a future Plutarch; this is another round of battle for Palestine. Supported and supplied by their captive empire, the US, the Jews had all the weapons, all the ammunition, all the diplomatic support, when hubris-drunk they drove into disarmed and starved Gaza to kill off its last resisters and impose the Yoke of Zion. Their invasion was prepared by a year-long siege and incessant shelling; they were cock-sure they can devour Gaza at will. And indeed, all kept mum: the Egyptians traded the glory of the Ramadan War for greenbacks, sons of Hejaz and Nejd were too busy serving at the oil pump, and the princes of the Gulf cared but for their falcons. The Jews felt secure as they stooped to kill off Gaza: who will disturb the lion of Judah roaring at his prey? And a tiny force from the Mount Lebanon said: we will. They attacked the all-powerful Jews; thus the hobbit pierced the sinew of Nazgul when he stooped to kill. Israeli army roused from his prey turned north and lashed with all its might at the Hezbollah fighters. But they stood fast.


This was most unexpected. The Israelis were used to kill – or disperse - weaponless untrained Palestinians. Instead, the fighters of Sayyed Nasrallah dug in their heels into the bare hills of Bint Jbeil and gave battle. If they were destroyed quickly, Israeli generals would lead their victorious troops to Damascus and Teheran before turning back and despoiling Palestine of its priceless jewel, Haram al Sharif. It still can happen, but chances were diminished by the steadfastness of Hezbollah.


More important, Hezbollah refused to cease fire as long as Israel occupies the land of Lebanon. This daring step undermined the whole strategy of Zionists. They planned to occupy the South and wait there until the international (or NATO) force will enter and do their job for them. Hezbollah’s decision lacks one detail: cease fire must extend to Palestine, as well. It is inconceivable that Lebanon will lay arms down, while Gaza is besieged and Nablus is devoured.


Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said: “We have changed the Middle East”. I do not know whether all Middle East had changed, but in Israel we witness a great change. Until now, only a few just men and women of Israel called their government to desist in their aggression against Gaza and Lebanon. But the Katyusha rain changed minds of many. At first carried away by arrogance of their generals, now Israelis discovered the heavy price of war. Their first complaints on the army’s failure to deliver gave place to critique of the policy. They began to understand that time is not working for them.


The now-subservient regimes of neighbouring countries can fall any minute or remove the Yoke of Zion. Their rulers were led to believe in Jewish superiority, and that is why they chose to condemn ‘imprudent Hezbollah’. But now their people see that even a small force of determined fighters can beat the enemy, they find no justification for cowardly behaviour of their rulers. It can lead to revolution, for King Faruk was removed by young officers of Falujah fame disappointed by his weakness in 1948.


Neil MacFarquhar reports in the NYT (28.7.06): “At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.

Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements. The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.”


The report sees the popular opinion, “the Arab street” as the vehicle for change; but the change can come from above, too. The cruel bombardment of Beirut and of all Lebanon was supposed to frighten the Arab nations into obedience; instead, it convinced the rich and powerful Arabs that as long as the Jews run the writ in the Middle East, their riches and power can be taken from them anytime by will of a Jewish general. Beirut was peaceful, Beirut agreed to expel Syrians, Beirut was the most pro-Western state, and it did not save the city from Jewish – not even vengeance for there was nothing to avenge – but arbitrary heavy-handedness. The Arabs at power ask, whether the Jewish state can be a peaceful neighbour at all, or is it (as the Iranian President Ahmadinejad says) bellicose by its nature and had to be dealt with as once the Crusader Kingdom was.


Indeed, the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem existed longer than the Jewish state, and probably would last for centuries, but its innate aggressiveness and preparedness to serve as bridgehead for European invasions. The turning point in Crusaders’ fortunes took place some 850 years ago, at the Second Crusade which bore an uncanny resemblance to the Second Lebanese War. By that time, the Arab nations were inured in invincibility of the Crusaders; sheer arrogance of power led the Crusaders to march on Damascus, their peaceful, complacent and hedonist neighbour, the least belligerent among small independent and much-divided Arab states, a “Lebanon of 12th century”. At first, the Crusaders ran into guerrilla resistance of the then Hezbollah, and lost a lot of soldiers. When they besieged the city, the ruler of Damascus was forced to ask for help of his neighbour Nureddin, “Ahmadinejad of his day”; an army of Nureddin drew close and the Franks had to retreat in haste.


The Arab neighbours learned two things: (1) submission and complacency can’t guarantee their peace for the Crusader state is a Damocles’ Sword forever hanging above their heads; and (2) Crusaders can be defeated. Out of the Second Crusade, came Saladin, a nephew of Nureddin, who united Syria and Egypt and eventually defeated the Crusaders at Qurn Hittin. Now the same two lessons were delivered to the Arabs, by courtesy of IDF. Is a new Saladin on the way?




But the Jews may yet face another danger caused by their assertiveness. They relate to themselves the fiery prophesy of Rev. 19: 15 “Out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, with it he should smite the goyim, and he shall shepherd them with a rod of iron; and he is crushing with his feet the grapes of God’s wrath”. They take it so seriously that their massacre of Qana (120 butchered refugees) was named “the Grapes of Wrath”. These features are not the most endearing; and not only the Arabs may object to be shepherded by an iron rod.


The US pays heavily for the Jewish fun. A poor American may hate to think that he has no medical insurance but his government pays tribute to rich Israel. Average American filling his average car may dislike to pay for support of the Jewish state because before the Neo-Cohns got into power in the Administration, gas was much, much cheaper. A wealthy and worldly American may feel vexed that he is not welcome wherever he goes – from Paris to Istanbul - as he was before the Yoke of Zion.


An easy-going American may dislike that he can’t cuss a Jewish cop without reading about it in the New York Times. A believing American may be upset that he can’t mention Christ unless he is ready to be summoned to a court hearing. An honest American – or an European – may be annoyed by their hypocrisy. It is not enough that they push for war, they also blame others for it. It is not enough that they kill children in droves, they also preach on immense value of human life.


A religious Bible-thumping American may remember the prophecy of Ezekiel, 22 who said to the princes of Israel in the name of the Lord: “You have become guilty in your blood that you have shed; everyone among you, putting out his full force to shed blood” – that is the blood of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese; Ezekiel also prophesied the Zionist Gathering of Jews, and that it will lead to a major disaster to Zionists: “the house of Israel has become dross to me; therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst, and you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury upon you. The Israelis have used oppression, and committed robbery, and have wronged the poor and needy; indeed, they have oppressed the gentiles wrongfully, and therefore I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their own way have I rewarded upon their heads, said the Lord God.”


An American politician, maybe even an American president may get tired by these people’s endless need to demand sympathy or to protest an outrage; by necessity to watch out, by ideological censorship and party discipline, by their blackmailing habits, by their fat pockets and media hold, by Damocles Sword they hanged above his head.


Moreover, an American or a European who calls himself today “a Jew” may ponder whether he has much in common with the people whose poets call upon their soldiers: “Storm on Lebanon and Gaza, and plow it and sow it with salt, raze it down, let no human being remain alive/ Turn them into a desert, rubble, a valley of mess, unpopulated/ Save your nation and drop bombs / On villages and cities, their collapsing houses do shell / Kill them, shed their blood, turn their lives into living hell /”.


He may give a thought whether he wishes to be a secret weapon of Israel in words of Prime Minister Olmert who said: “Arab weapons, even when they hurt us, are nothing like the powerful, secret weapon we possess: The Jewish people… across the world, and the special feeling of love and mutual commitment that prevails between all Jews, regardless of where they are”. He may just stop to consider himself a Jew and melt into general populace, as millions did before him.


A Jewish friend of mine wrote: “I have asked a number of my friends in the US whether they think the Zionist mantra retains its power, and they agree it does not. The lobby does not, I think, have a bright future - that is why its agents have faced prosecution.   Even if their lock on Congress persists for some time, their hold on American opinion must now diminish. I believe Lenny Brenner when he argues that young Jews are deserting Judaism and Zionism in droves.”


Israelis, i.e. dwellers of Palestine who consider themselves Jewish, may also contemplate whether they want to fight and support the ideological Yoke of Zion which brings them only hatred outside and poverty within. Instead of living in economic prosperity and in harmony with our neighbours, the Yoke of Zion turns us into impoverished cannon fodder.


And after all, Americans and Europeans may just get bored of these guys that endlessly preach to others and are never willing to hearken to others’ views. Even Germans may one day kick their masochist habit of endless repentance. And then the Yoke of Zion will be gone, for this Yoke is nothing but shared belief in Jewish superiority. And then, the perfectly harmless Jews will have to learn and become usual citizens of their countries, without a special access to presidents, bank coffers and TV screens.