Fates of Children

Zionism did not always show love towards Jewish children, whom it never flinched from sacrificing for its colonial goals.

In the Nazi period, Zionist leaders, for example, protested strongly against granting European Jews refuge in any country other than Palestine.

In December 1938, David Ben-Gurion responded to a British offer, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, to take thousands of German Jewish children directly to Britain by saying: “If I knew it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel), then I would opt for the second alternative, for we must weigh not only the life of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.”

In November 1940, the Zionists responded to the British-imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine, long demanded by the Palestinian people, by blowing up a ship with Jewish civilian passengers in Haifa – killing 242 Jews, including scores of children. For Zionism, Jewish children are as expendable as Palestinian and Arab children, unless they serve its colonial goals

Recruitment of the Children

Israel’s recruitment of Jewish children in paramilitary organisations, which began in 1948, continues apace, and is perhaps best exemplified in its Gadna [“Youth Battalions”] programme, where young Jewish boys and girls are prepared early for their future military service in the most militarised state on earth.

The most outrageous use of Jewish children, however, would be illustrated when the Israeli army invited them to write messages of hate on the missiles about to be launched against Lebanese children during Israel’s July 2006 invasion of Lebanon. Captured by an Associated Press cameraman, the picture of blond Jewish girls near the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona writing messages of death to Lebanese children circulated the globe.

 “Death To Arabs”

A March 2010 poll by Tel Aviv University found that 49.5 per cent of Israeli Jewish high school students believe Palestinian citizens of Israel should not be entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel; 56 per cent believe they should not be eligible for election to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

According to a report in January 2011 in the largest Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, Jewish teachers in Israel stated that anti-Arab racism among Jewish students reached alarming levels, advocating killing Palestinians. The teachers found graffiti written on school walls and even on exam papers stating “Death To Arabs”. According to the report, a student at a school in Tel Aviv told his teacher during class that his dream is to become a soldier so he can exterminate all Arabs; several students in his class applauded in support of him. This, in no small amount, is the direct result of the racist Israeli school curricula with which Jewish children are regularly indoctrinated.

Joseph Massad

30 May 2011

Joseph Massad is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. He is author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question (Routledge, 2006).

Source: Al Jazeera

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