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apartheid or what you want

barukh is always pissed
whenever british or american
freedom fighters
refer to israel
as an apartheid state

it irritates him
that they think
they know
what israelis are like

that without
ever having
been to israel
or lived in israel
or
btw
having ever lived
anywhere else
but in anglo-saxon
slash western countries
they conclude
that all israelis
women
men
and children
behave exactly like
british or american
white male bullies

who
by crushing other nations
built a vast empire
where the sun never set

who
burned
the entire middle east for oil
stripping millions of people
women
men
and children
of their homelands
or forcing them into bondage
and death

who
imprisoned
those tormented people
who fled from the so-called war on terror

who
invented
operated
and brought to perfection
the system of apartheid
in south africa

barukh is always pissed
whenever he hears or reads
that british and american
freedom fighters
believe
that all people
that gain power
treat those
weaker than them
the same way
anglo-saxon
white male bullies would do

that all nations
that gain power
would be like them

spiteful
abusive
violent

hostile
cruel
ruthless

barukh
kornél
and andris
discussed israel
in the teleki square synagogue
in budapest

that discussion prompted barukh
to clarify for himself
and finally put to paper
what he thinks
whether israel is
being an apartheid state or not

he is not writing about what is true
but about his own experiences
and conclusions

there is no equality in israel

ultraorthodox jews
not only do not consider
anyone their equal
who don’t live the same way
as they do
but the state
is also willing to let them
to be exempt
from mandatory
military service
and work less
and pay less tax
than less religious
or secular fellow countrywomen and men

ashkenazim
bossed around mizrahim
because they didn’t consider them
their equal

secular jews
are convinced
that they pick up the check
and haredim are only excess baggage
so sooner or later
they will have to give up
their way of life
if they want to be
equal members of israeli society

israeli women
are more turbulent
and shmaltzier
than european women
but they still make less money
than israeli men
they still have to cover
almost their entire bodies
if they visit haredi neighbourhoods
and they had still better
be cautious on vacation
if they don’t want to be victims
of gang rape

and the arabs…
well…
the arabs…
go about in israel
just like women do
in the entire world

vigilant
guarded
never ever
or just very rarely relaxing
never ever
or just very rarely
spreading their wings

there is no equality in israel
but israel is not an apartheid state either

jews
did not arrive to this land
as armed soldiers
of a colonial empire
as the british did in india
china
or africa
or as the americans did
in latin america
korea
vietnam
or the middle east

jews arrived to this land
from europe and russia
as ravaged refugees
with relatives left behind
almost all of whom were killed
by cossacks
or russians
or european nazis

jews arrived to this land
not for money
and not for more power
as the dutch did in south africa
it wasn’t greed
that drove them to get hold of
this wee little piece of land
but because
anywhere else
they would have been killed

jews didn’t simply decide
to start a new life
in a random country
as colonizing british and american
white male bullies did
but because
they were exiled from this very land
two thousand years ago
by an empire
that was a forerunner
of all western empires
matching those
in greed
cruelty
and ruthlessness

jews and arabs and palestinians
do not mean to each other
what the dutch mean to black africans
or what americans mean to
latin americans
koreans
vietnamese
iraqis
and afghans
or what the british mean
to indians
chinese
and black africans

the white gentlemen
of conquering empires
are sahibs
and white devils
in the eyes of the
conquered blacks
browns
and other people of colour

strangers
walking on a land where
they do not belong

while
jews and arabs and palestinians
druze and bedouins
are cousins

semites

descendants of
abraham
yeshu
and mohamed

middle eastern people

with a shared history
of two thousand five hundred years
of yore

during which
the jews were
mostly
under
egyptian
assyrian
babilonian
persian
arabian
berber
or turkish rule

two thousand five hundred years
of yore
that they spent
in good times
in bad
in sickness
in health
in love
in hate

together

a
real
big
loud
family

until death do us part

it is an inconceivably long
and passionate history
for a western mind

apartheid…
my ass…

of course
israel is not a perfect country

it is filled with inequalities
that must be corrected

seventy-three years ago
we promised ourselves
to become a jewish country
AND a democratic country

which
by definition
is impossible

because if israel
is a democratic country
then all its citizens
must have the same amount
of the same rights
the religious and the secular
ashkenazim and mizrahim
women and men
jews and arabs

but if israel
is a jewish country
then arab citizens
can’t have the same rights
as jewish citizens do

mission impossible

tel aviv
wants a democratic israel

jerusalem
wants a jewish israel

the rest of the country
also knows exactly
what kind of israel they want

something else and different

mission fcking impossible

just as impossible
as it was
for two thousand years
to survive as a nation
without a country
without cities
preserving
our identity
language
culture
and god

and we still managed to do it

imperfectly
but managed

so
no matter
how impossible the mission is
we might manage
in the future
as well

we may not do it the way
as freedom fighters
in anglo-saxon empires
some thousand miles from here
would prefer us to do

but somehow we will

our own way

these are
barukh’s experiences
and conclusions

not objective facts

so it is entirely pointless
for barukh to be pissed

those british and american
freedom fighters
who refer to israel
as an apartheid state
will do so just the same in the future

just as those
oil companies
arms dealers
weapon manufacturers
and secret services
that for the sake of higher profits
have been doing
everything in their power
to stigmatize
and provoke
jews
arabs
palestinians
persians

us

pitting us against one another

they make money and power
by selling fear and hate to us

so they will not stop promoting them

only we can do that

About the Author
a wandering aramean poet / born in hungary / living in israel / longing for a home / and peace / outside and inside // he writes about his new life / and his old one / his adhd and asd / his adonayush / and war and coexistence / in israel / in the middle east / and in the world // hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian / and in a weekly increasing number also in english // “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”) / his first book of poems / was published in budapest in 2021 / "twelve points of barukh" ("barukh tizenkét pontja") his second book was published in 2022 // he lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem / with his wife and two sons
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