Gaza a Philosophical Dictionary by Michael Buergermeister (introduced by Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi)
we are very happy today because of this new publication entitled Gaza a Philosophical Dictionary by Michael Buergermeister.
So that you can build up a more precise picture
of this work, hereby I would like to introduce you to the interview of
our editorial team with the author, Michael Buergermeister.
On his website you can find information about the author:
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: What are the objectives of the book?
Michael Buergermeister: The objectives of the book are threefold:
firstly: it aims to bare witness to the crimes against humanity being
perpetrated against the Palestinians. Naqba-denial should be illegal in
the same way that Holocaust-denial is, for much the same reason: Denial
of crimes against humanity makes it is easier to commit them. Secondly:
the book aims to demystify and debunk. Over decades layer after layer of
lies, myths and deliberate misinformation have piled up and still
obscure reality. This, one has to emphasize, is a disaster for everyone
concerned and makes a realistic analysis, debate and solution
impossible. Thirdly the book tries to help people understand the
complexities of the conflict.
What makes the conflict complex is the large number of forces in
play: Imperialism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, Racism and Corporate Greed.
In order to understand what is going on one needs to be aware of the
nature of these forces and of the dynamics involved.
My central argument is that it is necessary to fight both
anti-Semitism as well as racism within Israel itself simultaneously. By
racism in Israel I mean the racism practiced by the Ashkenazi against
the Mizrahi as well as the apartheid racism practiced against the
Palestinians. One cannot deal with the one without dealing with the
other. Another way of saying the same thing is to say: Zionism is a
product of anti-Semitism. It is also a beneficiary of anti-Semitism. In
order to combat the more extreme excesses of Zionism one must tackle
The book emphasizes the role of imperial and commercial interests in
the conflict. Israel is a creation of the British and Americans on the
one hand and Nazi Germany on the other. The British facilitated the
colonization of Palestine in the 20s, the Nazis, in close collaboration
with the Zionists, strengthened the process in the 30s and America
created the state of Israel in the 40s.
In addition to this one has to understand that both Israel and
America have massive military, industrial, political complexes, which
have a direct stake in the continuation of the conflict. The complete
control of the mainstream media means that the average Westerner has not
only not the slightest idea about what is actually going on but has
been brainwashed in highly Orwellian fashion.
What few people realize is that the Ashkenazi, who are the chief
creators and beneficiaries of Zionism, actively discriminate against
Jews from a Mizrahi background in Israel itself. This is a core part of
the problem. In order to maintain their dominance the Ashkenazi keep the
country on a war footing while the Mizrahi are willing to accept their
subordination on account of the ever present “terrorist threat”.
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: How was the book created?
Michael Buergermeister: The process of writing the book seemed to
border on a miracle inasmuch as a remarkable set of circumstances
allowed it to be created. I happened to be doing research about the
Holocaust, I happened to be travelling to Amsterdam, and I happened to
be in contact with friends who provided me with vital information at the
time I started my research.
I experienced the book as a series of shocks and discoveries. It took
me a long time to accept what I had found out to be actually true.
I am a trained historian, and have long been influenced by skepticism
so I approached a lot of the information, which eventually ended up in
the book, with an awful lot of caution. I have tried to paint a picture
that is as accurate and reliable as humanly possible but I do have to
emphasize that the book was self-financed and completed within just five
months. There are undoubtedly numerous errors, for which I apologize in
Ultimately I regard myself as the midwife rather than the author of
this book. The more of my own text I cut away the better it became. It
is essentially a collection of quotes.
The book is not an academic text but a series of essays in the
tradition of Montaigne and has to be read as such. It is a humanist
tract, inspired by Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, and tries to
focus on individuals and their stories rather than on any abstract
historical, social or political developments.
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: What is your message to the Jews?
Michael Buergermeister: Having been brought up as a Catholic by an
Irish mother (I regard myself as being Irish) and having studied Judaism
I believe that every Christian is a Jew without being aware of the
fact. Christianity is simply, to my mind at least, a Jewish heresy and
nothing more. I even came very close to converting to Judaism (I was
very much in love with a girl from Israel at the time) so I don’t think
of myself as being anti-Semitic.
As Gideon Levy has pointed out: Israel is here to stay. The question
that now needs to be addressed is: what kind of country should Israel be
and above all: Should it be a brutal apartheid state? Is this what both
the Diaspora Jews and the Jews in Israel itself really want?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: What is your message to the Zionists?
Michael Buergermeister: My principle message to the Zionists is that
they should read Machiavelli. Machiavelli, when discussing how it was
best for one city state to maintain control over another said that, and
here I am simplifying, there are, fundamentally, two options: force,
which is unreliable or alliance building, which is the more intelligent
of the two alternatives. The way forward for Israel is for the Jews to
build an alliance with the Palestinians.
In the same way that apartheid was dismantled in South Africa so
apartheid can and should be dismantled in Israel. The argument used to
maintain apartheid and justify Israeli crimes against humanity is that
Israel faces an existential threat. The truth is however that this has
never been the case.
There will be those who say that, on account of my name that I am a
Nazi. The opposite is true. Some have asked what my Austrian grandfather
did during the war. From what I know about him he was a passionate
anti-Nazi (he was a monarchist) who was highly vocal in his opposition
to the Nazis. The reason he hated the Nazis was because he’d experienced
the horror of the First World War and had hated it.
The only thing that saved him from a concentration camp was the awe
and esteem the family enjoyed in Vienna, especially having kept so many
of its citizens alive during the Thirties. My grandfather, whose family
had had land, was a great believer in Noblesse oblige. The consequence
of this largesse was that the family firm nearly went bankrupt but it
did keep the family itself out of a concentration camp.
There are those who will undoubtedly say that this book will
encourage both terrorism and anti-Semitism. This is nonsense. This book
is fiercely opposed to both of these manifestations of human stupidity.
It is critical of Israeli policy but it does not strive to eliminate
Israel. At the end of the day it is merely a book and Israel has one the
most powerful armies in the world.
The Zionists should reflect both on the past and the present and ask
themselves whether Zionism, as a dogma, really needs a military,
industrial, political complex or whether this complex itself has become a
form of cancer.
Einstein believed in “organized cooperation” with the Arabs. He
stated, and I quote: “We Jews must show above all that our own history
of suffering has given us sufficient understanding and psychological
insight to know how to cope with this problem of psychology and
organization: the more so as no irreconcilable differences stand in the
way of peace between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Let us therefore above
all be on our guard against blind chauvinism of any kind, and let us
not imagine that reason and common-sense can be replaced with British
bayonets.” What was true of the 1920s holds true today. Einstein
realized that a peaceful and permanent presence of Jews in Palestine
could only be possible if they worked side by side with Arabs under
conditions of social and political equality.
Many forget that the economic boost provided by the Occupation
between 1967 and 1973 has turned into an economic burden, which is
dragging Israel down and making it expensive to live in.
A couple of Jewish friends of mine wanted to move to Israel but
simply couldn’t afford to live there. Many other Jews have moved to
Israel and then have moved on to other countries because the racism and
xenophobia there simply appalled them. A Zionist has to ask themselves:
is this really the Israel they want?
They might or might not like what I write in this book but they would
be wrong to dismiss it. What I have attempted to do is hold up a mirror
to reality. Some will accept its truth and some will be in denial and
get upset. This is perfectly natural. They would be wrong to think
however that I am doing this out of a “hatred of Zionism”, “hatred of
Israel” or “anti-Semitism”. I have considered converting to Judaism,
have considered moving to Israel and regard myself as a friend, albeit a
highly critical one, of Israel.
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: What is your message to the world?
Michael Buergermeister: My message to the world is that Christians
and especially the Christianchurches have to recognize their
responsibility for anti-Semitism. The Christian Churches have to
“educate” their flocks about the true nature of Judaism. The appalling
racism, apartheid and brutality of the Zionists not only against the
Palestinians but also against their fellow Jews needs to be seen in the
context of the fear engendered by anti-Semitism. Only once this terrible
scourge is eradicated will there be hope of peace in the Middle East.
At the same time the world has to accept the fact that it is directly
responsible, especially: Britain, Germany and America, for the creation
of this problem. All three countries have perpetuated a terrible
injustice upon the Palestinians and all three countries are morally
bound to pay them reparations. Only once there is justice for the
Palestinians can there be peace in the Middle East.