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The Wall at the Heart By Israel Shamir


We watched Pink Floyd's The Wall in a small, bare and shabby cinema called Semadar, The Vine Blossom in the quaint German Colony of Jerusalem. Emptied of ethnic Germans by the Jews in 1948, it still preserves its old stone houses roofed with red tiles, gables with immured plaques quoting Psalms inscribed in Gothic script, ivy creeping up its masonry and the mysterious Templars' Cemetery beyond heavy gate.

The Shadow of Zog By Israel Shamir

In Luc Besson¹s delightful film, The Fifth Element (with perfect Milla Jovovich and supreme Bruce Willis), an absolutely evil force, the Shadow, Messenger of Death, comes from Outer Space to destroy human life on our planet. It is impervious to bombs and missiles, and regardless of what people do, it closes in, and its cover ever thicker upon the earth. Yet in order to succeed the Shadow needs some human help. Who will, for personal profit, assist the satanic Shadow in his quest to destroy our Mother Earth? In the best tongue-in-cheek tradition of Swift, Besson gave the monstrous volunteer, that servant-of-profit, a scary name: Zog. .

Divine Wind - A Homage to Simone Weil
By Israel Shamir

Walls of cold rain and hail encompassed my Jaffa. Streets turned into ferocious streams and snow touched palm trees and whitened the sidewalks of subtropical Tel Aviv, in violent counterpoint to the violet skies hanging low, just a handbreadth above the belfries and minarets, as the hurricane rushed masses of sand and rain clouds over the deep cleft of the Dead Sea into Palestine. A sandstorm of unheard-of magnitude broke all over the Middle East, stopping American tanks in the desert, blinding the pilots of their planes, covering the crosshairs of their weapons, threatening to capsize the monstrous battleships in the Gulf. A hundred armoured troop carriers were savaged by the sandstorm. Such a Divine Wind had saved Japan from the Mongol landing of Kublai Khan; such a storm had preserved Elizabethan England from Spanish occupation..

The Maid and the Ogre By Israel Shamir

Rachel Corrie

A dreadful monster assaults the city, kills its brave defenders, and advances to devour the citizens. At the last moment, a young maiden demurely walks forward to meet the monster. Her very sight, the sight of feminine innocence, vulnerability, spirituality, certainty of the right cause, stops the ogre in its tracks. The beast suffers her to tie her belt to his mighty neck and walk away, tamed. It is the story of St. Genevieve and of other beautiful and virtuous saints; a part and parcel of human heritage, and the subject of many ggu apestries and paintings.

Midas Ears By Israel Shamir

A new spectre haunts America. It enters the well-protected boardrooms of newspapers and banks, shakes the deep foundations of its towers. It is the spectre of glasnost: the dark secret of Jewish power is out. Just recently it was 'third rail', touch-and-die, deadly dangerous to mention, certain end to a career. Just recently, Joe Public snapped his TV from an eminence with an Israeli passport to a member of a Jewish think-tank, and muttered to himself: Surely it is just a coincidence that so many important and largely unelected people in our country happen to belong to this small minority group.

The City of the Great King (A Talk Given in Istanbul City Concert Hall on 22.02.03)

Heavy snowfall blocks the mountain passes of Anatolia, lays thick Persian carpets on the streets, paints white the mosque domes, churches and markets of your City, the eternal capital of great empires. I came from Jerusalem al-Quds via Moscow, two places intricately connected to the Second Rome. A few days ago I stood at the formidable walls of Jerusalem and read the still preserved letters: the city was fortified by Suleiman the Magnificent, the great Ottoman Sultan. Signs of Ottoman rule are found everywhere in Palestine, for Ottomans were the Middle East protectors for 400 years. They took over the Byzantine Empire but preserved the rights and religious freedom of the Orthodox and not-so-Orthodox Christians. Your ferocious Janissaries gave the Middle East its chance to develop in relative peace until the modern times.

A Yiddishe Medina By Israel Shamir

America prepares for a long war. It is called 'the war on terrorism', but the name has no meaning but 'a war on the enemy'. Noam Chomsky gave a witty definition, "terrorism is what they do to us". However, in the course of this war, thousands of our brothers by Adam and Eve will be strafed, napalmed and nuked. Boys and girls, unborn babes and old men will be brought to the altar of Vengeance and ritually slaughtered.

The Malaysian Solution By Israel Shamir

Take a country populated by diverse communities, the indigenous and immigrant, of roughly equal size. These communities profess different religions and ply different trades. The immigrants are better at business; the natives prefer to till their soil. It could be a description of Palestine with its native Palestinians and the immigrant Jewish communities. But here the comparison ends. In Malaysia, the communities live in peace without UN peacekeepers, they pursue their cultural and religious interests without submitting to bleaching multiculturalism, their country prospers while rejecting the IMF recipes, and it is a native son of soil who stands at the helm of good ship Malaysia.


Colin McEnroe spared no vitriol while debunking the Hartford Courant columnist, Ms Ami Pagnozzi. He didn’t draw line at her political views, but gave her full treatment of Jezebel, larger-than-life Scarlet Woman with a 666 cell phone. The result is somewhat grotesque: journalists exist to describe others, not to be described in a minute detail. I would not enter the controversy whether Ms Pagnozzi’s treatment of Middle East conflict was fair or harsh. It is, after all, a question of political preferences. For me, an Israeli writer from Jaffa, the exciting part of his story was the wealth of biographical detail surrounding Amy’s nativity. McEnroe claimed at great length that Ms Pagnozzi is a child of a Jewish woman raped by a wild Iraqi Arab. In our modern days, this sort of archaic allegation seems to be unusual, even for hired hatchet job. But it rang a bell in my memory.

OMENS By Israel Shamir

Omens, good and bad, are sent to us like beacons to facilitate our navigation in the sea of troubles, said the renowned Portuguese writer Paulo Coelho. Wise and successful men constantly watch out for the telling signs and act accordingly. Silly and arrogant folk disregard omens and court disaster. Santiago, the main character of his hugely popular Alchemist, made his decisions by paying close attention to omens, especially those given by birds, and eventually won love, glory, wisdom and riches. With or without the bestseller, we also pay heed to the celestial hints of destiny, but usually we call it 'a hunch'.

The City of the Beloved By Israel Shamir

Their names bear a touch of medieval morality plays, but instead of Hope, Penance and Mercy, the three sisters are called Amal, Taura, Tahrir, or Hope, Revolution, and Liberation. Dressed like ordinary college girls they were - they would not stick out at Yale or Tel Aviv University. Their books and CDs are the same ones I saw this morning on my son's shelf. But their smiles, their wonderful happy smiles and high spirits, are quite out of the ordinary, considering their circumstances.

The City of the Moon By Israel Shamir

An arch is homage to the moon, as it is formed by two mirroring crescents. Full moon produces the perfectly round barrel vault favoured by Romans; the pointed Muslim arches are formed by waxing seventh-day crescents. In Nablous, there are arches for every day of the lunar month, even upturned arches composed of waning moons. A diligent student of architecture could compose a conclusive History of the Arch in this ancient Palestinian city.

The Green Rain of Yassouf By Israel Shamir

Most soothing, tender and sensual to the touch, picking olives is akin to telling beads. Oriental men wear 'mesbaha' beads of wood or stone on their wrist, reminding of prayer and calming down frayed nerves, but olives are much better: they are alive. Olives are tender but not fragile, like peasant girls, and picking them has a touch of comfort: nothing can go wrong. Olives detach themselves from the branch without fear and remorse, smoothly enter the palm and roll down into the safety of the ground sheets stretched to catch them.

Mamilla PoolBy Israel Shamir

Things move really fast nowadays. Just yesterday we hardly dared to call the Israeli policy of official discrimination against Palestinians by the harsh word 'apartheid'. Today, as Sharon's tanks and missiles pound defenceless cities and villages, the word barely suffices. It has become an unjustified insult to the white supremacists of South Africa. They, after all, did not use gun-ships and tanks against the natives, they did not lay siege to Soweto. They did not deny the humanity of their kaffirs. The Jewish supremacists made it one better. They have returned us, as if by magic wand, to the world of Joshua and Saul.

Discussion of anti-Semitism The Good Men's Crime

At the height of the Great Cultural Revolution, the Chinese had the temerity to embark upon a monumental, nature-changing enterprise: they decided to exterminate ALL flies. The spirit of their solidarity was so powerful that they succeeded. For a while, they enjoyed peaceful summer evenings without this great annoyance. No buzz, no fuss: life was great without flies!

The Martial Arts of Discourse

(Response to the article `In the Same Camp as Hamsun?' by Haakon Kolmanskog in the Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen. His article can be found below). Usually, newspaper polemic is akin to epee fencing: one tries to keep the opponent at arm's length, avoid his thrusts and draw his blood. The thoughtful and friendly query of Haakon Kolmanskog deserves a quite different attitude and a most sincere reply. Haakon poses a question: We can't be indifferent if friends of the Palestinians are branded anti-Semites. Who will benefit in allowing the Zionists to have a free go playing the anti-Semite card against anyone who criticise them?

Yom Kippur Blessings to My Brothers in Zion By Israel Shamir

Our teachers of blessed memory forbade us to enter the Land of Israel until we shall see the light of Messiah. We thought we were wiser and rejected this commandment with contempt. But they knew what they meant and they knew harshness of our hearts. We came into this sweet Land and we are locking ourselves in a high-rise ghetto surrounded by the double ring of barbed wire and endless hostility. Inevitably we re-create the way of life of our ancestors in a Polish schtetl. One can not escape oneself. We carry Exile in our hearts and that is why we create Exile.

The State Of Mind By Israel Shamir

The steep slopes of Wadi Keziv in Western Galilee are walled by squat local oaks and thorny bush. On the streambed, oleanders and cypresses look into shallow ponds formed by its springs. I like this secluded canyon. On hot summer days, one can hide in an intricate deep cave and laze in its cool, clear waters, waiting for deer and hoping for a nymph. On cooler days, you can climb up a steep spur that rises from the depths of the gorge. It is called Qurain, the 'Horn' in Arabic, hence the Arab name of the valley, Wadi Qurain. Astride the spur, the Crusader castle of Monfort raises its donjon high and gazes towards the distant Mediterranean Sea.

Our Lady of Sorrow By Israel Shamir

[It was written after another Israeli invasion of Bethlehem, in March 2002]. In the Upper church of Annunciation in Nazareth, there is a striking collection of images, homage of artists to Mary. A dainty Virgin in colourful kimono holds her child dressed in ceremonial Japanese royal robes among blue and golden flowers; a naive Gothic face of Madonna transferred from French Cluniac illuminations; the Chinese Queen of Heaven cut in precious wood by Formosa devotees; the Cuban richly inlaid statue of Virgen del Cobre, the Polish Black Madonna, the tender face of Byzantine Mother of God, a modernist steely Madonna from the United States look from the walls of the church, uniting us in one human family. There is hardly an image in the world as universal and poignant as that of the Virgin and the Child.

Christ and Jews Apocalypse Now

On the green lawns of Hyde Park an old tramp walks about and carries a scruffy cardboard poster, 'The End is Nigh'. He has been doing it for years, if he is still the same tramp I spotted some thirty years ago. But a broken clock will sooner or later show the right time. Could it be that this ominous moment has arrived?

Review of Review, Part II Offensive or Defensive?

(Second Part of discussion with . Chad Powers' response to the first part can be found on that site) It is good we agree on many points, and it is equally good we differ on others. Probably the greatest difference in our reading emerges from your words: "Being Jewish" ÷ manifests itself as primarily a defensive allegiance against the non-Jewish Other.

  Four Blind Men By Israel Shamir

The Author of the Critique is worried that he will be considered 'anti-Semitic', but my main objection is quite an opposite one, namely, The Critique is too 'Jewish' by its outlook.

Galilee Flowers (The Collected Essays of Israel Shamir)

by Israel Shamir

The essays collected in the this book were written during the years 2001-2002, in the old Palestinian port-town of Jaffa, on the shore of the Eastern Mediterranean, during the Second Intifada, or Intifada al-Aqsa, but they are not limited to events in Palestine. The war in the Holy Land is presented as the centre-stage of the world-wide struggle of ideas, against a backdrop of such momentous modern developments as the growing influence of American Jewry ("the Rise of the Jews"), the decline of the Left, the ascent of Globalisation, the first steps of the anti-Globalisation movement, and the outbreak of World War Three with America against the Third World. It is a daring attempt to tie together various political, theological, military and social threads, and to formulate fresh concepts that provide people with new tools for analysis and action. While seeking the Liberation of Palestine, the author pursues another, more broad goal as well: that of the Liberation of Public Discourse.

Israel Shamir

About the Music

The music was composed and text written after an experience in the occupied territories somewheres there - during last Christmas bringing the Message to Palestinians.

The Phoenix song was written by Michael Piano, both the words and the music. He is a full time missionary in the Family, working in a group called Heart to Heart. It was performed by the group which consists of Joy Frances, Angelina Dunbar, Christy Gibson, Michael Fogarty, John Listen, Michael Dooley, Jono D’souza, George Assad, Mohammed Ali Abbas, Ali Musa and others.

- Shamir

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last updated December 11, 2002