For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



A New Moon over the Flowers of Galilee


by Leyla Chavez, 3 November 2005


On the 2nd November M Cherifi was condemned to pay €13,500, an exorbitant sum, in addition to the humiliation of a suspended prison sentence. He had the courage to publish, for francophone readers, a book which pays homage to the ‘Flowers of Galilee’: its children, its martyrs, and the author’s persistent goal: the achievement of equality amongst all its inhabitants. The author is hard, in the way Israelis in general are hard; for example, he was not afraid to write: ‘In a constantly expanding America, the Jews did not need to kill or supplant the indigenous elites; instead, they became a significant component of them, controlling discourse and acquiring a considerable degree of financial power. They still don’t identify with gentile America: each year, they force the US Congress and government to send five billion dollars to their Israeli offspring, and they endeavour today to push America to make war in Iraq on their behalf.’ (‘The Other Face of Israel’, ‘Flowers of Galilee’ ed. Al-Qalam, Paris 2004, p 294). That was four years ago. All that the author foretold has been borne out, and our media now want to push us into war in Iran, so that Israel’s nuclear weapons can freely terrorise the region. The judge in Nanterre who condemns the spirit of resistance by ruling against the publisher of the ‘Flowers of Galilee’, has gone a step ahead of Israel and the United States, neither of which has yet to take legal action against this book, a book which has already been translated and published in ten languages. Once more, one bears witness to a diminution of the standards of justice in France, for the wording of the judge’s conclusions reveals the taboo: he refused to answer the defence counsel on the right to criticise the Jewish religion; it’s a topic that is not open to discussion, from his point of view. Membership in this religion, being transmitted almost exclusively by descent through one’s mother, it is explicitly a religion which reinforces a feeling of biological membership in a race; and only one religion would thus have this right, recognised by the French State, to make such a claim. And it is precisely in implementing this racist paradigm that the State of Israel declares itself a ‘Jewish State’, and thus denies non-Jews equal rights.

However, Dieudonné won his case precisely by invoking our right to criticise all religions; and has also just put an end to the legal fury against its great Muslim site, by winning its case in the supreme court of appeal and without remand, arguing for the right to criticise the ‘Jewish State’, a case that resulted from a complaint by the usual Jewish defence organisations: LICRA, J’accuse, UEJF. The exceptional severity against Israel Shamir’s publisher clearly proves, were it necessary to do so, the importance of the book in question: it is not another lampoon, in the manner of some anti-Zionist publication, or another sad description of injustice: it is a book that can knock one off balance no matter the perspective one is coming from, starting with the solidly philo-Semitic position, i.e. those people who admire the Jewish genius, community spirit, and the Jews’ attachment to their own traditions, and who do not understand how these qualities can end up with the construction of numerous walls to enclose and starve the Palestinians.


‘The Other Face of Israel’ is a book that sets you free because it restores the flow of truth between a number of fields: local politics, international history, ecology, and spirituality. Readers are respected, they will find answers to perplexing questions, legitimate and yet dramatically shameful, the untangling of the Gordian knots which have been stifling them, from their subconscious thoughts to the stammering of their indignation. The author, Israel Adam Shamir, makes a point of proclaiming his identity as both Israeli and Christian. It is with the usual bluntness of the Israelis that he tackles the lies of those who are dominant, and it is with the softness of the Galilean that he restores sight to the blind. Mr Alaoui Cherifi, his publisher in France, is assuming the spiritual role of France’s Muslims: he’s making an appeal against the judgement of the court in Nanterre. He is setting the example, he uphelds his faith: dignity, like beauty, does not have a price.