Israeli Occupation Wine Wash | Opinions
In 2016, Washington Post emissary Anne-Marie O’Connor ventured into the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank to report on how “tourism is the new front in the battle for Israeli settlers for legitimacy”. Indeed, there weren’t many better ways for a major American newspaper to contribute to this battle than by sending a writer to taste “the good life”, with fine cabernets and artisan cheese on the highlands. rural and rugged biblical places populated by the armed children of Abraham”.
From the Zionist perspective, of course, the territory’s association with “biblical land” lends more than enough legitimacy to its illegal usurpation from the Palestinians. In Havat Gilad, O’Connor collected such charming political-tourist observations as “holiday cabins are new facts on the ground” and “wine tastings are a new weapon against a two-state solution” – with a proliferation of West Bank wineries. constituting an occupation washhouse.
The journalist chose to conclude her report with a quote from Karni Eldad, co-author of a West Bank holiday guide, who insisted that the local panorama was much more than “a young perch burning down a house”. in the village of Duma – a reference, O’Connor explained, to “young Jewish extremists who were the alleged perpetrators of a firebombing” in 2015 that “killed a Palestinian mother and father and their baby from 18 months, and badly burned their 5-year-old boy”.
At the “same peak” that produced the alleged arsonists, Eldad pointed out, “there is a herd of goats that has incredible cheese.” Enough said.
Fast forward to the present and the wine wash is fast forward. A March 2022 article on the website of New York-based media company VinePair details how Israel‘s Ministry of Tourism is capitalizing on Israel’s “booming wine scene” – which includes more than 300 wineries in the country. the size of New Jersey and more than 50 in the vicinity of Jerusalem alone, “some of them were built in areas where wine was made by settlers thousands of years ago.”
Israel’s wine industry “has ancient roots”, we are told, lest any opportunity be lost to drive into the ground Israel’s so-called eternal and unalterable claim to this patch of land. However, it was “only in the 1990s with the Golan Heights winery that Israeli wine was able to compete internationally”. This would be the same Golan Heights that Israel illegally seized from Syria, which again highlights how good it can be for business when you violently appropriate other people’s and other people’s fertile lands. profitable things.
According to the Zionist narrative, Israeli techniques of “desert flowering” are to be thanked for the gradual fertility of some Levantine landscapes after 1948, when Israel officially invented itself on stolen Palestinian land. Although there is “no such thing as a Palestinian people”, as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously put it – and despite the alleged agricultural incompetence of non-peoples, who preferred to inhabit an arid desert – Israel has to this day found it necessary to uproot and permanently destroy Palestinian olive and fruit trees, crops and orchards, not to mention the Palestinians themselves. This would seem to suggest that the pre-1948 arrangement was not one of an Orientalist wasteland awaiting civilized conquest – and that Israeli machinations have been anything but, uh, flowery.
Now the whole spectacle of Israeli wine has laid the groundwork for increasingly aneurismic propaganda to distract from other domestic pastimes like ethnic cleansing, apartheid and the periodic slaughter of Palestinians. In a Jerusalem Post intervention from November 2021, David M Weinberg believes that Israel’s “wine revolution is a sign of divine favour…an undeniable and striking indication of Heaven’s support” and a fulfillment of “biblical prophecy”. .
The “Land of Israel has awakened,” Weinberg proclaims, “bearing fruit for its native people, the Jewish people, as it returns and renews its former homeland” — now a “green agricultural global superpower.” He goes on to detect “biblical and Zionist echoes in every glass of good Israeli wine”, the consumption of which is a “profound profession of faith” and a “celebration of the People, the Land and the God of Israel united”.
In the land of Palestine, it is worth mentioning, wine has been made for millennia – although contemporary Palestinian winemaking operations are complicated by, among other things, land and resource theft, bans on labeling Palestinian wine like Palestinian and Israeli efforts to flower the desert like erecting massive walls amidst Palestinian vineyards.
Weinberg is not the only one drunk on Zionism. With Israel recently reopening to international tourists, regardless of its COVID vaccination status, various popular travel sites have taken to highlighting deals for wine-focused travelers.
Then there’s Adam S Montefiore, who has “contributed to the advancement of Israeli wines for 35 years” and boasts of being “called ‘the ambassador of Israeli wines’ and ‘the English voice of Israeli wines'” . His regular appearances on the pages of the Jerusalem Post include a March 2022 submission with the headline “Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – leave it to an Israeli to appropriate the words of legendary pro-Palestinian boxer Muhammad Ali — and another one the same month titled “No Room for Small Dreams.”
This last title, under which Montefiore talks about the unexpected success of the Israeli family business Nachmani Winery, is itself taken from the book of the same name by former Israeli President Shimon Peres. Speaking of vine-related things, Peres is incidentally also the man who presided over Operation Grapes of Wrath, the bloody 1996 Israeli military assault on neighboring Lebanon – not to be confused with Israeli military assaults. bloody battles against Lebanon in 1978, 1982, 1993, 2006, and so on.
Sharing a name with John Steinbeck’s novel, Grapes of Wrath included the April 18, 1996 massacre of 106 civilian refugees at a United Nations compound in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The late British journalist Robert Fisk traveled the day after the massacre to find, as he later recalled, “legs and arms, headless babies, heads of bodiless old men”, and a seated girl cradling a gray-haired corpse and crying, “My father, my father”.
Luckily, Qana is the very village where, at the time, Jesus would have miraculously transformed water into wine. And as Israel’s current glorified wine miracle continues to wash away all sorts of atrocities in wine, it is indeed a wrathful harvest.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.