William Hanna Interviews Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi
I am going to pay you the compliment of not asking any soft questions. So perhaps we can start with some background information about yourself, when did you first became aware of and involved with the Palestinian cause, and how did ProMosaik get started?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi:
ProMosaik got started this year in January. When I started publishing the book that I had written for over 20 years from a young age, I thought about doing something for human rights and society. So in April 2014 I started working for the association ProMosaik e.V. which sees itself as a portal for the intercultural and interreligious dialogue. As indicated in our “Manifesto” we stand for human rights, tolerance, intercultural empathy, interreligious empathy, and multicultural society and peace and justice.
When the Gaza invasion started in July 2014 I had just moved to Turkey with my family, and I started writing articles and interviews about Gaza to show people how contradictory Judaism and Zionism are. We published many pictures, exchanged many messages with Jews around the world, and understood that the way to end the tragic killing of so many children was to make Jews aware of their natural anti-Zionist inclinations which are more compatible with Judaism and Peace.
Though I am an atheist I respect the fact that you are a believer, so can you please explain why religious leaders — Christian, Islamic, and Judaic — have not only continuously failed to practice the ethical tenets of their religions by condemning crimes against humanity, but have also actually tolerated or incited hate crimes either by direct action or by their silence? Why for Example has that sanctimonious hypocrite the Pope remained silent throughout the recent Israeli atrocities in Gaza? When are Sunni and Shiite Islamic clerics going to stop fighting each other and instead unite in defence of Palestinian human rights; and how can many rabbis reconcile their fervent prayers at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall with their racist remarks such as “Palestinians are animals who do not deserve to live”? Are all these sanctified disciples of their respective monotheistic Gods fearful of being branded as anti-Semites or self-hating Jews?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi:
Before answering to your question, I would like to shortly explain my relation to atheist positions. I consider atheism as a, in a logical sense, negative way of relating ourselves to God, because all atheists I know have passed through the step of thinking of God’s existence, by coming to the final subjective conclusion that God does not exist. Therefore, from my point of view atheism has to be involved into the interreligious dialogue, and this also applies to Israeli society, in which there are Jews who are ethnically speaking part of the Jewish people, but not monotheistic believers. Now I would like to answer to the first part of your question, by talking about the tragic relation between religion and violence, religious belief and manipulation of sources to justify invasions and aggressive wars.
History is made of so called religious wars because people, instead of seeing religions as religions of peace, manipulate their sources to justify war. And this is true for all religions, but in particular for sister religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam who are chronologically following revelations made by God in history, as monotheism strongly believes in God’s presence in history. Of course, as Muslim I believe in all three revelations, by affirming that Islam is the last revelation by God in history by His last Prophet Mohammed. For me Judaism has an essential importance as first religion of peace and justice, followed by Jesus’ message to Jews, and then by the universal message of submission to God by the revelation of Allah made to the His last Prophet Muhammad.
I distinguish two fundamental levels of religion: the first is the religion written in heavens, and as a consequence the true revelation as wanted by God, and the second level is the human interpretation of religion, which very often means manipulation to justify violence. We have to work hard as believers to move our religious community away from the present culture of hatred to the culture of peace, justice, and understanding. It is a hard path, but by eliminating religions from the socio-political debate, we will miss the point, I think because we see that there is a revival of religious life as soon as religion is repressed by a state or system. Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Middle East have urgently to rediscover their peaceful religious traditions to build up a long-lasting peace.
In your question, you are talking about two negative ways by which religion is connected with violence: by incitation to violence, as we can see at the moment in the strategy of ISIS which is the absolute opposite of Islamic State as it is conceived in the Quran, and in the right-wing rabbis in Israel, inciting to genocide against Muslims, which is the absolute opposite to the following quotation from Mishna I love so much and which says: “Who saves one soul, saves the whole humanity”.
For what concerns the Pope, I personally think that Pope Francis is much better than the previous Pope and I hope that the Catholic Church will open its eyes to defend the oppressed Christian minority in Israel.
The fight and division between Sunna and Shia is a completely wrong interpretation of Muslim hermeneutics, and is a suicide of Muslim Ummah, perpetuating today by American and Israeli neo-colonialism in the Middle East. I can only say to my fellow-Muslims again and again that this internal war inside the Ummah will destroy Islam, and that only the super-powers and Zionism will profit of it. The same can be said about Judaism whose crisis just permits Zionism and right-wing Ultra-Zionism to flourish in a State of Israel committing suicide by detaching from the authentic, and life-glorifying Judaic ethics.
The dehumanisation of Palestinians as described by the brave Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, to whom I owe so much, is the most tragic example of corruption of Jewish soul by Zionist Apartheid ideology. Zionism wants to establish a world-view in which others must not just be discriminated in a traditional racist approach, but have to be dehumanised to banish them from the Torah-oriented view of life and humanity. The same theory of dehumanisation is applied to African refugees as I have shown by analysing the conferences and articles by the Israeli researcher David Sheen.
To conclude, by hoping to have answered to all aspects of your challenging question, I would like to explain how monotheistic religions stand and must absolutely stand for human rights. As God is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, and as God is the Sustainer of all His Creation, and human beings are the centre of God’s creation, human rights are so connected with the belief in God, that all monotheism detached from human rights is not an authentic monotheism. Denying human rights to others, means misunderstanding the message of the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran, because in all three monotheist revelations the dignity and rights of man as God’s creation are so clearly affirmed that they cannot be ignored.
After the Second World War and the ensuing revelations of the extent of Nazi atrocities, most Germans claimed ignorance of what had been going on. Today, everybody is well aware of Zionist Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. Yet I see no groundswell of indignation from the German people. Recently in August, German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who has expressed no horror over Israel’s Operation Protective Edge — visited and laid a wreath at the Dachau concentration camp. Does that mean that the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germans is unacceptable while the genocide of Palestinians by Israeli Jews is perfectly kosher?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi:
For what concerns this question, I can say that the Jewish blogger from Britain, Paul Eisen, is my main teacher. What ProMosaik e.V. tries to show to all readers is that the genocide of Jews by the Nazi regime does not have any relation to what happens in Palestine now. Never again is something which has to be applied to all, Jews and Not-Jews. There is no justification of any genocide by the victim of a previous genocide. I am absolutely anti-Nazi and anti-fascist, and exactly this makes me love Judaism and makes me say that Judaism is a religion of life, while Zionism is an ideology of death and military invasion.
All genocides are of the same atrocity, independently who is responsible. ISIS is responsible of genocide, Israel is responsible of genocide, and Hitler is responsible of genocide. As a Muslim when I see and read what ISIS does I stand up and I say NOT IN MY NAME. When Israel kills children in Gaza, many Jews stand up and say NOT IN MY NAME. These peaceful Jews must be supported to positively influence the whole of Israel to return to authentic Judaism. Germans must say NEVER AGAIN to Nazi-fascism. Germany must fight all right-wing parties and groups urgently to work on building a tolerant society, which says: WE DO NOT WANT ANY NAZI IN GERMANY.
And this must happen in the name of GOD and HUMAN RIGHTS, if you believe in God, and in the name of HUMAN RIGHTS only if you are ATHEIST and authentic HUMANIST. To Angela Merkel I would like to say: please do not be blind in one eye, and understand the strong relation between Judaism and life and peace, and between Zionism and right-wing racist ideology. A very important thing to avoid is the manipulation of Holocaust narrative to justify Palestinian genocide today. There is absolutely no relation between the tragic persecution of Jews in Nazi-Europe, and the extermination of Palestinian after 1948 in the Middle East, as Palestinians are not responsible for the SHOA, but are indirect victims of the SHOA and of German guilt and German weapon exports to Israel to appease the German conscience.
It is no secret that the majority of Senators and Congressman in the U.S. and about half of the UK’s Members of Parliament are in one way or another on Israel’s payroll. Does Israel have similar influence over Germany’s Bundestag, and if so, to what extent?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi:
This is a question I cannot answer personally, but Paul Eisen is giving me the following answer to this question because he better knows the similarities and differences between Zionist lobbies in the English and in the German speaking world. In one sentence to answer to this question he told me: “In many ways I can see how in Germany it’s less important for German politicians to be officially under Zionist control. They’re brought up to do what the Zionists tell them!”
The main reason for the effectiveness of the Zionist Israeli lobby over Western governments is the apathy of most people who because of their preoccupation in the rat race have been easily lulled — with the help of the Israeli-biased corporate mass media — into believing that they are citizens of a democracy while in fact they are subjects of an Anglo-Zionist Political Corporate Military Industrial Empire that precludes “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” How can people be awakened and made aware of this reality?
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi:
I think that only writers, journalists, and researchers can make people aware of the total contradiction between Israel and Democracy. It is difficult to make brain-washed people wake up, but it is absolutely possible when you meet the challenge and fight for a press telling the truth to people. Gideon Levy of Haaretz for me is a symbol of truth in the Israeli press. We have to show facts, we have to show military figures, apartheid against black refugees, as David Sheen does with his articles and conferences, we have to talk to peaceful and democratic Jews (such as Jews against Genocide, Jews for Peace, Righteous Jews, True Torah, Neturei Karta), we have to translate racist graffitis on Israeli houses (as David Sheen does), we have to show how many rabbis and politicians (my example is Ayalet Shaked) in Israel argument, we have to show settlers and their behaviour towards Palestinians (for example when they burn olive trees).
We have to explain how brain-washing works. I have always tried to do it starting from the following quotation by Golda Meir who said two things which for me stand for Zionist world view: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
The second quotation by Golda Meir that I would like to elevate to a symbol of Zionist propaganda is the following: “I indeed smell the odour of my grandparents in Al-Madeenah and Al-Hijaz … and those are our lands that we will, indeed, take back”.
I appeal to all peaceful Jews asking them to change this mentality in their own community, by affirming life and by condemning war.