The latest right-wing Israeli insanity to grace the media in the run-up to today’s election is Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi Knesset candidate Jeremy Gimpel’s (number 14 on the party list) video in which he regales a Florida church audience will his dream of blowing up the Dome of the Rock and replacing it with the Third Temple. The speaker waxes enthusiastic asking his audience to imagine their joy at such an occasion. What such lunatics neglect of course, is the religious holy war that would ensue between Muslims and Jews. Or perhaps that’s just what such lunatics want since it will bring the End Times that much closer.
More recently, Gimpel has sloughed off the whole controversy as a joke, saying he meant to inject some humor into a lecture about the Book of Ezra (which indeed does require a few jokes to leaven its dullness). As proof, he offers the laughter of the church audience at his presentation. Which moves one to ask if perhaps Muslims would have laughed had they heard the same lecture. Apparently, humor is in the eyes of the beholder (or ears of the listener, in this case).
Gimpel is a native of Atlanta’s large Jewish community. You may recall that a year ago the editor of an Atlanta Jewish newspaper said that if Iran got the Bomb the Mossad should assassinate him (or words to that effect). The editor lost his job (mercifully), but clearly Atlanta is a hotbed of such ultra-nationalist extremism.
Gimpel’s party was founded by another American-Jew, Naftali Bennett, a former Netanyahu chief of staff who split from the Likud presumably because it wasn’t resolute enough in its support for the settler movement. Bennett and his party have come from virtually nowhere to a poll prediction of 15 seats in the coming Knesset. It would make him head of the third largest faction in the legislative body and a real kingmaker. He has said he would join a governing coalition, which would offer him a plum ministerial assignment. Perhaps foreign minister, if Lieberman decides he’d like to hob-nob with IDF generals in the next government as defense chief?
Though Bennett projects an image of sobriety and reasonableness in his political views, Gimpel clearly exposes its ugly hidden face. Ha-Bayit HaYehudi’s platform is far to the right of even Likud’s. It is a well-scrubbed, table-mannered version of the Kahanist parties led by Michael Ben Ari and Baruch Marzel.
Another American Jewish implant has graced the pages of the Israeli media over the past week or so, Jack Teitel. He was convicted by an Israeli court of being a murderous Jewish terrorist (why Ynetnews and others insist on putting quotation marks around the phrase “Jewish terrorist,” as if it couldn’t possibly be true is beyond me).
Israeli courts have a habit of closeting away their Jewish terrorists by declaring them mentally ill and sending them off to mental hospitals. Teitel’s attorney was angling for such treatment for his client, but the court wouldn’t have it this time. Perhaps because, unlike most garden-variety Jewish terrorists who only kill Arabs, Teitel was suspected of killing Israeli Jewish policemen. He was convicted for maiming a distinguished Hebrew University professor, Zeev Sternhell in a bomb attack. At one point, prosecutors said Teitel confessed he was the mastermind behind the Tel Aviv gay community center murders as well. No one has ever been charged for that crime and the possibility he was involved is reinforced by that fact. He also killed Palestinians, of course. What red-blooded Jewish terrorist wouldn’t, like a wannabe gang member, do that to establish his bona fides?
All this brings me to a larger question: what has been the impact of the wholesale importation into Israel of some of American Jewry’s most brutal, hateful, poisoned members? Why has this happened and what has it done to Israel?
In truth, the settler movement would never have transformed itself into the homicidal project it has become without the inspiration of American Jews. Primary among them is Meir Kahane. If you examine Israeli politics before his political ascent in the 1980s and follow developments afterward, you can’t help but understand the radical transformation that ensued. Before he arrived, Israel was dominated by a more or less civil discourse between right and left. There were red lines which weren’t crossed in political debate.
After Kahane, all hell broke loose. The idea of mass expulsion of Israeli Palestinians (called euphemistically “population transfer”) was previously anathema within civilized political discourse. Killings of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by the IDF, while they happened, were relatively unusual. Settler mass murders of the sort perpetrated by another American-Jew, Baruch Goldstein, were unheard of. You never heard of a settler who denied the legitimacy of the Israeli state as you do now. Assassination of a sitting prime minister would’ve been unthinkable.
Kahane gave Israelis permission to think the unthinkable. He told them it was OK to unleash their id. To imagine the worst because the worst was supposedly being done to Jews by their enemies both inside and outside Israel. The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 originates as an idea in the movement inspired by Kahane. This remarkable video of the incitement to murder orchestrated by the Likud (including Bibi Netanyahu) only a few weeks before Rabin’s death, is what such hate did to Israel.
Today, these American Jews continue to inject their brutish parody of Judaism into Israeli discourse. Irving Moskowitz leads efforts to racially cleanse East Jerusalem of Palestinians with his treasure chest of hundreds of millions dedicated to stealing Palestinian homes and replacing their inhabitants with Torah-true Jews.
Sheldon Adelson, who pumped over $100-million into the Republican presidential race to get a suitably pro-Israel president, single-handedly funds Israel’s Bibi worship society with a $40-million yearly subsidy to Yisrael HaYom. His millions have also destroyed the economic viability of Israel’s long-time daily newspapers. Maariv has gone belly up and been sold to a publisher who runs a newspaper empire even more right-wing than Maariv was. Haaretz appears to be holding on just barely by the skin of its teeth thanks in part to a major injection of capital by a Russian oligarch. Before Adelson, there was a reasonable discourse in the Israeli press. After Adelson, there’s the centrist-liberal Haaretz and virtually everything else moves from right to farther-right.
It’s important also to note the hundreds of millions raised by radical American Jews like the Hebron Fund and Central Fund for Israel, which prop up the settler movement.
Amidst this drum-beat of bad news, I don’t mean to say that the contribution of American Jews to Israel has been universally toxic. Let’s not forget Judah Magnes, founder, along with Martin Buber, of Brit Shalom. Let’s not also forget the major contributions by others like Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights and Jessica Montel of B’Tselem. Then there’s the extraordinary example of David Shulman, co-founder of Ta’ayush, MacArthur fellow, and author of Dark Hope. These American Jews have certainly projected a more traditional prophetic vision that has characterized American Judaism for decades.
But for whatever reason, the benevolent vision projected by them has been overwhelmed by the potent toxin of Jewish settlerism inspired by a relatively small cabal of American Jews. Unfortunately, while Kahane was a minority within the more moderate confines of American Jewry, once in Israel he inspired a movement that became dominant. One reason for this is that American Jews live in the context of a well-established secular democracy. No one Jew, no matter how charismatic (as Kahane was), could drive the community into the arms of extremism and terror. Israel, however, has had a much more tenuous, ambivalent relationship with democracy. The State also embraced from its founding, right-wing Orthodoxy in ways American Jewry never has. This, in turn, created fertile ground for Kahane’s messianic vision of Jewish triumphalism.
So Israel, many of us here in America are ashamed of our contribution to the dysfunction you currently suffer. We wish there were more Magneses, Aschermans and Montells and less Kahanes, Gimpels and Teitels. I write this post as my own small way of doing penance for their sins.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Mr. Silverstein, you sit here bemoaning the terrible changes to Israel wrought by American Olim and yet, in this very same post you do your best to steer Israeli politics. You aren’t even an Israeli citizen. What so called “Settlers” of American birth do or do not do, at least they are living their ideals. What are you doing in Seattle? With a mostly non-Jewish readership, railing about anything and eveything you hate vis a vis Israel, and yet you still will never have an iota of integrity while doing it IN SEATTLE.
There are many points I could address in just this single entry but the most pressing issue is the hypocrisy of your trying to steer Israeli domestic affairs from the comfort of your American home. No matter what the late Rabbi Me’ir Kahane was or was not, he was doing it as an Israeli. You rail against Israel’s lack of democracy and yet you try to impress your own political agenda at the expence of other voices.
The Israeli Left too impotent for you? Why not make Aliyah? Forgive me if you have explained your rationale for NOT doing so over the years but I obviously have never had the pleasure of hearing it. Unless you make Aliyah you are a foreigner with no real business complaining about any domestic issue in Israel. You don’t agree with Israel? You are not alone but your attempts at tarring it over and over become pretty lame when you lack even the very basic integrity held by those same “Settlers” you detest. They are living the life. You are just imagining it.
Richard Silverstein says
You are SO last-century! It’s an interconnected world out there in case you hadn’t noticed. As for aliyah being the sine qua non for determining my credibility–sorry, that’s a red herring argument. And so classical-Zionist!
I frankly don’t care what you think about either my credibility or right to comment on Israeli politics. As long as Israel needs the Diaspora for anything (& it does, much to your chagrin I’m sure), it will have to put up with the likes of me whether it likes it or not.
When you’re ready to go it alone & renounce any connection to the Diaspora of any sort, then we can talk.
If aliyah makes for bona fides then why are they are taking all this money from American Zionists, the phonies in America afraid to “live their dream?”
BTW, Israel needs the Diaspora indefinitely. It is not in the economics for Israel to survive without subsidies. Now that I think about it, it’s the American phonies in Seattle and elsewhere that make Israel possible in the first place. All these strutting right-wingers are being armed and living on subsidies from exogenous sources. Israel, on its own, could never maintain its army, do the settlement expansion and keep up the security state (imprison Gaza) without the subsidies. Either that, or the standard of living in Israel drops precipitously. If Israelis complain now, wait ]til the mother ship fails to show on the horizon…
Except that if Israeli does what you want and as a result ends up having rockets fall on it, you aren’t going to feel it.
The Jewish Diaspora (or, better, Exile) needs Israel a lot more than Israel needs the Diaspora (except as a source for aliyah). For example, how many American Jews can pick up a classic Jewish text in Hebrew and understand it? Any Israeli kid can, hardly any American Jew. Also, I believe Israel is the only country in the world where the Jewish population is growing.
You and Rachamin can live your ideals of rugged individualism, braving the unarmed Arab menace in their own land while you “lift” their lands and rights, between pool parties and nightly armed forays to destroy and humiliate another people in the West Bank. Good going! I’ll live mine by opposing you and living right here and being as decent as I can, leaving my kids with a Judaism that cares about such things rather than tribal stupidity.
The arms trade is a big payoff but it is risky: It concentrates Israeli’s bets (no diversification) and it forces Israel (the Jewish State) to fan the flames of violence worldwide, something no self-respecting (er, “self-hating”) Jew should want to be involved in. Second, I have the economics right, arms notwithstanding Israel is not self-sufficient and, if it keeps luring immigrants from all over the world (as you say), there will be no future in which it will become so — not without a drastic drop in standard of living, already a matter of contention. Slowly, Jews worldwide are realizing what a fabulous mistake Zionism has become and their influence and wealth will eventually make a difference in US policy and every other Western state will follow suit because, like the Congress of the US, they are all just chafing at the bit, dying to do so, just waiting to rid themselves of Zionism and Zionists. Israel will be left to deal with the regional neighbors on its own and it has little real goodwill to trade on, as you well know.
There wouldn’t be any rockets if Israel would actually reach an accommodation. But, the history is clear: Israel does not seek accommodation, some sort of negotiation. It actually just wants all of mandate Palestine and war and thuggery and racism are the way to achieve that aim. Well, alright, but then don’t expect sympathy regarding the rockets.
Donors often have important input on policy and the analogy of Israel to United Way. United Way is not in the business of pushing others off their land and appropriating their rights. The missions are a bit different, eh?
Hubris? All those strutting Zionists with their assault weapons and kipputs, protection from unarmed natives, all that strutting, all that talk by foreigners of the destiny of Palestinians, natives for hundreds of years, this is hubris, friend. And some of this is bought and paid for by the Diaspora and gentiles and American tax payers. Get off the dole before you talk about hubris.
the analogy to United Way is close to obscene.
Deïr Yassin says
Noam Sheizaf posted another video of Gimpel from some kind of radio talkshow where he said the same thing:
There’s something astonishing about two guys in a talkshow in Israel speaking together in English with an American accent (probably not an outcome of the Israeli school system….) saying that the natives’ shrines should be blown up.
Deïr Yassin says
Maybe Minister of Hasbara would be a post for Naftali Bennett. When he was leading the Yesha, he organised “Zionist Editing Wikipedia”-courses:
Ha-Bayit Ha-Yahudi has a video on how to solve “the Palestinian issue”:
That’s exactly the sensation I have reading about Bennett in the New Yorker or hearing Regev (the Aussie) on the tube: Who are these people that are laying out the destiny of Palestinians in their own land? One can just imagine the French conspiring in Algeria or the Brits in Ireland, or India, or a dozen African places. We know how these colonizations worked out.
Richard, some really good insights in this piece. It is indeed about time that someone pointed out the toxicity that ensued from the combustible relationship between extremist jewish elements in America and the unique, strangely fertile spiritual landscape of Israel, where the most violent, uber racist, intolerant tendencies can germinate and bear the rotten fruits we see. There is, I think, something very deep that you touched upon that bears more elaboration (not by me, but by someone more intimately familiar with jewish currents in the US). It does sometimes seem as if America has exported some of its most dysfunctional Jewish elements to a land where dysfunction is the order of the day. That dysfunction to which I allude probably has at its root a certain deep-seated intolerance for others as well as a craving for more muscular approach to ‘right” perceived historical wrongs by any means necessary. This is, I believe, a very American theme, which we saw for example on full display in the person of Timothy McVeigh. Kahane, Teitle and others like them (and there are many!) may merely be a jewish, urban version of standard issue “white” grievance (that’s a thesis – by no means original – not meant as statement of absolute). A fascination with violence is part of it. An estrangement from traditional American values (which call for tolerance of others, in words, if not always deeds) is another part.
The extremists you mention are often enamored with the Second Amendment and disdainful of the First. As such they have much in common with tea partites – except that, being entirely urban and often jewish religious, they are just not co-located with the bread and butter populace of the American right, either geographically or spiritually or intellectually. But in Israel they can flourish, especially as they can borrow pages from the under-belly of the original zionism (especially its anti-socialist currents), while scraping – very selectively – the bottom of old biblical exhortations to “choseness’ (thus making a hash of most other Jewish values). It is indeed a combustible mix, and unfortunately, not only have we not seen the last of it, but this sort of an ultra-rightist, semi-fascist, religiosity-fueled messianic “movement” is just now gathering steam. I predict – sadly – that unless contained – it could rise to envelop both israel and America in a very dark, very poisonous cloud.
This reminds me of the “golem” of traditional jewish literature that rises to destroy its own maker(s) – and sweeps everything else in the way.
Dr. Ibrahim Soudy says
Thanks Richard for a good article. Where do I find more detailed information analysing the Israeli Society and the relationships between that society and the American Jews? I mean books, articles, documentary films and so on. Info would be much appreciated.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Mr. Silverstein, you have not addressed my point. You have told me I’m “so last century,” my point “is a red herring” and more but nowhere in your post do you make a counter-point. It is like a child in a schoolyard saying “You are stupid,’ the other child asks why, “Because you are!” That doesn’t cut it. You sit in the comfort of your American home disparaging people who at the very, very least live their ideals. THIS is irrefutable.
While not offering a counter-point you did toss out a rationale of sorts. Your belief that Israel needs the Diaspora does not entitle you or any other member of the Diaspora to INTERFERE in domestic issues. Entitled to your opinion? Absolutely sir. But your “blog” is not an Op Ed. I am sure you do not need me to review issues that you have involved yourself in. I am not aiming to assasinate your character sir but please do not try to sit there and claim that because Israel sells bonds or asks Jews around the world to connect with the land of their ancestors that you somehow have a right to interject yourself into issues that effect Israeli Security, the economy and partisan battles on the political scene (just three of the things from a long list). Expressing one’s hopes, one’s views is one thing. Accepting “leaked” documents and engaging in character assasination in furtherance of a political agenda is entirely another.
Shoded Yam says
“…Your belief that Israel needs the Diaspora does not entitle you or any other member of the Diaspora to INTERFERE in domestic issues.”
No. Its not any belief that entitles us to intefere in your domestic issues. Its your incessant demands for validation (and your attempts at spiritual extortion when you don’t get it. I can’t wait to hear from A.B. Yehoshua again, lol)) from the community and an increasing need for political cover from a 2nd rate congressional representation who’s skill set is comprised soley of their singular obsequiousness when it comes to Israel and securing the Jewish vote, that entitles us to ask for recompense. You see, you’re confused. We’re not our parents. We’re not gonna write you blank checks anymore. Heretofore, this state of affairs this has been beneficial to you and yours. Well heres a newsflash. It hasn’t been buttering our bread. From now on, these services will cost you. You want my support? You want me to lean on my political representation? How much is it worth to you? Here, I’ll make it easy. Israel will seperate Church and State or it can go piss up a rope. And btw, I hold dual Israeli-American citizenship and I am an IDF veteran (1985-1988, Chativat Ha Nachal). So whether you lor Israel likes it or not, I have most definitely earned the right to stir your shit, and stir I will, you better believe it, all your pissing and moaning notwithstanding.
Israel interferes in international affairs of other states, notably the US, but others as well. Israel says it speaks for all Jews, so then all Jews can speak for it, i.e. they can indeed interfere in political processes, security, economy and the rest. This, the state itself claims, is a matter of identity. But identity is tautology: Jew = Israel. Or did I get this wrong? Israel speaks and acts only for some Jews? Only right-minded Jews? Only right-wing Jews? Is that it? If Israel stops claiming “Jewishness,” I’ll stop complaining about Israel. Until then, I have every right just like an Israeli.
Zionism has been contradictory from inception and Rachamin and the heroic Bar Kocbah reflect that muddle. Stripped of rationalizations and its poor man’s history, it is simply colonial adventurism and unworthy of Judaism entirely.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Davey, I addressed “why” I believe Mr. Silverstein to be wrong in his interference in Israeli domestic affairs so I will not respond to that part of your post but I do want to reply to your erroneous statement vis a vis the Israeli Economy. Twenty-five years ago you would have probably been right. Israel would not have been able to survive without external funding, or more succinctly, would have barely survived like a so called “Third World” nation (I know, soooo “last century” but at least I am consistent). That was then. Today Israel is the fourth largest arms exporter on the planet manufacturing everything from ammunition to ICBMs. In addition, a full 25% of our exports are tech, the highest ratio of any economy on the planet and a reality that ensures we will continue to thrive regardless of external pressures.
Diaspora Jewry’s support of Israel is not a make it or break it issue with regards to the economy. The attitude held by both Mr. Silverstein and yourself is that the Diaspora is entitled to control Israel simply because Israel actively courts the Diaspora. Let us try an analogy. If a person was highly involved in fund raising for the United Way, organising walkathons, school fundraising activities and engaging in public outreach, would that activist then be wntitled to dictate internal policy in the United Way? Hubris. I hope that you can understand most Israelis find yours (and Mr. Silverstein’s) a disgusting view. No matter if it is a right wing ultra-orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn or a leftist pundit online, if you are not willing to live your ideals noone is really going to take you seriously.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Davey: I really had hoped to limit my responses here to issues raised by Mr. Silverstein’s initial post but you have raised some points that really need to be adressed. First, a quick history lesson: In 1920 the League of Nations created three homelands in the form of Mandated Trusts: Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria (including Lebanon) and Palestine. Mesopotamia and Syria were earmarked as Arab Homelands, in addition to the three Arab nations then in existence. Palestine was entirely earmarked as a Jewish Homeland.
The three Trusts (Mandates) were assigned to European Trustees, Mesopotamia and Palestine to Britain, Syria to France. Then, manipulating an ambiguous clause within the Trust document Britain bluntly violated the Mandate for Palestine by severing 76% of its territory (90,000 of its 118,000 square kilometers) to create ANOTHER Arab Homeland, Jordan. Created to service the needs of a single family from al Hejaz in what is now Saudi Arabia. To add insult to injury, Britain that consigned its other Trust, the Mandate for Mesopotamia, to this very same family.
Jordan was then Ethnically Cleansed of its Jews, some of whom had lived there since the Biblical Era but its Arab population was left intact. Those same Arabs who would begin calling themselves “Palestinians” in the 1960s are those very same Arabs who you imagine to be oppressed and brutalised by Israel.
Today Israel, within the Greenline, exists on a mere 4.6% of its legally guaranteed homeland. The so called “West Bank,” whose actual name happens to be Judea and Samaria (“West Bank” was coined by British spinmeisters trying to steer discourse away from its illegal actions vis a vis its Trusteeship) happens to be the historical, cultural and spiritual heartland of the Jewish People. Ironically it is Arabs who are the occupiers, not Israeli Jews. Today Arabs have 22 nations INCLUDING Jordan. “Palestinians” already have an established homeland. All that remains is the removal of its Arabian puppet king though even his queen is a “Palestinian” as well.
You have the audacity to suggest that I (and another poster) go live some John Wayne fantasy amongst “unarmed” Arabs in the so called “West Bank”? Time for more history. In 1929 my family was doing exactly that in Hebron,n a city we had lived in since at least the 9th Century CE/AD. My grandfather and eldest uncle were shot and then chopped to pieces and my father badly wounded by “unarmed” Arabs. We who had lived there probably since the Bible had been written were then Ethnically Cleansed by the British who threw my grandfather and uncle’s bodies in a mass grave that was then horribly desecrated by Arabs. Our ancestral home was then thoroughly looted before being burned to the foundation so before you toss out your nonsense try to learn a little of the region’s true history. We Jews are the only indigenous people on the land. Arabs arrived as conquerors and invaders and forced us to live as sub-humans until Israel was was established.
As for the Judaism you are teaching your kids, I would tend to think it is just as much of a fantasy as your ridiculous idea that so called “Settlers” all have pool parties. Judaism as a vehicle for leftist Humanism is a sheer invention of Western-based Jews who are assimilated. It has no historical basis and is extremely unsound theologically but I do not want to veer off in all directions here. I will say that IF you are committed to a Western lifestyle and have no plans of making Aliyah you have absolutely no business dictating anything to Israel or Israelis. I can just imagine your reaction were Israeli Jews with no connection to America to try and dictate American domestic affairs.
The Arms Trade is risky? Funny, you totally ignored that little point about Israel having the highest ratio of tech exports in the world but again, not suprised. If you were to add together every penny every given to Israel by the United States it would equal less than 20% of a single year’s GDP so yeah, you definitely do not have a handle on the economic angle.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Shoded Yam: You act as if you represent a mainstream view. Unless you are deluded you are very well aware that most Jews in America will continue to support Israel because it represents a lifeline to them in both the literal and the figurative sense. You feel very secure in America but even the US has already Ethnically Cleansed Jews once and consigned thousands to death camps. Only Israel exists as a true safe haven for Jews and whether you like and accept that fact or not, THAT will continue to ensure Diaspora support.
As for validation, you must be joking. Israel exists on a solid ideological foundation that does not require external validation anymore than America does. It is great when folks love you but if they hate you it doesn’t change reality.
Separation of so called “Church and State”? Israel is a secular nation. I suggest you actually visit our country before you form such strange ideas. We are deficient in matrimonial law but all in all we are still ahead of Americans overall. You won’t find a Torah in our courtrooms or our head of state invoking any deity. I suggest you work on the country you choose to live in before worrying about another nation simply because you have a guilt complex.
You are NACHlawi? Great, so am I and I served during your 3 years and for nearly 26 more (2/1983 to 12/2011). What is your point? That you lived in Israel for a very short time, served in the IDF so now you are entitled to make demands while making your life in another hemisphere? Sorry, but like most Israelis I can only laugh at such nerve. Come home. Live as Israelis do then try and dictate your personal vision for our future. If you are not willing to do so then focus on your life in America.
Shoded Yam says
Look, ya chantarish. I know you. I served with you, broke bed with you, prayed with you and screwed your women and even married one. I have certain insight in to your brand of psychosis, so save the jive and the projections for the Betar year-abroad program. I heard it all before and it always sounds like your trying to convince yourselves, not anyone else. Go argue your re-hashed polemics, jewish exceptionalism, master-race masturbation and nonsensical claptrap with Richard. He loves that stuff 😉 Hey. you don’t need America?, you don’t need American Jews? You wanna go it alone? Be my guest. By all means. Persoanlly, I think people like you are blowhards who are scared shitless of America cutting you loose. I mention a hypothetical change in the dynamic and the next thing I know I’m reading “The Shtettler Manifesto”. You’ve obviously given this some thought. lol So why don’t we put this bravado to the test. Shit or get off the pot. Walt & Mearsheimer are waiting. 😀
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Davey, by “accomodation” do you mean withdrawal as Israel did from Gaza and 15% of the so called “West Bank” in 2005? From 2001 when the first projectile was fired until Israel withdrew in 2005 there were roughly 500 launchings. SINCE Israel withdrew there have been nearly 6,000 more and instead of homemade pyrotechnics Gazans now launch Enhanced Katyushas (Grads) and Fajr-5s. Your belief in “accomodation” has been proven false.
What would be wrong with Israel wanting all of the former Mandate for Palestine? It was legally guaranteed to it in 1920. Arabs have plenty of land with which to determine their own destinies. In fact, Israel has no designs east of the Jordan River and has agreed to exist on its paltry 4.6% of the Mandate. It is Arabs whose “thuggery” and “racism” prevents this. It is the PA who walked out of Talks in 2010 and has atttached pre-requisites to a return, not Israel.
I mean sharing the land that you family may have some footing in, but the great majority of Askenazi (sp?) who made Israel did not and do not. Your history is wrong as well, but I haven’t time or energy for the details. You cannot reclaim this land with people who have no link to the land at all and, even if there were a valid claim (there is not), you cannot do so by dispossessing another people.
But, I hear what you are saying: You are saying that this is the rough tough new Jew, the new tribal Judaism speaking, with its local deity in tow and I just have no idea (poor leftist me!) Probably right — I don’t feel any big need to push Palestinians off land they (too) have occupied for hundreds of years, no need to militarize Judaism and no great great need for Israel, period. But, I am every bit as equivocally attached to the land as you and you can’t silence me with horror pictures, not in the face of Israel’s policies and operations. The operative word is “equivocally.”
What native people “guaranteed” the land to Jews? Did the Arabs living in Palestine make this “guarantee?” I just didn’t know. What’s wrong with wanting the whole thing are the lies told by Israel over the decades, the use of force to acquire land, the dispossession of another people, the theft of their rights and property, and more.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Davey, you respond to my point about not interfering in Israel’s domestic issues by stating that Israel interferes in American foreign policy. Surely you are aware of the difference between “domestic” and “foreign.” Internal? External? All nations “interfere” in the foreign policy of other nations. Strategical and tactical realities are important. For example, American handing advanced electronic equipment to Lebanon directly effects Israeli Security. Israel’s actions effect America’s power play in the Middle East. However, domestic affairs are another issue entirely.
Israel has NEVER claimed to “speak for all Jews.” It exists as a homeland for all Jews but respects the rights of Jews in the Diaspora to determine their own direction. You pointedly asked if you assumed wrong that “Jew = Israel,” of course you are incorrect. Again, Israel is the Jewish Homeland and represents a safe haven for all Jews but the state is very much aware that there is a significant minority of Jews within the Diaspora who feel no connection whatsoever to Israel. Another analogy: Germany offers citizenship to anyone with verifiable German ancestry but that does not mean a 4th generation German American has the right to dictate German domestic policy.
You keep introducing Judaism into the conversation. Israel’s secular character is well enshrined in both the Basic Law and countless legal precedents. Still, since you find Judaism central to your views on Israel, what exactly is your conception of Judaism? Reform Judaism? Or the synchrestic hodgepodge of Western Humanism with just the faintest sheen of spirituality? Gay Rabbis and women wearing Tefillin? Whatever you believe Judaism is, it is NOT Christianity. It has no compunction about employing violence, taking revenge, and a whole bunch of other attributes you will undoubtedly abhor. Introducing Judaism into discussions about Israeli geopolitics is NOT going to help you.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Shoded Yam: Your personalisation of the issues being discussed hint at a whole lot of underlying baggage. I don’t practice armchair psychology so please do not project whatever ails you unto me. I am an individual just as you are. You may not ahree with my perspective but confusing me with the State of Israel is ridiculous. Talk of “master race” and “masturbation” just makes you sound damaged. Please, get a grip and concentrate on the issues being discussed.
As for your belief that either Israel or most Israelis are terrified of a change in the Israeli/American Tactical Alliance, you stated that you served in the IDF beginning in 1985. If so, perhaps you have simply forgotten that the very year you began serving we had 16 engagements against American Marines in Beirut (and that is only the ones that the American Marines chose to make a case about). You must have also forgotten that in OPlan OSIRAK America threatened to push for Sanctions against us. Begin shrugged his shoulders and said so be it. When it comes to matters of vital importance to Israel America never takes top billing and never has. The downgrade in the US/Israeli relationship is not a question of “if” but “when” and Israel is well prepared for what it correctly views as an eventuality. The snug relationship only began with Nixon and as noted, there have been plenty of tough times over the course of it. Many Israelis, myself included, feel that the relationship hinders us much more than it helps us. America should treat Israel as it would treat any other nation with which it interacts in a positive manner.
Shoded Yam says
Obviously you’re not a golfer. I was indulging my creative side. You know, “The Royal You”. Oy, whatever. I simply placed a proposition before you. Your response was a doctoral thesis. But please, spare us the attempt at non-chalance. Reagan and Begin we’re a different time. Try that stuff with the Marines today and see what happens to your “special relationship” Now it’s Obama and the 70% of American Jews who placed him in the Oval Office, not once but twice. And did so despite Israel’s vehement opposition. That indicates a shift in the zeitgeist, whether you like it or not. But since we both understand its speculative at this point, your histrionics would appear…out of place.
Shoded Yam says
Oh yeah. One other thing sparky. As far as masturabtion is concerned, I defy anyone to read your solipicisms and not feel the urge to hand you a box of tissues. Please. You’ve given a whole new meaning to the phrase; “Sock Puppet” 😀
1. Israel does mess with internal politics in the US.
2. The scripture is full of all kinds of things that are not acceptable at this point in time but was acceptable 3800 years ago. Scripture also has miracles of dubious veracity. Where does sense enter into your understanding? At what point? Or is it just fundamentalism, like Islamists? Sure — it’s not Christianity and I understand the diff (different deities really) but don’t tell me that Judaism means that killing people for their land in our time is ok. If so, then why did Israel sign the UN Charter? Was the state deliberately lying about its ambitions? Is it ok to not be truthful? I assume somewhere, in some tract, yeah it’s all ok as long as it serves the Jewish people. But, that sounds suspiciously reactionary, even fascist, religious ethnocentrism, etc. etc. Should I buy a pair of jackboots? Salute the Star of David?
Zionism is now finally, desperately I think, Jewish. That’s why “religion” comes up in these discussions.
Rachamim Ben Ami says
Davey: Ashkenazim are just as indigenous to that land as any other Jew. Genetic assays have shown that 88% of Ashekaz Jews are directly descended from Jews who left the Levant during the Roman Era. Retaining their culture and having never ceded sovereignity they are just as entitled to live on the land as any other Jew.
Arabs, virtually all, were never forced off the land by Jews. The vast bulk who fled did so by their own volition. Moreover, they didn’t own the land they lived on and never enjoyed sovereign power. Squatting on lands owned by a sucession of foreign powers they held no titles and had no official connection to the land. Even when the Ottomans enacted the so called “Land Law” the single digit percentage of land made available for private ownership was quickly snatched up by absentee landholders. It made no difference in the lives of local Arabs.
“Rough tough new Jew”? Actually, the nebbish of the ghetto was an abberation, not the rule. Jews were a nation of warriors and the culture reflects it. While you undoubtedly imagine Chanukkah, for example, to be about oil lasting 8 days it actually commemorates a Jewish insurgency and the Jews’ military triumph over the Seleucids.
How does Israel try to interject itself into American domestic affairs?
Judaism has never condoned killing people in pursuit of expansionism but make no mistake, it absolutely condones the use of force against one’s enemies. It allows for pro-active military action and the obliteration of enemies. I don’t know what you mean about Christians having a different deity.
How did Israel lie by ratifying the UN Charter? What does Israel lie about? Of course Israelis should salute the Star of David. Are you not aware that it is featured on the Israeli flag? I don’t understand what you are saying about Zionism being Jewish. Judaism is a religion. Jewishness is an ethnicity. There is a very real difference between the two.
I’ve heard all this nonsense before. I’ll sum it up for you. 2000 years is abandonment, not “exile.” Israeli law made a few weeks abandonment and thus possessed Palestinian property. Two thousand years is absurd. If Israel was so important, why wasn’t there a large presence of Jews in that land, Jews returning generation after generation through about 100 generations. It didn’t happen despite several administrative regimes friendly to Jews. Oddly though — Jews managed to travel just about everywhere else in the world in that time, including the Americas, Africa, etc. Curious, isn’t it? What’s the propagandist answer?
As for genes, fergetaboutit, one hears it both ways and who cares except racists?
Richard Silverstein says
@Rahamim: This is a serious comment rule violation. Not only are your claims about Palestinians wrong, you’ve flooded the comment threads in a very short period with a large number of comments. In order for me to review them & respond to them if necessary, you’re being moderated. In the meantime read the comment rules to ensure you understand them & follow them.
I also agree that you’re a blowhard who likes to hear the sound of his own voice (or see the image of his own words on the page). Unfortunately for you, we’re not as entertained by you as you are by yourself (that masturbation image was apt I’m afraid).
One last note: People generally will attempt to protect their property. Inasmuch as Jews so clearly wanted that property, the likelihood of people abandoning that property to them freely (“volition”) is very small. They were chased out and not allowed to return, which are effectively the same thing….dispossession and theft.
One sees through the Zionist cant by simple act of thinking.
The UN Charter specifically forbids the aggrandizement of territory through military aggression by member states. That was the whole point. Israel agreed to that and then expanded through military aggression. I call that a lie. As for Zionism and Judaism — of course, they are different, which is why I am here and not there, in Israel. But, the current Zionism is heavily religious and non-democratic. It is (hopefully) the last incarnation of Zionism before the dustbin of history. The French failed in Algeria and the Brits in India and America, etc. Jews will fail in the ME despite all the money, the deadly army, tanks, F-16’s and nuclear warheads. (Forget the salute, I was wrong on that, but not the jackboots.)
Rach — So Judaism is a “religion” and Israel is a “state”? Then why are you telling me about genealogy???
Zionists will SAY anything to cover what they mean, to appease and to stall. But, we all see you now. We see the vicious intent to unsettle indigenous people, take their property and populate Palestine with foreigners who have been waiting patiently around the world for a mere while (2000 years!). You will SAY anything but what you mean is sanctimonious rubbish just as the rough tough new Jew (the warrior) is just more gangsterism in sovereign dress. The newer mainstream of religious Zionism would appeal to Bugsy Siegel, Lepke and other mobsters of the past: Take what you want and to hell with namby pamby social contracts and law and decency.
But, I like your exposition. It provides some ordering to the contradictions and allows closer analysis of history and ideas. Pride in one’s self and one’s heritage is one thing, but glorifying the ascendancy of Jewishness within a region of largely Islamic Arab life (and among the human pool in general) as a national political project is retrograde for Jews everywhere. It re-invents a regional deity, degrades modern values and consciousness and introduces fierce unreason as a principle into Jewish life. With that, political freedom disappears. The right wing religious Zionism will place women in the back of the bus and Arabs in ghettos awaiting “transfer.” I remain opposed.