Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Va en Shalom?

“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”Donald Trump
I would like to spend a few moments on the Jew thing. You see, I am one of those ignorant, disloyal American Jews that President Trump was talking about yesterday. I don't consider Benjamin Netanyahu my Prime Minister, as Trump suggested earlier this year, or even my king. I think Israel is going down the wrong road and has been for many years and even plays a nasty, double game. I have much more in common intellectually with a Jew from for instance, Cleveland, than I do with the average Israeli.

And I think it is a fast, slippery slope from being a legitimate victim to becoming a victimizer.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Friedrich Nietzsche
I appreciate the founding of Israel. Not to fulfill some messianic biblical prophecy but to provide succor and a haven for the jews in my family and other families to escape from the gas chambers and pogroms. They had nowhere else to turn. My grandfather, who fled from Poland, was a founding member of the Histadrut and helped build the original electrical grid in Palestine, but left in 1939 with my dad, who was himself born in Tel Aviv.

Why? Because he couldn't handle the oppressive religious stuff. He didn't believe in it, or even in god frankly, and he saw that it would only get worse over time. And I have seen with my own eyes that it has, having lived in Israel through two periods of war and conflicts, having personally faced multiple barrages from Katyushas to Scuds. The change and movement to the orthodox right in the country in two decades was astounding to me and has only got worse over time.

For base political reasons, the Prime Minister has ceded all power to the religious right. The Orthodox Rabbinate has total control over marriage between Jews in Israel, marriages consecrated by Reform or Conservative rabbis in Israel are not legally recognized, and there is no option for civil marriage for Jews in Israel. Ditto conversion, which is also under the exclusive control of the Orthodox Rabbinate, which does not recognize non-Orthodox converts as Jews. The Yeshiva students and haredi don't serve in the military, under a concept known as Torato Umanuto, they recite the torah instead. The right wing, guided by a biblical map of conquest of Judea and Samaria, is now absolutely running the show.

King David plays the harp - Gerard Van Honthorst - 1622

Netanyahu and Trump have a bromance going that is causing more and more American Jews to consider their support for Israel. We know who the people chanting "The jews will not replace us" at Charlottesville will vote for. We also know the overwhelming political affiliations of the young men shooting up the synagogues. Netanyahu supporting vicious anti semites in Hungary and elsewhere like Viktor Orban is equally pernicious. If Netanyahu does in fact lose the total support of liberal American jewry, he will only have himself to blame. Of course Trump is under his own messianic allusions or should I say delusions...

Forgive them father, they know not what they do...

I could go on and on but I won't, I don't have time. I have not left Israel, Israel is leaving me. They paid lip service to Oslo and the two state solution and slowly and by attrition have put enough holes into a future contiguous Palestinian state as to make it utterly unworkable and impossible. Just as they planned.

Do the Israelis have an existential right to exist and live in dignity and self determination? Of course they do, as do every people, including the Palestinians. Yet the thought of living in a "Jewish" state is frankly as nauseating to me as living in a "Christian" state or a "Buddhist" state.

I would much prefer living in a "free" state where people are able to worship and believe, or not worship and believe, as they personally choose, than a theocracy of any kind.

Once upon a time, I had many friends in Israel, both Israeli and Palestinian. I went back for the entirety of the Desert Storm War and found that the two peoples were basically no longer speaking. The Palestinians had been conveniently dehumanized and put into a handy invisible box by the occupation. I met Israelis who lived a mile apart from Israeli arabs and had never engaged in conversation with them their entire lives. That is not healthy.

Of course neither side is blameless, both sides have made plenty of mistakes. In some twisted way they deserve each other, both intent on playing a sick and pathological end game that can only result in utter catastrophe. What do psychologists call it in marriage counseling, the dark dance? They are playing it in spades.

I am proud that roughly 76% 79% of American Jews voted Democrat in the last midterm election. It tells me that they have not lost their jewish heart. The Israelis I am not so sure about.


Big Bob said...

Well said.

Ed said...

More of what Nietzsche Said
“There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.

The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.
The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth; ‘I, the state, am the people.’
It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them.
Where a people still exists, there the people do not understand the state and hate it as the evil eye and sin against custom and law.
I offer you this sign: every people speaks its own language of good and evil: its neighbor does not understand this language. It invented this language for itself in custom and law.
But the state lies in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it says, it lies – and whatever it has, it has stolen.
Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth. Even its belly is false.
Confusion of the language of good and evil; I offer you this sign of the state. Truly, this sign indicates the will to death! Truly, it beckons to the preachers of death!
Many too many are born: the state was invented for the superfluous!
Just see how it lures them, the many-too-many! How it devours them, and chews them, and re-chews them!
…It would like to range heroes and honorable men about it, this new idol! It likes to sun itself in the sunshine of good consciences – this cold monster!
It will give you everything if you worship it, this new idol: thus it buys for itself the luster of your virtues and the glance of your proud eyes.
It wants to use you to lure the many-too-many. Yes, a cunning device of Hell has here been devised, a horse of death jingling with the trappings of divine honors!
Yes, a death for many has here been devised that glorifies itself as life: truly a heart-felt service to all preachers of death!
I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where everyone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called – life.”
"The measure of the state's success is that the word anarchy frightens people, while the word state does not." - Joseph Sobran
Both sides are guilty.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, and thank you for expressing almost verbatim what I would have written, had my life's experience made it possible.

I'm a few months older than the State of Israel. I consider myself the older brother, and I'm beyond appalled at the course my younger brother has taken.

My family's home had the obligatory "blue box" into which spare change was deposited to support the young country. In Hebrew School, I bought stick-on leaves which, when the printed tree was full, would help plant trees in the desert. Only years later did my more intelligent / less gullible older sister tell me that the only trees I helped purchase were the ones painted on tank turrets.

In 1967 I cheered when Israeli troops captured Sharm el Sheikh, entered old Jerusalem. And shortly after that war I truly believed that a Palestinian state would be created.

42 years later, Medinat Yisrael and I 42 years older, look where we have come! What happened to our dreams? I fear that as the last survivors of the Sho'ah - the ones with firsthand memory of the horrors of nationalized hatred - die off, the Likud gang will be even more emboldened in their quest for "Greater Israel." And is that anything but a distorting-mirror reflection of GroƟdeutschland?

Thank you again for saying what must be said no matter how many blind eyes and deaf ears the message falls upon.

Peace Out! wp