Showing newest posts with label Jews. Show older posts
Showing newest posts with label Jews. Show older posts

Friday, February 26, 2010

The sanction of the victim and the guiltiest man in the room, Part IV: ANTHEM

This post is the fourth and final part of a multi-part series on the stubborn habit of Jews to perpetuate situations where they are the victims of their own actions. If you haven't read Part I, Part II or Part III yet, I encourage you to check them out before continuing. If you're pressed for time, while highly recommended, it isn't required to go back in order to understand what we're talking about in this post.

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If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.
--Hasan Nasrallah

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
--John Galt

וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי, אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם הָאָדָם וָחַי בָּהֶם
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and Mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live by them:
--Leviticus 18:5

Better to die standing, than to live on your knees.
--Ernesto 'Che' Guevara


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PART FOUR: ANTHEM


So now we know the issue, we know the how and we know the why.

The ISSUE is the perplexing, self-defeating behavior of Jews throughout history, the HOW is the aid given to our enemies that gives them the ability to fight and kill us and the WHY is because we have been hard-wired by 2,000 years of oppression, pain and sorrow to be docile and think that it is righteous to not resist our enemies.

The real question is WHAT do we do about it? Because there is only so far a culture of acceptance and quiet kvetching can take you and the result is a malaise that has been steadily creeping over Jews for the past several centuries.

It is that which cannot be said. Everyone knows it's there, but no one dares to speak openly about it...

We all try to blank-out, to pretend it's nothing but an uneasiness about us. We banish the feeling to the backs of our minds, to fill our heads with American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and Tiger Woods...trying ever harder to doublethink it away...but we can't, deep down we know it's there. You know it's there, that quiet, unsettling feeling of something being somehow...incorrect...that you can't quite put your finger on...something uncomfortable...almost as if there's something you're doing that you're not really proud of, even when you're not really doing anything at all.

We ignore the reality that it is this very same unspoken feeling of melancholy and emptiness that has driven young Jews to seek Buddhism or Islam or Christmas trees or Marxism or pathetic attempts to emulate hip hop culture or blind pursuit of hedge fund success at the expense of their pride and heritage. And it makes sense that this would happen...because WHO could be attached to a culture that glorifies appeasement and docility?

This is why early Zionists changed their last names, forced everyone to learn Hebrew and mocked Yiddish as a language of the oppressed. It was a clean break from the embarrassment of 2,000 years of abuse at the hands of our hosts. This is also why today it is so hard for Israelis to clarify the justification for going to war to protect themselves...to them it should be self-evident to anyone reads history!

And this is why Che Guevara and Yasir Arafat are so attractive to misguided "liberal" American youths. I used to think that it was simple ignorance that caused college students to follow these barbarians but it goes much deeper than that. While they often are ignorant of what their heroes are actually guilty of, even when the truth is brought to them they often STILL follow them...because even a flawed hero is still a hero.

Who are the modern Jewish heroes? Where are they? Ask the average American Jew and what would they say? Jon Stewart? Steven Spielberg? Adam Sandler? Ari Gold?



Famous? Sure. Successful? Filthy rich? Absolutely. But you're not exactly going to be studying them in college as revolutionary figures or instruments of social change, are you? In fact the only one among them you could perceive as "strong" or "brave" or "intimidating" is a completely fictional character! You're not going to get young Jews excited to emulate these people. When children and teenagers have no one to emulate, they're going to look outside the box for them and they're going to be ripe targets for missionaries, demagogues and worse.

They're going to leave their culture and idolize other cultures instead. And all the money their parents spent on Hebrew schools and bar mitzvah lessons will be wasted when Adam comes home with a beard and tells his family he's going to "study" to Pakistan. Or Rachel decides to go on a "humanitarian mission" to Gaza and doesn't understand why her previously tolerant parents are so upset when she tells them. This is of course assuming the parents even bothered to care about the cultural identity of their children...a trend that has been distinctly on the negative side for the past three generations at least...which not-so-oddly also coincides with the declining size of the community.

The future certainly looks grim for non-Orthodox Judaism.

As if this wasn't enough of an issue there is still the Talmudic prohibition against re=establishing a state and army in the absence of the messiah. Because we sinned and have been exiled, the rabbis who survived the disastrous Bar Kochba revolt surmised that we had best sit quietly and try to get along with our new overlords.

And so it goes...we continue to tread water...doing just enough to get from one generation to another...taking unimaginable losses all along the way...paralyzed by our own indifference and just hoping not to finally get swept under a tide that gets higher and more dangerous with every passing day.

What is the answer to this malaise? How do we break out from 2,000 years of docility? Or do we give up? Accept our own victimhood and impending doom? Sanction our own destruction?

No my friends, this is not the answer. The time has come to put this policy to bed once and for all.

First on the religious level. While Judaism's docility has been well-established over the years, there is a very strict RELIGIOUS prohibition against suicide or suicidal behavior as well as a very strict emphasis on self-preservation. There is also exists a concept in Judaism of פיקוח נפש (transliterated as pikuach nefesh) - literally "saving a soul/life" which overrules almost all other commandments...even many of the 10 Commandments themselves.

There is no QUESTION that the State of Israel has saved the lives of thousands, if not millions of people who would otherwise be doomed to persecution, oppression and in some cases starvation. And lest you think that this service provided by Israel is limited to just Jews - ask yourselves this question...why would a cash-strapped Jewish state that is embroiled in a perpetual state of war with its neighbors spend resources to assist with tsunami and earthquake search and rescue efforts? Please note the Haiti link was about a specific team of ULTRA-ORTHODOX Israeli Jews who were violating the sabbath to save the lives of people they never met and should never have even come across.



In fact, it was widely reported that for days, Israel's field hospital was the only one able to perform at any acceptable level in Haiti. So Israel saves lives, both Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and non-religious. That alone should be enough of a reason for all Orthodox Jews to embrace a state that everyday provides a literal life-saving function for people all over the world as well as a cultural, religious and spiritual life-saving function for Jews who would otherwise be lost to the tide of assimilation. It may not be the religious, messiah-driven state they crave but for now it sure serves a purpose that they should rush to embrace (and many - but not all- do).

Furthermore, our pact with the nations we were exiled to was supposed to be a two-way street. We were supposed to behave like good little refugees and they were supposed to let us be. It's time to face the facts (as early Zionists did in the 1800's) that they did NOT hold up their end of the deal. Not taking steps to protect ourselves is a violation of the commandment against suicide. Giving up our lives to adhere to a rabbinical decree from 2,000 years ago is not only insane, it is a DIRECT VIOLATION of Jewish law. This is FACT. In a post-2nd Temple world this decision made sense...in a post-Holocaust world it no longer does. The Neturei Karta, for all their black hats, white beards and Talmud-quoting signs and pamplets are WRONG. This is also FACT.

So religiously we can follow God and take inspiration from the Bible. But what to do about the secular Jews? Where do they get their inspiration from? How do we replace Guevara and Chavez and Arafat if all we have are Sandler, Spielberg and Stewart? Or worse, total embarrassments like Chomsky and Finkelstein. Where are our revolutionaries? Where are our heroes? And what can we do about the perception that we're all nerdy accountants?

Well, first we start out by pointing out that the perception is WRONG.


We're not ALL Woody Allen clones


You see we DO have our own strong heroes, revolutionaries and role models. They're just currently labeled as "Zionists" rather than Jews and are part of "Israeli history" instead of Jewish history. Theodore Herzl. David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir. Why wear a Che Guevara t-shirt when Vladmir "Ze'ev" Jabotinsky was twice the warrior he was with none of the communist dictatorship baggage? Italians have Italy, Brazilians have Brazil and Jews has ISRAEL. Even if we don't live there or have never been there, why can't we idolize these Zionists, these Jews, these non-victims?

Unabashed, unafraid, unapologetic ZIONISM is the answer to our Jewish malaise problem. JEWISH nationalism, an impossible 2,000 year old dream that has actually been REALIZED. We don't need to be victims anymore. We don't need to play their game anymore. We don't need to play by their rules anymore!

"If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!"
--Hank Reardon


I will no longer be a victim.

I will no longer apologize for my success.

I will no longer be afraid to stand up for myself and defend the Jewish homeland, MY homeland, Israel.

I will no longer feel that I have to prove my loyalty to whatever country I live in by going against my homeland of Israel.

I will no longer allow the hypocrites around me to make me feel as if I need to prove my docility.

I will no longer abide by everyone else's nonsensical, politically correct definitions of right and wrong or their expectations for Jews, for Israel and for me.

I am NOT a Jewish American who is pro-Israel.

That is a passive statement similar to saying that you're pro-freedom or pro-money or pro-food or pro-happiness. Of course I am in favor of a Jewish country...that should be a given for EVERYONE regardless of who they are or what their political ideology is.

What I am, is a JEWISH AMERICAN ZIONIST.

I believe that Jews are no longer the world's victims, to be used and abused as they were throughout history. I believe that the Jewish homeland is Israel even if I don't live there and never intend to. I believe that just as the Italian national home is Italy regardless of where an Italian lives, so to is Israel the Jewish national home regardless of where a Jew finds him or herself. I believe that I must actively take steps to prevent myself, my family and my friends from being abused. I believe that I control my own destiny and no one has a right to choose my path for me, but me.

And I believe that it is not my responsibility to clean up the messes created by others. It is not my fault that other ethnic groups have also been beaten down over time. I will have solidarity with them, empathy for them and do whatever I can to help them to reach the levels of success that I have achieved.

But it is not my obligation and it will NOT achieved at my expense. I will NOT sacrifice my own future for a parasite that will end up destroying both of us. And I am finished with allowing others to guilt me into believing that there is something wrong with this way of thinking. I will no longer be the guiltiest man in the room because I know better and I will act on that knowledge.

אִם אֵן אַנִי לִי מִי לִי
וּכשְׁאַנִי לְעַצְמִי מָה אַנִי
וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו אֵימָתַי


If I am not for myself, then who will be?
When I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, then when?
--Ethics of our Fathers


This is my belief. This is my pledge.

And this applies to Israeli Jews as well as non-Israelis. Just because the Palestinians got the short end of the stick after the British and French carved up the Ottoman Empire and created a bunch of artificial states that were doomed to failure from the start, does not mean that the residents of Sderot need to live in a perpetual state of terror. Just because the Palestinians were abandoned and sold out by their disorganized Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Lebanese and Iraqi cousins does not mean that a Jewish family should not be allowed to live in Hebron. Just because their great-great-grandparents didn't think to hold onto their land deeds under the Ottomans or that their grandparents thought they'd be better off trying to push the Jews into the sea doesn't mean that I should sacrifice my capital to atone for it. Just because they couldn't live next to the Jews and instead started THREE wars that they lost doesn't mean that I need to fund their terrorist, dictatorial regime.

It's not my problem. Just because I am successful, it does not mean that I deserve to be sacrificed to those who are not so that they should live and I should not.

It is only if the Jewish community of the Diaspora adopts this same mentality, this anthem, this pledge to leave the shackles of victimhood behind that it will be able to reverse what appears to be an inevitable decline and disappearance into the irrelevance of assimilation. If not now...when?

These rules that we think we've set for ourselves but really have been set FOR us by faceless ancestors are impossible to follow. This game we've engaged ourselves in is impossible to win and if we continue to play it we are doomed to fail.

But the beauty of life is that we always, always have a choice.

Like Hank, I finally choose NOT to play their game.

And neither should you.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two-states of confusion

Two states for two people. Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and harmony. A Jewish state and a Palestinian state. People talk about this as if it is the magic solution to not just the Israeli/Palestinian issue...according to President Hussein it will cure the Iranian issue, the General Motors bankruptcy and pancreatic cancer. Only one of those is true but they're all equally likely.

There is no magic pill to the Israel/Palestinian issue because it's not really about Israelis and Palestinians. Nor is the issue restricted to just Israelis and Palestinians. (Or even humans at all...)

In order to understand the roots of the conflict you have to go well beyond 1948. Muslims have been killing Jews since they rejected Muhammad almost 1,500 years ago...so the roots of the conflict go well beyond "disproportionate force" in Gaza. Now you could say to me "that's not true, Jews flocked to Islamic-controlled lands all through the Middle Ages" or that under the Moors in Spain the Jews flourished...until the Christians took over and threw all the Jews out during the Inquisition.

This is partially true, since in many cases Jews did have a significantly better standard of living under Muslim rule as compared to Christian rule - but it's only comparative. They were still treated as second-class citizens and forced to distinguish themselves by wearing certain clothing (yellow turbans for example) to distinguish themselves from non-Jews. If that sounds familiar, it's because Hitler used this idea as the basis for the yellow star that he forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.

Jews under Muslim control had to pay a jizya (tribute/tax) and could not build any synagogues or houses that were larger than the local mosque of their town. They were not allowed to mock the Qur'an, Islam, Muhammad or other Muslims - on penalty of death. They were not allowed to serve in the military or bear arms. They were regularly forced to convert on pain of death when the locals decided to get up in arms about something or other. It was only when compared to Inquisition-style organized attempts at genocide that went on in Europe that they "had it better". All this occurred over a thousand years before the very first "European Zionist invader" set foot in Ottoman Palestine.

And it is this same system of control that al Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah and other Islamist organizations want to re-institute for Jews and Christians. Except they don't want to limit themselves to just Israel or the Middle East this time. They want everything.

So it's not just about Zionists and Palestinians or Israel and Syria or Hizballah or Hamas or any of the buzz words that are thrown around in the media. It's JEWS and MUSLIMS. That's the bottom line. It does not surprise me at all that when Jewish pioneers returned to their ancient homeland of Israel in the 1800's that they met riots, hatred and violence. Please note the violence referred to in that link took place in 1921...27 years before the "Nakba" and 46 years before the "occupation".

But anyway...enough of the history lesson for now...let's talk about the present and the future.

The most common answer given to this problem is the one that's been championed for decades - mainly the two-state solution. Palestinians will have to be content with the West Bank and Gaza and Jews get the rest. There are however, several problems with this alleged solution:

1. Contiguity. If I live in Ramallah (in the West Bank which is attached to the Jordanian border) and I have a cousin in Gaza (which is attached to the Sinai Peninsula, currently owned by Egypt) I have to cross through Israel. This creates a security issue for Israel and a travel issue for the Palestinians.

2. The aforementioned pioneers/settlers. After the 1967 war (when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza), the government, whose initial offer of land for peace was rejected by the Arab dictators, decided to do what any nation that had just tripled its land size would do...they settled their new territory. Today there are over 400,000 Jews living in the West Bank as pioneers/settlers. The vast majority of these Jews are law-abiding citizens who just want to live in peace as normal people. Many of them are Americans who moved to Israel out of religious idealism.

You see, most of the land that we have in today's Israel is not biblical Israel. Many of the towns that are mentioned in the Bible such as Jericho and Hebron are today not in "Israel proper". They are in the West Bank. So this is a big deal for Jews.

It's easy to paint them as fanatics because they have long side-burns and pray for a Messiah to deliver the Jews from their problems. But that doesn't make them crazy, it just makes them devoted to their religion. Most of these people are no different from the average devoted American Christian. They pray everyday, don't work on their Sabbath and believe in the 10 commandments. If we give up the West Bank, what happens to these people? Remember that the last time we evacuated a group of settlers - was Gaza and look at what that got us. Is there any question that the same exact thing will happen in the West Bank (which is much closer to the major Israeli population centers than Gaza is) when/if we retreat from there?

3. The "Right of Return" for Palestinians. After the 1948 war and then again after the 1967 war Palestinians left Israel en masse. Today these "refugees" and their descendants number in the millions (as do the descendants of the nearly 1 million Jews tossed out of Arab countries at the same time). Fatah and Hamas both insist on allowing these millions of refugees back into Israel proper. This will effectively end Israel as a Jewish state or a democracy because the Arabs will be able to vote their people into the leadership through demographics. Either the Arab majority runs Israel or the Jews bar the not-Jews from holding office. Lose-lose.

4. Jerusalem. It's been the capital of every Jewish state going back about 3,000 years. Palestinians want it as their capital. It's the third most holy city in Islam...but the most holy place in all of Judaism. When it was under Jordanian control Jews were not allowed to go to the Western Wall (the holiest place in Jerusalem to Jews) and before that under Islamic rule it was used as a garbage dump. Israel allows all religions access to their holy sites.

5. There are currently three entities in power within the borders of Israel. Not two. There are the Jews who control Israel. Palestinians under the banner of Fatah who control the West Bank...and Palestinians under the banner of Hamas who control Gaza. Hamas is dedicated outright to the destruction of Israel and rejects any deals that Fatah makes. Even if there was a "two-state" solution negotiated with Fatah, it would not apply to Hamas which will still fire rockets into Israel...making any peace agreement worth......precisely zero.

6. Independence. Today fuel, electricity and jobs are supplied to the Palestinians by Israel. The Palestinians have been recipients of billions upon billions of dollars of foreign assistance (over $10B since 1999 alone). I don't know too much about power plant construction but this article says a plant that generates 3,600 Megawatts of power in India is projected to cost about $370 million. Couldn't they have used some of those billions of dollars of aid to build a power plant somewhere so they could avoid Israeli "blockades"? Maybe Hamas could put some of that Iranian cash to more than just death, destruction and violence? Before a nation can prove that it is ready for an independent state, it should show some proof that it is capable of actual independence.

By the way...take a guess at who the single biggest individual Palestinian aid contributor is. If you guessed Saudi Arabia you were.....

WRONG. Israel, the source of many Palestinians' jobs, transfers hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority every year in income tax revenue. Income taxes that if Israelis worked in those jobs would go to the Israeli infrastructure instead of into rockets and machine guns.

7. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Palestinians have rejected every offer the Israelis have ever given them...up to an offer that gave them 97% of the West Bank, all of Gaza and part of Jerusalem as their capital. That offer was made in 2000...



They rejected it and almost immediately began the 2nd Intifada which killed thousands. In 2007 Peres and then Olmert offered them 97% of the West Bank, all of Gaza as well their right of return for thousands of Palestinians...they rejected that as well.

Let's also not forget that the initial UN partition of Palestine created a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, side-by-side that was supposed to live in peace and harmony. Palestinians would have gotten even more than the most generous Obama-supporter could dream of. Their response? Invasion. War. Violence.

So a two-state solution in any form has not been the answer so far. Even if the Fatah government negotiates in good faith and fully intends to stop the violence, it's hard to imagine the peace holding for very long since Iran and other Islamic countries incite the Palestinians to continue to fight with Israel so they don't have to. Furthermore, even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict miraculously comes to an end - that doesn't end the threat Iran poses to Israel and the West, it doesn't finish the support for the Taliban and al Qaeda. It doesn't solve the issue of Islamist hatred for America, the Jews and anyone who doesn't eat hummus five times a day.

To end the conflict the only solution is to cure the disease not mask the symptoms. We don't need Advil to stop the headache, we need an operation to remove the brain tumor.

The only option Israel really has is to wait it out until there is better leadership for the Palestinians that is more open to real progress. Don't build any new settlements, but continue allowing the existing ones to grow. Finish building the security fence and keep going after terrorists wherever they operate from. If Hamas fires rockets from Gaza, level it again. When they rebuild Gaza and start firing rockets again, re-level it. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks because they have no idea how to prevent disaster...witness WWI, WWII, the Cold War, Vietnam...

This depressing status quo will likely remain until two things happen:

A) The Middle East is no longer run by dictators
B) Children in the Middle East are no longer brainwashed in schools and on TV to hate Jews, Americans and the West

Odds are that B cannot happen without A happening first. In reality neither option is likely without C) WWII-style regime change all over the Middle East. Remember that Japan and Germany were also aggressive, expansionist nations with warrior cultures that dated back to the Middle Ages and earlier. Today they make Mercedes Benzes and Nintendo Wiis. But C) is not happening anytime soon and should obviously be seen as an absolute last resort. The tipping point is rapidly approaching however...and I'm not talking about "climate change".

For the Israelis, Palestinians and rest of the hopelessly oppressed people of the Middle East...until the day that the rest of the world gets its act together and addresses the much larger issues than settlers, check-points and final status negotiations - the entire concept of a "two-state solution" (or any solution for that matter) will remain little more than a buzz-word and should be treated as such.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hollow Hollow Words

This has to be a joke, right? I mean there's just no way on Earth that anyone could possibly think we would fall for this. Right? There can't be! It's just not possible...

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared May Jewish American Heritage Month, saying that the "United States would not be the country we know without the achievements of Jewish Americans."

It's Jewish American History Month?! Really? I didn't know...did you?? Did anyone?

Obama called on all Americans to "commemorate the proud heritage of Jewish Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

"Unyielding in the face of hardship and tenacious in following their dreams, Jewish Americans have surmounted the challenges that every immigrant group faces, and have made unparalleled contributions," Obama said. He added, "Jewish American leaders have been essential to all branches and levels of government. Still more Jewish Americans have made selfless sacrifices in our Armed Forces."


Did someone suddenly decide that today is May Fools Day or something? What planet am I on? President Barrack Hussein Obama is declaring that this is Jewish American Heritage Month...on the 13th day of the month...after his administration is off to the one of worst starts vis-a-vis Israeli (read: JEWISH) policy in history? After his flunkies have been sending messages to Jewish lobbyists and Israeli leadership that the United States' Iran policy is mind-bogglingly somehow connected to Palestinian statehood. After his vice president warned Netanyahu that it would be a bad idea for the IDF to take the necessary steps to defend its citizens against Iranian nuclear terror.

After the Democratic primary's Biggest Loser and Obama Secretary of State Hilary Clinton decided that it would be a wise decision during the worst American economic disaster in decades to dump $900 million from the sky into Gaza with the naive assumption that it would never make it into the hands of Hamas baby-killers. After he has done nothing for Israel (the JEWISH STATE) except for prance around the world in photo-op after photo-op apologizing for the West's foreign policy of the past 100 years (READ: SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL THE JEWISH STATE). After he teased us by letting us think the US and A would actually participate in the Durban 2, Achmedinejad-fest. He thinks THIS is the answer?

Obama said that Jewish American community has set an example for all Americans. "They have demonstrated that Americans can choose to maintain cultural traditions while honoring the principles and beliefs that bind them together as American," said Obama. "Jewish American history demonstrates how America's diversity enriches and strengthens us all."


What what what WHAT?!?!


Am I supposed to forget that even as he was just a Democratic longshot back in the good old days of December/2007 it was clear he would be no good for the state of the Jews? It's so obvious that Obama has stabbed his Jewish supporters in the back that even former Obama cheerleader Shmuel Rosner (who was the target of the article I wrote in 2007), had this to say in a recent post of Rosner's Domain:

3. Generally speaking, what we see here is a panel worried about future policies of an administration that hasn't yet clarified its positions.

4. Gates is getting higher marks than those he got three months ago mostly because the panel realized that at this point in time he is the only member of the administration who actually knows what he's doing.


Even Rosner realizes that only member of this administration that has any idea what is flying in the world is Bush holdover, Secretary of Defense Gates. It's enough to make your head spin.

What say the 77% of Jews who voted for Obama now? Are they realizing that maybe they made the wrong choice in voting the Party line instead of for a true friend of Israel and the Jews like McCain? Or Obama's predecessor President Bush - the man who ACTUALLY conceived of a Jewish Heritage Month?

More likely these people are fooled by this embarrassing attempt to distract us from the facts.

People like Jewish Uncle Tom, "Obama's Rabbi" David Saperstein who in an interview with Haaretz:

...stressed the importance of the connection between U.S. Jews and Israel, the rabbi said he didn't feel support for the country necessarily meant blanket approval of its actions.

"If I see my brother or sister doing something that I believe is truly harmful to them - I'm going to say something even if they are adults that make their own decisions," he said.


Well that's great rabbi...but if you have an argument with your brother or sister - do you do it in public? And when you say "brother" and "sister" is it really your place to criticize your sibling if you've been estranged from them for the majority of your life (if not the entirety of it)?

"You don't really show your love to someone by remaining silent when they're doing something counterproductive or might harm someone else - if you will say that in order to be supporter of Israel you must agree with all its policies - you're going to alienate millions of people who think of themselves as active Israel supporters."

Counterproductive...? Like what?

Saperstein added that he feels "it's far more effective when people who disagree with settlement policies, disagree with government positions on the right of the reform and conservative Jews, join together to support AIPAC for Israel."

Oh of course, those evil evildoers the settlers. So even the token Jew in Obama's religious council...is still going to be parroting the Party line that the SETTLEMENT policy is the reason why we have a problem in the Middle East. Well, is there anything that Obama's vision of the ideal Jew IS in favor of?

"The direction seems quite clear not just in Jewish leadership with more and more rabbis officiating it, but the Jewish community supporting overwhelmingly the full equality for gays and lesbians."

Right. The "Jewish community" is "overwhelmingly" supportive of "full equality" for gays and lesbians. I guess that's code words for gay marriage. Now I'm not sure who Saperstein thinks he's speaking for when he says that, but I can tell you that the OVERWHELMING majority of Orthodox and especially Hasidic Jews do not share this view. Since as we explored also in 2007, within a few generations the only Jews left in America will likely be exclusively of the Orthodox variety, it is safe to say that Rabbi Saperstein, like fellow sellouts Sarah Silverman and Jon Stewart does not speak for all of us.

I'm sure the Sapersteins, Silvermans and Leibovitzes of the world will all be very excited by Obama's declaration. But not the rest of us. We know what this is really about. In the end, our "friend" in the White House is laying a foundation to demand from Netanyahu that Israel cave into Fatah and Hamas terrorists and give up land in the West Bank (up to and including parts of the Israeli/Jewish capital of Jerusalem), the Golan Heights and maybe just maybe give into some Palestinian "right of return" as well. Not to mention that he sits on the sidelines while Iran becomes a nuclear power...

No...those of us who know this game will not be bought by these hollow words so easily. You can keep your Jewish American Heritage declarations...we know what's coming. We knew it was coming. And we won't be fooled.




Well...the other 23% of us at least.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Death sentences for juveniles, real estate brokers and pigs: just another week in the Middle East

Shifting gears after the emotions of Israel Independence week and a sanity-draining trip down the rabbit hole, it's time to get back to business with some news items from around the Middle East.

Yesterday, Iran executed a woman named Delara Darabi for a murder that she allegedly committed when she was 17. From the article:

Amnesty International said it was "outraged" at the execution, drawing particular attention to the fact that her lawyer was not informed about it, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours' notice.

"This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi's life," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program. Darabi was executed despite her having been given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on April. 19, which Sahraoui said indicates "that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces."

Darabi was convicted of murdering a relative in 2003 when she was 17. She initially confessed to the murder, believing she could save her boyfriend from the gallows, but later retracted her confession. She was being detained at Rasht Prison in northern Iran since her arrest in 2003.


RIP Delara Darabi 1986-2009

So...the "authorities" told her on April 19th that she was off the hook for at least two months and on May 1st she was swinging from the noose with NO WARNING and NO OPPORTUNITY for her lawyer to do anything. What a lovely system of "justice" they have in the Islamic "Republic" of Iran. This is nothing new though as Iran executes juvenile offenders like Americans eat donuts...



What caught my attention was the fact that Amnesty International is "outraged" by this act, as if this kind of barbaric behavior is something new in the Middle East. Maybe if they stopped wasting all their time being obsessed with condemning Israel for acts of self defense they would have time to pay attention to what's actually going on in the world around them.

Blatantly silent however, is Amnesty International on this story about a Palestinian who had the audacity to conduct a real estate transaction...with a Jew. From the British Broadcasting Corporation:

A Palestinian military court has condemned a man to death by hanging for treason for selling land to Israelis. Anwar Breghit, 59, was convicted by a court in the West Bank town of Hebron. He sold property near his village "that he did not own", prosecutors said.

You know on second thought, maybe executing shady real estate salesmen in the US and A isn't such a bad idea...the article continues:

Only two people have had death sentences against them carried out, although others have been summarily executed over suspicions that they sold land to Israelis.

Paging Amnesty International...come in Amnesty International...

Not to be outdone however, the amazingly impartial BBC writer wraps up the story with a brief history lesson:

Israel occupied the West Bank and other Arab territory in the 1967 war. It has settled more than 400,000 of its own citizens in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - illegally in the eyes of international law, although Israel disputes this. The continued presence and expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is one of the main points of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Friction between settlements and the more than two million Palestinians in the West Bank frequently leads to violence and bloodshed.

They also throw in this picture and caption, just in case you naively believed they were blaming anyone other than Israel for this:


Israel has settled hundreds of thousands of its citizens on occupied land

Whaaaat?! In an article about a businessman being sentenced to DEATH for the crime of selling land to Jews, 4 out 10 paragraphs as well as the picture and caption (almost half of the entire article!) were devoted to reminding you that Jews don't belong in Judea and Samaria at all! Where are the worldwide condemnations from human rights groups? Where is Hilary Clinton? Barack Obama? The EU? The UN? Is there any leadership in the West at all? Where is the reaction from moderate Palestinians who condemn this insanity? Oh that's right there aren't any...because the people doing the sentencing here, Fatah, ARE the moderates.

We don't hear anything from the wise leadership of Obama or the UN because these are the people they want Israel to negotiate with in exchange for their support against Iran! We don't hear anything from human rights groups on this (but we do hear about Darabi) because as we have already explored previously - deep down they don't back Israel at all. Hence also why the BBC writer feels the need to put a context around this. You need to know that this event would not take place if Israel was not "occupying" the West Bank so that you can be sure to understand that all these people want you believe that in the end...this too is the fault of the Jews.

And just in case you thought that this wholesale barbarism that surrounds the only real democracy in the Middle East is limited to intelligent human beings who should know the difference between right and wrong, we shift our focus now to the Arab "Republic" of Egypt panicked "leadership's" response to the swine flu hysteria.


An Egyptian butcher carries a pig in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, April 30, 2009. Egypt began slaughtering the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precaution against swine flu even though no cases have been reported here, infuriating farmers who blocked streets and stoned vehicles of Health Ministry workers who came to carry out the government's order. (AP Photo/Nasser Nouri)

Nevermind of course that swine flu isn't actually being spread by pigs at this point or that by all accounts the forecasted "global pandemic" is (as usual) turning out to be a bust. Nor is this the first time Egypt has instituted an unnecessary mass-slaughter of defenseless animals either. From the Associated Press article:

Egypt, which has no swine flu cases, is the only country in the world to order a mass pig slaughter in response to the disease. The move mirrored Egypt's battle with bird flu, in which the government killed 25 million birds within weeks in 2006.

Am I the only one who's blown away by these numbers? I mean, I'm no vegetarian or anything but isn't there something fundamentally unnecessary about ending the lives of 25 MILLION birds or 300 THOUSAND pigs? Put aside the fact that these tactics have proven entirely ineffective in the past...these animals are living beings after all. But you won't hear anything about it from PETA who's too busy campaigning against kosher food to care about what's going on in the Middle East.

Having human rights groups AND animals rights groups so unbelievably biased against you might seem strange somewhere else, but not in Israel.

Over there, it's just another week in the Middle East...


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Triumph

In our annual build-up to the anniversary of Israel's rebirth we have taken a somber reflection on some of the great calamities of the 20th century and how they have played a role in the history of the Middle East and the world at large.

Nightmare

Nakba

Catastrophe

Today however, we celebrate the greatest triumph of the Jewish people since the dedication of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. It is important to remember that in the grand scheme of history there is no precedent for what occurred in the spring of 1948. Never before had the hopes and dreams of a broken people lain dormant for nearly 2,000 years before they were finally realized. This fact was not lost on the Zionist founders of the State of Israel. Secular (even non-religious) as they were, they still had a deep respect for history and appreciated the gravity of the moment,




as reflected by headlines from that day that not only speak of the "birth" of the state of Israel



The State of Israel is Resurrected


but of a REBIRTH of the first Jewish state in 19 centuries. The Founding Charter itself makes mention of this amazing turn of events:

IN ERETZ ISRAEL [the Land of Israel] arose the Jewish people, in which was formed its spiritual, religious and national image, in which it lived official sovereign life, in which it created national and universal cultural treasures and bequeathed to the world entire the eternal Book of Books.

After the nation was exiled from its land by armed strength it remained loyal to her in all the lands to which it was spread and did not cease to pray and hope to return to its land and to renew in her its national freedom.

From this historical and traditional connection strove the Jews in every generation to return and to grasp their ancient homeland, and in the last generations they returned in their masses, and pioneers, illegal immigrants, and defenders made spirits blossom, revived their Hebrew language, built villages and cities, and established a large and burgeoning community which controls its economy and culture, promotes peace and protects itself, brings forth the blessing of progress to all inhabitants of the Land and bears its spirit towards sovereign independence.




The charter also states the following:

The Holocaust which befell the Tribe of Israel in recent times, in which were led to slaughter millions of Jews in Europe, proved anew succinctly the necessity of a solution to the problem of the Jewish people lacking homeland and independence through the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, which will open wide the gates of the homeland to every Jew and will grant the Jewish people the stature of a nation of equal standing within the family of nations.

The remainder of the refugees which was saved from the terrible Nazi slaughter in Europe and the Jews of other lands did not waver from immigrating illegally to the Land of Israel in spite of every difficulty, obstacle and danger, and did not cease to demand their right to live in dignity, freedom and honest labor in the homeland of their people.


And further:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles; will strive to develop the land for the benefit of all her inhabitants; will be founded on the principles of freedom, justice and peace in the spirit of the visions of the Prophets of Israel; will implement equality of complete social and national rights for all her citizens without distinction between religion, race and gender; will promise freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; will protect the religious places of all the religions; and will be loyal to the principles of the declation of the United Nations.

In one of my first postings on this site I spoke of why it is important for ALL Jews to stand behind Israel...whether they live in Israel, have family there or don't even know where to find it on a map. The mere existence of the state is our only insurance policy against future atrocities and Holocausts. In addition to the charter's stated purpose of being a place of refuge, the fact that we have an independent, sovereign home, with its own military transforms 2,000 years of Jewish suffering into 61 years of Jewish triumph.



Never again will we have to hope and beg and plead to be saved by the outside world.

Never again will we have to hope that our host countries will be good to us and hope that kings, dictators and presidents will bestow upon us their good will and let us live in peace and quiet.

The triumph of the state of Israel is the triumph of the Jewish nation in rising up from the ashes of a broken, homeless people to take its rightful place in the world and have the freedom of self-determination and most importantly self-defense.

To our neighbors the Arabs and even the Persians I say, as in 1948 when we said to them the following:

WE CALL - even during the bloody attacks which have been carried out against us for months - to the members of the Arab nation residents of the State of Israel to keep the peace and partake in their share in the building of the State upon the principle of full and equal citizenship and upon the principle of appropriate representation in all institutions, temporary and permanent.

WE EXTEND a hand of peace and good neighborliness to all the neighboring nations and their peoples and call upon them to partake in cooperation and mutual assistance with the independent Hebrew nation in its land. The State of Israel is prepared to contribute her share in the joint effort to advance the Middle East entire.


The victory of 1948 need not only apply to the Jewish residents of Israel! Already today there are over a million Israeli Arabs who have partaken in the aforementioned equal citizenship. The solution to the Nightmare and the Catastrophe can also be the solution to the Nakba...if you only "partake in [your] share in the building of the State" - or at least live in peace as our neighbors in the West Bank and Gaza, you too can be a part of solution to both of our nations' problems!



It is then the our Triumph will indeed be shared by all of the residents of the Middle East. Until then, it is still just a hope. It is no coincidence that the national anthem of our country is called exactly that...

As long as deep in the heart,
A Jewish soul yearns
And to towards the ends of the east
An eye is scouting for Zion

Our hope is as yet not lost
The hope that is 2000 years old
To be a free nation, in our own country
The land of Zion and Jerusalem

כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה,
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח, קָדִימָה,
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה,

עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם,
לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ,
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם.

That day is not yet here and until that day comes we will celebrate the anniversary of the Triumph of the Jewish nation, in the face of impossible odds, alone.



Happy 61st Birthday, Israel.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Catastrophe

Following our previous look at 175 years of Palestinian suffering on the anniversary of the Nakba (the Arabic word for catastrophe), it is important to remember that at the same time that the well-known and publicized Arab refugee crisis was developing, there was another catastrophe taking place all over the Middle East.

In 1945, there were approximately 1 million Jews living in various Arab countries across the Middle East, as well as Iran/Persia, Afghanistan and other Islamic, non-Arab countries. From Tehran to Baghdad to Beirut to Cairo to Tripoli to Tunis and beyond, bustling Jewish communities thrived for thousands of years. These indigenous peoples predated even the Arabs (and certainly the Muslim invaders who came in the 600's) by over a thousand years! The first Jews to arrive were forced out of Israel and Judea by the Assyrians and Babylonians after the destruction of the FIRST Temple and were later joined by additional refugees of the Roman exile as well the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition and various other atrocities committed against them.

I recently had the privilege to attend movie showing and speech on the topic that was produced by The David Project. The film, entitled The Forgotten Refugees, relates the story of these communities and the terrible conditions that forced them out.




As the Jewish state was forming, the Arabs launched pogroms all over the Middle East. With scenes reminiscent of Kristallnacht from just 10 years earlier, Jews were taken out of their homes, beaten, hanged, robbed, looted and raped. In just a few short years, centuries upon centuries of Jewish culture were erased and these communities fled their homes in terror.

I'm not much of a movie reviewer but I will say that I myself was very affected by what I saw. Growing up, I knew a large percentage of Israel was made up of "Mizrahim" or "eastern" Jews (from Arab lands) but the fact that whole COUNTRIES were literally ethnically cleansed of Jews was not something I had really wrapped my head around before I saw the movie. The movie is filled with documentary footage as well as personal interviews with some of the survivors of these events. But perhaps the most shocking part of the movie was when they displayed a graphic that detailed the Jewish populations of these countries in the 40's and compared them to today...

Aden
1940's: 8,000
Today: JUDENREIN

Afghanistan
1940's: 5,000
Today: JUDENREIN

Algeria:
1940's: 140,000
Today: 80

Egypt
1940's: 80,000
Today: 40

Iran
1940's: 100,000
Today: 20,000

Iraq
1940's: 150,000
Today: 16

Lebanon
1940's: 5,666
Today: 20

Libya
1940's: 38,000
Today: JUDENREIN

Morocco
1940's: 265,000
Today: 5,000

Syria
1940's: 27,770
Today: 26

Tunisia
1940's: 105,000
Today: 1,500

Yemen
1940's: 55,000
Today: 100

Source: The Forgotten Refugees, this collection of statistics from Wikipedia and this BBC article on the last Jew in Afghanistan



And lest you think that these Jews were even allowed to take their personal belongings with them or that these people were not productive members of society, this estimate from 2007 that you never read, claims over $300 billion-worth of property lost and the deeds to over 100,000 square miles of land confiscated by the Arab governments. To give you some context - that's over FIVE TIMES the size of the entire state of Israel as it stands today. To give you a little more context, in 1948 (after the "Nakba" was over) the Palestinian population of Israel was 156,000.

Today that number has become 1,498,000.

A TENFOLD increase.

Conveniently, the Arab world has seen to it that the Jewish communities that used to exist in their own lands have been stricken from the record. The Jews who fled have been turned into forgotten refugees because to admit the facts is to admit that the crocodile tears they cry over the Palestinians are exponentially MORE hypocritical when taken in the context that the accusers are actually GUILTY of the behavior they falsely pin on the victims! In reality, if Israel was really looking to "ethnically cleanse" itself of its Arab population - they would do much better to follow the example of the very neighbors who are the loudest to dump this crime on them.

So, as tonight marks the beginning of Yom HaZikaron, the Israeli Memorial Day, the RONMOSSAD blog would like to dedicate this space to those forgotten refugees and the memory of those who did not make it to a better life in Israel or elsewhere. While the hypocritical West and United Nations pass hundreds of resolutions on worldwide refugees (including over 100 on the Palestinian refugees) and create "Bureaus on committees on exercises" to deal with the problem...as usual not a word is said about the catastrophe that befell the Jews of the Middle East at the same time! Instead those victims are demonized and cast as the oppressors.

I hope you will now join me in taking every opportunity you can, to remind those who seek to eliminate the Jewish communities of the Middle East from our memories, that we will not allow them to rewrite history and to hijack the narrative for their political gains.

The world must know that Israel is NOT made up of "European invaders" - rather that these communities existed in Israel and in the Middle East for thousands of years before the first Zionists set foot in Petach Tikvah.

That the descendants of these now-destroyed Jewish communities are still very much alive and part of society and that they will not be silenced by a world that finds their existence inconvenient.

That they will be forgotten and cast aside no longer.

Skip to the next post in this series: Triumph or the previous post: Nakba


Friday, April 24, 2009

Nakba

This week (April 29th to be exact) Israelis and Jews will celebrate the 61st anniversary of the reestablishment of their ancient state of Israel. Many Palestinians and Israeli Arabs however, will be commemorating 61 years since their "Nakba" or Great Catastrophe during which they lost their homeland to the Jewish/European invaders. Truly the story of the Palestinians is a sad one as ever since the beginning of their history they have been killed by outsiders.

The following as a brief summary of some of the catastrophes that have befallen the Palestinian people since the birth of their national consciousness...

1834: Hundreds of Palestinians are killed and raped, dozens of villages are destroyed and 10,000 deported to Egypt.

1938: 4,200 kilos of bombs are loaded into Jenin and detonated, destroying much of the town and causing numerous casualties. As part of the attack, Palestinians are used as "mine-sweepers" by being forced to drive through the city in advance of the attack. When questioned about these tactics, the perpetrators respond that they are confronted, "not with a chivalrous opponent playing the game according to the rules, but with gangsters and murderers."

1968-1970: Orders are given to "deal conclusively and without hesitation with the plotters who want to establish a separate Palestinian state and destroy the unity of the Jordanian and Palestinian people." As a result thousands of Palestinians are killed, thousands more are arrested. Tens of thousands are ethnically cleansed and deported out of entire cities.

1978: Laws and regulations are amended to treat Palestinians as foreigners. Their rights to free education, employment and even residency were taken away from them.

2001: Palestinian Arabs are deprived of their right to own property...laws are also passed depriving them of their ability to become citizens and work in 74 different fields.

2005: Attacks begin on Palestinians all over the country, estimates come in that over 600 have been killed.

October 1st, 2006: - 8 Palestinians are killed in various flashpoints throughout the occupied territories.

December 11-23 2006: - "At least 20 Palestinians, including children, killed in a series of tit-for-tat attacks."

2007: Over 350 Palestinians are killed and over are 550 wounded all over the West Bank and Gaza.

August 2nd, 2008: 9 Palestinians are killed and 95 hurt in Gaza.

January 3rd, 2009: At least 35 Palestinians are killed and an additional 75 have their legs shot or hands broken.

Let us all take a moment of silence in the memory of these tragedies that have befallen the Palestinian people over the past 170+ years...







The following parties must be held to accountability for these crimes of murder, rape, theft, ethnic cleansing and apartheid:

1. Egypt (1834 - occupation of Palestine and subsequent murders and rapes)
2. Britain (1938 - destruction of Jenin)
3. Jordan (1968-1970 - actions/ethnic cleansing against Palestine Liberation Organization based in its territory)
4. Egypt (1978 - discriminatory/apartheid laws being passed against Palestinians in Egypt)
5. Lebanon (2001 - discriminatory/apartheid laws being passed against Palestinians in Lebanon)
6. Iraq (2005 - attacks on Palestinians in sectarian violence)
7. Hamas and Fatah leadership (2006-now - attacks on each other that have killed dozens of civilians)

You won't find any mention of any of these atrocities on the websites that speak of crimes against Palestinians. Mysteriously absent is any mention of Arab-on-Arab violence, British military tactics or infighting amongst Muslims. You see, it's only an issue when Jews kill Muslims...when they kill each other it's just part of their culture...or it's the growing pains of a new Middle East...or any other number of silly excuses that have been given by "peace activists" and the like.

Let's also not forget that in 1947 when the United Nations voted for the Palestine Partition Plan that it would have been the first time in the history of the world that there was an independent Palestine:



Please note that with the exception of the coastal plain that included Tel Aviv and the next-door Arab enclave of Jaffa (that would still remain under Arab control), the remaining Jewish land was primarily uninhabitable, arid, rocky desert (everything from Beersheba and south). The Jews jumped at the opportunity to re-establish their homeland for the first time in 2,000 years even though it was essentially three unconnected patches of land and no claim or even access to Jerusalem, the ancient Jewish capital of 3,000 years.

The Palestinian (and Greater Arab World's) response was to declare war on the soon-to-be founded state of Israel. This resulted in a Jewish victory during which they took a significantly larger portion of the country than what the UN allotted them and resulted in the Yom Haatzmaut/Nakba duality that we will be celebrating/mourning this week.

To make it even clearer...if the Arabs had accepted the UN plan in 1947 we would be celebrating the 61st anniversary of Palestine on Wednesday as well as Israel. There would be no refugee problem, no issue of borders, no dead women and children, no conflict, no stupid excuses for Bin-Laden and the Palestinians would have a significantly larger country than even the one Ehud Barak was willing to give them in 2000 (which they again, rejected).

Instead they chose to follow the advice of their leader of the time (and inspiration for Palestinian nationalism still today) Haj Amin al-Husseini:

this was and will remain an Arab land. We do not mind you natives of the country, but those alien invaders, the Zionists, will be massacred to the last man. We want no progress, no prosperity. Nothing but the sword will decide the fate of this country.

Source: palestinefacts.org

Therefore, it is on the eve of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba of Palestinian people that the RONMOSSAD BLOG calls for the indictment of those parties responsible for the suffering of the oppressed Palestinian people that continues well into its 175th year:

-The Arab kings, sultans, dictators and autocrats of the 1800's, 1900's and 2000's
-The Palestinian leadership of the 1920's, 30's and 40's
-The Fatah/Hamas "leadership" that continues from 1948 into today

The RONMOSSAD BLOG also calls for true justice, solidarity and hope for the Palestinian people. The parties responsible must rectify this problem once and for all and those that continue to perpetuate these vile and intolerant laws against Palestinians in their own countries must be taken out of power immediately.

Furthermore, the RONMOSSAD BLOG asserts that the living conditions for Palestinians who chose to remain in Israel proper (referred to today as "Israeli Arabs") are significantly better than those of their neighbors in the refugee camps of their adoptive countries. Israeli Arabs have full voting rights, access to education and serve in the Israeli Parliament.

Therefore, the RONMOSSAD BLOG calls on the host countries of the Palestinian refugees to IMMEDIATELY grant them equal rights as they receive in Israel.

Finally, the RONMOSSAD BLOG declares that there will be no peace in the Middle East, no justice or hope for Muslims, Christians and Jews in Israel and Palestine until the Arab "leadership's" crimes of the Nakba are rectified. The conflict will continue until the world recognizes the FACTS that have been presented here.

Justice, solidarity and hope for the innocent victims of the Nakba. In 2009...and forever.

Skip to the next post in this series: Catastrophe or the previous post: Nightmare


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nightmare

This past weekend the Yankees opened up their new ballpark in the Bronx. Fans have been gushing about the improved sight-lines, the beautiful new architecture, fancy, shwanky new restaurants, the food court and yes, it's true EVERY seat now has a cupholder. Fans have complained about higher ticket prices ($2,500 for a one-time experience of watching your team lose 22-4? Really?), reduced number of "cheap seats" and a bizarre tendency for pop fly outs to turn into grand slams. Some have even claimed the new Stadium is cursed by the ghosts and memories of the old Stadium...which still sits across the street. Crumbling. Full of gaping holes. Just living out its last days. Waiting for the inevitable nano-thermite demolition...



Still it is a beautiful new stadium. Able to support 50,000 fans with all the luxury a modern baseball Temple should offer.

50,000 fans.

I tell you this, not just because I have been to the Stadium twice now and have seen it full of these screaming fans...but also because I want you to have the mental image of these fans...in this full stadium of 50,000 because I want you to imagine them all being loaded into a massive gas chamber, gassed, murdered and then their remains shoveled into several crematoriums where they'd be burned...incinerated, their ashes rising up into the sky in clouds of black smoke.

Pretty terrible image isn't it? Now imagine that instead of baseball fans these are Jews in Poland, Greece, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Romania, Hungary, Denmark, Holland and all over the rest of Europe. And those 50,000 Jews? Imagine that after they cleared out the stadium they filled it up again and repeated the process. And then they did it again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN. 120 times.

Do you understand what that means? 120 times? And that's just talking about the 6 million Jewish victims. Let's not forget either the gypsies, homosexuals, mentally handicapped and all the rest of Hitler's "undesirable" peoples.

Today commemorated the event you know as the Holocaust. But for the people who lived through it they just knew it as a nightmare. A nightmare that began in 1933 and steadily got worse until it finally ended in 1945. A nightmare they were unable to wake up from until their liberation at the end of the war. A nightmare that some have been unable to wake up from until this day - or until the day they die.

You think the imagery is terrible? Using something so wholesome...a symbol of American freedom, a nice day enjoying the great American pastime to talk about something so terrible - it's pretty awful isn't it?

Guess what - that's how it was in 1939. And if you don't like it you have the freedom to go elsewhere and continue arguing about ticket prices and cup holders.



The Jews of Europe on the other hand, did not have that luxury.

In memory of those that didn't make it out of the German nightmare.



And in defense of those who did.


Always.


Skip to the next post in this series: Nakba


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Burging Bridges

Flipping through the channels aimlessly after another insane episode of Lost, I stumble across a Charlie Rose interview with Avrum Burg. They are discussing Burg's somewhat-new book, The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise from Its Ashes. Intrigued I stop to watch the exchange...and am somewhat less-than-shocked to see that Burg was arguing that Jews (and Israelis) today are still plagued by an obsession with the Holocaust that colors our everyday lives. His original title for the book was "Hitler Won" because in his opinion we are consuming ourselves still with hatred and paranoia...that we over-inflate every threat to Jews and Israel and that every enemy of Jews is elevated to Hitler status.

I'm transcribing what was said in this interview so I may be off on the exact quote but I think he just said that "everyday the Jews kill Hitler again and everyday Hitler kills us again." This basically sums up the gist of his book apparently, as he feels it's time we "got over it" and moved on with our lives.

Just get over it...



Right.

His main complaint is that Israelis (and Jews) use the Holocaust as an excuse to commit "atrocities" in places like Gaza and the West Bank. He relates a conversation he had with a friend about the recent act of Jewish self-defense better known as Cast Lead. Burg argued with his friend that Israel was acting in similar fashion to the Germans during WWII. The Jews, claims Burg, have been targeted for annihilation so many times over the years that we must be sensitive to ALL attempts to extinguish a race. Like our old friends Vera and Peter, Burg believes that "Never Again" applies to all races...not just Jews.

To which his mythical friend...portrayed as a voice for all chicken-hawk Israelis...responds, "but Avrum, there are no gas chambers in Gaza..." Burg and Charlie Rose chuckle at this obvious silliness. To think, that a people could be so wrapped up in semantics that they cannot even see the similarities between Nazi Germany and Zionist Israel JUST because the methods of destruction are different! Oh the hilarity!

The conversation then turns to Iran and the nuclear threat it will soon pose to Israel Burg states that in order for Israel to get what it wants RE: an American attack on Iran, Obama should require Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. And why do we need to sell out the Jews of Judea and Samaria? Well you see there can be no attack on Iran without peace in Iraq. There can be no peace in Iraq without Syrian cooperation. There can be no Syrian cooperation without Israel conceding the Golan Heights which of course can't happen (for some unexplained leap of faith)



without ALSO creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank. We can go in to a discussion of the flawed logic in this leap...how wrong he is, but even if he were right, the fact that this former highly decorated Israeli paratrooper subscribes to the notion that the Jews are at the root of all of the Middle East's problems which by extension is the root of the world's problems speaks to the very root of the Jewish condition.

First of all, neither of Burg's parents were exactly in the Holocaust. His mother was already living in Hebron and his father left Germany in 1939. While his father suffered great discrimination and went through the awful experience of Kristalnacht - he was never face-to-face with the aforementioned gas chamber that Burg and Rose were chuckling over. With all due respect to Yosef Burg who I'm sure went through a significant amount of trauma - he at least had the courage, ability and foresight to leave the Nazi hell behind before it was too late. Others, like my grandmother, grandfather and millions upon millions of other Jews and "undesirables" were not so fortunate.

You have a lot of nerve Mr. Burg, to tell people who are still alive today, still have flashbacks to the screams from the gas chambers that they should just "get over it". My grandfather died over a decade ago but until the day he died he was tormented with flashbacks that he was back in the camps and that the Nazis were after him. He would jump out of bed in the middle of the night from nightmares about his brothers, parents and the wife and daughter he had before the war that disappeared into the fire of Auschwitz.

Tell that to my grandmother, also a Holocaust survivor. A woman who lost her ENTIRE family and can barely even remember her life before the camps. A woman who used to jump at the sound of barking dogs because it reminded her of the german shepherds that the Nazis would torment her with. A woman who never even leaves her apartment anymore because she is so consumed with sadness and pain. Should she just "get over it" as well Avrum?

But he's not talking to my grandparents is he? He's talking to my parents and me and other Jews and Israelis that cling to these painful memories and simply cannot move on. Well excuse me if I have a hard time just forgetting the fact that had I been in my grandfather's shoes I too would have been beaten within an inch of my life, starved, taken from my land, etc etc. If I have a hard time just forgetting that had they succeeded in killing him or my grandmother I would not be alive today. If I have a hard time viewing an attack on my grandparents as an attack on me as well.

But even so - maybe it is time I myself, personally, stopped holding on to this. Maybe the world really has moved beyond this "genetic Judaism" and we can finally put this racism behind us.

Sure Avrum...just like after the Inquisition, the Crusades, the exiles and all that. Luckily, after the enlightened, progressive communists deposed the backward Czars and their Cossack friends the pogroms in Russia stopped and there was never anymore discrimination or action against Jews in the Soviet Union. Right Avrum????

And SURELY the poor innocent Palestinians of Gaza do not deserve the war against them just like the Jews of Europe didn't deserve the war against them. Right? Because unlike the Jews of Europe, it's not like the Palestinians were blowing up school buses, committing axe attacks against children, firing rockets at civilian population centers, declaring death on anyone who sells land to the infidels or keeping each other from getting medical attention due to political disputes like the Jews of Germany were, those vile instigators. Right Avrum???!?!?!

SURELY the evil Zionist oppressors would NEVER allow innocent Palestinians (who by the way voted overwhelmingly for a faction that was founded on the premise that it would destroy Israel and the Jews, called the Nazis oops I mean Hamas) into Israel to receive equal medical treatment that Israeli citizens receive, train Palestinian doctors, or allow Israel-hating, terrorist sympathizing Palestinians to serve in the Parliament...the same way the Nazis had lots of Jews in the Reichstag right before those sneaky weasels burned it down...................

Maybe it's more than just the lack of gas chambers in Gaza that separates this situation from the genocide committed against us...maybe it's a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SITUATION where one has NOTHING to do with the other!

Which finally brings us to the root of the issue here. And it's the same problem that plagues every "progressive" Jew today. Denial of the past is the surest way to move ahead into the future. If we burn our connections, our bridges to the past we can stop remembering our oppression at the hands of others and finally take our place as a "normal" nation. We can be just like everyone else, oblivious of the dark ages the world is desperately trying to plunge itself into again if we just STOP THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO US. Just sit around drinking wine and eating cheese and wait for it all to come crashing down around us.

Unfortunately though it's not about the Jewish state of mind. You see the greatest lesson of the Holocaust was that this attempt to "move on" does absolutely NOTHING for us when a group of animals is determined to ruin our day. It was precisely the progressive intellectuals of Germany who wanted to put the exiles and catastrophes behind them that were among the first to be turned to ash. Hitler's victims weren't just the Jews who sat around on Tisha B'Av mourning the destruction of the Temple - he went after the secular Jews just the same as those who lived in shtetls! And it's the same today and it will always be the same.

Today there are people that are right now plotting new ways to kill you and me. Right now as you are reading this, there is some insane person, most likely in the Middle East sitting with his buddies and trying to come up with the best way to put an end to your life. And it won't matter if you're progressive, liberal, conservative, moderate, secular, Israeli, American, Orthodox, Conservative, Ashkenaz, Sephard or WHATEVER. It won't matter if you send your children on March of the Living or if Israel knocks down Yad Vashem as Burg suggests. The Holocaust lives on because the attempted PERPETRATORS of the NEXT Holocaust live on!

So while it's bad enough to burn a bridge to your past, your heritage and your culture (no matter how checkered or painful it may be, it is still a part of who you are) once you've crossed the river...how much worse is it to burn the bridge while you are still on it! This is a true ostrich mentality that it seems the entire world around me has adopted as its accepted policy.



“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
--Sir Winston Churchill


It's a cliche yes, but for good reason.

What makes it even MORE brazen is that in a society like which Mr. Burg describes he would be excommunicated...lynched even for the absolutely INCENDIARY suggestions he is making. And yet as this surprising New York Times article from December of last year points out...

what is perhaps most interesting of all is that Mr. Burg continues to play a public role in Israel. He is invited to speak to young people, he writes occasional opinion columns, and he is greeted warmly, even embraced, in this city’s cafes.

And why is this? Why ISN'T Burg treated like the traitor he sounds like, in the very country he has taken to thrashing on a regular basis? Because Jews need to stick together, precisely because of events like the Holocaust and the other horrors that have befallen our people before and after it. As the article continues:

This may be because, despite it all, Avrum Burg is family. And whether he likes it or not, Israelis look out for family.

The most ironic part of it all is that the very thing that Burg is denouncing, this obsession with the past that binds us all together is PRECISELY the thing that allows him to keep preaching without fear or reprisal.

Our past is what binds us together. Our past is what has held us together through it all. And no matter what we say or how we act, our past, if ignored will also be our future.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Purimfest!

This week was one of my favorite Jewish holidays of the year -- and not just because of the rabbinic decree to dress up in costumes and drink yourself into oblivion (although that is a consideration). That's right boys and girls I'm talking about Purim, one of the few great post-King Solomon stories of Jewish triumph. Without going into too many details of Esther's Megillah, I'll give a brief summary of the story:

The Jews are exiled all across the world. A new Persian king, Achashverosh (you may know him better as Xerxes, of 300 fame) comes to power and throws a big party during which he wants to show off his gorgeous wife Vashti by having her dance naked in front of his disgusting princes and ministers. She refuses in one of the first acts of feminism in recorded history. Naturally her drunk, Iranian husband has her killed...and immediately regrets it. He ends up choosing a new wife, Esther - who's cousin Mordechai orders her not to tell her new husband that she's in fact Jewish, lest he divorce her at the thought of having the entire Persian treasury spent on nosejobs and Sak's Fifth Avenue. Mordechai then spends his days sitting at the entrance to the king's palace waiting for word from his cousin. One day he overhears a plot to kill Mr. Xerxes and in one of the first acts of Jewish assistance to their gentile rulers, warns and saves the king so he can go on to kill the Spartans and overrun Greece. Naturally, this act goes unrewarded and instead the Jews are targeted for stereotyping and oppression.

Enter the villain, Haman. The king's new hotshot prime minister is so full of himself that he has everyone bowing down to him on penalty of death. The only man who doesn't do it is Mordechai, in one of the first (and last) acts of Jewish resistance in recorded history. Naturally his arrogant, Iranian persecutor decrees that all Jews must die on the same day as a result. He decides to leave it up to the gods for when this day will occur so he spins a wheel with all the dates of the year on it and picks whichever date it lands on. After being miserable for a few days, Mordechai realizes that destiny has handed him the ultimate trump card. The king's new wife is not only Jewish but she's Mordechai's cousin! Mordechai now has a direct link to the throne - he convinces Esther that she was placed into her position as queen by fate specifically for this reason and she must fulfill her destiny of saving the Jews.

Esther invites the king and Haman to a party just for a three of them and tells Xerxes that Haman plans to kill her. Xerxes storms out of the room to compose himself and Haman begs and pleads with Esther not to have him killed. He throws himself at her feet - just as Xerxes walks back into the room and in a rare (for the Bible) and hilarious misunderstanding assumes he is trying to put the moves on his wife while he is in the house! The ultimate in disrespect!





Xerxes is not amused


Haman is executed - hanged on the same gallows he had built for Mordechai. The Jews are allowed to defend themselves from their Persian attackers and have parties of their own to celebrate. Mordechai is named prime minister instead of Haman (and in true gangster fashion moves into the deposed man's house), Haman's 10 sons are hanged from the same gallows as their father and Xerxes goes to the Greek isle of Ahnus to launch his war against Sparta. All live happily ever after. Except for Leonidus of course.

The holiday is named named "Purim" because it is the ancient Hebrew word for "lotteries" which is how Haman decided which day to exterminate the Jews.

So great story - but is there any real relevance for us today? Well aside from the fact that here we are thousands of years later being threatened by yet another Persian loudmouth there are a few passages which are brought up in this story that speak volumes about Jewish history and culture. For example when Haman is expressing to the king his desire to destroy the Jews he describes them as follows:

יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם-אֶחָד מְפֻזָּר וּמְפֹרָד בֵּין הָעַמִּים, בְּכֹל מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתֶךָ; וְדָתֵיהֶם שֹׁנוֹת מִכָּל-עָם, וְאֶת-דָּתֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָם עֹשִׂים, וְלַמֶּלֶךְ אֵין-שֹׁוֶה, לְהַנִּיחָם

There is one nation, which is scattered and spread amongst all others, in all the lands you rule. And their views/religious beliefs are different from all others. They refuse to do the will of the king and there is no reason for you to tolerate their existence.

Wow.

Could there be a better description for the way the rest of the world has viewed the Jews for thousands of years? Could there be a better description for the way we Jews have viewed OURSELVES for thousands of years?! And furthermore, later in the story when the Jews come out on top, the narrator describes it in the following way:

בַּיּוֹם, אֲשֶׁר שִׂבְּרוּ אֹיְבֵי הַיְּהוּדִים לִשְׁלוֹט בָּהֶם, וְנַהֲפוֹךְ הוּא, אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁלְטוּ הַיְּהוּדִים הֵמָּה בְּשֹׂנְאֵיהֶם.


On the day in which the enemies of the Jews had chosen to rule over them...it was the opposite as the Jews ruled over those who hated them.

Even then it was considered "opposite day" when the downtrodden, exiled Jews exacted vengeance over their would-be murderers. It is no surprise then that when 10 of the worst perpetrators of the Holocaust were hanged in Nuremberg after the war was over, the subject of Purim came up. The last man to be brought up to the gallows, Julius Streicher made quite a spectacle by screaming "PurimFest 1946!" to the room. What makes it even more interesting (aside from the coincidence of 10 Nazi executions to go with Haman's 10 children) is that the Nuremberg hangings occurred about six months before Purim and there was no reason for Streicher to declare that day as "Purimfest."

Or was there?

Many rabbinic interpreters have pointed to the similarities between the 10 literal sons of Haman and the 10 ideological sons of Hitler. All sought to destroy the Jews. And what makes it even creepier was that there were supposed to be 11 Nazis executed on that day but Hermann Goring (who often dressed as a woman) killed himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule earlier in the day. While it's not in the megillah itself, there is a rabbinic tradition that Haman had a daughter...who committed suicide. Could it be that these 11 murderers were in fact somehow connected to Haman's children? Maybe reincarnations of them? It sounds like something more suited for Halloween than Purim (both holidays also involve costumes by the way).

I have a different interpretation than the rabbis - although I have to admit that's a lot of coincidences and if nothing else, does make a pretty excellent ghost story. Streicher was a master propagandist and expert on Jewish history and culture. It is also extremely likely he was also an admirer of Haman and knew the story of Purim well. So it is only natural that a man who sought the destruction of a people who had historically almost never come out on top of their enemies would think of the Jewish story whose theme was "opposites" on the biggest opposite day of his entire life.

In reality - the only other "opposite days" the Jewish people have had since that Purim were the story of Chanuka (when the Jews defeated the Greeks) and the foundation of the state of Israel (when the Jews defeated an seven Arab nations at the same time). Although one could argue that everyday that Israel exists is another miraculous opposite day that without a doubt drives our current oppressors insane in much the same way that Mordechai's lack of respect for Haman drove him insane.

Here's hoping that we will again soon see a victorious nation of Israel and another Persian oppressor put to the gallows.



Here's to Purimfest 2009...