Thursday, January 14, 2010

Interactions With Arabs

Heard the one about how the Zionists were European colonialists determined to screw the poor Palestinians? And how by now, they're the only colonialists still standing, but even they will sooner or later succumb to the inexorable logic of history? I have no doubt you have.

Of course, there were always a few scratches on the neatness of the story. The Jewish language, for example, is not only Semitic, it's Western-Semitic, meaning it originated at the east edge of the Mediterranean. There's the single most widespread best-seller in the annals of Man, the Bible, which rather clearly puts the Jews in the land no-one was then calling Palestine. There are the many archeological finds, some of them very old even by the standards of archeology, in the Jewish language, confirming the Jewish story. There's the fact that most Zionists didn't come from European colonial states, there was no home state they could rely on and be colonials from... in short, Zionism looks exactly like an elephant except it doesn't have four legs, no trunk, no floppy ears, no thick gray skin, isn't the right size, isn't an animal at all, and doesn't have tusks. Other than that the resemblance is striking.

Every now and then there's another little gem. If the Jews were here so long ago, you might ask, didn't they ever interact with Arabs? Not, obviously, 3,000 years ago when there were no Arabs here to interact with. But later, perhaps?

I refer you to Bava Batra. The discussion is about farmers who neglect to clear their vineyards from other crops, thus transgressing on the prohibition of mixing crops. Rabbi Eliezer takes this so far as to forbid the use of a vineyard where thistles haven't been removed. The Gemarah asks in what way can thistles be construed as a second crop, alongside the vines? Rabbi Hannina explains that Rabbi Eliezer saw how Arabs ("arvaya" in the Aramaic) collected thistles to feed their camels.

Bava Batra156b.

This thread started and is explained here.


zionist juice said...

there is no arab world, there is only disney world.

AKUS said...

It is a puzzle to understand how, when the Moslems reached a dusty little town called Jerusalem, they found right in the middle a huge cleared platform, propped up by an immense wall on the Western side, ideal for building, for example, a house of worship.

It must have been the leprechauns from Ireland or the menehunes from Kauai who got it ready for them!

Lee Ratner said...

Historically, there are two types of colonialism. Settler colonialism where a group of people from one place go to settle in a new place. Its different from immigration because its organized attempt to settle a specific group of people in a new area and set up a new state or society. The European settlement of the Americas and South Africa/Zimbabwe and Algeria are examples of settler colonialism. The second type of colonialism should more properly be called imperialism, the conquest and exploitation of a distant country by another one like the UK in India.

Zionism was a form of settler colonialism because Jews wanted to migrate to a specific part of the Ottoman Empire in order to create a new country or alternatively revive an ancient one, Israel. Many of Israel's opponents do not distinguish between settler colonialism and imperial colonialism because the two have long been connected. A place like Algeria could be both a settler colony and an imperial colony. Now the Zionists were different because they were not really backed by any government and because they really avoided exploiting the present Arabs but Israel's opponents see it differently.