Personal musings on Israel, Jewish matters, history and how they all affect each other
The version that you linked had Mr. Latner's (entirely truthful but nonetheless) snide and rude comments about Ms. Booth removed. It's a big improvement. I believe the version with his comments can be found at Mondoweiss (if you don't mind wading in that cesspool).On another note, I had a fascinating discussion with a teacher of mine today about the history behind Hanukkah. While the Festival of Lights is typically depicted as "Jews vs. nefarious Greeks" (indeed, that's almost the exact wording in our siddur) it was really more of a "conservative Jews v. hellenized Jews" civil war. She had mentioned as well that Hanukkah is a big deal in Israel--and in the IDF specifically--because of its miraculous victory aspect. Is her observation on Israelis' relationship to Hanukkah accurate? And if so, is the suggestion that the Maccabees' enemies were primarily (or maybe initially?) other Jews ever touched on in public celebrations of Hanukkah?
Well, Bryan, the aspect of Jew vs Jew in the story of Hannukah is at least partially true, but can probably be overstated. As for the importance of the holiday in Israel: I don't think it's very. For children, yes, since they get a week vacation. Their parents have to figure out what to do with them, since its winter and you can't go to the beach. For the rest of us its a rather minor matter. As to the IDF, I don't know what she was referring to.By the way, the miraculous part etc is peripheral to the story. Also, if you look at the real history you'll see that all the heroic warriors did was get themselves killed. The subsequent century-plus of political sovereignty were the result of very canny political machinations, manipulations and conniving.
Oh, okay. Thank you for the quick response. She may have been referring to the mere fact that children in Israel get Hanukkah off, something that certainly isn't true in America.As for the political machinations, that's certainly true.
1. In the matter of internecine Jewish disputes, "AsAJews" or "Alter-Juifs" throughout history have given anti-Semites ammunition to use against the Jewish people, from the Hellenised Jews of the Seleucid era, to St. Matthew's blood curse, to today's Chomskys, Finkenlsteins, and Toaffs.2. The international community denies Jews the human right to wash their dirty linen within the family; for example, every internecine issue discussed by the Jewish community in English seems to have been chronicled by the PSC in its PIWP Database and subsequently used to demonise Israel. Alter-juifs would be wiser to keep their criticism of Jews and Israel to discussions in Hebrew, but of course they will not do so.3. A self-hating Jew is not one who hates himself; it is one who hates other Jews -- those different from himself.
Latner's speech has justifiably been circulating virtually from the day he made it. It is brilliant, and if he becomes a lawyer/barrister the other side had better watch out. I felt as if I was reading a speech that the young Abba Eban might have made almost a century ago.As for Lauren Booth - when her only riposte is to try to get him kicked out of the Union for his comments to her, it is simply another example of what a pathetic soul she is.You can see her in action at The Lies of Lauren Booth
Regarding contextualizing Chanukah in Israel today, the fact that more people don't keel over after stuffing themselves with jelly (and chocolate mousse and caramel and peanut butter and what-have-you) donuts as well as an infinite variety of potato and/or vegetable latkes is THE modern day miracle.If anyone still needed proof that God exists....
Yaacov is right about the miraculous part; it first appears six centuries after the events. In the meantime, we had various explanations for the custom of lighting candles: the Hasmoneans lit candles on the eight iron spears they found when they took over the temple (Pesikta Rabbati) or the fact that the Hasmoneans took eight days to repair the klei kodesh (Megillat Ta'anit).Latner's speech is good, but it makes some major missteps. Bringing up the Darfuri refugees, for instance, opens him up to the obvious response that Israel (AFAIK) has accepted fewer than 2,000 refugees from Darfur; hasn't accepted any more since 2007; accepts far fewer refugees as a percentage of its population than those horrible anti-Semitic northern European countries, etc. Well done and all that, naturally, but it hardly supports his theme that Israel is uniquely virtuous in this respect.
A German Israeli mother's blog recently told that her son is on duty at the border to Egypt where they hear refugees getting shot by Egypt and their job is it to take care (compassionately) of those who make it.I doubt that a country which had to absorb in its very short history huge amounts of refugees and migrants from almost all corners of the earth has to compete in the refugee recognition field with largely untroubled by such gigantic tasks countries in the northern hemissphere but if you want further arguments for that "shortcoming" of Israel, if it truly should be one, I recommend a visit at Fake Ibrahim's. He has his own comment on Latner but fortunately as yet no commenters.
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