Friday, June 6, 2008

Stealing Jerusalem

What if, just for the sake of argument, animosity towards Israel sometimes could be a form of antisemitism? Might it perhaps look like this?

So there we were, thinking that the country had come of age at last, finally putting truth in the rumours about liberty and equality first spread by a group of slave-owners some ten-score and thirty years ago. Obama's securing of the nomination alone underscores how much the country has changed in the 20 years I have been here.

However, I am glad that I kept some reservations about the idea of Obama taking us to the New Jerusalem. Not least since he was busy giving away the old one to those who stole it.

Ian Williams, you understand, is deeply disappointed that Obama may not be of one mind with the Guardian community when it comes to Israel. Many commentors on his post agree, predictably.

Actually, there's a limit to how much significance one ought to attach to a speech given by a politician at an AIPAC conference, just as one ought to take any speech before a focussed interest group with a bit of salt. The part of the speech that I found interesting was Obama's story about first encountering the story of Zionism when he was 11, and how it fit into his own understanding of the world: his life had until then been rather rootless, and here was a story about the strength of roots. It is this deep and fundamental understanding of the essence of Zionism which differentiates so sharply between most Americans, and much of the rest of the world. And, yes, in my mind there is a connection between that and the fact that antisemitism has always been weaker in America than in Europe.

(A methodological comment: When I tag things with the "Antisemitism" tag, I'm not necessarily saying that's what it is. I'm collecting footnotes for a future bit of research I may some day find the time for, about who is and who isn't an antisemite, and how to tell. And here's another Guardian gem, titled Critical Thinking, no less).


Anonymous said...


I hate to tell you, folks, but Jerusalem isn't going to be chosen by American diplomats ... where we'd even think it essential to put our embassy there.

And, the solid reason? The ultra-religious Jews would never stop harrassing the building. Just as they do to stop traffic coming into Jerusalem on the Sabbath.

How did the ultra-orthodox do this? Well, it seems they were able to CHAIN metal folding chairs to lampposts. Where they sat unused during the weekdays. But come Friday nite, out would come the keys to unlock the chairs. And, all over Jerusalem you'd get nudniks thinking their collective asses could stop traffic.

So, let it go un-noticed. But it was, in fact, noticed.

Also? What about pork? What if at the American Embassy there were lots of people who enjoy BACON? You think this could be driven in by catering trucks?

Or do you think the men, who hold no known jobs, wouldn't try to force their religious beliefs down the throats of others?

Okay. Jerusalem. You've got Greeks owning property, there. (Because they own the property where the Knesset stands.)

You've got the Pope. Arguing with others, over church relics. And, where there's a need to "share." They don't "share" so good, either.

Besides. There are lots of arabs who really do live in and around Jerusalem.

How will these problems be solved when "final borders" are drawn.

You can give me a song and a dance. But I know full well that Ben-Gurion had no use for the different ways Judaism had developed schools over at least a hundred years time, by the time he was born.

There was the Orthodox. (With their branches. Including Hassidic on one side. Sephardic on the other.) And, in between? Both Latino and Yiddish, basically dies on the vine as an international language.) Today, yes, I know. The Hassids keep it alive. But they've got no comedians. And, Yiddish remains dead. Why? Because if you don't speak Hebrew, you can get by in most places if you speak a smattering of English. Or French. Yiddish as a communication tool? What can I tell ya? My dad was a subscriber to the "Forvits" ... When he died, in 1958, I knew they lost a customer they couldn't replace. Because on the street none of my friends, and I, conversed in Yiddish. All we did was "understand" the secret language our parents used, when they didn't want us in the loop.

In one generation, a language dies. John McWhorter points this out. He says when the kids aren't using the language, it dies. (Spanish? The kids are using it! English, however, does not get absorbed.) That's how you can tell if assimilation is working. Or if it is not.

Now, let me ask a question? Why is it important to Israelis what Obama thinks? You've already seen that Israel survived Jimmy Carter's innept handling. And, Olmert can dance with Bush. Even though he didn't decapitate Assad. Because he didn't want to give the Saudi's a foothold in syria.

Sometimes, you can be on the same page with the arabs, and not even know it. But in Iraq? Given that the Saud's, to make sure Bush went in and decapitated Saddam Hussein; they gave us 9/11.

And, they're using high oil prices in the hopes that Bush turns on Israel. He didn't.

Oh, and in Iraq, the Saud's funded the sunnis, to do terror. When Maliki went to Iran (and syria), and gave the shi'ites the tools to do "terror back."

Did you know 3-million sunni from Irak ran for the borders? Some are still sitting there. Because assad doesn't want to choke syria with more than the million he already absorbed. And, ditto, the kingdom of Jordan.

Here. I'll spell it out. The saud's, as a group, are hated. But, yes. They're rich enough to travel about. (So they're even hated in Franch. How do I know? Gordon Thomas, in Gideon's Spies, does a whole riff on Henry Paul. Who worked at the Ritz. Before he drove Diana into a Parisian pillar in the "tunnel of love.")

Never underestimate how the various tribes among arabs interact. Because? The palestinians are also isolated. That's why there's such a generous desire to give ya' all the bulk of them.

Olmert's smarter than that.

And, Ben Gurion? He wanted to destroy the "faiths" ... by cancelling out the majorities that lived outside of the State of Israel. Just in case you think you have anything in common with Morris Talansky, YOU DON'T!

Oh, in America, "temple politics" is such a bad deal ... that it, too, no longer makes the "choice of becoming a rabbi," a stellar choice when you look at things Jews can do where they get admired. Doctor. Lawyer. Engineer. (And, now, this includes computer programmers.)

The world changes.

Old fashioned, it isn't.

While the motives to go after Kadima? I bet there's a whole coterie of Hassidim worried what tomorrow can bring. While Shas is digging deep into Olmert's pockets.

At least Olmert knows how to stay at this "gambling table" without going broke.

He also plays a mean Texas-Hold'em poker game, with America's champ.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Critical Thinking" piece, it's funny how their terminology of a "struggle for peace" literally translates into a "jihad for peace".

Like all jihadists, I think they should be prepared to martyr themselves for the cause. In academic terms, this means boycotting the U.S. Unsurprisingly, they (Klug and Rose) are unprepared to go that far.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Critical Thinking" piece, it's funny how their terminology of a "struggle for peace" literally translates into a "jihad for peace".

Like all jihadists, I think they should be prepared to martyr themselves for the cause. In academic terms, this means boycotting the U.S. Unsurprisingly, they (Klug and Rose) are unprepared to go that far.

Anonymous said...

Oy, the loaded word "anti-semitism."

It's not just the same, anymore.

Anti-semitism arose in the dark ages, in Europe. From the pulpits. That preached poverty, and sexual immaturity. And, also hatred for the Joooos. Because according to the fiction, "Jews killed Christ."

This was the lie that spread in Europe for a thousand years!

But if you think the Holocaust was "just a Jewish problem," then you haven't noticed how Christianity in Europe topples. People stop going to churches. Leaving empty buildings in their wake.

And, in 1990 ... showing you that God doesn't use a watch ... Out flew the terrible story of pedophile priests.

Couple this to the lowering birth rates among people who have choices; and you'd see another phenomenon. A friend of mine is a practicing Catholic. So, I know.

She said if it wasn't for the Philipino families in America ... where they learn to speak English ... The Catholic Church would not even have priests.

So, there ya go. A woman close to my own age. (68). Brought up under the old severe Catholic traditions. Where "grandmas ruled the roost." And, if you wanted anything to come true, you had to go to church and light a candle ...

Now goes to empty churches. And, she confesses to Filipinos. Her husband also walked out the door. And, her son decided that as an adult, he's better off living on the East Coast, (instead of here, on the West one.)

When I told her it is extremely likely that her son has sex with his girl friends, she PLOTZED. No, he does not! Jesus doesn't allow it.

So the son just doesn't tell her diddly.

Do I know more? Sure. My son has visited his old high school friend, when he went to Manhattan. It would blow his mother's mind to learn he also dates Chinese women.

What can you do?

The best way to handle information is to keep the old folks clueless.

As to anti-semitism; you can't fight it, anymore. Because what the popes did has stopped being significant. And, the outcomes? You think the europeans aren't aware of the muslims? You don't think they're fearful about their own futures?

You don't see that socialism stinks. And, the fabric, when it rents, will leave a lot of people without lifeboats.

Israelis, meanwhile, need to safeguard themselves from savagery.

Unfortunately, the crazed right religious nutters ALL OVER THE WORLD ... don't live in our world. And, they keep checking in with a mythological document ... thinking that this one text will tell them more.

Have I got news for them! God doesn't talk.

As to arab anti-semitism; given the funds the oil's brought in, you've got to wonder how so many arabs are still losing ground.

Well? First, you need a middle class, in order to thrive. You need people who do more than just scratch "par-noose-a" out of the ground.

For europe, the transition began with Magellen. (1500). When he found you could, in fact, float boats all the way to China ... and, still come home ... He opened up a world of RICHES.

First to bat? The Portuguese.

Money. In the hands of a rising middle class MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Gee, all ya need to do is become aware of history.

Or as Barbara Tuchman wrote: ALL WARS ARE FOLLY.

Ya gotta stop thinking there are solutions.

let alone, now. With the arabs wanting nukes. Pakistan and North Korea already have them. And, so, too, does India.

But when the UN looks?

So maybe the illness of anti-semitism is reduced now to pants dancing dipolomats?