A Short History of Zionism, Chapter 1

Following is an excerpt from the book “A Short History of Zionism” I am currently writing. If you wish to support this endeavor, please contribute here. If you are unable to contribute but wish to show your support, please spread the word on social media, your own blog and anywhere else you see fit. Thank you. 

 A famous story, now debunked, tells of Chinese premiere Zhou Enlai, who was asked during US President Richard Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972 what he thought about the French revolution. Zhou, the story has it, said that it was “too early to tell,” thus encapsulating the difference between Occidental and Oriental historical perspectives in four pithy words.

Zhou, it appears, was asked and answered about the much more recent 1968 student uprisings throughout the Western world, but the story has stuck; not least, because the French revolution really was an event of momentous, far-reaching implications, far beyond the question of who would rule over the French, some of which took many decades to unfold.

The uprising of the French bourgeoisie against their decrepit monarchy, and the subsequent Napoleonic wars, did more than shatter the walls and castles of the feudal way of life. They also served to bring down the walls, half forced from without and half self-erected, of the Jewish ghettos throughout western and central (and, to a lesser extent, eastern) Europe.

Although they were fighting for an autocratic ruler who would soon crown himself Emperor, the soldiers of Napoleon fought in the name of the democratic, humanist ideals of the revolution, and they brought that spirit to the lands they conquered throughout the continent of Europe. Even when they ultimately lost, as in Napoleon’s ill-fated invasion of Russia, they penetrated deep enough to ensure that the ideas they carried would infect the local populations to irrevocable effect.

This development was accelerated, like a fire by drought conditions, due to a process internal to Jewish communities known as the Haskalah, which took place in the from the mid 1700′s into the early 19th century. This word, literally meaning “education”, is more commonly translated in this context as “enlightenment”, as it sought to incorporate into Jewish life and Jewish thought the values of the European enlightenment movement of the 17th and 18th centuries. This movement, however, was limited at first to a small part of the Jewish population that had both the education and means to interact with the general public and study the European thinkers. Most of the Jewish population of Europe was slowly rebuilding from the massive death-count of the 1648-9 pogroms in Eastern Europe (and the coincident general vicissitudes of the Thirty-Year War in the center and west of the continent, which ended at the same time).

Ideas do take time to seep through the populace, more so in times predating our modern forms of mass communication. But within two generations of Napoleon’s fall, thanks to the new ideas of freedom, equality and the relation between the individual and the state, Jews were granted equal rights under the law in the vast majority of western and central Europe, in a process known as “Emancipation.” The walls of the ghetto could no longer stem the flood of new ideas into the Jewish community, or the flow of talented Jews rushing to take their place in the intellectual life of the continent, internalizing its latest ideas and applying them to their own circumstances.

 ***

The first new idea the newly liberated Jews had to internalize – or rather, process and find a way to counter – was that their very identity was passe’ and that Judaism had outlived its historical usefulness. Of course, this wasn’t really a new idea, as Christians had been proclaiming it ever since they began distinguishing themselves from Jews some 1800 years earlier, but since Hegel the claim had a philosophical veneer, and not just a religious one.

The first person to take up the challenge was a man named Rabbi Nachman Krochmal. He was born in 1785 in the town of Brody, in the region historically known as Galicia, then considered part of Poland and now in current-day Ukraine. Krochmal was born to a religious family and his early education consisted of religious studies and Jewish philosophers, such as Maimonides and Ibn Ezra. However, at a young age he met a group of “Enlightenment” types, and through them was exposed first to Jewish Enlightenment thinkers, such as Moshe Mendelssohn and Salomon Maimon. Then he learned German, so as to study the great thinkers of the age – Fichte, Schelling, Kant and Hegel – in the original. He soon became one of Polish Jewry’s leading lights and gathered a significant following. However, his great work, “Moreh Nevochei HaZeman” (Guide for the Perplexed of the Time) was only published posthumously in 1851 (Krochmal having died in 1840), by his student Yom Tov (Leopold) Zunz.

Like Maimonides before him, (and like Philo of Alexandria, who wrote around the time of Jesus), Krochmal attempted to reconcile Judaism with the leading philosophical currents of his day, hence the title of his book, which is very similar to the great Maimonides work “Guide to the Perplexed” and not at all by coincidence. Krochmal attempts to use the Hegelian method and toolbox, so to speak, while countering Hegel’s specific claim that the historic relevance of Judaism – and, by extension, of the Jewish people – has expired. He accomplishes the first part by accepting the model, ascribed to by Hegel and others, which holds that every civilization has three eras: that of growth and development, that of endeavor and great deeds, and that of degeneration and decay. However, he argues, the Jewish people are unique in that they have not one but at least three distinct such cycles (the first being from Abraham to the destruction of the first temple, the second coinciding roughly with the existence of the second temple, and the third from the writing of the Talmud to the devastating pogroms of 1648-9, with a fourth cycle about to begin). This uniqueness, Krochmal argues, is due to Jewish nationality being rooted in spirituality, in fact deriving directly from the “absolute spiritual” of Hegelian thought.

Whether or not one agrees with this somewhat self-congratulatory analysis, it was presented in a deft and nimble enough manner to enable Jewish intellectuals to embrace the core of European thought, while holding on to their own group identity, and it got the ball rolling.

 ***

Meanwhile, Jews throughout Europe were discovering several unpleasant truths regarding the supposed blessings of the emancipation. The first was that being allowed to mingle in general society, and compete with gentiles for jobs, significantly increased tensions and antisemitism. The second was that in return for being afforded legal equality under the law, Jews were tacitly being required to renounce any and all group identity beyond that of a religious community. Ironically, just as many Jews were shaking off the reins of religion, they discovered that they didn’t really want to do that – that there was something, beyond the commandments they were no longer keeping, that connected them to one-another.

But it wasn’t just how they saw themselves. A famous political science quip holds that a nation is a group of people with a common misconception as to their origins and a common dislike of their neighbors. By this measure, the Jews, emancipated or not, didn’t really fit in with the societies in which they lived. They didn’t share the much of the common culture (religion, holidays, etc.), had their own language, and also their own origin story. Plus, they felt much the same about Gentiles of “their” nation as the ones across the border. The Gentiles knew this and never really accepted the Jew as “one of them.”

Some, like the new Reform Judaism movement, which was founded in Berlin in the 1840′s (and even included the aforementioned Leopold Zunz), welcomed this line of thought, which viewed Judaism and Jewishness as nothing more than a religious identity (and a diluted one at that). They insisted that they were as German as any Junker, just “Germans of the faith of Moses”, but many others rejected both Reform Judaism itself and its disinterest in Jewish group-identity.

One of the most prominent standard-bearers of this rejection was a man named Heinrich Hirsch (Zvi) Graetz (1817-1891). He received a religious education at Wollstein Yeshiva, and taught himself languages and secular studies. At first his attempt to enter a general university was rejected by the authorities, but Graetz showed great tenacity, arranging a sort of apprenticeship for himself under one of the great rabbis of the day, and finally gained admittance to the University of Breslau (current day Wroclaw, Poland), where he studied philosophy, history, physics and oriental studies. In 1845 he completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Jena (now known as Friedrich Schiller University). His thesis, on “Judaism and Gnosis”, was written in Latin.

After acquiring said degree he began teaching at various Jewish schools, and busied himself with fierce attacks on Reform Judaism, as well as the composition of his magnum opus – The History of the Jews, in 11 volumes. The composition, which is riddled with inaccuracies, methodical deficiencies and downright sloppiness, was nonetheless heralded as a seminal work at the time (and served as the basic text on the subject for decades afterward), being the first ever attempt at authoring a national history of the Jewish people – or at least the first since Josephus, 1800 years prior. It set the foundation for looking at the Jewish people as a nation with a unified culture and an ongoing history, rather than just a religious group. This was in keeping with the new vogue in Europe following the French revolution, where nationality was becoming the foremost frame of reference for the individual and for groups.

These two, and particularly Graetz, were to set the stage for the appearance of the first truly Zionist text, written by a man who has the distinction of being heralded as the founding father of two great historical movements. We shall introduce him in Chapter 3.

 

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Arik and I Won’t Change The World, After All

When news came earlier this week that a legendarily reclusive and utterly iconic Israeli singer, actor, comedian and all-around culture symbol would begin publishing a weekly newspaper column, I had one of these weird excited-trepidation moments. It could be really cool or really disappointing, and you find yourself immensely invested emotionally in hoping it won’t be the latter. A few days later, tonight, out of fucking nowhere, he had a heart attack and passed away. I am writing this as tears dry on my cheeks.

My entire Hebrew feed is in shock and mourning. Like someone tweeted, nobody can remember when everybody’s reaction to a news event was so uniform. (update: almost. But it’s like 90-95% which is unheard of). No cynicism, no snark, just degrees of sadness.

Arik Einstein (Jan. 3 1939 – Nov. 26 2013) was for many people, without hyperbole and with perfectly good reason, Israel encapsulated. He was the golden boy. A star with the most common touch and not a shred of pose. Effortlessly talented in basically every stagecraft but dancing. An iconic singer and songwriter, the star of Israel’s most iconic comedy film and first great comedy TV show; hell, dude was even a national high-jump and shot put champion in high school. The soundtrack of our lives for decades.

Although he wrote the lyrics to an astonishing number of universally loved Israeliana standards, his greatest talent was as a singer. Without any astonishing vocal range, he could effortlessly reach the pinnacles of delivery in a variety of styles, with pitch-perfect emotional touch. He could be a romantic crooner and a sneering rocker, a sly jester and a wide-eyes dreamer, and always someone you felt you knew, even after he lived reclusively for decades. He had #1 hit singles with lyrics by Israel’s national poets, Chaim Nachman Bialik and Nathan Alterman (among many others) and melodies by Israel’s top composers, and he had #1 hit singles with more “frivolous” pop and rock lyrics and arrangements, with nonsense songs and kiddie album songs. Not just #1 hit singles either – landmark songs that stand the test of time. We’re talking songs so iconic you can’t help but identify with even as you notice how “corny” the lyrics (mistakenly or not) seem. Songs that capture, in plain language but finely crafted, the essence of the Israeli (Jewish) experience.

Some will just have to start as soon as possible with the sociological deconstruction of it all (which is both unavoidable and necessary, just not right now, OK?), using the occasion to point out that Einstein really represented the more privileged side of Israel’s Jews. The white side. And that like Chuck D famously said about Elvis, there are neighborhoods where Einstein wasn’t that relevant at all.

Well, in response to that, before I offer you a quick overview of Einstein’s long and fruitful career, let me just offer a quick story from personal experience: My best friend in elementary school came from a pretty old-school Iraqi-Israeli home. His parents and their contemporary kin were born and raised in Baghdad spoke to each other mostly in Arabic and listened mostly to music in Arabic, which my friend was also into. He was the first to introduce me to quality old-school Israeli “Mizrachi” music, of which he had an impressive collection. In short, dude was heavily grounded in his Mizrachi heritage, ok? And yet, he also fucking LOVED Arik Einstein. And there are many like him. It is far from only European-descended Israelis who are in mourning right now.

Einstein covering The Beatles “Do You Want To Know A Secret” in Yemeni folk-song style

**

 In Israel, the “60′s” happened at a delay of close to a decade after the US and Europe. The 70′s were Israel’s breakout decade from the musty propriety of the WW2 generation, and Arik Einstein is undoubtedly the person you find at the largest number of seminal junctions in that period.

In 1956, in his senior year in high school, Aryeh Einstein, son of well-regarded stage actor Yaacov Einstein of the Ohel Theater, won the national championship in the high jump and the shot put. He was also a promising basketball star, and planned to spend his upcoming compulsory military service as a sports instructor. Short-sightedness, discovered in the pre-draft military checkups, put an end to that plan, and his father encouraged him to try out for one of the military music bands which at the time created most of what Israel had by way of pop music, featuring crews of fresh young talent managed by the biggest stars in the business. He was accepted to the Nachal band, following an audition by Chaim Topol (of “Fiddler On The Roof” fame) and future creative partner Uri Zohar, and the legend was born.

During his time in the military band he acquired the more hip and contemporary “Arik” handle instead of the more prim and proper”Aryeh”, and had several big hits which positioned him as a new star. Upon discharge in 1959 he immediately joined the entertainment scene in full effect on several fronts. He joined the “Sambatyon” satirical review and the “Scallion” (“Batzal Yarok”) pop band, made up of star ex-military-band members like himself. He immediately became an instant A-list, buzz-of-the-town success in both. Even a legendarily vicious theater critic wrote highly of his acting, and the radio couldn’t stop playing his hit songs.

Einstein with the “Yarkon Bridge Trio”, “A Sign That You’re Young”, Mid 60′s. note the heavy French Chanson influence (in the arrangement of the trad Irish folk melody), which was big in Israel at the time.

A year after leaving the army he had a solo album, but his great successes of the early-to-middle 60′s were mostly as part of collaborative efforts ranging from large all-star review troupes to trios and duos. The list of acts and hits would mean little to those that don’t already know them, but suffice it to say it is a long list, and includes songs people born 20 and 30 years after this time still know and like.

In 1966 Einstein joins forces with a troubled musical and lyrical genius named Shmulik Kraus and his American-Jewish girlfriend, a stunning blonde with an angel’s voice named Josie Katz. With this lineup, titled “The High Windows” (a phrase equivalent to “high office” or “high places” in English), Arik began singing real pop music as the term is commonly understood in the West.

Like true rock legends, the High Windows managed to get into their share of controversies, with the religious segment of the population over “Yechezkel”, a trippy-party rendition of the biblical prophet Ezekiel, which included scandalous irreverent lines (for the time” like “Two angels he fondled and hugged / The Prohpet Ezekiel knew how to have fun”. Concurrently, they fearlessly got in the face of patriots and establishment herds everywhere over “Chocolate Soldier”, a mocking anti-war ballad, written by genius satiric playwright Chanoch Levin,  released at the height of post-Six-Day-War euphoria and militarism.


The Electric Ezekiel Acid Test


Chocolate Soldier

While touring with Kraus and Katz, Arik Einstein, who throughout his career managed to collaborate with a consistent succession of top-notch partners, meets the man he would be perhaps most associated with, musically at least – the father of Israeli rock music, Shalom Chanoch.

 **

In 1969 Einstein recorded the single “Prague”, written by Chanoch in protest of the Soviet crushing of the Czech revolution. That year he, his erstwhile boss in the military band Uri Zohar, Chanoch and many others (quite a few of whom are big household names in Israel to this day) informally form what would come to be known as “The Lool (chicken coop, and also a baby’s pen) Group.” Somewhat similar to the Merry Pranksters of San Francisco psychedelic era lore, many people later claimed to have been “in” the group (at the margins, which were sizable), only to have others claim they were just occasional hangers-on. Any claim to having been associated with the Lool Group is still strong currency in Israel, even if any credible claimants are collecting Social Security by now…


Prague. “To the dream-captured city, a heavy foreign shadow came / and the moon in red its kingdom stained”

But the core “Lool” group is undisputed, and the great star in the center of it was Einstein, alongside former military band boss Uri Zohar on one hand, and Shalom Chanoch on the other. The TV show the group put on early in the days of Israeli TV, mixing comedy with music, was what gave the group its name. The comedy ran from biting satire, like the still perfectly relateable “ALiyah (Immigrants)” skit, showing each wave of Jews arriving in their new country while the older inhabitants (starting with Arabs, of course) greet their arrival with apprehension, disapproval and the recurring, now iconic Arabic curse Ina’al din babur illi jabkum (literally “a curse on the ship that brought you. Figuratively, of course, that “ship can mean “womb”), to less politically charged zany silliness. The music mixed easy-listening, perfectly crafted ballads with ground-breaking (for Israel at the time) rock music.


The Immigrants. “Ahmad, Who are those? – The Jews. “A curse on the ship that brought them” [...]  <b>”Pappi…?” – Ja? “Das is Palestina…?” – Ja! “But it’s all sand…?” – Nu, ve vill make ze desert bloom, dumkopf!</b>

In the comic bits he shared equal glory with Israel’s national funnyman of the time, Zohar; on the music end he shared the spotlight with Chanoch, who wrote the music and played the guitar and also sang; but only Einstein starred in both acts. When singing, he employed his full emotional range, from the romantic to the sly to the naïve and earnest, and to simple joy; alternately, he was displaying rare mimicry chops and comedic timing in the skits.

With Chanoch and others during this time (early-to-mid 70′s) Einstein was instrumental in Israel’s fledgling steps in rock music. His voice carries dozens of the key songs and charts the growth of the genre. If Einstein spent the 60′s as Israeli music’s naughty but nice standard golden boy, he spent the 70′s as its undisputed titan. Israel’s first full-fledged, multi-disciplinary rock star, with all the wild living, controversies and massive critical and commercial success that implies. He was our Fonzie and Lennon and McCartney and Springsteen all rolled into one. The dude most women would love to be with and most guys would love to be – and so cool and mellow underneath it all that most couldn’t even begrudge him any of it.

He spent most of the 60′s within the structures and rules of the Israeli music business. In the 70′s he rewrote them with almost every new album and venture. Every single year from 1969 to 1981 finds him contributing at least one song that was both huge at the time and still works today – often far more than just one. He collaborated with Chanoch early and late in the decade, and in between he worked with other crack composers and arrangers like Mickey Gavrielov, Shem-Tov Levi and the great guitarist Yitzhak “Churchill” Clepter, producing some of the seminal Israeli pop and rock anthems; from the raw and rambunctious “What Do You Do (when you get up in the morning) and “Turkish Coffee” jams (the latter a clever self referential parody about a hotshot songwriter with writer’s block) in 1970-71 to more polished, up-to-global-contemporary-standards work like 1983′s “Fragile” (with Clepter providing the tune and some classic licks).


What Do You Do When You Get Up In The Morning? The Same Things, But slow (1970)


“So drink some Turkish coffee and wake up, you’re the poet! Drink some Turkish coffee, it’s far out, cause if you won’t sing, who will?” (song 1971, clip 1974)


Fragile, 1983. Polished, globally up-to-date rock

Other bedrock singles include the optimistic anthem “You and I Will Change The World,” the introspective “Why Should I Take It To Heart” and “What’s With Me”, the stream-of-consciousness road-trip anthem “Drive Slowly” (which packs the entire Israeli experience into three stanzas and a chorus, replete with realizing you’re approaching the Gaza Strip and hoping nobody throws a grenade or something at you). Also from the period: the wide-eyed, proudly provincial at heart “San Fransisco On The Water,” describing a awe-filled pilgrimage to the West Coast, to all the sports and music and cinematic landmarks, only to find that it’s not as much fun without his lady, and that deep down he’d rather be home with his friends and homeland sights. That’s just a selection from the first-team all-star lineup of his repertoire. Seriously. We haven’t even touched on the great renditions of serious poetry in pop form – a sub-genre he helped pioneer and perfect, taking the highbrow top shelf of modern Hebrew poetry and endearing it to the masses in perfect pop/rock flavor.


You and I will change the world. They’ve said it before me, it doesn’t matter; you and I will change the world.


Drive Slowly. “And I’m thinking, pretty soon it’s Gaza, just don’t let a grenade fly, and blow us all to hell.”


“Sitting in San Francisco on the water, washing my eyes in the blues and greens [...] watching Dr. J rip the nets, and Kareem Abdul Jabar touch the sky”

(The heavy sprinkling of sports metaphors above, by the way, is no coincidence, as the former champion athlete remained a passionate sports fan to his very last day. He was famously a staunch supporter of Hapoel Tel Aviv and a soccer, basketball, and track-and-field fanatic; In addition to all his many proven talents, Einstein had the memory and endless appetite for names, dates, stats and more to have filled in successfully for any sportscaster, has the opportunity ever come his way.)

 

In the 70′s Einstein also took part in some formative, defining chapters of Israeli cinema history (although his debut on the screen was much earlier, with a supporting role in 1964′s seminal Ashkenazee/Mizrachi, veterans vs immigrants comedy “Salah Shabbati”). In 1972 he starred in Uri Zohar’s beach-bum bittersweet comedy “Peeping Toms” (“Metzitzim”), which depicts the laid-back beachfront culture of Tel Aviv while following the misadventures of Eli the rock club singer (Einstein, playing a character who although married and a father, stereotypically never has a problem in hooking up the one-night stand) and his buddy, the slobbish, sexually frustrated and predatory lifeguard ‘Gutte’ (Zohar). The movie – initially a commercial and critical failure, but since rediscovered, re-evaluated and a massive cult classic to this day, with dozens of lines that have become part of the comedic vocabulary – would be the first of a trilogy, completed by “Big Eyes” (1974) and “Save The Lifeguard.” (1977).

 

Shortly after completing work on “Save The Lifeguard”, Einstein’s best friend Uri Zohar completed a process of becoming a devout orthodox Jew and quit show-business. Zohar and his wife were joined in this extremely sharp life-change by Einstein’s wife, Alona, who took the couple’s two daughters with her to Jerusalem reclusive ultra-orthodox Me’a She’arim neighborhood. Einstein responded with a touching ballad of longing for his departed friend and collaborator, “Hu Chazar Bitshuva” (roughly “He Got Religion”). Many years later, Einstein’s two daughters would marry Zohar’s two sons.

 

In 1980 Einstein released the album “Armed With Spectacles”, more than half of which consists of massive, time-tested, groove-approved best-of-worthy hits. This was the height of Einstein’s rock star period, and the hard living and drinking was beginning to take an evident toll. Arik dragged through the album’s packed concert tour, in Israel and Europe, with evident lack of zeal, and eventually simply refused to take part in the second, US leg of the tour. After one last show in late 1981 at the ancient amphitheater in Caesaria, Einstein announced his retirement from live music.

 

The wild-living star was discovering he had successfully sown his wild oats and was tired of staying in the fast lane and having all eyes on him all the time, whether he was in the mood or not; by the middle of the decade he was singing, with wry self-aware defiance, “I like to be at home… with the tea and lemon and the old books… with the same lover and same habits.” Not that this attitude came as a complete shock. Einstein always had a strong private streak, indignant at media prying. He penned not one but both of Israeli rock’s most memorable anti-paparazzi/gossip songs. “They Wrote About Him In The Paper” back in the Lool days and the vitriolic “My Little Journalist” in the Eighties.


Some people people climb mountains (“Yeah?”), some people skydive (“You don’t say..”), some people ride horses, (“uh huh…”) and some hike cross country. But me? I like to be at home [...] with the same lover and same habits”

This settling down, with long time partner Sima Eliyahu (costar in “Metzizim” and other productions and mother of his younger daughter and son), didn’t diminish his studio output, however. He delivered a steady, reliable album a year through 1989, with each one adding to his awesome repertoire of true classics – even the children’s album “I Was A Child Once” he released in 1989. This period is defined by Einstein’s infallible taste in material and supporting cast, and flits effortlessly between nonsense pop, a burst of rock here and there, and heavy poetry with painstaking melodic arrangements.

 

After a four-year hiatus followed by yet another children’s album, Einstein resumed recording, his pace going down to around an album every two years, with some years seeing consecutive albums and sometimes a two or three year drought. Since the mid-eighties, Einstein has enjoyed grand patriarch status, if fading relevance, in Israel’s music scene. But almost every new album was highly listenable, very well produced, and most still contained a diamond or two, quirky like 1990′s single released for the World Cup, which consists of nothing but names of famous players, or touching like some of his latter-day joint work with Chanoch (Muskat, 1999), or collaborations with much younger rock stars like Peter Roth of rock band Monica Sex and others. He was well past his great days, but we were as thankful for those, and for whatever he felt like keeping on giving. Like a revered grandfather to millions of Israelis.


If you know your soccer, you can follow this “Hebrew” song

 

**

 

He seemed fine, dammit – as much a we could know about someone so intensely private. There had been news at times of less-than-perfect health (he was in his seventies, and had drank and ingested his share of stuff back in the day), but nobody (including those close to him, it is now reported) knew him to be seriously ill. He had just announced that newspaper column, promising himself and the readers not to be preachy and treacly, to keep it real and only write if he has something to say. Now, just like that, he’s gone.

 

True, not at 27 like too many legends but rather almost at triple that age; we’ve been blessed with a long chunk of Arik Einstein’s romantic, lyrical, comical and always ineffable stylings. But it still came out of nowhere, the way many other giants of music and popular culture were snatched away. Tomorrow, the Hebrew web will be full of eulogies and summaries, some of which will piss me off and some which will move me to tears. There will be lists and playlists top ten lists and separate articles devoted to the many stops and stages he charmingly skipped his way across. For the past few hours (it is now 3:04 am here) a candlelight vigil is being held at Ichilov Hospital where he died, in an outpouring of spontaneous grief the likes of which were last seen in the secular Israel when PM Rabin was murdered, 19 years ago. A massive Israeli symbol has passed. This day will be a milestone in the timeline of Israeli culture for many decades to come.


My personal favorite Arik song, an odd one for a fire-brand lefty – “Shulamit” (The Shulamit to whom this love song is addressed is the land, personified in feminine form) – a very nationalist, sensuous, almost liturgical poem of love for the land. “If the man surrenders before the sword, know he has no eternal love / but should he rise alone against a thousand, know that he is sworn to Shulamit”

 

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Riley Cooper Should Be Dealt With In-House

OK, after spending too many hours on a long political post (read here if you care about the whole Middle East thing) I’m gonna try to keep it a lot shorter* on this (less important, sorry NFL Nation) Riley Cooper business.

To recap:

Cooper, a marginally important player on the Philadelphia Eagles (yet one slated to see an increase in his opportunity to shine, due to injuries to others) was captured using the N-word in a belligerent manner, while apparently drunk and attending a concert (in a sea of white people) to a group of black security personnel at the venue.

Cooper immediately apologized with full contrition and no reservation.

Even this was apparently not enough for some in the Eagles locker room, including star running-back LeSean McCoy. Number 25 said he had lost the ability to respect Cooper. In operative terms for the business concern known as the Philadelphia Eagles, this means McCoy will find it very hard to put his body on the line so that Cooper, a man he cannot respect, will get stats and glory and a better contract. This is a major problem for the Eagles business plan going forward in the coming 5-6 months. McCoy is the greater asset to the Eagles business, which in turn is a part of the NFL business. Hence, Cooper had to step away from the Eagles operation so that it could learn to do without him or until such time as his more important teammates feel they can work with him again.

You know what? So far, fine. Really, not grudgingly or “even if so.” What Cooper said is not acceptable and McCoy and any other African-American on the Eagles needs to know they can look Cooper in the eye and not resent his presence or success.

So we hear Cooper will undergo some kind of “counseling” to teach him why what he did was wrong, even tho he did much of what human language is capable of to conveys that he gets it.

My problem: Why someone from the outside? What can someone outside that locker room tell Cooper about why that word is not acceptable even off-team and regardless of industrial relations related to your friggin livelihood’, (and that you’re never anonymous in public as part of an NFL team) that LeSean McCoy and Cullen Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nmadi Asomugha can’t tell him? There’s some intelligent, eloquent dudes in that foursome alone, with more perfectly assertive voices on the team. In the end, it’s those guys, and every other African-American on the Eagles**, that will have to determine that the “therapy” worked and that the issue is over with. Why not cut the middle-man? And not to condescend to Mr. McCoy or anyone else on the Eagles, cause they ain’t the ones that caused this damn mess and don’t need to be talked down to or even talked eye-to-eye to about shit, but they might feel better handling it themselves too.

 

Just a thought.

 

*500 and change. Better than 2100+

** Every African-American on the team except #7, who readily admits he ain’t in no position to be passin’ judgment on a motherf-in soul on earth***.

*** Hey, I made it through 2500+ words without dropping inappropriate shit tonight. Give a foul-mouthed jewboy a break!

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Neither Two, Nor States, Nor A Solution

The Holy Mideast Peace Process merry-go-round (the second longest running act on earth, the only one older being the occupation it pretends to be solving) is off for another spin. While the POTUS gets to largely keep his personal distance from the mess, he’s still invested to some degree. since Kerry’s prestige, or what’s left of it, is definitely laid on the line here, some of the White House’s is too. And while the US doesn’t have the ability to shape events that it once did, it still has enough clout that most media that wants to be recognized as “serious” has to take the charade seriously. So, let me break down why not only will these talks go no-where, but even if they did it would not lead to any good.

I’m betting you’ve heard all about how the most Netanyahu will be willing to give is still far from the minimum Abbas will be able to accept. Yet the counter for this argument is that the greatness of the opportunity will be forced upon our Bibi, and he will switch the recalcitrant Jewish Home (Settler-religious) party for Labor in his ruling coalition, and pass a deal that will actually result in something the majority of the world would be willing to call a “Palestinian State” and declare the whole bothersome business dealt with, moving on to other crap that needs attending to around the globe.

Further, intimate some reporters, Netanyahu realizes it’s his only way to keep the PM position (without the entire world letting Israel know it’s closed for business till a change in management happens) is to make some kind of deal happen this time, and he is even willing to do what Sharon did and leave the more right-wing-wing of his own Likud party behind and start a new party.

All this, we’re being told, will combine to align the stars as they were in 1977 and 1991-93, and force a real change in the ground rules. A new reality markedly better than the one preceding it.

Fine. Let’s grant that scenario, not even try to explain why it won’t happen. Not even go into whether residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (get to that in a sec) were really better off before Oslo. Flags, trumpets, ceremony galore and even a nice lil wave of Palestinian ex-pats flooding Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin, saying “It’ll never be my grandfather’s ancestral home in Yaffa, but let’d build some kind of Free Filastin. Yalla.

Remember Gaza?

First, as promised, there’s the pesky lil problem of Gaza. Sure, Israel would love to cement the land-locked “free” West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip being totally and permanently separate, but it ain’t gonna hold. a) there’s too much connection between people in both places and b) Even assuming the “Dafawis” (Palestinians from the WB) give up on their sea-side brethren, anyone thinking the most densely populated place on earth (the Gaza Strip of course) can be kept forever under a boot like that without exploding is ignorant of the basic dynamics of the world.

So as promised not two but three different political entities: Israel, “Free Palestine” and blockaded Hamas-stan. I think that makes three. So the “Palestinian Problem” (remember when it was the Jewish Problem?) isn’t solved, it’s merely sliced a bit thinner and painted different. And in the spirit of “not gonna even”, I’ll forgo a long explanation about why land-locked, mineral-poor “Palestine” in the West Bank will not really be a “State” but always a glorified autonomy, unless and until it merges with Jordan in a post-Hashemite reality. So only one actual sovereign and viable state.

So far, this was easy. The “Solution” part of the promised trifecta takes more words to explain.

Israel’s other Arab problem

You know who gets screwed the most here? Israel’s citizen-Arabs. The “’48 Arabs.”

As we speak of improving relations between Israelis and Palestinians occupied since 1967, Israel is implementing a policy regarding some of its own Palestinian “equal citizens” that is unmatched in its aggression since the rough and tumble martial-law years of Israeli history’s early third so far. I’m referring to the Prawer plan, which calls for the removal of 30-40 thousand Bedouins in Israel’s south, from one part of the Negev to the other, to be packed from dozens of small utterly rural types of dwellings into the 7 shantytowns Israel has created for the Bedouin population in the 1970′s, into which about half of all Bedouin citizens have since chosen to move. The other half prefer a more country style of living, and since they were already herded into a much denser area than their grandparents used to occupy before the establishment of Israel, they figure said state can and should just leave them be and recognize the few dozen little villages they’ve sorted themselves into since said herding by State.

But the State says no. Although the Bedouins are 25-30% of the Negev’s population, and although the number of of villages (places smaller and less urban than a “town”) for Jews in the Negev is well over 50, the government will only tolerate 11 such for the Bedouin population – the eleven recently-recognized villages in the Abu Basme regional council. How recognized are these eleven? Most still don’t have electricity or running water, and in some attempts to build even makeshift schools are met with SWAT teams and tear gas. The other several dozen thousand Bedouin folk live in places slated for destruction and forced removal.

Now, Israel’s advocates will tell you that there’s compensation involved for those made to relocate, and some cash (about $100M) even slated for enlarging the seven Bedouin towns to which these Bedouins are to be relocated. True, but without even getting into whether the compensation (and the harsh terms for those who don’t take it within a certain time-frame) are fair, there are still two major problems:

1) As stated above, Bedouins (a term roughly used here as equivalent to any non-Jewish , Arab-speaking citizen living south of the Hebron-Gaza line) make up about a third of the Negev’s population. Despite this, they are already only allowed to live in a small corner of it, and have less than one half their proportionate municipal area. True, in the category “local municipalities” (places smaller than a city but densely populated and urban to suburban in nature) half are Bedouin. But there’s only one Bedouin city to more than ten Jewish ones in that area and only 11 places smaller and more thinly-populated places than a town for Bedouins compared to 70-80 for Jews.

2) These people aren’t being moved because the state needs the land for mining, or office parks, or natural reservations or anything of the sort. The state intends for people to live there – just not Arab-speaking ones. Hebrew-speaking ones. Jews. Some will say: Israel uprooted Jews too! From the Gaza Strip when it disengaged from there! Yes, true. However, that was a place Israel decided to cease to control. At least on land. It is one thing to relinquish a territory, and another to say “No, this is still totally part of my sovereign territory, and I totally intend for people to live here, but only a certain ethnicity. In fact it’s so important to me to that they live here and not them, that I’m willing to go through a massive, divisive, potentially explosive process of shipping them out and shipping them in. Instead of just recognizing them where they already are. Even though they and them are all equal citizens, see.”

So we see that Israel is refusing to create or recognize places for this population (Non-Jewish in the Negev) that are either seriously upwardly-mobile OR seriously back-country (i.e. less influential but living on more land per person). The places it does recognize for this population it under-serves and treats as a problem child at best.

And guess what? Negev Bedouins have it better than most Arabs in Israel. For the Bedouins Israel has created 7 and recognized a further 11 new places to live since its founding. For the other 75-80% of its Arab population (about 15% of the total citizenry of Israel) it hasn’t even done that. Not a single new city, town or village for Arabs has been created by the State of Israel since its founding north of the Negev. There are no current plans to my knowledge to do so.

Therein lies the rub

OK, I hear you saying. That’s f-ed up and all, but where are you going with this and how did we get here from the other Israeli-Arab thing? Glad you asked:

You know how Israel in the past 15 years or so has added a condition to its terms for peace – recognizing it as a “Jewish State”? Israel managed to make peace with two of its four Arab neighbors without that particular language. It was simply recognized. But with the Palestinians, it has to be “recognize us as a Jewish State”. Now, please note that no-where does Israel officially refer to itself internationally as “A Jewish State”. Egypt, for instance, is officially The Arab Republic of Egypt. By recognizing Egypt and agreeing to formal contact and non-hostile relations with it, you’re recognizing it as it presents itself – an Arab country. Israel did not choose to call itself The Jewish Republic of Israel. Nor has the government officially announced plans to do so, despite legislative initiatives on its right flank to define Israel as “The State of the Jewish People.” So what gives?

Answer: “Recognize us as a Jewish State” is code for “In return for us giving up on direct, on-the-ground-control of the land in both the West Bank (with land swaps yada yada yada), you agree to leave us the f— alone about anything we do regarding the remaining Ay-rabs under our control.”

After the “immense sacrifice” of giving up the West Bank (lots of territory, few actual people need to move, cause, settlement blocs and land swaps and so on), the absolute last thing the Israeli electorate (the 75-80% of it that’s non-Arab) will be willing to hear is that it needs to be considerate of any more non-Jews.

If Israel is willing to show this kind of aggression towards the part of the Arab-speaking, non-Druze/Circassian citizenry that’s most willing to coexist with the state, even while dealing with pressure about the occupation and all, just imagine what it will be willing to do to Palestinians in the center and north of the country, who mostly don’t serve in the IDF (unlike most of the Bedouins, including the ones from “unrecognized villages,” who do), with a huge “get off my back, I just made historic, heart-wrenching concessions for these @#$%! people already!” card.

Backlash, not a solution

The development needs of ’48 Arabs, already flagrantly under-served, will worsen severely. The discrimination in everything from employment to government funding per capita to municipal territories will get worse for this minority… To retain even the level of inequality today will require an enthusiastic embrace of the state and all it stands for and forswearing any outstanding grievances or identity issues. And the reflexive response of most in Israel (and many around the world) will be “Let them move to the (“free” and “equal”) State of Palestine if they don’t like it.”

Why do I say this? Again: This is happening even now, as Israel is already dealing with pressure over its treatment of millions of Palestinians who aren’t even enfranchised. About a third of the Jewish electorate (at least) already supports some kind of legislation to make it clear that Jewish citizens are more central to the state. That’s before being forced to make any kind of concessions in the sacred West Bank. How does this trend not intensify tenfold after that? Even if only say a few dozen thousand (put of 600 thousand Jews living beyond the Green Line) need to be resettled, how does that not trump any and all needs of ten times that many Arabs? Defiantly so?

So we see that even if every dream of John Kerry’s comes true within the next year or two, we will only be switching a cessation of the discrimination and usurpation of roughly 60% of the total Palestinian population between the river and the sea, on roughly 20% of the land, for the increased oppression of the other 40%, over 78% of the land (the remaining being the “third state” in the Gaza Strip.)

In any event, the wound of 1948 finds no actual solution. The locus of the inflammation merely shifts. And this time, 25 years of progressively preparing the public opinion of the Jewish majority to accept the need for some sort of compromise will only serve as a backlash – equal force, opposite direction. But that’s OK. That’ll take a few more years to blow up. Neither President Obama nor Secretary Kerry will have to deal with that.

 

Posted in apartheid, Israeli politics, Jewish supremacism, Occupation, racism, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Government Presents: Ethnic Cleansing

While most Israelis were preoccupied with their army’s attacks in Syria, with the harsh budget, and with the royal family’s extravagant trip to China, something much worse sneaked under the radar: On Monday, Israel’s government passed a resolution, based on the infamous “Prawer plan”, that calls for the forced evacuation (i.e. ethnic cleansing) of some 40 thousand Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes in the southern Negev region.

Supporters of the plan like to talk about Bedouin “incursions” on public and private land in the Negev. Answering this requires a brief history lesson: In 1948, the leadership of the embryonic State of Israel approached the leaders of the Bedouin tribes within the proposed borders of the state with a proposition: You, the Bedouins, refrain from joining the fight against us or helping our enemies in any way, and in return we Jews, after we win, will honor the status-quo regarding your grazing, living and annual migrating lands. The Bedouins faithfully kept their end of the bargain. In return, the natal State of Israel stabbed them in the back, refused to allow those of them who fled the battles to reunite with their tribes, and evacuated those who didn’t flee from the vast majority of the Negev into a small triangle of land around the city of Beersheba.

Despite this betrayal, most Bedouins became loyal citizens, and many of them serve in the IDF, especially as scouts of matchless skill. These are the facts, so don’t give me any “incursion” crap. Yes, Bedouins tend to make light of real estate and zoning laws (which naturally are made for the benefit of non-nomads). These violations can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis through the courts, and not by racist collective punishment. Furthermore, all the acreage ever illegally appropriated by Bedouins since the inception of the state pales in comparison to the vast areas stolen from them in the early fifties.

Now the Biberman-Bennett-Lapid government seeks to outdo that treachery, and expel tens of thousands of citizens from their abodes. Why? Because it wants to settle Jews in their stead. Such an act has a name under international law. It is called ethnic cleansing, and it is second only to genocide in the list of crimes against humanity.

This may pass quietly. Bedouins are famous for theןר long memories when it comes to grudges. They are perfectly capable of swallowing the bitter pill now only to retaliate in several decades, when it will hurt the most and seem to come out of the blue. But somehow, I doubt it. Resentment over state discrimination within the Bedouin community is close to boiling over as it is and this repugnant step, which is expected to easily pass muster in the Knesset, could well be the last straw that ignites a Bedouin Intifada.

And if that happens? Israel and every last one of its citizens who stood by will have richly earned it. Let every bulldozer driver know, upon arriving to demolish a family’s home, that the bullet in his brain will be utterly deserved. Let every policeman backing up that driver know that he has honestly come by the crowbar to the cranium. Let each and every one of Israel’s ministers most sinister know that if they end up like the odious Rehav’am Ze’evi, that will be nothing but poetic justice.

And those who want justice without bloodshed? Let them form a human wall to block the larceny. Maybe when the racists see that their plan will cost Jewish blood as well, they will have second thoughts. It’s not at all certain, but it’s all we have.

Posted in apartheid, Jewish supremacism, racism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Horny Gods, Horny Prophets

The Minister of Education and the God of Mt. Nevo

Not a political post

FML. By the time you get inspired enough to write an actual, old school, longer than 140 character post (rather than lob the quick gist out there and engage in back and forth all day as you develop the idea with someone or someones among a first circle of over a thousand), you’z inspired enough to write about a million different things. These can only all fit not-annoyingly in a painfully constructed custom made grab-bag, if at all. So we’re not gonna do that.

As you may or may have not noticed, I have kinda resigned as a functioning political blogger. Why have I quit? This is due to a sense that Alea Jacta Est and what the fuck’s the point and there aren’t even close-to-maybe-not-really-enough-people-on-either-side who see things clearly1 for there to be any chance of changing the current crash trajectory. That said, I may have enough muse left in coming days to to touch on current events too in a totally separate post, just cause sometimes you can’t keep your mouth shut regardless of whether there’s anyone listening. But that’s not why we’re here right now. This here’s a linguist-historical-academic post.

So, my sister-of-choice, wisest and most venerable of priestesses to Goddess Bast, i.e Dena Bugel @Shunracat (you should follow her. Fascinating eclectic feed) – she’s studying ancient Mesopotamian history right now (with an emphasis on ancient textile materials, yarns and twine and such – that’s not the important part. Ancient Mesopotamia is. Deep ancient. Not the Babylonians who conquered Jerusalem. 1500+ years before that.

Now, Dena is my sister as in I’m her brother from another mother (and-father). I would die for her (and by extension her immediate loved ones) and anyone that says any impolite shit to or about her (debate her fiercely, just be notified) will be banned from my blog and any social media I have. Because I said so.

However, sis and I - for all that many would consider us “fellow travelers” in politics, and we think alike in some ways cause we’re both members of a professional/neurological-tic group called “translators” -we really do not always see eye to eye, be it on the bic picture or the many side alley stories. In addition to that, she is more given than I am to conspiracy theories in general and those that undermine Zionist or current official Jewish narratives in particular – and I ain’t shy about either myself. With me so far?

So sis says to me she made a discovery. I know from whatever in the when and how she said it she means linguisto-sleuthing. So she says, the word prophet (this whole conversation takes place 95% in Hebrew, in which prophet is “navi”  (nun-bet-yod-alef) – where do you reckon it comes from?

I say: “The (pretty much identical modern and ancient Hebrew) root “come” (and by extension “bring”) – bo (bet-vav-[silent]alef). He’s the one who brings the word of god.

Says she: “One would think that, right? But no.” Before I have a chance to begin suspecting this is an idea unfounded by anything outside her own surmise, she quickly adds that she has two quotes, both by Primary and quite definitive Hebrew lexicographer Avraham Even-Shoshan, as in the dude who if you EVER read a Hebrew-Hebrew dictionary, odds are it’s his; a guy who even if you point out he lived and wrote dictionaries before a bunch of recent archeological finds, had no bias whatsoever against Zionism and definitely not against Judaism, unlike many of us :-).

So, the word Navi, according to the Merriam and Webster of modern Hebrew dictionaries, comes from the words navu/nevo/nabu in Chaldean (Casdite) and Sumerian. These are words for “read/reader/reading” and –this is the important bit – these words in turn come from the name of Nabu, the god of reading and wisdom. King of Gods Marduk’s personal scribe-god in the pantheon. Not Zeus, but like Apollo. A major god.

So far fascinating if you’re into history AND language, but doesn’t prove any new meta-insight to me. True, Nabu is mentioned and found in sculpture prominently as late as the very end of the 2nd Babylonian empire (just think of those kings and their chief ministers: Nebu-chadnezzer, Nebu-zadran, etc);

But Nabu lived long and started waaaay before that, being fully formed in mention as early as around 2,000 BCE. That’s some 100 years at least before common chronology puts Abraham, and some 500-800 years before anyone puts Moses and his fully-formed-or-not Torah.

(explanation of the above graph. Feel free to skip to the next one if you choose).

Whether or not you buy jack shit of what the bible has to say about any aspect of events, by the 10th century BCE, which is to say around 1,000 BCE, there begins to emerge an undeniable, slightly yet significantly distinct culture in what is modern-day Israel/Palestine. This culture is referred to in research as Israelite. By that time Nabu had been around as the god of wisdom of the wisest cultures around for at least 1,000 years. So it is entirely possible that by the time the Israelites are proven to have existed, which is to say after 1000 BCE for certain and by some indication at least in some part(s) of the land as early as around 1200 BCE, The notion of Nabu and his name’s connection to the very concepts of writing, knowledge (and by extension, foreknowledge and concentrated knowledge) was so cemented in the language of the entire region that it was unavoidable regardless of the pagan origin for the word not be used for a prophet. Even by the Jeohava-centric and pagan-detesting bible.

To sum up to here: It sounds a lot like another episode in the “Dena thinks she has something, I see what she thinks she sees but don’t see any real evidence for it.” It’s not.

The twist takes us on a lil detour to early 16th century Florence, and a highly successful artisan, prone to throwing tantrums at his very rich and powerful patrons, who turned out to be the most influential figure in Western art history.

The double-barreled dynamo known to his intimates as Micky (well michele [mi-ke-le] if you wanna be show-your-work about it) still has a few top 10 hits, including a ceiling he painted at this chapel and a couple of very famous statues, one of which is of Moses. You know, the one with the horns?

Now, folks who know about this stuff tend to attribute the horns, with a snort of derision, to late-medieval European ignorance, in this case a mistranslation of the Hebrew “karnu panav”, which means “his face radiated” rather than “his face grew horns”, even though the two meanings share an identical root and are obviously related on the visual imagery level.

So while you’re beginning to catch the drift, it’s important to make clear: It’s entirely possible that the reason for the horns WAS a funny Christian misreading of Hebrew and not the following you’re about to read. But be that as it may, we’re about to see that there may be a very real, vital-at-the-time reason to sculpt Moses with horns.

Remember the god Nabu? God of reading and wisdom, from whom the “Nabi” or “Navi” – i.e. prophet – receives wisdom and special knowledge? So guess what Mr. Nabu Deus looks like in the statues and engravings we have of him. Yup. He has horns. Not rendered rays of light or even power shining from his face. Horns. Physical growths from the cranium.Like so or so and also so.

So what did “Karnu Panav” mean to the first folks rendered this story into writing – his face radiated (non mass energy) or his face literally grew horns as he became like onto Nabu. And even if we accept it really meant radiated from the very first (with a solid case as it happens. Some of the most ancient examples Jewish art show renditions of a [relatively abstract] Moses figure with rays coming out of his head, more like pictures of saints and Jesus in Christianity than like Nabu and his budding antlers. Also, various biblical verbal imagery likens the presence/attention/will of Jehovah to the sun, sunlight, sun rays, etc.) , That still leaves us with a wording designed inescapably to make us – and much more so, a person of the ancient fertile crescent – think of horns and an inescapably famous (pagan!!) god whose effect produces horns. In addition to, or instead of, making us think about Jehovah, who is not rendered or painted or engraved of sculpted in anything rightly called Jewish art. That’s a big, fundamental, difference-from-all-the-rest kinda thing Judaism is known for. #2 with a bullet on the .OG Top10 list.

Now, the Hebrew version has a bit here about the worship of Pagan gods alongside and/or in place of Jehovah in post-Moses biblical narrative. If you want I’ll get into that in the comments section (do stop by there on your way out, if only to say “It was interesting enough to make it all the way here”). For now we’ll end this first of two insights with the fact that the mountain where Moses died is called Mount NEVO. It is spelled with the exact same letters (though different vowel signs, but same letters) as Nabu in short-spell writing.

And to truly wrap up the Nevo-Nabu-Navi-Moses segment, a word from her most revered feline-ness who made the original find that got the ball rolling:

“What I’m saying is that the tension [in the biblical narrative]between prophets [who tend towards a sort of universal humanism] and the priests [kohanim, cohens], who are more into the jealous, exclusive, intolerant of any whiff of otherness aspect of Jehovah, can be explained by a latent universal sociological tension between prophets [charismatic, deriving power from random and time-specific personal experience of the divine, have to prove themselves true by personal success {miracle, true foretelling of events}] and priests [hierarchical, deriving power from set ritual and organizational continuation and procedure, do not have to prove themselves personally, and maintain power by serving and fortifying the organization that say that each of them as an individual has special powers and privileges and must be listened to, in whatever degree according to spelled-out rank].

This, Dear Dena points as she signs off, makes the whole thing both more and less consp-feeling at the same time. Which in geek-speak means it’s as much fun as a coupla cats with a flashy light ball o’yarn.

Going on to a somewhat unrelated but totally in the same ballpark kinda thing: Another great rabbi of the female side, the most amazing woman on earth who happens to be the mother of my children, heard about alla the above over Friday dinner (Christian readers: read Sunday family dinner), mulled it over with me some and then threw a similar curveball of her own, not dictionary-backed as of yet but blindingly obvious as true when you know the back-story

Y’all ever heard of the Metatron, be ye from synagogue, church or jum3a oriented cultures? Kevin Smith fans? If so, skip this link. If not, read the link.

Long story short:

The Metatron, who is a type of Prometheus (giver of divine basic knowledge to mortals) and also akin to Moses in his very early career, is Enoch, son of Yered (Anglophone-change alert: That’s where you all get “Jared” from, I believe.) Genesis 5:18-24.

In the original Hebrew the name is Chanoch (and who knows what it was in a pre-Hebrew, way-pre-Israelite Mesopotamian predecessor). What makes him unique among the many antediluvian people mentioned in Genesis is simple: Like Elijah the prophet thousands of years later, he was born like any hiuman and unlike elijah had progeny, but he never died. He was taken up to heaven without dying and given a gig in the immortal scheme of things, making him an immortal member of the heavenly host, the guys generally referred to as “angels”, although unlike almost all other angels, mortal-born.

Metatron is significant in Jewish mysticism no less than he is in The “Dogma”-inspiring Christian variety, but it’s more low key in Judaism, though equally accepted as true by believing scholars of both religions (He’s in Islam too. A primordial deity/deified culture hero powerful enough to remain, with name intact AND mortal biography and same general post-mortal job description and career history, through all the languages and empires and religious upheavals, with the requisite variation according to which kind of cleric is telling you the story behind the scripture.

So, the big insight, yeah? In Hebrew, the ,main word for education, from at least the time of the writing of Proverbs and on, is chinuch. Chanoch → Chinuch.

If you speak Hebrew and know the whole extra-biblical sory of Chanoch, this is a big “Oh man that makes perfect obviously true sense” moment. That’s the woman who loves me thought about that. And she be a babe too. Eat y’alls heart out.

Oh, and just to really tie the two segments together, like The Dude’s rugCheck it:

Metatron’s primary function (at least in Judaism, which is linguistically relevant, and  contrary to portrayal in “Dogma” ), is not really as God’s full time, primary “voice”, or herald, that is, repeater of divine knowledge by sound, but his scriberecorder and repeater of divine knowledge by written words. And naturally he’s the one who taught humans writing, among other similar “secrets from heaven.”

And the god Nabu? He’s the scribe of Marduk, King of the Mesopotamian pantheon (Think Zeus/Jupiter). Like Hermes has a specific job in the Olympus as the messenger of the gods, in addition to “patron god of [commerce, tricks, deceit, misdirection, clever ploys etc. kinda like the Norse Loki only that's not his all-consuming aspect])’. Nabu is also patron god of this and that like any other god, but in addition has a day job. He is depicted sitting like a scribe in a mortal king’s palace – closest to (much lower than, obviously), the heavenly king, same thing as Chanoch the Metatron (meta-tron in Greek – meta you know and tron is instrument, tool). be it Jehovah or Marduk.

Ya dig? If so, give your grapho-maniac host and humble narrator some love down below. Most obliged.

Like I said, I can’t promise that there’ll be a current events post too, seeing my past year or so’s rate, but I’mma give it a try, I think. No friggin neder.

Oh, someone donated after the last post and that behooves acknowledgment. Bolshoi spasiba, droog.

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1. And for the record though both sides are being stupid, Israel has the power  and is being the more stubborn and is inflicting MUCH more day-in-day-out friction (and more casualties, needless to say, merely by being the much bigger gun in the fight, regardles of right/wrong, wise/stupid.

 

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Vote2013IL – The Rise of the Empty Suit

The first, and most important thing to understand about the Israeli elections just concluded this week is that, big picture-wise, they simply do not matter. Israel has consciously or subconsciously decided to miss the window of opportunity for the so-called two-state solution. Anyone who believes that Yair Lapid will truly insist on meaningful negotiations with the emasculated Mahmoud Abbas, beleaguered head of the Palestinian Authority, is suffering from a severe case of the wishful thinkies and lack of familiarity with the subject matter.

Lapid is a man who, by his own admission, puts blind trust in the judgment of the security establishment. Unlike the “Attack Iran” issue, where the security establishment presented a principled and determined opposition to the delusions of grandeur entertained by the PM and Minister of Defense, in the case of the occupation there is little to compare. The decided majority of the vectors that make up the position of the IDF and other security forces do not want to end the occupation (neither the obvious one in the West Bank or the aggressive-”passive” one in the Gaza Strip), since by now almost all of Israel’s security apparatus lives for and is geared around the maintenance of this situation. While stopping the Gaza blockade wouldn’t be a serious momentum change, withdrawing ALL troops west of the Green Line (or at least west of the security fence) would force the IDF and Border Patrol to change everything about the way they operate, from the location of bases and installations to most operating procedures. No organization is eager for such change, least of all one built on the application of force as a sole solution to any challenge.

So whether the government will be built on the triple axis of Netanyahu-Lapid-Bennet (with some table crumbs given to another party or two just to make it look more stable and inclusive) or whether Lapid insists on something Bibi refuses to give him, forcing the PM to stick with a narrow government made up solely of his “natural allies” – the orthodox of both stripes and the national religious, or in short the forces of occupation and reactionary thought – little in actual policy is expected to change. Bibi himself would have little problem taking this option and leaving the rising newcomer in the cold, but he has made himself so disagreeable to the vast majority of major international players (with all due respect to Micronesia and even the ever-cool Czech Republic) that he will not be able to survive his usual squirm routine on the international stage while beholden to such a coalition. Lapid, the man in the empty suit, becomes the invaluable camouflage for Mr. Netanyahu’s plan for the new term: More of the same.

Unlike the case of the “peace process” facade, Economically, of course, there won’t even be much need to throw sand in Lapid’s eyes. All three members of the axis are what we in Israel call “porcine capitalists”. On the one hand, Lapid’s victory does represent a showing of force by the politically amorphous tens and hundreds of thousands that made J14 the earthquake it briefly was. However, being politically amorphous, most of these didn’t empower political forces that will truly work for the stated goals of that civic uprising. Inasmuch as Lapid himself is concerned, as well as part of his top Knesset Members (such as former Shin-Bet chief and well-compensated CEO Ya’acov Perry), nothing could be further from their own economic inclinations than the radical re-distribution of publicly-held assets demanded by the protesters. When push came to shove, right at the start of the campaign, to support or resist the blatant giveaway of ILS 27b (yeah, billion), back to corporations in the form of accrued tax breaks for re-investment in Israel despite the fact that they didn’t in fact re-invest – Lapid took the (wrong) position that this (simply enforcing a very straightforward quid-pro-quo) would constitute retro-active punitive legislation. Somehow Lapid’s principles and the short-term interests of the “haves” always seem to coincide.

A word on Lapid: even the infinite space of the Internet might not suffice to compile all the evidence that Lapid is an empty suit. He regularly uses phrases and quotes in ways that illustrate that he does not understand them. Just one example for kicks – he once tried to school his readers on the Gettysburg Address, and had Lincoln talking about the “four fathers” of the United States (four-score and seven years ago, our…yup. Four fathers). And this is a man who passes in Israeli media as an expert on Americana…

His logical absurdities are a matter of legend, and his sticky, saccharine-laden life-long quest to define the essence of “What is Israeli” is a fascinating study in unselfconscious white privilege. His insistence on denying the benefit of being his father’s son to getting where he got is comical, and for all his pretense of being a straight-shooter, his campaign spent an inordinate amount of time deleting and blocking the questions of anyone who threatened to stump the new messiah. The fact that such a man controls such a large portion of the legislature (with a very empowering party rulebook he wrote himself, which basically guarantees him the top spot till 2020), is disconcerting to say the least, but is expected to provide ample hilarity nonetheless.

It is hard sometimes to explain to outsiders the degree in which the doublespeak necessary for maintaining a dual existence (pseudo-democracy west of an imaginary line, outright apartheid occupation east of it) has corrupted political discourse in Israel. This corrupting effect manifests even far away from the topic of occupation. For instance: These elections were called, several months before the end of the Knesset’s term, because Bibi couldn’t get his own cabinet and coalition to sign off on his proposed bi-annual budget. The reason for this failure by the coalition partners may seem technical at first: They couldn’t in good faith sign off on the budget because they weren’t allowed to actually see it.

So, the PM, previously thought to be coasting safely to re-election on his own terms, with a very stable coalition, suddenly has to call early elections because he wants to pass a budget so bad, he wants his partners to accept it sight-unseen, before they get to say “Um, dude, we DO have to get re-elected too.”

Happens, right? Budgets are a main source of political contention and it is only natural that they play a prominent part in the demise of ruling coalitions. Budgets are what politics is all about – the means by which the various dog packs arrange the tearing of the carcass of public resources.

What is unnatural is that this played very little part in the campaign. There was talk about the cost of living, and big election loser Shelly Yechimovich’s vage “It Can Be Better Here” campaign, but the fact that the PM tried to force through a set of god-only-knows-what cuts on essential services, is going to elections for it and still won’t tell anybody what’s in it – that was not mentioned. (Added: Nor did the revelation of the huge national deficit – a full percent more of the GDP, and close to 50 billion shekels – rock the campaign as it should have. Then again, maybe that accounts for Lapid’s last-week surge. He did, after all, run on a “where’s the money” slogan.)

Then again, it was a very odd campaign. There was very little buzz in the streets, very few support signs hanging from porches and windows. Only in the last week was there a sense of action on the street. Israelis, although always cynical about politics, have always been equally fervent about it. Even though the voting rate has been declining for a couple of decades now, in every previous elections there was a sense of to-do throughout the campaign. Not so this time. Many will say the action was simply contained within the virtual sphere where candidates and parties spent most of their efforts. I will make so bold as to paraphrase the great Neil Gaiman and say that for all the wonders of our zeroes and ones, we are still of this world, and victories that don’t take place in the real world aren’t as real. Then again, the polling box is very real, and it has spoken for now.

So expect cosmetic change in Israel’s conduct in its occupied territories and vis-a-vis the world, and tyranny-of-the-majority application of porcine capitalism, shrouded by vast-seeming but empty project launches. Lapid and his Knesset Members and his voters all realize the dangers of becoming a true international pariah. However, Lapid is too beholden to a tough-guy style of Israeli posture to insist on, or even demand true changes in the way we approach the rest of the world. Lapid believes that all Israel needs to do is insist, and the Palestinians will relinquish their demands for East Jerusalem – just as they have accepted that there will be no significant realization of the “right of return”. The arrogance of this notion is of course telling in many ways, but it also leads us to the question “what IS Jerusalem, or East Jerusalem for that matter?”

That’s a whole ‘nother ball o’wax, but we’ll do Lapid the justice of providing his own answer to the matter: The Tower of David. Shrewd way of saying “The Old City within the walls” without being overly religious about it. It’s about the history, ya see. Twenty years ago, even 15, Israel could have kept sovereignty of the old city (with special arrangements) and every single neighborhood east of the Green Line already built at that time, had it put a willingness to relinquish all other Palestinian neighborhoods and villages in the huge area designated by Israel as “Jerusalem” on the table (and solved the other issues and finalized a deal).

Now? Not so fast. However, if Lapid is willing to say that, and say that in return for insisting on what’s within the walls he’s willing to give up places like Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Issawiya and others (which are also of immense historical and “heritage” value, and where settlers are forcing out residents of many years in an attempt to create a Jewish-majority circle around the walls) – that would be progress. Stopping the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley would be nice, too. I still think it would be like performing CPR on a corpse, but if one is really committed to the two-state solution that would be the way to go about it. And of course, those injustices need to stop no matter which jackoff holds which very impressive title.

But they won’t. The truly decisive factor in this next Knesset is how Chief Big Torch’s 18 new Indians will behave. Some of them are excellent people, like sports and military analyst Ofer Shelach, activist Karin Elharar, Prof. Ruth Calderon and others. A few are known douchebags like the aforementioned Perry and former Student Council head Boaz Toporovsky. Most are rather unknown and the big question is how many of them will sit back and bask in the importance and benefits of a one-and-done turn on the national stage whole Bibi and Yair smoke cigars and drink whiskey as they continue to enrich the rich and drag on the farce of a peace process. Other questions to watch: How loud will the unhinged fringes of both Likud and Jewish Home be, and how vindictive will the 14 Labor MK’s be towards their failed general Shelly. Your guess is as good as mine, but when I find out I’ll let ya know.

Posted in Israeli politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

But Where Is Bibi’s Bomb?

 

Once the ripples of laughter had died down from the smash success of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Road Runner special reboot production, It was only a matter of time till the question begged itself: Why would Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office run the obvious risk of ridicule in order to make its point in this way? By “in this way” I mean that even as we accept the wisdom that says “Hey, he got it talked about”, we must also accept upon further reflection that a less ludicrous choice of prop would still have had  a theatrical effect and gotten  mentioned – without any of the weakening of one’s message. You know – the weakening that comes from being openly declared ridiculous, and from subconsciously rendering your deathly-serious topic synonymous with cartoon connotations.

Bibi’s staff is stuffed with American backgrounds (in addition to his own). It is utterly impossible that no one there heard “beep-beep! Vrooooom!” in their minds as soon as they saw what the boss was schlepping to the big speech. I know his office is all kindsa dysfunctional, but I doubt it’s to  the point where no-one can say anything about something like this. So they knew the risk and decided to go ahead with it.

Then why? What was so important that the Prime Minister’s office was willing to not only endure a shit storm of scorn but purposely create it? Not the Iran thing. We’ve already disproved that. Give up? Look in the Negev, the south of Israel. No, not our own non-NPT-participatin’ nuclear facilities. A bit west of there. A place currently named Umm al-Hiran.

My homie and top notch journalist Noam Sheizaf already cooked the story down to the lean bare nitty, so read that and come back for a sec.

Back? Those of you that are just about facts and analysis have my blessing to bail here and spread the word. For those that want my take as well, I’mma be brief:

Any adult who moves into any sort of settlement built on the ruins of the village of Umm Hiran is a legit target for reprisal by force. Yes I’m talking about the dread, naughty, oh my we must never “take the law into our own hands”. I’m not talking about the law. I’m talking about JUSTICE. It’s the law that’s doing this evil thing. And no, just because the king takes the poor man’s ewe – a second time, for fuck’s sake – doesn’t make it right. All you bible-thumpin’ ardent Zionists should take a note there. (2nd Samuel, 12:3, in case you need it. )

Once again: ANYBODY participating in this theft, whether as propagator, executioner or beneficiary and recipient of stolen goods is a legitimate target for reprisal. Those that want to be angels have my utmost respect, but I’m talking of mere humans here. It’s not a threat, either, but merely a prediction and a statement of simple morals. I wish I could say promise I’d fight alongside the Abu al-Qian clan when the dozers come. Chances are I won’t be there, but I’d argue to exonorate anyone charged with anything less than causing permanent disability or death in reprisal of this.

Yeah, I said it. Charge me with incitement, motherfuckers. I double dare you.

Posted in apartheid, Jewish supremacism, racism, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Willard The Dullard and The Glorified Numbers-Runner That Could

Oh Mitten, kitten, what ARE we gonna do with ya? More on that in just a sec, but never mind that right now! Kind words were bestowed upon a certain book faithful readers of this irregular fine and friendly feature may have heard of. It may have taken a few weeks for the first review to clear the bowels of a large media organ, but we couldn’t have hoped for a better one.

Skewering [Israeli] policy with moral clarity and discomfiting honesty”

[Israeli Dissidents] offers plenty for more keyed-in readers. […] many of the articles are well-researched, magazine-length pieces of hard-hitting journalism — usually providing far more detail than the mainstream media.”

Idan Landau’s article on the troubling relationship between the US military industrial complex and aid to Israel is a must-read for anyone interested in the international dynamics that fund the violence here.”

Landau’s articles on Israeli policies in East Jerusalem’s Silwan and the Jordan Valley are illuminating and incisive condemnations of the occupation’s bureaucracy that will surely leave its apologists speechless.”

There’s more, but my readers be quick on the uptake so y’all get the drift by now. Mightily pleased, although I am willing to lay good money that the one about typical snarky blog posts was directed at someone I know from around the way in the mirror… but I don’t care. As long as Idan’s work gets credit, and the rest of the authors are favorably mentioned, I’z a happy trooper.

So read the whole thing, then read the book if ya haven’t already, and see if you agree with the kind Mr. Davis, whom you should follow for informed ME stuff and general intereting-ness (Yeah it’s a word. I just said it.)

Sales spiked, btw, after the review, but we need more coverage. If you work for a media organ with serious reach or have a following of sufficient size and think the book deserves exposure, please do what you can, and the blessings of the Goddess be with you.

But enough about Israeli Dissidents and its glorious march for now, and let us turn our eyes to the pilgrim’s progress. By now you’ve all heard about the Romney camp’s trifecta of gaffes in England, Poland and the Holy Land. But for those of you who rely solely on me for incisive commentary (bad choice btw. Always vary your intel), I will repeat some of the salient points about the erroneous and offensive remarks Dullard made, mention a the leading explanations for them and offer one I haven’t seen elsewhere as of yet.

Willard, as you may recall (that’s his actual name. Mitt is a middle name), unburdened himself of a certain, um, deterministic worldview, if not a an outright bigoted one, when he said that

I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries. And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. [...]

[Romney then alluded to a point made in "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," a book by former Harvard professor David S. Landes:]

Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.”

Let’s parse this, shall we?

The standard bearer of the Republican party, when asked (by himself) to name the two key causes for the economic disparity between Israel and its occupied Paltustanian Authority, names “culture”, and “Providence”

So:

  1. The reason Israelis enjoy a higher standard of living is that they have the more success-oriented culture, and
  2. God likes them better.
    .
    Now, just to set the record straight, and withholding my usual invective, this pitifully simplistic analysis omits a few key elements:1) Israel controls all of the Palestinian territories. The sham of the Oslo-era A, B and C territories notwithstanding. Israel controls everything that goes in or out of “Palestine” and levies a hefty price for allowing things through. Where imports from Arab countries  (which don’t have trade with Israel but will gladly sell to Palestinians) might adversely impact sales by Israeli manufacturers, they are seldom allowed. Security, you see. Just an example.
    2) Israel controls ALL of the resources of “Palestine” – be they mineral or ethereal. Israel controls the airspace, the frequencies, the bandwith, etc. All that invisible stuff necessary for progress these days.
    3) This deserves its own entry: The WATER (which, even when pumped from under Palestinian land, costs a Palestinian 20 times as much as an Israeli.) Israeli and Palestinian have neighboring enterprises, equally dependent on water. Which of them will more easily turn a profit? The one with the superior (kleptocratic) culture, of course! Not even going into the intentional dehydration of entire areas of “Palestine”. Just on the economic competitive level.
    4) In fact, Israel controls the very soil. Israel operates almost all the quarries, and 94% of the soil and rock quarried in “Palestine” is used in Israel or in the settlements. (Israel’s vaunted beacon-of-the-rule-of-law High Court ruled this perfectly OK, since the Palestinian economy benefits by Palestinians working in the quarries). 

    I mean, just look at all the construction on this side, and over there (as Jon Stewart’s correspondent put it so well) they just choose to live in rubble! Clear case of culture inferiority. Nothing to be done about it

    We’ll stop here, though there is of course much more.
    It’s amazing how when you control everything and anything a people do, make them pay 20 times more for their own water, systematically displace significant little chunks of them all the time, and don’t even let them use their own rocks and dirt for construction – those people suddenly don’t seem to have the right “culture” to compete.

     

     

     

     

     

So no, Governor. It’s not all about culture, unless by “culture” you mean rank, vicious, fanatically-inspired colonialism. In fact, if that 10K GNP number wasn’t inflated by donations, it would represent a WILD success under the circumstances. Just as Israel’s Olympic athletes are mostly HUGELY successful when you factor in how little is invested in them. Israel ranks in the absolute cellar of investment in sports per GDP. In the entire world. Countries as developed as New Zealand and as troubled as Zimbabwe invest more. For an Israeli to make an Olympic swimming final means that had his parents relocated to ANY first world country, he would have undoubtedly (barring seriously bad luck absent from the Israeli iteration) had  a medal. For an Israeli to win Bronze is a sure gold for the exact same talent in any OECD country and quite a few more. A GNP/GDP of $10K under the utterly kleptocratic occupation would be astonishing.

Even as it is, there is nothing to worry about the Palestinian “culture” when it comes to making money. Palestinians, and my friends of that nation will forgive me if I mention this, are admiringly / disparagingly known as “The Jews of the Arab World”. Their business acumen built the Gulf countries. Palestinian Hi-Tech, while not as dominant as Israel’s (much of Israel’s Hi-Tech juggernaut is militarily-fueled, btw),is quite nimble, inventive and altogether admirable – especially when it has to operate under uncertain power supplies, at times. Governor Romney would know that had he bothered to make an even perfunctory visit 10 miles away.

So why did Romney – why was he even allowed by his handlers – to say such outrageous, offensive, blatantly ignorant and compromising things? I mean, forget the Israeli issue; Are you REALLY courting the crucial Hispanic vote (Hello, Sunshine State!) by saying that the US’s advantage over Mexico was a sheer result of culture? Aren’t you like half from Mexico or some shit, dipshit? (oops, sorry. I’ll try harder).

The obvious answer, much discussed, is Sheldon (the glorified little numbers-runner that could) Adelson, the man who is determined to out-Soros everyone for all time and sink a rumored $100M (either total or on top of eight figures he sunk into Newt) in the upcomin’ in order to unseat the sitting President.

We’ll get to Sheldon and his troubling and innovative role in the upcomin’, but first my own angle, offensive as it may sound to some truly decent and interesting acquaintances, as to why Romney found it so easy to say such an unnecessarily damaging thing.

Mormons are Philo-semites. It’s a thing with them to feel affinity and admiration towards the Jewish People. Joe Smith intentionally or impromptu-like modeled the forced immigration of his church on the Exodus, and no Christian sect save the Jesuits stresses learning for learning’s sake like Jews do. This is not accidental (Ken Jennings was not a fluke), nor overlooked by Mormons.

Sometimes this admiration can feel icky to Jews. Not just myself, most thinking Jews I know from a broad spectrum of opinions find it anywhere from tedious and perplexing to downright creepy at times, depending on the variety they ran into. Some of the non-thinkers are happy about it, while some of the non and thinkers alike have enough residual yid/yahudi instincts to politely accept whatever benefit but be internally wary.

Oh, and how could I forget. The mormons claim some kind of genetic or cultural link to ancient proto-Judaism because according to their mythology, around 600 BCE a Judean priest (or Levite??) named Lehi escaped the impending doom (fall of the first temple in 586 BCE) and tumbled all the way to the new world, where… (read the Book of Mormon for the rest).

Just wanted to mention this, because I believe it IS a factor. And now to THE factor:

So Adelson wants to invest as much money as he feels like to unseat the President. This, in itself, is legal and one may argue even legitimate. Odious as some (cough, cough) may find it, “Citizens United” is the law of the land in the US. The desire to unseat a sitting President in itself is most legitimate and needs no excuse. Most of the time I’d like to unseat the current bastid myself, if I could see anyone better to the right of of the sadly long-shottish Bernie Sanders (love ya, you curmudgeonly Yankee geezer).

What makes Adelson – and Willard’s subservience to him – unprecedented (on top of his unprecedented meddling in Israeli politics) is that Adelson’s chief motivation for this largesse is the benefit of a foreign power. Think about it. It’s one thing to say “I’m a businessman, my primary political concern is the benefit of my business, so I’m gonna do my tootin’ darndest to make sure there’s a President whose budgets and policies benefit me and mine”. This is what is called “the pursuit of happiness”. It is quite another to say “My chief concern is the benefit of a single FOREIGN nation and I’m going to pour in amounts that have never been poured on behalf of a single issue, to the benefit of that nation and not even pretend to be motivated by US interests unrelated to the welfare of that nation.

Of course, Adelson apologists would insist that he is the perfect patriot who just happens to see US and Hawkish-Israeli interests perfectly aligned. However, those not emotionally invested in Israel – and, shocking as it may sound, not everyone is or can be expected to be – should see that for what it is. There is no such thing as absolute accord between the interests of any two countries.

There are laws against this, and for good reason. Adelson eludes those laws because he is an American citizen and is serving as a willing, voluntary and (as far as anyone can prove) uncoordinated agent on behalf of the current Israeli administration.

However, Adelson-Romney’s conduct bodes very very ill for the American electoral system and American sovereignty. Even if you like what Adelson is pushing for, you can’t seriously believe that there won’t be an Arab Adelson. A Chinese one. A Russian one. (Yo, Mikhail Prokharov, kagdela?)

It also bodes extremely ill for American Jewry to have Israel used so blatantly as a wedge issue, by a man like Adelson. An entire generation of democrats is learning to despise both. Israel’s greatest success over the years was using its influential American minority to attain true consensus-level in American politics. It was never a wedge-issue before because differences were truly negligible. They still are, so the Republicans are going back to their religious roots and thinking up auto-de-fas.

IN FOUR YEARS, OBAMA HASN’T VISITED ISRAEL ONCE!!! screams the Adelson campaign. In 12 years, neither Reagan (Gipper on the Deck! Atten-shun!) nor Bush Sr. (still, a Republican) visited Israel once. So? Nixon did, but only in his second term, and Ike didn’t, and we weren’t around for Hoover. Mmkay?

WTF? Is Adelson insane? Never mind Romney, who’s nauseatingly willing to parrot whatever his moneybags dictates, pretending that once ensconced he won’t pursue what all first-term presidents do (a second term) by the same means that got him there in the first place – only this time with actual policy and soldiers rather than just words.

Does Adelson, for all his prattling about his Jewish pride (he famously said that he regrets serving in the US military and not the IDF. However, he apparently does not regret living the US lifestyle rather than that of the object of his burning loyalty) – does this man really have so little connection to his Jewish roots to not understand how dangerous this is? That there will be terrible consequences for the most successfully integrated yet proudly distinct Jewish diasporum ever should the slightest thing go wrong, and a fall from that crucial consensual status regardless? Does Adelson see himself or his sock-puppet Bibinocchio as the Messiah, so there will be no consequence?

This, Chief Justice Roberts, is what you have wrought. Find a way to mend it, as you will be Chief for a long time to come. As an American, I cannot believe you approve.

I had lots in store to say about internal-Israeli stuff, which is also fascinating in its unraveling into hell (Remember a few months ago when it was “King Bibi”? Well, now folks be wondering what’s ailing the man and how he screwed up so badly, and in last weekend’s social justice protests there was a wonderful sign: We Don’t Want A King, We Want A Leader. The “king” was transliterated from English, as a contempt intensifier).

However, shit be getting long and I owe that stuff to my long-neglected readers in Hebrew first. So comment, share, make some goddamn noise if you learned anything from the above or think others will, and make me want to do the next one afore it get stale.

Oh yeah, y’all recollect this?  Well, seems like we gots ourselves a reader in Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen, who decided to stay on my good side and fessed up the ver’ next mornin’. Apparently Mr. Jawahari has been a very naughty and busy boy, allegedly not only being contacted by a Syrian Mukhabarat agent (plausible), but indeed enlisting with great alacrity and performing dazzling feats of espionage on behalf of his dastardly, horrid handlers, collecting data on tank counts, troops counts, locations of secret installations and whatnot.

Now, the Stasi KNOWS he didn’t do all this shit, save possibly being solicited by a Syrian intel agent. Maybe. So either They want to flip him and are pretending to go hard on him, or (more likely), they are punishing him, either for REFUSING to flip, or for simply not reporting that he was approached by the Syrian (which, had he done and had been found out to have done, would condemn his relatives on the Syrian side to a cruel and unusually grisly demise). I think he’s been allowed counsel by now, but not sure. Will endeavor to find out.

As always, Keyboard Radical and the Holyland Update are not responsible for any conceptions, illusions or sympathies misplaced along one of our tours. We thank you for flying the crazy skies. Please share and comment on your way out.

Posted in apartheid, Israeli politics, Jewish supremacism, Occupation, racism, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments