Pan-Judaism?

Haaretz had an interesting article about a new group of Jews who are trying to figure out “Israel’s status in the Jewish world”, like the rest of us. It doesn’t seem that much will come out of this group, but a few interesting thoughts were raised about the place of Israel among Jewish communities.
(Note: The Israel Forum mentioned in the article has nothing to do with the Israel Forum here in NYC)

My view is that Israelis think of American Jewry in terms of “The rich Aunt from America”. Maybe its time to realize that there is an abusive relationship between both communities; the Israeli Jewish community being aggressive and very self-centered and the American Jewish community creating a fantasy of a country that never really existed.

For NYC-based discussions around these issues, check out the Creative Zionist Circle or alternatively the Israel Forum.

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55 Responses to “Pan-Judaism?”

  1. “My view is that Israelis think of American Jewry in terms of “The rich Aunt from America”. Maybe its time to realize that there is an abusive relationship between both communities; the Israeli Jewish community being aggressive and very self-centered and the American Jewish community creating a fantasy of a country that never really existed.”

    you /have/ to be kiddin me.


    eli · May 11th, 2004 at 1:08 pm
  2. hmmm… nope.


    Asaf · May 11th, 2004 at 1:28 pm
  3. a country that never existed? Oh, right, you’re talking about the liberal left among us that crated the idea of a Palestinian country, which as you rightly point out, never reall existed.

    Israel, on the other hand, did, has, is, was, will be, etc, et al, ad infinitum ad naseum. and if you need a refresher, see Tanach under Kingdom of Israel or Davidic Reign. You can also check in with your chums at the UN to read all the resolutions they wrote against the nation that never really existed. Puh-lease, D, you’re not THAT dumb to pretend ’48 never happened, right?


    adam · May 11th, 2004 at 2:32 pm
  4. a country that never existed? Um, I think he meant an flattened and stereotyped image of Israel. Not that there is no State of Israel.


    8opus · May 11th, 2004 at 2:43 pm
  5. 8opus got it.


    Asaf · May 11th, 2004 at 5:10 pm
  6. damn i need to improve my communication skills!


    Asaf · May 11th, 2004 at 5:10 pm
  7. no you don’t. some people just willfully misinterpret others so they can rant.


    Sam · May 11th, 2004 at 6:59 pm
  8. I see what Asaf’s role on this blog is going to be. Asaf, tell me… from your comfy perch there at NYU, what do you think would be the ideal solution to this dilema of Israel? What kind of state should Israel be (assuming it should exist at all)? I’m just curious ….


    ck_dave · May 11th, 2004 at 10:56 pm
  9. just to clarify, because someone emailed me confused as well, asaf doesn’t mean that it never existed; he means the prolific rosey-hued myth we’d all like to believe about israel has never been more than a myth except in the eyes of american jews. and it’s true…


    Mo1 · May 12th, 2004 at 12:20 am
  10. mobius is right.

    ck_dave, what the fuck does NYU have to do with anything? where are you, in the middle of Sahara digging up shit to feed your twelve starving brothers and sisters?


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 7:12 am
  11. y’all are so nassssty. all this talk of myth, all this talk of deception. All I know is that we built ourselves a country, and if it isn’t a utopia, perhaps we’ve proved to ourselves we’re not sub or super-human like so many want to believe.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 8:46 am
  12. considering that Israel is the most dangerous place for jews, what have we really achieved?


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 8:51 am
  13. For one who doesn’t like Golda-style sayings, perhaps the one you just used should get some attention from the people.

    Israel is the most dangerous place for Jews because, since even before the first Yishuv, Jews have been subjected to dismissal and violence for moving into the Arab-inhabited land we call Israel. Take note on Nahman of Bratslav’s tale about meeting an Arab in Haifa way before “Zionism” existed. He’s very apologetic, but you get the idea that Jews were percieved as Orientals to the Arab Muslims. The idyllic idea we get of those (so tastily indigenious) Jerusalemite Sephardim are dhimmis who had an alleyway for a Kotel.

    “There is no imperialism like that of the Arabs” – VS Naipaul, nobel prize winner and postcolonial writer.

    Israel is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews because we live there, in the midst of the powerful, but defeatable, group of nutties who care nothing about our subjective morality, but simply about whether we live free in Israel at all. I’m talking about Kach people and the Hamas – both do not want peace because they willfully subvert all the Zionist philosophy you purport as “myth.” If Buber and Magnes had a partner for Brit and Ihud, perhaps the Oud would be natural in my hands. If Ben-Gurion and Golda weren’t carting emaciated men and women from Cyprus with Soviet tanks entering Jewish settlements, perhaps justice would have looked different.

    Israel is the most dangerous place for Jews because the rest live in America, where the political situation sucks but I don’t have to fear being blown up or shot at. Again, I’ve never read such moral luxury, you must write these posts from a very comfortable down pillow, drinking a mango smoothie. It’s ridiculous.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 9:07 am
  14. considering that Israel is the most dangerous place for jews, what have we really achieved?

    If the goal was to make the world safe for Jews, there would have been mass evacuation to Birobidzhan or, hell, Antarctica years ago.

    The goal was to put Jews in the world. That’s quite different.


    8opus · May 12th, 2004 at 9:12 am
  15. eli – the fact that american jewry is a privilaged and thriving community shows us that militarization and arming of jewish community is not the only way to become secure.

    8opus- “The goal was to put Jews in the world” = what does that mean? i was just repeating the biggest myth that israel is there for the security of jews, which is not. If there is antisemitism in europe, america is the place to go to, even if there is antisemitism here. its simply safer. if u want jewish thriving, america and europe have that more than israel. Israeli culture, the byproduct of zionism, which includes the hebrew language, poetry, art, film, food etc. etc. was an amazing thing but is still not a byproduct and even from retrospect does not justify militarization. that was the biggest mistake the jews commited when coming to Israel. thus we have join the world of violence and oppression.


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 9:42 am
  16. man i messed up my last email: israeli culture… is simply a byproduct of zionism. thats what i meant to say


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 9:43 am
  17. “the fact that american jewry is a privilaged and thriving community shows us that militarization and arming of jewish community is not the only way to become secure.”

    This doesn’t argue anything. One could argue that it is exactly the militarization and arming of American citizenry that provides Jews a safe space to thrive in. Using your logic, the /very/ reason that American Jewry is successfull is because it thrived off the free market that is, in many ways, supported by America’s military industrial complex, its constitution that guarentees the right to freely bear arms, and its freedom of expression, which entails all political speech and religion. By your logic, Israel and America have only recently become similar entities. Remarkably, by your logic, Israel would be a much more ideologically pure place to live in, with a welfare state that has only recently deteriorated in tandem with the intifada and the distasterous policies of BiBi. The shift from socialist kibbutzim to free market capitalism is one example.

    By another account, you’re logic makes no sense. American Jewry’s successfull economic status is a result of us forsaking the very ideals that you hold so dear. Walk down Orchard St. and feel the Bundist fire that used to course through those tenements. You know what happened? Those socialists’ children moved to the suburbs, where they feed some of America’s most prestigious ivy leageue and liberal arts schools. If you want to go back to the days of the bundist lower east side, than it seems your policy is far more regressive than it is radical, and so…

    Israeli culture is not a product of one “myth” called “zionism” – it is the product of young socialists from Germany, military thinkers from Betar, Buber, Magnes, Subliminal and Muki, everything courses through the cosmopolitan nature of the people of Israel, you just happen to be born of a tradition that you dislike – the intellectual arrogance of the Haskalah.

    And on the same account, American Jewry isn’t what you may think. All one needs to do is find the Jews that were left behind, up in the tenements of Forsyth St and Lynn, Massachussetts on.
    Things are a lot more complex, and more diverse, then you think.

    Kol Tuv

    Eli


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 10:01 am
  18. “The goal was to put Jews in the world” = what does that mean? A reference to our last discussion. It’s interesting to debate Zionism. Also, it’s interesting to discuss where Jews are safe. On the other hand, the two discussions have nothing to do with one another.

    There are many myths about many things. Not all of them go to the question of the Jewish people’s rights under international law, however. This was the point that Herzl, among others, was trying to make.

    that was the biggest mistake the jews commited when coming to Israel. thus we have join the world of violence and oppression. Yes, I think Eli is correct here: it’s hard to tell what you mean.

    Specifically: do you mean that, by constituting a state, Jews — via Israel — entered a community of countries which have armies, instruments of violence and oppression? In other words, that the original sin was in dirtying the Jewish people’s hands by entering the tainted international community?

    Or, on the other hand, are you arguing what amounts to the opposite — that Israel’s situation is quite different in that there is something special about Israel that leads to violence and oppression to which no other country is prone?

    Cause, you know, I might agree with you on the first, but I would certainly raise my eyebrows at the second — it would be a very hard statement to prove indeed, and seems downright ludicrous on its face.

    Which doesn’t mean it hasn’t been an article of faith for many. In fact, it’s been one of the principal failures of segments of the Israeli Left — who, rather than seeking to change Israel’s policies, have preferred to promote a view of Israel as *incapable* of changing its policies.

    In response to which, predictably, the government didn’t.


    8opus · May 12th, 2004 at 10:43 am
  19. “Specifically: do you mean that, by constituting a state, Jews — via Israel — entered a community of countries which have armies, instruments of violence and oppression? In other words, that the original sin was in dirtying the Jewish people’s hands by entering the tainted international community? ”

    Exactly. but to be more precise – the problem is more in historical geographical and demographic cirumstances than in nationalism per se. There is better and worse nationalism. trying to colonize a place with a majority of palestinians was a biig mistake and the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (can anyone find me a better word? benny morris the right wing zionist fascist cant) was inevitable if we agree with jabotinsky that zionism is moral (whatever that means…)


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 11:23 am
  20. I have read your article in counterpunch. YOu write:

    “When I was fifteen years old I had decided to refuse to take part in the army’s violence, war crimes, self-destruction, hatred and stupidity.”

    First thing, as I have said before, your reasoning behind your ideals demonstrate quite clearly that you were 15 years old when you decided not to go to the army (“a teacher of mine told a story [which most likely was fabricated], it didnt sound nice so I became a refusnik”)

    Can you please cite several examples of these war crimes? Afterall, you make it sound like its quite widespread and common. What exact laws have you found them to be violating? It would be quite reckless for you to condemn the IDF as war criminals without have knowledge, first hand, or documented in a reliable source, of these war crimes.

    Or is this just a case of a 17 year old boy running off his mouth based on a story a leftist teacher and some friend told him?


    Jimbo · May 12th, 2004 at 11:53 am
  21. www.btselem.com
    that can be a starting point. My friend told me the other day about something he found funny. you know those idiots who claim that after smoking pot they drive better? well since a lot of people in the army are taking drugs, this is what a friend of his told him (he is also a soldier): when i smoke pot i am a better sniper.Isn’t that great?


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 12:05 pm
  22. “Exactly. but to be more precise – the problem is more in historical geographical and demographic cirumstances than in nationalism per se. There is better and worse nationalism. trying to colonize a place with a majority of palestinians was a biig mistake and the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (can anyone find me a better word? benny morris the right wing zionist fascist cant) was inevitable if we agree with jabotinsky that zionism is moral (whatever that means…)”

    1. That statement minimizes if not diminishes any Jewish connection to the land. You abhor jewish colonization of the land, even when this colonization was perhaps the most anticolonialist colonization in history. The greatest mistake of Zionism that it stood to /resist/ any sort of relationship with the Palestinian Arabs. The greatest injustice done to the Palestinian’s was not that we conquered them, but we failed to see them at all. Even Said’s Orientalism argument pivots upon the power relationship that actually ceased to exist pre-state.

    Your blame on the historical circumstance shows us your lack of nuance perfectly. It unplausably renders The State of Israel simply a colony, serving the interests of larger powers, most notably the British (whom Israeli terrorists fought off along with Arab militias) and the US, who took interest in Israel because of ?oil? and some inborn racism against the Arabs?(which makes no sense.) This allows one to practice the same exclusivist history that characterizes the far right of both the Israeli and Palestinian national camps.

    Geographically, the State of Israel makes up a small percentage of historic palestine.

    Demographically – Jewish majority in Israel, for better or for worse.

    Where does this leave us?
    With Asaf leaving me only slightly less confused than he is.

    and asking the Palestinian intellegentsia to practice the same sort of self-criticism we so love as Jews.

    By your logic, Asaf, by moving to New York you are now nationally, racially, geographically, and demographically responsible for the bodies of Manhattan indians (may they rest in peace) that you so gracefully walk over on your way to philosophy class. Stop playing Jeremiah, you ain’t a prophet, brother.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 12:54 pm
  23. Asaf, your link didnt work, can you repost it (or a different one)? Im curious as to what you consider a “war crime.”

    A friend of yours telling you how he likes to take pot while sniping is not a war crime, by any definition of the term. I have a feeling that you are unfamilliar with the definition of both the terms “war” and “crime” Whether taking pot impairs ones ability to snipe is an entirely different debate (most likely it doesnt. Many of the worlds top athletes are able to perform with the highest reflexes and coordination while taking pot. some Olympic gold medalists have tested positive for pot after winning their even. but i digress)

    Either way, it sounds like your decision was based on a few stories from professors and friends. That being said, i would never be friends with a black man because a THREE friends (one of them a doctor) of mine told me they were mugged by black men. By the way, im 16 years old.


    Jimbo · May 12th, 2004 at 2:02 pm
  24. ck_dave, what the fuck does NYU have to do with anything? where are you, in the middle of Sahara digging up shit to feed your twelve starving brothers and sisters?

    Ouch! I seem to have hit a sensitive spot there… Asaf, chabibi, you trumpet your refusenik status – your ideas supposedly have greater resonance and authority because you used to live in Israel. Now you live in safe comfy New York. This change of location may or may not affect your perspective, but the fact remains that the situation in Israel was so intolerable that you committed a crime and escaped the country rather than remain one more second. What’s tragic of course is that an obviously intelligent and resourceful young man like yourself, one who would be an asset to any country within which he resides, was literally driven away by the unbearableness of the current situation. So the question is, and really, I’d love to know the answer, what is your ideal vision of Israel? Please stick to what is realistic, but otherwise, anything goes. How would Israel have to be constituted so that you and intelligent, caring and sensitive people like yourself would not feel the need to become criminals and escape their legal duties.

    My geographical location is irrelevant because I do not derive, or claim to derive any measure of legitimacy from that.

    Oh and Jimbo? Can I buy you a beer dude?


    ck_dave · May 12th, 2004 at 2:58 pm
  25. you obviously do NOT know a lot about my personal condition therefore i advice you to stop talking about it.

    Jimbo: www.btselem.org


    Anonymous · May 12th, 2004 at 3:05 pm
  26. I posted the above comment.
    Btw ck_dave, who said i derive the legitimacy of my arguemnts from where or how i live? are u… projecting?


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 3:06 pm
  27. Haha, there is no accountability. I almost want to rent a hall out at the local JCC so we can have Asaf stand trial. Straight up kidding.

    peace.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 3:09 pm
  28. Ok, I checked that site, and although i didnt go through it thoroughly, I could not find anything that resembled a war crime, or a pattern of war crimes. If you can just point out a few for me i would appreciate it.

    I have a question for you Benedict asaf: If you never had that conversation with leftist dog teacher when you were 15, do you think you would still end up a refusnik, or do you feel that you are a natural turncoat, and would decide to be a traitor anyway.

    ANd yes, anyone who wants can buy me a beer.


    Jimbo · May 12th, 2004 at 3:48 pm
  29. OK Jimbo. I’ll buy you a beer because many of your points are salient. However, just as you ask asaf to clarify his understanding of what a war crime is, I would ask you to look up thelegal definition of treason. Asaf may be many things, but I wouldn’t call him a traitor.

    Asaf wrote:
    Btw ck_dave, who said i derive the legitimacy of my arguemnts from where or how i live? are u… projecting?

    Projecting??? Hardly… I don’t go and on and on about aspects of my personal history. In any case, look, lets say I wanted to book a speaker who would discuss alternative perspectives on Israel and Zionism. I could get any number of left wing Jewish people, or non-jews critical of Israel to discuss that. Or I could get me a real live refusenick, born and raised in Israel who risked eternal exile or a lengthy jail sentence in order to follow his conscience and not serve in an army that he considered evil, fighting for a state he felt was morally repugnant yadda, yadda, yadda. Your ideas are more compelling by virtue of your story. So yeah, I’d book you instead. In conclusion, you have made public aspects of your life and these aspects, whether you want them to or not, serve to lend credence to your opinion. OK? Can we now stop stonewalling and move on? For the third time, can you answer the question? What is your ideal (but realistic) Israel? Yallah chabibi, hegiyah zman la’anot et ha she’elah!
    :)


    ck_dave · May 12th, 2004 at 4:03 pm
  30. jimbo – that philosophy teacher had nothing to do with my actual decision to refuse, his story resembled the idea that it is impossible to take full responsibility to your actions during the army (a valid point to argue about, but people here are interested in other things).

    ck_dave – actually the article was written as a personal essay for one of my classes and my teacher thought i should publish it. i point it out to people who want to know my story.

    usually i give my talks about jabotinsky, militarism and other stuff. my personal story is still only my personal story. you cannot make a valid argument out of it.


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 4:21 pm
  31. Ya Allah. OK asaf. I take it back. I don’t know you from jack, beseder? You’re just some guy with an opinion.

    NOW can you answer the question? Can you describe the ideal solution for the dilema posed by the modern state of Israel?


    ck_dave · May 12th, 2004 at 4:29 pm
  32. ok dave :) now u’re asking a lot.

    My IDEAL is (and i am not talking as an anarchist now) is a binational state or federation together with the palestinians. but in order for that to happen, a two state solution must first happen. The danger is that two state solution might be just another bantustan trap, but thats definitely the direction.


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 4:52 pm
  33. So first you want a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side, with an eventual segue into your ultimate solution – a binational state. Consequently, am I to assume you’re thinking of some kind of secular democratic state with a full right of return for Palestinian refugees, the eventual dismanteling of the IDF, and in a few decades or years, a Palestinian majority? How do you think this will affect Jewish life in Israel? Also, given demographics and the low Jewish birthrate in the golah, how do you think this will affect diasporah Judaism?

    It seems to me, and feel free to correct me if you think I am mistaken, your utopian scenario smacks of nothing less than complete abdication.

    Are you sure you’re not French?


    ck_dave · May 12th, 2004 at 5:50 pm
  34. Never again will any sovereign nation rule over a Jewish minority. That said, Asaf knows what a binational or federal state would look like, but unfortunately his politics allows him to identify with “the victim” and their seemingly /liberatory/ aspirations – in this case the Palestinians. If his dream is realized, Maybe in a couple years he’ll have his compound surrounded by Arafat’s army, while he touts the great historical significance of Baruch Marzel. You’re all relative, my man, it’s sad.

    And I’d love to hear your “talks” on Jabotinsky. Did you rove for Betar in your youth? Or are you trying to pick the most militaristic of the early Zionists and extrapolate the soul of Zionism as a whole? You remind me a lot of Ze’ev Sternhell, whose book about “The Founding Myths of Israel” proposed that Zionism is really “nationalist socialism” by interpreting the philosophies of AD Gordon through what he calls “a true leftist lens”. Dishonest Scholarship you’d admire Asaf, I recommend it.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 5:52 pm
  35. jabotinsky was right all along the way. his ideology did not lead israel consciously, but just read the iron wall and u will see what i mean. his “extreme” views gave a clear analysis of what must be done in order to have a jewish state.

    Believe me i’d prefer just as much as you that magnus, brit shalom etc. would lead the zionist movement. but that was simply impossible because of historical circumstances. and jabotinsky knew it.


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 6:06 pm
  36. “Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. And secondly, I belong to the group that once drew up the Helsingfors Programme , the programme of national rights for all nationalities living in the same State. In drawing up that programme, we had in mind not only the Jews, but all nations everywhere, and its basis is equality of rights.

    I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone. This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.

    But it is quite another question whether it is always possible to realise a peaceful aim by peaceful means. For the answer to this question does not depend on our attitude to the Arabs, but entirely on the attitude of the Arabs to us and to Zionism.”

    - from the Iron Wall.

    In this section, he sounds like one of your role models, especially as a self-proclaimed radical. I realize that Jabotinsky’s writings are full of the racist cliches that you see as fodder for your all-encompassing criticisms. However, its also interesting to note that Jabotinsky was a communist radicalized by the pogroms. Any reader of the Iron Wall can understand he was quite correct in many respects. The Arabs in Palestine categorically rejected the arrival of Jews seeking to establish a nation and he knew that the iron wall would be the only way for the Zionists to realize their dream of living in a land where Jews ruled themselves as free men. As for Palestinians living stateless, well, their idea of an iron wall is one called Sharia.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 6:57 pm
  37. jabotinsky was right all along the way. his ideology did not lead israel consciously, but just read the iron wall and u will see what i mean. //////his “extreme” views gave a clear analysis of what must be done in order to have a jewish state. //////

    I think they gave everyone the fairly accurate impression that while Jewish nationalism was multifaceted, Arab nationalism, and Palestinian Nationalism pivoted upon an entire denial of Israel as any sort of sovereign nation. If a Jewish state was to exist, it would have to fight – and in the wake of a history we all know to well – we should be proud of it. We call for self-criticism among ourselves, perhaps we should call for self criticism among the Arabs as well.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 7:16 pm
  38. wow… i loved your quotes from the iron wall. now lets try it another way:

    “I am prepared to swear, for us and our descendants, that we will never destroy this equality and we will never attempt to expel or oppress the Arabs. Our credo, as the reader can see, is completely peaceful. But it is absolutely another matter if it will be possible to achieve our peaceful aims through peaceful means. This depends, not on our relationship with the Arabs, but exclusively on the Arabs’ relationship to Zionism.”

    Ok great. SO what kind of relationship is this? Jabotinsky now turns to another place on earth:

    “…those “great explorers,” the English, Scots and Dutch who were the first real pioneers of North America were people possessed of a very high ethical standard; people who not only wished to leave the redskins at peace but could also pity a fly; people who in all sincerity and innocence believed that in those virgin forests and vast plains ample space was available for both the white and red man. But the native resisted both barbarian and civilized settler with the same degree of cruelty.
    …The vast areas of the U.S. never contained more than one or two million Indians. The inhabitants fought the white settlers not out of fear that they might be expropriated, but simply because there has never been an indigenous inhabitant anywhere or at any time who has ever accepted the settlement of others in his country. Any native people – its all the same whether they are civilized or savage – views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner. And so it is for the Arabs Compromisers in our midst attempt to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked by a softened formulation of our goals, or a tribe of money grubbers who will abandon their birth right to Palestine for cultural and economic gains. I flatly reject this assessment of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are 500 years behind us, spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will, but this exhausts all of the internal differences. We can talk as much as we want about our good intentions; but they understand as well as we what is not good for them. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile. .”

    So now we see.. Jabotinsky loves these colonialists and draws an important lesson- the natives will always resist (its not that the indians were being slaughtered or anything…)- just because. they will always resist. So if we connect that to the beginning of his essay, where he says that the relationship of the arabs to zionism wil define we can reach our goal of peaceful aims in peaceful means. since the arabs are going to resist (as jabotinsky undestands from history), thus the relationship has already been defined. and what kind of relationship will that be? first of all, we need to understand something (look how jabotinsky himself uses the term colonization):

    “…It is of no importance whether we quote Herzl or Herbert Samuel to justify our activities. Colonization itself has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Arab and every Jew with his wits about him. Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissible. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible. …Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy”

    U got it. HYPOCRISY.


    Asaf · May 12th, 2004 at 7:30 pm
  39. Good points. I think is the first time you’ve actually impressed upon me some sort of intellectual rigour.

    That passage would make any Revisionist an even stronger proponent of a just Zionism. If Jabotinsky truly understood the colonization of the America’s as something that pivoted off a great hypocrisy, then why did he so fanatically propose an Iron Wall? I think it is safe to say that he saw Zionist colonization as the greatest, most justified hypocrisy. It was the return of a native population, restricted by forces independent of it in its diaspora, to its native land. It seems your interpretation Jabotinsky’s hypocrisy is too oriented towards your own present sympathies. If Jabotinsky expected the resistance of the native population, then he also expected the resistance of the /other/ native population – The Jews’ whose repatriation he rendered in revisionist Zionism. You also tend to ignore his reconcilation of The Arabs with their own legacy of settler-colonization which spread from Malaysia to Senegal. The Iron Wall is then the inevitable result of human beings who resist what is different, on both sides of the coin. For that, I think he is a realist, and for that, I applaud his logic and not his morality.

    As for your use of Jabotinsky to prove that Zionism is a confrontational, iron-wall oriented movement – i think thats too easy. To explore Jewish history, including Zionism, is to readily admit that Jews are perhaps the most well known colonizers. We have maintained small and large colonies all over the earth – from Shanghai to Kingston, Jamaica. Instead of being colonialists like the Dutch etc – we have resisted the relationship it entails, perhaps making us hypocritical, but I would like to say, a dispersed, but insular nation. To establish a state after the world realized we /shouldn’t/ just be colonies anymore, surpasses anything Jabotinsky, a man clearly brilliant and caught in his times, would have proposed.


    eli · May 12th, 2004 at 7:56 pm
  40. Point, set and match. Eli, I am duly humbled.


    ck_dave · May 12th, 2004 at 11:07 pm
  41. Ck Dave-

    “treason: 1) Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign 2) A betrayal of trust or confidence”

    Committing the crime of refusing to serve your country because you feel they are war criminals, and supporting the cause of the enemy (i.e. fighting for the rights of the enemy, and undermining your own militaries effort by publicly speaking against it.) , especially during the time of war, easily fits in to both the first and second definitions of treason and traitor. Asaf even says this himself in his article (“Refusing to serve in the army is an action that is considered treason in many political circles, even in the left.” You think???)
    I guess you owe me two beers.

    Asaf, first thing, for someone who feels so strongly about a cause as to turn his back on his own country in her time of need, you still havent given me any evidence of a pattern or policy of war crimes, or, that you even know what those terms mean.

    Second, you say so many things in your article that have no factual basis, or have no credible documentation.

    “It took me many years to find . . .that more than 600,000 Palestinians fled from ethnic cleansing during the 1948 war.”

    Ethnic cleansing?? source please. Im assuming that all the arabs who stayed in israel were killed. After all, israel did win the war, so they must have finished cleansing the arabs who didnt flee?

    Someones been reading a little too much noam chomskey.


    Jimbo · May 13th, 2004 at 1:18 am
  42. Jimbo,
    2 beers is fine. But perhaps I ought to be a bit more specific. Your dictionary definition of treason is nice and all, but in that realm treason becomes just a matter of degrees and opinion – it makes great fodder for conversations but has no real-world utility. What is more relevant is the legal definition of treason, particularly in the Israeli context, in tandem with the reality of the legal situation, i.e. is their a will or a desire to prosecute by the duly vested legal authorities. To date, no one who has refused to serve, or for that matter, who has been extremely critical of the Israeli government in the manner that asaf has been, has been convicted or even tried on the charge of treason in Israel. In my book, given the gravity of being pegged a traitor, until someone is convicted of treason, it is best simply not to use that particular term. I think that the fact that it remains very unlikely that such an eventuality will ever happen, demonstrates the fact that Israel is a very tolerant country. One could only wonder what fate would await asaf’s Arab equivalent should he ever have the remarkable courage to speak out about injustices perpetrated by his government.

    I think that’s a pretty good argument, especially given the totally retarded hour. I figure you ought to at least spot me a shot of some kind Jimbo …


    ck_dave · May 13th, 2004 at 1:37 am
  43. CK-

    I never said that asaf could be convicted of the crime of treason, I said that i consider him a traitor (as should everyone else). But it wouldnt be such a stretch to find him guilty of treason during a time of war.

    The requisite element for treason that would be difficult to prove under U.S. law (and most probably israeli law) is “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” However, Asaf didnt just refuse to serve, he help start an organization that encourages others not to serve, calls the idf “war criminals”, and which has received much international publicity. There is no question that this has hurt israel and helped their enemies.

    Under the statute, “comforting and aiding the enemy” includes an “Intentional act which strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of United States, or which weakens or tends to weaken power of United States”(just switch israel for u.s.). So far it sounds like it fits. And remember, the most damaging blows that the Palestinians have delivered in this conflict have been in the PR department.

    Furthermore “In determining whether act is treasonable, it is not decisive whether contribution to enemy’s effort is minor and not crucial.”
    and even if this wasnt Benedict asafs intentions “A person assumes the natural consequences of his actions.”

    So this isnt a slam dunk case, but a case can clearly be made.

    Anyway, im not a court of law so there is no reason I should assume someone to be innocent until proven guilty.

    You wrote:
    “In my book, given the gravity of being pegged a traitor, until someone is convicted of treason, it is best simply not to use that particular term.”

    Well, a former district court judge disagrees with you. During WWII, in a case involving an individual refusing to serve (and he didnt even co found an anti draft organization) justice Hopkins wrote in his opinion:

    “It is difficult to understand how such apparent disloyalty could abide in the soul of any human being; a disloyalty as foul as treason itself”

    As you can see, i dont see any problem calling asaf a traitor. Legally provable or not. And justice hopkins would agree with me:)

    Oh and Benedict Asaf, you still havent given me any evidence of pattern or policies of “war crimes”


    Jimbo · May 13th, 2004 at 5:07 am
  44. Oh, and CK, instead of buying you a drink, how about you just owe me one less beer.

    and no asaf, you cant have one, youre not 21 yet.


    Jimbo · May 13th, 2004 at 5:10 am
  45. Jimbo, calling me a traitor aint gonna get you a drink either. but you should go to israel, they serve to practically anyone who is able to read and write.

    eli- to begin with i never said that Zionism is inherently confrontational. I just wanted to make the point that Jabotinsky was right – it HAD to be confrontational because of the circumstances. 1948 war was known by all leaders already – why shouldn’t the arabs attack, knowing their land is going to become a state for jews as a privilaged class? thus jabotinsky knows that the confrontation is inevitable. of course he thinks this is a moral one, and thus we need the iron wall.


    Asaf · May 13th, 2004 at 7:18 am
  46. btw- this is not to say that i support the arabs attack on israel. i say that as one of the biggest mistakes.


    Asaf · May 13th, 2004 at 7:19 am
  47. Jimbo,
    Who said anything about getting asaf a beer? Also, the only place I am going to purchase a beer for anyone in the near future is Montreal where the legal drinking age in bars is 18 and even then, it’s more of a suggestion than a strictly enforced law.

    As far as the legal US definition of Treason, it parallels the Canadian legal definition. However, it is only enforced in the most extreme cases because Canada likes to think of itself as a vibrant democracy where differences of opinion are encoraged. For instance, we recently had the case of the Khader family, close associates and supporters of Osama Bin Laden. The mother, who had been vocally critical of Canada and openly supportive of Bin Laden, returned to Canada with her 15 year old son who had been severely injured in an attack by Pakistani security forces. Her husband, an Al Quaeda fighter was killed in the attack. One of her sons is incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.

    In any case, the mother made statements that could easily be considered treasonous within the narrow legal definition. And yet, no one is arresting her for treason because we value free speech more than we worry about her pissant little ramblings (google it, the story is very interesting).

    Similarly, asaf is not a traitor. He is a dissenter and in a free and open democracy, dissent is both necessary and welcome.

    One last thing, where I come from, Benedict Arnold is considered a hero….

    Heh…


    ck_dave · May 13th, 2004 at 9:58 am
  48. “Specifically: do you mean that, by constituting a state, Jews — via Israel — entered a community of countries which have armies, instruments of violence and oppression?” … Exactly. Ah: the old “let’s dismantle the United Nations world, and Israel should go first”. You’ll excuse me for not being a partisan. Perhaps right after Turkey and Greece unite, Israel and Palestine should think about it.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to support U.N. resolutions like this one. Don’t get me wrong: feel free to continue opposing them. But you’ll understand why I see that as people wanting to assert how right they are above all else — against wanting to promote positive change in the real world.

    eli- to begin with i never said that Zionism is inherently confrontational. I just wanted to make the point that Jabotinsky was right – it HAD to be confrontational because of the circumstances.

    Which brings us back to the same point, over and over again. Your Zionism is Jabotinsky’s Zionism; your Israel is congenitally incapable of reform; and so on.

    My Zionism differs: I disagree with Jabotinsky, who is dead. My Israel differs: I think its policies need to change. So it goes.


    8opus · May 13th, 2004 at 10:50 am
  49. You win CK. I will not longer consider a person a traitor unless it 1)fits the legal defintion 2)under canadian law, and 3) would be a case where the canadian government will actually bring charges against the the individual.

    Btw, regarding your case, with the woman; i never claimed that a mere statment opposing ones govt is an act of treason. This woman’s statment did not hurt canada or halp al queda in any way. Asaf on the other hand, has taking actions and made statments that has hurt israel and helped the enemy.


    Jimbo · May 13th, 2004 at 1:29 pm
  50. Jimbo,
    You are giving asaf waaaaaaay more credit then he deserves. You can call someone a traitor when his governement convicts him of treason, how’s that? So if asaf gets convicted then I’ll be fine, he’s a traitor, ok? In the meantime, its best to avoid inflamatory language if what you’re looking for is some semblance of enlightened discourse. I mean, you seem bright and all, you should rely on the merit of your ideas to make a point, rather than name calling. Using such language makes your ideas seem suspect – sort of like when agitated individuals of a certain political orientation go on and on about Israel being a racist colonialist apartheid state that perpetrates genocide and ethnic cleansing blah blah blah. See what I mean?


    ck_dave · May 13th, 2004 at 2:19 pm
  51. Merit? I gave the legal definition of the term traitor, and all the elements involved. In addition, i laid out how fulfills all the requisite elements. What more merit do you want?

    What youre saying is comparable to criticizing people for calling OJ a murderer because he has never been convicted of it. A person is entitled to their own opinion


    Jimbo · May 13th, 2004 at 4:26 pm
  52. ok, ok, ok, fine. 3 beers it is then… you certainly are entitled to your own opinion, even though I think you’re kinda missing my point.


    ck_dave · May 13th, 2004 at 7:44 pm
  53. YOure right, i didnt read your last post carefully. I get what your saying. The reason i missed your point is because youve completely changed your argument from your previous posts.

    You wrote:

    “Your dictionary definition of treason is nice and all, but in that realm treason becomes just a matter of degrees and opinion – it makes great fodder for conversations but has no real-world utility. What is more relevant is the legal definition of treason.”

    You didnt like my dictionary definition of treason, so i gave you the legal definition. Then when i showed you that asaf does fit the legal definition, you say that is no longer the point, what is important now is “enlightened discourse.” Well, you should have just said so.

    I am not trying to engage in “enlightened discourse.” It is attitudes like this that make jews like asaf support the very people who are trying to kill them. He feels that because he has given this great thought, he is more enlightened, and therefore stands on some moral highground.

    And lets not kid ourselves here, he is more concerned (at least publicly) with the plight of Palestinians than he is with israels survival. Even asaf would admit, if everyone in israel went along with his organizations, and refused to serve, israel wouldnt change its methods, it would be destroyed before it had a even had a chance.

    So the bottom line is, if jews would stop trying to understand the underlying theories of arab hatred, and trying to be so polite and non confrontational, we wouldnt have to worry about jews like mobi and asaf supporting the very people who are trying to kill them.

    I say, we screw “enlightened discourse” and just say it as we see it, just as justice hopkins did. And in my eyes there is little question that asaf has betrayed both israeli laws and its people.


    Jimbo · May 14th, 2004 at 12:14 am
  54. Man, you’re forcing me to defend asaf. I hate that. As a result you are down to two beers.

    Ok. You are correct that logically, if everyone suddenly emulated asaf, no one would serve in the IDF and Israel would be destroyed. However, that would realistically never happen and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that asaf does not want all his friends and neighbours to be killed. Mobius is going to Israel in July – if Israel were to be suddenly defenseless, I doubt the descending hordes would spare his life because he’s the Web master of JewSchool.com. I think what asaf is trying to do is effect some kind of institutional change such that the IDF would never engage in the sorts of activities that asaf considers objectionable. Thus the army would still exist, but in a manner that wasn’t deemed offensive.

    Having said that I think there are sufficient means within Israel to object without breaking the law, and I reject the methods and aspirations of the refusenik movement. But I would never say that it is the movement’s objective to destroy Israel.

    As for the rest of your post, Jewish tradition is all about enlightened discourse – pick up the Talmud some time and see what I mean. If you don’t like it, uh… become a Hun? No but seriously, Judaism demands that we vigorously defend our physical integrity, so I’m cool with that. It’s also a good thing to avoid arrogance as much as possible (do you know the story of the Sefirat Ha’Omer?) and to always try to be a “mensch.” So I’m just sayin, that’s all… Lord knows I’ve often been an arrogant bastard, but I try, O lawdy lawd I do try…


    ck_dave · May 14th, 2004 at 1:38 am
  55. hahaha, become a Hun. ahaha. hahah.


    eli · May 14th, 2004 at 6:22 am

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