Sunday, December 21, 2008
The explanation of the significance of the song from here. You can get the lyrics here.
LIGHT ONE CANDLE (A Chanukah Song by Peter Yarrow)
By Stan Schroeder
If you’ve read my monthly biographies in the Shir Notes you know I enjoy writing about people (mainly Jews) who have in some way made our world better for me. Peter Yarrow, who is such a person, was born in New York City May 31, 1938 to Jewish parents who were immigrants from the Ukraine. He graduated from New York City's "High School of Music and Art" (as an art student) and then Cornell University (experimental psychology) in 1959. Yarrow met Noel "Paul" Stookey and Mary Travers in Greenwich Village, center of the mid-20th century American folk music revival. They formed the folk-singing trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary and soon were among the most successful in the business.
Among their many hits were If I Had a Hammer, This Land is Your Land, Blowin' in the Wind, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, and Puff the Magic Dragon (lyrics by fellow Cornell student, Leonard Lipton, music by Peter Yarrow).
They mixed music with political and social activism. In 1963 the trio marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., and Washington, D.C. They were also involved in many of the civil rights and social causes of the 1960s as well as protests against the Vietnam War. Although Yarrow did not have a religious upbringing, he later acknowledged a strong Jewish identification. He now speaks of tikkun olam when referring to the many projects he organizes and supports. He was also a leader in the movement to free Soviet Jews.
Yarrow has long been a peace activist. In 1983 he wrote the Chanukah song Light One Candle that would also be, in his words, “a call for peace and reconciliation". "When I wrote the song, I was forced to look inside myself," he said. He and his daughter, Bethany, traveled to the Middle East at the height of the first intifada. They visited the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Syria plus other sites in Israel.
And, amazingly, Peter, Paul, and Mary still perform as a trio. Yarrow also performs with his daughter in a group called Peter, Bethany and Rufus.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here is a CNN Interview they did with Sandra Samuel about what happened in the Chabad House.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
According to Israel National News, in an area of Hevron you can see a flag flying in the wind that happens to be controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the official voice of the Palestinian people, a Nazi flag flies in the wind. The IDF is finding it difficult to remove because of its location; however, according to a source with the Israel National News, they want it kept up so that way people know what they have to deal with on an everyday basis. Click on the link above to read the whole story.
Once again, this is not an isolated incident when it comes to the brainwashing of the Palestinian population into believing an ideology of hate.
I wanted to thank everyone for coming to the report! If you can, please donate to the Anti-Semitism Report so that way it makes it easier to continue my work. Also please feel free to comment on anything so I know how I am doing, thank you!
-- Post From My iPhone
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Universal Deceleration on Human Rights 60th Anniversary: From Promise and Hope to Despair and Ignorance
I thought so.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Expect another book as part of my book series on whether a book crosses that line between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism. Please donate to the report by clicking on the donate button on the side of the page.
Friday, December 5, 2008
A couple of weeks ago in Mumbai, India, terrorism hit the city with the death toll of over 180 people and hundreds more killed. Two of those killed were Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the directors of the Chabad of Mumbai, . For those who do not know what the Chabad organization is, they are an international organization of Orthodox Jews that provide services to Jewish people in the cities they are located in and a place for traveling Jews to come to for all their Jewish needs. The attacks, as well as the horrors of what happened at the Chabad house was preplanned with the Chabad house as one of the targets. This Chabad house in particular was not only a place for traveling Jews, but for the local Jewish community in India which now fears for it's safety.
Three days ago the Jewish/Israeli victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack was buried, the burial was broadcast on Israeli TV.
That was Moshe Holtzberg. He was in the Chabad House of Mumbai during the siege but was saved by his nanny. What he is saying is "Ima" which is Hebrew for "Mommy."
Please click here to donate to the Chabad House of Mumbai to help rebuild the center as well as to help support the surviving children of the Holtzberg's. To all the victims of this horrific act of terrorism, remember you are not alone. You are in our prayers and in our hearts.
The following piece was published in the Times of India. It's an open letter to Moshe:
My heart went out to you when I saw you on television, as your Indian nanny carried you out of Nariman House or Chabad House or shall we say Sabbath House, as it was almost the Sabbath, the day of your liberation. It was hard to figure out as to what was going on, as there were so many people around you. You looked visibly frightened. You did not understand what was going on and clung to your nanny, although your eyes were searching for your parents' comforting presence.
At such a young age, you were already a captive, maybe a tiny hostage in last week's madness. You must have seen so much, maybe then you were in your mother's lap and she must have tried to keep you quiet, whispering comforting words in your ears, so that you would not start crying and annoy the terrorists. At that moment you were just a baby not a Jew, as that is how the terrorists had held your family captive, just because they were Jewish. They had tracked down your family's identity and overnight made you into an orphan. Wonder what made them release you? Did they soften or think that you were a harmless baby or did they want to separate you from your parents, or did they want you to live, so that you would always remember those horrifying days. What a heart-wrenching scene it must have been, to tear you apart from your mother's bosom. Maybe your parents must have let you go as they wanted to save you from the claws of sure death.
Then there was the passage of time when you left Chabad House with your nanny leaving your parents behind. Till they died, they must have never known if you were alive or dead as there was no way of knowing the truth. Your father was a rabbi, well versed in the Hebrew prayers of life and death, and he must have asked the Lord to protect you from such terrifying violence. They say, the death of your parents was a message to the Jews of the Diaspora. But then, Jews as a race have always faced violence throughout history.
Little Moshe, as you leave India with your grandparents to live in Israel, you will again come face to face with bloodshed and violence. Wonder if you will avenge your parents' death or will you work for peace?
Your parents named you Moshe, meaning Moses, and your story is similar to the one in the Bible, where Moses was left to drift in the river Nile, to save him from the Pharaoh's sword and how he became the prince of Egypt and led the Jewish people to freedom. Maybe, you will also choose the path of freedom and peace. Because, you survived in India, the only country in the world where Jews were never persecuted and with your survival, I experience an iota of hope in this terrifying medley of hate, violence and death.
You are just two years old and maybe all you have learnt to say so far, is shalom peace be with you' .
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
PA/Hamas School and Education:
Also, click here to read about the different studies done on Palestinian textbooks that are given out to little children.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I want to thank you for returning to the report to get all your information and commentary about Anti-Semitism around the world. I have been help up and very busy with regards to the recent 2008 elections, but now I'm back and able to focus on this blog again! Again, if you want to send me a story about anti-Semitism remember to email me at Nazibegone@bigstring.com. Thanks!
Remind me again, the Palestinian people want peace but a Fatah controlled TV station airs content like this almost daily?! Is this part of teaching peace to the Palestinian children and to not hate Jews/Israelis?
Friday, October 3, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Under the following banner, "The Islamic world will not recognize the fake Zionist regime under any circumstances and believes that this cancerous tumor will one day be wiped off the face of the earth," a book that mocks the Holocaust has been created. Here are some of the contents of this book, published by the Islamist Basij militia:
- The cover shows a Jew with a crooked nose and dressed in traditional garb drawing outlines of dead bodies on the ground.
- Bearded Jews are shown leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads the number 5,999,999.
- Jewish prisoners entering a furnace in a Nazi extermination camp and leaving as gun-wielding terrorists from the other side.
- A patient covered in an Israeli flag and on life support breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the extermination chambers.
- The commentary inside the book includes anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments, casting doubt on the massacre of Jews and mocking Holocaust survivors who claimed reparations after World War II.
- One comment in a question-and-answer format reads:"How did the Germans emit gas into chambers while there were no holes on the ceiling?" Answer: "Shut up, you criminal anti-Semite. How dare you ask this question?"
Friday, September 5, 2008
Anti-Semitism in Greece
The history of the Greek Jews is quite interesting if not fascinating. They are the so-called Romaniotes and they’re mostly of Sephardic ancestry. Thessaloniki was the city which had the biggest Jewish population. Samuel Usque described it as “Mother of Israel”. By the year 1902 62,000 Jews were living in the city, 50% of the total population. On July 11, 1942 the Jews of Thessaloniki were rounded up in preparation for deportation to the German camps. Only 1,950 returned. Today, Thessaloniki is a city of only a bit less than 1,000 Jews, 0.2% of the total population. Only one synagogue, out of 60, is left. It is a pity for this community, to lose one of its significant minority. Jews never had a problem among other groups in Greece. Every day was a smooth experience.
Greek Jews never encountered anything remotely as sinister as Northern European anti- Semitism. However, the 20th century had witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism among Greeks. I should point out that this was an insignificant minority.
During the WWII the orthodox church and population tried to hide and save the Jews. Zakynthos saved all of its Jewish residents. Carrer, the mayor and Bishop Chrysostomos handed a list to the German Nazis which only contained two names, their own. In year 2008 some things have changed. There have been some incidents worth telling here.
The synagogue in Thessaloniki has attracted fascists and Neo-Nazis who draw swastikas on the streets. The Jewish cemetery in Yanena was attacked and Jewish graves were destroyed.
There are no reports of physical or verbal assaults on Jews.
Personally, I have never been judged for my religion. The problem I usually face is that I have to stand up for my religion when I hear anti-semitic jokes from people who obviously don’t know my religion. And they are usually shocked when I tell them.
Mose Altsech, a Greek Jew who teaches in Wisconsin at Edgewood College, says “To be Greek means to be white, ethnic Greek, and orthodox. They have difficulty understand how someone who’s not Christian is a truly Greek. My family has been in Greece since the 15th century but they still don’t consider us Greeks."
Negative attitudes towards Israel are cleared and shared by the majority.
- In mainstream media as well. They claim that Israel is engaged in a genocide against the Palestinians.
- Former Greek President Christos Sartzetakis once made the famous statement: "Greeks are a nation without brethren." Yet there are frequent references to "our Palestinian brothers."
- Mikis Theodorakis, a very famous Greek musician, composer and former minister, stated “Jews are the root of all evil”.
- There’s a ritual of “burning the Juda” during the Greek Easter, but many locals call it “burning of the Jew”.
We have to try and keep the anti-Semitic population a minority. The Jews of Greece are keeping a low profile and try to avoid any conflict. I’m not, in any case, saying that Greek population is anti-Semitic in a whole. Antisemitism is found here as its found in most countries. And that is something which needs to change.
Monday, July 28, 2008
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
He lost an epic tenure battle, then got barred from Israel. Now, Norman Finkelstein is back in Brooklyn, with a provocation or two up his sleeve.
The family photos in his father’s old apartment may be Finkelstein’s only comfort, with his career in shambles Michael Datikash
by Stewart Ain
It has come to this for Norman Finkelstein: Back home in the Brooklyn of his youth, living alone in his deceased father’s rent-stabilized apartment on Ocean Parkway, just a few blocks from where the white-hot controversial professor grew up.
No more loyal students, no more lectures to prepare, no more radio debates with his arch-enemy, Alan Dershowitz, no more national spotlight; Finkelstein is the man no one wants, and perhaps for good reason.
A year ago, DePaul University, where he taught political science for six years, denied Finkelstein tenure in one of the most bruising tenure battles in recent memory. The story made national headlines, fueled by Dershowitz’s crusade against Finkelstein’s scholarship.
Finkelstein’s supporters painted the Harvard law professor as an outside agitator encroaching on
an internal tenure process; some of his students went on a hunger strike in his support. No major university will touch him now.
“Who wants to go through what DePaul went through with a national hysteria,” Finkelstein says, shrugging. “To be told I was a Holocaust denier and a terrorist supporter — would you want me on your faculty?”
And Israel shut its doors on him in May, barring him from entering the country; it never gave him a reason, but news reports attributed it to his strong and highly vocal anti-Israel views, and for associating with elements hostile to the Jewish State. (Finkelstein says he met with leaders of the terrorist group Hezbollah during a trip to Beirut in January.) After 18 hours in detention at Ben-Gurion Airport, he was taken onto a plane and whisked out of the country.
It’s not hard to see why Finkelstein is anathema in most Jewish circles, simply beyond the pale. He has struck out — with a vengeance — at the twin pillars of postwar Jewish life: the Holocaust (which he calls “the Holocaust industry”) and Israel. The Jewish community, he argues, has exploited the Holocaust for financial gain, sullying the memory of the Six Million.
And he has cavorted with Israel’s enemies, meeting with and praising Hezbollah. During the height of Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, as Hezbollah was raining rockets down on northern Israel and Israel was bombing Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut and targets elsewhere in the country, Finkelstein took the stage at a rally in Brooklyn and intoned, “We are all Hezbollah.”
So the Pariah of Ocean Parkway is at the low point in his life, his academic career in shambles. (The only offer of a job has come from a two-year college he declined to identify that offered a paltry salary for many hours of work.) Here he sits, in his father’s old apartment, surrounded by framed family photographs. The photos, along with glowing pictures and notes from DePaul students that sit on his piano, may be his only comfort as he tries to pick up the pieces of his career.
Finkelstein may be down on his luck, but the provocateur still seems to have some fight in him. He spends hours at the computer on his combative, over-the-top Web site — a video of him debating Dershowitz in a radio studio is interspersed with clips of Bruce Lee-like martial arts warriors fighting to the death.
Finkelstein says he’s content with things, that he wants to avoid further controversy. “I’ve had 15 minutes of fame and then a half-hour and then 10 hours; I don’t need anymore. ... I’m not worried about being a pariah,” he says. Yet the title of the new book he’s working on — “A Farewell to Israel: The Coming Break-up of American Zionism” — suggests that controversy may yet find him again, that Finkelstein may be bowed but not broken.
On a muggy late spring day, Finkelstein is walking the old neighborhood around Ocean Parkway and Avenue W. He grew up here in what was an upper-middle-class neighborhood in the late-‘50s and early ‘60s, his parents survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto. He may have absorbed a body blow from DePaul, but at 54 he is lean and trim in a blue T-shirt and khaki shorts, his salt-and-pepper hair tousled. He maintains a disciplined exercise regimen, jogging and swimming regularly.
He spent his first eight years in Flatbush and then moved to Mill Basin with his parents and two brothers until he was 17.
“My parents were devout atheists,” Finkelstein says. (They also had Communist leanings, according to Haaretz, as did many Polish Jews of their generation.) “You couldn’t discuss religion in my house even though my mother’s father was very Orthodox. She said he was like a rabbi. And my father’s, too.
“My parents were completely Jewish; that’s why they did not feel they needed to prove they were Jewish,” he says.
It was perhaps because of that that Finkelstein, who says he too is an atheist, said he never had a bar mitzvah.
“When I was 13, a bar mitzvah was like a coming-out party and to not have one was shameful,” he recalls. “It was terrible. People would ask me if I was having a bar mitzvah and I said I was having it in Israel. ... Not to have a bar mitzvah was a psychologically terrible ordeal, but it gave me character and taught me how to resist peer pressure.”
Both of his brothers — Henry worked for the city and Richard was a computer consultant — retired when they turned 50. “I used to joke that I am still waiting for my first job,” he says with smile.
His brothers are both married and Finkelstein has one nephew. “I don’t have any regrets not marrying,” he says as he walked by the bookshelves that line the entranceway to his apartment.
Among the books were several about Karl Marx, another about the Bolshevik Revolution called, “Ten Days that Shook the World” by John Reed, books about Hitler, and “Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s National Security and Foreign Policy.”
Finkelstein’s career, though it began with a doctorate in politics at Princeton University, has been checkered. His thesis sought to expose as a shoddy piece of research Joan Peters’ best-selling book, “From Time Immemorial,” which debunked the notion of a Palestinian population overwhelmed by Jewish immigrants in the Holy Land. His thesis, in turn, was criticized by many as politically driven, and was supported by few, including Noam Chomsky, the outspoken critic of Israel’s right to exist.
Finkelstein has had trouble holding a job, bouncing from Rutgers University to NYU to Brooklyn College and Hunter College.
Despite what he said were solid evaluations at DePaul — in formal public statements DePaul said Finkelstein is an outstanding teacher and a prolific scholar — Finkelstein says he saw the writing on the wall when he first accepted the position. It’s why, he says, he held onto his father’s apartment for the six years he was in Chicago so that he would not find himself out of work and out of a home.
“I had the best teaching record at DePaul University,” he insists, explaining that the evaluation is based upon student assessments and his writing. He even sailed through the early tenure committees, before the campaign against him was launched by Dershowitz. (In his book “Beyond Chutzpah,” Finkelstein had attacked Dershowitz’s “The Case for Israel” as a fraud.)
“Now I can’t even get an adjunct appointment for one semester,” he says matter-of-factly. “I lectured in the past year at 40 universities and I would ask the faculty there about a position and was told it was out of the question.”
Finkelstein rises from his living room chair and points to the picture of his mother on the wall above the piano, as if to take his mind off his dismal job prospects.
“My mother was in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939 until 1943,” he says, strongly denying that his mother was a Nazi collaborator — a charge leveled by some of his detractors. “She was also in Majdanek and in two slave labor camps and every member of her family was exterminated – her two sisters, a brother and mother and father.”
A job as a high school teacher is also out of the question, Finkelstein says.
“The way they do background checks is to Google your name. With me, they would get 30,000 Web sites, one-third of them saying I am a Holocaust denier, a supporter of terrorism, a crackpot and a lunatic. If 30,000 Web sites are saying that, the assumption is that where there is smoke, there must be fire. Would you take the time to look through 30,000 Web sites?”
“I save my complaints for my friends,” he says when asked his reaction to such Web sites.
“That’s why we have friends in the world — to chew their ears off.”
Peter Novick isn’t one of those friends. The author of “The Holocaust in American Life” has been critical of Finkelstein’s credibility and scholarship, saying that “a lot of [his writing] was pure invention” and that not all of his footnotes are accurate.
Novick said that in his own book he explored how “much of American Jewry has centered on the Holocaust ... for Finkelstein it’s a racket, with self-aggrandizing Jewish elites who use it to boost their own power; it is nasty and over-the-top stuff.”
He said he feels sorry that Finkelstein has been unable to secure another teaching job, but Novick said Finkelstein knowingly refused to do what it takes to get tenure: publish academically respectable material in academic journals.
“He was much more engaged in doing political rather than academic work, and that is not how you get a regular academic job,” Novick explains. “I’m not saying it in a way to blame him. He made his choice. ... He raises abrasiveness to a matter of principle.”
“On balance,” Novick continues, “would it be a good thing if he had a job? Yes. The idea of this guy in his 50s who has done this all his life now being cut off at the knees is sad.”
He may not have a job, but Finkelstein’s new book, yet to have a publisher, is certain to stir more controversy. Its premise is that American Jews who “embraced Israel [after the Six-Day War] in 1967 — seeing it as a liberal state — now are embarrassed by its use of cluster bombs [in Lebanon]. It’s no longer possible to justify support for Israel on conventional and elementary liberal principles — it’s impossible to justify the occupation.”
A number of surveys suggest that American Jews, especially 20- and 30-year olds, have grown increasingly distant from Israel, but not necessarily for the reasons Finkelstein offers.
“It’s claimed that Israel is searching for peace, yet it says to attack Iran, Syria and Iraq,” Finkelstein continues. “So it’s an embarrassment. Gradually, American Jewry will be bidding farewell to Israel, except in existential cases. And the under-40 generation is growing more and more indifferent” to Israel.
On a drive around his old neighborhood, the discussion turned to his book “The Holocaust Industry,” which claims Israel is an immoral power with a horrific human rights record that seeks to evoke sympathy for its position because of the Holocaust. Finkelstein spoke like a man whom time has vindicated.
“I don’t know if I’ve pushed the envelope,” he said of his claims about Jewish groups extorting money from European countries for Holocaust reparations. “[Famed Holocaust historian Raul] Hilberg supported me, so I’m not sure how much I’m pushing the envelope. Before I charged Jewish groups with a shakedown racket, Hilberg did interviews with the Swiss and German press and said that for the first time in history American Jews are making use of the blackmail weapon. So they were the ones who pushed the envelope by using the Holocaust as a blackmail weapon.”
As he reflected on the fate of some of the main figures in the effort to extract reparations for Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein smiled at the irony of recent events.
Israel Singer, the former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, was fired after it “turned out he had a secret Swiss bank account he was funneling money to — unbeknownst to the World Jewish Congress — for what he called his pension,” says Finkelstein.
“Burt Neuborne, the lead counsel in the Swiss case, went around saying he was doing the work pro bono for his daughter who was studying to be a rabbi,” he continues. “But it turns out he got $5 million from the German settlement and was asking for $6 million in the Swiss case. Even the New York Times wrote an editorial denouncing him. And Mel Weiss [another lawyer in the case] was indicted [in an unrelated case] and pleaded guilty.”
“They’re all crooks,” Finkelstein says with obvious satisfaction. “The only one not in trouble is me. I’m unemployed, but at least I haven’t been indicted.”
Now, settled into his Brooklyn life, Finkelstein is preparing for what may be his biggest fight, albeit one he doesn’t relish. He plans to go to the Israeli Consulate in New York in September to seek an assurance that he will be admitted in December. Such assurance, he said, would allow all concerned to “avoid the spectacle of me applying under the Law of Return [which gives every Jew the automatic right to acquire Israeli citizenship]. ... It’s hard to see which side will find that more ridiculous.
“I don’t incite riots,” he continued. “I’m just going to see a friend in the occupied Palestinian territories. I’m not there to see Israel. I do not need for every facet of my life to be politicized. If Israeli authorities would just grant me a visa, I’ll move on.”
Finkelstein said he hopes to visit a Palestinian, Musa Abu Hashhash, who lives with his wife and children near Hebron. They first met in 1988 when Finkelstein went to Israel with a delegation from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Finkelstein dedicated one of his books to the man, who works for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group. He stressed that his visit to Israel would be a “private” affair and that he had “no interest in turning this into a political issue. ... I don’t think they can deny me, and I don’t want to turn it into a test case for the Israeli High Court.”
As things stand now, however, Norman Finkelstein, the grand provocateur, waits in limbo for a shot at returning to the Promised Land, a land he has made a career of reviling.
This article was published in The Jewish Week
Sunday, June 22, 2008
For those of you who are still curious as to what the good congressman is talking about, I reffer you to the following videos below:
Merely hours after President Sarkozy landed in Israel, a Jewish teenage, wearing his kippa/yarmulka in the streets of Paris was attacked by 5 individuals. The only information that is available at this time was that the 5 suspects were black, ranging from 6-30, and used steel pipes to beat up this person.
Monday, June 16, 2008
First, there is a huge gap from 1273 BCE with the Jewish people's conquest of Israel and 636 ACE when the "Armies of Allah" invaded and conquered the land of Israel. One of the many claims by supporters of the Palestinian people is that they have always lived in the land of, what they call, Palestine. However, between those periods the Jewish Kingdom rose and fell; however, the Jewish population in Israel, mostly centralized around major Jewish cities such as Jerusalem was a constant between then and until the founding of the modern Jewish State. How did the Palestinian people get the term "Palestine" from? It comes from a renaming of Israel at the hands of the Romans. They decided after defeating the Jewish nation, they would rename it after the sworn enemies of the Jewish people, the Philistines, hence they called it "Philistine." However, even then there has never been any kind of rule from these Palestinian people. From the time of the Romans until the British left the "Mandate of Palestine" there was no kingdom or leadership in part of the Palestinian people; however, when Theodore Herzl reminded the Jewish people that we do have a homeland and that we should go back to our homeland, it was then that the uprising against the Jewish people started and the claims of a "Palestinian People" were born.
With History and the facts against them, I once again pose the following question:
Who Are You?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Zionism, in certain parts of the world, is a dirty word that people associate colonialism, hatred, and racism to name a few. On December 10, 1975, the United Nations, an organization that created the State of Israel as a “Jewish State,” declared that “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.1” Claims like this from the UN, the Arab world, and other various groups are false representations of the movement of Zionism. Zionism is the Jewish national movement for a Jewish homeland. In order to understand the Zionist movement as we know it today, we need to look back at the founder of the modern Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl. Herzl's idea has come under attack from Jewish thinkers themselves and we shall look at what they say; however, something we need to look at before is that we need to look at who Herzl was and what influenced him in his thinking.
The Jewish people that have been around for about 3,000 years2. Throughout the history of the Jewish people they have been the target of various forms of Jewish hatred, or anti-Semitism. This form of hatred is something that caused a reaction in a reporter named Theodore Herzl covering the case of Alfred Dreyfuss in what is known today as the Dreyfuss Affair3. In 1894, Alfred Dreyfuss was accused of sending information to the German embassy. Through the streets of France, Herzl, himself a secular Jew, heard anti-Semitic chanting by the citizens of France. However, this was not the first time Herzl has experienced this type of hate. At the age of 15, according to a biography based on the work of Alex Bein, when his teacher defined the word “heathen,” he said “'such as idolaters, Mohammedians, and Jews.'” This event played a role in removal from this school. When he was 18, after the sudden death of his sister, his family moved to Vienna. Here, he enrolled in law school and once again found more anti-Semitism. He read the book The Jewish Problem as a Problem of Race, Morals and Culture by Eugen Duhrings. This book said that the “Jewish Race” has no worth whatsoever. Even Herzl's own fraternity had taken part in an anti-Semitic demonstration. He withdrew himself from the fraternity. In his writings, he notes that “[Duhring's book can unite] so much undeniable intelligence with so much universality of knowledge, can write like this, what are we to expect from the masses?” (26).
The event of the Dreyfuss Affair, finally lit the fire in him that led to his writing of a pamphlet that has changed the course of how Nationalism, the Middle East, and political thought. That pamphlet is The Jewish State. In this pamphlet, Herzl argues for the creation of a Jewish State because of the rise of anti-Semitism. He writes that he believes he understand anti-Semitism but that we cannot live in peace, as much as the world tries to tell us that we should believe it and rely on our host country for help. He says this because, since we are in the Ghettos but relied on a lot for finance services, the upper class has to deal with the pogroms that have been going on against us, the lower class has to suffer, and the middle class has to deal with proclamations against their stores that say to not buy from Jews. He therefore concludes that, no matter how hard we try, even if we were to assimilate into our surrounding or separate us from the rest of the world, we will still be hated and hostilities against Jews would still go on. Therefore, he concludes that we need to create a Jewish State. He offers two places for this state to take place, either Argentina or ) (the territory known as) Palestine because “it is our ever memorable historic home. The very name of Palestine would attract our people with a force of marvelous potency” (96). He then continues that the other religions holy sites would be protected and proposes a possibility of some agreement between the Sultan that controlled the land and the Jewish people so that way they would allow this state to created. He then continues with his thesis and proposes how the state will run, which institutions should be created and what they should do.
In an essay titled “People and Land of Israel” by Abraham S. Halkin4,he writes that after the Jews were freed from the ghettos, he says that, if anything this increased the number and created a different type of anti-Semitism. He says that “anti-Semitism is an ineradicable disease, an inescapable concomitant of Jewish and non-Jewish co-existence” (32). He says that the only logical conclusion was that if they were “not to assimilate and eventually disappear into the general society, the only alternative was to emigrate to a land of their own” (33). He continues that Zionism was the answer to this problem and points out that Herzl was not really interested in settling in then Palestine but more concerned about getting a land (as shown by the Uganda situation, in which he felt Uganda would be the best choice right now as a place of refuge for the Jewish people). This is where Herzl and the Zionist Congress differed in that they made that they wanted the land to be where home has been for so long for the Jewish people, Israel. And, once again, the Zionist movement took a different turn than that of the Messianic movement which would lead to a return to Israel. The congress believed that, not God, but man would be responsible to make sure that this change would come about.
However, at the end of the day, we need to ask this about Zionism, what exactly is it and how does it constitute Nationalism, if at all? Based upon my readings I would conclude that Zionism is a form of nationalism that takes its roots in Perennialism. These group of theorists “accept that nationalism is modern, and that the nation itself has gone undergone significant changes in the modern period, but that the nation is continues with an older community, which may have an ethnic, linguistic, or cultural basis: nationhood can be 'forgotten' but it can also be 'recovered5” (115). This applies to the Jewish people because we exhibit all of those characteristics. The Jewish people, from the time of the destruction of the second temple to the times today, have undergone a tremendous transformation into a nation with many different ways of thinking. There are now other strands of Judaism because of this thinking (Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist to name three), but we managed to keep certain traditions together. We may not all speak Hebrew but we all, to a large extent, know that is the main language that Jewish people pray. We all know of the concept of Shabbat, or Sabbath as the Jewish day of rest on Saturday, and various other customs were kept throughout the diaspora no matter what Jewish way of thinking, we managed to keep all of this together. What Herzl essentially was doing was reminding us we are a nation and, with the ideas of nationalism still alive among other people, we were reminded that we are a people and that now is the time to create a state.
So who are the Jewish people as a nation, or are Jewish people even a nation? When I first looked at these various definitions, it occurred to me why this topic of arouses so much passion, mainly because depending on who you asked, you would get different answers. If one were to ask Otto Bauer, a political thinker, what who he sees as a nation, he defines it as “the totality of people who are united by a common fate so that they possess a common (national) character. The common fate is... primarily a common history; the common national character involves almost necessarily a uniformity of language” (264). How is this to be connected with Zionism? Zionism, as mentioned before, is a modern form of Jewish Nationalism. Now, one of the key components of any nationalist movement, as Montserrat Guibernau defines nationalism, is there is a “sentiment of belonging to a community whose members identify with a set of symbols, beliefs and ways of life and have the will to decide upon their common destiny” (266). Therefore, in many words, based upon these two definitions, the Jews are a nation and, especially post-Herzl, that the Jews have a right to a national home land. How so?
The Jewish people, after the destruction of the Jewish temple and Israel was conquered by the Roman's in 135 ACE, Yaakov Lozowick notes something interesting happen after the destruction. He says “Afterwards, the survivors turned themselves into something quite unusual: a national community without the geographic or political trappings of a nation” (40) He continues with this his description of this unique nation that this gave the Jewish people a type of longevity that most other nations, including the Romans, did not have. He notes that this unlikely survival strategy created a common culture among the Jewish people. He notes that this community would be based primarily on religion. The Torah, the holy book for the Jewish people, gives an outline how to live, act, behave, educate, etc. This new culture, although the Torah expounds on the proper type of warfare, this was not necessary after the destruction of the Jewish state. Overall, Lozowick notes that “the Jewish way of life was common to Jews wherever they were, so ultimately a Jew felt at home,” and “what had once been a nation on its land with a common religion had evolved into a religion that was persevering a nation – in very unusual conditions” (41).
What we have just explored helps define the Jewish people as a nation. They have a common culture that they can point too, a common language that they could use (Hebrew at first, then other languages came in, but Hebrew continued to be a part of a Jew's life) and, through Guibernau, we have the set of symbols, beliefs and ways of life. The only thing that was missing was the will to decide upon their own destiny. What ensued would be a debate regarding what should be done with the Jews. Herzl stated that the Jews should create a Jewish state in Palestine; however, not all Jews were willing to buy into this debate. One such Jewish individual (but he would never say he himself was a Jew) is Karl Marx.
Karl Marx is the author of the famous Communist Manifesto and his ideas have helped shaped Eastern Europe and influenced world leaders as well as political theory. In one of his essay's “On the Jewish Question7,” he provides how one Jewish thinker responds for the cry for emancipation. Overall, what he is saying to the Jewish people in this essay is that in order to be emancipated from Judaism. He basically says that Jews are different because we ourselves make ourselves different and that the only way we shall be given equal rights is if we abandon our religion, because religion is what pushes us down from freedom.
Another Jewish thinker discussed in an essay about “Progressive” Jewish thought8 is Jacqueline Rose and her book The Question of Zion. One of the main points of this book is he thinking in what led to the thinking of Herzl. She, according to the essay, makes a connection between him and Shabbatai Zvi, a seventh century “messianic pretender and apostate from Judaism (to Islam)” (9). She feels that the connection between the two individuals is that she feels what led these two was the idea of Jewish messaianism, which she equates with madness. Her thought on Zionism as a form of messianic thinking is, and he quotes her, saying “'we take Zionism to be a form of collective insanity. (p. 17)'” (10).
Another Jewish thinker is Tony Judt, who calls Israel “everything from arrogant, aggressive, anachronistic, and infantile to dysfunctional, immoral, and a primary cause of present-day anti-Semitism” (15). He writes in an article that appeared in the New York Times Review of Books on October 23, 2003, in an article titled “Israel: The Alternative,” says that “Israel today is bad for the Jews” (15). He solution to this is to create “a single, integrated, bi national state for the Jews and Arabs” (15). Another Orthodox religious group of Jews called the Neturai Karta9 says that the state should be abolished because it is against the Torah and the messiah hasn't come, therefore it is sacrilegious to do such a thing.
Uri Avneri, an Israeli critic, says regarding Jewish Nationalism today that “For generations the Jews were persecuted in many countries and developed the consciousness of victims. It could almost have been said that most of the Jewish culture created during the last two or three centuries revolves around this axis” (Lozowick 42). According to this, Jewish identity is based lately on the idea of victim hood and many others, including Norman Finkelstein say this, that we have played this up in order for the creation of the state of Israel to take place. Finkelstein, in particular plays up how Israel has played it up. He says in his book The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, he says “Given its proven utility, organized American Jewry exploited the Nazi Holocaust” and that the Holocaust “proved to be the perfect weapon for deflecting criticism of Israel” (30). According to both of these men, with Uri being an Israeli and Finkelstein being a Jewish individual (whose mother is a Holocaust survivor) says that Jewish people exploit their victim hood so that was we cannot take any blame from anyone for anything actions Israel takes.
This is very disturbing on many different levels. The first level being educational. Such thinking about the Jewish people as exploiting tragedy for personal gain is disturbingly familiar to claims made against the Jews as exploiters is disturbing in feeding into false libels against the Jews. Second, on a historical level. Yes it is true that Jews have had a very rough history (to put it lightly), but from my understanding of history, other groups have had similar histories. Were not the Indians, when the colonists arrived in America, came under attack from various sicknesses as well as other bloody incidents? Did we forget the massacre at Wounded Knee? How about the Armenians and the massacres that took place? Finally, on a personal level this disturbs me. When Jewish people talk about the Holocaust it is not about deflecting blame for actions Israel takes where criticism is due, but because of the circumstances surrounding it. While it is true other minorities were targeted in the Holocaust (Roma/Gypsies and Homosexuals to name to groups targeted) what makes the Jewish extermination during the Holocaust unique (and this I learned during my time in Hebrew school) is the amount of planning and precision and amount of time the Nazi's gave to the extermination of the Jewish people is something that is startling.
Another way that this is disturbing is that it seems that they are basing Jewish/Zionist ideology as something that emerged mainly after the Holocaust. First, a general definition of the term “ideology.” Ideology, as defined in Terry Eagelton's Ideology. In this essay, he gives six different ways to define ideology. In terms of Zionism as a political thought, there are three that fit. His first definition of ideology is “the whole complex of signifying practices and symbolic process in a particular society” (28). The second definition that fits is, he says, “turns on ideas and beliefs (whether true or false) which symbolize the conditions and life experiences of a specific, socially significant group or class” (29). The third definition fits which, he says ideology is “the promotion and legitimation of the interests of such social groups in the face of opposing interests.”
These three fit into Zionism in the following way. The first is, does this ideology of Zionism have practices and symbolic processes that are part of a society? The answer, as mentioned before, is yes. The Jewish people have common practices that we all do that almost all Jewish people know (prayer, going to synagogue/temple, religious holidays and holy days to name a few). In terms of the symbolic, we have Bar/Bat Mitzvah's (Jewish ritual of right of passage into Manhood or Womanhood) and the Jewish Star of David known throughout the Jewish world and the world in general as one of the big symbols of Judaism. The second definition fits because we have turned in our history to various leaders within the Jewish communities for guidence in difficult situations. Whether it was the Holocaust, the expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition, or even a disputation between Christianity and Judaism10, we have always turned to our leaders and to the Torah for guidance during difficult times. In terms of Zionism, Herzl just returned to, as he says Zionism is “a very old idea” (69) as a response to the rise of anti-Semitism and pogroms (attacks on Jews, sometimes organized, other times it is a sudden event that happens) going on in Europe. The third definition fits Zionism, and is something that is still having to be defended. This idea was first promoted and led to the creation of the Zionist Congress that declared its intentions to “create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine by Public Law” (Laqueur, Rubin 9). This idea has been debated back and forth; however, it is undisputed that this idea was promoted in an attempt to legitimize the movement.
However, after all that has been said about Zionism and nationalism as well as Zionism as Jewish nationalism, the main question that should be answered is what do I believe, is Zionism a form of Jewish nationalism? Before I address my views on all of this, I wish to respond to those Jewish critics about Zionism and Israel. In my mind, there is only one thing that can bind all of these things together, and that is the level of emotions outweighed over the facts themselves. One of the many things I have read (and have had various discussions with those Jewish individuals who describe themselves as “anti-Zionist”) is that Zionism is evil, makes no sense, and is against the, at the very least, the holy text of the Jewish people who adhere to it (this depends on which stream of Judaism the individual decides is the correct one, with each stream giving its own interpretation of the Torah); however, there are some things within Judaism that, at the very least, almost all streams agree on. For example, I have yet to find a Jewish group that says the ten commandments are something that is open to interpretation.
One of the big ideas within Judaism is the concept of “Tikun Olam.” This Jewish teaching is, according to the literal translation, of “repairing the world.” From my mind, individuals such as Finkelstein, Chomsky, and the others from what I believe is trying to adhere to this concept. I am basing this on the fact they these individuals attempt to be the protectors of the Palestinian people because they are, as they claim, are victims by people who have been victims their entire history (the Jewish people). The problem with this though, as I have mentioned above, is the mentioning of emotions over the facts. When discussing the plight of the Jews who were, in essence, kicked out of the Arab lands shortly after the State of Israel was created11, I sought out and quoted documents, conversations I heard from various Muslims and Arabs who believe in Israel's right to exist, and talked about Jewish history in Israel. The general response from various respected political thinkers down to a regular person is the stressing on how terrible Zionism is and how it promotes hatred of others. Based on my reading, this is not the case with Zionism. If anything, this idea is peaceful and simply asks the other nations to not hate them. Basically we'll take care of ourselves and you'll have nothing to worry about. It is a movement that simply asks their right to reclaim a land that was taken away from them a long time ago and to return to it. Zionism does not ask for land, but for simply letting us back into Israel to live in it. Over time this idea has adapted (as other ideas do) to mean the creation and protection of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
This was not like when the European countries divided up the remaining lands of the Ottoman empire. This was just a proclamation of a return to our historical land. What makes the Jews a people? We have a common history, a common culture, and a common religion (followed by various degrees). This modern form of Jewish nationalism was formed not by any European entity but by a people who have managed to keep themselves together over time in a way not many other groups on the planet can say they have. That movement was Zionism.
2According to Yaakov Lozowick in his book Right to Exist
4From the collection Great Jewish Ideas edited by Abraham Ezra Milligram
5Chapter 5, titled Nationalism
7The essay was found at the following website: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/
8“Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, professor of English and Jewish studies and director of the Institute of Jewish Culture and Arts at Indiana University.
10 I refer mainly to the Nachmanides, aka Ramban, in his account of a disputation between him and Pablo Christiani in Barcelona in 1263. What made this disputation unique was that freedom of speech was granted to the Rambam to defend Judaism, something that was unique during this time in history.
11 Two documentaries that explore this rather unknown refugee issue is “Silent Exodus” and “The Forgotten Refugees”
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Browsing Facebook recently, I came upon a post from a friend that was truely disturbing. Urban Outfitters, a clothing company thats sells clothing aimed at young adults, has started selling this T-shirt with a disturbing set of pictures in the front. If you feel as strongly about this as I do, please go to my friend's facebook group page calling for a boycott of this company.
Here is a open letter that you could feel free to copy and paste and send to the company:
To Whom it May Concern,
I am someone who is always trying to keep up with the current fashion styles and your store is one of the many places I go to to keep up with the latest fashion; however, I recently came upon a shirt that will make me think twice when it comes to shopping at your store. This shirt, (http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp;jsessionid=A0CD8C1F694904FC5F7EDECAB013FAB7.app13-node1?itemdescription=true&itemCount=10&id=14598635&parentid=M_APP_TEESSHORT&sortProperties=%20product.marketingPriority,-product.startDate&navCount=399&navAction=poppushpush&color=10) when I came upon it was shocked and angered, but not at the message it was trying to get across.
Other than Urban Outfitter's lack of the knowledge of the Middle East conflict, your shirt portrays that these children are victims; however, when you put the gun in the hands of a child you make it appear that the child has a right, as a "victim," to pick up a weapon and kill. This type of message your putting across is something only put forward in the mosques where Imam's preach hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people as well as through public Palestinian TV where children are taught to hate and kill innocent civilians. This is the message you put across in this shirt and I want to let you know I do not plan on shopping at your store again and will let all of my friends and family know not to shop their because of Urban Outfitter's decision to promote a cause that calls for death of innocent people.
Or you may call them at their number: (800) 959-8794
If you'd like to submit an e-mail to them, click on this link
Monday, May 19, 2008
I want to thank you for your continued support for the report. I am writing to ask you if you could all do something here to help out the report. I would like to expand our work here by doing a video-blog version of the report; however, I do not have the funds for a camera or for the video editing software to go about doing this. I do not also have the finances to continue my work in my research for literature that could be anti-Semitic. In short, if you could please donate to the cause by clicking on this link to the Facebook donate page, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again!
PS: If you do not have Facebook but wish to contribute, e-mail me at Nazibegone@bigstring.com and I'll let you know how you can do that, thanks again!
Monday, May 12, 2008
The party made the right call; however, we see here once again the stereotypical answer of an anti-Semite who refuses to admit their own hate. She has said the line that she is not anti-Semitic and has Jewish friends! When someone has to resort to that line, most of the time the person saying it is likely an anti-Semite.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Today is no ordinary day. Israel will come to a standstill. The country, for two minutes, will literally stop.
The Jewish people around the world will also pause and remember the six million of their family that are the victims of the worst genocide in human history. Yes, Jews have always been persecuted for thousands of years; however, this stands out. The Holocaust was not something spontaneous that occurred at random. It did not occur in an instant and then stop all of a sudden. It was a long, calculated plan by the Nazis with the main goal to wipe out the entire Jewish nation.
We cannot forget. We shall not forget. We will never, ever forget.