Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hitler® belongs to us! II

In the original post, Spot referred to a Jewish author, Richard Ben Cramer, who wrote about Israel's spiritual sickness since it began the occupation of Palestinian lands in 1967. At the time, Spot also had another piece on the subject in mind, but couldn't find it. Here it is:

1967 - The war that ended Judiasm

Lord, save us from miracles.

Like compliments, we crave them, but when they do come our way, we don't always know how to respond. We are let out of Egypt with nothing less than a full parting of the Red Sea, and what thanks will God get? A rave in Sinai, to which He is uninvited, and blasphemy in the form of a golden calf.

Forty years ago this week, just when it seemed that it would take nothing short of a miracle for Israel to survive the coming war, the betting here was that the miracle bank had run dry. Amid the pre-emptive grave-digging and the fraught goodbyes, this was a constricted, panic-choked, border-phobic gas chamber of a country - literally, the ghetto to end all ghettos.

When the miracle came, few stopped to recall the real motto of this nation: Be careful what you pray for.

From this distance, one could conclude that while the Jewish state survived the war, Judaism as we knew it - Orthodox Judaism in particular - did not. Rabbinic Orthodoxy, the Jewish people's sworn bulwark against change, would never be the same.

1967 was the war that would persuade rabbis that they could be generals - even, or especially, if they lived in Brooklyn. The taste of power being what it is, many rabbis would soon conclude that government - and occupation - were much too important to be left to elected officials.

If absolute occupation corrupts absolutely, no group would be more corrupted by Israel's presence in the territories than rightist rabbis.

The author of those words, Bradley Burston, writing on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war in continues:

With Messianic zeal, they [the right wing rabbis] set to dictating new commandments and enunciating new prohibitions, revolutionizing Judaism by casting the settlements as the building blocks of a Third Temple - all the while turning the settlement enterprise and territories as a whole into a new Golden Calf, a god to which the people as a whole would be forced to sacrifice.

The change had been immediate, and shocking. The Temple Mount had only been in Israeli hands for a few hours before then-IDF chief rabbi Shlomo Goren pleaded with the general who had captured Jerusalem's Old City, to order that the magnificent gold-domed Mosque of Omar be blown to bits.

"I was alone for a moment, lost in thought, when Rabbi Goren approached me," Uzi Narkiss told Haaretz in an interview a few months before his death in 1997. "'Uzi,' Rabbi Goren said to me. 'Now is the time to put 100 kilograms of explosives into the Mosque of Omar so that we may rid ourselves of it once and for all.'

"I said to him, 'Rabbi, enough.'"

But Goren persisted. "'You don't grasp what tremendous significance this would have. This is an opportunity that can be taken advantage of now, at this moment. Tomorrow it will be too late.'

"I said, 'Rabbi, if you don't stop, I'll take you to jail.'"

Goren wasn't through. After the smoke had cleared, he addressed a military convention, calling it a "tragedy" that Israel had left the Temple Mount in control of Muslims: "I told this to the defense minister [Moshe Dayan] and he said, 'I understand what you are saying, but do you really think we should have blown up the mosque?' and I said, 'Certainly we should have blown it up.'"

The United States is the enabler of the rapacious elements of Israeli society. Organizations like the Zionist Organization of American and guys like Doug Tice want to keep it that way. But if we listen to them, and fail to insure that the Palestinians get their own place in the sun, there will never be peace in the Middle East. Unless all of the Palestinians are killed or die off.

Spot has a couple of more links for you on this subject. First is Norwegianity; Mark provides a little history of the relationship between the state of Israel and the apartheid government in South Africa. The second is Rob Levine's Rootless at the University of St. Thomas:

I say "rootless" because Dease doesn't have a clue about real morality and is a terrible decision maker. You might remember that St Thomas in the past has allowed right wing bigots to speak with almost no problem - Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin (who defends the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II) are two of the biggest offenders. When they were warned before Coulter spoke they shrugged it off, only to have have to eat crow afterwards. Then when Tutu was invited to speak, they apparently - in contrast to when right wing bigots speak there - were inclined to ask people in the community about him, never mind that Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an internationally adored figure. How could anyone even think of dis-inviting Tutu?

It will take St. Thomas a long time to live this episode down. As Spot said earlier, he hopes that Archbishop Tutu sends his regrets to the new invitation that St. Thomas has apparently offered.

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