28 September 2014

Idle thoughts on Scottish independence and whether it's good for the Jews (of course)


This post is an attempt to answer a good pen-friend and a great friend of Israel, Alan Johnson, an editor of Fathom and many other things he succeeds to find the time for somehow. Alan asked an interesting question (on Facebook), a few days before the Scottish referendum:
Am I the only person raising just a little bit of an eyebrow at the sight of all their Zionist friends being outraged by the 'petty nationalism' of the Scots and their outrageous bid for self-determination as a people?
Since the dust from the whole brouhaha has settled down, the leader of the Scottish separatism fell on his (political) sword and the case became history, at least for now, we can discuss the related question in relative equanimity and in proper manner. If you wish, nevertheless, to imbibe some of the spirit of the pre-referendum debate, you are invited to take a peek at the Facebook thread linked above - there is quite a lot of spirit there.

Frankly, when I read that question by Alan about ten days ago, I have raised both eyebrows simultaneously, so surprised I was. The reason for my surprise was simple: during the whole (pretty long) period of Scottish independence discussions, preparations for the referendum, the fierce TV and other debates in British media, I haven't had a single discussion on the subject with my friends, relatives or just random strangers encountered here (in Israel). Which (granted, anecdotal) info, knowing how ferociously Israelis get involved in sundry political issues, even ones that don't have anything to do with them or their country, may serve as a pretty good indication how much interest the Scottish independence generated here. Zero. Zilch. Gurnisht.

I, personally, had me almost(*) the same amount of interest in the outcome of Mr Salmond's endeavor. And none of my relatives living elsewhere (aside of UK) displayed any concern with the matter. Saying all this, however, demands a qualification. If you check the thread linked above, you shall find two or three Jewish citizens of UK, who do feel quite impassioned about the whole independence deal and are quite negative regarding the possibility of separation. But - if I am allowed to make a guess - I am quite sure that their objection to Scottish independence mirrors the majority of British (and, eventually, at the end of the day, Scottish) citizens too.

Of course, if Alan considers all of his British Zionist friends being staunch objectors of Scottish independence bid, I shall bow to his superior local knowledge. However, I allow myself a margin of doubt re the term "all". I would bet that at least some of these folks sport the same attitude as most of us outside Britain do.

So, all in all, I would say, Scottish independence is hardly a topic of interest to the Jews, aside of very few Jewish British activists. And yet, there are three or four related items that do have a Jewish or, at least, Israeli connection - strange as it may sound.

1. Independence? Imagine that...

As far as progressive people in our world are concerned, nothing could be more backward and reactionary than the burgeoning separatist movements. I know it will anger many, but I can't desist:
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do...
If you look at the current map of Europe, which has already gave birth to quite a few new countries recently as a result of the irresistible wave of separatism and, especially, if you check out this clip that presents the general trend, you must agree that John Lennon's dream is wide off the mark - at least as far as European sentiments are concerned. So take a look at the clip first:



But we were looking for an Israeli connection. Yes, with all that enthusiastic splitting into multiple and, in many cases, hardly viable pieces, European (and not only European) progressive left finds a long list of justifications for each and every separatist movement. Leaving aside (for the moment) the arguments used by proponents of independence for each case, there is one single case where the independence and the mere existence of independent nation are being questioned in the best case and actively opposed in the worst. Of course it is the case of the state of Israel. Both the song "Imagine" and the term "one state solution" are being actively applied by the sundry activists, a considerable part of which is located, strangely enough, in separation-obsessed Scotland. Go figure...

2. Scottish Palestinian solidarity movement.

First of all a disclaimer: ascribing a certain trait to a whole nation is a misnomer, I know it quite well. Your average Scot is no more (or less) interested in the goings-on in foreign parts, especially as far removed as Middle East, than any other person elsewhere. However, saying that, the so called Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is a more virulent representative of anti-Israeli sentiment among other European outfits of this kind.

And the Scottish government itself has given the Scottish Jews enough reasons to be wary about its general anti-Israeli bias. It is not for nothing that Jews in Scotland were concerned about the possible separation from UK.

So all in all, while I don't share the anti-separatists sentiments of the Zionist friends Alan mentioned in his question, I could see where these sentiments are coming from. And let's leave it at that, with one final remark.

3. Multiculturalism as a proven failure.

The offspring of the Political Correctness goddess, multiculturalism has proved itself a dismal failure all over Europeans states, where integration of immigrants, especially Muslim ones is concerned. And we can't say that it is solely the fault of the immigrants, no, it is as much (if not more) the fault of the governments of these states.

However, there is another aspect of multiculturalism that is coming to light with the rising separatist activities all over Europe. The geographically and ethnically distinct groups of people are demanding states of their own, reacting in this manner to some historic colonialist/expansionist endeavors of their host states. The hundreds years old grievances are being exhumed, the old hatreds are being fueled - in short, the XXI century doesn't look so far as a beginning of the age of enlightenment. No, sir/madam, you can continue to play with the vision of that world with no countries, but the reality is starkly different.

As it usually is.

(*) For the sake of full disclosure, I was concerned with a single aspect of the looming independence: whether the prices of single malt whisky on the world market will rise or fall. But since I didn't have a slightest idea which way the prices will go with or without independence, it could be hardly called an opinion.

24 comments:

Dick Stanley said...

The Scots voted it down, after all, but if they hadn't I would have to say it wouldn't be good for the Jews. Ironically, considering Scotland used to be Jewish.

EliseRonan said...

Actually I would say there are several ironies here. The Jews who support their own self-determination being against Scottish self-determination because these Scots are anti-Israel. And then the self-determination Scots being anti-Jewish self-determination because for some reason these Scots seem to have neglected to read an actual history book. (In reality I think its just good old antisemitism playing into Scottish politics, which is sad for a people with such a fine history.) Honestly I think the conundrum just makes your head hurt.

Truth be told the Scottish vote says more about the abject failure of multiculturalism and the disintegration of the EU. People like to rule themselves. They like their heritage and the differences that this brings (at least we celebrate differences here in the US). People do not want anyone else telling them what to do, especially some group of inbred-holier-than-thou bureaucrats.

FWIW- if u think that noone really paid attention to the Scottish vote outside the UK, u might be wrong. My youngest son was very much in support of Scottish independence and was sorely disappointed when it failed. I have no idea why he felt this way, but he did. He won't discuss it with me (I suppose I am just too old to really understand things?). I can only surmise that being on the internet and speaking to gamers all over the world he has contact with many in Scotland who supported independence. So he felt bad for them when they lost.

I think the entire Scottish episode is very interesting. I happen to agree though, Europe in the 21st century is moving in a direction that is not better for everyone, especially Jews.

*Sadly I have had to give up my single malts years ago as I began having allergic reactions to it. So the price of Scotch was not an issue for me in discussing the referendum.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That's interesting what you are saying about your son. The typical local youngster couldn't care less about any kind of politics, leaving all that to "activists".

And yes, the multiculturalism is dead, unfortunately the powers that be pretend that stiff doesn't smell yet.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oops. Forgot to mention that. Indeed.

David All said...

Scotland was Jewish, when was that?!


It use to be that Scotland and Wales was pretty much pro-Israel, partially because of the Bible with the giving of the Land of Israel by God to the Hebrews and also to hit at the English Establishment. Tragically the political correctness and fashionable leftism of the last forty years have changed all that and now those in Scotland who pay attention to the Arab-Israeli struggle are pro-Arab. This is also part of general anti-Americanism of the Western European Left.



OT: One absolutely weird side effect of the Arab-Israeli struggle is in Northern Ireland where the Catholics display Palestinian flags and slogans in their areas while the Protestants display Israeli flags and slogans in theirs! So far as I know the fact that the Hindus and Protestants share the same color, Orange while the Catholics and Muslims share green has not led either side in Northern Ireland to be either pro-Indian or pro-Pakistani! At least not yet.



I am glad that the Scots have rejected going on their own and, for the time being, are staying in the UK.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

I don't know if there is anything in Zionism that says that the dissolution of political unions is always good. We aren't talking about ending a massacre-ridden Scottish diaspora, just about whether the current union is beneficial or not.

Sennacherib said...

Well that explains the dressing up in odd national/ethnic costumes and the obsession with obscure and unusual culinary practices. But, to the best of my knowledge Israel is yet to produce poetry totally indecipherable to anyone in the Western world, so there is some difference.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Hi David,

What Dick meant was the book:

http://www.amazon.com/When-Scotland-Was-Jewish-Archeology/dp/0786477091

As for the strange division as far as support/enmity to Israel are concerned - I sure can't explain why NI Catholics decided that Palestine is their best friend...

SnoopyTheGoon said...

True, although after several hundreds years the mere question looks doubtful somehow to me. But whatever, as I said I couldn't care less.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not an expert in Israeli poetry, but I so have my suspicion about it. I think a few of them are striving very hard to get the totally indecipherable kind you mention.

Dick Stanley said...

Except for the speeches of a few modern Popes, Catholics have never been very friendly with Jews.

Dick Stanley said...

To wit, the original West Side Story musical was to have been called East Side Story and feature a child of Holocaust survivors and an Irish Catholic boyfriend. Later changed to Puerto Rican girl and Anglo boy.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right, but so did some branches of Protestants. Of course, I am not familiar enough with that scene.

Sennacherib said...

As far as I know you guys just decided to start off big (The world's first complete how to book "The Bible") then went directly to piece work screen plays, popular fictioin, and of course various world domination projects.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Definitely true, with one correction: there was only one world domination project, which ended in 2000, achieving all its goals - as planned. So, as any conspiracy theorist worth his salt will tell, everything you see around is just a reflection of our will, carried out by mind controlled slaves.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Hm... interesting. Anyhow, I can't abide musicals so am not in danger of watching that one.

Sennacherib said...

Ah, my friend I also have one correction. The year 2000 was not quite the time one world domination. When Ireland discovered whiskey, it became immune to all known forms of human influence (and rationality). You may live in the "Holy Land", but Ireland is the land that "passeth all Understanding".

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Got it. Anyhow, your superior reading speed remains awesome.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I see.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

And even this is being questioned if you look at Wiki. See the hints on Middles East origins under "History":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisky

But I agree, Ireland is a tough nut.

Sennacherib said...

Had to bring up the Babylonians didn't you. Well they were a strange lot, mascara, dancing at all hours and whatnot. We Assyrians had to go kick their butts a couple of times, but I digress, the Irish didn't invent whiskey they just understood immediately it's potential upon discovery. Think of it this way, you guys had ten outfits go out and get lost wandering around, while the Irish got lost and stayed home.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I wouldn't knock what Irish have done with whisky, Jameson and Bushmills warmed me up more than once. Still, their Scotch competitors are a bit higher on my personal list of priorities.

As for Irish staying home - far be it from reality. After all, barely 10% are staying on the island, the rest are all over the globe. Doing a good job of it, mostly, unless you count the New Orleans PD ;-)

EliseRonan said...

Well I made the mistake of actually buying that book and reading it. While the DNA inquiry is interesting, and the concept of crypto-Jews making thier way to Scotland of all places is very interesting, the author backs up too much of her inquiry with actual antisemitic tropes about food, dress, and appearance. She does have a problem too with Ashkenazi Jews, which she likes to keep reminding her readers have no genetic component as Semites and are the product of converted European gentile women (i am surprised she didn't mention the khazars at one point) and goes as far as to discuss Rebecca of the Ivanhoe story, which was based on the real Rebecca Gratz, a Jewish-American of German-Jewish descent as Sephardi refusing to acknowledge her Ahskenazi roots, as indicative of Sir Walter Scots obsession with Scotland's crypto-Jewish ancestry.

Overall if she kept to the genetic component and the actual history of Jewish expulsion and travel during the dark and middle ages, this would have been a very interesting book to really think about Scotland's history and the real origins of its culture, but with all the added nonsense, this author truly needs some deep psychological counseling.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Can't argue, I stopped after fist ten pages due to other urgent books on my waiting list. Maybe one of these days, but now, seeing what you say...

Thanks for the tip, anyway.