12 March 2009

Seth Freedman - opening one eye in Israel

Again a easy (cowardly?) paraphrase of Seth's piece in CiF Opening eyes in Israel. No, it's not going to be a strictly confrontational response. After all, it could be a matter of some pride that, as Seth reports, there are Jewish youngsters that are ready to give a hand to Jewish and Arab poor, the downtrodden, the immigrants of all kinds, colors and origins. Good.

I, on the other hand, have a few questions to ask Seth about some points he makes.

  • The marvelous Sadaka-Reut site - is it intentional or just an omission that words like "Sderot", "Qassam", "rockets" don't appear there or are hidden in some sophisticated way?
  • While there is a Coalition against the Siege - why isn't there a coalition against the attacks on border crossings? And a coalition against persecution of Christians in Gaza? And...
Then there is (as it frequently happens in Seth's articles) a multitude of references to Judaism. Usually these leave me confused.
  • The "core Jewish values" and "the true teachings of our religion": what exactly is meant by these: "an eye for an eye" or "love thy neighbor" - to take two examples. (Anyway, turning the other cheek will be rather New Testament and not exactly "core")?
  • How does the total reliance on religious "core values" square with the knowledge that the majority of religious Jews support the Greater Israel pipe dream?
  • Wouldn't the ideology of Hadash (the Israeli communist party) go against the grain of Judaism in a few aspects?
And, of course, there is a big question mark regarding the "dominant strand of Zionism" and the "old guard" with the "sixty years of acquiescence" to it. It is really a one-eyed convenience to present these bad ole Jooz as a monstrous "Zionist juggernaut" in whose headlights the poor Arab rabbits, deer and other miscellaneous game are patiently waiting for the last shot. I can only laud the poetic license. But should I take it for a correct reading of the last 60 years of history as Seth insists? Hardly.

A presentation of the Zionism as a monolithic hateful unity, of Judaism as a monolithic love an sunshine alternative, of Palestinians as a helpless downtrodden minority under the wheels of the Israeli juggernaut is good for one thing only - to widen the gap between the two one-eyed people and to promote exactly the opposite of what Seth, in his charming naivety, is trying to promote.

There must be another way, innit?