Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The New Orthodox Jewish Left in Israel

Nir Hasson wrote a long article in Haaretz's Weekend Supplement on the young orthodox (and formerly orthodox) Jews involved in the Sheikh Jarrah protest movement. I have reproduced some of it below.

There is a sort of "man-bites-dog" quality to the article; after all, young modern orthodox Jews are assumed to be ultra nationalistic racists, whether implicit or explicit, and that assumption is mostly correct. So we are not talking about large numbers, though the leadership role of these activists is interesting. Readers of this blog are quite aware of the phenomenon; I have counted kippot among the activists before. But there is no global explanation for it. Why do some orthodox Jews protest injustices against Palestinians? Why did some gentiles risk their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust? Explanations must be local. In the case of these particular activists, many of them come from academic families; their parents are thoughtful moderates; some were associated with the religious dove groups like Oz ve-Shalom, Netivot Shalom, of blessed memory. With some exceptions, these young people are sophisticated enough to know that "Judaism" is (almost) a tabula rasa that can be filled with (almost) anything from the tradition. The same religion that "produced" a Hermann Cohen "produced" a Meir Kahane, which just means that both are the products of more than just "Judaism."

What distinguishes them from their parents? Their discourse is a discourse of justice, not peace. They are not afraid of linking arms with Palestinians, and I don't mean just the kosher academics like Sari Nusseibeh. Some of them are Zionist; some of them are post-Zionist; all are Israeli, and all care deeply about universal values. And while it's nice to quote verses, they don't have to do it to justify their basic moral values.

What we have yet to see, however, is whether the new orthodox left will translate their social action into political action. This is a problem in general in Israel; talented young activists don't want to be caught dead in politics, and for understandable reasons. But activism without a political base is limited. I hope some of these activists get their hands dirty in politics, perhaps in Hadash.

The Orthodox Jews fighting the Judaization of East Jerusalem

Leading the demonstrations of solidarity with Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah are some young Israelis with a religious background. They explain their activism and how it correlates to their conception of the true meaning of the Torah

By Nir Hasson

 Not long before Hillel Ben Sasson attended his first demonstration in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Aryeh King − perhaps the person most identified with Jewish settlement there − declared that in the battle over the capital of Israel, the left had been defeated.

"In the past they organized demonstrations," King told Haaretz last November, "but now we have made them understand that they have lost the battle. They can't even recruit 20 people, and if there is a demonstration it's Europeans who take part. Israelis don't show up anymore. We have won."

But King was wrong. A few days later, Ben Sasson and his friends joined the demonstrations in support of residents of Sheikh Jarrah, and thus launched a rearguard battle not only on behalf of the residents' rights, but on behalf of both the status of the left in Jerusalem and their own identity.

"From my point of view, being in Sheikh Jarrah is the full and supreme realization of my religious existence," Ben Sasson says, as he walks on a recent day through the neighborhood. "When I don't show up on a Friday, I feel as though I have not put on tefillin [phylacteries] in the morning. When I am here, I am fighting against the expulsion of people who will become refugees for a second time, but also against the settlers − because they are trying to expel me from the boundaries of legitimacy. They are double enemies: They are trying to plunder the homes of the Palestinians and, by contrast of course, also the religion to whose God I pray."

The eviction of a few families from Sheikh Jarrah last summer spurred one of the most intriguing protest movements in Israel in recent times. Like the weekly demonstrations against the separation fence in the West Bank villages of Bil'in and Na'alin, there is no single body behind this movement. A few dozen activists, in partnership with the residents, are its driving force. They have been joined, every Friday afternoon since last November, by between 200 and 300 people, only a few of whom are Palestinians or are not Israeli citizens.

It is possible to estimate cautiously that about half of the 30 key activists in Sheikh Jarrah are now or were in the past religiously observant. Most are young people in their twenties and thirties, and they represent an entire spectrum: religious, datlashim (formerly religious, but usually people for whom religion and tradition are still important to some degree), datlafim (sometimes religious), "transparent skullcaps" (bareheaded people who describe themselves as religiously observant), secular, and those who do not want to specify their position along this continuum. In any event, nearly all consider Judaism and their religious education and background to be important elements in their political thinking and activism. They also wonder if their presence in Sheikh Jarrah spells the advent of a new phenomenon in religious society, or whether they represent a disappearing breed of the religious left.

The most veteran beard and skullcap in Sheikh Jarrah probably belong to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights. For years the Reform rabbi, who speaks Arabic with a pronounced American accent, has fought shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and many other locales.

"I think this is a new phenomenon," he says. "Something that crosses religions is emerging in Jerusalem today. [These are] young people who are not bound to their parents' conventions and don't care whether their partners in the struggle are religious or not, but all of them share the feeling that our future is in danger."

'Symbolic capital'

"I can imagine one of my cousins saying, 'Again those leftists are identifying with the other side and not with the unfortunate people among us,'" Ben Sasson says. "But in Sheikh Jarrah there is no mistaking the good guys from the bad guys. No matter how you look at it or describe it − there is no way the settlers living there can be considered the good guys and the Palestinians the bad guys. Maybe in other places you can consider Palestinian suffering to be somehow relative, but here it's so clear. And it doesn't matter how what additional data you factor in or even if you 'recruit' Herzl [in your arguments]: It won't make a difference."

A few dozen Palestinian refugee families have been living in Sheikh Jarrah for the past 60 or so years. Of late, a company called Nahalat Shimon, an operative arm of settler organizations, has started to evict them, based on Jewish ownership documents from the end of the 19th century which have been validated by the courts (See box). The settlers have already taken permanent possession of three homes. Many more Palestinian families are in danger of eviction.

Israeli law permits people to claim Jewish property abandoned almost a century ago, but does not permit Arab families to claim ownership over property they abandoned during Israel's War of Independence. Thus, refugee families of 1948 are liable to become refugees again, in 2010 − and this asymmetry is nourishing the struggle in East Jerusalem.

Ben Sasson, son of the president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, historian Menahem Ben-Sasson, is currently writing his doctoral dissertation in Jewish studies. The subject: the explicit name of God. He describes the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations as "worship of Hashem [the Hebrew name for God]" and is very eager to engage his settler-adversaries in theological debate. It's clear he has already rehearsed these arguments in his mind many times.

"If you take away their Uzis and kick out the police, sit us down and remove the media − they will leave with their tail between their legs," he says emphatically. "In the Middle Ages disputations were held between learned Jews and Christians. Sometimes the Jews won, in which case they had to escape to avoid being killed. If you bring [the settlers] for a disputation now, I will win. All the Jewish sources are on my side. Their whole activity is twisted. What they are doing is desecration of God's name, in the most explicit way."

Asked to illustrate his thesis, he recites rapidly: "Ezekiel 33: 'O mortal, those who live in these ruins in the Land of Israel ... and you shed blood, yet you expect to possess the land!'"

Another longtime activist who has been prominent in the struggle, Assaf Sharon, 35, is less assertive in this regard. "There is no such thing as [one form of] Judaism," he says. "There are many ideas and streams and motifs − some of them on our side [politically], others not. Unfortunately, the latter are more dominant in the society I grew up in."

Sharon, now secular and a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Stanford University, attended a hesder yeshiva (combining religious studies with army service), studying at Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Bethlehem and Otniel Yeshiva, also in the West Bank.

"In one of the left-wing actions in the southern Hebron Hills, we escorted Palestinian children to school, with about 100 settlers surrounding them and the Jeep," Sharon recalls. "They started hitting us and in the midst of all this I heard my name called. It was a friend of mine from high school, who was with them. In the middle of everything there were hugs, and the Border Police removed all the left-wingers, but took no notice of me, because I was with the settlers.

"I was alone facing 40-50 guys, who started to engage in a theological debate. 'Plunder is plunder,' I shouted at them, citing verses from here and there. It was interesting and enjoyable to argue, and it's important for me to feel that Judaism is on my side, not theirs. I really do think that the right and beautiful parts of Judaism are with me, but there is also a great deal of racism and violence in Judaism. Roughly speaking, they are still with the early prophets, at the stage of the conquest of the land, and I am in the era of late prophets, building society. I say we have finished conquering the land, the War of Independence is over and the question that remains is what type of society we will have."

Like most of his friends in the protest movement, Sharon is from a liberal religious family, a relative anomaly in the religious-Zionist landscape. One of the turning points in his political thinking and on the path that ultimately led him into the secular world was November 4, 1995 − the night Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

"It wasn't done in my circles, but I went to the square that evening [for the peace rally] and after the murder I stayed until almost dawn. In the morning I went to the yeshiva. I was very religious then. That day the rabbi of the yeshiva told me that people from [the left-wing youth movement] Hashomer Hatzair wanted to meet with us.

"Just think what a crazy reversal it was," he continues. "Rabin's body wasn't yet cold, and instead of us looking for a way to reach them and ask them for forgiveness − they come to us, on top of which the rabbi approached me because he knew I was considered left wing and that most of the students would not agree to meet with them. In the end, we met, but not in the yeshiva; in an apartment, so people wouldn't see. The Rabin assassination became a 'lever' for the settlers: Not only did they not back down, but since then they've gained key positions, influence in the media, in politics and in culture. Most important, they seized control of the 'symbolic capital' of Israeliness. They are now identified as owners of the Jewish cargo. They constitute the hegemony."

Activist religion

Some members of the Sheikh Jarrah group associate themselves with the remnants of a liberal left-wing religious community which once existed in Jerusalem, but disappeared within the nationalist currents of religious Zionism.

"Sociologically, Jerusalem religiosity is far more pluralistic," says Amos Goldberg, 44, who teaches in the contemporary Judaism department at the Hebrew University and is a major activist in the struggle. "The Jerusalem left is far less anti-religious and contains many more people who are now religious or were observant in the past."

Sharon proposes a different explanation for recent left-wing religious activism: "Maybe it's precisely because we did not come up through the intellectual left, but through Gush Emunim [Bloc of the Faithful], where the principle is that politics must be manifested through activity − you have to be where things are happening and not only where it's convenient to be. The idea is that political activity means action, not persuading someone you are in the right. Maybe from this point of view we are a lot closer to the 'Zambish' types [nickname of Ze'ev Hever, a settler activist] than to others. We also learned from them how to confront the state's mechanisms."

Goldberg mentions a "formative moment," when he experienced the change that led him to Sheikh Jarrah − and even to a detention cell. A few years ago, he joined an escort group provided by peace organizations for Palestinian farmers who were being harassed by settlers.

"I was always left wing, but also a soldier. Suddenly I saw an elderly Palestinian who wanted to plow his field being chased away by a soldier. You identify instinctively with the old man, and you say, 'That soldier is a brute,'" says Goldberg, a doctoral student who is writing his dissertation on Holocaust survivors.

"Suddenly you're in reverse mode: My solidarity is unequivocally not with the state, not with its symbols and not with the police. I consider them ... I hold myself back from saying 'the enemy.' After that you can no longer see things as you did beforehand. I have not switched sides, but one's map of identification changes and once it does, there is no going back."

As a researcher who deals mainly with the Holocaust, Goldberg lets history direct his conscience: "At the personal psychological level, this is a matter of moral duty, the duty of those who are bystanders. It might be a large or a small injustice, but there is no need to wait until the situation becomes so extreme. When one sees injustice and racism such as we have here, you have to intervene."

Goldberg ceased being religiously observant years ago but refuses to define his status today. His children are religious and he wears a skullcap. "It's for protection against the sun and does not make it possible to define me. It's also convenient, because I am getting bald," he quips.

Indeed, he still sees hope in the thinking of some members of religious society, even settler circles: "The discourse of large swaths of the religious public is saliently racist. Their conceptual world resonates with ideas espoused by folk movements in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. But at the same time, we have to remember that the greatest wrongs against the Palestinians were perpetrated not by the settlers, but by secular nationalism. To pin the blame on the settlers is a type of internal cleansing process that you find in Israeliness. It's precisely within the religious-settler discourse that the potential exists for a different type of political discourse − one that is far more egalitarian. I am referring to ideas that spring from a religious worldview that will sanctify the entire region, because the land is God's and not a nation's. That is where ideas of equality can spring from."

Goldberg draws the ire of his fellow protesters by not rejecting the name Simeon the Just, as used by the settlers, the Jerusalem Municipality and the police to denote the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, because the Second Temple high priest's tomb is there. The debate around the name is the symbolic manifestation of the struggle for the neighborhood.

Goldberg: "The tomb of Simeon the Just was there for a great many years and did not bother the Palestinians. Jews came and there was no violence," he notes. "I want to believe that a joint struggle should also give rise to new language. We have to find a way to say that it's both Simeon the Just and Sheikh Jarrah." Religion, he says, can be helpful in this regard.

To which Ben-Sasson responds, "If only the day will come when the name Al-Quds [the Arabic name of Jerusalem] will also appear at the entrance to the city. If only we will be deserving of this."

Practice and belief

"To grow up in religious society means to translate your beliefs into deeds," says Elisheva Milikovsky, a 27-year-old social worker who was raised in a national-religious home in the settlement of Efrat, near Bethlehem. "You don't just sit at home and cogitate. You put into practice the things you believe in."

Milikovsky gained fame a few years ago, when she became a one-woman institution looking after the African refugees who reached Israel. The standard operating procedure was for the army to leave the refugees it had rounded up crossing into Israel from Egypt on a street in Be'er Sheva, after which someone from the army would call Milikovsky and inform her. She did all she could to help the refugees get through their first days in the country. Since then she has continued to work with refugees, and this, she says, is what eventually brought her to Sheikh Jarrah as well.

"In Efrat it's very obvious that the Palestinians are transparent people. You live in the settlement and don't have the slightest notion of what's going on around you. As a teenager I viewed myself as left wing, but the true change was fomented by my activity with the refugees. I made an effort to see the other side."

Gil Gutglick, 44, production director at Keter Publishing House in Jerusalem, was not a political activist before joining the Sheikh Jarrah protest movement. He has long been secular, but admits that his religious past is one of the reasons he demonstrates in the East Jerusalem neighborhood.

"My Jewish identification is very strong. I feel ashamed that the Jewish settlers are entering the homes [of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah] while the beds are still warm. That feeling of shame was the first thing that induced me to participate. Amos [Goldberg] sent me an email saying they needed people to be with them. I went after work that day and since then I have been in the neighborhood, whenever possible."

Gutglick is one of 14 activists who are under court order to stay away from the neighborhood for five months, after being arrested in a demonstration on May 14.

"I am religious, but there was a period in which, even though I did not stop believing, I did not want to walk around with a skullcap," says Netanel Warschawski, 27, who also works at Keter. "I was a bit ashamed that in the name of the beliefs of the settlers, and in the name of the skullcap, as it were − people say and do terrible things. I did not want to identify with that society, did not want them to think that I was like them, that we share the same views. Eight years ago I had an argument with friends, during which one said I was 'shaming' the skullcap on my head, and since then I decided that it is precisely an opposite symbol. I am proud to be religiously observant and I represent the religion better than they do. That is why I still wear the skullcap and go to demonstrations with it."

The group of religious and formerly religious activists in Sheikh Jarrah includes young adults as well as people in their mid-forties. Their life stories are illustrative of the changes religious society has undergone in recent decades. Years ago, Goldberg and Gutglick participated in peace demonstrations of religious youth. Sharon, 35, attended the rally after which Rabin was assassinated. The young women in the group, Milikovsky and Shira Wilkof, 29, an M.A. student in town planning at the Technion − Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, are amazed to hear that such activities even existed.

"What I remember from the sixth grade, three years before the Rabin assassination," Wilkof says, "was a rabbi who taught us Gemara in a special girls' class. When he arrived for the first class he wrote on the blackboard, 'A good Arab is a dead Arab.'"

On the night of the assassination she was in the Ra'anana branch of the national-religious Bnei Akiva movement. "I remember the spontaneous cheers of joy of children in the ninth grade when they heard about the murder," she relates. "There were very few left-wingers where I grew up. That probably has something to do with the difference between Jerusalem and Ra'anana. In Jerusalem you had the liberal intellectual elite. But I am from the intermediate generation, in which there was a facade of open religious Zionism. An atmosphere of 'You are either with us or against us' has now taken over, so I suppose it's 10 times harder these days."

In contrast to Ben Sasson, Wilkof considers her activity the opposite of "worship of Hashem": "My experience is totally different," she explains. "There is no dimension of religiosity in my going to Sheikh Jarrah. On the contrary: It constitutes a very clear decision between the particularist, isolationist messages of religious society and messages of universalism."

Gutglick, who until three years ago lived in the Galilee, has a distinctive take on the whole process: "I lived in a bubble and am missing 14 years of acquaintance with the changes that have occurred in Israeli society. Since I moved back, I have not been able to understand the hatred. I grew up in a right-wing society; we were taken on trips to Judea and Samaria, but there were other things, too. I don't remember hatred like there is today − of Arabs, left-wingers, Tel Avivans, of the other."

It seems that there is no simple answer to the question of what will be considered a victory in the Sheikh Jarrah struggle.

"It's not the kind of thing where if you just solve something, everything will be all right," Sharon explains. "What is happening there is a reflection of the foundations of the Israeli regime: the race-based privileges. So in a profound sense, success in the struggle will be almost a revolution."
 

16 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

Some comments-
(1) Judaism has both a nationalist-particularist component and a universalist one. So how can Ben Sasson make such an arrogant claim that "all the sources" are on his side? Is he claiming that pro-settler religious right and all the rabbis and scholars and educated laymen who support it don't know any Torah? Come on! Who elected him to define what Judaism is for me and for everybody else? IN any event, he is a "settler" too, and his ancestors came to the country against the will of the Arab population using the Jewish "particularist" claims he has such problems about.

(2) Regarding your question of whether this "progressive" religious group can become a political movement, I think it is irrelevant. It was tried before with the Meimad Party in the 1988 elections, before the terror war Oslo brought on us discredited much of the "peace camp". The party had some heavy-weight rabbinical and intellectual backing and yet they failed to win even one seat (at a time when the election barrier was only 1%). There have never been more than an handful of "settlers" in the Knesset but they have been successful because many people outside of their religious and ideological framework have felt the settlement movement was worthy of support. So why form a "progressive religous party" at a time when HADASH and MERETZ are in the Knesset? Tvia Greenfield of MERETZ is said to be religious (even Haredi). What did she bring to MERETZ that wasn't there before?


(3) It was cute the way you snuck in the comparison between Zionism (those 'oppressing' the Palestinians) and Nazis.

ADDeRabbi said...

I went to one of the protests a few months ago. I very much felt like a "novelty item." Reporters were drawn to us like magnets, asking dumb questions like "why aren't you over there with the counterprotest?" (I responded "why don't you go ask them why they're not here with us?"); a guy with a kippah asked if we were lost. I also realized that for the most part what I was protesting wasn't the same thing that others were protesting, and when you attend a protest you are willy-nilly making the statement that the organizers wish you to make. So I no longer go.

Anonymous said...

Now let's hope that you will find the equivalent article published about young Palestinians.

fiddler said...

"a just war can be waged unjustly (e.g., the carpet bombing of Dresden by the Allies.) So although some of the injustices to the Palestinians were required for establishing a state, they should be viewed as necessary evils"

The justness of a war does not render every means employed necessary, however evil. The above is nothing but a wordy way of saying, the end justifies the means. A war in which the carpet bombing of Dresden is necessary can't be just.

Read this way, "a just war can be waged unjustly" is an explicit renunciation of the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello.

Jerry Haber said...

Quick comments

Y Ben David, I don't think there are enough datiyim of that ilk to constitute a political party. Anyway, none of them would be involved with a religious political party. You are showing your age, my friend.

I was referring to seeing some of the activists in the existing parties, and there the problem is that the leftwing parties are too sectorial for that. But I can see the possibility of Hadash having a dati activist on their list, should a leader and vote-getter (like Khenin) emerge.

But, as I said, there is a bigger problem of talented young people going into politics in this country, where so many of the politicians are the dregs of society (or former IDF blah-blah-blahers)

ADDeRabbi,

I am not a fan of protests either. Can't stand the crowd mentality. I do it because I feel bad about not being there.

Anonymous, as for your "equivalent article" -- spoken like a true tribalist. I have often said that the amazing thing about Palestinian society is that there are not more terrorists and suicide bombers, given what they have gone through. Should we attribute that to the Muslim resignation and acceptance of al-qadar wa-l-qada'? Or just Palestinian intelligence.

fiddler, I misspoke, and I am fixing the post. Gans does not see the expulsion of the Arabs as a necessary evil, only as a evil that was wholly unjustified.

Y. Ben-David said...

I want to thank ADDeRabbi for proving the point I have been trying to make regarding the Sheikh Jarrah protests and Jerry's view that he will cooperate with anyone who opposes "settlements". There is just no way a movement tha mixes anti-Zionists and anarchists with liberal Zionists like Dr Bernard Avishai who protests there because he views expelling Jews from Sheikh Jarrah as a way to preserve his right to live in a house that was owned by Arabs before they fled/expelled in 1948 in west Jerusalem can last. Ultimately, the anarchists/anti-Zionists will have to turn against the "liberal Zionists" once they have dealt with the "settlers", because, ultimately, there is no difference. At least ADDeRabbi learned this before it was too late.

Anonymous said...

That is because Liberal Zionism is basically saying in a nice polite way, that it was ok to establish a Jewish State in a region that was predominantly NON-JEWISH.

There is roughly an equal amount of Jews and Palestinians in Israel-Palestine.

I think the 'Liberal' Zionist who realizes he's the next target, is counting on the business as usual industry (Israel's security is sacrosanct and all that song and dance).

Sorry, people don't have to buy your Zionist dream when it was a nightmare for them.

And slowly but surely, the Jewish State will disintegrate/collapse due to it's own lies and contradictions.

Time is ticking. It's not like the BDS movement and the awareness of Israel's true origins (not the BS about 'returning' or 'land without a people' or 'fending off the Arab horde') are going to diminish.

And in spite of the Zionist goons who expel Palestinians, citing the bureaucratic garbage Israeli laws (while ignoring the land/property claims of the ethnically cleansed Palestinians), I think time is still on the Palestinians' side.

It's going to take you a lot of time to get rid of 5 million people. 1 million. 100K. Etc.

That doesn't mean you wont try.

Islamism, terrorism, Holocaust, yada yada - i'm sure Zios will try every single diversion but time is not on your side.

The 'Jewish Left' is a farce.

bacci40 said...

being "formerly frum" does not make one currently frum

as far as i can tell only one of the individuals at the protests was even minimally orthodox....which is why i asked you jerry if you include yourself among them

Jerry Haber said...

bacci40

when was the last time you went to one of the protests.

"as far as i can see"

you don't see very far, do you?

the issue was not how many datiyim are there; the issue is how many datiyim and those raise datiyim, having gone to religious zionist institutions, are activists. There was an article on the same subject last summer in Makor Rishon. It's a phenomenon, bacci40. And it will grow.

childofabraham said...

first anonymous- i have looked over the internet and you are right- I cannot find any article about Palestinians occupying Israelis while some of them refuse this Occupation.

Second anonymous- is your comment at the end about the "Jewish left" (as opposed to the Zionist left?) Freudian or upfront antisemitism? Regarding the beginning of what you wrote- do you think regions should be separated on an ethnic basis?

Adderabbi- I have been to may protests in SJ with a kippa and was never asked about it by anyone. (i think the only people who think kippot are a novelty at these things are old secular liberal zionists )

bacci40 said...

jerry,

i read as far as the title

The Orthodox Jews fighting the Judaization of East Jerusalem

reform jews are not orthodox

those that have gone off the derech are not orthodox

and those that think this movement is any different than that of the frey yiddin in chutz laaretz are deluded

haaretz attempted to drive a wedge into the dati in eretz yisrael and failed miserably

Anonymous said...

ChildofAbraham, the reason you "cannot find any article about Palestinians occupying Israelis while some of them refuse this Occupation" is that all the Jews in the areas that were conquered by the Arabs of 1948 had been evicted or killed. There are no Jews in Gaza or Jordan. And the only reason there are Jews in Judea and Samaria is that they are settling there.

childofabraham said...

um, interesting, i was talking about palestinians (btw, israel expelled the jews from gaza) but you see them as just another example of "arabs" - can you explain what defines these arabs? do you mean muslims? do you mean people from the arabian peninsula (not including the jews that were expelled i hope!)? i am interested (seriously) in your opinion- is this a cultural thing? ethnic? religious? can this arab phenomenon be changed? are they doomed to be this way? please elaborate.. thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, ChildofAbraham, I was referring to Arabs for a couple of reasons. The first is that there were a number of Arab forces involved in the 1948 War of Independence, including Jordanian, local from Mandatory Palestine, Iraqi, Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian. The ones who had some success with ethnic cleansing of Jews were Jordanian, Mandatory Palestine Arabs and Egyptian.

So you see, I didn't mean that Palestinians are merely Arabs, just that different groups of Arabs were involved in ethnically cleansing Jews in 1948.

As to whether they were Muslims, I honestly don't know, although I don't believe large numbers of non-Muslims fought on the Arab side in 1948. I could be wrong, but I suspect that even if some Christian Arabs participated, their percentage was small.

As to whether this attempt to expel or kill every single Jew from the land they conquered is an ethnic, cultural, religious or some other phenomenon, I'll let you tell me. When Israel was evacuating Gaza, Erakat spoke publicly that no Gazan Jewish "settlers" may remain there. He recently said the same thing about "settlers" in the Judea and Samaria area if a Palestinian state were to come about. This he said in Arabic even though Salam Fayyad announced in English that Jews would be permitted to live in a Palestinian state with the same rights that non-Jewish Arabs enjoy in Israel.

So I'm all confused and cannot wait for your enlightening and informative explanation for which Arabs were responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Jews in 1948, why they did it and why today they still want to do it when speaking to a homegrown audience while telling a foreign audience something different.

YJ Draiman for City Council said...

End the Unjust Arab Occupation of Jewish Land



NO PALESTINIAN STATE – No land concessions R7.

Imagine that the various people who settled in the United States for the past 300 years decided one day that they one to parcel the United States into an independent State just for them, would the American public go for it. The Answer is absolutely NO.

The situation in Israel today is no different. The Arabs there are not Palestinians, there is no such Arab nation as Palestine or Palestinian people.

Europeans countries today are consisting of numerous people from other countries. Would the Europeans people cede part of their country to set up another State in their midst. The answer is absolutely NO.



Archeological excavations and historical data is the best proof Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation and non-other.


All the Arabs in Israel and surrounding areas are from the various Arab nations, such as Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab nations.



Transfer all Arabs from Israel to Jewish Land and Homes confiscated by Arab Countries.

Prominent PLO Arab says there are no 'Palestinians' and no "Palestine"

PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein admitted in a March 31, 1977 interview with a Dutch newspaper Trouw.


"The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. "



The Qur'an 17:104 - states the land belongs to the Jewish people



If the historic documents, comments written by eyewitnesses and declarations by the most authoritative Arab scholars are still not enough, let us quote the most important source for Muslim Arabs:

"And thereafter we [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd'.".

017.104
YUSUFALI: And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)": but when the second of the warnings came to pass, We gathered you together in a mingled crowd.
PICKTHAL: And We said unto the Children of Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass We shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.
SHAKIR: And We said to the Israelites after him: Dwell in the land: and when the promise of the next life shall come to pass, we will bring you both together in judgment.

- Qur'an 17:104 -

Any sincere Muslim must recognize the Land they call "Palestine" as the Jewish Homeland, according to the book considered by Muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah's ultimate revelation.



Any building of housing in The Greater Israel is the right and duty of the Israeli government. There is no such a thing as occupied territory. It is the land of Israel for over 4,000 years.



Sequence of historical events, agreements and a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jewish People title to the city of Jerusalem and the rest of Israel totaling approximately 45,000 square miles, as mandated by the League of Nations in July of 1922. The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I - Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan - agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now the Land of Israel. (You might as well break apart Syria which was mandated at the same time).


YJ Draiman.



PS

20 Years of Research Reveals Jerusalem Belongs to Jews

YJ Draiman for City Council said...

View of the Palestinians'
Couldn't have said it better.
One Picture = 1,000 Words
Is the world just plain stupid?
An interesting questionnaire for Palestinian Advocates


If you are so sure "Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history," I expect you to be able to answer a basic questions about that country of Palestine:
1. When was it founded and by whom?
2. What were its borders?
3. What was its capital?
4. What were its major cities?
5. What constituted the basis of its economy?
6. What was its form of government?
7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?
9. What was the language of the country of Palestine ?
10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine ?
11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese Yuan on that date.
12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?
You are lamenting the "low sinking" of a "once proud" nation.
Please tell me, when exactly was that "nation" proud and what was it so proud of?

Here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people that are mistakenly called "Palestinians" are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or throw outs of -- the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?
The truth: these people are Illegal squatters on the land in the Country of Israel.