Friday, December 21, 2012

The Human Rights of the Jewish People - 2

Mike L.

This is the second part of a series of brief musings on Dan Bielak's piece It's about Standing Up for the Human Rights of the Jewish People.

In that piece Dan writes:
The still living members of, and the descendants of, the approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jewish refugees from Muslim states in the Middle East who found refuge in Israel: Approximately fifty percent of the Jewish population of Israel (they call themselves Mizrahi, which means "Eastern" in Hebrew)
One of the great misconceptions among westerners who concern themselves with the Arab-Israel conflict is the notion that Jewish Israelis are European colonists while the local Arabs are the "indigenous people of color."

This falsehood is front and center in "progressive" post-colonial views on the matter.  The allegedly anti-racist, post-colonial left frames the conflict as one between a largely innocent local population that is oppressed and occupied by European Jews in a manner not entirely dissimilar from, say, the English in India or the French in Indo-China.   And just as these European colonial projects were morally unjust and had to be abandoned, so the European Jewish colonial project in "Palestine" is likewise morally unjust.

This is the often unspoken assumption that western pro-Palestinian activists, and many pro-Palestinian western governments, bring to the table in their consideration of the matter.  And what this means, of course, is that Israel is essentially guilty before the conversation even takes place.  Just as post-colonial theory breaks the world down into white western oppressors and the non-white, non-western oppressed, so the Arab-Israel conflict is viewed in just the same manner.

The central problem, of course, is that this ideological lens through which western pro-Palestinian activists and governments view the conflict is entirely ahistorical and false.  The reason that Dan points out that the majority of Jewish Israelis are Mizrahim, rather than Ashkenazim from Europe, is because it shows up the lie that the western pro-Palestinian stance is grounded in.  Once we acknowledge that the majority of Jews in Israel are the descendants of Jews who never left the Middle East and who, in fact, have been the victim of Arab-Muslim imperial domination for thirteen hundred years prior to the end of dhimmitude early in the twentieth century, then the entire western pro-Palestinian narrative gets turned entirely on its head.

The Jews have historical truth on our side (which is a big part of Dan's point) and the truth is that it is the Arabs who have perpetually oppressed and dominated the Jews of the Middle East since the 7th century.  Israel is not a colonial project, but just the reverse.  Israel is, itself, a post-colonial project in the sense that it represents Jewish freedom from Arab-Muslim imperialism from the 7th century to the close of World War I.

And this is why Dan is absolutely right to point out that over fifty percent of the Jewish population of Israel are Mizrahim, which is to say that they are, themselves, the descendants of traditionally persecuted "people of color."

They are not the oppressors, but the descendants of the oppressed and that goes for all the Jews in Israel.  The purpose of Zionism was never to dominate anyone, but to free the Jews from the aggression and persecution by hostile powers in both Europe and the Middle East.  To oppose Zionism from the left is, thus, to oppose the very meaning of western anti-colonialism.

Furthermore, to hold Israel to a constant double-standard that is not applied to the surrounding countries is to undermine the values that the progressive-left claims to uphold and to demonstrate a deep anti-Semitism, to boot.  The progressive-left betrayal of Israel is, thus, the progressive-left sell-out of its claimed foundational values.

It represents the betrayal not only of the Jews, but of the left's very reason to be.

13 comments:

  1. Yes.

    But, even if approximately fifty percent of the Jewish population of Israel, the national state of the Jewish people, were not still living members of, and descendants of, Jewish refugees from Muslim states in the Middle East (which they are), the Western -- the culturally Christian-European, Christian and post-Christian -- attack against Israel would still be obscene.

    After the past approximately two thousand years of Christian European and post-Christian European people repeatedly mass-murdering the Jewish people in Europe, and making and enforcing persecutorial unjust laws against Jewish people in Europe, and continuously treating the Jewish people in Europe with contempt and intransigence, and viewing the Jewish people in Europe as being not just non-European but as being non-human aliens, now, when the Jewish people, finally, after two thousand years of their being exiled and homeless, have returned to their homeland and re-founded their own very small sole nation, European people, and culturally Christian-European, Christian and post-Christian, people, call Jewish people in Israel "European" "colonialists". And European people, and culturally Christian-European -- Christian and post-Christian -- people are doing this seventy years after Europeans mass-murdered approximately six million Jewish people in Europe, almost all of the Jewish people in Europe -- approximately one third of all of the Jewish people in the world at that time. Culturally Christian European -- Christian and post-Christian -- anti-Jewish bigotry is vile. Culturally Christian European -- Christian and post-Christian -- anti-Jewish bigotry is evil. Culturally Christian European -- Christian and post-Christian -- anti-Jewish bigotry is the most vile, and the most evil, psychological phenomenon that has ever existed in known human history.

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    1. "I find it shameful that in Italy there should be a procession of individuals dressed as suicide bombers who spew vile abuse at Israel, hold up photographs of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they have drawn the swastika, incite people to hate the Jews.

      "And who, in order to see Jews once again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the ovens of Dachau and Mauthausen and Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen et cetera, would sell their own mother to a harem.

      "I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them 'martyrs who go to their deaths as to a party'.

      "I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorise Jews, profane their cemeteries. I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt the kaffiah just as Mussolini's avant-garde used to flaunt the club and the fascist badge. ..."

      ...

      "I find it shameful (we're back in Italy) that state-run television stations contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, crying only over Palestinian* deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling tones.

      "I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv. I find it shameful that the press does the same, that it is indignant because Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that it is not indignant because inside that same church two hundred Palestinian* terrorists well armed with machine guns and munitions and explosives (among them are various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aqsa) are not unwelcome guests of the monks (who then accept bottles of mineral water and jars of honey from the soldiers of those tanks). I find it shameful that, in giving the number of Israelis killed since the beginning of the Second Intifada (four hundred and twelve) [over one thousand by the year 2006], a noted daily newspaper found it appropriate to underline in capital letters that more people are killed in their traffic accidents. (Six hundred a year).

      (continued)

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    2. (from continued)

      "I find it shameful that the Roman Observer, the newspaper of the Pope--a Pope who not long ago left in the Wailing Wall a letter of apology for the Jews--accuses of extermination a people who were exterminated in the millions by Christians. By Europeans. I find it shameful that this newspaper denies to the survivors of that people (survivors who still have numbers tattooed on their arms) the right to react, to defend themselves, to not be exterminated again. I find it shameful that in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they would all be unemployed), the priests of our parishes or Social Centres or whatever they are flirt with the assassins of those in Jerusalem who cannot go to eat a pizza or buy some eggs without being blown up. ..."

      ...

      "I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new Nazism. A fascism, a Nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth. ..."

      ...

      "And disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonours my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so."

      -- Oriana Fallaci, On Antisemitism - I Find It Shameful - Shameful Attacks on Israel, 2002 (http://www.oerby.dk/sider/Oriana%20Fallaci.htm)

      Note:

      "Palestinian": 'Palestinian' Arab

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    3. And what is almost as disgusting as culturally Christian-European -- Christian and post-Christian -- anti-Jewish bigotry, and what is most detrimental, is Jewish people's absorption of, and acquiescence to, this vile garbage that culturally Christian-European -- Christian and post-Christian -- people are throwing at them and have thrown at them for the past two thousand years.

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  2. Israeli Jewish singer Sarit Hadad performing an Arabic song (titled "Kind Hospitality") to, I think, an Arab audience in Galilee, Israel, accompanied by the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra:

    שרית חדד- ארוח למין - Sarit Hadad - Aroch Lamin
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1cCL-_k_bg

    ----

    Mizrahi Jewish Israeli musical group Revivo Project performing a Jewish song in Israel:

    הפרויקט של רביבו - מחרוזת שבת
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at4HQssvFCY

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    1. BTW:

      I disapprove of what I think is the chewing of khat that is displayed in the video of the song by the Mizrahi Jewish Israeli musical group Revivo Project that I listed, and I disapprove of what I think is the smoking of tobacco that is displayed in the video of the song by the Mizrahi Jewish Israeli musical group Revivo Project that I listed.

      The existential view that I hold, and the existential and moral path of practice that I strive to follow, is Theravada Buddhism. And, as part of that, I follow the teaching of the Buddha to refrain from taking any intoxicants. I understand that taking intoxicants is unbeneficial.

      However, I've listed the video of the song by the Mizrahi Jewish Israeli musical group Revivo Project to show a part of what in fact is the case about the society and culture of Israel.

      And I approve of the joyfulness and kind friendliness that is displayed in the video of the song by the Mizrahi Jewish Israeli musical group Revivo Project. :)

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    2. A song by Israeli Jewish singer Sarit Hadad:

      שרית חדד - מאחלת לך - Sarit Hadad - I'm wishing you - Clip
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QkhkMRWb28

      Lyrics of the song (as translated into English by Google Translate):

      I wish you to be happy
      Whichever way you choose
      Heaven will smile to you
      Like smiling at me
      I greet you in the large
      Not experience a problem or obstacle
      Wishing you an easy way
      Find rest and inheritance

      Not know all the grief and pain
      As you left my heart
      Not know a lack of faith
      As you left my soul
      Not know all the grief and pain
      As you left my heart
      Not know a lack of faith
      Like you left me...

      I ask only for you
      Find a wife and start a family
      Or will you know notice
      Among the good things and bad
      I wish you to be happy
      Whichever way you choose
      Life will smile to you
      Like smiling at me
      Have a complete healthy living

      Not know all the sorrow and pain...

      The best doctor is time... And without you - I'm still here

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    3. "...The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering — in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.

      "The Noble Truth of the Origin (cause) of Suffering is this: It is this craving (thirst) which produces re-becoming (rebirth) accompanied by passionate greed, and finding fresh delight now here, and now there, namely craving for sense pleasure, craving for existence and craving for non-existence (self-annihilation).

      "The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering is this: It is the complete cessation of that very craving, giving it up, relinquishing it, liberating oneself from it, and detaching oneself from it.

      "The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering is this: It is the Noble Eightfold Path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. ..."

      -- The Buddha

      "The non-doing of any evil,
      "the performance of what's skillful,
      "the cleansing of one's own mind:
      "this is the teaching
      "of the Awakened."

      -- The Buddha

      ----

      "Overcome the angry by non-anger;
      "overcome the wicked by goodness;
      "overcome the miser by generosity;
      "overcome the liar by truth."

      -- The Buddha

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    4. "Overcome the angry by non-anger;" (etc.)

      How's that working for the Buddhist victims of Islamic imperialist aggression in Southern Thailand?

      The idea of overcoming hatred by love is sentimentalist nonsense; overcoming hatred by reason, intellectualist nonsense. There is no way other than to fight, fight, fight, with no holds barred. If demonized on the battleground of ideas, then demonize back; if threatened with genocide in the physical world, then at the very least move the offending population away from your borders.

      A soldier who goes on horseback with sword and shield against the guns and tanks of the other side isn't someone who humanely chooses the moral high ground of not stooping to the other side's level, he's just dumber-than-dirt cannon fodder. So it is in the war of ideas also.

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    5. "The idea of overcoming hatred by love is sentimentalist nonsense."

      Not sentimental "love".

      Rather:

      Non-anger.

      Skillful action.

      Discerning what's skillful action by being mindful.

      And what is important is intention. I will try to express what is my understanding of what the Buddha taught about intention and what is my understanding of what is intention. It is my understanding of what the Buddha taught about intention that, and it is my understanding of what is intention that: Intention is not "purpose". Intention is the state of mind of a living being when that living being is doing an action -- the desire that a living being is feeling at the moment that that living being is doing an action and which is the causal factor of the doing of that action. Wrong intention is intention that involves greed, or anger, or delusion. Right intention is intention that does not involve greed, or anger, or delusion, and which is intention that is beneficial for oneself and others.

      And:

      "So long as an evil deed has not ripened, the fool thinks it as sweet as honey. But when the evil deed ripens, the fool comes to grief."[1]

      -- The Buddha

      "Truly, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, like milk that does not turn sour all at once. But smoldering, it follows the fool like fire covered by ashes."[2]

      -- The Buddha

      "It may be well with the evil-doer as long as the evil ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the evil-doer sees (the painful results of) his evil deeds.

      "It may be ill with the doer of good as long as the good ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the doer of good sees (the pleasant results of) his good deeds."[3]

      -- The Buddha

      "Think not lightly of evil, saying, 'It will not come to me.' Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.

      "Think not lightly of good, saying, 'It will not come to me.' Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good."[4]

      -- The Buddha

      "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."[5]

      -- The Buddha

      "Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

      "Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow."[6]

      -- The Buddha

      (continued)

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    6. (from continued)

      And, it is my understanding of what the Buddha taught that: For a living being who is an ordinary human being (a human being who has not attained final release from suffering), one's own current birth is not the sole realm of one's potentially experiencing the results of one's own actions. A living being who is an ordinary human being -- a human being who has not attained final release from suffering -- may experience the results of their own actions in a future birth.

      And how one experiences what others may do to oneself is dependent on one's own state of mind.

      As I've heard a Theravada Buddhist monk, Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu[7], say:

      "...the other person's reality and our reality are two different things. No one can hurt you. There's no one in...the universe that can cause suffering for you. All they can do is impinge upon your six senses. They can make you see certain things. They can make you hear certain things. They can make you smell, taste, feel, or even possibly think, certain things. But they can't make you react to those things in a certain way. They can't say: 'When I show you this, may you get angry. When I let you listen to that...when you hear this...may you get attached...' or so on. 'May this or that arise in your mind.' Only you can do that. And that's where your choice arises. ..."

      And if someone kills oneself or hurts oneself, it may be a result of past bad actions that oneself has done, and, in any case, it's just what has happened. But whether or not oneself experiences suffering is up to oneself. One has the ability to be mindful and to not suffer, or to be mindful and to do what will eventually lead to not suffering, and to do what will lead to the final cessation of suffering. One has the ability to choose to not do actions that cause suffering to oneself and others, and one has the ability to choose to do actions that cause relief of suffering for oneself and others.

      1. Dhammapada, Chapter 5 - Balavagga: The Fool, verse 69
      2. Dhammapada, Chapter 5 - Balavagga: The Fool, verse 71
      3. Dhammapada, Chapter 9 - Papavagga: Evil, verses 119-120
      4. Dhammapada, Chapter 9 - Papavagga: Evil, verses 121-122
      5. Dhammapada, Chapter 1 - Yamakavagga: Pairs , verse 5
      6. Dhammapada, Chapter 1 - Yamakavagga: Pairs , verses 1-2
      7. The word "bhikkhu" means "monk" and, in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, is used as a title to address monks

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    7. Daniel,

      The teachings of Buddha may not be the most alien to those of Jewish orthodoxy you could find, but they're still a foreign field I'm not willing to graze at.

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    8. Suit yourself, ziontruth.

      But, what does "foreign" mean? "Foreign" doesn't mean untrue. "Foreign" doesn't mean unbeneficial. "Foreign" just means unfamiliar and unknown.

      In any case,

      Peace

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