Thursday, January 05, 2006

Christmas in Jerusalem

Appro to my post yesterday, and an interesting conversation I had with a coworker on the same issue, coincidentally, as I was writing the post - I tumbled onto a long and detailed article decribing the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and how there is no hope for "peace" or "normalacy". Jay Michaelson describes the aspirations of the "secular" zionist like this:

"At its core, secular Zionism was about the belief that there should be a place in the world where Jews are normal. This is what the lefties miss when they talk about a "bi-national state" -- that without the specifically Jewish character of Israel, Jewishness ceases to be normal. It becomes what it is in every other country in the world, the dozen Arab ones included: an aberration, a difference. Maybe a productive one -- but not a chosen one, and therefore not entirely just. We can't be normal until being Jewish is normal, the Zionists said, and the only way for that to be is for there to be a place where Christmas is extra, but Chanukah is taken for granted."

When he tries to sum up the view of the world as he understands the religious zionist sees it, he describes it thus:

"Normalcy is the opposite of what religious Zionism has aspired to create. It never wanted to be ordinary; it wanted to be special. Israel would be not a country like any other, but rather a light unto the nations, a nation that dwells alone, the beginning of the dawn of redemption. The soil itself is holy; the promise that God makes is exclusive to the Jews; and to speak of 'normalcy' is to shrug off the unique, Divine mission of the Jewish people. These ideas may once have given consolation to a scattered nation, and they can be inspiring aspirations. But coupled with guns, the reactionary and irrational delusions of an anti-modern ideology leads to a dangerous denial of reality. Jewish priorities get turned upside-down. Grabbing sacred territory becomes more important than preserving human life; bringing the messiah more important than bringing peace. Nothing is normal; everything is either holy or evil."

In my many conversations with Jews who do not believe in Torah, I've struggled to understand why they would suffer decades of deliberate attacks against their person and property, would continue to live in a constant state of insecurity, when all they have to do is get a visa and move to California or Ontario and "dissappear".

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