Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bookslut: The Interview

My thanks to Paul Morton for putting this interview together.  The process was illuminating for me as well. 

15 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

A couple of comments:
You define "Israeliless" by identifying it with the Hebrew Language...i.e. if the Arabs speak Hebrew, then they will, ipso facto, become full members of the "Hebrew Republic". Only problem is that this is no different than the French in Algeria. You come in as an "colonialist invader" (AS THE ARABS SEE IT), impose your Hebrew language and "Israeliness" which are alien to the Muslim, Arabic speaking Middle East, and then consider yourseld a big, multiculturalist liberal for doing this. The French offered full rights in their colonies like Algeria to those natives who adopted French culture (just like the "Frenchness" of the Quebeckers you mention in the interview), but the Arabs still said "thanks, but no thanks, you are still an invader and you are like the Crusaders, trying to impose your foreign missionary religion and culture on us".
A "Jewish state" on the other poses no such danger to the Arabs, in a cultural/religious sense. Judaism, native to the country far longer than Islam, is NOT a missionary religion, the lifestyles of religious Jews and their values are very similar to that the of the Arabs. "Jewish" Israelis are not interested in pushing its religion (including the secular religion of materialist globalization that is one of the siren songs of the "Hebrew Republic") on the Arabs. Thus, "Jewish" Israeli will ultimately find it easier to reach an accomodation with the Arab/Muslim Middle East than the "Hebrew Republic" could ever do.

Secondly, I thought David Grossman's proposal to set up a "shadow government" of intellectuals and others who are not "Judeans" to be quite amusing. It reminded me of what George Orwell said: "if the intellectuals had been in power in 1940 in Britian, we would have surrendered to Nazi Germany". Israel, since the Oslo Agreements in 1993 has been carrying out the policies the "intellectuals" have been advocating...bringing Arafat and his FATAH terror gangs, arming them, financing them, then unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, then the destruction of Gush Katif. Each of these moves has brought more war and destruction on both the Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian society was destroyed by the Oslo Agreement, turning them over to various warring armed gangs, making them financially dependent on various warlords who give them handouts in return for allegiance, instead of having the independent income they had from working in Israel as was the case before the terror coming as a consequence of Oslo. We have all seen the fruits of the influence of the "intellectuals". Their favorite political party, MERETZ , is dwindling away.
The "intellectuals" have had their turn running Israel. Now, for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948, it is the turn of the "Jewish Jews" (or "Judeans", maybe) to run Israel. The situation would only improve.

Shoded Yam said...

"...The "intellectuals" have had their turn running Israel. Now, for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948, it is the turn of the "Jewish Jews" (or "Judeans", maybe) to run Israel."

So this is how it all ends, eh? The beknighted, backward, denizens of Chelm, writhing in the pain of their own stupidity and cultural backwardness, pissing and moaning amidst a sea of polemics and solipsisms, while simueltaneously masking your fears and anxieties behind a gaseous cloud of sorely misplaced hubris. You see, the thing of it is, despite all the bellicosity, hot air, and other bloviations, you are percieved correctly to be weaklings and drama queens. Fractiles of the original prototype if you will. To wit;

"Kahane however, chose his confrontations carefully, displaying considerably more daring when he was in a group. One summer day in 1949, Kahane and his fifteen year old Israeli cousin, Abraham Kahane, were hassled by a couple of teenagers as they entered the subway station near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. "We were walking down the subway steps when some goys in back of us started making fun of our yamulkes", said Abraham Kahane. "I spoke to Martin in hebrew, 'You have a fist. Lets turn around and let them have it'. I was from Jerusalem. I told Meir if an Arab was starting up, I'd turn around and smash em'. You know I was a kid. It was my Israeli arrogance. Anyway, Meir said; "Ah, ah, ah. In America, you don't do that. Even though he was in Betar, he wouldn't fight goys who were laughing at us"

"The False Prophet- Rabbi Meir Kahane. From FBI informant to Knesset Member" pg. 38 Lawrence Hill Books, 1990.

That being said, I don't know what everybody(including the Palestinians)are so afraid of. I smell blood in the water. This sort of unsubstantiated bombast is usually the product of abject fear and terror. ;-) Once during my Army service, I had the pleasure of making aquaintance with a couple of newly-arrived, non-hebrew speaking, American-Jewish(Flushing, Queens, no less) recovering? drug addled, non-compes-mentis, wanna-be jewish super-heroes. I had recieved an "eshur yitziyah" for the weekend, so I went to Jerusalem to visit a friend for Shabbat. It was early friday afternoon, I was hungry, so I decided to get a schwarma at some place on Jaffa Rd. At the time, I was serving in Lebanon (this was 20 years ago), but even in 1988, southern lebanon was no picnic, so I was a lttle "ramped up", if you know what I mean. I had left early in the morning, so in addition to being mildly psychotic, I was tired and cranky.:-) Anyway, I'm sitting there, eating when I overhear these two nitwits going on about how Kahane should be prime-minister and how Kach(read JDL) are the true and only protectors of the Jewish people. I turn around and I tell'em to be quiet, you know, because I'm trying to eat my lunch. Well, to make a long story short, they told me to fu*k-off. So I leaned my Galil against the wall, got up, and punched one of them in the mouth. While he's busy spitting out blood and teeth, I ask his friend if he'd like to continue the discussion. He says; "no, thats cool" and the two of them run off, the one with the bleeding mouth vowing revenge. The owner of the place sort of looked at me sympathetically, and gave me a free coke and falafel to go with my shwarma. What can I say, sometimes being an asshole has its own rewards. ;-) My own singular experience with these two overly-pious half-witted deliquents, serves to illustrate this uniquely shtetl-like jewish penchant for channeling "Dirty Harry" with the rest of the hen-pecked, testicularly challenged, "men" in the synagogue, but never quite being able to grow the set of brass ones, self-actualize the daring, and simply display the sort of courage that would in fact be necessary in the unfortunate happenstance that the bluster is ever actually put to the test and challenged.

Alas, I digress. Mr. Ben-David, despite my acerbic manner, I believe you to be reasonably erudite and a well read individual. So much so, that I find it difficult to believe that you would omit certain crucial facts in regards to your Algerian analogy, simply because it negates the validity of your argument. Say it ain't so Joe, hahaha (-:.

"...The French offered full rights in their colonies like Algeria to those natives who adopted French culture (just like the "Frenchness" of the Quebeckers you mention in the interview), but the Arabs still said "thanks, but no thanks, you are still an invader and you are like the Crusaders, trying to impose your foreign missionary religion and culture on us".

The Algerians that rejcted the French offers of full rights and citizenship, knew better. The pied-noirs had been aligned with vichy during the war and were notoriously, facist and reactionary, as were those units of the French Army and Foreisn Legion that had been stationed there. But this was nothing compared to the betrayal felt by hundreds of thousands of North African arabs and berbers, most of whom happend to be Algerians that had enlisted with the Free French after North Africa had been captured. It was these men who reconstituted the French Army. It was these men who fought up the boot of Italy and invaded Southern France. It was these men who marched with General Leclerc under the Arc de Triomphe when Paris was liberated. And it was these men, who after having their interests so sorely betrayed in favor of the collaborartionist pied-noirs, who would reject French entreaties and throw them out instead. They would have been more than happy to accept French citizenship, but they knew the French would much rather betray their interests than confront the pied-noirs. This turned out to be correct, ironically to the pleasure of the Algerians and the chagrin of the French. The same sort of distrust which I imagine to be prevalent amongst Israeli arabs and most likely for the same reasons.

"... Israel, since the Oslo Agreements in 1993 has been carrying out the policies the "intellectuals" have been advocating...bringing Arafat and his FATAH terror gangs, arming them, financing them, then unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, then the destruction of Gush Katif. Each of these moves has brought more war and destruction on both the Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian society was destroyed by the Oslo Agreement, turning them over to various warring armed gangs, making them financially dependent on various warlords who give them handouts in return for allegiance, instead of having the independent income they had from working in Israel as was the case before the terror coming as a consequence of Oslo. We have all seen the fruits of the influence of the "intellectuals". Their favorite political party, MERETZ , is dwindling away."

You see, now you're contradicting your own thesis. Leaving aside for the moment that it was the construction of Gush Katif that was the original sin, and the catalyst for subsequent events, not the evacuation, according to you the powers-that-be, wanted things this way, not necessarily the left wing "intellectuals". I like the way you try to brand intellectuals as being the leftist, and therefore not real. mainstream Israelis. Its understandable. That way you can make believe that most people don't like being thought of as bright and smart. By the way, only an idiot or hockey moms go around using the word "intellectual" like an epithet. In any event, Dr. Avishai is correct. If you could've formed a state using alchemy, a guttural mish-mash of bastradized german and pidgin, and contrived pseudo-halachic nonsense, you would have. Alas you never can seem to close the deal.

Bernard Avishai said...

Dear Shoded Yam,
Since I don't know who you are, I can only thank you here for your last post, which was, among other things, wonderfully eloquent. I feel privileged to be the occasion for your writing; it is teaching me the real point of blogging.

Shoded Yam said...

Dr. Avishai,

My name is David Kreiselman. It is I, Doctor, who is honored and priviledged. Thanks for the kind words. My wife was impressed. Kol Hakavod L'cha, Bernie.

Dave

BMM994 said...

Mr Kreiselman....It is George Orwell who used the term "intellectual" as an epithet. That is good enough for me.
I am not sure why you brought that long section about R. Kahane, it has nothing to do with what I wrote and advocate. I strongly opposed his ideas regarding the Arab population of the country.
(Interestingly enough Ran Cohen, a MERETZ "progressive" said "we should get rid of Jerusalem, what do we need all those Arabs for?).

Shoded Yam said...

"...It is George Orwell who used the term "intellectual" as an epithet.That is good enough for me."

Having seen the horse from both ends, ("Homage to Catalonia" comes to mind), Mr. Orwell was referring to those left-wing dilettantes who couldn't be bothered to note the dichotomous relationship between theory and practice. If he lent the word "intellectual" a derogatory connotation it was only to heap derision upon those who had given it a bad name, not necessarily to deride the concept of contemplative thought. In any event, he paid his dues and had a right to do so, the book-banning hockey mom and the other like-minded knuckleheads do not.

"...I am not sure why you brought that long section about R. Kahane, it has nothing to do with what I wrote and advocate. I strongly opposed his ideas regarding the Arab population of the country."

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what it is you're an advocate of, howvever your staunch defence of the inexcusable, parasitical, and seditionist behaviour on the part of the haredi and settler communities is a matter of record. When cornered, the default for you and the rest of the peanut gallery, always seems to be braggadocio and hollow threats of a coming coup de etat, designed to cow and intimidate. Now you understand, that because of the fascist and authoritarian nature of the settler movement statements such as; "... it is the turn of the "Jewish Jews" (or "Judeans", maybe) to run Israel" are an anethma in the eyes of any decent Israeli, and of course, in reality, will never be tolerated. Whenever you meet somebody like me or Dr. Avishai who will take the trouble to point it out, you go to plan "B" and proclaim victim status. So as you can see, and as you already understood, (claims to the contrary notwithstanding), that the Kahane reference was and is relevant.

YMedad said...

I would be interested, as an employee of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, to receive more exact data as regards that Begin recall and his joke on Yiddish. It doesn't quite fit the Begin personality who had no qualms about using Yiddish. Maybe the people he were with were the occasion for the humor, if indeed the event actually happened.

I remind you that it was Ze'ev Jabotinsky who insisted that 'A Hebrew speak Hebrew' and that was an educational principle of Betar and that he also created new military terms, including "amod dom", for the Jewish Legion which fought in World War I.

Shoded Yam said...

Mr. Medad,

I agree with your statement re Menachem Begin. For all of his noises about traditional zionism, his immersion in the trappings of "Israeliness", notwithstanding, Begin was never anything other than a transplanted shtetl jew. Having left the ghetto, he wanted nothing more than to be seen as a product of European culture and genteel civilty. He inability to reconcile this obsession with what at the time could've been considered an avant garde hebrew language and culture(not to mention modernity in general), was emblematic of the man.

Bernard Avishai said...

Just to be clear, I saw this episode on Israeli TV, with my own eyes, in the late 1970s, just after Begin returned from Camp David, if I remember correctly. Begin was mocking the idea of running an army with Hebrew inflected by Ashkenazi pronunciation. That he was also poking (tragic) fun at himself, or more precisely, the destroyed world of Yiddishkeit, I have no doubt.

YMedad said...

I will attempt to verify this and will let all know my results.

P.S. Funny, after more than two decades of writing letters to the editor of the NYRB that never got published about your articles, here we are communicating directly. The wonders of the Internet and Blogging.

Bernard Avishai said...

Yes. And I look forward to the wonders of Cafit, when I return to Jerusalem, in mid November.

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