Friday, October 30, 2009

The Law Of Return: 'Oh Learned Judge!'

Undaunted in his campaign to ferret out “anti-Zionists,” yet apparently wondering if his own powers may be faltering, Jeffrey Goldberg has called in his Balthazar, “the erudite Yaacov Lozowick,” to deal with a hard case:

"My impression of The Hebrew Republic thesis is that [Avishai is] talking about medinat kol exrachai'ah, the country of its citizens. This idea was formulated and mostly promoted by folks who were not only non-Zionist, they were anti-Zionist; it was a ploy to weaken the Jewish aspect of Israel until eventually the Jewish state would be submerged into its Arab environment. Yet Avishai isn't Azmi Bishara. I get the impression he's a caring Jew who is attracted to the medinat kol exrachai'ah idea because it fits so nicely into his broader Weltanschauung, the one that praises the European Union as the way of the future, the goal of human history and so on. On that level, he's non-Zionist because he's joining forces with a particular group of enemies of Zionism, even though he and they are using the same concepts for very different goals."

There is more to his letter. You cannot really understand the surreal quality of intellectual life in Israel today—the rhetoric you hear from talk shows to academic conferences—unless you take a moment to digest it whole.

Yet beyond the glib “impressions” of books unread, the illogic (“non” = “anti”), the cozy appeal to dogma (“the Zionist way”), the guilt by association, the condescending tone, the last-minute finessing of obvious contradictions (viz., “the Zionist way” that takes Israeli Arabs as a “constituency and responsibility”), even the yanking-in of hackneyed German to sound, well, “erudite”—beyond all of this transparent demagogy—is a common claim that requires a moment’s thought.

It is that people who argue Israel should be a state of its citizens cannot believe Israel should be a “Jewish state.” Presumably, “state of its citizens,” medinat kol exrachai'ah (actually, this should be ezrakheha), is an idea that originated with “enemies of Zionism” such as Azmi Bishara.

And here I thought the principle that a democratic state’s legitimacy derives from the just consent of the governed was older than that. I also thought it was the counterpart to an argument about human nature and human limitations, you know, a moral argument reasonable people since Kant have had some trouble refuting. Wow, it is actually only a Weltanschauung our kids and other “poor, deluded dears” pick up along with a Eurail pass.

Had Lozowick actually read The Hebrew Republic, rather than merely forming an impression of its thesis, he would know that its point was to clarify just how a democratic state could retain a Jewish national character; how to protect its cultural distinction without violating ordinary standards of human rights. I am no Emile Zola, God knows. But imagine someone saying that Zola's case for equal treatment for Jews in the Republic was discredited by the fact that Jews had demanded it before him; that the case "originated" with enemies of the French nation. (Come to think of it, it is not so hard to imagine such people, is it?)

By the way, I interviewed Azmi Bishara at length in the book, and though I took issue with him on many points, Bishara shared with me his abiding respect for the work of Achad Haam, Zionism’s most influential early writer, who was trying to explain how the “Hebrew national atmosphere” created by Zionism was the only way, really, to create a state of its citizens that was also a Jewish state. The replacement of the Law of Return with an immigration law that gives preference to refugees from anti-Semitism, but conditions citizenship on naturalization to Israeli identity, not J-positive blood, is just one reform that is overdue.

A FINAL WORD to Goldberg. Look, Jeffrey, people we know in common tell me you are “good company,” and given your delight in identifying yourself as a teenage acolyte of Shomer Hatzair, I suspect that, had we met under different circumstances, and though you are closer to my son’s age than mine, we would probably have become what writers call “friends.” Hell, we might have traded nostalgic, knowing glosses on why Borochov’s slavish borrowing from Plekhanov actually caused him to misunderstand how Jewish workers in the Pale would suffer from the rise in the “organic composition” of capital—or was it just that the Shomer Hatazir shaliach in your hometown served better pizza than USY?

In any case, I am humbly asking that you stop. The claims you continue to make about me—that is, “anti-Zionists” like me—are too silly to be worth anyone’s time, but the reach of the Atlantic website is too important to ignore. If I do not respond, it may seem that your take-away is true, or plausible, or at least worth repeating.

Nor is this 1909, when calling someone anti-Zionist meant you were merely a part of a fascinating debate on how Jews survive “modernity.” It is 2009, and calling someone anti-Zionist tends to type him as opposed to the very existence of Israel or a Jewish national home of any kind. Given the constellation that runs from Hamas to the Oxford Debating Union, the epithet can do a person harm.

And I write from the gate at JFK, returning (legally, but warily) to Jerusalem, embattled enough by the fear that Sidra’s and my home will soon be swept up in a kind of Balkan tragedy, with bloody-minded fanatics on both sides demanding allegiance, and "experts" like Lozowick only too eager to choose sides. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, if not that law. I have enough on my mind.

18 comments:

jeff said...

Goldberg's occasional demonstrations of humor, humanity, and wisdom should not deceive anyone about the role he is playing in the media, and your feeling yourself on the defensive and forced to respond to his McCarthyite smears is evidence of the power he enjoys in that role.

If I didn't know better from experience I would have thought that “the erudite Yaacov Lozowick,” was a fictional character that Goldberg was attempting satire, but it is the sickeness of believing in Jewish supremacy that infects Lozowick as it does Goldberg.

That being said, is it really possible that Israel could actually become a state of its citizens while remaining a "Jewish state?" I don't really think so.

Despite the fawning gestures of the Obama administration and Congress, Israel is rapidly becoming more isolated among the community of nations and its contempt for the opinion of that community, as demonstrated time and again, is guaranteed to lead to the growth and acceptance of the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.

That will either bring the Israelis to their senses, if that is possible, and the understanding that their country is be a state of it citizens, or to its knees economically and politically. Herzl's dream has run its course and it is time to wake up.

Shoded Yam said...

Behold! The Law of Return is perfect and in need of no amenedment;

"Alleged Jewish terrorist arrested for murder, series of bomb attacks"

"...Teitel, a resident of the northern West Bank outpost, was born in Florida and has moved back and forth between the United States and Israel over the last two decades. In 2000, he returned to Israeli to live permanently.

During a search of his home, police discovered rifles, handguns and explosive materials; they were unable, however, to find the gun which he allegedly used to kill the Palestinians...."

"...He even apparently claimed during his investigation to involvement in the attack on a gay-lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv, in which two people were killed. The Shin Bet has said, however, that there is not sufficient evidence at this point to tie him to that attack."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1125063.html

and

Who is suspected Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel?
By Chaim Levinson, Haaretz Correspondent

"...Yaakov Teitel, who was arrested last month for suspected murder and a string of alleged murder attempts, was born in Florida in November 1972, the son of Mordehai (Mark) and Devorah (Dianne), American ultra-Orthodox Jews."

"...Teitel began making regular trips to Israel in the mid-1990s using a tourist visa, around the time the settler "hill op youth" began to form in the West Bank."

"...August 1997 marked Teitel's first run-in with the law, after he was arrested by the Shin Bet on suspicion of shooting Palestinian Isa Machmara, a Palestinian resident to death during a walk along the road near the settlement Carmel"

"...Teitel was always considered an outcast in Shvut Rachel, as a result of his limited proficiency in Hebrew and the family's tendency to stay indoors. Neighbors said that Teitel was hardly ever seen around the settlement, and that he didn't take regular part in services in the local synagogue."

Other residents of the settlement agreed that Teitel was a little-known, low-key introvert, unknown also to local far rightists and within the hilltop movement. According to a local source, Teitel "was somewhat active in the hilltop region, and people could recognize his face, but nothing beyond that."

Teitel did have, however, two acquaintances in Shvut Rachel: Avraham Richland, a 22-year-old former Kahanist, and fellow American native Yosef Eshpinoza. Eshpinoza, 50, had befriended Teitel after the latter aided him when he had fallen ill.

In 2005, Richland was arrested, and eventually released by police after it was discovered he had consorted with Eden Natan-Zada, an Israel Defense Forces deserter who opened fire in a bus in the northern Israeli town of Shfaram in 2005, murdering four Israeli Arabs."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1125062.html

Real piece of work, eh? Now according to Goldberg, this guy's the real zionist, the real jew. Funny. If Yaakov had his druthers, he would slit Jeffreys throat from ear to ear.

Dr. Avishai, I beleive the debate between Jeffrey and yourself is now officialy over

Yaacov said...

Bernard -

I never professed to have read your books, just as you haven't read mine; my full correspondence with Jeffrey Goldberg stated this clearly; it also contained some qualifications that didn't make their way into his blog about the fact you live part time here, and your positions.

We are indeed of very different positions, but we're also neighbors. So should you wish to discuss things, choose the cafe on Emek and I'll be there. Should you prefer not to, that's also fine.

Yaacov

Y. Ben-David said...

If you want to talk about violence, let's not forget the recent case of the "peace activist" fellow (sorry, I forgot his name) who, as a result of a messy divorce, strangled his 3-year-old daughter to death. He, in his love of peace and the Palestinians, refused to due reserve military service in Judea/Samaria. He finally committed suicide. A true humanitarian, unlike the type of "right-wingers" Shoded Yam mentioned in the above column.

Shoded Yam said...

This individual of whom you speak was obviously deranged. However I fail to see the connection between his political dogmas and his psychosis. Whereas in the case of our friend Yaakov, his particular brand of batshit craziness was not only directly connected to his politics, but is sadly an inherent part of it. You know normally I frown upon suicide, but in the case that you mentioned, I'm willing to make an exception. Having a 3 year old myself, I find it difficult to understand how any man could put his own child to death. The world can do without such people. Having said that, I find it unfortunate that Mr. Teitel didn't have the common decency to blow his fucking brains out like a true fanatic. Oh and by the way YBD, while I loathe the settlers, I'm willing to grant that theres at least one or two of you that are decent human beings. You might want to rethink the concept of throwing your support behind guys like Yaakov. He's in a world of shit, and unless you crave such associations, I suggest finding someone more worthy of your efforts.

Y. Ben-David said...

Pirate-
During the coming days, as the media enjoys this news story, in order to bash their political opponents, two lines of reasoning will be used:

(1) Right-wing ideology is supposedly "violent", so therefore it inherently attracts violent misfits like this guy...

or

(2) Right-wing ideology is malevolent, so it takes people who identify with it, and who start out as reasonable people but it corrupts them and turns them into terrorists like this or, or at least apologists for it.

You yourself state here that "settlers", by and large, are are bad people whom you "loath" (your word). You also assume that I support him (you are using reason 2 above).

Well, let's look at the logical consequences of your thinking-
(1) Your ancestors who came to Palestine are also "settlers" and therefore can be considered as having been "violent" or "sympathizers" of violence, just like those Marx-quoting Palmachniks who expelled Arabs during the 1948 war.

or

(2) The child strangler became what he was by identifying with the Palestinians who we know are extremely violent (family honor killings, endemic violence within their society, glorification of suicide bomber terrorists) and so it rubbed off on him.

We see there is no end to thinking along these lines.

Shoded Yam said...

You should leave the sophistry and dissembling to those whose job it is to blow smoke up everyones ass. Unless of course that is your job, in which case, you should seek other employment.

"...as the media enjoys this news story, in order to bash their political opponents,"

This little ditty implies that "the media", this liberal monolith is somehow conspiring against the right. There are outlets that we'll be more favorable to your position than others to be sure. But your statement would imply that NONE are biased in your favor, and that is a lie. So quit whining like a bitch. The news is reported, whether or not it is favorable, we'll depend upon your ability to refrain from stealing land and beating up children and old men. Societal norms are not suspended because you feel you're above them. In any event, since you certainly control the machinery of gov't and the long arm of the executive branch is tripping over themselves running interference for settlers, your whining rings hollow.

All ideologies have the potential to be inherently violent. Most however, after a suitable gestation period, either implode because of their inherent violence or evolve. It is those dogmas on the extreme right of the spectrum that tend toward bloody, violent spasms, usually resulting in a catastrophe,in turn resulting in their destruction and that of the host nation state. When mixed with medieval know-nothing theologies, they have a tendency to attract the kind of scumbag that kills 29 people with an M-16, or the sort that leave poisened fruit juice bottles where children can find them. They also attract their apologists. And let us be clear. The fact that your intitial reflex to my post was to draw false analogies, speaks to your inability to disassociate yourself from your "chaver", despite your protests to the contrary. It reaffirms my faith in humanity to witness your "outrage".

"...Your ancestors who came to Palestine are also "settlers" and therefore can be considered as having been "violent" or "sympathizers" of violence, just like those Marx-quoting Palmachniks who expelled Arabs during the 1948 war."

You're like a broken record. I seem to remember responding to this same supposition in the past. I rejected it before and I reject it again. What happend in 48'and prior happened under a threat of anhilation in a world largley indifferent if not outright hostile to the fate of Jews. Today the world is not indifferent to the fate of Jews. They are not indifferent to the fate of Israel. They are indiffrent to the fate of settlers. They are indiffrent and hostile to Yesha, to hilltop youth, to kahanists, to the likud, and to you, YBD. While it is understandable that you feel the need to conflate your narrow interests with that of the rest of Israel, these two things are mutually exclusive. You know this, otherwise you would'nt feel the need to respond. Israel will survive without Yesha, but Yesha will not survive without Israel. Your existence is superflous to that of the state, and therefore dispensable.

"...The child strangler became what he was by identifying with the Palestinians who we know are extremely violent (family honor killings, endemic violence within their society, glorification of suicide bomber terrorists) and so it rubbed off on him."

As usual, lack of evidence supporting any of these conjectures, remands them to the realm of histrionics and melo-drama beloved of all those weaklings lacking confidence in their own positions.

Y. Ben-David said...

Pirate-
Of course I responded because we of the political Right have been subjected to these policitized attacks from the media and the Establishment for years. You are the one who brought it up first, this subject is NOT the subject of this thread started by Dr Avishai.

Regarding your rejection of the term "settler" for your ancestors, you want to reject it so that you can feel good about yourself. You give the same response as Dr Sternhell who said essentially what you said...that the Holocaust gave the Jews the "right" to STEAL part of Eretz Israel from the Arabs, but not MORE than that. I, of course, reject your view that Israel "doesn't need" YESHA, that is simply your personal view (and the view of some on the Left), but I challenge you to find me a single Arab who thinks your ancestors who came here were NOT "Illegal settlers". The PLO covenant clearly said that all Jews who immigrated to Eretz Israel after 1917 are ILLEGAL SETTLERS (I don't recall if yours came before or after, but even if they came before, they were Zionist settlers which is also illegitimate, sicne they were involved in helping setting up the state of Israel which corresponded to the dispossession of the Palestinian refugees).

Of course I have no evidence that the child stranglers was influenced by Palestinian society, JUST AS YOU HAVE NO EVIDENDCE THAT TEITAL was working at the behest of those of us on the political "Right". He certainly damaged our cause, as did Yigal Amir, yet you are searching for "communal guilt". But that isn't my point... Why stop those with those of us on the "Right"?...I could say that YOU on the Zionist Left are just as guilty because of your support for Zionism, which the Arabs view as leading to their dispossession in 1948. That is what Goldstone is saying,.....that the State of Israel (under a "progressive", "peace government" no less!) committed war crimes and maybe it is the atmosphere of that that inspire Teital to do what he did.
Many "progressives" will tell you to go look in a mirror if you really want to find the guilty parties.
As usual, by bringing this up, you are at least unconciously trying to shift the guilt YOU feel by benefitting from the Zionist project to the settlers and the political Right by saying "They are the guilty ones...don't blame me since I am a 'progressive'!". But it won't work...they see through these ploys.

Potter said...

Small or narrow-mindedness is a communicable disease preventing the ability to resolve the larger situation I don't know how this can be cured.

The blockage/shunning of certain ideas and opinions as "anti-",the shutting off of certain discourse by branding. In this case, it's a rejection of a vision, a prescription (I am ordering the book)- even a simple invitation to a thought experiment. These appointed or self-appointed gate keepers take it upon themselves to say who is or who is not a Zionist, their definition of Zionism , their definition of "pro-Israel". I lump them with those who say who is or is not a Jew, who can or cannot be Israeli. These internal arguments about identity and belonging don't make for a society at peace with itself, never mind with it's neighborhood. They are self-destructive.

I don’t think you can end these hijackings through negotiation either. Make strong alternate claims.

If a vision is out there, it will be considered and argued eventually it's merits regardless, and perhaps, unfortunately, only more widely when people get tired of the pain and the darkness. Nevertheless visions, ideas, insights have to get out. Some who are looking and ready will take it in easily as an extension of what they are already thinking. And maybe it’s true that you cannot tell anyone anything really that they are not ready to hear; you cannot tell anyone anything that which they don't already know. So the artist and the visionary are instruments, lonely, waiting for their time. It might help to cultivate a deaf ear. How much more influential is The Atlantic monthly and The New Republic than Harper’s or The Nation?

I read Jeffrey Goldberg's (the link here) which also linked Lozowick which linked M. Yglesias/J. Chait's J Street debate arguing about what it means to be pro-Israel. Did the question "can you also be pro peace and pro-Israel?" need to be asked at this conference? Or should it rather have been just assumed as so.

Jon Chait says that to be pro-israel one has to believe Israel is the more sympathetic part in this conflict and that US should be Israel's ally in this- a zero sum: one sides wins, the other loses. There you have it.

I very much share your anguish about this situation being tragedy in the making.

Anyway I will order your book today- finally.

Shoded Yam said...

"...I responded because we of the political Right have been subjected to these policitized attacks from the media and the Establishment for years"

You hear that sound? Thats the world's smallest violin playing; "My Heart Bleeds For You". That dog don't hunt. You people are not innocent bystanders. You've been indulging in murder and mayhem or running interference for those that do for going on 40 years, so now your pissed off that your a topic of conversation? Come off of it, sparky. Contrary to popular belief, wrapping yourself in a torah scroll will not deflect criticism of your behaviour.

"...Dr Sternhell who said essentially what you said...that the Holocaust gave the Jews the "right" to STEAL part of Eretz Israel from the Arabs, but not MORE than that."

Sternhell is wrong. We never had a right. We had a neccesity, and a responsabilty to our family and friends to protect their futures in a hostile world and finally we had a responsability to the memory of the 6 million to ensure that the massacre of our people would not have been in vain. A right to confiscate the land of others? We never had that. Pogroms, economic oppression and the murder of 6 million jews simply presented us with a set of choices. We picked the one that would best ensure our survival. Evil? Maybe. But necessary, and not entirely of our own volition.


"... The PLO covenant clearly said that all Jews who immigrated to Eretz Israel after 1917 are ILLEGAL SETTLERS"

The fact that you consistently define yourself through the eyes of the Palestinians says more about your insecurities and a certain weakness of character, collectivley and individualy, than it does about whether or not their argument is valid. They're a terrorist group, or so you keep telling me. If this is true, why would you allow yourself to be defined through their eyes? The illegality of our intitial settlement was nullifyed by the bestaiality that was shown to Jews for the last millenia or two by the rest of the western world. This is and has always been the raison de etre of the creation of the State of Israel, more or less recognized by the democracies of the west. The fact that fanatics and despots are not in agreement has no bearing upon this arrangement. The only thing that ever gives that argument validity is the current grab-bag of shtetl jew insecurities, with all the resultant violence and melo-drama.

Shoded Yam said...

“…Of course I have no evidence that the child stranglers was influenced by Palestinian society, JUST AS YOU HAVE NO EVIDENDCE THAT TEITAL was working at the behest of those of us on the political "Right".

You're kidding right? I've said this before. I married a scientist. This has familiarized me with the scientific method.

"...A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Hmmm. Lets see. Teitel lives on an illegal settlement, hangs out with kahanists, and buries guns in his backyard. If it looks like a duck, If it walks like a duck, and if it quacks like a duck...it must be a duck.

"...As usual, by bringing this up, you are at least unconciously trying to shift the guilt YOU feel by benefitting from the Zionist project to the settlers and the political Right"

And as usual, your response is a study in projection. As I mentioned the last time you decided to project your baggage onto to me, I feel guilty about many things. Slavish adherence or lack therof to "-isms" and other abstract notions are not on the list. In any case this comparison between the settlers today and the chalutzim who founded and built the country are spurious. While the latter were instilled with a sense of purpose driven by a need to escape oppression, the ghetto and to ensure national survival, the former come from a safe, secure, middle class existence in search of a villa with a california kitchen and two car garage, built on stolen land and bought with an interest free mortgage, done all the while behind some miasmic cloud of halachic manifest destiny, in the forlorn hope that such a device will camouflage the rather mundane impetus of a real estate bargain, made sweeter by the fact that it was bought and paid for on the backs of the very people you despise.

Potter said...

Bravo.

But let's also please agree that both were ultimately mentally ill and both completely lost it. I agree one seems to have been not only disposed but nurtured by a radical environment.

Shoded Yam said...

"...But let's also please agree that both were ultimately mentally ill and both completely lost it."

I never implied otherwise. My objection stems from the assertion that the individual and the attendant insanity refrenced by Ben-David was somehow connected to his political beliefs. Since there is no evidence to support it, this can only be seen as a strawman constructed for the purposes of deflecting attention away from a theo-fascist right wing ideology and its adherents who have a history of nuturing murderers and then disavowing them after the shit hits the fan and they perceive the danger to their cause from being splattered with dogma feces.

Potter said...

No question in my mind that there is a very thin line between religious fanaticism and insanity. Still there needs to be, I think, some organic disease welling in the individual. I have no professional opinion just strong feeling based on my sister's schitzophrenia and violent death.

I share your anger and the excellent points you make and read this back and forth above as only being instigated by that anger and horror about the general situation ( which I share) not about Teitel himself necessarily but provoked by this news. There is no way of knowing if Teital would have gone haywire regardless in some other way or whether his apparently quietly growing insanity did not attract him to this fanatic world he hung out in.

I am amazed at how unaware "normal" people are, insensitive to signs of insanity. In an atmosphere of religious fanaticism though, it is more easily hidden.

Interestng that Teitel apparently studied psychology too-- probably an indication that he wanted to try to understand himself...pardon my unprofessional opinion.

Shoded Yam said...

Potter,

I'm very sorry about your sister. That must've been painful for you. It has howvever given you an insight regarding mental disorders, which I think is valuable, professional or not.

SY

Potter said...

Sy, Thank you. That was many years ago. But you know there are many mentally ill in jails because people do not understand mental illness, they do not recognize it as a medical condition like cancer. And I suspect those who "blossom" into a Teitel have been giving warning signs that were unheeded even by a wife. That is not to say again that your anger at this environment in which he managed to hide is not worthy of your emotions or these arguments and points which you make so well. And also there are those of this environment who will cheer him on and defend his actions or even disassociate themselves from him. Those, the more normal who are responsible need our strong condemnation. Bernard Avishai says in this post at the end:

And I write from the gate at JFK, returning (legally, but warily) to Jerusalem, embattled enough by the fear that Sidra’s and my home will soon be swept up in a kind of Balkan tragedy, with bloody-minded fanatics on both sides demanding allegiance, and "experts" like Lozowick only too eager to choose sides. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, if not that law. I have enough on my mind.

Bloody- minded fanatics... and the Law of Return. You were on topic, but I needed to clarify something.

ibrahim said...

Sesli sohbet Sesli chat
Seslisohbet Seslichat
Sesli sohbet siteleri Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli Chat
Sohbet Sesli siteler
Sohbet siteleri Chat siteleri
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli Sohbet Sesli Chat
SesliSohbet Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli sohbet siteleri SesliChat
Sesli Sesli siteler
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
sesli sohbet sesli chat siteleri
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslisohbet seslichat
seslikent sesli kent
sesli sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat sesli chat siteleri
seslisohbet seslichat

ekle paylas said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi