Saturday, March 15, 2008

Terra Incognita 26 Jewish tourism, mexican racism and canaanism

Terra Incognita
Issue 26
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


March 15th, 2008

1) Immoral Tourism and post-humanism: There is a strange phenomenon in the west whereby the most leftist and ‘progressive’ people romanticize and go as tourists to the most barbaric countries run by the worst tyrants. Is tourism a unique fetish? What is most surprising is to find Jewish tourists in places like Iran, Yemen and Syria, places that not only abuse Jews today but have historically ethnically-cleansed and enslaved Jews.

2) Those pesky Mexicans and their racism: Bill Maher recently interviewed some Mexicans and pushed them to admit that they don’t vote for Obama because he is black. The insinuation is that Mexicans or ‘Latinos and Hispanics’ are making American politics about race. How dare they! Perhaps everyone didn’t notice when 90% of blacks in Mississippi voted for Obama and 72% of whites voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary.

3) What are we thinking? About terrorism for instance: We must remind ourselves again and again what popular culture and the intellectual elites are saying about the ‘root causes’ of terrorism. New studies and commentary claims it is not only a waste of money to wage a ‘war on terror’ but that we should do whatever terrorists demand of us in order to ‘take the wing out of their arguments’. Why can’t we ever tell the truth about terrorism? It is a war crime. It is murder. It is wrong. It must stop. Those who champion it and those who excuse it are collaborators with the terrorist themselves.

4) Two views: Meron Benvinisti Canaanism and Avraham Burg's Sabbatean ideology: The Zionist heresy known as Canaanism has an interesting pedigree: it was once ultra-nationalist and is now ultra-leftist. The Jewish cult of ‘Tikkun Olam’ as expressed by Avraham Burg’s extremist anti-Israel attitude also has an interesting pedigree; the false messiah Shabbatai Tzvi. The twin evils of these mutli-cultural heresies are not simply about strange minority opinions among Jews, they are also symbolic of the very same self-hating, world-loving ideologies found in the West.

Immoral Tourism and post-humanism
March 12th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman

If Nazi Germany had won and still existed would Jews visit it as tourists? Would they hide their Stars of David under their shirts (or better yet, leave them at home), and deny their religion in order to see the ‘cultural’ sites of Germany and its beautiful castles and the Rhine. Sounds ridiculous. Jewish tourists in Nazi Germany? Jews would never do that. Jews boycotted Nazi Germany, didn’t they? Those were the Jews of the 1930s. Today’s modern, especially American, leftist wealthy culturally awakened progressive Jew wants to be a tourist everywhere. He yearns for the romance of Yemen or Iran or Syria. In fact he or she, more commonly it is she, brags about their love of Yemen or Syria. They extol the virtues of going. Some have even gone and they regale people with tales of how they had to get a new passport to obscure the Israeli stamps on their old one, or how they lied about the origins of their family or family name in order to pretend that Gutessman was a ‘German’ and not a ‘Jewish’ name. They brag about how they left behind their Israeli passport and traveled under their other citizenship to see the country that their Israeli cousins can’t travel too. They sweat with glee as they tell about their time studying Arabic in Yemen or their desert travels across Algeria.

Everything is romantic to the wealthy secular western Jewish traveler. Malaysia. Qatar. Even Sudan. There is no place that is off limits or deserves a boycott, except maybe Burma, which incidentally lets Jews and Israelis travel there (all the more reason to boycott it perhaps in the mind of the leftist Jew).

In the 1980s Jews were at the forefront of the boycott of South Africa. Jews wouldn’t dare travel to South Africa. They were ashamed to have friends who did. The Jewish reason for not going to South Africa was simple: Blacks were being denied their rights. Blacks were denied property. Blacks had been thrown off their land and denied their property and history. It was immoral to go.

What is most fascinating is that when it comes to countries that have murdered Jews, taken their property, expelled them, raped them, enslaved them and gassed them, that Jews have no problem traveling there. There was a generation of Jews who wouldn’t buy German cars and who would never travel to Germany and who abhorred hearing German. No more. The languages of choice for the modern leftist secular Jew are German and Arabic. For the yuppie Jew the car of choice is the BMW.

Why is tourism such an idol? Why is tourism above all things in life? Is the modern fetish, the singular most important and unique thing to our culture, the idea of tourism? Someone will deny their own brother in order to be a tourist. That is most fascinating. If a western secular Jew has a brother who is Israeli the non-Israeli brother will travel to a country where her own brother is not permitted to go, all in order to bow down to the god of tourism. Someone will deny their family and their heritage, all for the sake of tourism. They will bow down to the god of tourism and deny the existence of the god of their people in order to do so. They will learn to recite the prayers of others. They will do whatever is necessary in order to be a tourist.

Black people didn’t go to South Africa because they didn’t like the way South Africa treated blacks. Arabs and Muslims will not visit Israel because they don’t like the way Israel treats the Palestinians. They won’t buy Danish food because of some cartoons. Yet Jews will go to Iran despite the Holocaust cartoon contest Iran hosted. Even though Jews were expelled from Yemen they will gladly journey to Yemen. There is no line that a country can cross in terms of its treatment of Jews that will cause Jews not to go to that country. In Syria Jews are in a modern day ghetto and forbidden to leave the country. Yet Jews will go to Syria and admire the mosques and not speak to one Jew, lest someone suspect them of being Jewish.

It would be a strange world if Jews said they would never travel to countries where Israelis were not permitted to travel. It would be a strange world if Jews refused to travel to a country where they would be killed for wearing a kippah (skullcap). It would be a strange world if Jews would not travel to a country where they would be murdered for wearing a Star of David publicly. It would be a strange world where Jews would not travel to a country where Jews were not permitted.

The more a country hates Jews the more leftist-secular-Jews want to go there. If a country stones homosexuals and forbids women to show their hair one will find that many of the people who desire to go to that country are Jewish westerners. There are some Jews who will not go. Those Jews are called religious Jews. Sometimes they are called ‘Orthodox’ or Hasidim or ‘ultra-Orthodox’ or ‘Haredi’. Those are the Jews who don’t eat pork and wear black hats. They don’t go. We call them ‘religious extremists’. But perhaps we should call them ‘human rights activists’. The very fact that the religious Jews will not go to Syria or Yemen shows that they, inadvertently, are boycotting those hateful, racist countries who have never acknowledged their mistreatment of Jews. Those countries which do not even include their Jewish history in their text books. One will not find the religious Jews there.

The next time one meets a Jew who is packing their bags for Yemen or Iran or Saudi or Syria they should be asked “if black people were not allowed to go to that country would you still go?” The inevitable answer would be “no! I would never go to a racist country that doesn’t allow black people.” The curse of black people has been their skin color, which prevented them from being tourists in the 1950s American south or in South Africa in the 1980s. But that curse is also a blessing. It prevented blacks from putting tourism before their race, before their history and their own family. The Nazis tried to do the same thing with Jews. They forced them to wear Stars of David and they branded them with bar-codes. The problem is the Star of David can always be hidden away at a convenient time. Responsible Jews should live as if the Star of David is engrained on the skin, the way black skin is to a black person. If Jews lived that way and stopped visiting fascist-racist tyrannical and hateful countries like Iran, Syria and Yemen then Jews would be more responsible tourists.

The modern secular western Jew would have been a tourist in Nazi Germany. They would have told their friends, in the most high minded way, how “Germany’s government doesn’t represent its people…one shouldn’t blame all the people for the dictatorship….its racist to categorize and judge all the people based on the laws enacted by a minority… how can one deny the rich culture just because the modern regime is not up to standard.” They would have boarded Lufthansa and made sure to memorize ‘Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles.” It is, after all, so romantic. La La Illa Allah…

Those pesky Mexicans and their racism
March 12th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman

As 72% of white voters voted for Hilary Clinton in the Mississippi Democratic primary and 90% of blacks voted for Obama we were all reminded of the real culprit making race an issue in the Democratic primaries: the Latino vote. That is the motif. We all know how the Latinos refuse to vote for Obama. Its not the first time the Latinos made the democratic party racist. In the California election in which Schwarzenegger beat Bustamante the Latino democratic nominee drove blacks away from the poles. Despite media coverage in that election that claimed “Bustamante busts a move” and accused Schwarzenegger of harassing girls when he was in his 20s, the Mexican nominee harmed the Democratic chances at the governorship by driving away the black vote, and some of the white vote too.

This is the problem with Mexicans. Thirty years ago there was no ‘Latino problem’ in America. Race politics was quite simple. In the American South the blacks and whites voted for opposite parties. Until the 1960s the Blacks voted Republican. Then the whites started voting Republican and the Blacks all became Democrats.

The trouble with Mexicans was illustrated b Bill Maher when he went to interview some about why they weren’t choosing Barak Obama as their candidate. They wouldn’t admit their racism so Maher had to bring it out by talking about boxing. While asking one overweight Mexican man why he cheered on Oscar De La Hoya rather than his black contended the Mexican dared to admit “you gotta go with our own.” So there it was. The Mexicans. The pesky Mexicans who had been pouring into America had brought their racism with them. They were causing all sorts of problems.

Its not just in electoral campaigns that Mexicans cause problems. Look what they have done to Affirmative Action and the U.S census. When it turned out that Mexicans were the largest minority group in many states, eclipsing blacks, the affirmative action pashas realized that Mexicans would soon demand to be admitted in larger numbers to the work force and jobs through affirmative action. Mexicans would now deserve all the freebies that blacks had been receiving. Liberals were unhappy. Mexicans were succeeding at a much faster pace than blacks. Despite bilingual education, designed to keep Mexicans speaking Spanish so they couldn’t compete with whites, the Mexicans were breaking out of their ghettos. So the liberal race theorists in America designed a way to end the Mexican problem once and for all. Mexicans were re-classified as ‘white’ and a new ‘ethnic’ definition was added to the race matrix in America. Now people could be ‘white-Hispanic’ or ‘black-Hispanic’. At one fell swoop Mexicans disappeared. There were no Latinos. There are only blacks and whites in America. America’s race pashas must have studied at the best race theory schools in Apartheid South Africa in order to come up with a way to re-classify Mexicans as ‘white’. But White race theorist leftists had done it before. They had been reclassifying people as white for a hundred years. Jews had become ‘white’. Italians had become ‘white’. Indians from India. Asians. Everyone was being pushed into whiteness to preserve the black minority in America. Because America has two races: whites and blacks (after Sept. 11 one should also add Muslims to that matrix).

Bill Maher was pressing the Mexicans to admit to their racism. “Just admit you, you don’t like him (Obama) because he’s black.” One wonders how many leftist wealthy whites who support Obama will admit that they support him Because he is black (when Geraldine Ferraro raised that point she was called a ‘racist’). But no matter. It’s the Mexicans who are racist. Pesky Mexicans vote for their own people. Pesky Mexicans are religious and believe in family values. Pesky Mexicans succeed to quickly. Pesky Mexicans work for less wages than unionized whites.

What are we thinking? About terrorism for instance.
March 10th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman

A recent study b the Copenhagen Consensus supposedly showed conclusive evidence that, economically speaking, spending money to combat terrorism was always a waste. They claimed that the U.S had spent between $65 and $200 billion a year on fighting terror (the larger amount includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) but that terror attacks only reduce GDP by around $17 billion a year. Thus it is a waste of money to spend anything over $17 billion on fighting terror, since the actual cost of terror is negligible.

This is a most Western way to look at war. It is the most ‘logical’ way to look at it. The British government’s of Stanley Baldwin and Chamberlain also preferred to look at war from an economic standpoint. The refused to increase spending on the British military until the late 1930s. The preferred ‘peace in our time’. They did everything to achieve it, lest the English economy be harmed b war. One must recall that Chamberlain’s appeasement came out of a liberal economic mindset that desired peace so that business could thrive.

While the ‘study’ may indeed show that the ‘cost’ of the London bombings or the Madrid bombings was only a small amount of money they seem to ignore two important facts. The human cost of terror is much greater than the economic cost. In America our constitution claims we have a right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. Terrorism denies people that right. Fighting crime is usually more costly than the crime itself. A mugging may only cost the victim a hundred dollars in stolen cash. Having a policeman drive out to take down the report costs more. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother to try to stop muggings?

An article in the Economist reviews a book by Michael Burleigh and claims that “America’s notion of a ‘war on terror’, he rightly says is a nonsense. Terrorism is a tactic, not an entity; in the Second World War the allies didn’t declare war on the Blitzkrieg but on Germany.” That is true. But the entity behind terrorism today is called Islam. Leftists should be happy with the term ‘war on terror’ because it means we don’t have to tell the truth; the war on terror is a war on Islamism, just as the Second World War was a war on Nazism, and it is a war on Islam, just as the Second World War was a war on Germany.

Gideon Levy, the perennial sniveling extreme-leftist writer for Haaretz had to write an editorial about the massacre of 8 Jewish students at the Meraz Ha Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem on March 6th. But he couldn’t condemn the murders outright. Instead he noted that “the killing at the yeshiva is heartrending. No one deserved it. The innocents in Gaza and the victims at Meraz Ha Rav in Jerusalem were all an unnecessary sacrifice…their families and those around them will probably adopt even more radical positions now, and so we will be led into another round of endless bloodshed.” This quote illustrates the notion of terrorism as always being part of a ‘cycle’. It always has ‘context’. There was one difference between the students at the yeshiva and the people in Gaza. The people in Gaza shoot rockets at civilians. The students at the yeshiva study the Bible. The families in Gaza are already radical.

Bernd Debusmann, a writer for the Herald Tribune wrote an article on March 8th entitled ‘Hypocrisy never makes for good foreign policy.’ He notes “the grievances that bin Laden laid out in precise detail, which were adopted by the followers he inspired. They were: the U.S presence in the Arabian peninsula; unqualified support for Israel; U.S support for states oppressing Muslims, especially China, India and Russia; U.S exploitation of Muslim oil; U.S support and financing of authoritarian Arab regimes. There is no reason to believe that the U.S is about to change the foreign policies that motivate Muslim extremists in a region…where man believe that the ‘war on terror’ is really a war on Islam…The [American presidential] candidates differ over when and how to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but none of them has given any indication of policies that would taken the air out of the arguments that Al Qaeda and lie-minded groups have used to attract recruits.’” This is the classic argument of the appeasement minded left. Their ‘solution’ to terrorism is to do whatever the terrorist wants. It’s a brilliant solution but it doesn’t work historically. Hitler only wanted a world free of Jews, Gypsys, Slavs and Blacks. Where were the liberals to tell us that it would have been better to simply change our policy and stop ‘offending’ Hitler. We could have ‘taken the air out of the arguments’ of Hitler b helping him build his gas chambers. We could have given Hawaii to the Japanese. What of the KKK? They only wanted segregation in the American South. We could have ‘taken the air out of the arguments’ of the KKK by keeping blacks out of schools and denying them the right to vote? Why is the leftist response to bulling thugs always to do whatever the thugs want?

This was not the historical message of the left. In the old days when attempts to register blacks to vote was met by terrorism or when abortion clinics were bombed the left always told us we had to stand strong in the face of intimidation. In the 1930s the leftists went to Spain to fight against fascism. What happened in the last 30 years? Why does the new intellectual leftist simply accept whatever the terrorist says at face value? Mr. Debusmann shows how ignorant he is by accepting these arguments. He claims that America supports China, Russia and India in its “oppressing” of Muslims. What is he talking about? America was always the ally of Pakistan against India. America’s greatest economic rival in the world is China, lest we forget that before 9/11 everyone was talking about ‘China rising’ and the ‘coming war with China’. America never supported Russia in Chechnya, on the contrary the U.S was at the forefront of condemning Russia’s treatment of Chechnya. What is Debusmann talking about when he condemns America for her “exploitation of Muslim oil.” What? Who is exploiting who? America pays through the nose for oil, making Islamist Arabs richer by the day and propping up the most backwards archaic Islamist regime in the region; Saudi Arabia. What of U.S “support for authoritarian Arab regimes.” Is Dubusmann suggesting that Islam would be more friendly if the U.S allied itself with the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah? America might as well have allied itself with Bin Laden. Perhaps Dubusmann forgets that the U.S tried that. In the 1980s the closest allies of the U.S were the Islamists in Afghanistan and Zia’s Pakistan, not to mentioned Saudi Arabia. By Debusmann’s logic the U.S should have supported Nazism because that would have meant less antagonism between Nazism and America and thus the Nazis would not have hated America and thus America could have joined the Nazis to conquer the world. That is the modern day liberal response: if you can’t beat them, join them.

Perhaps liberalism forgets that the history of America has always been built on bucking the trend. America was a republic when the Europeans were monarchies. America had no colonies when the Europeans were carving up the world. America was not seduced by the extremism of Communism or Nazism, the way the Europeans were. One suspects that Mr. Bernd Debusmann is a European. He would have preferred America had walked the European line. George Washington could have been the first American king. America could have joined in Imperialism and taken a few African colonies. America could have joined the European alliances and gone to war in 1914. America could have gone Nazi and rounded up and killed all its minorities. Then America could have repented and become Communist and turned all its workers into slaves. Then America could have become an ally of Islamism and helped it to take over the world and destroy ancient civilizations like China and India. One suspects that had America followed the course of Mr. Debusmann then there would have been no Herald Tribune for him to write in. There would be no place for his editorial. Mr. Debusmann would have been born in a Gulag and his parents would have perished in the American Holocaust. Mr. Debusmann would have been forcibly converted to Islam and he would know nothing outside the Koran.

Leftists need to be reminded again and again that just because people hate you doesn’t make them right. Just because people are willing to kill for their beliefs does not make their beliefs more correct. Just because people condemn you for something doesn’t mean they are correct. Our world too often equates the willingness of people to die for a cause with the justness of that cause. The world needs to be reminded that the Tibetans don’t blow themselves up. Yet their claim to statehood and the oppression of them is no less than the Muslims in Xinjiang province of China who Mr. Debusmann accuses America of conniving in the suppression of. I’ll take the Tibetans any day over the Islamists. If the world had more Tibetans it might have less terrorism and more bloodshed. Liberals and leftists need to work to free the silent resisters, like the Tibetans, those who don’t kill for their beliefs, and give less attention to those who murder civilians in their quest for ‘justice’. Perhaps if the world ignored the fake grievances of Muslims it would indeed tae the wind out of the sails of Islamism.

Two views: Meron Benvinisti Canaanism and Avraham Burg's Sabbatean ideology
Seth J. Frantzman
Sunday March 9th, 2008

An introduction to the political philosophy known as Canaanism posits that they "sought to create in Israel a new people, they mandated the dissociation of Israelis from Judaism and the history of Judaism. In their stead they placed the culture and history of the Ancient Near East, which they considered the true historical reference." In the 1940s a whole slew of Zionists became converted to this movement. Prominent poets, intellectuals and artists such as Yonatan Ratosh (Uriel Heilperin), Edya Horon, Yitzhak Danziger, Banjamin Tammuz, Amos Keynan, Aharon Amir and Uzzi Ornan were involved (Uzi Ornan and Yonatan Ratosh were brothers who both changed their names). Some of the intellectual detritus of this movement include Uri Avnery, the extreme leftist(he recently paid for an advertisement that screamed: “The boycott of Aljazeera [by the Israeli government] will harm the State of Israel, because it puts us in line with the worst oppressive regimes in the region and in the world”), who was a one time right wing Irgun member. Meron Benvenisti, one time deputy mayor of Jerusalem, and author of Son of the Cypresses is also an intellectual descendant. A.B. Yehushua, the famed Israeli writer, is as well.

According to Ron Kuzar the Canaanism movement was in fact originally right wing. It desired to make anew nation and was wrapped up in the 'blood and coil' antics of the 1930s. Since Jews were living all over the world it proposed the creation of a new Israeli Hebrew Canaanite nation, a re-birth of the ancient milieu that existed three thousand years ago in the land of Israel (for them the Land of Kedem). Kuzar notes that many of the Canaanists were members of right wing movements such as the Irgun and Lehi. However the creation o the Arab refugee problem and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza after 1967 created severe problems n their belief system. Since they believed that ancient Israel was not 'Jewish' but rather part of the ancient Canaanite-Hebrew nation that existed in the Levant they rejected the idea that the Arabs and Jews should be separate or different. They harkened back to Ben-Gurion's early prognosis in 1950 that the Arabs would convert to Judaism and assimilate. However they wished that the Palestinians and Jews would all convert to Canaanism and become one people. The movement was atheistic, paganistic in the extreme and even adopted fake Canaanite rituals and used Ugarit.
In may of 2006 the Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua journeyed to America to speak at a symposium and during his speech he declared that only Israel and not Judaism can save the Jewish people. Yehushua based his argument primarily on the fact that Hebrew was a unifying language for Jews in Israel and was thus a platform for the saving of the Jewish people. This harkened back to the Canaanist worship of Hebrew as a defining part of their new national identity. After all, Canaanism expressed itself primarily in poetry and Hebrew writing and its leaders were the strongest lovers of Hebrew and desired a Hebrew national revival. Yehushua argued that the Jewish religious identity had to be removed from the Jewish national identity, and in the national identity the Jews could only survive in Israel, and as a nation, they could call themselves whatever they wanted, Canaan, if they pleased. One commentator of Yehushua's speech noted that "Mr. Yehoshua believes there is a precedent for this solution in the First Temple period, when some “children of Israel” worshipped foreign gods and yet were considered part of the Jewish national entity.
This approach, it is important to stress, does not dismiss Jewish religion, but it does suggest that we will see a new kind of Jewish religion…On the other hand, Jewish nationalism in the State of Israel will attract members of other religions, and both Christians and Moslems will be fully integrated into the Jewish nation." In a critique of Yehushua's comments Union of Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffie further noted that "But I do not believe that secular Judaism can be passed on to the next generation. And there is nothing in all of Jewish history to suggest that a Jewish community anywhere, including in the Land of Israel, can sustain itself without God and Torah. Torah-free civilizations have no staying power."
Meron Benvenisti's Canaanism is altogether more strange. He did his studies on the Crusaders and eventually came to link the activities of the modern Israeli state with those of the crusaders. He also connected Israeli treatment of the Palestinians with the British treatment of the Boers in the Boer War, perhaps ignoring that in that very savage war some 30,000 women and children had died. He also claimed that after disengagement Israel was responsible for creating 'Bantustans' on the Apartheid model in Israel. But he also became a passionate lover of the land of Israel, in its Palestinian-Canaanite form. He wrote a book describing the Sacred Landscape and 'buried history of the Holy Land since 1948' which spoke about the former Arab villages of the country. He became a passionate supporter of the bi-national solution. But in his book Son of the Cypresses he argued that it was only in the land that Israelis could find a connection to nationhood. Like Canaanism he believed strictly in the creation of a new national identity and he grafted on the ideas of Martin Buber, Judah Magnes (a reform Jewish rabbi) and the Brit Shalom movement onto it so that this new identity would be bi-national, composed of Jews and Arabs morphing into one country, perhaps ignoring he fact that there are 250 million Arabs and only 13 million Jews (It is perhaps ironic that when Jews have a state that many of their intellectuals desire that they should be amalgamated into a much larger nation and thus disappear, just as those same ideologues in the west argued for assimilation as a solution to the 'Jewish problem').
Canaanism was a failure. It was so right wing that it eventually became extreme-left wing and the practical outcome of its 'solution' would be the immediate disappearance of the Jewish people into an Arab morass. Canaanism would turn the Jews into the Copts, Berbers, Assyrians, Yazidis, Zaroastrians, Alewites, Mandaeans or Maronites. All of these people accepted forms of assimilation and binationalism and all of them have either disappeared or are on the verge of disappearing or being completely pushed aside.
Avrahahm Berg has wracked up a lot of 'formers' in his life. He is a former member of the Knesset. He is a former speaker of the Knesset. He is a former leader of the Labor party in Israel. He is a former president of the Jewish Agency. He is a former Israeli. He recently published a book entitled Defeating Hitler which he originally wanted to title Hitler Won in which he prophesized the destruction of Israel and made many other outlandish claims. He declared foremost that he was a Jew and that Zionism is the instrument that tries to make Jews into Israelis. He noted that he was first and foremost a human being. He noted in an interview that 'It can't work anymore. To define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite" For Burg Israel's law of return was the "mirror image of Hitler" which must be ironic given the fact that he worked for an organization whose main goal was carrying out that law by bring Jews to Israel. Burg argues that the Jewish agency should help Arabs, who according to most Jewish philanthropists are the 'indigenous' people of Israel, Israel's own native-Americans. Burg noted that "Ahad Ha'am made the charge against Herzl that his whole Zionism had its source in anti-Semitism. He thought of something else, of Israel as a spiritual center - the Ahad Ha'am line has not died, and now its time has come. Our confrontational Zionism vis-a-vis the world is disastrous." He also noted that "Today that is not enough for me. In my situation today, I am beyond Israeli. Of the three identities that form me - human, Jewish and Israeli - I feel that the Israeli element deprives the other two." For Burg Israel is a brutish imperialistic, "Zionist ghetto." But Burg went further and declared that Israel was in essence a Zionist-Nazi state and that he had "discovered the layer of not everything being lost. And I discovered my father as a representative of German Jewry that was ahead of its time." For him the Jews had become the new Nazis: ""It is not an exact science, but I will describe to you some of the elements that go into the stew: a great sense of national insult; a feeling that the world has rejected us; unexplained losses in wars. And, as a result, the centrality of militarism in our identity. The place of reserve officers in society. The number of armed Israelis in the streets. Where is this swarm of armed people going? The expressions hurled publicly: 'Arabs out.'.. And I hear voices coming out of Sderot .... We will destroy and kill and expel. And there is a transferist discourse in the government (note here how the people of Sderot, the 17,000 victims of more than 7,000 rocket attacks are the ones accused of being Nazis, even though the community is composed of elderly Mizrahi and Russian Jews"
"It is not by chance that I make the comparison with Germany, because our feeling that we are obliged to live by the sword stems from Germany."
For Burg the EU is the Third temple. He describes it as "the European Union as a biblical utopia. I don't know how long it will hold together, but it is amazing. It is completely Jewish."
Burg's identity is that of the romantic Yekkee, the German Jew before the Holocaust. One interviewer noted when speaking to him that; 'You describe a thousand wonderful years of German Jewry. In large measure you view German Jewry as a model." Furthermore he argues that the only 'real' Jews are those in the Diaspora: "The tribes become a people outside the borders. The Torah is given outside the borders. As Israelis and Zionists, we ignored this completely. We rejected the Diaspora. But I maintain that just as there was something astonishing about German Jewry, in America, too, they also created the potential for something astonishing. They created a situation in which the goy can be my father and my mother and my son and my partner. The goy there is not hostile but embracing. And as a result, what emerges is a Jewish experience of integration, not separation. Not segregation."
"There is no important Jewish writing in Israel…The Israeli is a half-Jew…whole Jewish existence of two thousand years…I am a citizen of the world. This is my hierarchy of identities: citizen of the world, afterward Jew and only after that Israeli. I feel a weighty responsibility for the peace of the world…I am European.. In my eyes, Gandhi is as Jewish as there is. He embodies a very ancient Jewish approach. Like Yochanan ben Zakkai, who asked for Yavneh and its sages. Not Jerusalem, not the Temple, not sovereignty: Yavneh and its sages."(Interview with Ari Shavit, June 10th, 2007, Haaretz.)
We see in the words of Avraham Burg another side, another ideology, that exists among Jews. It is the ideology of the German-Jews, the anti-state citizen of the world European ideology. It is the ideology of Gandhi. It is the ideology of self hate. The ideology of the German-Jewish romanticism is quite deep in Israel. It began, of course, with the German Jewish refugees who poured into Palestine in the 1930s, fleeing Hitler. They used Palestine as a place of refuge. But they were self serving. Their intellectual ancestors were not so different in their opportunism. The ancestor of some of the intellectuals of German Jewry was Shabbatai Tzvi, the false messiah.
Shabbatai Tzvi was born in 1626 in Smyrna, in modern day Turkey. He was influenced by millenarian ideas that were swirling about at the time. In his twenties he revealed himself to some people as the Messiah. He wandered around the Ottoman world from Smyrna to Salonika, visiting with Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Shabbatai Tzvi became ingratiated with Nathan of Gaza, another believer in the coming end of days. His popularity soured in the rest of Europe and Jews in Amsterdam and Hamburg took up his banner. He was eventually imprisoned by the Ottomans in 1666 and he converted to Islam. His followers also converted and many of them came to live in Salonika where they became a sort of Muslim Morrano group known as Donmeh (The secularizing Turk known as Ataturk was rumored to be among their descendants). In Northern Europe where the Ashkenazim lived his ideas had a different affect. The affects of the disillusion spread far and wide and may have influenced the early Hasidic movement in the 18th century. He even had a link to Spinoza through the likes of Benjamin Musaphia and Heinrich Oldenburg. Some of those who came to believe in him became known as Sabbateans and have been linked to Reform Judaism by Gershom Scholem who claimed they may have been among its founders.
But if the Sabbateans desired to assimilate to Europe they also came to believe that Tikkun Olam or 'to heal the world' was a central tenant of Judaism. We see that this obsession with 'healing the world' and the desire to take it on one's shoulders is present in the ideology of Avraham Burg. Burg is thus a direct intellectual descendant of Shabbatai Tzvi.
When one examines the two movements together one can see that desire by Tzvi's followers to integrate into the Islamic milieu is found among the Canaanists while the obsession with Tikkun Olam and Europe is found among Burg and his ilk such as Amos Elon and the German-Jewish cult of Yekkee romantics who claim that German Jewry represented a utopia, a high point of Western civilization alongside Weimer Germany and its weak and pathetic political institutions.
What is most interesting is that whereas Burg sees the ideal Jew as the Diaspora Jew, fully committed to being a 'citizen of the world' and he sees the fulfillment of Judaism only outside Israel, Canaanism desires to be rid of Judaism and sees the fulfillment of the Jewish nation only in Israel with the abandonment of Judaism. The two are not mutually exclusive. Judaism can exist fully outside Israel while in Israel a new Hebrew-Canaanite nation is being born. The Yekkes can have their cake and eat it too. They can worship Tikkun Olam while at the same time tearing down the institutions of the state. These are fascinating ideologies and they say much about the world today. Canaanism is the Jewish version of multi-cultural post-modernism. It argues for the creation of new nations not based on those of old, and it is both pagan and interested in the melting pot of diversity. It takes its model from America and claims that American literature as a genre is like Hebrew literature, it is the genuine output of a new nation. The Burgists and their Tikkun Olam represent the other side of the mutli-cultural post-human society. They represent the worship of the other and the desire to only learn about others and the belief that perfection is always in the 'utopia' of the other. Thus, within Judaism, is the very same ideological pulling and conflict one finds in the west, a tugging on both ends that seeks to undermine and destroy both religion and nation.

No comments: