Its been forty-four years since the termination of the Six-Day War; with who started what and did what to whom and when among the most contested piece of history over the most contested piece of land in the history of the world if we are guided by the ink spent on books and print media and the mostly nonsense spilling from the talking head.If we can just punt the pundit. The conflict between Jews and Arabs is almost as hostile and intense within the two main visions of Jewish identity among Jews with regard to Israel and its relations with the Palestinians. In fact, the intra-Jewish differences have their own existential basis, likely going back since the Exodus…
“a conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not in the hilltops…and in this respect, the israeli-palestinian conflict has been a tragedy, a clash between one very powerful, very convincing, very painful claim over this land and another no less powerful, no less convincing claim…” – amos oz
The two most influential thinkers had very contrasting views over the Arab question in Palestine beginnig in the early 1920′s and the divergent views expressed then continue today.
Leftist ideology presently centers on on the need for a Jewish majority. The battle of the womb; A large population of Jewish people constituting a Jewish nation with land. For right, land is the central issue; control of Biblical territory is a Jewish state. Somewhat simplistically, the left favors negotiations, and is willing to make concessions, hopefully to find a peace agreement with the Palestinians : the famous two-state solution is the most discussed. Those in the right favor a more militaristic approach and believe that land concessions critically undermine the Jewish state. Both have common belief in the State of Israel and have been bound in a common destiny by the absence of peace.
Contrasting political stances are not new to internal Jewish debate. Just see the United States with Jews on the left and right. The differences reflect a disagreement that has always coexisted with Zionism on what actually makes up a Jewish state, and to some degree, what makes up a Jew. In the early days of Zionism, leaders openly quarreled over this in the public sphere. Two notable Zionist thinkers writing at the time of the Jerusalem riots in 1929 and the Palestinian revolt beginning in 1936 were Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Martin Buber.
Ze’ev Jabotinsky was an Eastern European and formed a militant youth movement called Betav, named after the place where the famous Bar Kochba died. It was a paramilitary organization and the vision was that of impending catastrophe in Europe, correctly foreseen and a vision that the Jews should militarize and form an “Iron Wall” against which the Arabs could not break. Jabotinsky viewed negotiated agreements with the Arabs as a waste of time. He asserted that there was no historical precedent for any local or native population to openly give land to intruders, white colo
—Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes part of the ceremony. Kafka, Parables and Paradoxes—
In order to create this Iron Wall, Jabotinsky believed the Jews would need the help of the British. To this end, he gave evidence to the Peel Commission on the need for a Jewish state in the region, asserting that the Jewish want was based on starvation; the Arab, on appetite. Jews needed the land of Israel for themselves or they would die out. “If you don’t liquidate the Diaspora, the Diaspora will liquidate you.” The Arabs would not die without Palestine, thought Jabotinsky, they merely wanted it. Typical of the rightist focus on land, Jabotinsky believed the State of Israel should include both sides of the Jordan River (Palestine and trans-Jordan). He called upon the British and the Jews to militarize into his Iron Wall to answer the Arab question. Read More:http://spartaninisrael.blogspot.com/2010/07/arabs-buber-vs-jabotinsky.html
Martin Buber, was a western European, who incorporated elements of Eastern theology, socialism, anarchism, and a figure of comparable stature to Herman Hesse. He could be called a peace-nik. Unlike Jabotinsky, Buber saw the Arab community in Palestine as a nation. He believed that the Palestinians also had claims and rights to Eretz Yisrael. Zionism must not come to Palestine with the goal of dominating the Arabs, but rather to live with them. Buber’s revolutionary idea was to see Palestine as an ideal, a template in which all nations would nature the nature and scope of the nation-state concept to one designed to be more mutually beneficial, and likely governed under a form of socialism. Buber is the father of the idea of bi-nationalism in which two nations could coexist, each sharing political territory and a unit called the state which would be of more limited size than Jabotinsky’s biblical proportions. Somewhat idealistically, Arabs and the Jews would sustain thse separate cultures while working together on political power,the military and external relations.
These views do not even include another position, that of messianic zionism as advocated by Yakov M. Rabkin, where the entire Israel enterprise should be abandoned until the messiah arrives. Rabkin asserts that the Torah is defiled by this acts which have no religious basis. Rabkin’s assertion is that Palestine is essentially an orchestrated activity, with Jews serving as front servants for a Christian takeover. Kind of a Crusades III through a secret gate in Jersualem:
Rabkin:Jews who opposed Zionism in principle and from the very beginning developed the first of the four narratives. The second, Zionist, narrative belongs to a group that appears ideologically diverse: cultural Zionists, socialist Zionists, religious Zionists, right-wing or the so-called Revisionist Zionists. The latter group’s ideology has won out and is today associated with Zionism tout court. The third narrative emerged from former Zionists who have revised their old beliefs and have often regretted their old actions. Finally, the paper turns to the oldest, the largest, and perhaps the most influential group of Zionists – Christian Zionists in dozens of countries – whose number is many times greater than the entire Jewish population in the world.
Was Nakba predictable? The first Zionist congress took place in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. The unlikely venue was due to the pressure of German Jews on their country’s government to forbid such a gathering in Germany: Zionism was undermining their social gains while reinforcing the anti-Semites’ claim that Jews did not belong in Germany. In the wake of the congress, Vienna’s rabbinical circles sent two emissaries to Palestine to inspect the territory. They sent a laconic cable back to Vienna: “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” They discovered that the land was not empty but occupied by a variety of ethnic and religious groups. Read More:http://www.yakovrabkin.ca/english/articles/judaism-zionism-and-israel/nakba-in-narratives-about-zionism/
Though Buber was for a binational state, he never endorsed limited immigration, which highlighted the leftist focus on people rather than land. Also,Buber did not have coherent program for what a binational state would like look. And, evidently, he could not find a dance partner on the Arab side. Jabotinsky, had a more fully-developed plan, but failed to attain British cooperation. Effectively, both men wanted the same fruit, it was a matter of tactics. At the extreme fringes Jabotinsky’s philosophy is responsible for rogue elements and outright terrorism from the Stern gang, the Irgun, the bombing of the King David Hotel and even the current security fence. The Buber view can be seen in the Rachel Corrie’s and the active Jewish Left in North America exemplified by Naomi Wolf for one.
aaaOne has to wonder if both the Buberian and Jabotisnsky views could potentially lead to the scenario outlined in Walter Benjamin and his particualr theory of Messianic violence:
Mathew Abbott: It is evident that there is something unexpected about Benjamin’s messianism. It is that the messianic in Benjamin is a figure of not simply redemption, but of redemption from salvation. Like that of Kafka’s, Benjamin’s messiah is the messiah who comes by not coming, who comes only when he is no longer necessary. Divine violence, that is, represents not the arrival of the divine on earth, but rather the earth’s abandonment by the divine. The transformation of the relation between human and animal that takes place in divine violence is the precise opposite of a rescue of the former from the latter; divine violence would not redeem the human from its animality as much as redeem it to its animality. What Benjamin seeks is not a passage from earthly oblivion into the Kingdom but rather an earthly redemption from the desire or need to enter the Kingdom in the first place. Indeed, one could even say that there is a definite (if decidedly postsecular) atheism in Benjamin’s messianism. Divine violence represents a kind of cut whereby the profane world finally separates from the transcendent. It is not an event in which what was profane becomes sacred and what was lost is found again, but the irreparable loss of the lost, the definitive pro-
fanity of the profane. It effects not the destruction of law but the shattering of our subjective ties to its obscene underside, not the end of the world but the passing of the figure of the world.
In the terms of Hölderlin’s couplet, the spirit of Benjamin’s historical-philosophical theory of law can be summarised as follows: if it is true that the saving power grows alongside the danger, then the danger also grows where the saving power lies. Redemption consists in a release from this very dialectic of danger and salvation. Read More:http://arts.monash.edu.au/ecps/colloquy/journal/issue016/abbott.pdf
from Scott Copeland: Amos Oz: “Well, my definition of a tragedy is a clash between right and right. And in this respect, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a tragedy, a clash between one very powerful, very convincing, very painful claim over this land and another no less powerful, no less convincing claim.
“Now such a clash between right claims can be revolved in one of two manners. There’s the Shakespeare tradition of resolving a tragedy with the stage hewed with dead bodies and justice of sorts prevails. But there is also the Chekhov tradition. In the conclusion of the tragedy by Chekhov, everyone is disappointed, disillusioned, embittered, heartbroken, but alive” (“Coping With Conflict,” PBS, Jan. 23, 2002).
The unfolding story of the conflict, unlike the works of Shakespeare and Chekhov, remains a work in progress. As for the conclusion, although still hidden, it is every day written anew by the protagonists themselves. Read More:http://mobile.myjewishlearning.com/israel/Jewish_Thought/Modern/Arabs_in_Zionist_Thought.shtml
from a debate March 3,2011…..
At one point during the debate, Weiner began to say that the West Bank was more relatively prosperous than Gaza in part because there is no Israeli occupation there (although there is an enormous blockade). Cohen pointedly asked Weiner if he was really serious in claiming that Israel is not currently occupying the West Bank, which is the position of the international community and the United States. Weiner repeatedly insisted that there was no occupation there, even going as far as telling Cohen he agreed that there was “no IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] presence there”:
WEINER: You can see a difference in the development in the West Bank with 11 percent year over year growth, with no Israeli occupation there either, with increasing access to checkpoints —
COHEN: What about area C, D,
WEINER: Hold on, maybe this would be helpful…
COHEN: No occupation in the West Bank, did I hear you right?
COHEN: Have you been to the West Bank lately?
COHEN: You didn’t see the IDF there?
WEINER: In Ramallah? No. In Nablus? No. Now can I tell ya there might be some people in this room who think Jerusalem is occupied.
COHEN: Well hold on a second there, let’s stick to the West Bank. You’re saying there is no IDF presence there?