A messianic redemption in a revived Israel? In A.M. Klein’s epilogue to the Second Scroll he wrote, “Where shall I find Thee?” It was a search that became more pressing during a time of God’s eclipse when absence dominated; the question never went away and in looking at present Israel, the issue of God’s whereabouts can only be displaced by the poet’s query of where can they find the words to express the absence? Answers are not readily forthcoming. There is a poetics of absence where memory must somehow fill an historical emptiness created by genocide and deicide. But it interpretation and implementation as “facts on the ground” moves further from the idealism and duty that formed the basis of the relationship.
A paradox of Jewish people is they are an essentially spiritual people, given credit for discovering a unity of God and the sacred, but through historical circumstance have been forced to adopt a materialist approach to survive in a world that however much it give platitudes to spirituality, denies the acceptance of instinct as a proof of being truly human,complete and spiritual. Spiritual consciousness provides a sense of the oneness of self that the instinctive may desire but cannot grasp.
In Israel, an enduring respect for the human experience, its Jewish nature, has been supplanted and submerged in he experience of form, that abandons a historical continuity into areas that involve grotesque distortions that bastardize Judaism’s aesthetic base. No better example than the Palestinian problem, which is a total subservience to form, and a sacrifice of spirituality to it. Israel the “new” betrays the prophetic discourse on the antiquity of Judaism, which originates way back in time, perhaps even at the beginning of time, and can be considered more fundamentally human. This Judaic sense of the human is ancient with respect to modern formalisms, yet why does the state of Israel act in a manner that denies its Jewish heritage?
Martin Buber, saw with how Israel deatl with what was known as the Arab question as the litmus test for Judaism. Buber disagreed with Theodore Herzl; asserting Herzl’s vision of a Jewish nation as a copy of a European state was a cheap out. The intent of Zionism to Buber was an embracing of prophet Isaiah’s spiritual vision of an Israel redeemed by justice. After WWI Buber saw the pitfall in cozying up to European elites who saw Israel as a colonial project as part of a broader move to dominate the region. Not much has changed. There is somewhere a sense of inferiority and dependence which seeks preferential treatment from Western powers resulting in the internalization of a deep seated sense of racial and cultural superiority. These values, transferred to Arabs, effectively have sowed seeds of destruction and hatred.
Buber advocated living in cooperation with the Arabs, and working to improve their circumstances in an effort of respect and good will. Wishful thinking? Buber conceived these positive dynamics within a bi-national state. The actions pursued by Israel since its inception and especially since 1967, are the reinforcement and maintaining of domination by one racial group over another through structural systematic oppression. The inability of the international community to bring Israel to heel means there is a vested interest in the conflict, making it difficult to move the needle towards the ideals of justice.
Former deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti recounts a meeting with an Apartheid official who compared Israeli-Palestinian relations to South African policy for the Transkei. When the Israelis expressed their shock he said “I understand your reaction. But aren’t we actually doing the same thing? We are faced with the same existential problem; therefore we arrive at the same solution. The only difference is that yours is pragmatic and ours is ideological.”…Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert writes: “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories) the state of Israel is finished”….Israel’s former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair has written that “Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one – progressive, liberal – in Israel; and the other – cruel, injurious – in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture.”R
Meir Margalit:The third plague: in tandem, the Interior Ministry has intensified the campaign of confiscating identity cards from people whom it maintains are living beyond the municipal borders. Many find that one day their citizenship status has been revoked without their knowledge, and they must retain a lawyer’s services to get it back.
The fourth plague – the Interior Ministry continues to prevent East Jerusalem residents from uniting with their families or spouses and are forced to live in the town without permits, almost in an underground, out of fear of being arrested by the police….
For some time now, several Israeli intellectuals and public figures on the political left have pondered the possibility of transforming Israel from a Jewish state into a state of the Jews. The distinction is not merely semantic. Israel would become a state most of whose citizens happen to be Jewish, and one with a special connection to Jews in the rest of the world, but cease to self-identify as a Jewish state, thereby alienating its Palestinian Arab citizens….Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/the-moral-lives-of-israelis-by-david-berlin/article2143281/
…David Berlin, who is both Israeli and Canadian, advances a variation on this post-Zionist theme in The Moral Lives of Israelis: Reinventing the Dream State, pressing for an Israel that is “not a Jewish state, but only a state rather like New York City – a state in which many Jews live.” It’s an intriguing suggestion …with precious few takers. Indeed, the situation on the ground, and the passions of most Israelis and Palestinians, militate against the adoption of Berlin’s idea. His dream state will likely remain stillborn….
…Berlin relates in detail his return to Israel in 1970 for eight years, during which time he experiences everything from love to war, but most important undergoes the process of “changing from a secular Jew to a Jewish secular.” In other words, he begins to view his Jewishness as ancillary to his secular identity, which becomes his core. Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/the-moral-lives-of-israelis-by-david-berlin/article2143281/
This tendency becomes even more pronounced when he returns to Israel yet again in 2005 to cover the country’s “disengagement” from Gaza and tend to his ailing mother. From political turmoil and personal tumult, Berlin extracts a solution for Israel. He proffers secularism as the way out of the country’s impasse with its growing and assertive Orthodox Jewish minority (which by and large opposed the Gaza pullout), as well as with the Palestinians….
Meir Margalit:The fifth plague: the settlers are completely unrestrained in their attempts to take over every spot of land in the city`s eastern half. Their irritation has intensified with the rumours and headlines about a political process that is taking shape. Very recently, without any qualms, they have removed entire families from their homes, imposing fear everywhere they go.
The sixth plague: the destruction of homes which threatens thousands of families. This is not because the municipality is capable of demolishing such a huge number of homes, but because none of the thousands of families who received demolition orders knows who the blow will land on, and when their turn to lose their home will arrive. In this situation, every family lives on borrowed time and the stress is a form of torture. …Read More:http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/the-ten-plagues-of-east-jerusalem/
…But secularism, even if regarded Berlin-style as a positive and unifying force rather than simply a restrictive reaction to the encroaching influence of religion, is no panacea for Israel’s plethora of woes. Not only would Israel have to contend with those Orthodox Jews who believe that the state should be religious in nature, but the country’s ethnic makeup would continue to be a source of friction; Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs (Palestinian citizens of Israel) live largely in two different and mutually suspicious societies, a fact unlikely to change with the separation of religion and state….Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/the-moral-lives-of-israelis-by-david-berlin/article2143281/
…The sad truth is that Berlin’s dream, for all its beauty and theoretical harmoniousness, will not resonate with the people who matter. The Israel that Berlin envisages is a place where he – together with the distressingly small number of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs like him – would be happy and prosperous. But for those Israeli Jews who want a Jewish state and those Palestinian Arabs who want to Arabize or Islamize Israel (if not do away with it altogether), Berlin’s dream state would simply be a slightly modified arena for them to pursue their outdated and unheroic yet meretriciously seductive struggle….( Al-Shawaf)
The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.
The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.
· The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”
John Dugard (regarded as the father of human rights in South Africa) wrote an extensive report to the UN on human rights in the OPT, concluding that there is “an apartheid regime in the territories worse than the one that existed in South Africa.” Read More:http://uobfop.blogspot.com/2011/04/israeli-apartheid.html