while my sword gently weeps

A shattering of certainty that had been shaky, even crumbling at best. The illusion beased on liberal enlightenment principles that peace was just at hand, and that reason and logic would bring out men’s better nature shaping a happy-ever-after ending that was part of the divine. No this was a calm that was anxious and traumatized, one easily transferable to the jagged edge of melancholy and and the nudge over the cliff to the bottomless violence that would unfold. Yitzhak Shamir saw that the old human narrative was being fatally disrupted, the rupture with tradition, both welcomed and regrette, meant also a dishonesty in comprehending and acting, engaging, in traditional ways. Unfortunately, violence was the anguished response to this irreparable fracture in the world and self…

(see link at end)…I don’t recall everything Yair and I discussed at that reception, but I do recall how the conversation ended. We were both standing there, glasses of wine in hand, and Yair said to me: “People ask, ‘Must the sword devour forever?’ And the answer is ‘Yes, it will.’ ” I was dumbstruck.

I was moved, first, by the ease with which some secular Israelis still glide into biblical idiom….“Yes,” this scion of Israeli royalty said to me in a way that no American probably ever would, “the sword will consume forever.”…Read More:http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/105259/israels-grittiest-founder/2

—Yitzhak Shamir has not escaped this fate. Much maligned in life for his uncompromising positions, he has been treated no more kindly in death. At the Knesset today, I expected throngs of people and a long line, but it was virtually empty. An honor guard, his family in a row of chairs, and maybe a dozen or two onlookers. There were, quite literally, more press photographers than there were people who had come to pay their last respects. The obituaries in Haaretz verged on crudely dismissive. “Farewell to the accidental prime minister,” one obituary’s headline smirked. Another claimed that he was “an honest liar, one we can be proud of.” A “legacy of despair” crowed a third.
Yes, Shamir’s stances on territory, Palestinians, and other issues are out of vogue today, even in parts of his party, Likud. But shouldn’t his passing serve as a reminder of the ashes out of which this country was built and of the extraordinary desperation and conviction that were required to create it?—Read More:http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/105259/israels-grittiest-founder image:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/24/palestinian-statehood-tension-settlers

( see link at end) …An IDF soldier was dismissed on Monday from a company commanders’ course after he refused to participate in an ambush meant to catch perpetrators of “price tag” incidents.

The soldier, who served in the Kfir fighter unit, was asked last week along with his fellow soldiers to lie in ambush near a Jewish neighborhood in Hevron, where military officials believed price tag incidents were being planned. The ambush took place one day before the eviction of families from the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

The soldier, a resident of the Binyamin community of Kochav Yaakov, informed his superiors that he would rather not participate in this activity because, as he put it, he was not recruited to the IDF to arrest Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria but rather to help the people of Israel and fight enemies. He was put on trial and it was decided to dismiss him from the course, despite the fact that he was considered an outstanding soldier.

MK Dr. Michael Ben Ari (National Union) condemned the decision, saying, “It is unfortunate that [Central Command commander] Nitzan Alon and the IDF commanders have not learned any lesson from previous incidents of refusal by members of the Kfir unit. The soldiers must not be made to confront their fellow settlers. Sending soldiers to arrest settlers creates polarization and divisions between segments of the population. That’s not why they were recruited to the IDF.” Read More:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/157438#.T_uQ8PVb76M

—This image shows early Jewish settlers (Biluim) in Palestine in the 1880s. While large-scale settlement of Jews in the area then known as Palestine didn’t really occur until the twentieth century, there were small groups of Jewish settlers in the late nineteenth century who, inspired by the emergence of political Zionism and the overtly hostile and anti-Semitic conditions of their countries of residence (particularly the pogroms of Russia), banded together to settle in Ottoman Palestine. These settlements were often not very successful, as they frequently lacked both sufficient funding and the practical skills necessary to live off the land. However, they are historically significant for the precedent they set, and they hold a prominent place in Israeli history as the first aliyah, or wave, of Zionist settlement in the region. —Read More:http://teachmiddleeast.lib.uchicago.edu/historical-perspectives/empires-to-nation-states/islamic-period/image-resource-bank/image-02.html

That imploding of the Eastern world, in any event the garbage can and waste dump for the West, burnished with the image of the slav inferior, the long tradition of slave raw material, only made the leap into the modern era more painful. In the arts, all of the sudden there was an equality of technological shapes with artistic forms, the beauty of weapons and bauhaus architects building death camps. The entire scientific style, the triumph of the Enlightenment’s occupation with trade and bustling enterprise and rampant individualism seemed directed against the aesthetic preconceptions that had defined art and life since the renaissance.

—In this complex situation, even the answer to the question as to whether there is anti-Semitism in Poland is a complicated and surprising one, in reference to the country about which Polish-born former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir used to say, “The Poles imbibe anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk” (a statement that infuriates

Polish intelligentsia even today.) —Read More:http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/the-polish-paradox-1.118842 image:http://lalqila.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/the-arab-israeli-conflict-a-brief-history-of-the-key-events-and-people-that-shaped-the-arab-israeli-conflict-one-should-not-forget-that-it-is-the-occupation-of-palestine-by-the-foreign-jew-of-germa/

Shamir was right in the middle of this rupture. An artist like Marcel Duchamp with his “readymades” were but a visible symptom of the iceberg on which the jews were sinking like the Titanic. Duchamp’s aim was not to annihilate art, but instead to what he called “purify” it; its not hard to see where this could go and how the forces of nihilism that were being unleashed could appropriate this, and in tur creatre its own counter-dogma in the counter-enlightenment. From 1933-45 the word purify was clearly directed at the “other”.

And as Shamir knew, the Poles for the most part had no regrets to be rid of their yids. barely tolerated guests of an almost equally oppressed people meant the victim space was too crowded. Marcel Duchamp’s erotic fantasies, his “love gasoline” ; the entire conceptualizing of sex and death eerily recalled the Marquis de Sade and the smile of Reason, seemed to have a very evil, almost satanic snicker intrinsic to it.


(see link at end) …At one point in the conversation, the two began to talk about the Jews who were in Poland during the Holocaust. “Pathetic rags,” said the elegant woman, “they were so pathetic that even their brothers in America were ashamed of them and left them to die – all six million.” The young man, a third-generation hater, lifted his eyes from his papers. “Madame,” he said, addressing the old woman in an aggressive tone, “Madame is also perpetuating that lie of the six million. There were far fewer, not even half that number.”

Afterward they lowered their voices until it was impossible to hear the rest of the conversation, and when it became possible to hear again, they had already begun to talk about the connection between the Jews and Poland’s entry into the EU. “I’m very afraid that they’ll crawl back here once the borders are wide open,” said the lady. And with a small smile the young man replied: “I’ll only be too happy to do to them what the Palestinians are doing.” And thus they continued their relaxed conversation, the older woman starting to leave each time, but staying a little longer. At the end of the long conversation she said with a sigh: “It’s really hard for me to leave, I do love coming here.” And the young man put aside his work for a moment, looked at her affectionately, and said: “That’s self understood, Madame; here there still remains something of the real Poland.” Read More:http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/the-polish-paradox-1.118842

…The Lehi played a role, along with the Haganah and Begin’s Etzel, in the Deir Yassin massacre. Regarding their attempted assassination of Harold MacMichael, commissioner of the British Mandate, a wholly unrepentant Shamir later said: “There are those who say that to kill Martin (a British sergeant) is terrorism, but to attack an army camp is guerrilla warfare and to bomb civilians is professional warfare. But I think it is the same from the moral point of view. Is it better to drop an atomic bomb on a city than to kill a handful of persons? I don’t think so. But nobody says that President Truman was a terrorist.”…Read More:http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/105259/israels-grittiest-founder/2

…Are we foolish enough to imagine that the British relinquished their hold on the colonies because early colonial Americans signed petitions? American Revolutionary heroes knew exactly what Shamir and others knew: The British would leave when the costs became too high.

The difference is that the American Revolution has the advantage of having unfolded centuries, rather than decades ago, so many of the disturbing details have been lost. But are we so naïve to imagine that there are not profound parallels and continuities between what unfolded in the 13 colonies in the middle of the 18th century and what happened in Palestine in the middle of the 20th?

Ben-Gurion, Begin, Shamir, and their generation, like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and theirs, believed that freedom would come only with sovereignty and that sovereignty would come only with victory. No matter Labor or Likud, they all shared that belief—and they were all right.

For all the misgivings many now have about Shamir’s intransigence or his specific policies, part of his legacy is that Jews ought not to pretend not to know what, deep down, they know. Yitzhak Shamir knew what he had seen, both in Europe and then in the Arab world, and he knew what it meant….( ibid.)

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