June 05, 2009

Revisiting the chosen people

Here's a rather naive article in yesterday's Ha'aretz by Shulamit Aloni about Israel's lurch from something acceptable to something unacceptable:
Not very long ago, during Rabbi Meir Kahane's racist rantings, the late writer and journalist Amos Elon gave me a copy of a letter Lord Rothschild sent to Herzl in August 1902. In the letter, Rothschild explains why he refuses to support the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. He writes that he "should view with horror the establishment of a Jewish colony pure and simple; such a colony would be Imperium Imperio; it would be a Ghetto with the prejudice of the Ghetto; it would be a small petty Jewish state, orthodox and illiberal, excluding the Gentile and the Christian."

Nevertheless, and despite phenomena like Kahane, the hope prevailed here over the years that Rothschild's harsh vision would prove false
Really? Whose hope? Maybe it was false propaganda that prevailed.

Anyway, let's read on, well skip a bit and then read on:
Most regrettably and disgracefully, everything that Lord Rothschild predicted is coming to pass in our time. In our blackest dreams and in the hardest times since the struggle to establish the state, we never imagined that those who call themselves disciples of Ze'ev Jabotinsky would impose terror and fear here using deranged racist legislation. We never imagined that they would use the destruction of the court system to try to prevent any possibility of achieving social justice and a humane attitude. This is something essential in every democratic society toward every man, woman and child, irrespective of origin, race, religion and sex.
Ok, so what's brought this undemocratic situation on?
For 42 years we have been occupying, oppressing and stealing lands that are not ours. To be free in our land do we need to become thieving Cossacks, uprooters of trees, burners of fields and harassers of women, the elderly and the very young? "We have this land, we have it," goes the song, but what should have been said is "We have the power, we have it, we have the money, we have it, and we are allowed, we are," to starve an entire population, imprison it and annihilate it using air strikes, cluster bombs and white phosphorous. Because we are the lords of the land and God has chosen us to rule. For the shame of it.
Aha, there's the bit that grabbed my attention; the chosen people bit. And I wondered, would this have the two Davids crawling out of the woodwork howling hysterical protests?

But for Aloni it's the occupation which is the villain of the piece not the zionist doctrine of chosenness. But then, what's this:
"A unique people," wrote David Ben-Gurion. Alas, for that uniqueness. Instead of a Jewish and democratic state they have delivered us a Jewish state controlled by religious fanaticism, one that maintains the purity of the race. They have delivered a democracy in the most primitive sense - not the preservation of democratic values but rule by the demos, the populace that is dictating the transformation of Israel into a totalitarian ethnocracy.
I think Ben Gurion might have said that stuff way before the occupation but let's get back to blaming the occupation then we might persuade people to confine Jewish supremacy to most of Palestine instead of all of it:
Hooray for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman - they are eradicating everything we built, everything we dreamed about and everything we fought for.
No they are not. They represent the logical outcome of precisely what zionists fought for: a state that legislates for Jewish chosenness.


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