Monday, October 31, 2005

The United Nations Works Relief Association is Not Associated with Relief and does not Work --

Arlene Kushner, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 27, 2005

As the United Nations celebrated its 60th anniversary this fall with a dramatic World Summit, supposedly sweeping reform proposals sought to remove the cloud of corruption and mismanagement surrounding the organization. Unfortunately, the proposed reforms do not really address the UN's most egregious fault: placing politics before humanitarian goals.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the case of UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated solely to caring for Palestinian Arab refugees. Palestinian refugees - singularly among all refugee groups - enjoy the support of their very own UN agency: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency. All other refugee groups receive assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Since 1951, UNHCR has worked within the regulations of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to find long-term, "durable" solutions to refugee crises. Through legal
protection and emergency relief, UNHCR has successfully helped more than 25 million people restart their lives.

For Palestinian refugees, however, no durable solution has been found in the 50-plus years since their problems began. Originally numbering between 500,000 and 750,000, Palestinian refugees now number more than 4 million, most of whom live in or near one of 59 camps in five countries. Their plight's implications extend far: The Palestinian refugee problem stands squarely in the way of achieving peace in the Middle

Understanding the unique phenomenon of Palestinian refugees, however, requires first understanding just how anomalous the institution designed to assist them is.

UNRWA WAS established by General Assembly Resolution 302 in December 1949. From the outset, the agency had an extraordinary degree of autonomy, largely due to pressure from the UN's Arab bloc. It was thus free to set its own definitions and guidelines - which were markedly different from those of UNHCR.

For example, UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees as "persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict."

By contrast, the UNHCR definition - recognized as the international norm - describes a refugee as someone who "is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

By emphasizing "country of nationality or habitual residence," UNHCR clearly intends to exclude the transients embraced by UNRWA's definition - people who had only recently arrived in Palestine from neighboring Arab countries in search of work. Moreover, while UNHCR seeks to prevent expansion of its definition in ways that would encourage its improper use for political ends, UNRWA has done just the opposite: Not only has it declined to remove the status of refugee from people who no longer fit the original description, such as the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians granted full citizenship by Jordan, but it indefinitely confers refugee status on refugees' descendants.

By expanding its already problematic refugee definition, UNRWA guarantees that the problem will remain ever-growing, and thus ever-worsening. For some Arab leaders this may be precisely the aim: So long as the Palestinian refugee problem is visible and acute, Israel remains a convenient scapegoat on which the region's ills can be blamed.

Such differing definitions, unsurprisingly, lead to divergent policies. Indeed, by refusing to consider any resolution other than that demanded by the Arab world - the "right of return" to Israel - UNRWA has effectively denied Palestinian refugees an end to their unwanted status, the very goal UNHCR takes as its raison d'etre with regard to the refugees that fall within its mandate.

OUTSIDE THE Arab world, it is widely accepted among the international community that an influx of over four million Palestinian refugees into Israel is neither a realistic nor an acceptable goal. Given this, it is remarkable that Palestinian Arab refugees have never been offered a means of resettlement.

With the notable exception of Jordan, the Arab world has denied citizenship to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, many of whom have been born and raised in these countries. UNRWA itself has never promoted resettlement, nor pressured Arab countries into meeting their responsibilities toward these refugees.

Instead, UNRWA has followed a policy of reinforcing refugees' collective attachments to their places of origin. A flagrant example of this policy is the manner in which UNRWA has thwarted offers to Palestinian refugees of permanent housing outside refugee camps.

In 1985, for example, Israel attempted to move refugees into 1,300 permanent housing units near Nablus - without demanding that they relinquish the "right of return." Yet the UN intervened, asserting that "measures to resettle Palestine refugees in the West Bank away from the homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right of return."

OF ALL UNRWA's problems, however, the most serious is links to Palestinian terror. According to a 2003 report by the US General Accounting Office, for example, UNRWA employees were arrested and convicted by Israeli military courts of throwing firebombs at an Israeli public bus, possessing bomb-making materials, and transferring chemicals to assist in bomb-making.Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold saw shahid (martyr) posters in the homes of UNRWA workers during a visit to Jenin in April 2002.

"It was clear," he said in a December 2003 interview, "that UNRWA workers were doubling as Hamas operatives."

This should hardly have come as a surprise. As PA Minister of Labor Ghassan Khatib remarked in February 2002, every young man in UNRWA's Balata refugee camp had his own personal weapon because the local steering committee - an official UNRWA body - voted that charitable donations would be used for guns rather than food or other relief.

Whether UNRWA is afraid to interfere with terrorist activity in its camps, or whether it has become so entrenched in the terrorist infrastructure as to be effectively indistinguishable from it, the evidence is clear that an agency mandated to serve a humanitarian purpose has been drafted to further a militant political agenda.

The UN Refugee Convention established international standards with respect to refugees. In its deviation from these it is clear that UNRWA is not only unhelpful to the Palestinian refugee issue, but actually detrimental. Those nations interested in finding a genuine, viable solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, a sine qua non for peace in the Middle East, should be encouraged to work toward the termination of UNRWA's mandate and, in its stead, the application of UNHCR policies to the Palestinian refugee issue.

The writer, a Jerusalem-based journalist, has written four reports on UNRWA for the Center for Near East Policy Research. A longer version of this essay appears in the current issue of Azure (

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Why do they Expect us to be Sensitive? --

No fanfare here, I just wanna jot down some thoughts. After 9/11, and perhaps before, the American Jewish population revealed itself as having both leftist and rightist components -- I personally leaned a tad to the right, which is I want to comment on.

OK... I'm going to my best to expose a mental fallacy on the part of society, American in this case, since I live in America. The latest talk in the last few years is that the Bush Administration has waged a war against Muslims, and some people have gone so far as to say that it's "Nazi styled" in the way that Hitler went after Jews. Personally, I think that these people are as guilty of banging the war drum as they say George Bush Jr. is, except that their beat sucks.

Here's my (kosher and halal) beef with this whole thing; some people, it seemed, expected all Jews to herd over to the left side of the political spectrum, maybe because Jews are traditionally liberal or something like that, or because we were the prime target in the Holocaust. Most ironically, those people only confirmed that just in time to pose the question as to why Jews were not speaking out against this more loudly, not to mention, religious Jews. It didn't happen, many left-leaning Jews left streaks of fire over to the right side, and many Jewish former liberal super-heroes, such as David Horowitz, saw the forest through the trees, and when they saw that liberals were burning them down, their "compatriots," they ditched that party.

The Jews that became right-leaning did so for many reasons, but my particular reason was because, "Hey, where all the liberals when Muslims, particularly Palestinian homicide bombers, were bombing the B'Isa out of civilian Israeli's as a part of their murderous and imperialistic designs on the land of Israel?" The chicken soup had been bubbling for some years now, with liberal voices, being led by the more extremists of the spectrum, producing more poison than was imaginable (at the time) from a supposedly sensitive and compassionate world view. Israel, per Arafat's propaganda, became the Devil in disguise, and the Palestinians became Jews.

Then 9/11 happened and many opinions became crystallized, while many others fell into confusion. The liberal anti-Israelism/anti-Semitism of the past few years, having metastasized, now being met with 9/11 and the opinions, fact-finding, and revelations that occured afterwards, caused many a Jew to explore their conservative roots. It's not that Jews hate Muslims, in fact, the amount of liberal Jews who spoke out (and speak out) for Muslims rights in America probably hasn't dwindled much since 9/11; it's just that Israel-loving Jews, having become fed up with Palestinian behavior towards Israel and the general Muslim and Arab silence (sometimes outspoken support) towards it were in agreement with many of Bush's policies.

But many Jews felt betrayed by liberalism, and liberals felt betrayed that those Jews were defending Israel. Liberals didn't raise a finger when innocent Israeli Jews were being murdered by Palestinians, but they screamed bloody murder when we attacked Iraq and when the Bush Administration instituted racial profiling for Arabs in the United States. They condemned Israel to an anarchist-atheist version of Dante's seventh ring of Hell for setting up road-blocks to keep two-legged post-adolescent Palestinian bombs from walking into Israel Proper, but they also condemned America for a similar fate for doing something much more moderate - racial profiling. This was the straw that broke the wowsers out of the camel's back; if racial profiling was a cardinal sin, then holy garbanzo beans, conservative (in the political sense) Jews had better start accepting N.C., Noam Chomsky, as their personal savior!

The real question is, "Why should Jews have been sensitive," that is, towards "what the Bush Administration was doing?"

Friday, October 28, 2005

G-d's Little Quirks

I was driving down to the UofA, a little down, randomly tuned my radio to 92.1, which came in with a bit of static, and a familiar song was just beginning; Matisyahu's "King Without a Crown," and in the words of Danny Brandis, he was "Yiggy yiggy yo'ing" all over the stage. This lifted my spirits.

When I got to the UofA parking lot, I was looking for a place to park, but the place was pretty full. Finally, quite far from where I normally park, I saw a girl walking and I asked her if she was leaving, and she said "Yes" as she got into her car. However, the person behind me, who was perfectly lined up with her car, was going to take her spot when she left. Seeing no point in getting a confusing attempt at telepathy with the driver behind me, I avoided this and drove forward and around to the right to find another spot, not looking back at all.

Just then, I thought I saw a person get into a car, although I wasn't completely sure. Just then, I heard a car start, looked to my left, and I was perfectly lined up with a car that was backing out. I backed up a bit to give him space, he pulled out, I parked, and now I'm here writing this blog.

What other proof do we need of the existence of G-d?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Speaker in my Class

I just came back from one of my classes, where he had two speakers, former prostitutes, come talk to us about their experiences and their thoughts of matters of this nature.

The first woman, in my opinion, had a lot of good things to say.

The second woman was a bit more disagreeable. She wasn't actually a prostitute in her past, but worked at a "massage parlor" that served as a front for sexual acts, although rarely passing the line of actual intercourse. The jist of her talk was that she did not necessarily see a problem with sex work, and she is an advocate of the betrayal of negative viewpoints towards sex workers.

She started off the discussion by asking us (the students) to identify the most-commonly considered downsides to sex work. In no particular order, they were as follows:

1) Damage to the family
2) Damage to the worker
3) Enables sex addiction
4) Spreads disease
5) Immoral

The speaker addressed each point one by one. Her response to the first one, immorality, which she made quite assertively and emphatically, was that the government in America does not legislate morality. I tend to agree with that premise, at least to some degree, but my question to her was that if the government of the United States, not its citizens, was using prostitution as a business by which to make money, would we as citizens not consider that immoral and probably fight against it? Would we not hold up our government to proper morality? I didn't really agree with her response, but it nevertheless was consistent; she got this thoughtful look on her face and asked me, "Then again, who's morality?" I said, "Well, ours." Then she moved on to the next question.

Basically, I'm not going to go through each of her response step by step, more because I don't really remember them in detail, but the jist of many her responses was that, at least for "damages the family" and "damages the worker" were that there are many things that can damage the family and damage the worker, so why stereotype prostitution? Had I raised my hand in class, my response would have been something to the effect of, "Conceding that there are many other damaging elements in society does not justify one or the other. In fact, if we are dedicated to improving society and the human condition, then we have to concede that prostitution is just one of the damaging factors, albeit tied in with others."

As far as "spreading disease" goes, she was trying to tell us (and by this point, I wasn't buying much of it) that, according to a study, prostitution's spread of disease is "negligible" compared to disease spread by students in high school and college who are having sex.

Regarding the enablement of sex addiction, she said that if people are addicted to sex, they don't need to pay for it, that they can get it for free, and therefore it doesn't really enable sex addiction. Then she pondered the question for a while and basically conceded that yes, it can enable sex addiction, it is only one of the many venues for a person to express their sexual addiction, many of which are free. The pattern in her logic was a consistent avoidance of the view that prostitution was directly responsible for certain societal ailments (which relates to both the sex worker and the person paying for the sex) and attempted to take some of the weight off of it.

Generally, I would say that prostitution is sometimes a cause and sometimes it is an actually an effect of other things, and those things can be identified and those cases can be made, but she wasn't making them. Therefore, she ended up with quite an empty argument. It's interesting to note that, when a girl in the class asked her if she would be willing to let her (now 18 year-old) daughter become a sex worker, she became reflective and said that it wouldn't be her first choice, but it definitely wouldn't be her last, in the event that her daughter really wanted to do it. I couldn't believe my ears, and I have a feeling that many of the other students felt the same; the speaker was actually considering condoning her daughter's choice to become a sex worker if it was something that she really wanted to do.

Just a note, I saw a program on Cable Access where this speaker, a few years ago, gave a talk on freedom of speech in the media and things of that sort. I am not attributing this to her at all, but I got a real liberal political sense from her, and I can just imagine that, in the same way she is trying to whitewash prostitution, that she probably tries to whitewash terrorism, specifically Palestinian terrorism. It's just a part of the liberal political agenda that I've gotten really used to.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


What is freedom? Marriam Webster's offers a few definitions, but the most fitting one for this post is "the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action." Forget the dictionary definition for a moment, let's look at what most people generally define as freedom.

Some people say that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, that seems like the most common answer. "Freedom is a life without limitations" seems to be the simplest and most direct view. Every different individual can define (and most will) freedom in a variant way due to the areas of their life that they feel are restricted, coerced, or constrained, therefore the real-life applications of freedoms are basically unlimited. I don't see a need to go into them because you, the reader, can imagine your own definition of freedom in response (and in opposition) to your vision of constraint (although you can also define "constraint" in opposition to your vision of freedom). Chances are that most people will, as a default, define "freedom" as the opposite of that which they define as "constraint."


Some people, probably many, in our society here in America, hold the belief that freedom is obstructed by structure (obstruct - structure), i.e., that structure is constraint. I'm not talking about our freedoms as Americans, for example, for that is a topic in and of itself, but am referring to behavior that falls within the realm of legality, such as how you live your life (where do I go on the weekends, etc...) The word "structure" is a neutral word, yet for many people that are looking to maximize the amount of freedom that they have in their lives (many times) "structure" serves as the antithesis of their ideal life; living off the cuff and spontaneously is the way to define freedom.

Making no mistakes about it, many people conclude that yes, structure is an essential part of life, for even those who desire pure freedom need structure (when to get up in the morning, when to go to sleep, for example). But all in all, structure is an element extraneous to freedom, i.e., it is only necessary to the parts of life that are not associated with enjoyment, such as school, work, and generally all responsibility; if one were to apply structure to enjoyment, it would deteriorate. In other words, structure applies only to the parts of life that come with responsibility, whereas in the enjoyment realm, a structureless perspective is preferred.

Freedom through Structure

This seems like an oxymoron. The reality of it, however, is that even though freedom is enjoyable, an over-abundance of it has an adverse effect; what actually begins to happen is that the sheer range of options reduces the opportunity to choose. Because decision-making becomes hinged on availability of these options rather than insightful decison on the quality of available options, i.e., the best ones, the chooser becomes imprisoned, in a matter of speaking, by a plethora of choices. As a result, the individual chooses what seems to be the best option and then pursues it. In other words, because the realm of possibilities is so vast and multiplitous, of which many choices appeal to the senses and are alluring, the individual makes his or her choice through a lens of influence (due to quantity and character) and not through consideration. Since freedom is associated with, perhaps defined by, availability of choices, the individual cannot make beneficial choices to him or herself and therefore becomes enclosed in the illusion that sheer variety is freedom. In other words, the individual wants no limits and no contstraints, and as a result, actually severely constrains his or her decision-making abilities, and ultimately, the attainment of joy and peace of mind.


If this is true, then "structure" is not the right word, nor is "limits" nor "boundaries," for there is no way to present those words without making freedom-seekers cringe, but rather "filter." By reducing options, one is able to perceive and decide between things with more clarity than one would otherwise be able to. The freedom-seeker's initial anxiety is that a reduction of available choices will surely reduce the ability to find joy, and it is a real anxiety for many people begin to describe reduction of choice as suffocation, even though it is an exaggeration.

Experiencing joy is more than possible within a chosen set of limitations because the range of possibilities in the realm of human existence is so vast that there must be certain choices that create more negativity in the individual's life than positivity; causing frustration, anger, confusion, etc, difficulties that require from the individual to give, but do not give back.

A certain rabbi that I know made the analogy of a baseball field; there is a fence enclosing a baseball field, and even though there is a place where the field ends, one can still hit a homerun and a play an entire game inside. In other words, nobody needs a limitless amount of expanse to live their life to the fullest, for both our bodies and our souls only take up a finite amount of space. You can sprint until you're tired in an area of ten miles just as efficiently as you can in an area of one mile.


So if one deems a filter to be beneficial to existence and joy, where should the filter be set up; what should the individual decide to filter out and what should he or she allow to come through? Now it becomes a matter of decision on what values the individual wants to uphold or to reject, and then he or she establishes the filter(s) based on these ethics. This can only be achieved through an examination of the individual's own position in the world, ultimately leading the individual to assign either meaning or meaninglessness to elements of reality.

Monday, October 24, 2005


The mood is becoming upbeat in Palestine these days. Election fever
is building up as winter approaches. Major Palestinian cities such
as Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, Gaza, Jenin and Rafah are due to elect
mayors and city councils in December. The following month the entire Palestinian public is due to elect a new legislative council. The city elections will be the first since 1976, legislative elections the first since 1995.

All city mayors in office today are appointed rather than elected. Members of the legislature have been in office for 10 years.

While municipal elections are generating interest in the major cities, it is the legislative elections that are the focus, for two important reasons. This is the first time the Islamic groups predominantly Hamas) have agreed to participate, and these elections will also be "mixed." Palestinians will vote using two ballots. One is to select 66 members, who will be chosen based on district representation, while an equal number will be chosen based on party lists.

The elections, which will strengthen political parties and give
credence to some of the smaller parties, will be closely watched
throughout the Arab world.

The use of proportional representation will boost small parties
that might not be able to get a candidate chosen in a particular
district but might capture enough votes Palestine-wide to allow them to
muster a member or two from their party.

THE PIONEERING nature of the elections, unfortunately, is not what
has grabbed the headlines. Instead, the focus is on Hamas - as well
as Islamic Jihad - which plan to participate in the elections.
Israel says it will not facilitate elections if armed militias or parties openly dedicated to its destruction compete.

Palestinian officials, as well as the public at large, completely
support the right of Hamas to participate in the elections. For
years Palestinians have been trying to convince Hamas and Islamic Jihad
to try and channel their energies through the ballot box and not
through the bullet. In fact this is the exact terminology Shimon Peres has used in the past trying to encourage political empowerment of
Palestinian militants.

Hamas, for its part, has repeatedly refused to participate in the
political process, stressing that it legitimizes the Oslo Accords,
which it opposes. But after five years of an intifada which has
shown the Islamic militants the limits of military action, moderate
elements in Hamas finally prevailed and announced the group's
agreement to participate in the upcoming legislative elections.

Hamas participation was part of an agreement reached in Cairo with
the active involvement of Egyptian intelligence. Mahmoud Abbas promised that elections would take place in the summer of 2005, and
in return the Islamic groups agreed to a tahdiya or unilateral period
of quiet.

But for a variety of reasons, among them that the election law was
not agreed upon, the elections were postponed until January 2006.
Islamic groups initially protested this postponement but finally
acceded to it and began preparing for the balloting.

Their success in an earlier set of municipal elections seems to
have been a tactical mistake in the sense that it raised the worry level in Israel and the United States. Most observers feel that Hamas and other Islamic candidates are unlikely to garner more than 30-35% of
the vote.

Yet Israel is adamant that they don't participate. This plus the
fact that Israel has recently begun rounding up Hamas political leaders (including such moderates as Hassan Yousef, who has publicly accepted the two-state solution along the 1967 lines) threatens to raise the popularity of the Islamic groups, thus producing the opposite effect to the one desired by those worried about their possible success.

ISLAMIC LEADERS have repeatedly said that they are not seeking a
political coup in the elections, only that they are serious about
their interest in being part of the Palestinian decision-making

If the US and Israel do not want Hamas and Islamic Jihad to participate in the military struggle or in the political arena, what is it they want them to do? This issue becomes even more sensitive in the context of the US efforts to spread democracy in the greater Middle East, and Washington's insistence that their democratic calls don't exclude Muslim parties.

Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians generally will be closely watching how the US deals with this issue. If it fails this test, America's ideas will be unlikely to have any chance in any other Arab or Muslim areas.

Send us your comments >>

Roberta Seid, Santa Monica, California, USA: If Hamas members want
to run in the Palestinian elections, let them form a political party
that does not have a covenant calling for the obliteration of Israel, that does not say negotiations are impermissible and jihad is the only path, and that does not say that all of Israel is Islamic waqf land. It also should not call for war instead of peace and should not repeat, almost verbatim, lies based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Currently, that is what Hamas stands for. It is a war party that programmatically calls for racism, terrorism and intolerance.
It is not a political party.

If Hamas, with its programmatic violence, hate and racism, can be
considered a legitimate political party, then Israel will have to
rethink its policy banning Kach and prohibiting it from running in

Friday, October 21, 2005

An Article by Dan Ben-Simon

*I have mixed feelings about the context in this article, but nevertheless, it brings up important points.

Flame of hatred

By Daniel Ben Simon

For two days, yesterday and the day before, Jewish believers were able to pray in the Yitzhak Avinu hall in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, without being disturbed by Muslim worshipers. The Goldstein massacre, which took place in the winter of 1994, gave rise to a complex separation arrangement between Jews and Muslims. For 10 days a year, Jews are permitted to pray in the cave without seeing a trace of a Muslim worshiper. The Muslims benefit from a similar gesture. During the rest of the year, the cave is open to all believers, with strict separation arrangements.

To date, the arrangement has proved itself. There is no other city in which coexistence between Jews and Muslims is so perverse. Its residents go to sleep with a common fantasy: to wake up and discover that the earth has opened up and swallowed the other side. Hatred still bubbles up from every corner. That is the reason for the impressive presence of the security forces. Every few meters, soldiers, policemen, roadblocks, watchtowers, firing posts. There is not a calm moment here.

On Hol Hamoed Sukkot "(the intermediate days of the holiday"), the settlers make merry in the city. Thousands of Israelis come to the city to pray in the Cave of the Patriarchs. The residents of Hebron add a tour of the Jewish Quarter to the standard package. The guides don't skip a single detail. Every drop of Jewish blood that was spilled over the generations is documented down to the last detail. The riots of 1929 are the crowning jewel of Jewish sacrifice in the history of Hebron.

Only blood and death and murder and massacre and pogroms and despair and destruction and extermination. There is not a single happy moment in the Jewish existence inside or outside of Hebron. It is hard to believe that after the establishment of a Jewish sovereign state, so many Jews are walking around feeling as though they were sheep being led to the slaughter. The rain interfered with the visitors? programs. The organizers are to be pitied. Almost every year it rains and the Hebron festivities are spoiled. Over and above their worshiping in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the visitors are meant to serve as a public justification for the Jewish settlement in Hebron. The residents here still feel that the treasonous government is capable of uprooting them from here. If not the Sharon government, then perhaps a leftist government that will follow. They still remember the moments of horror that followed the massacre by Baruch Goldstein. It was not the blood of the 29 Muslim worshipers who were murdered in cold blood by a Jewish suicide attacker that disturbed their peace, but rather the fear of its results. A few hours after the massacre, Shaul Mofaz, the current defense minister who was then commander of Judea and Samaria, received an order to prepare to evacuate the settlers in Hebron. It was not clear how many. Mofaz sent military forces to the area. After deliberations, it was decided to evacuate only Tel Rumeida.

Then-foreign minister Shimon Peres convinced prime minister Yitzhak Rabin that evacuating Tel Rumeida was likely to mollify the great anger that seized the Palestinians and the Muslim world. Rabin acceded. Only a few hours later, the order to evacuate was shelved." The truth is that it isn't clear to me why," explained a Peres associate who was in on the secret of the evacuation. "I think that Rabin and Peres were struck by what I would call "the fear of being first." Both of them were afraid to be the first to evacuate Jews from Hebron."

That evacuation was canceled at the last moment, but the fear that it will recur still hovers like a menacing cloud over the settlers. The disengagement from Gaza intensified their fears that they are liable to be next.

Burning with hatred

They did not believe the government would go all the way, and uproot Jews from the sacred ground of Gaza. For years they had been accustomed to dictating to the government how to behave. They always knew that they had the last word. Suddenly this pattern was broken. The implementation of the disengagement shook up the settlers? leaders in Hebron like an earthquake, and caused them to go into shock. Since the disengagement, they have cut off contact with the outside world. The residents have withdrawn into themselves; they are having difficulty defusing their anger. They are still burning with hatred toward the state, the government, the left, the secular community, the fawning religious community, the soldiers − indeed, toward anyone seen as a collaborator with the enemy government.

"I have nothing more to say to you. You are not my nation and you are not a part of my nation. We are two different nations. You are my enemies, and I pray for the day when we will take our revenge. I hate you more than the Arabs. You will pay for what you did forever." These are a few of the words hurled by a well-known resident of Hebron at a journalist who happened to visit the city this year with the pilgrims. On ordinary days, he is a personable and pleasant man. He smiles a lot, and is certain to the depth of his soul of the justice of his way. If these were normal times, he would reveal his identity. The disengagement has driven him crazy, and has made it difficult for him to have any contact with the "other side," or "the enemy that resides in Israel."

Four sons refuse to serve

A., 51, is a resident of the Jewish Quarter, and a father of eight. Recently, his fourth grandchild was born. "What did you think?" he asked angrily. "That it would pass quietly? What did you think? That this is Yamit? I want to tell you how we feel. Take the 1977 revolution, when the right came to power, take the feeling of doom that was felt by the kibbutzim after Menachem Begin came to power, and multiply that by 10. And perhaps you will understand a little of the destruction that we are feeling."

"This is a deep rupture that will take us years to get rid of, if we ever do. We are no longer one nation, and you are not my nation. We are the Jews and you are Israelis. We have nothing in common, and in the end, we will win. When you die, we will continue to pray over our forefathers who are buried in the cave."

"For me, you are another nation. You are not Jews. Even your cities have nothing Jewish. When I come to Tel Aviv, God forbid, I feel as though I'm in another country. You have beaten us now, but we?ll let you have it in the next war. You're in euphoria now, but in the end you will weep, because we will conquer you and take over the country. With the help of our children and our grandchildren. We will beat you with the bellies of our women," he warns.

His face reddened in fury. The man stood in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs, and displayed his heartbreak in front of everyone. His friends suggested to him that he not speak that way to "the Israeli" visitor who happened to be there. "It's a wasted effort," they suggested to him. But he insisted. Recently, he decided not to send his four sons to serve in the army. "They reached that decision on their own," he corrected himself.

His son, the soldier, who is serving in the Nahal Haredi "(an ultra-Orthodox IDF unit"), was required to remove his uniform before he crossed the threshold of the house. "Otherwise, we wouldn?t have let him in," explained his sister H., who stood next to her father and nodded in agreement with his words. The girl, 15, explained that her father is one of the moderates. Among the community of settlers there is an atmosphere of war. Not against the Palestinians, but against the Israelis, those who uprooted Jews from their country. "You, the secular Jews, can't imagine what they are saying about you," she added, with a broad smile on her face. "I hate Sharon, and I want him to die." Her father smiled, perhaps feeling that he had succeeded in bequeathing his legacy to his progeny. "We will not forgive you, and we will not forget what you did to us," added A., having difficulty calming down. ?Why should we forgive you? The halakha [Jewish law] forbids the forgiveness of sins between man and his fellow man, and only God can forgive you. Because we don?t have an iota of confidence in you, not in the media and not in the judicial system. We don?t have a dialogue with you, because you deceived us. In the near future, we are about to establish a museum in memory of the settlements that you uprooted, so that all of the Jewish people will come and see the crimes that you committed against the Jews."

And then, surprisingly, he fell silent, took his daughter's hand and pulled her toward the cave. Several young men and women were crowded at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu hall in the Cave of the Patriarchs, reading a silent prayer to find a suitable mate. "God of the universe, let me find my worthy match from heaven, like the root of my soul," says the prayer. "Already now I am ready to marry and to be rescued by doing so from my passion that burns within me ... Why do I deserve that? That I should spend all my youth in sinful thoughts?"

On the main street, food and prayer stands were set out, reminiscent of a Jewish shtetl in Eastern Europe. Dozens walked around among the crowd, asking for money. There were more Gush Katif products than Hebron products. Shirts with the slogan "We won't forget and we won't forgive" were more in evidence than shirts with "Hebron forever." They also sold posters showing the Gush Katif settlements before they were bulldozed.

On the steps leading to the cave, a last consultation of regional commanders took place, before the large throng of believers began to enter. Border Police Commander Hasin Fares came to exchange a few words with Deputy Commander Avraham Yitah, the commander of the Border Police in the Judea and Samaria region. Yitah explained that the quiet of Hebron is misleading and deceptive. One moment it's quiet and pastoral, and the next it's lethal and frightening. "You never know where the trouble can come from," he added.

Fares said that of all places, Hebron is the most sensitive, because of the religious baggage of the two sides. "The smallest attack here exceeds the boundaries of the region, and goes straight to a discussion in the UN," he explained. "Therefore, our main task is to stop the fire before it spreads." The two senior officers went their way, and left behind hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

Bentzi, the owner of the local souvenir shop, shot them a look full of contempt and anger. It was clear that he and his friends do not feel too much love for the uniformed personnel who have been sent here to protect them.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dis - criminate --

"Dis" means to "oppose" or "negate," as in "disengage" or "disappear." To "criminate" means to "liken someone to a criminal," even if you aren't supposed to include the word being defined in the definition itself. So to "discriminate" means to do the opposite of likening someone to a criminal, with the previously stated rule still standing. In other words, "to discriminate" against someone is to liken someone to an innocent person.

The Objective Truth

An object is a tangible thing. When we want the objective truth, we want facts without bias, we want to be able to see the object of study clearly. This is related to "objectifying" something, or "objectification," which is the same as seeing something as an object, such as a person, and is demeaning, so may we never be objective. However, it is acceptable to object to objectivity, and therefore see to it that it doesn't happen.

"Subjective" is the opposite of "objective," because we are subjecting something to something else, usually an object to our subjectification. It is the subject, the concept of focus, and since it is good to focus, may we always be subjective. Also, a doctor has a subject, and since doctors heal people, we have even more reason to be subjective. Furthermore, in school we have subjects, and school is a place of learning; even another reason to be subjective.

Virginity - The state of living in Virginia

Compassion - The act of using a compass

Patient - The adjective used to describe the necessary attribute when waiting for a doctor to see you

Restroom - Because you sit there

Dumbwaiter - Hey! So bring your own dang food!

Assimilate - To become like an ass

Racism - The world view by which one sees everything as a contest for speedy competition

- Something that is not in the center of the paper

Unfair - Ugly

University - 1) A place where professors teach you things that you should accept are
believed across the board (universe, universal)

2) A place where professors answer questions in one sentence
one sentence only (uni-verse)

Diversity - A place where two opinions are taught

Citizenship - A boat that brings immigrants to another country

Distinct - To remove a bad odor from an object

- The act of measuring death

Pubic - Of or relating to pubs

Neighborhood- A phase or passing time in someone's life when he or she lives in the vicnity of other people (childhood)
- A form of sound
Completely Random Information

I was sitting in the ILC at the UofA in the USA after the light of day, when someone said screamed "hey!" after a loud pop, and everyone stopped to see what it was, marked the ceasing of the buzz. The intrusion caused momentary confusion and then the people resumed to be consumed by their homework, which just a while ago kept them subsumed. Thus was the nature of the event, I considered it relevant, if only for a moment, and subsequently I'm writing this eloquent and quaint anti-lament.
Thought(s) of the Day --

Let's roll out our big tinfoil ball and see what it says today!

Why are their religious Jews that oppose the existence of the Jewish state (Israel) and not religious Muslims that oppose the notion of the not-yet in existence Muslim state named Palestine?

What is so antithetical to Judaism about Israel to necessitate the opposition of Zionism by religious Jews?

Is the fictitious state of "Palestine" not antithetical to Islam enough to necessitate opposition of Palestinian nationalism by religious Muslims?

Are Jews (religious and not) really both free-thinking enough to be able to oppose such a concept as a Jewish state when Muslims are not? (the answer to this question should be "no")

Do Jews (religious and not) really possess a level of spiritual and/or intellectual maturity and honesty to be able to question fundamental notions about themselves when Muslims are not? (the answer to this question should also be "no")

When will Muslims begin to show signs that they are publically renouncing certain traditionally-held Muslim viewpoints?

If Jews are doing such things, shouldn't Muslims be?

Is hatred of Judaism (and all things Jewish) an appropriate basis by which to base Palestinian nationalism on?

The existence of a Jewish state dates back to the Torah and is therefore a part and parcel of Judaism; does a Palestinian state date back to the establishment of the religion of Islam, and is it therefore a part and parcel of Islam?

Are there any Muslims in opposition to the notion of a Palestinian state?

How will such a state help Islam?

How will such a state help the Palestinians?

How will such a state help anybody?

Where was Palestinian nationalism before the 6 Day War?

Is the abandonement of the notion of a Palestinian state a viable option for peace?

If academics and intellectuals want Israel to abandon Zionism in order to establish peace, why cannot those same people want Arabs and Muslims to abandon Palestinian nationalism for the same reason?

*** My friend Racheli suggested that some of the questions I asked in this post sounded racist, perhaps answering the question before I actually gave the reader an opportunity to ask it. Clearly this is not the intent, but the intent, however, is to ask uneasy and uncomfortable questions and to intitiate a response. That is all, you may be dimissed. Yaniv... ***

Monday, October 17, 2005

Suicide Among Palestinians Prevalent

Shin Bet nabs 14-year-old would-be suicide bomber

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy suspected of planning a suicide attack in Israel was arrested Tuesday by members of the Shin Bet in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, the Shin Bet released Wednesday morning.

The boy said that members of the Tanzim coerced him into reading his will on videotape while holding a gun and a Koran book, saying that if he did not do so, they would say that he was a traitor working with Israeli forces.

An Israeli security spokesperson said that Palestinian General Intelligence Officer Jamal Karnawi pressed the Tanzim to recruit the boy, according to an Army Radio report.

An example of the oppressive powers of "weak" peoples onto their own. It turns out that it's not only the powerful that are corrupt, as the myth goes.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What is a Goy?

Let's start off with the literal meaning of the word "goy," which means "nation." Let us also start off with the very heart of the matter; how has this word been used and how is it being used? To understand this, we'll have to understand, even if just generally, the context of the place and time when the word was being used to understand what it intended. In certain times, the word was absolutely derogatory, other times it was neutral, a word used to describe the nations of the world, and yet in other times hope, respect, and faith was placed in the nations, that the goyim would one day live up to their full potential of being G-dly people. We can't forget that the Torah refers to Israel (the Jews) as a "goy kadosh," a "holy nation." The famous verse from Isaiah, in Hebrew, states, "Lo yisa goy el goy kherev ve lo il'medu 'od milkhama," which means, "Nation will not lift sword against another nation and no longer will they learn war."

In times that were bad for Jews, "goy" was a derogatory term used to denigrate the people directly responsible and generally associated with these overwhelming hardships, such as in the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, and perhaps the first - a matter that I am only somewhat educated in.

Goys will be Goys

Judaism is firmly placed in the belief that one day the entire world's population will come to a knowledge of G-d, proclaiming Him publically and unashamedly, and the goyim will be instrumental in this, as they have a positive and highly respectful role to play (by keeping the Seven Laws of Noah) in the "Divine symphony" that will lead up to the coming of the (real) Messiah, i.e., not Jesus.

The Goyishe Usage of "Goy"

How do Gentiles use the word "goy?" There are many Gentiles in the world, and among them there are goyim that love Jews, those that are (supposedly) neutral, those that hate Jews, and many shades of gray in between. The Jew-loving brand are offended by the usage of the word, although many of them find it more convenient to come to hasty and abrasive (and equally, if more, offensive) conclusions about it (and therefore Jews); I am specifically referring to some religious Christians here. There are others, the Jew-hating brand of Gentiles, that use the word "Protocol of the Elders of Zion"istically, in order to prove that Jews see themselves as a superior race that is plotting to Orwellianly take over the inferior "goy" populations of the world. Then you have religious Muslims that scream and shout and, through mindless Islamic hysteria (which is really guilty of what they preach), try to pinpoint some secret racist Jewish hateful agenda inherent to the Talmud as the underlying and unpublicized cause of the "Israeli annihilation of the Palestinian people." The word "goy" will continue to be defined as wished in order to create the most convenient picture, but "goy" just means nation, and we are all goyim.
I was sitting and eating my lunch during my break at work, and pieces of tuna fish from my (self-made) tuna wrap fell to the floor. I was watching a row of ants doing their thing, and realized that, as an analogy, the way I was watching them work is the way that G-d watches us. I realized, of course, that I was not aware of what the ants were thinking, neither as a group nor as individuals, but realized that G-d is cognizant of what each human being is thinking at every moment of his or her life. This is one element of the nature of the relationship between humanity and G-d.

This thought then drifted into another thought, and I realized that this is the Jewish conceptualization of the relationship between G-d and humanity, per the Torah. If this is the Jewish understanding, I wondered, then the Christian understanding would be that G-d Himself made Himself into one of the very ants which He presides over, and interjecting Himself among them into their society. At the same time, however, the ant which He made Himself into is not just Him, but is regarded as a separate being from Him which has an understanding of Him deeper than any of the surrounding ants. Therefore, it is Him and not Him at the same time.

What could a bunch of ants possibly learn from G-d who puts Himself into their form in order to communicate with them? It seems that His original manifestation, the Torah, and subsequent manifestations, the monarchy, the prophets, the entire body of Oral Law, and every subsequent insight (all who uphold the Torah), don't seem to do the job for them; they need a "more intimate" G-d than the G-d of the Torah. Nothing that Jesus said or did could, if we care about pragmatism, be on par with what G-d said. A G-d that speaks to them from a mountain but does not show Himself to them is too distant for Christianity, they want a G-d that will speak face to face with them, even though every instance of the Torah's mention of "G-d's face" or "G-d's hand" is anthropomorphism. I am shocked that I have met seemingly intelligent Christians who believe that when Moses spoke to G-d face to face as "one does with a friend," that he really saw G-d's face; I wonder what color His eyes were. The Torah says that G-d has no physical image and that no human can see Him directly and live, but apparentally G-d was born in Bethlehem, Israel (or was it Nazareth?) sometime in the 1st century, was murdered when He was 33 years old, and looked like a Jew named Josh. Apparentally He also like to build tables.

Christianity desires a direct communion with G-d and therefore rejects the Torah's viewpoint of a G-d that only speaks to some in a direct form (the prophets), through kings (the monarchies) and through a text of instruction (the Torah) but speaks (spoke actually) to all through the choice of death (actually, the death of a separate being), even though that distinct being only revealed himself to some twelve people (or more, based on the belief of his resurrection). Nevertheless, some 33% of the world (which is the world's Christian population) has not spoken to Jesus personally, yet they believe in him with full faith as if he revealed himself to them through direct prophecy at the foot of an obscure mountain in the middle of a bleak desert.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Personal Morals and Social Values

There is an inherent difference between personal morals and external values, with the main difference, as I see it, being the internal nature of personal morals and the external nature of social values. A person's morals, as far as is popular to consider it today, are nobody's business but the individual's. For example, a person's sexual viewpoints and behavior are his or hers alone, for he or she is the master of his or her own destiny. Social values, on the other hand, are external, and should be everybody's business because the world is truly affected by the maintenance (or dissolution) of ethical social and political mechanics. What is not realized from time to time is that, what to one is an attack on corrupted social values, to another is a rescue from corrupted personal morals.

For example, to us living here in America, the attempt to end the genocide occuring in Sudan as we speak is an expression of the desire to bring social justice, but to them, to the people living (and dying) through it, those who are personally experiencing it, their own extermination is indicative of people that don't care, which signifies the hatred between one person and another. It is easy to believe that a problem occuring overseas is political, stripped of personal content, but the people living it are inescapably aware of the individualistic nature of that hatred.

To offer another example, it is easy for someone fighting against the genocide in Sudan to believe that rape is a political tool, but the victim does not rationalize the political nature of the act, nor does the perpetuaor, for their experience tells them that they are being violated, or are violating another, in one of the worst ways that a person can. What is one person's public war is another person's personal war.

Both of these concepts are inherent to the Torah, and indeed, the entire Torah stands on them. For example, the commandments are both personal and communal in nature, and in fact, they are delivered with the distinguishing lines already removed; it is truly wondrous that no distinction is made between their importance to both the individual and to the community, and to another degree, the entire world.

The prophets directed their potent words towards the corrupted. "Hear this, you who devour the needy, decimating the poor of the land, saying, 'When will the month pass, so that we can sell grain; the Sabbatical Year, so we can open the stores of grain; reduce the ephah (a unit of measurement) and increase the shekel (the monetary unit), and distort the scales of deceit, to purchase the poor with silver and the destitute for shoes; and we will sell the refuse of grain?'" (Amos 8:4-7)

When the Torah was given, long before the time of the prophets, the commandments referring to communal civility were set down. "If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him -- proselyte or resident -- so that he can live with you. Do not take from him interest and increase; and you shall fear your G-d -- and let your brother live with you. Do not give your money for interest, and do not give your food for increase." (Leviticus 25:35-38)

The prophets also criticized people for their personal short-comings, "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and in their own view, understanding. Woe to those who are mighty in drinking wine and are men of accomplishment in pouring liquor. The acquit the wicked one because of a bribe, and strip the righteous one of his innocence." (Isaiah 5:21-23)

So what the heck am I trying to say? As human beings, it is not enough to be inspired by a desire for social justice but to be lacking in personal morals. Conversely, it is also not enough to be personally moral but to lack a desire for social justice. Both are necessary components for a holistic understanding of what it means to be good, to be G-dly.

If we peer accurately enough into society, past the layers, we see the breakdown of the borders that separate private and public morality, and we see just how strongly the two are interwoven. At a certain point the distinguishing lines between public morality (i.e., social justice) and private morality (i.e., drug use) become the same thing. In reality, there is no particular difference between morality or immorality in regards to what sphere of society that particular thing is relegated to; compassion is compassion across the board, whether it is directed towards the self, another person, or an entire group of people. In the same exact way, hatred is also hatred across the board, whether it's directed at the self, another, or a whole group of people. Morality is transcendent, affecting all of society simultaneously wherever it exists, and so is immorality.

If we are people that are truly dedicated to improvement of the human condition, known in the Torah as "Tikkun Olam," repair of the world, it can only be accomplished through simultaneous personal and public maintenance.

The most important thing to realize is that the Torah and the prophets do not make these bold assertions simply out of the kindness of their hearts, but rather, personal and public morality and ethics are expressions of G-dliness. Amos describes that there will be a day where people will desire G-dliness more than they desire food, "Behold, days are coming -- the word of the L-rd Hashem/Elokim -- when I will send hunger into the land; not a hunger for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of Hashem." (Amos 8:11-12) The verse from Leviticus previously quoted finishes off by saying, "I am Hashem, your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be G-d unto you." (Leviticus 25:38) Isaiah also says, "Woe to those who arise early in the morning to pursue liquor, who stay up late at night while wine inflames them. There are harp and lyre and drum and flute, and wine at their drinking parties; but they wuld nto contemplate the deed of Hashem, and would not look at the work of His hands." (Isaiah 5:11-13) Morality is not divorced from G-dliness, in fact, it is His command.
Zionism or Judaism?

What is Zionism? Zionism is the Jewish aspiration for Israel to be a sovereign state, and seeing that "Zion" is the Torah's name for Jerusalem, the capital of that state is that very city. Zionism has its roots in the very Torah itself considering that the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem were the center of Jewish existence since the beginning of the very religion itself. All throughout the days of the prophets, a period of some several hundred years, the land of Israel and Jerusalem were central to the Jewish religion, beliefs, life, and aspirations for the improvement of this world. It is believed that the site where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isaac was the future site of the Temple in Jerusalem, a belief that the Muslims adopted except that they replaced Isaac with Ishmael, whom they consider to be their specific progenitor. Some people try to divorce (modern-day) Israel from Judaism, but such a venture is ultimately fruitless because without Judaism, there would never have been a political movement that we call "Zionism."

Consider this; if Judaism hadn't existed, the motivation and rallying point that created the State of Israel would also have not existed. Judaism served as the ideology, although manifested in a secular form, to supplant Israel. So the question then becomes, does Judaism motivate Zionism or does Zionism motivate Judaism?

Personally, for me, for a large portion of my life, Zionism and "Israelism" were my master stati, the prime identity by which I defined myself. This should not be taken to mean that I dislike Israel (the use of the term "Israelism) because I love that place, its people, its flag, and its meaning with the essence of my heart, but what in the last 56 years has become defined as "Israeli culture," without my knowledge, kept me away from reaching the glowing truth of Judaism itself, that is, the code of the Torah. Nevertheless, it is Zionism and love of (the country) Israel itself that, in my own "exile" in America, when we left Israel when I was five years old, kept me grounded.

In Israel, Zionism, a truly beautiful thing, defines you as a Jew. When you see the brilliant and pure white laid as a background to the blue lines and Star of David in the center, the heart of every Israeli skips inside the ribcage, and a sigh leaves their lungs. I remember when I was young, before we left Israel, a celebration for Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Israeli Independence Day, with the fireworks flying into the sky and all over the land, flags, flags. I never wanted to leave that place; the flag of Israel made me the happiest child in the world, it is connected to my very concept of innocence and belonging.

The love that I had for the flag of Israel would have developed into a love for the country that I only could have pretended to understand from age five on living in America. In a desperate attempt to retain that identity as an Israeli when suddenly Israel was not around me anymore, I tried to cling to it as tightly as I could. To me, as an Israeli, Israel defined me, even living in America, so one could imagine that to Jews living in Israel, Judaism is a secondary identity to being Israeli. The common declaration from Israeli's is that they don't need to be "be Jewish," meaning "live Jewish" because Israel is a Jewish country and Judaism is everywhere. True enough, but even in Israel, a society made up of normal human beings, Judaism serves as a general culture that the country understands to be the norm, and a person never has to exert effort in order to maintain a cultural norm, to really feel it in his or her bones. Culture is nice and pleasant and sweet, but it doesn't offer a human being what he or she really needs in life, as far as we are referring to the existential. Culture is an appearance, a mist that hangs over a society, a symbol that stands for and represents certain things, and it is so common place that the individuals in the society, if they do not live with a true analysis of the internal mechanics that make them up, the symbols of culture become essentially useless.

This is not at all to say that Jewish cultural symbols are useless, for they are not; on the contrary, they are incredibly deep and beautiful things, deeply tied to our history, and I love them, but when they become relegated to the sphere of culture, their meaning becomes fashionable, like pop culture, and they cease to define the individual and the society anymore. All of this is indicative that, although culture is nice and unites people, its functions are limited, for it does not have the communal and familial cohesive power and the ability to spiritually kindle an individual and connect him or her to G-d that a true belief in G-d, i.e., religion, does. And since culture itself is not relegated to any specific or particular meanings or assertions about history, groups, or individuals, it can be changed and reformed time and time again, being pliable, allowing people to change their culture time and time again, to morph it and shape it to whatever they want, which allows a society to become whatever it wants. At a point in time, the pliable nature of culture allows a society to become a thing that it does not want to become, and ultimately, every single individual will feel the effects of this pliabililty.

We would have to conclude that Judaism motivated (and motivates) Zionism and not the other way around, because from where would Zionism have received its momentum if it wasn't for Judaism? However, the argument can be made that Zionism was in fact divorced from the Torah's view on Israel because it was motivated by secular and nationalist, and essentially G-dless ideologies, even if they were meshed with beliefs that were deeply rooted in the Torah.

In conjunction with this, some people have the idea that it is the very nationalism of Zionism that indicates its inherent corruption. I am referring to your run-of-the-mill anti-nationalists; anarchist-types that believe in the inherent corruption of the state unit. Many of those people target Zionism, and it is no wonder that they do so on the basis of nationalism since they oppose nationalism as a whole anyway. However, their attempt to make their criticism of Zionism appear to be a general resentment of nationalism is shallow; there is something about Israel itself that they reject, its affiliation with Jewish identity. But it is Jewish identity and sovereignty that they oppose, and since the people, religion, and land have always been inseparable, their way of erecting a wall between Judaism and Zionism is by trying to demonstrate that Zionism is antithetical to Judaism. There are Orthodox Jews who also make that case, but the tone and intent is entirely different, for they do so from a standpoint of observance of the Torah and not atheistic anarchy.

In reality, however, there is a problem with this line of thinking because the Jewish religion was never divorced from the land of Israel, and therefore, nationalism, i.e., the peoples' inherent connection with the land, is one of the most central themes of Judaism. If the Torah is the soul, the spiritual component of the covenant between the Jews and G-d, then Israel and Jerusalem are the physical component, the body. For one of these types of people (anarchists) to criticize Israel on the basis of it being connected to land in the 21st century is exactly the same, if we can imagine this for a second, as a person in the 10th, 9th, or 8th century Before Common Era denying the Jews' right to the land of Israel; surely there were people then, perhaps Assyrians or another group of people, whom thought that way.

Another interesting point is the motive of the people who deny the Jews' right to Israel. Basically, one can sheepishly make the claim that those people don't actually dislike Jews, as the advocates of anti-Israelism themselves make. The more pragmatic realization would be that it's not that they necessarily dislike Jews, but that they do not feel it right in their heart that Jews be allowed to flourish with any measure of independence or sovereignty. In other words, this type of person might make the case that he or she has no problem with Jews settling in America, or some other country for example, but their negation of Jews living in their own country is an idea that promotes resistance.

Back to the topic, does Judaism draw from Zionism or does Zionism draw from Judaism? It is incoherent to say that Judaism, as a religion, draws from Zionism (the movement that began in the 19th century) because rather than the Torah being seen through the scope of Zionism and all the beliefs and ideals that came with it, Zionists saw their struggles through the scope of the Torah, even if they were not necessarily religious. Rather, it is that Zionism, in the general sense of the word meaning the more than 3,000 year old alliance of Judaism and Israel, that is a part and parcel of the Jewish religion and spirituality, unremovable from it, like water from orange juice. It is the people that insist that Judaism and Zionism can and should be divorced from each other that actually wish to see a breakdown of the Jewish identity that would spread to all elements of being a Jew; culture, association, language, and yes, religion.

What we have to realize is that the people that make cases that attempt to draw a thick line between Judaism and Israel, and that advocate the separation of these two elements and appeal to Jewish sensitivities in order to accept their ideas, actually want to see the Jewish body and soul disintegrate. It is the this that all Jews everywhere have to unite against in a sweeping display to one another and to G-d of one of the most important commandments in the Torah; (if such a thing can be said) love of your fellow Jew.

*Abstractly, we can label the historic religious Jewish connection to the land of Israel "Zionism" if we wanted, which is how I am referring to it here; it did not have a name until 1897. However, we must be mindful of the difference between what our minds understand to be "Modern Zionism" and the Torah's notion of ge'ulah, redemption, our physical and spiritual restoration.