Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ethnic Cleansing

I believe a underlying subtext in the ''There is no one to talk to'' line is ethnic cleansing. Effie Eitam, the former head of the NRP and an honest, blunt politician came right out and said it on Tuesday. '' We cannot be with all these Arabs, we'll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from the political system.'' Avigdor Lieberman a much smarter man and the head of a major right wing mostly Russian party talks of rearranging and rationalizing the boundaries. I hear a wink- wink in Lieberman’s rearranging of the human furniture. Maybe I am overly sensitive. On the internet blogs there is the refrain ''America and Spain did it to the Indians, Germany, Russia, Poland and the Ukraine did their share of forcing unacceptable ethnicities to leave, so why can’t we?" Nebech. Poor us. It must be the world’s anti Semites ganging up on Israel.

Modern Orthodox criticize the charedim for blindly obeying the rabbis, i.e. the Daas Torah doctrine I discussed on 8/13. They never say a word of criticism of the mostly Modern Orthodox settlers, who slavishly follow the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Issac Kook (1864-1935)and his even more radicalized son Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook (1891-1982). A charedi guy is a fanatic …his rabbi says bugs in the lettuce and he scrubs away…the rabbi says cover your woman’s hair, he plops a sheitl on her head. The Modern Orthodox settlers are enlightened, college educated, derawchehaw darkei noam, (immersed in the ways of gentility and moderation). They are merely ready to fight in perpetuity for Eretz Yisrael hashelamaw, the whole land of Israel. As Malcolm Hoenlein, the President of the Conference of the American Jewish Organizations put it earlier this year ''an Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.'' He exaggerated. He should have said an Israel from the Sinai to the Jordan. We’re not talking about Monsey glatt kosher; we’re talking endless wars with all that such wars entail. I ask you, who is the moderate, who is the fanatic?

The occupation even when combined with the forced removal of Arabs is not genocide. It is not a holocaust. The Jews had the bad luck they were not ethnically cleansed. If Hitler had simply rounded up all the Jews and dumped them somewhere, our ancestors would still be alive. There never would have been a holocaust.

What is possible in one century is not possible in another. During the great age of exploration, and then during the period when Europe and America acquired colonies and became imperialistic powers, the standards of international law were non existent. There was no law of nations, no Geneva conventions. Entire countries belonged to an individual, as was the case of the Congo and King Leopold. No one said a word. He slaughtered to his hearts content. These days it’s becoming more difficult to be a mass murderer. Some nations still get away with it. Sudan in Darfur is an example. There are others. Israel kills less than two thousand Lebanese inadvertently, and the world gets hot and bothered. I agree there is a double standard at work. If Israel tried exporting Arabs all hell will break loose.

These days ethnic cleansing is not for wusses. You need to have an authoritarian personality, somebody like Lieberman. His measure of possibility is the post-Stalin KGB. He walks around shocked how people can worry about civil rights of criminals and terrorists. The same holds true for many of the tough guys on the Israeli right. They think it’s the self hating leftists, with all their litigation on behalf of the Arabs, and their constant chatter about rights that are the problem; and of course the whole world. The people of the world are a bunch of anti-Semites, so it’s understandable. It’s the Beilins of the world and the Shulamit Alonis and Yossi Sarids and those Reform Rabbis in Israel and America. These elitist softy lefties are preventing Israel from doing what needs to be done. The leftists, boogeymen that they are, even got to Sharon.

I was having dinner the other week with a Modern Orthodox couple who make their home on the West Bank. The Mrs. says to me with a twinkle in her eye…''If you want to know how evil Sharon is, (for pulling the settlements out of Gaza), I’ll tell you. Sharon is sooo evil, even the malach hamawveth, the angel of death won’t have him.'' Cute, funny and a bit frightening.

A Shabbus meal, two left wing and six right wing people:
What is to be done? Woe unto us. The matzav (situation) is terrible…
What about talking with the Palestinians?
Are you nuts…with whom…how can you trust Hamas, Iran…They want to murder us...Do you remember Oslo …we gave them…and they…and we offered... and they respond with terrorism, suicide bombers...It’s liberals like you …We should take every Arab and *#@!...

OK, no talking …So what is your plan? (Long silence)
We need bitachon, trust in Hashem (God). Without emunah, faith, we are goners…

So why can’t we have bitachon and emunah in Hashem and negotiate?
Are you nuts…how can you trust Hamas, Iran…etc?

I say it’s not the tiny Israeli left that is the problem but the leftist inside everyone’s minds and hearts. In the most radical Kahanist there is still a residual of humanism and compassion that says ethnic cleansing is not the way to go.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Baalabus said...

What an outrageous & slanderous post.

To lump all Kahanist and Gush Emunim settlers into the same basket as Teaneck MO people is a lie. The former are not referred to as MO at all.

It's like lumping your Strict Orthodox group together with the Eda Charedis crowd, which you so loudly disclaimed.

From you I expected a more subtle analysis, but I guess you're subtle when your mascots are under attack, and not the other way around.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger evanstonjew said...

Baalabus- You’re most certainly correct that Teaneck people are not sitting in a trailer on a hilltop, but I’m not sure that I overstated my case in describing the settlers as Modern Orthodox. Daati Leumi is not charedi and is the correlate of MO. I noticed on JM in the AM, the voice of North Jersey Jewry, they frequently have direct reports from Chevron. It is clear the JM in the AM believes it’s demographic to be both Modern Orthodox and strongly supportive of the settler movement. I am a constant listener and I have never heard anything but right-wing views expressed on this show. It is true I have not conducted a detailed survey of Modern Orthodox Jewry to discover how close they are to Gush. On the basis of people like Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and his followers,formerly of Lincoln Square synagogue and now of Efrat, and a MO if there ever was one, the relationship is quite close. When Rabbi Lichtenstein’s wife, the daughter of Rabbi Solveitchik, tried to run for the Knesset, on a more moderate platform, she couldn’t get elected. I read this to mean there aren’t 40,000 Jews in Israel who are MO and non-Gush. I never said, nor would I want to give the impression, that all the settlers are Kahanist.

If you disagree, you tell me what the relationship is.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Baalabus said...

The relationship is as varied, overlapping, & incremental as with any two geographically distinct groups.

Which of the following is the closer relationship: (a) Israeli Haredim to American Haredim, or (b) Israeli Gush Emunim settlers to American MO? [This was a rhetorical question, more on this below].

You cite an evident politically-right-wing concensus amoung the non-Haredi Orthodox of Israel (Mrs. Lichtenstein), and then JM in the AM, and R. Riskin, an Isreali for 30+ years, as a linkage between the two disparate groups. C'mon!

I would say that 80% of American Orthodoxy, (AO= all self-identifying Orthodox persons sans the Satmar), is moderatly supportive of the setttlements - of the Efrat and Haredi-settlement variety. The fraction of MO and right-of-MO unquestioningly supportive of the Hevron types is an order of magnitude smaller. Moreover, that fraction is the same whether MO or American Haredi. All the Haredim I know were furious with Rabin, Barak, and even Netanyahu when they attempted to relinquish settlements and territory.

So you see I am rejecting your convenient equivalence out of hand (albeit with no better proof than you had, I admit). MO is not Gush Emunim, and Israeli Haredim are not Ner Israel black-hatters, despite sometime similar appearances in dress. Interestingly, the American Haredim are far more beholden to Israeli rabbinical authority than are American MO, a fact that should give you pause when attempting a MO-GE equivalance. When was the last time Silver Spring sent a shaila to R. Aviner or R. Tau?

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the Rabbi of the largest shul in Teaneck is like the settlers, and has a picture of Barukh Goldstein in his office!

At 10:17 PM, Blogger evanstonjew said...

Anonymous...I am suprised he hangs a Goldstein portrait. I see it as no different from a US leftist having a portrait of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Shame on him.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger evanstonjew said...

Baalabus, let me try again. Gush is a subset of MO-Israeli version = Dati Leumi, and is extremist. I said Gush obeys a version of daas torah and are not criticized by MO’s anywhere, though MO’s criticize UO for buying into daas torah. I said Gush is more fanatic than charedim because their fanaticism could lead to more wars and ethnic cleansing and who knows what else.

You say American MO and UO support the settlements and Gush in the same ratios and degrees. I believe I disagree. In an earlier blog I described the UO as being hawkish with the young people of the NRP and the secular. UO conduct an aggressive foreign policy from Flatbush. Just recently they opposed allowing the war to interfere with their vacations, (bein hazemanim). Unbelievable, but true. They certainly are not enlisting in any numbers even for national service. UO do not and would not vote for the NRP, which is now controlled by Gush. UO’s are not quoting Rav Kooks certainly not Zvi Yehuda.

You say MO in America and for that matter Israel are not all Gush, some are more moderate. I agree, though I don’t see where in my blog I said otherwise. Others have told me they had the same impression as you. If I gave such an impression it’s my error. I would point to MO’s who are not at all politicized; they are busy with golf or their family, and care little what happens in Israel. So obviously I don’t believe the 2 are synonymous.

So after all this I see our disagreement on a smallish point. I read charedim as right wing, hawkish on the outside, not very committed Zionists on the inside or closeted moderate Neturei Karta (the pre ’47 Aguda). UO are not serious players in the Arab – Israeli conflict. They will sit and grin with most any government hawkish or not, provided you know what. Not so MO. Whatever you are going to say their ideology was and is unambiguously truly Zionist. And the Gush and their MO supporters are central in preventing any real progress toward peace.The failure of MO to produce any serious voices of moderation except for perhaps Meimad, the frum lady in Meretz, etc., is what I was alluding to in my Mrs. Lichtenstein example. Why are there no MO Peace Now’s ?

I agree UO–US is closer to the charedi rabbinate than MO-US to the NRP gedolim. For sure.

I await your response if you see further example of egregious errors, outrageous and slanderous or otherwise.


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