Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No Culture Exists (or is created) In A Vacuum

Red Tulips from Culture for All stopped by my blog and left a comment under the Labels, Identity and Religion post I made a few days ago. She also responded on her own blog under the same post that started this conversation. However, the two messages cover different material so while I responded to the message she left here underneath that post, I decided to post what I left in response to the message on her blog. I think it's a very interesting subject and it's one that I've studied a bit in the past. It also touches on population genetics and evolution which is one of my favorite topics. the first part (in italics) is the message from her blog. My comments are underneath it.

From Red Tulips
bint alshamsa:Thanks for stopping by! That was certainly a very informative bit about the history of New Orleans and public education.

As far as Judaism...I happen to disagree with you for many reasons.

First of all, Jews share a genetic link with each other, because it is a birthright as well as a religion. You have to realize that until recently, Jews rarely intermarried, and in fact there was a Jewish disease as a result of this - Tay Sachs.

Secondly, Jews, until recently, lived cut off from the broader populations in which they resided. And thus, a unique language formed - Yiddish. Unique songs, dance, and rituals formed. These are separate and distinct from the religion.

Thirdly, Adolph Hitler never asked if someone believed when he sent them to the gas chambers. This ironically created many atheist and agnostic Jews.

Much of this unique culture and tradition formed as a result of antisemitism. However, in a post-antisemitic world (mostly a fairyland, as that does not quite exist, even in America, and certainly in Europe and especially the Middle East is only a dream) Jews are able to mix and mingle with the broader population. In this world, Jews are able to own businesses and run for Congress and even the vice presidency. And so in this world, I would argue it is difficult to maintain a unique cultural identity of Judaism for atheist and agnostic Jews.

I believe that it is antisemitism that in fact helped to create the Jewish culture, which absolutely exists, separate from the religion.

Just remember that given that the Jewish status of someone is a birthright, one can actually be an atheist Jew.

Moi (also known as Tulip, coincidently):
Actually, Tay-Sachs is not a Jewish disease. This is a myth. If you look up information about this disease you'll find that it does indeed occur in people who are not Jewish. The genetic link that Jews share with each other is also shared in those who are not Jewish. In other words, what genetically links Jews to one another also links them to the other Semitic people in the areas where they lived.

It is utterly impossible for Jews to have always lived cut off from broader populations if one is to believe that this more than one Jewish genetic branch. At some point, the groups (e.g. Ashkenazi, Yemeni, Lemba, Sephardic) acquired enough genetic variation to make them into distinct groups instead of one, as they were in the first place. That genetic variation didn't just fall out of the sky. It came from the groups around them. This intermingling is why the Yiddish language contains elements from the languages of those who Jews lived amongst.

There isn't a single culture that exists in the world that does not have unique songs, dances, and rituals. However, being unique does not mean that any total separation from other cultures exists. It simply means that these features form a distinct combination.

It is also a myth that the Nazis didn't care anything about one's beliefs before they sent them to the gas chambers. Many people went to those very same gas chambers because of their beliefs and not because of their ethnic heritage. Living through this period did play a role in many people adopting atheist and agnostic beliefs but it also had the opposite effect in others. Many found their religious beliefs strengthened through seeing the tenacity of those who never gave in to the Nazis no matter how difficult things became.

No culture forms because of being hated. It can be affected by hatred but that's true for every single culture. Native American culture is affected by the oppression we've faced. The various cultures of the African diasporic people was and is affected by hatred. The whole world is affected by hatred and hatred can motivate people to engage in positive or negative behavior. It all depends on what each individual wants a reason to do.

It isn't so much a post-antisemitic world (which I think would require nothing less than a miracle) that threatens the unique cultural identity of Judaism. The main threat to it is the same as the main threat faced by every other unique culture on the face of the earth. That is the globalization made possible by technological advances in transportation.

In the past, intermingling was (in general) a rather slow process. Cultures had more time to absorb elements from surrounding populations and alter these elements to suit their cultural environment. Today, cultures are bombarded with a barrage of cultures. We may get our coffee from Columbia, our fruit from America, our grains from Asia, our television shows from India, our kids toys from China, coats from Canada.

All of this commerce brings with people along with it. No matter what the religious tenets of a people (within a community) are, there are always those who intermarry, reproduce with, and adopt elements of these people who they come in contact with. Such people have always existed. If not, then we would eventually cease to belong to the same species. The fact that people from opposite sides of the globe can come together and produce offspring is proof that humans have been mixing and mingling consistently since our hominid ancestors became homo sapiens.

29 comments:

Red Tulips said...

Bint alshamsa or Tulip (great name, btw!):

I left a message to this on my board. I am not sure where we should be having the discussion, there or here, lol. I do find this all to be very fascinating.

I will say that I do believe other religions have a culture distinct from the religion. I don't want it to be said that I don't think that. I am just skeptical as to the extent of this in some religions cases. I do see a Christian identity separate from Christianity itself...but...because Christians are the majority within America, I don't see any atheist Christian friends of mine as feeling as if they are atheist CHRISTIANS. They feel they are atheist AMERICANS.

This is different, I am sure, in the Middle East and other places where a Christian KNOWS they are Christian - regardless of beliefs.

I think when we are threatened, we cling to our identities and cultural heritage more than when not threatened.

Bint Alshamsa said...

When it comes to "atheist Christians" versus "atheist Americans", I think it's just like one of the problems with Judaism. Often how people identify themselves as is different from what the world identifies them as being.

Just look at how many people insist that America is a Christian nation even though there are a heck of a lot of folks here who would never label themselves as Christian. The same is true in Israel, I think. Christianity is the de facto religion here as Judaism is the de facto religion of Israel.

Red Tulips said...

bint alshamsa:

There is a difference between the US and Israel. The US was formed based on Judeo Christian values. It was not formed as a Christian nation - it was founded by Christians, but they never viewed the US as a sanctuary simply for Christians.

In contrast, Israel was formed as a sanctuary for Jews, by Jews, with that in mind. Israel also is a secular Jewish nation, but it was founded specifically for Jews and there is also an immigration law that allows any Jew in the world to move to Israel and gain citizenship. Not so in the US.

And so in Israel, being an atheist is different than in the US.

Red Tulips said...

Btw, I hope you are healing from cancer. My thoughts are with you, and I hope you are not in too much pain.

All the best,

Red Tulips

Bint Alshamsa said...

Oh, I agree. There is a difference between the US and Israel but this isn't it. As a matter of fact, those who came and colonized this area did come here with the intentions of creating a Christian nation. The whole reason for coming here was that they wanted a sanctuary where they'd be free to practice their religious beliefs. In fact, the concept of Manifest Destiny is not unlike the view held by many Jews in that both believe that God had basically handed them the deed to the country they'd moved to. Even now, all one needs is to be the child of an American in order to qualify for citizenship no matter where in the world they live. Neither the parent nor the child needs to have ever stepped foot in America in order for such citizenship to be granted. Also, one can be the parent of non-Americans; Simply being born in this country is enough to make one eligible for American citizenship. I wish that Israel had the same policy. It would certainly make life a lot easier for a lot of families living there.

Israel was not formed with the intention of being a place for people with a specific religious belief. It was the mostly secular Zionist movement that led to the creation of Israel although there were some Jews who did come there seeking religious freedom.

Also, Jewish immigration laws do not allow any Jew in the world to move to Israel and gain citizenship. Sadly, Israel currently discriminates against certain kinds of Jews and even those who have been allowed into the country often face a lot of racist discrimination by those who share the same religion as them.

So, yes. Being an atheist in Israel is different from being an atheist in the US just like being an atheist in Japan is different from being an atheist in Zimbabwe. In other words, "we're all unique, in our own special way" but there isn't anything that one ethnic group has gone through that hasn't also been experienced by other ethnicities.

I think that many people would like to believe that their ethnic group has experiences that are drastically different from those of other groups but this just stems from the way that humans have a tendency to view what happens to them as worse than when the same thing happens to others.

By the way, thank you so very much for the well wishes. I believe that there is alot of power in good thoughts...but that might just be a result of my theist tendencies. :o)

Red Tulips said...

Where did you get the idea that Israel discriminates against Jews based on where they are from in the immigration process? You are wrong in that. In fact, any Jew, from any location in the world, is allowed to emigrate to Israel.

As an example - in 1990, there was an airlift off 10,000 Ethiopian Jews out of Ethiopia, in order to live in Israel.

The only qualification for automatic citizenship in Israel is that one is Jewish.

Now, there are also non-Jewish citizens. They are citizens based on a different formula: if they are descendants of the Arabs of 1948 who stayed in Israel, then they get citizenship as an Arab Israeli. Merely being born in Israel is enough for someone to gain citizenship if they are descedants of the 1948 Arab Israelis. There are also laws that allow one to marry a citizen in order to get citizenship in Israel, though post-Intifada, that has gotten more complicated.

As far as the discrimination Ethiopian Jews face in Israel - well, I have read about it, but I also see no evidence that it is worse than the discrimination seen anywhere else against other minorities. The real problem of discrimination is against Arab Israelis, but that is complicated by the fact that Arab Israelis have supported terror against Jewish Israelis. Though it is usually Palestinians who commit the acts of terror, in fact I have read of cases of Arab Israelis as terrorists. (though that is more rare)

The US was not formed as a religious sanctuary. It was settled as a colony as a religious sanctuary, but it was formed as a nation to protest unfair taxes. That said, the principle of religious plurality is written right into the constitution in the first amendment.

The US was originally SETTLED as a sanctuary for persecuted Christians, and certainly Christian principles affected the way the Founding Fathers thought, but it is important to remember that the Founding Fathers were also Deists and certainly did not base the constitution on the bible. Furthermore, the US was formed as an immigrant country - hence the law that allows anyone born here automatic citizenship. (I think this should change, as it results in some counter intuitive things - such as nine month pregnant women coming here just to give birth so their baby is an American)

Israel was formed as a sanctuary specifically for Jews. Yes, it allows nonJews to have citizenship. But the immigration laws reflect this. It was formed after the worst antisemitic atrocity to ever sweep this planet - the Holocaust. Zionism as an idea really took hold after the Dreyfuss trial. In short, zionism is based on the notion that no Jew is safe anywhere unless the Jews have their own state. Yes, there is religious zionism. But zionism the movement was actually formed by secular and atheist Jews who believed that Jews everywhere were not safe without a homeland. I believe they had a point.

Bint Alshamsa said...

The "idea" that Israel discriminates against Jews depending on where they come from is based on the fact that Israel has consistently denied citizenship to African Jews who are more ethnically Jewish than those Ethiopians who were airlifted out back in the 1990's. The way that Israel manages to discriminate against African Jews even while supposedly providing a home for every Jew is through simply controlling who it considers Jewish enough to be called a Jew. One example of this is how rabbis often force African-Israelis to go through the conversion process in order to get married. If they are already Jews, then why don't they simply marry them in the same way that they allow immigrant Jews from other nations to do?

It's an over-simplification to say that this nation was formed to protest unfair taxes. The people who formed this nation had very different motivations. Even the wording of the Declaration of Independence proves that religious beliefs were a major motivating factor in the thinking of the signers. Yes, the principle of religious plurality was written in the Constitution but that doesn't mean that it was any more of a reality than religious plurality is a general reality in Israel. The discrimination faced by Native American nations proves that the idea of allowing religious plurality was not meant to include allowing their religions to be practiced.

Just as some of the "Founding Fathers" of the US were deists and not particularly concerned about upholding any Christian values, the original Zionists who founded Israel were mostly secularists who really had very little concern about being beholden to any particular religion, Judaism or otherwise.

The fact that Israel does discriminate against non-Jews is really not excused by the fact that Jews have faced atrocities. I would not accept that as an excuse if African-Americans wanted to go to the city of Toronto and set up their own nation where Blacks are given preference over the people who were living in that area already based on the fact that more than TWENTY MILLION Africans lost their life as a result of the Maafa. It simply isn't democratic to apply different rules for people based on their ethnicity or religion.

Furthermore, it wouldn't make Black people any safer to create such a nation just as having Israel hasn't made Jewish people any safer. The Zionists may have had a point but it wasn't a well thought out one. The completely untenable situation in Israel is proof of that. I don't blame any group for wanting a place to go where they will be welcomed and feel at home. However, that doesn't mean that it's ethical for them to discriminate against others when given the opportunity. Wrong is wrong to me no matter who does it.

Bint Alshamsa said...

I forgot to address a few points that you made.

This idea that Israel's discrimination against certain ethnicities isn't mitigated by the fact that other nations also discriminate against people. The fact remains that Israel does discriminate against certain Jews and this is reflected in the money spent to help Jews from certain areas make aliyah to Israel and in the quotas that have been set up to limit the amount of African Jews allowed into the country.

The truth is that discrimination is not the same everywhere. Some nations definitely discriminate against ethnic and religious minorities to a greater extent than others. The argument about the situation in Israel not being any worse for minorities than it would be in another country is the same as the one made by white American slaveholders. Some argued that really they were saving the Africans by keeping them as slaves because at least they had steady employment and food to eat and the opportunity to be a part of the Christian faith.

Discrimination is wrong no matter who you are. As I think all intelligent people can agree, who gets defined as being a terrorist is quite subjective and usually self-serving. We could say that those who violently protest against Israel are terrorists but then the same argument could be made against anyone who fights against what they see as injustice. I mean, if we use this standard then that means that those German Jews who violently fought against the Nazis were also terrorists. However, the fact that not all Jews decided to just placidly accept any discrimination and incarceration that the Nazis saw fit to impose on them doesn't make them terrorists in my eyes so would be illogical to consider those Arabs (who are also unwilling to just go along with Israeli discrimination and incarceration) to be terrorists either.

I believe in logic. Either the label "terrorist" applies to all who engage in the same actions or the term has no rational meaning. This business between the Jews and Muslims and Christians in the area known as Israel or Palestine is like one big dysfunctional family. The Jews and the Muslims are genetically the same stock. The only difference is that people became members of whatever religion suited them and their families basically inherited their religious traditions and some even eventually came to believe that there were actual genetic differences that went along with the differences in traditions. The fact of the matter is that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all come from the same area--an area that all three groups traversed for many centuries until outside nations carved up the land according to what was politically expedient for them.

Furthermore, the discriminatory rules about which children born in Israel qualify for citizenship shows that Israel is officially an apartheid nation and not a democratic one. It's a sad state of affairs and also one that need not exist at all. I do not believe that religious and ethnic discrimination is ever a logical or ethical action no matter how much a group has gone through. If it were, then I'd be perfectly within my rights to go and kill or incarcerate every non-Native American in this country. As much as I love my ethnic traditions and abhor the genocides that slaughtered most Native American nations into oblivion, I just can't condone that sort of thing. I see your life as having just as much value as mine because it is a human life not because we may have similar beliefs or traditions or heritage.

I truly hope that you feel the same way.

Red Tulips said...

I wrote a post about my opinion on terrorism on Culture for All.

http://cultureforall.blogspot.com/2006/10/redefining-terrorism.html

As far as the rest...

You are just simply WRONG in your characterization of Israel as an 'apartheid state.' In fact Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel. While there may be private discrimination, it is not GOVERNMENT MANDATED discrimination, as in South Africa. The children of Arab Israelis are ALSO citizens. So I fail to see what you are talking about.

Israel went through a very expensive and dangerous air lift process to get over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews into Israel. At the moment there are very few Jews LEFT in Africa to event try and induce to go to Israel. I also never heard of any quota on African Jews. You will have to provide documentation to back up such a statement, especially since all the articles I have read show the exact opposite.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Jews

Israel is NOT an apartheid state, and any notion that it IS an apartheid state is based on misconceptions or falsehoods.

Do Arab Israelis face discrimination? Yes - but that is partly self-inflicted (supporting Palestinian terrorism causes Israeli Jews to be wary of Arab Israelis). And moreover, there are Arab Israeli MKs in the Knesset.

How is that apartheid again?

And Israel does not simply randomly kill or even incarcerate every Palestinian or Arab Israeli. So I am not sure where you are going with what you are saying...

I obviously would not be okay with random acts of violence. But neither is Israel.

Bint Alshamsa said...

I responded to the post about terrorism on your blog.

Regarding Israel as an apartheid state: I stand by what I said. Saying that Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel is a tautology. The issue is who is allowed to become an Israeli citizen. A great deal of discrimination exists in the Israeli society but it is not just there alone. The Israeli government does engage in "MANDATED discrimination" and the "Citizenship and Entry Into Israel" law is proof of that. Also, the reason why this law was even able to pass is because Israeli law does not guarantee equality for all. If the "Citizenship and Entry" law is a falsehood then please let me know and I'll gladly retract what I said because I do try to be careful about such matters. Of course, there's also the "Liability of the State" Law and then there's also the fact that the Israeli government funds both secular and religious schools for Jews but does not fund the Arab Israeli religious schools. Hey, I mean the fact that it refuses to merge the Arab and Jewish school system into one is an apartheid policy. And there's also the Shahar programs where the government doesn't even pretend to claim that it will provide equal access to Arab Israeli children.

It is illogical to say that someone can inflict discrimination against themselves. Being wary of Arabs Israelis and African Jews is simply no excuse for discrimination. It's still wrong.

It's apartheid because the laws are not applied equally. They discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and religion. How much more apartness does Israel need to codify before it officially becomes an apartheid state in your view?

I already mentioned the "randomly kill or incarcerating Arabs" idea before but I'll do it again. Even the Nazis claimed that they had good reasons for incarcerating and killing Jews. Does that make their actions excusable? If not, then it is also not a legitimate excuse to say that the killing and incarceration of Arabs isn't random.

Israel is a state. It can't find anything okay or not okay. The INDIVIDUALS WITHIN IT are the ones who can either condone or condemn violence. There is no one opinion held by all Israelis. Some find the killing of Arabs perfectly acceptable under any conditions. Others find the killing of Arabs unacceptable under any conditions. Why should we pretend as if there is some unified view amongst all of Israel that random acts of violence are unacceptable?

Look, I don't get any pleasure out of calling Israel an apartheid state. I don't care if the people there call it Israel or Palestine and I don't care what religion they choose to follow if any at all. All I care about is the fact that the world becomes worse off for everyone whenever people start trying to justify ethnic and religious discrimination. I see it as the very same conditions that led to the slaughter of millions of Africans and Native Americans and Jews. We will only have more genocides to look forward to unless people decide that discrimination like this simply isn't acceptable no matter what.

Red Tulips said...

bint alshamsa:

Please provide me any documentation about a single form of state discrimination against African Jews. I have yet to see a single form of this. Now whether individuals within Israel are discriminatory is a different matter entirely. But I do not buy that the state discriminates against African Jews - a people who Israel took considerable expense and risk in SAVING from starvation and genocide.

As far as the Arab Israelis. There are issues to be sure. But do not for a second compare Arab Israelis to the Jews of the Holocaust. It was an irrational and non-fact based fear of Adolph Hitler that the Jews as a group were out to undermine German society. In contrast, the Arab Israelis actively have ties to terrorism. Not all - certainly. And the Arab Israelis are far more peaceful than the Palestinians. But absolutely there are ties to terrorism. And this absolutely has resulted in laws which reflect this reality.

There is no comparison between Israel and the US which led to the slaughter of Native Americans. Firstly, the Palestinians were offered their own state on numerous occasions. Secondly, they teach hate actively in their school system and media, and btw, have since before even the formation of Israel. Thirdly, the Palestinians do not even recognize the State of Israel and voted in Hamas, which quotes from the Protocols of Zion in its charter and seeks Israel's destruction. Fourthly, the Jews have very long historical ties to the land, unlike the white settlors of America. They have every right to be there and in fact have longer historical ties to the land than the Palestinians. Moreover, Jews were kicked out of Arab nations and fled to...Israel!

I fail to see why a law saying that only Jews have automatic entry into Israel is proof of apartheid. It is only apartheid if when the citizens actually live in Israel, those who are Jews are given extra rights over Arab Israelis. The kids of Arab Israelis are automatically Israeli. Moreover, every nation gets to choose who becomes a citizen. Under your logic, any nation with an immigration policy intact is...what...racist? Apartheid? That just makes no sense.

I could go on and on. You are absolutely wrong to call it an apartheid state. Arab Israelis are full citizens of Israel, have full voting rights, though yes, face discrimination on a personal level. There are some issues in the schooling, but I say GOOD. Why should Israel fund an Islamic education? It is set up as a Jewish nation. It has no obligation to fund Islamic schools. This hardly makes Israel 'apartheid.'

Finally, Israel as a nation is made up of individuals who are NOT cool with randomly killing Muslims. Sure, some are - but they are the marginalized minority. Public opinion polls after the Baruch Goldstein murders showed a society horrified at what he did. This wholly contrasts with the Palestinians. Something to think about.

Bint Alshamsa said...

Well, if you want information about state discrimination against African Jews, we could start with the quotas set for how many are allowed to make aliyah in order to limit the amount of Ethiopian Jews that the state would have to provide services for. Here's one link that mentions these quotas and the government officials who fought against raising of these quotas:

http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Home/About/Press+Room/Jewish+Agency+In+The+News/2004/2004b/Knesset+Urges+Raising+Quota.htm

While Israel is to be commended for aiding some African Jews who were facing the same sort of conditions faced by most Africans, this does not mean that it does not and has not discriminated against Jews of certain ethnicities.

And why shouldn't we compare Arabs to Jews? Both are human, right? While you say that it was irrational and fear-based for the Nazis to discriminate against some Jews, I say that it is irrational and fear-based to discriminate against Arabs and any other ethnicity for that matter.

Native Americans were offered lands too but it wasn't the lands that they had called home for hundreds of years. The same is true for the other Semitic people who lived in the land of Israel. For people whose land is connected to their religious and cultural practices, substituting one land for another simply isn't acceptable. Even the Nazis allowed Jews and other "dissidents" to leave and go somewhere else at first; Many of those people did find homes in other places but that doesn't make it okay that they were forced out of the homes they had inhabited before Nazi Germany was established. Personally, I think that every single Jew who left would have been within their rights to stay and defend what they saw as their land. Unfortunately, Nazi Germany saw it as their land so they promptly confiscated any property they felt justified in taking. Likewise, I don't see it as different when Palestinians don't just want to find a home where Israel says they can live when they have been there long before the modern state of Israel was established.

Secondly, I'm still not going along with these over-generalizations where you try to caste all people of the same ethnicity into some sort of group with only one view. Some Israelis teach hatred in their schools and media and some Jews have been teaching hatred since before Israel was established. So what's the point in saying that some Palestinians do it? Does the fact that some people teach hatred excuse discriminating against entire ethnicities? I simply don't believe so.

Thirdly, plenty of people don't accept the idea of Native American sovereignty. I don't particularly care whether they want to recognize something or not. Nobody has to recognize another group. Some Israelis do not even recognize Palestinians as existing at all. They say that these are just people from other parts of the Middle East who want to take all of the land for Arabs.

Yes, Hamas did win elections, democratic elections. I'm sure this was as disappointing for many people as it was when Israelis elected Sharon and Netanyahu into office. As long as people think that violence against people of other ethnicities is acceptable, then they too will be the victims of violence eventually. Hatred only breeds more hatred. Truly rational people do not simply engage in tit-for-tat behavior.

Fourthly, Jews have long historical ties to the land and so do the Palestinians. If we're going to use history as the standard, then the Palestinians have just as much claim to it as the genetic Jews do. They are genetically the same group of people. That means that they both come from that land. And how long does a group have to live in a place for it to belong to them? Isn't this simply decided by who has the most might to defend their claim? This is what happens in disputed lands all around the world. Moreover, plenty of Jews did not leave the Arab nations where they lived and still live to this day. If they were kicked out, then how did they manage to be in two places at once?

What makes Israels' "Citizenship and Entry Into Israel" law one of apartheid is that it barrs families (where one spouse is Israeli) from living together in Israel if one of the spouses is an Arab. Does it barr families from living together in Israel if one spouse is Israeli and the other is American? How about if the other spouse is from Russia or Sweden or Holland? Nope. Only if they are Arab. Now, please tell me how that isn't an apartheid policy?

It isn't having an intact immigration policy that makes Israel an apartheid state; It's the way that the policies are designed to limit and even keep out certain ethnicities.

Please, do go on if you have some proof that I am wrong about these things. I would love to hear that Israel has decided to allow all Israelis to live with their spouses in Israel, especially if that is where the couple wants to live and raise their children. I think it is a beautiful thing when Israelis and Arabs marry. I think that these couples should be welcomed by either of their countries. My mother certainly never argued that our standards should be based on what other families believe in. Therefore, I do not see any reason to excuse Israels' apartheid laws any more than I see reason to excuse such laws in other countries (including those mostly inhabited by Arabs).

There are issues in the schooling and you may think that's a good thing but I certainly find it reprehensible to short change children when it comes to education. If this government started funding all the Christian private schools here but refused to do so with any Jewish private schools, I certainly wouldn't call that a "GOOD" thing. I'd say that if we are going to fund religious education, Jewish people should be given the same treatment as Christians. To do otherwise would be to establish an apartheid educational system.

If I were to claim that Arabs deserve to be discriminated against, how would I be any different from those Nazis who said that Jews deserved to be discriminated against. If you are going to claim that Arab Israelis are not discriminated against, then how can you claim that it is acceptable for Israel--not just the individuals in it--but even the government itself to short change Arab Israeli children and those Israelis who are married to Arabs? Either these policies exist or they don't. If they do exist (which they do) then there is no logical way to claim that there is no state-sanctioned system of apartheid?

Just look at what the word "apartheid" means:

Apartheid Definition

Notice the second definition of the word:

any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.

The fact that Israel has two school systems, one for Jews and another for Arabs, that alone makes it an apartheid state. Can you even show that these policies no longer exist? That way we could say that Israel used to have an apartheid system but no longer does. I want nothing more than to be able to say I am wrong about all of these things but it would be a lie for me to act like these laws don't exist any more.

Sure some Israelis were horrified at what Goldstein did. Yet there is no shortage of Jews who have no problem rejoicing when the Israeli military goes off on some venture where they kill women, children and men who have not been convicted of any crime at all. If there was virtually no support for the killing of non-military individuals, then why is there no major outrage when such people are killed? When Israel drops a bomb into the middle of a street in Lebanon and kills Christians and Muslims alike who have committed no violence against an Israeli, where are all of these Israelis who do not approve of such killings?

As I see it, the bloodthirty attitude permeates both Jewish and Arab societies in this area. I only wish it were the case that both Arabs and Jews were committed to making their politicians act peacefully and ceasing all of the bloodshed. I have no desire to see the bodies of more dead Jewish and Arab children. I think that more than enough of both have been sacrificed for what, in the grand scheme of things, amounts to a very rocky piece dirt on a planet that has more than enough room for everyone to share its land and resources.

belledame222 said...

Ah. THis is a subject that interests me a lot; namely, the bit about why so much secular/atheism among Jews.

the Holocaust certainly was enough to make a lot of people come to the conclusion that "there is no God" (not just the Jews, either); but actually the trend toward agnosticism/atheism predates that. i need to say more about that tomorrow, maybe, when i'm not falling asleep...

Bint Alshamsa said...

Belledame, I hope you do not mind but I have been writing a post about that very nasty incident about you being told that being an "ethnic Jew" wasn't quite good enough. I'm still writing it but if you'd like I'd be more than happy to e-mail it to you first to see if you mind being mentioned so much in my long rants here. :o)

Please come back and join in this conversation. I haven't been this excited (in a positive way) about an online discussion in quite a while. I am mentally exhausted from all the talk about photographs of breasts, burqahs and blackfaces. What a trio, hunh?

Red Tulips said...

bint alshamsa:

The VAST MAJORITY of Israelis were horrified at what Baruch Goldstein did. The VAST MAJORITY of Palestinians condone suicide bombing. This is just a fact.

As far as aiming bombs at terrorists...a) it's kill or be killed. This is self defense. b) Terrorists purposely use civilians as human shields in order to get world sympathy on their side; c) Israel takes great care to minimize civilian death - it does not always succeed, but it tries; d) Terrorists hide in highly populated areas on purpose.

For you to equate the tactics of Israelis to the Palestinians is wholly moral equivalence. Moreover, you are also wrong in how you characterize history. In fact Jews were kicked out of Israel, though a tiny number somehow never left. The vast majority fled for their lives. There is absolutely a historical birthright. Moreover, settlors came back to the Holy Land in the late 1800s and started buying up property - legally! Fine, one can argue about the legality of the land purchases. But it is without dispute that there were land contracts that were signed by settlors and they did not just steal land out of whole cloth. In contrast, the Palestinians have never had a distinct ethnic group - they were Arabs who lived there, and many in fact never lived there! As an example, Yassir Arafat was born in Egypt! The UN, in an unprecedanted move, claimed a Palestinian was someone with only TWO YEARS of ties to the land. Moreover, Jews who were rightfully living in Arab areas were kicked out of THEIR land and moved to Israel as a result. (in 1948)

Then there is the matter of Arab Israelis. Is there discrimination? I don't deny it. But apartheid means legal discrimination of CITIZENS. Having favorable laws allowing certain groups to become citizens is hardly legal discrimination of CITIZENS. Moreover, there is nothing that mandates separation of ANYONE. Arab Israelis are allowed to attend Jewish schools if they want. They choose not to. That is their CHOICE. There are also secular schools they could attend. If they don't attend such schools, that is again their CHOICE. They are not being forced into separate schools. Maybe there will be societal and religious pressures that force this separation. But certainly not legal pressures. I want to add that Islamic schools are actually funded, based on what I read - except not as well funded as Jewish schools. I have a mixed opinion on that - on the one hand, I don't think any Islamic schools should be funded as I would only be okay with that if imams were screened beforehand and shown to be non-fundies. This then would bring the question as to who the screener is and what standards are used, and that brings its own problems. This is why I think funding Islamic Schools altogether is a bad idea. On the other hand, if there is to be funding, it should be equal funding. This hardly makes for an apartheid state, in any case.

More info on Arab Israelis:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/arabs2.html

Again more:

http://www.jcpa.org/jl/hit05.htm

I think you will particularly like the last link.

As far as the Ethiopian Jews...I read your link. It spoke of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity and now want to convert back to Judaism to emigrate to Israel. Well, of course there is a cap on people like that! There are many restrictions on those who wish to emigrate to Israel after claiming they converted to Judaism. I have an American Christian friend who married an Israeli who faces this very issue. It is hardly racist to have such an attitude towards Africans, given the policy is spread across the world! You left out the crucial fact that the Ethiopians now who are seeking to move to Israel in fact converted to Christianity.

Every nation sets their immigration policy. If the USA said one day that only Christians could move to the US, then would that be apartheid? No. It would be discriminatory, sure, but not apartheid, as it is not affecting current citizenry. Apartheid has a very specific definition. Now, Israel does not say that only Jews can move to Israel. It has a fast track method of immigration for Jews to make aliyah to Israel, but does not forbid nonJews from attaining citizenship status.

Bint Alshamsa said...

Comparing one particular act committed by a Jew to several different acts committed by Muslims is just illogical. Either we are comparing the responses that each group has to the many incidences of violence perpetrated against the other or we are talking about whether people support individual incidents.

Just as you say this is a "kill or be killed" world, the same argument is made by those who lob bombs at Jews. I don't find that any less false when one person says it than when another person says it. All of it is just an excuse for why weapons designed to kill many people are used if one's target is simply those who have already committed acts of violence.

This human shields tactic has already been shown to be used by both sides. Because Israel has compulsory military service, those who have served have even less room to claim that Israel does not allow its military folks to "hide" amongst civilians. To me, it doesn't matter. There is nothing ethical about killing innocent people. I don't accept that as an argument from anyone.

Comparing tactics is not a moral judgement at all. If comparing tactics makes one guilty of "moral equivalence" then you too would be guilty of this since you have also compared the actions of Muslims to those carried out by Jews. I have absolutely no interest in what someone's morals are or if a particular person should find another human being to be a "moral individual".

As a side note, I find this whole conversation to be rather interesting because it seems like it is you who concentrates on morality while I concentrate on rationality despite the fact that moral judgements are usually the bread and butter of religious arguments while many atheists prefer to base their actions on what is rational or logical. I think this is another reason why basing ones' views on stereotypes about other people just doesn't lead to sound conclusions.

This idea of birthrights making it okay for people to do whatever they want in an area is no different from the Manifest Destiny excuse used by Europeans when they started creating and handing out deeds for lands that had been inhabited by other groups for thousands of years. These birthrights arguments are religious assertions. If we use religious assertions to decide who should be able to live in a place, then why should we use Judaism? We could instead use the ones made by Muslims or Christians or Wiccans or Buddhists. It would be self-serving for me to claim that others should just abide by what some religion says I should be able to do to them. What if they don't believe in the religion I'm using? If someone has to go along with religious assertions, then why would they choose the ones made by religions that they don't even care for?

Even in America the Europeans who moved onto the sacred lands of Native Americans had deeds. Having a piece of paper in their possession doesn't mean that the Native Americans had any reason to feel obligated to agree with what was written. The same is true in regards to Israeli deeds to lands.

What is the basis this idea that the Palestinians never had a distinct culture? The Jews who moved to Israel didn't have any distinct culture that unified them all. Many of the Jews who live in Israel never lived there before the modern day state was established yet you are saying that they have a right to be there now. What ethical reason could there be for saying that individual Palestinians must have lived in Israel in order for them to be a distinct group while Jews from all around the world do not need to have lived in Israel in order for them to be a distinct group? For every Palestinian that you can name who has also lived in or was born in another country, we could also find an Israeli who has also lived in another country and was born outside of Israel. Israel does not determine what nation one belongs to based on where they were born, so why should it matter where Arafat was born? Edward Said was born in Jerusalem. Did Israel recognize him as being Jewish? Nope. These Jewish or Palestinian appellations are mostly just political designations. They have no scientific basis.

Science proves that Jews and Arabs share the same recent heritage. In short, the only real difference between Jews and Arabs is what they consider themselves to be because the ones alive today are the descendents of the same people who lived in the area known as Palestine or Israel. No matter how much revising of history that some would like to do, science reveals the truth when it comes to who a group is descended from. The Jews of today who live in Israel are no more related to the Jews of antiquity than are the Arabs who live in that same area today. Differences in religion do not alter one's ethnic or biological origin. Here is more information about this topic:

Jewish DNA

Here are more links about the apartheid laws that decide which children of Israelis are allowed to become citizens of Israel and how some Israel dicriminates against those citizens who are married to Arabs:

More examples of Israel's discrimination against its own citizens

Jewish groups beg Israeli courts not to keep its own citizens away from their families

Red Tulips, did you read the actual definition of "apartheid"? There is nothing in it that says the discrimination has to be directed towards those that the state is willing to recognize as its citizens. As a matter of fact, in the original South African instance, the government decided to state that the black Africans who lived there were members of other nations and only those with the desired ethnicity were allowed to be considered citizens of the land where there ancestors had lived for centuries. Here's a link on how "apartheid" actually worked:

apartheid in detail

You are wrong about the Israeli school system. There is a mandated separation. The Israeli government has refused to fuse the two school systems (based on ethnicity) into one. Arabs do not get to choose which school system they will be a part of. The state decides that. Arab secular schools are funded but not their religious schools. If you think that Jews should be allowed to screen imams who run Islamic schools before funding them, then do you also think that Muslims should be allowed to screen rabbis who run schools and only allow those who are proved (to them) to be "non-fundies"? If you really think that Israel is a state where all citizens are treated equally, then how do you explain the way that the Israeli courts decided that they had no responsibility to provide equal educational resources to Arab Israeli students?

The link that you read says something altogether different from what you gathered. Did you notice this line:

these would-be immigrants to Israel are Jews who underwent some type of conversion to Christianity or the descendents of such people.

These are not Christians who want to convert to Judaism. They are Jews who were forced to officially "convert" to another religion. This didn't change their biological identity as Jews. They are just as much Jews as you are.

Let's say I kidnapped you, forcibly dunked you in a pool of water and pronounced the word "In the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit". Would that mean that you are no longer a Jewish woman, born with Jewish ancestry? According to the tenets of Christianity, such an action on my part wouldn't even necessarily qualify as having converted anyone even if they did want to become a Christian and the dunking was not forced on them. It seems to me that those who were forcibly declared to belong to a religion that they had no interest in joining would make the removal of these quotas (applied to African Jews) even more discriminatory.

Both of the links you provided were interesting but neither one addressed the discrimination against Arabs that I mentioned here. Either these discriminatory laws and quotas were established by the Israeli government or they weren't. If they were established by the Israeli government, then it is clear that Israel is an apartheid state. If these laws and quotas were not established by the Israeli government, then I and the people of Israel deserve to know that there is an elaborate hoax that has managed to fool even the Israeli courts and politicians into believing that they approved, passed, defended, and upheld something that never, ever occurred.

I promise that I will personally devote as much time on this blog as you see fit to retracting my claim and apologizing to the people of Israel if you can show that these laws were never enacted. All I want is for logic and reasoning to be accepted as fact instead of just feelings, desires and suspicions.

When am I going to get my chance to stop being a humanist and revert back to being the stereotypical crazy, wild-eyed theist? ;o)

Red Tulips said...

It is not irrational to have laws that reflect the fact that Palestinians and Arab Israelis support terrorism. It is not some extreme sect of Arab Israelis or Palestinians that support terrorism. A large minority of Arab Israelis and a sizeable MAJORITY of Palestinians support terrorism. Funding Islamic Schools means funding schools that potentially teach hatred. If in fact the Islamic schools could be trusted as merely teaching a peaceful religion, that would be one thing. It cannot.

I may have been wrong about the funding of Arab Israeli schools. I may have mixed it up re: whether it was secular or Islamic. No matter. If it is secular schools, they should be funded exactly on par with every other school in Israel. I agree that is a problem of Israel, and I in fact read reports that there is not a parity in funding. I simply disagree that Islamic schools should get any funding at all. The fact that they don't is a GOOD THING, because I agree that it is questionable for a Jew to be judging whether an imam is a terrorist or not. It is also silly to fund schools that teach terrorism, and the only way to know the schools DON'T teach terrorism is to screen imams. Catch-22.

As far as the family unification...in fact Israel does allow family unification with Palestinians as long as the Israeli swears allegiance to the Israeli state and swears off terror. This is a sad necessity if Israel hopes to remain a viable state when so many wish for its destruction.

It is not a kill or be killed world for the Palestinians. They were offered a state many times and turned it down many times. Moreover, under your idea, there is no nationhood, as anyone can move anywhere without any ties to the land at all. After all, if we look back long enough, in fact all of our ancestors have lived everywhere. We all came from the same primordial goo, so what's the point of nationhood? That seems to be what you are saying.

The State of Israel was founded explicitly as a national sanctuary for Jews. That was its purpose. As long as it doesn't kick out those who were there before, I see no reason why it's wrong or 'apartheid' to have a policy that encourages Jewish immigration, especially since nonJews can be citizens as well!

Judaism is BOTH an ethnicity and a religion, given it is a birthright as well as a religion. This is important to remember re: Israel and explains the historical land ties that Jews have.

As far as the Ethiopian Jews go - I would agree they should be allowed entry into Israel, but I could see nonracist reasons for the holdup - namely a concern that those who converted out are not actually Jews, especially as the conversions occurred sometimes generations ago. It should be noted that all Beta Israel Jews from Ethiopia have been allowed entry into Israel with no hold up at all.

You have not provided a link that shows that Arab Israelis are forced from Israeli schools. I have not read a single thing which shows that Arab Israelis are forced from integrating into Israeli schools. Yes, this did happen in the PAST. But I have read that in fact that is a situation from the past, and not present. The fact that there is segregation now is because of social norms and NOT legal norms.

Bint Alshamsa said...

It is irrational and unethical to treat citizens differently based on their ethnicity and not on their individual actions. If a Jewish person kills a Palestinian, does the Israeli government go out and drop a bomb in the neighborhood where the Jewish killer lived? If not, then why not?

Funding any school means potentially funding hatred. If we are going to start discriminating against people based on what they have the potential to do, then we could justify discriminating against Jews too. Jews and Muslims are both equally human which means they both have the same potential to commit acts of violence. Unless you're willing to claim that there is some difference in species between these two groups, then their potential to commit acts of violence remains the same. There's no catch-22 in that situation. The only way that it isn't discrimination is if Israel funds the religious schools of all its citizens regardless of which religion it taught or it chooses to discriminate on the basis of religion despite the fact that all of the people involved are, in fact, Israeli citizens.

No one has said that Arab Israelis are forced from Israeli schools. The Arab Israelis are not even in the same school system as other Israelis. Now tell me, what could possibly be ethical about relegating children to a less funded school system simply because of their ethnicity? Please tell me how this is not discrimination.

If this information is not true, then please tell me why the Israeli government would provide this information? Here is a link about the educational disparities and separate school systems (based on ethnicity) in Israel:

Israeli policies keep Arab schools from being integrated into the Jewish system.

Unfortunately, the theory that you give for the quotas is not the one that politicians have used to excuse this situation. I only wish it were true that all of the Beta Israel Jews from Ethiopia have been allowed into Israel with no hold up at all.

Thousands of Beta Israel still in Ethiopia.

Making a home for all Jews means absorbing hundreds of thousands of Africans with the same amount of genetic "Jewishness" as Eastern European Jews

What happened to the Jews left behind

It is very, very sad that the state of Israel has decided that the importance of allowing African Jews to make aliyah should be measured in terms of how much they care they need after they get to Israel.

Red Tulips said...

First thing's first. I do not trust a single word out of the Human Rights Watch website. They are funded by George Soros and have a noted anti-Israel bias. I noticed that they cited to themselves in their report. And I should believe them...why?

Even still, I did not deny that there are Arab Israeli schools with insufficient funding. I acknowledged as much. So where is the debate? The very Human Rights Watch link you provided me does not show that Arab Israelis are legally forced into separate schools.

Furthermore, all the links you provided on the Beta Israelis shows that they are all safely in Israel and the issue is that Israelis doubt the Jewishness of those who converted to Christianity.

Guess what? Same goes around the world. My Christian friend is married to an Israeli Jew, and he is converting to Judaism. He will not easily be able to move to Israel just based on conversion because it actually takes a great deal to prove you really HAVE converted to Judaism.

All the Ethiopian Jews who never converted from Judaism are now living in Israel (Beta Israelis). The issue as to whether or not the Farash Ethiopians are Jewish or not is a very real question.

As far as Jews/Palestinians and bomb dropping goes...

You don't see bombs being dropped in Israel when Arab Israelis or Jewish Israelis commit acts of violence. Why? It's a police action and Arab Israelis are Israeli citizens. So why is it different in the territories? Simple. Because Israel is AT WAR with the territories and the Palestinians within them. THAT is the unacknowledged difference.

belledame222 said...

BA: You're welcome to email it to me first, but I trust you. yeah, thanks for picking up on that one. i am afraid i took a later opportunity to rip that particular person several new assholes (she really is a nasty piece of work, though, i must say).

but yea, that seems to be a fairly common talking point on the right, i note, which, yes, is worth a discussion of itself.

i actually started to say something on a related note somewhere else, i forget where. temple3, was it? feministe? (will go check in a moment). but the whole neocon thing and the complicated relationship they have with 1) the Christian theocratic right in this country and 2) Israel, and its other supporters, has been...interesting. I've been tracing it back to Leo Strauss, but of course it goes back even farther than that (well, and Strauss, like Israel, was forged out of the aftermath of WWII and the mentality of "never again.")

anyway, yah: makes a change from BBB, at least. ah, Dwama on the Internets...

Bint Alshamsa said...

You don't have to trust the Human Rights Website. Look at their other sources. Many of these are Israel's own documents.

I don't ask anyone to just trust one person's claims. But please, tell me, who isn't biased? If we should only believe those who have no bias, who in the world could be believed? So, we're left with looking at the facts. Either an assertion is true or it's false. Does Israel have separate school systems--one for Arab Israelis and another for Jews?

The debate is about whether Israel is an apartheid state. If it has policies that mandate a legal separation between people of differing ethnicities or religions, then it is practicing apartheid. It doesn't need to legally force anyone into a particular school in order for it to engage in discrimination in the form of apartheid educational policies.

Oh rats! I have to stop for tonight. I'll finish this post tomorrow.

Red Tulips said...

bint alshamsa:

I clicked on the HRW link, and read everything within it. Even assuming it is 100% right, it does not contradict what I am saying because I already stated that Arab Israeli schools do not receive the same funding as Jewish Israeli schools.

But it is not clear that this is because of 'apartheid.' In fact, in the US, mostly African American schools do not receive the same sort of funding that schools which are mostly Caucasion American receive. Why? Many reasons. Much of this is based on the funding formula that exists in the US, which is actually NOT racist and is based on a property tax formula. (so poor black inner city neighborhoods will have a lower property tax base to fund their schools than rich white suburbs). In Israel, the funding is based on class size - according to the very HRW article you linked to me. This means that while Arab Israelis receive less per student, they receive the same amount per class. Well, I would like to see proof that there are teachers who are being denied teaching jobs for Arab Israeli kids, thereby forcing class sizes to be larger. I see no evidence of this.

Moreover, the article did not provide any evidence that Arab Israelis are forced into separate schools. I know they in fact ATTEND separate schools, but that is NOT because they are FORCED into separate schools, but rather because societal norms PLACE them in separate schools.

None of this is evidence of apartheid.

belledame222 said...

This is tangential to the current discussion you're having with rt, I think (i need to really sit down and read it frm beginning to end when i get more time; it looks involved and multifaceted), but on the general subject of both the current feminist flamewars and Jewishness, I found this kind of interesting:

http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2006/08/why_blacks_whit.html

From the black side there is a very powerful disincentive, or taboo against, confiding in whitefolks about the presence of racism. I think the notable exception to this is when Jews start the conversation in a particular way. If a nominally white person outs himself as a Jew, unprompted to a black person and talks about racism, I think a strong bridge is built.>>

and

So there are many barriers to overcome that mitigate against the potential for a sustained interracial conversation which settles terms and can focus political energy. But if I may use a jewish analogy, blackfolks want a divine kingdom on earth. We want the laws and the powers to defeat our enemies. We developed ourselves on our own and we want to be left alone. We don't believe this intimacy and friendship is the way to go. It's tedious, it's slow, and every friend is not a fellow warrior. Who knows that better than blacks who are not 100% African blooded but still disconnected from a certain half of their family? This is why the jewish provocation works, we understand the point of view of a jewish warrior.>>

***

I found this via temple3, who i've just started reading regularly; i'd posted te3's response

(http://temple3.wordpress.com/2006/08/31/why-blacks-and-whites-dont-dialogue/)

...along with the bulk of Cobb's OP in the greater context of "why blacks and whites don't dialog," on my blog, connecting it to the current feminist-cum-mainstream leftie brouhaha. (Cobb ID's as an old-school moderate Republican, and neither were really talking about the leftie/fem world at all, but it seemed potentially relevant, obviously).

The part i'm still mulling over, tangential in the context of my own post on the greater subject, is Cobb's Jewish connection. as i mentioned in passing, i found it

"curious. as a Jew, I'm intrigued by this; i wonder how many other people see it this way. it seems to me that this particular poster feels a certain affinity with the Jews; i have mixed feelings about this, because on the one hand, i tend to agree that there is, or can be/has been a historical connection there; and yet at the same time, there's often a profound disconnect, ime. at any rate i've certainly been disheartened by racism coming from My People on a number of occasions. That, and, well, i'm not entirely sure how much I relate to

'want a divine kingdom on earth. We want the laws and the powers to defeat our enemies. We developed ourselves on our own and we want to be left alone.'

...i tend to suspect that this is perhaps more a certain kind of conservative ethos, possible with religious undertones, than anything else."

***

At any rate, it's sort of loosely connected in my mind to the business with Darleen (btw, i forgot to mention, whatever else you post, you may not want to link to her site directly; as i said, she is a nasty piece of work and has connections to a number of even nastier Big Neocon Bloggers; up to you; forewarned is forearmed)

...in that, while i don't find this offensive, it still puzzles me a bit, because it's not -my- experience of being Jewish, i guess is what i am trying to say. Yes, I think there is a reason why American (and other diaspora) Jews have traditionally been associated with civil rights as well as "liberalism;" but i don't think this is what Cobb is saying here at all, somehow. i mean, clearly he does -not- ID as liberal; he is talking about something else.

but, well, as you read in that other thread: I don't really connect with conservative Jewish folks so much, especially the pro-Israeli and/or deeply religious faction. Yes, there is something in -that- that resonates for a lot of people (who aren't Jewish themselves); but that isn't me, i don't think.

just mulling this over.

btw: you know, for some reason your site tends to be especially slow to load. and the white bit cuts out in favor of the orange, you know what i mean; it looks to me, from my own experiences, like at some point blogger did something screwy, most likely when you made changes to the template (sometimes it doesn't finish loading the entire page and then acts as though you saved it that way; that is, when you go back into the template, it looks like the end of the code has been cut off). just a heads-up.

Bint Alshamsa said...

Red Tulips:

The fact that there are separate school systems based on one's ethnicity is what makes it an apartheid system. Even if they received the same amount of funding, keeping them separate in this manner is apartheid. It is the government that institutes and insists on this separateness of the school systems. That is what makes it more than just societal norms at work.

Bint Alshamsa said...

Belledame222,

That is a very interesting post by Cobb. I think that he has a few good points. It seems (to me) that there has always been a potential for greater bonding between Blacks and Jews than with nominally white people in general.

The second post was even more intriguing. This was a powerful statement:

These confessions, by the way are not forthcoming on the personal level because human beings would rather skirt the conflict of revelation and relate at a superficial level. If Americans are really honest with themselves, they’ll see this society really doesn’t have that capacity for self-reflection. I don’t know (through experience) of a nation that does - but the US does not.

and

American institutions (schools, media, government, businesses, etc.) have never dealt with the ugly truths in a systematic way. Compare the US treatment of slavery with the Post WWII treatment of the Nazi era in Germany. There is no comparison. The US continues to harbor, finance and sustain intellectuals, artists, ideologues and others who harbor sentiments directly derived from the outdated racialist doctrines. Many of these people are in influential policy circles and they operate with little scrutiny and tactical immunity.

Regarding the Jewish "divine kingdom on earth" comment, I am totally clueless. I guess a Jewish person would have to explain that to me. To be honest, I don't even understand how this is something that Blacks necessarily feel. Perhaps the "want to be left alone" part might be true but I think if it is, then it stems from the well-founded suspicion that any interference is likely to entail the imposition of foreign cultural values.

I'm curious about the relationship between "liberal" and "conservative" Jews. I've seen the "self-hating Jew" label thrown around by some Jews when describing those Jews who do not support Israel (or simply do not support it unconditionally, at least). This puzzles me a bit considering the fact that it seems that the majority of Jews are not pro-Israel. I wonder what Jewish people who have had this "self-hating" label applied to them actually think about it.

I know I've been labeled as an "Uncle Tom" at times in the past because I held a particular view that wasn't sufficiently pro-Black in the eyes of some Black separatists. I wonder if "self-hating Jew" is basically equivalent to "Uncle Tom".

Regarding my site. I'm not sure what I can do about it. I've noticed that the column on the right (where my profile information is supposed to be) is now really screwed up. I wonder what I can do about it.

Do you know if it would destroy my blog if I tried to change the template at this point?

Red Tulips said...

bint alshamsa:

Um...Arab Israelis are not forced into separate schools, last I checked. They want separate schools.

That is not apartheid by any stretch of the imagination.

Also, a Jew who does not unconditionally support Israel is not labeled as self hating. One who irrationally and without basis criticizes Israel is.

Bint Alshamsa said...

As long as the state of Israel insists on keeping two separate school systems based on the ethnicity of the student, it is maintaining apartheid. No matter how much you dislike the word "apartheid", unless you can show that Israel has dismantled these laws based on ethnicity, there isn't any way that you can prove it is not just that.

Sadly, I have seen Jews who do not unconditionally support Israel labeled as self-hating. It's a rather weak attempt to de-legitimize the "problem" of a world-wide Jewish population that is not united under the banner of support for Israel and/or its policies.

belledame222 said...

yah, I have definitely gotten, if not those exact words, 'self-hating Jew," then pretty close to them, by rabid Israel supporters and/or Israelis (well, mostly this one guy in most recent memory; but i think by pretty much anyone's standards he's...special. never have i seen one man manage to garner so much loathing from so many diverse people so quickly in so many..anyway, i digress. fascinating as trolls are).

also occasional sniping/snarking from religious, or at least tradition upholding, Jews. mostly i don't hang around those circles, but it happens.

but yeah: generally the "self-hating" thing, you can pretty much substitute any "realness" debate and you get the gist pretty well, i'd say.

as per kingdom on earth: like i say, it sounds like the guy's maybe talking out of a Christianity, perhaps. shrug.

well, i think this: there is something extremely attractive about the "Chosen People" narrative. we were wronged, we shall be righted. British Israelites picked it up; Mormons to some degree picked it up; the Black Hebrew Israelites picked it up (you can see them doing their schtick on teh street in NY, sometimes. last i saw was a young woman shouting right back at the guy; apparently he'd said something hideously sexist. everyone's got to have their soapbox i guess). and i seem to remember somewhere hearing about a Japanese group that picked it up. it sort of strikes me as funny, really: "WE'RE the Chosen People!" "No, WE are!" "Heretic! WE..."

anyway i've never been too comfortable with that narrative myself, as you might guess, attached to my own sense of Jewishness via my family and the traditions that sustained them that i am.

i think in a way you know it's the -diaspora- that makes for the, or a, mine, more, anyway, Jewishness; the connection, too, perhaps.

it then becomes a question: well, what do you do with that. become a world citizen; cleave to your own as best you can without structure; melt into the crowd...or...

but anyway i think the creation of modern Israel was a -radical- change and inevitably does affect all Jews, our...place in the world, our narrative, yah; even if, like me, you're a secular American European-derived cosmopolitan Jew who's never been to Israel, has no relatives there, and generally tries to avoid I/P thrashes like the plague.

because for centuries the defining characteristic, or a big one, of the Jews was that we were a people without a land in a time of nationalisms;

and now 'we're' not, even if "we" don't all live in that nation.

not saying i don't have seriously mixed feelings about this either.

then again again, we seem to be segueing out of the age of nation-states and into something else, so who knows what it'll all mean down the line, really.

belledame222 said...

...oh. and there's also "Christian Zionism," of course:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Zionism

one thing i'd been wanting to talk about--i think this segues into the Darleen business--is the weird blend that is the current reactionary right; yah, most of 'em do support Israel unreservedly, but not all for the same reasons. in some cases it's strictly realpolitik, of course (or well their idea of it, which...never even mind that now). and a lot of the neocons are Jewish themselves, which doesn't exclude realpolitik; actually, Leon Strauss himself is worth talking about more. he himself escaped from Nazi Germany, you know; and his cynicism about the Weimar Republic is what led to his philosophy; it well governs everything the current gang of Republicans and "New" Democrats as well does, pretty much. it's "never again" crossed with Machiavellianism crossed with i don't know, James Burnham, maybe?

but one of Strauss' tenets is, roughly,

"religion is the opiate of the masses. Good."

...so very cynical, you know; not religious himself, but the people need it to keep them in line and properly functioning.

which you also see playing out here; of course the neocons are using the (radical, reactionary) evangelicals;

but then again the Christian reactionaries have a fair life force of their own. and they have their own agenda, ranging from the so-called Christian Zionism all the way to actual theocratic ambitions.

so, it's a marriage of convenience.

and when they start to split, i for one: i got no dog here;

but then again: the theocrats ultimately scare the crap out of me, because they're in it for the long hall. also, deep DEEP ideological roots there; hello, these guys were more or less here before the Enlightenment Founding Fathers.
anyway, more later.