Dr. Bill Friend at East Meadow Jewish Community Center, 1999
ZIONISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS
Once upon a time (in a galaxy far, far away), there was this happy land.
It was called FREEDONIA. The people there were farmers mostly, and they grew fruits and vegetables, tended to flocks of sheep, and lived mostly in hundreds of villages, about the size of East Meadow. They had lived in this way for hundreds and hundreds of years, and they had seen different armies and kings and priests come and go. But they stayed.
Then it came to pass that in a faraway land across the great sea, the first biggest war of all time began, and it went on and on seemingly without end. In one of the countries, the Great-King was very sad, because many of his subjects, the flower of a generation's youth, were dying in this war and he needed to find an answer.
One day a man-with-a-strange-gleam-in-his-eye came to his Foreign Minister with an idea. The gleaming-man (as we will call him) told the minister that his people were unhappy in the lands at war and wanted to leave. Many other kings and priests had oppressed them. "But they cannot leave" said the king's minister, "there is much work to be done, especially now." If you let my people go, said the man-with-the-gleam-in-his-eye, I have this connection . . . a cousin of mine on the other side of the ocean that is larger than the great sea. He lives in an enormous land where the people are very powerful, and industrious and if you give my people a Charter to leave, he will convince the High Magistrates and Great Senators of that land to help you win the war.
"Hmmmm", thought the minister to himself, "These people are a nuisance anyway, they set themselves apart, they complain, they are greedy, they control the town criers, and all the moneylenders, and all the places in which the people amuse themselves. And yet they are never happy . . . and they look funny with their big noses."
And the gleaming-man (he's like the cigarette smoking man on the X-files) suddenly said to the Foreign minister "you know, we are a nuisance anyway, we set ourselves apart, we complain, we are greedy, we control the town criers, and all the moneylenders, and all the places in which the people amuse themselves. And yet we are never happy WE ARE STRANGERS WHEREVER WE ARE AND RIGHTFULLY SO.
Now none of this was really true of course, but the minister believed it, and he would tell these things to others. "But now," he thought "I can solve two problems at once. I can get rid of these noxious people and win the war for the King at the same time."
"Where is it you would like you and your people to go?" he asked the Man-with-the-gleam-in-his-eyes. "Well", replied the man, "there is this small piece of land, called Freedonia; it's really very tiny, and at the current time it belongs to one of your enemies in this great and awesome war. We would like to go there."
So the minister went to the King and told him of all this, and the King said, "Make it so." ( The king's name was Jean Luc Picard.)
So the Man-With-The-Gleam was summoned before the minister, and the minister told him, in his scribe's most elegant prose: "His Majesty's Government view with favour this idea to establish a home for your people in this tiny parcel of land, which our enemies now own; and will use our best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object. But first we must defeat our enemies, and we need the assistance of the armies of the King from across the great ocean. Also you should know that there have been some objections raised to your plan by some of your own people. Many say you are not strangers wherever you live and it is not right that you should ever be thus. Therefore His Majesty, my Great king says this as well: It must be clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice civil and religious rights of the people who now reside in this tiny piece of land that some of your people wish to go to, and secondly, those of your own people, who do not agree with you, are free to stay here, and neither shall their rights or political status here or in any other kingdom in which they are subjects of myself or other kings shall be changed, for they are still my subjects and those of the others."
The man was not ENTIRELY happy with these restrictions, but he agreed, for he saw that he was not going to get a better deal, at least for the time being.
And it came to pass in a relatively short time afterwards, that the Senators and Consuls from the great nation on the other side of the ocean and their armies turned the tide of battle and the war was won and the wicked enemies were defeated, and the charter became a law recognized by all of the other allies. And some of the man's people started to go to the tiny land. But behold! The people-who-were-already-living-there exclaimed, "What is this?" "This is not what the king promised to us! Yea, verily we say, We were told something entirely different." And this was true too.
For the Great King was too clever by half, and his minister and his Advisers were wicked men and really wanted everything from the spoils of the war for themselves, and so they told whomever could help them, whatever they wanted to hear. And the people who were already there said, "This is not fair." And the man-with-the-gleam-in-his-eye and his people said to them: "Who are you? And when did you come here?" "We have been here from today to the time of our father and his father's father's fathers and even their father's and then some", they replied.
"Well, in this book," said the gleaming-man, "it says that a very long time ago, my people had a kingdom here, and we would like it back."
Now some noticed straight away, that many of his disciples did not follow the teaching of The Book, or the Commentaries of the Priests and the Wise Men but the man-with-the-gleam-in-his-eye was not deterred.
"Well that just won't do," the people who were already there said, "that was then, and this is now. Perhaps you may come as brothers to join with us but not as our rulers under a Charter of the Oppressive Great King nor to bring the Great King to rule over us, for his name as an oppressor is known throughout all lands. And besides His Majesty made a promise to us as well."
So they argued and they argued, and sometimes they hurt each other as well, when the arguments got out of control. And it came to pass that many innocents from the man's people and the land's people did suffer in the strife. And the soldiers of the Great King laid waste many villages and people of the land when they protested these things.
They argued and fought for so long that no one really could remember who started it; although each was sure it was the other.
The man said they started it, and the people who were already there said it was all the man's fault for attempting to do business with kings. "Don't you know that great kings always lie, and that all they care about is themselves?" they said.
Ah, the gleaming-man said, "But if one is not for oneself, who is one?" But they answered, "If you are only for yourself, then what are you?"
Years passed and new leaders arose among the man's people.
The supreme leader and his lieutenants coveted all of the land, but they kept this secret to themselves.
Soon all the lands of the Earth were engulfed in a new biggest war. A Great Usurper came and said, "My people are masters and masters alone." And his great armies swallowed the lands and put nations to the sword. And he spoke of the people the Gleaming man had claimed to lead and proclaimed:
"These people are a nuisance, they set themselves apart, they complain, they are greedy, they control the town criers, and all the moneylenders, and all the places in which the people amuse themselves. And yet they are never happy and they look funny with their big noses. THEY ARE TREATED AS STRANGERS WHEREVER THEY GO AND RIGHTFULLY SO." And he set his men out to slay them and they killed many, and many more before they were done, and stole babies from the arms of their mother and put them to the sword.
The rulers of the nations, slow to pity and anger, finally united against the Usurper and destroyed him and his legions. But His Majesty's government had made a mess of things in Freedonia and much of the lands of the great seas, and became exhausted from all of the squabbling and bickering. In Freedonia, the fighting between the man's people and the people-who-were-already there drew too much from the royal treasury, and so he told them and all the other nations who had united to destroy the Evil Usurper, that his garrison was leaving Freedonia.
The other rulers did not know what to do at first. They needed this like a hole in the head (like a luff in cup). Then they remembered a story from The Book of the gleaming-man, which was honored by his people's own priests; which he had shown to the people-who-were-already-there, in which in order to be fair a wise king was going to cut a baby in half. But they did not understand the moral of the story. So they proposed that 55% of the tiny land go to the gleaming-man's people and 45% of the land go to the people who were native there.
The people who were already there said, "That's absurd. We OWN 93% of the land and we are 65% of the population. Who are you to tell us to give this away? We were here first. We are the majority, and we asked neither the Great King nor the gleaming-eyed-man and his disciples to come." And so after the great Magistrate in the Great Land Beyond the Great Ocean was reaffirmed as Ruler in his land, he came up with a better idea. But alas, it was already too late, for the descendants of the man's people preferred to battle with the people-who-were-already-there, and they won, and they threw almost all of the people who were already there off of the land, and they laid waste to their villages, and their fields and their orchards, and they even killed their livestock, and they would not allow them to return, leaving only a remnant behind and angry armies bestride Freedonia.
And when the remnant who were left cried and the armies of their kinfolk raged and their spokesmen thundered and complained, the gleaming man's disciples would now say of THEM in dismissal:
"These people are a nuisance anyway, they set themselves apart, they complain, they are greedy, they control the sacred fluid that brings the world fire, and all the money thereto, and try to buy up all the places in which the people amuse themselves. And yet they are never happy and they look funny with their big noses and beards."
And then they said, "This land is now our land". Then the disciples of the gleaming-man passed many laws. They passed laws that allowed the man's people from other lands to come at once and live and work on the land of the former inhabitants who watched in tears and fury.
They passed laws that gave the man's people privileges over any other people. They passed laws to make sure that all of the land would stay in their own hands, and never go to anyone else.
Soon the priests came, as they are always wont to do, and said, "If you want us to cooperate with you then we have our own demands." The people must obey our decrees when it comes to such things as who is a person, and who is a priest. Furthermore, only priests may do marriages and funerals. Furthermore we will say what foods the people may eat and what foods they may not eat. Furthermore they may not marry other people. Furthermore other people may not be buried with our people. Furthermore we will say when things can open and close. FURTHERMORE..." "Enough!" said the new leaders of the man's people. "No more furthermores until later, and we see how it goes."
It did not go very well, even though the people wanted to be so very very good. Many did not like or agree with the new laws. Many hated the priests and their rules. Moreover the people who had already been there but were no longer there except for a remnant, were extremely angry at what had befallen them, and they and their kinfolk kept on fighting for what they felt was theirs. And the gleaming-man's people had to keep on fighting them, and then things got worse and the man's people started to fight among themselves as well.
And the elders among the people-who-had-been-there, grew angrier and hardened their hearts, and some of them took to violence, killing many innocents, while many of their own innocents were killed in retribution. And some of their own priests placed curses on the gleaming-man's people and some of their kinfolk hurt some of the gleaming-man's people out of revenge and drove them from their ancient homes.
And when the disciples of the gleaming-man were asked of these things they answered differently depending on what day it was.
On Sunday they said the people-who-had-been-there were simply fools and ignoramuses, and only understood a good thrashing.
On Monday they would say that the others hated them because it was inevitable as "We are strangers everywhere, and rightfully so."
On Tuesday, they said, "What other people?"
On Wednesday they blamed it all on the kinfolk of the people-who-had-been-there.
On Thursday, they blamed the wicked priests of the other people whom they called Fundamentalists, for turning their blood hot.
On Friday they blamed the Great Eastern King from the north, and the followers of the Great Usurper who were not destroyed, or the "traitors" and "self-haters" among their own people.
Yet on the Sabbath, they simply told the priests and the elders of their own kinfolk in the land beyond the Great Ocean to ask the Magistrate and his Senators to open their treasury to them, which they did.
And since that day when His Majesty's government approved with favour, a home in the tiny land for the man's people, NO ONE HAS LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
- THE END? -
WHO IS DISCONTENT? WHY ARE THEY NOT CONTENT? IS NOT ZIONISM THE LIBERATION MOVEMENT OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, WHO HAD NOT BEEN SOVEREIGN FOR TWO MILLENIA? IS NOT ZIONISM THE ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT OF THE RELIGION KNOWN AS JUDAISM? WHY THE STRIFE OVER THE LAST 100 OR SO YEARS?
DIDN'T A NUMBER OF US, WHO WERE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE PIONEERS, JUST LIKE THE PIONEER SETTLERS OF THE GREAT AMERICAN WEST, GO TO A LAND WITHOUT PEOPLE, CLEAR THE SWAMPS, MAKE THE DESERT BLOOM, AND EVENTUALLY ESTABLISH THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST? WERE NOT THESE, AS HAMLET SAID, "CONTEMPLATIONS DEVOUTLY TO BE WISHED"? WHY ALL THE FUSS, WHY ALL THE STRIFE, THE TERRORIST ACTIONS, THE BATTLES, THE WARS, OVER A TINY LITTLE LAND, AND A CONFLICT THAT HAS LASTED FOR A CENTURY?
"WE," THE GREAT AMERICAN PEOPLE, "HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF EVIDENT: THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS," AND, "THAT AMONG THESE RIGHTS ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS."
SO WERE THESE NOBLE WORDS PROCLAIMED BY THOMAS JEFFERSON ON JULY 2, 1776 ON BEHALF OF THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.
THIS IDEAL OF WHAT THE UNITED STATES OUGHT TO BE WAS TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY BY THE JEWISH IMMIGRANTS OF THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY. THEY DID TAKE THOSE TRUTHS TO BE SELF EVIDENT, AND IN SPITE OF PREJUDICE, QUOTA SYSTEMS, AND OFTEN SUBTLE AND LESS OFTEN NOT SO SUBTLE ANTI-SEMITISM, THEY FOUGHT FOR A PLACE AT THE TABLE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DESCENDENTS. AS IN THE BIBLICAL COVENANT, THERE WAS A CONDITION ATTACHED THAT THEY RENOUNCE ALL OTHER LOYALTIES AND TRULY PLEDGE THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS THEY DID WITH THE GREATEST OF SINCERITY AND COMMITMENT, AND PASSED THIS IDEAL OF INDIVIDUAL LEGAL EQUALITY AND SOCIAL AUTONOMY DOWN TO THEIR CHILDREN AND TO THEIR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN.
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO YEARS AFTER THE AMERICAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THIRTY-SEVEN JEWS AFFIXED THEIR NAMES TO THE DECLARATION OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL, ON MAY 14TH, 1948. (5TH OF AYAR 5708)
MORE NOBLE WORDS, IN WHICH MANY OF THE THINGS SAID BY JEFFERSON ARE REITERATED.
IN THIS DECLARATION OF ESTABLISHMENT ARE THESE ASPIRATIONS, "THE STATE OF ISRAEL WILL FOSTER THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY FOR ALL OF ITS INHABITANTS, IT WILL BE BASED ON FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND PEACE, IT WILL ENSURE COMPLETE EQUALITY OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS TO ALL ITS INHABITANTS IRRESPECTIVE OF RELIGION, RACE OR SEX; IT WILL GUARANTEE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, CONSCIENCE, LANGUAGE, EDUCATION AND CULTURE. AND IT WILL BE FAITHFUL TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS."
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS "DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE" AS IT IS POPULARLY KNOWN, IS NOT ONE OF THE BASIC LAWS OF THE STATE; IT IS IN FACT MERELY WELL INTENTIONED THOUGHTS.
AT THIS POINT IN TIME, SHALL WE ENDEAVOR TO STOP WHAT IS OCCURING IN THE NAME OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE? SHALL WE TRY TO REVERSE ALMOST 52 YEARS OR EVEN 102 YEARS OF HISTORY IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION?
WAS THE BALFOUR DECLARATION A DOCUMENT OF LIBERATION, OR A DOCUMENT OF EXPULSION "DEVOUTLY TO BE WISHED" BY THE PERSON TO WHOM IT IS ATTRIBUTED, ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR, WHO PRIVATELY WAS A NOTORIOUS ANTI-SEMITE? AND WHO PROVED IT PUBLICLY WHEN AS A PRIOR PRIME MINISTER, CUT OFF JEWISH IMMIGRATION TO ENGLAND, ON THE BASIS THAT THERE ALREADY WERE ENOUGH JEWS THERE?
WHEN THE DECLARATION WAS IMPOSED INTO THE MANDATE AT THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, WAS IT DONE BECAUSE THE BRITISH WERE SO "PHILO-SEMITIC" OR WAS IT DONE AS A RESULT OF IMPERIAL DESIGNS ON THE PRIZE?
KEEP IN MIND AS YOU PONDER THESE QUESTIONS, THAT THE LONG STANDING STRATEGIC POLICY OF EVERY WESTERN NATION SINCE AROUND 1920, HAS BEEN READY AND EASY ACCESS TO THE OIL RICH FIELDS OF THE HEAD OF THE PERSIAN GULF. THE TACTICAL POLICIES DEEMED PROPER TO AUGMENT THE STRATEGIC POLICY HAVE CHANGED FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT THE OPERATIVE WORD OF THAT POLICY OIL HAS NEVER CHANGED.
WELL, WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ZIONISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS? WHAT OF ALL THESE QUESTIONS WHICH I HAVE POSED AND HAVE YET TO GIVE ANSWERS TO? IN THE FLYER WHICH GARY PRINTED, I STATED THAT "THE FUNDAMENTAL REASON THAT NO AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED TO DATE, WHICH IS ACCEPTABLE TO ALL SIDES IN THE CONFLICT, IS THAT NO ONE IN THE DIPLOMATIC REALM ADDRESSES THE FUNDAMENTAL ETIOLOGY OF THE CONFLICT WHICH IS THE DOCTRINE OF POLITICAL ZIONISM WHICH IS THE GUIDING FORCE BEHIND THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL WHICH DECLARES ITSELF "THE JEWISH STATE", IN EFFECT A SUPRANATIONAL STATE FOR JEWS ALL OVER THE WORLD, RATHER THAN A SOVEREIGN NATION RESPONSIBLE ONLY TO ITS CITIZENRY AND ITS INHABITANTS.
MANY THOUGHTFUL AND SERIOUS MINDED JEWS, CONCERNED WITH THE CONTINUITY OF JUDAISM HAVE ASKED THESE QUESTIONS IN THE PAST AND ARE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS NOW.
IN THE MARCH/APRIL 1998 ISSUE OF TIKKUN, RABBI MICHAEL LERNER HAS STATED:
"If you judge where and for whom [Jews] are prepared to make sacrifices, where and for whom they spend their money, then you have to conclude that for much of the past 50 years THE REAL OBJECT of worship of much of the Jewish people has been Israel and Zionism. Unfortunately LIKE ALL FALSE GODS, this one has failed to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the Jewish people. If many Jews turn away from Judaism today, Israel has played no small part in that process. JUDAISM MAY BE ONE OF ISRAEL'S MOST IMPORTANT CASUALTIES.
Judaism's message is clear: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE THE STRANGER, PURSUE JUSTICE, LIVE AS HOLY BEINGS, BECAUSE, LIKE ALL HUMAN BEINGS ON THE PLANET, YOU ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.
The Prophets made clear that, to the extent that Jews might create a society that was equally oppressive and unjust as those of the rest of the world, they would HAVE NO CLAIM TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL, OR EVEN SURVIVAL AS A PEOPLE. THE PROPHET'S MESSAGE WAS A CRITIQUE NOT ONLY OF THE POLITICAL WORLD, BUT OF THE "OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES OF JUDAISM, IN ANY PERIOD IN WHICH RITUAL HAD BECOME A HANDMAIDEN TO THE MORALLY OBTUSE.
"Once Judaism collapsed into this ultra-nationalist discourse (that we see and have seen under Netanyahu and Barak'z), those who insisted that Zionism must address the pain of its victims sometimes became seen as NON-JEWISH, or "Westernized" because they used the language of human rights. Ironically many sensitive Israelis, and Jews from around the world who have CRITIQUED ISRAEL'S POLICY TOWARD THE PALESTINIANS ON MORAL GROUNDS, have been forced to go outside the bounds of the organized Jewish community. OFFICIAL JEWISH "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS," HAS TREATED ANY SERIOUS CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AS THOUGH IT WERE OVERT SACRILEGE AND A MANIFESTATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DYSFUNCTION.
And who can be surprised if people who have experienced centuries of being treated in demeaning and oppressive ways, finally being hunted down like vermin and thrown into crematoria and gas chambers, join the list of previously humiliated groups WHO HAVE EMBRACED THE TECHNIQUES AND PHILOSOPHIES OF THEIR PAST OPPRESSORS? So it should not be so surprising that the Zionism that emerged from this experience would have both moments of moral sensitivity and TENDENCIES TOWARDS MORAL BLINDNESS, ESPECIALLY AS IT ENGAGED THE PALESTINIANS.
[Recent Israeli historians have shown] that the socialist Zionists who played the major role in shaping Israel were often indistinguishable from their Herut/Revisionist opponents IN THEIR DESIRE TO EMPTY THE LAND OF PALESTINIANS.
"When we wake up to this in the 21st century, will we then revert to explanations that talk about the "inherent anti-Semitism of the non-Jew," or will we be willing to recognize that ISRAEL, SPEAKING IN THE NAME OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, HAS BEEN PURSUING POLICIES THAT WOULD RIGHTLY ANGER THE MORALLY SENSITIVE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD?"
[In spite of the state's intellectual, and scientific creativity, as well as the compassion of (many) Jews living there] Israel is a state that has caused incredible pain and suffering to the Palestinian people. Our ability as Jews to create a place in which we could be secure could only be bought at the expense of another people. Israel closed its ears and pretended for decades that the Palestinian people did not exist.
"Domination over others, however, distorts not only the victims but the victimizers. You cannot create a society that oppresses others and expect that you will not yourself begin to embody the ugliness of the immorally powerful. Hence, the troubling and painful experience so many people have when we listen to Israelis, themselves only barely escaped from societies in which they were seen as inferior and undeserving of basic civil liberties, now making racist generalizations about the entire Arab world or the entire Palestinian people. Who has not heard some Israelis describe the entire Palestinian people as terrorists? Who has not heard the way that Israelis proclaim their moral superiority even in occupation, or the other ways that they proudly claim that they have a democratic society? Who has not been horrified to hear the tales of armed settlers entering into Arab villages, beating, brutalizing, destroying shops, and sometimes even murdering? Each year the murderer Dr. (Doctor no less who took the Hippocratic oath and whose rule #1 is to do no harm) Baruch Goldstein who entered a mosque and killed 27 people at prayer has his grave visited and honored by hundreds of Jews [while] those who are friendly to the cause of Palestinians are dismissed as TRAITORS."
Elliot Abrams, in his book, FAITH OR FEAR, notes that "It is not too much to say that support for Israel has become a key element of Jewish faith for most American Jews. Support for Israel became central to Jewish identity to many American Jews, it became the essence of their lives as Jews."
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president emeritus of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations stated in the Fall 1994 issue of Reform Judaism: "For many Jews, the Land of Israel remains the sole touchstone of their Jewish existence. They have for too long been plugged into Israel as if it were a dialysis machine equating Judaism with Israel does irreparable harm. We will never know who we are if we continue to use Israel as a fig leaf to cover our own nakedness."
Rabbi, Sir Immanuel Jakobovits, the former Chief Rabbi of the UK has lamented that "The moral conscience of the Jewish people has been all but despiritualized, transferred from its traditional custodians, and virtually monopolized by the secularist masses and their spokesmen ideas such as peace, conciliation, tolerance, sympathy for the sufferings of others, and faith in the triumph of human understanding, so deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, [have been] virtually obliterated [by some religious elements in Israel]. [This] insensitivity to Jewish moral values continues to baffle and trouble me to no end."
In 1998 a group of Jewish philanthropists led by Wall Street manager Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman of the Seagram's fortune, announced the creation of a program called "Birthright Israel." The purpose of this fund is to support first time travel by young Jews aged 15 to 26 to Israel. The assumption of this program is that a spring break or a summer trip to Israel can form a connection in these youth with their Judaism, and perhaps even more importantly, "trips to Israel could also be a means of consolidating support for the Jewish State."
Mr. Steinhardt whom I quoted above, and who is an admitted atheist, which is NOT something I view as IMMORAL, further contends that "Israel is the cement that can bind the Jewish community together" and that this program might "develop into a tradition analogous to that of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Our hope is that a trip to Israel will be another rite of passage of Jewish life." He admits freely that "Israel has frankly through my life and for much of my life BEEN A SUBSTITUTE FOR THEOLOGY. I have lived an important part of my Jewishness through association WITH ISRAEL rather than through adherence to a religious law and any substantial observance."
So Who is discontent? Why are they discontent?
At the time of the formulation of The Balfour Declaration, there were prominent Jewish Britons, led by Edwin Montague, the only Jewish member of the British Cabinet, who were unalterably opposed to any recognition of Zionism on a political basis. They objected to "recognition of Jews as a homeless nationality" and to the investment of "Jewish settlers with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population." Montague, in a memorandum entitled "The Anti-Semitism of the Present Government" (UK Public Records Office, Cab. No. 24/24 8/23/17), insisted that Jews be regarded as a religious community and himself as a Jewish-Englishman. In this document he states in the first paragraph:
"I wish to place on record my view that the policy of His Majesty's Government is anti-Semitic in result and will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world."
He objected to the draft wording which called for "a national home of the Jewish people" with prescient insight into the Zionist organization's plans:
"I assume that it means that Mohammedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews, and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English."
He added that: "You will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country."
Some of his comments, written more than three decades before the Law of Return was enacted by the Knesset, point with uncanny accuracy to this basic law of the State of Israel. He stated:
"Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test." His own appraisal of such a test was unequivocal and unwavering:
"A religious test of citizenship seems to me to be only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled."
He summarized and prophesized that "Palestine will become the world's Ghetto."
One could view it as prophetic when they stated that the idea of a Jewish State was inadmissible: "because the Jews are and will probably long remain a minority of the population of Palestine and because it might involve them in the bitterest feuds with their neighbors of other races and religions which would seriously retard their progress."
As a counter-offensive to Montague and other anti-Zionist Jews, Chaim Weizmann contended, rather disingenuously as the events of 1948 and recent events show that:
"The Zionists [do not want] to have any special political hold on the OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM ITSELF, or any control over the Christian or Moslem Holy Places [or] to set up a JEWISH REPUBLIC, OR ANY OTHER FORM OF STATE IN PALESTINE, or in any part of Palestine [or] to enjoy any SPECIAL RIGHTS NOT ENJOYED BY OTHER INHABITANTS OF PALESTINE."
This memorandum was as disengenuous then as the so-called "Peace Process" is today, for it was clear from Herzl's diaries which were not published at his request for twenty years after his death, and from documents of discussions by the Zionist Executive of the Z.O. that the ultimate goal was, in truth, A JEWISH STATE, and that among themselves when they acceded to the euphemism of "national home," it was their interpretation, that this home was to be a state.
Lastly, the third part of this memorandum is belied by the Basic Laws of the State of Israel, in which Jews are given special rights not enjoyed by other inhabitants, as well as other laws enacted to deprive the native Palestinians of their lands and properties.
In spite of this, the declaration, 67 words, one man's dream and another man's nightmare, was issued as a letter from Lord Balfour, Britain's Foreign Minister to Baron Lionel Rothschild on 11.2.17.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
After it's incorporation into the British Mandate for Palestine of the League of Nations, in only slightly different wording the document became International Law. But was it international justice?
Ahad Ha'am (the pen name of Asher Ginsberg) known as a "spiritual or cultural Zionist" believed in the establishment of "a Jewish home in Palestine" not so much as a refuge but as a place to fulfill the needs of Judaism, a center for Jewish learning and study. He visited Palestine in 1891. At that time there were less than 25,000 Jewish settlers there and close to 300,000 Arabs. As to the treatment received at the hands of these new pioneers, he wrote "They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds; and nobody among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination." He concluded that it was "a grave error to believe that the Arabs are all savages who live like animals and do not understand what is happening" and that it was evident that "one day the Arabs would stand up against us."
Like most Prophets, he was studiously ignored, and it fairly caused moral indignation: "I can't put up with the idea that our brethren are morally capable of behaving in such a way to men of another people" he wrote. He wondered how much worse it would be if the Jews actually achieved power in Palestine.
He moved there in 1922 and just before his death in 1927 in one of his last letters, upon hearing of Jewish terrorism against Arabs, he stated with a broken heart: "Is this the goal for which our fathers have striven and for whose sake all generations have suffered? Is this the dream of a return to Zion which our people have dreamt for centuries: that we now come to Zion to stain its soil with innocent blood? If this be the "Messiah," then I do not wish to see his coming. [But] God has afflicted me to have to live and to see[this] with my own eyes".
Other eloquent voices in opposition were those of Jewish philosophers Martin Buber, Hugo Bergmann, Hannah Arendt, scientists, most notably Albert Einstein, as well as political and educational leaders such as Nahum Goldmann and Judah L. Magnes, who sought some kind of bi-national and equitable solution, to what now was not the "Jewish question" but the "Palestine Problem."
There were some who walked around with blinders on, and who still do, who do not see that the establishment of a national home (state) for one people in a country already the national home of another could only mean the limited nature of a second home or the expropriation or dispossession of the first people.
Others, from both the left and the right of the political Zionists were quite clear on this, and even planned for it. Vladimir Ze ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Zionist Revisionists, the Hagana, and later the Irgun, and mentor to Menachem Begin, Itzhak Shamir and Benjamin Netanyahu, referred to the Balfour Declaration and its inclusion in the mandate as providing "a corner of Palestine, a canton, how can we promise to be satisfied with it? We cannot, we never can should we swear to you that we should be satisfied, it would be a lie.
And yet we hear today how Israel has "lost its way". How the only "democracy in the middle east" is turning into something quite different. The real truth is that Israel has not and has never lost its way; it is following the tenets of political Zionism and has been doing so since the inception of the state. The public relations efforts so prevalent, especially among the organizations within the N. American Jewish community, especially since the end of WWII which have succeeded in building the faith that Israel is in fact a true democracy in the way we understand the United States or Canada or the UK to be a democracy, has done a disservice to not only the Jews of N. America, but to the Jews living in other parts of the world as well as in Israel, and it has committed a great crime against the Palestinian people which still needs to be redressed.
That there has been up until recently little analysis of Israel's Zionist infrastructure as the possible cause of Israel's failure to live up to the high expectations of it's supporters has been the fault of those who have made considerable efforts to stifle dissenting voices.
Even an individual as unmindful of true democracy as the late Meyer Kahane, whose Kach Party, was banned in Israel, understood quite well that a "Jewish Democracy" is a contradiction in terms. In his books "They Must Go", and "Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews", he states:
"The reality of the situation is therefore clear. The Jews and Arabs of the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel, not Medinat Israel note carefully) ultimately cannot coexist in a Jewish-Zionist state." "The Arab problem will not go away because the very existence of a Jewish state creates it". He concludes that "precisely because the reality is so painful and so clearly threatening to the very foundation of the Zionist-Jewish state, Jews make haste to delude themselves with patent nonsense and cosmetic camouflage. The Arab-Jewish problem in the State of Israel threatens the very philosophy and most deeply held beliefs of Jews "Kahane contends, however, "it lays bare the glaring foolishness and misconceptions upon which Political Zionism is based. WORST OF ALL [he considers it worst], for the secular, Western-oriented Jew, it clearly and inexorably forces him to choose between Western liberal democracy and a JEWISH STATE." He continues later on in his book, "The Arab of Israel [and here we may now include the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem-z] sits in a land in which he was once the majority, which he controlled, WHICH WAS ARAB, WHICH WAS HIS. The Jew came from Russia, Poland, Morocco and Brooklyn AND TOOK IT FROM HIM. THAT IS HOW THE ARAB SEES IT [he does not say that is how a lot of non-Arabs see it as well-z]. That is HIS reality. How do we expect him to feel and react, this man who feels robbed and bitter and alienated? That is the source of the problem and it is insoluble.
The points I raise are so brutally plain and painful that people shrink from them. Better for them, sugary delusions than bitter reality."
He counters a well known pro-Zionist argument that Arabs have it better in Israel than in any of the Arab countries- by understanding clearly that:
"During all the years of the existence of Israel, and for all the decades of pre-Israel political Zionism, Zionist leaders (especially on the left) eagerly, desperately, clung to a myth, which they fed, as an article of faith, to the Jewish masses. That myth proclaimed: The way to peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jew in the Land of Israel is to raise the standard of living and to create a new generation of educated Arabs the head and stomach policy of clever Israelis.
I say it again: All those who say this hold the Israeli Arab in nothing but contempt. One does not buy the national aspirations of a people with indoor toilets . . . or other material goods. The Jewish Arab conflict in Israel is not a social or economic or political one. It is much deeper than that; it has to do with the very definition and basis of the state. AS LONG AS ISRAEL PERSISTS IN DEFINING ITSELF DE JURE, OFFICIALLY, AS THE JEWISH STATE, AS LONG AS IT ADHERES TO THE ZIONIST CREDO OF THE LAND AS BELONGING TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE THERE WILL BE HATRED CONFLICT, BLOOD, WAR." M. Kahane
That he chose "The Jewish State" over Western Democracy bespeaks of his inheritors, such as those living in Kiryat Arba, outside of Hebron. One individual in particular comes to mind: Rabbi Moshe Levinger. Moshe Levinger was walking through downtown Hebron while stores were closing for the day, and as an Arab shoe proprietor was closing his shop, Moshe killed him with his gun. He shot him because, well . . . he felt like it. For this act of cold-blooded murder he received less of a sentence than a car thief gets in the United States.
What most supporters of Israel in the United States either fail to understand, or choose to ignore is that you must institute in law, undemocratic measures when you desire to confer preferential rights on single ethnic/religious group in a country, over all others. The fulfillment of this so-called "Zionist Dream" has been a living nightmare for the indigenous Palestinian Population, just as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny was a nightmare for the Plains Indians of N. America. Israel has not lost its way. To state this is to ignore the fact that repressive policies have been necessary in the overall political Zionist strategy to maintain a state for "The Jewish People" entity, and they are continuing constantly even now as this Oslo Articles of Conditional Surrender proceed inexorably, in a land where only 52 years ago others lived as the majority population. In the pursuit of hegemony over all of what was once the territory of the Palestine Mandate, in pursuit of these goals, it has however been losing much of its sentimentalized reputation, as well as its accompanying myths.
It is the historical continuity of this classic political Zionist ideology that is responsible for the legal structure of Israel and for the attendant serious socio-economic, political and religious problems confronting the State. It is Herzl's ideology and misguided utopianism which motivated not only what are known as the Basic Laws of the State, but other laws calculated to drive out or prevent the return of the original inhabitants in contravention to at least three international agreements: Most notably the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Preamble of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There are Basic Laws, which function as constitutional laws in Israel, because in spite of what it stated in the Declaration of Establishment, Israel still has yet to have a written Constitution. These laws are:
THE LAW OF RETURN (See Mallison p. 430 ff)
To just summarize as most of you are familiar with, the Basic Law of Return, permits any Jew (with some restrictions) anywhere in the world to declare instant citizenship in the State of Israel. No other individuals may do so. This law was recently abused by the Sheinbein youth whom Israel would not extradite to the State of Maryland to face murder charges in that state, where he has admitted to carving an associate to death with a chain saw.
Thus the law is on its face racist by any modern definition since in the juridical system of the Zionist state, ones RELIGION either actively practised or assumed as an inheritance through the mother is the SINA QUA NON of membership in "The Jewish People" entity.
The 1970 amendment to the Law of Return was anticipated in 1963 in the widely publicized "Brother Daniel" case. Oswald Rufeisen had been born a Jew and converted to Catholicism. He was denied the RIGHT of immigration to Israel as a Jew (non Jewish immigration to Israel goes through a separate mechanism there is no instant citizenship conferred on non-Jews) with the consequent automatic acquisition of citizenship. This decision was made by the Supreme Court. Subsequently, Rufesien acquired citizenship by naturalization.
Now, why is this racist?
Mr. Rufeisen, or any Christian or Muslim who is a citizen of Israel but who does not qualify for membership in "The Jewish People" lives in a status INFERIOR to anyone who qualifies by the law of the Zionist State as a "Jewish People" national, EVEN THOUGH HE OR SHE MAY BE A CITIZEN OF ANOTHER STATE . This is the point at which ANY JEW, whose credentials are accepted by the Zionist state for membership in the synthetic nationality entity called "The Jewish People", enjoys a status SUPERIOR to even a non-Jewish People citizen. Dr. Nathan Feinberg, a legal scholar at Hebrew University stated:
"The right to THE NATIONAL HOME is granted to THE JEWISH PEOPLE as a WHOLE, and not to any part of it; it is granted not to Zionists or to Jews who have settled in Palestine or who will settle there, but to ALL JEWS WHEREVER THEY MAY BE.
Thus "All Jews wherever they may be" qualify as "Jewish People" nationals, but "questionable" Jews, like Mr. Rufeisen, may not and certainly Christian or Muslim nationals of the Zionist state do not qualify.
As a matter of fact, all Israeli citizens are required to hold identity cards, and all males are required to have them on their person at all times. Now none of these cards say Israeli. They say Jew, or Muslim or "other", and when this was challenged in the courts, because some Jewish-Israelis did not want to be identified with the religion of Judaism, they lost the case.
The late Prof. W.T. Mallison Jr. head of Georgetown U.'s International Law dept, had described this situation as one in which Jews regardless of their conventionally recognized citizenship are PRESUMED by the Zionist State of Israel to possess " a functional second nationality by virtue of their religion". People who are Jews but citizens of another state may enjoy IN THE ZIONIST STATE certain advantages which are not enjoyed by citizens of this state who cannot qualify as "Jewish People" nationals (such as leasing property owned by the WZO/JA under it's subsidiary the JNF. Note that under Basic Law The Status Law and under the Basic Law Covenant Law, the WZO/JA is a part of the state of Israel).
SINCE THE CRITERION OF "JEWISH PEOPLE" MEMBERSHIP IS EITHER RELIGION, OR ETHNICITY BY VIRTUE OF DESCENT FROM A MOTHER RECOGNIZED TO HAVE BEEN JEWISH, THE STATE IS EITHER THEOCRATIC OR RACIST. By definition, it must violate the human rights of those under its jurisdiction who cannot qualify as "Jewish People" nationals. Given this condition IN LAW it follows AS A MATTER OF POLICY, [that] the state must resort to any strategy which will guarantee a PERMANENT majority of "Jewish People" nationals.
BASIC LAW: THE STATUS LAW
This law defines the relationship between the World Zionist Organization which is also the Jewish Agency (although that has been partially modified to conform to U.S. tax laws) and it's new relationship to the State of Israel, once the state was established. In effect the World Zionist Organization is a legal arm of the Israeli government, responsible for ministering to Jews in the "diaspora" and to encourage through various departments, "aliyah" or immigration to Israel, and to raise moneys for the state.
This relationship between the State of Israel and the WZO/JA was further codified in the third of the three basic laws which is known as THE COVENANT.
If you refer to the "map" of the creation of various Zionist instruments from the 1st Zionist congress on, the relationship of all of the different groups will become clear.
In brief (because Gary kept telling me cut, cut, cut, and I ain't no mohel) very briefly because this topic could occupy hours, The Jewish National Fund which was one of the first instruments created by the Zionist Organization, ain't just about planting trees, and it ain't your father's Oldsmobile either. There are some exclusivist codes within the articles of the JNF, which were formulated specifically to exclude non-Jews from gaining benefits in first Palestine and then Israel, that are reserved for Jews only. All of these rules have to do with disallowing non-Jews to work on or lease land owned by the Jewish National Fund. Today that constitutes about 95% of the land inside the green line. (the eastern armistice line prior to the 1967 war).
There are other laws either once used, or still used by the state of Israel which were designed to prevent the indigenous inhabitants from reclaiming their properties. Most of these had to do with land, and two of the most notorious were The Absentee Properties Law, in which any land that remained fallow for a certain period of time reverted to the state and was given to a "custodian". This law was a carryover from an old Ottoman Empire law, in which any uncultivated land was the property of the Sultan.
(2) And then there is my own particular favorite, the Orwellian Present Absentees Law. During the 1948 war, many Palestinians left their villages, sometimes at the insistence of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) but remained within what was to become Israeli territory. Sometimes they only left for a few hours or days. When they tried to return they were prevented from doing so. Although they were in fact physically present; they were declared ABSENT, and their properties were turned over to the "custodian". So they were declared present-absentees and that in fact is the name of the law. The most egregious example of this are the villages in the north of Ikrit and Birkun where the villagers who had taken no part in the hostilities were requested to vacate "temporarily" by the IDF.
This matter came before the Israeli supreme court which ruled they were to be allowed back and that their land and property was to be returned. To date, this action has NOT been carried out.
But perhaps the most notorious of all of the laws used by the Israeli government to suppress non-Jews are the Defense (Emergency) Regulations which were originally created by the Mandatory to control Jewish terrorists. At that time Menachem Begin the leader of the Irgun, described these laws as worse than any of the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany.
Under these DER's a person may be incarcerated "for security reasons" without any charges being brought, for an indeterminate period of time, without right of habeas corpus which we take as a cardinal rule here, without right to an attorney, and without right to even know what the charges are.
Thousands of Palestinians have been incarcerated under these laws some for as much as 15 years, without ever appearing in a court of law. One courageous Jew by the name of Felicia Langer, who was a human rights attorney, AND a camp survivor, fought against this for years, before leaving Israel in disgust. Her work is now being undertaken by Lea Tsemel, who is on the board of Advisers of the same organization as myself, and who is also the wife of Michel Warshawski who is an internationally known Israeli, and one of the founders of Gush Shalom as well as the Alternative Information Center.
All of this now brings us to the fundamental question. Why will the current "Peace Process" fail, as have all other previous attempts at peace? This of course begs the last question What is the ONLY solution to Peace between Jew and Palestinian Arab in this 100-year conflict?
The current "Peace Process" will ultimately fail precisely because it is not a Peace Process. It is an attempt to finally consolidate the entire area of the former Palestine Mandate under complete Jewish sovereignty. Ehud Barak, the current PM speaks of peace, but his actions belie that. Expulsions and demolitions of Palestinians are still going on, while West Bank settlements and settlements on the Golan are being expanded.
For Barak Peace means "Them over there and us over here", in effect, a kind of apartheid situation. As the lesson of South Africa showed, apartheid does not bring peace, only further resentment and problems.
The peace process will fail because of the fact that Israel still operates under the philosophy of Herzlian political Zionism which guides ALL political parties in Israel no matter how tenuously, and certainly is the factor behind Labor and Likud, the major parties, and the factor behind the religious parties with a bit of Torah thrown in for good measure.
In point of law, any party running in Israeli elections must be Zionist by definition or they are excluded.
At best the two-state solution is an intermediate answer. In order for the two-state solution to work, both sides must deal with each other on an equitable basis, which is not currently being done. Israel is virtually dictating the "settlement" to the PA, which more and more is being perceived by the Palestinians as representing them less and less.
Thus the only solution to the conflict is what has become known as The One State Solution, which is in fact a resurrection of the Binational State as proposed by some factions in Palestine led by such people as the founder of Hebrew University, Dr. Judah Magnes, Albert Einstein and philosophers Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt. The binational state was also the minority position of the two UNSCOP committees. After he was re-elected Harry Truman took the minority paper position and proposed a Trusteeship until it could be achieved but the winds of war had already begun in the "Holy Land" although very few Jews pay attention to it. The "Jerusalem Program" of the World Zionist Organization is one of the basic operating principles which Federated organizations must adhere to. One of the parts of the Jerusalem Program is Aliyah, but not to the State of Israel, Medinat Israel but to The Land of Israel, Eretz Israel, as something to be encouraged for all Jews. Indeed, in its new Platform, even the CCAR has just made that recommendation and Isaac Meyer Wise is no doubt turning in his grave, and Sir Edwin Montague has been walking the earth trying to find lasting peace.
The details of the One State Solution were eloquently re-laid down in a major article by Prof. Edward W. Said in The New York Times Magazine of 1/10/99. His basic points in that lengthy article are:
The Oslo process has put off the real reconciliation that must occur if the 100 year war is to end.
Oslo set the stage for separation not for reconciliation There is no peace solution unless Israel enters a post-Zionist phase of governance. The problem has NO solution within the Zionist framework of thinking. This was recognized by even David Ben-Gurion who stated "There is no example in history of a people saying we agree to renounce our country, let another people come and settle here and outnumber us." (1944)
Neither the "Original Sin", The Balfour Declaration, or its legalization internationally under The Mandate ever specifically conceded that Palestinians had political as opposed to civil and religious rights in Palestine. The idea of inequality was therefore built into British and then Israeli and U.S. policy from the start.
Years of military occupation have created in the weaker party anger, humiliation and hostility all prerequisites to unending violent conflict. Within the green line, a system of privileging Israeli Jews and indeed all Jews will satisfy neither those who want an entirely homogenous Jewish state, nor those who live there but are not Jewish. For the former Palestinians are an obstacle to be somehow disposed of, for the latter, being a non-Jew means forever chafing at inferior status.
The answer is not in seeing how to separate the two but in trying to find out how to live together as fairly and peacefully as possible.
Many are in concurrence with Said when he says "I see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen. There can be no reconciliation unless both peoples, two communities of suffering, resolve that their existence is A SECULAR FACT, and that it has to be dealt with as such." He continues "Palestine [historically] is multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious. There is as little historical justification for homogeneity as there is for notions of national or ethnic and religious purity today."
"There is no way of evading the fact that in 1948 one people displaced another, thereby committing a grave injustice". Religious and right wing Israelis have no problem with such a formulation but a great many more others certainly do. These people refuse to accept the limitations of Oslo, which is what one Israeli scholar has called "Peace without Palestinians."
A new concept must be developed in the existing reality there: the idea and practice of citizenship, not ethnic or racial community, as the main vehicle for coexistence, in a modern state where all of its members are citizens by virtue of their presence and the sharing of rights and responsibilities, the same privileges and the same resources. A major step in that direction is the development of a written constitution and bill of rights, and inalienable secular and juridical rights, and pre-eminently, NEITHER SIDE SHOULD BE HELD HOSTAGE TO THE DESIRES OF RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS. INJUSTICE AND BELLIGERANCE DON T DIMINISH BY THEMSELVES; THEY HAVE TO BE ATTACKED BY ALL CONCERNED.
Thank you for listening.
As a post-script. I have just been speaking for at least 30 minutes. Everything that has been said, had been summed up not only by the prophets and sages of long ago, but by some of our modern prophets, some of whom we assign the honorarium of poet. One of these people is Leonard Cohen who had this to say:
Israel, and you who call yourself Israel, the Church that calls itself Israel, and the revolt that calls itself Israel, and every nation chosen to be a nation none of these lands is yours, all of you are thieves of holiness, all of you are at war with Mercy. Who will say it? Will America say, We have stolen it, or France step down? Will Russia confess, or Poland say, We have sinned? All bloated on their scraps of destiny, all swaggering in the immunity of superstition. Ishmael, who was saved in the wilderness, and given shade in the desert and a deadly treasure under you: has Mercy made you wise? Will Ishmael declare, We are in debt forever? Therefore the lands belong to none of you, the borders do not hold, the Law will never serve the lawless. To every people the land is given on CONDITION. Perceived or not, there IS a Covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation's sweetest dreams of itself. The Covenant is broken, the condition is dishonored, have you not noticed that the world has been taken away? You have no place, you will wander through yourselves from generation to generation without a thread. Therefore you rule over CHAOS, you hoist your flags with no authority, and the heart that is still alive hates you. You decompose behind your flimsy armour, your stench alarms you, your panic strikes at love. The land is not yours, the land has been taken back, your shrines fall through empty air, your tablets are quickly revised, and you bow down in hell beside your hired torturers, and still you count your battalions and crank out our marching songs. Your righteous enemy is listening. He hears your anthems full of blood and vanity, and your children singing to themselves. He has overturned the vehicle of nationhood, he has spilled the precious cargo, and every nation he has taken back. Because YOU ARE SWOLLEN WITH YOR LITTLE TIME. Because YOU DO NOT WRESTLE WITH YOUR ANGEL. Because YOU dare to live without G-D. Because your COWARDICE has led you to believe THAT THE VICTOR DOES NOT LIMP.
Presented at The East Meadow Jewish Center (C) on Sunday morning October 10, 1999.