Monday, February 14, 2011

Louis Theroux: The Ultra Zionists

A very good, and accurate, look at the madness of zionists.

"03 February 2011 BBC2

Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive and disputed areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible.

Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish settler movement - finding them warm, friendly, humorous, and deeply troubling.

Louis Theroux spends time with ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers and discovers a small, but very committed subculture.

On a hilltop in the Northern West Bank, not far from the large Palestinian city of Nablus, I met 17-year-old Yair Lieberman.

A part-time labourer and student, Yair's home was a makeshift canvas-covered structure, only slightly more solid than a tent, which he shared with three other young men. The bed was a tangled mess of sheets, in the style of a conventional teenager's, and hung around the dwelling were posters - though not of pop groups, but of favourite rabbis. Outside, in the neighbouring lots, was a scattering of fifteen or so caravans and trailers - the outpost of Havat Gilad.

Like the settlements up and down the West Bank, Havat Gilad is illegal under international law. It lies miles inside the territory won by Israel in the 1967 war and the vast majority of the surrounding population is Palestinian. But Havat Gilad is also illegal under Israeli law. Electricity comes from a generator. Water is trucked in.

Yair moved up to Havat Gilad a couple of years ago. On a tour around the hilltop, I asked him why he'd decided to make his life in this ramshackle encampment, at the end of a dirt road, on an inhospitable hilltop among Arab olive groves.

"If we're not here there's a [Palestinian] city and we don't want another [Palestinian] city," he said.

What, I wondered, would be so bad about another Palestinian city?

"Because it's my land! It's the land of Israel. It's not the land of Palestinians."

Yair's beliefs are shared by a hardcore religious nationalist fringe of Jewish Israelis who have chosen to make their home up and down the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. They say that those areas belong by right to the Jewish people - a title claim based mainly on the bible.

The fact that there are nearly ten times as many Arabs as there are Jews in the West Bank, with their own dreams of a national homeland, they regard as a side-issue.

I was making a documentary about these ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers, called The Ultra-Zionists. For several weeks I'd been spending time in some of the most hardcore and uncompromising sections of the Israeli nationalist community - the Jewish enclave in Hebron, in the hilltops in the north of the West Bank, and in the crowded Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem - choosing to come at a time when peace talks were ongoing and the extreme settlers were therefore more embattled.

For many years I'd been fascinated by extreme nationalists - and I'd hoped the issue of the West Bank and its settlement by extreme religious Jews would be a chance to understand this mindset at first hand." (From You Tube)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jewish Critics of Zionism and of Israel’s Treatment of the Palestinians

How I became a "self-hating Jew"

One of the most important lessons I have been fortunate enough to receive were the lessons my grandparents taught me.
My grandparents survived Auschwitz and other horrors during the big unpleasantness of the Shoah. I remember as a little girl overhearing their conversations with other survivors, my parents told me of stories they in turn had overheard. It made my blood run cold with fear. Then one day, I was 10 years of age, my cousins, brothers and I went with our grandparents to Poland, we went to see Auschwitz. I cannot describe the feelings that surged through me then and there. The legendary gates at the entrance, the barbed wire, the cold barracks. And the gas chambers, the "showers". And the ovens. I had never in my life experienced such a raw surge of uncontrollable emotion, and I hope I never do again. To realize, truly understand and accept that my sweet, merry grandparents and millions of others had been at one point quite literally branded for eventual extermination for no other reason than that they were Jews, well, I lost it. My legs gave way and i dropped to the floor in tears. Tears of sorrow, of anger, of helplessness and acceptance, and then hate.
When we returned the nightmares began, and never really went away. Nightmares of gas filling up the shower room, and of blazing giant ovens filled with every person in my family, my friends, neighbours, everyone I had ever met up to that point in my life. It was not long after the nightmares started that I began to hate Germans. That I was of German descent did not matter, in fact, it seems now in retrospect that that fact actually intensified the hate. That hate in turn became a love for Israel, the land of my birth. A love that in truth was nothing more than an expression of nationalism, and it had its innermost beginnings in hate. Sick, no?
I forget exactly what it was I said to my grandfather, I only remember that it had to do with the occupation of Palestine and Germany. I said some hateful things which I now regret, and most unforgivably, I tried to use both the Shoah and my hate for Germans to justify the criminal treatment of an entire people who had never done me any harm.
My grandfather sat me on his lap, and simply told me " I have forgiven. I am free once again."
It struck me to my very soul. It was simply outrageous any person who suffered like my grandparents should just simply forgive.
Many conversations ensued, I tried fighting the idea but it had taken hold. Slowly, i saw the terrible mistake I made, and with acceptance came love and then too, I forgave.
Poets have written countless lines dedicated to love, and I do not believe any have yet been able to do justice to the word and the concept.
My anger remained, but it was now driven by a love I had never known was possible. A love for living beings which began to re-shape my thought, my philosophy, my very self.
As I began to explore this newly discovered capacity for love it became painfully obvious that much of what I believed had it's beginnings in a dark moment of my life.
 Most obvious was my ardent support for Israel. As i explored this support it became clear to me, for many reasons, that I could no longer in good faith continue to support a regime which treated innocent people, some were children, like myself, in a manner much like the one that drove me to hate. It was clear then that I was an anti-Zionist Jew, the most hated kind of Jew today, seen by many as no more than a modern day Kapo. A "self-hating Jew".
Another side-effect of this newly discovered love was the necessity to defend my new beliefs, and a rediscovery of my faith began. And a love affair with philosophy. As I study philosophy I will gain strength, and that strength will be used to find my voice amongst the multitudes. And with that voice I pray I can be able to share the lessons my grandparents taught me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

why the angry jewess?

I am angry. My anger is not based on hatred, rather, it is love which fuels it. Love for the Other, humans and non-humans. Anger is a beautiful expression of the heart, it can be terrible, it can be sublime.
I am not perfect, and therefore I cannot claim to represent any universal truth other than that which my heart and soul lead me to express.
Judaism is my faith, not my religion. And though some will, no doubt, find a lot of my views and interpretations heretical and not at all politically correct, I make no apologies.
I am not trying to re-write Jewish theology, I am trying to re-define and re-think it, deconstruct dogma and re-discover, if only for my self, the seemingly forgotten beauty that has been lost in the new definitions expounded by political Zionists, definitions which I find not only morally objectionable but contrary to the spirit of fundamental inter-human ethics upon which Judaism, as I undestand it, is founded. I must add that I'm not by any means a theologian nor, much less, a trained philosopher. I only hope to write in the spirit of one who is slowly learning new ideas and concepts and attempting to express them in the context of my faith, which I'm also constantly learning about and discovering. And is it not that what faith is -- a personal journey of discovery?

Welcome, and thank you for your company on this wonderful voyage!