The Western Wall is as political as the Apartheid Wall

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Netanyahu at Western Wall
Netanyahu at Western Wall

Just when my reflections on religion and the holiday season were becoming too pessimistic, a more positive development is in the offing.  At least it’s touted as such.

The development involves the Western Wall in Jerusalem where many Jews come to pray.  As part of the ancient Temple compound, it’s one of the holiest sites in Judaism.  Religious Jews in Israel and around the world flock there. 

The Western Wall is a tourist site as well.  You don’t have to be from a particular religion or any religion at all to have it included on your Israel tourist itinerary.

Please don’t confuse the Western Wall with the Apartheid Wall.   On the face of it, they’re two completely different realities. When you dig deeper you see a connection.

 The Western Wall came into Jewish hands in the 1967 war when Israel conquered Jerusalem.  Immediately after the war, the Moroccan Quarter, over 800 years in existence, was cleared.  In more colorful language, the area was Judaized and cleansed of ‘foreign’ influences. The cleansed, now empty area, is where Jews approach the Wall to pray.

The connection between the Western Wall and the Apartheid Wall isn’t obvious.  The Western wall is religious, the Apartheid Wall political.  However, the main connection is Jewish domination of what was once Palestinian geography.  The separation is artificial.

The ‘advance’ I hinted at?  For years Jewish women have been protesting gender exclusion at the Western Wall.  Access to the Wall is guarded by the ultra-Orthodox who privilege men.  Though there has been some reform in the last few years, women have been – correctly – displeased with the progress toward equality at this important religious site. 

Today women pray at the Wall in their own special section.  However, they are prohibited from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls.Separation and restrictions remain.

So who becomes the gender equality Western Wall prayer champion?  According to the New York Times, it is none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  He, in turn, has enlisted another right-wing politician, Natan Sharansky, to facilitate movement toward more gender equality. 

Netanyahu’s advisor explains the Prime Minister’s initiative:  ‘He wants to preserve the unity of world Jewry.  This is an important component of Israel’s strength.’  In response to a reporter’s question about the possibility of full equality for women at the Wall, Sharansky responds:  ‘I imagine very easily as situation where everybody will have their opportunity to express their solidarity with Judaism and the Jewish people and the state of Israel in way he or she wants, without undermining the other.’

At least, Netanyahu and Sharansky tell it straight up – the Western Wall is as political as the Apartheid Wall. 

Should the major complaint of women who want religious equality involve prayer at a site that has been conquered and cleansed?   Should Jews be united across gender lines in prayer at the Western Wall as it is now constituted and guarded?

For Palestinians the Western Wall is a symbol of oppression.  This should also be true for Jews of Conscience.

The Western Wall, like Christmas trees, is not innocuous.  Prayer there is not innocent. 

Perhaps women should abandon prayer at the Western Wall and pray, instead, at the Apartheid Wall.  Since the ultra-Orthodox don’t pray there, women would have immediate full equality.

If the women’s prayers remained the same at the Apartheid Wall as they would have been at the Western Wall, then at least they’d be honest.  In essence they would be praying that the Apartheid Wall be Israel’s salvation. 

If the women realized the politics of the various Walls in Israel/Palestine, they could change their prayers at the Apartheid Wall to reflect that connection.  They could pray for justice and equality for Jews and Palestinians of both genders, a political equality which would resonate on the religious level as well. 

With Netanyahu and Sharansky as the guardians of gender equality – for unity and solidarity with the state of Israel – woman can’t get very far, can they?

Holiday seasons get stranger and stranger as the intersection of politics and religion is understood.  There isn’t a prayer in the world that doesn’t carry a political message. 

When your salvation is a disaster for the Other, it cannot be your salvation.

Few places in the world make the salvation/disaster for the Other dichotomy clearer than Jerusalem.

Once you understand the connection between the Western Wall and the Apartheid Wall there’s no going back. 

No matter the prayers of women and men, domination is domination.  Even when gender equality is the deflection of the day.

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza which can be found at www.newdiasporabooks.com

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36 Responses

  1. MHughes976
    December 27, 2012, 4:30 pm

    The symbolism of oppression lies in the way the Wall is exploited. (The recently discovered Valerius Gratus coins are interesting as a disproof of the idea that the Wall is part of the Temple completed by Herod 20 years before: discussion seems to have been very muted. The Wall should really be a symbol of multicultural exploitation of one site.) It’s innocuous in itself.

    • Abdul-Rahman
      December 28, 2012, 2:45 am

      MHughes976,

      Hello I found your comment to be very interesting, especially when you said “The recently discovered Valerius Gratus coins are interesting as a disproof of the idea that the Wall is part of the Temple completed by Herod 20 years before”. Do you have any links you could share on this, I would be interested in reading on it. It reminded of this simple info available on wikipedia (of course not an academic source but still) in relation to the Western Wall “but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod’s lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards” (I’m assuming this statement I’m quoting is meaning from the 7th century CE and onwards).

      • tree
        December 28, 2012, 5:34 am

        I found this after a quick google search:

        link to dailymail.co.uk

        Newly found coins underneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall could change the accepted belief about the construction of one of the world’s most sacred sites two millennia ago, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday.
        The man usually credited with building the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary is Herod, a Jewish ruler who died in 4 B.C.
        Herod’s monumental compound replaced and expanded a much older Jewish temple complex on the same site.
        But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound’s Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod’s death.
        That indicates that Herod did not build the wall – part of which is venerated as Judaism’s holiest prayer site – and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.

      • piotr
        December 28, 2012, 10:40 pm

        I think that this proves two things: (i) the construction of huge temple complex took a lot of time, not unlike with medieval European cathedrals, (ii) Roman rules for decades had a rather benevolent character, until ingrate Jews started to protest taxes etc. Jews demanded the end of monarchy in the first place. The Western Wall remains the best existing approximation of the veneration of the Temple, being close to it in space and time.

        A bigger theological question is why a site should be venerated (deemed holy). Is a site better than an icon or an idol? Why the Almighty may be more inclined to review wishes from this or that “inbox”? But if we go in this direction, we could write a mezuza ourself with a ballpoint pen on recycled paper (ecologically correct!).

      • seafoid
        December 29, 2012, 2:49 am

        Site worship makes sense for a dispersed people. When they reconvene it may be translated to a land fetish. Jerusalem is unfortunate to be saddled with an ultra sacred site. Maybe it could be twinned with ayodhya.

      • MHughes976
        January 1, 2013, 4:27 pm

        I think the daily mail report – as a leftwing english person i say this reluctantly – has it about right tho i think the story has been well played down by the international msm. Valerius Gratus was Pontius pilates less famous predecessor in office from 16 or 17 ce. There is quite a complex set of evidence but one important point is that josephus makes it clear that herod completed his design in 12 bce. Herod may have been driven insane in later years by family conspiracies but (just to say in this time when the holy innocents are commemorated) that in the first two thirds of his time in office he seems to have been a model ruler of Palestine considerate towards Jewish and nonJewish people alike. Once again a happy new year to all the well informed and morally perceptive antiracist people whom ive had the honour to meet electronically on mondoweiss

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    December 27, 2012, 5:13 pm

    Perhaps Jews could visit the sites of the various Zionist massacres during and after the Nakba to recite prayers for the dead there.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 6:34 pm

      “Perhaps Jews could visit the sites of the various Zionist massacres during and after the Nakba to recite prayers for the dead there.”

      Of course they will! If the Palestinians are finally removed as an impediment to Greater Israel, there will without a doubt, a huge Palestinian revival in Israel. I hadn’t thought of the angle you mention, but I can’t think that won’t be included.
      Israel will cry, don sackcloth and ashes (Ahava will have a line of them) and sing “Where Have All the Palestinians Gone?” and “I was Left at the Alter”.

  3. yourstruly
    December 27, 2012, 5:30 pm

    when your salvation is a disaster for the other it cannot be your salvation?

    morrocon quarter, some 800 years in existence
    cleansed, then judaized, & cleared of foreign influences
    apartheid wall
    a newly cleansed empty land now readily available

    prerequisite?

    solidarity with israel, the jewish people and the state of israel

    & palestinians?

    almost never mentioned

    the nakba?

    never happened

    but if it really had?

    best forget about it

    they got what they deserved

    • seafoid
      December 29, 2012, 7:38 am

      And if there is no second coming and you destroy your religion for the land fetish and the mitzvot are meaningless…

  4. yourstruly
    December 27, 2012, 6:03 pm

    flip-flop?

    the flip?

    from having been among the oppressed in egypt & europe to being the oppressor in palestine

    the flop?

    from having been the oppressor in palestine to being just one among equals

  5. Matthew Graber
    December 28, 2012, 12:23 am

    Natan Sharansky isn’t just any right-wing politician. He’s the chairman of the Jewish Agency.

    So. In this world today. Is there any Jewish agency outside of the Jewish Agency?

  6. seafoid
    December 28, 2012, 9:10 am

    link to haaretz.com

    What drives him, he says, is the feeling of discrimination. “It’s a harsh feeling. It burns me up when I drive through Armon Hanatziv [a post-1967 Jewish neighborhood next to Sur Baher] and see that they are scraping the old asphalt in order to repave the road, and you say to yourself, ‘Dear God, I wish we had even the old asphalt.’

    “Civics is the hardest subject,” Abu Ramila, the teacher, adds. “I teach them about the principles of democracy, about equality, and they ask me: ‘Where’s the equality?’”

    The US has the fiscal cliff. Judaism has the justice cliff. And on it drives, regardless. Nothing can possibly go wrong

    • Annie Robbins
      December 28, 2012, 1:24 pm

      seafoid, when copy/pasting from an article could you please make an effort to put quote marks around everything you are copying? it makes it difficult to read otherwise. blockquoting or italics works well too but at a minimum please distinguish the beginning and end of the entire passage. thank you.

      • seafoid
        December 29, 2012, 2:45 am

        Sorry about that. Christmas cake was responsible. An inverted comma before the first word. The first 2 paras are from the article. It is worth reading in full. There is a line in it that goes something like”palestinians have even been seen in the canyon mall, but not as cleaners, rather as consumers in their own right”. The bigotry goes very, very deep and that is in a liberal israeli newspaper.

  7. Liz18
    December 28, 2012, 9:21 am

    It is a great idea that, “If the women realized the politics of the various Walls in Israel/Palestine, they could change their prayers at the Apartheid Wall to reflect that connection.” A brilliant idea! This shouldn’t just fall on the women, however; men could join the women at the Apartheid Wall to show solidarity and support to an oppressive system that stands on the heads of Palestinians as well as all women.

  8. yonah fredman
    December 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

    hello Marc Ellis-

    An initial response is : “The Yehudim are allowed to have an expansive space to come and pray in the Old City of Jerusalem. And if it takes a bunch of gung-ho soldiers to give them/us that space, then I’ll take it.”

    Soon I’ll equivocate on that response, but first a few comments (Rashi).
    Yehudim- I don’t like the word “Jew”. I focus on its shortened form for Jude as in German, and slur means also to shorten one’s words and Jew is a slurpy slurp of Jude. I realize that the German use of “jude” did not stop them from killing us by the millions and I realize that the russian zhid, which includes the “d” that I am so upset about is considered a slur as well and so maybe there is no solution. but I prefer “yehudim” to Jew.

    “Jews of Conscience”. I suppose one can label oneself. See what the judge said about samuel goldfish who wanted to change his name to goldwyn- he’s a self made man, he can make his own last name.

    Menachem Begin once saw Isaiah Berlin in the crowded lobby of the King David Hotel and he greeted him, “Reb Isaiah!” But Berlin recognized Begin as well and gave him the high hat. Later when he was out of the crowd in a room with his advisers, Begin recovered from the rebuff by referring to Berlin and his ilk as “JWWK” Jews with weak knees.

    I will have to think of something between Jews with Conscience and JWWK as an apt description of your position from my perspective.

    I wish I had never seen the Western Wall. I wish the 6 day war had never been fought and Levi Eshkol would have had sufficient standing with the Israeli public not to appoint Dayan as his defense minister and the crisis of May 67 would have resulted in a new understanding between Israel and her Arab neighbors, rather than the war of June. I imagine that new understanding to not include passage of Jews from West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem, so I would never have seen the Western Wall.

    But time travel does not exist and Moshe Dayan was appointed defense minister and Israel went to war on that Monday morning in June and Jerusalem was among the places that Israeli soldiers “captured”. The thought of blowing up the mosques on Har Habayit, Temple Mount, Haram el Sharif, occurred to Rabbi Goren (I think) and indeed the generals questioned his sanity. Quite rightly. But the neighborhood that was built “on top” of the Kotel was in the way. A woman was killed in clearing out that neighborhood and that blood cannot be washed away by my chauvinistic whim. But the homes and the neighborhood were in the way.

    I recently studied three D calculus. With chutzpah the mathematicians reimagined the x and y axes. The z axis of course points up, but the positive x axis is placed to the left and the positive y axis is placed where the positive x axis used to be. I needed a corner in my mind where one wall meets another so that i could label one the y axis and one the x axis. And the Kotel, the wailing wall, the western wall, came to mind and the wall is the y axis and the wall to the left of it is the x axis. (y as in yahweh, x as in the christian holy places in that direction?) nonetheless that spot on the world is the one i used to give substance to the positive octant, where x, y and z meet from positive territory.

    on friday afternoons in Jerusalem when i lived there i would sometimes find myself in the center of town and observe the women in black demonstration. It is very different to attend such a demonstration in kikar paris near the kings’ hotel rather than on east 14th street across from the best buy. from kikar paris one can see “occupied territory” and one is only fifteen minutes from east jerusalem on foot.

    so one of the demonstrators in Jerusalem was telling me the future vis a vis Jerusalem in her vision and I asked, “what about the kotel?” and she answered something to the effect that she doesn’t hold by the kotel. (I realize “hold by” is a yeshiva kind of term. I try to find the translation: she doesn’t consider the kotel to be of any import to her concept of life or Judaism.) To me this was as ridiculous as going to a rabbi and asking him if frozen yogurt is kosher and him answering that frozen yogurt tastes lousy. Her own opinions regarding the kotel’s importance in her life was irrelevant to a political arrangement that would have to take into account those who “hold by” the kotel.

    One of the makhers of neturei karta being interviewed in his home in meah she’arim, confirmed his interviewer’s surmise that he did not go to the Kotel. “And it is so near,” he said. One could hear the longing in his soul to go to the Kotel. For him to avoid the Kotel was a real sacrifice. Is viewing the kotel as occupied apartheid territory a real sacrifice to you?

    I can imagine a political solution that does not include the Kotel being under Jewish/Israeli sovereignty and I would prefer that solution and its peace to the current war.

    • yonah fredman
      December 28, 2012, 5:19 pm

      A note to everybody- anti Zionist at one time meant anti Jewish.

      I have been reading I.J. Singer in the Yiddish, and there are two phrases used for anti semite, (neither of them “anti semite”) sonay yisroel, hater of Israel and sonay zion, hater of zion.

      This does not mean that if you are an anti zionist you are in fact a hater of yehudim. But you should realize that the term or some term very near that was used to mean precisely that at one time.

      • Allison Deger
        Allison Deger
        December 28, 2012, 6:07 pm

        @yonah in sincerity, your comments are very interesting to read. But I’ll take issue with your final point. As Yiddish far pre-dates the modern state of Israel, it would be impossible to say at the time of popular parlance “anti-israel” had anything to do with the state of Israel. Rather, historically ‘Israelite’ was a synonym for ‘Jew’ and therefore about anti-semitism and not anti-Zionism. We can’t conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism before Zionism existed.

        Interestingly enough, until the 1950s Egyptian ID cards that displayed religion listed ‘Jewish,’ as ‘Israelite.’ and the French assimilationist/colonial schools throughout the middle east (which were by default anti-Zionist through most of their history) were called the ‘Alliance Israelite Universalle’–where Israelite ment Jew and carried no relationship to the not yet established state of Israel.

        If you’re ever on Hillel st. In west Jerusalem, the old doorway for the AIU still stands.

      • yonah fredman
        December 29, 2012, 1:13 am

        hello Allison,
        I understand that the word Israel or Israelite or Zion in pre Zionist times does not refer to the actual state of Israel or to the brand of Zionism (ben gurion Zionism or I suppose Begin Zionism or worse) that we have today. I was just commenting on the usage of Zion as a synonym for the yehudim.

      • andrew r
        December 28, 2012, 6:11 pm

        You know anti-Zionism refers to a political movement called Zionism and not the liturgical construct of Zion, right?

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 6:13 pm

        “This does not mean that if you are an anti zionist you are in fact a hater of yehudim.”

        But if somebody wanted to use the Yiddish version of I.J Singer as a reference, they could say so? Noted, and thanks for the advice. Those I.J. Singer fans can be very persuasive.

      • Cliff
        December 28, 2012, 6:34 pm

        @Wondering Jew,

        So you’re saying we’re all anti-Semantics?

        Actually, being a ‘hater of Israel’ is perfectly fine. Shouldn’t Palestinians hate Israel? I mean, shouldn’t Native Americans and enslaved Africans hate the United States? Etc.

        This term ‘Israel hater’ is about political competition. Competition for land, resources, capital, etc. Or religious conflict and competition.

        Why do you say it means ‘anti-Jewish’? You haven’t explained much about this book you’ve read. What is basic thesis?

        Israel = Jews? If so, it’s certainly not any kind of antisemitism most people are familiar with. Like for example: hating Jews simply because they are Jews (prejudice). Or hating Jews out of ignorance and religious fanaticism (well-known antisemitic memes like blood libel).

        From your very vague and brief comment, ‘Jewish’ means Israel.

        What did ‘Israel’ mean back then?

        Someone can oppose a Jewish nation on legitimate grounds (anti-colonialist; you made your Jewish nation on top of and at the expense of another nation). In that sense, it’s a moral imperative to be ‘anti-Jewish’ or anti-Israel or a hater of Zion.

        Especially if you are on the receiving end of a Jewish nation.

      • Shmuel
        December 29, 2012, 6:03 am

        Yonah,

        Your comment is not only anachronistic, but also accepts the Zionist claim that it is synonymous with Judaism (and owner of all its intellectual, cultural, spiritual and physical heritage): Yisroel=State of Israel; Tsiyon=Zionism. The Zionist movement has gone to great lengths to associate new meanings with old terms (knesset, ge’ulah [especially of the land], shekel, aluf, etc.), not least “tsiyon” and “yisroel”.

        By the way, I really appreciate your use of the word Khurbn rather than the far-less appropriate English or Hebrew terms for the destruction of European Jewry.

      • yonah fredman
        December 29, 2012, 2:40 pm

        Shmuel- I feel that it is relevant that speakers of the mama loshen used to refer to those that hated them as “haters of Zion” just as it is relevant that Hep (as in hip, hip, hooray? maybe not, but certainly of the Hep Hep riots) refers to lost Jerusalem or jerusalem perdida. Yes Modern Zionism has co-opted the words of the people for a specific form of Zionism, but there are anti Zionists who claim that Zion is irrelevant to Judaism. And I feel that the phrase haters of Zion is relevant to show that Jews 100 or so years ago referred to their haters by this term and thus Zion was not irrelevant to Jewishness if only verbally.

      • Shmuel
        December 29, 2012, 6:06 pm

        The word “tsiyon” in biblical and post-biblical Jewish tradition (up to and including the “almoneh bas tsiyon” in Goldfaden’s “Rozhinkes mit mandeln”) signifies earthly and heavenly Jerusalem, the Temple Mount (or the City of David), the dwelling-place of the Shekhinah, the Shekhinah itself, the Jewish people, exile and redemption, justice and righteousness. In the expression “soyne tsiyon” (lit. hater of Zion) it is synonymous with “Klal yisroel”. This fact would not have escaped the predominantly Yiddish-speaking founders of “Chovevei/chibas tsiyon” (lovers of Zion). On the misappropriation of the name “Zion” and other traditional Jewish terminology, see the anti-Zionist book (“against the Zionist ideology”) Or layeshorim, published in Warsaw in 1900, with contributions or letters of consent and encouragement from some of the most influential rabbis of the age – the spiritual and political leaders of the traditional Yiddish-speaking masses.

        link to hebrewbooks.org (esp. “Da’as kedoyshim”, by Rabbi Eliyohu Chaim Meisel of Lodz, pp. 53-54: “And they have donned the mantle of Zion to deceive and ensnare the gullible.”)

        You may or may not disagree with the assertion that Jewish concepts were employed cynically by Zionist leaders, in order to attract traditional Eastern European Jews (much as Zeev Sternhell has suggested that Zionist leaders used socialism to attract revolutionary Eastern European Jews), but that does not make it “relevant that speakers of the mama loshen used to refer to those that hated them as ‘haters of Zion’”. The vast majority of Yiddish-speakers (Orthodox, Bundist, etc.) were not Zionists before the Khurbn, and would not have identified the expression “soyne tsiyon” with opponents of the Zionist movement (except in Zionist polemic). On the contrary. The very Zionists themselves were viewed by many as “haters” and “enemies” of the Jewish people. This is certainly the case today in the only remaining living communities of Yiddish-speakers today, in Brooklyn, London, Antwerp or Jerusalem.

        In other words, any association between the terms is not inherent, but entirely a function of the preconceptions of the speaker/listener. If you equate Zionism with Judaism, you will equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism (in whatever language and by whatever name); if you don’t, you won’t.

      • yonah fredman
        December 30, 2012, 2:02 am

        Shmuel- I do not wish to equate anti Zionism with hatred of the yehudim, nor Zionism with mainstream Judaism of the 1910’s. Yet there is a callousness that some middle east observers have towards the very word, Zion, and to come across it as a synonym for the Jews was a surprise to me and I felt it appropriate to share it.

        I am reading Singer.

        (For those not familiar with I.J. Singer, he was the older brother of Nobel winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. The elder Singer died in 1940 of natural causes and he was a novelist before his younger brother and was considered the better novelist by his younger brother. He writes about pre war Europe and tries to catch it in all its gritty poverty and prejudice.)

        A turn towards Yiddish seems natural for me in reaction to my move out of Israel and luckily the Brooklyn library and the Brooklyn College library have a couple Yiddish books available for borrowing.

        You are among those who concede some Jewish connection to the earthly Jerusalem, but do not see that as sufficient to preempt the indigenous. I accept that position. But there are those who wish to deny the connection of Jews to the earthly Jerusalem, in totality. And though I realize that every generation of Jews has a different relationship to the tradition and to the Jewish predicament, I don’t think it is irrelevant to cite the linguistic usages of Jews of 1910.

        The Zionism that triumphed in 1948 and the Zionism that is triumphing (?) today deserves scrutiny rather than a blank check. The fact that Jew haters yelled at Jews, “Go to Palestine!” or hailed Jerusalem Perdida, does not mean that the nakba was kosher or the best of all possible paths. With the deed of the nakba (and also with his general attitude) Ben Gurion set the history of the state of Israel in the current direction and because the Psalmist sings the song of lamentation on the rivers of Babylon or considers the return to Zion a dream too real to digest, doesn’t make Ben Gurion’s direction into the path of righteousness.

        But those who are ignorant of Jewish tradition or Jewish literature and choose to live in the Jewish present tense that sees alienation from tradition as the only salvation of Jews, because most Jews of Conscience arise from the ignorant alienated assimilating populations, well, good for you. Maybe it will be Jews who know nothing about Torah or Jewish history that will provide the oomph that the movement towards sanity in middle east policy needs. And so maybe dropping tidbits of Jewish literature is contrary to the needs of the Jewish people at this time.

      • Shmuel
        December 30, 2012, 5:18 am

        those who are ignorant of Jewish tradition or Jewish literature and choose to live in the Jewish present tense that sees alienation from tradition as the only salvation of Jews

        That was precisely the religious critique of Zionism. It sounds like you’ve been reading Or layeshorim ;-)

        Maybe it will be Jews who know nothing about Torah or Jewish history that will provide the oomph that the movement towards sanity in middle east policy needs.

        Kind of a “messiah’s donkey”? Again, an interesting parallel.

        The ranks of the Zionists and their supporters are overflowing with “Jews who know nothing about Torah or Jewish history”, and to the extent that they know something, it has been twisted and moulded to suit the purposes of nationalism and chauvinism. How many of them have ever heard that “Zion will be redeemed with justice” and how many have tried to reconcile that with the profoundly unjust history and reality of Zionism of which they are even more ignorant (wilfully) than they are of “tsuras alef”?

        On the other hand, some of the harshest criticism of Zionism (today and in the past) comes from very knowledgeable Jews, like Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Shaul Maggid or “Jerry Haber”. Do you think it is a coincidence that so many of the members of Brit Shalom/Ihud were religious or religiously inspired?

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 6:10 pm

      “I don’t like the word “Jew”.

      You poor man. You poor impoverished man. I glory in the word. Sure, they could have chosen something more euphonic, maybe harder to pronounce, with more cachet and syllables, but there it is. And I’ll scream it to the friggin’ world, and they know where they can put it if they don’t like it.
      But then, I have very little to be ashamed of, and none of what I am ashamed of is connected to Judaism (except maybe not learning more Yiddish when I had the chance), so the word may have different connotations to you. But to be ashamed to be a Jew, afraid of the word, you have my heartfelt sympathy. I didn’t know your life was that troubled.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 6:29 pm

      Yonah, I can’t understand why if you are so ready to see the Jews as victims of history (which we certainly can be said to be in certain respects through certain times, I think it’s fair enough) you can’t see the inherent, the intrinsic victimology in anti-Zionism. It’s perfect! It says that we Jews are the victims, even when it comes to those who purport to lead us. Doesn’t this viewpoint have any appeal to you? All we have to do in return, and this should be easy, is admit that a thousand years of persecution have beaten us down and addled us to the point that we fell for it. And whose fault was that (the 1,000 years persecution)? Huh?
      Think about it, Yonah. It makes us the hapeless victim, certainly a position we know how to adopt.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 6:45 pm

        “All we have to do in return, and this should be easy, is admit that a thousand years of persecution have beaten us down and addled us to the point that we fell for it.”

        In the interest of honesty, I must admit we would have to stop glorying in Zionism’s “accomplishments” too. (Each one of those “accomplishments” becomes a crime committed against us too, further putting us in their power.) We just go back to being Jews.
        I don’t want to mislead you about the price, it’s oh so high.

    • RoHa
      December 28, 2012, 10:59 pm

      “I wish I had never seen the Western Wall. I wish the 6 day war had never been fought”
      Good start. But the rest should follow the same pattern:

      ” and Levi Eshkol had had sufficient standing with the Israeli public not to appoint Dayan as his defense minister and the crisis of May 67 had resulted in a new understanding between Israel and her Arab neighbors, rather than the war of June. “

    • Annie Robbins
      December 29, 2012, 2:12 am

      I can imagine a political solution that does not include the Kotel being under Jewish/Israeli sovereignty and I would prefer that solution and its peace to the current war.

      thank you for saying that. what any mother would say before a king killed her child.

  9. sardelapasti
    December 29, 2012, 12:31 am

    “anti Zionist at one time meant anti Jewish.”…
    “sonay yisroel, hater of Israel and sonay zion, hater of zion.”

    Whoever seems to be confusing terms used since the dawn of time to describe a tribal community with the unspeakable criinal enterprise called Zionism or the Zionist entity misleadingly labeled “Israel” must be either mentally deficient plus illiterate, or malignantly manipulating propaganda. This case seems to call for the more charitable interpretation, considering that anyone with above-average intelligence has already left the Zionist boat.

  10. sardelapasti
    December 29, 2012, 12:39 am

    ” The Western Wall came into Jewish hands in the 1967 war when Israel conquered Jerusalem. ”

    Wrong. It came into Zionist hands.

    It illegally came into Zionist hands and you’d be well advised to stop whining about women’s rights when anyone who visits the place with Israelian complicity, no matter if to pray or play or do tourism, is participating in a highly illegal act of military occupation.

    There should be a limit to the amount of subdolous Zionist propaganda at least in the main authors’ papers! That Wall is illegally occupied and the Tribe’s intestinal cramps are of no interest as long as it is doing that.

    • yonah fredman
      December 29, 2012, 2:46 pm

      sardelpasti- How many Jews prayed at the Kotel between 1948 and 1967? I have been told that Jews were allowed into Jordan which controlled the Kotel, but I wonder how many Jews actually prayed at the Kotel?

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