More on ‘Israel and the nomination of Chuck Hagel’

Israel/Palestine
on 83 Comments

Joel Kovel responds to comments on his piece, “Israel and the Nomination of Chuck Hagel” (posted January 20)

Dear Friends:

It was most gratifying to read the very lively discussion stimulated by the article. Among the many important themes raised was an extended commentary on the sentence beginning with the statement: “Israel is no normal state, but one governed by the forging of Zionist system-logic into a Satanic ideology. . . .” Particular attention was given to the use of the adjective, “Satanic” as a modifier of Zionist ideology. A number of people wondered if I just tossed that off or used it casually or even sloppily. 

The answer to that is easy. I fuss over every word, and especially in such a serious piece as this. After about the fourth time pondering the modifier of Zionist ideology I decided to go with “Satanic,” precisely to induce the kind of response that resulted. It’s an ancillary project of my religious conversion (which is going along nicely, thank you), namely, to resuscitate spiritually charged figures of speech as a way of stirring up a deeper level of discourse and getting closer to the heart of things. Hopefully, an extended memoir I’m working on will help to achieve the same effect. 

But in what sense is “Satanic” to be regarded? After all, this is a word that has been the subject of many volumes of scholarship. I’m a long way from being an expert on the subject, but I do have a particular point of view to share–which one commentator, “MRW,” who posted on January 21, got. I am following the usage, as I do in many circumstances, of William Blake, the chief influence on my intellectual life in general. The signpost here is the phrase “Dark Satanic Mills,” which appears at the beginning of his great long poem, Milton, much of which is devoted to the Satanic. I elaborated on this in a recent essay, which I’ll put on my website, joelkovel.net, as soon as the blasted thing is up and running after being repaired. The essay is called “Dark Satanic Mills: William Blake and the critique of war.” It’s been recently published in We Have Not Been Moved, edited by Elizabeth Martinez, Matt Meyer, and Mandy Carter (Oakland: PM Press, 2012, 366-378). Alas, it’s not an easy read, as it advances the idea that war is more than aggression, weaponry, and imperial possession. It’s also a (Satanic) state of being, Egoic separation from life, replacing life with accusation. Blake calls Satan the “Accuser who is the God of This World.” All of which is close to the cold, cold heart of Zionism.

Joel Kovel

83 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 23, 2013, 10:30 am

    this is certainly fascinating. i look forward to the discussion. kudos to MRW.

    The essay is called “Dark Satanic Mills: William Blake and the critique of war.” It’s been recently published in We Have Not Been Moved, edited by Elizabeth Martinez, Matt Meyer, and Mandy Carter (Oakland: PM Press, 2012, 366-378).

    Dark Satanic Mills: William Blake and the Critique of War by Kovel:
    link to tandfonline.com

    We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America
    link to amazon.com

    • LeaNder
      January 23, 2013, 3:36 pm

      alway helpful, thanks Annie. ;)

      I love Blake, one of my spiritual friends. Good there is a Kindle edition, swift and easy.

  2. eljay
    January 23, 2013, 10:44 am

    A very solid post by Mr. Kovel. Not bad for a stupid spoiled old man genius. ;-)

  3. Citizen
    January 23, 2013, 11:13 am

    Hillary Clinton is testifying on CSPAN3 now in the Senate wrt embassy attack. 11AM Wed, this morning.

    • Kathleen
      January 24, 2013, 6:19 am

      The Republicans had legitimate questions and Hillary responded in an arrogant, dismissive and terribly irresponsible way. Clinton “what does it matter” when asked about who the people were how the Obama administration purposely spun what had gone on.

      And then her crocodile tears about the families and women who would have to take care of their children alone because of who died in the attack. She is disgusting. She had better start hugging the thousands of kids who are with out parents because of her yes on the Iraq war resolution. She is wicked smart but there is something wicked about who she is. As arrogant and dismissive as Bush 43 and she is as big of a warmonger.

      And the way Chris Matthews who used to eternally rip on her and now you would think they are best friends the way he slobbers over her. Guess it was that special he did on Bill Clinton when he got into the inner circle that changed his mind about her.

  4. Kathleen
    January 23, 2013, 11:15 am

    War “a satanic state of being” From what I have heard from soldiers about their experiences in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm I and then the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq war being a “satanic state of being” lines right up with their often horrific experiences.

    Was not aware of Kovel’s Blake connection. Was a large Blake community in Athens Ohio directed/led by Professor Aethelred Eldridge in the late 60’s into the 70’s/80’s in Athens Ohio. Much of Aethelred’s art is focused on the writings of Blake. Aethelred is now in his early 80’s still living on his farm outside of Athens. Quite inspired by Blake.

  5. Chu
    January 23, 2013, 11:18 am

    Israelis are going to have to unify with Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East, as Americans are realising Iraq and Iran war efforts are aimed, in large part, to defend the Zionist State. Israel can’t fight the larger strategic battles, but the US is not going to spill more blood to satisfy Israel’s worries about what a nuclear armed Iran may do.

    Netanyahu’s election was based on waging a war with Iran. And now that he bet on Romney and lost favor with the incumbent president, the Israeli voters are realising what a sham his bravado is. They’re voting for a fresh media face.

  6. Chu
    January 23, 2013, 11:34 am

    “They are joined, hatefully, in Zionism; and each works to legitimate the violence essential to Israel’s existence.”
    This vacuum that was created from anger and jealousy often sprouts it ugly head from the Zionist state, whether it’s from a rabbi’s comments about non-Jews or some Israeli leader, or from planes bombing the USS liberty or Palestinian homes. There is something rotten there, and we all know its smell.

  7. Kathleen
    January 23, 2013, 11:59 am

    Annie on Monday and Tuesday evening Chris Matthews focused on comments in President Obama’s inaugural address that he believes are efforts by Obama towards Iran for direct negotiations. While Joy Reid nodded her head as Chris Matthews spoke about these critical issues Howard Fineman did not look like a happy camper. Really worth watching. Chris Matthews also brought up that President Obama did not even mention Israel during his inauguration speech.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 23, 2013, 12:28 pm

      thanks kathleen, i saw your earlier comment. not sure how interested people are in matthews. last time, aside from you and me..there were 6 comments (11 shares). link to mondoweiss.net

      if i get some time today i’ll try to check this out.

      • Kathleen
        January 23, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Yeah totally understand that folks may not be interested in Matthews. I have been watching and listening to him for years because he is somewhat balanced and did question the neocons a bit before the invasion of Iraq. He did not go so far as to have former CiA analyst, Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, Dr. Brzezinski, Carter, Senator Durbin (who voted against the Iraq war resolution) or anyone else who was seriously questioning the validity of the Bush/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Feith false WMD intelligence before the invasion but Matthews did give Kristol, Gaffney etc a hard time. So do watch him because like Phil I think there might be an opening for reporting honestly about Iran, I/P conflict.

        Clearly Chris Hayes has made the real break through and kept his job so the rest of the so called liberal talking heads should take notes from Hayes lead. Dylan Ratigan and Cenk Uygar led before Hayes. Maddow is a total sell out on this issue

    • James Canning
      January 23, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Kathleen – – You should read Ali Akbar Salehi’s interview done in New York not long ago. He thinks a deal between the P5+1 and Iran can be achieved. Iran must be allowed to enrich to a low level (5%). Perhaps Obama is able to comprehend this.

      • Kathleen
        January 23, 2013, 9:23 pm

        But James I have always thought the argument was that Iran as a signatory to the NPT has the legal right to enrich uranium up to 20% for peaceful purposes. And over at Race for Iran/now Going to Iran Flynt and Hillary have written a great deal about how Turkey and Brazil had offer to do Iran’s enriching up to 20% for peaceful purposes Iran had said yes to that deal and the US (Israel) had turned that deal down. As if Iran could never satisfy the players. And then of course the whole time the most absurd thing of all is the huge hypocrisy that Israel refuses to sign the NPT which Iran has signed and Israel has massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go un inspected by the IAEA. Folks are sick and tired of these outrageous double standards

  8. Citizen
    January 23, 2013, 12:50 pm

    I’m afraid Blake is beyond normal discussion and debate wrt I-P. As one with a BA in English, and its literature, I understand Kovel’s decision to use Satan terminology as Blake intended, but Kovel, in my opinion, made a mistake–not in terms of the root spiritual problem of Zionism, where Kovel is dead right , but simply because, very few folks in the world understand Blake, which I take it everybody here knows as true, so, e.g., just watch old SLF skits on the Church Lady’s usage of the word Satan. Any use of the term at all works against humanistic perspective.

  9. seanmcbride
    January 23, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Joel Kovel’s remarks are going to go right over the heads of most Zionists, who are not known for their of understanding of William Blake or other visionary minds of that caliber. Many of them would dismiss Blake as a “Hellenist,” a “goy,” or some other similar term of disrespect. They are narrow ethnic nationalist cultists who hold cult outsiders in disdain.

    Jewish humanists, on the other hand, and perhaps even some Jewish cabalists, would get and appreciate Blake.

  10. yonah fredman
    January 23, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Question to Mister Kovel: Do you think that the history of Jewish Christian relations, as in disastrously poor relations from the perspective of Jews, places any responsibility for present day Christians, to relate to that history in a responsible manner, or do you feel that since there is not much current tense tension between Jews and Christians that the days for attempting to defuse language are long past and there is no responsibility to deal with history.

    From your glib enjoyment “gratification” at the discussion of the use of the word “Satanic” and your ignoring its religious implications other than the one you specify, you seem to exhibit zero responsibility to deal with the history. Or am I wrong?

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 23, 2013, 2:12 pm

      “Do you think that the history of Jewish Christian relations… places any responsibility for present day Christians, to relate to that history in a responsible manner”

      wow, there’s some sketchy phrasing. Let me guess, you’re going to be the aribiter of what constitutes “a responsible manner,” right?

    • American
      January 23, 2013, 2:35 pm

      ‘yonah fredman says:

      Question to Mister Kovel: Do you think that the history of Jewish Christian relations, as in disastrously poor relations from the perspective of Jews, places any responsibility for present day Christians, to relate to that history in a responsible manner, or do you feel that since there is not much current tense tension between Jews and Christians that the days for attempting to defuse language are long past and there is no responsibility to deal with history.”

      LOL..well you didnt’ ask me but no, no and no.
      In the ancient religious- tribal Jewish – Christian wars for ‘converts and tribal power’, which is exactly what it was about on both sides, the Jews lost the numbers and became the minority in those religious wars—- if that’s your grudge give up trying to carry it forward as eternal persecution of Jews.
      The Christians as far as I can see have no more responsibility to Jews today than Jews do to them….since the hostile attitudes were always mutual between them until more modern times.
      What is it you think Christians owe you and for what? You think Christians invented the Nazis or what?

      • Antidote
        January 23, 2013, 6:02 pm

        “You think Christians invented the Nazis or what?”

        Well, the overwhelming majority of Nazis were Christians, as were the Western Allies who fought them. The latter clearly preferred destroying Nazi Germany to saving the Jews. WW II was definitely NOT fought to save the Jews. That’s just post-war propaganda to justify the slaughter of Europeans and destruction of Europe by non-European/non-continental powers

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 23, 2013, 6:23 pm

        “WW II was definitely NOT fought to save the Jews.”

        Not exclusively, no. But it was fought in part to save the Jews. It was one of many reasons the various parties fought.

      • W.Jones
        January 23, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Antidote,

        In fact, the Nazi leadership was occultist, and Hitler claimed Christianity was the “original Bolshevism”.

      • Antidote
        January 23, 2013, 7:34 pm

        W. Jones

        sure, some Nazi leaders (Rosenberg, Himmler) were occultist, others (Hitler, Göring) were not. There’s plenty of occultism in Christianity, for that matter. It’s an ecclectic religion, and Nazism also fed on all kinds of ideas, many of them contradictory. Like Communism or Zionism, Nazism was no coherent ideology or homogenous movement – hence its broad appeal. Let’s remember that Bavaria, a very Catholic country (by then: a federal state and member of the German Reich/Weimar Republic), was the birthplace of the Nazi movement in Germany. Both Hitler and Streicher employed plenty of Christian imagery to promote the Führer as the savior of Germany and Messiah of a new age of peace in Europe – under German leadership, of course

        You’re perfectly correct about Hitler’s comparison of Christianity and Bolshevism, though.He called Stalin a ‘Christian’, and did not mean it as a compliment but as a criticism of the idea of equality and homogenous mankind. Then again, he also praised Stalin as the greatest leader/politician/strategist the Russians ever had. So did Churchill, btw.

      • W.Jones
        January 23, 2013, 9:54 pm

        Antidote,

        I think it was not just some Nazi leaders, but Hitler himself who was an occultist, although I am not sure to what extent. The Nazis’ fake-anthropology ideas about the “Aryans” being a mysterious master race came from the Thule society.

        Hitler’s mentor, to whom he dedicated Mein Kampf, was Dietrich Eckart, who wrote: “I have initiated him into the ‘Secret Doctrine,’ opened his centers in vision and given him the means of communication with the Powers…I shall have influenced history more than any other German.” (Ravenscroft, p.91).

        In one poem, Hitler wrote: “I often go on bitter nights, to Wotan’s oak in the quiet glade, with dark powers to weave a union.”

      • marc b.
        January 24, 2013, 9:29 am

        i’m with w.jones on this. national socialism was a blend of pagan ideology and pseudo-science, pagan mythology and symbolism being an indispensible part of ‘the nazis’. it was not just a minor, superficial element. see e.g. all of the explicitly pagan public exhibitions and rituals produced by the nazis. the fact that much of the nazi leadership came from a christian or more particularly catholic background is self-evident, and there really is nothing essentially christian about nazism or nazi anti-semitism. it’s just lazy to fall back on the christian-jew dichotomy as an explanation for any anti-semitic program or position. i read a typically self-absorbed analysis of stoker’s ‘dracula’ as an example of christian anti-semitism (meaning, as always, part of the ‘inevitable’ march towards the holocaust) , although stoker would not have considered himself a christian (reportedly being a member of the ‘golden dawn society’ and generally found in the center of that esoteric, pagan milieu in britain at the time).

        PS add to the ravenscroft reference, sklar’s ‘gods and beasts: hitler and the occult’.

      • American
        January 24, 2013, 10:02 am

        Antidote says:

        Well, the overwhelming majority of Nazis were Christians, as were the Western Allies who fought them. The latter clearly preferred destroying Nazi Germany to saving the Jews. WW II was definitely NOT fought to save the Jews. That’s just post-war propaganda to justify the slaughter of Europeans and destruction of Europe by non-European/non-continental powers’>>>>>

        And the overwhelming majority of Israelis killing Palestines are Jewish— are we suppose to make the same linkage there to the majority of Jews and Judaism as made with Christians and nazis?

        I ‘ve never heard anyone say or claim WWII was fought to save the Jews. On the other hand I have heard a lot Jewish spokes-heads say the world deliberately did nothing to save Jews.

        The world ‘preferred’ to destroy Europeans ‘rather than’ save the Jews?
        That’s a little too weird….WWII in Europe was what it was….preventing Hitler from rolling over countries and conquering most of Europe. Isn’t any point in or anything to be gained by painting WWII as about any thing else.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 24, 2013, 10:38 am

        The supposed “pagan” and “occult” aspects of Naziism have been terribly overblown. It was a syncretic system but to suggest that paganism or occultims was “indispensible” to Nazzism is, frankly, horseshit. The fact is, that Himmler was hard-core into that stuff (and hated Christianity), but few of the others agreed with him. Hitler was certainly no pagan nor occultist; he was raised Catholic who vaguely believed in Providence and sought power for himself and his ideology. He was not driven by religion at all. Naziism was an outgrowth of the Völkisch movement, but the connection to things like the Thule society are easy to overstate. They Nazi movement was quickly moved beyond it, and Hitler specifically forbad secret societies and the like. Finally, Nazi antisemitism was not explicity religious, but was ethnically-based. It was, however, an outgrowth of Christian antisemitism.

      • marc b.
        January 24, 2013, 11:04 am

        It was a syncretic system but to suggest that paganism or occultims was “indispensible” to Nazzism is, frankly, horseshit.

        woody, i’d like to get into this more, but for now i’ll just respectfully disagree. there is something radically different about the nazi program as compared to late 19th-century/early 20th-century german militarism. not that you can divorce one from the other, and not that the majority of germans identified with the pagan elements of nazism any more than the majority of them were members of the party.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 24, 2013, 12:27 pm

        “there is something radically different about the nazi program as compared to late 19th-century/early 20th-century german militarism.”

        Yes, because the “19th-century/early 20th-century german militarism” was an outgrowth of Prussian Imperialism. Naziism, on the other hand, was a Nationalist populist movement with origins that can be trace to the reaction of German-speaking people to the multi-ethnic nature of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Of course, these two things will be markedly different, and strikingly so. It doesn’t make the difference occultish or pagan, however. There was a harkening back to pre-Christian Germanic cultural elements, but only because they were deemed to be symbolically German, not because of their religious content.

        As I noted elsewhere, Himmler was big on that stuff in a serious way (and he clearly hated Christianity), but few, if any, of the other Nazi leaders agreed with him. The modern emphasis on the supposed “occult basis for the Nazis” is a post-war rationalization by people trying to come to terms with the phenomenon, couple with some pro-Christian prejudice.

      • W.Jones
        January 25, 2013, 3:22 am

        The biggest “horseshit” of course is Nazi ideology, with its invented ideas about Aryans as a magical race, sending expeditions to Tibet. The SS was the most cruel and actively anti-Semitic part of Nazism- that comes through pretty clearly in WWII histories. And it was the SS with Himmler that focused on the occult, with their weird gatherings in German mountain castles that could remind you of a scene lit by lightning (a blitz) over Frankestein’s castle. The SS was the biggest and cruelest secret society of all, was it not?

        Further, Israel Shahak pointed out that Nazism broke with “Christian” anti-semitism, because religion meant nothing to the Nazis in their criteria: if the person converted to Christianity, it made no difference. Not only that, but the Nazis moved to ban Catholic crosses from schools.

        Nazism’s roots thus are the same as anti-black racism in South Africa and anti-Chinese racism in WWII Japan: the main criteria and motivation is not religion, but the fact that an intolerant, supremacist fascist group takes over. In South Africa the main minority was the blacks, in Germany the main minority was the Jews.

        Besides that, the Nazis’ other target was the Poles, who were… Catholic. They even banned teaching Polish and killed Polish intellectuals. So Nazism was not from the Christianity it opposed, but rather from the same motivations of supremacism and intolerance you can find in other cultures. And I can think of one State that is racheting up its baseless discrimination right now despite coming from a background of discrimination itself.

        Had there been no Christianity in Germany, and the country remained pagan, the same thing would be expected. After all, we read enough stories of persecution by pagans of Jews and Christians in the Bible.

        Peace.

      • Kathleen
        January 25, 2013, 11:56 am

        It was not just millions of Jews who were murdered during WWII. Millions of Poles, Gypsies. Hell 40 million Russians died trying to stop Hitler. I know they were not systematically exterminated like Jews and Poles, Gypsies but tens of millions of Russians died trying to stop Hitler

      • RoHa
        January 25, 2013, 9:52 pm

        “Millions of Poles, Gypsies. Hell 40 million Russians died trying to stop Hitler.”

        But they don’t matter.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 28, 2013, 10:38 am

        “The biggest ‘horseshit’ of course is Nazi ideology”

        True.

        “The SS was the most cruel and actively anti-Semitic part of Nazism- that comes through pretty clearly in WWII histories. And it was the SS with Himmler that focused on the occult”

        Yes, but the correlation you’ve demonstrated here does not establish causation. The SS was the most cruel and actively antisemitic organ of the Nazi state, but not because of anything to do with the occult. They were the way they were because of their position as Hitler praetorian guard and, after the Night of the Long Knives, his private army, and he wished the cruel and antisemitic actions to occur.

        “Further, Israel Shahak pointed out that Nazism broke with ‘Christian’ anti-semitism, because religion meant nothing to the Nazis in their criteria”

        Yes, it did. The pre-existing religious (explicitly Christian) antisemitism of the past was recast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under a “scientific” gloss. (There was, of course, no actual science there.) So the targeted religious group was targeted because of a supposed racial basis, rather than a religious one. However, it was the centuries of religious Christian antisemitism that made Jews in Europe a targeted group.

        So, no, their antisemitism wasn’t an example of Christian antisemitism of the type which had come before, but it was built on that history.

        “Nazism’s roots thus are the same as anti-black racism in South Africa and anti-Chinese racism in WWII Japan: the main criteria and motivation is not religion, but the fact that an intolerant, supremacist fascist group takes over.”

        No, their roots are quite different. They share the similarities, to the extent there was a ruling group which espoused supramacist ideology, but the roots of each of these ideologies were different (although that of the Afrikaners comes closest (but not really all that close) in that they both exercised bigotry and racism that, at one point, was based, in the societies from which they sprang, on Christian religious thought (with the “Curse of Ham” as a theory of racial origins being a proffered basis for human racial differences and justifying white racial supremacy on specifically religious grounds.))

        “Besides that, the Nazis’ other target was the Poles, who were… Catholic. ”

        Yes. You appear to be arguing against a point I am not making. My point is simply that the Nazi antisemitism was built on previous Christian antisemitism, cast on supposed “racial” grounds, not that it, itself, constituted a Christian antisemitism.

        “So Nazism was not from the Christianity it opposed”

        Yes, it was “from” a specifically Christian context, although it was not a Christian movement. (It wasn’t, in the main, an anti-Christian movement, either, although it may have become one.)

        “Had there been no Christianity in Germany, and the country remained pagan, the same thing would be expected.”

        Oh, that’s baloney. Christianity was a necessary precursor to Nazism, for no other reason (although ther are them) than the Germany that existed in the nineteen-teens and twenties, out of which the Nazi movement grew, would not have existed if not for a millenia or two of Christianity in that land.

        “After all, we read enough stories of persecution by pagans of Jews and Christians in the Bible.”

        So what? Even if you were to credit the source (I wouldn’t), if you changed German history from a Christian one to a pagan one, you would not have had the Nazi movement and the Holocaust (unless you ascribe to the very racist idea that there was something inherent and genetic in Germans that made them want to kill Jews.)

    • Bumblebye
      January 23, 2013, 3:30 pm

      yonah
      I’m not a Christian.
      That said, has anyone written an honest, comprehensive book about such history, pre-dating WWII, that you would recommend?
      Are you counting only pronouncements/recommendations of the various churches in this view of history, or of governments as well? Noting that Cromwell invited Jews to return to Britain and take up lives there.

      • yonah fredman
        January 23, 2013, 5:03 pm

        Bumblebye- Constantine’s Sword by James Caroll would be a good place to start.

        The Catholic Church is Caroll’s focus (I only skimmed it and now I’ve read the wikipedia summary). Which leaves out the Eastern Church of Greece and Russia and of course the Protestants. Luther started out a fan of the Jews until they didn’t convert upon his revolution/reformation and then he introduced some very virulent Jew hatred into the body politic of Germany and other places.

        Although the Crusades were often cited in my childhood as an opportunity for the Crusaders to practice their blood lust on Jewish communities while still in Europe before getting near the promised land, the plague of the 1300’s was the occasion for many to express their hatred for the Jews in vengeance for the Satanic Jews cursing and poisoning the wells and causing the plague. The death toll of Jews was higher during the plague than during the Crusades.

        Recently but before modern times (1789) the two most significant setbacks to the Jews were the expulsion from Spain and the Chmelnitski massacre of Jews in the Ukraine in 1648. The expulsion had an explicit religious rationalization, although the true motivation was probably dinero. The Chmelnitski massacres were more nationalistic than religious in character: the Jews serving as middlemen for the Russian overmaster collecting taxes from the Ukranians. After 1789 and before Hitler the most significant killing of Jews occurred in Russia, when Jews were chased away from the border regions at the beginning of WWI and when the Reds and the Whites fought it out after WWI before the borders of the Soviet Union were solidified, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by the Whites who considered the Jews, the cause or the lifeblood of the Reds.

        Not all these tragedies were brought upon the Jews by religious leaders or political leaders inspired by religion. But the church and the attitudes it advanced were major players in these tragedies.

        (Of course, the Jews maintained a degree of aloofness, reflected in laws and traditions. As a group that maintained its separateness rather than seeking assimilation, they are not to blame for the murders that their existence inspired. But… the experience of America with its e pluribus unum and its rule of law and its separation of church and state and the overwhelming change in the attitude of the Jews who sought assimilation and were granted access to America without conversion, seems to indicate the possibility of coexistence that did not exist in Eastern
        Europe where the slaughter of the Jews by Hitler and the Nazis finally took place.

        (Cromwell invited the Jews a few hundred years after they were kicked out.)

      • seanmcbride
        January 23, 2013, 6:30 pm

        Yonah,

        To what degree is Jewish history organized around an endless succession of conflicts between “the chosen nation” and “the nations,” in an unbroken chain dating from Exodus — in conflict with Pharaoh and Egypt — until the present day — conflicts with Iran (“Haman”), Europeans, the United States, the United Nations, etc.?

        The list of enemies throughout the ages is rather long:

        1. Amalek
        2. Arabs
        3. Babylon
        4. Christians
        5. Crusaders
        6. Egypt (ancient)
        7. Egypt (modern)
        8. England
        9. Europe (medieval)
        10. Europe (modern)
        11. France
        12. Germany
        13. Greece (ancient)
        14. Greece (modern)
        15. Haman
        16. Henry Ford
        17. Hitler
        18. Iran (modern)
        19. Iraq
        20. Islam and Muslims
        21. Lebanon
        22. Martin Luther
        23. Palestinians
        24. Persia (ancient)
        25. Pharaoh (ancient)
        26. Protestants
        27. Roman Catholics
        28. Rome (ancient)
        29. Russia
        30. Slavs
        31. Spain
        32. Syria
        33. Ukraine

        What is really going on here? What has been driving this narrative over several thousand years?

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 23, 2013, 6:33 pm

        “Of course, the Jews maintained a degree of aloofness, reflected in laws and traditions. As a group that maintained its separateness rather than seeking assimilation, they are not to blame for the murders that their existence inspired.”

        If A threatens to kill B and his family if B doesn’t worship A’s God, A is the primary evil-doer, but if B refuses and A carries through on his threat, B bears part of the guilt.

      • W.Jones
        January 23, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Yonah,

        Is this correct:
        “when the Reds and the Whites fought it out after WWI before the borders of the Soviet Union were solidified, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed by the Whites”?

        And are you aware of the times that the Russian Church spoke out against pogroms in Russia?

      • eljay
        January 23, 2013, 7:11 pm

        >> If A threatens to kill B and his family if B doesn’t worship A’s God, A is the primary evil-doer, but if B refuses and A carries through on his threat, B bears part of the guilt.

        I can’t accept that. Otherwise, in I-P terms, Palestinians bear part of the guilt for not converting to Judaism and embracing “Jewish State”.

      • RoHa
        January 23, 2013, 7:46 pm

        Sean,

        Many years ago, when I was young and fancy-free (I couldn’t afford any other sort of fancy) I used to know a guy called Dave who had the distinction of being barred from 23 pubs in the West London area.

        I suspect there was an inherent anti-Daveism in London publicans. He certainly said they were all against him.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2013, 7:53 pm

        “As a group that maintained its separateness…”

        Darn, the hooey they tell you in Reform Religious education! Why, they told me that nasty Christians put us in those ghettos, and segregated us and relegated Jews to a lower civil status! But all the time, we really wanted it that way! We wanted to be separated.
        So are they anti-Semitic, Yonah, for giving us what we wanted?
        Wow, all the time I thought they were so mean to us, but they were all the time catering to the Jewish need for separateness. Wow, I owe them Gentiles a big apology.

      • RoHa
        January 23, 2013, 7:58 pm

        Woody, I don’t think the worship thing is a good analogy, and I don’t think that B bears guilt. (He does have some responsibility, mind.)

        But the issue here is social separation. Society works by general agreement to follow the rules and support the society. If an individual or group is perceived as not following the rules or supporting the society, but merely profiting from it, that individual or group is seen as destuctive to society and as a public enemy.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2013, 8:00 pm

        “What is really going on here? What has been driving this narrative over several thousand years?”

        Are you fishing for compliments, Sean? You, yourself, answered the question, oh, so elegantly, in your Dec. 5th comment: “Judaism’s core driver: messianic ethnocentrism and ethno-religious nationalism organized around a particular physical territory (Eretz Israel and Jerusalem).
        The key components:
        1. ethnocentrism
        2. territorialism
        3. nationalism
        4. messianism”

        I think that would pretty much cover it, don’t you?

      • seanmcbride
        January 23, 2013, 9:20 pm

        Mooser,

        I think that would pretty much cover it, don’t you?

        What are your thoughts on the entire “the chosen nation” vs. “the nations” narrative which dominates so much of the Torah and Jewish intellectual history? How important a role do you think it plays in controlling the thinking of the contemporary Israeli government and the Israel lobby?

        It would be easy to cull many quotes from Israeli prime ministers from the founding of Israel to the present day which express this theme of primal and dualistic conflict between “the chosen people” and “the nations.”

        I don’t mind whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts on the subject — I am just curious to understand your take on these issues — perhaps you will open mind to an entirely different perspective. Enlighten me.

      • seanmcbride
        January 23, 2013, 9:31 pm

        RoHa,

        Without overgeneralizing with regard to any topic under discussion here, it does occur to me that if one finds oneself bogged down in the same pattern of social conflict over and over and over again, one might feel motivated to make an effort to figure out what precisely is going on. Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it.

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2013, 10:35 pm

        “Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it.”

        And you figure that explains No. 17 on your list?

      • Mooser
        January 23, 2013, 11:45 pm

        “the attitude of the Jews who sought assimilation and were granted access to America without conversion”

        And which religion would one convert to gain “access to Ameria”? As far as I know, America is non-sectarian, and nobody is subjected to a religious test of any type for admission.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2013, 1:32 am

        “Enlighten me.”

        Right after you tell me about
        “Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it.” and No. 17.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 24, 2013, 10:15 am

        “I can’t accept that. Otherwise, in I-P terms, Palestinians bear part of the guilt for not converting to Judaism and embracing “Jewish State”.”

        The difference is that the zionists have never said that the Palestinians could avoid thier oppressed status by converting to Judaism. But if, in fact, all that it woudl take for the Palestinians to achieve their freedom and liberation from the jack-booted tyranny of zionism was to convert to Judaism, I would suggest that, indeed, they would bear guilt for not doing so en mass and enacting the types of changes needed to ensure their liberation. (However, I hold no hope that, even if they did so, that the israelis would accept them as Jews, anyhow, so it’s a moot point as a practical matter.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 24, 2013, 10:23 am

        “Woody, I don’t think the worship thing is a good analogy, and I don’t think that B bears guilt. (He does have some responsibility, mind.)”

        I used “worship” because we were talking about the history of Christian persecution of Jews in Europe which, historically (prior to the mingling of religious antisemitism with notions of ethinic supremacy), was about the refusal of the Jews to accept the Christian religion. So my comments are necessarily limited to that issue. And, for me, if one is forced to choose between his faith and his children’s lives, he is guilty if he does not choose the latter, so much so that it is not even close.

        “But the issue here is social separation. Society works by general agreement to follow the rules and support the society. If an individual or group is perceived as not following the rules or supporting the society, but merely profiting from it, that individual or group is seen as destuctive to society and as a public enemy”

        I think that this idea is about as pernicious an idea as you can get. If a person is not following the law, he is a criminal. If he is not following the “rules” or “supporting society,” he is exercising his right to live his life as he sees fit, and there is no excuse to persecute him for it. There is nothing wrong with a minority choosing, of its own accord, not to assimilate. We might think it’s foolish or stupid, but it’s their choice. (That being said, the same caveat as before applies. If the bullies say, “Assimilate or we kill your children”, then the man who refuses to change his ways bears some guilt if the threat is realized. Not the primary guilt, mind you, but some.)

      • American
        January 24, 2013, 12:04 pm

        Recently but before modern times (1789) the two most significant setbacks to the Jews were the expulsion from Spain and the Khmelnitsky massacre of Jews in the Ukraine in 1648. The expulsion had an explicit religious rationalization, although the true motivation was probably dinero. The Chmelnitsky massacres were more nationalistic than religious in character: the Jews serving as middlemen for the Russian overmaster collecting taxes from the Ukrainians.”…yonah

        It’s “Khmelnitsky” actually.
        And what makes people roll their eyes at Jewish victimhood is when every single instance of Jews being killed is chalked up to simply Jewish hate or religion and called programs and massacres of Jews….. most times it’s more complicated than that and was about politics and power.
        Khmelnitsky was a “Cossack’ and the rebellion he led was about throwing out the Polish crown and commonwealth.
        One thing you got right was Jews being associated with collecting the taxes for the nobles.. …what you leave out is the Polish peasants had to chose sides—–fight with the Cossacks or against them or just flee the war period. The Jewish peasants, influenced by the higher up Jews in service to the wealthy nobles, chose to fight against the Cossacks. The Cossacks, aided by the Crimean Tatar, killed everyone who opposed them, not just Jews. They may have had some special dislike of Jews, compounded by the association of Jews with Polish rule, but to try and make killing of Jews the “centerpiece” of battles –like more Jews were killed than others or were always killed for “no other reason” than being Jews is inaccurate.

        What’s it’s gonna take to make you realize that you weren’t ‘always’ specially singled out victims, but on the wrong side of some conflicts, or like many other religious or ethnics, caught and swept up in national events and power struggles and political movements throughout history?

        The thing about eternal victimhood is it allows you to blame everyone else for your troubles and never admit to any responsibility of your own or even acknowledge that shits sometimes happens to all kinds of groups because humans are sometimes evil period.
        Anyway, considering current history and what Israel is doing, going on and on focusing on “your’ victimhood is a real turnoff and does not induce sympathy.

      • seanmcbride
        January 24, 2013, 3:12 pm

        Mooser,

        Annie has suggested that I should stop trying to engage you in a serious discussion about religious Zionism and the role of the Jewish religious establishment in merging Judaism with Zionism.

        I will leave it up to you: if you want to withdraw from the discussion, fine. If you want pursue it, I’m game. It’s your choice.

      • Ellen
        January 24, 2013, 7:00 pm

        It is ALWAYS about politics and power. Every conflict attributed to religions or groups, or whatever, when examined closely itbis really about power, economics associated with power and control. It is never really about religion.

        As for the Inqusition (which I’ve mentioned here before) Jews were not expelled, but requested and received a Papal Bull to leave. Jews has a very high position in Spain before the insanity of the Inqusition period, and court advisors to Isabella and Ferdinand were Jewish.

        They knew what was going down and got permission the leave under protection of the crown. Arabanel, right hand advisor to Isabella was also a new age mystic of the times and wanted to organize and delay the “expulsion” with the same biblical date of the fall of the temple to give, what was really a tragic event, biblical significance for the Jewish people.

        There were many many more Muslims tranferred, tortured and expelled during the Inqusition than Jews of Spain. Yet this event is not incorporated into Muslim religion or culture.

        Jews who left Spain went to various parts of Europe and later the New World. They were welcomed into the Balkans under Turkish administration. The first Synagogues in Sarajevo were built under sponsorship of The Turks for the Jews of Spain. The Ottomans welcomed the Jews as they were to bring moderninity, trade etc. to the region. And they did.

        The American South was first settled in an organized way by Jews who were decendants of those who left Spain. The first (or second?) Synagogue of North America being in Charelston.

        There is so much more — as the Prussian Kings granting lands to Jewish communities from the East to come, farm and build.

        It is sad that these global developmensts and cooperations with others are not celebrated. And instead that victimology is adopted as a self identity.

        We can all do that.

        Sorry about this long post, but it reminds me of when working in Sarajevo and there was a well-intentioned effort to put a plaque or memorial to the women and girls who has suffered so horribly in a stadium at the hands of Serbs. They had it taken down, as the persecuted victim of others was not the self identity they wanted to adopt or pass along.

        They were proud women who did not understand themselves as victims.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2013, 2:40 pm

        “If you want pursue it, I’m game.”

        Okay then, pal. How do you see your statements:
        1)”To what degree is Jewish history organized around an endless succession of conflicts between “the chosen nation” and “the nations,” in an unbroken chain dating from Exodus…”
        2)”Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it” (I believe that statement refers to the Jews, does it not?)

        So in light of those two statements how shall we view the interactions of the Jews with No.17 “Adolf Hitler” and No.12 “Germany”?
        So you think our positing of Jewish history, and the psychological charge Jews get out of a conflict was the cause of the Holocaust?
        And if not the entire cause, what degree of responsibility would you assign to the Jews in the Holocaust?

        Look, Sean, if you want to say that some intrinsic fault in the Jewish people brought the Holocaust down on them, just come out and say it. We entertain almost all points of view here, and that one, no matter how distasteful, certainly has the merit of not being original with you.
        This makes three times I have asked you this question. I might be forced to believe you hesitate to answer it. If you do, it will at least have the benefit of letting me know how much to expect from you.

        The italicized statement are quotes from Sean’s comments, above.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2013, 2:55 pm

        As I remember, when I plainly put to you the question: “If Zionism is intrinsic and inherent in Jewish ideology, how can we get rid of Zionism without, at the very least, oppressing Jews?” (And that question holds good if the Zionism is intrinsic or acculturated) You didn’t want to answer it, and started squealing.
        But then again, Sean, as I remember your description of the “maximim force” which could be used amounted to classic bigoted rabble-rousing, with no actual political or legal component, I don’t worry too much.

      • seanmcbride
        January 25, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Mooser,

        There is by now a very long backlog of questions from me to you which you have ignored in your overexcited, paranoid and decidedly unhumorous comments.

        Let’s start with this one:

        Have you ever read a book on Mideast politics that made an impression on your mind? Which book is it and what are your thoughts on it?

        And to ANNIE ROBBINS: note well that I politely offered Mooser an opportunity to withdraw from this conversation, but he has decided to press on with more gross misrepresentations of my views.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2013, 5:40 pm

        “but he has decided to press on with more gross misrepresentations of my views.”

        How the hell can I misrepresent you, I’m quoting you? If I am mischaracterizing your view, or drawing the wrong conclusions, say so, and tell me what conclusion I should draw from the comments. That seems simple enough.
        I do believe any reasonable person would read your comments and conclude you contend the Jews bear responsibility for the Holocaust, and on top of that, enjoyed it!
        “Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it”

        And stop trying to work the refs.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 25, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Okay then, pal. How do you see your statements:
        1)”To what degree is Jewish history organized around an endless succession of conflicts between “the chosen nation” and “the nations,” in an unbroken chain dating from Exodus…”
        2)”Unless, that is, on some level, perhaps unconscious, one enjoys and is energized by the conflict, derives one’s sense of identity and mission from it” (I believe that statement refers to the Jews, does it not?)

        So in light of those two statements how shall we view the interactions of the Jews with No.17 “Adolf Hitler” and No.12 “Germany”?

        Wow. That line of thinking is pretty obscene, Sean. I mean, the history of the conflict between Christians and Jews in Europe and the Middle East is complex, but there’s no friggin way to view the facts in any coherent and reasonable way to reach the conclusion that the Jews were energized and enjoyed the serial oppressions, pogroms and attacks that make up too much of their history. (Especially regarding the Holocaust. That wasn’t so much a “conflict” as a human-shaped lawnmower that came by and mowed down 6 million people for no good reason.) That’s messed up.

      • seafoid
        January 25, 2013, 7:03 pm

        The departure of the Jews was the seed of the downfall of the Spanish empire . It was really shortsighted on the part of the Spanish court of the time.

      • seanmcbride
        January 25, 2013, 8:40 pm

        To develop my thoughts on this subject a bit more: I think that messianic cults in general — and especially messianic ethnic nationalist cults — strongly tend to rely on perpetual conflict with cult outsiders to maintain their internal cohesion. There is a social psychological process and syndrome in play that needs to be investigated and understood.

        And I am not describing Judaism in its entirety as a messianic ethnic cult — only certain streams of Judaism that have come into prominence during the last half century or so and which have expressed themselves as religious Zionism. And one can find find the same cultural processes in play all across the Abrahamic tradition, in Christianity and Islam, and among many non-Abrahamic traditions as well.

        It has struck me that Benjamin Netanyahu and many leading Israelis and pro-Israel activists have repeatedly tried to frame contemporary political conflicts in terms of ancient biblical struggles with Pharaoh, Haman, Babylon, Amalek and the like — even with “the nations” — all of them.

      • seanmcbride
        January 25, 2013, 8:50 pm

        Amos Oz has much to say on this subject in “In the Land of Israel”:

        link to books.google.com

      • seanmcbride
        January 26, 2013, 9:27 am

        Woody Tanaka,

        You are misreading and misinterpreting my remarks. Obviously no one enjoys being oppressed and persecuted, unless they are masochistic or neurotically self-destructive.

        My point was that the notion of perpetual conflict between “the chosen nation” (Israel, the Jewish people) and “the nations” has been a core ideological driver of Judaism from its ancient origins to the present day. Many contemporary Jewish religious nationalists interpret Israel’s current ever-escalating conflicts with “the nations” (nearly all of them, you will notice — including the United Nations) through the archetypal and mythical lens of a long chain of “clashes of civilization” with ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, ancient Persia, Amalek, etc. One finds this kind of thinking all the time in the pages of the Israeli and Jewish press.

        Messianic nationalist movements don’t like to be oppressed and persecuted, but messianic nationalism will inevitably tend to fall into a pattern of relentless conflict with “the nations” — and especially with other messianic nationalist movements (like European or Arab nationalists) and with messianic universalist movements (like Communism or modern Western democracies).

        Even as we speak, Israel is pushing forward with Jewish-only settlements in “Eretz Yisrael” in large part on the basis of messianic biblical myths, even though this policy is pushing Israel towards an apocalyptic confrontation with the entire world, including its only superpower patron.

        What explains this kind of behavior? What psychological factors drive messianic cults in general, most of which tend to destroy themselves through euphoric overreach?

        Now, Woody, paraphrase the above paragraphs for me in a way that convinces me that you actually understand them. I trust you know enough about the basic ideological structures of both Judaism and Zionism to follow what I am saying.

      • jon s
        January 25, 2013, 3:51 pm

        Bumblebye,
        I recommend this book. It was written in the 1930s, and can be downloaded or read online:
        link to archive.org

      • Bumblebye
        January 25, 2013, 4:32 pm

        Thanks jon, made a note of it, probably take a look in a day or two.

    • seanmcbride
      January 23, 2013, 3:46 pm

      yonah fredman,

      Within the Blakean conceptual framework, could “Satanic” refer to authoritarianism, biblical literalism, dingy factories, ethnic nationalism, imperialism, industrialism, Mammon, militarism, military-industrial complex, nationalism, neoconservatism, oligarchy, plutocracy, pollution, radical wealth inequality, religious autocrats, sweatshops, vulture capitalism, Zionism? There is room for a wide variety of persuasive interpretations.

      Do you really think you can boss William Blake, Joel Kovel or anyone else around in their use of language, especially complex metaphoric language?

      You are really stretching to play the victim card here.

    • Chu
      January 23, 2013, 5:03 pm

      This sensitive issue seems to have you in tatters. Next thing you’ll be calling him a traitor to his former religion, or something of that sort.

      Personally, he could have left the word satanic out and it would be just as effective in gross sum. But prattle on about this if you can’t get your grasp around the bulk of the article.

      Just don’t pretend to be of high morals, when you have a record of mudslinging yourself, Yonah.

    • Mooser
      January 23, 2013, 6:50 pm

      “Do you think that the history of Jewish Christian relations, as in disastrously poor relations from the perspective of Jews, places any responsibility for present day Christians”

      Before or after Zionism, Yonah. A big segment of the Jews changed its relationship with the Christian world when Zionists took Palestine and declared a “Jewish State”.

      Yonah, listen: You can’t call yourself, and act as, a “state” without foregoing all the privileges given to a religion. Especially not when the self-determination you crave can only be actuated by dispossessing anothe people. So the question could possibly be answered for either period (pre-Zionism vs. since “Israel”) but not for both.

    • RoHa
      January 23, 2013, 7:09 pm

      “places any responsibility for present day Christians, to relate to that history in a responsible manner,”

      What does “relate to history” mean?

    • Kathleen
      January 23, 2013, 9:26 pm

      Yonah maybe you can explain why illegal settlers named one of their illegal settlements on Palestinian land “Lucifer’s” village. What is up with that?

    • MRW
      January 25, 2013, 11:40 am

      @yonah fredman,

      Or am I wrong?

      Yes.

  11. seanmcbride
    January 23, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Interesting remarks on William Blake’s “Jerusalem”:

    /article:
    /title Why we… believe that ‘Jerusalem’ is not a nationalistic hymn
    /publication Times Higher Education
    /date August 2001
    /url link to timeshighereducation.co.uk
    /quote:

    Blake composed the stanzas some time between 1804 and 1818 as a preface to his epic poem “Milton”, in which Milton the poet, not quite cutting it in heaven, pops down to earth to redeem the fallen nation, Albion.

    The poem is hardly a celebration of Britain during the Napoleonic wars. Like other radicals such as William Cobbett and William Godwin, Blake observed the propertied classes crush down those beneath them in the name of national interest. Hence, this is a poem of struggle for human – not national – identity.

    Neither is it a celebration of a traditional Christian status quo. In heaven, Milton realises the error of his ways when confronted with the doctrine of the Calvinist Elect, the chosen elite who believe that God has selected them alone for heaven and condemned all others to hell. If you want a comparison today, look for any group that preaches against the other, from Allister’s shunning of homosexuality to prime minister Tony Blair’s “tough but tender” stance on asylum seekers.

    If Jerusalem, then, is a proto-atheist hymn, it is because Blake, like many radical dissenters, believed that the powerful of this world were guilty of worshipping Mammon in the name of Jehovah. If Jerusalem is nonsense then it is no more so than other religious texts.

    /end-quote
    /end-article

  12. Antidote
    January 23, 2013, 5:52 pm

    the satanic “cold, cold heart of Zionism”?

    Give me a break.

    A War Song to Englishmen

    Prepare, prepare the iron helm of war,
    Bring forth the lots, cast in the spacious orb;
    Th’ Angel of Fate turns them with mighty hands,
    And casts them out upon the darken’d earth!
    Prepare, prepare!

    Prepare your hearts for Death’s cold hand! prepare
    Your souls for flight, your bodies for the earth;
    Prepare your arms for glorious victory;
    Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God!
    Prepare, prepare!

    Whose fatal scroll is that? Methinks ’tis mine!
    Why sinks my heart, why faltereth my tongue?
    Had I three lives, I’d die in such a cause,
    And rise, with ghosts, over the well-fought field.
    Prepare, prepare!

    The arrows of Almighty God are drawn!
    Angels of Death stand in the louring heavens!
    Thousands of souls must seek the realms of light,
    And walk together on the clouds of heaven!
    Prepare, prepare!

    Soldiers, prepare! Our cause is Heaven’s cause;
    Soldiers, prepare! Be worthy of our cause:
    Prepare to meet our fathers in the sky:
    Prepare, O troops, that are to fall to-day!
    Prepare, prepare!

    Alfred shall smile, and make his harp rejoice;
    The Norman William, and the learnèd Clerk,
    And Lion Heart, and black-brow’d Edward, with
    His loyal queen, shall rise, and welcome us!
    Prepare, prepare!

    William Blake

  13. Antidote
    January 23, 2013, 6:19 pm

    27 April, 2010
    VOTE FOR JERUSALEM AS ENGLAND’S NATIONAL ANTHEM
    Category: England — By: Andy Newman at 10:04 am
    from Waking Hereford

    Commonwealth Games England announced on St George’s Day that they will let the nation decide which anthem is to be played at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi by allowing the public to vote for the song of their choice.

    Voters can choose between God Save The Queen, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory – with the winner becoming the official anthem of the England Team to be played on the podium in Delhi when a Gold medal is won as well as at the Welcoming Ceremony when the St. George’s flag is raised. The public can cast their vote by visiting

    link to start.yougov.com

    Duncan Lewis, Marketing Director for Commonwealth Games England, said, “We’re really excited that the nation will be deciding our anthem for the Games. Everybody has their own opinion on what should be played, and having the public actively involved in the team’s decision making is great. Their involvement represents everything that we’re trying to achieve with our inclusive ‘We Are England’ brand – bringing the whole of the country together”.

    As Hereward correctly states:

    There are only 3 candidates – and only one that is England-specific – so it should be a no brainer.

    Option 1: God Save the Queen. British anthem and hence really nothing to do with England….. Gordon Brown take note: England is not Britain. Apart from that, the tune is about as uninspiring as a tune can be.

    Option 2: Land of Hope and Glory. British imperialistic Edwardian anthem which gloried in the ever-expanding British Empire (especially in Africa) during the country-collecting activities of the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras. Irrelevant to England as the ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ referred to is Britain. Erroneously used in the past as England’s victory anthem at previous Commonwealth Games – in our view totally inappropriately. It really does need to change in favour of option 3.

    Option 3: Jerusalem. This scores on all fronts. For a start, it actually mentions and is about England. Also, opinion polls have consistently shown it to be by far the nation’s favourite choice for an English anthem. The words by William Blake are nothing to do with invading anyone, nor are they disparaging to any of our neighbours – they just embody what a vision of England could be.

    link to socialistunity.com

  14. RoHa
    January 23, 2013, 6:49 pm

    “Jerusalem” (as it is known to those of us who, unlike Kovel, never got round to reading Blake’s long stuff) is used as an anthem by (among many others) the Women’s Institute. It used to be sung at the end of the “Jantaculum”performances at the University of Reading (I studied there for both my MA and PhD) and probably still is. Chariots of Fire, the immensely boring film about running, took its title from the poem. The phrase “The New Jerusalem” – referring to the establishment of the Welfare State by Atlee’s government – is a deliberate echo of the poem.

    It is an anthem of ideals to be striven for, not a glorification of what is.

    For those who don’t know it, here it is.

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green,
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen.”

    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
    Bring me my Arrows of desire:
    Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
    Bring me my Chariot of fire :

    I will not cease from Mental Fight,
    Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
    Till we have built Jerusalem,
    In England’s green & pleasant Land.

    (“Builded”? Hell, it’s Blake. I’ll let it go.)

  15. RoHa
    January 23, 2013, 6:55 pm

    And, since we are being literary, for Calvin and Hobbes fans:

    link to eecs.harvard.edu

    Something a bit creepy:

    link to poetryfoundation.org

  16. Citizen
    January 23, 2013, 10:28 pm

    Always interesting when poetry is read by literal minds. Also, seldom comes to any good.

  17. Blank State
    January 23, 2013, 10:46 pm

    Personally, I feel the term “satanic” is extremely apropos to a number of personages, policies, and political agendas playing out before us. I use the term prolifically when discussing Dick Cheney, for instance. And it goes without saying that many of Israel’s actions and policies in regards to the Palestinian people can accurately be described as “evil”.

  18. Kathleen
    January 24, 2013, 11:00 am

    Watching the Kerry nomination hearings. Appears that Senator Mendez is Israel and the I lobbies new lap dog on pushing for more sanctions and maybe military action against Iran. He is barking for Israel.

    • American
      January 24, 2013, 12:14 pm

      The Cuban lobby and the Isr lobby are joined at the hip in congress—they back each other up.

    • Blank State
      January 24, 2013, 10:53 pm

      After launching one of the most despicable and costly deceptions in American history, (the rationale for invading Iraq), these pieces of SCUM on the far right have the audacity to push for political advantage by villifying Clinton over Bengazi, and pushing for action against Syria and Iran. The grilling of Kerry is just more hypocritical horseshit from known liars and warmongering satanists. Watching the disingenous posturings these scumbags, on both sides of the aisle, assume at these “hearings” is a demonstration of how far down the Ship of State has sunk below the waterline. Its hard to believe that we’ll ever be able to purge the bilge enough to get her back afloat.

      • Kathleen
        January 25, 2013, 11:49 am

        ok how about “vilifying” Clinton and the rest of our Reps at the time for voting for the Iraq war resolution. Clinton and the others have plenty of Iraqi people and American soldiers blood on their hands. Plenty to “vilify” Clinton over. And she would bomb Iran as has as Israel demands. Not so with Hagel and Kerry. Clinton lines up with the likes of bloody Bill Kristol etc

      • Blank State
        January 25, 2013, 10:26 pm

        Look, Kathleen….as you well know from my posting as POA at TWN, I am certainly no fan of either Clinton. My comment, however, really has nothing to do with Clinton, except as a foundation upon which the blatant hypcricy of the right wing scumbags can be framed.

      • tree
        January 26, 2013, 2:23 am

        Clinton and the others have plenty of Iraqi people and American soldiers blood on their hands. Plenty to “vilify” Clinton over….. Not so with Hagel and Kerry.

        Oh, please. Kerry and Hagel both voted exactly the same way that Clinton did on the Iraq War in 2002. And Obama’s actions since becoming President make it clear that he would have voted the same way had he been in Congress at the time. If you want to “villify” Clinton for her vote, then you need to do the same thing in regards to Kerry and Hagel.

        link to articles.cnn.com

        link to sourcewatch.org

  19. MRW
    January 25, 2013, 11:44 am

    @Mr. Kovel,

    The penny drops: link to lobelog.com

    P.S. I’ve read your stuff for years, and admired your insights from afar. You’ve written brilliantly courageous pieces in small dollops, all of which I’ve downloaded.

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