Jerusalem Day response – ‘the only statement we make on Jerusalem Day is our thanks for the freedom to live and pray in our holiest city’

Israel/Palestine
on 53 Comments
JDay 1 1
Marissa Young, third from the left wearing an Israeli flag on her back, in front of the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City for Jerusalem Day, May, 8 2013. (Allison Deger/Mondoweiss)

Editor’s Note: Marissa Young sent us the following response to Allison Deger’s report Jerusalem Day’s unforgiving mix of nationalism and Judaism. Young was pictured in one of the photos that accompanied the article. 

Had I read your article as an outsider, my impression would have been that the Jerusalem Day celebrations were a facade for a racist vendetta against the Arabs in Jerusalem. Fortunately, I am not an outsider – I am one of the girls in the picture.

I am an American Jew currently living in the Old City for the year. But contrary to your point, the diversity of Jews from all over the world and country on that day only shows the enormity that this city has for the entire Jewish people. To me, this represents unity, the force that can bring us together at least this one time a year, to express the love for the city we all have in common.

In every group there are extremists and in no way do I condone them or any violence. But I speak for myself and for many others when I say that the only statement we make on Jerusalem Day is our thanks for the freedom to live and pray in our holiest city.

I am not disputing your facts. I am a Zionist who knows that every country has flaws. Discrimination exists, no doubt. In fact, the thousands of Jews you witnessed in the Kotel Plaza probably had thousands of different opinions about the contemporary conflict. Those opinions are essential to another discussion, but that is not what Jerusalem Day is about. At that moment when you took my picture, I wasn’t rejoicing in the division of the city or the “fall” of the Arabs. I was celebrating the incredible fact that I, as a proud Jew AND Zionist was able to stand exactly where I was.

Am Yisrael Chai means that after thousands of years of exile and persecution, the Jewish nation is still living, not that we are the only ones allowed to live.

I sing Am Yisrael Chai completely aware of a complicated history, but focused on the joys of the present and determined to create an even better future

53 Responses

  1. dimadok
    May 10, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Wow! Like a breath of fresh air here. Kudos to editors for allowing this response.
    And thank you Marissa!!

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 11, 2013, 8:16 am

      Fresh air?? hardly. Typical self-indulgent Zionist/American Jewish bullshit. This female’s “celebration” is only made possible by the evil that the abomination of zionism had inflicted on its victims. This person, too, is guilty of those crimes.

  2. Shmuel
    May 10, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Marissa,

    I’m not an outsider either. I grew up in Jerusalem, and participated in many Jerusalem Days as a teenager. I remember the feeling of dancing from Merkaz Harav in Kiryat Moshe to the Kotel, celebrating divine Providence and the “beginning of Redemption”. I did not bang on the closed shutters in the Arab market in the middle of the night or shout racist slogans, and was upset by those who did, but that was not how I understood the holiday.

    Nevertheless, we had something in common. We were both basking in religious-nationalism, treating hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents as if they didn’t belong. I chose to ignore them, while the more “extreme” preferred to taunt and provoke them (mostly just showing off or whistling in the dark, as there were no Palestinians in sight), but in the end we were doing the same thing. We were so busy feeling good about ourselves, our holiday, our religion, our history, that we refused to see the other.

    You write that for you, the Jerusalem Day celebrations represent “unity, the force that can bring us together at least this one time a year, to express the love for the city we all have in common.” Your “unity”, “us”, “love”, “we” and “in common” are at least as exclusive as they are inclusive. Where are the Palestinians? Do they not have the city “in common”? Do they not “love” the city? The answer is that they are there (whether present or absent, or “present-absent”) as “them”, as the others whose exclusion lies at the very heart of the day — whether it feels like a “racist vendetta” or not.

    • pabelmont
      May 10, 2013, 1:31 pm

      Thanks Shmuel. When people say “we” and “our” (as politicians often do) they are blurring meaning. It recalls the famous joke, Tonto to Lone Ranger, “What do you mean ‘we’, white man?” Usually, “we” means a part of the whole of humanity. And this writer does not apparently mean to celebrate the unity of all people who hold Jerusalem/Al-Quds holy (or who hold it national, either). “We” and “our” is us-against-them lingo.

      I am thinking about the people in Boston who for a brief moment felt the fear and anger that a terrorist attack generates, but who were not invited by the “we” and “our” spouting politicians and MSM to consider the Yemenis and Pakistanis, etc., who DAILY feel the anger and fear engendered by USA’s drone attacks.

      It’s tough not to be tribal. It’s tough to willingly see your own privilege (always undeserved). It’s tougher still to relinquish that privilege.

      • notatall
        May 11, 2013, 2:58 am

        I teach history. I tell my students that every “we” is the product of history, and that they should choose, consciously and carefully, which “we” they want to be part of.

    • bintbiba
      May 10, 2013, 5:57 pm

      Thank you, Shmuel , for your comment. Your and Mr. Belmont’s spirit of generosity and truth make my soul sing during such painful times as our region goes through.
      As well as Philip, ‘annie’ , Alex, Allison. seafoid, Taxi, and so many others; you bring a scintilla of hope with your insights and passion for Justice.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 10, 2013, 11:28 pm

        thank you bintbiba, really. i do have hope and know if we stick together, and we are growing, we will turn our visions of equality into reality.

        (and thank you for remembering referencing me how i self identify, it means a lot to me)

      • Shmuel
        May 11, 2013, 3:42 am

        Thank you, bintbiba. I had you in mind when I was thinking about all those who hold Jerusalem dear.

    • jon s
      May 12, 2013, 11:20 am

      Personally, I’ve never celebrated “Jerusalem Day”, always considered it phony and distasteful.

      • Ellen
        May 12, 2013, 5:35 pm

        jon s, I can imagine it is as phony and distasteful as organized flag waving nationalistic America ueber alles events in the USA. But it is telling that it seems the most enthusiastic participants in Jurusalen Day are Nationalistic White Shirts, “Settlers” (who even most Israelis abhor) and brainwashed teenagers from New York.

      • yonah fredman
        May 13, 2013, 12:58 am

        Personally, between 1968 and 1971, I had never heard of Jerusalem Day, whereas when I landed in yeshiva in Gush Etzion, Jerusalem Day was on the par with, if not superior to Independence Day as a focus of prayer. (On Independence Day we praised the Lord, by singing the Hallel, but without a blessing, but on Jerusalem Day we sang the Hallel with a blessing.) But back in the USA after three Jerusalem Days in Gush Etzion (including one after the Yom Kippur War), I discovered that Jerusalem Day was still the focus of little attention in the USA.

        Years later, my attitude towards the conquests of the 6 Day War are no longer as sanguine or blithe as they were when I was still a teen, and thus now, I concede Jerusalem Day to the right wing nationalists. An appropriate celebration would mix happiness and concern for the future, but such a type of celebration would require a special type of organizer. At the current rate I will not live to see a resolution of the conflict. But if somehow I luck into seeing a resolution, I hope that Jerusalem Day and Independence Day will reflect both the happiness of the Jews to leave the pain of exclusion from Jerusalem and the tragedies that exile entailed behind, and an eye forward for peaceful coexistence in Jerusalem and in the land with the Palestinians in the future.

  3. Abdul-Rahman
    May 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

    “exile”

    False mythology, to attempt to “justify” ethnic cleansing and oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people, at every turn even from “Zionism-lite”.

    link to muse.jhu.edu

    “The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship”

    link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses” Dr. Eran Elhaik

    link to google.com

    Gene study settles debate over origin of European Jews

    (AFP) – Jan 16, 2013

    link to salem-news.com

    Johns Hopkins University geneticist Dr. Eran Elhaik “The various groups of Jews in the world today do not share a common genetic origin. We are talking here about groups that are very heterogeneous and which are connected solely by religion.” (Haaretz, December 28, 2012)

    • Yitzgood
      May 10, 2013, 7:09 pm

      The ironic thing about the Khazar theory–besides the fact that it is unlikely–is that it doesn’t matter. Contemporary Jews are the successors to their Jewish predecessors. Conversion is a perfectly legitimate means of Jewish continuity. A Jew is connected to earlier generations of Jews, Rabbi Akiva’s generation, R. Saadia Gaon’s generation, Nachmanides’ generation, the Arizal’s generation, etc.

      • Hostage
        May 11, 2013, 1:00 am

        Contemporary Jews are the successors to their Jewish predecessors. Conversion is a perfectly legitimate means of Jewish continuity.

        Since when are converts called the children of the fathers? A convert cannot claim that Hashem swore to give the land to his fathers. So what’s your point?

        A convert can bring an offering of the first fruits of the land once a year on sufferance, but has no right to say “I declare this day to the Lord, your God, that I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us.” See Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:3

      • Yitzgood
        May 12, 2013, 12:18 am

        See Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:3

        I’m impressed that someone at Modoweiss is thinking about bikkurim. See Rambam, Hilchos Bikurim 4:3. A convert can say it since Avraham is “av kol haolam kulo shnichnas tachas kanfei shechinah.” It could be we don’t paskin like the Rambam. Bring a source for that and I’ll really be impressed. Anyway, if we are worried about whether geirim can bring bikkurim or not, then they are part of the tradition as much as anybody else.

      • Hostage
        May 12, 2013, 10:24 am

        It could be we don’t paskin like the Rambam. Bring a source for that and I’ll really be impressed

        Some do some don’t. Here’s a source which discusses both and the fact that even Rambam assigns a different status to converts when it comes reciting viduy ma’aserot:

        A more vexing issue in the Rambam stems from an internal contradiction within the halakhot regarding a ger. While allowing him to recite mikra bikkurim, the Rambam disqualifies him from reciting “viduy ma’aserot.” The very next section in Ki Tavo describes the process conducted every third and sixth year of the shemitta cycle, by which a person concludes the distribution of all his terumot and ma’aserot, and issues a declaration of his fulfillment of the mitzva. The final verse of the declaration reads, “Look down from Heaven and bless Your people, the Jewish nation, and the land which You gave us, just as You swore to our ancestors” (“Hashkifa mi-me’on kodshekha min ha-shamayim u-varekh et amekha et Yisrael ve-et ha-adama asher natata lanu ka’asher nishbata la-avoteinu”). Since a ger cannot declare, “the land which You gave us, just as You swore to our ancestors,” he may not recite the entire passage. Why does the Rambam allow a ger to recite mikra bikkurim but not viduy ma’aserot?

        The Kappot Temarim (written by Maharil Chaviv and cited by the Mishneh la-Melekh in Hilkhot Bikkurim) distinguishes between the two passages. In the phrase in the bikkurim section, the Torah speaks of the future: “the land which God swore to our ancestors to give to us.” Theoretically, this could refer to the final delivery of Eretz Yisrael during the days of Mashiach. A section of Yechezkel (end of chapter 47, as interpreted by the Midrash Rabba to Kohelet) determines that those who converted to Judaism during the final exile will indeed receive a share in Eretz Yisrael. Hence, a ger can recite the clause in mikra bikkurim, “the land which God swore to our ancestors to give to us.” By contrast, the phrase in the passage of viduy ma’aserot can only be read as referring to the original distribution during the first entry to Eretz Yisrael – “the land which you GAVE us” (“asher natata lanu”), and a ger was certainly not included in that original allotment.

        A different explanation might focus on the different function which each phrase plays within the overall passage. In mikra bikkurim, the questionable phrase appears before the formal declaration begins, when the owner presents his bikkurim to the kohen. At that point, he must proclaim that he is a resident of the land which God swore to our ancestors to deliver to us. As he is communicating with the kohen and, as a ger, sees himself as part of the community, the phrase is accurate. The phrase “to give to us” refers to the Jewish people, to which the kohen belongs and to which this ger has attached himself. Conversely, the phrase in the section of viduy ma’aserot appears towards the end of the confession, when the owner prays that God will bestow His mercy on “the land that He gave us as He swore to our ancestors.” As the owner does not address another member of the Jewish community, but rather prays to God, his words must have precise historical accuracy; since the ger was not included in this oath, he cannot recite this passage.

        A third difference might rest upon the subtle grammatical differences between the two phrases. The phrase in the bikkurim section accentuates the oath and employs the actual delivery as the modifier. The owner of the fruits recites, “I have come to the land WHICH GOD SWORE TO OUR ANCESTORS to deliver to us.” The delivery of the land merely provides the content of the oath; the focus, however, is on the oath itself, rather than the delivery of the land. By aligning himself with our people and adopting Avraham as his ancestor, the ger incorporates himself in the oath. However, the phrase in viduy maaser stresses the delivery: “bless … the land which YOU GAVE US as you swore to our ancestors.” Since the ger did not actually receive land in Eretz Yisrael (during its original distribution), he cannot make this claim.

        link to vbm-torah.org

        As an agnostic, this is really only an area of cultural interest.

      • Yitzgood
        May 12, 2013, 11:39 am

        Here’s a source which discusses both and the fact that even Rambam assigns a different status to converts when it comes reciting viduy ma’aserot

        Interesting, but my point seems to stand. The second explanation has the convert addressing “another member of the Jewish community.” A ger tzedek (unlike a ger toshav) is a Jew.

        As an agnostic, this is really only an area of cultural interest.

        That’s OK for this discussion. One doesn’t have to be a Muslim to state that Mecca is tremendously important to Muslims.

      • Hostage
        May 12, 2013, 10:11 pm

        P.S. On a more practical level, there have been a number of reports about converts having a hard time in Israel and being ostracized. People have had their conversions invalidated decades after the fact and their children are treated as bastards by authorities who ignore the secular Courts and make up their own rules. Here is a recent example:

        Yair Ettinger, May.08, 2013, Haaretz

        “Jewish marriage institution fraught with nepotism and cronyism, state comptroller says: In annual report, state comptroller finds that many of the 130 councils in Israel make their own rules, violating existing instructions of the Religious Services Ministry and the Chief Rabbinate.

        In his bureaucratic language, the state comptroller describes the institution of Jewish marriage in Israel as a culture of nepotism lacking any policy or work methodology. He also notes the state is deficient in service, particularly when it comes to people who don’t have connections. But even among the common folk who want to be married under Jewish law, there’s a hierarchy: Immigrants and converts come up against particular difficulties. The ones who have the worst time of all are people of Ethiopian origin.

        The most widespread phenomenon regarding marriage registrations is that many of the 130 councils in Israel make their own rules, violating existing instructions of the Religious Services Ministry and the Chief Rabbinate. For example, according to the procedures, when a convert to Judaism wishes to marry, the marriage registrar needs only a conversion certificate. In practice, the religious councils place additional obstacles before converts. In a questionnaire circulated among religious councils, nine responded that they were unwilling to register converts for marriage even if the converts showed a conversion certificate as required.

        link to haaretz.com

      • Hostage
        May 12, 2013, 10:19 pm

        Here’s another example from the Jerusalem Post which illustrates that converts are really not accepted and treated just like their fellow Jews:

        Seth Farber 08/11/2012 The challenge: To marry in the rabbinate, Religious councils’ treatment of their residents cannot continue to operate as a comedy.

        Additionally, these procedures are rarely enforced by local rabbinates, who choose to make their own rules.

        ON AVERAGE, a couple wishing to marry has to visit the rabbinate four times due to a lack of familiarity with the complicated beauracratic procedures, which need not exist in a process so common and simple. In many cases, marriage registration and the accompanying Jewishness verification procedure are conducted without respect, fairness or transparency, even at the elementary level.

        In the past year we received queries about marriage bureaus that still refuse to register converts, despite the fact that the Chief Rabbinate has already issued an order to register them (a provision that also won the support of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef). We have received complaints about registrars who were unwilling to accept a person as Jewish even though his parents were married in the country, which clearly contradicts the procedures of the Chief Rabbinate.

        In other cases, registrars have refused to accept Jewishness certification (of someone born a Jew!) from a rabbinical court, and sent the couple to a private investigator (at their own expense), before agreeing to open marriage file.

      • Yitzgood
        May 14, 2013, 12:08 am

        Here’s another example from the Jerusalem Post which illustrates that converts are really not accepted and treated just like their fellow Jews

        The relevance of this to my point about the Khazar theory or any other point I’ve made escapes me. It seems from this that marriage bureaus in Israel are cumbersome and bureaucratic and causing problems on a number of different fronts, including conversion. That doesn’t suggest to me that converts aren’t really Jews. We are talking about the theory, greatly beloved of various people with an assortment of axes to grind, that Ashkenazi Jews are mostly descended from an influx of converts that took place during the middle ages.

      • Hostage
        May 14, 2013, 11:58 pm

        The relevance of this to my point about the Khazar theory or any other point I’ve made escapes me. . . . The relevance of this to my point about the Khazar theory or any other point I’ve made escapes me.We are talking about the theory, greatly beloved of various people with an assortment of axes to grind, that Ashkenazi Jews are mostly descended from an influx of converts that took place during the middle ages.

        Then you are built too short and the point is going over your head.

        Many of the people who inquire into the Khazar theory and other sources of Gentile genetic “admixture” do not believe that the Land of Israel was promised to religious converts. I’ve demonstrated that some of the people who feel that way are Orthodox Jewish religious authorities who have said as much on the basis of their understanding of Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:3 and in their refusal to marry converts or even conduct a marriage involving a convert.

        That doesn’t suggest to me that converts aren’t really Jews.

        No it suggests that they are second-class Jews with no inherent right to the Land. All Jews are not equal. For example a convert may not become a Priest and a Priest may not marry a convert. A mamzer may not marry a Jew. He or she can only marry another mamzer or a convert. link to aish.com

      • RoHa
        May 11, 2013, 1:17 am

        “Contemporary Jews are the successors to their Jewish predecessors. Conversion is a perfectly legitimate means of Jewish continuity. A Jew is connected to earlier generations of Jews…”

        What do you mean by “successors”, “continuity”, and “connected to”?
        What are the moral implications of this “succession/continuity/connection”?

        Or are you just babbling vague, meaningless, drivel?

      • Yitzgood
        May 12, 2013, 2:36 am

        What do you mean by “successors”, “continuity”, and “connected to”?

        The expression “knesset Yisroel” is used sometimes. Jews have had a shared destiny all this time. Converts are as Jewish as anyone else. I don’t think I need to go into it more for the point I was making about the Khazar theory to be intelligible.

        What are the moral implications of this “succession/continuity/connection”?

        In regard to what? We probably wouldn’t agree on what those are. If you can be more specific, however, I will try to answer your question.

        Or are you just babbling vague, meaningless, drivel?

        A little less rudeness, too, if you don’t mind.

      • Hostage
        May 12, 2013, 9:01 am

        Converts are as Jewish as anyone else. I don’t think I need to go into it more for the point I was making about the Khazar theory to be intelligible.

        Correction:

        The 362nd prohibition is that we are forbidden from appointing over ourselves a king who is not of Jewish lineage, even if he is a ger tzedek (righteous convert).

        The source of this prohibition is G‑d’s statement1 (exalted be He), “You may not appoint a foreigner who is not one of your brethren.”

        link to chabad.org

        Whether or not Ruth converted is irrelevant, so long as David’s father married a Jewish woman who wasn’t a convert. The same rule would apply to a so-called Jewish Khazar King. But a Khazar convert King of the Jews would be a definite taboo.

        I also pointed out that many authorities say a convert brings bikkurim but does not recite “Arami Oved Avi” (Devarim 26:5-10), e.g.:

        The mishna (Bikkurim 1:4) disqualifies a ger (convert) from keri’a because he cannot recite the verse (Devarim 26:3) which refers to the land which God “swore to our ancestors to give to us” (“asher nishbata la-avoteinu latet lanu”). Obviously, a convert’s ancestors were not included in the oath, and thus he cannot make such a reference to the land of Israel.

        link to vbm-torah.org

        You seem to be glossing over the fact that many of your religious brethren look forward to a complete restoration of the Kingdom, not a democratic or secular State of Israel.

      • Yitzgood
        May 12, 2013, 11:43 am

        You seem to be glossing over the fact that many of your religious brethren look forward to a complete restoration of the Kingdom, not a democratic or secular State of Israel.

        You’ll have to explain your point more.

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2013, 10:03 pm

        ” Jews have had a shared destiny all this time. ”

        So this stuff about “succession/continuity/connection” means that converts share the “shared destiny”?

        What is a “shared destiny”then? What does that mean?

        I can’t see how (e.g.) 12th Century Jews – long dead – can share a destiny with 21st Century Jews who are still alive.

        “What are the moral implications of this “succession/continuity/connection”?

        In regard to what?”

        What rights and duties are implied by this “shared destiny”. (As distinct from the rights and duties of all human beings.)

        “A little less rudeness, too, if you don’t mind.”

        I apologise. I see so much vague, meaningless, drivel on this site that I get impatient with vague terminology.

      • Hostage
        May 13, 2013, 3:38 am

        many of your religious brethren look forward to a complete restoration of the Kingdom, not a democratic or secular State of Israel. . . . You’ll have to explain your point more.

        In Israel there are large segments of the population that don’t respect any law but the Torah and consider Medinat Yisrael an abomination. Many of the settlers have adopted the attitude as a political response to the removal of settlements and outposts. They advocate a split from Israel and the establishment of another, separate State of Judea.

        Among the groups of the disgruntled religious zealots there are still many of the faithful who recite the prayers from the Siddur about the arrival of the Messiah, the Son of David. They also expect the prophet Elijah to miraculously return and identify him.

        There are still others who have made all of the preparations to restore the Temple, the Monarchy, and replace the Knesset with a proper Sanhedrin too – all when the proper moment arrives, e.g.
        * link to templemountfaithful.org
        * link to israelnationalnews.com

      • Yitzgood
        May 13, 2013, 5:11 am

        Among the groups of the disgruntled religious zealots there are still many of the faithful who recite the prayers from the Siddur about the arrival of the Messiah, the Son of David.

        What does this have to do with my point about the Khazar theory?

      • Hostage
        May 13, 2013, 5:50 am

        What does this have to do with my point about the Khazar theory?

        That there are still some Jewish authorities who keep track of converts and do not consider that God pledged to give their ancestors or themselves any part of the Land of Israel.

        So it’s unsurprising that Gentiles feel the same way about vague and vicarious Zionist claims based on a “continuous presence” or an ancient “homeland”.

      • Yitzgood
        May 13, 2013, 10:09 pm

        So it’s unsurprising that Gentiles feel the same way about vague and vicarious Zionist claims based on a “continuous presence” or an ancient “homeland”.

        People who argue with anti-Zionists should be better equipped to talk about the concrete and specific things that bind Jews to Israel. That’s why I approved of the fact that the conversation focused briefly on bikkurim. The day after tomorrow I am going to be reciting the Musaf prayer. When I get to the first paragraph that is unique to the Musaf Shmoneh Esrei, I am going to say “But because of our sins we were exiled from our land.” I am going to say that in a Palestinian language which has been the main vehicle for the Jewish intellectual tradition up until this day. A convert is going to say the same thing. Maybe you don’t believe there was an exile and maybe you also don’t believe that G-d told Mohammed to pray towards Mecca. We are supposedly trying to work out a way people can live together. That probably won’t happen unless it is recognized that people’s belief”s matter. Would you like me to point out something specific about that “continuous presence”? It involved an impressive amount of Jewish intellectual history: the Jerusalem Talmud, the work of the Masoretes, the Shulchan Aruch, Nachmanides’ commentary on the Pentateuch. Israel wasn’t off the map of Jewish history in that “2000 years” that the cliches of Israel advocacy are always talking about. Another ironic thing about the Khazar theory is that it appeals to people who actually recognize the Jewish connection to Israel and who have various motivations for denying that contemporary Jews are really Jews.

      • MHughes976
        May 14, 2013, 11:42 am

        I come to this discussion too late, I think, but would be interested to know how people would react to the following argument –
        1. If an identifiable large group of people are deprived by clearly wrongful force of sovereignty over a territory, the legitimate heirs to that group have a special, absolute and overriding right to be restored – this is a universal human right – to sovereignty in that place –
        – 2. provided there are no other identifiable and comparable groups with an even older claim
        – 3. where by ‘legitimate heirs’ we mean (at least) those who a) claim membership of the same group and b) have that claim generally accepted
        – 4. where by ‘clearly wrongful force’ we mean (at least) force in the service of an evil ideology or religion: anti-Semitism being one such
        5. Considering that the removal from Jewish hands of political power in ancient Judaea and in medieval Khazaria – deprivation of sovereignty; in both cases affecting fairly large groups – represented antique but still recognisable forms of pagan and Christian anti-Semitism –
        6. And considering that the dominant group in Khazaria claimed, even as converts, to belong to the Jewish section of humanity and that there are others these days who (seeing but limited difference between born and converted Jewish people) make the same claim, thus qualifying as legitimate heirs –
        7. And considering that the sole known or foreseen means of the restoration of sovereignty where the true heirs are Jewish is a Jewish State and that the sole Jewish State is Israel
        8. We conclude that the former Khazaria should, to apply universal human rights and to negate an evil ideology that triumphed in medieval times, become – even in the absence of any religious claim – an overseas department of Israel or at least be placed under effective Israeli control.
        Where, if anywhere, is the flaw in this argument?

  4. Dutch
    May 10, 2013, 12:45 pm

    It must be tough living in the Old City, seeing the native population being ethnically cleansed while you walk to college. We are not talking about ‘flaws’ here (as you seem to think), but about organized, institutional crimes that take place each day on behalf of ‘proud Jews’ like yourself. Your behavior puts you on the side of the criminals. Face it.

    As for the ‘enormity’ that Jerusalem has for the ‘entire Jewish people’. No, Jerusalem is a Wall of Shame for every Jew in the world. The crimes committed there have absolutely nothing to do with jewish standards. On the contrary. Speak for yourself, but not for me!

  5. bindup
    May 10, 2013, 1:05 pm

    The “complication” is that, so far, Am Yisrael Chai entails Nakba.
    Can that be repaired?
    I hope you continue to seek out what-is, every difficult bit of it, and to work for justice.

    I wish you every strength (and joy) as you continue on your way.

  6. Ecru
    May 10, 2013, 1:37 pm

    What type of person can celebrate being a “proud Jews and Zionists” at such massive cost to the native peoples? Only the rankest vilest bigot aswim in the bile of her own tribal privilege.

    • Ellen
      May 11, 2013, 8:25 am

      Ecru, in defense of Marissa Young. We can’t judge. She is very young — 18. (No pun intended.) And as Shmuel shares with us: When he was young, he also basked in religious inspired nationalism. (A toxic brew, indeed!)

      How could it be anything else for a young woman who has just left childhood and a short life-time of apparent indoctrination with nationalistic-religious myths of a “Jewish Nation,” ” thousands of years of exile” and ideas of “our holiest city.” (Notice the use of “our” excluding, not even thinking about, the historical meaning of the city for all Abrahamic religions.)

      I hope that Marissa and young people like her take the obvious advantages and opportunities in front of her to learn about the broader world, roots we ALL share, and the intellectual foundation of the Zionist thought. That it is a product of it’s time, filled with twisted race-based ideas of identity, superiority, exclusion, European colonialism and expansion. That it was a secular political movement of the times, adopting Judaism for its means.

      I hope she takes to opportunity of her studies to come to research the meaning of Jewish Nationalism, the myth-making behind all nationalistic movements such as Zionism, and the impact of identity politics that swell her with joy, standing where she is.

      Unknowingly, Marissa has shared with us that Jerusalem day is to celebrate exclusive nationalistic ideology and myths. And to put away with the reality that those myths mean that others were exterminated and exiled for her celebration.

      We learned that it is a day where a young woman from the United States will drape herself in a flag of another country with it’s religious-nationalistic symbolism in the belief that she is somehow part of a mythical nation coming together onto their “soil” (blut und boden?) after thousands of years of persecution and exile.

      The reality that Jews are a collective of many people from all over the world (most of from converted populations) hijacked by a 19th century Nationalistic movement is shattering for a (still) proud Zionist.

      I wish Marissa well and hope she comes to understand the symbolic, spiritual and humanitarian meaning of Jerusalem. And not the celebration of Nationalistic-Religious myths.

      • Ecru
        May 12, 2013, 11:26 am

        Ellen I think you must be a much nicer person than me. From my point of view, by 18 years I expect a person to know the difference between right and wrong, and to have been questioning the assumptions foisted upon them by their elders for some time already.

        There’s a difference between somebody who doesn’t know and somebody who doesn’t want to know. The fact that this repugnant little toad replied to an article detailing the cost on others of her “celebration” just demonstrates not only that she doesn’t want to know but that when faced with the facts she actually try’s to convince people that she’s the sodding victim.

        Put it this way, would you be asking me to show understanding of an 18 year old clad in a white sheet and hood, burning a cross on somebody’s lawn? Of an 18 year old offering the Nazi salute in front of a synagogue? And what’s the cut-off anyway, 18, 19, 20, 32?

        She’s an adult, a not very pleasant one, and I’ll judge her as such.

      • Ecru
        May 13, 2013, 3:54 am

        TRIES!!!! Good gods I have to learn to edit properly.
        (And I teach English? Oh my poor students……)

      • Ellen
        May 15, 2013, 5:30 am

        Ecru, nahhh, I doubt I am so nice. I was a cluless dizz at 17 or 18 and can look back in shame at a few stupid ideas rumbling in my brain then. So with the general clulessness of most at her age, along with a life of Zio indoctrination, I can give the Marissas’ of the world a break.

        The general narcissim and efforts to convinve that she is the victim are the side effects of a life of Ziocaine.

        18 and 19 year olds can do some really horrible things as a group. Most do not think for themselves. There is a reason armys want them at that age.

        But you’re right. That she took the effort to so callously defend parading around and bathing in a racist pride parade that is no different from White supremists parading through town celebrating that they finally chased the ni€€ers out of town so the Ayrians could be “free” and alone on their own soil….says a lot no matter how young. That she likely does not even WANT to know anything.

        Thus my hope she opens her brain and gets an education.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    May 10, 2013, 2:13 pm

    RE: “Had I read your article as an outsider, my impression would have been that the Jerusalem Day celebrations were a facade for a racist vendetta against the Arabs in Jerusalem. Fortunately, I am not an outsider – I am one of the girls in the picture. I am an American Jew currently living in the Old City for the year. “ ~ Marissa Young

    THE WORDS OF A JERUSALEMITE : “The First Word: A day in Jerusalem”, By Yehudah Mirsky, Jerusalem Post, 05/07/09 

    [EXCERPTS] Nobody who has lived in Jerusalem in recent years needs any educating about the sword from without. A week ago Thursday I discovered the terror within. It coils through Jerusalem’s streets, and us. . . 
    . . . As I came out of the plaza, right across the street from city hall, I saw four men jump, stomp and kick the daylights out of several others (Lord knows why) and run off.
    I called for the police and waited for them to arrive as people ran out of the surrounding pubs to help the crushed victims, whose blood ran down the sidewalk. 
    First ambulances came – some of the EMTs were haredim, and some were women. Then came the police, and I reported to them what I’d seen. After the police left, some young haredim came up to me, hungry for details: Did you see fists? Did you see a knife? 
    I told them how earlier in the day their comrades had nearly done the same to me.
    “There was action at the demo? We missed it?” . . . 
    . . . When I finally got home, at about 2:30 in the morning, my wife was, luckily for me, awake. I told her something that I had been thinking and scared to say for a long while: that the Jerusalem of my dreams, the Jerusalem where heaven and earth kiss, the Jerusalem of my father’s childhood, is finally dead. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to jpost.com

  8. K Renner
    May 10, 2013, 2:15 pm

    “Am Yisrael Chai means that after thousands of years of exile and persecution, the Jewish nation is still living, not that we are the only ones allowed to live.”

    And yet the fact remains that they chant that every time their “army” starts another slaughter in Gaza or murders and steals land in the West Bank.

    Go in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the West Bank and after doing that you can be taken seriously in what you write.

  9. seafoid
    May 10, 2013, 4:46 pm

    “”our thanks for the freedom to live and pray in our holiest city”

    Pity it is built on the oppression of non Jews. Prayers only possible when others are abused are not valid. Dead mitzvot.

  10. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    May 10, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Ms. Young: At the same moment you were rejoicing over your “freedom to live and pray” in Jerusalem, the Muslim leader of the city was in an Israeli jail.
    link to forward.com

    Does that accord with your sense of justice?

    Millions of Muslim Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank are unable to come to worship at the Al Aqsa mosque. Even those who live in Jerusalem are frequently barred from Friday prayers on the pretext that they will engage in political demonstrations (as if Jews never do that at the Kotel, see, e.g. what happended with the “Women of the Wall” yesterday).

    I think you pretend that the conflict is about religious tolerance and that all the Jews want is to “live in peace.” What Zionism actually demands is Jewish political power, forever, over Eretz Israel and everyone in it.

    For those born in and attached to the land for generations, but not fortunate enough to be Jewish, Zionism permits, indeeds requires, subjugation.

    How can you celebrate “Jewish freedom” when there are 5000 Palestinian prisoners in Jewish jails for the crime of resisting subjugation? How can you celebrate your freedom when a million and a half Palestinians remain confined to the Gaza ghetto?

    • K Renner
      May 12, 2013, 2:08 am

      “Ms. Young: At the same moment you were rejoicing over your “freedom to live and pray” in Jerusalem, the Muslim leader of the city was in an Israeli jail.
      link to forward.com

      Does that accord with your sense of justice?”

      I would bet anything that she’s either willfully ignorant or supportive of the fact that the Grand Mufti was locked up.

      Why?

      Most likely because he’s Muslim and Palestinian, two groups that zionist youth are raised to see as subhuman and worthy only of Jewish hatred or a bullet.

  11. RJL
    May 10, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Dickerson, you are a shameful contortionist. the article you chopped up and quoted had NOTHING to do with arabs; it was a fight that broke out when some hareidim/ultra orthodox were protesting in 2009 for separate seating on buses, and there was a counter demonstration. I never heard about this fight, which apparently caused injuries, and Mirsky was upset, rightly so, to see Jews hurting each other. Jerusalem today is open for visiting by all religions, all peoples as long as their countries are not officially at war with Israel. The “international” Jerusalem from 48-67 was a myth that shut out Jews from visiting holy places in the eastern part of the city, while the Jordanians, etc. destroyed many parts of the ancient Jewish cemetary of Mt. Olives and used tombstones to pave roads, even floors in private arab homes. So much for respecting other religions. Dividing the city would create the same problem, and our people, minus you liars, haters, and collaborators with arab anti-semitism, will not allow that to occur again, with G-d’s help. And yes, the collaborators of MDW just suck up every taken out of context quotes you bring, expecting nobody is stupid enough to check the sources out. Shameful.

    • Hostage
      May 11, 2013, 1:43 am

      Dickerson, you are a shameful contortionist.

      No he’s not. He was providing a contrasting view of the city of Jerusalem from another “insider”. It was Marissa Young who said that an outsider might get the wrong impression from reading Allison’s article, not Dickerson. As an outsider reading the Jerusalem Post and other newspapers, I gather that the city is not as holy as Marissa lets on. Dickerson was just pointing that out.

      If you want examples of virulent racism, then see the video of last year’s parade with miles of white-shirted nut cases chanting “Butcher the Arabs”: link to mondoweiss.net

      Or read “Arab woman attacked in Jerusalem in alleged hate crime: Photos submitted to the police by an eyewitness evidently showed young Jewish women attacking an Arab woman at a light rail station; passersby did not intervene. link to haaretz.com

      If Jerusalem were a holy city to the Jews, God wouldn’t permit the Haredim to cause disturbances there on the Sabbath by spitting, cursing, and tossing hot shitty diapers and concrete blocks at the police and everyone else, e.g. See
      * “El Al won’t fly Saturdays; haredim will throw diapers at them”
      link to globes.co.il
      * 28 arrested as Haredim riot over Shabbat opening of Jerusalem parking lot:
      Six hurt in Jerusalem disturbances; Haredim throw rotten fruit, soiled diapers at police. link to haaretz.com

      FYI Deuteronomy 23:10-13 directed the Israelites to bury their human waste outside of their cities, in order to avoid defiling the place.

  12. MK_Ultra
    May 10, 2013, 7:00 pm

    Cognitive dissonance regarding the Palestinian issue and their rights notwithstanding, here’s another little patch of grey clouds, raining on their kumbayah parade. Too bad she didn’t have the honesty to mention it.

    Haredi Orthodox youth mob Western Wall in protest of women’s prayer service

    link to jta.org

    But since this is not the Arabs doing it and shows the inherent hatred of their particular cult, it can be understood why it’s conveniently ignored.

  13. Hostage
    May 10, 2013, 8:53 pm

    the only statement we make on Jerusalem Day is our thanks for the freedom to live and pray in our holiest city’

    LOL! In other news JTA reports that “Haredi Orthodox youth mob Western Wall to protest women’s prayer service” link to jta.org

  14. RoHa
    May 11, 2013, 1:12 am

    “I am an American Jew ”

    Then America is your nation. So why do you say “we” in reference to “the Jewish nation”?

  15. American
    May 11, 2013, 1:20 am

    “I was celebrating the incredible fact that I, as a proud Jew AND Zionist was able to stand exactly where I was.”

    You have nothing to be proud of.

    • seafoid
      May 11, 2013, 5:01 pm

      I don’t know how anyone could be proud of Israeli militarism.

      If Jerusalem is a jewish city how come it needs all those checkpoints?

  16. RoHa
    May 11, 2013, 1:23 am

    “only shows the enormity that this city has for the entire Jewish people”

    Interesting that she uses the word “enormity”.

    1 [mass noun] (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search disclosed the full enormity of the crime

    (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the enormity of the task

    2a grave crime or sin: the enormities of war

    Enormity traditionally means ‘the extreme scale or seriousness of something bad or morally wrong’, as in residents of the town were struggling to deal with the enormity of the crime. Today, however, a more neutral sense as a synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing that enormity in its original sense meant ‘a crime’ and should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a negative moral judgement is implied. Nevertheless, the sense is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or achievement.

    link to oxforddictionaries.com

  17. Inanna
    May 11, 2013, 11:55 pm

    link to youtube.com

    Fairouz singing Al-Quds Zahrat al Mada’in – Jerusalem, Flower of Cities.

    Until liberation and return.

  18. Djinn
    May 13, 2013, 1:05 am

    Living somewhere during your gap year does not stop you being an outsider Marissa and whether you like it or not YOUR freedom to pray in Jerusalem (which existed pre-1948 BTW) as an American citizen comes at the expense of millions of Palestinians who no longer have that freedom. That you are blind to this is expected but I’m puzzled by the inclusion here at MW. Lots of settlers will tell you that they’re just happy to be able to live and pray in Hebron, its not exactly the full story is it?

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