Young Jew seeks to prepares his community for heretical & inevitable– end of Jewish state

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments
Photo of Palestinians at a checkpoint beside the wall. H/t KR twitter feed, and Scott Roth

Some of the facts on the ground: Photo of Palestinian workers at a checkpoint beside the wall. H/t KR’s twitter feed, and Scott Roth

Here’s a wonderful piece by Jonathan P. Katz, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, at New Voices, called “Apocalypse Now: Preparing for the Potential End of Jewish Statehood.” Katz states that he comes from the heart of the Jewish community and is for two states and implies that he is a Zionist, but he is prepared to abandon all these attachments in the face of reality, and because he finds nationalism so objectionable.

Two excerpts. First, his great opening:

Attention: I am doing something that is heretical across much of the Jewish spectrum. Very heretical – for two-state JStreet-ers, for your right-wing grandma at synagogue Kiddush, and certainly for anyone remotely associated with StandWithUs and other organizations dedicated to apologetics for the Occupation.

I am preparing for the potential end of Israel as we know it. I am preparing for the potential end of Jewish statehood.

I do not mean “Exile 2.0” or some sort of apocalyptic genocidal nightmare. What I mean is the replacement of the current political system with something in which the region might be governed in a binational state, or some other form of government in which Jews are no longer the absolute majority (or hegemonic). Jews would stay, but would not rule alone.

Either way, this is not a popular preparation. And it might be a bit surprising to some that I would do this – as someone involved in religious Jewish life on campus, someone with many close relatives in Israel, and someone who speaks Hebrew quite fluently and reads Ha’aretz every day. (Though I would argue that I am not so unusual given the normal readership of Ha’aretz.)

What propelled me to begin my preparations in the first place? Well, some of it is that favorite catchphrase of the right: “facts on the ground.” The settlements do not seem to be going anywhere…

And this is the ending. How he is preparing himself mentally for the eventuality:

I have also found that it is important to not fall into nationalist rhetoric and the realm of feelings it creates. In a Jewish universe where Yom Ha’atzmaut [commemorating Israeli independence] gains more synagogue funds than Shavuot, it is easy to fall into a fantasy of Israel as the pinnacle of Jewish achievement. But in order to prepare for a different paradigm, one must distance oneself from that feeling – lest the crash of reality be too disappointing. Thus, rather than simply leave things at “look at all the cool things Israel makes,” I have also started to remember to counter that with other forms of pride. Furthermore, I have started to avoid many nationalist events – I have attended exactly one thing for Yom Ha’atzmaut in the past eight years. (I consider Yom Yerushalayim to be terrifying.)

And so I’ve started the slow preparation for the case that Israel is no longer a Jewish state. Would I be completely prepared? Probably not – a restructuring of the political situation in the Holy Land, even in the “best case scenario,” would completely upturn the Jewish communal landscape and the way American Jewry perceives itself. It is not so easy to undo seventy years of one system. But starting the process of looking at a strange and different potential Jewish future is something that I think will help with the big change that may be down the line.

Who cares if it is heretical?

This syncs with my belief that the most disputed territory is between American Jews’ ears. The upturning of the Jewish communal landscape involves the fact that Israel was the world’s answer to the Jewish question in Europe, one of the great perplexing social questions of modernity, and guess what, it wasn’t the answer. Getting Jonathan Katz up to the microphone means that the Jewish state might end with a whimper not a bang; i.e, by preparing Jews for this eventuality, there will be a soft landing, and the outcome won’t be Algeria.

Update: Thanks to commenters for pointing out that I’d translated Independence Day as the commemoration of the Holocaust. Apologies.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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27 Responses

  1. hophmi
    June 27, 2014, 11:09 am

    This syncs with my belief that you are hopelessly naive and ahistorical in your analysis.

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2014, 8:56 pm

      @ hophmi
      What do you mean? This: “…there will be a soft landing, and the outcome won’t be Algeria.” ???

  2. ritzl
    June 27, 2014, 11:23 am

    Observing this evolving collective realization from the outside is like watching one of those Wayan brothers “Scary Movie” flix. Jeffrey Goldberg as the dumb blond, etc.

    It’s kind of humorous to watch everybody in the movie run around acting clownish and contrived when everyone watching knows how it ends.

    That’s not to say that this kid is part of the buffoonery. He’s not. He’s a chronicler. He’s talking in the theater. He’s trying to tell the actors how “Scary Movie” ends. Why don’t they listen?

    • wes
      June 28, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Ritzl says

      how “scary movie” ends

      how does it end ?
      when the war for control of oil in the middle east ends,is that the “scary movie” you refer to
      israel is the means to an end
      china and india are circling
      europe is awakening
      get into your car, turn the key,but it will not start

      …..how do you think it ends…….

  3. George Smith
    June 27, 2014, 11:35 am

    I don’t know whose parenthetical definition of Yom Ha’atzmaut was in Katz’s narrative, but it’s certainly wrong. Yom Ha’atzmaut doesn’t commemorate the Shoah. It’s what we know in English as Independence Day, celebrating the declaration of the Israeli state in 1948. Not that that declaration is something to celebrate. Palestinians COMMEMORATE the same event as Youm an-Nakba (Day of the Catastrophe), which ironically translates to Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. And truly, as Katz and so many Jewish followers of this website have come to realize, it has turned out to be a shoah for Jews as well as for Zionism’s Palestinian victims.

    • Philip Weiss
      June 27, 2014, 12:32 pm

      my mistake, will correct, thank you

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2014, 8:58 pm

        What’s happening here? Israel’s independence day is also Nakba day. Solution?

        Without the Shoah, the responsible goy world would never have legitimized Israel. Turns out they were not really very responsible. Now we have to pick up the pieces. The USA is the major malfunction here.

  4. Stephen Shenfield
    June 27, 2014, 11:36 am

    Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israel Independence Day. It does not commemorate the Holocaust. (Sorry to pick nits.)

  5. seafoid
    June 27, 2014, 11:46 am

    Katz is a truth teller. Very dangerous for the IDF herders.

  6. FreddyV
    June 27, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I’ve discussed this ‘soft landing’ situation with Zionists and you can physically see the wind being knocked out of them. It goes something like this:

    “Yes, you can still have Jerusalem as your capital, you can still be Jewish, all your Biblical interpretations remain intact. All you need to do is share the land equally and for that no one will want to kill you. Don’t worry, freedom of religion can be constitutionally protected. All you need to do is have a constitution.”

    They don’t have anything to counter it with.

    • MHughes976
      June 27, 2014, 3:50 pm

      Well, I would think that the Biblical interpretations that are generally accepted by Zionists would not be quite intact in the event of ‘equal sharing’, would be in need of a bit of reconstruction.

      • FreddyV
        June 28, 2014, 5:42 am

        MHughes: point taken, but whilst we all know Zionists want it all, they can’t betray their aspriations to their opponents. Like Netanyahu constantly exclaims that Israel wants peace, he’s never willing to deal with the things that will bring peace, which is either retreating to the 1967 borders or allowing equal rights.

      • Yitzgood
        June 29, 2014, 1:19 am

        Like Netanyahu constantly exclaims that Israel wants peace, he’s never willing to deal with the things that will bring peace, which is either retreating to the 1967 borders or allowing equal rights.

        “Retreating to the 1967 borders . . . will bring peace”? The Mondoweiss online community doesn’t believe that as far as I can tell.

    • bilal a
      June 28, 2014, 8:58 am

      No, you don’t have to share land equally. land is distributed by the market.

      Once Jews are legally protected in land purchase titles in a one state, the Arabs will sell it willingly and enthusiastically, as they did prior to Israeli independence. Billions will pour in from abroad to aid in the purchases.

      They will move to other adjacent states with their cash sales. Those left will be homeless and landless, wage slaves, guest workers in their own country.

      Much like for most of America.

      Multicultural free trade equal opportunity means You open your markets to those with capital and/or access to preferential financing. It has nothing to say about the outcome.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    June 27, 2014, 3:39 pm

    RE: “In a Jewish universe where Yom Ha’atzmaut [commemorating Israeli independence] gains more synagogue funds than Shavuot, it is easy to fall into a fantasy of Israel as the pinnacle of Jewish achievement.” ~ Jonathan P. Katz

    MY COMMENT: It pains me to suggest that this fantasy is not really so different from the “white supremacy” fantasy advocated (at one time, at least, if not currently) by the likes of David Duke.
    In point of fact, The combination of Islamophobia and sixty plus years of Israeli “Iron Wall” militarism has made Likudnik Israel and right-wing Jews quite popular with many right-wing groups that were once considered anti-Semitic. Israeli flags are now showing up at demonstrations by far-right (white supremacist) groups like the English Defence League (EDL) and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (political party) in Greece.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 27, 2014, 5:08 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “What are Israeli flags and Jewish activists doing at demonstrations sponsored by the English Defence League?” ~ By Shaul Adar, haaretz.com, Aug. 13, 2010
      Call it a struggle against a common foe: Islam. Or a journey into the heart of darkness. Or perhaps further proof that Europe is starting to lose its mind again

      [EXCERPTS] LONDON – In March 2009 a unit of British soldiers returned from a stint in Iraq and, as usual, were welcomed with a parade and reception at home – in this case in Luton, not far from London. Standing out in the crowd of civilians cheering the troops was a group of counter-demonstrators, a few dozen long-bearded Muslims who shouted slogans against the British forces and carried posters bearing messages such as “The butchers from Basra.” Many in Luton were outraged, and within a few days a group organized and eventually developed into the English Defence League.
      Indeed, what began as an emotional reaction turned into a popular movement which, according to the British media, is growing rapidly and now numbers thousands of supporters; it’s hard core is located in Luton. The organization calls for taking action against the “Islamization of Britain” and Muslim fundamentalists. British media reports suggest that the league is a magnet for extremist right-wing activists and for unruly soccer fans. In late May the organization gained an important addition in the form of what it calls the “Jewish division.” According to one member, “hundreds of Jews” joined its ranks, including “young people who are dying to do something.” In the streets of England, Jews can now be seen demonstrating together with people they would have shunned in the past. . .

      . . . Along with its activity vis-a-vis the Muslim minority in Britain, the EDL takes a special interest in the Middle East and the Israeli-Arab conflict.Lake puts forward several rhetorical questions, such as whether there was any point in the Oslo process, because he says “those Norwegians” can’t be trusted. What’s the point of international decisions, Lake [an EDL member who is not Jewish] asks: The UN also voted for the partition of Palestine, but the Arabs then started the war.

      “I don’t understand why the Israeli flag doesn’t fly over Al-Aqsa [Mosque in Jerusalem],” Moore [an Israeli now living in London who is a member of the EDL’s Jewish division] remarks. “That mosque is on our land.”

      Maybe because that could lead to war?

      Moore: “Why should it lead to war? It’s my land. Get out of my country. It’s the Temple Mount. They destroy whatever is there and build a mosque in its place. Look what happened in Gush Katif [the Israeli settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip]: It was blossoming, with exports worth millions. Israel left the bloc and left the Palestinians everything, gave them the businesses and the homes. And what did they do? They went in and demolished everything, smashed everything, destroyed every house. There are geniuses in Israel, in the Technion, in the Negev. They grow everything in the Negev, in the desert sand. How much land do the Arabs have? But they don’t do anything with it.”

      Lake: “I don’t understand why Gaza was given to the Arabs. I would have said that it’s my land and that’s that. I don’t understand why there are any Muslims in Israel at all. After all, they want to destroy you. Why do you have Muslim members of parliament? You know, there are no Jewish members of parliament in any Muslim country.”

      What do you think should be done with the Arabs who live in Israel?

      “Your problem is that you are trying to be broadminded and tolerant, but that will not produce any solution. It would be better already for you to kick them all out and build a Jewish society.”

      “I would put them on buses,” Moore adds, “and let them choose [anywhere] from Pakistan to Morocco. They have enough places to go to. And if you want to stay, you are under our law.”

      “I don’t understand why after two wars, you [Israelis] are so nice to them,” Lake says. “I suppose your answer is that there is no choice because this is the nature of democracy and you cannot perpetrate genocide or a mass [population] transfer. But Israel is not my problem. Britain is my problem and we are too soft, we have to change so that we can stand up to Islam.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/what-are-israeli-flags-and-jewish-activists-doing-at-demonstrations-sponsored-by-the-english-defence-league-1.307803

      • DICKERSON3870
        June 27, 2014, 5:37 pm

        P.P.S. RE: What are Israeli flags and Jewish activists doing at demonstrations sponsored by the English Defence League? Call it a struggle against a common foe: Islam. Or a journey into the heart of darkness. Or perhaps further proof that Europe is starting to lose its mind again.~ from above

        MY ELABORATION: It’s not just Europe that’s losing its mind. Not by a long shot! ! !
        Hey! Hey there! Yoo-hoo! Is anyone listening to Phil, Adam, Jonathan P. Katz, et.al.?

        SEE: “Notes on Nationalism”, by George Orwell, 1945

        [EXCERPTS] . . . All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . .

        . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind. . .

        SOURCE (“Notes on Nationalism”, by George Orwell, 1945) – http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

      • traintosiberia
        June 27, 2014, 9:38 pm

        There are many interesting conclusions that could be drawn
        from this event
        1 English ( local white ) can demonstrate against war . That activity will be portrayed as expression of democracy lacking in Muslim countries. But a Muslim can’t oppose war within the west.
        2 The claims of Gaza turning into dust bowl and economic ruin after Israel withdrawal is to remind how great that land was under Israel. But the forgotten pieces – that the majority of the population did not benefit prior to Israeli withdrawal and the housing business,infrastructures were destroyed by the departing Jews in addition to the continued blockade in the name of the fighting Hamas – are conveniently blotted out .
        3 – The tendency to team up with the worst racist is not new to the Zionism movement . The aims have always justified the means for the Zionist. Denouncing David Duke may be preoccupation for the indoctrinated Zionist but they would not see the sheer hypocrisy in aligning with thousands David Duke if that suited their immediate needs.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    June 27, 2014, 3:51 pm

    RE: “The upturning of the Jewish communal landscape involves the fact that Israel was the world’s answer to the Jewish question in Europe, one of the great perplexing social questions of modernity, and guess what, it wasn’t the answer. Getting Jonathan Katz up to the microphone means that the Jewish state might end with a whimper not a bang; i.e, by preparing Jews for this eventuality, there will be a soft landing, and the outcome won’t be Algeria.” ~ Weiss

    W.B. YEATS (“The Second Coming”, 1919):

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 27, 2014, 5:23 pm

      P.S. SOURCE FOR “The Second Coming”, WITH A FEW EXPLANATORY NOTES – http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 27, 2014, 5:29 pm

      RE: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”
      ~ W.B. YEATS ( from “The Second Coming” above)

      CHARLES DARWIN: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge…” – from the Introduction to Darwin’s The Descent Of Man, first published in 1871

  9. MRW
    June 27, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Wise.

  10. Keith
    June 27, 2014, 7:21 pm

    “…a restructuring of the political situation in the Holy Land, even in the “best case scenario,” would completely upturn the Jewish communal landscape and the way American Jewry perceives itself.” (Jonathan Katz)

    Interesting. About two weeks ago, Mondoweiss had an article concerning Jewish leaders and anti-Zionist Jews in which Elana Kahn-Oren appeared (to me at least) to be imagining some form of post-Israel Zionism in which the Jewish state would no longer be the core unifier of Jewish tribalism. It appears to me that Jonathan Katz is thinking along similar lines. Zionism came into being in response to modernity and the fragmenting of Judaism. And while Zionism has been surprisingly successful in achieving its goals, it’s serious contradictions make its future problematic. It would seem that at least some of the Jewish leadership and future leadership with a strong sense of Jewish community are seeking an alternative to Zionism and a Jewish state as a means of perpetuating Jewish tribal cohesion. Post-Zionist Zionism?

  11. Ellen
    June 28, 2014, 6:47 am

    Any State completely dependent upon it’s self understanding as the persecuted, ongoing conflict with the world, and at the same time never ending financial dependency upon the “outside,” is simply unsustainable.

    Israel does not have the leadership to turn this around. Without fundamental change (unlikely) Israel as we know it simply cannot survive.

    In this respect — it’s un sustainability– it is no different from most all modern States of the Middle East.

  12. eljay
    June 28, 2014, 7:40 am

    Mr. Katz’s reluctant, analytical awakening is better than no awakening at all, but he sure ain’t no Tzvia Thier.

  13. wes
    June 28, 2014, 6:25 pm

    Mr katz

    do not apologise for confusing the two.the experts on this site will quickly point you in the right direction.by the way, why not read this story for some background

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_Tears

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