Honestly, even if Netanyahu and his coalition weren't flaming racists, I wouldn't expect the Joint List to either be considered to join the coalition, or to have any interest in joining it. A right wing government would never be expected to include a truly progressive party. Now, if Herzog had won more seats, and had he been in a theoretical position to form a so-called "center left" government, the failure of the press and of Herzog and his other potential partners to consider them would be a different story. Personally, I am hoping that somehow Netanyahu and Herzog form a "unity" government. The idea of the Joint List being the official opposition, with all the perks that are involved, is quite delicious! As it is, they are already making people take notice of the plight of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
"Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism."
Back in the '80's I saw a political cartoon, I forget by which cartoonist. It portrayed Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Reagan's UN ambassador, who had recently defended US support of "authoritarian" (right wing) regimes as opposed to "totalitarian" (Communist) ones. The totalitarian systems, the cartoon Kirpatrick says, murder, torture and imprison. Authoritarian systems, on the other hand, leave many of these functions to the private sector." We need an updated version of this cartoon for David Landau: "In a racist system, individuals occupy, persecute and discriminate. In an apartheid one, many of these functions are left to the government."
Thanks, Marc, for this wonderful testimonial. I have never heard any of Rabbi Rosen's sermons personally, but from reading the holiday sermons that he has posted on his blog over the years, it seems that he has been able to manage to walk a fine line by weaving in progressive Jewish values without any overt political references. And he makes it abundantly clear on his blog that the views expressed are his own. So it is ironic that people should feel that he has crossed any lines between his personal and official roles. As I emailed him the other day, I have held him up as an example in my own synagogue, where our Rabbi has offended a lot of people by the way he has blurred those lines. It is also ironic that when a Rabbi preaches the right wing line from the pulpit, there never seems to be a consequence. A year or so I attended a Bar Mitzvah in a synagogue where the Rabbi, from the pulpit, explicitly defended Israel's right to all of what he considered the "land of Israel", told us the God gave us the land, and should we magnanimously decide to give some small portion of it to the anyone else, that is totally our decision and nobody can tell us otherwise. That certainly offended me, but whatever I said to some of his congregants afterwards, it not only fell on deaf ears, it was made clear that nobody felt there was anything inappropriate in what he said.
Back in 1969, in the wake of a contentious, racially charged teachers strike in NY City, a white, Italian-American chorus teacher staged a mostly African-American production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at a middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This teacher had to contend with opposition both from the local community and from the mostly Jewish teachers and administration in the school. Ultimately, much of the school community, and many of the students and parents, recognized that "Fiddler" speaks to the shared experience of all people who have been oppressed.
I am continually struck by the sad and painful irony of the oppressed people of Anatevka turning into the oppressors of the Nakba. The parallels of expulsions, violence and demolitions foisted on an innocent population are so close that one can perhaps envision a (slightly edited) Palestinian version of "Fiddler on the Roof" speaking to the shared experience of Palestinians and Jews. "Black Fiddler" (as the teacher, Richard Piro's, book about the experience was entitled), probably touched not many more than the few people who saw it (though it did warrant a "60 minutes" spot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF43E3JvfZM, and a longer documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEt-TVCRdDc). Would a "Palestinian Fiddler" reach at least some people of conscience with the shock of recognition of our common history of catastrophe, and jolt at least some of the oppressors into seeing themselves as the oppressed?