Thursday, August 24, 2006

Answering Jameel.

Jameel snuck a post onto the blog during my absence and it's filled with mistakes. Not that I don't love Jameel with my whole heart, but here's the fisking he deserves.

Despite DovBear's assertion, one doesn't need to wear blue and white underwear, madly dance on Yom HaAtzmaut, or even hate Arabs to feel a passion for Eretz Yisrael.

My actual assertion was this: "I'm missing the intangible passion, the bit of madness that makes people want to rally and march and dance on Yom Haatzmaut. I put Jerusalem before my greatest joy, but not Israel." It said simply that I didn't feel passion in my own heart for Israel, the nation state. I said nothing about Eretz Yisreol, and the remark about blue and white underwear was a joke I used to describe myself. I did not, as Jameel implies, direct the comments about underwear and Arabs at anyone but me.

I doubt that Rav Yehuda HaLevi met any of the above criteria, but without doubt his yearning for Zion and his spiritual craving for Eretz Yisrael burned deeply in his soul when he wrote "My heart is in the East, yet I am in the end of the West."

And what would Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi had said about the nation of Israel which was created in 1948? Do you imagine he had the ability to see 900 years into the future and it was Ehud Olmert he longed for? Was he eagerly awaiting a day when most of the Jews in Israel spend Yom Kippur on the beach? Where the most tortured halachic reasoning is used to deny Arabs their homes and their humanity? Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi loved the idea of Eretz Yisroel; the state we have today is a pale reflection. For Zionists like Jameel that's enough. For the Haredim of Brooklyn and Lakewood, it isn't. Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, I bet, would have been similarly disapointed had he lived to see the creation of Israel.

It's interesting to see this symmetry in action over the past month – unquestionably, the fiercest and most dedicated fighters in the IDF emerged from two groups: the members of Kibbutzim and Moshavim, and those from the national-religious community.

Unquestionably? What sort of survey instrument did you use to reach this rock-solid conclusion? It sounds swell, and certainly supports your cherished belief, but where's the evidence?

Seemingly an odd combination after so many years of being told that "the secular have abandoned the country" – the secular, don't look for me in a shul, even on Yom Kippur, 'cause I'm eating my ham sandwich" kibbutznik, fought shoulder to shoulder in Lebanon with religious, kippa wearing, "don't throw anyone out of Gush Katif orange wrist banded" soldiers.

What about the Israelis who are neither entirely secular, nor entirley religious? Don't they exist? Weren't they in Lebanon, too? And again, if you are going to continue to insist that their fighting was neither fierce nor dedicated, I'm going to demand some evidence. It's not nice to belittle their sacrifice simply because it doesn't support your thesis.

The homeland of the Jewish people needed defending, and both groups volunteered, with their lives, to protect it.

Volunteered? Isn't Israeli military service compulsary?

Yet our quest to live in Israel, based on our faith, is no less valid a right than the existence of the United States through the principle of Manifest Destinty which founded the US

Please don't misuse historical terms on my blog. Manifest Destiny (per Wikipedia) was a phrase that expressed the belief that the United States had a mission to expand, spreading its form of democracy and freedom. The US was not "founded" on Manifest Destiny (the phrase belongs to the 19th century) and Manifest Destiny was not rooted in religion. It's hard to even argue that it was an expression of faith. Anyway, who says it was valid? It's easy to find historians who object to Manifest Destiny on the exact same grounds that XGH uses to object to Israeli expansion. Two wrongs don't make a right, Jameel.

Eretz Yisrael offers something else, a connection to our past and future which was missing in the US... blah... blah blah blah... blah.

Very good. You've explained why you feel passion for Israel. And because you're a good writer and I'm in possesion of a decent imagination I can emphasize with your reasons, and understand your point of view. But these reasons are still your reasons, not mine. And as an argument they aren't very convincing.

Trying to pursuade me to love Israel using this approach is a little like pursuading me to love your wife. I'm sure your reasons for loving her are perfectly valid, and I'm sure I can emphasize with them and appreciate them, but they aren't going to win me over. I'm not going to suddenly fall madly in love with your wife, and reading your reasons for loving Israel hasn't kindled the Zionist spark in my heart either. Perhaps I'm too rational or too much the contrarian, or prehaps there was some great failing in my early education. As a child, I suppose I was brainwashed to hate pork, but not to love Israel, and I fear its too late to change. Sorry

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