Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Olivera has just called from Brisbane, she knows of topographies of failure as she knows of flight and the push of self re-invention.
I read also "The Classroom," by Simon Mawer, a story of modernity and hell, of bodies and glass houses, of Fascism and touch and always "The Journal of Helene Berr,"--
When I write the word Jew, I am not saying exactly what I mean, because for me that distinction does not exist; I do not feel different from other people, I will never think of myself as a member of a separate human group, and perhaps that is why I suffer so much, because I do not understand it at all. I suffer from the spectacle of human beastliness. I suffer from the sight of evil falling on humanity; but as I do not feel I belong to any particular racial, religious or human group (because such feelings always implies pride), all I have to keep me going are my inner debates and reactions, my conscience. I remember a remark Lefshetz made when we were at rue Claude-Bernard and his speeches in support of Zionism disgusted me: 'You have forgotten why you are being persecuted.' That's true.
But the Zionist ideal seems to narrow. Any exclusive grouping, whether Zionism or the hideous fanatical Germanism we are witnessing, or even chauvinism, always contains an excess of pride. I can't help it; I shall never be at ease in any such group." (December 1943)
Sunday, March 14, 2010
As you might have heard, I wrote these words in some despair, not only with the state of Israel, but with the resurgence of the Christian right in America to almost crazy national attention, the Texas school board decisions over text book contents, the Tea parties and draped American flags over the shoulders of scoundrels, the attacks on lawyers doing their job of defending unpopular clients, and on and on, and then in the Australian Jewish Democratic Society Newsletter, March 2010 (www.ajds.org.au), edited by my dear friend Israeli-Australian Sol Solbe, I find the words of Sarah Beninga, spoken at the Sheikh Jarrah rally. Beninga is one of the Israeli activists who organized the rally on March 6:
But there is also a New Right in town. A Right filled with envy and racism that seduces the masses with its jingoistic rhetoric. The New Right has no interest in the well-being and the welfare of human beings. The New Right is only interested in a narrow ethnic and tribal loyalty a la Avigdor Lieberman. For the New Right, only the Jewish poor deserve attention. And what makes someone Jewish is that they are not Arabs. The New Right has nothing to offer but never-ending war. The New Right has nothing to offer but hate for the other: Arabs, refugees and leftists.
This New Right creates the fanatic settlers against whom we are demonstrating tonight. These settlers hate Jerusalem. They have no love for Israel and no love for humankind--they love only themselves. There are many amongst the settlers with whom we can and should carry out a dialogue. But the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah who sing songs of praise to Baruch Goldstein--must be defeated.
The New Right created the mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat. He is a technocrat who doesn't understand or care about Jerusalem. He is a mayor who uses administrative terror against the residents of East Jerusalem and neglects the residents of West Jerusalem, while mouthing empty cliches. If Jerusalem is a powder keg, then Nir Barkat is the one who is striking the match. But Barkat doesn't scare us and neither of the settlers or Lieberman.
We will continue coming to Sheikh Jarrah and everywhere that justice is crushed by the forces of occupation and oppression. Take a look around you; we are not as few as we thought we were! And we will prevail!
Take a look around--away from the love fest for more killing at the Waldorf Astoria where so many parents poured their money into making sure their children will live in a more unsafe world--and let us find each other and take up the struggle.