Another Tack: Land of our fathers

Trendy post-Zionists bristle with intolerance and abuse if fellow Jews dare mention we have dibs here.

November 2, 2006 14:02
4 minute read.


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If the Jewish people ever - Heaven forfend - lose their state, it would only be because they forgot that it was the Jewish state. It's no longer bon ton even among diehard members of the National Camp to stress the historic tie between Jews and the land in which they re-proclaimed their independence - the land in which that original independence first emerged. For any normal nation, that tie would be an ever-resounding theme. For us it's hackneyed and benighted. I once witnessed Romanian and Hungarian journalists facing off passionately on which of their respective ancestors initially appeared on which stretch of Transylvania. The assumption was that the earlier migrant deserves the title deed. Arabs spuriously stake precisely these claims, though even a dabbler in history knows they are latecomers. We, in extreme post-modernist conceit, put ourselves above such argumentation. Indeed trendy post-Zionists often buy into skewed Arab perceptions with undisguised relish. Nevertheless, they bristle with intolerance and abuse if fellow Jews dare mention we have dibs here, that our national character was forged here (as distinguished from all others - from any temporary sojourners and/or conquerors of this land) and that in modern times we made barren Eretz Yisrael the attractive national domicile it had become. Talking about Jewish rights is uncool, which perhaps is why most of us prefer pragmatic security-oriented parlance. Yet worthy and cogent though the latter may be, exclusive reliance on it implies that we only seek means to further entrench ourselves in usurped property. In contrast, Hamas chieftain Ismail Haniyeh recently vowed "never to relinquish the land of our fathers." His brazen sham should have sent us shouting to high heaven. Haniyeh's words were geared to taunt us and rub our noses in our own ideological decline. Ardent "land-of-our-fathers" terminology fuelled Zionist zeal, and was the bedrock of Jewish aspirations for two millennia, but nowadays "New Historians" disapprove of unenlightened emotional attachments by Jews. Hence while aggrieved "native" Haniyeh fights to regain the "legacy of his forebears," we carp about border arrangements. We seem like mediocre bureaucrats clutching as much as we can of our ill-gotten gains. The ironic tragedy of course is that this is our homeland. Since Golda Meir there hasn't been an Israeli leader with the intestinal fortitude to remind the world that "Palestine isn't any nation, but a Roman name specifically invented to humiliate defeated Jews." There's just as much substance to that degrading appellation as there is to the moniker the Romans coined for Jerusalem: Aelia Capitolina. Golda was the last one to stress that "the Arabs only learned the name from the British in 1918 and couldn't even pronounce it correctly at that, distorting it into Falastin." Every itinerant foreign Arab laborer drawn to this country by the Zionist endeavor up to 1946 was entitled to indigenous Palestinian refugee status by 1948, even if he resided here for less than two years! HAD OUR instincts not been dulled by post-modernist relativism and self-destructive revised narratives, our collective blood should have boiled at the suggestion that our government gave an obsequious green light for the Jordanian construction of a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount. Isn't it ignominious enough that Jews are barred from their Holiest of Holies? Under our aegis, the Mount's Solomon's Stables area was turned into yet another mosque. This illegal construction was accompanied by wanton and rampant devastation of unparalleled antiquities. The remains of our most sacred site were dumped as so much refuse down the slope. Israeli archeologists now sift through the debris in a desperate effort to salvage something from ruin wrought under supposed Jewish sovereignty. Is there no limit to dishonor? Perhaps not. Perhaps we deserve Dr. Hassan Khader's repeatedly rebroadcast lecture on official Palestinian TV asserting that "Jews have no historic connection" to the Western Wall or the Temple Mount, that the Wall is a Muslim shrine named after Muhammad's horse (al-Burak), that Jews treacherously contrived a spurious association to the Wall only as recently as Ottoman times. Khader additionally praised the "revolutions" launched by his compatriots to "defend" the Wall and Mount from "Jewish predations," including the infamous 1929 riots in which numerous Jews were butchered countrywide, and in the framework of which the bloody Hebron Massacre was perpetrated. People without pride have no memory and fail to realize that the glorification of past slaughter constitutes incitement to the next. By failing to uphold the justice of our case, we forfeit our future security - everywhere. On Rosh Hashana police beat up and detained a youth for blowing a shofar at the Wall, because Arab neighbors complained. Shades of the British Mandate. On Simhat Torah the hesder yeshiva in Acre was besieged by hostile Arabs and the traditional procession could not go forth. The yeshiva head was knocked to the ground, punched in the face and kicked as he lay on the pavement. Other Jewish worshipers were wounded. The police failed to arrest knife-wielding Israeli Arabs. The aim in Acre is unabashed - to rid at least parts of town of any Jewish presence. It's little better in Jaffa, where throughout Ramadan gangs of local Arab youths attacked synagogues, stoned them and beat Jews who dared venture out. Succot booths were burned and firecrackers tossed into synagogues during Simhat Torah. Our struggle for survival in this land doesn't merely hinge on border demarcation technicalities or on territorial concessions. Pernicious lack of conviction parading as pseudo-sophistication undercuts our hold in every nook, on either side of the Green Line within what we shy from affirming as the land of our fathers.

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