Fundamentalisms - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Joh R. Bell
    • 11.07.05 | 04:08 (IDT)

    I have absolutely no sympathy for fanaticisms or fundamentalisms whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish. I could have supported a Zionism that called for a homeland for European Jews in Europe. What else would have been an adequate response to the holocaust but how could the establishment of such a homeland in occupied territory in the Middle East be rationally defended? It could not so, of course, its defenders have to resort to irrational religious justifications or they must talk about the defence of western civilization-even if defending that civization should properly take place in Europe or North America not in Palestine. Did not Crusades by Christians teach Jews anything? Did not European colonizers teach Jews anything other than to emulate them? Now the predictable response to my comments-if I'm Jewish, I am self-hating, if I am not, I am an anti-semite. Even worse, I am a leftish and thus necessarily soft on bin Laden and his ilk. Not so on all counts. I accept that Israel has to continue to exist and must defend itself though it was a diastrous decision to locate a homeland for European Jews where it is. Why a disaster? Because of the perpetual state of war which could have been predicted if European Jews had not thought of Palestinian Arabs as less than human and because of what the defence of this state has done to large numbers of Jews world-wide. Too many Jews cannot face the truth anymore and have exchanged their social consciences for what I will call an Israel conscience. Many Jewish intellectuals of previous generations would have seen Bush's America for what it is. They would not have been so hypocritical as to deny that Israel itself was founded on acts of terror and they would not have been so dishonest as to deny that Israel's security forces, the government and the citizenry do not know perfectly well that they are going to kill, injure or render homeless innocent civilians everytime they use their vastly superior military technology. Too often this technology is used to shock ,awe, maim and kill when a more measured response is called for. Israel has the right to claim that they are morally superior to bin Laden's followers but the Israeli state's moral superiority to Palestinians who use violence agaist civilians is not so clear cut. Palestinians can atleast make a somewhat plausible claim that they are using the weapons and hitting the targets that are available to them. What is Israel's excuse for being more careless with Palestinian civilians' lives than they need be? Reading the letters written to and about Levy tells me a lot about the spiritual condition of the Jews (among others) who are writing. Despite the fact that many Jews in North America have rediscovered their faith in recent decades I see a vast outpouring not of love or tolerance but of disdain and even hatred against any Jew (especially secular Jews) who does not swallow this new right-wing ideology. Where once the tradition within many European and North American Jewish communities was more than tolerant of vigorous intellectual debate now increasingly to be a Jew means to lobotomize oneself to avoid being socially ostracized. If I were Gideon Levy reading several of these letters I would be afraid to walk the streets because I might be attacked by a fellow Jew, never mind a Palestinian. If this continues Muslim fanaticism and low-brow, intolerant Southern U.S. Christian fundamentlism will have a serious rival.

    from the article: A world path not followed
    First published 00:00 10.07.05 | Last updated 00:00 10.07.05
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