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History and utopia

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On December 21, 2012 @ 8:22 am In Jewish isolation | 2 Comments

To talk about values is the toughest part. Proving theorems is straightforward, but how could you prove that two parallel lines do not cross in infinity? The opposite view is just as good. Try talking about suicidal Israeli politics with a worshiper of ethnic-blind democracy. Everything is fine for him: odd Jews become like other people and embrace Arabs. Assimilators do not consider what it means to be like others.

Other people have their countries, distinctive secular cultures, and nationalist heroes. Jews have always lacked that. The normality of a nation is measured by it having a country and a culture. Jews normalize by shedding our distinctive features and adopting those of other nations. That is not normalization, but assimilation. Jews do not behave like a normal nation which strives to preserve its distinctiveness. The United States or France assimilate their aliens and integrate them into the existing cultural core. The Torah prescribes likewise: pagan residents of the Jewish state had to adhere to minimal Judaic rules. Modern Israel, uniquely and abnormally, accepts culturally different and exceptionally hostile Arab aliens. They are allowed to remain distinctive, and they breed to outnumber the Jews.

If Arabs become the largest faction in the Knesset, Israel will no longer be a Jewish country. Unlike other nations, Jews would lack a country of their own. Utopiansts might imagine that the Israeli Arab majority would be nice and tolerant toward the Jews. That would not make Israel a country any more Jewish than the US, whose people are also generally nice and tolerant toward the Jews. Native American Indians are nice and tolerant toward European Americans. That does not make the US an Indian state.

Self-proclaimed Jewish leaders shy away from identifying Jews with the Torah. They want to represent modern people like any others, not the odd religious crowd. Thus the Newspeak about Jewish culture. Jews have no culture besides Judaism. Germans annihilated the sad and funny culture of the Eastern European ghettos. Israel is grinds the Sephardi culture out of existence, and the new generation of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries is fully Westernized. Ancient Jewish poetry is beautiful, but outdated. Italians have scores of famous painters; the French are famous for their food; the Russians are admired for their literature. Jews lack cultural achievements of that magnitude.

For similarities with the Jews, we turn to the Americans. They, too, have a solid record in many sectors of culture, but America is more recognized for being the beacon of liberty than for anything else. They are the people who broke away from the old societies, and consciously designed a new and better one. The American nation is imbued with the idea of service to humanity.

Ancient Jews isolated themselves from the barbaric pagan environment. Pagan rites were redefined to create a religion centered on the sanctity of life. Abstract religion soared above the superstitious anthropomorphic beliefs. Simple, yet powerful Jewish ethics contrasted with the selfish lawlessness of other peoples. I don’t think the Bronze Age people invented that, but it wouldn’t matter a bit if the atheists were proven right. People kill and die for human teachings; the followers of Marx exhibited more than religious zeal.

We keep our parents’ memorabilia. How much more logical is it to keep the ultimate memorabilia of the generations of our parents? We value the military memorabilia more than the peacetime; danger and suffering impart special value to things. Should we not value extremely highly the things our ancestors went up on stakes to preserve? Their stubbornness of belief in face of the pogrom mobs, the persecution they withstood for millennia, and the perseverance with which they clung to the Torah in the extremes of poverty and danger would have made a wrong teaching right. In an uninterrupted chain, through wars, devastations, famines, and persecutions, our ancestors kept the light of the Torah for three thousand years. Now it is our turn to keep the light and pass it on to our children. That is not a matter of religiosity, but basic human decency, the only respect we could show to the parents of our parents who went up in flames on stakes and in cremation ovens, who were exterminated in every generation for being Jewish. When the entire world kills Jews, it is a matter of stubbornness to remain Jewish. We will be.

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