Sunday, June 22, 2008


Ami Isseroff writes about a recently published book about the findings of Jewish genetic research and its irrelevance to Zionism.

"There is no way to prove a political thesis from biological
science and no need to do so. Political theories and ideology must prove
themselves in the realm of politics, ideology and history. Zionism appears to
have done so, in a unique way that is not true of any other 19th century ideology except perhaps democratic liberalism.

Zionism proved itself in the way that is accepted for scientific
theories: by making and fulfilling a series of counter-intuitive and unlikely

Assimilation in Europe is not possible, despite

The Jews of Europe are about to suffer a catastrophe.

The Jews are a people and can organize themselves as a people and an nation.

It is possible to create a viable Jewish state.

All of the above seemed improbable a hundred and ten years ago, and were bitterly

Even today, anti-Zionists deny the evidence of their senses and insist that the
Jewish state must fall apart because of internal divisions and that the only
future for the Jews is in assimilation or in the most reactionary forms of religious practice. Whatever a nation must be, we are one, and we have proved it.

Judaism is not easily categorizable. Jews have always felt their Jewishness as a religion with the memory of a cherished and a longed for territory. But Jewishness is also an intense sense of historical belonging to a Jewish collective and mutual caring. So much so that even when Jews become atheists, they do not exile themselves from the collectivity of Jews, they don't stop being and feeling Jewish. Even Baruch Spinoza, who was as much of an atheist as could be expected at his time and place, never stopped being a Jew. He was excommunicated for openly defying the rules that regulate Jewish life, (heresy in Judaism is not about what you think in you mind, but how you behave outwardly) but he never converted, been baptised or renounced his own Jewishness. He was also one of the first to fully understand the deep and insuperable affinity that connected Jews to Israel.

Therefore, whether genetics can show blood kinship among the people who call themselves Jews and who live in Israel, a Jewish state, is simply an irrelevant factor and those who either spend their efforts in trying to prove that modern day Jews are not really descended from Abraham are, to all intents and purposes, racists. No other nation has ever been asked to prove any such thing in order to qualify for self-determination.


And related to the above, here Dr. Alexander Yakobson, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, tackles the highly topical question of the uniqueness of Zionism and Israel:

Some argue that these features of the Jewish-Israeli
national identity are inconsistent with modern civic democracy; many others
defend or even celebrate them, pointing to the uniqueness of Jewish history and
culture. The underlining premise of uniqueness itself is rarely questioned. In
fact, however, it appears that this case is far less unique in the modern
democratic world than is widely assumed. There are numerous other cases where
national identity and religion are officially connected in some way, and where
there are official bonds between a nation-state and an ethnocultural Diaspora.

--The first example is Greece (the Hellenic Republic)--

--Another European country in which a close link between religious and national identity has traditionally existed is Ireland. --

--In Norway, The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. --

--In post-Communist Poland, the real power and influence of the Catholic Church is greater than in any contemporary democracy --

-- Bulgaria contains a large Muslim Turkish-speaking minority. The constitution includes the usual provision on the equal rights of all citizens regardless of “race, nationality, ethnic self-identity, sex, origin, religion, education, opinion, political affiliation, personal or social status, or property status”. However, it also connects Bulgarian identity embodied by the State with both Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the language of the Bulgarian-speaking majority—--

--Tibetan peoplehood, culture, and society cannot be conceived of without the distinct Tibetan form of Buddhism (sometimes called Lamaism). This state of affairs is more akin to the way some Orthodox Jews would have [End Page 8] liked to see the Jewish people than to Israeli (or Diaspora Jewish) realities. --

--Italy: the Crucifix as a National Symbol in a Secular State --

(The entire article, here, on Engage)


At 3:06 PM EDT, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Jewishness... exactly the thing that creep Gilad Atzmon is fighting. Uhu... I see now.

At 3:16 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Atzmon is hardly an original. He joins a tradition of converts who not only decamped but also worked very hard to cause as much damage to their former people as they could.

I think I read someone somewhere speculating that Atzmon has converted, which would make him yet another Jewish stereotype... like Pablo Christiani:

"The failure in the Disputation did not, however, discourage Christiani. Provided through the agency of Raymond de Penyafort with letters of protection from King James I of Aragon, he went on missionary journeys, compelling the Jews everywhere to listen to his speeches and to answer his questions, either in their synagogues or wherever else he pleased. They were even required to defray the expenses of his mission. In spite of the protection granted him by the king, Christiani did not meet with the success he had expected; he therefore went to Pope Clement IV and denounced the Talmud, asserting that it contained passages derogatory to Jesus and Mary. The pope issued a bill (1264) to the Bishop of Tarragona, commanding him to submit all the copies of the Talmud to the examination of the Dominicans and Franciscans. A commission was then appointed by the king, Christiani being one of its members, to act as censors of the Talmud; and they obliterated all passages which seemed to them to be hostile to Christianity. In 1269 Christiani interceded with King Louis IX of France and obtained from him the enforcement of the canonical edict requiring Jews to wear badges."


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