I have not been in the mood for writing anything lately. But I have been reading some hitherto unknown (to me) stuff on the internet. So here are a few quotes that caught my attention:
From "National Journal"
"[Gertrude]Stein's seemingly paradoxical views about Hitler and fascism have never been a secret. As early as 1934, she told a reporter that Hitler should be awarded the Nobel peace prize. "I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace ... By suppressing Jews ... he was ending struggle in Germany" (New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934)."
"During the first decade of this century, Stein became enamored of Austrian-Jewish psychologist and philosopher Otto Weininger, whose major work, Geschlecht und Charakter ("Sex and Character"), had tremendous influence on European thinking. Following its first publication in 1903, the book was quickly translated into various languages, and went through 30 editions. Weininger contrasted the masculine "Being" of Aryanism and Christianity with the feminine "non-Being" of Judaism. Jesus was the only Jew to overcome Judaism, he argued. Zionism, in Weininger's view, is the negation of Judaism, because it seeks to ennoble what cannot be ennobled. Whereas Judaism stands for the world dispersion of Jews, Zionism strives for their ingathering."
"As to the pre-colonial period, the collective memory of Tunisian Jewry leaves no doubt. It is enough to cite a few narratives and tales relating to that period: it was a gloomy one. The Jewish communities lived in the shadow of history, under arbitrary rule and the fear of all-powerful monarchs whose decisions could not be rescinded or even questioned. It can be said that everybody was governed by these absolute rulers: the sultans, beys and deys. But the Jews were at the mercy not only of the monarch but also of the man in the street. My grandfather still wore the obligatory and discriminatory Jewish garb, and in his time every Jew might expect to be hit on the head by any Moslem whom he happened to pass. This pleasant ritual even had a name - the chtaka; and with it went a sacramental formula which I have forgotten. A French orientalist once replied to me at a meeting: "In Islamic lands the Christians were no better off!" This is true - so what? This is a double-edged argument: it signifies, in effect, that no member of a minority lived in peace and dignity in countries with an Arab majority! Yet there was a marked difference all the same: the Christians were, as a rule, foreigners and as such protected by their mother-countries. If a Barbary pirate or an emir wanted to enslave a missionary, he had to take into account the government of the missionary's land of origin - perhaps even the Vatican or the Order of the Knights of Malta. But no one came to the rescue of the Jews, because the Jews were natives and therefore victims of the will of "their" rulers. Never, I repeat, never - with the possible exception of two or three very specific intervals such as the Andalusian, and not even then - did the Jews in Arab lands live in other than a humiliated state, vulnerable and periodically mistreated and murdered, so that they should clearly remember their place"
This description of Muslim tolerance stands in stark contradiction to Slavoj Zizek's hyper-euphoric imaginings about which I commented here.A new look at Zionism from the perspective of universal rights / Ruth Gavison
"The Law of Return is a prime example. The law serves a number of crucial aims, including offering refuge for every Jew and strengthening the Jewish majority in Israel. Its most important task, however, is symbolic. After all, the right of Jews to settle in their land, and the belief that the Jewish state would offer Jews everywhere a place to call home, has always been the lifeblood of Zionism. Thus, when the Law of Return was enacted in 1950, there was a widespread sense that the right of any Jew to immigrate to Israel preceded the state itself; it was a right that the law could declare but not create. Perhaps this particular claim was a bit questionable: There is, in fact, no “natural right” of Jews to immigrate to Israel. Had a Palestinian state been established instead of a Jewish one, it is reasonable to assume that it would not have recognized the right of Jews to move there, nor is it likely that international law would have done so. But once the idea of a Jewish national home became internationally recognized and a Jewish state was established, Israel was fully justified in including the right of all Jews to immigrate there as one of the state’s core principles.