Original Sinner

‘Owlminerva’ has some newly polished thoughts on Israel. Read on:

If I was the mother of the world, and countries were my children, Israel would be my problem child. The child that was born out of pain and persecution, its birth itself an act of sin as it had to kill in order to make room for its place in the world. The child that had lost its faith in people before it had a chance to grow up.

Other than the obscenely patronizing (matronizing?) “I only want what’s best for my delinquent child” rhetoric, this is a prime example of a certain brand of “accepted wisdom” about Israel. Let us call this the original sin doctrine. It might be pointed out that it has its antecedents in Christian theology, giving this highfalutin’ rhetoric the Carter-like flourish of a clarion call for peace in the Holy Land.

Let us suppose someone who knew nothing about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians (and the rest of what we call the Arab Muslim world) were to read Owl’s reflection. They would have no idea that the Jews actually came from Israel in the first place, returning there after two millennia only because they were slaughtered wholesale in Europe and thrown out of the Middle East, where they had lived since before both Christianity and Islam were founded. That both religions claimed to outdo the Jews at their own game–purporting to have “understood” Judaism better than them–pitting themselves against the Jews in a cosmic battle that knows no end to this day should go without saying.

One Jewish state is still too much for some people. Still, how does one atone for “original sin?” One can’t help but read into this eschatological language that the real “sin” to be atoned for is that of being Jewish. Wasn’t America born of some analogous sinning, too? The land where Owl’s New York City apartment was built once belonged to a Native American of some tribe or other, but I doubt she atones for her well-being at the expense of another’s happiness. Yet Israelis–apparently the whole nation of them–were born in sin, out of a violent, cataclysmic womb that dirtied them forever with the mark of–let’s just say it–Cain. None of them are safe from this damning accusation: not even, apparently, her beloved Uri Avneri. Right, left, center, all are guilty of the overarching guilt of being Israeli.What is a sane person to make of this? This is no longer a cry for social justice in an imperfect democracy, a la Isaiah. This is a call for conversion, a la St. Augustine. Or, better yet, Golden-Mouthed John.

Cut to the chase:

How can I teach my child all these things when my child is raging in anger and won’t listen?  How can I teach my child before it is too late, and my child has destroyed himself in its attempts to destroy the other?

This is, in essence, the Gospel of Owlminerva. Even she has a right to her opinions.  Now go be good little citizens and do your homework.

But, if the brutality with which Israel is charged was indeed inherent to the project that led to its creation – as the notion of original sin suggests – how can it possibly be made good? That European Jews should wash their hands of the Jewish state goes without saying. But what is required of Israel itself? For this there is an answer as well. Both logically and, as it were, theologically, the only remedy lies in the political equivalent of conversion.

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About Marc Alan Di Martino

I'm a skeptical poet, blogger, columnist, occasional cartoonist, atheist, kvetcher and all-around lovable mensch - in precisely that order. I live in Italy, a country in serious need of skeptics and secularists who will challenge the status quo. Kind of like the United States and most places on earth.
This entry was posted in Israel and the Middle East, Judaism, Media Watch, Religious Faith, Shoah and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Original Sinner

  1. Nicely done, Marc :)

    I think Owl has clearly never, ever picked up a history book in her life. She doesn’t seem to know the basic *facts*, for one thing. Is Israel is the ‘problem child’ then what the hell are the SIX ARAB nations that ATTACKED HER SIMULTANEOUSLY in 1948?

    And what the numerous MUSLIM states where Hitler’s ‘mein kampf’ is a best seller? Where the rhetoric from Imams, day and night, is that of hatred towards all Jews and Christians?

    OWL doesn’t even seem to realise that, PRE the modern state of Israel, both the Arab and Muslim worlds SUPPORTED HITLER’s almost successful genocide AGAINST THE JEWS.

    Since OWL can’t blame Israel for that, I wonder how she spins THAT historical, verifiable fact to herself…

    The mind boggles, frankly.

  2. Marc – many thanks for allowing me to use one of your posts that I especially liked. It’s on my blog now, with of course another link back here to your site :)

    As OWL keeps banging on about how ‘badly’ Israeli Arabs are treated, I thought she might find this of interest:

    Israeli Arabs Muslims, often First class citizens above Jews – preferential treatment for Arabs over Jews
    By freedemocracy
    Israeli Arabs Muslims, often First class citizens above Jews – preferential treatment for Arabs over Jews

    Introduction: Critics point out to the reversed unevenness, some have summed it up in one phrase: “If Arabs Can Live in Jewish Neighborhoods, Why Can’t Jews Live in Arab Neighborhoods?” [1], In fact, many have raised the issue of Arabs not only being equal citizens as Jews in Israel, but often as first class citizens, Arabs, Muslims first class citizens in Israel whereas Israeli Jews are second class citizens [2] [3]

    Land issues: an example: Israeli Police evict Jews from Jewish-owned Hebron home as applauding Palestinian Arabs looked on [4], there are complaints of Jews who proclaim that they are sick and tired of being second-class citizens, while all Arabs in Judea and Samaria are treated like first-class citizens. [5], in another case An Israeli Supreme Court ruling did not deny that the land was Jewish-owned, but ordered the Jews to be moved out. [6] In another case, a lawyer for Y. Herskovitz, owner of property in Jerusalem, said his client will sue Jerusalem police for failing to execute court orders to evict Arab squatters from his property. [7]

    In court (broader issues), the Israelis routinely decide in favor of the Palestinians against their own government, applauded by U.S. Justice Brennan,[8] preferential treatments to Israeli Arabs, Palestinian-Arabs include steps on the expense of security, such as the ‘Democracy in action’ [9], Israel’s Supreme Court took up the grievances of Palestinians and required the government to move the fence in the area near Jerusalem to make things easier for the Palestinians [10] Even the NYTimes acknowledges that at least [11] periodically, Israeli courts rule in favor of Palestinians (instead of security/government officials).

    Voting: the Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights despite not being required to serve in Israel’s army . [12] and decry: Israel is the only country in the world that endows a community of its citizens with full voting rights on both local and national levels without also requiring them to serve in the army, adding that Israeli Arabs even refuse the alternative National Service. They even refuse a national service in their own communities and exercise intimidation against members of their community that raise the subject. [13]

    Employment: Israel has enacted affirmative action policies to help its minority citizens achieve full social and economic equality. [14] [15], in an example: if an Arab candidate received the same number of points as the Jewish candidate, the Arab doctor was preferable, in keeping with the policy of affirmative action in government ministries. [16]

    In academia: a professor has written about Israel’s “affirmative action”, quotas and preferences for Arabs [17] Israeli universities… instituting programs that discriminate in favor of Arabs and against Jews [18] and that Israel already has a system in place whereby Jews are often treated as second-class citizens. [19]

    Checkpoints: From May 2009, All Israeli citizens – including Jews – must now show their ID cards at the large Tarkumiyeh checkpoint, at the same time, life is being made easier for Arabs in the region – despite the several murders that have been perpetrated by Arabs. The IDF explained that the decision was made to “reward” the Arabs for not rioting or attacking during the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza. [20]

    Media freedom: while the Arabs have unlimited freedom of broadcast [21] and the Hebrew radio stations like Kol Yisrael and Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) systematically broadcast from an Arab point of view, yet the Arutz Sheva radio station, often called “Free Israel Radio” (because it is the only independent news network in the Middle East) [22], has seen restricting steps from the Israeli government. [23] [24]

    Access to holy sites, often Israeli police closes the Temple Mount to non-Muslims Like: Temple Mount shut to non-Muslims on election eve – was closed to Jews today in response to Muslim threats of violence [25] and on more occasions. [26]

    http://freedemocracy.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/israeli-arabs-muslims-often-first-class-citizens-above-jews-preferential-treatment-for-arabs-over-jews/#comment-362

  3. Rachel says:

    I applaud you, Marc. OwlMinerva is obviously a useful idiot of the new left, and as such, one it’s easier for me to ignore than to debate. There’s no getting through to such people.

  4. owlminerva says:

    original sin? matronization (is that a bad thing?), this is all very funny although completely nonsensical. Also you still haven’t responded to any of my previous comments with regard to racist laws in Israel and what it is you really think about the moral practices of Israel. I asked you if you though that past atrocities justify current ones if you care to remember. Because that is what you seemed to suggest (at least admitting that Israel’s policies are racist and its past atrocious).

  5. owlminerva says:

    “both the Arab and Muslim worlds SUPPORTED HITLER’s almost successful genocide AGAINST THE JEWS.”

    Oh my god is this again about that evil jeruzalem nazi mufti that met with Eichman once in 37 upon which you base your conclusion that the whole arab world wanted to annihilate the jews together with the germans?

    Jew with a revistionist view has no bottom line to as low she will go to in her attempt of proving how her hatred of arabs is justified… Generalisations about 1 billion arabs based upon one meeting between evil personified and a resentful nazi mufti … Main kampf a bestseller! Sure throw that in too. Hell! they prefer it to the Koran!!! They read it to their little arab kids before going to sleep at night so that they all grow up to become perfect little suicide bombers…

    I suggest to revisionist jew with a view she reads a couple of real history books instead of the israeli founding myth propanda so widespread all over the internet. I suggest to jew with a view she starts communicating and opening herself up to arabs and make an attempt to see things from their perspective. I have a feeling that would help her a lot further than ganging up with marc the italian (or whatever) original sin theologian to combat the owl hehe. Fun as the latter is.

    Maybe revisionist jew with a view can start reading Shlomo Ben-ami’s (former foreign minister of Israel with a phd in history) latest book ‘Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy’ to get a little dosis of reality instead of mythology. Shlomo doesn’t seem to think that little innocent israel EVER was the victim not even in the 1948 war. In fact he thinks it was mostly israel that committed the atrocities. As far as I can see, he is honest about the history of Israel, though i don’t care too much for his justifying it because “this is how all nations are born”. I don’t care too much about that sort of cynicism but that is just my personal taste. Quote from shlomo’s book (about the late 40′s): “The reality on the ground was that of an Arab community in a state of terror facing a ruthless Israeli army whose path to victory was paved not only by its exploits against the regular Arab armies, but also by the intimidation and at times atrocities and massacres it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community. A panic-stricken Arab community was uprooted under the impact of massacres that would be carved into the Arabs’ monument of grief and hatred.”

    Shlomo also has no problem acknowledging all the dirt the new israeli historians in the last decade have dug up about the founding of Israel as facts. He does’t seem to have the need to condemn intellectuals, writers, historians etc that are critical as Jewish jew-haters….

    Why is Shlomo’s version so different from revisionist jew’s with a view version?
    But then again, who is shlomo? Probably a self hating jew himself. What does he know? Let’s just ignore that fact that he is a smart, honest man with integrity that also wants the best for Israel. Anybody that disagrees with jew with a view and italian marc alias the original sin theologian are complete idiots, arab lovers and anti-semites and cannot possible wish anything good for Israel. Anybody that refuses to lie in order to preserve the founding myths must believe all jews are pure evil….

  6. Rachel says:

    Marc,
    Aha! My point made for me! Did you write those responses from OM yourself? Dare to point out inconsistencies of thought and argument and get a screed that strings together non sequiturs from start to finish.

  7. Marc says:

    Rachel,

    Well, I and my friend Jew With a View have been trying to talk sense to her, but as you can see she is a tough nut. I can’t see it does much good to debate with such people. They read too much Chomsky and feel themselves to be the “conscience of humanity” or some such blather.
    With all her moral posturing she doesn’t realize her own sense of bigotry. She can’t fathom that five million Jews just might not rule the entire Middle East with an iron fist, let alone the world. Israel, for her, is the magic key to peace. Mafteach ha-shalom!

  8. sandra says:

    to Rachel (do I know you?) who called me ‘useful idiot from the left’, at least I am not a useless idiot such as yourself hehe
    with regards to the conscience of humanity, thank you marc, I have been accused of worse hehe. I guess when you have nothing left to argue about the only thing you can do is accuse the other of being good and wanting goodness for the rest of the world hehe.
    By the way, I am sure you will want to hear this, but there are further dark clouds on the horizon of israeli democracy. Not only are they playing around with the idea of prohibiting the commeration of Nabka, now they are thinking of putting folks in jail that have the nerve to suggest that maybe israel should become a binational democratic state. In jail! Because that would undermine the jewish democratic character of Israel (can you explain to me Marc why they don’t realize that being a ‘jewish democracy’ is sort of paradoxical? They don’t teach the basics of democracy in israeli schools?. They will debate it coming sunday in knesset. Let’s hope the enlightening voices will prevail. I did hear some dissent thank god, some kadima members asking if the creation of the thought police will be next…
    It’s a good thing I am around to keep you informed of such matters hehe.
    By the way I agree with you about the violence in Pakistan. The silence about it is deafening. Though it is kind of sad that you only mention it to demonstrate anti-semitism. Using dead children to prove your argument as if it is not terrible sad in and out of itself regardless of what is going on in Israel …
    By the way, I am still wondering what you think about all these racist laws and racist laws in development now? You never answered. I wonder what the Israelis themselves think of it….Aren’t they worried about these fascist tendencies?

    • Marc says:

      Yes, well, of course the obsessive condemnation of Israel for what others do with impunity has nothing at all to do with their being Jewish! Just good-hearted folks like yourself, Owl, fighting the good fight.

  9. sandra says:

    so I am an ‘anti-semite human rights activist’, that makes about as much sense as a ‘jewish democracy’. This of course has been your argument (which is not even an argument but a personal attack) from in the beginning, nothing new here. May I ask you what you are trying to achieve? Are you by any chance trying to shut me up by accusing me of being one of things a human being can be? Has this strategy worked so far? Do you think it will work in the future? It is also not very original, as anybody gets called an anti-semite when they focus their attention upon israel. Since this makes me part of a group that includes Bishop Tutu, Mandela, Carter, Obama, and other good souls, a lot among them Jewish themselves, I am not too worried … Anyway.

    Anyway this is getting very tedious. I ask questions, you respond with stupid accussations and idiotic interpretations fabricated out of thin air. Sofar you have not followed one argument to its conclusion and you have not addressed any of my questions. Tedioucy and a lack of seriousness might work better than accussing somebody of evil intentions….It doesn’t make for a good blog though.

    • Marc says:

      The only question worth a serious answer (which I gave immediately) was the one about Italian citizenship law. Despite your gloating (hehehe) you had embarrassingly misinterpreted a key point. I cleared this up for you in the nicest possible way. The end.

      The rest boils down to your obsessive attacks on the very idea of a Jewish democracy. If anyone tries to contextualize by explaining why there is a Jewish state and why Jews have the right to political sovereignty (as do, theoretically, the Palestinians), or pointing out that no Christian or Muslim majority state would allow its own general status quo to be overrun by limitless immigration (Israel has a far higher minority population than any European country I know of, and look at the tensions in England and France, and Holland). It is axiomatic that an eventual Palestinian state will be an Islamic one. If any Jews or Christians remain they will be dhimmi, as they are in every Muslim majority land. This poses no problem, of course, because we are talking about Israel.

      Which brings me to the accusation of anti-anti-Semitism, a useful coinage. I have been trying to point out that your reasoning on Israel is flawed because it is entirely divorced from the reality of life in the region (Middle East) and the history that brought it into being. You seem distressed that Israel isn’t the land of milk and honey, that the lion has not yet taken tea with the lamb. Perhaps for you this is the Holy Land, making your dependence on Jimmy Carter all the more understandable. I don’t know. Too often your arguments remind me of classic Jew-baiting: “Jews are stingy!” “So are the French.” “We’re talking about Jews!!”
      You are always talking about Israel. You never fail to remind me of this when I point out that Israel’s shortcomings are similar to those of many, if not most, countries. You, I have learned, are talking about Israel and only Israel. Your entire case rests on Israel as some kind of anomalous entity, a freak of nature, a carnival oddity. One person even commented that your attacks reminded him of “intelligent design” theorists. They use false logic and “wedges” in an attempt to bring down the theory of evolution. But what about this fossil? Hmmmmm? No?? Aha! Then God exists. I might be more tempted to liken your style to that of the Holocaust deniers, but I don’t want to ruffle your feathers. Anyway, you’ve got your wedge and you hammer away at it endlessly. “Jewish democracy? Hmm?? Ha!” You apparently feel the Israeli facade will come crashing down if you just work on that crack a little harder.

      No one ever asked you to read this blog, or to comment. If you find it so tedious, you are welcome to leave. If you feel you are being “silenced”, I remind you that I have never edited a single word out of one of your comments. Ad hominem attacks? Get real, Owl. You have a blog, use it.

  10. owlminerva says:

    You have not cleared up anything, Marc. The citizenship issue is still outstanding. I am repeating the fact that children born in Italy, from Italian parents, do not lose their citzenship or are not being refused to be recognized as Italians because they happen to have the wrong religion. This is what is happening in Israel. Anybody can move there when they are jewish, people that are born there that are arab, from arab parents, can’t return and live in the country that should automatically offer them citizenship. That is a racist practice.
    The problem between you and me is that you think all these things Israel has to do in order to remain jewish are justified. I disagree. Not because I think a country doesn’t have the right to remain homogeneous. That is each countries business. The problem is that there was an indigeneous population at the time Israel was founded. If I am not wrong there were 1.2 million arabs living on those lands, cultivating them, living there for generations etc. These people still up to this day live in terrible circumstances, as refugees, without rights etc. That is the problem. In Israel itself these palestinian arabs live of course much better compared to those living like animals in the occupied territories, but even they are being discriminated against with 20 or so laws that give preferential treatment to Jews, and a couple more coming up for debate (you still didn’t comment on those, though I asked you many times, I guess you don’t consider it a ‘serious issue’). The problem is that the zionist’s fantasy can only be acted out at the expense of the people that lived there before the jews started to arrive in the 1880 and so on. I agree that a way has to be found for the jews to live there as well, since they have ties to the land too, but I don’t see how that justifies robbing somebody from their land and houses, places where they lived for generations. The conflict has global ramifications as well, if you are born american, then you know very well how what is happening there affects american foreign policy. We have at the very moment AIPAC lobbying here for another middle eastern war! They agitated us already in 2 wars, we don’t need this.
    The problem is that ‘the land without people for a people without a land’ is a falsehood. There were people there. This was always the problem. It was the reason the Peel commission in ’37 couldn’t partition the land. There was simply no way of dividing it, too many arabs. Do you want me to look this up for you as well like I had to look up the racist marriage law (on which you also haven’t commented yet)?
    Israel has the right to exist of course, in fact its existence is essential not just because of its history but because of the fact that every people with a unique identity of its own has the right to have a place where they can thrive. Israel doesnt have the right however to abuse, disposses and rob another people. No country has this right. I indeed insist upon the fact that being jewish and being a democracy exlude each other, since a democracy offers equal rights for all people regardless of their religion or etnicity, while the jewish character can only be preserved through laws that are fundamentally undemocratic. Again we disagree. You think undemocratic laws are ok if they serve a higher purpose (which is keeping israel with a jewish majority), I think undemocratic laws are never justified and Israel will simply have to learn to treat everybody equal. I understand your position and the fears of having to live with arabs. But I don’t see what else can be done.
    I don’t even know what to say anymore to your continued labeling of me of obsessive and anti-semite and dependent upon Jimmy Carter (what the hell????). I am starting to think you are maybe projecting your own anti-semite judgements onto me. I have never said anything anti-semitical in my life and I don’t believe in anti-semitical stereotypes at all. I simply think there is something very wrong with the conduct of the state of Israel and how this conduct impacts its neighbors and eventually american foreign policy. It interests me. Now, you are writing a blog about these things that interest me, I read your blog, I respond, disagree, and then you call me obsessive? That is seriously below the belt, just like every other nonsense you have written about me. I know it’s a common tactic to attack the person instead of the argument, I find it a disgusting tactic. By the way did you hear about dershowitz accussing a holocaust survivor that lost all her family in the holocaust of being a capo? Talking about abusing the holocaust. The problem was that this woman’s son is finkelstein, so anything goes in order to smear him, even accussing a dead woman who survived the worst of being a capo… This is where you tactics will lead you too, marc if you keep this up. You don’t even have the intellectual honesty to admit that trying to shut me up through this sort of intimidation is exactly what you are trying to do. And no, thank you for the suggestion but I am not going to use my blog for the same sort of tactics. You are not that important. Anyway Marc. I guess we will have to leave it at this. We disagree and that is that. Having had this little interaction with you has affirmed everything I already believed about people that are fanatical nationalistic, namely that the end justifies the means, that you will use any tactics and say anything regardless how nonsensical it is in order to smear your opponent (the jimmy carter thing still has me perplexed), that you are willing to hit below the belt over and over again, and that there is no, absolutely no solution coming from you. You are stuck in the past, in a victim role that no longer suits you, and are blind for the suffering of another people. It is not a jewish thing actually, as I have met a huge amount of Jews who are of very different opinions. I still have not figured out what the difference is. But you are definately on the wrong side of the issue. And it is not because you are jewish or pro jewish or whatever it is you claim to be. Good bye.

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