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Author Topic: Baghdad Jews hope for Saddam's Return
al-Qa'bong
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posted 19 October 2003 05:47 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just another shade of grey. Maybe the attitudes of a few little people don't add up to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but they're worth noting regardless.

quote:
Strangely enough, the Jews of Baghdad benefited a great deal from former President Saddam Hussein.

He paid for the restoration of the Meir Tweg synagogue, the only standing place of worship in the whole of the country. It has not been used since the invasion and the collapse of public security.

Nidhal also told me that it was Saddam Hussein's Jewish neighbours in Tikrit who had persuaded the former president's mother not to have an abortion.

Women want Saddam

Nevertheless, it was still a surprise when Baghdad's youngest Jew blurted out: "I wish Saddam could return."


Cliquez


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Whazzup?
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posted 20 October 2003 04:59 PM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What a deeply stupid article.

Crocodile tears over the 20 Jews who remain in Baghdad; absolute silence over why 150,000 had left before. Anyone who writes that "the Jews of Baghdad benefited a great deal from former President Saddam Hussein" is a fool.

If you want a more nuanced portrait of Baghdad's Jews -- including quotes from Jews who don't happen to be surrounded by Muslim and Christian "friends" -- try Tim Judah's essay in Granta.


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 20 October 2003 05:22 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Whazzup?:
What a deeply stupid article.

Crocodile tears over the 20 Jews who remain in Baghdad; absolute silence over why 150,000 had left before. Anyone who writes that "the Jews of Baghdad benefited a great deal from former President Saddam Hussein" is a fool.

If you want a more nuanced portrait of Baghdad's Jews -- including quotes from Jews who don't happen to be surrounded by Muslim and Christian "friends" -- try Tim Judah's essay in Granta.


Which, of course, might lead us to the history books for a much more nuanced view of why, exactly, there was such a large Jewish population in Bagdhad for so long and how that community came to be deeply interwoven into social life in that city. Moreover, this might lead us to even more nuanced questions about 'why' they left, and how the standard 'Islam is antisemitic' argument doesn't cut it and that we need to look at the political consequences of Zionism and the war of 1948 for the Jews in Bagdhad. Also, we might be lead into the still more nuanced question of what a 'Jew' is, from a nationalist viewpoint. For the great majority of Bagdhad's Jews (and Jews in other Arab/Islamic places) they came to adopt the dress, language, customs, and social mores of the society around them - in effect, they are as culturally 'Arab' as many Arabs. A great amount of time and energy was spent by Zionists to create identity conflicts among Bagdhad's Jews in order to convince them of the 'Jewishness' of Zionism and uproot them from the society in which they had survived well for centuries and make aliyah.

This might lead us to trace their steps into Israel, and how these people came to be seen as 'Zionists' (which is defined with a lot of European overtones, in fact) for the purposes of Zionist colonisation/population growth and for the Arab governments that kicked some of them out in 1948, and how, in essence, the modern 'Zionist Jew' is a social construction like other modern nationalisms and not the ages-old phenomena that many Zionists would alledge.

Then we might see how these folks came to be assimilated (or not) into Israeli society though they still in many ways remain as 'Arab' as they were before. Anyone with eyes to see can observe this in Israel - not only in markers such as music and food, but in their familial and social groupings/practices. Not to mention the cultural and social rifts within 'Israeli' society on which right-wing grassroots and religious-based parties like SHAS build their populist platforms... This would lead us to some fascinating sociological details...

Well, you get the point...

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


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evenflow
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posted 20 October 2003 05:28 PM      Profile for evenflow        Edit/Delete Post
That was simply brilliant Courage. I tipeth my hat to thee
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April Follies
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posted 20 October 2003 05:30 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nicely nuanced, Courage.
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Courage
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posted 20 October 2003 05:55 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


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EarthShadow
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posted 20 October 2003 07:28 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Ah, no, Courage, we don't get the point, what is it?

Many German Jews were said to be more German than the Germans, something that really helped as they were "nuanced" into the boxcars and gas chambers.


quote:
Victoria's daughter, Rahel, a thirty-eight-year-old doctor who lived with her mother, told me, as we drove to find her elderly aunt, 'I blame my parents. They lost every chance to go.' Her colleagues at the surgery had put up a calendar on the wall to taunt her, with a slogan from Saddam: "Damn, damn the dirty Jews!".

Saddams "Foundation" paid blood money to the families of "martyrs" who murdered Israelis, excuse me , Zionists. How nuanced of him.

The "Zionist Jew" is a social construction? Says who? So the descendants of Jewish slaves returned eventually to settle in Israel, Ezekiel's exiles redeemed. Definitely not an ages old phenomenon.

You call it nuanced, I call it, at best, obfuscation.


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lagatta
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posted 20 October 2003 07:45 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
An aside - German Jews were and are just as German as any other German, and Iraqi Jews every bit as Iraqi as their Muslim or Christian compatriots. It is important not to buy into the language of racist and/or hypernationalist exclusionism.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 20 October 2003 07:47 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Many German Jews were said to be more German than the Germans, something that really helped as they were "nuanced" into the boxcars and gas chambers.

Must every argument in every situation by every Zionist be based on the holocaust?


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EarthShadow
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posted 20 October 2003 08:19 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
"By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept when he remembered Zion...."

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: EarthShadow ]


From: somewhere in a circle | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 20 October 2003 09:02 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is really starting to freak me out.
Could we plese get back to discussing the political implications of Zionism and leave the biblical stuff in the synagogue?

From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
EarthShadow
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posted 20 October 2003 09:06 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Do you mean can we all get back on the same page in the Hallelujah chorus?
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Mycroft_
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posted 20 October 2003 09:07 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Banish the non-believer!
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Blind_Patriot
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posted 20 October 2003 09:11 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
"By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept when he remembered Zion...."

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: EarthShadow ]


"By the walls of Jerusalem
Where he sat down
And there he wept when he remembered Palestine...."

From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
EarthShadow
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posted 20 October 2003 09:16 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Don't quit your day job.
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DrConway
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posted 20 October 2003 09:53 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Re: the first post.

Color me suitably boggled.

I'm not at all sure how the confluence of interests works here; surely the Iraqi Jewish groups knew that Saddam Hussein could be pretty damn capricious when he wanted to be.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
EarthShadow
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posted 20 October 2003 10:00 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Don't bogart that joint, my friend.
Catch the last plane out.
A hill of beans indeed.

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Blind_Patriot
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posted 20 October 2003 10:52 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
Don't quit your day job.
I won't, I'm a darn good Moonlighter. Earthshawdow, Why don't we ethnically cleanse all the Arabs from the Medaterrianian to the Euaphrates River, to make room for Historical Zion. Everybody will be happy. Zion re-establish and Terrorism eradicated. U Freak!

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lagatta
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posted 20 October 2003 11:15 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Prominent Montreal writer Naïm Kattan, originally a Jewish Baghdadi: http://www.ledevoir.com/2003/03/22/23781.html
http://www.litterature.org/ile32000.asp?numero=266
http://www.lavoixsepharade.com/publication/avril2003/articles/naimkattan.asp

From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 21 October 2003 05:56 AM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
[QB]Ah, no, Courage, we don't get the point, what is it?

It's quite true that you (singular) missed the point entirely. I did not intend anything that I wrote as a defense for antisemitic acts carried out by anyone.


quote:
Many German Jews were said to be more German than the Germans, something that really helped as they were "nuanced" into the boxcars and gas chambers.

This is actually getting closer to the kind of thing I was talking about, though in a way you surely didn't intend. Understanding the social and political mechanisms by which 'the Jew' is named and included (as in the case of Zionism) and/or excluded (as in antisemitism) is important to understanding both phenomena. Zionism has always been cheek-by-jowl with differing forms of antisemitism. My point, which you missed entirely, was to suggest that the picture of Iraqi 'antisemitism' (which you point to in several examples) is actually much more complex, involving a number of political actors and currents which ultimately lead to the exodus of Jews from Iraq; not the least of which being the actions of Zionists themselves to deliberately create conflict (or in some cases the perception of conflict) between Jews and Arabs and amongst Jews themselves. Moreover, the relationship of so-called antisemitic 'riots' in Iraq to British interests, and the overarching connection of Zionism to British Imperialism must also be examined to fully grasp what exactly went down.

To simply wave the hand, call (or simply implicate) everything and anything (as) 'antisemitism' -- and of course mean a different thing each time you use the word -- without closer examination not only obfuscates the close study of history, but ultimately does the fight against 'antisemitism' a disservice by obfuscating the details of how certain political sequences using 'the Jew' as a prime catagory evolved.


quote:
The "Zionist Jew" is a social construction? Says who? So the descendants of Jewish slaves returned eventually to settle in Israel, Ezekiel's exiles redeemed. Definitely not an ages old phenomenon.

Yes, it is. The notion of a nationalist 'return' to the soil of Israel is a modern construction not to be confused with the older, religious Messianism connected with the idea of a 'return' to a spiritual Jerusalem.

Otherwise, how to explain centuries of Diaspora without there once being a concerted effort on the part of Jews (the Ottoman Empire who controlled Palestine for some time were well-disposed toward them) to return there? Also, it is well documented that the initial reaction of many Jews to Zionism lukewarm at best. Largely, it was derided and scoffed at, sometimes on political and pragmatic grounds, and other times on theological ones. It took a lot of lobbying and convincing (and nation-building) to even convince a few Jews to make aliyah in the early part of the 20th century because they just weren't predisposed to the idea. Hardly the signs of a national community, singular and cohesive, primed and ready to retake their national territory after exile.

But hey, why believe me: please read the foundational work on Zionism of Theodore Herzl - he was quite clear from the beginning that he was not interested in a religious community following a Messianic dream, but about blood and soil nationalism carving out a territorial state. If making overtures to religiousness would help the cause, he was for it, but not out of any sense that religiosity was a necessary component of Jewish nationalism; though commonsense dictated that that was ultimately where it would need to BEGIN. He consciously modelled his notions of the Jewish 'nation' on the German and other nationalist idealisms of his period. He understood that Jews would need to be fashioned into a 'nation' by efforts at propaganda, education, linguistic retraining, etc.

Moreover, even if it were older than that (which it isn't), it still wouldn't make it anything but a social construction. There is no supernatural bond between 'Jews' any more than there is between 'Germans'. The sensation of a 'national' bond, and the identity conceptions that forge and maintain this sense in any particular individual are the product of historical social processes, and not given from outside by some deity or other abstract force. You think and feel yourself one thing or another based on human social interactions; not because you just are one. It is highly doubtful that a child concieved and born of Jewish parents, but kept away from all human social interactions would conceive of themselves as 'a Jew'.

[ 21 October 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 21 October 2003 10:17 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In fact, it is a basic claim of Western anti-Semitism that such an identification can be made.
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EarthShadow
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posted 21 October 2003 01:52 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Courage,You will note that in my post I did'nt use the word antisemitic.

And all your gossamer bafflegab aside, do get to the point - You want to destroy the Jewish Israeli state.

Roll the tanks.


From: somewhere in a circle | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
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posted 21 October 2003 02:07 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
*blink* *blink*

Courage discusses the historical position of Baghdadi Jews, and their complex reactions to the Zionist political movement.

Therefore, he wants to send tanks to destroy Israel.

I, uh, seem to have missed something in between those two statements, EarthShadow. Like how in the world the first leads to the second.

You know, the U.S. was founded in acts of genocide, but I ain't exactly suggesting a good artillery barrage as a solution. Discussing less-than-glorious national history is, well, what historians do. Tisn't a call for a rain of fire.


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 21 October 2003 02:49 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And all your gossamer bafflegab aside, do get to the point - You want to destroy the Jewish Israeli state.

Roll the tanks.


Translation: I have no idea what you're talking about, so therefore you hate Israel.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 21 October 2003 04:38 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And what's so bad about "destroying the Jewish Israeli state"??

The current "Jewish Israeli State" needs "destroying"!! It's a racist, stupid, and violent state . . . all such states, no matter what affiliation they may have, should be "destroyed" . . . destroyed and replaced with a state that promotes peace and inclusion!!

I would think that anyone advocating for the current state of Israel to be representing Jews, more closely represents an antisemitic than those opposd to Israel!!


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 21 October 2003 04:50 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
Courage,You will note that in my post I did'nt use the word antisemitic.

And all your gossamer bafflegab aside, do get to the point - You want to destroy the Jewish Israeli state.

Roll the tanks.


Right, and when we draw pictures of German-as-Germans-Jews being 'nuanced' into the gas-chambers, certainly the subject of antisemitism must be waaaaaaay off topic.

You implied it, but perhaps you do this so liberally as not to notice anymore - exactly what I was talking about.

As for the rest of your response - well, as some have pointed out, it speaks for itself.

Clearly you make the linkage between opposition to ethnocracy (as what exists in Israel) and 'antisemitism'. This is a convenient little construction cooked-up by rightwing Zionists, like the ADL, to cudgel humanist, universalist left wing critiques of Zionist ethnic ideology and the militarism and fascism that have come to support it over the years.

Someone says, "Hey, there are Palestinians living there, shouldn't you be nice to them and treat them like human beings deserve?" and you say, "antisemitism". Someone says, "hey, there should be one pluralistic democratic state which could protect the interests of everyone equally as human beings" and you say, "antisemitism". Well, actually, YOU wouldn't say it directly, but your would smear enough of it around to make the place stink...

[ 21 October 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


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EarthShadow
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posted 21 October 2003 04:51 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
No Yards, I disagree with you, but at least you have the courage to say what you mean.

[ 21 October 2003: Message edited by: EarthShadow ]


From: somewhere in a circle | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 21 October 2003 04:52 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We all say what we mean. You are you to tell us what we mean?
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 21 October 2003 04:58 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
No Yards,I disagree with you, but at least you have the courage to say what you mean.

[ 21 October 2003: Message edited by: EarthShadow ]


Right, as you say 'antisemitism' without actually saying it....

You are surely an example to live by.


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 21 October 2003 05:33 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by EarthShadow:
No Yards, I disagree with you, but at least you have the courage to say what you mean.

[ 21 October 2003: Message edited by: EarthShadow ]


What?? You disagree that racist, stupid, and violent states should all be "destroyed"??

Really?? Which ones should we spare??


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
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posted 21 October 2003 11:10 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Begin tangent...

Actually, I think the time of the nation-state is swiftly passing, and that the European Union proves it. So I'm all for getting rid of all states whatsoever, in the long run anyhow. And non-violently, of course.

End tangent.


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 22 October 2003 06:48 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Yes, it is. The notion of a nationalist 'return' to the soil of Israel is a modern construction not to be confused with the older, religious Messianism connected with the idea of a 'return' to a spiritual Jerusalem.

Israel isn't mentioned anywhere in Talmudic scripture?

From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
worker_drone
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posted 22 October 2003 07:09 PM      Profile for worker_drone        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Israel isn't mentioned anywhere in Talmudic scripture?

Yeah, but only until Courage and his fellow historical revisionists can air-brush it out.


From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
EarthShadow
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posted 22 October 2003 09:46 PM      Profile for EarthShadow        Edit/Delete Post
Yup, just another shade of gray.....
From: somewhere in a circle | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 23 October 2003 03:21 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I should have expected poor reading comprehension around these parts, and especially from the Drone and the Shadow....

First, to answer CMOT's inquiry:

quote:
Yes, it is. The notion of a nationalist 'return' to the soil of Israel is a modern construction not to be confused with the older, religious Messianism connected with the idea of a 'return' to a spiritual Jerusalem.

Of course it is, CMOT. However, the above clearly (though,I admit I should've said 'Israel' and not Jerusalem to be more precise) delineates two different, though ultimately related phenomena. The mentions of a return to Israel in the Talmud, and more particularly the attitudes toward this 'return' were characterised largely by their theological content. A 'return' was possible, but only under certain theologically defined conditions, because only through these conditions could the connection to Israel be justified - i.e. by G-Ds will and the presence of the Messiah. Suffice it to say, that the 'return' was largely defined and felt in a religio-spiritual way - as a kind of spiritual longing for completion and a deliverance from tribulation. Now, this certainly had a great influence on Herzl, who began his work in the context of heavy European antisemitism. An antisemitism which could not be seperated from the emerging national identities which were popping up all over Europe at the time, mind you. It was largely the break-up of the old Empires and the apportioning off of land and sovereignty to 'nations' which raised the Jewish Question in a new way.

It is clear from Herzl's (and Pinsker's) pioneering work on the Jewish national question (instructively, Herzl's was written and published first in German and only later translated to Hebrew), that his concern was entirely different from the religious aspects of the 'return' in Jewish lore. While many nationalists might say that early Zionism simply 'reawakened' the slumbering national aspirations of Jews, it is precisely in this 'reawakening' where modern nationalist ideology begins to operate, and thus mark this phenomena off from previous identities and thought currents in Jewish life.

Herzl was seeking a politically-based solution to antisemitism based in emerging European intellectual/political trends toward ethnonational states comprised of single nationalities (or as close as one could get). Moreover, it is clear from the reactions to his "dream", as many Jewish critiques called it, that he was talking about something entirely new and radical from the religious Messianic 'return' which we might find in Jewish society and which was based in Talmudic scripture and Jewish tradition. It is the manner in which his followers sought to convince Jews (and Gentiles) of the rightness of the idea which make his 'return' different. It was by the very process of proselytizing and conversion - the refashioning of Jews into Zionists (who spoke Hebrew, and donated their money to the WZO) by which the 'nationalist' phase of Jewish identity can be delineated from previous, religious connectivities.

Even the oft-cited 'Next year in Jerusalem' phrase does not sufficiently help us with this problem. In fact, it only raises the question of how this phrase is defined. A present-day mind, infused with the bias of nationalism, inevitably reads in this a strong statement of nationalist intent - because this is the reality that historical developments (Zionism in particular) have given the phrase. However, previous to Herzl's redefining the question as a political one, and his proposal to create institutions by which Jews might lobby for a state of their own, this phrase contained a different meaning, and the identity that we might associate with it was far different than the modern Zionist Jewishness with which we are all familiar.

Now, this seems hard to swallow, and in fact, it seems counter-intuitive. But this is simply because modern nationalism is a 'historical revisionist' par excellance. The various forms of this ideology (there is no surefire formula, but some consistencies can be seen in many nationalisms) draws upon older, looser identity configurations (ethnie or religious communities [not always easily detached from one another]) and reshapes them into identities which are salient in the context of post-Enlightenment concepts and technologies. Concepts and technologies we take for granted, like bourgeois capitalism, the printing press, individual 'democratic rights' and by extension 'national rights'. Nationalism rounds corners and takes certain identity features (say religious practice, proto-national identification) and privileges them above other identity markers in order to create a kind of amalgam of smaller figures of ethnic identity which is massed-produced through state apparatuses and mass media technologies.

Moreover, in many cases a dictionary is necessary because a single standardised language is necessary to demark the intellectual space of the national community. This was done with Hebrew - it was dredged up, changed, 'modernised' and then serious propaganda/education efforts were made to spread it's use among Jews, who barely knew it outside of ritual/liturgy. Education in the new, standardised language of the nation is one of the prime ways in which the sense of national cohesion (a defined space of thought and community) is inculcated. In fact, mass media are intrinsically part of the nationalist project because they allow for the creation and distribution of a homogenous literature in the chosen 'High Culture' of the national group in question. The switch from the (burgeoning) Yiddish literature among European Jews to one dominated by Hebrew education and language is evidence of this process. How else to convince a Jew in Bagdhad that he really has something more than religion in common with an Ashkenazi from London?

Moreover, nationalism is a revisionist in that it takes events and ideas from before it's existence and yanks them out of their own historical contexts and recasts them as part of its own narrative about the 'ancient-ness' of the nation: the unbroken, unsevered supernatural connection of the nation to blood and to land beyond the boundaries of time and place. So when someone today says, "Next year in Jerusalem" he/she assumes that she/he experiences the meaning of that phrase in an identical way to all Jews at all times in all places because such is the national 'bond'. Well, it's poppycock. The assumption is also that the individual's primary identity is tied to the State of Israel moreso than their particular place of origin. But we can see that this wasn't the case among many, including Baghdadi Jews. Their primary identification was often with the society and culture in which they had made their homes for hundreds of years. They needed to be convinced, by various means, to redefine themselves a primarily loyal to Zionist nationalism, and the Israeli state which was it's goal/eventuality. Through Zionism, they became potential (and then actual) 'Israelis' rather than subjects of, say, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, or even of the young nationalist Iraq which was fighting to remove the British yoke. Many Jews had firmly entrenched themselves in the economic and political life of Iraq and didn't see the necessity, at first, of creating a Jewish state, let alone pulling up stakes and moving there. This was what Zionism was all about: convincing varied Diaspora Jews that they really were 'one people' and that they required 'one state' to protect their interests as against alternative strategies of assimilation, or coexistence within other states.

And finally, to the charge that this is yet another shade of 'gray', I unabashedly say, yes and no. First, the 'no': the differences between pre-nationalistic Jewish religious Messianism (The Return) and nationalist Zionist ideology and, importantly, practice are clear, and great - one might even say black and white. Where the gray comes in is when nationalism blurs the lines as part of its all-embracing narrative.

Moreover, all study of history is a little gray, and the tendency to want black and white answers is a symptom of simplistic, closed-minded thinking - the most base formatory functioning of the brain (and personality) which requires steady, reliable answers and a steady, reliable reality on which to pin it's identity.

[ 23 October 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


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Courage
rabble-rouser
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posted 23 October 2003 03:51 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So, Drone, your charge is spurious - it is the nationalist who wishes to blur the lines of history and simply 'forget' all that transpired before.

As Ernest Renan once put it, "Getting it's history wrong is part of being a nation."


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