April 08, 2013

conversation of the moment

had the following email exchange with special K and wanted to push it out here for posterity.  i've included my emphasis in what he's said because i thought it was particularly well turned.  his letter is the best medium-length thing the K has ever written to me.


entirety of an email from special K

subejct: "link from twitter"




so this brings up an extremely interesting point (which you may well miss) ...

let me preface by saying I'm not a roger waters fan ... but RW isn't antisemitic, one listen to the wall will show his music is anti-antisemitic (unless he's also racist and actually believes blacks should be called "coons" as well).

what he is is anti-israel government. and while he and I aren't exactly aligned (he's more shrill and simplistic), we agree on the most fundamental level. israel -especially relative to the world scene and internal handling of minorities- are a bunch of brutes. heavy handed, over stated, over represented, anti-region, intolerant and hypocritically dogmatic. (anyone who disagrees with this general stance -assuming they don't just immediately shoot you in the face- will always give you the opening "but you need to understand..." which is the exact opening  that chinese nationals will use when talking about taiwan.)

but they're not the worst country in these respects. that would be the US.

the thing I've come to realize is jews don't consider judaism to be a religion (even though that's precisely what it is). it's a religion, a community, a language, a food style, a neighborhood, a country, a specific form of cynicism, an inside joke, a method of classification, a geometric symbol, a general frame of thought, a style of dress, a type of music and 180 other things I've forgotten. all of this claims to be based in thinking and understanding so old that it would qualify as being pre-historic, but really that's just a veneer on top of "modern" adjustments and changes that have nothing to do with the religion.

what concerns me is what we're seeing here is a redefinition. it's getting to the point where if you're against any of these things i've listed above, you're antisemitic. so in the very simplest of terms, if you don't care either way about jews (or are even pro-jew), but are anti-israel government, you're antisemitic.

that, I don't get. judaism isn't a form of government. I wouldn't go so far to say that israel is wrong (myanmar and north korea would be examples of that), but they're clearly not right (in exactly the same ways that the US isn't right...and with far better "reasons" than we have, by the way).

this kind of re-definition is very dangerous. when we were kids, terrorism was a small group of individuals acting for political reasons against another political entity. hijack a plane. blow up a car. take a hostage.

now, if you dress up like the joker and shoot up a theater, in your own country, with no political motive, you're defined as a terrorist.  no one even questions this classification. and as a result, all countrymen get the department of homeland security "legally" looking at its citizens (and probably even this email).  this is orwellian police state thought.

an organization certainly has the right to invite -or if they haven't done their homework- even un-invite whoever they want. god knows I'd be first on a signature list to say roger waters should never be given another dime from anyone for anything.  and you certainly can not invite for any reason, but just to be very clear is the very reason they're un-inviting people, is prejudice.  they have a prejudice against people who are anti-israel and are using the reasoning that it's not okay to be prejudiced.

I don't like anything about it. thanks for sending it along,

PS let me know if I'm now officially antisemitic. if you're no longer allowed to talk to me, find a shabbos goy who can.


special K

That's a strong analysis and I agree with essentially all of it. Just a few points:

- The gov't of Israel is not an unchanging thing with a single point of view. It waxes pretty drastically from election to election between hardline and conciliatory, right and left, war-mongering and war-weary. Anybody like R. Waters and many American Jews who don't see this has an overly simplistic view.

- Similarly, the Jewish community isn't of a single mind about Israel. There are Jews in the US who are anti-Israel as a concept, and Jews in Israel who hate the current government. The recent videos of Obama speaking to pro-Obama Jews in Israel are interesting - American Jews are generally told that "all" Israelis hate Obama.

 - External definition of who is a Jew has often been important to Jews when the definers are discriminating against or killing Jews. My synagogue thinks I'm Jewish because my mother was a Jew, period. The Orthodox Rabbinical Council of Israel thinks I'm not because I don't observe kosher laws, the sabbath, etc.  The Israeli Law of Return says I am, and I can become a citizen whenever I want - mainly because they need all the citizens they can get. The third reich would have no doubt about me and wouldn't be too fond of you either. Almost all the WWII era Jews are dead now, but their kids aren't and they get antsy about people like Waters. I think it's much better to hear them and argue with them.

 - People who use religion to justify their actions are the scariest people I know.