On the necessity of Nazionism
There are two ways to dishonor and amplify the suffering of the Shoah. Best known is the anti-semitic approach, which either denies or justifies the horror of the world’s most emblematic ethnic cleansing. Less known is the “semitic approach”, whereby Jews dishonor themselves by perpetrating crimes against humanity that echo the suffering of their own people. There is nothing yet that replicates Auschwitz in the occupied Palestinian territories but take a stroll there as I did and you will nonetheless notice some disturbing reminders.
Checkpoint 300, like many others, is an elaborate barrier to prevent Palestinians from exiting their walled enclave without high-security supervision. If the enclave were a great place to live and work, that might not be so bad, but in reality, many of these Palestinians living in Bethlehem have to commute to Jerusalem every day to work. A video of this experience would have been worth a thousand words, but I was unlikely to make it home with such compromising footage. So by all means, bring your American passport and take a little day trip to Bethlehem. Don’t take the tourist bus that brings you directly to the manger where Jesus was reputedly born. Take bus 234 from Jerusalem to checkpoint 300. Avoid leaving Bethlehem during morning rush hour, unless you really want to get a feel for what mass detention feels like. Think of lining up for a popular ride at Disneyland, with passages squeezed into a single file by concrete walls. Think of getting to the end and then being told the line has been closed and that you have to start over in a different line for the same ride, the Jerusalem cattle car.
There are reports of Israeli soldiers stripping and publicly humiliating Palestinians, but I did not actually witness that. I don’t know who will ever be able to leak footage of such things anyway. For convenience, let’s just say it doesn’t happen. Even if it did, how can anything, even the highest of principles, be higher than the heights of Zion? What ethic can supersede the imperative of self-defense in a nation permanently threatened by terrorism? Certainly not the most essential ethic of the Torah: love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). Well, the pseudo-Jewish scholar that I am knows that YHWH did not intend this moral principle to extend beyond the members of the tribe. So, what am I fussing about?