Friday, June 05, 2009

Free Speech

In memory of my grandparents (Eliezer ben Zelig and Sima bas Golda) whose yahrzeits are yesterday and tonight.
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Ahh, the power of concentrated thinking.

Yesterday, I heard a scientist interviewed on the radio about the development of “ivisibility cloak” technology. There have been recent breakthroughs on bending light around an object, so that a viewer would not see the object. The sharp reporter asked, “Since the light is being bent around, if you were wearing one of these, would that mean that you couldn’t see anything, because the light would not be reaching your eyes?”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” admitted the scientist.

As you know, I generally avoid politics in this forum.

I don't intend to change that practice today.

So I will not discuss, for instance, the way the President's Cairo speech seemed to equate Nazi genocide with the suffering of Palestinians.

(By the way, if you search for the text of the speech, most websites have the AP transcript, which is inaccurate and leaves out most of what he said about Israel. The accurate (searchable) text can be found here and here is the video:

What I would like to suggest as food for discussion is the following line:

"America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied."

Is this the basis for Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel? Is this a tenable argument from an Arab perspective?

It seems to me that the Holocaust has been used as the basis for modern Israel, but the further it recedes into the past, the less compelling it becomes for Jews and presidents alike (not to mention Arabs).

But...if Israel’s not justified by the Holocaust, then what?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - my grandfather was particularly fond of Johnny Carson, and this was one of his favorite sketches:

1 comment:

Daniela, Chicago said...

Israel was established by non-religious Jews who got sick of waiting around for Moshiach to save them. It was indeed meant to be an answer to anti-Semitism, citing that the "normalization" of the Jews by having a sovereign state of their own would stop it. If it hadn't been about persecution and had been about the land alone, it would have been established by religious Jews (meaning not at all). The attachment to the land itself was the answer to where the Jewish State should be located, but not an answer to why it should exist. This is why it's so tragic that Jewish learning and culture have been deleted from the Israeli school curriculum. Without Jewish identity and Jewish attachment to the land, anti-Semitism as the only reason for Israel existing disqualifies us as soon as people believe it doesn't exist anymore, or that we're treating others the same way, which means we've put ourselves in a position of power and don't need the rest of the world's help anymore.