Weekly Kvetch

It is patently obvious that many people who attended the lecture by Naomi Ragen totally missed the point and learnt absolutely nothing.  The very message she was trying to get across, that so many people simply don’t wish to let themselves hear, is that we need to be factually informed about our heritage and culture. 

Although it may not be common to see in Perth, an assertive political debate is the Israeli way.  I think that Naomi was well within her right to lay into Elli when he put a position forward that blamed the Israeli Defence forces for the so called oppression of Palestinians.  So lets spell it out again:  IT IS THE CRIMES OF THE PALESTINIANS THAT ARE THE SOURCE OF ISRAELS BORDER SECURITY.  IT IS ENTIRELY NECESSARY AND JUSTIFIABLE FOR ISRAEL TO TAKE MILITARY MEASURES TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS FROM TERRORISM.  WHEN THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ACCEPT THE RIGHT FOR ISRAEL TO EXIST AS A JEWISH STATE THEN ISRAEL CAN MAKE PEACE.

I am annoyed by the astounding report on the front page of the Maccabean that draws moral equivalence between the address by Naomi Ragen, and an address Nura Resh, as if the two were opposing sides of the same discussion.  We are dealing with two separate issues here – one to do with the nature and structure of Israeli society as a Jewish nation, and the other an allegation that Israel oppresses Palestinians.  Ipso Facto, is the writer trying to suggest that the consequence of Jewish national self determination is the abuse of Palestinian Human Rights?   If so, and certainly this is the way the article reads, then it is a sad reflection of a mentality that pervades a large section of the local Jewish community.  The matter of free speech, editorialised into the report, also requires challenge.  Firstly, one attends a lecture to be lectured to, not to lecture back.  Secondly, a State Zionist Council presentation is not comparable to an anti-Zionist forum when it comes to the opportunities that are extended for exchanging viewpoints. 

Those Maccabean correspondents that took exception to the manner of Naomi Ragen’s forthright response to Elli, badge Ragen as an extremist.  They totally missed the point.  The editor of the paper also posits that the upcoming seminar by David Olesker may deliver a different style of advocacy, and concludes it is a shame Naomi can’t make it.  I can only say, as the graduate of several of David Olesker’s programs, that the editor will probably be dissapointed.  David Olesker carries the very same message as Naomi Ragen, and specialises in confronting the very same insidious viewpoints that deny Israel the right to a free and proud existence.  He would not hesitate to put anti-semitic rhetoric in its place by correcting falsehoods and discrediting those who utter them.

Before signing off, I would like to ask about the source of the factually presented statement made at the start of the “Did you Know” Column.  The quote is “Zionism started after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE”.  If you read the Rashi on the first sentance of the Torah “In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth” you will quickly realise that Zionism began with creation itself.  If you choose to reject that, then you could look at G-d’s covenental promise to Abraham about inheriting the land.  Of course if you don’t want to tolerate that, you could review the transaction by which King David purchased Jerusalem, or you could look at the order of the service of the first Temple.  Zionism is an ideology as old as the world itself.  The word Tzion is prevalent througout Tanach and predates the first Beit Hamikdash.