Yom Ha’atzmaut 2014: Is the Jewish State Truly Free?

“Is the Jewish State truly free?” This is an important, if controversial, question. I like the way Rabbi Rosen answers this question, so am reblogging his recent post here.

Shalom Rav

The massive Palestinian protest rally in the clip above took place this past Tuesday, on the day Israelis celebrated as Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day). What’s particularly notable about this rally is that it didn’t take place in the West Bank or Gaza, but rather in Israel proper. More precisely, it took place on the site of the village of Lubya in the lower Galilee, one of hundreds of Palestinian villages depopulated by Jewish militias in 1948 to make way for the founding of the State of Israel.

This protest was part of an annual event known as the “March of Return,” which has taken place inside Israel for the past 17 years. Organized by a coalition of Palestinian groups, the march annually promotes the conviction of Palestinian citizens of Israel that Israel’s independence is irrevocably bound up with the Palestinian collective tragedy known as the Nakba.

By all reports

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at www.geogepolleyauthor.com.
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23 Responses to Yom Ha’atzmaut 2014: Is the Jewish State Truly Free?

  1. Jack bender says:

    There are a small relative number of moral narcissists in the Jewish intellectual community,quite a few reconstruction and reform rabbis,many with out affiliations.these folks have set themselves up as judge and jury of the work of secureing a Jewish homeland we know as Israel.after two thousand yrs of inquisitions,pogroms,being kicked out of country’s time after time..ending in our time the massacre of six million souls all deserted by the entire world…to these presumptive fools,blind with some kind of righteous zeal for Israel’s mortal enemy’s,they only see one side.they choose to overlook the 75 yr history of the conflict,the terrorism,teaching of hate,hero worship of killers of children,rocket attacks,ongoing individual murders of Israelis..the constant drumbeat of anti.semitisim…they blame Israel for everything..they are so obsessed they would see Israel destroyed asto assage the poison in their souls…and they think that they are better Jews then the rest of us

  2. Jack bender says:

    As to the facts of rabbi rosens post…Rosen is one of those Jews who has made it his life’s work to denigrate Israel.that said..he is putting forth the canard of suffering Arab/Israeli citizens..truth is that the Israeli Arabs have the highest standard of living and more freedom then any Arab or Muslim in any arab run place in the world,and not one of them would move..there is no place safer,cleaner,healthier,and better for their children then Israel..and Rosen knows it

    • gwpj says:

      Mr. Bender, you have written two replies to my reblog of Rabbi Rosen’s post. You speak of “these presumptive fools, blind with some kind of righteous zeal for Israel’s mortal enemies.” You mention the “75 year history of the conflict” (terrorism, teaching of hate, hero worship of killers of children, rocket attacks,ongoing individual murders of Israelis, the “constant drumbeat of antisemitism,” yet you do not speak one single word about the Palestinian people (for that is what they call themselves), or of the Nakba, that catastrophe during which so many fled their homeland for refugee camps in neighboring countries and so many were killed outright as they attempted to fight back against what, to them, was an invasion. You state that “there is no place safer, cleaner, healthier and better for their children than Israel, and you claim that “the Israeli Arabs” (Palestinians) “have the highest standard of living and more freedom” than any Arab or Muslim “in any arab run place in the world.” Interesting, then, that Palestinians, being goyim, do not share the rights of citizenship that Jewish citizens do (I have read your Declaration of Independence, which is quite clear on this subject), and are routinely treated with contempt if they have something that the government wants. Case in point: Bedouin citizens having their homes and villages bulldozed because they do not have building permits. Would this happen to Jewish citizens? I very much doubt it.

      What is Israel’s record vis-a-vis the Occupied Territories? A steadily growing and encroaching number of Jewish settlements (all of them illegal as they are built on occupied land) on land occupied (lived on and used) by Palestinian villagers and farmers. In East Jerusalem the same thing occurs.

      What this says to me, Mr. Bender, is that the Palestinian people inside and outside Israel’s borders are treated with contempt. I am reminded of the USA before and during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, where whites resisted change, and were unable (and in some cases unwilling) to consider Black people as worthy of equal rights with people like me. Israel seethes with discrimination supported and fostered by the ruling ethnic group. Most people know that. For Israel to have a viable future, it must put this discrimination behind it. Israel must become a nation where every citizen enjoys the same rights as you do. if not, it is very likely to destroy itself in violence and hate that it fosters itself.

      Think about it, Mr. Bender. Would you live in a country where you do not have the same rights as the dominant group? I would not.

  3. Jack bender says:

    Mr pollen….first,let me thank you for the opportunity to vent my frustration on your blog..it seems that most anti israel blogs on the American scene will not allow a contrary opinion..remarkably Palestinian and Israeli blogs are open to all ..you sir are indeed a fair man…now for the issues..from the 1920s when the. Zionists started the building of a Jewish homeland in Palestine on the original ground of Israel..the local Arab population has fought the tooth and nail..massacres and killings were common place..at that time there were no more then 150k Arabs and 30k Jews..the land was a disaster..deserts and malaria filled swamps..now one might understand the Arabs resenting what they considered an invasion of outsiders,,however there was plenty of room for all,and if they had worked with the newcomers they could have been part of the miracle of modern Israel..but then was then and now is now….when Israel was formed in 48..again the Arabs could have gone along and would have had their state …but no six Arab army’s struck Israel,hoping to push the Jews into the ocean..they failed…BUT..from 48 to 67..the Arabs held the West Bank and east Jerusalem…they could have had their state right then…but no..thinking they still could win the next war,they refused a peace..so in 67..Egypt Syria and Jordan tried again..failed..then the Arabs lost big..east Jerusalem and the West Bank..golan hgts and the Egypt lost the desert…and from 67 to now there has never been any kind of peace..the Israelis lost over 2000 folks during the intafdas ..that’s the reason for the walls and checkpoints…there will never be any peace until the Arabs put aside their hatred and violence…you ask why I don’t mention the Palestinians…well you didn’t mention the Israelis concerns either…but I believe the Palestinians are a smart energetic people who deserve better…better leaders for one..and better treatment from their Arab cousins..the bedouins are between a rock of Israel wanting to settle the Negev..and their desire to keep their old ways..Israel would like for them to live in permanent homes..receiving proper health care and education..it is a quandary,I believe the Israeli gov badly mishandled it..Jordan lost the war and the territory in 67..refused a negotiation at that time..it is not an illegal occupation…furthermore it is all Israel ..Jerusalem..Judea and summaria..it is all one..in time the Palestinians will accept that and they can be Israeli citizens..prosperity will soften their feelings..sometime in the peaceful future they will have voting rights…I hope…one last point..more Palestinians have been killed by Arab states..by far..then by Israel..witness black September..Jordan killed 25.thousand..more thousands killed by Lebanon Syria and Iraq…in closing,let me thank you again for your courtesy..I do hope that one day we can meet and have lunch..thanks again

    • gwpj says:

      You write “now for the issues,” Mr. Bender (my name, by the way is Polley, not Pollen), but do not respond to a single one of the issues I mentioned in my last reply. Instead, you go on to relate what a disaster Palestine was when Irgun, the Stern Gang and others began what the Palestinian indigenous people took as an invasion. Had I lived there at the time, that is undoubtedly the way I would have taken it, just as American Indians took it when my ancestors moved in from England and France.

      “Deserts and malaria filled swamps?” If there were, they were THEIR deserts and malaria filled swamps, not yours. The land was “given” to you by the Balfour Declaration, yet it still belonged to the indigenous people living there in homes that had been theirs sometimes for centuries. You write that “one might understand the Arabs resenting what they considered an invasion of outsiders,,however there was plenty of room for all,and if they had worked with the newcomers they could have been part of the miracle of modern Israel..but then was then and now is now….when Israel was formed in 48..again the Arabs could have gone along and would have had their state,” yet “the Arabs” sent their armies in and ruined it. Perhaps the Arab armies came in to help the Palestinians defend themselves, and kick out these unwelcome invaders? Seems normal and likely to me. But, once again, it is all the Palestinians (“Arabs”) fault. To me, reading your words is like reading Efraim Karsh’s “Palestine Betrayed” again: It’s all the Palestinian’s fault.

      What happened to the continued land confiscations within Israel and the Occupied Territories that I mentioned? You don’t mention them here. Why is that? It is a curious oversight, don’t you agree? If you don’t agree, why don’t you? Certainly that kind of thing gives Israel a very bad reputation as a nation that seems to cheerfully abuse its non-Jewish citizens and neighbors. If Israel wants to be respected in the international community (I’m not convinced that it does, by the way), then treating all its citizens and neighbors with respect would go a very long way to gaining a positive image to its neighbors. Right, Mr. Bender?

  4. Jack bender says:

    Sir…I am sorry for the typo on your name…at the end of it all,you see apples and I see oranges..I see the miracle of Israel..you see a native people pushed aside..I see the Palestinians for the most part as a violent intolerant rioters,lucky to have Jews as enemy’s and not their fellow Arabs..I see the whole of Israel to the river..you see where the Jews have no right to anywhere in Palestine..I believe on the scale of death and violent human mistreatment the Palestinians are a ONE…you see it as a TEN…overlooking the horrendous crimes in Sudan,syria,Nigeria,Mali,Iraq,Iran,and in other parts of Africa…you choose to equate the Arab/Israel fight with the cowboy and Indian saga,taking the side of the Indians..I see the Jews returning to their homeland after 2000 years of turmoil..you say respected by the international community..you must be joking..the world stood by while 6 million Jews were murdered…I say the show me one country in this bunch who deserve any respect..most are far worse then Israel..mr Polley.,it appears that you have picked out your Jewish ox to gore,so have at it..our people have survived much worse

    • gwpj says:

      When I ask about land confiscation and equal rights, you reply by mentioning horrendous crimes committed by Arabs throughout the Arab world. When I compare the Palestinian / Israel fight with what happened to American Indians throughout the Americas, you call it “the cowboy and Indian saga,” which is insulting, given the huge numbers of indians killed when Europeans came to what to them was the “new world.” You see the Jews returning to their homeland after 2,000 years of turmoil, I see the Palestinians as defending themselves and the Israelis wanting them gone. What this has led to is a persisting climate of separation, conflict, tension and an ongoing policy of harassment, mistreatment and antagonism that leads to more of the same. I am left with the impression that Israel wants all these people gone from Israel, including the Occupied Territories. Yet, even then, would there be peace? Somehow, I doubt it. My wish is for peace between Israel and its neighbors. For that to happen, peace has to begin at home, within Israel, with equal rights granted to ALL its citizens, not just the Jewish ones. Will this happen? As long as Palestinians (in your parlance “Arabs”) are viewed with contempt, it is not likely to. Begin to treat them and other goyim with respect, it is much more likely to. The only “ox” I have to gore, Mr. Bender, is the one that refuses to change his or its behavior from contempt of the other to respecting the other as a fellow human being. Absent of that, the “Ox” gores itself.

      Goodbye, and good luck to you.

  5. Jack bender says:

    One more point..please….you worry so deeply about the mis treatment of the indigenous folks of Palestine..did you ever give a thought to the 800thousand Jews from Arab countries who have lived there for hundreds and hundreds of years…these family’s were thrown out losing everything…the world gave nary a peep..I do believe that the Jews have finally learned a brutal and deadly lesson…we can only depend on ourselves …NEVER…AGAIN

    • gwpj says:

      [Ethicist] Peter Singer contends that, to maximize the child’s happiness, we would teach her ethics of character and respect: “the dispositions which make possible mutual cooperation and affection, without which all our endeavors would miscarry, and all the joy and warmth in life would disappear. Those who do not love their fellow men are less successful in living happily among them.” (How are We to Live?)

  6. Jack bender says:

    Well put…and very true ….now can anyone point out where this is thought or practiced anywhere in any Muslim nation,let alone among the Palestinians…well maybe among some Christians…and after some reflection…the same maybe true for Israel…and then after even more reflection..the rest of the world is no better….not to many Peter singers around…

  7. Jack bender says:

    It’s strange coming from a man who thinks that the Jews are to blame for all of the pogroms,burning s,murders,inquisitions,massacres and the final 6 million Shoah over the last 1500 years….to quote a Jew Peter singer..truth be told..how many Peter singers and Jonah stalks did your friends kill…..

    • gwpj says:

      Excuse me, Mr. Bender, but who says that the Jews are to blame for all of the pogroms, burnings, murders, inquisitions, massacres and the final 6 million Shoah over the last 1500 years? And who is this Peter singer that you mention? None of this makes sense to me, Mr. Bender, so you’d best explain what you mean in clearer terms.

  8. Jack bender says:

    Sir…Peter singer is an ethicist whom you quoted on your blog on may 14….the thing about the Jews causing their own destruction was in a speech given in England by a loony tune Israeli you posted a link to a few weeks or months ago…if still you can’t recall I will look to find it…

    • gwpj says:

      The “loony tune Israeli” you refer to is probably Gilad Atzmon, who is a good friend. I’ll give him your regards when I see him in July. I will check my reference to “ethicist” Peter singer, as I don’t recall the quote from him.

    • gwpj says:

      Re ethicist Peter Singer: “[Ethicist] Peter Singer contends that, to maximize (a) child’s happiness, we would teach her ethics of character and respect: “the dispositions which make possible mutual cooperation and affection, without which all our endeavors would miscarry, and all the joy and warmth in life would disappear. Those who do not love their fellow men are less successful in living happily among them.” The salient point in the quote is this: “Those who do not love their fellow men are less successful in living happily among them.” In the context of this discussion “their fellow men” are the Palestinian people, who are treated with disrespect and outright contempt by the Israeli government and a majority of its Jewish citizens. I hope this clarifies what I said in my most recent post “Does Israel have a future.” It does, provided that it treats Palestinians with respect. If not, I don’t see a bright future for Israel, which I view as both sad and unnecessary.

  9. Jack bender says:

    Sir…it. Is a bit easier to love your fellow man if he is not doing his best to kill you and your close ones..am I to take it that you agree with this atzmon fellow ,that the Jews brought all of their tzorris an to themselves,as is in the posted speech…if so admit it…if not ..say so….the crux of all this is Atzmon and all the rest of you contend that if Israel opened them up to a Palestinian state on the 67 borders,and all the trimmings all would be well..very recent history shows how totally incapable Arabs are able to rule in any kind of democratic way…for Israel to do as your people desire ,would be national suicide….why Atzmon and rest of you can’t see this is beyond any reason

    • gwpj says:

      Obviously I disagree with you that Arabs are “totally incapable” of ruling in any kind of democratic way. In this case, it is the Israeli’s who have shown themselves to be totally incapable of ruling in a democratic way, as they have always treated the Palestinian people (to differentiate between them and other Arab national groups) as some kind of subhuman species, much like the way non-whites were (and in some cases still are) treated by my government and most white Americans. When you begin treating the Palestinian people as you treat one another, they are likely to begin trusting you. Up to now, no sane Palestinian will do that, because you have shown yourselves to be untrustworthy. If you don’t (or won’t) believe that, then, as I say in my article, your future looks bleak indeed. I am 100% sincere in saying that I wish a bright future for Israel. But it WILL NOT happen if it refuses to change its policies, and it will not happen for you if you refuse to change your thinking about the Palestinian people. Your choice, Jack Bender.

  10. Jack bender says:

    Obviously there is no way we can agree , but I will tell you that if the Palestinians think as you do,which they do,there will never ever be peace..Israel will eventually eat the rest of Judea and summaria..the Arabs will be pushed into Jordan over time..maybe that’s the best soulution after all…if you could name an Arab country or Muslim one that in the past or now ever had a democratic gov…I will jump off the sears tower..never was…as this discourse is going nowhere I wish you good health and good luck…bye the way,if you or atzmon ever get to chicago lunch is on me..at the legendary mannys..just e.mail..jb92733@aol.com

    • gwpj says:

      Well, Mr. Bender, we do seem to agree on one thing, and that is Israel’s clear goal to eat the rest of Judea and Samaria (which Israel calls eretz Israel) whilst thumbing its nose at the rest of the world. What they will end up with is a nation that is torn asunder by internal violence and hatred, mostly aimed at the Palestinians that remain there. Ultimately Israel will descend into a paranoid state obsessed with its past suffering and refusing to let go of its resentments. That kind of scenario will eat a people alive. And, as I said to you previously, and in my article, that will be a tragedy that no one deserves. It will simply keep the suffering going in a vicious circle until the Jewish nation destroys itself.

  11. Jack bender says:

    Have you visited Israel lately?…the place is electric with busy and industrial people,with a prosperous economy,solving water and every challenge before them…sadly its the Arabs that have descended into a paranoid state obsessed with its past suffering and refusing to let go of its resentments…in fact this scenario that is eating them alive…you have it reversed,..my friend..you have bought into the propaganda of the deluded and the palestiians who excel at this one thing…not that it helps very much..except for lining the Swiss accts of their leaders,who also are good at fleecing their world benefactors…..

    • gwpj says:

      Foolishness, Mr. Bender, the way you turn the facts around, blaming “the Arabs” (Palestinians) for Israel’s problems, when the opposite is true. Very consistent, this blaming the victims, and very consistently wrong. But, then, I’ve said that before, haven’t I.

  12. Jack bender says:

    And so it goes round and round,hopefully you will find some other cause that will be more rewarding…the lunch invitation is still on for whenever…stay well…

    • gwpj says:

      Thank you for the lunch invitation, Mr. Bender. That said, I have no plan to travel to the U.S. in the foreseeable future.

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