Thursday, January 06, 2005

Column: Update and Insights

It’s been rainy and cold and for those of you that have been in Israel in the wintertime you know that sometimes it’s colder inside than out. There is no central heating or wall to wall carpeting and insulation is usually lacking. Even if you are warm, still, the sun is not out and you get used to the sun shining here all the time. Be careful however, it’s practically considered a crime here to even mention something that sounds like a hint of a complaint about much needed rain. After a few rainy days I find myself defending my longing for the sun by quoting the Rabbis who said that if we merited it here we would get all the rain we need on Friday nights, when everyone is sitting inside at the Shabbos table.

If you didn’t read the account of what happened at Yitzhar this week on Arutz7 then take a look. It is pretty frightening when soldiers point guns at citizens and fire in the air. The big demonstration opposite the Knesset got off to a slow start because of the weather and needs to grow in the order of hundreds to be noticed by anyone. The government may fall if Rabbi Elyashiv of United Torah Judaism does not support Sharon, yet Sharon has promised to go ahead with the "disengagement" even if his government falls and elections are pending. Natan Sharansky is remaining silent about the "disengagement", preferring to talk about less controversial issues of democracy on a global scale -- big disappointment so far. What else? Elisheva Federman of Hevron became the second woman in Israel to be convicted of child neglect for bringing her child to a demonstration. She and her child were dragged away from a demonstration two years ago by security forces while trying to obstruct an unauthorized destruction of the house of the widow of Nati Ozeri. Ozeri who was killed by terrorists in the home. The precedent has been established and is there to quash demonstrations against the "disengagement." Oh, one more thing before I move on. Young people visiting Israel on the Birthright program met with Ariel Sharon who gave them a quick lesson on his brand of "democracy." If you or your child was there, some deprogramming might be in order.

Now to something that I read this week that was a real eye opener. Well actually there were two things.

First, Francis Fukuyama, in "The End of History and the Last Man" talks about how the Soviet Union lost its ideological underpinning when its economy began to sputter -- having failed to have handled the switch to the technology age that the more flexible, capitalist, free economies of the West had made. Falling behind, and threatened with Reagan’s Star Wars -- which Russia could not afford to keep up with -- things started to unravel for the Evil Empire. Fukuyama says that it was the failure to live up to the economic promise of Socialism that cut the legs out from under. The ideology was flawed.

Reading that, I asked myself what the possible consequences are for Israel if it abandons its purpose of settling Jews in the Land of Israel and defending them against their enemies? If Fukuyama is correct and I have not misapplied his logic, we are clearly headed for a crises if Sharon has his way in Gaza, expelling 8,000 Jews from their homes and providing a launching pad for missiles and mortars to start falling deep inside the "green line" in the process.

Other reading brought me to the site of the Claremont Institute, where I read a review of Lee Feigon’s "A review of Mao: A Reinterpretation." The reviewer is Arthur Waldron and he makes a very interesting point towards the end of the article:

"Furthermore, the post-Maoist China specialists have been among the best in the academic world at dealing with the utter collapse of Marxism and Communism, in whose warm hegemonic status they had long comfortably basked. For it is hard not to suspect that the whole phenomenon of deconstruction and post-modernism, with its attack on the idea of objective truth, is really an elaborate rear guard action to somehow reclaim something of Marxism by denying the possibility of any philosophy being actually correct. The irony of course is that Marxism was long second to none in its self-confidence, in its belief both in its empirical foundation and its philosophical arguments."

This insight brought me to wondering if post-Zionism is not similarly a rear guard action that protects the ruling elite whose Labor Zionism has failed -- leaving it empowered to attempt to crush a challenger, Religious Zionism -- starting in Gaza and the Northern Shomron, and using antidemocratic tactics that point to a common soil with the post-modernists and deconstrucionists that rule the Left.


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