Categorized | ZIO-NAZI

cornell celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut



Recently I tried to talk to a student in one of my classes who I had seen at the campus Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration that my group had protested. The “celebration” was like if Bernard Lewis wrote racist fiction (as opposed, I guess, to what he actually writes): camels, sheesha, falafel and hummus, Arabic music playing in the background, Levantine dances, and so on. I don’t think my ancestors were engaging in those activities in the shtetl. Nor theirs. The student refused to listen: history of Nakba = denial of Israel’s “right to exist” (whatever that means), basically turning the conflict into an endless static present where history, except for The Holocaust, doesn’t matter and the future will never happen, since who cares, we’re already in secular redemption. Oh and that campus Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration?

A bunch of teenagers and kids in their early 20s adorned in Hillel t-shirts racistly celebrating the destruction of a peasant society and its replacement by a culture that reconfigured indigenous Levantine culture into a stolen tableau of stolen songs, stolen dances, stolen food, and a stolen language. One of the organizers, a young American Jewish girl, caught up in nationalist fervor, started ordering me out of the way of an “Israeli” dance performance in Cornell public space. I can’t remember if this was before or after the bell-tower started briefly tolling out Hatikvah (the Israeli national anthem), which was alternately sickening and perfect – it is Ivy League universities that are the training grounds for the managers and technocrats of empire, to which Israel has doled out good service, so why not weld onto those material links a little tribal indoctrination?

I told her she could get her hands off my identity and stop culture-washing ethnic cleansing and military occupation. She had the same look in her eyes that I’ve seen in the eyes of police officers illegally ordering political demonstrators about: total arrogance of power. No doubt, soon enough, she’ll get to try that out on Palestinians, this time with a gun.

What does a dying culture look like? A 20-year old Ivy League student in a Hillel t-shirt glibly promoting politicide in a thoughtless celebration of national revival premised on national destruction, exactly what Arendt diagnosed as the robotic thoughtlessness that produced evil. Me? Sorry, no, I don’t hate “Israel,” whatever that means. I don’t care that much about Israel, although I absolutely don’t want my Israeli friends’ families to burn up in a radioactive plume nor do I think it right that the Mizrahi Jews experience another round of upheaval and expulsion, and I think those who wish should be allowed to stay after the liberation struggle succeeds (but as equals). Sometimes I am unclear about what Zionists hate or love, though. When you worship Death in the form of the Holocaust and Violence in the form of a militarized Sparta called Israel, what do you expect the future to look like, if you ever think about that, at all?

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