Monday, December 10, 2012

Israel, US and the Stinking Fish - 1976


 “KAHANE” MAGAZINE  September 1976

Israel, US and the Stinking Fish
Rabbi Meir Kahane

Many times I have spoken of the Talmudic parable of the king, his servant, and the fish.  Never was it more apt.  [Events of today between Bibi and Obama.]
         
Once there was a king who sent his servant to buy a fish.  The servant returned with a fish that stank.  In fury the king gave the servant a choice of three punishments: “Eat the fish, get whipped for the fish, or pay for the fish.”  In common with most people, the servant chose not to reach into his pocket and he decided to eat the stinking fish but after two bites the stench made him give up and he decided to get whipped for it.  The pain of the lashes, however, made him stop that, too, and he cried out, “I will pay for the fish!”

And so the fool ate the fish, got whipped for the fish and, in the end, had to pay for it, anyhow.  Those in Israel and without, who refuse to understand that nothing will deter America from demanding that Israel make the maximum concessions, play the same fool.  Those who do not understand that there is nothing that Israel can possible do, that there are no compromises it can make, that there is nothing short of full retreat to the 1967 borders that will satisfy the United States-are the same fools as the servant who ate, got whipped and in the end had to pay anyhow,

Their refusal to make the difficult choice of telling the Americans “no”, now, at this moment, will see them making the retreats they hope will avert American anger; it will see this effort fail even as the frontier moves from its present lines within the Arab heartland to new ones close to the Jewish cities; and most important, the Americans will make the same demands they always have envisioned since the days of the Roger Plan-total Israeli withdrawal.  And since this is a thing that not even the most dovish of Israelis will agree to, the result will be an ultimate Israeli firm “no”, an ultimate American anger of the kind all men of “new initiative” propose to avert today by compromise, and exactly the same conditions of confrontation that would come anyhow if the Israelis said their “no” today.  There would be one great difference, however, a “no” today will bring the crisis while Israel stands poised near the Arab capitols.  A “no” tomorrow, after all the hapless and confused compromises and “initiatives,” will bring the same crisis near Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Netanya.
 
This is what happens when foolish and confused Israelis, by refusing to pay the price of saying “no” to the stinking fish of pressure, attempt to eat it, submit to getting beaten over it and then learn to their dismay that there is no escape from the difficult decision that they should have made in the first place.    
           
Let the Israeli government, its men of “new initiative” and the Jewish leaders in America understand several basic axioms:

1)      America is committed to the Roger Plan and the world’s interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242, i.e. Israeli withdrawal from all (but insignificant) parts of the lands of 1967.  This includes the Golan Heights, Gaza, the entire West bank and the entire Sinai as well as changing Jerusalem’s present Jewish sovereignty status.

2)      American interests lie, in the minds of most officials in Washington, with  Arab oil, the huge potential Arab market and with supplanting Soviet influence with American.  This means, at best, an “even-handed” policy rather than a pro-Israeli one.

3)      America is moving steadily to recognition of the “Palestinians” as a people and of whomever they decide to have as their leaders. Those leaders are clearly the PLO and already the move to “moderate” the PLO, “public-relations-wise” is underway so that Washington can more easily pressure Israel into recognizing them.

4)      The Ford-Kissinger administration is determined to prevent stagnation and will pressure Israel into concession after concession.

5)      No administration will got o war for Israel and no administration will continue the present aid level no matter what Israel does or concedes. The frantic search for human allies will end as unsuccessfully as those Jews in the past who forgot what faith in the Jewish G-d was and who turned to Egypt or Assyria or other “allies” for help, only to learn to their dismay that the allies betrayed them.

 Stinking fish are not made to be eaten or to get whipped or.  One must have the courage to look at the truth and pay the bitter price of honesty.  America is tired of the Israeli nuisance and wishes it would ea t the fish already.  The time to loudly proclaim “no” is now.

 
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Down With Chanukah - 1972


DOWN WITH CHANUKAH – December 15, 1972
Rabbi Meir Kahane Writings (5732-33) (1971-73)
 
If I were a Reform rabbi; if I were a leader of the Establishment whose money and prestige have succeeded in capturing for him the leadership and voice of American Jewry; if I were one of the members of the Israeli Government’s ruling group; if I were an enlightened sophisticated, modern Jewish intellectual, I would climb the barricades and join in battle against the most dangerous of all Jewish holidays – Chanukah.
 
It is a measure of the total ignorance of the world Jewish community that there is no holiday that is more universally celebrated than the “Feast of Lights”, and it is an equal measure of the intellectual dishonesty and of Jewish leadership that it plays along with the lie.  For if ever there was a holiday that stands for everything that the mass of world Jewry and their leadership has rejected – it is this one.  If one would find an event that is truly rooted in everything that Jews of our times and their leaders have rejected and, indeed, attacked – it is this one.  If there is any holiday that is more “unJewish” in the sense of our modern beliefs and practices – I do not know of it.

The Chanukah that has erupted unto the world Jewish scene in all its childishness, asininity, shallowness, ignorance and fraud – is not the Chanukah of reality.  The Chanukah that came into vogue because of Jewish parents – in their vapidness – needed something to counteract Christmas; that exploded in a show of “we-can-have-lights-just-as-our-goyish-neighbors” and in an effort to reward our spoiled children with eight gifts instead of the poor Christian one; the Chanukah that the Temple, under its captive rabbi, turned into a school pageant so that the beaming parents might think that the Religious School is really successful instead of the tragic joke and waste that it really is; the Chanukah that speaks of Jewish Patrick Henrys giving-me-liberty-or death and the pictures of Maccabees as great liberal saviors who fought so that the kibbutzim might continue to be free to preach their Marx and eat their ham, that the split-level dwellers of suburbia might be allowed to violate their Sabbath in perfect freedom and the Reform and Conservative Temples continue the fight for civil rights for Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Jane Fonda, is not remotely connected with reality. 
 
This is NOT the Chanukah of our ancestors, of the generations of Jews of Eastern Europe and Yemen and Morocco and the crusades and Spain and Babylon.  It is surely not the Chanukah for which the Maccabees themselves died.  Truly, could those whom we honor so munificently, return and see what Chanukah has become, they might very well begin a second Maccabean revolt.  For the life that we Jews lead today was the very cause, the REAL reason for the revolt of the Jews “in those days in our times.”  

What happened in that era more than 2000 years ago?  What led a handful of Jews to rise up in violence against the enemy?  And precisely who WAS the enemy?  What were they fighting FOR and who were they fighting AGAINST?
       
For years, the people of Judea had been the vassals of Greece.  True independence as a state had been unknown for all those decades and, yet, the Jews did not rise up in revolt.  It was only when the Greek policy shifted from mere political control to one that attempted to suppress the Jewish religion that the revolt erupted in all its bloodiness.  It was not mere liberty that led to the Maccabean uprising that we so passionately applaud.  What we are really cheering is a brave group of Jews who fought and plunged Judea into a bloodbath for the right to observe the Sabbath, to follow the laws of kashruth, to obey the laws of the Torah.  IN A WORD EVERYTHING ABOUT CHANUKAH THAT WE COMMEMORATE AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO COMMEMORATE ARE THINGS WE CONSIDER TO BE OUTMODED, MEDIEVAL AND CHILDISH!
   
At best, then, those who fought and died for Chanukah were na├»ve and obscurantist.  Had we lived in those days we would certainly not have done what they did for everyone knows that the laws of the Torah are not really Divine but only the products of evolution and men (do not the Reform, Reconstructionist and large parts of the Conservative movements write this daily?)  Surely we would not have fought for that which we violate every day of our lives!  No, at best Chanukah emerges as a needless holiday if not a foolish one.  Poor Hannah and her seven children; poor Mattathias and Judah; poor well meaning chaps all but hopelessly backward and utterly unnecessary sacrifices.

But there is more.  Not only is Chanukah really a foolish and unnecessary holiday, it is also one that is dangerously fanatical and illiberal. The first act of rebellion, the first enemy who fell at the hands of the brave Jewish heroes whom our delightful children portray so cleverly in their Sunday and religious school pageants, was NOT a Greek.  He was a Jew.

When the enemy sent its troops into the town of Modin to set up an idol and demand its worship, it was a Jew who decided to exercise his freedom of pagan worship and who approached the altar to worship Zeus (after all, what business was it of anyone what this fellow worshipped?)  And it was this Jew, this apostate, this religious traitor who was struck down by the brave, glorious, courageous (are these not the words all our Sunday schools use to describe him?) Mattathias, as he shouted: “Whoever is for G-d, follow me!”  

What have we here?  What kind of religious intolerance and bigotry?  What kind of a man is this for the anti-religious of Hashomer Hatzair, the graceful temples of suburbia, the sophisticated intellectuals, the liberal open-minded Jews and all the drones who have wearied us unto death with the concept of Judaism as a humanistic, open-minded, undogmatic, liberal, universalistic (if not Marxist) religion, to honor?  What kind of nationalism is this for David-Ben-Gurion (he who rejects the Galut and speaks of the proud, free Jew of ancient Judea and Israel)?

And to crush us even more (we who know that Judaism is a faith of peace which deplores violence), what kind of Jews were these who reacted to oppression with FORCE?  Surely we who so properly have deplored Jewish violence as fascistic, immoral and (above all!) UN-JEWISH, stand in horror as we contemplate Jews who declined to picket the Syrian Greeks to death and who rejected quiet diplomacy for the sword, spear and arrow (had there been bombs in those days, who can tell what they might have done?) and “descended to the level of evil,” thus rejecting the ethical and moral concepts of Judaism.
 
Is this the kind of a holiday we wish to propagate?  Are these the kinds of men we want our moral and humanistic children to honor?  Is this the kind of Judaism that we wish to observe and pass on to our children?

Where shall we find the man of courage the one voice, in the wilderness to cry out against Chanukah and the Judaism that it represents-the Judaism of our grandparents and ancestors?  Where shall we find the man of honesty and integrity to attack the Judaism of Medievalism and outdated foolishness; the Judaism of bigotry that strikes down Jews who refuse to observe the law; the Judaism of violence that calls for Jewish force and might against the enemy?  When shall we find the courage to proudly eat our Chinese food and violate our Sabbaths and reject all the separateness, nationalism and religious maximalism that Chanukah so ignobly represents?  …Down with Chanukah!  It is a regressive holiday that merely symbolizes the Judaism that always was; the Judaism that was handed down to us from Sinai; the Judaism that made our ancestors ready to give their lives for the L-rd; the Judaism that young people instinctively know is true and great and real.  Such Judaism is dangerous for us and our leaders.  We must do all in our power to bury it.

Anyone reading this Rav Kahane article and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rav Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at:
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To view previously e-mailed Rabbi Kahane articles go to:
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To view MK Michael Ben-Ari blog go to: www.mkmichaelben-ari.blogspot.com