Posted on June 11, 2002
Dwight Owen Schweitzer
Editor & Publisher The Jewish Star Times
I get it now. OK so I’m apparently a bit slower than Mom and Dad gave me credit for, but you can’t really blame me for not understanding it before. I didn’t have much experience in fantasyland. In fact, I had enough trouble just figuring out reality land.
It apparently goes something like this. There are two sets of Jews. There are the biblical Jews and the ”present” Jews. The biblical Jews founded the state of Israel 3500 years or so ago, wrote the bible, founded the city of Jerusalem, built the first and second temples on the temple mount, were still around to watch a Jewish rabbi crucified and then somehow disappeared off the face of the earth.
Then, at some point yet to be determined, a new group of Jews appeared who our fellow Semites like to refer to as European Jews. Now these Jews are a whole different kettle of gefilte fish. They have no connection to the ”real” Jews. They are, if we had to find a non Arabic name for them, ”pseudo” or perhaps ”neo” Jews. Here is where it gets interesting.
Sometime between the disappearance of the ”biblical” Jews and the appearance of the neo Jews, Arabs took possession of the homeland of the biblical Jews and decided that they would call it home. Now there were always Jews who remained in this place and presumably they were the descendents of the ”biblical” Jews but there were more Arabs than ”those” Jews so what difference did it make? Are you getting my drift here? No wonder it took me nearly half a lifetime to finally understand this rather ”interesting” point of view.
Alright, so now we come to the crux of the matter. These neo, non biblical Jews, are having a tough time in the world at large and come up with this idea that they want to be just like the biblical Jews and go ”home.” So they do, and in the process buy land and begin to settle side by side with their Arab neighbors as they had done for centuries but all of a sudden there seem to be a lot more of them. And then, to add insult to injury, a bunch of guys in New York or Geneva or somewhere decide to tell the Arabs that these neo Jews were going to be thrust into their midst and given, Allah forbid, some of the land those biblical Jews had ”abandoned,” presumably around the time they ”disappeared.” Not all of the land mind you, not even half of it, just a bit here and there and it was mostly desert anyway.
Our fellow Semites are then heard to say, ”Hey you guys, we were here first, these are just a bunch of Europeans pretending to be Jews.” The old inhabitants, those ”biblical Jews” that were here before us don’t exist anymore. Neat, huh? ”Our” land just became ”their” land because anyone who could rightly claim it had simply disappeared.
Well, when all you teach your children is how to hate Jews and kill Jews and that these Jews are different from the Jews that the founder of your religion acknowledged were also your prophets; well then, you have neatly succeeded in making black, white, day, night and truth, non-truth, with just one simple lie. This unfortunately is not the end of the story or the explanation. Those traumatized, Holocaust survivors who helped to re-create the state of Israel didn’t understand it either. It really was too much to contemplate that they were simply being given a lot less than they were entitled to, indeed what was and had been theirs for thousands of years.
It was not the biblical Jew that had disappeared. The biblical Jewish yearning to have their ancient homeland back had simply been replaced by the plaintive prayer ”next year in Jerusalem.” It is safe to venture the guess that those pitiful masses and their Diaspora supporters never even thought in 1948 that they had, in effect, been evicted from their land yet again, only this time it was not all of it, just most of it, and hey that’s progress, right?
For those who had been given so little and lost so much, they had no thought to ask for more than the meager leavings that the latest occupier of their homeland chose to return. It was not the time to remind the world of one more theft in a time of colossal thieves.
Which brings me to today, and perhaps a little closer to Hashem, who gave his people, Israel, back the Promised Land, and did so slowly enough to let wisdom grow in the arid desert of privation and disbelief in our entitlement and our portion. But now I think the time has come to first remind ourselves and then the world that we are the not simply the spiritual descendents of our biblical forbearers but that we are the literal descendents of Abraham. That his bloodline is our bloodline and that the house we sit in is and has been our house since the time of Moses. We therefore cannot ”occupy” that which has belonged to us from a time before every nation state, save Egypt, came forth upon the earth.