Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

Palestinian Hip Hop and Defense of Israel

In Bibi, Gaza, Hip Hop, Lieberman, Palestinian on March 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I happened on a documentary on the Sundance channel describing the emerging hip hop scene on the West Bank, Gaza, and Nazareth. Describing the art form as a healthy outlet for venting the frustrations of occupation, the film describes the frustration of ordinary Palestinians trying in vain to get from place to place. The point of view did not acknowledge any of the reasons for these restrictions–it wasn’t the film’s job.

What I found amazing, was the fact that someone in Gaza heard Tupac Shakur, and even though he didn’t understand English, he felt an immediate connection to the music and to what he imagined was somehow a parallel experience. The film did its job, you felt bad for these innocent rappers, and you wondered why letting these Gazan hip hoppers travel for a joint concert in the West Bank was so threatening? Of course, we know why. If they transport suicide bombers with ambulances, why take a chance on a concert?

Things have gotten nastier because for the first time in Jewish history, Jewish hatred is so great that people are willing to kill themselves just to make sure that there are a few less Jews walking around the planet.

I don’t think there is an Israeli who thinks there is such a thing as a benign occupation, but now they know what life would be like for the Jewish Island in a sea of Arab discontent. It is only walls and checkpoints that make day to day life possible.

These eye witness accounts of Israeli soldiers is a distraction. The root causes of which have already been articulated by both sides ad nauseum. There is a clash of civilizations here, and it’s the reason that Bibi is PM again, and it’s the reason that Lieberman is a power broker. In Middle East politics, it always has been a zero sum game. I can only be a winner, if you have suffered significant losses.

There is no win-win.


Prostates are More Important than Israel or Gaza

In Gaza, Israel, Kassam, Peace, Tom Segev on March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Look at the most popularly searched items on the New York Times, and you will see that the most popular story has to do with the PSA test doing more harm than good. Even though Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner have been given prominent space, the readership is yawning. Everyone’s had enough of the Jews and Israel. I am sure that Israelis are aware of this, and take heart in the fact that they are not presently a big fish to fry.

The President has his hands full with a domestic agenda, closing Guantanamo, leaving Iraq, and there’s always Afghanistan. This means that Israel will do absolutely nothing on the Palestinian front which will cause some to celebrate and others to mourn.

I mourn the fact that we have given up on having a long term future that approaches some semblance of normality. I mourn that the next generation of westernized bourgeois Israelis who would rather not be associated with an occupation, also do not want to cede territory so that their families don’t become ducks in a Kassam shooting gallery. There is a resignation that deep down nothing other than the surrender of the Jewish State will ultimately be enough for our Palestinian cousins.

I remember Tom Segev saying in a lecture last year that peace is not something the next generation considers anymore. If peace is not attainable then it does not matter whether there is a Palestinian state or there isn’t. The fatalism that comes with the obscenely modest goals of “buying a few more years of quiet” has a nihilistic nuance of resignation. Resignation, and fatigue accompanied with the awareness that the United States is yawning and AIPAC is still lobbying.

It’s not that nobody has the big picture, but rather there doesn’t seem to be one.