Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thank You Kai Bird and Your Mother

In a review of a new book by Kai Bird, Neil MacFarquhar writes:

Bird tells the sad twin stories of Mrs. Goldmark, his mother-in-law, being unable to reclaim her lost home in Graz, just as Dr. Vicken Kalbian, a Palestinian family friend in East Jerusalem, cannot recover his confiscated Jerusalem house.

These are mirror images, but the trauma engendered blocks each side from seeing its reflection in the other.

But, of course, they aren't mirror immages.

Mrs. Goldmark did not belong to any group of people, by any extention, that attacked Germans, civilians - elderly, women and children - terrorizing them, as local Arabs of Mandate Palestine did which is why Dr. Kalbian lost his home, even if he raised not a hand. That's what happens in war and that's what happens to people who do not succeed in stopping their extremists and that's what happens when you lose.

And if he should get it back, then there is no reason to get back Jewish homes in Shimon HaTzaddik (Sheikh Jarach) or even Gush Etzion, right?

And then there's this quotation from the author's mother, writing in the mid-1950s:

“Most of the time I feel like telling Jews and Arabs alike that the best thing the U.S. could do is leave them their silly pile of rocks to fight over — for we couldn’t care less,” Bird’s mother, Jerine, wrote in a letter.

I like this. Why?

Well, because it means that the 1967 war - with it's "conquest", with its "occupation", with its "illegality" is all BS. It was all here pre-1967 and the reason: the very existence of Israel, the state of the Jewish people - anywhere in our national homeland/patrimony. No matter what border configuration.

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