Tuesday, September 14, 2010

He Is An "Other" As A "Settler"

He starts off well but trips up.

The "he" is Avinoam Sharon, a retired IDF lieutenant colonel, a lawyer (he was a prosecuting attorney in Yesha for the Military Governorship [here's a Hebrew-language article on administrative detention] ) and a resident of Nili which is in west Binyamin (Hebrew). The Hebrew edition of Haaretz lists him as a Conservative Rabbi. He received ordination in 2005.

He has argued that Gaza is still "occupied" territory although he claims there is a

political abuse of the term “occupation” to demonize Israel as part of a general assault upon the West, or upon Israel’s legitimacy, underlies the continued use of the term in regard to Israel as part of a geopolitical narrative that has little to do with Israel’s status as an occupier under international law.

and, now, in this op-ed article, he expresses his personal pain but fails to address adequately the public responsibility as regards the demonization of the residents of Judea and Samaria by the 'enlightened' sections of Israel's society.

The good part:

I am a "settler." Because I am a settler, artists and members of the academic community - some of whom are my close friends - have decided to boycott my home. I am a settler, the archetypical Other of Israeli evil.

Otherness is the darling of people who hate. It allows people of every stripe, left, right and center, to dissociate from certain people as a dehumanized class without thought or regret, and to hate without pangs of guilt. Throughout history, Jews have played the role of Other. In the world community today, Israel itself often plays the role of Other. Now I am the Other. I am the Other because I am a "settler," and in the eyes of some, that is what defines me.

...We found a small community near the Green Line, overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport - a settlement "in the national consensus." It was a community that had been built after the Government had convinced the Supreme Court that it was absolutely needed to serve vital interests of national security.

Despite the high-sounding pronouncements of the politically correct, greater legal minds than Oded Kotler, Zeev Sternhell, Cynthia Nixon and Mandy Patinkin (among them, the Israeli Supreme Court and the legal advisors of the U.S. Department of State and of the United Nations) had determined that there was nothing illegal about building my home...

But he feels he must pay lip-service to those who now prosecute him in the court of public opinion:

Like most settlers, I am a Zionist. I believe that settling the Land of Israel is about national self-determination. I believe - in true Zionist tradition - that Zionism is about Jewish national sovereignty in the Jewish homeland, not about its specific borders. I believe that the so-called "settler leaders" who declare their determination to remain in their communities even if they become part of a Palestinian state, represent a misguided minority that puts the Land of Israel before Jewish sovereignty. Their messianic view is not Zionism at all. It is a betrayal of Zionism.

A Zionist, by virtue of his ideals, must say that if the duly elected Government of the State of Israel has decided that a particular piece of territory is to be relinquished to another sovereign, or that a particular community does not serve the national interest, then he will move to a place where the Jewish national interest will be realized. The opposite statement is anti-Zionist.

Funny, what would he think of all those "misguided Jews" who insisted in living in the Land of Israel under Roman, Byzantine, Mameluke, Crusader and Ottoman rule? That wasn't self-determination?

And given his position, he is nonplussed:

Nevertheless, I am now dismissed as an irredeemable Other - unworthy of education, of culture and of support. I am condemned for my choices by those who have robbed me of choice. The signatories of the various petitions and supporters of the boycotts might bear in mind why I have become the object of their anger, hate and condemnation. It is because, like them, I dreamt and continue to dream of a better Israel. It is because, by and large, we value the same ideals. So, when they accuse me, they should bear in mind that I am guilty only by association with them.
The 'poor lad'. In associating with those misguided messianists, Sharon, there is nothing wrong. You wouldn't want to blame all of your neighbors for being so fanatical, irrational and messianic who would cause you to be blamed and guilty.

Unless you mean that all of those elites are actually no better, in Arab eyes, than we Yesha residents?

What do you mean?



Ish Hayil said...


Honest criticism is appreciated. Misrepresenting what I say in order to promote your own agenda is not.

For example, if you had read the article on occupation that you refer to, you would know that I never argued that Gaza was occupied. On the contrary, I maintained that Judea, Samaria and Gaza were never occupied territory under international law.

I hope that the problem is that you simply did not understand what I wrote and not that you wished to lie to your readers in order and impress them at my expense. That would be insulting both to me and to them.

YMedad said...

Your write "you would know [if I had read the article] that I never argued that Gaza was occupied".

So I returned to the article and the executive summary, which anyone would presume represents the article, has this:

"The withdrawal of all Israeli military personnel and any Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip, and the subsequent ouster of the Palestinian Authority and the takeover of the area by a Hamas government, surely would constitute a clear end of the Israeli occupation of Gaza. Nevertheless, even though Gaza is no longer under the authority of a hostile army, and despite an absence of the effective control
necessary for providing the governmental services required of an occupying power, it is nevertheless argued that Israel remains the occupying power in Gaza.

Am I reading this wrong?

YMedad said...

I think the problem is with your writing. I presume you mean to assert that the phrase "it is argued" is done by others, not you.

If so, then you should rewrite that executive summary to read:

"despite claims that nevertheless Gaza is still occupied, this author thinks otherwise.