CÉDRIC & DRISHTIKA,
HAPPY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
"We love you long time."
THE MYTH OF THE JAPAN'S WW2 'COMFORT WOMEN'
“In certain contexts, memory can be subversive; in others, memory can shield the status quo. When individuals and communities become vested with memory as a form of identity and specialness, then other suffering threatens to displace the centrality of our experience. Instead of a bridge of solidarity to others who are suffering in the present, suffering in the past can become a badge of honour, protecting us from the challenges that are before us. Then our witness, originally powerful, opening questions about God and power, becomes diluted, can be seen as fake, contrived, even wilfully so. An industry grows up around you, honours you, and at the same time uses your witness for other reasons. In the end a confusion results, externally and internally, until the witness himself can no longer differentiate between the world of interpretation he helped articulate and the world that now speaks in his name. Is this what happened to Wiesel, or is Finkelstein’s more acerbic analysis accurate?”Jewishness is a rather broad term. It refers to a culture with many faces, varied distinctive groups, different beliefs, opposing political camps, different classes and diversified ethnicity. Nevertheless, the connection between those very many people who happen to identify themselves as Jews is rather intriguing. In the paragraphs that follow, I will try to further the search into the notion of Jewishness. I will make an attempt to trace the intellectual, spiritual and mythological collective bond that makes Jewishness into a powerful identity.
“Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the philosopher who was an observant orthodox Jew, told me once: “The Jewish religion died 200 years ago. Now there is nothing that unifies the Jews around the world apart from the Holocaust.” (Uri Avnery)Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. ‘The Holocaust’ is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas (‘never again’, ‘six million’, etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new ‘antichrists’ (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).
“Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one’s own tradition … On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible. … Our acknowledgement of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group … We believe in the possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the German state … “Brenner doesn’t approve either of Prinz’s take nor the Zionist initiative. Filled with loathing he says, “This document, a treason to the Jews of Germany, was written in standard Zionist cliches: ‘abnormal occupational pattern’, ‘rootless intellectuals greatly in need of moral regeneration’, etc. In it the German Zionists offered calculated collaboration between Zionism and Nazism, hallowed by the goal of a Jewish state: we shall wage no battle against thee, only against those that would resist thee.”
“(Prinz) dramatically evolved in the 44 years since he was expelled from Germany. He told me, off tape, that he soon realized that nothing he said there made sense in the US. He became an American liberal. Eventually, as head of the American Jewish Congress, he was asked to march with Martin Luther King and he did so.”Once again, Brenner fails to see the obvious. Prinz didn’t change at all. Prinz didn’t evolve in those 44 years. He was and remained a genuine authentic Jew, and an extremely clever one. A man who internalised the essence of Jewish émigré philosophy: In Germany be a German, and in America be American. Be flexible, fit in and adopt relativistic ethical thinking. Prinz, being a devoted follower of Mordechai, realised that whatever is good for the Jews is simply good.