Saturday, May 12, 2007

Israel and Serbia

Or, a tale of two countries.

Two countries in the West sponsor ethnic nationalism and religious bigotry as part of their official national culture, taking them so far as to make them defining characteristics of their culture. Both have engaged in ethnic cleansing of Muslims. One is regarded as a pariah state, the other's actions are seen as perfectly legitimate. Welcome to the double world of Israel and Serbia.

From HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem, where the ecumenical and non-ethnic exclusivity of Israel is celebrated:

"In the Jewish heart
A Jewish spirit still sings,
And the eyes look east
Toward Zion
Our hope is not lost,
Our hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem"

Let's substitute Jewish for "Slavic" and Orthodox for "Jewish Spirit":

"In the Slavic Heart, a spirit of Orthodoxy still sings, and eyes look east, to Bosnia. Our hope is not lost, a hope of one thousand years, to be a free nation in our land, the land of Greater Serbia."

Here, by the way, is the real Serbian national anthem. Notice the similarities with the Israeli one:

"God of Justice; Thou who saved us
when in deepest bondage cast,
Hear Thy Serbian children’s voices,
Be our help as in the past.
With Thy mighty hand sustain us,
Still our rugged pathway trace;
God, our hope; protect and cherish
Serbian crown and Serbian race!

Bind in closest links our kindred
Teach the love that will not fail,
May the loathed fiend of discord
Never in our ranks prevail.
Let the golden fruits of union
Our young tree of freedom grace;
God, our Master! guide and prosper
Serbian crown and Serbian race.

Lord! Avert from us Thy vengeance,
Thunder of Thy dreaded ire;
Bless each Serbian town and hamlet,
Mountain, meadow, heart and spire.
When our host goes forth to battle
Death or victory to embrace-
God of armies! be our leader
Strengthen then the Serbian race.

On our sepulchre of ages
Breaks the resurrection morn,
From the slough of direst slavery
Serbia anew is born.
Through five hundred years of durance
We have knelt before Thy face,
All our kin, O God! deliver,
Thus entreats the Serbian race."

One of these countries is regarded as a pariah state, the other one is looked at as perfectly legitimate in the eyes of the West.

Maybe I should put these lyrics side by side for you to see what I mean:

"In the Jewish heart
A Jewish spirit still sings"

"With Thy mighty hand sustain us,
Still our rugged pathway trace;
God, our hope; protect and cherish
Serbian crown and Serbian race!"

"And the eyes look east
Toward Zion"

"Lord! Avert from us Thy vengeance,
Thunder of Thy dreaded ire;
Bless each Serbian town and hamlet,
Mountain, meadow, heart and spire.
When our host goes forth to battle"

"Our hope is not lost,
Our hope of two thousand years"

"Through five hundred years of durance
We have knelt before Thy face,
All our kin, O God! deliver,
Thus entreats the Serbian race."

"To be a free nation in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem"

"On our sepulchre of ages
Breaks the resurrection morn,
From the slough of direst slavery
Serbia anew is born."

Go to Ha'Aretz.Com. On the side bar I see "JDate", "Israeli Military Surplus", "Show Israeli Soldiers that You Care", which advocates education in Zionism for new immigrants in order to integrate them into Israeli societ" donation site, (what if there were sites to raise money for an expansion of Slavic consciousness for Serbian conscripts?)worldwide Shabat times, appeals for money to sponsor immigration to Israel, Israel trips for teenagers who are Jewish,Then from the sidebar stories I see: "Dozens of rabbis ascend Temple Mount in unprecedented visit", meaning that it was an act of provocation against Muslims,". And this is on one of the most liberal paper's website.

If that doesn't convince you that Israel is a completely ethnocentric, ultra-nationalist, state extraordinarily partial to the dominant religion of the group that the state promotes there's this, from the Israeli government website:Zionist Organizations

"Zionist Organizations

This section includes information about the main Zionist Organizations operating worldwide, in order to support the Jewish people and reinforce the Jewish nation."

"Serbian Diaspora Organizations:

This section includes information about the main Serbian Pro-Slavophile organizations operating worldwide, in order to support the Serbian people and reinforce the Serbian nation"

Guess who doesn't have an official commision like this? France, the United States, Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Poland....the list goes on and on. Only Israel official commemorates ethnic nationalism on it's governmental website.

The fact is, again, that if Israel was located in Europe it would be regarded as backwards, extremist, and out of touch with the world community. Ariel Sharon would be in the dock in the Hague, if he was still alive i.e. not dead of a stroke, being prosecuted for war crimes against the Palestinians. NATO might have bombed Israel out of concern for Palestinian Rights just as it did for Bosnians and Albanians, and a "color revolution", like the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine or the Green Revolution in Georgia, would be organized by the U.S. to overthrow the Israeli state.Think this comparison is too harsh? You want concentration camps? What about the refugee camps in Lebanon? You want torture, murder, destruction of towns? There's plenty of that in Israel. You want an attempt to eliminate a people as an independent entity? Hmm....destroying the Palestinian economy, building settlements in areas that were ceded to the Palestinians....Forcing people to leave their homes at gunpoint? See 'bulldozers'.

The fact is that Israel is out touch with the rest of the world, an anachronism of official ethnic nationalism, religious intolerance, and racism, in a world which rejects all of them. If the U.S. wasn't sponsoring it, Israel would be regarded as a survival from a very nasty past that most nations these days would want to have nothing to do with.

By the way, let it not be said that I'm afraid of posting controversial opinions under my own name.

No comments: