Friday, 24 July 2009

On Greater Israel, Politics, and Ideology

"Jabotinksy was not wrong, Mr. President. He is relevant today more than any other time in our nation's history." source.

The above statement, was made by the speaker of the Israeli Parliament, Likud party member Reuven Rivlin, on Tuesday, in response to Peres' remark about Ze'ev Jabotinsky's dream of establishing a Jewish state on both banks of the river Jordan being "too big".

Revisionsit Zionism is more alive today, than it's ever been, and the current Israeli leadership, is ideologically influenced by Jabotinsky's doctrine of the inevitability of the creation of a Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan. Netanyahu's Father, Benzion Netanyahu, was Jabotinsky's secretary, he's still his son's top "unofficial" adviser, and the source of his right wing ideology, while the ideology of the Likud -of which the prime minister of Israel is the leader- is an extension of the ideology of Herut, despite their later divorce in the aftermath of the Wye River agreements of 1998.

The current Knesset includes more right wing zionist zealots than ever before, with the distribution of seats among Likud: 27, Yisrael Beitenu, which is led by currant Foreign Minister, and former nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman and holds 15 seats, Shas: 11, United Torah Judaism aka Yehudut HaTora: 5, and The National Union, which is a coalition of smaller right wing parties and movements including Moledet, Hatikva which is headed by non other than Aryeh Eldad the guy who brought forward the proposal for considering Jordan as the Palestinian state, which passed with the support of 53 members, including Labour Party ministers Ehud Barak, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, and Yitzhak Herzog in its preliminary reading. The bill is set to go before the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee. The other 2 factions are Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, and Tkuma, and between them they hold 4 seats. source. So to sum it up, 62 seats out of the 120 seat legislature and representative of the will of the Israeli people, are held by parties openly or covertly advocating either a forced transfer of Palestinians to Jordan, or to a more extremest degree, the including of the land east of the river Jordan in the Jewish state, according to ideological/religious beliefs.

We'd be stupid, if we ever believe that the peace treaty we have with Israel is our guarantee of peace, and that it forever sealed Israel's ambitions of expansionism to the east, we'd also be stupid if we believe for one second that the sudden recurrence -inside Jordan and outside- of the idea of transfer/substitute homeland/extension to the land of Israel is a coincidence or a mere seasonal flu like symptom. We've been celebrating national occasions and holding hollow consumerist cultural festivals for the past couple of months while statements regarding our very existence have been flying off the scale, what's weird though, is that Shimon Peres himself expressed what should've been a Jordanian response, made by the highest possible Jordanian official, in public, rather than the shallow textbook replies we've heard from the government, when we had the 9th president of Israel, say that: "The Palestinian problem is to be solved with the Palestinians on Palestinian land and not at the expense of any other party" source, and I suggest you read through the comments made on the Ha'aretz website in response to this statement, to get an idea of the average Israeli stance on the matter.

Furthermore, we've suddenly discovered that there are Arab citizens of Israel, who'd like to visit their relatives in Jordan, and 15 years after the peace treaty, we've decided to make it easier for them to do so by waiving the visa requirement from All Israeli passport holders, Arabs and Jews, those who don't mind an Independent Jordan, and those who want it to be part of Greater Israel. The recent "rumors" about the planned purchase of lands in Jordan by organizations and people active in the Jewish settlement movement, not to mention the barring of entry to an Israeli who planned to hold a Jewish prayer somewhere in Jordan add an interesting twist to the whole relations with Israel matter.

Israel's political map is constantly evolving, and is constantly taking a right turn with its political ideology while looking East for its next move; Right wing Israeli political parties are having a field day with the average Israeli electorate, despite the traditionally leftest domination of the Israeli political scene for decades, fiercely marketing among them the zionist patriotic package of the existential necessity for the realization of the dreams and plans of the founding fathers who brought the ancient dream of a Jewish homeland into reality, by telling them that if the Israel of the future is to survive, Jabotinsky has to be revived beyond his grave, and his "vision" has to find believers, and executors. This power hungry marketing is particularly successful amongst the community of former Soviet Union immigrants, who are seeking assertion of their Jewish identity through right wing zionist ideology. What's important for us though, is to be mindful of the fact that like any cancer cell in the body, it becomes more aggressive if it found little or no resistance from the body's immune system. Common sense tells us that if the immune system is weak and oblivious to the planned and immanent spread, while the body is feeding its narcissism in exterior by posing in a Hercules-like posture in front of a mirror, it will find itself fighting a losing battle within its corners; one which would end sooner than one could imagine, or indeed expects.

The statement made by the speaker of the Knesset, about Jabotinsky being more relevant today than any time before in Israel's history, is worthy of a collective Jordanian pause, ponder and parry, away from the Hercules-like posture we make, and enjoy looking at in the mirror.

Monday, 20 July 2009

On Collective Free Will, or Lack Thereof

Nas of the Black Iris of Jordan has posed a question on his blog about whether we ‎Jordanians decide our fates, and I'm glad to answer that question with a simple No. ‎

We've gotten used to the idea of passive participation in society, out of fear of ‎‎"Authority" or mere indifference to what goes around us, and the former can and in ‎many cases did lead to the latter. But why are we passive? We've grown accustomed to ‎the tribal idea of the collective father figure who decides what's best for us, and we oblige ‎out of "loyalty". The father figure was reincarnated in the government, which ‎decides what the tribe/people's best interest is and acts accordingly. ‎

Society is a living organism, this is what French sociologist Emile ‎Durkheim suggests, and he explains that the relationship between the elements of ‎any society; Family, Law..etc, are examined as they interact with each other as well as ‎other elements to achieve social needs, which eventually function into the stability and ‎survival of the society, much like any living organism, including humans.‎

The problem with our society is that despite it being a living organism in the ‎anthropological meaning of the argument, it actually lacks the tools of free interaction ‎with other elements; And if we want to call things by their names, I'd explain that our ‎freedoms are deficient; people have the right to protest, but their protest has to be ‎licensed, or else their exercise of their right to protest would be deemed illegal, and the most recent example of this was the protest which took place outside ‎the ministry of Agriculture a few weeks ago. On the other side of the coin, The ‎Parliament; the supposed representative of the will of the people isn't representing the ‎people anymore, I'm not even sure it ever did, at least in the past 10 years or so, besides ‎the way it's elected in the first place, and we've all seen the latest episodes of the war of ‎attrition between the parliament and the press, two of the most important pillars of any ‎country's social conscience. ‎

Now the buck should stop at the members of the civil society, NGOs and other ‎institutions in the broader social scene, but those, as the black iris observed, are based on ‎a select group of people, who end up patronising the rest of the society with their elitist ‎approach to social activism. And in many cases, the members of those NGOs and civil ‎society institutions are in one way or another connected to non civil society institutions, ‎which voids their attempt to balance the scale of social interaction between the ‎government and the rest of the society from its point.‎

Whether we accept it or not, ours is a pastoral society, The Pastor -in his many forms- ‎directs us towards our best interest and we gladly follow, we've had attempts to grow up, ‎but we haven't figured out a way to do it yet, out of frustration from our failure or our tribal ‎loyalty to the pastor, and until both the pastor and the flock understand that they both ‎belong to the very same farm; bearing in mind George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; Until we ‎establish that All are equal, and that some aren’t more equal than others, our control of our ‎fates will be deficient, as will our control of our country’s fate.‎

On a different note, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing, and to celebrate the ‎occasion, here's a song for you.

Monday, 6 July 2009

On The Culture, in Agriculture!

I've written before, that some among us have the characteristics of schizophrenic behaviour, and then, I was referring to the media.

Today, I'm actually wondering if this schizophrenic behaviour, is more common than I had already believed. I'm aware of the state's responsibility to keep "civil peace", with all the authoritarian toned rhetoric this statement entails, but facing unarmed protesters with wooden sticks reflects the very much alive martial law mentality, a patronizing and condescending belief in the ultimate virtue of the state against a "hidden ill willed enemy" among us, with a predetermined intention of confronting peaceful protests with force.

There has to be an enlightened approach to dealing with people's protests, the constant use of batons and tear gas here and there is a sign of weakness. People have the right to protest, and almost all the time theirs are peaceful protests until the police interferes. Bashing people's heads and faces is a childish defence, people have rights, they're not sheep, even if some believe and behave like they are. An enlightened approach to "security" has to be taken, away from the rusty old culture of rooting fear in people's hearts, and making an example of some, so that the rest wouldn't do the same.

We all care about Jordan; and I dare to say that those protesters outside the ministry of Agriculture care about Jordan more than many of us do, as their motives aren't driven by a government salary, a high ranking order or a promise of promotion, they are citizens who have decided to make their voice heard, and face the proverbial music on behalf of 5 million other Jordanians, who refuse to chip in and fund the Israeli economy, and in more ways than one, finance the killing of Palestinians, as they finance the killing of our own Agriculture.

The official nonchalant conduct regarding this matter though, makes me think that there's more to this than meets the eye, and if we dig out the names of the "importers", I'm pretty sure we'd be very much disappointed but not at all surprised.