Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Being an Extremist...

Am I an extremist?

I was discussing this issue with Jameel of The Muqata over lunch today (the 1st unknown blogger that I have met since starting to blog), the impetus being that over the last 24 hours I have been told that my blog was both controversial and too extreme.

With the help of Jameel, I believe I have come up with a list of the reasons why I / my blog may have this reputation (in no particular order):

The Top 10 Reasons... as to why people believe I am an extremist:
1) I believe that the borders of the Jewish State of Israel should encompass the entire area west of the Jordan River (I am not relinquishing the right of the Jewish People to other parts of its Homeland, namely: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon & the Sinai - I just do not believe that we should press our claim to them right now - so long as our neighbors behave).

2) I am against the creation of a "Palestinian State" anywhere west of the Jordan River, as I do not believe that anyone aside from the Jewish People has any right to sovereignty in the Land of Israel.

3) I am opposed to the "Peace Process" (as it is understood today - although I am very much in favor of peace), as I recognize that peace will not come through releasing terrorists from prison, arming these very terrorists, and making other "goodwill gestures" that all lead to the murder of innocent Jews.

4) I believe that Israel must come to the (painful) recognition that she is at war with the Arab world, and she must be committed to taking the required steps necessary to win that war (and not to suffice with defensive half-measures like the security fence and shelling open fields).

5) I believe that all Jews should live in the Land of Israel , as this is the only place that the Jew, both on an individual and national level, can live a complete Jewish life and it is the only place where the destiny and mission of the Jewish People can be actualized.

6) I believe that the State of Israel should be a Jewish State and not a State of the Jews (simply having a Jewish majority). I believe that the State of Israel should not strive to "fit-in" with the nations of the world and be a nation like all others, but should act to create a society that will be strongly rooted in Jewish tradition, history, identity and culture.

7) I believe that every Jewish child in Israel (and in the world) should receive a intensive Jewish education that will instill within them a sense of pride in their knowing what it means to be a Jew, where they have come from and where they are going, the reason for having a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, and a commitment to taking an active role in helping to fulfill the collective destiny of the Jewish People.

8) I believe that the ultimate values in the Jewish State of Israel should not be liberalism, pluralism and democracy (although each may have it's place within the Jewish State, under certain situations / conditions), rather values that are consistent with authentic Jewish tradition and beliefs should be given primacy above all others.

9) I believe that the Jewish State of Israel can create an exemplary society, one that is moral and just in all areas of private and public life, all while staying true to Jewish teachings and tradition, and not selling our birthright for a bowl of western, secular values.

10) I believe that if the Jewish State of Israel does all of the above, then Israel and her neighbors will be blessed with true and lasting peace, and the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel will earn the respect and admiration of the nations of the world, by serving as a true "Light unto the Nations" and on that day the world will recognize the Oneness of the G-d of Israel and His dominion over all.

So, you tell me... Does all that make me an extremist?



34 Comments:

Well if you are, then that makes both of us extremists then... I couldn't agree more.

That's one thing I can say, I was raised in a secular home, but at least I was raised in a Zionist one.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Wed Nov 30, 02:35:00 PM GMT+2  

Fascist!

:-)

I had a great time at lucnh - next time, you can come here.

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Wed Nov 30, 04:45:00 PM GMT+2  

Well if you are, then that makes both of us extremists then... I couldn't agree more.

That's one thing I can say, I was raised in a secular home, but at least I was raised in a Zionist one.

(sorry Zion Report for plagiarizing - but I can second every word you said in your comment :=)

By Blogger GregoryT, at Wed Nov 30, 05:04:00 PM GMT+2  

Not an extremist, no... but as I've told your bro, sometimes a wee bit unrealistic. ;) But still love your stuff...!

By Blogger Ezzie, at Wed Nov 30, 06:50:00 PM GMT+2  

2) I am against the creation of a "Palestinian State" anywhere west of the Jordan River, as I do not believe that anyone aside from the Jewish People has any right to sovereignty in the Land of Israel.

What about our G-D given land on the east of the Jordan, as well???

And as a side note, some might term it as being too "idealistic".

Like in Ezzie's world of realism.

By Anonymous Strong Bad, at Wed Nov 30, 07:14:00 PM GMT+2  

Ezzie - what's wrong with being idealistic? If one looks at the history of both the Jewish People and the State of Israel - very few things happened that were "realisitc" - b/c if being "realisitc" was the criteria, we would have long since disapperared...

Strong Bad:

As I said above, i am willing ot not press my claim for Jordan right now - we can wait until Mashiach comes...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Nov 30, 07:23:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev - nothing's wrong with it. I'm an idealist as well, and some may make the same comment about my own views being overly optimistic.

Admittedly, this post is far more realistic (even though it's extremely idealistic) than some of your others. I just reread it. Some previous posts, however, were too unrealistic to me.

Obviously, it's a matter of perspective: If I'd say that Bush can get rid of the deficit in 3 years by cutting pork, others would scoff at my being unrealistic. Still others would say he can do even better. From my Israel Perspective, you've sometimes strayed toward the unrealistic. Overall, though, I think you're great. :)

By Blogger Ezzie, at Wed Nov 30, 09:30:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev,

I could never live with an extremist, but if I had to, I would pick you!

The sooner we accept ourselves in the world, the sooner other nations will accept us as well.

Don't give into being an extremist.. you are well read and chose to learn lessons from the past instead of making the same mistakes over and over again...

So many peace agreements have been made... where is the peace..

What you have to say has meaning and is well supported.

Keep writing and teaching.

By Anonymous Anniethewife, at Wed Nov 30, 10:37:00 PM GMT+2  

Well, I think you're very extreme and a little disconnected from the reality on the ground. But I am sure you think the same about me :)

By Anonymous PP, at Thu Dec 01, 08:52:00 AM GMT+2  

Having said that- it doesn't mean I don't like you or don't value your voice on the blogosphere!

By Anonymous PP, at Thu Dec 01, 08:54:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev my extremist friend,

Nothing wrong with being extreme. And it doesn't bother me that you are. Just that you are wrong - that is the only problem!

Only joking!

I think, however, you missed out on the key reason why you are considered by some to be both extreme, controversial (and by me) a crazy mad person. It is this:

I (speaking as you) believe that G-d made himself manifest to the Jewish people on Har Sinai and revealed his torah, and then granted the right to the rabbis to interpret. Today, my rabbis have the right to interpret what G-d wants, but no-one else's do.

That is what makes you irrational and therefore dangerous. But still totally lovable and a really nice guy.

By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 01, 09:22:00 AM GMT+2  

Haim, my heretical friend... Purple Parrot and I were talking about you starting your own blog... From what I can tell, there are so few high-level left-leaning (alternative viewpoint) blogs out there...

You can call it: "Everything I ever needed to know about Judaism I learned in Kindergarten"

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 01, 10:00:00 AM GMT+2  

From what I can tell, there are so few high-level left-leaning (alternative viewpoint) blogs out there...

DovBear?

Oh, you said HIGH-level... ;)

I kid, I kid... maybe. :)

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Dec 01, 10:11:00 AM GMT+2  

Ezzie; You Go Dude! Soon enough we'll find a chink in the DB armor...and it will all come crashing down.

Er, is that incitement? Hmmm...

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Thu Dec 01, 11:13:00 AM GMT+2  

Ezzie... I don't consider DB for my purposes, since he talks about Israel so infrequently, and all that Haskfic stuff he rambles on about gives me a big headache...

As for connecting my unrealisitc vision for Israel and the Jewish People with that of Bush and the US is a bit of a stretch, and I will tell you why - I believe that Hashem cares about and is willing to intervene on behalf of the Jewish People (in certain situations), I do not believe that Hashem cares much about the US economy, unless of course it is really run by the Jews, and then, in that case, he might...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 01, 11:23:00 AM GMT+2  

I'm far right because extremism in thought of ideals are is necessary. You are not an extremist. Your are an idealist.

The phrase "peace process" has been stolen by leftists. I vehimantly object because I am in favor of peace too. However, I believe that "peace" can only be obtained by fighting for our ideals and not giving away the Land that was given to us by Hashem.

By Anonymous Hillel, at Thu Dec 01, 03:20:00 PM GMT+2  

I think Hashem cares about everything, particularly ones which affect Jews so much. The US economy has a direct bearing on Israel.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Dec 01, 03:30:00 PM GMT+2  

Ezzie - if you asked me - it has too much of an eefect on Israel. The soonerthat Israel stops taking US Foreign Aid, the better...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 01, 03:49:00 PM GMT+2  

Granted. But to do so, they need a better financial system. Vote for Netanyahu...

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Dec 01, 08:32:00 PM GMT+2  

you sound middle of the road to me.

By Anonymous daat y, at Fri Dec 02, 05:43:00 AM GMT+2  

Zev for Prime Minister

By Anonymous Strenger Hall 101, at Fri Dec 02, 07:13:00 PM GMT+2  

Hillel,

G-d has given us this land? So am I right to assume you are resident in the land? Because if not, I certainly wouldn't call you an idealist or an extremist, just a hypocrite. And someone willing to play with the lives of others without risking anything themselves.

No offence.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 04, 09:57:00 AM GMT+2  

Haim, I can vouch for Hillel, he has spoken with his feet, and is currently liing amongst his Jewish brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 04, 10:01:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev,

Are you claiming that my knowledge of Jewish thought is at a kindergarten level? Which is funny - given that I have two degrees pertaining to Jewish studies. Just because someone disagrees with you, does not necessarily mean they know less - they may know different things, and they may just interpret the same things differently. Extremism could be understood as the inability to be able to understand the other's viewpoint through one's desire to disagree with it. Somehting you have usually risen above. So perhaps you are an extremist.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 04, 10:01:00 AM GMT+2  

Hillel Whoever you may be, and though your views are abhorrent, thank the almighty - you are at home.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 04, 10:02:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev,

Btw - you never actually gave a response to why I think you are an extremist. That you claim ownership of a collective entity, i.e. Jewishness. And as such violently expel others from ownership of it.

H

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 04, 10:09:00 AM GMT+2  

Haim, heaven forbid that I would ever imply that your knowledge of Judaism is o nthe Kindergarten lelvel - sadly (perhaps) you know / care more than most observant Jews who actually believe in G-d and the Torah... I just thought it was a good name for a blog, and since I already have a blog, and since PP and I think you should start your own, that was my suggestion for a title...

As for your point - here's the way I see it. Torah true Jews may claim a monopoly on Judaism, as presented in the Written and Oral Law, handed down from On High - but other Jews who don't fir that definition may choose to claim a monopoly on whatever it is that they practice and make up their own rules that work in their favor (they can even pretend that they are doing this in the name of G-d)...

As for violenlty expelling ownership - not quite sure what you are refering to...

An if it is to the Arabs, then 1st we havent expelled them (yet?), and 2nd, if you see above, they don't really have a claim of ownership...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 04, 10:30:00 AM GMT+2  

No, I was not in anyway referring to Arabs - i was talking of the ideological and bureaucratic violence of the Orthodox in their treatment of non-Orthodox. The establishment's desire to exclude non-Orhodoxy from government of the Jewish people is a form of violence - occasionally very literally when we think of the anti-Semitic burnings of synagogues carried out by the Hareidim on non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel, or the murderous attacks of Hareidim on people driving their car on Shabbat. But also in a symbolic way, or a rhetorical manner - the claims of Orhtodox rabbis that the Reform movement of america are worse than Hitler (yimak shmo) etc, etc. Basically Orthodoxy has conducted a tyranny to establish a monopoly on Jewishness. And I for one have been a victim of it. Why should I, who am 100% halachically Jewish need to seek proof in a ketubah from 1856 because your chief rabbi doesn't like my rabbi, but a non-Jewish indian who is willing to live in the shtachim and further your messianic mission gets paid from my tax shekels to convert and make aliyah? It is disgusting and a hillul hashem - and I think that Orthodoxy may well have lost its right to call themselves inheritors of the prophetic tradition.

H

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 04, 02:15:00 PM GMT+2  

I don't know you but from just this post I would say you are definitely leaning that way.
Couple of questions:
How would you define and achieve (3)?
How would you get all the Jews to live in Israel (5)?
How would you bring about (6) and (8) without coersion and without destroying any kind of democracy?
Respectfully yours.

By Blogger lisoosh, at Sun Dec 04, 07:02:00 PM GMT+2  

Lisoosh, thanks for the comment...

1) I am not sure what you mean by the first question.

I am pretty sure that my opposition to the peace process can be well understood. I do not recognize the right of the "Palestinians" to sovreignty in the Land of Israel.

I view the PA as an extension of the PLO, it is a terrorist infrastructure, along with Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad... and as such, should be liquidated, eliminated, or any other term that you want to use.

This is obvious to the world, but they are generally willing to look the other way when it comes at the expense of the Jewish State...

We will ultimatley come to a point where we will need ot either act in our own best interests, or continue allowing the world ot dictate our policies (as was the case wit the recent Rafiah crossing agreement) and will ultimatley lead to our destruction.

2nd, as to how I would get all the Jews to live in Israel - I do not have a good answer to that question. Clearly, the word of G-d is not enough to make people get up leave, and while Nefesh B'Nefesh is helping to create an Aliyah Revoloution within North America - I fear that I know what it might take to get the majority of the Jews of North America to leave...

3) Through a complete overhaul of the Jewish Education system - along with the Israeli media and Supreme Court...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 04, 08:24:00 PM GMT+2  

Well, I believe in half of that, so does that make me a half-extremist?

And am I a conflicted half-extremist if I believe that Israel must retain Judea and Samaria but at the same time must remain a secular country?

Maybe Shinui should be renamed the conflicted half-extremist party?

Look, if the Jews, as a people, do not have good title to Judea and Samaria, then no people anywhere on earth have good title to any piece of land, because no distinct people has as long a documented record of living in and being connected-to any individual piece of land. This is true as a matter of history, not religion. I don't think you need to be religious to understand and accept this. I think you lose big parts of your audience (mostly Russian and American) when you make the religious issues inseperable from the historical and strategic/tactical issues.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 04, 11:34:00 PM GMT+2  

Oh, and Mr. H, thank you for that comment. Israel-as-theocracy is a nightmare scenario to the vast majority of the world's Jews. Many strong allies of Israel freak out when they think it could slowly turn into Boro Park (and survive about five minutes after that).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 04, 11:39:00 PM GMT+2  

Anonymous:

That is a good question you pose - whether one can be half an extremist?

You write: Israel-as-theocracy is a nightmare scenario to the vast majority of the world's Jews.

having to keep Shabbat, or go through halachic conversion or almost anything else being done in accordance with halachah is a nightmare to most of the world Jews - so is that the proper criteria to judge things by?

Also, while I do agree with you that we have a strong historical claim to Judea and Samaria, historically speaking - how is our claim, without the religous element any different from any other people who at some point in their history was exiled from their land? Should every people who ever lost a war and was thrown off their land be able to come back today and claim reperations and to come back to their homes?

That can't possibly be the sole basis of our claim...

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