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A Refreshing Change of Pace for everyone with an opinion about Isreal/Palestine.
April 4, 2002 8:18 PM   Subscribe

A Refreshing Change of Pace for everyone with an opinion about Isreal/Palestine. The Middle East Conflict - Has it Been Engineered by Extremist Rightwing Christians and Zionists Hoping to "Force" the "Rapture"? Sounds crazy, looks crazy...but the suggestions are not made on the basis of paranoia alone, unfortunately. The fact that the Americans involved are very religious (and Isreal being the location of a few scheduled divine appearances) is an obviously important but consistantly avoided side of this pile of conflict. So how crazy is this article? Isn't it just a bit naïve to think this is just a big property argument with some jewish/muslim tension thrown in? Hey, as long as we can't decide whether Arafat or Sharon is worse than the other, we may as well discuss something else in the meantime...or discuss something totally unrelated in this thread, for a refreshing change of pace. (From the reputable, extensive and fascinating news website, unknownnews.net)
posted by Settle (52 comments total)

 
i don't think the general premise is so unlikely. but it's not accurate to say that it would be a secret coalition between the christian fundamentalists and the zionists. the Jewish fundy whackjobs in Israel would, for the most part, bristle at being called Zionists, because they largely do not recognize the Political entity of Israel.

the biblically ordained reclamation of the 'land of canaan' according to ultra-orthadox and mystical jews has little to do with the borders established by the international community, or with the 'secular'/democratic government. it has more to do with the idea that the messiah will only arrive once the jews are able to perform all of God's commandments -- and a particular idea that they cannot truly be performed unless they are in ALL of the land of israel. that's why you have a lot of the crazy people who are determined to settle the Golan Heights in spite of everything -- they think that by doing so they are bringing about the coming of Elijah. And for many of these people, the secular government of Israel and the modern, secular jews are only one more obstacle which must be overcome.
posted by milkman at 8:29 PM on April 4, 2002


Yeah - you're right to note that scope the people this article applies to is quite limited, I agree, but I think that even if the religious element isn't the reason people do things it is nonetheless connected to the things that they may do....and more importantly, the entire hypothesis is far too obvious, almost common sense, to be simply ignored as it is. This writer's chosen subject shouldn't seem so bats to us when we first see it, because it is a damned valid subject, but it seems crazy all the same.
posted by Settle at 8:42 PM on April 4, 2002


Rapture. Holy cow -- it's hard to believe that rational human beings actually believe this swill. The conflict/s in the Middle-East are insane & will likely never be resolved during the next generation or so, but to claim that the troubles are being caused (or exacerbated) by people hoping to bring on The End of Days is almost offensively silly. Jews, Muslims, Christians...all the same. Religionists. And the carnage wrought on 9/11, and the continuing madness in Israel/Palestine is testament to same.
posted by davidmsc at 8:47 PM on April 4, 2002


Lots of very powerful people believe that swill. And they have more invested in the events that transpire than anybody else. It isn't offensively silly, it is too scary too believe. Doesn't alter the facts of the matter.
posted by Settle at 8:53 PM on April 4, 2002


From a recent article in Salon:

Bush's fervent Christianity also strongly influences his view of America's global role, particularly as it relates to Israel. According to Israel's consul general in Houston, as reported in Salon, "Bush's fervent Christianity was the basis for his deep support for Israel." Many Christians accept that God gave the land to the Jews, and some believe that the coming of the Rapture depends on Israel. This is not a fringe phenomenon: As the Israeli historian Tom Segev shows in "One Palestine, Complete," the support of philo-Semitic (who were also often simultaneously anti-Semitic) British officials was vital to the Zionist enterprise, and support for Israel based on divine revelation is active in influential quarters today. In a recent speech on the Senate floor, for example, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) listed seven reasons to support Israel and reject the Saudi peace plan. (The plan proposed that Israel return the territories it occupied after the 1967 war in exchange for peace -- a position that, with the exception of the United States, Israel and one or two Arab rejectionist states, reflects the international consensus since 1967.) "No. 7, I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says: The Lord said to Abram, 'Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever ... Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.' That is God talking."
posted by homunculus at 8:55 PM on April 4, 2002


Oops, full article here (subscription required.)
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on April 4, 2002


As a teenager that attended a Southern Baptist church, I was regularly told that the strife in the Middle East, particularly where Israel was concerned, was a sign of the coming Apocolypse. It was not an infrequent occurance for these more specific signs to be referred to. I abandoned the church for just such silliness; to them everything in the news was a sign foretold in Revelations.

I recently moved back to the south, and shortly after 9/11, I walked in on a conversation in which 4 out of 5 people in our cubicle space were having a serious discussion about "the end times," which were surely upon us. Admittedly, they were advertising salespeople, but it's still a scary statistical sample.
posted by chino at 9:01 PM on April 4, 2002


davidmsc: if you are having a hard time believing that these people really believe this stuff, you might be interested in this phenomenon, i mean these books are best sellers.

it's also worth noting that 'rapture' is entirely a christian idea. it simply doesn't exist in jewish (or muslim) theology.
posted by milkman at 9:08 PM on April 4, 2002




HUMPHREY WILLIAMS:
...And spotteth twice they the camels before the third hour, and so, the Midianites went forth to Ram Gilead in Kadesh Bilgemath, by Shor Ethra Regalion, to the house of Gash-Bil-Bethuel-Bazda, he who brought the butter dish to Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon, and there slew they the goats, yea, and placed they the bits in little pots. Here endeth the lesson.
CHAPLAIN:
Let us praise God. O Lord,...
CONGREGATION:
O Lord,...
CHAPLAIN:
...ooh, You are so big,...
CONGREGATION:
...ooh, You are so big,...
CHAPLAIN:
...so absolutely huge.
CONGREGATION:
...so absolutely huge.
CHAPLAIN:
Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
CONGREGATION:
Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
CHAPLAIN:
Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
CONGREGATION:
And barefaced flattery.
CHAPLAIN:
But You are so strong and, well, just so super.
CONGREGATION:
Fantastic.
HUMPHREY:
Amen.
CONGREGATION:
Amen.

posted by GriffX at 9:08 PM on April 4, 2002


I was being flip with that Monty Python quote, but anyhow - I think most of us can agree that religious fundamentalism is frightening and destructive.

If, when the end of the world comes, your invisible friend in the sky is gathers you to His breast and leaves me behind, GOOD. Especially if your white-bearded buddy has been voluntarily wasting believers and non-believers alike since the beginning of time, and hiding behind human-kind's suspension of disbelief merely to test your will. All the better if He takes all of you believers up to his heaven, and leaves the rest of us down here to finally sort out the mess He left.
posted by GriffX at 9:21 PM on April 4, 2002


Nobody discussing www.jerkcity.com/jerkcity39.html??
Or the fetish survey link??
posted by Settle at 10:00 PM on April 4, 2002


Rapture. Holy cow -- it's hard to believe that rational human beings actually believe this swill.

Okay people, for the record, not all Christians believe in that apocalypse malarkey(dispensational premillenialism). Some of us are post-millenialists, or amillenialists. (from Blue Letter Bible FAQ) Want more reading material? Here's a long list.

Most Christians believe in the return of Christ, they just disagree on when. Dispensational premillenialism, which sometimes hilariously claims to be 'historical', says that it could happen at any time(the rapture). No matter that the word rapture never even appears in the Bible, and that it actually carries a sexual connotation (which is why I laugh whenever I hear a TV preacher say rapture, since that's probably what they're doing in their TV trailer with some doe-eyed intern).

They look for each and every current event that will support their theory, no matter that they have been predicting the imminent end of the world for the last two millenia. As long as they say the world could end, they will keep blathering. These are the same type of well-meaning but clueless people that brought us such embarrassments as the Left Behind series of Books and Movies, The Omega Code, The Omega Code II, and WWJD? bracelets. Some of us disagree with them, so please don't overgeneralize too much about Christianity, and 'Christians.'

in fact, as I learn more about the theology and practices of different denominations, I am inclined to say that they are not facets of the same faith, but entirely different religions, based on the same book
posted by insomnyuk at 10:31 PM on April 4, 2002


Any guesses as to the all imperative antichrist? Which would be ostensibly needed to have rise from the dead for this predetermined terrarium we all live in to finally be gloriously destroyed. What a waste! It's so hard not to just out and out abhor Christianity. What a disease it's turned out to be. Same goes with all y'all's monotheistic claptrap.

It's time to really start pushing lunar and Martian colonies.
posted by crasspastor at 11:04 PM on April 4, 2002


The antichrist's buddies will probably call him crasspastor.
posted by David Dark at 11:21 PM on April 4, 2002


I don't do 'muhahahahs'.

I'll sue. I'll take the fucking antichrist to court and thwart the divine plan in endless litigation.
posted by crasspastor at 11:30 PM on April 4, 2002


By the way, what the hell does a fetish quiz and Change of Pace have to do with End Times theology?

Oh.... I see. Brilliant. But to quote a witty agnostic I once heard (not here): "It would be really funny if it was all true"
posted by insomnyuk at 11:45 PM on April 4, 2002


It seems insane that Sharon has staked his country's security on an alliance with Bush — a man who describes himself as a fundamentalist Christian (which by definition means anti-Semitic), whose mentor Billy Graham was blatantly anti-Semitic, whose family actively traded with the Nazis in WWII

I thought bush's mentor was Ken Lay.

Anyway, that's still a pretty tenuous connection Gram's "family" -> gram -> bush, and spanning 40 years dosn't prove anything about bush's semetic persuasion

Not that this isn't intresting reading.
posted by delmoi at 12:06 AM on April 5, 2002


And then there's Bush's semantic persuasion. Which also makes for interesting reading.
posted by gutenberg at 12:27 AM on April 5, 2002


Oh.... I see. Brilliant. But to quote a witty agnostic I once heard (not here): "It would be really funny if it was all true"

What would be really funny is if all you religionists didn't believe that whether or not it was written eons ago or not, the people who did the writing were just as fallible as you. Probably more so, because it was written eons ago.

Sr. Smith's Mormonism? You Pentecostals.

What does it matter if it is true? Can't you, as a sensient self, descern between the humane way to do things and the inhumane? Bring it up to your pastor next Sunday.
posted by crasspastor at 12:52 AM on April 5, 2002


Back in college I had a professor who taught the New Testament. It was a methodist college. I was an ex-baptist. I think my teacher was jewish. It was a weird class. Anyway, when we got to the book of Revelation, the teacher spent an entire day explaining this really cool theory of his. After over thirty years of hearing a bunch of other whacko theories, I have to admit this is the one that makes the most sense to me. I'm paraphrasing here.

And this is just a theory by the way, offered party tongue in cheek here. So don't go thinking I'm trying to convert anybody. You believe what you want and I'll believe what I want.

The book of Revelation was written by a guy named "John" but historians can't even agree on who this John guy was. It wasn't apparently the same John that baptised J.C. in the river and later got his head chopped off. It was also not the John that wrote the books in the NT named after a guy named John who may or may not have been the disciple named John. John was a popular name even back then. This fourth "John" who wrote Revelation did so within a few decades after J.C.'s long-debated death & disappearance. When "John" wrote about these visions he had, he was assuming he would live to see the second coming of his savior. He wasn't writing about the far flung future. John was expecting the end of the world to happen, like, tomorrow. And tomorrow for him was about two thousand years ago for us. John wasn't talking about the stuff we're seeing on CNN today. He was talking about the fall of Rome, which did burn like he said it would. He was talking about how "everyone would have a number instead of a name." DUH! The roman alphabet at the time doubled as their number system! Jews & Christians were told to denounce their God and follow the Roman gods and take up Roman practices (which would include having Roman names) or else get thrown to the lions. The signs John described were already all around him. John was talking about the end of the world as HE knew it - the end of the Roman Empire. When the Roman leaders converted to Christianity some time after John's death, the prophecy of the Book of Revelations came true. Not word for word of course. They were visions. John was obviously into a lot of peyote or cannabis or something. And the thousand years of prosperity he described in Revelations was actually the formation of the Roman Catholic Church and the idea of the entire known world (at that time) existing under the rule of Christianity. Of course that led to the Dark Ages and the bloody Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and a bunch of chaos where technological and theological advances were squished under the thumb of the Pope, but John didn't go into much detail about what that thousand year heaven on Earth was supposed to entail, and no doubt John didn't live to see any of it anyway - whoever he was.

And to further blow away the minds of anyone still reading, J.C. One can argue that J.C. DID come back a second time. He did so soon after He left. It's in the second chapter of Acts. He blessed everybody with the Holy Spirit, and then He split to go play golf with "Bob" so anyone trying to force Israel into a state or otherwise make JC show up by fulfilling the prophecies of the book of Revelation is wasting everyone's time. Anyone who's read the Bible should figure out on their own that Jehovah performed above and beyond the call of any major diety, and should be left alone. Any death and madness that has been brought upon humanity for the past two millenia had nothing to do with burning bushes or even visions of Elvis on a tortilla. We brought the pain and misery on ourselves. God (Yahweh, Jehovah, Kwanza, whatever you happen to call Him/Her/It) hasn't done any major miracles on this planet in two thousand years, He's made no major personal appearances, and He ain't gonna show up on Oprah any time soon. I think even Satan's washed his hands of this little bluegreen glob of dirt in space and the ants that run amuck on it. Feel free to believe in God but don't for a second think that God believes in you if you're gonna go around destroying His other creations. i.e. "other people."

Though very interesting reading, the Bible doesn't really apply beyond philosophical mishmash to anything happening today. I mean it's a really cool book and one of the oldest tomes ever and some people can try to look at it from a historic perspective and maybe all of it or some of it is accurate and people will continue to argue all that until the end of time. God did the Burning Bush. He sent His son down here. All that crap. He did everything He could. We're still a bunch of wussies. Maybe at one time we mattered to God but that was a long time ago. He's got a lot of planets out there and hopefully He's been more successful on one of them. WE DON'T MATTER TO OMNISCIENT PAN-DIMENSIONAL BEINGS and pretending that we do just creates a psychotic mentality among humanity. Cut it out.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:57 AM on April 5, 2002


God of the Gapheads. The very fact that people believe this stuff proves that the mythology which supports it is true. No other explanation is possible.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:16 AM on April 5, 2002


ZachsMind: Intresting theory. but

"everyone would have a number instead of a name." DUH! The roman alphabet at the time doubled as their number system!

Um, that dosn't make much sense, the romans only use ivxm and c, right? Not all of their letters, nothing you could really make a name out of. But the Jews also use their characters as numbers, and had been for thousands of years. Havn't you seen the movie PI?
posted by delmoi at 1:31 AM on April 5, 2002


According to this, the antichrist is already among us...
posted by perorate at 6:29 AM on April 5, 2002


I'm sorry, but can you really believe anything a person has to say when they write this generalizing tripe?

fundamentalist Christian (which by definition means anti-Semitic).
posted by internal at 6:35 AM on April 5, 2002


The Book of Revelation is as layered and complex as a T.S.Eliot poem, only more so, and requires the Holy Spirit to interpret....the Bible made little sense to me till I became a Christian, and then it was as if someone flipped a light switch.
As to end time viewpoint, I am a pan-millenialist-it will all pan out in the end.
Although I confess I haven't read any of those popular end-times novels....
Seriously, prophecy in the Bible is interesting. You usually don't get it at all till it is fulfilled, then when it is- it is totally mind blowing. The old testament is rife from one end to the other with prophecies of the coming of Christ. Which the Pharisees, with all their learning, totally missed. Meanwhile, the magi, who only had a star to go by, got it spot on.
If you are interested, the internet is chock full of resources.

as an aside, if any of you saw the Times magazine cover of Arafat...I was struck by the look in his eyes...all politics totally aside, he had the look of a trapped animal.

This whole thing in the Middle East tears my heart out, for both sides.
posted by bunnyfire at 6:55 AM on April 5, 2002


Sr. Smith's Mormonism? You Pentecostals.

What does it matter if it is true? Can't you, as a sensient self, descern between the humane way to do things and the inhumane?
-crasspastor

Mormons? Pentecostals? What? I don't really understand the question. But based on your general reactions I guess I should participate in the requisite MetaFilter religion bashing and take potshots at athiesm, agnosticism, buddhism, and any other religion that I disagree with. As they say, when in Rome....
posted by insomnyuk at 7:04 AM on April 5, 2002


ZachsMind - cheers for that fascinating counter-interpretation. With your permission (or, indeed, without it) I'm going to nick it and plant it in the mouth of one of my characters in the SF novel I'm writing.
Re: this whole eschatological dingus, there always seem to be people convinced that the end is nigh, and quite prepared to bring it about themselves if it refuses to happen of its own accord. It's tempting to mock it and dismiss it as lunacy, but to believers it is deadly serious, and if we as a society refuse to recognise that seriousness and the dangers it entails, it is only a matter of time before something really grisily happens. There are plenty of people on this planet with no regard for the sanctity of human life, their own included. Nutters they may be, but armed, highly-organised nutters with access to considerable wealth and resources are best not taken lightly.
Besides, everyone knows the world will end in 2012.
posted by RokkitNite at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2002


. Which the Pharisees, with all their learning, totally missed. Meanwhile, the magi, who only had a star to go by, got it spot on.

Many Pharisees did not miss this at all (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, for example), and were part of the new Christian church. It is also not clear to me that the Magi only had a star to go by: they knew what the star meant. Moreover, the magi found out from the chief priests and scribes where the Christ would be born.

You usually don't get it at all till it is fulfilled.

This view of prophecy makes it seem all rather pointless, doesn't it? What good is a warning that only makes sense after the fact?
posted by iceberg273 at 9:05 AM on April 5, 2002


Well, for one thing, Iceberg, if it only makes sense after the fact, it can never be wrong. That's very important for those that require infallibility.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2002


"Kwanza"? That's rather disrespectful, Zach.
posted by sudama at 9:15 AM on April 5, 2002


(I will now type like Elron Hubbard)

People, the validity of the bible and whether the apocalypse is coming is totally seperate from the discussion here. The discussion is about the fact that the people involved with the isreali war believe it, and won't be swayed by any argument, especially not one on a blog they don't read.

One can speculate on how many people are to what extent obsessed with the prophecy. This article radically changed my view on the conflict, because it introduced a huge missing piece of the puzzle, which the news media had previously made up for by enlarging the importance of the other pieces. Although the fundamentalist mode of action is rare, the few Americans involved with the country's direction do use their powerful offices in accordance with strict fundamentalist teachings/advice. This is not a religious issue - we shouldn't allow discussion of religious belief anyway, totally futile - this is a political issue and a damned important one at that.

BLRBRGLGBGBKGBK I'M A FOUNTAIN
read the other links people..
posted by Settle at 9:22 AM on April 5, 2002


I wonder why no one ever quotes dear uncle l. ron. when he said the best way to get rich was to invent your own religion?
posted by bunnyfire at 9:38 AM on April 5, 2002


The discussion is about the fact that the people involved with the isreali war believe it

Most Jews in Israel are fairly unreligious/secular. Israel was created by secular organizations. This war has little or nothing to do with prophecy.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:42 AM on April 5, 2002


why does it have to be in that location then? can israel be peacefully moved to montana if that's the case?
posted by goneill at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2002


why does it have to be in that location then? can israel be peacefully moved to montana if that's the case?

Well, I think Uganda was once considered. The answer is: it's been there for half a century; the Israelis have made significant improvements to the place; and they had the smarts to build about 100 nuclear weapons. They're staying.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:58 AM on April 5, 2002


I wonder why no one ever quotes dear uncle l. ron. when he said the best way to get rich was to invent your own religion?

Maybe they're afraid the church of Scientology would sue their pants off. :)
posted by daveadams at 11:16 AM on April 5, 2002


I wonder why no one ever quotes dear uncle l. ron. when he said the best way to get rich was to invent your own religion?

...because Jim and Tammy proved it was easier to leech off of an existing one?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:21 AM on April 5, 2002


I wonder why no one ever quotes dear uncle l. ron. when he said the best way to get rich was to invent your own religion?

Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed all use this in their .sig file. I can forward you the emails if you're interested.
posted by daveadams at 12:16 PM on April 5, 2002


But wasn't that area just a cruddy desert, Montana should be much better. It would stop all of the fighting, I think that the people of Israel should consider it. I volunteer to give up Montana. Anyone with me?
We can move the people who are currently in Montana to North Dakota.
posted by goneill at 12:21 PM on April 5, 2002


People have a responsibility to know the Bible well enough not to get cheated. And the Bible has stern warnings to the cheaters, by the way....God spanks His kids. And wolves in sheeps clothing have put themselves into a position that if they had any sense at all they would be screaming nonstop for mercy....God is merciful, but He gets very angry at people who cheat litttle old ladies and other such vile things... I am naming no names here, by the way.
If you haven't already I highly recommend you read Jim Bakker's book I Was Wrong ....I couldn't put it down...it was chilling for a number of reasons....even the most secular of you should find it interesting re the justice system....
posted by bunnyfire at 12:47 PM on April 5, 2002


Actually, I've read quite a few reviews that suggest that the Left Behind series has some scary parallels to The Turner Diaries that inspired Timothy McVeigh.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:45 PM on April 5, 2002


ParisParamus: Israel was created by secular organizations. This war has little or nothing to do with prophecy.

What an interesting coincidence that Israel falls within the boreders that God designated to Abraham in Genesis.

Israel only occupies a small part of that region. When I was in Israel, it was made quite clear to me that the basis of zionism, or at least the basis of its most common justification, is the claim to divine right. Many of the zealots are not religious in the sense of praying five times a day, or keeping kosher. But they do believe that God gave them the land, and that they may take it and keep it by any means necessary.
posted by bingo at 5:07 PM on April 5, 2002


What an interesting coincidence that Israel falls within the boreders that God designated to Abraham in Genesis.

What an interesting coincidence that Israel was created by the British with world approval in 1948! Whatever motivated those to reach that point is of secondary importance.

By the way, who are these "zealots" on the Israeli side?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:17 PM on April 5, 2002


Jews pray three times/day. And most Israelis don't even pray that much. At least not formally.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:18 PM on April 5, 2002


With the violence level being what it is now, one would guess informal prayer would be at an all time high...
posted by bunnyfire at 7:50 PM on April 5, 2002


What an interesting coincidence that Israel was created by the British with world approval in 1948!

It was created as a modern state in 1948. The name of the country and its location were not chosen at random; they were both directly linked to the ancient kingdom of Israel, starting with Saul circa 1020 B.C.E., and going back further to Abraham, or at least the story of Abraham.

Whatever motivated those to reach that point is of secondary importance.

You've made it mind-numbingly obvious that it's of secondary importance to you. But the truth is that it's quite important to a lot of the people involved. Both growing up arguing about this in Hebrew school in the midwest, and arguing about it with Israeli citizens when I was traveling there, and talking about this as an adult with other Jews, the most common argument advanced by zionists is that "we must have/keep/take the land because it's ours, because God gave it to us."

And the fact of this widespread fanatical point of view is not just that it comes up in discussions like this one. Palestinians have been living in Israel as "second-class citizens" for many years, because there were a set of laws in place that made it harder for non-Jews to become Israeli citizens. The zionists are more interested in racial purity and divine ordination than they are in democracy or justice. Believe me, I wish this whole situation had just emerged from nothing in 1948, but the entire conflict is based on the idea that this is not the case, and it is happening whether you agree with the reasoning behind it or not.

Jews pray three times/day. And most Israelis don't even pray that much. At least not formally.

I'm a Jew, and I don't pray three times a day. And, in all my years of Hebrew school, I was never given such a definition or condition of Judaism. There are certainly enough traditions in place to pray three times a day; the religious camp I went to when I was 12 compelled the children to pray upon waking, going to bed, before and after each meal, and during the compulsory morning and evening services. And that was before I was bar-mitzvahed and was even eligible for the t'fillin prayers.

I can only assume that you mentioned this completely inaccurate 3 prayers/day idea as a way of supporting your strange idea that most Israelis don't make a meaningful connection between their own conflict and the Jewish religion. You're really failing to understand the fact that for most Jews, the culture, race, religion, history, and politics all intertwine. The culture comes from the race and the religion and the history and the tradition; you don't have to agree with all of it (in fact, you are expected not to), but it's still a part of you. A significant part of the Jewish population of Israel are American expatriates. Going through this process is called, in Hebrew, "returning." These people are not going to Israel just to support it in the modern political climate because they had nothing better to do; they are going because they feel a personal connection to something ancient that is still represented (at least to them) by Israel. And those people tend to be the most fanatical zionists. They go out and work on a kibbutz and get a gun and imagine themselves in some sort of wild west movie in which they are living on a frontier and the Palestinians are the Indians. Such people, as well-intentioned as they may be, are a significant part of the whole problem. The fact that ParisParamus refuses to discuss Israel before 1948 in relation to the current conflict, does not change the fact that there is a very significant connection.
posted by bingo at 8:34 PM on April 5, 2002


I didn't say it was insignificant, only secondary--of less importance--when compared to the official modern creation of Israel. Thanks for raising some good points and offering some good detail.

It would be nice if the Palestinians could get to the point of truly calling Israel's bluff (since so many think that's what it would be): creating a little democratic, or at least, non-corrupt zone without terrorists and taking their "cause" to the world in that context. After the suicide bomber campaign, the creation of an Arab Palestinian state now seems to be at least a decade away.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:04 PM on April 5, 2002


PS: Orthodox Jews DO formally pray 3x/day. Trust me: I live in Brooklyn.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:06 PM on April 5, 2002


In 3012, the region will be considered an uninhabitable sandspit, host to a small, tenacious population of brown-skinned foragers, the last followers of a religion called Judlam, long since forgotten by the modern world.

Amen.
posted by Opus Dark at 9:51 PM on April 5, 2002


Parisparamus:

brooklyn? please explain how this strengthens your argument. surely you are kidding, right?

i believe that one of the most consistently discrediting aspects of your arguments is the way you seem determined to make absolute and generic statements. they can be inclusive (JEWS DO formally pray three times daily because you live in a place that happens to have a lot of jews in it) or exclusive (refusing to discuss the historical and religious/mystical significance of Israel). but either way they are fallacious and rhetorical. aren't you a lawyer or something? shouldn't you know better?

It is true what you say that Israel is a largely secular STATE. that is, the Israel you seem determined to make the focus of this discussion, the political entity which has existed since 1948. But in fact, in terms of the original thread, that is exactly why -- on both sides -- a simple political solution is going to be very hard to come to. because the people who are messianically oriented in the Jewish orthodoxy don't even recognize the validity of the state. much like Hamas doesn't seem to care what Arafat does or says.
posted by milkman at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2002


All right Settle, I'll bite -
"Everyone join in! I like Gang Bangs!"
BTW, you screwed up the last link.
posted by yhbc at 3:41 PM on April 6, 2002


Rokkitnite: "ZachsMind - cheers for that fascinating counter-interpretation. With your permission (or, indeed, without it) I'm going to nick it and plant it in the mouth of one of my characters in the SF novel I'm writing."

Well, since I ripped it from a professor back in college I can't very well bitch. He coulda stole it from the Pope for all I know. I'll accept it as a compliment and then after your book makes the best seller list I'll find a good lawyer and sue your butt for royalties. Honestly though I hope your novel is something that would inspire Kevin Smith because most of my diatribes are the equivalent of whatever he leaves on the cutting room floor.

Delmoi: "Um, that dosn't make much sense..."

Have you ever actually read the book of Revelations? It doesn't make much sense either.

Sudama: "Kwanza"? That's rather disrespectful, Zach."

Why, yes it was! You're absolutely right. How cunningly sharp of you to detect that.

Bingo: (quoting zionists) ""we must have/keep/take the land because it's ours, because God gave it to us."

I love that. I absolutely find that endlessly amusing, and this is also a motif that's repeated throughout history. It's very simple: if God gave that land to them, they wouldn't have to fight to have, keep, or take it. When someone leases a car, but then fails to keep up the payments, a repo man will come along and take it away. Going down to the impound with a few thousand armed crazies and threatening nuclear warheads on the city isn't the right way to get the car back.

Regarding whether or not there are jews praying three times a day in Brooklyn, perhaps we could call up some anthropologists or maybe someone like Dian Fossey who spent years observing and chronicling gorillas in their natural habitat. Unfortunately we can't actually get Ms. Fossey because she's mildly dead, but we can find someone like her to head up this research project

We could get a team of people to observe native Brooklyn jews in their natural habitat and track their praying habits. Then perhaps someone could do a paper on whether or not the prayers that jewish people make to their God are actually answered. Of course, in order to do this we might have to tap their phonelines. We could do the same in regards to muslims and christians too. We could fund all this research through the government and then make PBS documentaries...
posted by ZachsMind at 9:08 PM on April 6, 2002


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