Friday, November 30, 2007

Vindication of History

A few random thoughts before I get to my main point:

-Well, first, about random thoughts: There are some good Jewish blogs out there, and I find myself exhausting all I have to say on certain topics in their comments sections, and then unwilling to go through all of it again here. Unfair advantage for them, perhaps, but they deserve it for posting more often (somewhat akin to my old point of stuff I want to post about sitting around and getting stale)- and hey, more people will read me over there, alas. Onward...

-The Straight Dope posts a new piece (usually one from the archives) every day. Do you see a progression in the choices for this last week? Cults and then...Christianity?

Speaking of religion, the latest National Geographic made me take notice of something very interesting. (And no, it wasn't their cliche-filled article on Bethlehem.) I'm the last person to start crowing about intelligent design and the like, but just reading their article on dinosaurs, I couldn't help but notice that virtually every mention of the word "evolution" and "nature" could have been very easily been replaced by "God," and the article would have flowed just as easily if not better.

And, speaking of National Geographic, I guess I've read it for so long that when I saw a mock image of Spitzer in a pilgrim hat, I thought the buckle was the Geographic logo at first.

-Today is Oscar Wilde's 107th yahrtzeit. I have to mention that here now, and hopefully will be able to post a funny related story later.

-So Katie Couric, I hear on the radio, interviewed Rudy Giuliani last night about these allegations he charged visits to his paramour or whatever. He denies it- convincingly enough- but Katie also asked if he feels that even if these specific allegations are not true, they get noticed because the undeniable parts of the story (i.e., adultery) are tawdry, "something [he]'d be sorry about." Rudy didn't respond to that part, perhaps because he wanted to get to the substance, but Katie's going to have to learn something: Rudy regrets nothing. He is not sorry for anything he ever did. Now, this may be good in some contexts (and I've always liked Rudy, just not decided if he's "my man"), but it can be pretty bad in others.

-Well, thank God for little favors. Of course, as always with such things, I wonder about their exact language: If she had meant it, punishing her would be OK?

-Apparently, the street on which I work (45th) was once known as the model train capital, lined with stores selling equipment for them. I read an article about it some time ago (Yay for free archives!), and walked past the two remaining stores for years without going in. I finally went into both one day a couple of months back when I had a free moment. Now, I see one of them (the one that seemed half-dead when I went in) has closed as well. Dor holekh...

-Michael Miller, of the Jewish Community Relations Council, spoke at the event last night which I describe below. When I got home, I looked him up in my YU Alumni book (yes, I do have one), and, as long as I was at it, looked up his brother as well. It was odd- there were two entries- and one of them read, "Gruss Institute, RIETS Jarvis Island." Surprisingly (premature senior moment? Or as Helen Marshall put it last night, "intellectual overload"?), it took me a few moments to remind myself what Jarvis Island is. And when I remembered, I laughed long and hard.

Speaking of intellectual overload (see how these posts work?), it's funny how the brain controls the brain, as Holmes would say. To this day, in order to remember which is Medicare and which is Medicaid, I remember and old Tom Lehrer lyric I first heard as a kid: "Just go out for a breath of air, and you'll be ready for Medicare..."

OK, enough of this gay banter. Yesterday was November 29th, the sixtieth anniversary of the U.N. resolution partitioning Palestine. The vote took place in Flushing Meadows Park, not far from where I live- the Israeli government made a little grove there in honor of the event- and there was an event last night at the Young Israel of Hillcrest, one neighborhood over, commemorating it. It was nice- some good speeches, lots of politicians pumping Queens, and a rare video of the actual vote was shown.

But one thing really struck me. You see, the State of Israel has a new line. "Are you willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state?" What they mean is, "OK, we'll give you your state in the territories. But it's not enough for you to recognize us. You have to recognize us as Jewish- that is, you can't keep hoping to flood what's left of Israel with refugees and/or babies and vote us out of existence." Now, personally, I think it's a good line. Does Olmert mean it? Knowing him, probably not, but his people are saying it for some reason I can't figure out, try as I might, so good. Do all the American politicians who've latched onto it- including one prominent one from last night- mean it? Probably, if only to keep delaying having to make a deal with people they know, deep down (even if they don't admit it, even to themselves), shouldn't be dealt with. Do all the Jews who've latched onto it- including one prominent one from last night- mean it? Again, probably, if only to keep from having to hand over land they don't really want to hand over but don't want to sound "messianic" and "fanatic" about. But, again, I like it, even though I'm perfectly willing to add the idea that Israel should give up nothing and there should be no state, and it would still be true.

And there's the irony, and the vindication. You see, the same Young Israel of Hillcrest was the only place I ever heard Meir Kahane speak, almost exactly eighteen years ago. It was that speech that turned me into a Kahanist. And, of course, this was his single major theme: How you can't call Israel a "Jewish State" and still be unwaveringly committed to democracy. And here, with a slight twist, are all these people who wouldn't look at him, then or now, saying the same thing. Are they thinking it through? Probably not. Would they admit in a million years he was right? Of course not. (See the post below, about which one of my valued readers has shared outrage.) But like I said to that correspondent, R' Kahane wasn't doing what he did for public recognition. He's probably satisfied enough that he's been proven right on so many issues, and laughing at the rest. Here's hoping it only keeps getting better.

Shabbat Shalom, y'all!


Yosef said...

Yashar Koach Nachum! When it rains it pours

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