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The Tent City of Rothschild Boulevard and the Coming Pogrom – Part II

September 1, 2011 – 10:04 pm3 Comments

The frum hippy scene at the tent city, Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv

This is the conclusion to Yoram Symons‘ series, The Tent City of Rothschild Boulevard and the Coming Pogrom.  Part I can be found here.

The Other Side of Zionism

While the state-building and normalizing ethos of Zionism has fizzled into ideological atrophy for contemporary Israeli society, across the border, into the Palestinian territories in particular and the Arabic world in general, Zionism is perceived as the single most potent and powerful force in all of  international affairs. Across the borders the glorious victories of 1948 and 1967 are painted in the morbid and terrifying colors of the Nakba – the great tragedy, which causes the Palestinian people to languish in suffering and misery and the Arabic world to wallow without honor or pride.

While the calls for a solution to the Palestinian problem are almost entirely absent from the Rothschild Tent City and the protests it is mobilizing, the rest of the world has bought well and truly into the idea of Zionism that proceeds from the logic of Nakba. While the suburbanites of Ra’anana and Petach Tikva and Kfar Saba experience the suffocating banality of work, mortgage and the six o’clock news, the rest of the world sees them as imperialist conquistadors on a mission of savage occupation. Anti-Semitism, which had descended for a time into the nether regions of political incorrectness, has re-emerged in its new anti-Zionist guise as a legitimate disposition and a potent political force.

Christianity, Islam and the Jewish Problem

For almost two thousand years the peoples of Europe had been educated to hate the Jew, fear the Jew and above all, blame the Jew for the problems in their lives. By the laws of historical cause and effect, this hatred made sense.

The Jews were inextricably and undeniably linked to the Christian religion. The Christian bible was the Jewish bible and the Christian deity was a Jewish man. While the Church had managed to eradicate all of the Pagan cults of antiquity and established a single confession for all the nations of Europe, it could not deny nor eliminate the Jew. The Jew, despite his obvious heresy, was too close to Christ to suffer the same fate as the Pagans. And thus within the monolithic Christian culture the Jew was a conundrum that evaded solution.

After two thousand years of this incongruous and unsettling relationship, the people of Europe finally reacted in the inevitable fashion. The Jews were a problem and they were a problem that demanded a solution. And the solution prosecuted by the peoples of Europe was the mechanized and industrialized manifestation of every passion play, inquisition and pogrom that had gone before it.

In sixty-three years of statehood, the Zionist entity has wedged itself into the same niche within the Arab consciousness. The Nakba is for the Middle-East what the murder of Christ was for Europe; a sin of cosmic proportions that demands a historical solution. Two thousand years of passion plays, inquisitions and pogroms has been telescoped into sixty-three years of Friday morning sermons, Arab-Israeli wars and Gaza incursions.

The Convergence of History

For sixty-three years the hunger to avenge the Nakba has been held in check. Held in check by the symbiotic relationship between Israel’s military superiority and the self-interest of the US dominated International Order. Concurrently, for sixty-three years the subconscious thirst of the Jewish people for cosmic significance has been quenched by the Zionist enterprise and the Jewish need for national manifestation has been fulfilled in the State of Israel.

The world, however, is standing on the precipice. As the British dominated international order crumbled under the weight of the 1929 Crash, so too the current international system dominated by American military strength and global capitalism is beginning to unravel. Nations are defaulting, stockmarkets are crashing, London burns, Greece riots, the Arab countries descend into civil war and the Palestinians are on the verge of declaring statehood.

Zionism, in the incarnation of nation-building, has also reached its denouement. The Herzelian “state like all the others”, a slave to the prerogatives of the free-market economy, is no longer fulfilling the needs of national expression. That these two historical trajectories should converge at the same point in time is no mere coincidence.

If we are to believe that oft repeated maxim, that history is doomed to repeat itself, then the ultimate logical solution to the crime of Nakba, if allowed to manifest, will resemble in intent the final retribution for murdering Christ. If history is destined to repeat itself then the subconscious yearnings of the Israeli people for cosmic significance has not yet reached its full expression.

If, as Jung believed, subconscious desires manifest themselves in reality, then perhaps the yearnings for cosmic significance that lie at the core of the Israeli protests have not reached their true expression in the Tent City of Rothschild Boulevard. But rather, they are the harbinger of a far more radical and terrifying change.

Final Words

Akiva stood on the desolate mound that had once been home to God’s glorious temple. His colleagues wailed and moaned, they tore their clothing in grief and sat with ashes on their heads. Jerusalem was in ruins, the nation destroyed and the people sold into slavery. Yet Akiva smiled and laughed, danced and skipped.

Bewildered, his tear-stricken colleagues inquired: “Akiva, have you gone mad? A fox walks where the Holy of Holies once stood, yet you giggle like a child.”

“Friends,” began the Sage, “truly this is a terrible sight to behold. Yet all of it, the pain and the suffering, the anguish and despair, were all foretold by the Prophets of yore.”

“So,” they demanded indignantly, “what of it? Is it our lot to rejoice that the prophecies of destruction have come to pass in fulfillment of His Word?”

“My friends,” continued Akiva, “We have witnessed the fulfillment of the prophecies of destruction. Yet this can only mean one thing. We are on the cusp of witnessing the prophecies of redemption. Just as this miserable desolation has come to pass precisely as it was foretold, so too, the prophecies of joy and salvation will soon inevitably come to be.”

The sages stood in confusion. Could this be correct? Could the end of everything they had held sacred and dear be the precursor to something even greater? It seemed impossible. And then they realized. The force that guided all of history had guided them to this very spot, just as had been foretold. And this same force, that had guided all of their actions, would soon lead them to uplands of tomorrow. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the people would soon manifest in an even greater way. Soon they would fulfill their true destiny.

“Akiva” declared the group as one, “you have comforted us. Akiva you have comforted us.”
Yoram Symons is the Executive Director of Ark. His blog can be found here.


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  • Larry Stillman says:

    I don’t think a solution to the Israel/Palestine crisis is going to come about through such indulgent metaphysics. I think it is particularly offensive to bring in such things as ‘the final retribution for murdering Christ.’ This is a parallel to the worst sort of lunatic eschatological (end of days ) Christian and Muslim antisemitism one sees on the web and to collapse it with a largely political grievance is stupid.

    Of course there are Muslims who believe conspiracy theory garbage, in much the same way as many Jews believe garbage about the other.

    Don’t we have a responsibility to argue to accommodation and the power of reason, and particularly support the development of reason with Palestinians AND Israels, painful as that process is?

    The next thing I am expecting is to hear that the book of Revelations is to be read literally. Regrettably, this piece reminds me of one of those phantasmagorical medieval frescoes of all the sinners suffering in hell, then to rise up on the day of judgement with the few to be redeemed. Great art, great medieval story-telling, but that’s where it belongs.

    Palestinians and Israelis with even 1/2 a bean in their head realize that the separation of religion and state is essential in the future for a political solution.

    And a lot of protesters shouldn’t be connected with cosmic significance or manifest destiny in particular. They are just city dwellers with some serious problems.

  • Yoram Symons says:

    Awesome comment Larry!

  • R B says:

    Why should anyone look for a complex philosophic theory behind the “tent city”?

    The truth is much simpler – and much more cynical:


    (in Hebrew)

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