Identity again and press freedom. AB Yehoshua, the most renouned Israeli author of all times (well, there is no all times yet- see you can say this about any society except Israel), thinks that you are only a Jew if you are an Israeli. It is a very thorny issue there to define who is Jewish and who is not. But say we agree with ABY on this, then does this mean that if you are Israeli you are only Jewish?
You see there are certain matters which cannot be turned into black and white, this is one of them. I will not bother trying to prove him right or wrong, but to me I think that, in contradiction to all other identities Jews identify themselves with whatever the other is not. That is why they always had a parallel society around the world. When they came to Palestine they also created a parallel society. Then they turned the native Palestinian society into becomming the parallel and theirs was the mainstream.
The same is also true of the state itself. Where else do you hear"light unto the nations" and "the oasis of democracy in the Middle Eastern desert"?
So now it is the freedom of the press. They make fun of Syria, in Haaretz, "No media like official media". Let's try to draw a picture of Israel. I think there are two circles of political authority in Israel, The larger is Zionism as a defining factor of the state. Whatever political parties disagree upon they have to agree to zionism. Zionism as such has a great moral and ideological authority to all Israelis. The smaller circle of authority is that which we find in every other country, ie. the political system of parties and their different interests, which are all secondary to zionism.
So if you try to analyse the Israeli system according to what you see in the internal circle, you find, a completely dynamic political system with democracy freedom of press and the whole lot. Where else in the middle east would you find criticism of those in power, corruption stories published by the press and even criticism of the army's actions all of this falls under the smaller circle.
In the larger circle, those in power are not individuals but rather an ideal, Zionism. So where in the Israeli society do you find comptetition with zionism. They do, indeed, have a one party system don't they. Think of it as if Red Russia allowed slight variations, so you would get pink, orange and maroon as acceptable.
SO the grass is not really greener on the other side. Or, as a Jewish South African teacher of mine used to say, it is only greener on the otherside because there is so much shit on the other side.

1 comment:

Rima Al Ajrami said...

Great Blog, and great blogger too :)
all the best of luck and keep on pleasing us with your somewhat crazy thoughts but yet interesting