Monday, October 4, 2010

being true to Judaism

Earlier this year, an attempt by the University of California at Berkeley student senate to have the school engage in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel failed. It was vetoed by the senate president Will Smelko.

Part of the process were hearings. At one (video just below) 84 year old Hedy Epstein testified. Her speech is only ten minutes long, but reveals the view of those who suffered from the Holocaust yet do not see Israel as the spokesman for or representative of worldwide Jewry or the precepts of Judaism. By the way, when she refers to the president - it is to the student senate president, not Barack Obama

To emphasize the relationship between the suffering of Jews in past times and the suffering of Palestinians at present, I provide a second video. You need not watch it all. The pertinent segment is from 3:00 to 9:00 minutes, during which a Palestinian woman breaks down in anguish over living in fear for her home and family in the face of a threatened Israeli demolition project in her East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al Bustan. At first calm and composed for the interview, she finally cannot hide her despair. I challenge any viewer not to feel it with her. In an uncanny similarity - both Hedy Epstein's father and the Palestinian woman's husband were marched away from their homes in their pajamas by the authorities.

To conclude - the words of a former soldier in the IDF, Chen Alon, from an article published in Haaretz...
In testimony to the makers of the documentary film "On the Objection Front" (2004 ), Alon said, "As a 19-year-old kid it doesn't seem so terrible to you to enter someone's home. But when you live your life and have a family and a home of your own, and you argue for an hour about where to hang each picture and where each thing should go, suddenly the thought arises that someone will knock on your door and you will have to open, and 10 animals like me enter, and each of them can kick a chair, mess up a cupboard, open a door, spill everything on the floor, tell you 'Open this door,' ask you, 'What are these papers?' And this can happen on any given day at any given time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, at whatever time someone can enter your home without any sort of permission or authorization. Just because he feels like it; and even if he doesn't feel like it - because he has to. Because he was ordered to enter homes twice during the patrol. That is an intolerable thought.

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