Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jerusalem Day 2011

This is a really fascinating video that depicts parts of Jerusalem Day 2011. 
As with so many YouTube videos, usually the most fascinating thing is the comments underneath the video.
One of the more common things said about this video was that they were probably not Israelis but Americans.  There's probably some truth to it.  That said, the point of the video was not to necessarily criticize all Israelis but Zionists, and although many Zionists may live in Israel, you can believe in the absolute right of Israel as a theocratic state and not actual be a resident of the country.
There was a lot of debate over what this means, but it obviously depicts a certain culture of fear.  In doing this, Zionists send the message that non-Jewish homes will not be respected, and that Zionists have the right to everything there.  For an American example, if white people charged into a predominately African American neighborhood at night, singing songs about the superiority of white people and how white people own the land, and then shouted phrases that called for the slaughter of those African Americans, that behavior would be unacceptable.  It would instill a sense of fear to those African Americans about the safety of their community and the wider world's sense of being against them and seeing them as less than human. 
What's important to take away from this video is the intersections of nationalism and racism.  Nationalism is a tool of the state to make its citizens loyal to them no matter what atrocities they may commit (often worded rhetorically as "for the best of the people" etc.)  States encourage racism because it create an "us versus them" mentality, further reinforcing loyalty to manipulative and oppressive forces.
This video also highlights the importance between separation between state and religion, because most of the problems depicted here are specifically problems that happen in a theocratic society, where one set of religious beliefs is endorsed by the state.  Israel doesn't even endorse Judaism per se but an extremely right-wing, nationalistic version of Judaism, similar in some ways to the nationalistic versions of Christianity (currently used by most members of the American Right Wing Christian groups) and the nationalistically-influenced strains of Islam.  Religion is a tool of numerous states, and its use is not only detrimental to the people who live under that state, a member of that religion or not, but it obfuscates the actual problems. 
Being Jewish is seen as a requirement of Israeli citizenship.  What would be really revolutionary is for citizenship not to be based on religion or ethnic identity.  

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