What we need [indeed!]…

Searching for something in my Facebook timeline I came across a post I’d shared on Facebook two months or so ago, & felt impelled to make & share this meme:

whatweneed meme You can read the full article here: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.706175.

Between the Two Sisters (A Chapter) – by Nitza [Karpel] Flantz

Nitza, my dear life-partner (on the left in the pic below) has just posted this memoir on Facebook, & I want to share it here, also as a small picture from a history of the history that I married into & that has been part of my own history & life for the past 51+ years now:

Between the Two Sisters (A Chapter)

nitzamuniatamar

Something personal I wrote on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016.
I wrote it in English, although Hebrew is the language I was born into, and I asked my devoted life-partner Richard to go over it and help me so it will be readable.
It has to be in English as I want my four grandchildren who are brought up in Australia to be able to read it at some time in their life.

We are two sisters, born three years apart during the time of World War 2.
Not in Poland where the horrors happened, and where all my parents’ families were living, but in sunny, white, modern and young Tel Aviv (the first Hebrew city of modern times), a city that was built with tremendous energies, on the uninhabited sands of the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, north of old Jaffa.

My parents took part in living in and building this city and this dream. They came to Palestine in the early 1930s, like and with many others young people, in their early 20s, leaving their families, following their dream of a new world, a new way of life, in an independent Jewish homeland. Choosing to become pioneers, hard workers, in a hot and unknown land, and to build a new home, rebelling against the old oppressed way of living in Europe. I still keep in my archive letters sent to them from their families, and old photos of their life in Europe, that my father kept all his life in little packages tied with rubber bands, but never shared with us. I found out that my father’s mother also knew how to write in modern Hebrew, I guess she was a Zionist herself, as I also know that his parents helped him with the ticket to Palestine.

My sister Tamar was born in 1940, a year or so after Poland was occupied by the Nazis. Although letters stopped arriving in 1939, I believe my parents did not grasp what was going on.
Tamar is an ancient Hebrew name, it is the name of the tree that bears dates, a tall, strong and nourishing tree which can survive on very little water in hot countries. A symbol of life in the Jewish tradition. This is what my parent wished for her and for themselves. To this day my sister Tamar is strong and tall and was able to raise and nourish her own family and have a stable life.

I was born three years later in 1943, and I understand that by then my parents knew much more. This was the year the Soviet Army managed to stop the Nazi invasion, but the slaughter of the Jews in Poland was enormous. I keep feeling that my grandparents, my two aunts and my little three-year-old cousin David were murdered while I was in my mother’s womb.

They named me Nitzhia, a name which is an invention of the new modern Hebrew, a word that contains in it three powerful somewhat mystical words: victory, eternity, and one of the names of God.
I keep thinking today that this name given to me must have come from desperation of not being able to do a thing in the face of the human degeneration… – to seek comfort in some spiritual power.
I don’t have any memory of them using this name when talking to me or talking about me, as I only remember the name Nitza, which means the season of budding, more optimistic and close to nature. But they kept the official name in all the official important documents, as if to tell me again and again not to forget the name I was given.

They did not talk much, I didn’t understand much until I grew up. My mother was saved by her own motherhood experience, she kept some joyful energies with a touch of cynicism, while my father became more and more closed, detached, depressed, with unexpected bursts of anger.

I don’t know exactly how the events of history, biography and the name I was given influenced who I became to be, but I do know that since early childhood I have recorded memories like short movies in my mind, and I have made it a kind of emotional routine to revisit and see them again and again as in my private video library, consciously reliving what I kept.

I feel my own little victory will be to tell about them in writing, and by this bring them closer to eternity, for me, for my parents, for my only sister, for the family Richard and I made, for my grandparents and family I never knew.

A response to comments on my reposting Avner Meitner’s post

A couple of days I reposted a post by Avram Meitner, and wrote that I thought it “brave, concise & accurate”. In comments to this post on my blog & on Facebook I’ve been told that it’s stupid, vile, shite, & I should be ashamed & embarrassed for reposting it. Well, I don’t think it’s any of these things & I’m not ashamed or embarrassed.

OK, maybe I shouldn’t insist on the word ‘accurate’. I have no robust evidence about the real motives of either Balfour or Brandeis, but I do suspect that on this (whatever Balfour may have said to Weitzman or other Zionists, & whatever Brandeis did for Zionism in & from America) Avram Meitner is spot on.

As I think that in essence he’s right about Hitler, who (after he was elected) cooperated with Zionists in a policy of emigration of Jews from Germany to Palestine, whose Nuremberg laws defined Jews on similar principles to the way Zionists define them, & whose monstrous policies and practices of mass massacres of Jews probably gave more support to Zionism than anything else in history.

But hey, how does it desecrate the Jewish victims of Nazi extermination & persecution to say that Zionism and anti-Semitism are in essence almost the same thing?

First of all, anti-Semitism is an attitude to Jews. It isn’t necessarily a policy of extermination. Nazi anti-Semitism is an extreme particular case of anti-Semitism. Some seemingly knee-jerk reactions seem to equate anti-Semitism with its most terrible manifestation. But anti-Semitism is much more widespread than that, and most of it continues without the murdering & persecution of Jews. & its essence can be described as Meitner describes it so concisely: “a collection of prejudices and views about Jews that were marketed predominantly, although not exclusively to gentiles; namely that Jews were alien, Jews were other, Jews were a separate people who belonged somewhere else” . & in essence Zionism indeed “was [and still is] the exact same set of beliefs and prejudices but marketed predominantly, although not exclusively, to Jews”.

True, the purpose of anti-Semitism is to exclude Jews, the purpose of Zionism is to exclusively include Jews, & putatively to protect them. Only putatively, because today Israel is probably the least safe place for Jews in the world – & also because this place is not only Israeland, Eretz Yisrael, but Palestine.

& here, in Palestine (EY), we unfortunately find another parallel between Hitlerian anti-Semitism & Zionism: the Nazis’ goal of a Judenrein (empty of Jews) Europe, & the Zionists’ goal of an Arabenrein (empty of Arabs) Palestine. & before someone jumps on me for saying this: I am not implying that the Zionists are using the same methods as the Nazis or that they are guilty of a mass extermination program equal to the Shoah. On the other hand, I’m also not saying that there is nothing inhumane in the Zionism that has condemned millions of Arab Palestinians to a miserable life of suffering & disenfranchisment in refugee camps throughout the Levant & in the blockaded & besieged & recurrently mass-bombed Gaza Strip & in the occupied West Bank & East Jerusalem, & many others, citizens of “Israel”. to a life of discrimination, suspicion & inequality…

& another thing that should be remembered is that this treatment of Arab Palestinians by Jews is increasingly strengthening anti-Semitism throughout the world.

I’m sorry to have to state these sad facts, but it is better to see & say them than to remain in denial & pretend to be shocked whenever someone disturbs the silence about them.

israpal maps

 

“Zionism and anti-Semitism are almost exactly the same thing. The key difference is how they are marketed.”

Avram Meitner’s brave, concise & accurate post on Facebook today:

‘[…] Hitler WAS one of Zionism’s biggest supporters. […]
Zionism and anti-Semitism are almost exactly the same thing.
The key difference is how they are marketed. […]’
meitnerhitler

I’m not just a Jew

notjustajew2

The pic is a crop (by a friend who might prefer to remain anonymous) from a fantastic photo by Tal, taken ‘on the porch in the chill of the night, after all the good food, the good wine, and with good people. / Seder with the Aloni’s’, as my life-partner Nitza wrote when she posted the entire original on Facebook today.

And here are the lines (which I wrote in Hebrew & translated into English) without the pic, for easier reading:

notjustajewtext

 

 

David Palma: OUT OF EGYPT / לצאת ממצרים

I’ve enjoyed many of the statuses posted on Facebook by Hebrew poet and author David Palma, and today I felt I needed to translate this one, which he posted a couple of days before the Passover Eve “Seder”, together, happily, with an Arabic translation.