(September 12, 2011)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
Wanting...: Lynda Burstein Brayer's Palestinian Statehood – Kalaam Faadi
To the Editor:
I don't want to live in a state for "all of its people" whereby the Jews lose the only place on earth where they can enjoy self-determination and self-rule and self-expression. I want a place in the sun that is mine, with all its flaws, where I am not at the mercy of another's religion, politics, culture, whim, military might. I want my resurrected language, Hebrew, to flourish as a means of communication and art and poetry. I want my religion to stay in the light of day, where I can live it and nurture it. I want my rich, multi-cultural history -- gathered from all corners of the earth, incorporating languages and thought, philosophy and science from everywhere -- to implant here and take root and flourish into something never seen before on earth. I want the Jews to bring here everything they've learned in their long journey through the Diaspora and let it synthesize and grow organically in its own soil. I don't want to disappear here; I want to reappear. I am not a colonialist. I am not an imperialist. I am not a suppressor. I am not an aggressor. I am a human being with rights, needs, desires, wants. I want to be a Jew in a Jewish land. I don't want to die out. I want what Palestinians want. I want what you want. I want what every being wants.
Har Adar, Israel - August 29, 2011
[ed. These are heartfelt comments that are quite respectable, but they do entail a "little" problem best illustrated by the following picture, courtesy of Steve Amsel, the author of the invaluable DesertPeace Web site.]
Refreshing Ideas: Lynda Burstein Brayer's Palestinian Statehood – Kalaam Faadi
To the Editor:
My name is Elias Davidsson, born in Palestine in 1941. I wish to commend the excellent analysis provided by Ms. Lynda Brayer ("Palestinian Statehood - Kalaam Faadi"). Her anti-imperialist stance is well received.
I agree with her analysis regarding the futility, or even danger, of expecting any improvement by a nominal recognition of Palestinian "statehood" in the current circumstances. I equally agree with her about the illegitimacy of the Zionist state.
What I found interesting, and surprising, is her call for the revival of a Great Syria political entity instead of the usual anti-Zionist call for a secular and democratic Palestine. Her proposal appears to have major merits, I admit, over the anti-Zionist project of a secular-demoractic state for Palestinians and Israelis. I must say it never occurred to me before.
It is refreshing to see such novel ideas being put forward, miles apart from established political debate and imbued with human compassion. Please forward my gratitude to the author.
Bonn, Germany - August 30, 2011
Isaac Bashevis Singer, nu? Gilles d'Aymery's Yiddishkeit: Fun Dor Tsu Dor
To the Editor:
In his review of Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & the New Land (Swans, August 29), Gilles d'Aymery mentions in passing the authors' disesteem for Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Yiddish writer who won the Nobel Prize in 1978. I've since spent sleepless nights wondering what their reasons were. I'm afraid I'll be forced to buy the book to put my mind at rest. Maybe they agree with Saul Bellow who wrote in a letter that "Singer is like a Chinese stage Manager, supplied with props from the shtetl." Yet Bellow's virtuoso translation of Gimpel The Fool that appeared in Partisan Review in 1953 was said to have made Singer famous. The critic Irving Howe pointed out that Bellow's style had borrowed from Yiddish "the jabbing interchange of ironies, the intimate vulgarities, the blend of sardonic and sentimental." In 1953, Bellow paid off his debt by a tribute to Yiddish in his review of Sholem Aleichem stories: "The most ordinary Yiddish conversation is full of the grandest historical, mythological, and religious allusions. The Creation, the fall, the flood, Egypt, Alexander, Titus, Napoleon, the Rothschilds, the Sages, and the Laws may get into the discussion of an egg, a clothes-line, or a pair of pants."
Lecce, Italy - September 1, 2011
Paul Buhle responds:
A Great Review, and Prudence & Good Sense: Gilles d'Aymery's Yiddishkeit: Fun Dor Tsu Dor and Blips #111
Hey Monsieur d'Aymery,
You should hang up your economist's hat for a while and write more book reviews. Thanks to your excellent take on Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & the New Land I'm going to order a copy right away, hoping that it will be as good, entertaining, and informative as his [ed. and Nicole Schulman's] Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, which I enjoyed very much. Comics art is a perfect vehicle to let readers learn about a specific topic, and it provides a wonderful and quite entertaining aperçu on the covered topic. Great Review. I'll let you know what I think of the book.
It turns out that you were correct in your prudent comments about Dominique Strauss-Kahn last May. The 25-page document written by the DA's office was pretty devastating to the credibility of the complainant. Poor, immigrant, black woman being assaulted by powerful white man -- the kind of stuff Hollywood preys upon (wait for the movie) and idiots on the monitor-left relinquish. So DSK was instantly depicted as a pig, a pervert, a predator, "a crazed, rutting, wrinkly old satyr," in the words of Maureen Dowd -- his career and political future put asunder, all due to the allegations of an inveterate liar. I wonder whether Dowd and the multiple pricks who hammered DSK to death will ever issue an apology. Don't count on it.
The 24/7 entertainment news networks love salacity. It sells ads -- and a French womanizer sells even more ads...and settles a few scores. Comes to mind to balance the ethnic stereotype Eliot Spitzer, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Mark Sanford, the "Sperminator" [ed. Arnold Schwarzenegger], and let's not forget Bill Clinton and JFK.
As to morality, puritan or otherwise, what's the Spinoza saying that you enjoy quoting from time to time?
Allez, bon vent!
Paris, France - August 31, 2011
[ed. Spinoza once said that the perfection of things must be measured according to their own nature and things are not more or less perfect because they please our senses or hurt them.]
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