One Mean Jewish Settler


The paradox is that some people only seem to like you once you become mean.  A good case in point is the groups of German journalists, politicians and lecturers who are brought to Israel by their government and after having met a wide range of Israeli leaders and experts, come to Maale Adumim to meet settler Judah Ben-Yosef.

The comfortable air conditioned tour bus stops outside our city mall and I jump on with a sprightly step that belies my years. There always seems to be some short-haired woman who wants to shake my hand, something I generally try not to do, and each time anew I contemplate the dilemma, but end off shaking to avoid us both embarrassment.

Of late I’ve been politely asked to avoid sarcasm or other forms of humor as these two traits are clearly not in fitting with the CNN/BBC image of what a settler is supposed to be. We are supposed to be either naïve, starry eyed Bible wielding, bearded cowboys or Brooklyn-born, cruel, uncaring warmongers. The bad guys in old movies never have a good sense of humor.  However, I can’t control myself and I begin with a joke.

“Welcome to Maale Adumim the second largest city in Judea and Samaria. My name is Judah Ben-Yosef, I’ve lived here for 25 years and we’re always excited to receive guests (looks of skepticism). I know that none of you have any preconceived notions   as to what a settlement or a settler look like..” (I see smiles appear) “..I know that you are all wholly objective and have come with open minds to listen and learn.” That is too much. The bus seems to shake with laughter as the Western journalists hysterically contemplate the absurd thought that they might actually be arriving with open minds. Open mouths always – open minds, hardly ever.

In their eyes, long before we’ve met, long before they’ve seen anything they are aware of certain undeniable, irrefutable truths. We are all “obstacles to peace” “part of the problem” “living on stolen Palestinian land”, but I’m feeling fine. The sun is shining over the hills of Judea and my home looks more beautiful than ever. My guests appear to understand my English and most importantly they appreciate a good gag when they hear one.

I began working for the German government (occasionally) about four years ago. I had no illusions that after two weeks of careful brain-washing by Arab spokesmen and far worse the Israeli Left wing, my two hours wouldn’t go a long way towards changing many minds. I am a chess player, so I defined for myself what I considered to be three realistic, realizable goals:

  1. To physically show them the size of a 40,000 man strong city. I hoped this would go some way to denting the stereotype of the two tents, a goat and a flag Jewish settlement.
  2. To demonstrate that historically Maale Adumim has never been part of any kind of Palestinian or Arab state, that nobody besides us and a few 13th century monks have ever lived here and that geographically there are plenty of other barren mountaintops.
  3. To demonstrate that we are not all religious Right-wing fanatics (like me) but that the population of Maale Adumim contains a cross-section of Israeli citizens Religious, Secular and others; new immigrants and old-timers, Right, Center and even some Left-wingers.

My main objective is to try to dent stereotypes. I believe that when an intelligent person realizes that many of the stereotypes he’s been sold are incorrect, he or she may begin to question them all. This might lead to researching the subject more thoroughly, which in turn even affect some change in opinions.

In many ways it’s the first few minutes that will determine to what extent the tour influences each person. They all look out the windows and see a picturesque, peaceful, modern, well-run Western city. This sight is invariably the exact antithesis of everything they’ve been taught to expect. When stereotyping clashes with reality there is an immediate state of shock, or even crises. In very broad terms one can talk about three characteristic responses:

  1. Some choose to look in the directions of the surrounding mountains rather than at the city. They will henceforth prefer to focus on the “bigger picture” having understood that they know precious little about the “details”
  2. There are those who honestly seem to believe that Maale Adumim is some kind of clever scam that the Israeli government is running to trick visitors like themselves. “Everything here looks fine, but what about the real settlers? Why aren’t you all carrying guns? Is that a Bible?”
  3. Occasionally I come across intellectually honest individuals who absorb what they are being told and ask questions not to try to catch me out, but because they really want to know. Surprisingly, two groups that stand out in this category are journalists from former East Germany and a group of German, Moslem journalists and lecturers.

The tour is really just the prelude. After about an hour we finally sit down to talk. I give a lecture and then they ask questions. Over the years I’ve shortened the lecture as it seems that they have so many questions and we never have enough time anyway. Topics range from Theology to Education, Zionism, Islam, my vision for the future. As is the way of things, some questions arise every time and others stagger me by their originality. Some reveal enormous ignorance while others surprising knowledge. As a personal challenge I try to never give the same answer twice. Among the questions I’m always asked:

Why would someone like you choose to leave London in order to come and live here?

Do any non-Jews live in Maale Adumim?

What would you do if your government chose to evacuate Maale Adumim? Would you resist?

Do you have any Palestinian friends?

Do you accept the idea of a Two-State Solution?

However, one decision I made from the outset was never to mention the Holocaust. That would be my Nuclear Option. I’d save that one for the day that I get stumped.  Thank G-d that day never came.

I must admit I was tempted. When a tall blond male with blue eyes so cold that they might turn water to ice badgered me as to how I would maintain a Jewish State with the demographic challenges posed by the Palestinian birth-rate I was tempted to answer that if his ancestors hadn’t killed 6,000,000 of mine, there might be less of a demographic problem today – but I held my peace. There are plenty of other, more rational replies.

Then, guess what. Last time I finally lost it. A not unattractive lady journalist asked me how I feel when I read the kind of things that are written about Israel. The question was not especially provocative, but maybe I was just in a bad mood. Maybe my advancing years had made me lose my patience. For whatever reason, on that day, I didn’t feel like playing games. For once I’d say what I really felt.

“It reminds me of the story of the man who comes home unexpectedly one day to find his wife in bed with the neighbor. He was shocked! He was shocked….. but he wasn’t surprised. (laughter – timing the punch line is everything.)

Am I shocked? Am I shocked when I read the reports? Of course I am. Who could read such lies and not be shocked?

Am I surprised? Am I surprised that the grandchildren of the monsters who dragged by great-grandfather into a gas chamber or buried him alive write articles that are critical of Israel? How surprised should I be?” (uncomfortable silence)

More questions follow then, after the bizarre ceremony of exchanging visiting cards with people who live in a country that I have no intention of ever visiting in this life or the next, their group leader thanks me, polite applause follows and soon my guests are back on their bus. Within minutes they’ll be merrily making their way to the Dead Sea.

I guess I really have reached the age when what people think matters less. It’s been a long time coming, like my newly-acquired appreciation of unsweetened mint tea, but I always knew the day would catch up with me, eventually.

Two days later I receive a mail:

“Dear Judah,

again, thank you very much for agreeing to meet the group.

Your tour of Ma’ale Adumim received great feedback from the participants.

Best regards,

(NAME WITHELD)”

Like I said, the paradox is that some people only seem to like you once you become mean, and I’m one mean Jewish settler.

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51 Responses to One Mean Jewish Settler

  1. ebrrr34 says:

    This is a comment.

  2. Michael Goldman says:

    After having been to your house and also having you refuse my request to sponser my bike ride for disabled children I accept that you are both mean and a settler, but a chess player ?!

  3. Judah says:

    I welcome Moshe Goldman as the first commentator on this blog.

  4. Michael Goldman says:

    Thanks Judah but if things don’t liven up I could be the only one.
    This is surely a blog which rivals Gert’s in sheer volume!

  5. Judah says:

    Just a beginning.

    In the words of Geoge Bernard Shaw, “Bring a friend, if you have one.”

  6. Silke says:

    wow, would I love to comment on that one, but multipolar me just can’t decide which hat to put on, masochistic German me insists on taking the lead, but mean teutonic me hates mea culpa crowdism, so for the time being I have to admit that logorrheic me currently suffers from severe obstipation and has to restrict herself to book-lover me saying: I have discovered a new favourite writer and who cares about chess-prowess.

  7. Silke says:

    Michael,
    there are first-class blogs out there, offering valuable content and their comment on it, where there seems to be not much commenting going on – I won’t post any links, because they are in need of Gert, trying to get the hidings he is addicted to, like they need a sore thumb.
    The difference between those blog and GertieBaby is, that they are not in the business of “developing their web-presence” by commenting on other blogs and then walling up their own blog so heavily that their paranoia seems to be multiple times of what would be healthy and bears witness to how weak they must deem their position to be that they need security fencing enhanced by meant to frighten the living daylight out of anybody but the most courageous.

    As I tend to find blogs worth my time via their offerings being mentioned in pieces fit for polite society I assume lots of other people do the same and what are they to comment on, if they are fed a sane and rational opinion that syncs with one’s own experiences in real life?
    I agree, love it, you are right – how many ways are there to say that?

  8. Michael Goldman says:

    Silke
    You’ve got to get this Gert syndrome out of your system.
    It seems that you see a Gert lurkung at every corner.
    There’s more to life than hating Gert!

  9. Silke says:

    Michael
    actually Gert is of very very secondary or tertiary (I can’t count further in Latin but I hope you get the picture) interest to me – I only got obsessed by him, because he constantly tried to interfere in my true love interest i.e. the Fraudster Ibrahim and then of course there is the still unsolved mystery of my stolen moniker.

    As to hating I am way too lazy for that, once they’ve gone away or keep mum, I lose all interest immediately.

  10. Michael Goldman says:

    Ah !
    So you admit to being obsessed.

  11. Silke says:

    Michael
    no matter how much you tease me I will not let you in on my dark secrets

    as Byron kind of said: “mine are my faults and mine be their reward”

  12. Michael Goldman says:

    Silke
    I truly thank you for sparing me that honour

  13. Pingback: Ein fieser jüdischer Siedler «

  14. Abu Zibby says:

    The Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.

  15. Silke says:

    Congrats!!!

    first post and already picked up abroad!!!

    now is this the Hun at the throat or at the feet?😉
    (I think the saying is true and applies more general to all people prone to be servile – but here’s a question: on the one hand Brits call us Huns, who are said to have been short bow-legged pony-riding terrors – on the other hand I understand we are to be tall blond blue-eyed haughty terrors i.e. the type whose legs would trail the ground, if he were to ride a pony)

    http://lizaswelt.net/2010/08/04/ein-fieser-juedischer-siedler/
    which in turn has been picked up by this website
    http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/article/ein_fieser_juedischer_siedler/
    and as Google shows aggregators have picked up the piece too.

  16. Hans says:

    I just read the German translation of this entry on Achse des Guten. Very well written, Mr. Ben-Yosef. I’d really like to meet you in person but usually only traveling in Israel on my own that I will hardly get the chance, I assume. I like what Maale Adumim represents as a shining example of settlement. Many smaller cities in my country could most likely learn something from your hometown. All the best, Hans.

  17. Silke says:

    welcome, Hans
    Judah has told on another blog that he is away on vacation for a week
    I am glad you asked about visiting Ma’ale Adumim. I have been pestering Judah for ages now to start writing another piece describing tourist accommodations for his town which Google tells me looks very very enticing – maybe he’ll now concede that I am not as crazy as he thinks I am.

  18. Pingback: Ein fieser jüdischer Siedler « Nach der Wahrheit graben

  19. Judah says:

    Hi Hans,

    Thank you very much. I’d be honored to show you around Maale Adumim next time you’re in Israel.

    Now is as good a time as any to thank the incredible Silke for all her encouragement and for all the work she’s put in.

    Likewise, the co-author of this blog will, in my opinion, one day go down in history books under Great Jewish Women.

    I have never met either of these two ladies in person, but my wife has given me permission to say that I love them both.

    Judah

  20. Silke says:

    Judah
    what’s wrong?
    Have you been in the sun too long?
    please don’t start getting mellow! I am touched but I enjoy the other you very very much.
    oh and tell your wife I love you too and I love her for having trained you so successfully into being such a wonderful person (no male could ever have managed that by himself😉

  21. Co-author says:

    I second Silke with all that. As for the sun, we have just hosted here in UK some friends from Israel who have thoroughly enjoyed the gray sky and torrential rain due to the excessive heat of late in Israel. So on that basis I also recommend staying out of the sun for now.

    I hope in many years in old age I may be able to accept the compliment but time will tell, in the meantime there is so much work to do in this sinking country/continent.

    Now on a more serious note, I think that it may be prudent to set up about now commision structures with any guest houses and hotels in Ma’ale Adumim ready for the tourist boom your piece will undoubtedly create. Buisness is business after all.

  22. Silke says:

    Yes, Co-Author

    I feel very confident that if we keep at it a flourishing business of B&Bs may go of the ground in Ma’ale Adumim and elsewhere.*) As I know my countrymen they want to savour the settlement experience in close connection with the locals (if I’d dig human company I would). As I imagine not all locals are as willing to suffer the friendliness of strangers (Tennessee Williams) I suggest that the hosts are selected by lottery.

    … and of course guests must be strictly advised from the beginning, never to initiate intimacies like handshakes or embraces. Israelis have a reputation for being brusque, that’s what the tourist has paid for and so that’s what he/she must get. And to enhance the experience they should be granted sightseeing trips or days on the beach only after having collected enough points for good behaviour. I can think of lots of similar stuff to guarantee that when they come back to their office they will easily be able to dominate the chat in the coffee kitchen.

    *) maybe it is advisable that Ma’ale Adumim already now files for protection of the idea(s) so that it may cash in on profits which follow-uppers will reap.

  23. Co-author says:

    I think Silke, that is a potentially excellent business plan in its infancy stage!

  24. Silke says:

    Co-author
    I think so too, I read the other day that they pay 40.000 to “climb” mount everest – if hardship is so desirable to them, we not get a piece of the cake, the reputation is already there
    of course Jehuda may still be nice with them, when he feels like it, I think a good cop, bad cop routine would spice up the whole experience considerately

  25. Judah says:

    “… and of course guests must be strictly advised from the beginning, never to initiate intimacies like handshakes or embraces. Israelis have a reputation for being brusque..”-

    Nonsense, we are a very warm people.

    The handshaking thing is religious, not sociological. Simply put, most religious Jews usually avoid physical contact with members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married or close family of (mainly daughters and mothers etc). However, many make exceptions and shake hands that are extended to them in order to avoid embarrassing unknowing strangers. This is generally my practice too.

    Four years ago a senior Israeli politician was found guilty of sexual molesting a young woman. Apparently he and the IDF officer had posed together for a photo, they had kissed and he inserted his tongue against her will.

    At the time someone explained that kissing on the lips is not unusual between strangers and not considered to be sexual while French kissing is. Somebody else argued that their age difference made the act into a crime and had he been 20-years-old and had it have taken place in a disco and not a government office it would have been excusable.

    It occurred to me at time that there was much to be said for the old Jewish injunction and if nothing else it helps avoid misunderstandings. About a year ago a female student who had passed an exam asked if she could hug me, I simply said, “no”. Goldman will doubtless be swift to point out that I am no great loss to womankind anyway, and he ought to know.

    Am well into a West Bank settlers’s perspective of the World Cup, an idea suggested by the evergreen Silke.

  26. Silke says:

    Judah
    Goldman will have no time to point out anything as I guess he is already deep into circumventing any hopefully no longer existing settlement freeze, erecting the first “genuine settler experience guesthouse”.
    Kibbutzes were for ages the dream location for me and friends but alas with the transport as it was then and short vacation times it was an experience for the less committed to gainful employment.
    Also they were probably too serious about it all, forgetting that people with higher evolved sensitivities need to be guided into it by more market-oriented techniques … how else could they have let come this guy evolve http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/07/tony-judt-a-man-of-his-word/
    continued in next comment with next link

  27. Silke says:

    describing the experience here http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/jan/18/kibbutz/

    To avoid another sorry development like that I am quite willing to offer my expert advice free of knowledge, charge and obligation, even to Goldman whose jibes at you, dear teacher, make me feel quite often very sad.

    As to kissing, handshaking and touching what a lovely lecture you gave supporting my deep-seated prejudice that if you want to make things complicated, get into rules and regulations no matter what the provenance. On the other hand you are damaging my Unique Selling Point for the B&B-bonanza – you and Goldman really must come to terms – you claim to be chess players after all – I am told those types are great strategists – prove it.

    While I am at it here’s my wish for your next piece dawning on me. Elaborate on the difference of a Jew not shaking my hand (which I associated from my perch of experiences immediately with those who – for only too good reasons – would avoid speaking German whenever they could) and what I’m told about muslims refusing to do so. I dimly remember a heavily photo-shopped picture of Condoleezza Rice of it.

    As I am all against it for very different reasons and since during this swine-flue-threatening winter companies have been advising their employees to avoid hand-shakes to prevent infection (very wise measure btw likely to be a lot more effective than face masks) now seems the right time to kill the habit once and for all. (also if I remember correctly certain slimy gentlemen liked the occasion to force an extension of the moment and deep locking eyes on top. So let’s start a campaign but not in the “we only want to protect women” style I have heard muslims explain it because I am sure any number of my sisters has been up to equally dirty tricks while shaking a desired guy’s hand.)

    Or maybe start off the piece with all the aspects of kissing and do handshakes as an afterthought (it might “sell” better). Goldman may then immediately start to offer corresponding work-shops about how not to touch in his GSEG-house maybe even reminding dumb westerners that there is potential and art in quick glimpsing.

  28. Silke says:

    Judah
    it seems like your looking out of the window journalists are of the better mannered classes:

    http://cifwatch.com/2010/08/04/update-from-cif-watch-contributor-on-the-scene-at-misgav-am-northern-israel/#comment-29577

    I have to say that whilst at the briefing yesterday I was struck by the fact that a significant number of the members of the mainstream media seemed to be more busy chatting among themselves or talking on their mobile phones than listening to the officers. Now I have a better understanding of why we get such vacuous reports from the MSM so often.

  29. E.J. Bron says:

    Hello Mr. Yosef,

    What a wonderful article you wrote!! I translated it in Dutch and I will send it for publication to this site:

    http://loorschrijft.web-log.nl/

    This is a pro-Jewish Dutch site with very interesting, mostly political, articles about
    Israel and her enemys, antisemitism etc.

  30. Judah says:

    Hi E.J.

    I would be honored to be translated into Dutch and put on the aforementioned blog.

    Shabbat shalom

    Judah

  31. Judah says:

    EJ

    I have checked out the blog and though my Dutch is not up to much I did notice many shapely ladies’ mammary glands.

    If you need a nice pair of tits to decorate by posting I might recommend M. Goldman and Gert.

    • E.J. Bron says:

      Hello Judah

      The webmaster of this site is a beautiful woman named Loor (as you can see!). I really don’t know why she is using these pictures! (I like them very much though!!!😉 )

      * Author’s note.

      When EJ writes that he likes them very much, we assume “them” refers to the pictures.

  32. Silke says:

    Judah
    pray which meaning is your last sentence supposed to have?
    please translate

  33. Altalena says:

    Hi,
    Nice post and an interesting insight, but I must add that if there’s any nation that has done incredible work on facing their own crimes and mistakes, it is the Germans.

    I am a Hungarian Jew, and one of our Jewish Nobel-prize winners, Holocaust survivor Imre Kertesz has moved to live in Germany… despite having been a victim of the Shoah. He finds it more cultured and much more clean of anti-semitism than the rest of Europe, and I completely agree with him.
    I admire Germans for what they have done in facing their past. Compare that with Great Britain for example…

    You write: “blue eyes so cold that they might turn water to ice”. I understand that in those eyes you see the reflection of our ancestors being dragged away by similarly blue-eyed SS members. But I would urge you to try and rub away some of that prejudice, and instead see a German who visits Israel perhaps as his way of struggling with the past of his nation, as we struggle with ours.

    Keep up the good work,
    A.

  34. Judah says:

    Hi Altelana,

    Interesting pen-name. You walk in the shoes of a giant, be worthy of him.

    Firstly, I agree. I’ve been in a holiday resort full of Germans for almost a week now. I wear my kippah, as does my son and all the Germans have been quite personable. Certainly much more so than the anti-Semitic British woman I saw in an Irish pub the other day.

    Actually, that is one of the ironies of the holocaust. If we’d go back in a time machine together a hundred years and ask European Jews which nation would be capable of committing such an act, nobody would think of the Germans. The Poles perhaps, the Lithuanians etc, but nobody would say the Germans. They were then, and are now not seen as a typically Jew hating nation. Paradoxically, that may be the reason why they were able to succeed where others had failed.

    Historically, let’s be frank. The German people did not stop killing Jews because of some change of mind or realization of their mistake. They lost the war and US and Soviet soldiers literally had to drag them away from their ovens. Nazism was meant to usher in a thousand year Reich and had Hitler not invaded Poland, or attacked the USSR, or had Britain had lost the Battle of Britain, or had the US not entered the war after Pearl Harbor, we would today be 77 years into the thousand. More accurately, we’d both be bars of soap or lampshades.

    I can’t rub away that prejudice, nor can my children, nor can you. Of course I prejudge a nation that destroyed 6,000,000 of my brothers and sisters. To not do so would turn me into a monster.

    The question, to my mind, is not whether I prejudge the German nation. The question is where I take that prejudice and what I do with it. Suppose I know someone to come from a family of thieves, but I am told that he has repented the ways of his fathers and has become a good and honest man. If he offers to look after my money, I may even give him the benefit of the doubt, but clearly my decision will not be divorced from the prior knowledge that I have. If he appears to be trying to cheat me I may even put it down to his family background.

    The Torah teaches us that G-d punishes us for the sins of our fathers, but also that each man is only liable for his own sins. Our rabbis explain that if a man leaves the ways of his father and becomes righteous he is rewarded. But if he continues them he is punished not just for his sins, but for those of his father too.

    The German people suffered terribly because of the leadership they chose for themselves and should have learned the wrongs of their ways. Those who have done so can be good, even great people. I love them because they were created in the image of Almighty G-d.

    But those who have learned nothing, but have just changed the name anti-Antisemitism to Anti-Zionism and continue in the ways of their fathers, them I prejudge. They will rot in a place in a hell far worse than their fathers. Their fathers will at least be able to beg for mercy before their Maker and say that when they chose their Fuhrer they didn’t know what might happen. Their children, with their cold blue eyes, who try to pull down the Israel security fence to let the terrorists in, who call for boycotts of Israeli products, what will they say? Them I prejudge.

  35. Hans says:

    Judah, very well said. And as a German, I have to fully agree. The current Anti-Zionism in my country is blatantly open and undisguised. And growing across all social classes.

  36. E.J. Bron says:

    Judah

    I have to agree with Hans. Even in the former “liberal” country of the Netherlands, where I live, antisemitism crops up again under the name of antizionism. And the government is looks the other way, afraid as they are of Islamic immigrants!!!!

    They are all cowards!!!😦

  37. Silke says:

    Despite all the public penance we Germans did, the belly remained fertile, one only had to notice the little stuff which, given our ancestry kept my alarms in operating mode.

    Way before Anti-Zionism became the rallying call, two of my PhD-ed chemist colleagues would get the chuckles whenever we chatted about our sore backs and I would mention Feldenkrais. Moshe, hi hi ha ha, what a funny first name and that despite the fact that they found merits in the method, no problem there, … and no they were not first generation academics.

    As to Germans, who is going to think ill of a people that adores its forests and is home to Grimm’s fairy tales and Goethe? – What if the Brits had crossed a line like we did in 1933? Would my love for Robert Graves, Jane Austen, George Orwell and Winston Churchill (to name just a few) keep me from believing what I see unfolding?

    Ever since I realised how these “harmless” Moshe-chuckles had become viral in 2006 I have been surprised again and again that I seem to be meeting the same people everywhere. This makes me guess that “we” must be a small crowd. On the other hand when I do my pro-Israel chatting up with cashiers and other service people it seems to me that they are willing to regard Israelis as of their kind i.e. who don’t care for rockets to land in their back yard or who don’t dig vandals who saw off a ship’s reling.
    As to the ice-blue eyes …

    – I liked that one – for me it is much much easier to relate to somebody who is aware of his prejudices than to somebody who is holier than thou. Due to my upbringing I for one will always have a hard time, trusting a Catholic, even though it turned out that my most admired colleague who was as perfect a humane human being as can be turned out to be catholic – the shock of that revelation still reverberates in me but hasn’t managed to eradicate the prejudice. 😉

    (I’m not implying that my family was free of anti-semitic feelings but distrust of Catholics and consequently Bavarians and Austrians dominated.)

    Hans and E.J.

    lovely that I am for once not the only “European” around …

  38. E.J. Bron says:

    @Silke

    You’re welcome!!😉🙂

  39. Silke says:

    Judah
    “..the German people suffered terribly” needs qualifying:

    – Some did,however, for lots big parts of life went on quite normal and afterwards it was one big always upwards life (in the West and there mostly in the American zone)

    – There were for example whole areas that never experienced a bomb attack.

    – I am not objecting to recognizing individual pain and hurt but I find that by now too much is lumped together in “narratives” which then claim to be representing the whole, like the to me outrageous general agreement on area bombing having been a war crime and ineffective to boot.

    So never forget that when in the first half of the seventies I took care of bunches of British, French and Dutch draftsmen (i.e. people all of the same class) assigned to a German/American company.

    I couldn’t help noticing that they would compare on a well-off scale judged on criteria like luster of hair and the like as follows: Brits looked like poverty was still quite close, Dutch and German looked like Americans and French were in between. And here is an audio from the BBC-witness series about the London Olympics 1948 – listen to it with an ear to the food situation where the Danes brought 160.000 eggs, the Dutch fruits and vegetables and the US bread to supplement British diet and other amazing info-bits about it

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p008qlmc

  40. E.J. Bron says:

    Judah,

    Off topic:

    This morning I received an Email from a friend. In this Email was a beautiful article named “Silicon Israel”, here it is:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_3_jewish-capitalism.html

  41. Altalena says:

    Judah,
    thanks for your elaborate reply.

    I did not mean to say that there is no anti-semitism in Germany. There is, all over Europe, and Germans are no acception.
    I was rather referring to such statements in your post like “a country that I have no intention of ever visiting in this life or the next”. I do understand why you’re saying this, but I can’t help noticing how unjust it is, at the same time, towards a people who have gone (to my mind) to amazing depths of honesty and self-torment after WWII.
    Not right after it, it took them another 10 years to start facing the facts, but they’ve done it. And this is more than any European country has done, who were not free of guilt by far themselves even though the Germans were the materminds.

    So will you also prejudge France with their Vichy regime, or Latvia, or Hungarians who were unashamedly doing their utmost to serve the Nazis? We can prejudge most of humanity if you consider how wide spread anti-semitism is. Or prejudge the US for not intervening until quite late in the war and not doing much to save Jewish lives either.
    But then where do we end up, and will there be a single country on the planet that we’d want to visit?

    I don’t have definitive answers to these questions, I just wanted to note that Germans have come a long way and in this respect they are better in my eyes that nations who perhaps have less guilt in their past but have not faced it.

    (The original owner of my pen-name is someone way above me, I won’t try to rival him, but my love for Eretz Yisrael is hopefully as uncompromisable as his was.)
    Hi Altelana,

    I have posted on the very interesting question that you raise.
    JB

  42. Silke says:

    Altalena
    There is one German journalist (Henryk M. Broder) who says that we are all over ourselves, when it comes to dead Jews, while we consider the living ones more and more a nuisance. Just follow one wrangling about a “doubtful” painting found in one of our museums, especially when the owner should have the “audacity” to sell the thing for money …

    Don’t start to trust us – in my book when it comes to anti-semitism lots of us are not to be trusted – one can only hope that no other mastermind shows up who knows how to bundle fury. Will he/she go after another group this time around? I find that hard to believe.

    I’ve become a news junkie only in 2006 and I am amazed again and again how often I meet the same people, which means to me we can’t be very many.

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