Wednesday, February 13, 2008
'What is Jewish?', says Chris.
I have a good buddy Miklos who's from Hungary. He's Jewish and has a star of David around his neck. And there we were, Miklos, another buddy Chris, and me down at the pub having a beer. And Miklos is telling us how Israel knocked back his application for citizenship and that's why he's in Oz. In Hungary after WWII his grandmother converted to Catholicism and he was raised Catholic. He had no idea he 'was Jewish' until he was in his mid-twenties. Chris and me - both astounded. Chris asks him if he goes to Synagogue and does all the religious stuff. He grins, raises his hands in a gesture of warding off and emphatically shakes his head. I sit watching Miklos and Chris is confused.
'So you're ethnic Jewish?', says Chris.
Miklos tilts his head, 'Well...'.
I pipe up, 'Your family isn't Middle Eastern surely? You'd be Ashkenazi, yeah?' Miklos nods. Chris asks and I explain - Khazar, eastern people in the Caucasus, 8th century, conversion to Judaism. Miklos nods. Perhaps he was surprised at what I knew. I have no idea. He didn't say anything.
Chris' brow is furrowed, 'I don't get it. You weren't raised Jewish, you're not religious and you're not descended from people who lived in Israel. So why are you Jewish?'
'I don't know', says Miklos with a vaguely startled expression and a variation of a shrug. I'm intrigued, but Chris is out-and-out flummoxed.
'What is Jewish?', says Chris.
'Um...', says Miklos.
'Ha! A state of mind', says I.
'Yeah, sure, maybe', says Miklos striking a European attitude that concedes the possible but doesn't pursue it. We tilt back in our seats and drink beer, the conversation having nowhere to go.
It had nowhere to go that was polite, that is. Like I'm going to say to my buddy Miklos, 'Mate, that 'state of mind' is little more than identifying oneself as being separate from those you live amongst. It's what's responsible for the hatred of the Ashkenazi Jews in almost every country they've lived in since the very beginning. It has led to, via banking, the uncaring impoverishment of the 'others', the suffering of whom is considered nothing by those who view themselves as superior. It's a circular hatefest with the us-and-them attitude creating hatred and the hatred reinforcing the us-and-them attitude. Really mate, the distinction should be shed and the hatred would, in three generations max, be as dead as a doornail. But really it's too good a gig to be let go of. There's a fortune in treasure and slaves to be had by its continuation. Not for you of course. You're poorer than I am, trapped under a mortgage. God spare us usury - it only suits the userer. But really mate, it'd be better for you and everyone else if you were to kiss this definition of yourself goodbye and just be another human.'
But like I'm going to say such a thing to person's face. A discussion of delusion such as this is beyond the pale. Friendships get broken over such things. And Miklos is a sweetheart guy. He just doesn't understand what it is he chooses to define himself as. I wonder if any Jewish people do, apart from the top dozen or so families. I'm given to thinking this tiny handful perfectly understands the nature of the delusion which enslaves the millions of expendable Jews. These being the people who live lives of fear as they run around shutting down conversations that might ultimately lay bare the twelve families. Not that the millions do it for this reason. They think it's about them, ha ha.
Jewish people, I address you - The delusion under which you define yourself is but a blink of an eye, a puff of smoke, a fictional contrivance to have you serve the interests of a mere dozen or so families who care not a whit for your wellbeing. Of course you are impressed with yourself and your culture. That's how it works. And yes, this construct is clever and in an inhuman way, genius. But the truth is, it's perfectly fucked. Forget what everyone tells you. Look at this thing clearly. It's a delusion - a mad nonsense that plugs into your understandable desire for flattery. And sure, its rejection is designed to be traumatic. If it was easy to give up it would have passed away long ago. The task ahead of you, the giving up of your us-and-them delusion, will be difficult. Me, I predict a nervous breakdown. But the rightness of it is undeniable. And if you can successfully achieve it, you will, in having saved your own life, help save the world. I wish you well.