About time


By Jenni Frazer
May 14, 2010
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The row that has erupted between 100 Jewish Jerusalemites and the Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has a whiff of an accident waiting to happen. Sooner or later someone was going to challenge Wiesel's sentimental fantasy version of life in the Israeli capital, seen from the dreaming towers of his academic life in America. Nobody would care, I don't suppose, if Wiesel clung on to his teeth-gratingly mawkish vision of Jerusalem, except that he has decided to air it to President Obama as though, as my grandmother was wont to say, it was teires lokshen - in other words, the only valid version, the genuine article.
Now, however, the worms have turned. Once upon a time Wiesel was near sacrosanct, the keeper of the Holocaust survivors' flame, the holder of innumerable medals and awards, and well-nigh impervious to criticism. But look at this:
“Your letter [to Obama, and published in American newspapers]troubles us, not simply because it is replete with factual errors and false representations, but because it upholds an attachment to some other-worldly city which purports to supersede the interests of those who live in the this-worldly one.
“We cannot recognise our city in the sentimental abstraction you call by its name. Your Jerusalem is an ideal, an object of prayers and a bearer of the collective memory of a people whose members actually bear many individual memories.
"Your claim that Jerusalem is above politics is doubly outrageous. First, because contemporary Jerusalem was created by a political decision and politics alone keeps it formally unified. The tortuous municipal boundaries of today's Jerusalem were drawn by Israeli generals and politicians shortly after the 1967 war.”
Anyone who has ever lived in the city may be compelled to utter a heartfelt "Hear, hear." Jerusalem is a real, not virtual, city, replete with problems and stroppy citizens, and populations who do not love each other as they might. Haredim loathe the secular, the secular, those who remain, dislike the strictly Orthodox, and east Jerusalem is effectively another country, only entered by those Israelis who are intent on making trouble, almost never those who would like to improve the lives of its residents.
Just for once I hope that Wiesel reads this outraged response from people who actually live in Jerusalem and deal with its difficulties on a day to day basis, and does not dismiss it out of hand. But I recognise that this is a fairly forlorn hope.

COMMENTS

Joshua18

Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:09

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The Jewish people's greatest hero vs. Third-rate hack at the JC (circulation: 28,408). Hmm, I wonder who'll win?


Jenni Frazer

Sat, 05/15/2010 - 23:49

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-1 points

A refusal to address the subject, and personal abuse. Winning combination, really.


matt starr

Sun, 05/16/2010 - 11:02

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I live in Jerusalem, having made aliyah from the UK, and am saddened by Jenni's cynicism. Elie Wiesel is , i find, far more representative of most people's feelings here that the 100 hard core leftist jerusalemites who gracelessly attacked Elie Wiesel.
Jenni states that 'Haredim loathe secular' and vice versa- has she been reading too much Haaretz propaganda? I live in a mixed neighbourhood with haredim, secular and evrything in between, have friends in all camps, and see none of the hatred she describes. There are issues that come up in jerusalem which are dealt with in boisterous israeli fashion but leave no vestige of hatred that I have seen. The jews that live in jerusalem actually live by and large in peace with their arab neighbours- maybe take a tour one day and see?
So jenni stop knocking the jews of Jerusalem and the city itself , its a great place that its residents dearly love, perhaps we could persuade you to move here and see the true picture! Or at least, if you can't then don't write articles stirring hp hatred where it doesn't exist.


Jonathan Hoffman

Sun, 05/16/2010 - 11:15

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Apart from Avishai Margalit and Zeev Sternhell has anyone ever heard of any of the letter signatories (below)? And I thought Avraham Burg lives in Paris - not Jerusalem - and badmouths Israel from a safe distance.

I don't think Elie Wiesel will lose any sleep over these nonentities.

1. Ada Bilu 2. Alon Harel 3. Amiel Vardi 4. Amit Lavi 5. Amit Miller 6. Amos Goldberg 7. Ariela Brin 8. Assaf Sharon 9. Avichay Sharon 10. Avishai Margalit 11. Avital Abudi 12. Avital Sharon 13. Avner Inbar 14. Avrum Burg 15. Barbara Spectre 16. Bernard Avishai 17. Daniella Gordon 18. Dani Schrire 19. Daniel Argo 20. Danny Felsteiner 21. Daphna Stroumsa 22. David Shulman 23. Diana Steigler 24. Dolev Rahat 25. Dorit Gat 26. Dorit Argo 27. Edna Ulman-Margalit 28. Eitan Buchvall 29. Eli Sharon 30. Freddie Rokem 31. Galit Hasan-Rokem 32. Gideon Freudenthal 33. Gil Gutglick 34. Guga Kogan 35. Guy Feldman 36. Hagit Benbaji 37. Hagit Keysar 38. Haya Ofek 39. Hillel Ben Sasson 40. Ishay Rosen-Zvi 41. Itamar Shappira 42. Jonathan Yaari 43. Judy Labensohn 44. Judy Labensohn 45. Julia Alfandari 46. Levi Spectre 47. Liran Razinsky 48. Maya Wind 49. Mical Raz 50. Michael Ritov 51. Miriam Farhi-Rodrig 52. Mirit Barashi 53. Mirit Barashi 54. Moshe Halbertal 55. Naama Baumgarten-Sharon 56. Naama Hochstein 57. Nadav Sharon 58. Neria Biala 59. Nili Sharon 60. Noa Lamm-Shalem 61. Oded Erez 62. Oded Na’aman 63. Ofer Neiman 64. Omri Metzer 65. Paul Mendes-Flohr 66. Peter Lehahn 67. Phil Spectre 68. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz 69. Ram Rahat 70. Ray Schrire 71. Reuven Kaminer 72. Roee Metzer 73. Ronen Mandelkern 74. Roni Hammerman 75. Sahar Vardi 76. Sara Benninga 77. Sharon Casper 78. Shir Aloni Yaari 79. Shir Sternberg 80. Shlomi Segall 81. Silan Dallal 82. Silvia Piterman 83. Tal Shapira 84. Tamar Lehahn 85. Tamar Rappaport 86. Uri Bitan 87. Yafa Tarlowski 88. Yaron Gal 89. Yaron Wolf 90. Yehuda Agus 91. Yonatan Haimovich 92. Yoram Gordon 93. Yotam Wolfe 94. Yuval Drier Shilo 95. Zehava Galon 96. Zeev Sternhell 97. Zvi Benninga 98. Zvi Mazeh 99. Zvi Schuldiner


Jonathan Hoffman

Sun, 05/16/2010 - 11:18

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"100 Jewish Jerusalemites"

Er .....no.....

At least one of them - Avram Burg - is a French citizen and lives in Paris.


Jenni Frazer

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:16

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Mr Starr: I used to live in Jerusalem and I think your comments make you unusual. I am not being cynical, merely realistic. By the way, I like "boisterous Israeli fashion" as a new way of describing all-out street riots between strictly Orthodox and secular.
As for Mr Hoffman's apparent suggestion that one has to have heard of the signatories for them to be meaningful...
But at least Mr Starr and Mr Hoffman are engaging with the discussion.


Advis3r

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 13:05

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1 point

I lived in Jerusalem for 22 years - I am probably in the view of the signatories to this outrageous and offensive letter, due to where I now live, considered to be an obstacle to peace. The Arabs would probably consider me to be an obstacle to peace wherever I lived in Israel - and that's being realistic. The signatories to the letter have a big problem first because the Orthodox community tend to have more children so the secular community are slowly but surely losing their control over the City and they do not like it - but that is democracy. Secondly because they have some notion that by handing over the eastern half of the City to Arab control and excluding any Jews from it this may somehow solve all our problems. Your comment that the eastern half of the City is only entered by those Israelis who are intent on making trouble, almost never those who would like to improve the lives of its residents is quite frankly wide of the mark. A Jew would be taking his life in his hands if he walked about in certain Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. The question must be asked why should Jews be prevented from living peaceably in the eastern half of the city as Arabs live peaceably in the western half of the City? Why should it be a provocation for a Jewish family to walk about in Sheik Jarrah from which Jews were forcibly expelled by the Jordanian Army in 1948 after continuously living there for thousands of years but but no-one thinks twice about an Arab family visiting and shopping in the Malcha Mall?


Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 05/17/2010 - 15:18

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2 points

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuley-boteach/open-letter-to-j-str...

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Founder of This World: The Values Network
Posted: May 10, 2010 08:54 AM

Open Letter to J-Street After Their Attack on Elie Wiesel

Pity Jeremy Ben-Ami, the hapless head of J-Street, the we-condemn-Israel-constantly-because-of-how-much-we-love-it lobby.

In the recent tension between the Obama Administration and the Jewish state over Jews building in Jerusalem, the pro-Israel camp was represented by Elie Wiesel whose full-page ads in major American newspapers criticized President Obama's ban on Jews living anywhere in the holy city. The letter, as with everything Wiesel writes, was haunting, stirring, and deeply personal. "For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem... The first song I heard was my mother's lullaby about and for Jerusalem."

The letter, by one of America's most celebrated citizens, caused such angst in the White House that President Obama changed his schedule to invite the Nobel Peace laureate to a private kosher lunch in order not to appear out of sync with the Jewish prophet. Like Lyndon Johnson who panicked when he lost Walter Cronkite over Vietnam, Obama understood that losing Wiesel over his Middle East policy spelled almost certain doom.

But while the President behaved courteously, Ben-Ami did precisely the opposite. Not content with Judaism's greatest living personality having the last word, the J-Street head quickly went into action and responded to Wiesel with full page ads of a bizarre editorial by Yossi Sarid, the former Meretz politician, utterly unknown to the American public whom Ben-Ami is seeking to influence. The man who Oprah traveled to Auschwitz with and chose his book Night as a main selection of her book club and whose novels are studied in the world's leading Universities was dismissed by Sarid as being a writer ignorant of current events. "You know much about the heavenly Jerusalem but less so about its counterpart here on earth."

Sarid was only getting started. Next he accused Wiesel of being naive and easily misled. 'Someone has deceived you, my dear friend.' Sarid's friendship would intensify two paragraphs later when he accused the man revered around the world as humanity's most eloquent voice for the oppressed as a religious fanatic 'imbuing our current conflict with messianic hues.' Finally, not content with his dismissal of Wiesel as ignorant, naive, and fanatical, he could help himself but conclude that Wiesel is not only confused but intentionally sought to mislead and misinform others. 'It is unfortunate that a man of your standing must confuse fundamental issues and confound the reader.'

How unfortunate that Ben-Ami and Sarid were not able to forewarn the gullible American president not to invite the ignorant holocaust survivor to lunch and to instead send Air Force One to pick up the encyclopedic, peace-loving, temperate Sarid instead!

Which brings me back to Jeremy Ben-Ami, whom I would now like to address directly.

"Jeremy, my dear Jewish brother. Since the launch of J-Street not long ago you have tried hard, like any effective CEO, to make a name for your organization and capture headlines. The method you have used, however, appears to involve a cavalcade of insults and attacks. And while this has worked in the short term, knowing just a little bit about PR myself, I am fairly certain that it will backfire in the long run.

"Last September I wrote a column commenting on your quotations in a New York Times Magazine feature where you insulted all staunch American Jewish supporters of Israel as paranoids who believe that the world is filled with murderous anti-Semites. Surely that kind of character assassination is not only unnecessary but, I would argue, indicative of significant insecurity about your message. Not that I blame you. I realize that you have the most difficult job of any Jewish organizational head in the world, namely, running an organization that purports to be pro-Israel but invariably finds itself in the company of Israel's worst enemies and critics.

"But even so I never believed that someone as media-savvy as you would make the mistake of spending your valuable money on full pages ads attacking Elie Wiesel. That, my brother, is pure suicide.

"I twice hosted Prof. Wiesel at Oxford University for public lectures where more than 2000 non-Jewish students hung on his every word. I took him to lecture to the Mormon Church in Utah where thousands more felt awed to simply stand in the same room as him, and just a few months ago I hosted him in New York City on a panel with my friends Dr. Mehmet Oz and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark at a seminar on values where you could hear a pin drop from the more than one thousand people who stood in line to hear him. In each of these forums people from all walks of life came to bask in the light of the man regarded as the most courageous living voice for victims of hatred and genocide. He is regarded by most as a living saint, and his books, especially Night, are among the most influential literature of modern times. You might as well take out full pages ads savaging Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama.

"I suggest that whoever is your PR consultant, my friend, be fired immediately and that you recalibrate your message to simply criticize Israel, which J-Street has done with considerable success, rather than attack the voice of the six million which has, predictably, brought an avalanche of condemnation of protest both in print and all over the internet.

"And Jeremy, my dear brother, please be advised that while my advice is free, Wiesel's words are priceless."


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 20:39

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Jenni,

You have, inevitably as a JC journalist, nailed your colours firmly to the anti-Wiesel mast. I wonder whether it was wise to do so, assuming of course that you are not, as "Joshua 18" states, a 3rd rate hack.

It might be an idea to discuss how you arrived at your "Jenni Frazer" judgement. Perhaqps you can kindly answer the following...

(1) When did you last live in Jerusalem?
(2) For how long did you live there?
(3) When did you last actually visit Jerusalem?
(4) For how long did you stay there and what did you actually do whilst you were there? Who did you interview? Where did you stay?


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 20:47

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Jenni,

Moreover, you state that Wiesel inhabits the "dreaming towers" of American academia.

But which sort of "tower" do you inhabit? Where is it? In North West London?

Perhaps you will dismiss my multiplicity of questions out of hand. But I ask them
in "fairly forlorn hope".


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 21:17

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Jenni,
You write:
"As for Mr Hoffman's apparent suggestion that one has to have heard of the signatories for them to be meaningful...
But at least Mr Starr and Mr Hoffman are engaging with the discussion."

It is clear from the above that you have failed to engage with the discussion.

Do you not realize that of the most pernicious and fashionable ways of damning Israel is to send a letter (or publish it as an advert) with a whole host of signatories.

But what is the validity of the signatories? Did they all sit down and write the letter together? Of course, they didn't. The sentiments were initially expressed by the writer, not by the signatories.

As far as you know, the letter might have been signed by residents of an anti-zionist asylum in Jerusalem. What do you know about them?


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 21:39

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Jenni,
Re the signatories:

I note that there are two Judy Labensohn's (43 and 44). Is that a mistake or a co-incidence? Should one conclude that the letter was actually signed by 98 or 99 people?

What is the age of the signatories? Are any of them at kindergarten? How do you know that they even live in Jerusalem? After all, Avram Burg lives in Paris.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 21:42

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Jenni,

If you adopted a vaguely journalistic rational approach, you would realize that a letter signed by a whole host of people that you haven't heard of, or even bothered to check out, is meaningless. You should be ashamed of yourself.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 21:48

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Jenni,

And would it make any difference to you if you found out that 50% of the signatories were suffering from Alzheimers?


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 22:06

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Jenni,

I wonder how many of your fellow journalists at the JC would sign your "About Time" blog. Do you think that your editor would sign it?

Of course, you should be free to express your opinions. But if you are going to rubbish Elie Wiesel, my advice would have been to make a much better job of it. I guess that you spewed it out in about 15 minutes. You would have been well advised to have written a more cogent and analytical piece. Unfortunately, you have done yourself and The JC, a massive disservice. Whether or not Jerusalemites are "stroppy", it is quite evident that your writing is "sloppy".


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 22:22

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52 and 53 have the same name too, Mirit Barashi


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 22:31

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Jonathan,

Potentially we are now down to 97 signatories.

But I look forward to Jenni Frazer "engaging with the discussion".


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 23:17

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Jenni,
As far as I can ascertain, the letter was signed by activists from "SHEIKH JARRAH: A STRUGGLE FOR A JUST JERUSALEM".

The attached is from their website. You might want to organize a collection at the JC ??....

Q: Well actually, I'm not in Israel. So what can I do to help abroad?

A: Well here are a couple of ideas:

Sheikh Jarrah is full of foreign consulates. The American and British Consulates are in walking distance of the compound. So send e-mail/faxes etc. to your political representatives to encourage them to send protests to Israel about what's going on. Oh yeah, and try to get those people from the consulates to be more active about what's going on in their very backyard.

Second, if you're in a city that has an Israeli consulate or embassy, help organize a demo in front of the mission to raise the issue. Even better, do it on Friday, at the same time that we demonstrate in Sheikh Jarrah.

In order to make the protest more personal, we urge you, or better yet, the group that you're part of to adopt one of the families. Send them letters of support for their struggle. Publicize their situation with your local press and political representatives. Get the message out that these are real people who are being screwed over.

Finally, we are all volunteers and the legal work and resources for this struggle cost money. Please donate.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 23:28

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More form the Sheikh Jarrah website:

"The Sheikh Jarrah struggle is organized by a group of local residents and activists. You can help defray the cost of legal and logistic expenses by chipping in. Your donation will help pay for buses that bring demonstrators from all over Israel, flyers and posters, and, above all, the rising costs of legal counsel and representation."


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 23:38

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Jenni,

You write: "this outraged response from people who actually live in Jerusalem and deal with its difficulties on a day to day basis"

But why, on earth, did you not mention that the letter was signed by the "Just Jerusalem (Sheikh Jarrah) Activists"

Of course, you are free to support these activists, but why the hell didn't you tell your readers who they were? It seems to me to be a serious omission on your behalf.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 23:55

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Jenni,

Unfortuantely, it is evident that your blog was extremely misleading because it did not inform your readers that the signatories were activists who are involved in on-going campaign. You should have had the professional wisdom to recognize that this was important information.

I have to finally agree with "Joshua 18" that you are a "third-rate hack".

Clearly you are out of your depth blogging politics.


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 07:34

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Jenni,

Since donations are being requested, on their website, to pay for "Sheikh Jarrah" demonstators to be "bussed in" from all over Israel, the question arises whether the letter has in fact, actually even been signed, by people living in Jerusalem.

Perhaps they live in Haifa?

Please could you confirm whether you are now, officially part of the "Sheikh Jarrah" campaign since their website states:
"Publicize their situation with your local press and political representatives. Get the message out that these are real people who are being screwed over."


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 07:50

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Jenni,

The "Sheikh Jarrah" letter to Elie Wiesel states:

"For every Jew, you say, a visit to Jerusalem is a homecoming, yet it is our commitment that makes your homecoming possible."

Should one really conclude that without these activists it would be impossible for Jews in the diaspora to visit Jerusalem?

It seems extremely far-fetched and is redolent of meaningless propaganda.


Akiva

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 11:15

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-1 points

Jenni was so quick to leap on the lefty bandwagon attacking Elie Wiesel (for echoing the thoughts and feelings of millions of Jews the world over), that she completely forgot to check the sources of the letter.

Net result? Egg on her face.

Sorry Jenni, a third rate hack is exactly the image you have given yourself here.


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 12:38

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Akiva,

Third-rate hack? Obviously a posting as The Guardian's foreign correspondent in East Jerusalem awaits Jenny. I don't really see an alternative, unless of course she now apologizes to her readers and Elie Wiesel.


Yvetta

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 13:29

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2 points

Jenni's entitled to her opinion, and I don't consider her a third-rate hack. But I do consider her misguided in implying it's "About Time" that Elie Wiesel met his come-uppance.
The head of J-Street, as described above, behaved abominably towards Mr Wiesel, this living legend and prophet for our time.
I once came face to face with Mr Wiesel on a friend's doorstep in Australia. He was literally about to knock just as I opened the door to leave. "It's an honour to meet you, Mr Wiesel!" I blurted out, with under estimation. It remains one of the great moments of my life, to have met this wonderful and modest gentleman.


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 13:42

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Yvetta,

Of course, Jenny is entitled to her opinion. I have no problem with her being a propagandist for "Sheikh Jarrah". I just think that she should be honest about it.

However she is a third-rate hack because...

(1) she did not know the source of the letter condemning Wiesel or

(2) she knew the source but failed to reveal it or

(3) she did not believe the source was relevant to the story or her reader's perception of it.


Yvetta

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 14:00

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1 point

Well, now that you put it like that ...
A second-class job, at the very least.


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 16:23

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I attach the letter written by Elie Wiesel which has so upset Jenni Frazer

FOR JERUSALEM:

As published in The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on April 16, 2010 and in The New York Times on April 18, 2010:

"It was inevitable: Jerusalem once again is at the center of political debates and international storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen times destroyed and seventeen times rebuilt, it is still in the middle of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has aroused that many passions.

For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it IS Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother’s lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.

Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them access to the city and again, when under Jordanian occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon’s temple. It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.

Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.

What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?

Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, “Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart.”

Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul."


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 16:43

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Wiesel said his recent full-page ad in several major newspapers here and in Israel extolling Jerusalem was written as “a declaration of love.” In the ad, he wrote that “for me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics.
“I felt the need,” he said, adding that he was not asked to compose the ad, and did not coordinate it with anyone else. (Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, published full-page ads in some of the same newspapers that week critical of Obama’s recent treatment of Israel.)

Wiesel pointed out that his Jerusalem statement was “not a letter to, or against, the president, and was not a political act” but rather a personal tribute to the history of the holy city and its deep ties to the Jewish people.
But the letter asserted that “pressure will not produce a solution” and that it would be a mistake to “tackle” the future of Jerusalem first in peace talks. “Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue,” he wrote, for a time when some trust had been established between the Israeli and Palestinian people?
Wiesel said he wrote that because he had heard, while visiting Israel during Passover, that the U.S. planned to have the two parties deal with Jerusalem first when they resumed talks.
“It worked,” he said with a smile, saying the White House reassured him that would not be the case.

While Wiesel downplayed his role as a diplomat — “Who am I to influence high-level negotiations?” — he said his advice for Obama was not to push Israel, suggesting that Israelis know how to resist pressure but may be more susceptible to “seduction.”

As for advice for the Palestinian Authority? “Change the textbooks” that demonize Israel and Jews, he said.
Wiesel said he is familiar with the criticism of his Jerusalem statement, including a full-page ad by former Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Sarid, sponsored by the J Street Education Fund, but he had no public response.
Sarid’s tone was somewhat mocking, portraying Wiesel as naïve.
He charged that Wiesel had not taken into account the negative treatment of Arabs in Jerusalem, and wrote that “nothing in our world is above politics” and that Wiesel’s description of Jerusalem “confuse(s) fundamental issues and confound(s) the reader.”

In response, Wiesel said only that Sarid “had a right to say what he said.”
Describing the state of Jewish life today, Wiesel said it was “unique in Jewish history,” with its combination of “hope, power and anguish,” a time when Israel is both flourishing economically and vulnerable existentially.

He repeated his assertion that Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who threatens to annihilate Israel, should be arrested and tried at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
“Maybe there was a time like this after the Churban,” he said, referring to the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem,” but perhaps not since then.
“We carry our memories,” he said, “into every minute of our being.”


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 16:53

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Jenni Frazer writes:
"Nobody would care, I don't suppose, if Wiesel clung on to his teeth-gratingly mawkish vision of Jerusalem, except that he has decided to air it to President Obama as though, as my grandmother was wont to say, it was teires lokshen - in other words, the only valid version, the genuine article."

Chambers Dictionary
Mawkish (adj) : 1 weakly sentimental, maudlin or insipid. 2 sickly or disgusting


Yvetta

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 18:46

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2 points

Mawkish is certainly an inappropriate, eyebrow-raising adjective that seems to dismiss the longing for Zion replete in the liturgy and tradition!
Once upon a time there was a certain rabbi in Oz, who held his pulpit for the lengthy period 1905-61. Embarrassed that his recent family origins lay in Cracow, and determined to be every inch the quintessential English gentleman "of the Mosaic persuasion", he was only too happy to oblige his congregation's lay leaders by jettisoning the -owitz from his surname on the grounds that it was "too foreign". (His more heimishe detractors ever afterwards joked that he thereby "lost his wits".) For most of his career this quintessentially anglicised figure was a proverbial pain in the tuches as far as Zionists in Oz were concerned. For decades he was the most outspoken rabbinical opponent of Zionism there.
However, when the Jewish State came into being, he changed his stance almost overnight. He lamented the division of Jerusalem - making a passionate speech that asked "how can a body live without a heart?" (Not a million miles away from Nachman of Bratslav's remarks quoted by Elie Wiesel above.)


Blacklisted Dictator

Wed, 05/19/2010 - 22:02

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-1 points

I wonder whether Jenni Frazer really is as contemptuous of Wiesel's "Jerusalem intervention" as she states in her blog. It could, of course, be that she couldn't think of anything much else to write about. Perhasp she was at a loose end....

"Oh what the hell. I'll trash Elie Wiesel. All the hip Jews are doing it. Nobody will even really notice that I wrote it in under 15 minutes etc etc"


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 05/20/2010 - 08:30

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-1 points

I imagine that Jenni is silent at the moment because it is Shavuot. So I suppose we have to be patient before she "engages with the discussion".

On the other hand, it is possible that she is uncertain about how to respond to the
various points that have been raised.

But if she does become a fund-raiser for "Sheikh Jarrah" at The JC offices, will Stephen Pollard contribute? And if so, how much? Perhaps Stephen could consult his Rabbi.

And how about a rally, organized by The JC, at the Israeli embassy in London? Placards "Elie Wiesel is a weasel", "Return Jerusalem to Hamas" etc


jose (not verified)

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 11:28

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0 points

The "accusation" that Wiesel talks of a sentimental Jerusalem while his opponents are living in the realistic one is a form of denial of the sentimental value of anything.

One can also believe the Gioconda by Da Vinci is patches of oil painting on canvas with a total value of a few pounds. But if one went to the Louvre trying to buy it for that kind of amount, I am convinced he would find himself rather soon in Saint Anne Asylum.

Maybe Wiesel is naive (I don't support that theory) but the bunch of opponents are certainly not realistic to think that all issues boil down to materialistic values. They are the ones who live in a 'heaven' where moral and sentimental aspects are totally banned.

Compromises are certainly necessaries. But surrender-mentality does not bring peace. It just tells opponents that they haven't asked enough yet.


Blacklisted Dictator

Mon, 05/24/2010 - 08:26

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0 points

Jenni,
I note that you have STILL chosen not to "engage with the discussion". One might conclude that you are unable to respond to the points that have been made.

But what is the point of having a blog, if you go into hiding when your readers start asking a few tricky questions?

One might conclude that blogging is not really your domain. You might be better suited to rubbishing Wiesel over a cup of tea, with one of your friends, in the privacy of your own home?


Jenni Frazer

Thu, 05/27/2010 - 13:06

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0 points

I've only just seen this last comment. It's not me that's in hiding, Mr Posner.
I think I have said as much as I want to say about this issue. You and your friends have clearly had a fun-filled time calling me all kinds of names, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves. I don't have to answer any of your questions, however.


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 05/27/2010 - 13:54

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0 points

Hi Jenni,

I actually am ok with you revealing my identity. But were you right to do so?


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 05/29/2010 - 14:32

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0 points

Jenni,
Does the JC have any editorial guidelines with regard to pseudonyms?

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