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IDF Code of Ethics, Land of Israel, and more




Certificate of Kashrut

TO THE EDITORS:
Tzvi Hauser’s mention of the crucial role of Tel Aviv University Professor Asa Kasher in the drafting of a code of ethics for the IDF (“Spirit of the IDF,” Azure 2, Spring 1997) reminded me of an incident here in Seattle in January 1989 that may be of interest to Azure’s readers. Upon the occasion of a series of lectures on the University of Washington campus by Noam Chomsky, I wrote a short essay in the university paper commenting on Chomsky’s pathological hatred of Israel, his political collaborations with French neo-Nazis, and his apologetics for the genocidal regime of Pol Pot. Within hours of the essay’s publication an incensed professorial acolyte of Chomsky’s named Carlos Otero burst into my office. He insisted—among other absurdities—that Chomsky was really a lover of Israel. His proofs were that Chomsky had spent six weeks on a kibbutz in 1953, and that “a famous Israeli professor” had described him as “a great Zionist” in a letter that Otero offered to show me. But when he told me the name of Chomsky’s Israeli admirer, I did not insist on examining the document, for I had taught at Tel Aviv University for the previous four years and did not doubt its authenticity. The alleged signatory of Chomsky’s certificate of kashrut was, of course, Asa Kasher.
Edward Alexander
Seattle, Washington
 
 
Swedish Activity

TO THE EDITORS:
Your “New God of Palestine” (Editorial, Azure 2, Spring 1997) was faxed to me by a friend, and made me want to find out more about your publication. After receiving the whole of Azure 2, having as yet had only time to skim through it, I am thoroughly shaken as well as delighted. You certainly deserve the very best of luck!
For the last fifteen years I have been active with a few others as the Malmo Group for Israel, of which I am the chairman. We are fighting PLO propaganda indoctrination against Israel and the Jews, consisting of a flood of lies and selective snippets of truth interspersed with fantasy that are being dished out to the people in Sweden. We have been active mainly through writing letters and articles in Swedish newspapers, but sadly the “Palestine Groups” here have been doing a thorough job with the (not unwilling) general public. Hopefully Azure will help with the much to be done for Israel and Jews in this part of the world.
May your idealism, as well as that of all those who are fighting with the pen as their sword all over the world for the sake of a true Israel, prevail!
Rigmor Miriam Gadde
Malmo, Sweden
 
 
Making Movies

TO THE EDITORS:
Yoram Hazony’s articles “The End of Zionism” (Azure 1, Summer 1996) and “The Jewish State at 100” (Azure 2, Spring 1997) very effectively articulate the absence in Israel of a “compelling national idea and a home for the aspirations of the Jews.”
Sharing his concern about our “conceptual wilderness,” I feel that we can and must devise creative ways to use popular culture to engage in a “reforestation” process by which we can finally achieve Herzl’s dream. Movies—the art form of our era—provide us with the most compelling way to win the hearts and minds so crucial for our survival. I suggest that a special committee be established whose members, representing various disciplines but all committed to fostering a compelling national idea, would provide the brain power and mobilize the funds to promote films, of excellent quality, with Jewish values in a feature film context.
It occurs to me that the Hollywood moguls of the ’30s and ’40s, almost all of them Jews, were the architects of the “American Dream” that created the values and shaped the fantasies of two generations of Americans. What you refer to as “a positive ideal ... capable of infusing an entire people with direction and meaning” could be realized through the medium of film. Certainly, when I reflect upon my own aliya, I realize that seeing the film Exodus when I was a child reinforced my Zionistic ideals, and I carried those images with me until I could embark on my own journey.
Several months ago when I saw the critically acclaimed film The Spitfire Grill, a film with a Christian message, albeit subtle, I noticed that the film was a production of the Catholic Film Board. We need a board of philanthropic, concerned and committed members with funds to encourage our own gifted screenwriters. Quality feature films can promote the values and communicate the message that will help us avoid the ideological disintegration about which you speak.
Roberta Chester
Jerusalem
 
 
Respect for Character

TO THE EDITORS:
I found Dr. Yoram Hazony’s article “The Jewish State at 100” very compelling. Its obvious respect for the character of American life is heartening and appreciated, and would that people here in the U.S. shared it!
More generally I think he is right in his reading of matters on both sides of the ocean.
Jacob Neusner
St. Petersburg, Florida
 
 
The Flaming Sword

TO THE EDITORS:

I happened across a blue booklet called Azure. At first I refrained from reading it, since I thought it was the journal of a movement, that is, the official organ of a political party. Obviously, I have nothing against any political movement in Israel, but I was searching for a forum for discussion on the question of what it is that essentially splits and divides the Jewish people, without the response being in the categorical context of any one “camp.”
I am an ongoing participant in group encounters under the aegis of B’sod Siah. After we conducted a protracted back-and-forth discussion of topics such as politics, the media, power struggles, etc., we reached the heart of the matter, that is, the essential division at the core of the Israeli experience—namely, the intercultural disparity between a world conducted in accordance with a Jewish paradigm, and that which operates through a western-Christian orientation. It seems to me that Ofir Haivry’s “Act and Comprehend” (Azure 1, Summer 1996) touched, to some degree, upon several aspects of this topic. I am of the opinion, however, that this deserves a fundamental clarification, since this is the flaming sword that splits the two worlds—the Jewish-religious versus the secular-Western, self-fulfillment and individualism versus mutual responsibility and a connection to the corporate Jewish soul. Or, as Haivry presented it in his article, the shortcut to attaining the principle, as opposed to the performance of small details that comprise a large picture whose significance is at times hidden from us. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to accept the conclusion to be drawn from the essay that the forging of a connection with the historical parts of the land means adding another house and another goat, and that this will join the provinces of the homeland to the hearts of the people. We have done this to date, and we have not achieved the “settlement of the heart.” Perhaps we should now explore other avenues by which the people will find a connection with these areas. Possibly it is a good education that is needed to reveal the faith-based, almost mystical, elements of the ties between the people and its land.
Similarly, the article discussing the posing of questions to God (the “return to questioning” as a spiritual obligation; “On the Commandment to Question,” Azure 1, Summer 1996) is only an introduction, and it is necessary to continue the dialogue begun by that piece. I would be pleased to see in Azure additional articles dealing with such issues and raising additional lines of thought.
Ruti Avraham
Beit El


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