"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Catch the Jew!

Normally I would just include this on my monthly books post, but this was long enough that I figured I'd do a separate post.

Catch the Jew! by Tuvia Tenenbom --  a Facebook friend - an older American guy living in Tunisia at the time of this recommendation - posted about this book a few months ago, and I put it on my Amazon wishlist.  Ed mentioned the author traveling to various parts of Israel/Palestine, meeting all sorts of people, and reporting on his findings.  Sounds like something I would really enjoy!  And I did in many ways although the book was also unsettling.

Tuvia was born into a very religious Israeli family. (Just looked it up "I was born and raised in Israel to an ultra-Orthodox, anti-Zionist family, and grew up in the most elitist neighborhood of ultra-Orthodoxy at the time.  My father was a rabbi...My grandfather refused to come to Israel because he did not want to live with Zionists, and the Nazis rewarded him and most of his family with on-the-spot burials." pg. 1).

I get the impression he rejected most of that religious stuff although he's Jewish and a supporter of Israel.  Still, he left Israel to pursue things forbidden to him during his childhood, i.e., science and the arts.  He founded the Jewish Theater of New York.

I like that he is fluent enough in Hebrew, Arabic, German, and English that he could hear and read what others were saying/writing, and, he didn't have to rely only on what people fed him.  (I remember one instance where he knew what the imam was saying to his people whereas the German or French NGOs didn't.  That was a bit disturbing.) He often convincingly pretended to be a German journalist - he'd call himself Tobi the German -, and, therefore, gain access to areas of Palestine or Israel that were off limits to Jews, and vice versa.  For the most part, the Palestinians loved Tobi the German.  It was unsettling to me how often they would mention Hitler's treatment of Jews in a positive light.  I like that Tuvia reported on Palestinian areas - places I have never really heard about. Of course, I'm going on his own reporting - and maybe he lied - but if he didn't, there is a whole nother viewpoint of them.

Truthfully Tuvia admired the Palestinians he met - they had great food, and were warm, friendly, accepting (of Tobi the German at least), supported their own unlike "self-hating" Jews or even an "ex-Jew" in one case.  I was amazed at how many European especially German groups were working to help Palestinians - and in Tuvia's mind show the world how awful Israel is.  I actually feel quite mixed up after reading this!

This book has 467 pages so there were lots of interesting tidbits. I only noted a handful so it wouldn't be too much.

-- Walking through Tel Aviv, the author notes: "It is interesting for me to see, as I walk, that the leftists of this land are also its richest.  How does this work, and why, is a puzzle to me." (pg. 97)

-- Jewish stone throwers (pg. 103); that is they were throwing stones at their own Egged bus  (I often think only of Palestinian youth as throwing stones so this stood out to me!)

-- On his meeting with Gideon Levy:  "For many years Gideon has championed the Palestinian cause, but not one Palestinian has befriended him, or he one of them.  Obviously, despite what his articles may suggest, he really doesn't care about Palestinians, only about the Jews.  He's an Israeli patriot, as he says to me. He wants his Israel, his Jews, to be super-humans and reply to a bullet with a kiss.  In short: he wants all the Jews to be Jesus and die on the cross.

There can be only one reason why he would want them to be a Jesus: Inside of this man's heart, in its darkest corners, this Gideon is the biggest kind of Jewish racist that has ever existed. Jews must behave like super-humans because they are.  And as long as they do not behave as a master Jesus race, he hates them.  He is the strangest self-hating Jew you can find."  (pg. 122-123)

-- "The stupendous love for the Palestinians from so many nations that I keep seeing in this region is quite interesting. Some years ago I was in a Palestinian refugee camp called al-Wahdat in Jordan, where people live worse than the average cockroach.  No foreign government was helping them in any way, no NGOs around, and the Jordanian government was doing its best to make the life of these people a bit less intolerable.  It doesn't take a genius to know why the world 'loves' only certain Palestinians. I don't want to think about it."  (pg. 275)  

I kind of do want to think about it, though.

Also, an article by Tablet Magazine about his findings.


jaraad said...

Thanks for sharing this. It looks an interesting read.

Unfortunately, there are some ignorant Arabs who believe Hitler did good. Definitely not all Arabs believe this. But, you can find Nazi supporters every where in the world even in the USA.

I agree that there are more Europeans helping Palestinians than Americans. I also found that there are way more European individuals or media outlet sympathizing with the Palestinians than you can ever find in the USA.

I believe Yasser Arafat's PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah harmed the Palestinians cause. Luckily, Hamas is loosing popularity in the Arab world. Hezbollah future is still unknown.

Susanne said...

Any idea why the NGOs spend so much money and time in Palestine, and not among the Palestinians in other parts of the world (like Jordan)? Or is this inaccurate what Tuvia reported?

Yes, many Americans "love" the Jews/Israel. I guess I did not realize how many Europeans did not, but I guess that's why the Nazis were so popular there, and not here.

jaraad said...

It is complicated as any other issue related to Palestine and Israel. There were two patches of Palestinian refugees to Jordan; 1948 and 1967. Most of these Palestinians became Jordanian citizens.

As far as I know, the late King Hussein offered to give all refugees citizenship and better housing. Yasser Arafat and some other Arab leaders opposed this plan because according to them it will negate "the right to return to Palestine" goal.

I know it is a complicated story and that is why until now I don't know why some Palestinians have citizenship and others don't. But since Yasser Arafat was from Gaza, none of the Gazans were granted Jordanian citizenship. And compared to other Palestinians in Israel or Palestine they live a miserable life.

Now, regarding NGO in Jordan not helping Palestinians I am not very sure of his story. I know UNICEF and the UN both have offices in Jordan's Palestinian camps.

I just want to be clear about something. People helping the Palestinians or believing they are being oppressed by Israelis are not necessarily people who hate the Jews. When I mentioned that there are more Europeans than Americans helping the Palestinians I didn't imply that is because they hate the Jews.

Susanne said...

Thank you for the additional information! Interesting stuff.