Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I have seen the enemy, and it is orange

It must be the most successful marketing campaign in history. The color orange is so strongly identified with the settler/anti-disengagement movement that I automatically become suspicious of anyone and anything with the color orange. It's even reached the point where it has simply become a distasteful color. Yes, the cute little stuffed penguin on my desk has suddenly become an enemy agent, and parts of the company logo will have to go. I feel funny getting in taxis that have an orange ribbon (and given that I take a shuttle taxi between the train station and my office twice a day, the orange ribbon potential is always there), as if I'm actually contributing money directly to the anti-disengagement movement. Of course, maybe they change their ribbons based on the neighborhood that they happen to be driving through, as one Jerusalem-based taxi driver told Lisa from On the Face. In the area where my office is, though, I'm inclined to doubt it. These guys are "ktumim" ("oranges") through and through.

"Ktumim". Whenever I say it, I say it with disdain, as if I was swearing. I wish I could say that I can't help it, but that would be lying. Obviously, I do it on purpose. Perhaps if I wasn't so disgusted by their actions, I wouldn't feel the need to refer to them in this way, but their protest methods are so utterly abhorrent that all I feel is anger. Placing fake bombs in bus stations sickening, and to place one in the Netanya bus station just two days after last week's terror attack in the city is a twisted act of cruelty perpetrated against the people in Netanya. I think of these religious (am NOT referring to all religious people here - am specifically referring to those I describe in the following text, having seen it on the news - I have many religious friends and colleagues who are wonderful people and would never do such things, especially not in the name of Judaism) people who would never take God's name in vain, yet these same people have no qualms about taking events of the Holocaust and equating these atrocities with what is happening here, like writing their identity numbers on their arms in protest, or pinning Stars of David to their clothes.

With the latest goings on at Kfar Maimon, I can't help but be reminded of a woman I know who lives there. A fervent right-winger (I can only assume that her car is bedecked in orange, and that she's probably gone out and purchased a new wardrobe consisting solely of orange articles of clothing) who had no problem to share her political beliefs (and any other beliefs she may have had) with anyone who would listen (not a terribly endearing quality in the workplace), I imagine her to be serving up coffee and cake to her "guests", reveling in the fact that she is doing her part for the cause (perhaps she's even helping them to abuse the soldiers and police in the vicinity). This charming individual once tried to explain the actions of the would-be Jewish terrorists who tried to blow up an Arab girls' school in Jerusalem some years ago as an act of misguided youth (she knows one of the families, and he couldn't possibly be a terrorist!), and my colleagues and I are counting our blessings that she is no longer working with us, so that we won't have to go through the disengagement with "ha'ktuma ha'zot".

Of course, I realize that not everyone sporting orange these days supports the perpetrators of these acts, and that they are simply against the disengagement. However, words of condemnation are few and far between, and if these people do not take a vocal stand against the psychos, one can only assume that they support them. And, with these frightening hooligans setting the course of events, it should prove to be a most interesting Summer, to say the least, pitting Jew against Jew, brother against brother. Let the feelings of impending dread begin...


RA said...

A few remarks that I have to say(really have to cannot help it)...

1) Delegitimate some other people political opinion by calling them names like phsycos or terrorists makes you no more better than what you think of them

2) If you become alergic to orange I would suggest a good therapist that would check if your hate to your own people is due to mental issues or self suicide hidden thoughts

3) The real middle east interpretation to the cab driver (arab) changing ribons policy is that he is that he behaves like any other mideast born - you cannot trust his words. This is a basic issue with the mideast way of life - you can sign a contract (a peace contract) and then cancel it like nothing... it is the way of living - in commerce, home and personal issues - one cannot put western standarts and expect the arabs to behave like them...

So next time you think western make sure you do it in the right place - like in Swiss... not here in the hot, sticky middle east.
When you will be able to think mideast way - then you would really know that you are part of this country - and then your life and opinions might change.

Till then - have a nice day and easy life - do not take it so hard - it is the middle east... human life never was an issue here...

treppenwitz said...

I must say that I am a bit taken aback by the tone and content of your post.

You expressed very strong feelings against the color orange and the people who have chosen it as their banner, yet you have said nothing about your own beliefs on disengagement. This is, unfortunately, very typical of many on the far left today. Their agenda is not a free-standing one, but rather an active opposition of anything they perceive as coming from the religious and/or right.

You mentioned the actions of a couple of lunatics as your reason for denouncing the entire disengagement movement, yet you ignored the responsible, non-violent actions of the disengagement movement as if they doesn't exist (and yes, irresponsible/dangerous actions are loudly denounced by both the leaders and participants in the anti-disengagement camp!). This selective presentation of facts is both intellectually dishonest and blatantly biased. I doubt you would want someone in Europe to judge you as an Israeli based only on what they read about some underworld crime figure in Tel Aviv.

I have a feeling that if the government made a decision to give away your home you would do exactly what most of the settlers have sworn to do, which is to use all means of protest and civil disobedience at their disposal... and then walk away in tears once all efforts have failed.

These people are not criminals or evil. They were encouraged to live in Gaza by a grateful government who applauded them for their pioneering spirit in building a paradise amongst the sand dunes. What changed from that time to this? If a general orders his troops to pull back they have no choice but to comply... but these people are civilians and not bound to follow orders blindly. Regardless of what you feel about disengagement, you cannot ignore the basic issue of forcefully relacating Jews from their homes simply because they are Jews.

You insinuated that part of the 'orange agenda' is injuring police and soldiers, yet you made no mention of the many documented unprovoked injuries that have been inflicted on demonstrators by the police and mishmar hagvul. The leaders and organizers of the anti-disengagement movement have done a tremendous amount to ensure that protests and demonstrations are conducted responsibly, and without violence... can the police say the same?

You are entitled to have your say, but please recognise that blindly opposing someone else's opinion is not really the same as having an opinion of your own.

Liza said...

Well first of all, I didn't say that they're all psychos - I was simply referring to those who place fake bombs in bus stations and have the audacity to compare the disengagement with the Holocaust, or those who spread oil and nails on the highways. What would YOU call people who did such things?

I certainly do not hate my own people, and as I've said in the past, I can understand how difficult it must be for people to have to leave their homes and their livelihoods. However, the color orange has turned into a symbol of defiance and disobedience, closely associated with senseless acts (such as those mentioned above). Like it or not, this is what many people associate with the color orange these days.

With regard to number 3, one could say the same about successive Israeli governments as well. You are simply buying into well-worn stereotypes in an effort to ignore what is truly happening on the ground. Perhaps you are the one in need of therapy, as I'm quite certain that it's not me.

musophrenia.blogspot.com said...

that bit about that woman serving up cakes etc etc...v.funny....to me...

Anonymous said...

You should take a vacation day and read about the symptoms of jealousy as described in various psychological journals and academic theses. Clearly, you do not have, and cannot comprehend, the deep and unshakable love of Israel that these brave people share, and are so afraid to even reach out and understand where their feelings come from that you simply choose to make fun, disdain, and yes, even hate them (though you would never admit that primitive emotion can exist in such a worldly human being as yourself). As a lifelong liberal and generally left-thinking individual, I shudder at what has happened to a movement that once stood for something. The violations of human rights happening daily in Israel by the police against children, women, men, boys...people being propagandized by the media here, by bloggers like you, and being turned into mere statistics. If anything is going to have to answer for the turbulence which will lead to civil strife and pain it is the delegitimization of the valiancy of these brave people who have a clear conscience and an inner strength driven by the truth of their convictions.

While discussing the murder of the two grandparents at Kissufim last night someone actually had the sick sense to say to me "Well, they shouldn't have even been there." Seems to me from your musings that your mind likely uttered those same words. You, whose life devoid of divinity can know nothing of the stirring emotional bond with the land and people and history of Israel, should thank your lucky stars that folks with such tremendous courage exist today, making their predecessors like Gruner, Kashani, Feinstein, Barzani and others who battled for Israel proud. (Unfamiliar names? How sad.) Your spewing would have made you a pariah, shunned and forgotten for not having the guts to fight for your land, your life, preferring instead the hovels of the empty, phony-baloney "Tel-Aviv is the center of the universe" mentality. Read between the lines - the fear and contempt for Judaism by the "enlightened intelligensia" of Israel is compounded by the fact that the outside world they suck up to for embracing indeed actually spits upon them. I thoroughly enjoyed the British academic boycott of Israeli works, as the "please-love-me" crowd tripped over themselves to mend fences. I applaud the Mayor of London for his honesty, his words reflecting probably only the very surface of the feelings of not only those he represents, but the whole of Europe and indeed, most of the world. Face the fact - we can tear our own people from their hand-built homes and businesses, we can de-Judaize Yemenites as they reach our shores by cutting their peyot, we can drag kippah-wearing men from a bus returning home from work with no cause other than they choose an external sign of the bond with their freely-chosen God, but in the end no matter how much we cow-tow we will only be hated more and more. Have you never had an in-depth conversation with a non-Jew about what they understand as strength? It is not weasly comments like those of Mr. Peres, who thankfully is in his golden years, may his sun set soon. I will assume that you are too young to remember the palpable sense of respect in June of 1967. Yes, the world shouted their tsk-tsk's for what happened here, the UN and so many other acronyms screamed bloody hell, but the truth was way too noticable - there was simply an abiding recognition of Israel as finally gaining a foothold as a legitimate power, a force to contend with. Of course, Dayan the chicken-hearted ruined that instantly by having our flag torn down from the Temple Mount and party-line apologizing to the world. Eban's statement on Arabs and their missed opportunities was misplaced - it is we who continue to screw up and ghetto-like run from expressing our national needs, in the face of world and local pressure.

And thanks to writers like you it seems this generation will again fail to reach anywhere near its potential. Perhaps your grandchildren will learn from our tragedy that they will read about and finally get it right.

Lucky for you that people like the orange-bearers you cannot stand were around in past years, or you'd surely be living elsewhere, or not at all.

zahava said...

Without question this is the saddest, most hopeless article I have read all day. I sit here, on the 17th of Tammuz, and shake my head wondering how we as a people have survived the past 2,000 years.

The enemy is orange?!

I am opposed to disengagement, but I would never consider someone FOR it to be my enemy. Rather, I view those with political views different from my own as wanting the same results (peace, a strong economy, a democratic society) but disagreeing on the methodology.

Your rant, and others like it anger me beacuse I see them as wasted opportunities. During these incredibly difficult and turbulent times, we need to spend our energies devising means to unify rather than divide. Our REAL enemies would like nothing better than to divide and conquer.

Furthermore, being pro or anti disengagement is not simply a matter of religious observance. Why do our media and government insist on joinging these two issues and why do we let them?!

Demonizing our political opponents not only degrades the political process, it robs each side of the ability to retain its collective humanity. I may join a roadside demonstration which involves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded citizens to show solidarity for my countrymen soon to lose their homes, jobs and way of life, but I never, not for one second, lose sight of the fact that the soldiers and police sent to maintain a semblance of order during these acts of civil disobedience are my countrymen, doing their own jobs, and as committed to their views as I am to mine.

Am I intersted to know why their views are in opposition to my own? YES! Am I interested in their understanding my views? YES! Would I resort to violence, under any circumstance? NEVER.

In my "settlment" community voices ring out daily to condone violence, to appeal for acts of chesed and kindness, and to work together to find a peaceful means to solving our catastrophic problems. If you are not hearing the condemnation of violence, I fear it is because your own voice rings out too loudly in denunciation of that which you oppose, rather than to the words of your political opposition.

Zahava said...

Obviously I meant to say 'condemn' and not 'condone' in reference to violence.

nrg said...

Oh, where to begin, where to begin... First "She" seems quite brave to me. Continuing to speak out against violence and critcize her own countrymen for acts that she finds abhorent... This seems to be taken as a negative thing by every person who chose to publish a comment to her blog entry. That strikes me as odd. I would think that her brand of bravery is also necessary if Israel is to find a way to peacefully co-exist with its neighbors. Let's face it...the neighbors aren't going to move, and neither is Israel, so isn't co-existence the end-all, be-all here? Ok, I moved away from my point (yes, I had a point). Which is that dissent and criticism within any community presents the wonderful potential for growth and improvement. From everything I read, no one wants to admit that mistakes and errors in judgement happen on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. When faced with criticism, the comments I see are, first: the common sophomoric tendency to name-call (for example: " I would suggest a good therapist that would check if your hate to your own people is due to mental issues or self suicide hidden thoughts
"...or "Clearly, you do not have, and cannot comprehend, the deep and unshakable love of Israel that these brave people share, and are so afraid to even reach out and understand where their feelings come from that you simply choose to make fun, disdain, and yes, even hate them (though you would never admit that primitive emotion can exist in such a worldly human being as yourself)." I believe "She" writes what she writes out of an unshakeable love for Israel, and equally important, for humanity. And nowhere did I get the impression that she saw herself as "such a worldly human being". Secondly, there is the habit to generalize all those on the "other side", which I find particularly amusing, since the anger behind the words appears to stem from the feeling that "She" was making unfair generalizations about the anti-disengagement camp. I begin to see more clearly why there is such a struggle in the middle east when someone can actually write the phrase "...he behaves like any other mideast born-you cannot trust his words". Generalizations... nothing irks me more. Until you know every cab driver born in the middle east, thinking that every one of them is identically untrustworthy is....oh, what's the word for it?.... ah yes... WRONG!
I do ramble... but I admire the fact that "She" is willing to put up with the tirade of negativity and place her views out there. Her belief in non-violence and her alternative method of showing her love for Israel may frighten and confuse some, but I applaud. If you were to ask this non-Jew about what she understands as strength, I would say that strength can be demonstrated in many different ways and that the author of this blog unquestionably possesses a great deal of it. Write on!

Ruth said...

Defining a group of our own population as "the enemy" is certainly not identical with denouncing violence, rather on the contrary, it could be understood as inciting violence against this group of people.

I wonder what words will be left to "her" when dealing with the people bombing busses and so on?

Yael K said...

Everyone cool out a bit here and go back and re-read She's post. She doesn't say that she thinks everyone who is sporting orange is among the psychos --in fact, she makes the point that that is not the case. I think that the vast majority of those in the orange camp and those in the blue camp would view placing a fake bomb in the bus station of Netanya to be an unacceptable act. Ditto for the violence (whether it be from soldiers or from protestors).

Look, everyone gets to a breaking point of frustration and it can lead them to make a frustrated rant. If you read over She's previous postings on this issue, she does not espouse such a knee-jerk reaction. I am reminded of when a generally level-headed, moderate, completely humanitarian and well-respected blogger had his car stoned by a group of palestinian kids and this event sparked his making some very strong and wholly uncharacteristic opinions as a result. We all lose our even-keel at some point. Generally we find our rudder again pretty quickly.