sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 20, 2011

Occupation Lingo

Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon put together a great video explaining the history and legalese of commonly used terms like “West Bank” and “Occupied Territories”.  (Via Angel.)  The term “West Bank” was applied to Judea and Samaria by Jordan to strip the area of Jewish history when Jordan illegally occupied it in 1949, cleansing it of Jews in the process.  Israel’s possession of the land today is perfectly legal, and Jewish construction is fine by international law — if that international law is fairly applied:

Israel is existentially threatened because she’s a small country.  The Jewish state appears weak, and territorially she is, which inspires her enemies’ belligerence.  If Ben Gurion had the spine to keep fighting in 1949, Israel would a safer place today.

There is more to Israel’s weakness than the puny territory.  The video above illustrates that when it comes to writing history, Israel has little if any power.  Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that in a region with thousands years of history and full of religious significance a plot of land is called the “West Bank”?  For a nice bureaucratic touch, I assume.  Or because the people who called it “West Bank” had so little meaningful connection to the land.  In any event, the language we Americans (and Israelis) use to talk about the conflict is carefully chosen to deny Jewish history.  That’s the starting point of any conversation.

Speaking of history, who teaches this or any other subject to our kids?  Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a cover story on a great charter school in Oakland.  The teachers?

radical teacher
Jacob Weiler (left), Caitin Schoenfelder and Rachel Niederman are Aspire teacher residents in Oakland.

Brain-dead hipsters all donned keffiyehs ten years ago.  I too did stupid things for fashion, just not that stupid.  And now that the trend exhausted itself, it’s safe to assume that Caitlin Schoenfelder is not the kind of person you want near your kids.  My daughter will start kindergarten next fall, and I’m racking my brain trying to figure out where in the Bay Area I can find a school that doesn’t employ fanatical lefties.


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