paranoid Jews? (was: RE: Michael Lerner bashing)

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Tue Jul 7 09:00:03 PDT 1998

At 10:37 AM 7/7/98 -0400, Max Sawicky wrote:

>> WEll, that would hold only if Jews were persecuted simply because
>> they were
>> Jews (or that Blacks are now disadvantaged simply because of their skin
>> color), and not because of the place they occupied in a society that
>> persecuted them.
>That's like saying John Wilkes Booth didn't shoot
>Lincoln because of he was president, but because he
>happened to be taking in a play at Ford's Theater.

That is not an exact analogy. JWB shot Lincoln not because the later was, say, an old white male, or even a Yankee, but above all because of the place he occupied in the American society - the president. Assassination (like terrorism) is for the most part a symbolic act, albeit its symbolism is of a different variety than we are used to in the tame modern world: that of hierophany (material manifestation of the spiritual force) rather than that of representation (an arbitrary symbol standing for something totally different than itself). Lincoln's assassination was a symbolic assault on the victorious North incarnated by the person of the president.

>Why is the group not vulnerable to persecution merely
>because they have a state of their own somewhere else?
>Groups throughout the world who have separated from their
>state (even very powerful ones, e.g., China) are persecuted
>as outsiders in the place of their residence.

I think you missed a key word in my argument: *systematic.* Of course, any group percieved as 'outsiders' can become a target of sporadic violence (cf. the Korean shop owners in Los Angeles riots). To be *systematically persecuted, however, a group must be vulnerable in a special way. First it must lack the protection only a state can offer. It does not have to their own national state, any state goverenment will do (cf. Federal government sending the military to Alabama to prervent blatant racial discrimination of Blacks). Second, if the national government fails to offer such protection, the persecuted minority can always vote with their feet (this is, BTW, how Jews found themselves in Eastern Europe). But to do so, it needs a place to go, where it can establish itself on a more or less permanent basis, not as refugees. Since today's world does not haave a no-state land, every bit of land carved up among nation-states, that "place to go" must be a state, ideally, a national state of the persecuted minority.

This is evident when you look at the problem faced by the Palestinians.

Best regards,


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