Friday, November 09, 2007

Rabin, Beitar and the Kulturkampf

Last week, the fans at a Beitar Yerushalayim game, booed when they were asked to stand for a moment of silence in memory of slain Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin ז"ל. Instead, many booed. The press was horrfied and has done precious little but condemn the Beitar fans (i.e. Sefardim, Religious, traditional, Right wing primitives) for furthering the 'incitement that led to the murder of the Prime Minister.' The team was fined (why?) and required to play two games to empty stands, thereby losing income. This, however, was not enough in the eyes of the press. So, all day yesterday the radio, TV and papers were hacking away on the need to come down hard on the club for the treasonable, anti-democratic behavior of...the fans.

Now, aside from a few lunatics who are much beloved of the media, NOONE in this country supported and/or does not deeply regret Rabin's murder. However, unless you also support his policies, you are deemed an 'enemy of peace' and a potential assassin. During the weeklong annual Rabin memorials, the media trots out dozens of identifiable religious and right wing people and pointedly asks if they've repented of their evil (sic!) ways. It's all very Suslovian.

Against this background, Ben Chorin has a very apt remark:

Beitar Jerusalem fans have been roundly condemned in the press and banned by the league from attending two home games for booing during the moment of silence for Rabin. It is not especially politically correct to defend them but they deserve to be defended. In theory, the moment of silence is a mere display of respect for a slain prime minister and as such should be uncontroversial. In fact, however, such ceremonies have been turned into ritualized forms of identification with specific political messages.The Beitar fans understood perfectly well that they were being asked to affirm the virtuousness of the secular Ashkenazi left and the barbarism of everyone else, first and foremost, people like themselves. Their reaction was a sign of healthy self-esteem combined with a certain, um, lack of inhibition. Many others share the sentiment but tend to subtler forms of self-expression.So next time you're working up a head of steam about the manipulative annual Rabin rituals, remember this: the people having the babies in this country aren't buying

1 comment:

Yehu said...

Pasting question you missed on Hirhurim comments:

Jeff Woolf: "Again, those who DO want to convert are victimes of Stalin's Talmud Torah. Should we punish them twice? Do the all-knowing, never been oppressed Israeli or American MO or Hareidi Jews think that they would have fared better in the face of the Yevsektsia?" - I don't understand this at all (albeit a former Israeli). If you don't mind to clarify. BTW I read your article about the football game. You're 100% right, I wish there were more people daring to say they see it that way.

Actually Beitar fans have been singing "Leah[=Rabin] {deleted - performs a certain act} on Shimon[=Peres]" and "Hu Yigal otanu" at caduregel matches since tha assassination. It may not represent the sentiments of the majority, but certainly those of a large cut of the population, even if most of us wouldn't exdpress them in the same exact way.

BTW once during my service I got a ride with Eli Ohana. (In Israel he used to be revered like Clapton back in the Mayall days.) First I didn't recognize him, and he wasn't too thrilled about that...


Joe Izrael