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     Rape of Dulcinea



Rape of Dulcinea


Israel Shamir

This beautifully crafted reflection on the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is worth re-printing (authorís permission obtained)

The touching words of Elie Wiesel (Jerusalem  in  My  Heart,  NYT 1/25/2001) painted a beautiful portrait  of  the  Jewish  people, yearning for Jerusalem,  loving  and  praying  for  it  over  the centuries and cherishing its name from generation to generation.

This potent image reminded me, an Israeli writer from  Jaffa,  of something familiar yet elusive. I finally made the connection  by revisiting  my  well-thumbed  volume  of  Don  Quixote.  Wiesel's evocative article is so wonderfully reminiscent of  the  immortal love of the Knight of Sad Visage to his belle Dulcinea de Toboso. Don Quixote travelled all over  Spain  proclaiming  her  name.  He performed formidable feats, defeated giants, who turned out to be windmills, brought justice to the oppressed, and so much more for the sake of his beloved. When he decided  that  his  achievements made him worthy, he sent his arms bearer, Sancho  Panza,  to  his Dame with a message of adoration.

Now I find myself in the somewhat embarrassing position of Sancho Panza. I have to inform my master, Don Wiesel Quixote,  that  his Dulcinea is well. She is happily married, has a  bunch  of  kids, and she is quite busy with laundry  and  other  domestic  chores. While he fought brigands and restored  governors,  somebody  else took care of his beloved, fed her, provided her with  food,  made love to her, made her a mother and grandmother. Do not rush, dear knight, to Toboso, or it would break your heart.

Elie, the Jerusalem that you write of so movingly is not now  and never has  been  desolate.  She  has  lived  happily  across  the centuries in the embrace of another people, the  Palestinians  of Jerusalem, who have taken good care of her.  They  made  her  the beautiful city she is, adorned her with a  magnificent  piece  of jewelry, the Golden Dome of  Al  Haram  Al  Sharif,  built  their houses with pointed arches and wide porches and planted cypresses and palm trees.

They do not mind if the knight-errant visits their  beloved  city on his way from New York to Saragosa. But be reasonable, old man. Stay within the frame of the  story  and  within  the  bounds  of common decency. Don Quixote did not drive on his jeep into Toboso to rape his old flame. OK, you loved her, and thought about  her, but it does not give you the right to kill her children, bulldoze her rose garden and put your boots on her dining room table.  All your words just prove that you confuse your desires with reality.

If you must continue to ask why the Palestinians want  Jerusalem? Because she belongs to them, because they live there  and  it  is their hometown. Granted, you dreamed about  her  in  your  remote Transylvania. So did many people around  the  world.  She  is  so wonderful and certainly worth dreaming about.

Elie, many people have adored this city across the ages.  Swedish farmers left their villages and moved there to build  the  lovely American Colony together with the  Vesters,  a  devout  Christian family from Chicago. You can read about it in the works of  Selma Lagerlof, another Nobel Prize winner. On the slopes of the  Mount of  Olives,  the  Russians  built  the  dainty  church  of  Mary Magdalene. Ethiopians erected their Resurrection  monastery  amid the ruins left by the Crusaders. The British  died  for  her  and left as their architectural legacy the St George Cathedral and St Andrew's. The Germans built the lovely German Colony  and  nursed the city's sick in  the  Schneller  Hospital.  My  devout  great-grandfather moved into the protection of her thick walls in 1870s from a Lithuanian Jewish village and threw  his  lot  with  the hospitable Jerusalemites. He found his eternal rest until the day of Resurrection on the slopes of Mount of Olives.  None  of  them thought to rape  their  Dulcinea.  They  just  left  bouquets  of architectural flowers as testament of their adoration.

Those who love Jerusalem are legion. It is disingenuous  of  Elie Wiesel to reduce the struggle for this  city  as  a  tug  of  war between Muslims and Jews. It is a question of  coveting  property versus having the deed of ownership. The resolution of this  case should be based on the 10th commandment, observed by our fathers. They knew that  veneration  does  not  amount  to  the  right  of ownership. Millions of Protestants  venerate  the  Catholic-owned Gethsemane Garden, but it does not transfer the garden into their hands. Millions of Catholics visit the Tomb of Mary, but it still belongs to the Eastern Church. For generations, the Muslims  have come to kneel at the birthplace of Jesus in  Bethlehem,  but  the church remains Christian forever.

What water did to Gremlins in  Spielberg's  movies,  Zionism  has inflicted on the jolly Jewish folk of Eastern Europe.  It  caused them to carry  out  the  ethnic  clearing  of  Gentiles  in  West Jerusalem, to  convert  Schneller  hospital  and  church  into  a military base and to build a Holiday Inn on top of the  venerated shrine of Sheik Bader. The Israeli State forbids  the  Christians of Bethlehem to pray in the Holy Sepulcher and bans Muslims below the age of 40 from attending Friday prayers at  Al  Aqsa  mosque. These changes of the city by the Israeli government amount to her rape.

In order to justify this rape,  you  invoke  the  names  of  King Solomon and Jeremiah, quote the Koran and the Bible. Let me  tell you a Jewish Hassidic tale, one you  might  have  heard  in  your childhood. A Jewish midrash, a legend, mentions that Abraham  had a daughter. A simple-minded Hassid asked his Rabbi,  why  Abraham did not wed his daughter and his son Isaac. The  Rabbi  responded that Abraham did not want to marry a  real  son  to  a  legendary daughter.

The legends are the stuff  the  dreams  are  made  of.  Some  are charming, some are horrible, and none is valid as a deed  to  the land or as a political platform. Elie, you  certainly  would  not like to lose your private home in  New  York  because  of  a  few verses written in  the  Book  of  Mormon.  This  game  is  rather irrelevant, but I will play one  more  round  with  you  for  the entertainment of the crowd. As every archaeologist will tell you, King Solomon and his  temple  belong  to  the  fantasy  realm  of Abraham's daughter. Moreover, and not that it  matters,  but  the name of Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the  Jewish  Holy Book, the Torah.

Elie, you want to play some more games? I'll tell you  more.  The Jews are not even mentioned in the Jewish Bible. Get  that  thick book off of your shelf and  check  it.  None  of  the  great  and legendary men you named, from King David to  the  prophets,  were called 'the Jews'. This ethnonym appears the first and only  time in the Bible in the Persian  story  of  the  very  late  Book  of Esther. The self-identification of the Jews with  the  tribes  of Israel and with the heroes of the Bible is as valid as the  story of Rome being founded by the Trojan prince Aeneas. If the  modern Turks, who  call  themselves  'the  descendants  of  Troy'  would conquer Rome, dynamite Borromini's baroque masterpieces and expel her inhabitants in order to re-establish the  legacy  of  Aeneas, they would just be repeating the folly of the Zionists.

Our ancestors, the humble  East  European  folk  of  Yids,  whose language was Yiddish, had a tradition of adorning themselves with the impressive heraldic lions of Biblical heroes. Their claim  of descent from these legends was as valid as the claims  of  Thomas Hardy's ambitious farmer girl Tess. But event the fictional  Tess did not conspire to evict the lords from their castle  and  claim the manor for herself.

Once, walking with the Christian pilgrims to the great Church  of the Holy Sepulcher, I was stopped by a Hassidic Jew. He  inquired whether my companions were Jews, and, receiving a negative reply, exclaimed in amazement: "What are these Goyyim (Gentiles) looking for in the holy city?" He had never heard of the Passion of Jesus Christ, whose name he used as a swear word. I am  equally  amazed that a Jewish professor from Boston University is as ignorant  as the simple-minded Hassidic Jew. Jerusalem is holy to billions  of believers: Catholic, Protestant, and  Eastern  Christians,  Sunni and Shiaa Muslims, to thousands of Hassidic and Sephardic  Jews. Still, as a city, Jerusalem is not different from  any  place  in the world; she belongs to her citizens.

Twenty more years of Zionist control of this ancient  city  would turn her into just another Milwaukee and forever ruin her  charm. Jerusalem needs to be restored to  its  inhabitants.  The  seized properties in Talbieh and Lifta, Katamon  and  Malcha  should  be returned to their owners. Professor Wiesel, respect  the  Gentile property rights as you would like Gentiles to respect your  right to your lovely house. The holy sites of Jerusalem  are  regulated by the 150 years old  international  statute  (Status  Quo)  that should not be tampered with. Last attempt to touch it caused  the siege of Sevastopol and  the  charge  of  the  light  brigade  at Balaclava. Next attempt could cause the nuclear war.

Author: Israel Shamir
Date Re-Published: May 2001

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