As Jewishness is transmitted through the bloodline of the maternal side, I know I am Jewish thanks to the tale my grandmother had passed on to my mother. This was of her mother’s earliest recollection of childhood. Evidently the family name was Hirsch and they must have been living in Armenia, I assume in Yerevan, sometime in the later nineteenth century. My great grandmother must have been aged around four years old at the time.
She had her head buried in her mother’s skirts. The building was full of screams and shouts and some of the upstairs neighbours were falling past the window in a seriously distressed state. Her mother had locked the apartment door. Then, curved scimitars came under the door in an attempt to lift it off its hinges. “Go away! Go away!” her mother cried out “We are Jews.” The scimitars were withdrawn. A Turkish voice on the other side apologised. “Forgive us. We are so sorry to have frightened you. It is only those filthy Christian dogs we are after.”
After that, the family moved to Smyrna, my great grandmother went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London and married into the British Army of India. Both she and her husband died of cholera leaving two small children behind them. Certainly these two children were not brought up in the Jewish faith. My grandmother, while in Cairo, on leave as a nurse from a hospital ship off Gallipoli, married a young officer in the Royal Flying Corps, the son of a Unitarian minister from Boston, Mass. Her brother, as an Arabist, worked with Lawrence in the Arab Office in Cairo and ultimately ended up as District Commissioner in Jenin. Here, in 1938, he was assassinated by Arabs protesting against the British policy of allowing rapid Jewish migration into their Palestinian homeland.
This Jewishness is an odd identity. As far as I can gather from reading such as Shlomo Sand on the Jewish ‘race,’ it is based more on the passing down of a religious meme than any Semitic gene. Current Zionist patriots would dearly love to establish a racial identity (and indeed strive to do so by taking all legal steps possible to prevent intermarriage between Jewish Israelis and the unchosen.) Despite this, they are hard pushed to demonstrate that the average Jewish Israeli has as much of Abraham’s genetic inheritance in their veins as do their Arab fellow countrymen. Two millennia of diaspora, invading armies, rape, forbidden love affairs, intermarriage and above all the successful proselytizing throughout the ancient world of this novel and highly attractive monotheism, have ensured that for modern-day Jews, the concept of racial purity will forever be a pipe-dream.
Yet they seem still to cling to the idea. That is why I was particularly interested in a little story that has recently come out of the conflict in the Ukraine. As is common knowledge, in the new Ukrainian state, good, old-fashioned Nazi worshipping, Jew-hating, fascism has gained a significant influence in government and particularly in the security forces and military. Key elements in the United States are anxious to help their new Ukrainian protégée in its efforts to establish its unwelcome dominion over that third of their Russian-speaking fellow citizens, whose buttons are not pushed by Ukrainian nationalist fervour.
Practical expression of American support is to be embodied in the National Defence Authorisation Act 2015, currently before Congress. A proposed Democratic amendment to this act would have explicitly barred those found to have offered “praise or glorification of Nazism or its collaborators, including through the use of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or other similar symbols” from receiving any form of support from the US Department of Defence. This proposed amendment has now been rejected at the behest of the Republican-led House Rules Committee after it had been effectively lobbied by… and wait for it; the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. These are two of the country’s largest, best established and wealthiest Jewish pressure groups.
In parallel with this development in Washington, there are events afoot in Israel. It is rumoured that steps are being taken to prepare to accommodate up to six thousand new Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine (no doubt to help settle the stolen lands of the West Bank.) At the same time, the Knesset is enacting legislation to declare Israel a “Jewish” state and to formalise discrimination against that significant portion of the population, who do not profess the Jewish faith.
I can come up with two possible explanations for the American Zionist lobby’s support for enhanced Ukrainian racism and its anti-Semite proponents. The first is that Israel seeks further Jewish immigration and is aware that Ukrainian Fascism, if it continues to be fed steroids by the USA, will almost certainly ensure their arrival. (This would not be without precedent: there is evidence of similar arrangement being made between Zionists and German Nazis prior to the outbreak of WWII.)
The second possibility would be that the new Ukrainian government and the Netanyahu government are both fundamentally fascist, racist states and, in recognising their community of interest, offer each other whatever support they can.
It could be that before long, Russian intelligence will pick up on Israeli arms pedlars coming through the arrival gate at Kiev airport to muscle in on this new market conveniently created by their friends in the USA.