Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Reincarnated Polish-Lithuania-Ruthenian Commonwealth Military Brigade

Sans "Belarus" which continues under the
traditionally pro Moscovite regime of Alexander Lukashenko
who recently came out in support of the post 2-22-14 Kiev Regime:
During the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko became a critic of Russian policy and interferences in Ukraine's internal affairs. Lukashenko criticized the Donbass status referendums and the idea of federalization, and proclaimed support for the government in Kiev. During the 9 May celebration, Lukashenko spoke in Belarussian instead of Russian for the first time. Later he arranged a meeting between Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin.[119] The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza has written about Lukashenko's transformation from "last dictator in Europe to acceptable peacemaker".[120]


Kiev, Ukraine: The defense ministers of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania signed an agreement at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw on Friday to establish a joint military brigade to participate in peacekeeping operations and to strengthen cooperation in the region.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski said that the agreement – contribution to the security of the region. “We want to send Ukraine provided assistance for the modernization of its Army,” – he added.

New international military unit was called LITPOLUKRBRIG (Lithuanian: Lietuvos-Lenkijos-Ukrainos brigada,)

According to the Polish defense ministry, the team will be used in operations under the auspices of the UN and the EU. Among the main tasks – participation in international efforts to maintain peace, the strengthening of military cooperation in the region and lay the foundation for the formation of the European Union Battle Group.

At the meeting of defense ministers of the three countries, it was decided to form Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian working groups to structure the team.

According to the plan, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine military units will remain in their places of permanent deployment, passing subordinate command of the brigade at the time of exercise and perform missions.

Brigade headquarters will be the Polish city of Lublin. There is already a part of the Polish command numbering about 50 soldiers. They need to connect several dozen officers from Ukraine and Lithuania.

This new team is expected to reach full readiness of the brigade in two years.
It may be mentioned that the idea of a Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian brigade to counter crises “LITPOLUKRBRIG” appeared in 2007.

Pilsudski's Belvedere Palace

Facebook Page For Belarus to Join Poland

Friday, September 19, 2014

Putin Upset About Failure of Scotland Independence?

Russian bombers Near Scotland As It Rejects Independence from U.K.

This is significant insofar as the Union of England and Scotland has been characterized as akin to that of Western and Eastern Poland, given the recent and on-going conflict in the latter - the lands of the East Polans currently called 'Ukraine'

Romanov Death September 15, 2014

The 2nd Dynasty of the Eastern Roman Empire - 1613-1917

26 September 1922 – 15 September 2014

 17 May 1926 -

Nikolai Romanov, the most senior member of the Russian Empire's Romanov dynasty, passed away in Tuscany, Italy at the age of 91, TASS state news agency reported Monday.

The Romanovs, Russia's last royal family, was overthrown during the October Revolution of 1917. Tsar Nikolai II and his family were placed under house arrest before being moved to Yekaterinburg and executed by Bolshevik forces in June 1918.

Following the revolution, members of the tsar's extended family fled Russia to avoid the fate of their relatives, the Romanov Family Association claims in material published on its website. Eventually losing hope that their family's rule over Russia would be restored, the Romanov relatives settled across Europe and the U.S.

According to the website, Nikolai had formally presided over the family since 1990.
Nikolai's brother Dmitry Romanov reported the death to TASS, referring to it as "an enormous loss." Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, according to the report.

Nikolai Romanov, known among his family as Prince Nikolai Romanovich, was born in Cap d'Antibes, France, in 1922, to Roman Romanov and Praskovia Sheremetyeva.

His family moved to Rome before World War II. In 1942, the Mussolini government asked the 19-year-old Romanov to become king of occupied Montenegro, but he declined, he told the BBC's Russian service in a 2006 interview.

Romanov and his wife, Italian Countess Sveva della Gherardesca, had three daughters together. The family managed an estate in Tuscany before moving to Switzerland.

Nikolai Romanovich first visited Russia in 1992. Shortly thereafter, he founded the Romanov Fund for Russia which provides financial assistance to Russian hospitals and kindergartens.

Wlodimir Put-In On The Katyn Massacre

… after the April 2010 plane crash that killed ninety six Polish dignitaries on their way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences, but rather undiplomatic-ally added that the incident at Katyn may have been an act of revenge for Polish atrocities committed during the 1920 Polish-Soviet War. 

     While large numbers of Soviet troops died during the war, they were not executed as at Katyn, but were killed in battle.   Most of these casualties occurred during a dramatic flanking maneuver personally led by Pilsudski, which in turned the tide of the war and likely prevented communist revolution in Europe in the aftermath of WWI.  The Soviets, particularly Stalin who was personally involved in this defeat, never forgave Pilsudski or Poland for this heroic feat.  This animosity is apparent even today , decades after the fall of communism.
Unvanquished: Joseph Pilsidski, Resurrected p xiii 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ian Paisley Dies At 88 - 6 Days Before Scotland Independence Referendum

"I hate the system of Roman Catholicism but, God being my judge, I love the poor dupes who are ground down under [it]... I feel for their Catholic mothers who have to go and prostitute themselves before old bachelor priests"

Ian Paisley, long-time Northern Ireland Unionist opposed to the openly pro-Papist rule of the rest of Ireland, passes away at the age of 88 on September 12, a mere 6 days before Scotland's scheduled September 18 vote on whether to become independent of the United Kingdom, that would leave a more disjointed U.K.

- Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, PC was a Unionist politician and Protestant religious leader from Northern Ireland. He became a Protestant evangelical minister in 1946 and would remain one for the rest of his life.
- Born: April 6, 1926, Armagh, United Kingdom
- Died: Belfast, United Kingdom 
- Spouse: Eileen Paisley, Baroness Paisley of St George's (m. 1956–2014) 
- Education: Wales Evangelical School of Theology 
- Children: Ian Paisley, Jr., Rhonda Paisley, Cherith Paisley, Sharon Paisley, Kyle Paisley 
- Books: Reasonable Doubt: The Case for the UDR Four, More

Paisley had recently spoken against independence for Scotland.

A vote for Scottish independence would drive a "wedge into the hearts and souls" of Northern Ireland, one of its MPs claimed today.
Speaking against a yes vote on September 18, Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley said a vote for independence in Scotland would ensure further division in Northern Ireland.

Addressing Sir Gerald Howarth who had been speaking against separation during a debate on Scotland's place in the United Kingdom, he said: "Do you agree with me that the unnerving and unsettling effect that a division in this wonderful union would have is that it would get the tails up of Irish republicans in my part of the kingdom, and would drive another wedge into the hearts and souls of people in Ulster?"

Sir Gerald replied: "Of course you are absolutely right to make that analogy,and to point to the consequences - the unforeseen consequences - to which the Scottish National Party does not wish to draw attention."
Paisley was a rare public official who spoke truthfully, if alas not in sufficient depth - aka the Papacy's Wars of Religion -- about the Pope as the Anti-Christ:

We need more officials to speak out openly against the Papacy.

Paisley became more private in his later years and his funeral was effectively limited to family:

A decision by the family of the late ex-First Minister and founder of the party has effectively banned all but immediate family members and close personal friends from this week’s burial.

And the Free Presbyterian Church, which Dr Paisley founded more than 60 years ago, may not be officially represented at the funeral service, although friends and family in the church will be present, including his son Kyle who is minister at the Free Presbyterian church in Lowestoft, Suffolk.
When contacted by Sunday Life, the current Moderator, Rev John Greer refused to comment.

Since he was replaced as Moderator in 2008, Dr Paisley and his family had ceased to attend the Martyrs Memorial Church which he founded on the Ravenhill Road in east Belfast — even though he and his wife Eileen and daughter Rhonda still lived in the church’s manse.

He had attended other smaller church denominations until his health began to fail significantly a number of months ago.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Towards A Zionism Of Inclusion

from an email from Barry Chamish, September 9, 2014

Towards a Zionism of Inclusion
  "This inclusive narrative could be about how Muslims tended and kept the land for centuries, welcoming the returning Jews to share it for the good of all"

Theodor Herzl’s original vision for Zionism included Jews, Christians, and Muslims living in harmony with a shared purpose. The history of Zionism tells us that this moment may not be too far off.

One would be hard-pressed to find an allegation that has not been leveled at the Jewish people’s movement for self-determination in their homeland: Zionism is racism. Zionism is colonialism. Zionism is apartheid. No social evil has been missing from the placards raised at anti-Israel and anti-Zionist demonstrations, all claiming “Zionism = X.”
These allegations have been exposed time and again as libels and smears, but even the greatest defenders of Zionism have failed to notice a much more positive, and indeed remarkable, facet of this century-old ideology: Zionism = Inclusion.

That is to say, Zionism was, is, and will likely continue to be on a steady trajectory of increasing inclusiveness. Contrary to those who say Zionism is an exclusivist ideology, from the moment of its foundation, it was one of the world’s most inclusive national and political movements.
This is not to argue that the Zionist inclusiveness has been one of singing “Kumbaya” with open arms. Zionism became inclusive because it was necessary for its survival. Its inclusiveness was, originally, largely due to pragmatic considerations. Only later did it become inherent in the ideology itself. Without inclusiveness, Zionism would have died in infancy.
In its early years, Zionism was a marginal and radical movement among the Jewish people. In 19th century Europe, Jews mostly responded to the hostility of their host countries by attempting to assimilate into European society or immigrating to the United States. Few considered the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel as a serious alternative. Many even viewed it as a threat to their efforts at assimilation. So from its very beginnings, Zionism could not afford to exclude anyone. If it were to survive, anyone willing to rally to its flag would be welcome.
The realization that inclusiveness was critical to Zionism’s survival dawned on its founder, the writer and dramatist Theodor Herzl, as he sought support for his ideas among the Jews of Europe. Herzl’s initial vision for a renewed Jewish state was a kind of Vienna in the Levant, a Central European utopia on the banks of the River Jordan. The intended audience for his vision was Jews such as himself—cultured, assimilated, and European—who would create a better Europe in the Middle East. A Europe that, unlike the real one, would be a place where Jews could feel safe, hold any position in society, and never need to question their sense of belonging.

It was to these Jews that Herzl turned when he wrote his manifesto, The Jewish State. He appealed to them in Britain, France, Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But after repeated attempts, he was dismayed to find they were not interested. Worse still, they rejected his ideas by asserting that they were solely British, French, German, or Austro-Hungarian. As the writer Amos Elon noted, the response to Herzl in Vienna was, “We Jews have waited two thousand years for the Jewish state and it had to happen to me?”

Theodor Herzl on a voyage to Egypt, 1903. Photo: Walter Anton / Wikimedia

Theodor Herzl on a voyage to Egypt, 1903. Photo: Walter Anton / Wikimedia

Like most Jews of Central and Western Europe, who saw themselves as modern and enlightened, Herzl despised the Jews of the East. In his eyes, they were primitives stuck in medieval times, resistant to the Enlightenment and decidedly un-European. He certainly did not think they could carry the mantle of Zionism and build the state he envisioned. The last thing he wanted for a Jewish state was to replicate the shtetl life of Eastern Europe and Tsarist Russia. But even as Herzl was being rebuffed by the cultured Jews of the West, he was, as Elon wrote, “surprised by the resonance of his tract in the East; he had expected it to strike hardest in the assimilated West, not in the East, which he regarded as backward, even primitive.” But the Eastern European Jews were the ones who embraced Zionism. They were inspired by his vision. They wanted to be the builders of the new state. And they were willing to do what it took to resurrect Jewish sovereignty in the blistering heat of the Land of Israel.
Touring Europe with his vision, whether among the shtetl immigrants of London or the Jews of Bulgaria, Herzl was overwhelmed by the reception.
News of his passage had preceded him. When the train stopped at the station an enormous crowd of Bulgarian Jews hailed the author of The Jewish State as their long-awaited savior…. People rushed to kiss his hand, and in the synagogue he was placed by the altar. He did not know how to face the crown without turning his back to the holy Torah. But a man called out: “It is all right for you to turn your back to the altar. You are holier than the Torah….” With his magnificent beard, his glowing eyes, his proud frame, and fine, simple gestures, Herzl stood on the stage, looking “as kings wish to look but seldom do.”
He was received by the Jews of the East like the Messiah who would take them back to the land of their ancestors.
Overwhelmed by this reception, Herzl the writer realized that the time had come for rewriting. He recast the Jews of Eastern Europe as the true national Jews. He wrote them into his story as those who had kept their sense of being a nation while the assimilated Jews of the West had not. In Herzl’s rewritten narrative, the Jews of Eastern Europe became better suited to the task of building a Jewish state than anyone else; because they, above all others, knew what it meant to be a nation; and Zionism was first and foremost about the national revival of the Jewish people.

During the first Zionist Congress, Elon writes,
The Russian Jews had left the deepest impact [on Herzl]. Warm hearted, soulful, eminently practical, deeply steeped in folk tradition, which in the East was still very much alive, they had none of the identity problems of the Western Jews, none of his sense of alienation. Herzl had previously thought of them as poor, oppressed candidates for relief, living in a “primitive” East; it took the congress to open his eyes: “How ashamed we felt, we who had thought that we were superior to them. Even more impressive was that they posses an inner integrity that most European Jews have lost. They feel like national Jews but without narrow and intolerant conceit…. I had often been told in the beginning, ‘The only Jews you’ll win will be the Russian Jews.’ Today I say, ‘They would be enough!’”
Indeed, over the next three decades, the Jews of Eastern Europe became the primary adherents of the Zionist vision and the ones who built its foundations against overwhelming odds. By embracing them and rewriting his narrative to reflect their enthusiasm for the cause, Herzl demonstrated that, for Zionism to survive, it would need to include everyone who supported it. He also showed how to achieve this: By rewriting the story to include the previously excluded group; and to do so in a way that not only included the new group, but made it one and the same with the Zionist vision.
Inclusiveness has many forms, and different countries and ideologies have found different ways of accomplishing it. France has a secular republican model under which anyone can become French if they adopt the values of the republic, live in a secular public sphere, keep competing identities such as religion to the private sphere, and embrace French culture and language. America has a post-national model that depends heavily on embracing the principles of the constitution and the “American way of life.” Britain has a post-colonial model under which peoples and religions are united under the scepter of the queen. All models of inclusion in countries that claim to be inclusive are problematic. All of them are partial. All suffer from a gap between the claim to inclusion and the reality. And all are challenged by groups who do not accept the “rules for inclusion.” In that sense, Zionist inclusiveness is no different. But its mechanism is.
The Zionist mechanism is one of retelling and rewriting its story as if Zionism was always designed to include a previously excluded group. This mechanism is not one of simple assimilation, “multiculturalism,” or even the “melting pot.” It is a constant rewriting of the story of Zionism so that a new story emerges to erase the old, thus creating the sense that Zionism has always been able to include the previously excluded group.

This is no different from the way all human beings adapt to changing circumstances. We write and rewrite our histories. We take moments of failure, despair, and rejection, and remake them into stories of growth, transformation, and triumph. We create a unified narrative that makes sense out of everything that has happened to us. We tell ourselves it had to happen so we could become who we are today. Internally, almost all humans—except for the clinically depressed—are like Pangloss, the perennially optimistic philosopher in Voltaire’s Candide.

 Theodor Herzl’s visit to Israel, 1898. Photo: Pikiwikisrael / Wikimedia
Theodor Herzl’s visit to Israel, 1898. Photo: Pikiwikisrael / Wikimedia

The Zionist mechanism works in the same manner. It is a constantly retold story, but at any given moment it is also a unified one. It is not a legalistic mechanism of “neutral” citizenship in a “neutral” state, where abiding by the law is the only requirement and all who abide by the law are equally included. The Zionist state believes in equality before the law, but Zionist inclusiveness works in a very different way: Zionist inclusiveness is about the story, not the law.
One of the most remarkable examples of Zionism’s ability to rewrite its story and transform its narrative is its relationship to the Holocaust. This narrative transformation has been achieved so completely that almost everyone now believes the State of Israel was born as a direct result of the Holocaust, and owes its existence to the tragedy and its survivors. To understand the magnitude of this transformation, we need to appreciate how difficult it was for Zionism to deal with the Holocaust.
Zionism was first and foremost an ideology of activism. It was a rebellion against Jewish passivity in exile, a rejection of the Jews’ resigned attitude toward their fate as a persecuted and marginalized minority. As a secular movement, it rebelled against simply waiting for the Messiah. It called for the Jewish people to be their own Messiah, to go by themselves to the Holy Land to restore Jewish sovereignty, rather than waiting for God’s anointed to do it for them.

In addition, Zionism contained an element that called for the total negation of Jewish life in exile. This, however, was not true for all Zionist thinkers. Herzl, for example, imagined that the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty would also contribute to the life of Jews in exile by relieving them from the status of a stateless people at the mercy of the nations. He described in his novel Altneuland (“Old-New Land”) that with the establishment of the Jewish state, “Jews who wished to assimilate with other peoples now felt free to do so openly, without cowardice or deception. There were also some who wished to adopt the majority religion, and these could now do so without being suspected of snobbery or careerism, for it was no longer to one’s advantage to abandon Judaism.”

Herzl thought that Jews would be able to walk proudly as equals among the nations once they had a state, even if they did not become its citizens. But as the situation in the Diaspora became more severe and ultimately genocidal, the choice made by many Jews to remain in Europe was scorned. For many Zionists, the growing strength of their embryonic state and the growing danger faced by the Jews of Europe delegitimized life in the Diaspora.

The negation of the exile (shlilat ha’galut in Hebrew), as it became known, was not just about negating the legitimacy of Jewish life in the Diaspora, but also negating its very essence. Zionism created an entire series of opposites expressing this: Active vs. passive, strong vs. weak, proud vs. humiliated, self-sufficient vs. dependent, healthy vs. sick. Zionism came to be seen as a cure for the sickness inflicted upon Judaism by the exile.
Zionism adapts by rewriting the story to include the previously excluded group, doing so in a way that not only includes the new group, but makes it one and the same with the Zionist vision.
So when the Holocaust occurred, it was an affront to Zionism’s core ideology. The Jews who perished in the Holocaust represented everything that Zionism wanted to change. The victims were seen as passive, going to their deaths like “lambs to the slaughter.” They were weak, dependent, and suffered the greatest possible humiliation—an industrial genocide. Whenever they rebelled, it was because they were Zionists. The Warsaw Ghetto resistance fighters, for example, became national heroes, in part because they were members of Zionist youth movements preparing to immigrate to Israel. The survivors were even worse in the Zionist perception. They were suspect simply because they had survived. The suspicion was that they must have engaged in deceitful and treacherous actions in order to do so.

The nascent State of Israel took the Holocaust survivors in and recruited them to fight for its independence. This was, again, a pragmatic inclusiveness. Israel needed them to survive. But it did not want to hear their story, and it found no place for them in the Zionist narrative. At best, they served as Exhibit A of why there could be no Jewish life in exile. They were the negative to Zionism’s positive.

Beginning with the public trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, however, the people of Israel not only started to listen to the survivors, but to rewrite the story of Israel and Zionism accordingly. It did not happen quickly, but over the next few decades, the story of the Holocaust and its survivors became so integrated into the story of Zionism that many today believe the Holocaust is the reason for Israel’s existence. This has become such a dominant story that many people around the world—including Jews and Israelis—are barely aware of the history of Zionism and the pre-state Zionist community that preceded the Holocaust.

The survivors of the Holocaust eventually became Israel’s new heroes. Not just the Zionist resistance fighters, but any and all who survived. Just this past Holocaust Remembrance Day, Twitter and Facebook were taken over by photos of soldiers with Holocaust survivors, who were hailed as Israel’s true heroes.

The retelling of Zionist history to incorporate the Holocaust and its survivors is now complete. Zionism genuinely stripped itself of its scornful attitude toward the survivors, and achieved complete inclusiveness by transforming its narrative.

 A new immigrant family moves into a ma’abara, a refugee absorption center, near Tel Aviv. Photo: Zoltan Kluger / flickr
A new immigrant family moves into a ma’abara, a refugee absorption center, near Tel Aviv. Photo: Zoltan Kluger / flickr

Another major group is still in the process of undergoing narrative inclusion: The Jews who immigrated to Israel from Arab countries. Prior to the Holocaust, they were a tiny minority of the Jewish world. Only one million out of a world total of 18 million Jews resided in North Africa and the Arab Middle East. With colonialism ending and the impending establishment of the State of Israel, tensions between the Muslim Arab population and the Jews rose. Over the course of only a few years, these Jewish communities—which in most cases predated Islam—were removed. A large number of the Jews fleeing these countries found refuge in the newly created State of Israel.

Much like survivors of the Holocaust, the Jews from Arab countries were recruited into the Zionist state-building effort, but they were not welcomed or included in any real sense. They were viewed as being “not us”—“nicht unsere” to use the Yiddish term. For decades, they suffered overt and covert discrimination. But they slowly found themselves, mostly through their own struggle and effort, becoming part of Israeli society, to the point that they all but became Israeli society. To a great degree, this inclusion was achieved through marriage. When I speak to large groups of Israeli students or soldiers I like to conduct a little exercise. I ask how many among them have four grandparents of the same ethnic origin. Usually, in a room of 200, less than ten hands will be raised.
Many will no doubt claim that, with all due respect to the achievements of Zionism, it has never sought or succeeded in including non-Jews. It is one thing to include all the Jews in the world—an impressive feat in itself—but quite another to include non-Jews.
First, it is important to note that Herzl’s own conception of Judaism was so secular and national that he felt religious Muslims, Christians, and Jews could all be Zionists. He thought the Jewish state should be akin to the French state, allowing people to have different religious faiths or none at all. So, at least as conceived by Herzl, Zionism was not meant for the Jews alone, and non-Jews could partake in it. Throughout Altneuland, Herzl emphasized, “The fundamental principles of humanitarianism are generally accepted among us. As far as religion goes, you will find Christian, Mohammedan, Buddhist, and Brahmin houses of worship near our own synagogues.” In his vision of a future Jewish state, “Religion had been excluded from public affairs once and for all. The New Society did not care whether a man sought the eternal verities in a temple, a church, or a mosque, in an art museum or at a philharmonic concert.” Herzl’s ideal as stated in Altneuland is “We do not ask to what race or religion a man belongs. If he is a man, that is enough for us.” In the novel, in fact, it is exclusionary Jews who are portrayed as the main enemy.

Many Soviet immigrants to Israel are an example of Herzl’s idea in action. Though they could claim citizenship due to their Jewish ancestry, many were not Jews themselves, and some were practicing Christians. Yet their immigration to Israel was considered highly valuable—even one that “saved” the country. In fact, when their status as non-Jews did became an issue—such as burial of fallen soldiers—it was met with anger from the broader Israeli society; indicating that, for most Israelis, they belonged fully and unquestionably.

 The Herev (sword) Battalion, composed completely of Druze citizens who choose to enlist in the unit, conducts a training exercise. Photo: Matanya / Wikimedia

 The Herev (sword) Battalion, composed completely of Druze citizens who choose to enlist in the unit, conducts a training exercise. Photo: Matanya / Wikimedia

Over recent decades, Israel has also sought to include its Druze and Bedouin communities. The initial reason was, again, pragmatic. In this case, the need for soldiers. As early as Israel’s War of Independence, many Bedouin and the entire Druze community joined the Jews in fighting off the invading Arab armies. From that moment, the Druze and many Bedouin were included in the Israel Defense Forces. Since then, Druze and Bedouin military heroes have been hailed by Israeli society and media. Indeed, during the latest conflict with Hamas, a Druze senior commander became a media hero after he demanded to be sent back into the field despite severe injuries. Many Druze self-identify as not merely Israelis, but also Zionists. This is not to say that there are no problems with discrimination or other issues, but it does show that Zionism is willing to embrace those who align themselves with it, whether Jewish or non-Jewish. Indeed, it seems that Zionism only finds it difficult to include non-Jews when they embrace competing Arab or Palestinian national identities. Zionism in itself can include non-Jews in its story, so long as they do not align themselves with a hostile narrative.
The current frontier of inclusion is that of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli Christians.
In the past, Israeli Christians by and large adopted Arab and Palestinian identities. Christians were among the most important thinkers and shapers of modern Arab and Palestinian nationalism, and often its most zealous adherents. This is due, in part, to their status as a minority among Arab Muslims. In recent years, however, as the Arab Spring revolutions have placed the lives of Middle Eastern Christians in jeopardy, Israeli Christians have begun to explore the possibility of an Israeli rather than Arab Christian identity. As Arab identity is increasingly perceived as exclusively Muslim and even openly hostile to Christians, Israeli identity has emerged as a new possibility for identification. Like the Druze and Bedouin, this is being explored through service in the IDF, as more and more voices in the Christian community look to military service as a means of engaging with “their state.” In response, the IDF is taking steps to make military service more accessible. This process has only just begun and is politically controversial, but it demonstrates again that Zionism is willing and capable of integrating non-Jews who do not embrace a competing identity hostile to Zionism.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, for their part, have had an ambivalent relationship with Zionism from the beginning. Zionism was a thoroughly modern movement that believed human beings should shape their own fate, rather than passively accept the will of God. In addition, it was composed of mostly secular and even atheist Jews who rebelled against the religious way of life. As a result, many ultra-Orthodox thinkers saw Zionism as heresy. Some extreme ultra-Orthodox sects even claimed that Zionism was an affront to God and an obstacle to the realization of God’s plans for the Jewish people, so only by destroying the State of Israel can the arc of history be put right again.

Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, an Arab-Israeli Greek Orthodox priest, has issued a call to Arab Christians to serve in the IDF and integrate into Israeli society. Photo: ShalomYerushalayim1 / YouTube

 Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, an Arab-Israeli Greek Orthodox priest, has issued a call to Arab Christians to serve in the IDF and integrate into Israeli society. Photo: ShalomYerushalayim1 / YouTube

Yet the Holocaust left the surviving ultra-Orthodox Jews in need of refuge, and many found it in the State of Israel. Nonetheless, even ultra-Orthodox Israelis have found it difficult to come to terms with the existence of a secular Jewish state, and especially with its success. Moreover, unlike Zionists who believed that sovereignty was essential to Jewish survival and prosperity, the ultra-Orthodox felt that the exile posed no threat to the future of the Jewish people, and might even be preferable.

For most of Israel’s existence, the Zionist majority was willing to let the ultra-Orthodox maintain their way of life and remain on the margins of Israeli society. But in recent years, as the ultra-Orthodox community has become much larger, more and more Israelis feel that the status quo cannot be sustained. In particular, they believe ultra-Orthodox Jews’ heavy dependence on the welfare state, low participation in the labor force, and almost non-existent military service places an unfair burden on other Israelis.

So began the battle to include ultra-Orthodoxy in the Zionist narrative. Initially, it took the form of a demand for military service and greater participation in the labor force. In other words, the motivation was once again pragmatic. Zionism wants the ultra-Orthodox to be taxpayers and soldiers. But over time, it is likely that the mechanism of narrative transformation will begin to operate. The Zionist story will be rewritten so as to make ultra-Orthodoxy into another, equally genuine form of Zionism. The 2,000-year-long continuing existence of ultra-Orthodox communities in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias, for example, may be portrayed as having paved the way for modern Zionism and secured the path for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland.
The last frontier of inclusion is unquestionably that of Israel’s Muslims, who currently describe themselves as Arab Palestinian Muslims holding Israeli citizenship, and it is the most difficult. At the moment, it seems almost ludicrous to think about their future inclusion in the Zionist narrative. Israeli Muslims themselves are likely to see the idea as an affront to them and their sense of Arab-Palestinian national identity. But I would like to present the possibility that, sometime in the future, such inclusion could take place.
Currently, the Palestinian national movement and Zionism appear so at odds that it is nearly impossible to conceive of a situation in which the Zionist narrative could be sufficiently rewritten to include Israeli Muslims. The furthest that most Israeli Muslims are willing to go in this direction is to demand a “neutral” Israeli state, stripped of any signs or symbols of being Jewish or Zionist. The argument put forth by them and especially their leadership is that as long as the state of Israel continues to be Jewish or Zionist, Muslims can have legal rights, but will never truly be a part of Israeli society.

As a result, for many Israeli Muslims, the only path to full inclusion and belonging is an end to Zionism. In the current situation, this is somewhat understandable. If Zionism and Palestinian nationalism are in direct conflict, the embrace of one naturally implies the rejection of the other. But it is also, of course, impossible for Zionism to accept, since it demands not the rewriting of the Zionist story, but the burning of the book itself.

As a result, the inclusion of Israeli Muslims in the Zionist narrative is likely to happen under one of two extreme conditions: Full peace between Israel and the Arab world, or an Arab world so engulfed in chaos and brutality that Israeli Muslims distance themselves from an Arab Palestinian national identity in search of an alternative. Under one of these extreme but not impossible scenarios, Israeli Muslims would no longer be Arab Palestinian nationalists, but Israelis and Zionists.
The next frontier of Zionist inclusion is adapting the story to fit Christians, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and possibly Muslims.
Should either of these scenarios materialize, the obstacles to inclusion would be lifted, at least in principle. One could begin to imagine the Zionist narrative being retold so that Israeli Muslims are fully included in the story. This inclusive narrative could be about how Muslims tended and kept the land for centuries, welcoming the returning Jews to share it for the good of all. It could be the story of how local traditions of generous hospitality led the local Muslims to provide refuge to the Jews coming to their shores. It could be a story with new heroes—Jews and Muslims who exemplified cooperation long before it was the norm; Muslims who protected Jews from harm; Muslims who sold land to the Jews and shared valuable agricultural knowledge with them; and Muslim teachers who taught about Zionism without neglecting their own side of the story.

It could be a narrative that resurrects the buried history of Muslim support for Zionism in Palestine. This history was recently uncovered in Hillel Cohen’s book Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, which covers the many dissident elements in the Palestine Arab Muslim community that viewed Zionism positively—as Herzl had hoped—and even assisted it through land sales, intelligence, and military assistance against the British. It could be a story that reminds us of heroes like Haifa mayor Hassan Bey Shukri, who wrote to the British government in 1921,
We strongly protest against the attitude of the said delegation concerning the Zionist question. We do not consider the Jewish people as an enemy whose wish is to crush us. On the contrary, we consider the Jews as a brotherly people sharing our joys and troubles and helping us in the construction of our common country.
It could perhaps become the story of how the Muslims, together with Jews, made the land of Israel whole again, bringing together all the religions that originated and flourished within its borders. It could be a story of return and reunification. A story of how the Muslims had to come to terms with being a minority and the Jews with being a majority before both could truly live as one, introducing the key element in any drama of return and reunification: The overcoming of obstacles.

It must be left to far better storytellers than myself to imagine what this narrative might look like. Right now, it requires the most fanciful imagination. But if Zionism has taught us anything, it is that reality begins with a dream.
NatanFlayer / Wikimedia

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Most Telling Selection of Style of Architecture: Western-Eastern Roman Style Basilica at Washington, D.C.'s CUA

A Telling Architectural Choice- Roman-Byzantium
for Washington, D.C.'s Catholic University of America
near JFK's suspiciously botched yet to be built B&O/North Central D.C. I-95 Freeway

 PEPCO right of way in Prince Georges County, Maryland,
with CUA Basilica dome visible in the distance

CUA- Founded in 1887 for seminarians and opened up to lay students in 1895 and 1904

The Catholic University of America, founded in 1887 by the U.S. Catholic bishops with the support of Pope Leo XIII, is the national and pontifical university of the Catholic Church in the U.S. On this ride I stopped by to see their campus, which is located in northeast D.C., and is bound by Michigan Avenue to the south, North Capitol Street to the west, Hawaii Avenue to the north, and John McCormick Road to the east.  The campus’ main entrance is located at 620 Michigan Avenue (MAP) in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood.  Brookland is also sometimes known as “Little Rome”, because in addition to the Catholic University, the neighborhood also contains 59 other Catholic institutions and organizations, including Trinity Washington University, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.  

 The earliest origins of the Catholic University of America dates back to a discussion about the church’s need for a national university during the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866. Bishop John Lancaster Spalding then persuaded family friend Mary Gwendoline Caldwell to pledge $300,000 to establish it. In 1882 Bishop Spalding went to Rome to obtain Pope Leo XIII’s support for the University.  And on April 10, 1887, Pope Leo sent James Cardinal Gibbons a letter granting permission to begin the university.  It was incorporated later that year on 66 acres of land next to the Old Soldiers Home. President Grover Cleveland was in attendance for the laying of the cornerstone of Divinity Hall, now known as Caldwell Hall, on May 24, 1888, as were members of Congress and the U.S. Cabinet.

A decision was made for a main church structure for this Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Initially it was to be Gothic- the style seen throughout western Europe.  But then a decision was made to adopt instead an architectural style blending western and eastern styles.
At this early stage, the church is Gothic. That soon changed. Why? There were a number of reasons, but primarily because the National Cathedral across town at Mount Saint Alban was already being built in the Gothic style. Charles Maginnis, the architect chosen to build the Shrine, saw no reason to simply do a Catholic version of the same thing, and neither did the CUA trustees. Instead, a Byzantine Romanesque style was approved.

Of course, the major obstacle in getting the church built was money. Originally in the hands of some powerful Catholic women, in 1915 fund-raising was put under the control of Father Bernard McKenna (left), who went about his assignment with great zeal. Rector Shahan also started a little magazine called Salve Regina to tout the progress of fund-raising efforts and encourage more donations. As money began to come in, Shahan’s vision for the Shrine became more grandiose. Somewhere along the line, instead of just a university church, he began to imagine a “splendid basilica to the Blessed Virgin."
The original intention of the Shrine’s founder, Bishop Thomas Shahan, was for the church to be Gothic, French Gothic to be precise. There was even a model that toured the country to draw interest in the Shrine project. But then the concept for the church was changed to Romanesque Byzantine. According to Dr. Rohling, that wasn’t only because Gothic would have been too similar to the National Cathedral being built across town, but for more personal reasons as well:
One of the most influential people in the change from Gothic to Romanesque-Byzantine was John J. Cardinal Glennon (1862-1946), Archbishop of St. Louis, member of the CUA Board of Trustees and a close, personal friend of Shahan: “While the Gothic ... appears ... to lift the people to God, the Roman style or the Byzantine ... endeavors to bring God down to earth ... [God] lives with us
"God'?  Or rather satan pretending to be God?!
Archbishop Glennon had been responsible for the building of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, a stunning Romanesque Byzantine church, with obvious similarities to the Shrine:

Bishop Shahan’s friendship with Archbishop Glennon coincided with his desire to have the church stand apart from the National Cathedral across town, making the choice of a Romanesque Byzantine design a logical one.

One final note - Dr. Rohling says that when she spoke with the grandson of the architect chosen to design the Shrine, Charles Maginnis, he said his grandfather was not very enthusiastic about a Romanesque-Byzantine structure. He preferred Gothic, but learned to like Byzantine. I think that’s true for many of us.
Caldwell, who died weeks before the age of 46, had left the Roman Catholic Church shortly before her death:

     Mary Gwendoline Caldwell bestowed the first donation to the Third Plenary Council of American Bishops that initiated the founding of The Catholic University of America.  Although she was born in Louisville, Kentucky on October 5, 1863 to William Shakespeare Caldwell and Mary Eliza Breckinridge, Mary Gwendoline grew up in New York City, where she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattanville as a teenager.  Her family became Catholic converts in the 1870’s when William Shakespeare sparked interest in the faith.  He remained an active Catholic until his death in 1874, leaving both Mary Gwendoline and her younger sister Mary Elizabeth orphans in the care of Roman Catholic Friends with an inheritance of several million dollars.  In his will, William Shakespeare stated that his daughters should use 1/3 of their inheritance to assist the Catholic Church in becoming a prominent part of American society.
     When she heard that John Lancaster Spalding, a friend she had acquainted at Sacred Heart, was trying to open a Catholic university, she donated $300,000 to fulfill her duties to her father’s will.  Mary Gwendoline required that the university be founded within the United States, controlled by the U.S. Bishops, affiliated with other faculties, remain separate from all other institutions, educate only ecclesiastics intelligible in Philosophy and Theology, and never be controlled by one religious order, before she would provide the donation.  She also requested that the donation only be used in its founding and Mary herself be considered the founder.  She claimed $200,000 could be used for buildings and the surrounding grounds and $100,000 could endow professorships.  She was only 21 at the time of her donation and was awarded with many honors because of her charitable contribution.  On May24, 1888, at the cornerstone ceremony for Caldwell Hall, the first building on campus which subsequently was named in her honor, Mary Gwendoline received a gold medal from Pope Leo XIII.  She also received the Laetare Medal of Notre Dame in 1899 for achieving such distinction for the American Catholic Church.

     After a brief engagement to the European prince Murat in 1889, she married German Marquis des Montiers-Mermville on October 19, 1896.  She resided in Europe for the remainder of her life; Mary Gwendoline renounced the Church after spending time in Protestant Europe and no longer connected herself to the University.  She died of Bright’s Disease in 1905.  [sic- the other sources have the death at October 5,1909] Today,  Caldwell Hall still stands as a reminder of her contribution to The Catholic University of America.