Monday, December 28, 2015

R' Avi Shafran  writes "Blame Jewish terrorism on nationalism, not Judaism".
Ah, but the pundits have evidence to the contrary, proof of sinister pan-Orthodox sentiment: a song played at some Orthodox weddings, with lyrics borrowed from the account of the Biblical Samson’s prayer to be avenged of the Philistines. As the now-notorious video showed, there are indeed Jews who sing the song with ugly intent. But mainstream religious Zionist Jews and Haredim who dance to it at weddings no more intend the song as a cry for vengeance than a Frenchman heartily singing La Marseillaise pines to “soak our fields” with impure Prussian blood, or an American tearing up over his national anthem exults over how brave martyrs’ “blood has washed out [the] pollution” of the hated British.
There is a clear difference between singing a song with historical references to violence, as opposed to one whose roots today are violent. Yes, the text is Biblical, going back further in time than the French or American national anthems. But, the song was composed by a radical and was immediately adopted by contemporary extremists.

Failed Messiah posted a video of Dov Shurin singing his song, Zochreini Na. It defies logic that the community would adopt this song, created by this person, under the circumstances he wrote it, and with his known extremism. In other words, it isn't a quaint historical reference today. Perhaps if Jews sing it in a few hundred years, that will be true. But those who brought this song to the community knew full well what was meant by it.

And yes, there are many people who don't think about the words of the songs they sing, and there are plenty of Jews who like the song because they've heard it, and have not thought about its import, if they even understand the words at all. (Sadly, there are too many, even Jewishly literate people, who are either unaware of or don't at all consider the lyrics to the Jewish music they listen, sing and dance to, as has been documented on this blog. Over the years, I've highlighted songs that make no sense due to omitted words etc. One quick example, the Shloimy Dachs version of Hamalach Hagoel omits the words "vikarei vahem shemi", which makes the B section meaningless.)

I first heard the song on a compilation CD issued in memory of a victim of Palestinian terror. In "Singing of Revenge", I wrote about how a right-wing terror group had been formed at the funeral for the person in whose memory the CD had been released. You can follow the link for some more on the song. If I remember correctly, they had planned an attack at an Arab girls' school, close by the Al-Makassad hospital in the At-Tur neighbourhood. The J-Post article I'd linked to then is now broken, but I found a description of that attack on the Bat Ayin Wikipedia page. "The officers stopped the two and examined the car, finding that the trailer had two containers of gasoline rigged to two TNT bricks, and propane gas tanks. The explosive charge consisted of a "vergin" (military battery), and the device, in a baby carriage, was timed to explode at 7:35 am., when dozens of girls would have been entering the schoolgrounds. Later investigations revealed this was not a one-off strike but rather part of a West Bank network of settlers conducting a campaign against Palestinians. Israeli intelligence soon heard of a large cache of weapons, and suspected it might imply an attack on the Temple Mount was being prepared. Eventually 6 men, residents of Bat Ayin and Hebron, were convicted..." I'm pretty sure The JPost article talked about how this was planned at/after the funeral.

Bottom line, this song was composed by an extremist, immediately adopted/popularized by extremists, and regardless of how some Orthodox Jews here in the USA may know it, has always had those associations. While I don't ascribe the same motivations to those here who may have been unaware of these connections, I'll say it again, it's time to stop playing the song at simchas. If nothing else, the video of that wedding should compel us to stop singing/playing that song.