A Ben Cohen Ink Comic


By Ben Cohen a “legendary master of the left field.” -BRP!

“Unintentionally misunderstood since 1975.” –Anonymous

“A big f@#k you, to the audience.” -B. Pendarvis

Ben Cohen's Facebook Found Objects Third Party News

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Note: I doubt you will find answers here, and I certainly have no information or personal experience that makes this more valid then those who live in the reality; for example my cousin in Israel and my brother in Dubai.

That said…
The Judaism I grew up with seems to less and less reflect the will of my people. It is as if the humility and empathy gained over 2700 years of hardship particularly from 1938-1945 has been replaced by self-righteous hubris, built on a foundation of entitlement, worry and anxiety. It may have been partly that I was young and naive, or my vision of what it is to be Jewish may have been heavily informed on the principles taught, being in Berkeley, CA. What has remained consistent through my ageing has been this understanding… that dissension, argument and freedom of opinion has always been part of Jewish culture.

It is this idea that I have thought brought about the possibility of my existence, a secular Jew. I am not an anomaly, there is a strong tradition dating back hundreds of years with Jews denouncing the existence of god, but embracing what Tevye sings of, “Tradition.”

So as a Jew, I have focused on the lessons of good deeds, the amazing per capita influence we have had on American culture, the influence we have had in art, pop culture and the underground. I take pride and interest in these things, as well as, our survival through history, particularly the Holocaust. It is my understanding that the Holocaust is the modern crucible which created the state of Israel. And now I wonder “what are my people doing?”

As I write this, a very complex chain of events have led to Israel killing close to a thousand innocent Palestinians and a U.N. Driver in pursuit of Hamas. Perhaps Naustradomis (a Jew) was right and in 2012 Armageddon will be upon us. Perhaps the return of the Imam, Jesus or the Messiah is upon us.
In my most cynical moments I chalk this up to mass delusion. However, there is enough anecdotal evidence to sustain a suspicion that I maybe the one without wisdom, in assuming there is no afterlife. I may be the one who has hubris.

Still, I have a hard time understanding why we have cultures that see the climax as a time were all destruction of most saves the few who “believe” through immoral actions of the few. Where is the evolution of humanity in that?

We do live in uncharted times; manmade close to inevitable destruction of the plants environment, war at the birthplace of “civilization,” an American driven global economic crisis, genocide in Africa (the birthplace of man) and child slavery/sex trading in Asia; to name some. The environment alone could be a “sign” we are coming to an end.

The state of Israel was in part created under the Zionist pressures at the end of World War II. The passionate Jews were enacting terrorism techniques against the British establishment in Palestine (an action that gives support to the actions of Islamic terrorists acts today). And in the end the UN granted their wish after pressure from the US. All actions after this by the state of Israel have been enabled by the international community through the UN, with increasingly unilateral support from the US (which has its own population of 6 million Jews; me included) and under increasingly hostile pressures from their neighbors. Every step forward seems to be met by two steps back.

What is sure to result from current action by Israel:

1) Another generation of Palestinian youth who will fight to destroy Israel.

2) Further erosion of Israeli “high-road.”

If one looks at this on a very basic level, as I would have as a child and as Palestinian and Israeli youth can look at it today, you will see some basic truths. If Israel grants freedom, good will and fare commerce to Palestine then you erode basic tenants of Hamas and Hezbollah. You increase the potential for neighborly relationships.

But what of security? I feel that many Jews who helped establish Israel come from two experiences, living in a hostile environment already created by the thousands of years of struggle over the land and the new realization that there is potential for extinction (provided by the Holocaust). This does not bread rational stable wisdom. These fears and anger undermine basic tenants of the Torah and social engagement. This has been perpetuated generation after generation. It maybe that the militant Israeli is a symptom also of succumbing to a militant environment in the Middle East bread by the conflict within Islam between Sunni and Shia. I maybe wrong in this assessment, but if you are trying to get your way and you are in a hurry you adapt to the language that the other party works in; in this case strength…not the Gandhi approach.

Again there is not much of answer. So what you just put up your hands? I don’t know. I just know that fighting has just perpetuated the tragedy and fear on the to their side, giving legitimacy over time to their perhaps equally irresponsible behavior….with no end in sight. Until Armageddon!?

Perhaps there are some clear answers in the wisdom of Lawrence of Arabia. I know there are clear one in the case of Iraq…let them manage themselves now. In Afghanistan and Pakistan we have a complex issue, because our pursuits for Bin Laden…but eventually we will have to let go. In Iran we should tread carefully with open dialogue. The hardest part of this is how these countries treat their own people, particularly women…there I would lead by example and provide as much open information to the people as possible, but to move by force preemptively is a mistake of tragic proportions. Look to Teddy Roosevelt perhaps for the way….okay I must get off the soap box…please let me know what you think.

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