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Thursday, December 02, 2004

jews for yesha; or: yesha li eretz acheret

and now for something completely different...

a festive rendition of the internationale, in japanese.
(thanks, yoshie!)

okay, so today's featured link is to mo'etzet yesha, the council for the jewish colonies in the occupied palestinian territories.

settlers/colonists don't refer to these territories as "the occupied territories", for obvious reasons. nor do we call them "the west bank and gaza strip". we call them "yesha", which is an acronym for yehuda, shomron and 'aza - judea, samaria and gaza: biblical names with ideological resonance.

"yesha" is also a play on the hebrew word for "salvation" - right wing israelis promote the line that the colonists are the salvation of israel. but it's also very close to "yeshu", which is "jesus" in hebrew, hence the pun in the first part of the title of this entry.

the second pun is much more complicated to explain to non-israelis. there's a famous israeli song called "eyn li eretz acheret", meaning "i have no other country". it's sung by corinne allal, a left-leaning tunisian-israeli lesbian, who happens to be my favorite israeli singer. the song's title is patriotic, and indeed the song starts off on a patriotic note, with the title line, and the line "here is my home". the brain-dead fascist crowd in israel therefore interprets the song as a jingoistic anthem, even singing it at their rallies. this is much the same way as ronald reagan thought that bruce springsteen's "born in the USA" reflected his brand of chauvinism. and the right-wing israelis are just as heads-up-their-asses wrong as reagan was: the song's style is just about the opposite of triumphant - it's slow, rueful, melodic, and has virtually no instrumentation. and after the beginning, the lyrics become extremely critical, and the singer pledges not to be silent until her country opens its eyes. powerful stuff.

anyway, replacing "eyn" with "yesh" would change the song title to mean "i have another country", and changing it to "yesha" keeps it suggestive by similarity of sound, but also changes the meaning to "judea, samaria and gaza are a different country for me".

if you read all that and get it, good for you.


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