Thursday, February 24, 2022

Old Jewish Joke Helps Explain Russian-Ukranian "Conflict"

Today's Jerusalem Post online

Some of you may have known people who grew up speaking a few languages, because of shifting borders and consequently the need to speak the language of the rulers. Yes, in many parts of the world, borders between countries are rather fluid, shifting like sand on the seashore, or so it seems from far away. 

There's an old Jewish joke*:

Just after World War One, when Poland gained its freedom from Russia and even took over parts of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, two Jews meet near Lvov. 

One says, "isn't it wonderful we're no longer in Russia?" 

The Second Jews replies, "what difference does it make? Russia is antisemitic, and so is Poland." 

"Ah," responds the first Jew. "True. But I can't stand those Russian winters."

There was a time when other countries barely cared or noticed changing borders. Some border changes are the results of targeted invasions or aggression by a neighboring country. Other times, it was the results of war, either foreigners played god drawing borders, like after World Wars One and Two, or after after the "dust settled," OK the shooting stopped like Israel's victories in 1949, 1967** and 1973. 

This is what I wrote on Facebook:

I know that a lot of people will think that I'm totally insane and disagree without really thinking about what I'm saying. But before I say it, please understand that I've been a "student" of politics and history pretty much all my life, and I'm over 70 years old. I've always seen things differently. That's how I ended up living the life I now live. And I've never been shy about voicing my opinions. They are my opinions, and I have a right to them. I don't trash/insult others for their opinions when they disagree with me and I expect the same manners, behavior.
So about what's going on between Russia and Ukraine...
That whole area is under flux and has been pretty much forever. Barely a hundred years since communists made USSR, and it didn't last long. Honestly, not all of the countries that resulted when the USSR broke up can really exist independently. I'd butt out.

The area of the FSU Former Soviet Union certainly hasn't "settled" into secure viable borders. Many of the countries won't remain viable independent states. That's the way it is, sort of like yin/yang. International organizations and foreign countries just can't legislate true sovereignty. That doesn't mean they don't try, but it's ineffective. And just because the Ukraine is humongous doesn't mean that it can defend its independence. Size isn't everything

*thanks to my husband, Yisrael Medad, for the text of the joke

**For some peculiar reason, many countries and international organizations have condemned Israel for the 1967 Six Days War's resulting border changes, even though it was a defensive war. Losing the war would have meant the end of the State of Israel, and the post-war borders make much more sense, as they are easier to defend, more suited to the topography and allows Israelis access to the key locations of ancient Jewish history.

7 comments:

mjl said...

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”
― Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, The Accident

And about fluidity of borders, many have said the identical things about the State of Israel, remarking that it too can't and shouldn't exist independently. The Ukrainian people are the bravest and toughest people on the face of the Earth right now and standing against authoritarian world dominance--and saying "oh well" and "butting out" is what allowed the Nazis to gain a world foothold. MANY, MANY of the Ukrainian leadership (along with many of its citizens) are unquestionably Jews and I care greatly about their welfare.

I too am 70 years old and have been an observer of politics and activist most of my life, and NEVER AGAIN has meaning to me.

Batya said...

Fluidity of borders and Israel means that everyone should have accepted the border changes that had resulted from the 1967 Six Days War, instead of calling them immoral. Remember, Israel had absolutely no allies, besides prayers and Gd during that war. And in 1973, we almost lost because of the "advice" and interference of the USA.
The FSU is still readjusting.

Cohen Y said...

It is of worth noting in parts of Ukraine there reportedly is still a festive day where local ukrainians dress an effigy as a religious Jew, they then stab it and burn it

Cohen Y said...

The rather esteemed conservative editorial outlet the Federalist noted
a large percentage of right-leaning Americans have greater disgust from the oligarchic elite of their own country than they have of Putin or at least to bother with him.



the British spy Chief could State last week the signal difference between Russia and the present West is promotion of LGBT



Putin came step by step to the conclusion the so-called West is a bunch of wimpish feminine run rainbow pushing forces going forward
Putin has chose his moment ..
He may be dangerous, but he's doing normal standards of aggressive ambitious dictatorial leaders
The epithets About him being thrown around on Jewish sites are over the top

Cohen Y said...

How come now all of a sudden?
Do we “ must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”
Be consistent..


Where was everyone standing on the side for the past generation contently
including orthodox ,with the continuously throughout the West of degenerate decline between
Dignity vs Hedonism














Cohen Y said...

In the past decade or so what about the interventions going on the rest of the world? It's okay all the sudden to be racist Because it's white on white or is it something else

Would the world be doing all this if Putin would instead be be promoting the rainbow garbage? Guaranteed answer

where has the UN been for all the Chinese persecutions of of the uigyhers?

Batya said...

Cohen Y, thanks, interesting.