Reading about “Palestine + 100” (2019). Was This Really A Good Idea?

palestine

Cover image for the science fiction anthology “Palestine + 100”

I found a link to the book review Palestine + 100′ Explores Contested Territory, Past And Future at Mike Glyer’s File 770 and was intrigued. Apparently, Palestine + 100:

…poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 – a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba?

The reviewer, Amal El-Mohtar is the Hugo-award winning author of “The Honey Month” and writes the Otherworldly column for the New York Times Book Review according to the blurb on NPR. Among other things, she states:

The choice of subtitle — “stories from a century after the Nakba” — exemplifies this, drawing attention to the fact that for Palestinians (and many Israelis), May 15, 1948 is not a date to celebrate, but to grieve.

In case you didn’t know, May 15, 1948 was the date when Israel declared it’s independence from British rule and was established as a Jewish state.

The book hasn’t yet been reviewed at Amazon.co.uk, but received two favorable reviews on the U.S. site for Amazon.

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The Hidden Immortal

Kraków-Płaszów

Kraków-Płaszów in 1942 – This photograph is in the public domain

Norbert Salomon, though today he went by a different name, had survived the Kraków Ghetto, he had survived the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, he had survived the Polish persecution of Jews after the war, eventually emigrated to a newly born Israel, survived acts of war and terrorism by the so-called “Palestinian” Arabs, and he would survive this.

“I thought America would be a safe haven.” The twenty-five year old Ashkenazi Jew (for centuries, he always appeared to be between twenty-five and forty-five, changing identities when anyone suspected), sat in a darkened room, his youthful face and dark hair illuminated by his laptop screen, nimble fingers rapidly tapping keys. “But with the synagogue shootings, and now Muslim antisemites elected to Congress, something has to be done. Ah, I’ve cracked her d-base. Now to dump all her dirty little secrets on the internet. With any luck, she’ll be deposed even before inauguration.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps image/location and use it as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Krakow, Poland.

In Googling “Krakow,” the autocomplete came up with “Krakow Ghetto,” so I rolled with it, particularly since my wife and children are Jewish. Not only did I find information on Kraków Ghetto but also the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp.

I wanted to do something about a death camp survivor and landed on the idea of a Jewish man who had lived long before Hitler’s Holocaust and who would continue to live long afterward. A Jew who had seen so much persecution across the long centuries might either hide out or choose to fight back, not with guns and bombs, but this being the 21st century, with information.

I know some will disagree with my interpretation of recent political events and figures, but from Salomon’s point of view, it makes sense to publicly expose threats to the Jewish people at every turn as a matter of continued self-preservation.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Which “Echo Chamber” Should I Choose?

loomer

Laura Loomer

Disclaimer/Trigger Warning/Whatever: This is a rant. Feel free not to read it.

I’ve got time on my hands so, I decided to “get political” again. I just read a Daily Wire story (yes, they’re conservative) called WATCH: Laura Loomer Banned From Twitter For Criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar, Islam. Here’s Her Response.

Up until a few minutes ago, I had no idea who Laura Loomer was, and I’m a little surprised that both twitter and Facebook banned her for life for criticizing Ilhan Omar. After all, political figures are criticized on social media all the time without such a drastic result. I myself have criticized Ms. Omar for her anti-Israel and antisemitic positions, and yet I am allowed to remain on social media.

Apparently even political scientist and columnist Ian Bremmer, though not a supporter of Loomer, commented on twitter that banning her seemed a little harsh. Of course there were many others, including The Jewish Voice who were more critical of twitter’s and Facebook’s actions.

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The Unincluded People

anti-circumcision-rally

Found at Jewish Business News – No photo credit available

Jeremiah Katz never thought he’d see this day, not in America. His youngest grandson, named after his deceased senior uncle, Ezekiel Katz zt”l, at his bris (some of the Goyim call it the Jewish name day), and the mohel, Bernie Posner says afterwards that he’s getting harassing phone calls and texts.

“What’s all this?” Jeremiah, his son Michael, Bernie, and some of the other men were on the back patio sipping drinks and speaking in hushed whispers in case the neighbors were listening.

“It’s true,” Bernie put his hand on Jeremiah’s forearm as if to emphasize his words. “The cowards won’t even use their real names. These anti-semites say it’s harmful to our sons and even barbaric. I know two other mohels going through the same thing.”

“Have you called the police?” Michael had never faced this sort of thing the way his elders had and still had a tough time believing it.

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Prejudice of the Tolerant

kippah

A man wears a kippa. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Aaron and Esther Silverstein were walking hand-in-hand in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal. It was only a five hour drive from Boston, and now that they were retired, the older couple had the time to take relaxing visits to all of the wonderful places that had always surrounded them through their long and busy careers.

“Excuse me, Sir.” A uniformed security guard approached the couple. “If I could just get you to step aside for a moment.”

Puzzled but compliant, the married couple followed the official out of the flow of other patrons.

“Sir, I am sorry, but you’ll have to remove your headwear.”

It took a moment for Aaron to realize that he meant his kippah. “I’m afraid there is some sort of misunderstanding. You see, I’m Jewish, and as part of my religion, I…”

“Yes sir, I am aware that you are Jewish, however it is museum policy that no symbols or items partisan or religious be publicly displayed here. I’m very sorry, but you must remove your headwear immediately. It is for your own safety.”

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Burning the Ghetto

Roman ghetto

Via Rua in Ghetto, (rione Sant’Angelo), by Ettore Roesler Franz (c. 1880). Found at Wikipedia

“First they lock us up in this filth, then they try to burn us out! Rabbi, what can we do?”

Natan Ganz was panicking along with most of the other Jewish inhabitants of Rome’s Ghetto. They were trapped. In truth, they’d been trapped for over 240 years, ever since the then Pope ordered the Jewish population segregated from the rest of the Romans.

“Pray. What else can be do but turn our hearts to Hashem? The Ghetto is walled and they’ve locked all three gates!”

“We’re like rats, Rabbi. They mean to exterminate us like vermin!”

“It has always been so, and yet we endure thanks to the blessings of Hashem.”

“I can smell the smoke. The mobs are putting us to the torch.”

“Can’t you smell something else, Natan? Can’t you smell the rain?”

“Baruch Hashem. You’re right Rabbi. It’s raining. A blessing from Hashem, praised be His Name.”

“Rain is always the sign of a blessing. And there, a rainbow.

“Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam, zokher haberit vene’eman bivrito v’kaiyam bema’amaro.”

In the Jewish calendar, on Tevet 22 in 1798 C.E. (or A.D if you prefer), mobs attempted to torch the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. Only because the rains came and extinguished the fire were the Jews spared.

My two characters are totally fictional, and perhaps the names I gave them are unrealistic for Roman Jews in the late 18th century, but I wanted to capture this moment in as few words as possible. I also don’t know if a rainbow was seen, but I decided to include the blessing a Jew recites when seeing one. Here is the blessing in English:

“Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to His covenant, and keeps His promise.”

You can click the link I provided above to get more about the history of the Ghetto in Rome, but that Ghetto was not to endure much longer. Napoleon’s forces invaded and occupied Rome, and the Ghetto was legally abolished in 1808. The City of Rome finally tore down the Ghetto walls in 1888.

Word count for this piece of flash fiction is 173.

At Gunpoint

gunpoint

Image: International Business Times UK

“Admit it. You voted for Donald Trump. I know you did.”

These were the first words Colton heard as he woke up. Angelique was pointing a .45 caliber handgun at his face.

“Wait. What? What are you talking about?”

Angelique and Colton lived in a four bedroom flat on the second floor of a building in San Francisco’s Richmond District along with two other “flatmates.” The election was a week ago. It seemed like the City, Oakland, and several other Bay Area communities, along with major population centers across America, were burning figuratively and literally with hate and fear over a Donald Trump win and what everyone thought it would mean.

“God damn you, Colton, how could you? I thought we were friends.”

Colton’s head had cleared thanks to the sight of the firearm pointing at him from less than three feet away. “What the hell are you doing with that thing, Ang?”

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