Saturday, March 28, 2009

アメリカとイスラエル、その関係  The American and Israeli relationship, Part One

Before President Obama assumed office, there was an Israeli attack on Gaza, that lasted some three weeks. Many Japanese people were shocked at the attack. Also, the nature of the American response surprised many people in Japan. In this blog piece, I will try to make an explanation of the American Israeli relationship.


But to truly understand this relationship, we must first take a look at history. One of the most important dates in Jewish history is the year 70A.D. Until that year, the Jewish kingdoms had basically existed in the land that is now Israel. In that year, Roman forces defeated a Jewish revolt against Roman Imperial rule.


And here is where Jewish history became unique. The Roman destruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in the year 70, and fighting a couple of hundred years later, caused Jewish people to spread into exile across the Roman Empire. At that time, the Roman Empire included the entire Mediterranean Sea.


So Jewish people scattered over a wide area. But where other peoples and tribes would disappear into the majority populations, this did not happen with Jewish people. They maintained their own religion, and did not marry into other cultures. Around the year 1,000, a language unique to the Jewish people in Europe evolved, Yiddish. It is a form of German, written with the Hebrew alphabet, and with many Hebrew words. It was commonly spoken by Jews throughout Eastern Europe, no matter what country they lived in.


The Middle Ages in European history is one of extreme ignorance and life was hard. Often the kings or princes of various lands could not themselves read. Yet Jewish people tended to be literate, often in several languages, they tended to be clerks, financiers, and doctors.


Around the year 1,000, Christianity became the national religion of European nations. At that time, Christian dogma held the Jewish people responsible for the death of Jesus.


And here is where much trouble started. The Jewish people had a religion different than the people where they lived. They spoke different languages, and did not often inter marry with other people. Or other people would not inter marry with them. And as financiers and businessmen, they were often wealthier than the common people of many countries.


So in times of difficulty, Jewish communities were often attacked and Jewish people killed. In fact Jewish people were often forced to live in segregated areas of a city by order of the local king. It is from these areas that we get the modern word Ghetto. In modern America, a Ghetto refers to an area where poor minority people live, usually Black or Hispanic Americans.


But hundreds of years ago, particularly in Eastern Europe, it was where the Jewish people lived. Persecutions of Jewish people were called pogroms; masses of angry Christian mobs would go through the Jewish Ghettos, burning, robbing, and killing. These riots could be set off by various events. For example, during the Black Death in Europe, many Jewish people were blamed for spreading the plague.

しかし、何百年前に特に東欧州で、ユダヤ人が住んだ所でした。ユダヤ人の迫害は、”pogrom”と呼ばれました。 暴徒なキリスト教群衆は、ユダヤ人が住んでいる“Ghetto”に侵略して、強盗、建物を燃やしたり、人々を殺したりしました。この暴徒事件は、色々な原因が有りました。例えば、ヨーロッパの黒死病の時に、ユダヤ人はよく疫病を広がった責任にされました。

Actually, fewer Jewish people died from the plague than Christians. Jewish people tended to have higher education, and lived more sanitary lives, this evoked resentment.

So to sum up Jewish history from the Roman suppression of Jewish revolts, up until modern times, Jews lived as somewhat separate people from the Christian population. They were often blamed for political or natural disasters, and often attacked and killed, often for no particular reason. The Jewish people rarely responded to these attacks with violence, they simply endured. Yet their culture and religion also endured.

要約的に言うと、ローマ帝国がユダヤ人革命を壊したから現在の時代まで、キリスト教の人達から別の生活をしていました。政治的混乱でも自然災害でも彼らの責任にされて、それでも特に理由が無くても 、攻撃にされて殺されました。ユダヤ人はこの攻撃に対して暴力的な反動がほとんど無かったし、ただ我慢して、耐えました。

To be continued 続きます。

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