A Dumkopf Berkoff Send-off

A Berkoff bloke asked in the Jewish Chronicle

What on earth has happened to the Jewish mind?…Something has gone wildly awry.

Berkoff is famous. And lauded.  But there are who are a bit circumspect. Drama critic Aleks Sierz describes Berkoff’s dramatic style as “In-yer-face theatre”:

“The language is usually filthy, characters talk about unmentionable subjects, take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each another, experience unpleasant emotions, become suddenly violent. At its best, this kind of theatre is so powerful, so visceral, that it forces audiences to react: either they feel like fleeing the building or they are suddenly convinced that it is the best thing they have ever seen

Thus forewarned, his latest screed is on the subject of the Temple Mount which is

…something so utterly trivial, so shallow, just to fulfil our nostalgic needs. What is most sacred is our freedom and the intelligence and wisdom to respect the rights of others. Enough innocent people have died to perpetuate this sickening myth of the mount’s sacredness…

One could ask, if it is trivial, why is it not trivial for the Muslims?  Are only Jews charged with minimalising their religious, national and cultural feelings?

Yet he ratchet ups his rhetoric further:

Who could ever dream that the Jews who have suffered so much, could be so completely insensitive to the spiritual needs of the Palestinians? To be partly responsible for the most pointless bloodshed caused by their utterly bone-headed desire to fulfil their need to shtup themselves into the Al Aqsa mosque area…the gross and selfish need for people to fulfil atavistic desires and push themselves into an area sacred to the Palestinians. Why? Why is there such an important need to step into the place where once the Jewish temple stood? It has gone, gone, over 2,000 years ago. Get over it!

And he wrote that during Channukah, the holiday celebrating the cleansing of the Temple from foreign influences, as a symbol of Jewish liberation against an occupation.  Well, no more latkes for him!

Really, now, how ugly a character can he possess to write that?

The Muslims in Mandate days knew quite well that Jews did not seek to assert themselves on the Temple Mount.  All they wanted was their rights at the Western Wall.  For the 19 years of Jordanian occupation, Israel did not aggressively claim its rights to that Wall.  In 1967, a status quo was adopted – no overt displays of Jewishness during visits (as ‘tourists’) such as praying, reading from Lamentations or the such and no archaeological excavations to discover the historical truth and to confirm what we Jews assume to know about the location – whereas for the Muslims, that status quo was consistently violated and included destruction of artifacts and other physical, not spiritual, items important for Jews and all mankind.

I presume that means nothing to Berkoff for he seems to prefer the non-Jew’s position.  Their feelings are to be honored more as he thinks that will influence the Arab/Muslim (which it hasn’t in over 100 years of conflict).

For Berkoff, Netanyahu is a a dumkopf (in 2009, he described Netanyahu and Sharon as “wretched”) and Netanyahu “has no smidgeon of seichel”.

What is his solution? To

leave the Palestinians alone in their own spiritual territory…the only thing they have left is their spiritual rights. That is as important if not more than almost anything else.

Does not his own seichel grasp that the Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-‘Palestinians’ will never be satisfied with being alone in their own world?  In their current make-believe world, the Temple never existed. Abraham was a Muslim.  Jews have no national rights.  We can be stabbed because we are intending to destroy Al-Aqsa.  Little children, young women and men just get up and select their knife-of-choice and go out to stab a Jew, any Jew (or Arab they think a Jew) or run them over, even the Jew is an infant in a stroller (that’s a pram, Mr.Berkoff).

Can logic and rationality work with people like this?

So, what is left for the Jews?  For Berkoff, Tel Aviv is the answer for it is

sanctuary for all Jews who have been abused, no matter where in the world. Should we jeopardise all this for the absurd need to shtup our busy carcasses on to the Temple Mount?

Tel Aviv, indeed, is an amazing accomplishment.  But as has been noted, it can present challenges and did


and still does. Is Berkoff really suggesting Jerusalem be dumped? The city of peace?  To where all the nations will come for “my house is a house of prayer for all peoples“. Are we all, in his mind, dumkopfs?

From my understanding, Berkoff is embarrassed by too an overt assertion of Jewishness and he cares deeply for a people that cannot but resort to an evil terrorism as their form of diplomacy no matter how many times Jews yielded up their rights or even surrendered territory. Jews are the cause of the problem.  If he thinks that yielding any right, guaranteed by law, by the way, will placate Arab fanaticism, quiet their anger and convince them that they shouldn’t yell at, spit at or kill Jews, he is the dumkopf.


About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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