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Charlyne Valensin – Random thoughts inspired by the discarded concept of one Holy -Nation

A map of Jerusalem from the years 1670-1700 by Romeyn de Hooghe, part of the “Maps of the Holy Land and Jerusalem” exhibit, part of Google’s Once Upon a Try international online exhibition project. (Courtesy National Library of Israel)

Charlyne Valensin – Random thoughts inspired by the discarded concept of one Holy -Nation

I was glued to the TV set as I viewed the ceremonies of the 5th World Holocost Forum, focussing this year on the urgent need to eradicate growing antisemitism. Founded by Mr   Moshé Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress,  the Forum was hosted by Mr Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel, while Mr Netanyaou, Prime minister, imparted to the meeting a  political overtone.The event was indeed spectacular and epoch-making, no effort having been spared to make it exceptionally moving and impressive, quite apart from military security measures.  Some fifty heads of States and of governments, including kingly and princely personalities, as well as a bevy of VIPs, attended this gathering.  The objective of the sponsor had been to counter the Jewish fear of growing antisemitism by alerting top world leaders, especially European, to the dangers of the plague for their very countries.

 

While stirred by the solemnity of the occasion, I was haunted by some tantalising thoughts. If fear was to be activated among the  so-called International Communauty to bring it into action, if force and power were the answer,  this impressive event would have been a tremendous waste ! If  the Covenant-people had to rely on the collective security measures of the Powers that be in order to secure its own protection, this would have been a shame for a people that was meant to be a light to the world ! Any amount of collective security measures would have been useless  when the rash behavior of some suicidal killers might ruin the big Powers, and the Jewish State into the bargain ! Had might and power been the solution, the  long- standing problem of antisemitism would have been solved thousands of years  ago. The real question was, as Will Herberg wrote  in Judaism and modern man, «  antisemitism is, at bottom, the revolt of the pagan against the God of Israel and his absolute demand ». This demand was plainly set forth in the Bible which is not in fact a book of religion, while lip service is often paid to on religious grounds. What if antisemitism was a psychic disease, to be dealt  with only by a supernormal doctor ? This suggestion might well deserve a try.

 

With these queries in mind, I recalled a seminar Hugh Schonfield (1901-1988) – first Jewish translator of the New Testament into English and Founder of the late Commonwealth of World Citizens – had conducted  in 1984, in Cluny, France. Its subject was : « Can mankind be saved ? Human proposals and God’s Plan ». By the same token, it defined the raison d’être of the Jews as a people set apart, unlike the other peoples. Below is a summary of  Schonfield’s introductory talk that  may help us recover our intended but lost track.

 

 

In the last hundred years especially, man has made a great deal of progress in many directions and achieved capacities he had never had before. But this has only created situations which have also the greatest dangers that humanity has ever had to contend with. Can this situation be remedied    or indeed  can it be remedied at all ? Has man come to the end of his road and is he now about to destroy himself ?

 

Because we [the participants] are believers that this world was made by God, and it is His world, we think there must be His way of putting an end to the state of war. Thousands of years ago, when we had the Prophets, they spoke of an ultimate world, in which weapons would be thrown away and the world would become a world of peace. Philosophers would see this as utopian dreams. But those who have faith in God can understand this is His will for mankind, and it cannot be resisted forever. Therefore, so far as they have understanding, they have to look at the world with the eyes of God, with love for all the people that are on the surface of this planet, and be concerned to contribute to the change which is  to take place for the best.

 

In the 20th cenury, we have had two world wars. At the end of the first one, the League of Nations was created. Countries got together and said this war must end all wars. But it was a coming together of Powers, whose object was not to make but to keep peace. They came as independant States, each of which wanted to represent its own interests. And when different situations developed in different countries the League was powerless and, besides, a new kind of imperialism developed in many countries, asserting the right of a Power to control the whole of mankind : the world was to be united by destruction and domination.

 

And, especially in Europe, one people was the greatest impediment to this position, the Jews. Not because they had any authority or power at their disposal, but because they represented what transcended power politics. They represented what people were not  ready to comprehend : that a united world  can only be when there is a relation of heart, not the capacity to exercise authority and power destroying everything that cannot be controlled.

 

The result was that the name of the League of Nations was changed into the  United Nations Organisation. But it was still conceived in power terms. Five countries were elected – the US, Great-Britain, France, Russian and China – as the  Powers which would control, and assure that peace was going to be kept. They called it « a League with teeth in it ». What took place ? There was no way of overcoming power politics in this way. The objectives of the five chosen countries were opposed to one another. Since this time, the UN has ceased to count for anything. People pay lip service to UN ideals, but act without any reference to them. And consequently, we have had more and more wars in different areas. And some of the countries supposed to be the guardians of peace were the ones that are taking part in fighting.

 

So, it has become very evident that mankind, of its own initiative, is not capable of creating a world of peace. This has meant that with the arrival of new weapons there has been a very grave deterioration. The capacities of man have grown, but their love for each other has not appeared. We are still living on a basis of power politics, but that power politics if now supported by weapons which are capable of destroying the whole human race. In this situation, so many people fear for the future. After millions of years when men  have suffered, have seen great visions, is this going to be the end of the world ? Will man disappear in one big-bang ? What would have been the meaning of all this ? Unless  an answer is given to us, it is quite evident that mankind cannot save itself. Therefore, it is no use to look to remedies by the methods which are concerned with power and control. Those who are in power say that weapons are the protection against the war, because these new weapons are so dangerous that nobody would willingly use them.  So, we are stuck in a position between the alarm of the people and the power of the government, and neither has a way in which the situation can be changed. We therefore have to come back again to the recognition that by our own  capacities, wisdom,  power, we are not going to change our world for the better.

 

Although Hugh Schonfield avoided  to mention his own experience too much, in order not to seem to be putting himself in a position of importance, he recalled that,  when he was called into the work he was carrying out, he received the words from one of the ancient prophets : « Lovechai, velovechoa, kiim beruchi »[1], Not by force, not by power, but by My Spirit, God said. So, it was by a completely different method that we were to receive the salvation of our planet. Not by building bigger and bigger organizations could we, with all our knowledge, overcome  our present predicaments. There had to be a means of unification, which meant that part of humanity must be a light to the whole of humanity. There must cease to be representatives of one part of the world or another, of one form of government or another, of one form of religion or another. We have to think in terms of mankind as a whole,  and see the world with the eyes of God, according to a Plan which we describe as Messianic. Religions like countries are sovereign States. They have their own langage, their own territory, which they are contrasting with those of other religious positions. So, a small part of  the human race,  a « Servant-Nation », has to do a « revolt into sanity » in order to create  in the world an example of what should happen later, globally. Just as in this world, when we make machines, we start with an idea, we put it on paper, make a working model which can be tested before the final result, in the affairs of  our planet we have proceed in exactly  the same way through a « Servant-Nation ».

 

In the Bible, we have read about this idea of a chosen nation.  This is something quite different from nations which have chosen themselves and feel they have been given the right to control other countries.  The Hebrew people was chosen not to be a master, but a Servant.  Strange things have happened in the past history, as the Bible tells us. In a powerful society, a man called Abraham was told to leave his home, his country, and go to where God would show him. And it would happen that in him and his descendants all the families of the earth would be blessed. It is an extraordinary thing for a people to come into existence to be a blessing to others, not a Power to control others. And as the people of Israel developed, this seemed an impossible vision. The Jews were surrounded by the greatest Powers the world had known (Egypt, Assyria, etc.) and the land which was to be a holy land was made a battle-ground when great armies crossed this country and fought one another on its soil. And yet the vision was not forgotten. And we had the coming of the Prophets who saw that, one day,  people from all over the world would come to learn, in this little country, the Way of God whereby they would also begin to learn the way of Peace.

 

This process, this vision had had to come back again and again at different periods in the history of the Jews, so that it would always remain and never be forgotten, so that ultimately the methods which were there expressed, the visions, would be put into operation by the willingness of individuals, in many countries, who would accept to be guided by this attitude.

 

Because our world has become a whole which we have seen from outer space and explored  in every part and direction,  in this very age in which we have also created the means of destroying it,   if we believe in God, it is His will  that in the same period the message that has run through history like a golden thread, the Messianic message, will have to find its fulfillment. It is the only way in which the world society can be rescued from destruction. So we understand now why, in this time, it comes back to us with strength that the establishment of an updated  People of God must take place. Not as the expression of a religion, not as the expression of power in the world, but as the expression of the ideals for which this world was created.  To use words which were given in times gone : « If we refuse, the deliverance will come from another place. »

 

 

 

As I kept musing, I had a dream. I saw the organizers of the next World Holocaust Forum readily offering to sponsor – in honour of Adonaï, and in memory of all the innocent victims of the hatred and folly of men – the creation of a Universal Servant-Nation, with no territorial possessions, selfless and impartial, composed of those, of all races, creeds, social conditions, who are willing to recognize the ways of God, and devoted to further His goals on earth. May some have the courage to live the wildest of our dreams!                              

                                                                                                           

[1]     On September 26, 1938, Hugh Schonfield had a psychic experience. He was surrounded by lights, of all the colours of a rainbow and heard the words from the Prophet Zachariah : « Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit », as a confirmation that now was the time to fulfill the mission for which he felt he had been prepared since childhood.

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