Skip to comments.Let go of the 'One Ring' (ORC Alert!)
Posted on 10/26/2004 12:00:50 PM PDT by Alouette
"One ring to rule them all" Those are the words that echo in my head as I watch the Israeli opposition to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to leave Gaza and portions of the West Bank.
As an American Jew who has visited Israel over a dozen times, I have a natural enthusiasm and empathy for the Zionist project. However, like many, I believe that Israel's current geopolitical course is unsustainable.
As I watch the attempt of settlers to hold onto settlements scattered through Gaza and parts of the West Bank, I am forced to conclude that a segment of Israeli society, no matter how well-intentioned or idealistic, is falling into a body-and-soul-destroying trap.
That was the trap that Gollum, Tolkien's anti-hero, fell into. Tolkien's characters, to be sure, were warned: The Ring bore the inscription "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."
And just as Gollum fell in love with the One Ring beautiful, corrupting, destroying so today some Israelis are enraptured by visions of a reborn Davidic monarchy.
But that vision belongs solely in liturgical texts. It is a nostalgia that, if politically pursued, stands to have the same success and consequences as the Tower of Babel and the Golden Calf.
In the novels, two Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, recognize the dangers posed by the One Ring and struggle to rid themselves of it in the only way possible, by returning it to the place of its creation, Mount Doom. They succeed, but only with enormous sacrifice.
And Gollum, who is portrayed as a tragic and vaguely sympathetic villain, is destroyed.
Israel has its own One Ring. That would be Gaza and the portions of the West Bank, lodged amid the Palestinian populace.
Israel should take a lesson from Tolkien, rid itself of its "One Ring" and dismantle the settlements in Gaza and the West Bank's isolated settlements and outposts.
Practically speaking, parting with Gaza would mean an end to governing one million Arabs. Giving up Gaza would also make it easier for Israel to remain a viable Jewish democracy.
For years, the Arab and Muslim nations have sought to destroy Israel by any means necessary. Thankfully, they have failed. But recently, a new and subtler form of destruction has loomed.
Voices from Teheran to the European Union to The New York Times op-ed pages have called, not for the military annihilation of Israel but for the creation of a single, binational state.
Although folly, it is an idea that will gain currency for as long as Israel holds onto Gaza and swaths of the West Bank.
Moreover, retaining Israeli settlements in Gaza and expanding them in the West Bank will continue to corrupt religion in Israel in the same manner as the sale of the hereditary priesthood corrupted Judaism during the Second Temple.
SETTLEMENT of the West Bank was not solely the idea of Israel's Orthodox population. Settlement along the Jordan Valley was a strategic decision made by a secular Labor government back in the late '60s. Yet in the decades since, an unrealistic strategic vision has become an even more unrealistic religious vision.
In the Ring trilogy, the head of the order of wizards, Saruman, becomes enamored with possessing the One Ring. Because of his quest for earthly power Sauramon is corrupted and ultimately destroyed.
In our own history, the Bible records the rebellion of Korach, a man who brazenly challenges Moses and Aaron in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the positions of ruler and priest.
The One Ring has already left its disfiguring mark on Israel, as zealotry has infected the country's politics. We see that in the hilltop youth young zealots who, eschewing intellectualism and chancing martyrdom, garner their religious validation by menacing Arab villagers and destroying Arab crops.
Indeed, some religious settlers and their supporters claim that Palestinians are the incarnation of the Amalekites.
Now, according to recent reports in The Jerusalem Post, a number of extremist Israelis performed a "holy water" libation ceremony which they hoped would "lay the foundation for instituting a Jewish king, a Jewish court and the Third Temple."
A participant explained: "We want a Jewish monarchy in Israel, and not a secular government with secular political parties. The decisions made by the majority are not decisions since the majority is stupid."
Let's not expect rational or survivable statecraft from those who invoke God's name as a cudgel. What we can hope for is that a rational democracy will come to its senses and take steps to remain a viable and defensible state.
Israel should leave Gaza for its own sake. Otherwise a Gollum-like fate awaits as it pursues a Ring of Land that may well cast that light-unto-nations into a final darkness.
The writer served as a political appointee in the administration of former President George H. W. Bush.
As someone who is very familiar with the Tolkien Trilogy, I very kindly suggest that Lloyd Green go back and reread every single one of the books and view the motion picture a few more times.
His analogies are so false and distorted that he makes an argument in favor of handing over "The One Ring" to Sauron, because he is the true owner, having forged it in the first place.
Does Lloyd Green recognize these words:
"These are the terms," said the Messenger, and smiled as he eyed them one by one. "The rabble of the Zionist Entity and its deluded allies shall withdraw at once to the 1949 Armistice lines, first taking oaths never again to assail any nation of the Arab League in arms, open or secret. All lands East of the Jordan Valley, called by the Zionists 'Shomron' and 'Judea' shall be Muslim forever, solely. West of the Jordan Valley as far as the Mediterranean and the port of Eilat and the town of Sderot shall be tributary to the Palestinians, and Jews and Christians there shall bear no weapons, but shall have leave to govern their own affairs after paying the jizya that is due to the Muslims from all infidels. But they shall help to rebuild Ramallah which they have wantonly destroyed, and that shall be Al Qaeda's, and there his lieutenant shall dwell; not Arafat, but one more worthy of his trust."
Looking in the Messenger's eyes they read his thought. He was to be that lieutenant, and gathered all that remained of Israel under his sway; he would be their tyrant and they his slaves.
These are the words spoken by the Mouth of Sauron in Chapter 10 of Return of the King. It also sounds very suspiciously like Lloyd Green's "peace plan" but if he actually understood the author of the trilogy and the message it was intended to convey, he insists on giving the One Ring to Sauron and allow only orcs to dwell in Gondor and Ithilien.
Lloyd Green has made it clear in his essay that he considers The Bible to be the equivalent of the "Ring of Power" and that Jews must throw away their religion and give away their G-D-promised land to enemies who have sworn to destroy them utterly.
J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian and an admirer of the Jewish people, would not have been pleased with Lloyd Green's distorted and twisted analogy of his work.
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Your son stays in my prayers, Alouette!
I remember when settlers were encoured to make those areas their homes. Now Israel is telling them......whoops, sorry, we changed our mind.
These people were exploited for gain and now are being discarded. I understand their fury.
This is a Warrior of Gondor:
Anyone wishing to be added to or removed from the Ring-Ping list, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Every time I read over the Mouth of Sauron's "terms for peace" it sounds like so many real-world surrenders.
From the post: "the Third Temple "
One of the seven signs
I think when leaders listen to too many voices - some being the ones who would destory them - the trouble starts and continues to grow -
Outsiders are outsiders - when you start treating them as one of the many - and give weight to their voice - destruction can't be far behind - No matter which "nation" is involved -
in my opinion -
The "one ring" represents "sin". It is disgusting that this writer equates "one Israel" with the "one ring". Filth!
The LORD rebuke him.
One way or another, Israel will be destroyed. This is the goal.
Your answer was spot-on, and brilliantly composed! Please put me on your ping list.
That demonstrates the exiguousness of his mental powers.
No thanks -
His terms mean tyranny and theft. Excellent analysis, Alouette. Reading what he proposed gave me shudders.
I am glad to learn this. From his enthusiasm for pre-chr*stian, pagan mythology (mostly Nordic) and his assertion in the appendices to The Return of the King that there was no language similar to Hebrew in Middle Earth I suspected him of being one of those "civilizationist" types who seem to carry a virus against `Am Yisra'el deep down in their system. Plus, I once had a RP game based on The Lord of the Rings (which I never played, since it was so complicated) whose description of Gollum struck me as being exactly that of the Jewish people given my anti-Semites. At any rate, I rejoice at a rightwing Catholic who admired the Jewish People. Would there were more! (Though I must express puzzlement as to why Tolkien and Lewis get free passes for their fantasies while that genre falls under a general condemnation by religious conservatives.)
Okay, I've confessed my "sinful thoughts" and repented, so please no piling on my by Tolkien fanatics. I've read the books too (even the Silmarillion).
PS: The Torah is to reality what Tolkien's mythology is to "middle earth."
Actually he didn't say that. What he did say was that there were no "hobbit names" derived from Hebrew. He uses the "im" plural form very frequently in his various languages.
Much of Lord of the Rings is derived from the same sources that Wagner used to compose his opera cycle Das Ring Der Nibelungen. Howard Shore's movie score, while not at all Wagnerian, makes use of the leitmotif theme for each character, a signature of Wagner.
Just because the mythology of northern Europe got appropriated by Nazis doesn't mean an admirer of those stories should have prejudice against Israel. I believe Tolkien stated in his letters, perhaps, that the religious ceremonies of the Numenoreans were probably very similar to Hebrew ceremonies.
And even if Gollum (who, whatever the columnist suggests, is not the 'anti-hero') was described in some way that brings anti-Jewish stereotypes to your mind, which he isn't, Gollum was originally a creature a lot like hobbits. I know Tolkien's accused of racism, imperialism, and who knows what else but I've never heard anyone dare accuse him of anti-Semitism. Actually I believe he refused to provide "proof of his Aryan-ness" to German publishers and so could not get "The Hobbit" published in prewar Germany.
Do you have the text of the letter he sent to the German publisher asking if he was "Aryan"?
I thought I had saved it, but can't find it on my hard drive, and since "The Hobbit Hole" threads are something like 100,000 posts each I wouldn't know where to start to look.
First let me say that your son is certainly in my prayers. May G-d watch over and protect him.
With regard to this piece of tripe, Lloyd Green would do well to remember that those involved with both the Tower of Babel and the Golden Calf suffered because they questioned G-d's authority. The Tower was built for the purpose of attaining G-dlike knowledge, while the worship of the Golden Calf amounted to idolatry. How, pray tell, does hanging on to biblical land challenge His authority?
Granted, I have not read Tolkien and so the analogy is lost on me. But the proposition that Jews making homes in land that was granted to them by the Creator is somehow anti-religious stretches the meaning of irony.
Tolkien studied those myths because he saw them as the earliest examples of stories where great warriors and kings (at least some of them) undertook their duties in the service and protection of the little people, who have inherent value and worth, rather than loot, conquest, and power for its own sake. Aragorn and the other Rangers humped the boonies for decades to protect the Shire, and the upright people in it from the conflict that was washing over the rest of the world.
Here is an excerpt of it:
25 July 1938
[...]if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany[...] I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a matter of pride.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 37-38
Wasn't there another part of that letter in which he got in a sly dig at the question about being "Aryan" that he was not descended from the Indians who originated the Indo-Aryan languages?
During WWII, Tolkien recieved letters from a group supporting Hitler and the Aryan lies probing him specifically for declarations that his work in philology and Norse mythology could definitively support their supremist stance. More specifically, they wanted to know if his surname Tolkien had any connections to Hebrew or Jewish lineage. He wrote a very cutting and definitive letter back, telling them in so many polite but firm words that no, he did not have the pleasure of counting any Jewish relatives in his lineage, and even if he did, he would not shun the declaration thereof. In a word, he shut the Aryan fools up. I also read somewhere that in one of his letters to his children that he viewed the Jewish people as elven like in character...and elves were the ones out of Middle Earth he loved the most.
A hint to stop reading this article is when the author says "As an American Jew who has visited Israel over a dozen times".
The Elvish language and especially the cursive alphabet with vowel markings are remarkably similar to Hebrew.
I know that he made these languages up but he must have been influenced by the languages that he knew, taught, and studied which would have included Greek and Hebrew as well as his speciality, Gaelic, Frisian, Germanic, and Finnish. And of course his own native Afrikaans.
That's a lot of languages to know so fluently!
I was a real Tolkien fan when I was in high school. The strange thing is that none of my kids, except for one (the IDF soldier) were ever interested in reading the trilogy. My son read the entire trilogy from cover to cover in one weekend. He couldn't put it down! Then he complained, "You read this when you were my age and you never told me about it?"
My other kids became interested only after the movies came out.
Yes. "I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects."
Hey, yesterday, I heard a clip from one, Mr. Al Sharpton, former democratic candidate for President, who also gave a speech at the Democratic convention.
Did you know that he is a vehement antisemite? The man said during the primary, that in SC the numbers were being "jewed"....disgusting. Why didn't all the press report this man's filth? It needs to be reported. Sharpton campaigns with Kerry and gives speeches at the DNC....we see him on tv everyday almost, speaking about the blacks being treated "unfairly"...he is a slimeball.
Slimy serpents they all are, every one of them, on their way to the snake pit.
However they edited the original letter (at the beginning of this thread) and included only this:
Tolkien wouldn't have liked it
As someone who is very familiar with the Tolkien trilogy, I suggest that Lloyd Green go back and reread the books and view the motion picture a few more times. His analogies are false and distorted.
In "Let go of the "One Ring'" (October 26) he makes it clear that he considers the commandments of the Torah to be the equivalent of the "Ring of Power" and that Jews must throw away their religion and faith in the Messiah and give away their God-promised land to enemies who have sworn to destroy them utterly.
J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian and admirer of the Jewish people, would not have been pleased with this twisted analogy to his work.
Someone else wrote:
After years of being depicted as racists and imperialists, it is a refreshing change to be described as hobbits.
Ping to the above post!
Good Post, Radix. I'm with you and with Israel.
God help us if we turn against Israel.
The problem is that I don't think He will if we do... The article is basically saying that Israel should just go and die - get out of the land, give it up, forget God's word - if that is not straight from the pit of hell I do not know what is. It is really frightening that there are "men" that think that way.
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