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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Traitors and Liberals

I have written before about those who substitute 'liberalism' for Judaism, most recently here. The same phenomenon of attacking Israel as a rite of passage for Jews to be accepted to the leftist, secular community is as powerful in Europe as it is in the United States and Israel. Two articles that appeared over the weekend reflect this trend.

The first was written by Emanuele Ottolenghi and was originally published in this past weekend's London Jewish Chronicle. Here's the key passage from that article:
Calls abound for Jews to repent, condemn Israel, hear the gospel of anti-Zionism and convert to a new, exciting form of Judaism, based more on Karl Marx and Rosa Luxembourg than Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion. So is the rush to heed them. With antisemitism rising across Europe alongside violence in the Middle East, Jews have been under pressure for several years now. Instead of getting sympathy for the harassment they are subjected to, Jews have earned only scorn for their refusal to denounce Israel first.

That is the sad truth — one that anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals, with their demonising rhetoric against Israel and their patronising attitude towards fellow Jews, have irresponsibly abetted. To shield themselves from shame and abuse, Jews are asked to discard Israel from their own collective identity. This step, and an active denunciation of Israel as the antithesis of progressive and Jewish values (themselves, in this vision, synonymous with one another), will gain them full acceptance. Scores of Jews, especially among the progressive intellectuals, indeed comply in public acts of mea culpa, thus lending an alibi to antisemites and gentrifying anti-Jewish prejudice in the process.

A simple explanation is at hand for this: it is lonely, on the left, when you step out of line. And the party line, when it comes to Israel and the Jews, is that one can express a proud Jewish identity only through the experience of suffering and victimisation from the past, which the Holocaust has come to embody above all. The Jew as a victim and as a witness of the quintessential, archetypal experience of suffering emerges as the positive Jewish role-model, in sharp contrast to the pro-Israel or even Zionist Jew, who is chastised for having betrayed both universal values and what is seen as the authentic Jew. Again, to borrow from Christian terminology, the Jew as the sacrificial lamb, the Agnus Dei, is what we are being asked to be.

That’s why so many Jews, spiteful of their faith and ashamed of Zionism’s accomplishments as a society which rejects the role of the victim, wish Israel away. For them, it was so much better before Zionism, when we could still say, with some self-righteousness, S’iz shver tsu zayn a Yid — it is hard to be a Jew!
The second article was written by Melanie Phillips on her blog in response to the first article. Here's the key part of that one:
More fundamentally, however, these Jewish Israel-haters – most of whom have only a tangential connection with Judaism – reveal by these arguments a profound ignorance of Judaism and Jewish history and ethics (an ignorance underlined by the way they use the salvation language of Christianity to denounce Jewish self-determination). They appear to think that Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, is a kind of colonial neologism that was appended to Judaism in the nineteenth century. But the Jews’ identification of themselves as a nation, and a nation moreover that had its national home in Israel for hundreds of years until the Romans occupied it and threw them out, is absolutely integral to Judaism as a religion. Jewish peoplehood was introduced with Abraham when God chose his descendants to become a mighty nation to carry the divine message; Jewish nationhood was born in the exodus from Egypt; the mourning for the loss of Zion and the longing to return are woven into the Jewish religious calendar and Jewish religious liturgy.

Moreover, the idea that the Jews should not fight to defend their homeland but turn the other cheek is not a Jewish religious concept at all. On the contrary, the Bible makes it clear that the Jews had a duty not only to fight for their homeland, but to destroy their enemies by causing the kind of devastation which the modern state of Israel would never dream of enacting — unlike its Arab enemies, who would and regularly do. The idea that Jews have a duty not to fight for their collective life but instead to surrender and die is profoundly un-Jewish – indeed, it is suicidal by any standard, and no people would be expected to adhere to such a monstrous precept. But for the Jewish Israel-haters, the Jews alone apparently must choose their own destruction as the pre-condition for their moral redemption.


For these Jewish Israel-haters, Jewish victimhood is the authentic Jewish moral experience. To put it another way, to them the most elevated kind of Jew is a dead Jew. And that is surely the real crime that Israel commits in their eyes – that it was restored specifically to ensure that never again would Jews be powerless victims but instead would fight for the survival of the Jewish people. And that is unforgiveable – because what these Jews of the left really hate is not just Israel but Judaism itself.
The key point to take home from this discussion is that the leftist self-hating Jews are, as a rule, the least educated people when it comes to their Jewish heritage. That holds true here in Israel as well, where much of the 'post-Zionist' crowd comes from secular Israeli schools in which Judaism is barely taught if at all. Yes, I know, there is Neturei Karta who claim to be very Jewishly educated and still hate Israel. But that small group is likely the exception that proves the rule. The answer - if the organized Jewish community wants to address the issue - is at least a rudimentary universal Jewish education. Young adults who have a strong Jewish background may still wait for Birthright to bring them to Israel, but they will also be a lot less likely to join programs run by the 'Palestinians' once they get here.

On Thursday here in Israel, and on Friday in the diaspora, we will finish the annual cycle of reading through the Torah. On Saturday, Jews all over the world will start over again with the book of Genesis. In his commentary on the very first verse in Genesis, the medieval commentator Rashi asks why the Torah tells us the story of the world's creation at all. Would it not have been sufficient to start with the formation of the Jewish people and the exodus from Egypt? Rashi gives several answers, but one answer is that the Torah describes the creation of the world so that all the world's people will know that God created the world, and therefore it is up to Him to decide what parts of the world will belong to what people. God decided that the land of Israel will belong to the Jewish people. God took it away from the Canaanites and gave it to the Jews, and if the Jews don't follow God's will, He can take it away from the Jews too.

But how many Jews even know that Rashi's comment exists (or for that matter that Rashi himself existed)? How many Jews who have that knowledge as young children can be saved from joining the "liberalism is Judaism" school of thought? How many Jews will remain a part of the Jewish people if they know at an early age that more than 1000 years ago, a French Jew named Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (acronym Rashi) proclaimed that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people and only He can take it away from them? The answer is that most children who have strong Jewish educations do not abandon the Jewish people. The Yeshiva and Day School system produce very few Noah Feldman's and it's precisely for that reason that people like him often find themselves ostracized by their peers.

If we want to stop the betrayal of the Jewish people, we have to stop the betrayal of Judaism in favor of the false religion of 'liberalism.' The way to do that is through Jewish education.


This post has been nominated as best non-council post of the week by The Watcher's Council.


At 12:23 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

This is the price you pay for being G-d's Chosen. The Battle is Spiritual my friend, and Satan is on the offensive turning man's heart to hate the Jew.

At 1:14 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

unfortunately there are some very vocal Ortho libs who knowingly or unknowingly give succor to the libs that are trying to destroy us on a daily basis.
There are blogs out there by frum libs whose postings could have been written by Yoffie, Chomsky or adam shapiro.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I know of one, and I avoid it like the plague. Are there others?


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