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Monday, April 07, 2008

Zionism is futile?

As I noted in an earlier post, former Jewish Agency chairman and Knesset speaker Avram Burg appeared in New York last week, and spoke to an organization of yordim (emigrants from Israel). I guess the appearance didn't make too much of a splash because it's been six days since it happened and this is the first time someone has sent me a report on it (Hat Tip: Zionist American).

Since Burg won’t do it himself, here — briefly — are the salient points:

  • Aliyah has effectively ended, thinking of Israel as a refuge for the Jewish oppressed is no longer meaningful, and Israeli society has therefore lost any sense of grand ideological purpose.
  • Israel cannot find a new purpose because the quality of political intellectualizing is so low — a pathology Burg no doubt believes he stands in stark exception to — which is itself a consequence of Israel’s obsession with the Holocaust.
  • The Holocaust has become a religion in Israel, traumatizing the society and making it fearful and untrusting. But fear not, for there is something more powerful than trauma — love. (For the record, I checked and that is not a lyric from a Barry Manilow song.)
  • Israel should separate church and state, America-style, and move away from the Judaism of parochial concerns towards a universal, humanist Judaism. (Rabbi Sherwin Wine would have been most proud.)
Aliyah has not ended, effectively or in any other way. The only Jewish groups that are interested in making aliyah are the modern Orthodox and the ultra-Orthodox. Burg and our current leftist government have a problem with that. So instead, they are going to waste a fortune trying to bring back yordim - like the group Burg spoke to last Tuesday night - with economic incentives. The money would be better spent lowering our outrageous taxes (the highest in the world according to the Tax Foundation) so that more people don't leave in the first place. If Israel wants to attract western olim - the only sizable concentration of Jews outside of Israel - it has to allow them to attain a western standard of living, which is almost impossible to do while paying nearly 60% of their total income in taxes to feed the likes of Avram Burg and his friends in the Knesset.

The quality of the political intellectualizing here is low. Burg was one of those who lowered the standard. But that has nothing to do with the Holocaust. It has to do with the fact that our vapid politicians have no need to distinguish themselves because they need only please their party apparatchiks and not real live voters. If the political hacks who populate the Knesset ever throw the vote open so that real people can run, the level of the debate in the Knesset will markedly improve.

Whether or not the Holocaust is a 'religion' in Israel (and I would argue that the Holocaust is used to justify Israel's existence by many who have no appreciation for Judaism), it is not what makes our society fearful and untrusting. What makes our society fearful and untrusting are the Iranian nuclear weapons pointed at us, the 'Palestinian' terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us, and our self-absorbed politicians who are more interested in having their bottoms patted by Condi Rice and George Bush than in protecting our interests.

Finally, if Israel separates church synagogue and state, we will forfeit the only reason that justifies Israel's existence. It is authentic Judaism that kept us alive through more than 2000 years of exile - not a watered down 'universal, humanist' version. Burg's call for separating synagogue and state undoubtedly caused Burg's father to roll over in his grave again.

Read the whole thing.


At 10:51 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

/Is he a buddy of Adam Pearlman, AKA Adam Gadahn?

I hope they end up in the same place.

At 2:21 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

NY Nana,

Actually Burg is worse.

Pearlman at least has the excuse that he grew up with no real Jewish background. Burg grew up in the religious Zionist community and went to one of the best Yeshiva High Schools in Jerusalem.

He should know better.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - Burg grew up in circumstances that can be called religious Zionist but he grew up estranged from it and turned his back on it. It reminds me of the saying that the sons shall set the fathers' teeth on edge - a saying a current in ancient Israel.

There have always been self-hating Jews and Burg will not be the last of them around.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The problem with Jewish aliyah from Western countries is Israel's government deliberately places obstacles in the way of those who do want to come. They still do despite them.

And the kind of people Israel's Leftist elite would like to attract have no interest in living in the Jewish State.


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