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Monday, December 07, 2009

Moonbat city

In the summer of 1988, the law firm for which I was then working sent me to San Francisco on a Thursday morning for a drafting session that was likely to extend through the weekend. I contacted a former colleague from high school and college and asked if he could set me up for the Sabbath, as the odds were significant that I would end up spending the Sabbath in the Bay Area. My old friend arranged for me to stay in his community - Berkeley, California - for the Sabbath.

It was like being transported back to the 1960's. Political signs against the US government were all over the streets. They were protesting American policies in places where I wasn't aware there was an American policy (one I recall called for the removal of US troops from El Salvador). The rabbi's 'sermon' dealt with blocking a train disposing of nuclear waste somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I felt totally out of place. I was quite pleased when I got a call at my hotel in San Francisco (to which I had returned after the Sabbath ended) telling me that the deal had fallen apart on Friday night and that I was free to return to New York whenever I could get a flight (I was so spooked by the whole experience that I even flew back on Sunday afternoon, rather than hanging around to watch the Red Sox play a doubleheader in Oakland and returning on the red eye).

Nothing has changed in Berkeley since then. They're still stuck in the 1960's (unfortunately, so is the current US administration, but that's not what this post is about). The difference is that in the 1960's the Democrats supported Israel. That is often no longer the case. What's going on in Berkeley wouldn't matter too much (my sense is that most of the United States regards Berkeley's denizens as a group of crackpots) except that it's virulently anti-Israel and it's being financed by the Jewish community.
This November, Kesher Enoshi students brought members of Students for Justice in Palestine into Hillel to vote for Kesher candidates running for the board of the Jewish Student Union, an important arm of Hillel that controls the funding of student groups. This is the means through which the Jewish community’s money is dispensed on the Berkeley campus. Through its alliance with the virulent anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine, Kesher Enoshi hoped to control the financial resources of Jewish students. Fortunately, the Kesher Enoshi candidates lost, even with their attempt to use a pro-Palestinian group to influence the outcome.

Hillel fundraising letters portray the organization as a place that promotes Jewish values and stands as a shield against the growth of campus anti-Zionism, which often masquerades as anti-Semitism. At Berkeley, however, several Hillel activists have moved from the embrace of Jewish and Zionist values to become prominent in the Palestinian cause. Avital Aboody,, once head of Hillel’s Israel Action Committee, is now active in the Free Gaza Movement. And Hillel student leader Itamar Haritan is now aligned politically with the Palestinian cause on campus. Perhaps at Berkeley’s Hillel that is indeed the definition of Jewish values.

Some blame Ken Kramarz for the fiasco on Berkeley’s campus, attributing Hillel’s anti-Judaism and anti-Israel’s programs to his arrival in 2007. But such thinking is simplistic. Kramarz couldn’t do anything without major support from the organized Jewish community.

The Hillel we have, like our notorious anti-Israel film festival, is what the community wants. Caroline Glick asks: “Whither American Jewry?” In this community the answer is quite obvious: “On the campus we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel’s enemies while mocking our own heritage. At the film festival we are saluting Hamas-embracing Cindy Corrie, while beatifying her daughter who gave her life to make it possible for suicide bombers to kill other Rachels in Tel Aviv. This is who and where we are.

“Our Jewish Federation could not pass a resolution that would prevent a replay of this year’s anti-Israel film festival fiasco. But while we are smug about our progressive view of the world, we are incapable of defending it outside our incestuous political culture. At some level, we do comprehend how pathetic and ridiculous we look to the outside world.

“So, rest assured, our leadership and that of national Jewish organizations are gearing up to find refuge in denial, however implausible. Don’t be deceived. In this community there is an immense pride in our disdain for Israel and our mockery of Jewish values. It is, after all, what we have become. We just can’t acknowledge it in the wider court of public opinion.”
Read the whole thing.

The picture at the top of this post is a demonstrator outside a Daniel Pipes lecture in Berkeley on February 10, 2004. It comes from the Zombietime Hall of Shame (not all pictures safe for work or appropriate for young children and religious Jews).


At 7:08 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its safe to say American Jews are more fervent about the Left than they are about Israel. And there is no sign this dismal state off affairs will change appreciably in the future.


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