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Monday, July 19, 2010

Why American Jewish students won't defend Israel

Evelyn Gordon points to an interview of political consultant Frank Luntz with David Horovitz that appeared in the Jerusalem Post over the weekend. This part was deeply disturbing.
The greatest challenge for the Israeli position isn’t in the media. It’s on the typical college campus. Because there, the truth doesn’t matter.

There, day after day, the Palestinian advocates will say anything and do anything and these Jewish kids are totally ill-prepared to stand up and challenge.

We did a session with MIT and Harvard students.

The best of the best. We had 35 people in the room: 20 of them were non-Jewish, 15 were Jewish. And I didn’t tell anyone who was which. And I’d recruited them by telling them “we’re going to talk about Iraq, Iran and the Middle East,” not telling them that the real focus was Israel.

Got them all into the room. It was so crowded that we had kids sitting on the floor. But that added to the intensity. They felt like they were in a dorm room. And within 10 minutes, the non-Jews started with “the war crimes of Israel,” with “the Jewish lobby,” with “the Jews have a lot more power and influence” – stuff that’s borderline anti-Jewish.

And guess what? Did the Jewish kids at the best schools in America, did they stand up for themselves? Did they challenge the assertions? They didn’t say sh*t. And in that group was the leader of the Israeli caucus at Harvard. It took him 49 minutes of this before he responded to anything.

The group is over. It’s a three-hour group. I then say, “Who’s Jewish, who isn’t?” At that point some of the Jewish kids got a little outraged. I dismiss all the non-Jewish kids.

And the Jewish kids are there. And they’re now ticked at me for doing this, you know, “Why have you segregated us?” I said, “I’m Frank Luntz and I’m Jewish, and I’ve been working on this now for 10 years, and you all didn’t say sh*t.”

And it all dawned on them: If they won’t say it to their classmates, who they know, who will they stand up for Israel to? Two of the women in the group started to cry. I got the whole thing on tape. The guys are like, “Oh my God, I didn’t speak up, I can’t believe I let this happen.” And they’re all looking at each other with horrible embarrassment and guilt like you wouldn’t believe.

And I take this tape down, this little DVD, to the Jewish community and I say, “This is what we’ve done – or not done.” It’s not just giving them the facts. It is also teaching them how to say it, when to say it, when to crack a joke, when to acknowledge someone else’s points, when not to be argumentative or judgmental.

The problem that I see is that so mahttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=20498788ny parents in the Jewish community taught their kids not to judge. I’m going to say something that’s a little bit ideological, but I find that kids on the Right are far more likely to stand up for Israel than kids on the Left. Because kids on the Right believe that there is an absolute right and wrong; this is how they’ve been raised.

Kids on the Left have been taught not to judge. Therefore those on the left will not judge between Israel and the Palestinians; those on the Right will. I’ve now been doing this research for eight years.
Gordon says it's the American Jews' fault - that the parents should be able to get across to their children that for all its faults, Israel is better than the undemocratic regimes around it. She also says that defending your values should apply to both right and left.

The problem is that too many Jewish parents don't talk to their kids at all about Israel. They're too embarrassed because there's so much about Israel that doesn't accord with their fantasies of Liberalism - most of which is necessary to survive in the neighborhood in which we live.

And as to the unwillingness to defend their own values, isn't that exactly what the multi-culturalism and the non-exceptionalism being promoted by the Obama administration is all about? Is it surprising that those 'values' have seeped through to those American Jews whose parents support Obama?


At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha'ovdim Be'eretz Asher. :(

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Michal said...

Dear Carl,
how can I forward a post by email?
Is there someway to post to Facebook?
thank you.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

These college aged kids had grandparents and great-grandparents who were "deafeningly silent during the Shoah. What do you expect?

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Lack of commitment to Judaism, which they were taught little about, leads them down this sorry path.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm not surprised. If kids haven't been read the Bible, I don't know how they are going to defend Israel. I bet Christian kids could do a better job of defending Israel because they've been reading the Bible all their lives. My point is you have start with the background. The political arguments to Israel's defense are really irrelevant. Its the rights, stupid.

At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

erev tisha b'av, so i wont go out of my way to attack another jew...but luntz does alot of things to keep his gigs...and this is one of them

jewish students are defending israel

it is jewish students who killed bds on the uc campuses

it is jewish students who got the msu banned from uci

jewish students are confronting hate everyday

frank has very little cred...ive seen him use paid actors for his focus groups


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