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Monday, December 05, 2011

Did Israel ever have the Jeffrey Goldberg Jews?

Last week, I ran three videos that were posted by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. The videos, which were apparently run as television advertisements in some markets in the US, urge Israelis who have moved there to come back to Israel. Thanks to a campaign led by columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, Prime Minister Netanyahu (who also grew up in the US) ordered the videos pulled. Now, Goldberg warns of a 'growing rift' between Israeli and American Jewry (sounds like Peter Beinart, doesn't it?). This is from the second link.
Goldberg notes that it is obvious that there is a rift, when 80% of American Jews are culturally politically and religion-wise like 25% of Israelis, Jews in Washington can identify with what's happening in Tel Aviv but not Jerusalem or the settlements.

He adds that there is a large gap between most Jews in the US and most Jews in Israel; Jews in the US are becoming more universal in their outlook while Israeli Jews are becoming more and more tribal in theirs. If the trend continues, he says, American Jews will see Israel as a far off foreign country.

Goldberg also warned of the growing gulf between American Jews and their Israeli counterparts over issues related to democratic values. He said that the things happening in Israel today are like a mystery to the American Jews who scratch their heads and ask themselves what in the world is going on in Israel.

Goldberg also spoke of the recent right-wing legislation, the exclusion of women from the public domain and the harm to freedom of expression. He noted that as American Jews, they were taught that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and that sadly, the recent legislation causes concerns – should Israel lose its democratic values, it will lose American Jewry.
Our rabbis tell us that the only true love is love that is not dependent on anything. The rabbis even describe the two types of love based upon biblical stories: Love that is dependent on something (physical beauty) is the love of Amnon and Tamar (which ended quite badly), while love that is true is the love of David and Jonathan, which survived all attempts of Jonathan's father Saul to end the relationship.

I am not suggesting that Israel become a fascist country. But I am suggesting that if American Jews only love Israel when we behave exactly like most of them - secular, assimilated, materialistic, universalistic and free of all religious obligations (and NO, I am NOT suggesting all American Jews are like this - only that many of the Jews that Jeffrey Goldberg describes are like this) - we are going to have rifts between us. Hopefully, we can learn to disagree agreeably. But as to the Jews Goldberg described - we never had them. They only loved us when they thought we all lived on Kibbutzim.

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At 4:26 PM, Blogger Avram said...

Goldberg would be wise to read Matti Caspi's (a secular left winger) still relevant book, "With Friends Like You." Though the book was written well over a decade ago, it's still entirely relevant as it explains why Israeli Jewry is slowly drifting away from American Jewry.a

At 5:09 PM, Blogger BH in Iowa said...

Indeed there aren't many Goldberg Jews but it's them who have the media's undivided attention. Jew-hating Jew is a recession-proof occupation.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

"Our rabbis tell us that the only true love is love that is not dependent on anything."

So say we all. And what is the path to "acceptance" by the Jewish State for those who want, at least, to be on good terms... is it a two way process?

PS The media (e.g., this Goldberg3000 guy) are a bunch of troublemakers in basically all areas, often misrepresenting, lying, working for Obama's goals... I wish Israel would not let these guys be the U.S. beacon that you fixate on, all or nothing, ignoring all else, rather than finding a way to at least be friends with the willing.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

He's both right and wrong. He's wrong because what he says is political agitprop and nonsense. But he's also right because 80% of American Jews are Jews like I'm Polish-Belarussian. I'm not. I had ancestors who were. Most American Jews are Jews by virtue of the fact that somewhere back there in the past they had a few Jews in the family tree. But insofar as their nonaffiliation, non observance, non Jewish education, inside of their community center Reform-Unitarian-Buddhist Bacon Cheeseburger Oneg, no.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. True love is accepting someone as they are despite their faults and appreciating them for qualities others don't see. Happily married couples mention things about their spouse they like other people may not know about. The same is true between life-long friends.

As for the Jeffrey Goldberg Jews, if they love Israel only for the season, that's not true love and Israel never had them in the first place. I'm not a religious man and if you ask if I'm observant, not particularly but I still believe in G-d and part of that is accepting other people, other Jews, have the right to live as they want and I don't try to change them to fit the way I am. I love and respect them for who they are.

We can only hope American Jews come around to it.


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