The bad news for the Jewish state and people is that this generation of American Jews have taken from their education that acting Jewish means doing justice without regard to nationality or peoplehood.
While it feels good to support all peoples and all victims, the nature of the world in which we live in – where Hizbullah amassed thousands of rockets and attacked Israel; where Iran edges towards nuclear weapons; and where over a third of Israel’s Jews, and, surprisingly, 20 percent of New York Jews live under or close to the poverty line – makes an ethics of universalism simply irresponsible at the moment[…]It is time for the Jewish community to realize that the next generation will be what we teach it, and that the emphasis on universalistic social justice, while appealing, is no more than junk-food Jewish education: It feels good, the kids love it, and it won’t hurt on occasion – but without the particularism of peoplehood the Jewish community will soon find itself undernourished and unable to survive.
Now while Ariel hasÂ made some important points here,Â he has only addressed the most recent manifestation of the continued recession of liberal Jewish commitment in the Diaspora.
Jewish nationalism in the Diaspora was always based on the Jewish religion.Â When that changed, we began basing our nationalism on victimology, instead of just using victimology to enhance it.
As Jews are beginning to perceive themselves less as victims (no matter how many Museums of Death or ADL press releases to the contrary), this nationalism is slipping, as is support for Israel, which is so frequently defended by employing a similar victimology.Â
If Ariel really wants to alleviate the problems affecting Jewish nationalism, he should address the root causes of the condition, and demand that instead of Jews supporting Holocaustism and liberalism (even liberal Zionism, Ariel), they should instead return to wrestling with Judaism.Â Traditional Judaism, notÂ Judaism through the filter of hilchos Newsweek.Â AndÂ we should accept that Judaism is not always universal, and not always progressive.Â But that it is never the less valuable, and why we bother.
For the alternatives are not only die-ins and fundraisers for those in Hezbollah-land, but ultimately widespread disinterest.
The “junk-food” education did not begin with universal social justice, but with the rejection of the Torah and a classical Jewish education.Â Â
Everything else will prove an unsatisfying substitute in the end, as “junk-food” always is.Â Â