Dear Phoebe,
To accuse me of “the now-classic mistake of not knowing the difference between criticizing Israeli policy and denying Israel’s right to exist” when you are the one who has just erred in this manner further confirms my suspicion that we have reached the final hour, whereas as prophesied, reality has been turned upon its head.
Perhaps Nero just can’t hear over the sound of his own fiddle.
There seems to be a psychiatric disorder prevalent within the Jewish community, in which individuals hear anything that expresses displeasure with the triumphalistic behavior of the “mainstream” pro-Israel community as a call for the destruction of the state of Israel and for the success of terrorists in murdering Jewish people.
Feel free to disagree with my belief that it’s distasteful to have a parade while Israel is collapsing. But dare not for a moment twist my concerns for the fate of Israel into a desire for either the state’s non-existence nor into a call for our destruction as a people.
[Update] Just one more thought… Kind of an open letter to the American Jewish leadership, spurred on by Phoebe’s posting:
My whole life I’ve been told by Jewish educators and Jewish leaders to love Israel, to love the Jewish people; to support and defend Jews everywhere; to make their plight my own. I’ve been told about the remarkable nature of Israel, The Only Democracy in the Middle East™, and the challenges it faces, both internal and external. I’ve been told about the depth and truth of Torah; about the necessity of a commitment to yiddishkeit and avodas hashem. “Jewish values” they called them. “This is what makes us Jewish,” they’d say; “That which substantiates our identity as Jewish people: the authority of our moral voice.”
If I knew that you never actually wanted me to believe in any of this stuff; that you just wanted me to passively identify with these myths without actually ever acting on them; that I should have low expectations of both Jews and Israel and that I shouldn’t measure us even by our own tradition’s standards…
I dunno, maybe then I’d be another unaffiliated Jew you’d be spending millions of dollars trying to reach out to. There’d be no Jewschool, no Radical Torah, no Orthodox Anarchist, no ShulShopper, no Jew It Yourself; hell, maybe even no JVoices, JSpot or even Jewlicious for that matter. I’d have never taken a job at the JCC in Manhattan. I’d have never gone to work for JDub. I’d have never gotten involved with any of the Jewish projects with which I’ve engaged. Frankly, I wouldn’t have given a shit about anything Jewish — because, what then, is being Jewishly involved worth?
I can only wonder, if you American Jewish leaders don’t believe in any of this stuff yourself… If you don’t really believe in what the Torah has to say about the way we conduct ourselves in the world, or more specifically, how we conduct ourselves in the land of Israel… If you don’t believe that it’s a reasonable expectation for Jews to live up to the goals our revered forbears set for us… Then why are you so insistent on stuffing these things down our throats? Why do you hemorrhage hundreds of millions of dollars annually to convince young people like me of something you really couldn’t give two shits about when push comes to shove?
Are you really that disingenuous? Are you that full of shit? Or are you just as hysterical as you accuse folks like me of being; operating from a place of fear and irrationality; and motivated by things you yourselves don’t even understand?
I have to wonder, really… If you don’t want me to believe in Torah, why teach it to me? If you don’t want me to insist upon Israel’s morality, why insist that Israel is a moral beacon? If you want me to think like, say, Phoebe, who equates disappointment in the Jewish people with a desire for their extermination, why blow all that smoke about am/eretz/medinat yisrael up my ass?
Are you trying to make me crazy? Or are you fumbling in the dark? The latter is at least forgivable, if only you’d fess up to it.