Sunday, December 4, 2011

Those Israeli ads about marrying US Jews

The ads have now been pulled, and probably just as well, since some of its backers are religious figures whose behavior is comparable to some of the more conservative Mullahs out there.

However, speaking as a non-Jew (and for myself only), it does seem to me that there is a point to be made here.

The Jewish community in the US, like nearly every other, can't be categorized with a broad brush. There are wide variations in opinions on political and social matters (for instance, you have the ADL who are virulently anti-gun, and you also have the JPFO - Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). So I would say it's inaccurate, not to mention insulting, for these ads to make a single broad judgment about all US Jews.

Having said that, there is a large bloc of the Jewish vote in the US who have, ever more puzzlingly, consistently voted for candidates with friends and policies that are not particularly friendly to Jewish interests and values(*) and are particularly hostile to Israel (realizing that not all US Jews support Israel), most prominently the election of a president known to have friends and associates, both within the US and overseas, who are not exactly shy about their anti-Semitism.

As many predicted, the actions of this president in office have been harmful not only to Israeli interests, but to the very principles and underpinnings of the type of liberal society (for which the US is a globally recognized "brand name", however tarnished) under which hateful bigotries like anti-Semitism have, for a long time now, had to retreat to the fringes and shadows.

I would say it's arguable that recent developments in Israel, where medieval rabbinical troglodytes have increasingly been, say, pushing women to the back of the bus (literally) among other illiberal measures, are in part a response to the betrayal of US allies and supporters worldwide, including Israel (one imagines, as in a scene from a zombie film, the horror as someone who was once a friend and protector is transformed into a dangerous enemy). One can well imagine some in Israel thinking, "Well, so much for global democracy and freedom. I guess we'll need to dig our heels in now and clamp down for a long siege." Or even (as may be the case in some other countries as well) "Those pesky pro-freedom guys are on the retreat, so it's safe for us troglodytes to come out again."

One can well imagine some Israelis contemplating with horror that subset of Jews in the US who voted for Obama and his friends. What is an Israeli to think of people who, in a country where they are free, have voluntarily adopted the attitude of submission, of dhimmism, of the Judenrat collaborators, and effectively voted to stab in the back a nation and people who have been among those on the front lines struggling to make sure that people (Jewish of any political persuasion, or anyone else for that matter) are never again FORCED to submit to such choices?

I think that disgust is not too strong a word to use in this case (disgust either with cluelessness, or with a deliberate willingness to go down the road in question). And I don't think that one has to be Jewish or Israeli to sympathize with, and experience, that same disgust.

The fundamental question is how much in common two people, or groups of people, can truly have, if one is willing to stand up for freedom, dignity, and a recognized right to exist (as a person, or a nation) while the other is willing to quietly (even enthusiastically) submit to the path of slavery.

And perhaps that is the real basis of the political divide in some other cultures, and countries, I can think of.

(*) Some might hope that the recent upset election result for Anthony Weiner's former Congressional seat is an early indicator of a change in direction.