“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”Donald TrumpI would like to spend a few moments on the Jew thing. You see, I am one of those ignorant, disloyal American Jews that President Trump was talking about yesterday. I don't consider Benjamin Netanyahu my Prime Minister, as Trump suggested earlier this year, or even my king. I think Israel is going down the wrong road and has been for many years and even plays a nasty, double game. I have much more in common intellectually with a Jew from for instance, Cleveland, than I do with the average Israeli.
And I think it is a fast, slippery slope from being a legitimate victim to becoming a victimizer.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Friedrich NietzscheI appreciate the founding of Israel. Not to fulfill some messianic biblical prophecy but to provide succor and a haven for the jews in my family and other families to escape from the gas chambers and pogroms. They had nowhere else to turn. My grandfather, who fled from Poland, was a founding member of the Histadrut and helped build the original electrical grid in Palestine, but left in 1939 with my dad, who was himself born in Tel Aviv.
Why? Because he couldn't handle the oppressive religious stuff. He didn't believe in it, or even in god frankly, and he saw that it would only get worse over time. And I have seen with my own eyes that it has, having lived in Israel through two periods of war and conflicts, having personally faced multiple barrages from Katyushas to Scuds. The change and movement to the orthodox right in the country in two decades was astounding to me and has only got worse over time.
For base political reasons, the Prime Minister has ceded all power to the religious right. The Orthodox Rabbinate has total control over marriage between Jews in Israel, marriages consecrated by Reform or Conservative rabbis in Israel are not legally recognized, and there is no option for civil marriage for Jews in Israel. Ditto conversion, which is also under the exclusive control of the Orthodox Rabbinate, which does not recognize non-Orthodox converts as Jews. The Yeshiva students and haredi don't serve in the military, under a concept known as Torato Umanuto, they recite the torah instead. The right wing, guided by a biblical map of conquest of Judea and Samaria, is now absolutely running the show.
|King David plays the harp - Gerard Van Honthorst - 1622|
Netanyahu and Trump have a bromance going that is causing more and more American Jews to consider their support for Israel. We know who the people chanting "The jews will not replace us" at Charlottesville will vote for. We also know the overwhelming political affiliations of the young men shooting up the synagogues. Netanyahu supporting vicious anti semites in Hungary and elsewhere like Viktor Orban is equally pernicious. If Netanyahu does in fact lose the total support of liberal American jewry, he will only have himself to blame. Of course Trump is under his own messianic allusions or should I say delusions...
|Forgive them father, they know not what they do...|
I could go on and on but I won't, I don't have time. I have not left Israel, Israel is leaving me. They paid lip service to Oslo and the two state solution and slowly and by attrition have put enough holes into a future contiguous Palestinian state as to make it utterly unworkable and impossible. Just as they planned.
Do the Israelis have an existential right to exist and live in dignity and self determination? Of course they do, as do every people, including the Palestinians. Yet the thought of living in a "Jewish" state is frankly as nauseating to me as living in a "Christian" state or a "Buddhist" state.
I would much prefer living in a "free" state where people are able to worship and believe, or not worship and believe, as they personally choose, than a theocracy of any kind.
Once upon a time, I had many friends in Israel, both Israeli and Palestinian. I went back for the entirety of the Desert Storm War and found that the two peoples were basically no longer speaking. The Palestinians had been conveniently dehumanized and put into a handy invisible box by the occupation. I met Israelis who lived a mile apart from Israeli arabs and had never engaged in conversation with them their entire lives. That is not healthy.
Of course neither side is blameless, both sides have made plenty of mistakes. In some twisted way they deserve each other, both intent on playing a sick and pathological end game that can only result in utter catastrophe. What do psychologists call it in marriage counseling, the dark dance? They are playing it in spades.
I am proud that roughly