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Jewish Inconsistency

I think Jewish Americans, of whom I am one, need to do some soul searching.

Not me. I mean, yes, I need to do some soul searching. Every day. But not on this one.

A feeling of surprise came over me recently when I saw a call for Jews to join a rally supporting Israel. With the Left and even moderates so disgusted by Israel and so sympathetic to the Palestinians, it seemed to me deeply incongruous that Jews, given their tendency toward liberalism, would be showing their support for a those wicked imperialists backed by evil right wingers like myself.

Israel flagOf course, the feeling of surprise was only momentary, because I obviously understood what was going on. They were backing Israel not because of any principles that they hold. Most Jews would in this case assuredly side with the “victims” over the “oppressors.” Except that in this case, the “oppressors” are fellow Jews.

A liberal Jewish friend of mine lamented the other day that the entire press – both sides – seemed to be unsupportive of Israel. Of course, he doesn’t read the conservative press and would surely turn to a pillar of salt if he turned on Fox News. And so I told him exactly how incorrect he was.

Liberals think that what differentiates them from conservatives – rather, what elevates them above conservatives – is that the right lacks a heart. But the truth is that many on the right have so much heart that they want to use their head to achieve justice.

That is, they don’t paste bandaids, they don’t give handouts, and they don’t recoil every time someone gets hurt. They think. They withhold tears for the time being and look at the larger picture to ask, What policies, even if painful in the short term, will help more people in the long run?

It is for the same reason conservatives fight the hopeless dependency of feel-good welfare that they are able to abide the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians. Because they know that Israel is doomed if it allows its citizens to be wantonly bombed, and that the prospect for even more violence down the road declines if the Israeli Defense Forces are allowed to grievously wound, and hopefully entirely neuter, Hamas.

American Jews agree and are using the same hard-headed thinking toward Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

But I often feel I hear an even more passionate defense of Israel from conservative non-Jews than I do from liberal Jews.

Sure, some of this has to do with Biblical prophesy that presupposes Israel’s existence. But even more so, conservatives have a sense that Israel is the lone, civilized democracy in the region, a sacred ally fighting forces of evil that are the same ones that want to come sink America. They know Israel’s enemies want to destroy it, and that effective self-defense can be unpleasant.

That is, they’ve thought about it.

Liberal Jews must know, at some level, that they are being inconsistent. They must have a twinge of guilt on the bus on the way to the pro-Israel rally. Maybe they understand that if it they weren’t Jewish, and it wasn’t Jewish soldiers killing civilians, they’d be at some rally sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanding justice for the Palestinians and the immediate repatriation of those who left Israel during the 1948 war.

Really the title of this piece should be “Jewish Hypocrisy.” I just couldn’t bring myself to name it that though for fear of stirring anti-Semiticism.

I wish the irreconcilability of their Israel cheerleading with their other positions would provoke Jews to consider the truly compassionate and just approach to the issues, the conservative approach. Or at least to give it some thought.

But I’m not optimistic. Blood is thicker than grey matter.

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32 Responses to Jewish Inconsistency

  1. Not to go off the rails, I can only speak about Catholicism. I see a similar thing — there is even a meme — that If you are a Democrat you can’t be a Catholic. I realize Keith that this may not be the point you are making.

    That said, this is what I have gotten over.

    Liberal Jews must know, at some level, that they are being inconsistent. They must have a twinge of guilt on the bus on the way to the pro-Israel rally.

    I used to have similar thoughts about Catholics. But I have concluded. Nope, no they don’t. I think they “should”, I hope they would. But I don’t believe they do.

  2. It’s truly humbling that you trust us enough to share your personal angst on this public forum.
    Most of us share your concerns about the future of Israel and of the Jewish community. It only took one generation for the MSM, and the people who believe what they put forth, to go from sympathy and concern for the future of one of the oldest religious groups to outright hatred or distain.

    What we hear from the MSM is a coded message of “how dare Israelis protect themselves, how dare they be aggressive” as if the Jewish community has betrayed the eternal victim position put upon them.
    This conflict has is not about Palestine vs Israel, but about Muslim vs Jew and the MSM has taken the position of pro-Muslim for unknown reasons.
    It’s no consolation or help that the majority of Americans support the Israeli position to protect themselves however it must be done when our betters in DC are castigating their leaders for doing the same thing.
    While we, the USA, and our President are killing and maiming untold numbers of Afgans (and others) for reasons lost in time, we, the USA, must either support Israel or be exposed as the worst kind of hypocrites.

    • srdem: I add that it’s about muslim vs. Christian as well. The silence of the msm is the same silence to the fate of Christian communities in the ME. No need to guess who they’re rooting for.

      • Of course. You’re right about the Islamic goal of ridding the planet of all religions that don’t adhere to their violent, sexist, and insane tenets.

      • Spot on, Sadie. And I’ve always (yes) thought that “Christianity” evolved from Judaism in spite of what the Romans did to it. The earliest Christians were a Jewish sect, and Jesus was a devout Jew, not a Christian. Furthermore, I’ve always thought that Islam was a giant step backwards from the two older religions.

        • Mohammad the Mad plagiarized bits of Judaism, stole pieces of Christianity, and twisted and degraded both religions to his own purpose. The appropriation and debasement of two great religions into “islam” is, in my opinion, one of Mohammad’s most egregious acts.

  3. This is the time for Liberal Jews to recognize and acknowledge, who is supporting Israel and who has done the bashing. There will always be a segment that identify as “cultural Jews” – AND. NO. I have idea what that means, I only understand what it doesn’t mean. If FB is any measure, you can hear a pin drop – no one dare utter anti-Israeli sentiments as their voices would be drowned out by the chorus of supporters. I posted a rather long list of historically events related to this day on the Hebrew calendar, including of course, Obama/Kerry comments on/before the date over the years. Suffice it to say, last night I read a comment from a two-time Obama voter as follows: “I can’t believe I supported that bastard.”

    I’ve also been reminding friends/acquaintances on my FB page of the 2012 DNC debacle – booing G-d and Jerusalem with the video clip. The GOP should be running that clip over and over again as we inch closer to the mid-terms.

    • I have said this before, the liberal Jews do not like their religion anymore and follow only one religion, which is the Democratic party. For some reason, the liberal jews only care about a political movement and don’t believe in God anymore. I don’t know if Obama did this to them, or what happened that they think they are too smart for God? To me it appears that the liberal Jews are showing a snobbishness toward God, they act like they are too smart to believe in God anymore. Or maybe the liberal Jews decided that abortion is more important than follolwing their religion. But one day when illness or something else strikes and all is lost, the liberal Jews will call out to God.

  4. The BBC is currently annoying me – they open their news with a long segment of “Oh, those poor Palestinians!” boo hoo and then they finally segue to a brief glimpse of the Israelis. NOT the “poor” Israelis, just “the Israelis.” I’m beginning to think they are anti-Semitic as well. Disappointing.

      • The worst offender to Israel is the United Nations. They should be shut down with their offensive biggoted comments regarding Jews and Israel. What makes me wonder is how can they be so anti-semetic, so biased against Israel and completely wrong to side with a terrorist group, which they are indeed doing. And there are a lot of impressionable people who listen to the UN and believe what they are stupidly spouting.Thats what is really shocking — I actually can’t believe how obviously prejudiced they are against Israel.

  5. “Most Jews would in this case assuredly side with the “victims” over the “oppressors.” Except that in this case, the “oppressors” are fellow Jews.”

    Keith…….are the Israeli’s oppressors??? Hamas fired over 1000 rockets before a response? Hamas built tunnels into Israel to launch raids of terrorism. Hamas hid behind women and children . Israeli bloody’s Hama’s nose and they are the oppressor ? Just because MSM states does not make it so………

  6. I am a little confused by this column. I appreciate the gist and especially the intimate feeling of the post but I am not sure about his overall theme.

    If American Jews are going to a rally for Israel, even in the nation’s Capital where there must be countless liberal Jews, aren’t those the few right thinking Jews that must be scattered around the area that are attending?

    Or is he saying these Jews, who don’t support Israel over Hamas are attending just for show? If so…that is disgusting.

    • What he is saying is liberal Jews are supporting Israel because of Israel’s Jewish identity. It happens to be the right thing to do, but they aren’t doing it based on reason. An analogy would be Mexican Americans supporting so-called immigration reform because Mexicans will benefit the most. If Norwegians were the primary beneficiary they would be against it or apathetic. It’s not based on an objective evaluation of the policy.

  7. But the truth is that many on the right have so much heart that they want to use their head to achieve justice.

    That is, they don’t paste bandaids, they don’t give handouts, and they don’t recoil every time someone gets hurt. They think. They withhold tears for the time being and look at the larger picture to ask, What policies, even if painful in the short term, will help more people in the long run?

    Well said, Keith. Well said.

    • indeed.
      Let’s also think about Liberals in general…and who in this conflict they should support if Liberals had brains…

      Which side kills gays?
      Which side kills Christians?
      Which side allows people of all faiths and creeds to live together, and work together?
      Which side terminates children on purpose?
      Which side sends children to die?
      Which side uses animals strapped with bombs?
      Which side targets civilians?
      Which side allows voting on a regular basis?
      Which side allows abortions?
      Which side allows inter-faith marriages?
      Which side allows women to have all the same rights as men?
      etc…

      • I have been watching this situation since 1952. I’m not a Jew but once considered Reform. I am not a dispassionate observer. I am a liberal/free thinker. I’ve known Israelis/Jews and Palestinians/Arabs. There has been a long term 5th Avenue re-education movement similar to the conservative advertising/propaganda to mold public opinion away from consideration for the Jews plight and in favor of Muslims. Of course both sides participate in violence and vicious violence. If the Jews kill 1000 Muslims and the Muslims kill one Jew eventually there will be no Jews but plenty of Muslims. This was explained to me 40 years ago by Muslims who explained that as why they would “win”. I’m in favor of people on both sides but do not believe in rewarding harshness with victory. Reward loving behaviors and try not to reward non-loving behaviors. The equities still weigh on the Jews side! I get a lot of harsh criticism from both sides for my views! Shalom

  8. I think that you just have to step back and see the conflict is much bigger and uglier than Israel/Palestine.
    Palestine is just the arrow head for a much larger anti Israel thrust that will happen sooner or later.

  9. in a way, I’m actually happy that this Gaza situation has ripped the mask off the “anti-Zionist” movement. (or or “pro-Palestinian” if you prefer.) for years we’ve been told huffily that “it’s possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Jewish.” I no longer believe that.

  10. This same tribalism effects liberal Republican Jews who constitute a significant portion of the GOP donor class. Adelson wants open borders, unlimited immigration and limited deportations in the USA because it boosts his profits even though it is hurting the country yet wants Israel’s border secured and immigration carefully controlled so it maintains a tribal identity. I don’t have a problem with the latter view. Countries should have a cultural identity, but the hypocrisy is breathtaking.

  11. I think you’re right that conservatives — including some who aren’t particularly religious — see Israel as an oasis of civilization in a sea of anti-civilization, and understand the deep roots of Israeli civilization. Conservatives tend to understand that civilization is a hard-won thing, and a fragile achievement, whereas leftists then to think it can be engineered anywhere by smart people who are given all the power they want.

  12. Thanks for the post and the comments.
    I also believe that the anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian impetus is well-planned, and certainly well-funded.
    I hear my Grands telling me they’re learning all about Islam in school. I see my husband and myself moving away from some Foundations and Boards, because of the influence of CAIR – remember, not only are these entities giving money and status to Islam/CAIR, but the staffing is also different than it was, much more likely now to be embracing “diversity”, which is all too often nicespeak for Islam/CAIR, in that particular way Mission Creep goes.
    It seems painfully apparent to me that the pro-Palestinian movement is anti-Semitic – dig too deep conversationally, and you realize Thomas Sowell is right: Israel is losing the publicity war, and can’t afford to care: Israel fights for survival.
    And while I’m at it, has anyone else come across the rate of literacy in the ME? Last time I checked, the Israelis were the only ones who taught their people to read.

  13. Postscript to my own comment:
    the funding: another piece I came across commented on the immense funds that the ME has given to the very best of the British universities: Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, and surprise: there is a very different British posture now toward muslims (including, if you remember, a British soldier hacked to death in broad daylight, on the street outside his barracks- by a man shouting “Allah Akbar”).
    I would be very surprised if that were not the case in the US – I wonder how much money has been given to endowments in our “great” schools?

  14. The Left abandoned Israel when it threw out Labour and elected Likud. They can’t forgive Bibi from doing a Thatcher–and succeeding.