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Are American Jews Ready to Take Down the Israeli Flag Too?

As a conservative Jew, I sometimes pity the tribe members to my Left. It’s not a simple thing these days being a liberal Jew.

You can nod your head along with usual consensus at dinner parties and wherever else liberals gather, lamenting the stupidity of the Tea Party, the cupidity of Wall Street, the inanity of Sarah Palin, and the impossible hand dealt to President Obama by George W. Bush.

It all goes swimmingly enough until you arrive at the Middle East. At that point, proclaiming that you detest Netanyahu too may not be enough. Because increasingly on the Left, Israel’s raison d’être is in question. After all, goes the logic, Apartheid is Apartheid, whether it is Likud or Kadima inflicting it.

Many liberal Jews no doubt have been high-fiving other advanced thinkers as the Confederate flag came down and same-sex marriage became an inalienable right.

But Jews should have a sense of foreboding about the manner in which these victories are being wrought. Because the victors seek not just to win the argument but to have the last word and close off further debate. And eliminating the right to object is a worrisome development for American Jews, whether they realize it at the moment or not.

Israeli flag

Supporters of traditional marriage were relegated by the Supreme Court not just to the past, but to the dustbin of washed up bastions of intolerance.

The hope of gay men and women “is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges. So, to speak from this day forward against gay marriage is not just to have an opinion, but to try to revive hateful attempts to isolate and exclude.

The Confederate flag is abhorrent to many and surely should be removed from official display by state governments elected in part by those upset by it. But in the growing climate of antagonism toward any speech that antagonizes, it was not enough to transfer the flag from state Capitols to the musty museum. It had to be removed from store shelves, whether virtual or brick and mortar, lest someone incur a painful micro-aggression from just the sight of it. This even though a majority still conceive it not as a banner of racial hatred – though some assuredly view it this way – but as a emblem of the South.

Statues and paintings of those who fought for the flag will soon also be displaced from public view or, better, hammered to pieces, in the manner that the Islamic State destroys artifacts of earlier civilizations in the new lands it seizes.

As the Left and the vociferously offended work to extinguish every putatively offensive peep, Jews in particular might stop and reflect for a moment on what the erosion of the First Amendment means for their own place in American society.

I wonder what Jewish person today, in an outburst of Zionist pride, would dare to display the Israeli on their front lawn, particularly in one of the more liberal enclaves of the East or West Coast?

Inevitably, they will be accosted walking the dog or browsing the organic meat section at Whole Foods and forced to justify settlement building in the West Bank or incursions into Gaza. Better have an explanation ready.

How many lefties in the neighborhood would murmur, “They had it coming,” if someone, in a stand of solidarity with oppressed peoples, lobbed a brick through the living room window? Would it really be overdoing it for a person displaying an Israeli flag to wonder if Islamist extremists might do much more than break a window?

Such is the climate of intolerance for objectionable commentary that even the White House, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the “Draw Mohammed” event May 3 in Garland, Texas – which easily could have resulted in mass casualties – felt the need to caveat its averral of support for free speech with a suggestion of empathy for the anger animating the attack, making sure to term the event itself “offensive.”

But a kind of political correctness-driven hysteria has seized the country, providing advocates of various causes with the idea that they should, and indeed can, completely command the debate, expunging dissent and all traces of the old order.

The heady feeling of finally being able to lay down the law with unchallenged authority obscures a deeper and more vital truth: That free speech is being trampled, and in the long run, it is free speech that guarantees the security of the same minorities benefiting from the quashing of politically incorrect dissent. If victory in some particular battle comes at the expense of unfettered discourse, the peril to minorities like the Jews grows rather than dissipates.

As the lexicon of forbidden speech expands outward with growing rapidity from “fire in a movie theater” to things that don’t really endanger but merely offend, Jews should begin to worry that we too may soon begin to drift into the category of “offensive.”

Because this has always been the greatest peril for the Jews of the diaspora: That life can get uncomfortable, or worse, as we become offensive to our hosts.

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21 Responses to Are American Jews Ready to Take Down the Israeli Flag Too?

  1. Well put. Well said. If it’s of any comfort to you, Keith, as it is to myself, the Liberal Jews, at least on my FB page have been incredibly silent regarding Obama/Iran. OTOH, we are the grandchildren of survivors generation. The others and the youngers well … what can I say that you or I haven’t read or heard. They haven’t read a whit about European Jewry; as if history began at the end of WW2.

  2. We have already seen the gays turn on the gays who were not gay enough, blacks…not black enough…heck even transgenders… not transed enough or some such thing…Revolutions eat their young, no one really is immune, and why in the world people continue to ignore the “First they came for the Jews …” warning is beyond me.

    Intolerance knows no limits.

  3. There was a time in America wherein Jews were excluded from what was once conservative Repub enclaves and clubs. Joining the Dem faction seemed to be the only way to have a voice in government and civil affairs.
    That day is gone. Now, it is the so-called liberal Dem party that voices anti-Jewish sentiments and finds Israel a nuisance at best.
    Today’s conservative Repub and Dem are the only vocal supporters of Judism and of course, the only Jewish state in the world, Israel.
    This is more than a free-speech issue, just as the Confederate flag was more than a representation of the fight for state’s rights.
    This is to make history to their liking, to erase the horrors of WWII, to scorn the believers of the Bible- Old and New Testament and find new ways to divide a population that they need to kneel to their new ‘religion’ of Government.

    On other sites, we have discussed the reason why retirees, the elders, feel free to say what they think, and to point out the truth of any matter. It’s that no one can hurt us, we’re as Teflon-ed as DonaldTrump.
    So many people are afraid to say in public what they really feel or believe today. And it has to do with the constant barrage of humiliation, castigation of those who don’t go with ‘the program’ devised by evil-doers.

    Is BruceJenner insane, or is he really a woman because he says so. Are the illegal aliens the cause of some of our weak economy, the sky-rocketing cost of ‘freebies’ we all pay for, or are they a “act of love” as MrBush claimed.
    There isn’t a single poster here who hasn’t been called a racist, a hater, threatened with banishment from other less open websites.
    As for the Jewish community – they should re-evaluate their association with a political party that takes their money and support, then privately plans their demise.

  4. Splendid, thoughtful article, Keith. Worth re-reading several times. We see the rise of the thought police. Those intolerant “special interests” groups who demonstrate a growing level of hatred and liberty killing goals which lead directly to an evil, dangerous place in our country.

    • the more I hear of her the more I like her. Fox better find a way to get her into the debate. lord save me from having to watch all Boring White Guys (Bush, Santorum, Perry, etc.) again!

    • Apparently she has been asked to Koch Bros. sponsored “event” (or meeting — I heard it on the fly on Brett Baier Special Report)this weekend. Numbers rising, but in need of cash. Could be sweet for her.

  5. one important thing to note is that nazi flags and other nazi memoribilia can still easily bought online, including at Amazon.com

  6. Keith:
    Is it really appropriate to call those leftists “Jews?”

    A more accurate description of them would be “athiests with previous jewish lineage.”

    Make sure to squeeze in the words “trust fund children” in there somewhere too

  7. I hate to generalize, but I think many American Jews consider themselves in the intelligentsia and as such, read such rags as the Wash Post and see the cascade of foaming, vituperative, unsubstantiated comments against Republicans and despite intelligence, just buy it. Don’t get it either. I would expect more critical analysis.

  8. If you fly the Israeli flag above the USA flag (or no USA flag) and maintained your Israeli Citizenship, you are NOT a USA Citizen.
    For all other debates, tell them to stick it up the dark side of their moon.
    When we have less liberties than those we deem Usurpers and mass murderers, what have we become ?

  9. PBS, at least in my area, is showing something very topical that smacks of political propaganda in support of “Obama — there will be war if no deal” — 2015 The Bomb, The Story of Nuclear Weapons (2 hours) followed by Uranium, Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (Part 1 of 2). It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    Lots of this kind of programming in the former Soviet Union and in today’s NORK. Not quite as fancy though.

    • I watched the PBS show about “the Bomb”. It was very interesting, with great restored footage of nuclear tests. I didn’t get that it was all propaganda (maybe I’m too thick to see it?). When they noted that having the bomb kept the Russians and Americans from actually going to war, they were correct, and I also appreciated the segment about Reagan and Gorbachev. But knowing that there are still thousands of nuclear missiles in the world, it’s very sobering to think that a rogue state like Iran, run by deranged zealots, will soon be capable of destroying the world. No one wins a nuclear war.

  10. I wonder how many liberal Jews know which tribe they are descendents of. (Poorly constructed sentence.)
    I think that tribal identification – or lack of it – could be very telling.

  11. what Leonard answered I didnt even know that some people can profit ($)5403 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you seen this web page… 180b8.ulinks.net

    • Because they’re not Jews anymore, that is in the past, they believe in the PARTY now, no God anymore. Thats how they can accept abortion. They gave up God for abortion. If they believed in God then they could never love the abortion of millions of human life. God forgive them, they know not what they do, but they should, especially the Jews should remember the holocaust before they welcome the killing of whole generations of human life and throwing them into the trash. It is just like a holocaust when you get rid of human life for convenience. They should be ashamed of themselves and remember the holocaust and turn back to God. The democratic party is not doing them any good, its making them crazy sociopaths.