When the Israel Bonds appeal was made in many synagogues this year, congregants heard something that would have been unnecessary a generation ago: a strong reminder of the ties that bind American Jews to Israel.
Given a choice between ties to Israel and commitments to leftist politics, American Jews will choose their politics.
The explanation for the divergence is typical of the hubris of leftist Jews. They see themselves and President Obama as the embodiment of Democratic and Jewish ideals, while Israeli Jews, especially the Orthodox and Russian immigrants, have moved decidedly to the right and spurned both Jewish and Democratic values.
In the boardrooms of Jewish organizations, discussion of “divergence,” as it is being called, takes place with the consummate acceptance of this explanation.
I will not dispute the numbers, but as any undergraduate with an exposure to the logic of inference will note, there is no concatenation between the data and the explanation. What exists is a bunch of brain-atrophied liberals sitting around a table indulging smug notions of their political self-esteem.
The strange thing about leftist Jews, who are generally secular, talking about Jewish values is those values are always aligned with Democratic policy positions.
Perhaps in their version of Exodus, Franklin Roosevelt led the Israelites out of Egypt, climbed atop Mt. Sinai, and returned with two tablets, on which were etched the New Deal.
The policy implications for divergence is that the Israelis had better return to the same Jewish values as leftist American Jews, or there will be no affinity between the two communities and no support for Israel.
The hubris of this is seen in just what Jewish values the Obama administration represents.
I never thought that the intrusion of government into every private sphere was somehow a Jewish value. Tzdaka (charity) isn’t socialism. If it were, the Orthodox Jews, who appear to know something about Jewish values, wouldn’t have voted disproportionately Republican.
Centralization has never been a democratic value. If it were, Stalin, not Jefferson, would be the paragon of democracy.
An administration that in nine months created more czars than the Romanovs were able to create in three hundred years does not seem to embrace democratic values.
What liberal American Jews don’t want to confront is they have helped put into power an administration that is more vexed over a Jew building a home in Jerusalem than a Muslim building a nuclear bomb outside of Tehran.
Liberal Jews don’t want to admit that in Cairo and again at the United Nations, President Obama not only recited the Arab narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute; he embraced the Palestinian position a priori before forthcoming negotiations.
As Poland and the Czech Republic were taking the knives out of their backs after Obama’s abrogation of American commitments on missile defense, Israelis were finding they were next on the list of Obama’s betrayal.
But liberal American Jews lusting after Obama as some political messiah who will bring peace to the Middle East can’t deal with the dissonance of what they are witnessing. Like all true believers who end up facing what sociologists call the “crisis of non-appearance,” liberal Jews simply have increased their zealotry and sought a convenient scapegoat, Israel.
It is not that liberal American Jews helped elect one of the most intrusive and authoritarian administrations to ever come to Washington or one of the most anti-Israel. It is that those stiff-necked Israelis, especially those Russian immigrants, just haven’t been properly socialized into Democratic values the way America socializes its immigrants.
Have you been to the parking lot of a Home Depot lately? Take a look and then tell me about the glories of America’s immigration and socialization policies. I’m sure all that exploited day labor is just bursting over with concerns for democracy, especially if ACORN signs them up to vote.
I wonder, do you press “8” in Tel Aviv for Russian?
What explains divergence is that on the one hand you have a group of Jews living in the security and luxury of American suburbia, whose primary existential threat is whether the crabgrass will take over their backyard. On the other hand, you have Israeli Jews living in a state of perpetual war, who worry about where the next missile or suicide bomber will come from.
The Jews living in such upscale suburbs as Evanston, Illinois, pontificate about moral equivalence and what the body count in Sderot should be in order to justify a military incursion into Gaza. All the time, they worry about what they need to say to stay in the good graces of their interfaith neighbors and colleagues.
Leftist American Jews should realize that there is no rationale that will make the Obama administration anything other than the political fiasco it is. It is an administration honed in the machine politics of Chicago, where perpetuating power is the paramount goal. It is an administration that buys every leftist shibboleth about the causes of and solutions to the Middle East conflict. It is the most treacherous and anti-Israel administration ever to come to power.
American Jews need to stop blaming Israel for their own political failures. If American Jews are the embodiment of Democratic and Jewish values, where is the Jewish value in scapegoating one’s brethren?
The Jewish community has made a terrible political mistake. Among the delegations that had no shame, no decency, and no commitment to truth and listened to Ahmadinejad spew his venom at the UN was an American delegation that accepts his narrative of Middle East history. It is time for American Jews to face the reality of what they have created.