When my grandmother was still alive, when some domestic or international conflict came to her attention, she would ask, “Is it good for the Jews?”
Many friends have told me they heard the same thing from their grandmothers, because this was a natural reaction for people of that generation after years and years of pogroms and finally the Holocaust.
So somewhere in the subconscious of almost all Jews there is that inner grandmother talking to us. And what those bubbes are saying now is not good, not by a long shot.
Many of us have thought the following I am sure, but I have not yet seen anyone say it print. So being the fool that I am, I’m going to bite the proverbial bullet and be the one to do it now. Maybe it will be cathartic.
This last year or two has been — bad for the Jews.
No, I’m not talking about the increasingly-tenuous struggle for Israel’s survival and and the controversy surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in front of Congress. I am proud more than ever of the Israelis’ courage and of their prime minister.
I am thinking of something much more personal. I am thinking of three infamous people at the top of the world’s news in recent times all of whom, unfortunately, happen to be Jews…
Bernard Madoff, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and now Anthony Weiner.
In varying degrees there is something quite wrong, veering toward the sociopathic, with all of those men. My grandmother would definitely conclude that they are not “good for the Jews.” And I suspect I speak for most or our tribe when I say that I cringe when I see their (yes, Jewish) names in print or their visages on television. This is true notwithstanding that I don’t know of any of these men personally, nor have I even met them. Like everyone reading this article, I know bloody well who they are.
Yes, I know nobody said we were supposed to be perfect, yet I feel branded by these men and their behavior. Anthony Weiner looks like somebody in my family and I wish he would go away. Ditto Madoff and Strauss-Kahn. Yet here they are — in my face, day after day.
So I guess you can call me a “guilty Jew,” though my guilt has not lead me into pacifism or back into the liberal fold that I left a decade ago. Far from it. Indeed, in this case it has made me angry. Agnostic though I may be, I want to follow in the best tradition of my people and see these men punished — punished to the limits of the law or, if they have not strictly broken a law, be subject to a more transcendent retribution that knows no bounds.
As these people disgrace us, I will redouble my efforts in the support of Israel. I will continue to be proud of my heritage. And I will continue to fight for America.