Friday, June 27, 2008

Jewish Guilt

Several years ago my wife and I were having a Succah dinner at the home of some well meaning, modern orthodox, liberal, Evanston Jews. Much of the table talk revolved around national politics; the mal-administration of George Bush, the never ending war in Iraq, and the poor state of the economy. Here we were, I thought to myself, sitting in a succah, a symbolic gesture we Jews make annually, and at some inconvenience take our meals in the “succat shalom”. I couldn’t help but take note that zip was said about Israel, but so much was commented about the need for “Tikkun Olam”. To be sure, even if Israel hadn’t been in the news that particular week, nevertheless, the ongoing political-security issues are always present and lend themselves for on-going discussion. After all, where else, and how appropriate is it to speak of the existential future of Israel if not in the succat shalom. So trying to shift the conversation I was rebuffed with comments like: “not all of us need to obsess over Israel” and “don’t worry about Israel, they can take care of themselves”. I was shocked and disturbed less because of the rebuff but more because these were “modern orthodox” Jews who were treating Israel and her future in a most cavalier manner.

Those disturbing feelings were filed away as a means by which to deal with my denial until the Barak Hussein Obama campaign during the primaries began to heat up. In one of my phone conversations with my so called “modern orthodox” friend we cautiously veered on to the upcoming Illinois primary. I had urged my friend to vote for Hillary because Obama couldn’t be trusted on the issue of Israel’s future. My friend let me have it!!! “How dare I” she castigated me “put Israel’s future at the top of the list of considerations when evaluating a candidate”. “Israel”, my friend continued “is 60 years old and needs to ‘grow up’”. Its time, the reasoning went that Israel stopped depending on America and American Jews and depended more on “Hashem” and began fending for herself. Maybe I am na├»ve, maybe I am insular, and maybe I am so parochial that I can’t understand the campaign in terms other than Israel’s future first and foremost with every other consideration taking a second place.

I also flashed back to our discussion about tikkun olam in the succat shalom and realized that it isn’t me that’s off course, but all those liberal Jews out there who have a warped understanding of our history. I also recalled one of my posts on tikun olam entitled Atlas Shrugged:Tikun Olam and realized that I have no reason to feel guilty about my myopic vision of the centrality of Israel in history.

I also tried to imagine a world in which Israel was no longer a player. I wondered if my liberal friend considered a new world order because tikun olam required a bi-national state in place of Israel, where all people, Muslim and Jew could live in peace and harmony. Had she considered the implications of that arrangement? Israel would cease to exist, Muslims would be the majority, and Jews, well, doesn’t her vision of tikun olam trump all else. And what about the Jews of the Diaspora? What would be the quality of our lives? For me – it wouldn’t be worth living, but for her it would be the fulfillment of tikun olam and finally perhaps her Jewish guilt would be satiated.

I am however struggling to understand what motivates these self hating, guilt ridden Jews to plot a self destruct course. Why would well intentioned Jews organize a Jews for Obama organization, when Obama has no track record on Israel, has a Muslim name, and is closely associated with radical, anti-semitic nefarious characters such as Wright, Farakhan and Ayers, to mention a few. Obamas appearance and speech at AIPAC was all these liberals needed to assuage their conscience.

What I find insulting is some of the promotional items being used that have Obama’s name in Hebrew letters. I would have thought that it would have been more appropriate to have his name written with Yiddish spelling. After all it is sort of a galut mentality that drives these liberals. Wasn’t it the Yiddish speaking Jews of Europe who wanted to believe that they were only being relocated out of the ghettos, and that the camps were only transit centers!! Modern Hebrew is the language of heroes, of people who managed to take destiny into their own hands, who built a land despite all the odds, and who believe that Massada will not fall again.

This doesn’t sit very well with the twisted liberal Jewish mind, who believe that we have to stretch out our necks on the altar as Isaac so willingly did, all in the name obedience to a “loving” God. But what these liberal miscreants don’t understand is that Abraham, at the last minute decided not to go along with the death plan, but to change the course of history and to resoundingly negate this way of worshipping God. We won’t stretch our necks out on the altar of liberal political correctness, we won’t sacrifice Israel, weaken her or put her in harms way, but we will stand proud, turn our backs on the altar of self destruction and walk away from it and down the hill as Abraham our father taught us.