Thursday, June 23, 2011
There's a small flurry in the blogosphere today over a piece entitled 'Life After Zionist Summer Camp' by someone called Allison Benedikt, who according to her bio blurb is the film editor over at The Village Voice.
The piece, in a nutshell, could be summarized thusly: girl is raised in a typical secular Jewish family, gets introduced to Zionism at summer camp, has a great time, goes to Israel on a Birthright trip and enjoys herself immensely, returns to America, goes to college, gets fed a few 'anti-Zionist' talking points, and eventually meets the Israel-hating non-Jewish Lefty boyfriend of her dreams, who later becomes what she describes as 'my Jew-hating fiancé'. She converts to his point of view, and in one very revealing snippet, she starts berating her parents for doing Jewish Community charity work." Why the f**k are we helping our own? We don't need any help! We're rich! I am so right."
She decides she despises most Israelis, she and her Israel hating boyfriend marry, and she becomes a Left-wing 'anti-Zionist' activist. She then becomes an Obama groupie and works for his campaign, and they have two children who she insists she's 'raising them as Jews.'
Based on her piece, I'll leave it to your imagination as to what kind of 'Jews' she's raising them as. The piece ends : "Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique. My best memories from childhood are from camp, and I will never, ever send my kids there."
Jeffrey Goldberg over at the Atlantic has the rare apropos response to Benedikt:
Does she ask herself whether she has a responsibility to make Israel a better, more humane, place? Does she question herself about the consequences of abandoning Israel? Does she think about the sin of the wicked son in the Passover story, and how that sin might echo in her own life?
The Wicked Son is a traditional part of the Haggadah read at the Passover Seder, aimed at someone who willingly divorces and separates himself from the Jewish community.
Of course, being Jeffrey Goldberg, he couldn't leave it there. In a subsequent followup, he writes:
"This is one of the reasons I admire groups like J Street the New Israel Fund. Their members could have made the decision to wash their hands of what they see as a terrible mess. But they haven't. They understand their responsibilities as Jews, to Jews (and to the world, which is the great, difficult balancing act of being Jewish: Caring specifically for Jews, and caring specifically for the entire world, at the same time). I might not agree with many of the positions these groups take, but they are fighting for their vision of Judaism and Zionism."
Actually , they're not fighting for anything like that. Just like Benedikt, what they want is for Oslo to be something different than the Arab Trojan Horse it actually turned out to be, and for Israel to knuckle under to whatever the 'Palestinians' demand no matter how many Israeli lives it costs so as not to embarrass them with their Leftist buddies. The 'version of Zionism' they favor leads to peace all right - the peace of the cemetery. And the most despicable part is that they are willing to let someone else risk their lives and their children's lives to massage their political sensibilities.
Even more ironically, they remain clueless about how a marginalized or even destroyed Israel will affect their own comfortable lives in the Diaspora.
Believe it or not, as much as I might despise that attitude, I have no problem with it. What I viscerally dislike is the serial dishonesty of people like J Street, the Jewish Voice for Peace or any of the others claiming they're 'pro Israel'. They aren't, not by any stretch of the imagination, and the proof is in the way they constantly apply standards to Israel they apply to no one else, and the way they constantly lobby for Israel's enemies, even the genocidal Hamas. All I want is for them to own up.
I much prefer the Allison Benedikts of this world....openly ultra Left, an Obama groupie, married to a Israel hating Lefty non-Jew, proudly anti-Israel and anti-Israeli and ultimately self hating...so mean spirited that she would deny her children a camp experience she herself found so enriching just on the chance they might pick up the Zionist virus. I have absolutely no doubt that most of her Jewish friends feel exactly the same way she does about the matter. Her honesty is refreshing, even if everything else has a rather putrid stench about it.
There's another fascinating bit of the Passover story that relates that the majority of Jews in Egypt chose not to follow Moses to freedom, in spite of the miracles done for them before their own eyes. They made the choice to stay in bondage in Egypt and divorce themselves from the Jewish community.
That split was ultimately beneficial to the Jewish people, because it sorted out those unwilling to take on the burden and blessings that were to come.
Sometimes, divorce is a good thing. It creates clarity and sorts things out. Some make the choice to be freed and redeemed..and some choose to get left behind.