Thursday, June 23, 2011

'Divorcing' From Israel

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 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.


please helps me write more gooder!


Independent Patriot said...

The issue I have is that we tend to give this very small part of the Jewish community any respect by talking about their positions. Whoever this woman is, she has major problems, both intellectually with her own honesty and psychologically for marrying a man who is an obvious antisemite (You cannot hate Israel and think well of Jews). Its like Beinart, he is such a miniscule part of the US Jewish community but we raise him to a level of importance. There is no way that this woman's children are raised as Jews, as even in the most reform synagogue Israel is a part of the education.(I knwo my own rabbi whose politics I abhor and left the synagogue because of his politics, leads members of the congregation to Israel every year and its a positive trip) I think she is either lying to her readers or deluding herself o quite frankly probably both.We make too much of these disturbed people simply because they are able to write an article in some reknown intellectual rag.

And as far a Goldberg is should be used to his nonsense by now.But in the end he is still pro-Israel, no matter how misguided about his friend at JStreet or Obama.He is like the foolish son or the one who did not know how to ask.

Rob said...

'The Foolish Son'..I like that.

louielouie said...

gentile in the thread.
i was with you right up until the very end.

and they have two children

everything that preceded this does not point to this happening.
she sounds so self absorbed how could she possibly procreate?
i would think a comment like, "i can't imagine bringing a child into this screwed up world", would flow from her.
you know, like nicolas cage in that scene from "the rock".

Rob said...

You may be right. She certainly does sound like a very troubled individual.

I simply took her comment as given in her piece.


Fabian Pascal said...


I took the liberty of including your post in mine, where I commented on something implicit in it that you don't explicitly say (see the link under your post).
I hope that's OK with you.

BTW, how did you do it that links to your posts are automatically listed when they are made?


The Contentious Centrist said...

I regard J-street as acting, de facto, in lieu of an Arab Lobby, as can be evidenced in these comments by UAE daily Al-Ittihad, columnist Dr. As'ad 'Abd Al-Rahman, here:

"J Street asked the U.S. administration to intervene and impose a two-state solution, even if this meant exerting pressure on Israel. AIPAC, on the other hand, asked Washington not to intervene but to leave the issue to the decision of the two sides in the conflict.[-]

"I think it unfortunate that there is no Arab lobby in Washington to support the Arabs' official and popular position and to work towards changing U.S. policy on the Middle East conflict..." [-]

"Needless to say, the views of the new Jewish lobby J Street have provided the U.S. and other countries with political and media ammunition. "