Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shame and Pride

"They hate the Sabbath and they hate the laws of Judaism and they hate the yeshivas and they hate the rabbis. And they hate being Jewish and they hate G-d and they hate Zionism and a Jewish state and the need to be different... And they hate the bitter reality of hundreds of thousands supporting and marching for and believing in all the things that they hate, and so they are prepared to use any and all means to destroy the Jews of Jewishness. And the most most frightening thing is that, in all its ugliness, I have seen and recognized the face of Hatred and Murder Past."

These words were written over 20 years ago by Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D. Since then, this hate has not diminished but continues to show itself. It shows itself on both sides of the Atlantic, causing harm and damage to those they hate so much. This hate shows itself in Israel when leftist journalists steal military secrets and spy on the army. It shows itself when professors at Hebrew University march hand in hand with Arab and demand the Jews out of Shimon HaTzadik, or when hundreds demonstrate in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem in against Israel's right to self-defense. This hatred rears its ugly head in the United States as "pro-peace" Jewish groups demand that Obama force himself on Israel or when liberal Jews in the government attack and condemn Israel. There are Jews who hate Israel, who hate Judaism and the Jewish people, and who make it their mission to hurt us.

Recently, the New York Review of Books published a lengthy essay by Peter Beinart, The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, in which he blames Israel's illiberal tendencies and rightward shift for alienating young American Jews. Beinart explains that "the only kind of Zionism they [young American Jews] found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs." American Jews wanted a more "humane, universalistic Zionism" and because Israel could not provide this, they no longer feel an affiliation with Israel.

Beinart's analysis is telling, not because of its conclusions but because of what it says about liberal Jewry. The reason why many young liberal Jews don't give a fig about Israel is because they don't give a fig about Judaism or Jewishness. The American Jewish Establishment has indeed failed them for not instilling within them Jewish pride or values. These young American Jews are the product of three of four generations empty of Jewish belief and practice. The Jewish Establishments are the ones who fought tooth and nail against Jewish education and "parochialism", who ordered Jews: "thou shalt melt!" and who replaced all religious boundaries between Jews and non-Jews. They prided themselves on sending Jewish kids to public schools and on their interfaith seders and events. They preached a message of absolute equality and unity, of brotherhood and love, stressing the universal over the particular. "Being Jewish is being part of a great tradition, like being Irish or black or Vietnamese." So young Jews chose to be human beings rather than to be Jews and now we see the frightening results: over 50% intermarriage rate and a complete disconnect from Israel and the Jewish people.

There has been a parallel process in Israel. The founders of the state tried to create a Zionism and a Jewishness without Judaism, and now what is left among many is a confused group that cares not for Zionism, Jewishness or Judaism. These are the Israelis who wave PLO flags, demanding surrender and appeasement in the face of Arab greed, consumed with guilt over their rights to their land, convinced that they are occupying Arab land. They do not want a Jewish state, a state built on Jewish culture, religion and history, for the Jewish people, but a "state of all its citizens" or, in Shimon Pere's words, "the Singapore of the Middle-East". Their confusing and self-doubt is evident on their faces as they march, chanting "No holiness in an occupied city!"

These young Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora, are embarrassed of being Jewish, of the baggage that it carries and of the obligations it entails. They are embarrassed of "choseness", of Jewish destiny and fate. As such, they simply want to do away with it. Consider the "utopian" future set out by H.G. Wells:

"And yet between 1940 and 2059, in little more than a century, this antiquated obdurate culture disappeared. It and its Zionist state, its kosher food, the Law and all the rest of its paraphernalia, were completely merged in the human community. The Jews were not suppressed; there was no extermination... but under the Tyranny there was never any specific persecution at all; yet they were educated out of their oddity and racial egotism in little more than three generations. Their attention was distracted from Moses and the Promise to Abraham and the delusion that God made his creation for them alone, and they were taught the truth about their race. The world is as full as ever it was of men and women of Semitic origin, but they belong no more to “Israel”."

This is the aim of these Jewish enemies of Israel. They only wave around their Jewish ancestry as a weapon to attack the Jewish people. Judaism is little more than liberalism to them and as such feel no connection to their Jewish brethren around the world. They ally themselves with every Jew-hater and Israel-basher, adding fuel to the fire as they proclaim their Jewish identity while defaming the Jewish people.

The Jewish Establishment has failed. The secular Zionist system has failed. It has raised a generation of Jews empty of Judaism and who only want to be human beings. How can we rectify this situation?

By returning, by coming back to Judaism, its obligations and its prohibitions, its values, commandments and laws. By acquainting ourselves with Jewish history, connecting to Jewish peoplehood and recognizing Jewish destiny. We must once again become the people who so brazenly defied Pharaoh and slaughtered his idol before the eyes of all of Egypt, the nation who rose up so bravely against the Babylonians, the Greek persecution and the Roman tyranny. We must once again have the pride to declare G-d's Absolute Oneness to the entire world as we sing: "How fortunate we are, how good is our portion, how pleasant is our lot and how nice is our inheritance!"

1 comment:

  1. Yasher Koach. I agree with every word except the quote that you brought from R' Meir Kahane. which can be summed up "hate, hate hate" He would have been easier to take had he shown a little ahavat yisrael.