Ert & Bernie continued (Erniette tells B-Boy it’s on)

Dearest B-Boy,

Thank you for humoring me in my hour of needing humorization. Humorosity? My flight information is attached. Between arrival and departure, do with me as you will. Based, of course, on the guidance provided below.

Speaking of humorization, not to mention amazement, incredulity, admiration and disgust, I’ve been doing my reading. What else do you do when you’re out of a job and not quite ready to submit yourself to the humiliations of finding another? That Amos Oz is one amazing writer. (Has he done anything else? I’ll have to check.) In the Land of Israel certainly revalidates that old journalistic adage that sometimes the worst thing you can do to someone is to listen, then quote them accurately.

You tell me that the types of people he interviewed are still very much with you. I doubt it not. They also seem to be in charge.

Poor Israel.

I’ve also been reading the papers, plus some other English-language Israeli sites. You said to get a sense of how Israelis talk to each other. I have, and I’m not at all sure that I like it. Anybody ever tell you folks that in the Age of the Internet, you have to be a little careful because you never know who might be listening in. Hyperbole and vitriol will only take you so far.

Two things that really ratchet up my hiccups:

First, how similar Israel and America are. We’ve got the same blowhard politicians. One thing Netanyahu and Obama have in common – American respect has pretty much vanished. And that Lieberman specimen. Do you think we could fix him up with John McCain? What children they could have.

And of course, we’ve also got the same priests & rabbis run amuck, the same dreary corruption, the same ridiculous journalistic and academic intelligentsia-faux. Human nature, one supposes. But Israel seems to have more than its share per capita.

I also gather from my readings that Israel’s as intent upon destroying its middle class as America. And that you’ve got your own One Percent that ain’t doin’ nobody no good. Including, in the long run, themselves. Also, all this Start-Up Nation foo-fah, seems more like a lottery than a serious part of the economy. Or should I say, all these Best and Nerdiest youngsters start businesses with the goal of selling them to foreigners for seven or eight figures as soon as possible. A few actually do. The rest vanish in other ways and the burned-out former Starter-Uppers wander off to whatever awaits them.

Not how you develop your own prosperity, selling it off before it has a chance to grow. Seems that Israel has its share of oligarchs and cronies and the rest, plus a lot of little stuff. No shortage of greengrocers and Judaica hucksters, apparently. But what’s in the middle to keep things going, if and when (it’ll happen) BDS starts to bite?

Now to the second thing that bothers me. Four days ago, I knew practically nothing about Israel or Zionism, except that a lot of people, more it seems every day, don’t like them very much. We never did talk about this, and you never struck me as an ideologue or True Believer of any kind. So I remain mostly stupefied about why you moved, especially now that I know a couple things and thingesses.

I also read some history. This led me to the very preliminary conclusion that I’m a Zionist in the same way I’m a feminist.

I believe in the principles and the cause.

I do what I can to support.

But I’ve got no use for the whiners and the huff-and-puffsters who are always so eager to be offended. Just as every intelligent Christian knows that you don’t have to genuflect before every jerk who presumes to speak in the Name of the Lord, you have to separate issues like Zionism and feminism from the screamers, the bullies and the clowns.

That’s hard enough with an issue that touches half of America, half of the world. But a thing like Zionism, that directly engages so few Americans, who have no need or reason to care unless you provide them . . .

Now let me elocute plain. Do you really believe that America’s so fortunate to be allowed to support you, that we should just hand you financial and moral credit cards with no spending limits?

Don’t you understand that we’ve got more to worry about than you, and that, in an individual, your behavior might well be deemed sociopathic? Borderline disorders, blatant disregard for others, manipulativeness, dishonesty, refusal to accept criticism, violence, compensation neurosis (“Something bad once happened to me so the world owes me and I can do whatever I want”) . . .

Which is to say: I can’t wait to come over and see for myself. OK, we’ll do the tourist stuff for a day or two. But mostly, I just want to get a ground-truth sense of the place and the people. That includes the Territories, if possible.

Prepare to wander, my beloved.


P.S. I got you the cough syrup and jeans, plus a couple small surprises.

About the Author
Philip Gold made Aliyah from USA in 2010 after several decades as a Beltway "public intellectual" of sorts.
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