(It’s the only way we will ever rid ourselves of the Jewish left.)
Here, verbatim, is an admonition regularly issued to my brother and me by my hippie, commie, veggie mom: “If you vote Republican, you’ll break my heart; but if you bring home a non-Jewish girl, I’ll break your legs.” It is important, at the outset of this essay, to disabuse readers of the notion that the apple writing these lines has in any way fallen far from the tree: I say the same thing to my kids (mutatis mutandis: there is no Republican party in Israel, and not all that many available non-Jewish girls – or boys – either). I unabashedly, quite proudly, admit to feeling that powerful tribal affiliation with my People Israel that Jews have traditionally felt, and although I am well aware that we are anything but “pure-blooded” – one rabbi even interpreted the famous prayer “You have chosen us from among all the nations” to mean that we are an amalgamated hodge-podge of innumerable races, cultures and ethnic groups – I nevertheless remain committed, as members of our people have been from time immemorial, to preserving our religio-national integrity and preventing our perimeters from becoming overly porous. It’s not that I harbor hatred for “them” (well, at least not for most of them); it’s that I love us more.
Of late, however, a new appreciation has been dawning upon me for the potentially beneficial aspects of the phenomenon that has always been portrayed as the Jewish people’s ultimate nemesis. Intermarriage, I now believe, may well perform an essential “Malthusian” service for the Jews, by weeding out elements of our body politic the continued presence of which not only constitutes a massive annoyance, but actually poses an existential threat to our collective viability. It’s a win-win situation: they get to leave behind an affiliation that has brought them nothing but misery, and we – by jettisoning a fifth column the Quisling-esque likes of which General Molna could only have dreamed of – get to have a future.
There are those, you see, among the Jewish people – a large and growing proportion, in fact – who despise our very essence so profoundly that they are willing to devote a substantial amount of their time, energy, resources and talent to bringing about our demise. These are Jews who derived the lesson from the slaughter of six million of their kin, not that we must – a la Emil Fackenheim – “deny a posthumous victory to Hitler,” that is, not that we must strengthen ourselves more than ever and do all that lies in our power to ensure that what is left of our tiny nation survives and flourishes, but the diametric opposite: that we must dismantle ourselves as a national entity, disperse among the peoples and disappear (technically, they think that all national entities should do this. It’s just that, as usual, we have to go first). These Jews have conceived a particularly frothing hatred for the vessel of our national renaissance, the State of Israel, and the ideology that undergirds it, Zionism. They portray this ideology as an unparalleled, almost ontological evil the likes of which the world has never seen; concoct the most incredible, outrageous, demonstrably preposterous fantasy-horror fables about what goes on here in this exiguous smidgen of a commonwealth where fighter jets can’t even make a U-turn without breaking borders; and work diligently throughout their lives to undermine this polity’s very existence – as if it weren’t already surrounded by literally hundreds of millions of people who want it gone yesterday.
Perhaps most ominously, these Jews do all this, for the most part, out of a genuine, sincere sense of rationalist righteousness, and like fiery Jewish idealists throughout history, they are passionately and religiously dedicated to their cause and will not be deterred by appeals, entreaties, argumentation or threatening telephone calls from Bubby and Zaidi. Oh, and the most exasperating part: while they absolutely can’t stand us, don’t want any part of us, are no less than nauseated by us, they simply refuse to leave. No, they just won’t go, whether because they still feel connected on some level, or because they know they can more effectively sabotage us from the inside, or for some other reason. They stubbornly stick around, cursing us, bruising us, besmirching us, debilitating us, and gleefully opening any and all gates for our enemies to come charging through, like some homemade Trojan horse.
Open That Mind
Now, another thing I tell my kids (and my students, and whomever else will listen) is that affiliating with a particular political-ideological camp – to say nothing of locking oneself into one, and interpreting all of reality via the filter of its doctrines – is a low-class, anti-intellectual and downright immoral thing to do. Staying open-minded, judging phenomena on a case-by-case basis, living with inner conflict, and cultivating one’s own unique and independent set of outlooks (and maintaining their vulnerability to the impact of new stimuli at all costs) – these are the hallmarks of a genuinely thinking and feeling person, I tell them. (A Jewish communist leader in John Hersey’s The Wall put it best: “We must fight for our faith, and doubt it, at the same time”).
So not only do I refrain from identifying myself as “right” or “left,” as “conservative” or “liberal,” I basically descry a comparable number of merits on both sides, and recoil equally from the many negatives associated with each (e.g., on the right: an excessive attachment to tradition, a callousness to the suffering of “the other,” the cultivation of group-think, and the potential for fascism; and on the left: an excessive antipathy towards tradition, a callousness toward the sufferings of one’s own, the cultivation of group-think, and…the potential for fascism). I will go even further: those who blindly toe the line and relentlessly pursue the objectives of either left or right without question or pause, will eventually be the death of us: each worldview, when adhered to as an orthodoxy, harbors enough potential and actual destructiveness to do us in for good, as Jews and as human beings.
Still, from a Jewish and an Israeli perspective, there is one fundamental, hulking difference between the left and right. Major segments of the Jewish left, whether in the homeland or abroad, are either un-exercised by the question of Jewish nationhood and continuity – that is, they have long since “assimilated” and occupy themselves with other, more generic or worldly matters – or, what is far more common, actively oppose Jewish nationhood and continuity as a matter of principle, and seek to undermine it at every turn. About no segment of the Jewish right can the same be said.
In other words, there are undeniably Israeli and Diaspora Jewish leftists who seek, for instance, to dismantle what they call the “occupation” of Judea and Samaria because they sincerely believe that it endangers the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and they may therefore be instructively compared to their Israeli and diaspora counterparts on the right, who oppose a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria because they sincerely believe that it endangers the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. There is a common premise here, and therefore the possibility exists for efficacious discussion, mutual respect and even, perhaps, an eventual modus vivendi.
But there are large portions of the Jewish left today – in Israel perhaps even more than in the West – for whom the very notion of nationalism or peoplehood itself represents the height of anathema. Universalism, yes. Individualism, yes. But whatever falls in between these two poles, any collective of any size that dares to distinguish between “us” and “them,” is guilty of perpetrating the crime of “essentialism,” “exclusivism,” “sectarianism” and “nativism,” and is the enemy of humanity and all that is good. And no nationalism is as evil in their estimation as Jewish nationalism, whether because it happens to be their nationalism and they are therefore naturally focused upon it; or because they are eternal teenagers for whom nothing is more compelling than slaughtering the sacred cows upon which they were raised; or because much of the rest of the world tells them that their country is an incomparably monstrous pariah and they buy into this. Whatever the reason, these leftists aim their arrows inward and strive mightily and relentlessly to bring down the house that Herzl, Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion and other pioneering paragons of Zionism built. Moreover, even what remains of the so-called “Zionist left” is, with every passing day, drifting willy-nilly further and further in the direction of the logical conclusion dictated by its own “post-colonialist” ideology, scil., a “post-Zionist” worldview. The left get lefter.
Going for the Jugular
The Jewish left, then, is ultimately more perilous to the Jews and Israel than the Jewish right, if for no other reason than because it includes a large number of individuals for whom the survival of the People or the State is simply not a desideratum. In recent decades the shriller members of this camp have begun to emit utterances and promote causes that drive sane, “centrist” Jews and Israelis apoplectic. One hesitates to throw out the term “treason” – but only when there is a reason to hesitate. Here there is not. The Haaretz newspaper, one of Israel’s three major dailies, the Hebrew and English versions of which are the left’s premier mouthpiece in Israel and in much of the Jewish world, is jam-packed every day with articles praising the Jewish state’s sworn enemies and the murderers of its children, and condemning, mocking and distorting beyond all recognition everything Israeli and/or Jewish.
Recently, a well-known Moroccan rabbi in Israel called some of the ministers in the Bennett government “worse than Nazis” (the Nazis, he argued, “at least loved their country”). While this is, of course, unforgivable, what nobody remarked upon in this connection – even though almost everyone in the country is well aware of it – is that editorials in the Haaretz newspaper call Israeli political leaders, soldiers, rabbis, professors, authors, singers and citizens of every sort “Nazis” literally every day, in many cases in so many words (in other cases, such as in reference to this past June’s Jerusalem Day Parade, more subtle nomenclature is employed: “Here Come the White-Shirts!”).
Haaretz directly encourages young children to defect from their religious families, and promotes campaigns for their financial support if they “make the leap to freedom.” This newspaper urges teenagers to shirk army duty, and regularly describes the present tense activities of the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria as “Ethnic Cleansing” (since this term denotes, according to Wikipedia, “the mass expulsion or killing of members of an unwanted ethnic or religious group”; and since the IDF obviously never engages in anything of the sort, otherwise there would be masses of freshly expelled or freshly dead Palestinians for the whole world to see and point to on a regular basis; then what unprecedented level of incurable psychosis is required for people who live here in Israel and know as well as they know their own mothers that no such thing ever takes place, to level such an abominable and hallucinatory accusation at the nation that just lost nearly half of its own sons and daughters to the crematoria?).
Haaretz – ironically, Hebrew for “The Land” – regularly argues that all of Israel is Palestinian occupied territory, including the left’s own bastion, Tel-Aviv University, partially built on the site of an abandoned Arab village. This periodical, that supposedly caters to Israel’s intellectual set and has been dubbed our very own New York Times, consistently prints articles dedicated to convincing Israelis to have less (or no) children; hosts editorials that praise, evince understanding for, and even encourage Palestinians who murder Jewish civilians (“An Open Letter to the Killers of Yehuda Dimmentman”); unceasingly ridicules and energetically seeks to remove Judaic and Zionist content from Israel’s educational curriculum; and on Israel’s Independence Day, only publishes articles about the nakba (the “Disaster,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the Jewish State).
This leftist bugle glorifies in the disappointed expectations of Aliyah (immigration) from countries around the world, most recently from the Ukraine; reminds its readership, for instance in an editorial referring to the Arab terrorist who fired an automatic weapon into a Tel-Aviv bar the previous evening and took the lives of three young Jews, that “Ra’ad Hazm Also Wanted to Have ‘Happy Hour'”; casts post-mortem doubt on the mental health of Benjamin Netanyahu’s iconic older brother, Yonatan, the special forces commander killed during the Entebbe raid (“Puncturing the Netanyahu Myth: Yoni, Bibi and the Truth about Entebbe”); complains about “all the Zionist garbage” (kol ha-zevel ha-tzioni) that Israelis are forced to listen to during televised Independence Day celebrations; and helpfully “eulogizes” Israel’s freshly deceased heroes (this past June, two days after he had departed this earth, universally beloved Tel-Aviv-bohemian-actor-playboy-turned-Jerusalem-orthodox-rabbi Uri Zohar was the subject of four separate essays printed by HaAretz, the titles of which were: “Zohar Displayed Weakness of Character,” “Uri Zohar Stabbed Secular Israelis in the Back,” “Uri Zohar didn’t Die Now – He Died when He Started becoming Religious”, and “Zohar: A Pathetic Man who Became a Missionary”). Indeed, one can read this propaganda rag posing as a newspaper of note from cover to cover every day for an entire month without encountering a single article that does not either execrate Israel and Judaism or harbor an undisguised anti-Zionist or anti-religious subtext – except perhaps in the food section, where, however, contests for “The country’s best cheeseburger” or “most delicious shrimp dish” are the norm.
The following articles all appeared in HaAretz on a single day (8/6/22):
“How Israel Destroyed One of the Most Beautiful Cities in the World”
“Nobody Can Stop Israel’s Descent into Animalism”
“When Begin and Reagan floated the ‘Final Solution’ to the Palestinian Problem”
“There are Similarities between the Hassidic Community and Pornography”
“‘A Theological and Racist Entity’: Secret Documents Reveal the Extent to which Washington Opposed the Establishment of Israel”
“The Rock Group ‘Big Thief’ Cancels Shows in Israel, Citing ‘Brutal Occupation'”
“Israel Failed to Submit Sufficient Evidence Against Outlawed Palestinian NGOS”
“In Gaza, an Artist uses Paint to Mourn 22 Relatives Killed by the IDF Last May”
“Sephardic Jews are Also Responsible for the Nakba”
“The Israelis who Trash Hotel Rooms around the World”
“Archeological Evidence for Biblical Israelite Kingdom ‘Highly Questionable'”
“Tel-Aviv isn’t Doing Well”
“Will Someone Finally Say that Israel Has Lost It?”
“He is a Pregnant Jewish Man; An Arab Woman Impregnated Him”
“Not a Climate Crisis: Gaza’s Humanitarian Nightmare is Israeli Made”
“A Year and a Half after Being Shot by Israeli Soldiers, He Lies Paralyzed in a Cave”
“Rabbis who become Sexual Abusers”
“‘We will Die Here’: Bedouin Village Fights Israeli Resettlement Program”
“Israeli High-Tech Billionaires are Stingy and Arrogant”
“Israeli Army Officer Handcuffs Two Palestinian Children Together”
“The Jews Never Existed as a ‘People’ – Still Less as a ‘Nation'”
“It isn’t ‘The Situation,’ it’s Israeli Soldiers”
“Dozens of Videos Show Jews Beating Palestinians; Two Were Arrested”
All these headlines and quite a few more of their ilk were to be found, I reiterate, in a single issue of this mass circulation tabloid, and this is how it is in HaAretz, day after day, week after week, all year round. Show me another major newspaper in any other country on earth that works this hard to undermine the polity in which it is published, or the people for whom that polity was created. Meanwhile, HaAretz’s International English Version (where over half of the above headlines appeared) has the unmatched temerity to rope in subscribers by advertising itself as “Your Premier Connection to Israel and the Jewish World.”
Of course, the Jewish and Israeli left pursue their homicidal trade outside of the pages of HaAretz, as well. The phenomenon is so rampant that most Israelis take it as a matter of course already. An artist funded by a state-sponsored fellowship puts up an exhibit at a state-funded gallery in the city of Ramat Gan, the title of the centerpiece of which is: “Jerusalem of Gold; Jerusalem of Shit.” A Jewish Tel-Aviv University professor, happening upon a mass of Israeli flags hanging from a ceiling at her institution of higher learning, circulates a photo of this display with the caption: “This is what a disease looks like.” The editors of Tikkun magazine urge their readership to “Call for an end to US military aid to Israel, which is funding ethnic cleansing and Israel’s ongoing harm against the Palestinian people, including being beaten and tortured, detained and imprisoned without charge, facing restriction of movement, theft of land and demolition of homes, just to name some of the daily indignities.” An actor in a one-man-show at the Tel-Aviv Mann Theatre walks on stage buck naked with an Israeli flag protruding from his anus, and when a lone, livid octogenarian rises from his seat to object (though a life-long and rather vocal leftist, he had fought in the Palmach and this was too much even for him) he is booed, hushed and eventually ejected from the auditorium.
In April, 2022 my daughter and hundreds of her peers at the Hadarim High School in Hod HaSharon – grades 9-12 – were herded into the central atrium to watch a play entitled “Daughter of the Waves,” about the female Muslim suicide bomber who murdered 23 people, including 7 children, at the Maxim Café in Haifa some twenty years ago. The play, put on by students participating in the school’s theatre major, tells the story of the terrorist’s life in such a way as to elicit pity for her and, to some extent, justify her actions. My daughter was livid, and subsequently penned a sort of “trick post” in which – under an image of a religious-Zionist settler girl with a gun strapped to her back – she invited her schoolmates and their parents to “come to the rescue” and prevent an upcoming lecture at Hadarim by “the Jewish terrorist Tikvah Tzukerman” (an exact translation of the Arabic pseudonym used for the protagonist in “Daughter of the Waves,” Amal Halawish [Hope Sweetness] – I was particularly proud of her for this touch). This female Jewish terrorist was, according to Yael’s description, guilty of puncturing the tires of Arab-owned cars, scrawling anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls of mosques, and “regularly preventing innocent Palestinians from harvesting their olive crops.”
The post went viral, there was a vast outpouring of online support from local students, teachers, parents and even the municipal superintendent, and then my daughter dropped the bomb, and revealed that the event had, in fact, already taken place. Only the terrorist was not a Jew but an Arab; the victims were not olives but human beings; and the affair in question was not a lecture but a play: “Daughter of the Waves.” The embarrassment was widespread and palpable, and the headmaster summoned my daughter to her office, where Yael demanded that a similar play be put on at school – and the students once again forced to watch en masse – but this time the terrorist to be “understood” and have his actions justified be…Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish doctor who, after being severely traumatized by years of exposure to mutilated victims of Palestinian terror, machine gunned 29 Muslim worshippers to death and injured 125 others in the Cave of Machpela at Hebron.
The school principal was appropriately shocked. She summarily cast Yael – who of course condemns Goldstein’s horrific act and was simply trying to make a point about double standards – out of her presence, and quickly chose a more suitable valedictorian. The seventeen-year-old, non-binary student director of “Daughter of the Waves” tweeted that s/he was glad that his/her production had offended “primitive fascists” like my daughter; took the opportunity to attack yet another progressive law passed by the Israeli Parliament further reinforcing gay and trans rights as “pink washing”; and added, for good measure, that “even if I am stabbed, lynched and burned alive by the Arab residents of Jenin for walking through their city in a mini-skirt, that doesn’t give me the right to oppress them.”
Eye on the Prize
To understand the extent to which the Israeli and worldwide Jewish left is committed to Israel’s destruction, consider this. Several months ago my family and I attended a Bat-Mitzvah party for a friend of my middle daughter (whose family is not particularly political in either direction), and were subjected, for the umpteenth time, to the typical eardrum-bashing soundtrack that so many Israelis find appropriate to important Jewish rites of passage, in the country that was built on the Hebrew renaissance: only English songs, most of them rap. Sitting with my wife and kids, I restrained myself for most of the evening, until I heard, loud and clear from the restaurant speakers, the following line: “Raped a pregnant bitch, told my homies I had a threesome!” (Did I mention that this was a Bat-Mitzvah party?).
That was it, no more Mr. Nice Guy. Not only did I go over and have a talk with the DJ (who looked at me as if I had just fallen off the moon and went right back to pumping the room full of Kanye West, Geto Boyz et al), but I used this experience as a jumping off point for a gratis lecture series that I have since pursued doggedly across the length and breadth of the country. Over the past several months I have spoken passionately in front of thousands of young Israelis hailing from a variety of backgrounds about how our connection to our people and our land – to say nothing of our fundamental sense of human dignity – is heavily dependent upon cultivating linguistic independence and cultural originality, as opposed to joining the vast international herd of polities and peoples that are busy erasing their collective uniqueness in the face of the tsunami-like onslaught of American universalism. I even spoke in Arabic to a few Muslim audiences on the topic, urging them to celebrate their own idiom and traditions instead of bending the knee to the false god of blind Westernization.
This whole business is a topic for another essay, but the point in our connection is this: one would have thought that the Israeli left would be all over my struggle. Not only was it the secular left – Schlonsky, Chernikhovsky, Berdichevsky, Syrkin, Gordon, Tabenkin, Brenner, Borokhov, Buber, Katznelson, Ben-Gurion – that did more than anyone else to re-attach the Jews in the modern era to their ancient tongue and their long lost national identity, but hey: what good leftist worth the title would ever pass up an opportunity to attack America, the West and cultural imperialism, especially when the target in question revels in raping pregnant bitches? But when elements of the Israeli left got wind of my vigorous campaign against the erasure of Israeli-Hebrew (and Arab-Muslim) culture by cheap American misogynist garbage, I was immediately castigated, and with all due vigor, as “parochial,” “provincial,” “exclusivist,” “nativist” and, of course, “a Nazi.” Even anti-Americanism and Feminism – to say nothing of the worldviews of its own legendary gurus – can be cast into the gutter by the Israeli left in its epic, take-no-prisoners, all-out war on the Jews.
These people are nuts. They are like some doomsday machine or Terminator Robot that will not let up, will not cease hunting us until we – or they – are dead. (Again: there are lots of robots on the right, as well, and many of them pursue policies that may be, and in my eyes often are, harmful to the future of Israel and the Jewish People. The difference is, in case the esteemed reader has forgotten, that at least harming the future of Israel and the Jewish People is not their goal). There is no talking to these people: they are more unmovably orthodox than the most zealous Satmar Chassid, they are Eric Hoffer’s True Believer on steroids, they are more close-minded than an ISIS jihadist. And they are out for our collective blood.
A History of Chest-Beating
To be certain, self-examination, self-criticism and – of course – gobs and gobs of guilt have been trademarks of the Jews from the very beginning. Show me another nation anywhere whose literary-historical magnum opus consists almost entirely of texts fiercely denouncing the character and behavior of that self-same nation, portraying it, essentially, as (to borrow the delectable Yiddish phrase) a kleine folk, ober a paskudnike folk – “a small people, but a disgusting people.” We have ragged on ourselves since we can remember, and that may certainly be taken as a source of pride (if you thought, however, that the New Testament and Qur’an would look back in admiration at such unforgiving Jewish introspection, think again. The Bible’s successor volumes on the Semitic monotheistic bookshelf basically take the tack: “You Jews say you are scum? We wholeheartedly second the motion!”).
The prophets, our tireless gadflies, gave us zero slack, excoriating the Children of Israel for everything from oppressing the widow and the orphan to giving rituals preference over morality. Even when the Good Book does nothing more than describe a geographical location – “In the Wilderness, by the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Di Zahab” (Deut. 1: 1) – our rabbis of blessed memory make sure to clarify that “these place names are oblique references to our sins.” No one can accuse us of having lived the unexamined life. God Himself, fed up with our persistent vileness, got this close to vaporizing us on three separate occasions in the Pentateuch alone.
Nevertheless, comparing the criticism leveled at us by the prophets of yore to that leveled at us by today’s Jewish left is beyond daft, among other reasons because while the latter lambast us for being too hard on our enemies, the former lambasted us for being too easy on our enemies. And as for the Lord regularly attempting to annihilate Israel, well: though He unquestionably loved us, He didn’t love us as much as we loved ourselves, and – judging by all that has happened to the Jews during the previous century – He still doesn’t. But as for us? We are smitten. With all our faults, disgustingness and ceaseless infighting, we still – the majority of us, at least – love being us to pieces, and really want there to continue being an “us” for a very, very long time. So what do we do with those among us who quite demonstrably do not love us, in fact really hate our guts, and decidedly do not want us to be around for a very, very long time – or even until next week?
A Nice (non-) Jewish Girl
Here is where the problem becomes the solution. Here is where (to quote the villainous King Edward Longshanks from the movie “Braveheart”) “If we can’t get them out, we’ll breed them out.” You see, even among those on the Israeli left who remain staunchly within the Zionist camp – sending their sons to IDF combat divisions and their daughters to army intelligence units and singing HaTikvah with genuine pride – the concept of affiliation with, and preferential affinity for, the Jewish People is becoming increasingly hard to digest. My kids are blabbermouths, and so it doesn’t take long until other parents in my strongly secular and left-leaning – but also strongly Zionist – neighborhood of Hod HaSharon get wind of the fact that “Tamar’s daddy told her she has to marry a Jew.” Their reactions, relayed to me by my offspring (who are in many cases present for the discussion, which may be why the tone remains relatively polite) range from the de rigueur “Well, Liori, that’s what Tamar’s daddy says – everyone is entitled to his own opinion!” to the more decisive “In our house, Noa, we don’t discriminate against people because of their religious, ethnic or national background, and we certainly don’t tell our children whom they can and cannot marry!”
In early June an Israeli-Jewish woman named Sapir Nahum from Acre disappeared without a trace, and after an intensive search up and down the country, her battered body was found decomposing at the bottom of a well. Suspicion fell on her romantic partner and father of her children, an Arab-Muslim man. Some days later Sapir’s aunt was interviewed on IDF radio, and at a certain point she noted that she “had never approved of the relationship.” One of the interviewers asked her: “Was there something about the nature of the interaction between the two that caused you to disapprove of the relationship?”
“No,” answered the aunt. “I never spent any time with them.”
“Then was there something that you heard about him?” asked the second interviewer. “Did he have a reputation as being violent or possessive toward women?”
“I don’t know the first thing about the guy,” replied the aunt. An embarrassed silence ensued of no less than seven seconds – an eternity on the radio – and finally the first interviewer asked, hesitantly: “Then…what was it about the relationship that incurred your disapproval?”
“I…I…” stuttered the aunt. “I just disapproved of the relationship!!”
The subject was quickly changed. Both sides of the interview and everyone listening to the radio knew exactly what aspect of the relationship Sapir’s aunt disapproved of. But neither she nor the interviewers dared let it escape their lips. And not for nothing. About a year ago a famous Israeli-Jewish actor married a famous Israeli-Arab actress. One Member of Knesset out of a hundred and twenty – a somewhat boorish, non-yarmulka-wearing fellow from the Likud party – expressed his reservations. Challenged by a reporter to congratulate the newlyweds, he responded sheepishly: “Well, I wish them happiness, but I believe that Jews should marry Jews.” Since then, he has been relentlessly pilloried in the press, and his name can no longer be mentioned in polite society without someone tacking on the epithet: “The Racist.”
Now, neither my daughter’s friends’ parents, nor the interviewers and interviewee on IDF radio, nor even those who disparage that Likud MK as a racist would necessarily define themselves as “left.” Still, they and their ilk can no longer comfortably advocate “marrying within the fold.” For similar reasons, a whole slew of Israelis on the center-left are also quite incapable any longer of uttering the word le’umiyut (roughly: liberal nationalism), as it is immediately conflated in their minds with le’umanut (roughly: chauvinist nationalism). One of my daughters glued a bumper sticker to a corrugated fence adjoining the neighborhood skate-park that said: “I am a Hebrew.” Upon returning to the spot a week later, she saw that a young Jewish skateboarder had drawn an arrow to the sticker and graffitied the words: “Nazism, Volume Two.”
Zionism, it seems, is not just racism, but out-and-out Nazism in Hod HaSharon’s skate-park (where the only music played is that of Kanye West, Geto Boyz and the like). In other words, even among those slightly left-leaning secular Israelis who still identify as Zionists, the pull of their camp’s underlying algorithms and predilections is rapidly compromising all that they risk their lives to defend, viz., Jewish peoplehood. If asked, they will inevitably tell you that they fight “for the State” (in Israel, in other words, etatism is becoming a monopoly of the left).
Now, since all of the above holds true a fortiori for the actual, truly nasty left, we can certainly hold out the hope that they will leave the country, meet attractive non-Jews, marry them, have kids who will grow up to do the same, and so on until, by the third generation, the connection will be good and gone. Then, finally, we will be rid of them, of their malicious, calumnious, intolerable, murderous vitriol, and of the arrows they shoot at us day in and day out from the inside, that wound us more deeply than any of our enemies’ weapons ever could.
Anyway, that’s the theory. The only hole in it, as far as I can see, is this: leftists, may God forgive them, are people. And people have a habit of gravitating, in their romantic relationships, toward those with whom they have interests in common. Now, since nothing interests a Jewish ultra-leftist more than striving with all his or her might to undermine Jewish nationalism and its current political reification, the State of Israel; and since s/he will probably find such intense, rabid, psychotic levels of anti-Zionism almost exclusively among other Jews; therefore, it is entirely possible that these types will marry specifically within the fold, even more than their centrist co-religionists! In which case…well…we are screwed.
But wait: I have a back-up plan! It involves making love with, not war on, the left. The sane, Zionist left, that is, the ones who don’t spout “woke” jargon and are still in possession of brains, hearts and that pintele yid, that Jewish spark that motivated the founders of their branch of Zionism to carry out such unprecedented, historic feats. It’s a divide and conquer strategy, designed to drive a wedge between these more tolerable, indeed, essential types, and their truly incorrigible Jacobin, Benedict Arnold-like comrades.
What we do is, we love-bomb the former, embracing them in a big Jewish bear hug, pinching their cheeks and planting a big, wet smooch on their shayna punems, because as long as at least part of their premises and motivations genuinely correspond to ours – scil., the desire to protect, preserve and promote the Jewish People into the far distant future – then they are family to be cherished and comrades in arms, whatever differences we may have with them over the most effective means toward this end.
What’s more, who’s “we,” white man? I reiterate with all due vigor that I do not believe in adhering like superglue to a particular camp or overarching ideology (right, left, conservative, liberal). Committed Jews should, rather, cultivate Buber’s “I-Thou” relationship with all persuasions of Jewish nationalists, that is, a relationship in which we are open to learning as much as teaching (this could even conceivably include those, like the Satmar Hassidim, who care about the Jewish nation but think a Jewish State is the wrong way to go about it – as long as they do not directly aid and abet our enemies). I am, after all, not one hundred percent sure that the Zionist left’s positions – e.g., the Two State solution – are all untenable, any more than I am one hundred percent sure that all the Zionist right’s positions – e.g., “Greater Israel” – are some kind of panacea. Truth is, I’m willing to entertain pretty much any proposal, hawkish or dovish, so long as it is tendered by those to whom the future of the Jewish People genuinely matters.
What is the litmus test? How do we separate the wheat of the genuinely Zionist left from the chaff of the malignant forces that genuinely seek to do us in? I confess that it isn’t always easy, inter alia because of the constant erosion of which we spoke above: latent in the Zionist left is the anti-Zionist far left, and advocates of the first have been sliding into the second almost imperceptibly for quite some time now.
Still, one factor that can facilitate discernment is this: the extreme left is nothing if not ideological. Its adherents are the type of people who will chew you out or even get you fired for using the wrong word. Given this, they aren’t about to display unwonted flexibility, all of a sudden, if we ask them to make the following statement in public: “It is important to me that the Jewish People – so long as its members cultivate just and moral behavior – continues to exist and thrive far into the future.” There’s your shibboleth.
So next time you encounter a Jewish leftist, ask him or her that question. If they respond in the negative, tell them that you know a nice gentile girl or guy who is looking for a serious relationship. If the answer is in the affirmative, you have found a true friend and conversation partner. Engage in the conversation. Learn from each other. Ultimately, you both want the same thing, and as the smallest people on earth, we cannot afford to discard anyone as dross. Who knows? Maybe a shidduch will come out of it…
Professor Ze’ev Maghen is Chair of the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the Bar-Ilan University. His latest book is Reading the Iranian Revolution: The Worldview of the Islamic Republic’s Religio-Political Elite (De Gruyter). He is the author, as well, of John Lennon and the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage (Toby Books). He lives in Hod HaSharon, Israel, with his four children and his wife, Anita, who just received her doctorate – Mazal Tov! – from none other than Tel-Aviv University.