Instead of displaying the dignity of a free people, Israelis and their advocates scored tremendous damage to themselves in their quest to outdo one another in response to Natalie Portman’s snub of the Genesis Prize. If you cherish your heritage earned through almost six thousand years of different travails and tribulations, stop acting like bobby socks wearing teenagers reacting to your boy band breaking up.
What gives value to your country? Is it the weapons and arms systems that your best scientists and engineers have designed? Perhaps that provides a deterrent material value but weapons become obsolete and must be replaced.
Is it the halls of academia where your gilded sages pontificate about their convoluted philosophical concepts? For that I’ll answer with a simple “no”.
Is it the primly dressed and suited squawkers that go in front of the cameras to pretend to advocate for a cause that in many cases they are too personally invested in to make a compelling case for an objective audience? Well, you can’t fault them for trying.
So stop pretending that beyond all of these different sectors the person that really adds value to your country is a film actress from an affluent background who embodies the most superficial aspects of “national pride”. I have so many friends of different nationalities — Indian, Lebanese, Ukrainian, Egyptian, Italian, Irish, the list goes on — that have a comfort in their identity that is so lacking at this moment among Israelis, Jews, and their supporters. Admittedly there’s no Italian that I know of that wouldn’t fly to Italy and accept a prize because Silvio Berlusconi would be there, but that’s irrelevant to the point.
This outpouring of deranged angst at Natalie Portman’s snub is unbecoming of a people of enlightened patriarchs, a heritage centered around the Lord’s scripture and a covenant without which this whole saga truly makes no sense.
The pro-Israel movement would like to believe that it’s calling for a safer and more serene country, but their actions and statements show that they’re not ready for it:
- It’s a movement predicated on being seen as just, whereas in our troubled world there is no true judge among mankind.
- It’s a movement that seeks to appear progressive, when at every second the definition of progress is redefined.
- It’s a movement that seeks to be accepted among others, when by the logic of their own “Zionist” movement the Jews sought their own homeland and state as a consequence of despairing of ever reaching that acceptance elsewhere.
So I am showing this to you to give you the harsh medicine that you must accept: You may be right. . . But you’re not really that smart about it. When you issue throaty condemnations of Portman, do you think you’re going to shame her back into loving this country? On the contrary, you’re only feeding the cause of the people that have the most to gain from this nonsense, the BDS supporters (see below). Did you ever stop to think how pathetic and impotent your righteous indignation looks?
In 2008 I was demobilized from my military service in Israel, and honestly I’d had enough, and while riding the bus home I couldn’t think of a reason to be happy for the past three years. It wasn’t because I had given up on the belief in having a “free nation in our land” as cliched as that verse of the anthem has become, but because I truly couldn’t see how I had contributed to that enterprise. I realized that in terms of social and cultural values, I was still American all the way through. But with time and the passage of several other painful experiences, I was ready to let go and still hold on to the connections I still had from the service.
Last year I happened on a sight that changed my attitude ever so slightly. It wasn’t a news story or an opinion piece or a prayer. I saw from a photo that my little cousin, less than 10 years old when I’d left, had enlisted to serve in the police. She still looked pretty small and like the same kid that had played in the yards and alleys with the other kids and the dogs, but now she wore the blue uniform of an officer of the law. For the first time in my life – and to be honest hopefully the last time – I was proud to know a police officer. Those of us that had woken up on early mornings to serve not just a “state” or a “nation”, but our families and friends, cannot help but have an almost animal-like sense of communion with one another that roars back to consciousness at the strangest moment.
So from that moment forward, my rhetorical defense of the country is on behalf of my family, our faith, and yes also first-hand experience that has shown me that there’s no great campfire reconciliation that will come about from the complete capitulation that the namasté chanters hope to bring to fruition.
I write and argue about this so that my cop cousin can watch her own younger relatives in eight more years step up and do their part so we can continue to be a surviving family and not be hurled into the pits like they would have done to us in Baghdad, Ukraine, and elsewhere. And it’s always been on behalf of people like her.
Not Natalie Portman. I’ve never given a fuck what she does.