Jews marrying only Jews is racist tribalism. Israel’s security practices are “ human evil” and the IDF is “humanity’s jailers.” Occupation of Palestinians “means imprisonment of all.” So sayeth Michael Chabon, an American Jewish liberal spokesperson and repudiator of Jewish particularism. His message to the 2018 graduating class of the Hebrew Union College is bracingly clear. Chabon is an intellectual Internationalist. Israel for the Internationalists is a nation-state founded on violence, maintained by weapons wizardry, and girded by the Jews’ sense of invincibility endowed by the Creator and verified by years of winning.
Professor Gil Troy is a pro-Zionist, Israel advocate. His goal is to “nurture a tribalism that transcends.” Judaism and Jewishness must “blossom outward.” Chabon disdains nationalism, patriotism, and pride in peoplehood. Troy wants Jews to be proud of one’s worth, to “know who they are, and they carry their traditions, values, ideals, actively, thoughtfully, to new heights, refusing to fall into life’s snakepits,” that lead to assimilation, abandoning their identity, past, or people. Unity first.
A new book explains why the angry divide separating the Jewish people cannot be bridged. It is a game of constant duplicity in a scheming world in which one camp sees Internationalists as self-hating Jews and the other urges Jews to break out of their self-defense armor.
Professor Eliezer A. Trachtenberg in Thought and the Perception of Time: Aristotle, Plato the Hebrew Bible, and the Babylonian Talmud (Gefen Publishing, 2018) explains differing modes of thought keeping the sides apart. He writes in an academic style that is difficult for a layman to follow. But when the Professor gets to the point, he is clear and precise and his thesis and arguments are enlightening. Jewish Socialists built Zion on collaboration, “to make the Land of Israel into the place for the Jews in that new upcoming world order.”
Internationalists at the turn of the century were ready “to fight the last battle…to destroy the world.” It’s not violence against non-violence,” but, “on the contrary, it means that all the foundations—spiritual, cultural, and material—had to be demolished first and foremost.” Internationalists detached themselves from the Jewish People. They “became attached to abstract, void concepts.” Everyone’s pain or nobody’s pain. Meaning is stripped from any belonging. All are “abstract human beings, rights, exploitation, etc.” It is the new worldview.
Internationalists alone possess the supreme last truth, the key to paradise, taking precedence over everything else including their own lives and those of the Jewish people. Trachtenberg concludes, “That is why we have a new religion.”
My international university students teach me the new religion is called
Tikun Olam (repairing the world). Internationalists practice it with overwhelming zeal and cold fanaticism. They are guisards saying Kaddish for slain Gazans. One young Jew writes in TeenVogue.com (May 2018) that Judaism and Israel “betrayed young Jews like me by failing to stand up for human life” when Jews displaced Palestinians and took away their dignity. Tikun Olam “requires us to stand for freedom and dignity for all.”
Trachtenberg was a Soviet prisoner of Zion. His book is a tour de force providing mathematic formulas employing the scientific methodology to how and why people think differently about time, space and events. Trachtenberg draws on his deep knowledge of Aristotle, Plato, the Talmud, Old Testament, and host of Christian and Jewish writers and artists to frame his argument that there exists an irreconcilable “different perception of time.” It is the most “important source of inherent conflict between them.”
Thought and the Perception of Time is nary more than 100 pages, but a lot of time and thought are necessary to absorb and sort his messages. The extensive Index is a great help to the reader searching for ideas once read.