The Unabashed Zionist—
Because an unabashed Zionist is better than a bashed one. Obviously.
[Please feel free to let me know about anyone else who might like to be on this list. I started with just under 200 subscribers, and am now approaching 300—so let’s grow this thing.]
It has been a very busy week in the Land of the Unabashed.
First, some lovely news. Just three issues in, the UAZ has already garnered a little media attention! Read Michael Lumish’s mention of the UAZ here.
With that little blurb now going rapidly to my head, let’s get going with a little
Talk later. Let’s do something!
I came upon a very interesting case this week that has my neurons popping. After confirming that I wasn’t having a stroke I thought I should do something about it. The basic facts:
A Jewish day school in Durham, NC turned out to be employing at least three individuals who were open, vehement, anti-Israel activists: a teacher, a board member, and their director of development. A family in the school learned of this and withdrew their children. The school responded by suing them for breach of contract. The family responded by initiating a suit for fraud, claiming that the school advertised itself as a Jewish school promoting Jewish identity and continuity, which the family claimed was inconsistent with having open, vehement, activist Israel-haters in their employ.
There are a lot more details, legal and otherwise, but we can ignore them here. The bigger issue is whether “Jewish” schools can or should include seriously anti-Israel people and ideology in their midst. It reminds me of the growing Open Hillel movement, that the UAZ bashed in an earlier newsletter: the anti-Israel people are trying to infiltrate institutions that are otherwise natural homes for Israel supporters. This time it’s elementary schools.
So here’s your chance to weigh in. A petition has been posted in support of the family, but it’s not really about the family. In fact perhaps they have no legal legs to stand on, and they're going to lose. But it's not about them: it’s about the bigger picture. So please READ, SIGN, and SHARE the petition widely, if you agree with the following statements:
(1) The Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement is antisemitic in its effects and underlying motivations.
(2) Jewish schools should not employ individuals who openly support the BDS movement or who actively campaign against the welfare and existence of the State of Israel.
(3) Devotion to (and longing for) the Land of Israel has been a central feature of the Jewish religion for millennia; and for a great many contemporary Jews, their Jewish identity is intimately related to the welfare of the State of Israel.
(4) Parents may reasonably expect that a school for Jewish children would not employ individuals who openly support BDS or actively campaign against the State of Israel, and have a right to demand that their children be protected in a Jewish school from exposure to those with antisemitic views and behaviors.
(PS. You’ll notice the petitioner used the same image that I use for my blog. So I am apparently not alone in copyright-infringing internet images!)
Legal query: if anyone knows the source of that image please email me immediately. I swear I tried to find it.
(2) Amnesia International
After all that activism, time to recover our breath and return to some intellectual brooding. One of the important themes of the UAZ will be to highlight how allegedly neutral Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are incredibly biased against Israel. In past issues we’ve seen how Israel’s Wrongs Watch (aka Human Rights Watch) releases outrageously anti-Israel reports that then become the basis for other organizations to bash Israel in the name of human rights. Today we’ll have a glance at Amnesia International—which somehow can never remember the many terrible human rights infractions by most parties in the world, including Israel’s enemies, at the same time as, uncannily, almost Rainman-like, it never forgets the most minute infractions committed by Israel in the name of self-defense from its enemy-human-rights-violators.
Since it’s about time we expand this little empire into multimedia, this story shall bring you to a television clip, from the recently launched Elder Of Ziyon TV (EOZTV) station.
The story is simple:
Amnesia International apparently has no budget to document (much less critique) rabid Jew-hating antisemitism in the world, but can spend thousands of dollars supporting a terror clown. Okay, “terror clown” is perhaps a little redundant—I find all clowns terrifying, even (or especially) the ones with big painted smiles. But then again, this clown isn’t merely terrifying but actively supports terror.
And Amnesia International supports him.
|Eek! Eek! Eek!|
(On the plus side, at least this little monster doesn’t have a big painted smile.)
(3) Where providing water is a crime
Okay, all rested from lounging in front of the EOZ TV, our tummies full from munching cheese doodles and popcorn, let’s turn our brains on again, in an effort to comprehend the almost incomprehensible and digest the almost indigestible (and I don't mean just the cheese doodles).
It’s important to try to understand just what the other side wants. I know this is true because my wife regularly commands me to pay attention to someone other than myself once in a while. What the other side in the Middle East regularly says they want, what they demand to the Western media, is a state. Often they make it clear that they want the entire region for themselves, as articulated repeatedly by groups such as Students for Just Us in Palestine. But at the bare minimum, they often say they want a state in the West Bank and Gaza.
But then their behavior often belies those statements.
Famously, the Palestinian Arabs have turned down offers of a state in nearly the entire West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza at least three times, in 2008, 2000, and 1947. (See CAMERA’s summary of statehood offers here.) More importantly—and more recently—but equally incomprehensibly—they continue to take various steps to prevent the development of even the most basic infrastructure necessary for having a functional state.
This time the enemy—Israel—which has already been dastardly supplying electricity and concrete to the West Bank—has gone so far as attempt to supply water to the parched region.
But because efficiently supplying water to Palestinian cities would require “normalization” with Israel—where “normalization” is a curse word on a par with #$%&@! or even (those under 18 please look away) *!#@%$!!—the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent it. As Evelyn Gordon summarizes, it’s apparently “better for Palestinians to do without new houses, electricity and running water than to commit the crime of talking with an Israeli.”
(On the plus side, at least the Israeli criminals in this story aren’t wearing clown suits.)
|Wherever there are Israeli hydrocriminals, there is--DEADLY WATER|
(4) Still trying to understand the other side
The well-known international news organization, AP—Assisting Palestinians—has been using a new boilerplate in reporting on the daily attacks of Arabs on Jews. (Don’t feel inferior. I had to look up “boilerplate” too.) This article, from Elder again, pretty conclusively shows what the other side is really thinking, thus saving us all those headaches (and occasional stomachaches) in trying to work it out ourselves.
It’s not pretty.
Though Assisting Palestinians would have you believe otherwise, the ongoing violence might not really be driven by ongoing oppression, despair, frustration with the occupation, and so on (with all due respect—that is, none—to Ban Ki-moon).
It’s driven by incitement, Bunky. (I mean Ban Ki.)
|Eek! Eek! Eek! Here's what happens to young clowns when they are exposed to endless incitement|
(Great, I had just managed to get that image out of my mind.)
(5) I knew there was a reason Jews are not very handy!
Could it be that we’re not supposed to “repair the world”? (That would be good, because I’ve yet to attempt to repair something around the house without damaging it and whatever is near it irreparably. God forbid I attempted to repair the world.)
You almost surely have heard the concept tikkun olam, to “repair the world.” You have probably heard it in the context of Jews talking about how important it is for them, as Jews, to pursue social justice, to help the poor and oppressed, to preserve the environment, and so on. What you have probably heard, too, is that it is not merely a Jewish commandment, but an important Jewish commandment, perhaps (to some) even the most important Jewish commandment.
It surely is an important concept, but not for the reasons above, in my own unabashed opinion.
It’s important because it plays a central role in turning contemporary Jews away from—well, contemporary Jews. Put less opaquely, it is in the pursuit of tikkun olam that many contemporary Jews disengage from their involvement in and devotion to the Jewish people and instead turn toward pursuing justice for others on a global scale. It is in believing that this is the essential teaching of Judaism that many Jews essentially turn away from Judaism.
Holy unabashedness, that was a good line.
It is in believing that tikkun olam is the essential teaching of Judaism that many Jews essentially turn away from Judaism.
There’s nothing wrong with caring about the world, pursuing justice for others, repairing the world, of course. But arguably there is something very wrong with abandoning the pursuit of justice for your own people in order to pursue it only for others—particularly when those others are the enemies of your people, and you become, therefore, one who works against your own people.
And does so “as a Jew,” in the name of Judaism.
Them is fightin’ words, I know, but once in a while the UAZ must take a fighting pose.
Anyhoo, when you’re done being distracted, here’s the best part. It turns out that tikkun olam is not even a genuine Jewish commandment, at least according to Prof. Steven Plaut of Haifa University.
As he puts it, in Judaism it is the job of Jews to repair the Jews, a—warning, gross understatement coming—“not inconsiderable task.”
If he is right, then when people act in very anti-Jewish ways, “as a Jew,” then they may not be acting so Jewishly after all. Which kind of makes sense, if you are not still too distracted by the previous image.
Don’t let Plaut’s article fool you. It is long, and a bit difficult, and it does date from 2013. But trust me—and I say this only when (a) I am very confident of what I’m about to say or (b) I’m about to borrow money—this is important stuff, and important right now. In fact his ideas are really running between the lines in my own article about Jew-washing a few weeks ago, which I will revise at some point and make use of Plaut’s article.
OK, the brain is starting to hurt. Let’s ease up a little, as we call attention to an upcoming
(6) Major conference with BIGWIGS!
In April, in L.A., some BIGWIGS will be speaking at a BIGWIG conference about combatting the boycott movement against Israel, also known as the BDS movement: Bully, Deceive, and Smear.
We’re talking serious BIGWIGGERY. Like Craig Dershowitz, whom I’m assuming is some sort of relation (long lost identical twin?) to Alan Dershowitz. Also Alan Dershowitz. Oh, and if you squint a little, and go down the list of invited speakers—that’s right, keep going—it’s just right down here, you just have to squint a little more—holy unabashedness—it’s the UNABASHED ZIONIST!
|All geared up for some BIGWIGGING|
(Great, I had just gotten that image out of my mind.)
That’s right, folks. You can be in the same room with me, if you sign up for the conference!
(7) As if that wasn’t good news enough, we get another serving
It has started to happen. My unabashed readers have started sending me suggestions for the newsletter. Unless you get a cease and desist letter from me, please keep it up. This is a story that just might grip your heart. Once you confirm that you are not undergoing a coronary, enjoy.
Apparently this is what a French person looks like after realizing that his BDS ways were all wrong:
This happened after his employer was contacted by a lot of angry people reacting to this post (which named and shamed him):
All right, so the preceding was in French, and I have no idea if it says what this loyal reader says it does. (For all I know it was a long depressing screed about existentialism. For a minute I thought I saw Sartre in there.)
But either way, it’s pretty cool that I can insert links in French, n’est-ce pas?
And either way: we must fight this battle one Israel-hater at a time. And relish each little victory, minor as it may be.
OK, that’s it for now.
Til next time, remember—stay unabashed.