Monday, October 3, 2011

American jewry in trouble because of ignorant futUre leaders?

It has become fashionable among a cohort of American Jews to bash the Jewish state and then cloak that criticism in a mantle of authentic "Jewishness."

Witness a recent article in Time magazine by Dana Goldstein, a fellow at the leftist New American Foundation and the Nation Institute.

Goldstein describes her trepidation upon reporting to her mother that she plans to write an article about the attitudes of young Jews toward the state of Israel.

A lump of guilt and sadness rises in my throat. I've written harshly of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and assault on Gaza in 2009, and on civil rights issues in Israel.

But speaking my mind on these topics — a very Jewish thing to do — has never been easy.

Notice that her criticism of Israel, in Goldstein's mind, is a "very Jewish thing to do." She goes on to explain that she was raised in a pro-Israel household, but that in college she "met Muslim friends" and was "challenged"

to reconcile my liberal, humanist worldview with the fact that the Jewish state of which I was so proud was occupying the land of 4.4 million stateless Palestinians, many of them refugees displaced by Israel's creation.

Wow. The ignorance -- or is it malevolence? -- is stunning. Goldstein takes the most extreme position available on the Palestinian refugee question, the one never relinquished by the PLO of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat. The 4.4 million Palestinian "refugees" she describes are the ones living in camps in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere who were never resettled, much less given equal rights, in the states of their inhabitance. Why? Because if they were settled they could not "return" to their "homeland" and thereby destroy Israel's Jewish character. These are the lessons she learned from her "Muslim friends" -- the ones who apparently taught her about being Jewish.

Sadly, Jews like Goldstein represent a trend. She goes on to write that

A 2007 poll by Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College and Ari Kelman of the University of California at Davis found that although the majority of American Jews of all ages continue to identify as "pro-Israel," those under 35 are less likely to identify as "Zionist." Over 40% of American Jews under 35 believe that "Israel occupies land belonging to someone else," and over 30% report sometimes feeling "ashamed" of Israel's actions.

Furthermore, some 70 percent of rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary report feeling "disturbed" by Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are America's future Jewish leaders. These are the people who will lead our synagogues, run for office and guide Jewish organizations. These are the people who are redefining Judaism by making it serve their liberal tendencies. These are the "Seinfeld" Jews and the bagels-and-lox Jews, most of whom couldn't tell you the difference between Talmud and Tikkun magazine. If they represent American Jewry, American Jewry is truly in trouble.

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