This post is the fourth and final part of a multi-part series on the stubborn habit of Jews to perpetuate situations where they are the victims of their own actions. If you haven't read Part I, Part II or Part III yet, I encourage you to check them out before continuing. If you're pressed for time, while highly recommended, it isn't required to go back in order to understand what we're talking about in this post.
If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.
I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי, אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם הָאָדָם וָחַי בָּהֶם
Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and Mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live by them:
Better to die standing, than to live on your knees.
--Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
PART FOUR: ANTHEM
So now we know the issue, we know the how and we know the why.
The ISSUE is the perplexing, self-defeating behavior of Jews throughout history, the HOW is the aid given to our enemies that gives them the ability to fight and kill us and the WHY is because we have been hard-wired by 2,000 years of oppression, pain and sorrow to be docile and think that it is righteous to not resist our enemies.
The real question is WHAT do we do about it? Because there is only so far a culture of acceptance and quiet kvetching can take you and the result is a malaise that has been steadily creeping over Jews for the past several centuries.
It is that which cannot be said. Everyone knows it's there, but no one dares to speak openly about it...
We all try to blank-out, to pretend it's nothing but an uneasiness about us. We banish the feeling to the backs of our minds, to fill our heads with American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and Tiger Woods...trying ever harder to doublethink it away...but we can't, deep down we know it's there. You know it's there, that quiet, unsettling feeling of something being somehow...incorrect...that you can't quite put your finger on...something uncomfortable...almost as if there's something you're doing that you're not really proud of, even when you're not really doing anything at all.
We ignore the reality that it is this very same unspoken feeling of melancholy and emptiness that has driven young Jews to seek Buddhism or Islam or Christmas trees or Marxism or pathetic attempts to emulate hip hop culture or blind pursuit of hedge fund success at the expense of their pride and heritage. And it makes sense that this would happen...because WHO could be attached to a culture that glorifies appeasement and docility?
This is why early Zionists changed their last names, forced everyone to learn Hebrew and mocked Yiddish as a language of the oppressed. It was a clean break from the embarrassment of 2,000 years of abuse at the hands of our hosts. This is also why today it is so hard for Israelis to clarify the justification for going to war to protect themselves...to them it should be self-evident to anyone reads history!
And this is why Che Guevara and Yasir Arafat are so attractive to misguided "liberal" American youths. I used to think that it was simple ignorance that caused college students to follow these barbarians but it goes much deeper than that. While they often are ignorant of what their heroes are actually guilty of, even when the truth is brought to them they often STILL follow them...because even a flawed hero is still a hero.
Who are the modern Jewish heroes? Where are they? Ask the average American Jew and what would they say? Jon Stewart? Steven Spielberg? Adam Sandler? Ari Gold?
Famous? Sure. Successful? Filthy rich? Absolutely. But you're not exactly going to be studying them in college as revolutionary figures or instruments of social change, are you? In fact the only one among them you could perceive as "strong" or "brave" or "intimidating" is a completely fictional character! You're not going to get young Jews excited to emulate these people. When children and teenagers have no one to emulate, they're going to look outside the box for them and they're going to be ripe targets for missionaries, demagogues and worse.
They're going to leave their culture and idolize other cultures instead. And all the money their parents spent on Hebrew schools and bar mitzvah lessons will be wasted when Adam comes home with a beard and tells his family he's going to "study" to Pakistan. Or Rachel decides to go on a "humanitarian mission" to Gaza and doesn't understand why her previously tolerant parents are so upset when she tells them. This is of course assuming the parents even bothered to care about the cultural identity of their children...a trend that has been distinctly on the negative side for the past three generations at least...which not-so-oddly also coincides with the declining size of the community.
The future certainly looks grim for non-Orthodox Judaism.
As if this wasn't enough of an issue there is still the Talmudic prohibition against re=establishing a state and army in the absence of the messiah. Because we sinned and have been exiled, the rabbis who survived the disastrous Bar Kochba revolt surmised that we had best sit quietly and try to get along with our new overlords.
And so it goes...we continue to tread water...doing just enough to get from one generation to another...taking unimaginable losses all along the way...paralyzed by our own indifference and just hoping not to finally get swept under a tide that gets higher and more dangerous with every passing day.
What is the answer to this malaise? How do we break out from 2,000 years of docility? Or do we give up? Accept our own victimhood and impending doom? Sanction our own destruction?
No my friends, this is not the answer. The time has come to put this policy to bed once and for all.
First on the religious level. While Judaism's docility has been well-established over the years, there is a very strict RELIGIOUS prohibition against suicide or suicidal behavior as well as a very strict emphasis on self-preservation. There is also exists a concept in Judaism of פיקוח נפש (transliterated as pikuach nefesh) - literally "saving a soul/life" which overrules almost all other commandments...even many of the 10 Commandments themselves.
There is no QUESTION that the State of Israel has saved the lives of thousands, if not millions of people who would otherwise be doomed to persecution, oppression and in some cases starvation. And lest you think that this service provided by Israel is limited to just Jews - ask yourselves this question...why would a cash-strapped Jewish state that is embroiled in a perpetual state of war with its neighbors spend resources to assist with tsunami and earthquake search and rescue efforts? Please note the Haiti link was about a specific team of ULTRA-ORTHODOX Israeli Jews who were violating the sabbath to save the lives of people they never met and should never have even come across.
In fact, it was widely reported that for days, Israel's field hospital was the only one able to perform at any acceptable level in Haiti. So Israel saves lives, both Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and non-religious. That alone should be enough of a reason for all Orthodox Jews to embrace a state that everyday provides a literal life-saving function for people all over the world as well as a cultural, religious and spiritual life-saving function for Jews who would otherwise be lost to the tide of assimilation. It may not be the religious, messiah-driven state they crave but for now it sure serves a purpose that they should rush to embrace (and many - but not all- do).
Furthermore, our pact with the nations we were exiled to was supposed to be a two-way street. We were supposed to behave like good little refugees and they were supposed to let us be. It's time to face the facts (as early Zionists did in the 1800's) that they did NOT hold up their end of the deal. Not taking steps to protect ourselves is a violation of the commandment against suicide. Giving up our lives to adhere to a rabbinical decree from 2,000 years ago is not only insane, it is a DIRECT VIOLATION of Jewish law. This is FACT. In a post-2nd Temple world this decision made sense...in a post-Holocaust world it no longer does. The Neturei Karta, for all their black hats, white beards and Talmud-quoting signs and pamplets are WRONG. This is also FACT.
So religiously we can follow God and take inspiration from the Bible. But what to do about the secular Jews? Where do they get their inspiration from? How do we replace Guevara and Chavez and Arafat if all we have are Sandler, Spielberg and Stewart? Or worse, total embarrassments like Chomsky and Finkelstein. Where are our revolutionaries? Where are our heroes? And what can we do about the perception that we're all nerdy accountants?
Well, first we start out by pointing out that the perception is WRONG.
We're not ALL Woody Allen clones
You see we DO have our own strong heroes, revolutionaries and role models. They're just currently labeled as "Zionists" rather than Jews and are part of "Israeli history" instead of Jewish history. Theodore Herzl. David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir. Why wear a Che Guevara t-shirt when Vladmir "Ze'ev" Jabotinsky was twice the warrior he was with none of the communist dictatorship baggage? Italians have Italy, Brazilians have Brazil and Jews has ISRAEL. Even if we don't live there or have never been there, why can't we idolize these Zionists, these Jews, these non-victims?
Unabashed, unafraid, unapologetic ZIONISM is the answer to our Jewish malaise problem. JEWISH nationalism, an impossible 2,000 year old dream that has actually been REALIZED. We don't need to be victims anymore. We don't need to play their game anymore. We don't need to play by their rules anymore!
"If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!"
I will no longer be a victim.
I will no longer apologize for my success.
I will no longer be afraid to stand up for myself and defend the Jewish homeland, MY homeland, Israel.
I will no longer feel that I have to prove my loyalty to whatever country I live in by going against my homeland of Israel.
I will no longer allow the hypocrites around me to make me feel as if I need to prove my docility.
I will no longer abide by everyone else's nonsensical, politically correct definitions of right and wrong or their expectations for Jews, for Israel and for me.
I am NOT a Jewish American who is pro-Israel.
That is a passive statement similar to saying that you're pro-freedom or pro-money or pro-food or pro-happiness. Of course I am in favor of a Jewish country...that should be a given for EVERYONE regardless of who they are or what their political ideology is.
What I am, is a JEWISH AMERICAN ZIONIST.
I believe that Jews are no longer the world's victims, to be used and abused as they were throughout history. I believe that the Jewish homeland is Israel even if I don't live there and never intend to. I believe that just as the Italian national home is Italy regardless of where an Italian lives, so to is Israel the Jewish national home regardless of where a Jew finds him or herself. I believe that I must actively take steps to prevent myself, my family and my friends from being abused. I believe that I control my own destiny and no one has a right to choose my path for me, but me.
And I believe that it is not my responsibility to clean up the messes created by others. It is not my fault that other ethnic groups have also been beaten down over time. I will have solidarity with them, empathy for them and do whatever I can to help them to reach the levels of success that I have achieved.
But it is not my obligation and it will NOT achieved at my expense. I will NOT sacrifice my own future for a parasite that will end up destroying both of us. And I am finished with allowing others to guilt me into believing that there is something wrong with this way of thinking. I will no longer be the guiltiest man in the room because I know better and I will act on that knowledge.
אִם אֵן אַנִי לִי מִי לִי
וּכשְׁאַנִי לְעַצְמִי מָה אַנִי
וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו אֵימָתַי
If I am not for myself, then who will be?
When I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, then when?
--Ethics of our Fathers
This is my belief. This is my pledge.
And this applies to Israeli Jews as well as non-Israelis. Just because the Palestinians got the short end of the stick after the British and French carved up the Ottoman Empire and created a bunch of artificial states that were doomed to failure from the start, does not mean that the residents of Sderot need to live in a perpetual state of terror. Just because the Palestinians were abandoned and sold out by their disorganized Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Lebanese and Iraqi cousins does not mean that a Jewish family should not be allowed to live in Hebron. Just because their great-great-grandparents didn't think to hold onto their land deeds under the Ottomans or that their grandparents thought they'd be better off trying to push the Jews into the sea doesn't mean that I should sacrifice my capital to atone for it. Just because they couldn't live next to the Jews and instead started THREE wars that they lost doesn't mean that I need to fund their terrorist, dictatorial regime.
It's not my problem. Just because I am successful, it does not mean that I deserve to be sacrificed to those who are not so that they should live and I should not.
It is only if the Jewish community of the Diaspora adopts this same mentality, this anthem, this pledge to leave the shackles of victimhood behind that it will be able to reverse what appears to be an inevitable decline and disappearance into the irrelevance of assimilation. If not now...when?
These rules that we think we've set for ourselves but really have been set FOR us by faceless ancestors are impossible to follow. This game we've engaged ourselves in is impossible to win and if we continue to play it we are doomed to fail.
But the beauty of life is that we always, always have a choice.
Like Hank, I finally choose NOT to play their game.
And neither should you.