Friday, February 26, 2010

The sanction of the victim and the guiltiest man in the room, Part IV: ANTHEM

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.
--Hasan Nasrallah

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.
--John Galt

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:
--Leviticus 18:5

Better to die standing, than to live on your knees.
--Ernesto 'Che' Guevara



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 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 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!"
--Hank Reardon

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.


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.


Don said...

A good series of posts. Much to chew on. I enjoyed it very much.

RonMossad said...

Thanks for the support Don

Florence said...

A truly provocative post. It's funny because I am definitely a fan of Che Guevara...I've actually traveled to Cuba and they still try to emulate him. I would not put him in the same class as Yasir Arafat.

I am Zionist and frankly there is only one Jewish State--Israel. Like any country I don't always agree with their actions, but I stand by it.

The All Real Numbers Symbol said...

First, I must apoligize for my delay. As I was reading through this series, my family and I were getting ready to go on vacation, and I realized the night before we left that there were at least two people in the blogosphere who needed to be told that I was leaving, and you were one of those people. And then I didn't give it a thought until we were past Lansing. So, sorry about that.

I think your ending was great, and I also think part of it applies to more than just Israel. It would be really nice if America just stopped giving aid to Muslim countries. It sounds like I'm an ogre or a troll for saying it, but it's true. I don't think this country needs to be giving aid to the same people who keep trying to blow up airplanes and/or fly them into buildings.

BTW, I forgot to say this last time I commented, but I like the background change. The white text on black was pretty cool, the black text on white makes it easier to read for longer periods of time.

D@rLin|{ said...

Truly enjoyed the whole series - eloquent and powerful way of driving your point home.How many readers have read this? Have you translated this to other languages? You have a gift of persuasion, maybe you should be heard, not just read by as many as possible.Jews and Gentiles alike would benefit in my opinion.

RonMossad said...

Thanks Darlink...quite a few people have read the series, but unfortunately not as many as I would like. The trouble with blogging like this is that people want short, easily consumed entries that can be finished during a lunch break and posted on their friends' Facebook wall. Also because there's nothing in this article that is particularly referential to a current event, not as many people are going to find it while searching for pictures of the latest Tiger Woods mistress.

Over the years I've found that my shorter posts that specifically reference something that's going on get much more attention than these long essay-style posts...and this one was so long I had to break it up into four different posts. Now I'm not going to change my style just to suit everyone's short attention spans, I just recognize that my favorite entries are often not going to be picked up as much as the stream-of-consciousness ones that take me 30 minutes to write.

Finally, challenging the status quo is something people are rather reluctant to do so it's hard to get the establishment to rally behind this kind of "let's-redefine-our-entire-way-of-doing-things" kind of ideology...even if all I'm really calling for is a change in attitude.

But the good news is that in my interactions with people, I'm seeing that there is a lot of this pent-up frustration with the status-quo and its building everyday. I think that something big is in the works and even though people may not want to talk about it or consciously address's like a train that you hear coming from far gets closer and closer and louder and louder until you can't ignore it anymore.

We live in strange days my friend, strange days indeed.

In any case, thanks for the support. In the next week or so I'm going to merge all these posts into one big one that can be easily linked to, instead of four separate URL's which is obviously inconvenient and makes it even harder to share.

I hope you will share what you've read here with your friends/family and help me to push this message that it's time to start making some real changes before it's too late.

D@rLin|{ said...

This Passover I asked a few Jewish friends of mine in Israel "Is it possible that you kind of miss the true meaning of these celebrations ?
Why do you try so hard to make everything kosher, use a separate set of dishes and scrub your home with "kosher" bleach to get rid even of the traces of stuff like breadcrumbs?Aren't you supposed to celebrate your freedom, relish that you are slaves no more,that you finally have your homeland back or at least part of it ? " They told me about strong hold of tradition,"masoret" which was passed to them by their parents,this was the right way to do it.As you point out, changing the attitude is going to take some time.Slave mentality is still there, 3 generations after recreating state of Israel, 3 wars and countless attacks later, many think that appeasement is the way to go.
It is good to hear that you do not want anymore to comply with lunch break format of your posts - I am convinced that readers want and are able to consume more.In fact there is a thirst for knowledge and honest opinion, especially if it is written in non-academic way, passionate but not too emotional and truthful.
I will forward these series to my friends and other blogs most certainly.Freedom cannot be taken for granted, Israel existence cannot be taken for granted - both have to be appreciated and are worth fighting for.

RonMossad said...

Darlink - I apologize for the delayed reply.

Here's the thing with Passover...I honestly believe that there is a bit of OCD involved with the need to eliminate every last molecule of bread from the home, but this is their way and it is technically the "correct" way to do it. I personally do not subscribe to that view as I'm not quite so religious but I understand where they're coming from.

You know it's an interesting point to point that out as an example of slave mentality...I hadn't thought about that actually. There is a lot in Judaism that requires us to "do" things. Clean the house for Passover. Fast several times a year. Pray three times a day. Along with many other examples. In that way, Judaism has a lot in common with Islam - which of course means "submission" in Arabic.

The big difference between Islam and Judaism though is that Muslims only submit to Allah and no one else. Many Jews (and of course this is generalizing not EVERYONE is like this) seem to have this need to submit to anyone who is bigger.

Which of course brings us to the Arab/Israeli conflict. All we want to do is to clean our houses for Passover in peace. But no, we have to deal with rockets and mortars and suicide bombers. At a certain point you have to say enough is enough already and start to DO something...even if you want to continue practicing your submission to God - these are people who are trying to rob you of the ability to do even THAT.

D@rLin|{ said...

My boss, who is Jewish by the way,once told me that all Jewish holidays are about " They tried to kill us, we survived, lets eat".He should know, he is a Cohen after all :).What I was trying to point out is the tendency of people to forget over time the true meaning of certain events.Passover should be about freedom,not about kosher.Eating unleavened bread was just a small,incidental detail of how it happened, not why it happened.I understand the need of trditions - they are very important.The thing is that the story about monkeys,hot water and bananas always comes to my mind - the story where a group of monkeys in a closed environment were offered bananas but the minute they tried to eat them, they were sprayed with scalding water.After a while they learned not to touch the bananas.Then the members of the group were gradually replaced until there were no original members who remembered why bananas cannot be touched.And though no more hot water "punishment" existed, new members did not touch the fruit.Nobody knew the true reason - they just did it because monkeys before them did it too.

Of course the comparison is allegorical.There is a reason for Jewish people to behave as you described in these series.Or should I say - there was once a reason.This is not true anymore.

Keep the traditions but remember the original and intelligent reason behind them.Do not follow blindly anyone or anything.

D@rLin|{ said...

About Islam - I took the pains, literally, to research the subject and though I agree that Judaism and Islam have some common points,they are exterior in nature.Fundamentally the two are opposed - Judaism sanctifies life, Islam disregards it,Judaism is evolving and adapting to some extent to the modern times while Islam is rigid and regressive.

Islam is an ideology, which is at war with the Jews - ancient, unrelenting, merciless.There is no compromise because there is no common interest - they want you dead,you want to survive.

That means that in order to celebrate a Passover "in peace", you have to fight.But that was the story of the Jewish people for the last 2000 years! And despite your frustration about too much talking not enough action, Israel is actually quite good at defending itself under the circumstances

RonMossad said...

Darlink - that's funny about your boss, I've heard and used that line several times myself.

Your monkey analogy is interesting and it's probably pretty accurate but I'll give you another dimension to the whole cleaning for Passover thing. See in Israel it's very easy to be passively Jewish. You wake up in the morning, you go to the store you probably buy kosher food because 90% of the time that's what they sell. At the end of the week your day off is Saturday not Sunday so you basically keep the sabbath in some form. Most everyone you know know is Jewish so the odds are about 99% that you're marrying a Jewish girl when that time comes. You really have to go out of your way to screw up your Jewishness in Israel.

But in the USA it's not like that. It's the other way around. You have to go out of your way to STAY Jewish. So it becomes important to obsess over certain laws, rules, restrictions etc because you have to keep yourself in that state of mind lest you get too caught up in the world around you. Jews in America need to keep reminding themselves that they are Jewish in order to stay that way. So hence, the spirituality or historical beauty of a holiday or other tradition can get lost because we spend so much time worrying about HOW to do something that the WHY often becomes secondary.

Unfortunately for most people in America the alternative, that is, focusing on the reasons rather than the actions leads to being not serious about doing them which almost inevitably leads to assimilation and a loss of tradition entirely.

Now as to your point about Israel defending itself - I agree 100% which is why I'm calling for American Jews to emulate Israeli Jews in these blog posts. Imagine if American Jews (or just Americans in general) had the resolve/attitude that Israelis are forced to have. Different world my friend, different world.