Chaos and Chagrin
Jewish Celebrities, Jewish Pundits, and the Unbearable Ignorance of the American Discourse on Israel
This is gonna be a spicy one, folks. Strap in.
Seth Rogen really stepped in it. I mean, he really, really stepped in it. And just so you know, I don't want to be writing this. What I want to write is an analysis discussing The Avengers: Endgame as a spiritual successor to the Golem of Prague. And I will. Dibs. But for right now, I have to talk about a small mountain of middle-aged right-wing pissbaby pundits, exemplified by the dumbest of them, Jonathan Tobin; and young, overly-idealistic American leftists, many of whom aren't even Jewish, who wouldn't know or care anything about the Palestinian people were it not for the occupation, weighing in on a topic that is complexity itself, and reducing it to "Well, you shouldn't have done that thing back after the Shoah."
And in the middle is me. Leftist as all hell (although as yet uncommitted to a specific ideology beyond generalized Marxism), Zionist (in the original Ben Gurion Golda Meir sense, not the "I simp for Netanyahu" Zionism the American left has made up itself, then gotten very angry about), and perpetually pissed off at the Israeli government for being massive racist shitheads for no other reason than it's good for them politically.
Right, so. Enter Seth Rogen, who made the innocuous and reasonable comment on a friend's podcast that in Jewish school (which he attended as a child), they don't teach much about the Palestinian people. That Israel was basically uninhabited desert and the Jews turned it into a country. Which is obviously ludicrous. Of course there were people in Palestine. I mean, not a lot, but there were people there and you'd be an idiot to deny it.
Which is why Jonathan Tobin, Nationalist Review contributor and beestung lovebaby of Vladimir Putin and Alex Jones, didn't so much try to deny it, as to make a parallel argument in an opinion piece in Haaretz. It was the bloviating rhetorical equivalent of someone responding to a person saying "I hate spiders" with "BUT SNORKELS EXIST! CHECKMATE LIBCUCK!" In other words, it's the most thoughtful and logically consistent thing anyone associated with the National Review has ever written.
In this swollen wankpiece, Tobin makes several key remarks that are just extraordinary. And being an experienced bloviatrix myself, I want to walk you through some of them, and explain to what I have to assume will be a primarily goyische and leftist audience why he's full of shit, because, sorry goyim, but y'all have a habit of finding a Jew saying something that supports your bias and holding it against the lot of us. We have a lot of Kahanes and Netanyahus (Both of whom, I'll point out, were Americans), but we also have plenty of Ben-Gurions and Meirs (neither of whom were American).
I want to start with this... remarkable bit of self-own
Okay, so let's map this out in standard form, shall we?
- American Jews are welcome in America
- American Jews are granted free access to every sector of society
- Non-Jews are willing to marry American Jews
Many American Jews have always had difficulty coming to terms with an avowedly ethno-religious state whose raison d'etre is so different.
Corrollary: This is not surprising.
Ahem. What? No, what?? THAT'S NOT HOW LOGIC WORKS, JONATHAN! Okay, first off,
1. Jewish Life in America
American Jews have always had a hard time in America. What the fuck are you talking about Jonathan? YOU'RE AMERICAN, JONATHAN! The history of Jews in America is one of reluctant integration on the best of days, and more recently, those not motivated by the new Republican strategy of "tell the conspiracists they're right about everything, then they'll vote for us" may have noticed this strategy has led to the rise to prominence of actual no-shit Nazis (who are ipso facto not Jewish), fascists (who can definitely be Jewish, aka Stephen "Nosferatu's petit bourgeois cousin" Miller), and white nationalists (the president, and I suspect, Jonathan himself); and will have noticed a coincidental uptick in antisemitic violence. There was a time where people were just mostly quiet about their antisemitism, as long as American Jews were quiet about their Judaism. As long as we made our Judaism, our culture, our religion, sufficiently culturally-Christian. Which is how we get presents on Chanukah (when a more apt celebration would be to protest antisemitism), Christian seders, and having to explain to people what the high holy days are, and why Jews who observe them need about a month off.
Ever tried explaining Sukkot to your goy boss? No. Shut up, Jonathan.
"American Jews are welcome in America..."
2. American Jews were granted free access to every sector of American society
Yeah, not if they want to retain their Jewishness, they haven't. If we were willing to be quiet about it, work Friday night, and make up for it on Saturday night, or just abandon cultural Jewish practice altogether? Sure. But for the out-and-proud Jew? There's been nothing but rabbinical school, kosher delis, jewelry stores, clothiers, and money lending, in our own balkanized neighborhoods, in the inner city. "But what about Mel Brooks??" I hear you ask.
Oh, you mean Melvin Kaminsky, one of the funniest men on the planet, a skill which he developed after suffering bullying as a child? That guy? Yeah...
What about Stan Lee?
Oh, you mean Stan Lieber? Who created superhuman heroes to protect underclasses from ultimate evil (I swear, I'm gonna write that golem piece)? Are you seeing it yet, Yonatan? Jews have always had to lose their Judaism to fit into American society.
3. Non-Jews are willing to marry American Jews
Yeah, as long as it's a Christian service and you never mention your Judaism around your in-laws' friends, lest they be disinvited from their weekly 18 holes at the country club. Again, American society has always demanded conformity to Christian normativity as a precondition for acceptance of Jewish people.
The postulate does not follow from the arguments. What you're missing, Yonatan, is connective tissue. What you're implying is that American Jews were happy to forego their culture and/or religious practice and become, in blunt terms, goyim. Fuck you for that.
Your unsound postulate is only not surprising if you're not surprised the Jews you made up in your head gladly laid down their Judaism. Again, fuck you so much.
Now, we could stop right there, and I could tell you that the article is full of these, but I also want to take a look at the second sentence there, because Yonatan really is telling on himself epically.
"With non-Orthodox Judaism having embraced Social Justice as its primary focus, support for Jewish nationalism is at odds with the mindset of American Jewry's leading activist and faith organizations."
Damn you, non-Orthodox Jews, for not being sufficiently selfish! Why can't you be more cloistered and racist, like the Haredim? Also, Yonatan, I'm a district advocacy coordinator for J Street. We believe in Israel's right to exist. And the Palestinians'. And in peace. In our time. But ol' Yonatan (I promise you, that's how that name is spelled) keeps going, and it sounds like he's making the argument that the only real Jews are Orthodox Jews and that the rest of us are so irredeemably diasporite that we can't possibly grasp the concept of Zionism.
Yonatan. My guy. First part of your sentence, meet the other part of your sentence! First off, non-endogamy is kind of a necessity in a lot of places, Yonatan. There are exactly two people in my community who are of marriagable age, and they're both already married. Not all of us live in New York, you fucking putz!
Also, this seems to put a lot of emphasis on childbirth as the primary method of being Jewish. After all, if you can marry a goy/ah (goyah is the feminine form of goy), then you clearly don't care about a Jewish state? The only way that follows is if you consider birth to be the only legitimate way to be Jewish. Which, as a giyoret (f. convert), I object to. I mean, there's an entire book in the Tanakh about a giyoret. She's such a model for becoming a Jew that I'm one of the few converts I know who doesn't have Rut (that's not a typo, that's how that name is spelled) as a name.
And no, Yonatan, that would not be the case for most left Jews, regardless of their stance on Palestinians. The main reason left Jews are mad at Israel and object to Israel is because of the occupation. You fucking doofus.
Hi, I'm a Masorti Jew! And I'm gay, and trans, and I'm not dating a Jew! And, controversially, I accept that the existence of a fortress for Jews to retreat to when the bicentennial pogroms start (and it's kinda looking like it's just about go time here in the states) is a good thing! I think the influence of the Orthodox and Haredi communities in Israel has poisoned politics there, but if I've learned one thing from playing real time strategy games, it's that if you're spread all over the map, only an idiot would make the choice to forego a well-defended stronghold as a fallback point.
Also, J Street exists. AIPAC is not the only Jewish political game in town. And progressivism is woven into the very fabric of J Street's being.
Also Rogen is Canadian; American Jews are not alienated from the Zionist project, we're just not willing to accept Bibi's bullshit; not all non-Orthodox American Jews are secular liberals, secularism isn't ipso facto inconsistent with the Zionist project, it doesn't pain Israelis enough to kvetch sometimes aggressively to any olim (people who have made aliyah, i.e. moved to Israel) they meet that we're just going to go back where we came from, without the self-awareness to realize they're the reason for that, racism isn't a fashionable cause you piece of shit, the plight of Jews is still on the forefront of every Jew's mind, and if you'd ever met or seriously discussed the matter with an actual leftist, you'd find that the problem isn't leftist Jews, it's leftist goyim speaking for us.
So. Shut the fuck up, Jonathan Tobin. But also, with all the love in my little Marxist heart, shut the fuck up, goyim. Let left Jews speak for themselves without fear of ostracism, and you may be surprised to hear what they say. Yes, our people have a right to our homeland. Yes, so do the people who lived there, and died there, and made more people there while we were in exile. Everyone deserves peace and freedom and safety.
Now if we're all done kvetching about it, let's get to work on it already.