Thursday, December 01, 2011

Jeffrey Goldberg's complaint: There is no value to the Jewish state

What to make of Jeffrey Goldberg's hysterical screed at Netanyahu, again. In his post he screams:

"Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews"

I don't know. I watched the ads he posted and others, and in none of them have I seen the slightest indication that Netanyahu's Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews. What I have seen is an appeal to Israelis living abroad to return home, so that their children can grow up Israelis, rooted in their Israel's national culture and way of life.

One would have thought Goldberg would agree that Israel expects nothing more nor less than to be treated as a normal country, that is, for the world to give unto the Jews in their homeland what is freely and unstintingly given unto all Christians in mainly Christian lands and unto all Muslims in Muslim lands.

So, when Jeffrey Goldberg, whose undiscriminating anger at Netanyahu's government makes him stupid (because, as I always say, anger makes you stupid) says:

"How about, "Hey, come back to Israel, because our unemployment rate is half that of the U.S.'s"? Or, "It's always sunny in Israel"? Or, "Hey, Shmulik, your mother misses you"?

I have to wonder: where in that roster can we find Israel's exceptionalism for its expatriate sons and daughters? Is he saying that the only "legitimate" appeal to Israelis who live abroad is to be found in sun, lower unemployment rates and overreaching Jewish mothers? What makes Israel unique to Israelis in this poorly imagined list? Are we Israelis not to be allowed to be ourselves, to celebrate what is uniquely ours, to grieve together for our fallen? If not, then what do we need a Jewish state for? For sun we can go to Florida or Spain, for lesser unemployment rates we could try China or Brazil, for overreaching Jewish mothers we can go to New York. Why should there be Israel, or Israeli Jewish society?

Is it too much of a leap for me to suggest that Goldberg's rationale, in not sentiment, in this case echoes that of Ahmadinejad? What I hear is a modified version of what Ahmadinejad is saying about Israel: There is no value to the Jewish state qua a Jewish state.

Jeff Goldberg, in the spirit of terrified meanness, writes this scathing post. As if the cheesy, anodyne ad campaign were in any way a comment on or criticism of American Jews, on America or on Christmas. Give me a bloody break.


Yet in the hysteria of the response, the insecurity of American Jewish life is laid bare. This, rather than the campaign itself, is the real story."


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