The Three Little Kosher Pigs
It is always amusing to see the look on the faces of fellow American Jews when they discover that I am a Republican. Lacking originality, they typically say, “A Republican Jewish woman? Now that’s an oxymoron!” Well no, not at all. Sadly, Israel has become a partisan issue. But it is the Republicans who are her staunchest supporters. Yet ironically, the vast majority of American Jews, whose progressive values are flaunted with elitist moral authority, have found a home in the Democrat party -- the one whose members boo any mention of God and Jerusalem and whose policy makers formulate plans and strategies that are simply dangerous for Israel.
As we finish celebrating Passover during which time we remember our peoples’ exodus from bondage in Egypt to a life of freedom in Israel and observe Yom Hashoah -- Holocaust Remembrance Day -- it is an appropriate time to reflect on the state of Jewish Zionism in America. What does it say about a people who align themselves with political organizations that at best feign support for Israel for fundraising purposes but in reality take measures that could possibly harm that country’s long-term survival? In the face of existential dangers including growing Islamic fundamentalist death threats that are ignored around the world (including in the UN, EU and US) and growing apathy of Jews in the diaspora, perhaps a brief history of the Jewish peoples’ struggles against anti-Semitism is worth a revisit.
A modern version of Jewish history can be analyzed through the lens of the Three Little Pigs. In the Jewish version of this fable, the Jewish people are the three pigs (the kosher version, of course) looking to build a home to live as Jews in peace. The anti-Semites are the big bad wolf (of which there is no shortage) intent on ripping the pigs from their homes and destroying them. The Jews in ancient times built houses of straw that were blown awayby anti-Semitic wolves during the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and centuries-old pogroms. By the time they reached the shores of Europe in the later part of the 20th century, Jews built wooden homes believing themselves safe to practice their religion among the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We all know how that ended.
In the Jewish version of the story, the third pig represents two brothers that I’ll call Cain and Abel. Abel smartly moved to the land of Israel. The Jews in Israel learned their lessons of history, recognized their responsibility as God’s Chosen People, and built homes of bricks. And every time the big bad wolf attempted to climb down the chimney and destroy them, they further fortified their cities with concrete walls and missile defense systems. After thousands of years of wandering the global desert, they understood the gift – and obligation – bestowed upon them by God. To call these Jews survivors would be an understatement.
Cain moved to the U.S. and presents quite a different story indeed. American Jews have not learned the lessons of history and ignore their responsibilities to God and the Jewish people as a whole. Instead of building houses of bricks they have chosen to build a “big tent.” They emulate their European ancestors who focused so intently on assimilating into society that they could not see the fires of the Holocaust burning around them. They worship false idols and pray at the Torah of abortion rights, environmentalism, and socialism much the way the Jewish people fell for the golden calf while waiting for Moses to descend Mt. Sinai with God’s Commandments. Like their ancestors, American Jews may find themselves forced to wander a desert of secular empty activism in the hopes of one day returning to their homeland if they do not wake up to the dangers surrounding them. A big tent is no way to survive when big bad wolves are looking to destroy you.
Sadly, in my metaphorical version of this fable, the wolf’s role is played not just by self-avowed anti-Semites. Sure, there are plenty of anti-Semites and it is certainly distressing when you find them living in the same Jewish home as the rest of us. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing and have formed pro-Israel sounding groups like J Street, B’tselem, New Israel Fund, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Peace Now among others. But make no mistake; these groups are enemies of the Jewish people and Israel.
There are also Jewish Americans who claim to be pro-Israel but who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign and use terms like “occupier” and “colonizer” to describe the Jewish homeland. Peter Beinart is an example of someone with this psychosis. And of course, there are Jewish Americans who proudly wear their emblazoned anti-Semitism like the yellow stars of the Holocaust including Noam Chomsky, Max Blumenthal, and Norman Finkelstein.
But more ominous and dangerous are the mainstream Jewish organizations -- funded and supported by a great many American Jews -- that are actually pro-Israel. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are led by Jews who are naïve and misguided at best, delusional and power-hungry at worst. These groups for some unfathomable reason believe that building a big tent will save Israel and the rest of us from the dangerous wolves that salivate and pace around us waiting to pounce at the first possible moment.
AIPAC comes to mind as it proved itself useless last year by remaining silent in the face of the Hagel nomination, allowed itself to be used by the Obama administration in a political ploy to gain support for a military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and fumbled the fight for additional sanctions on Iran as it caved to political pressure. This organization invites foes of Israel into its big tent with claims of access and influence (aka self-serving political expediency).
This week, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs announced its support to include J Street in a bid to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. In justifying their decision to support inclusion of a group that not only embraces BDSers under its big tent but that supports negotiations with the terrorist organization Hamas (whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel). JCPA’s president proudly stated, “They’re an important part of the Jewish community. They fit in the picture of a big tent, which is the kind of community we believe in strongly.” What’s next, an invitation to CAIR?
Alas, the insanity does not end there. The UJA-Federations and Jewish Community Relations Council, organizers of the annual Salute to Israel Parade, are mired in their own “open tent” controversy as they continue to double down on the horrific decision to include three anti-Israel, pro-BDS groups in that parade. One group, Partners for Progressive Israel, believes that American Jews “should refuse to purchase any goods or services, including tourism services, made in or by the settlements.” Another, New Israel Fund, has itself funded BDS campaigns that reject Israel’s legitimacy. The third organization, B’Tselem, not only produced a video shown at Israel Apartheid Week on college campuses across the world, its chair has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel. It is a major grantee of NIF.
Speaking of college campuses, there is a new movement afoot among the nation’s Hillels equivalent to the big tent (with J Street at the helm). It is called “Open Hillel” and results from the liberal worship that permeates intellectual discourse and that is strangling Jewish hearts and minds. These lost souls insist on free speech notwithstanding the fact that they wind up inviting anti-Israel hate speech into their big tent. Unfathomably, these same misguided Jews allow pro-Israel speakers to be shouted down -- all in the name of what they or the local Islamist agitators claim to be politically-correct speech. From NYU and Northeastern where Students for Justice in Palestine scare and intimidate Jewish students by serving them eviction notices in the purported safety of their dorms (these are far from the metaphorical houses of bricks that their Israeli brethren erected) to Vassar, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and Brandeis, the pro-BDS movement is outpacing any pro-Israel group that attempts to make inroads.
So where does this big tent lead for not only American Jews but Israeli Jews as well? While the story of Cain slaying Abel is not entirely analogous, it may however, foretell an unintended consequence for Israelis. Liberal worshipping American Jews may feel good seemingly taking the higher road and proving their politically correct bona fides. They may even stupidly and narcissistically believe, like Michael Bloomberg, that their self-serving decisions and dictates are their golden ticket to heaven (so did Willy Wonka characters Veruca, Mike Teavee, Violet, and Augustus, and where did that get them?).
But golden idol worship has proven to result in one thing and it does not bode well for the Jewish people as a whole. Dangerously, the decisions of the Jews in the diaspora to open their big tent to their enemies -- whether wolves in sheep’s clothing or just plain wolves -- may have a horrific result on their brethren living safely -- for now -- in Israel.One brother’s good intentions may very well result in the accidental slaying of the other brother. For when the wolf blows the tent down, all that huffing and puffing will be felt the world over and there may not be another pig’s house left to run to.