Giving a Self-Hating Jew a Boxing Lesson
We are in my office at Gleason's Gym, getting ready for Ari's boxing lesson. Ari tells me that he hates Israeli right-wingers. He thinks the Palestinians should kill them. He seems to have forgotten that he himself is Israeli.
"You're a self-hating Jew," I say. "You should read David Mamet and Norman Podhoretz."
I find myself in the ironic position of defending the Jews. I am an atheist. I haven't been to temple in fifty years. And Ari is an Israeli Jew. Being anti-Jewish...he might as well be rebelling against his own DNA.
Ari leans forward, planting his elbows on the desk. "And I suppose I should watch Fox news?"
"You should." I cross my arms and raise my eyebrow; I'm not about to be intimidated by some lefty "leaning forward." "At least they present a dialectic by incorporating opposing sides like Alan 'Howdy Doody' Colmes and Juan 'smirky, raised eyebrows' Williams."
Ari pulls back, folds his hands. "They're no winners."
"You're right. But at least they're better than Chris Mathews, who gets tingles in his leg at the sight of Obama. And what about trifecta Keith "bully" Olbermann, who gets fired from ESPN, MSNBC, and Current TV? What about the major networks, who are so afraid of their internal racism that they never vetted or criticized our socialist tormentor, Obama?"
"Well, Fox is no good."
Not exactly articulate, our Ari. I call this the dumbing down of the liberal imagination. His mind is a steel door. Nothing gets in or out.
"The Jews are mean to the Palestinians," Ari says.
"The Palestinians living in Israel have the highest standard of living," I say. "Look at how badly they are doing in the refugee camps in Lebanon. When we swap prisoners with them, we trade them a thousand to one. And the thanks we get for it is their blowing up our schoolgirls on buses."
"The Jews blow up Palestinians, too."
"I still hate the right-wing Jews."
What is it about left-wingers that they always hate the right? They look down on them. They think that they are stupid. Yet I am much more educated than Ari, and this is a guy who has had a fair amount of schooling. I am not prejudiced against him. I just think that he is bigoted and closed-minded. He is. He's a product of the left-wing mentality, the need for sureness and categorization of opposites. He's like my Turkish student who hates rednecks but doesn't really know any.
Ari has already told me that he is a Communist. His father must be one. Bigotry and blind idealism are passed down from generation to generation.
"You shouldn't hate our own people," I say. "Everyone else hates us. You should be defending us instead of attacking us. Muslims never attack their own people. The other side doesn't need more allies. There are billions of them against a few million Jews."
"It's our fault."
"Existence is not a fault. You side with the Palestinians because you are afraid. If the Muslims band together, they will swat you like a fly. By siding with your enemy, you think that you will escape your fate."
"Jews have atomic bombs. Why shouldn't Iranians?"
"That's like saying the cops in jail have weapons, so why shouldn't the felons on Death Row? You identify with the aggressor because you are a coward. You don't want to be hated by others, so you decide to hate yourself to become one with the enemy. You don't have the courage to like yourself, so you think that you will earn brownie points in the universe by hating yourself."
"Are we ever going to box?" Ari asks.
I follow him out the door. How is it possible that someone so wrong could still be nice? I'm beginning to think that politics has nothing to do with friendship. It is an argument that goes on next door.
I hold up the mitts and tell him to throw a lead right, followed by three rising left hooks and a right uppercut.
"Tighter, faster," I say.
Ari wants to be compassionate to the enemy while being cruel to his family and compatriots. He wants to build himself up while betraying his friends. The core of liberalism is narcissism and lack of self-knowledge. It is hatred for different points of view and cuddling up to one's own school of thought.
Ari then throws a left uppercut. He almost hits himself in the nose; it's a typical mistake for a novice. All in all, though, he's not bad. But he is a bad Jew. He just doesn't know it.