Replies: 3 Comments
I would advise anyone who wants to read my views, rather than to depend on summaries of those views by readers of Israpundit, which generally run along the lines of "Ami Isseroff is a traitor because he doesn't insist on keeping every millimeter of the West Bank."
I did not write what Bill Narvey claims I wrote in the first article, nor did I quite write that in the second one either. Jack's reasons certainly have everything to do with expediency and nothing to do with moral principles. Jack is afraid of "what the goyim will think" as well as looking out for his pocketbook.
Israel, as I have written elsewhere, should not be dependent on charity from American Jews or the United States government. I have made that clear elsewhere. When I wrote that Jack should keep his money, I meant it. The real issue is that Jack and his friends don't want to have anything to do with Israel, because their Judaism is embarrassing to them. That sort of "Jew" has been trying to figure out how to be Jewish and not Jewish at the same time for nearly 200 years.
Of course, there is not just Jack to contend with, but a host of luminaries, some of whom were mentioned in the first article.
Support for Israel doesn't preclude helping Jews in the Diaspora. I also made it clear what is meant by "center." For a nation, there cannot be two centers of the first sort - the anchor of national culture. America might be a national anchor for American Jews, but it should not be a center for Russian or French Jews.
Ami Isseroff, Saturday, July 21st
I second what Bill Narvey said.
It is certainly in the interest of Jews living in the US who are interested in protecting a Jewish identity there, to focus much of their energy in educating their own community.
They are also unlikely to be convinced that all the energy has to be focused in Israel as the only center of Judaism. Nor am I sure I agree with this assumption. They shouldn't turn a blind eye to the increasing problems on life in the diaspora while looking down on Israel, but we shouldn't commit the same mistake and look down on Jewish existence in the diaspora as a complete waste of time.
Under the circumstances the effort should focus on convincing them that we must engage in a joint effort of all the Jewish communities to protect and to continue Jewish life and culture, and that both Israel and tey have a part to play and are necessary for this to succeed. We must show them that the modern state of Israel plays an important role in helping them maintain their Jewish identity even if they do not choose to come here, and at the same time we must offer them an opportunity to take an active part in continuing Jewish identity other than coming to Israel and sending money to Israel (or holocaust and antisemitism).
As Israeli Jewish we should be concerned about the fate of the Jews in the diaspora and offer the help we can to protect it from erosion other than telling them they should come here. We might fail, but we still should do it. Just as they should care about us and do more than treat us as the fools he reject the wonders and comforts of American Jewish life.
There is nothing wrong with Judaism having more than one center. It has always been so. Our objective should be that heconnection between the two centers is protected is a good one.
Micha, Saturday, July 21st
In his first article, Ami Isseroff seizes upon views expressed by a Jew by the name of Jack and uses him as his foil to highlight and elevate his own views over that of Jack’s whom Isseroff denigrates as he leads up to the conclusion that Jack’s advocating against Israel’s centrality to the American Jewish community, comes down to money.
In his second article he concludes:
"If Israel wants to attract the interest of Jack the American Jew, we have to educate Jews who are interested in something other than money, and we have to be able to offer Jack and all the other American Jacks something more and better than an alternative destination for his spare cash."
I agree with Isseroff’s views on the centrality of Israel to Judaism and the world Jewish community in diaspora.
I strongly disagree with his facile reasoning that seeks to distill Jack’s thinking down to an issue of money and **** all American Jews who would deny the centrality of Israel to Judaism and K’lal Yisra’el as coming from a mind to which money is central to their thinking.
Jack’s reference to money was but one reason given in his effort to support his views that it is not in Jewish American interests to support Israel and why for American Jews to thrive, it is unnecessary to have Israel as being central to their Judaism.
There are a number of reasons standing on their own or taken in combination that cause some American Jews to deny the centrality of Israel to Judaism and diaspora Jewish community and those reasons rarely are as simplistic and crass as being a matter of money.
Setting American Jack up as his straw man, twisting what American Jack is saying and where he is coming from to make his point does Isseroff no credit.
Though I disagree with Jack’s conclusion and reasoning, if Isseroff and those who applaud him for his views on this matter and want to join him in trying to educate the American Jacks as Isseroff proposes, they are going to find they will have failed to educate the American Jacks, but succeeded in turning them off and sending them running in the other direction.
Isseroff is capable of a much better and a much more fair analysis as to root causes why some diaspora Jews do not see the importance of Israel to Judaism and diaspora Jewry.
Isseroff is also quite capable of providing cogent views on what it will take, including educational efforts to reach those who deny the importance of the centrality of Israel to Judaism and diaspora Jewish communities and through such process induce them to see things differently. I hope Ami Isseroff makes a further and better effort to do just that.
Cross Posted - Israpundit
Bill Narvey, Wednesday, July 18th
Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.