Friday, August 31, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - August 31, 2007

It is finally Yom Shishi and tomorrow is Shabbat so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for August 31, 2007:

There are enough links below

An eternal question was debated this week by DK, Joey Kurtzman, the editorial board of the Forward, some rabbis, more by DK, and the Jewcy Staff. The question comes down to priorities: What do we, as a people, want to stand for? Are we nationalists or not?

Jews, for nearly all of modern history, have been the whipping boys of society. There are thinkers, Dada mostly, who believe that the Enlightenment was not the end of persecution, but a continuation of the same thing based in logic and efficiency. Without the Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution and other “advances,” they argued, the Holocaust never would have happened; Nazism was the logical conclusion of technocratic systems and practical efficiency. So as we continue through the different ages of thinking, there is one human constant: “everybody hates the Jews.

Now as we stand at the cross roads of any kind of thinking, we wonder to ourselves, how are we supposed to act now? We are post-post-modern neo-realist quasi-idealists. We address real politick all the time. We embrace major ideological statements of universalism. There comes a time when we need to redefine our identity and clearly it is now.

Most of this debate is centered on Abe Foxman’s inability to figure out what the ADL stands for in this post-neo-blah-blah world. Is it really a place to talk about intolerance or just supporting Jews in trouble? Now I don’t care but it would be in the organization’s best interest to figure that out very soon. Do they want to be nationalists or humanists?

One major issue that is ignored by many in this debate is the question of whether or not all Jews are connected to Israel. I like the place, very pretty. A reactionary Zionist, I am not. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look out for its wellbeing, both as a Jewish state and a friend of my home country. They seem to like freedoms (for the most part). Now if Israel is to be a Jewish State based on Jewish values than great. But in the real world we know that not be the case; Israel is a Jewish state like France is a French state and Germany is a German state. Values come into play when we talk ideals not when we talk security.

So where do we all come down? That is a question for someone much smarter than me. DK, real politick only works for the Jews when they have the Golden Medina in their corner. Joey, come-on it seems like you have taken this tirade against Abe to a personal level. As always the Forward, good stuff, but I think you miss the higher level of this conversation.

I would love to know what comes next but it seems to me that we are entering a time of inconsistency in the Jewish community. It may be healthy and it may be detrimental, but what we do know is that we have become comfortable enough to disagree publicly. Perhaps it is a virtue of our ability to talk freely on the Internet or perhaps it is just that time when the Jews will publicly say what we have always said at the Shabbat Dinner Table.

Shabbat Shalom.


DK said...

"Is it really a place to talk about intolerance or just supporting Jews in trouble?"

I don't understand the question. The ADL has always been about the Jews. All else is subterfuge.

"DK, real politick only works for the Jews when they have the Golden Medina in their corner"

Realpolitik is always an important element of policy whether you are strong or weak. But I certainly concede that their are other concerns as well. I was arguing Realpolitik when an alliance was threatened, versus a memory of people who cannot be saved, as they were already killed. Jews can and will turn around and ask me, "Well, why should we be insisting on everyone doing all this Holocaust remembrance, then?" The answer is we should not. Only internally. All U.S. Holocaust Museums should be sold and the proceeds divided between the survivors, especially the poor (directly, NOT through the Israeli government) and Jewish education, such as Day Schools.

DK said...

I was only talking about Holocaust Museums in the U.S. Not Israel, Germany, Poland, etc.