Wednesday, March 18, 2015
An Ex-Jewish Camel's Sad Epiphany on Israeli Fanaticism
As some of my readers may know, I was raised in an upper middle class Jewish family. My parents were reformed Jews, as secular as can be, although my father had in his bedroom closet a velvet pouch containing his prayer shawl and phylacteries, a leather strap with two leather boxes containing scripture from the Torah that one wrapped around one's forearm during prayer. I actually saw him don the shawl and phylacteries only once in my life during attendance at some high holy day service at temple. Family attendance at synagogue trickled down to never once my older brother was bar mitzvahed and before I reached my teens.
By that time I had already begun to question religion and the existence of God, although it was only a casual perception and did not occupy my preteen mind. I opted out of Hebrew school and the offer of a bar mitzvah
I did however retain a very strong identity with the Jewish people, and empathy for their two thousand years of persecution and injustice heaped upon them by the Christian world. My mother lost some distant relatives to the Nazi extermination camps. I could easily personalize the fear of the European Jews. The horror of the holocaust and pictures of the victims, children and adults, both the dead and survivors, easily brought me to tears. Given this background it's not hard to imagine that my support for a Jewish homeland has been adamant and unwavering for my entire life.
Fast forward to the fifteenth year of the 21st century ...
Today I received an invitation to "like" a facebook page entitled "JEWS NEWS". I followed the link to that page and immediately realized I cannot in good conscience endorse it. Not only because it dishonors and demeans President Obama, implying he was an enemy of the Jewish state at worst, or a Neville Chamberlain to Israel at best; and not only because the "news" it reported was tantamount to FOX News with its politics being so far right and with a pro-Israel / pro-Jewish slant so steep that it was no better than propaganda thus making impartial reporting utterly impossible; but because in the last few weeks I've come to reconsider my half century of undying and unshakable support for Israel born of my upbringing and empathy for my distant kinsmen.
I have come to realize that the Israeli Jews have more in common with fundamentalist Dominionist Christians, and Jihadist Muslims than they do with me. They share the commonality of extremism.
I can not ignore the mindless fanaticism of Netanyahu's disavowing the thirty-five year understanding of the West's and Israel's commitment to a Two Nation solution to the never ending Palestinian/Israeli conflict. I can no longer support a people who, by their vote for Netanyahu's hawkish and uncompromising mentality, endorse that reversal and who insist that continued conflict with the Palestinian authority and all out war with Iran is the only path, let the peacemakers be damned.
No longer does this reality permit me to keep on the blinders of the history of Jewish victim-hood, with clean hands and in search of peaceful co-existence. They destroyed that facade forever now that their partnership with the End Times Prophecy seeking Christian money men in the US Congress has been openly declared.
This epiphany was long in coming, but for the first time in that over half century of unyielding and uncompromising support for everything Israeli, I see them in the same light as I do any other flavor of religious and nationalistic fanaticism, and it disgusts me. Times have changed, and so too have the Jewish people of Israel. I'll have none of it anymore.