The New Self-hating Jew

This is the message of the new self-hating Jew: There is no place for the likes of J Street, Jews who oppose the occupation, or Jews who believe that non-Orthodox Judaism is valid and important.

This is no time for this. This is a war. Palestinian rockets are slamming into major Israeli cities. Israeli aircraft and armor are firing on Gaza. A bombing rocks Jerusalem. All over the south, people are taking cover and praying.

This is no time for the ruling coalition and the Knesset to squander its time in driving a wedge between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. This is no time for Israel to alienate its supporters abroad, by holding Knesset hearings alleging that thousands of American Jews who openly call themselves supporters of Israel, really aren't.

Fania Kirshenbaum, Robert Ilato
Tomer Appelbaum

This is no time for Israel to pass laws which, at face value, support segregated housing and curb freedom of expression – just as Israel Apartheid Week is celebrated in a hundred cities the world over.

This is the worst of times to make friends and family into enemies. Who could possibly see the good in any of this?

Welcome to the new Zionism. Welcome to the new self-hating Jew, the corps of professed lovers of Israel who want Zionism only to themselves. And who hate the Jews who want to see Israel change. Which is, at this point, most Jews.

The message of the new self-hating Jew is this: You don't like this the way it is? We don't need you. We dont need anybody. We don't even need Obama, so what makes you think you've got any place here at all?

This is the message: We're one big happy start-up here, and we don't need Debbie Downers to spoil the party. We take our Judaism straight-up frum or none at all. Our neighbors are, regrettably, Nazi scum on two legs, so we'll take our Israel with all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, thank you very much.

No others need apply.

We want you gone. And we know how to make it happen:

Incitement: Take an Israeli patriot like Naomi Chazan, take out expensive billboards and newspaper ads showing her as a cartoon villain, Hulk green with a grotesque horn thrusting from the center of her forehead, and hang all of Israel's problems – from accusations of disproportionate military force to charges of rampant discrimination – squarely on that horn.

Boycott: Take the fastest growing pro-Israel organization in North American Jewish communities and on U.S. campuses, the dovish J Street, and have Israel's ambassador shun it even as he attacks it.

Then, despite the threat of imminent war and the specter of renewed terrorism, have a Knesset committee devote an entire session to "investigating" J Street's claims to being Zionist and pro-Israel.

De-legitimization: If a lifelong, ardent Zionist like Theodore Bikel announces that he backs an artist's boycott specifically against settlements, insist that any boycott against the settlements must be considered an attack against all of Israel. Then decide that groups that take positions similar to Bikel's must be denied membership in the wider Jewish community.

For Jews truly interested in alienating most other Jews and having Israel to themselves, the Wednesday Knesset hearings against J Street reached new heights. Said the American Jewish Committee, whose own politics are appreciably to the right of J Street: In holding hearings on whether a voluntary American Jewish organization is indeed a pro-Israel lobby, the Knesset committee has interfered in an entirely inappropriate way in the internal affairs of the American Jewish community.

Like it or not, an ancestral homeland sets the tone for an entire people. It may provide cultural and spiritual inspiration, a richness of language and the arts, a calm, profoundly positive sense of self and self-worth which comes of quiet pride in roots.

Or it may become a shondeh.

"Most American Jews want to feel proud of the Jewish State, not frustrated or ashamed," Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of the New York Jewish Week, wrote in a landmark opinion piece this month.

The essay, titled, "When Israel becomes a source of embarrassment," is shocking perhaps less for its substance than for its author and its context, the highest-circulation of all North American Jewish newspapers.

This is a primary voice of mainstream Jewish America. And the message is that Israel's actions and statements have direct consequences on the present and future of the largest community in the Jewish Diaspora.

"Federation fundraisers say that even big givers worry aloud about Israeli policies and the negative impact such policies are having on their children," Rosenblatt writes.

Gary Rosenblatt may think he's a strong supporter of Israel. And he is. But in the eyes of the new self-hating Jew, Gary Rosenblatt is expendable. He has an independent opinion, which may make him disloyal. His moderate voice is that of the majority of North American Jews, which makes him all the more suspect, all the more undesirable.

They are Jews who want to take pride in a homeland which fosters democracy, civilization, a conversation with the world as a whole. They are Jews who abhor faith-based bigotry against non-Jews. They are Jews who believe in self-determination, for Palestinians and for Jews alike.

This is the message of the new self-hating Jew: There is no place for the likes of Gary Rosenblatt in the new Zionism. Nor J Street. Nor the New Israel Fund. Nor Jews who oppose the occupation. Nor Jews who believe that non-Orthodox Judaism is valid and important.

A people which hates its own. A people which dwells alone. We are Zionism, the new article of faith has it. We don't need anyone. And we certainly don't need you. You, you liberal Zionists, you progressive Zionists, you leftists who for some reason still care about Israel, you're the new Palestinians. You have no right to your ancestral homeland, the place your people came from. Because we're here now, and we're not going anywhere.

But the new self-hating Jew may yet be in for a surprise. There's another generation of Jews coming up. One which has grown tired of the aging explanations for an Israel which lives for, and dies as a result of, occupation. "We love Israel unconditionally," J Street student leaders said in a recent essay.

"We have a moral commitment to a national home in which Jews can determine our own political destiny. We have a religious and cultural connection to that home. We do not, however, support Israels policies unconditionally. That is not true love."

Israel, with the self-hating right in the lead, can no longer afford to make war on its own. Not now. It is one war Israel cannot afford to win.