I’m not entirely sure what to make of Collin Levey’s muddled disquisition on Hollywood, liberals, and anti-Semitism: “Spiritual accessorizing in an era of religious conflict.”
While I enjoy taunting her as a cog in the right-wing propaganda machine, I have to admit that she’s not a bad writer. But this week’s column just isn’t up to her usual standard of ruthless clarity, and since I haven’t been keeping up on the WSJ op/ed pages, deciphering her thesis was all the more difficult.
I believe what Collin is trying to say is that Democrats and their hedonistic liberal backers are anti-Semites, and thus Jews should vote Republican for a change.
Needless to say, I have a couple of problems with her thesis. I myself am a liberal, Democrat-voting Jew… although few people who know me would classify me as a hedonist (with the possible exception of the Hassidic Rabbi next door.)
And I doubt anybody would consider me an anti-Semite (again, with the possible exception of the Hassidic Rabbi next door.) Her attempt to brand liberals and Democrats as anti-Semitic or anti-Israel based on the comments or actions of one individual or another, is at the very least, irresponsible.
In fact, (parenthetically) speaking of the Hassidic Rabbi next door… after accusing us lefties of promoting the absurd notion of an international Jewish conspiracy, Collin actually reinforces this false premise herself:
Jews as a group vote overwhelmingly Democrat.
Jews, as a group, don’t do anything, let alone vote as a block. As a secular Jew raised in a Reformed synagogue, I have little in common with my Hassidic neighbors except maybe a repertoire of colorful Yiddish swear words and a taste for Eastern European Jewish cuisine. And with the Sephardim who seem to dominate the Jewish community here, I don’t even share that.
Indeed, compared to an Orthodox Seattle Sephardim, I have more in common culturally with a New York Irishman (not the least of which being an unfortunate fondness for Irish women.)
The point is, there is no Jewish cabal, no Jewish vote, and no Jewish leaders (at least none I’ve every voted for.) In fact, the very existence of the “Jewish neocons” Collin mentions, contradicts her characterization of us as uniform political block.
While I agree with Collin that anti-Semitism continues to persist, I’m not sure she fully appreciates its subtle insinuation into the debate over support for Israel, nor that she understands the difference between “anti-Semitism,” and good old fashioned religious “Jew hatred.” (The former is a political tool. I suggest Hannah Arendt’s definitive work “Antisemitism.”)
Collin claims “liberal” college campuses are veering towards the plight of Palestinians, and compares this to the staunch support for Israel from the Christian right, implying that Jewish Democrats don’t know who their real friends are.
Speaking as someone who is sympathetic to the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians (and hostile to the leaders of both,) I think Collin presents an intellectually dishonest choice. And she ignores the fact that the strong support some fundamentalist Christians show towards Israel stems from a profound, doctrinal hatred of the Jewish people.
Unlike most Jews, I have read The New Testament; as sequels go, I found it rather boring (“Jesus this” and “Jesus that.”) But Revelations is, well… a revelation. The prophesy requires the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple before the Messiah can return. Of course, in the resulting Armageddon, two-thirds of the Jews are destroyed, but well, you can’t have everything.
So while it’s hard to describe the Christian right’s staunch support for Israel as anti-Semitic, a 66% mortality rate certainly doesn’t come across as particularly Jew-friendly.
I’ve always found it offensive when politicians woo Jewish votes by touting their support for Israel. I’m a Jewish American, not an Israeli. Hell… 49% of Israelis don’t even support the Sharon government, why should I?
If this is the best the right wing media echo chamber can do, the Rs are going to have a tough November.