December 30, 2008

Puzzling things...

Madoff the Jew: The Media's Hypocritical Obsession With the Fraudster's Faith, by Phyllis Chesler:

...Most Jews do not recognize themselves in what Madoff did; they still expect to be judged on their own merits. I doubt this will happen. I think� Jews will be judged as if we are all guilty, whether or not we are innocent or poor, and whether or not we fight for justice for Palestinians or for justice for murdered Chabadniks in Mumbai. Here's one reason why.

For days now,� I have been following the media coverage of the Madoff scandal. I could not help but note that the New York Times kept emphasizing that he is Jewish and moved in monied, Jewish circles; not once, but time and again, in the same article, and in article after article. 'Tis true,� alas, 'tis true, the rogue is a Jew: But how exactly is Madoff's religion more relevant than Rod Blagojevich's religion?� The Times has not described Blagojevich� (or Kenneth Lay of Enron) as "Christians," nor do they describe the Arab or south Asian Muslim terrorists as "Muslims."....[Thanks to Bookworm]

That last sentence is misleading. If there was some way to link Ken Lay with real Christianity, they would have leaped at it. Imagine if he had been a pro-life activist!

Still, the kind of Jew-hatred the Times is showing is strange. It is exceedingly likely that most of the Jews touched by the Madoff mess are not very Jewish, except as a cultural holdover. For most American Jews, their real "religion" is liberalism, and the percentage of them who read the NYT is probably far higher than the general population. Yet we se leftist anti-Semitism all the time, especially in the truly insane hatred of the state of Israel. Think how crazy it is--Israel is a tolerant democratic society where Muslim MP's can heckle the Prime Minister, who might well be a woman. Israel is a place that has "gay pride" parades--and yet the Left invariably prefers Muslims who oppress women and gays.

Equally puzzling is why American Jews continue to put up with this. Perhaps they have just transferred their stubborn religious faithfulness to the new faith of liberalism, and are refusing to be detered by persecution!

Also puzzling is the philo-Semitism of so many of us on the Right. We sure don't gain any tangible benefits! One of the oddest things I read this year was this piece about President Bush's speech to the Israeli Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel. The Israelis were quite embarrassed to be lauded as Zionists and the Chosen People. Not to mention those references to that quaint old thing, the Bible!

It's almost like nobody believes the current "non-Jewishness" of so many Jews is real. Like any day now they will pull off the mask and be the People of the Book again...

An excerpt from the article:

....nd most embarrassingly of all, what President Bush believes about the Jews is something that nearly all Jews once believed about themselves. It's aggravating to be reminded of the you you once were and would like to forget. Remember the time back in high school when you had great ambitions and thought you had a God-given talent that the world would hear about some day? Not really, because now, decades later, you've done everything you can to banish it from your mind -- which is why you cringe when you run into an old classmate who recognizes you and exclaims with a slap on the back, "Hey, it's you! I'll never forget the impression you made on me."

For many Jews, President Bush is like that classmate. They wish he hadn't recognized them.

The president, it was observed rather ruefully in Israel, gave a Zionist speech such as hasn't been heard from mainstream Israeli politicians for many years. If by that is meant that he invoked the Bible, rather than the Oslo "peace process" or his own "road map," this is certainly true. The Bible has long ceased to be bon ton in Israeli intellectual life. It has become politically incorrect for Israelis to think that just because some possibly imaginary progenitors of theirs had religious fantasies about God's pledging them a country, their contemporary thinking needs to take this into account. If an American president feels comfortable with such fairy tales, that's no reason why they should.

President Bush clearly believes the Jews are central to history in a way most Jews themselves no longer do. They find such thinking primitive. The only problem is that history itself shows signs of agreeing with the president.

This, really, is the astonishing thing about the country Mr. Bush addressed last week when he said, "Citizens of Israel: Masada shall never fall again and America will be at your side": How central to everything it is. A tiny place with a population that wouldn't fill any of the world's ten largest cities, it finds itself in the middle of all the great conflicts of our times: The battle for democracy, the war against terror, the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, the campaign against nuclear proliferation. Practically every scenario for a nuclear Armageddon, ranging from that of the most wild-eyed preacher of the Gospel to that of the most cool-headed political scientist, revolves around Israel.

Perhaps it really is primitive to believe, as President Bush does, that this has something to do with the Jews being the people of the Bible. Certainly, most Jews themselves would like to think that it has to do with other things. They would rather not be at the center of anything. It makes them nervous when someone reminds them that, despite their best efforts, that's where they still are. The role of being a chosen people is big on them.

The president of the United States disagrees. That's part of the reason why many Jews will be relieved to see him leave office next January. It's not just stem-cell research, or even the war in Iraq. The man thinks too much of us. That's something we're not prepared to put up with...
Posted by John Weidner at December 30, 2008 10:57 AM
Weblog by John Weidner