I’m not going to link to it but the woman has apparently lost her mind.

Sorry, just had to vent.

In other news, I have just read a letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Report where a certain Jack Arbiser writes,

“As a campus professor, my insight is that pro-Israel advocates don’t have much to work with. The average Jewish student knows more about Pokemon than Passover [nice alliteration, professor] and more about Usher [who?] than Maimonides.

They are confronted by a motley alliance of Palestinian activists, divestment activists, anti-Israeli faculty (many of them Jewish), “peace” advocates and anti-globalists. This alliance blames the Jewish student for the lack of peace in the world, which could be accomplished if only Jews gave up their stubborn insistence on a Jewish state. Most people, Jews included, just want to fit in, and thus become embarrassed by Israel.”

Short and to the point, he is right on the mark, although he doesn’t mention the impetuousness of youth (ah, I so miss it 😉 ) which also plays a significant role in how this conflict plays out with college kids.

The result is, perhaps, one of the severe consequences of the ongoing conflict and especially of our presence in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria for those who prefer) and Gaza. No matter whether we can justify it or not, it is hard to combat the constant stream of images and stories that emanate from the territories.

Combined with the assimilationist trend within the North American Jewish community, we are left with many young and not so young Jews who simply “just want to fit in” and purposely disengage from any Jewish – and certainly Israel-connected – link they may have. Of course, there are even those who go a step further and become active against Israel and, inevitably, against certain Jewish organizations. Some even claim to do it out of love for Israel and Judaism, even as they support the worst elements of Israel’s enemies’ hardball tactics.

This is painful to watch. Part of it, of course, is that Israel is far from perfect and makes enough mistakes that one could easily spend a lifetime criticizing it. On the other hand, all proportionality and fairness is lost when one doesn’t also acknowledge the country’s many positive attributes and the difficult existential and military situations it has been facing for decades. The difficulty is that imparting the complexity of the situation is far more challenging than the simplistic black and white depiction of the conflict that is pushing these Jews away for fear of supporting a perceived immoral monster.

We, as a community, are not doing much to help to combat the problems these Jewish students face.

As an example, I have just received invitations to two local screenings.

The first film is being shown by the ADL. It is apparently about 6 million paper clips that are supposed to represent, uh, six million paper clips. Somehow those clips are supposed to make one very sad about, you know, six million murdered Jews. For the life of me I can’t figure out why they chose paper clips when they could have chosen M&Ms. Picture this:

EXT. LARGE PARK – OPPOSITE THE SLIDE – MID-DAY

The sun is blazing overhead as the green grass of the park shimmers. The camera pans across a group of FACES. Weepy FACES. Black, caucasian, Asian FACES all staring into the near distance as tears stream down. In the background we hear screams. They are awful screams and the faces of our crowd contort in sympathy and pain.

CUT TO:

EXT. LARGE PARK – THE SLIDE – MID-DAY

We understand the terror in the teary eyes of our FACES as the camera reveals a steady stream of M&Ms being rolled down a blistering hot slide by a YOUNG MAN who is wearing a Nazi uniform. The YOUNG MAN looks just like Prince Harry. He is grinning an evil grin as the M&M’s blister and crack on the hot surface of the slide. They are screaming in agony. Those M&Ms that survive the torturing slide down, end up in the even hotter sand where they invariably melt faster than a fresh falafel ball in ck’s mouth. Even the blue M&Ms can’t hang on for very long as they melt an agonizing death. A COUNTER on the BOTTOM RIGHT of the SCREEN keeps count of the M&Ms. 1,545,326. 2,324,879. The music increases in tempo as the screaming overwhelms the screen. 3,198,454. 4,232,339. Prince Harry’s smile grows wider. 5,132,956. 5,754.325. The FACES are sopping wet from the tears. They could use the moisture to save a few M&Ms, but the inevitable must happen. 5,854,324. 5,986,322. 6,000,000. The last blue M&M melts away into the sand, its scream swallowed up in the SILENCE that follows.

CUT TO BLACK

Yup, just what we need, a film about paper clips to represent the Holocaust.

The other email invitation was to a documentary film recently made about the “Palestinian Jewish Dialogue Groups” trying to find common ground about the ongoing conflict. Anyone who attends these meetings knows they are dominated by the far Left view of the conflict and most of the common ground is attacking Israel. And yet, this is a vibrant and active film about ongoing present day matters.

Which of these films do you think will have more impact upon young students? I’m not talking about the ADL’s older supporters who don’t require another film to inform them about Jewish pain, I am asking about the very young Jews Professor Arbiser is describing – not to mention non-Jews who might end up supporting Israel and providing a base of support for the Jewish students? Why doesn’t the ADL fund some grass roots organizations or “dialogue groups” and leave the paper clips alone to hold together not our memories, but…you know, uh, paper?

About the author

themiddle

14 Comments

  • Well… I hate to say this but Amira Hass does make some salient points that are worthy of being addressed. Just dismissing her as a loon is not enough. I’ll go into this more if you like, but really, it’s as if what she said is kryptonite and we are Superman – “On no! Don’t link to the story, don’t even discuss it at all!”

    Seriously you guys …

  • No dude, it’s not kryptonite, it’s just that after debating Mobius and Sam over similar idiocy, I don’t have the patience. And besides, the entire case she makes seems to exist in a vacuum of her own making. Somebody had to give the order? Yes. Why did that somebody have to give an order? Uh, well, let’s not talk about that because the Israelis are blah blah blah evil people blah immoral blah blah blah and blah.

    Besides, why are you ignoring the rest of it? That professor distilled the issue we have over on this continent very well.

  • TM: If you write it, it is not a dream.

    Oh. And see if you can throw in a cute but mischievious cat into the plot – Box Office Gold!

  • The cat can belong to Prince Harry with the Nazi armband. We can call the pussy Goerring. Is that the kind of fluffy animal character you mean?

  • Yeah! A cat called Goerring – cute but mischievous!

    “Oh Goerring! Did you commit genocide again today? What ever will I do withyou?”

    Purrrrrrrrr

    “Awwww. How can I stay mad at you Goerring! I wuv wu. Yes I do. Dooby dooby doo!”

  • T_M,

    You seem focused on the idea that better public relations is the right answer. “If we just explained our side better, people would flock to our side.”

    But maybe actual changes to the political situation is what is needed, not endless attempts at countering spin. Yes spinning is necessary but it is not the ulimate answer.

    I think this is what Sharon is trying to do with the disengagement. Change the situation and make Israel’s position more defensible.

    If there is less to criticize in Israel’s actions that makes the PR job that much easier.

  • Steve, we are in complete agreement.

    Having said that, one thing we learned from the Oslo years and especially what happened after Camp David, is that even with changes on the ground, the propaganda wars don’t end. So I do think better “public relations” is critical.

    I also think this entire discussion should go much farther than to discuss “spin.” I believe we are expending valuable resources on things like Holocaust museums and movies when the funds would be better spent on Jewish education and ways of celebrating the positive aspects of Jewish life. I believe that we should stop sending half the money the UJF collects to Israel and use it to strengthen our own community, particularly targeting young Jews from early childhood through college and early married life.

    I also think that many among the old guard leaders of the community are listening to others just like themselves far too much. I don’t see any system in place to try to break through and influence the community at large unless you have significant resources to put out there. This is a shame and a mistake because it is on the personal and grass roots level that we can strengthen the attachment of Jews to their community. The funding needs to be there, to be sure, and the community is fortunate to have some great donors, but it doesn’t seem to me that the overall trend is toward wise and efficient use of these resources toward a true education of what it means to be Jewish (no, I don’t mean religiously only, I also mean culturally and historically).

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