Got Myself a Gun...This is NOT a Jewlicious Action Flick
After going through a series of necessary and understandable but nonetheless very annoying bureaucratic hurdles, I find myself today a gun owner. When I lived in Canada, I never had any interest in gun ownership. I applauded as the Federal government added increasing barriers between those who sought to own firearms and the firearms themselves. I looked at my neighbors to the south and the havoc caused by the right to bear arms enshrined in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, and had no envy of their liberal gun ownership laws. Quite the contrary, I was often shocked by the power of the NRA and some of their seemingly insane policies. However, a change of heart has since ensued. Why should any law-abiding citizen be denied what is promised to them in the Constitution? If you are an American gun owner, Sniper Country strongly suggests you invest in a CCW holster in order to carry your gun safely and legally.

This was all, of course, in keeping with my general political disposition which I felt to be decidedly Liberal. I believed in and benefited from socialized healthcare, socialized higher education and a benevolent government that created a social safety net beneath which few if any citizens, no matter how dire their circumstances, ever found themselves. Other Liberal values followed suit – women’s equality, a woman’s right to choose, gay rights, aboriginal rights, religious tolerance, racial equality, environmental protection etc. My family belonged to an Orthodox synagogue and while some of the values espoused by politicians on the left of center did not exactly jibe with our religious values, the perspective that sought to protect the underdog and the disadvantaged resonated far more with us than those values held by politicians on the right side of the political spectrum.

Moving to Israel threw a lot of that into disarray. Here it seems, it doesn’t matter what you believe in terms of domestic policy – ideological orientation is determined solely on the basis of your opinion regarding the Middle East conflict. Thus Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party is considered a right winger more for his hawkish defense policies than for his supply side economics. Yossi Beilin is best known for his involvement in the Oslo and Geneva Accords and the Israel-Palestinian Peace process. The fact that domestically he is considered a soft Capitalist did not prevent him from being elected chairman of the left-wing Meretz-Yachad party – he just never discusses his domestic agenda in public.

And then there’s me! True, I am a recent gun owner. And I believe in a strong defense policy in order to maintain the security and viability of the State of Israel. I do also beleieve that people should consider installing home security cameras wireless systems too, just to deter robberies and make sure their home is super secure. But I still believe in values I held in Canada. I hate Ayn Rand. I hate Social Darwinism. I think trickle down economics is idiotic. I believe that the wealthy ought to share in the social well being of the society that allows them to achieve their wealth, I do not consider taxation a form of theft, I would never vote for a party on the right, I believe in strong gun control laws everywhere, I believe in the equality of all citizens regardless of race and creed, I believe in the separation of Church and State etc. Despite all that, in the eyes of some – my position on the Middle East conflict – my support of the Security Barrier, my refusal to divide Jerusalem, my support of surgical pre-emptive action against suspected terrorists – these things alone make me a right wing loon on par with Kahanists and right wing elements of the Republican party.

So the question is – is it wrong for me to think these people are idiots, badly in need of a refresher course in PoliSci 101? Can one not be a Liberal and still believe in a strong and secure Israel?

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

45 Comments

  • 1. I put Atlas Shrugged through my paper shredder in January*. It is the only book I ever destroyed.

    2. It is challenging to be a liberal and believe in a unified Jerusalem and a secure Israel, but not impossible or incongruent.

    During the war last summer (already a year ago?) there were a lot of conversations at my very politically liberal synagogue about the need for defense in Israel and the battle that many of my fellow congregants were having in their hearts. A clash of bring former hippies and peaceniks with the reality that Israel must defend herself.

  • I know the feeling… I was called ‘Igal Amir’s friend” in my former youth movement for refusing to accept a dividided Jerusalem… Later I was called a leftist for my ‘liberal’ ideas about distribution of money… and so on… so I always recall that once a jewish thinker in the 1930s said “When the communist call me capitalist and the capitalist call me communist, then I feel Jewish”

  • Not sure, but I will say ck that you have a very nice nose,I like that little cute indentation thing on th tip, so whatever, just came back from a wine festival. so will say, you’re a smart guy so whatever you think is right I am behind you. You know what you’re doing. Glad you are behind ortho conversions, so am I. Kisses from Giyoret. xoxoxoxoxo

  • it’s called PEP — progressive except Palestine.

    “aboriginal rights.” hahhahahaaaaa

  • A guy with a cute nose who can protect me with a gun is kinda cool–it’s funny, nobody likes violence or guns– I know I don’t–but sometimes you have to speak the language of someone who communicates on that basic survival level. If you think he’s going to learn a more evolved language, good luck–he won’t. Be smart and deal with people on their level if you want a certain outcome. Unfortunate but realistic and true.

  • Esther: I don’t walk around with it. I didn’t buy it for self defense or anything stupid like that. A pistol is useless against an AK-47 unless you’re Jack Bauer. I have no plans to purchase a holster. I know that in the US a gun owner is more likely to be hurt by his gun than she or he is to use it in self defense. I keep it unloaded in a locked metal box, separate from the bullets.

    I bought it because I like to shoot at targets. The concentration and focus required to shoot accurately is kind of zen like and calming. But renting a gun costs $25 a pop. It’s cheaper in the long run to just buy one. Zehu.

    Nothing to be frightened about Esther. Remind me next time you’re in Jerusalem to take you to the range – my treat!

    xisnotx – I resent the notion that those on the far left have an exclusive monopoly on progress when it comes to issues relating to Peace. I want peace. I genuinely like most Palestinians. I’ve been to Ramallah twice this summer and had a great time. I think my ideas are pretty darn progressive. So they include a secure Israel. So what? I’m not an absolutist in that regard. I won’t sacrifice my security for the sake of some vague notion of progress.

    I’d like nothing better for the Palestinians than for them to lead long and prosperous lives, free of needless violence and conflict. I’d like nothing better for them than to have a benevolent government, free of corruption, that works towards the betterment of the people that it serves. Right now, the key to this happening is in the hands of the Palestinians themselves. They are the masters of their own destinies. I hope that one day they wake up from their collective state of delusion and realize and really, really understand, that our fates are intertwined and that the Israelis are not going to just up and walk away. Everything flows therefrom.

    And yeah xisnotx. Aboriginal rights. As far as I know there were no Jews or white people living in what is now known as New York 2000 years ago. Where’s your vaunted progress now?

  • Giyoret, don’t drink and blog.

    I’m with Esther. Being a gun owner alone makes you a (dangerous) loon in my eyes.

    What exactly does “surgical pre-emptive action against suspected terrorists” entail?

  • Giyoret: A gun really offers very little protection in an arena where fully automatic, high calibre weapons are ubiquitous. I just like to shoot at round targets and get the bullet as close to the middle as possible. I protect the ones I care for by watching out for them, being there for them when they need me and giving them good, heartfelt advice, loyalty and support. In the real world, that’s far better protection than any stupid gun.

  • Oh Ofri. Do I sound like a dangerous loon? Really? That kinda hurts…

    sigh…

    “surgical pre-emptive action against suspected terrorists” would entail taking out terrorists in the midst of planning a terrorist action rather than waiting for them to cross the border or be apprehended by troops.

  • I see. I guess I’m not down with counterterroist lingo. I read the word “surgical” and instantly I’m thinking castration or sterilization or what have you.

    ck, you don’t sound like a dangerous loon, but heretofore you never sounded like someone I would imagine to be an aspiring gun owner. Don’t be so sensitive. I don’t mean dangerous in the sense that I think you want to shoot people. I think civilian gun ownership is dangerous and foolish, and, even when bought for sport, it opens up a world of possibilities I don’t care to think about.

  • you conveniently mention no settlements. everyday israel steals more land from the palestinians. and it’s all their fault,Palestinian greed, nothing to do with Israel. They are the master of their own destiny — a court in a system they dont even vote for takes away their land and you call this justice, rule of law –i think 5 cases they’ve one against 121 — i guess justice was just on Israel’s side. how noble.

  • ofri. Thank you for qualifying your initial statement. Rest assured I don’t even keep bullets in the apartment, and I do not delude myself into thinking that it’s for self defense. Guns are indeed dangerous and need to be handled with extreme care and caution. If only most car owners realized the same thing about their vehicles….

  • Most of the world hates Jews with guns. I happen to love it.

    Then again, I may be a dangerous loon myself.

    ck, you’re socially liberal. So are a lot of Jews. A strong and secure Israel is essential, and another matter entirely.

  • Oh xisnotx – your world view is so simplistic. Arguably, you’re writing your lofty words atop stolen land right now! Unequivocally stolen land. Land that was gained through murder and genocide of which you are the net beneficiary of, even if your ancestors were not directly involved. Where did the Palestinians get the land to begin with? Dude. There was a war. They lost. Had they won believe me there’d be no courts at all for us. No UN Refugee organizations, no NGOs clamoring on our behalf, no British Unions seeking to boycott Palestine, no Palestinians wailing on behalf of the Jews. Why? Because they would have completely obliterated our presence from the land. I know it, you know it and they know it. That’s the real world. That’s reality. Now it’s time for both sides to deal with reality. We’re not going away. They’re not going away – like I said, everything flows therefrom. None of the onerous aspects of their current lives would be in place if they didn’t continue to wish for our destruction, celebrate as heroes the murderers of Mothers and children in their midst. I’ve been there. I’ve laughed with them, I’ve shared tea and hummus and ice cream with them. But I never lost site of the ubiquitous posters, even in liberal Ramallah, celebrating as heroes the martyrs who murdered civilians. they are the masters of their own destiny. Stop treating them like noble savages or like children. they need to accept responsibility for their failures and for the fucked up, corrupt leaders they constantly embrace. That’s what one does in the real world. Everything flows therefrom…

  • So that is how you plan on backing up your right to inappropriate conversations? 😉

    I will agree with you though, shooting targets (aka sports shooting) is a very good way of practicing concentration. When you do it the classical way (as I used to), once you’ve positioned your feet, you may not move them anymore until you’re done with your shooting series. The coaches would bring in the guns and they made it a point the youths learnt about the effects of guns and how to not accidentally harm somebody. My brothers both (successfully) went for sports shooting contests. I suppose that people that go into fencing as a sport also don’t do it so they might eventually harm somebody, but to exercize their sense of balance, their concentration and their capacity of reaction.

  • Anyone who believes in human rights and personal freedoms must kill antihuman antifreedom Islamists – kill their leaders and militants – and financially fine their supporters.

    The law must silence Islamists who oppose free speech.

    No religious freedom for Islamists who strive to oppress religious freedom.

    No sexual freedom for Islamists who oppress the freedom of women.

    Zero tolerance for intolerance.

  • If you believe in a strong and secure Israel, then you aren’t a liberal in that respect.

    If you really believe in a strong and secure Israel, you’ll vote for conservatives, even though you disagree with most of what they believe.

  • Sorry “Michelle,” you’re wrong. Liberal and Conservative ideologies have no relation to defense concerns. Jews in the US are overwhelmingly Democrats. Hmmm….

  • ck,
    “Jews in the US are overwhelmingly Democrats. Hmmm….”

    not the Jews that are hawkish on Israel.
    Sadly the majority of US Jews don’t care that much about Israel.

  • Rachel, what an absurd declaration. Jews that are hawkish on Israel vote both ways just as Jews who don’t care about Israel vote both ways.

  • Don’t worry I won’t tell mom about your gun….
    I can’t believe you. Remember when I was five (!) and maced myself with a can that was in your room??? Now imagine, if you had had a gun. Although I realize some people might just shrug that off as survival of the fittest.

  • Can one not be a Liberal and still believe in a strong and secure Israel?

    Of course you can be liberal and to the right of Meretz on Israel, but you are going to have to live with a lot of brain dead Middle East commentary on 90% of the sites that you agree with on domestic and cultural issues. If you are feeling lonely, you could always get a subscription to the New Republic.

    As for Rachel’s comment, the recent Cohen study showed that alienation from Israel among young Jews had no correlation to political orientation.

    That being said, anecdotally most Jewish swing voters I know are culturally liberal Israel hawks that are willing to hold their nose and vote for the GOP if they don’t trust the Democratic candidate.

  • In confined spaces a hand gun has considerable advantages against an AK47 and other high caliber automatic weapons. And I really hate this discussion about you getting a gun. Why did you have to blog about it? Is that important to you to show off a picture of you, כמו ערס?

  • Oy David, low blow. Please define what you mean by that word because it’s pretty harsh and doesn’t apply to the ck I know. It also doesn’t apply to the light and humorous nature of this piece.

  • my brother is no arse. it’s not nice to call someone a pimp. he lives far away and if he didn’t post pics of himself, I would never get to see him. personally, i think this gun thing is about him wanting to become a tom robbins character. I can’t balem him, I want to be switters too. now if he starts wearing white suits and riding around in a wheelchair…that might be going too far.

  • xisnotx: Thanks for the info. But you didn’t really address my points now did you. And I am not unsympathetic – but when push comes to shove, we were here 2000 years ago and my first priority is to my people and their continued physical integrity. Spiritual integrity is important too of course, but without the former, the latter is inconsequential.

  • It’s also not a “guise” of security. It is security. The barrier has curtailed Palestinian terrorism efforts and that is a fact.

    Another fact, as you well know xisnotx, is that there need not have been any barrier if the Palestinians had negotiated in good faith in 2000/2001, not launched their ongoing war at that time, and had decided to make peace instead of trying to buy time for demographics to enhance their position. Imagine a world with a Palestinian state, run by the PA, in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. That could have been the case for years now and it was all within the Palestinians’ grasp…but they pulled their hand back hoping that when they reach out again there will be more to grab. Bad choice even if it does give you and others anti-Israel talking points.

  • As a socially/culturally liberal Israel hawk, I think it’s a matter of priorities.

    I am pro-choice, pro-GLBT equality, pro-gun control. But the security of the U.S. and Israel are just more important to me at this particular time. Hence, I am leaning toward the Republicans despite my disagreement with them on other issues.

    And unfortunately, I think being liberal as current “liberals” define it does mean putting one’s support of Israel on hold. Or supporting Israel means putting your liberalism on hold. Just look at how Alan Dershowitz or Marty Peretz are castigated as right-wingers because they strongly support Israel.

    Unless the term “liberal” is redefined, being pro-Israel and liberal will continue to be a real challenge, if not mutally exclusive.

  • “The barrier has curtailed Palestinian terrorism efforts and that is a fact.”

    and how do you know it would not have worked the same or better on the Green Line where it would have been three times shorter, built faster, and legal?

  • xisnotx, it is a legal barrier, as the responses to the challenges in the Supreme Court have shown.

    Second, you need a buffer between Israeli territory and the non-Israeli territory. The smaller the buffer, the less safety you have. Check out Sderot’s situation.

    Third, a good portion of the barrier IS on the Green Line, sometimes even going inside it. The IDF makes mistakes, certainly, but they chose the route to maximize security and that does include the security of Israeli residents within the area under discussion. Leaving those folks without security or in a situation that requires a greater commitment of resources.

    Fourth, overall, the barrier is into Judea and Samaria about 7% of the territory. Considering that at Taba the Israelis set their line at 2.5%, the difference is not that great. This will be a de facto border between the Israelis and the Palestinians and it is one of the few points of leverage the Israelis have over the Palestinians. It is wise to have something to trade away than nothing. In my opinion, the 7% mark is too small.

    I’m glad to see that you’re not challenging the validity of the factual statement that the barrier has curtailed Palestinian terrorism efforts.

  • David (comment #28) wrote: “In confined spaces a hand gun has considerable advantages against an AK47 and other high caliber automatic weapons.”

    So?

    “And I really hate this discussion about you getting a gun. Why did you have to blog about it? Is that important to you to show off a picture of you, כמו ערס?”

    In the US, gun ownership is usually associated with the right. My purchase of a gun inspired a discussion on ideological orientation and defense issues.

    The purchase of the gun is really just meant to be illustrative. What do you hate about the discussion? What is it about a photo of me using a gun in a shooting range while wearing protective equipment that makes me an ערס?

    Am I wearing a gold chain? Super tight pants? An amulet that I got from Rabbi Kadouri z”l before he died? Blond frosted hair? Shall I continue with the stereotypes or shall I simply note how ignorant it is to use stereotypes?

    My name is Abutbul. I am an ערס.

  • TM, I was speaking of international law, not the Israeli court’s rubber-stamping of land theft.

    check this out from Ha’aretz today:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/906924.html

    “Behaving in a manner befitting the standards of the Western world is far more important for Israel’s long-term survival than gaining a few square miles here and there, by building the security wall through Palestinian territories, tearing apart villages, homes and schools, and expanding settlements. Every such act is not just a moral outrage; it pushes Israel one step closer to being disqualified from belonging to the West. ”

    the whole article is worth a read.

  • xisnotx, you cannot bring dead people back to life. You can move and remove building structures. If and when the Palestinians choose to use their energy and resources for purposes other than mass-murdering Jews, we can talk about taking down the wall.

    In the meantime, since this is an issue close to your heart, look here! http://www.take-a-pen.org/english/Fences.htm

    That should keep you busy. Lots of letters to write! Enjoy.

  • “Is that important to you to show off a picture of you, כמו ערס?”

    What?! He looks totally hot. And sexy.

  • xisnotx: International law. Yes. As embodied by what? The General Assembly? There’s a reason why the General Assembly’s resolutions are not binding on member states – yes, they have weighed in often on issues related to Israel and the territories occupied in 1967, predominantly not in Israel’s favor. But this is also the same General Assembly that saw a resolution pass condemning Zionism as Racism – a resolution supported in no small measure by a collection of thugs, dictators, murderers and oppressors. This is also the same General Assembly who, while dedicating a remarkable amount of attention to the plight of the Palestinians, effectively ignored a whole host of horrific human rights abuses around the world.

    So what are we left with? Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Yes, the ICOJ ruled that the Separation Barrier was illegal but the SC, the only body who can enforce such rulings, has yet to accept their finding.

    As for 242 – it demands “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;” not from ALL the territories, just territories. Arguably, Israel has already met that requirement when it withdrew from Gaza. The scope and ambit of 242 are debatable as is the actual state of International law on this issue. To just declare something illegal according to International law is, in this case, grossly over simplistic.

    In a previous comment you scoffed at my interest in aboriginal rights. Please revisit my comment…

  • CK –
    I was in the same position as you in the USA prior to 9/11. I was a life-long Democrat and liberal on domestic issues, and I still am. However, whenever I believed in a strong US security during wartime, I was mocked and derided by other liberals. We represent a new political classification – strong on national security and liberal on domestic issues. At one time the US Democratic Party had such values. Now I am outsider completely from the Democratic Party, and basically an independent.

  • ck — you know, I shouldnt have scoffed. cause it aint nice, and it isnt productive. It’s also unfair — not because of your visits to Ramallah, but your support of Bedouin rights, which is commendable.

    here’s a suggestion — contact ICAHD or RHR and visit some Palestinian villages impacted by the barrier. Talk to the people there. Look at how the settlements teem behind the wall and are expanding into the space — which refutes TM’s point about a “buffer zone.” What kind of sense does a strategic depth argument make when settlements are expanding into the space behind the wall — just look at Zufin, which is expanding 1,000 units between the wall and the Green Line. Re: international law, 242 also stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. Settlements are also a violation of the Geneva and Hague conventions.

    Ramallah is isolated from the rest of the West Bank — it’s better off and less affected by restrictions. you’ll get a better understanding of the barrier’s impact in the villages.

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