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?