Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


The Problem with Being a “Hawk” on Israel

posted by David Klinghoffer

David Goldman recounts a classic Jewish joke and draws the right lesson for any discussion of Israel. It concerns a Jewish family that

invites a poor man to Sabbath dinner. The hostess brings out a dish of smoked whitefish, and the poor man proceeds to wolf it down. Chagrined, the hostess says, “You know, whitefish is very expensive.” Between mouthfuls the poor man replies, “Believe me — it’s worth it!”

There are a lot of things that are worth it when you don’t have to pay for it yourself, and one of them is Jewish blood.

That’s a great way of encapsulating my objection to American Jews who feel entitled to tell Israel what to do — whether that is giving up land or holding on to it. Remember all the storm and cries from the American Jewish “hawk” community over Israel’s decision to evacuate Gaza? Especially when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I recall often hearing Jews talk about what Israel “must” do, in the first person plural: “we.” These were people who might visit Israel with some frequency but who didn’t live there, never served in the military there (or anywhere else), had no children living there — in short, people whose stake in Israel’s future was religious and sentimental but not personal in the real sense of having your person — your life or that of your family, your blood — at risk. They lived safe and secure lives as American Jews.
It was altogether too easy for these people to thump their chests and take a hard line. How dare they comport themselves as “hawks”? Or as “doves,” for that matter.
Jews who live in the land of Israel aren’t any wiser than we are but whatever decisions they make about settlements and similar matters will very directly affect their personal safety. It won’t particularly affect mine, except insofar as I spend optional time in Israel on business or as a tourist. It’s my business to pray for their well being, to ask God to bless them with wisdom and courage as citizens and soldiers. It’s none of my business to tell them what they — “we” — should do.


Advertisement
Comments read comments(21)
post a comment
Mark

posted August 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm


Good for you. For the first time in quite a while, I whole heartedly agree with you. It is quite easy to be a Zionist in Brooklyn, Miami, Chicago, etc. Quite different when you are in harm’s way, and your kids serve in the military.
At the same time, though, the same statement can be made about the far left, Peace Now/J Street types in the American Jewish community. Their incessant urging that Israel take “painful” steps for peace winds up killing Israelis, not them.
However, in the face of ever increasing pro Arab sentiment emanating from the current occupant of the White House, along with increasing pressure being put on Israel to make more concessions, it is crucial for American Jews to advocate for Israel with their elected representatives. That is far different than trying to “out hawk” the elected government of Israel.



report abuse
 

David Klinghoffer

posted August 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm


Mark, thanks, and I agree that advocating for Israel with representatives is entirely appropriate — as long as we don’t give the impression that Israel is our sole and only interest, as if we were hardly citizens of the United States at all. Sometimes the Jewish community in fact behaves as if we only cared about very narrowly defined Jewish issues.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 4, 2009 at 9:47 pm


Sometimes the Jewish community in fact behaves as if we only cared about very narrowly defined Jewish issues.
There are almost as many Jews in the US as in Israel. By “almost” I mean 5.1 million here vs 5.4 million in Israel.
America since its founding has been almost the one safe haven in the world for Jews. Arguably Israel is not as safe for Jews, given its hostile neighbors.
I think it is very appropriate for American Jews to be concerned for, and identify with, Israeli Jews. It is a hell of a lot more appropriate than the massive financial support the IRA received from Irish Americans over the last century. Yet I have never heard the “dual-loyalty” charge leveled at Irish Americans. Maybe scuh sentiments were common one hundred years ago.
Geopolitically I think the US has a duty to defend Israel, at least as much as France or Britain or even little coutnries like Iceland. The civilized world needs to hang together. Abandoning Israel to its enemies–which are also our enemies, if you listen to them–would just be an instance of what Churchill called “feeding the crocodile”. It didn’t work when we tried it with Austria and Czechoslovakia.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted August 5, 2009 at 1:38 am


we AMERICANS dont want terror attacks in the u.s. because we support israel, if israel cant live like civilized human beings and stop attacking its neihbors then we have to sever ties with it because we dont share the same values, following the filthy talmud has gotten us kicked out of every country on earth!.no people can be persecuted for 2000 years unless they are doing the same things to people over and over again.think about why germans got fed up with us,what were we doing to germany? their culture,their family values?we turned germany into a cesspool of depravity and filth,we destroyed germany after ww1,international jewry boycotted germany and german products,ect ect ect



report abuse
 

Mark

posted August 5, 2009 at 2:37 am


I would really like to know what hole “Your Name” crawled out of. Let me summarize: America brought 9/11 upon itself. The Talmud is responsible for Jew hatred. Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves. And Israel repeatedly attacks its neighbors. Help me out here. Is there a factual statment anywhere in there? There really is no point in answering or refuting this, as it would be beneath my dignity to engage this creature.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted August 5, 2009 at 3:55 am


comparing “telling israel what to do” and sending money to the IRA are not comparable. maybe sending to israel and sending money….
whatever.
i have a problem in general with people sending money anywhere that ends up causing people not always related to the money sender to die.
i dont have a problem with people telling israel what to do, because we can simply ignore them. and yet, what makes israel a vibrant society, one of the more dynamic democracies in the world and a nation that is constantly questioning itself and its deeds is the pluralism of ideas. otherwise we become another staid, self-satisfied western democracy (oh, how i envy them, their peace of mind).
this is something we cannot afford, primarily because the stakes are so high. if we become as corrupt as kenya, as placid as denmark, we fall asleep, and before you know it – we’re simply not there. a nation is its own worst enemy. complacency in a system has resulted in global economic meltdown, and people arent asking the questions, doing the deeds that truly uphaul the system and insure it against relapse. unquestioned faith has resulted in deeds to terrible to mention.
i thank jewish-american well-wishers, anti-zionist arab MKs, antisemitical grass-roots human rights organiations, and all the rest of them (and no, i am not classing them all together, so please dont go getting righteous on me) for keepiing us on our toes. it’s not that israel really needs to be a light to the goyim; its enuf for us to be a light unto ourselves so it doesnt get real dark in here.



report abuse
 

Thomas Beck

posted August 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm


If we can’t tell Israel what to do, then fine. Let them do whatever they want – without our money. I’m pro-Israel, but if they want to go it alone, fine, let them go it *completely* alone.
But that’s no solution, since what Israel does reflects on Jews everywhere, no matter what we think of Israel. Some French Jews, for example, have been attacked because of something Israel may have done. Like it or not, all Jews everywhere are connected – what one Jew does somewhere is likely to have an impact on all Jews anywhere.
Israelis are largely responsible for their actions; but that doesn’t mean that Jews and non-Jews elsewhere cannot offer advice, criticism, etc. The situation may not affect us as directly, but it does affect us. We who love Israel have a duty to help – and not just by writing a check.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 6, 2009 at 3:26 am


Your name, please use a nickname of some kind…
That being the case, as long as the U.S. taxpayer is footing Israel’s bills, the U.S. government should have a say in what Israel does.
So China, then, should be dictating U.S. foreign policy (and by extension Israel’s)?
so homophobic David can avoid commenting on the murderous attack over the weekend on the gay club in Israel (and on the role of this blog in fomenting gay-bashing)?
This is just a smear. I have not read one word by David Klinghoffer that can be construed as “fomenting gay-bashing”. I have not even read one COMMENTER that was “fomenting gay-bashing”; in my estimation whenever David posts about homosexuality the comments run about 10 to 1 AGAINST him.
There is a lot to criticize David for, I think; and I do. But it is wrong to make stuff up and accuse David of saying it–even if he does the same to others.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 6, 2009 at 3:32 pm


Your Name II:
So, by gay-bashing you mean “making gay people feel bad”, not violence? Because “gay-bashing” used to mean “going out on the street and beating up gay people”.
Since you tried to link David to a violent incident in Israel, if you can’t quote David ADVOCATING VIOLENCE, then you are smearing him.
You got a link to these articles? No doubt I’ll find plenty in them to make me unhappy. But I doubt I will find him advocating violence.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Your name II, this is the only thing I’ve been able to find:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2003/12/Bring-Back-The-A-Word.aspx?p=2
If the Bible possesses any real authority as a communication of God’s thoughts about man, then a country’s safety and stability are related to the kinds of sexual relationships it endorses.
This doesn’t mean we have to stone gays or carry out any of the other penalties for misbehavior outlined in the Hebrew Bible. These are meant to be applied only in a Jewish commonwealth, and then only under very special conditions. (There needs to be a Temple in Jerusalem with a high-court, or Sanhedrin, sitting in judgment there on capital trials. Look for these when the Messiah comes, ushering in a new world full of the knowledge of God where the need for harsh justice will thus be exceedingly rare.
Here David says that homosexual behavior, in an ideal world, would be a capital offence! Well, that’s a pretty awful thing to say, in my opinion; I wonder what other parts of Leviticus he’d like to see applied literally.
But I think rape ought to be a capital offense; and that’s not the same as advocating violence against accused or convicted rapists. If I saw someone beating up an accused or convicted rapist I would try to stop them; because even if you think somebody is really bad it doesn’t give you the right to mete out violence as you see fit.
So unless you can quote David saying it’s okay to go out and beat up gay people, I have to say you’re smearing him; even though David’s quote above is, in my opinion, loathesome.



report abuse
 

AW

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm


I generally agree that the opinions of outsiders should be tempered with more consideration of the realities on the ground, but there is also great value in having an outsider’s perspective. I think what we should strive for is not to refrain from formulating opinions, but humility when formulating them. One may have an opinion, voice it, and yet recognize that there may be considerations not fully understood which could validate the opposing opinion. It would cause harm to discourage people from formulating opinions and voicing what they believe in.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm


Here is how it happens. First, demagogues use incendiary rhetoric to inflame passions against a group or individual. Next, a “lone gunman” attacks the target(s) of that rhetoric. Then, the same demagogues who fanned the flames in the first place condemn the attack, express shock — shock! — that such a thing could ever have happened.
Sound familiar?

It certainly does. It sounds like “Ban speech I don’t like”. It sounds likes smears and lies.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm


you mean such as the “smears and lies” – against Reform Jews, against people who accept the findings of science (including evolution), against people who believe there is more to religion (e.g., social justice) than ritual observance- which David customariy engages in?
Of course David smears and lies. I spend a lot of time here digging up primary sources to prove to everyone that he does it.
You are also smearing and lying, blaming Rush Limbaugh for terrorism. Are you willing to blame the “Bush = Hitler” leftists for the grenade thrown at him in Georgia? Of course not. If you did, it would be a smear and a lie.
Saying that someone is bad is not equivalent to calling for violence against them. If it is, political discourse is impossible.
In America we have the First Amendment, if you do not actually incite violence your speech is protected. You are free to say that the Holocaust didn’t happen or the President is not a real citizen; and your fellow citizens are free to say you are stupid.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm


I think David is intellectually dishonest and a propagandist, Your name II. So do you. If some nut reading this web page stabs him in Seattle, are we morally culpable? No, the nut is, assuming he’s not actually schizophrenic or something.
Come sir, you can think more clearly than that.
If I saw a city bus barreling down on David, I would risk my life to push him out of the way! It doesn’t matter that he does what I consider to be bad things. He is a man, entitled to his opinions and entitled to persuade people of the validity of them. His life is of value. He is a son and a father, and would have a family that misses him and would be crippled without him. No one has the right to offer him violence if he offers none. None of that is false just because he says and does things I disagree with.
If he doesn’t beat up gays, or tell other people that it’s a good thing to beat up gays, then he is not culpable for other people beating up gays.
I think that you have bought too much into the “us vs them” mentality that dominates the fringes of our discourse. Maybe you need to think for yourself a bit more, and try to see other people’s opinions as they see them.
An excellent exercise is this: state your opponent’s views in a way that they agree is a fair representation. Saying that David believes in gay-bashing is not what he would agree is a fair representation.
If David’s views are too extreme for you, you can try it out some of mine, or something.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm


your name II, you are not just arguing with me. You are arguing in front of other people who will judge not only what you say, but how you say it.
What you just posted has no relation to anything I wrote, and you apparently think that invidious gender stereotypes are perfectly okay.
Others will judge between you and me, and I think they will decide that you are teh crazy.



report abuse
 

davidf

posted August 12, 2009 at 12:11 am


I surely respect David K’s basic point here but I disagree with an explanation. It is all too easy to agree with the basic sentiment and the point that American Jews who do not have their lives on the line need to be more circumspect about joining in on the debate. Fine.
The problem, David, is that when I visit Israel, the Israelis are very pleased to have my voice heard in the debate and this is because Israel is not simply a far-away independent state. It is the home of the Jewish people–as such, although I do not live in Israel–I could live in Israel. Indeed, everyone in the world seems to have an opinion about what Israel should and should not do–so why should I, as an American Jew with pride in all Israel has accomplished stay silent? As for the “we” thing–this is also understandable. American Jews strongly identify with Israel and as every Jew feels responsible for another, we have a lot at stake in what happens there. Which is why we travel there with regularity and our visits have no similarity with our visits to any other place. To say that we only visit there denies the emotional attachment so many of us have. We have heavy and elaborate bonds, we have family there, we have friends there, we actively think about moving there. We know the Rabbis, we have Route 1 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem memorized, we love the Golan, we can easily close our eyes and imagine being there and we long to be there more.
The obvious fact that the people of Israel have a greater stake in security issues does not reduce my interest in the outcome of what happens to that tiny stretch of real estate. The Israelis I met are plain, as they happily show off their country, that I should strongly seek to influence American public policy to protect and defend the security of the only Jewish state in the world. In some significant way, America will prejudice the outcome of the security interests of Israel so as an American–I have a direct motivation to help.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 12, 2009 at 11:02 am


David’s dissing and theological haranguing of gay people constitute “shouting fire in a crowded theater”. And you should not be defending such behavior.
Speech is not the same as action. “I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”–some guy, not Voltaire.
I take it you will be voting to criminalize flag burning the next time it comes up? How about reviving the Alien and Sedition Acts?
I don’t care who you are. You have no right to be immune from criticism. Even harsh criticism.
You are demanding the power to shut people up because they’re hurting your little feelings.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 12, 2009 at 11:04 am


In the post-Matthew Shepard era…
Waving the bloody shirt. What did you say to sentences that began with, “In the post 9/11 era…”
Free speech for you, but not for you anyone you disagree with.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 13, 2009 at 6:10 pm


like shouting fire in a crowded theater
Think about your cliches sometimes. If the theater is actually on fire you have a duty to shout “fire”, crowded or not.
Threats are not protected speech. David has not threatened any homosexuals.
You never answered my question about the guy who threw a grenade at George Bush either. Or about “In the post 9/11 world”.
You have a double standard. You get to say whatever you want and you’re not responsible for what other people do with it, but you don’t extend that to people who disagree with you.
I’m sorry there are people out there who think you’re going to hell, and that you can’t stand that they have the freedom to say so. Myself I prefer that such people self-identify.



report abuse
 

Gabriel Hanna

posted August 14, 2009 at 11:38 am


Maybe you and I need to calm down a little and sort out where we are.
Sorry if it offends you, but I will continue, as best I can, to hold his feet to the fire on this and other issues.
I don’t have any problem with “holding David’s feet to the fire” or “believing anything David alleges without independent confirmation”; if you read my other posts you can see that.
What I objected to is YOUR saying that speech = violence. That’s it.
As for “I believe that non-straight people are created in God’s image as much as heterosexuals”; I’m an atheist and so I don’t believe ANYONE is made in God’s image, and I don’t think being gay is immoral. (So when I wrongly got the impression you might be gay, there was no “invidiousness” on my end; unlike when you said I was female and hence “hysterical”.)
As for “and people should not be discriminated against or threatened on the basis of sexual orientation” of course I agree with this too.
Where you and I differ, is on what constitutes “threats” and “discrimination”.
Reasonable people can disagree on these things, and do. Maybe you and I just have to leave it there.
One reason why reasonable people may disagree is because some people regard gayness as a BEHAVIOR and some regard it as an IDENTITY. It is hard to deal with someone who doesn’t accept you for what you ARE.
For example, Klansmen don’t accept black people, because they are black. Their behavior is irrelevant. If you see gayness as an identity, then it is easy to make the parallel with racism. But not everyone does, and gayness as an identity is a relatively recent development (last hundred years or so)–which doesn’t mean it’s invalid.
David’s moral code doesn’t allow him to complete electrical circuits on Saturdays. In his ideal Messianic kingdom Sabbath-breaking might also be a capital offense–but his saying so is simply not the same as “fomenting violence” against Sabbath-breakers–WHICH ALSO GOES ON IN ISRAEL. (Even if you’re not Jewish and you’re breaking the Sabbath: http://www.flickr.com/groups/worldpolitics/discuss/72157621012646693/ )
There are bad and crazy people in the world who will commit violence against others on trivial pretexts; I don’t think we should all censor ourselves because of them.
Unless David explicitly says he condones and encourages such behavior, it is unfair to accuse him of “fomenting” it.
And that’s all I was trying to say.



report abuse
 

rosendo gamboa

posted June 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm


Outstanding statement!!!!!!!! my only regret in reading it ,was not haveing said it my self…………



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Kingdom of Priests. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Kabballah Counseling Happy Reading!

posted 11:24:22am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul was chattering about the "shark teeth." "Shark teeth g

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from a journalist whom I'd queried on the subject. "All told

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for us to fulfill the roll God gave us in the Torah. Please

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the topic. But no attempt to assess the scope of his legacy

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.