A couple of articles pertinent to the ‘Jewish Israeli-American Rift’, and pivoting on liberal American-Jewish/Democrat Trumpophobia, appeared in Israel haYom yesterday (2019.02.19): one by an insider Jewish-American diplomat, Elliott Abrams (Are American Jews disenchanted with Israel?), and the other by a Belgian-Australian Israeli Jew, Isi Leibler (The disintegration of American Jewry).
These articles should both be understood on the background fabric of a 2018.10.29 New York Times op-ed by former Israeli ambassador to the United States and member of the Israeli Knesset, Michael B. Oren (What Israel Owes American Jews, The nation-state of the Jews must recognize Conservative and Reform Judaism.).
(Full disclosure: I’m an Israeli-American, Originalist-Orthodox, Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ Jew; i.e. advocating a logical and scientific interpretation of Torah and Tanakh as it was conveyed at Har Sinai by Mosheh (who, btw, was NOT a “rabeinu”) that restores the historic tolerance of diverse Jewish thinking. Such tolerance of diversity is an innate American Jewish, but predominantly not an official (i.e. Ultra-Orthodox/Kha•reid•iꞋ) Israeli Jewish, characteristic.
While Oren’s article is technically accurate, he follows the Israeli secular mantra of lumping “the religious” together: the 8% Ultra-Orthodox/Kha•reid•iꞋ in with the 12% Orthodox to arrive at a total of 20% of Israeli voters, “most of [whom] view the liberal strains of Judaism as a heresy”.
Entirely ignored are the approx. 60% of “traditional” Israeli Jews who, unbeknownst to themselves and shielded from that English-exclusive knowledge by Israeli Ultra-Orthodox and political leaders alike, are religiously indistinguishable from Diaspora non-Orthodox Jews. Thus, while Oren and other Israelis describe a near-monolithic Israeli rejection of American non-Orthodox Jews, the fact is that, if Israelis were accurately informed, only the 8% of Ultra-Orthodox + some Orthodox Israeli Jews would oppose non-Orthodox American Jews or Judaism – and that because they fear diverse opinion that threatens their Dark Ages-anchored rule in Israel. This is exacerbated by the inordinate political clout wielded by the Ultra-Orthodox kingmakers in practically every post-election coalition. All indications are that hold for the 2019.04 elections as well.
While Israeli commentators scrupulously restrict their perspective to information that corroborates Israeli preconceived beliefs about American Jewry (like Mr. Leibler), Abrams’ analysis is informed both by being an insider (American Jew) and basing his article on actual input from American Jewry.
The American Reform definition of “Who Is A Jew” differs from the Israeli legal definition, dictated by the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate, which requires either matrilineal genetic descent or the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox standard of conversions and documentation. The result is that countless non-Orthodox American “Jews”, and all of their converts, despite being virtually indistinguishable from most traditional Israeli Jews, are excluded in Israel, brusquely, as goyim!
Given such a shocking, cavalier Israeli severing of perhaps 90% of world Tᵊphutz•âhꞋ Jewry (goyim?) from Israeli Jewry, no intelligent person can defend bewilderment why non-Orthodox American Jews don’t identify in lockstep with Israeli Jews! Nor why American Jews don’t devote time or resources developing a micropolitical, or microreligious, understanding of threats to Israel.
Ah, Mr. Abrams (based on the J Street poll) seems to demonstrate, but American Jews don’t know these things and don’t care: “Perhaps most strikingly, respondents were asked, “How much have you heard about Israeli policy toward the non-Orthodox population, such as who can pray at the Western Wall, who can perform marriage ceremonies, who can grant divorces, and who can convert to Judaism?” This has been a source of constant controversy, especially with the largest denomination among American Jews, the Reform movement… 65% have heard little or just plain nothing.” (hi-liting added)
Scrutinizing the J Street questions, framing the questions in terms that interviewees were asked whether they were informed on internal Israeli matters of “who can pray at the Western Wall, who can perform marriage ceremonies, who can grant divorces, and who can convert to Judaism”, and details of a daily-changing, mind-boggling, sort-of peace process, one should not be flummoxed that 65% of American Jews don’t bother to keep up with internal Israeli matters they cannot influence, are not influenced by and are represented by Israelis as not in their wheel-house and none of their concern. How can anyone be surprised? Or that they support a vague, largely undefined and malleable “2-State Solution” by 78 to 22. Simply put, they merely want an end to the conflict and peace for Israel–without getting bogged down in details that are constantly in flux and unsettled anyway.
Notably, the more general (less detailed) knowledge of Israeli policy toward the non-Orthodox American Jews has resulted in double the number of American Jews negatively-impacted as positively-impacted!
Oren tripped over the same carelessness as so many others before and after him: the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People applies only to Israeli Rabbinate-defined Jews, disrecognizing, disenfranchising and excluding the vast majority of American Jews!!! Contrary to Oren, the still-disputed law does not begin to “includ[e all Jews] in America”! To Oren’s credit, though, he’s partially correct in pointing out, “The nonrecognition of Conservative and Reform Judaism is incompatible with both the intent and the spirit of the law.” Regarding the intent of the law—more accurately the Ultra-Orthodox enablers’ intent—I’m persuaded that they, particularly, clearly intend for this law to apply only to their kind of Jews—and it is also those same Ultra-Orthodox who operate the Rabbinate that decides to whom it applies!
On the other hand, Liebler, too, has a valid point. Although Liebler is blind to the contra-democratic rule of the Ultra-Orthodox Kha•reid•imꞋ “tail that wags the sheep” over “Jewish” matters in Israel, it’s indisputable that American non-Orthodox Jews have followed American Liberal Democrats off the deep end like brainless lemmings into Trumpophobic hysteria that has dwarfed McCarthyism. American non-Orthodox Jews have aided and abetted BDS and turned a blind eye toward BLM black supremacist racism—”an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing”.
Contrary to Liebler, however, I find no evidence that these American non-Orthodox Jews are either “self-hating” or “deviants”. Rather, they are humanzees to be weaned from their dependence on “safe zones”, chemical tranquilizations and psychotherapy to remain disconnected—protected—from inconvenient reality.
Liebler’s insistence that “Those committed to Israel… should set aside the absurdity of promoting the “big tent” and seeking to engage in dialogue with Jews opposed to Israel’s right to defend itself” is a callous call to excise 90% of world Jewry! Such a call is abhorrent and unworthy of a Jew. Liebler fails to understand that these Jews are Americans talking to Americans. America’s core value is tolerance of others’ religion, guaranteeing that no one should ever face a choice between being an American and pursuing his or her religion. Americans should engage in dialogue with other Americans, of whatever persuasion. No Belgian-Australian Jew has any business telling Americans otherwise! In other word, Mr. Liebler, when it comes to how any Americans engage with any other Americans, you are irrelevant and out of order!
Mr. Abrams is right about one thing: “what everyone knows is simply wrong”! While the J Street survey, self-servingly, notes no great rift between Israeli and American Jews, there is no escaping the observation that Israel’s political realities of Ultra-Orthodox Kha•reid•iꞋ absurdarchy have already defined 90% of world Jewry as goyim. It’s only a matter of time until that unavoidable reality inexorably hits the proverbial fan.
(Republishing my articles and short quotations from the Netzarim website (www.netzarim.co.il) is encouraged as long as proper citation credit is prominently noted to Paqid Yirmeyahu, this blog and further information at http://www.netzarim.co.il)