Three examples from the last 24 hours…
1. The Washington Post runs a piece by Anat Berko, an Israeli scholar, called “If Israel bombed Iran, what would life in Tel Aviv be like?” You’d think that they might ask what life in Tehran would be like. And as it turns out, Berko is not really that interested in imagining life in Tel Aviv, so much as offering homiletics about the Holocaust:
The soldiers hurry out of their homes, buttoning their uniforms and scattering to bases and missions across the country. The massacres of Jews and the piles of ash left by the Nazis are part of our collective memory. So we take responsibility for our own defense — of a land that is both a haven and a self-imposed ghetto for the Jewish people.
My husband, a volunteer beyond the age of his mandatory reserve duty, is called up to defend the home front. In the past, the Israel Defense Forces’ preference for male over female reservists bothered me, but this time I am happy to stay home.
After the Holocaust, we said “Never again,” and we meant it. The world must understand that when the Jewish people are threatened, it is the first sign of a threat to international order and world peace…
In all of Israel’s many wars, the people have put aside the arguments that divided them politically and united to fight those who wished to destroy the Jewish state. Etc.
2. On All Things Considered, host Robert Siegel and political commentator David Brooks do what we used to call a little Jewish geography together, based on a recent article in Moment Magazine about the DNA of “notable” American Jews. The fact that they’re both Jewish and Moment is a Jewish magazine is merely implicit in this banter. The NPR transcriber did not know how to spell shtetl or pogrom; I’ve corrected the misspellings. A pogrom is an anti-Semitic riot or uprising in Eastern Europe.
SIEGEL: And E.J., in the interest in full disclosure, since the three of us spoke last, Moment magazine determined, based on saliva samples, that David and I share 10 centimorgans of DNA, apparently making us fourth cousins. And despite this newly discovered, extremely remote kinship, I shall still strive for fairness.
E.J. DIONNE: I have no doubt. I know I like David better now.
SIEGEL: So Cousin David, you – you weighed in very, very early – very, very critically on the by-now-notorious Romney fundraising video. Is there anything more to say about Governor Romney and the 47 percent or now the 14 percent tax rate?
BROOKS: Can I just say, first of all, I was most surprised that our ancestors worked together on National Shtetl Radio, a program called “All Pogroms Considered.”
3. I got a letter from Aaron Mann, the new campus outreach co-manager for Americans for Peace Now. Excerpt. Emphasis mine:
I’m a Jew, and a Zionist. I’m pro-Israel and pro-peace. I want security for Israel. I want rights for Palestinians. I want two states for two peoples.
As far as I’m concerned, none of that is controversial. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from hearing the majority of the discourse about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that pervades our universities. This polarized dialogue is what many American students who care about Israel have had to deal with.
Like me, many have been looking for an alternative, moderate voice on campus.
I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel for much of my life, due in large part to what many in my family experienced during World War II. Israel’s preservation is, for us, an existential issue. As such, it’s always been difficult for me to be critical of a Jewish state- with its existence seemingly a miracle- that has been under constant threat for decades. A state founded by a people who have lived with such threats for centuries.
What was never difficult was maintaining a sense of solidarity and sympathy toward Israel.
Aaron, please tell me how you’re threatened, and why it’s an existential issue for you.