Phyllis Chesler is a terrified Jewish writer; she believes that anti-Semitism is an enduring force in Jewish life in the west, and there’s an “impending Holocaust” in Israel. The Jewish Press has posted her review of The Gatekeepers that begins with a caricature of New York liberal Jews as anti-Zionist. I hope Chesler is right, that these attitudes are now widespread. Her nutty tone here is revealing of the panic inside the rightwing Zionist community (the piece calls settlements “settlements”) over changing attitudes among liberal Americans.
The crowd at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema on the upper west side is mainly Jewish and liberal—ultra-liberal. They behave as if they are superior to all “oustjuden,” the illiterate, superstitious, unwashed Eastern European Jews–and therefore, in their sleek leather boots and fashionable coats they are, surely, finally, safe. At least, safer. After millennia of persecution, here are Jews who are not self-hating, not even opportunist, just Jews who feel secure as long as they feel superior to other Jews. The “outsjuden today are the Zionists, the “settlers,” the “right wing.”
Psychologically, this means that they deserve to survive. They are the “good” Jews. Assimilated, exquisitely moral, the first to find imperfections in their co-religionists…
“I am surprised those Zionists are not outside protesting,” says one woman.
“They’ll be here for the later showing, believe me” says another.
A man chimes in: “You have no idea how fanatic they can be. I know.”
His listeners nod approvingly.
And still, these safe-and-liberal Jews push and shove and behave like Jews do on a line, at the Jewish Film Festival or at the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. This I find funny and slightly endearing.
The film, “The Gatekeepers” directed by Dror Moreh, will cause Israel great harm, great damage.
Thanks to Annie Robbins.