In a piece on the spate of sex scandals involving Jewish politicians, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor says that American Jews are not just embarrassed, but made anxious by the news:
Jews harbor their own historically grounded fears about reputation, acceptance and negative stereotypes, and those anxieties have flared recently in articles in the Jewish press and in conversations about Mr. Weiner, Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Filner. On a recent Friday night, after Mr. Filner announced he would not resign, Rabbi Michael Berk of Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego’s largest synagogue, tore into him from the pulpit. “I’m sure I’m not the only Jew who is embarrassed,” he said.
It’s the view of our website that American Jews should be embarrassed by their public connection to the Israeli occupation and to the second-class citizenship of Palestinians inside Israel–a status we would never accept here for historically grounded reasons having to do with the Bill of Rights.
Of course Kantor is silent about that part of our reputation, though Anthony Weiner outspokenly supports the occupation. I’m not surprised. Kantor went to a benefit for an Israeli dance company 5 years ago, along with the Israeli ambassador (And she did a fellowship in Israel in the late 1990s.)
Writes Donald Johnson, who alerted me to this piece: “I was thinking about why there’s no mention of Weiner’s denial of the occupation and I think it’s this–in the case of individuals guilty of fraud or sex scandals or other crimes, the impulse to do this comes from within the person and it really doesn’t reflect on the community, though people fear that others will see it that way. But when Weiner denies that there is an occupation, he is pandering to some bad impulses within the community. He’s done a political calculation that it’s better for him to deny the occupation than admit it.”