The New York Times once again has offered a platform to a militant American-Israeli Zionist to argue that Jews are only safe when they oppress Palestinians.
The subject is Charlottesville, and the rise of neo-Nazis. Israel-promoter Daniel Gordis is granted an op-ed to say that Jews are safer in Israel than America, because in America, Jewish kids don’t know how to play with guns. Here’s the heart of the piece:
Israel has a military draft, and all of our kids served. Those years of service, of coming home on weekends with M-16s that we had to remind them not to leave on the sofas, inculcated in them a confidence about the world that I never had at their age.
Of course Gordis doesn’t tell us where those kids served. The occupied territories, surely, making certain that Palestinians who are resisting their lack of rights for 50 years stay fairly quiet.
Gordis doesn’t care about Palestinians. The word doesn’t appear in this homily. He cares about Jews, and about how Israel has “cured” Jews of their weaknesses. He tells a (questionable) anecdote about how Israel has turned mice into men:
I had the students — a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates — watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen.
Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their “republican principles.” The first was the supremacy of “white culture.” The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was “killing Jews.” The entire class burst into laughter.
Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: “What, does this guy believe that in today’s world you can just go out and kill Jews? It’s funny, that’s all.”…
The conclusion of the article hammers home the point about Israel being safer for Jews than the U.S. He quotes his son wondering whether the day has arrived when America will not “be there” for Jews, as it was during the Holocaust:
Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude.
Gordis and I grew up in the same Baltimore academic Jewish community (I attended a seder or two at his parents’ house) and from my standpoint, this view of America is bullshit. I am a few years older than Gordis; yet I never felt unsafe, I never felt vulnerable. I felt welcome and included. My high school had fewer than ten Jews in it, out of a couple thousand students. I was proudly Jewish, bar mitzvah’d at the old Chizuk Amuno in the inner city, I rode public buses everywhere in the city, worked nights at the stadium, enjoyed a great diversity of friendships, and had pleasures and challenges and setbacks, the proportions of which had no connection to my religion.
Gordis’s dark view of America is of a piece with Michael Oren’s fantasy of a pogrom in West Orange, NJ, 1971; and I believe it is a product of indoctrination.
When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?
PS. More about those M-16s. Why can’t the New York Times publish what Tony Klug wrote about the guns in 1977 and repeated last March at J Street:
While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and whose yearning for independence is no less than was that of the Palestinian Jews in the early months of 1948. As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish Diaspora.