Not too long ago, I wrote an article about Tzipi Hotovely and her recent comments currently dividing American Jewry. Admittedly, the article is largely satirical, representing a strawman of diaspora Jews, while also exposing the hypocrisy in which many liberals and reform Jews approach Israel. I found the whole controversy to be ridiculous, and gave it the exact seriousness that it was worth.
I note one sad fact however, there is no denying that the Jewish world is indeed divided; and it gets more bitter every year, with little resolution. It is this fact that has sparked my meditation. I consider myself more conservative than most, as anyone can see, and I think the blame lies mainly on the left for this continued division. However, I refuse to believe that this schism is irreparable. True, there are many anti-Israel Jews, such as JVP on college campuses; but I do not address them here because I do not consider anyone who is anti-Israel to be particularly Jewish nor liberal.
Israel is, by definition, a liberal democracy. If you can’t even support Israel on that basis, then how do you consider yourself a liberal? No. I don’t care how “Jewish” they are, anti-Zionist liberals have given up their personal philosophy to become tools of radical college professors. I realize I may be preaching to the choir here, but I stress this because anyone who declares themselves to be anti-Israel falls so far off the spectrum to be more Muslim than Jewish, and should have no voice in either Israeli nor Jewish affairs. The tragedy is that more American Jews fall into this category every year, and as of 2012, 60% of American Jews claim absolutely no attachment to Israel. It seems inevitable that much of American Jewry will undermine their own national identity if they continue to support policies like the JCPOA.
Thankfully, as a conservative, I support the Jewish state no matter what form it takes. I could only be so blessed to see the moshiach come and restore the Kingdom of David. “Liberalism” doesn’t matter to me. Protecting Jewish interests is what’s important, and I object to any attempt to make our nation weak.
During my meditations, I was listening to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. While I founded this site independent of his influence, he is somewhat of an inspiration to me; and I think his pride in Judaism represents the ideals of this website well. The only flaw being that he was an ideologue, unable to act pragmatically. As much as I would love to see every American reformer wake up to suddenly observe Shabbat and make aliyah that very night, such standards are simply too much to expect. As long as he supports Israel, a liberal Jew is a Jew whose concerns about the state should be addressed on merit.
This ends up being a bitter pill for many on the right to swallow, as well as for the left. Whether it’s skin grafts, or rice on Pesach, the orthodox are known for fighting every single battle. I respect this, but sometimes it’s to the detriment of the state as a whole. We need to choose our political battles and save our energies for important victories, because these very divisions will be exploited by our enemies. To use myself as an example, I agree with the orthodox on almost all issues, with the exception of IDF service. But when Palestinians are preparing another intifada in response to the US embassy move, none of these power games between the Knesset and the Rabbinate are going to mean a thing if the Arabs win.
It is my belief that, where the religious and diaspora Jews can compromise, they should. My fear, however, is there may be very little they can compromise on. While I do believe Israel should remain inclusive and welcoming to all Jews from all backgrounds; from a political perspective, diaspora Jewry needs to let Israel control its own future, and come to terms that what they want may not always be what Israelis want…unless they themselves wish to make aliyah to maintain political sway.