Israelis Care About A Great Many Things. American Jews Are Not Among Them.

As Israel rises, American Jews sink into irrelevance and assimilation.

Kitkatcrazy at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

If Canadians have a national sport, it is not hockey. Rather, it is “Spot the Canadian”. They are obsessed with finding the Canadian roots of every actor, performer, athlete, or generally a person of the slightest fame or notoriety. Kim Cattrall? From British Columbia, of course. Sidney Crosby? Nova Scotia. There are entire documentaries that deal exclusively with Canadians who at the very first blossoming of their talent abandoned the frozen North with its limited opportunities, high taxation, and a culture that encourages polite mediocrity and moved to LA, New York, or Boston. These people are not frowned upon in Canada, on the contrary, they are admired. “We wouldn’t live here either, if we were talented enough or hardworking enough, seems to be the general Canadian consensus.

Growing up in 1970’s Israel, I have experienced a similar attitude by us, Israelis, towards what many considered our luckier, more advanced cousins, the American Jews. Israeli media considered it obligatory to mention the remotest Jewish origins of an American who for any reason was the subject of their reporting, be it Henry Kissinger or Madeleine Albright or Bob Dylan. A famous 1970’s song by the great late Arik Einstein longingly talks about the San Francisco, as yet human excrement free, waterfront. While the song is infused by nostalgia for Israel, it leaves little doubt that San Francisco is where it’s at.

When I first came to America not as a tourist, but as an immigrant in the late 1990’s, the situation was already changing, but the changes were as yet invisible. America was still the “goldene medine” (a golden country in the Yiddish), a land of unlimited opportunities. American Jews felt confident, powerful, and unconcerned with who knew of their Jewishness and who didn’t. Two decades later, the situation could not be more drastically different. For this website and because I feel every bit as Israeli today as I have ever felt, I scan with a fine tooth comb all Israeli media. Everything is there, except one thing: diaspora Jews. The only time non-Israeli Jews are reported on with regards to anything other than their personal achievements and outside of the roles they play in human affairs is when there is an attack on Jewish interests such as the one on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Israel, Israeli media, and simply Israelis, seem utterly unconcerned about the fate of diaspora and specifically American Jewry on a personal level. On the communal level, there is concern, but it is the concern of a free, secure, and prosperous person for his enslaved and poor cousin, a concern that in every way echoes the feelings that Jews in New York circa 1910 felt for their cousins who stayed back in Poland. I had the opportunity recently to speak with an Israeli entrepreneur who developed a system for people to enjoy self-guided culinary tours of famous markets in Israel and around the globe. His business is now present in Barcelona and in Singapore with plans for Tokyo and Hong Kong. When I asked about New York, he chuckled. “That’s not where it’s at,” he said. “Israelis don’t go there any more”.

In a somehow related, though I struggle to explain exactly how, development, many American Jews are now proudly wearing the social media equivalent of the yellow Star of David badge of Nazi vintage: the ((())) sign around their names. With respect to this phenomenon, it is important to remember that the notoriety of the yellow patch came not from the patch itself or from its function of identifying who was Jewish and who was not. As someone who spent the first ten years of his life in a European diaspora, let me assure you that from the moment anyone lays eyes on you or hears your name they have no doubt as to your ethnic identity. No, the yellow star obtained its notoriety not because it identified Jews, but because of the ends to which this identification was made: persecution, enslavement, death.

Unless you are willing to live with your head firmly buried in the proverbial sand, as a Jew you must acknowledge that the end purpose of the ((())) badge is yet unknown, but in any case, it cannot be good. I know that many American Jews embrace it as sign of defiance, but they are as weak as they are misguided. The objective of this sign is humiliation and the marking of one’s doorstep with a lamb’s blood, though not, as in the Passover story, to be passed over for slaughter, but as in a death camp, to be selected for it.

(((Americans))) are busy having a discussion in every possible forum about how they feel with regards to Israel; what it does, who leads it, how it lives its life, how it should live its life. In the mean time, Israel simply doesn’t give a damn. Not the slightest echo of this discussion finds its way to the Hebrew language media, media that is diverse, vibrant, and chock full of anything that will gather even the least number of clicks from Israelis. American Jews and even America itself, have simply stopped being of much interest to Israelis. Of course, as a great superpower and a great ally, America is the center of many news and analysis pieces in the Israeli media, but it has nothing to do with American Jews. Nothing at all.

American Jews have been, to this point in time, an incredible success story, but they forgot to what they owe this success. They owe it to the deep and unique culture that their grandparents brought with them from the East European stetl (from the Yiddish: a small town, used to describe Jewish majority towns in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe); a culture of traditionalism, tribalism, and national survival above all else. This culture has established the State of Israel and its abandonment by the bulk of American Jewry spells its rapid descent into irrelevance. Pretending that anyone in Israel would shed a tear for their soon to come assimilation into what our prayer book calls “the families of the Earth” is not going to do American Jews any good. They are on their own.

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SteveStevensen May 12, 2019 at 2:23 pm

I think that there are three very good reasons why Israel should give a damn about America and American Jews:

1. Because “Americans” like George Soros and other NGOs are determined to bring secular Jews to power in Israel and to continue to push BDS until they can force a two state solution upon Israel.
2. Because the diaspora has lost their way, and it makes sense to at least try to bring them back to their spiritual and cultural roots and rebuild those ties with Israel. This may also diminish American Jewish support for BDS.
3. Because US taxpayers fork over ~$3B plus to Israel annually, and that there are a lot of benefits that the USA gets for that grant that go unreported.

The Saudis support madrassas and mosques throughout the world to spread their violent Wahhabi form of Islam. It works…from Nigeria to Malaysia to Philadelphia it spreads Saudi influence and uses fear and violence to expand Sunni Islam.

Why in the world would Israel not want to serve as a bulwark to Islam and be a force for good…where Islam is the dark, Israel is the light? Be missionaries…ambassadors, not just to bring American Jews back into the fold, but to show the world what a force for good Israel is and will always be.

To curl up into the fetal position and ignore the diaspora reminds me of America before WW2…thinking that if we ignore the Axis it would go away.

Jonathan Miller May 12, 2019 at 4:29 pm

The American Jew seems to be a retro looking caricature of the Radical Russian Jew from the turn of the century circa 1915-1930… Insanely Partisan and Virulent…they speak loudly of the coming Pogroms…
Meeting in secret societies to plan large societally damaging changes and upheavals, they proudly fill up their Molotovs and chuckle as they stuff rags in the top. Hollywood is becoming totally irrelevant as the Tribe gathers and they continue their exhortation against the Leaders that have done so much for their expatriated country. They shout, “Less Mensch, and more Menshevik…”

George Mason May 12, 2019 at 5:03 pm

If you cannot depend on them for support or solidarity why would they concern you? Seems like Protestant Christians have more in common, at least morally with observant Jews than most American who consider themselves Jewish.

MathiasWasAnMSMJournalist May 13, 2019 at 6:12 am

Amerikan “Jews” [JINO’s] and Televiv “Jews” are sort of the same really. If you support baby killing and Sodomy are you really a Jew?

Really the “Jew”ish community is really partly clay and partly iron. There are irreconcilable differences and the two can’t really stand together for they are not the same.

mackykam May 13, 2019 at 8:28 am

When over 60% of American Jewry have intermarried, 85% of Chasidim are filled with anti-Israel sinat chinam, why be concerned about valueless, morally corrupt American Jewry?

Georgiy Y Keselman May 13, 2019 at 10:22 pm

I laughed at your article. I am an ((( X ))). I was a secular emigrant from Russia long ago. Before, I considered to go to Israel but decided to wait for an American visa. Why? I don’t like a country that after 70 years of its existence still doesn’t have a written constitution. (I remember when Israel came up, I was a little boy then). I don’t like a country where clericals interfere in all aspects of everyday life including family, marriage, and children. I don’t like a country where marxists dominate, even in the army. There is only one and a half opinion that is allowed, and that is not conservative in non-religious sense. I don’t believe in a social justice.

I hate some of the Europeans because they are jew-haters (especially most French, some Germans and British) as their ancestors have always been. Nobody can change that. It’s a 2000+ years tradition.

I visited Israel in May 2008 for a fortnight. First, it looked to me as a normal country. Then I noticed that socialism there has permeated deep in almost everything. Various hierarchies in the government are true signs of marxism. Rabbi-sters and Orthodox Jews behaved as real owners of the state. Talk about schools. Talk about public transportation from midday Friday to evening on Saturday.

On my exit when I came to the Ben Gurion airport passport control, I was checked out on two computers for 20 minutes to make sure that I did not evade military service there. I would feel obliged to kill a few aggressive Arabs but there was no such opportunity for me. Enough.

I’ve lived in Russia for too long. It was similar to swimming in hydrochloric acid solution. So, I’m familiar with jew-haters. I want Jews to be free forever. Let’s start with ourselves: what ideas we have in our heads. Tanakh is a great historical compilation, a source of enjoyment sometimes, but it is not a life manual. I still feel of myself as unassimilated here in USA.

You know well as I do that in case of a real danger to Israel American Jews will do what it takes to ensure Israel’s survival. It was president Roosevelt who turned European ship SS Drottningholm with Jews away in the summer of 1942. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/us-government-turned-away-thousands-jewish-refugees-fearing-they-were-nazi-spies-180957324/
It was President Nixon who saved Jews in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/richard-nixon-the-anti-semite-who-saved-israel-1.6073645
It was an idiot Golda Meir who almost managed to topple Israel singlehandedly.
Sholom to you and all Israelis there.

magnus dalen June 9, 2019 at 11:30 am

America’s evangelical Christians are great friend of Israel & all Jews. They and their British brethren worked tirelessly to help Israel regain its territory & statehood. We are awaiting the second coming of the Messiah & know that Israel is at the center of that event. Evangelical Christians will always support the State of Israel’s right to exist & know that God will never allow it to lose this global battle against the evil forces of Satan.

President Trump has become a good friend of Israel in large part due to the urging & support of America’s evangelical Christians. The greatest war of all time is coming soon and it will be centered on the borders of Israel.


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