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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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The Jews of the United States

Rabbi Meir Kahane on U.S.-Israel relations: "The State of Israel must send leaders to speak directly to the masses of American Jews. Not timid spokespersons, who equivocate and apologize and fear to call the Arab spade a spade."
Rabbi Kahane

The answer is, a split of some sort is inevitable, unless Israel chooses to commit suicide. A certain number of American Jews will condemn Israel for a sane policy of strength against the Arabs who seek to destroy it. A certain number of American Jews, Jewish leaders and intellectuals will criticize Israel no matter what it does, short of making mad concessions to the “Palestinians” and meeting with the PLO. These are people who already are affiliated with or support self-hating extremist groups such as Peace Now and New Jewish Agenda. No one need worry about losing these people, who represent so few people, and whose schizophrenia is so deep and incurable.

At the same time, let it be remembered that the term “American Jewish community” must itself be placed in proper context. There may be some six million American Jews (no one knows), but surely there are nowhere near six million Jews affiliated with any Jewish community! Half of American Jews have absolutely nothing to do with anything Jewish — not even giving to the bottom line of Jewry, the United Jewish Appeal. Of the other half, not more than a few hundred thousand are anything approximating “active” Jews. The overwhelming majority of members of Reform and Conservative temples are there for the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah of their children. The average giver to the UJA is a passive, total non-activist Jew. Their weight is negligible, for good or for bad.

More, the Establishment Jewish groups, the so-called “major” Jewish organizations, are paper groups, and nothing more. Their membership lists are fraudulent, most names being former members who have not paid their dues for years. A look at some of the Jewish organizations who are members of the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations finds such creatures as the Jewish War Veterans, a group of dwindling, aged poker players; Herut, which does not have even one thousand active members; Mizrachi (a paper organization that can never die as long as its national office lives); the American Jewish Committee, whose wealth is infinitely greater than its tiny handful of members. The only real organizations on the American Jewish scene are the women’s groups, and their political acumen and power are somewhat less than 1 on the Richter scale.

It is the Jewish Federations that are the real power in the United States, the fund-raisers for Israel. They could constitute a problem for the Jewish state, and indeed, most of the power brokers in the Federations and welfare funds are either wealthy liberals or wealthy conservatives who are afraid of the anti-Semitism that Israel might bring down upon Jews. In addition, the professionals who run the Federations on a daily basis, the executive directors, are invariably liberals whose knowledge of Judaism and Zionism is awesomely lacking. Because of the access of the Federations to lists of Jews who are even remotely “active” and who give whatever they give to the UJA-Federations, they possess the potential power to reach and influence those Jews. Similarly, while the temples are nowhere as large and influential as the official membership figures, the rabbis, unfortunately, do carry a certain amount of weight. They do speak to a few hundred congregants each week, and can reach many more with literature.

With all this in mind, let it be clear, and let it be made clear to U.S. Jews, that the State of Israel cannot allow itself, even under the worst of possible threats, to be influenced by American Jews, when its security — not to mention survival — is at stake. That must be the first axiom. There is no amount of pressure and no amount of loss of money or support that can sway Israel in the slightest from carrying out policies that are necessary for survival, no matter how objectionable they are to certain American Jews.

The second axiom that must be made clear to U.S. Jews is that they need Israel far more than Israel needs them. The Jewish state will never go under for lack of UJA and Israel Bonds money (which today comprises a rather minor part of the total Israeli budget). Nor is Israel without the means to lobby and persuade the American government that Washington’s interest lies in supporting the Jewish state. At worst, Israel will tighten its belt, will implement austerity programs, but even the most horrendous loss of American Jewish support will, in no way, threaten Israel’s survival.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


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37 Responses to “The Jews of the United States”

  1. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    Recently I was rebuked publicly because I am not orthodox or should I say "Jewish enough." I would like to remind all of us that our blessed Torah states one of the highest mitvots is ahavat Israel, love your neighbor. Yesterday my rabbi (chabad) discussed the importance in how we treat our fellow man. We are all of G-d, we all carry His spark, and it is up to us to see the spark and respect it. I was once rebuked for not being "enough of a Jew" because I discussed Kaballah in front of other more religious Jews, and I am not orthodox. The person who did the rebuking committed a sin- she humiliated me publicly. She did not apologize for it. I ask myself when I am in Jerusalem, and I see the 20 different black hats, which of them has a complete lock on truth. In other words which hat has the right shape. A Fedora or a bowler? I am a proud Jew, as good as you, and certainly no less. I wear no shaitel, I do not wear long skirts, and I drive on Shabbos. I do light candles, I do attend Shabbat services, I do study Torah, but mostly I follow a golden rule- I honor my neighbor, I see the spark in him. All I ask is that he see that within me. Shalom

    Of the hundreds of mitzvots that we can perform, every Jew misses some. Of all the shortcomings, harshly judgng our neighbors and spreading hatred and dissention between Jews is the most damaging to Israel, and our people. The Second Temple fell because of causeless hatred, and alas I see no evidence that the lesson as been learned today. Debby
    Recently I was rebuked publicly because I am not orthodox or should I say "Jewish enough." I would like to remind all of us that our blessed Torah states one of the highest mitvots is ahavat Israel, love your neighbor. Yesterday my rabbi (chabad) discussed the importance in how we treat our fellow man. We are all of G-d, we all carry His spark, and it is up to us to see the spark and respect it. I was once rebuked for not being "enough of a Jew" because I discussed Kaballah in front of other more religious Jews, and I am not orthodox. The person who did the rebuking committed a sin- she humiliated me publicly. She did not apologize for it. I ask myself when I am in Jerusalem, and I see the 20 different black hats, which of them has a complete lock on truth. In other words which hat has the right shape. A Fedora or a bowler? I am a proud Jew, as good as you, and certainly no less. I wear no shaitel, I do not wear long skirts, and I drive on Shabbos. I do light candles, I do attend Shabbat services, I do study Torah, but mostly I follow a golden rule- I honor my neighbor, I see the spark in him. All I ask is that he see that within me. Shalom

    Of the hundreds of mitzvots that we can perform, every Jew misses some. Of all the shortcomings, harshly judgng our neighbors and spreading hatred and dissention between Jews is the most damaging to Israel, and our people. The Second Temple fell because of causeless hatred, and alas I see no evidence that the lesson as been learned today. Debby

  2. Tzvi Fishman says:

    Wonderful, just wonderful. You are absolutely right. But would it be so terrible to keep Shabbat and wear long skirts? Vats so scarey in that?

  3. I got your number sweety. You're right on. I'm big, fat and ugly but that an't gona stop me from bein myself and lovin livin in Israel. You all will find that hatrid in californa more than in Israel. Israel ez the melting pot of the world of Jews so ther's lots of diferant Jews here that you'd feel rite at home and even feel better not drivin on Shabat.

  4. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    Of course not- I don't mind it, as long as there is no guilt trips or judgementalism, or negative pressure. When you put it like that, no problem :)

  5. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    Tzvi when put so sweetly, not a problem at all for me.

  6. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    Beulah Banias, I love your attitude. Yes I grew up here in sunny CALifornia, and had many street fights as a young girl- ignorance passed on from their parents. No Jews here in the OC when i came. But I learned how to fight them off, and have been a strong activist and advocate for Israel ever since. I took the negative and used it to empower myself. Thank G-d iIwas born a Jew, and this was the best place to learn to appreciate it <3

  7. Liad Bar-el says:

    Great blog!

    “But as with all things that are based on emotion, rather than logic and ideology, as times changed and as a generation changed and moved on to make way for another, so did the attitude toward and the status of the Jewish State.”…and toward the adherence to the Torah as well; thus, we find the American Jewish children are not raised to learn and to adhere to any Torah ethics. They then have premarital sex with goyim who were also raised not to have any ethics; thus, they get emotionally involved, calling it “love” which only lasts until the first child comes and then the family begins to split. Jewish wife/mother: “How shall be bring this child up, Jewish or non-Jewish.” Goy husband/father: “Do what you want. I have to go to work. I’ll be home late tonight because my secretary and I have a project to do.” The next morning as the husband sleeps in late and as the wife picks up his dirty clothes, she smells perfume and sees strands of long blond hair on his clothes. After the husband gets up, takes a shower and goes to his closet of clothes to get dressed, he sees old male underwear which are not his.

  8. Tim Upham says:

    The tragedy of American Jews is that most of them have an identify crisis. Because of assimilation and a high degree of intermarriage, most do not know what a Jewish identity is all about. So many will espouse radical right wing support of Israel, which will include physical extermination of the Palestinians or they forced removal. Like what Meir Kahane embraced. I find out a lot of these people are not affiliated with a synagogue, know what a Siddur is, nothing about the Talmud, Halachic law is all about, or know no Hebrew. It is I find my Jewish identity, by saying we have enemies, and we must destroy those enemies. Which goes to show there is a great lack of Jewish education. But what is Jewish education within the United States? Voluntary commitment. But once you make that commitment, then you have an identity, and you do not have to rely on victimizing other people to find it.

  9. Yaacov Barak says:

    I'm in….free at last, free at last….I have reached the hallowed grounds of Rabeinu Fishman's blog….HaRav Kahana Z"L, was a man far ahead of his time….his words will one day be shown to have been the absolute truth.

  10. Michael Rose says:

    Bill Maher is a Jew and he still likes Obama. The media which the Jews own control politics and how this country is run. It is bombarded with Jew media, Jew movies, Jew politics, Jew this Jew that. Why can't your country bail itself out of its own ****ing problems. You Jews have been in war with Iran for decades. Make some ****ing peace and save our country some ****ing debt. Fix your own problems and ****ing wipe your asses on Iran.

  11. David Levi says:

    You know of course that Bibi must go. he has proven himself as an incompetent and imprudent leader. Israel's present and future well being depends on someone at its helm that can get along with the most important head of state on the globe, namely the President of the U.S. Bibi is unable to maintain good relations with his coalition partners, his opposition and the most prominent Jurors in Israel, let alone important foreign dignitaries. Bibi strikes a very positive pose as the prime minister, a good physique, well modulated speaking voice, wears an impressive tie and suit but as an administrator and a diplomatic leader he remains an abject failure, a superficial impressive image- all image, but no substance Ask any Likud, or MK member and you will find a uniform negative opinion on the real Netanyahu. Sad but very true

  12. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    I disagree entirely- he is not incompetent in any way whatsover. Walk a mile in his shoes and then come back and tell me that David. He is the most balanced leader they have, and he is a genius at keep a coalition together.

  13. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    David Levi I disagree entirely- he is not incompetent in any way whatsover. Walk a mile in his shoes and then come back and tell me that David. He is the most balanced leader they have, and he is a genius at keep a coalition together.

    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago

    Liad Bar-el · Top Commenter · Jerusalem, Israel
    Great blog!

    “But as with all things that are based on emotion, rather than logic and ideology, as times changed and as a generation cha

  14. HoneyBee Deborah says:

    David Levi who would you appoint to replace him, and why. And I have asked several Likud leaders, friends of mine, and they agree with me.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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