There’s no doubt that liberal U.S. Jews are becoming alarmed that fewer and fewer Israelis are prepared to support the delusional view that, in order to gain acceptance on paper by the Arabs, Israel must first render itself completely vulnerable by handing over its most important territorial assets.
Roger Cohen praises, in this morning’s NY Times (Why American Jews Matter), A.J.C. Executive Director David Harris, who rebuked Minister Naftali Bennett’s comment about the need to “build, build, build” in Judea and Samaria, and to accept that the Palestinian issue, like that by now notorious shrapnel in his friend’s backside, will continue to cause us the occasional, but not critical, pain.
Harris said the minister’s remarks were “stunningly shortsighted,” that they must be “repudiated by the country’s top leaders,” and that they offered “only the prospect of a dead-end strategy of endless conflict and growing isolation for Israel.”
Roger Cohen praised “Harris’s shots inside the troops carrier,” writing admiringly: “To say such language is unusual at major U.S. Jewish organizations is an understatement: Israel has had near carte blanche from them, with negative consequences.”
Did you get that part? Israel was enjoying a carte blanche, as if the Jewish State actually needs the approval of possibly three million, loosely organized but oh so vociferous American Jews in order to carry out its policies.
Some cases of Chutzpah run deeper than its mere insolent bruising. Every once in a while, you can glean from the Chutzpah an entire world view.
Roger Cohen, sitting on West 46th Street, sipping a cool lemonade, actually believes that his opinion matters. That the good people of Israel, having buried thousands of their dead after two intifadas and two Gaza wars, will actually take into account some leftist American Jew’s view about giving the Arabs a fourth chance to annihilate us. Or that we will continue to accept a policy of construction freeze in our population areas that are literally bursting with the highest birth rate in the country.
Sitting on 46th Street, a member of an economic elite in a country whose middle class is mired in poverty, in a country so panicked by the fear of terrorism, it has annulled at least five of the first amendments to its constitution, Roger Cohen is calling the views of Bennett and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, “messianic:”
“This Messianic view of the Jewish state’s destiny has grown for the past 46 years, despite undertakings from various leaders, including Netanyahu in 2009, to seek a two-state peace. If the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, outside East Jerusalem, has almost doubled in the past dozen years to over 350,000 (Bennett put the number at 400,000), it is because the notion that all the land belongs to Israel by divine decree has been ascendant and compromise increasingly seen as a deficit of faith. Construction has spelled out what official government policy could not quite say: We have no plans to leave.”
You understand that the Jewish person Roger Cohen uses “messianic” as a pejorative term. In his world, faith in the Messiah is inherently delusional. Faith in our life here, in Eretz Israel, being part of an ongoing messianic redemption – that’s as foreign a concept to him as voting Republican.
But now, that Bennett and Danon have shown their true faces—as, I’m sure, will be the case with the majority of the Likud-Beiteinu delegation, should the day come for an up or down vote on the 2-state—now, says Roger Cohen, we caught those messianic perversions in time, and we can stop them.
“It is in this sense that Bennett’s statement is a true public service. Far better to have clarity about the meaning of Israel’s actions in the West Bank than to have a fait accompli — the growing settler presence — cloaked in governmental opacity about the ultimate objective. If the aim is known then a judgment can be made, not least by American Jewish organizations.”
How marvelous. There’s a story that was told by the Holy Rizhiner, that in the end of time, Elijah will have another bout with the Baal prophets, except this time they will be able to set their alter ablaze, while Elijah will not. They will look grand and victorious, and Elijah will appear like the defeated fool.
And then says the Rizhiner, we’ll have to choose. Do we follow the Baal prophets with their fantastic pyrotechnics, or do we follow Elijah who has nothing but the word of God to give us.
I pray that, come that day, our brethren in America will be able to tell the difference.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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