Wednesday, May 26, 2010

  • Wednesday, May 26, 2010
  • Elder of Ziyon
Marjorie Ingall is a columnist for Tablet magazine. In her latest column she admits:
I am deeply ambivalent about Israel. Modern-day Israel, as opposed to historical Israel, is a subject I avoid with my children. Yes, of course I believe the state should exist, but the word “Zionist” makes me skittish. I shy away from conversations about Israeli politics. I feel no stirring in my heart when I see the Israeli flag. I would no sooner attend an Israel Day parade than a Justin Bieber concert. Neither Abe Foxman nor AIPAC speaks for me. I am a liberal, and I am deeply troubled by the Matzav, Israeli shorthand for tension with the Palestinians, and I do not have answers, and I do not know what to do about it, and I do not know what to tell my children.
From reading her column, it is obvious that her knowledge of Israel is minimal - and extraordinarily colored by her exposure to the liberal media. A later section of her article painfully shows her extreme naiveté, as she explains Israel to her eight-year old daughter:
I stumbled desperately through an explanation of why two peoples feel they have a legitimate claim to the same land.

“But having land is like having a seat on a bus,” Josie replied. “You can’t just push someone out of their seat, and you can’t just leave your seat and then come back to it after a long time and just expect the person who is sitting there now to give it to you.”

My panicked reaction to her words surprised me. I found myself trying to convince her that Israel did have that right. But that’s not what I believe. But I’m not sure what I believe. I want my children to love Israel, but I don’t want them to identify with bullies. I was spinning in my own head like the desperate, overwhelmed woman in the Calgon commercial: J Street, take me away!

But Josie’s bus-bully analogy resonated. Baby-boomer Jews seem wedded to a sepia-toned image of Jews as victims—in the shtetl, in the Holocaust, in Israel’s early wars. But in real life, victims can turn into bullies.
An intelligent woman, who is clearly proud of her Jewishness, finds her pre-teen daughter's childish analogy of Israel's existence to a bully on a bus to be unassailable?

Here is the exact problem. Jews whose entire knowledge of Israel is based on BBC and Reuters headlines are transmitting that ambivalence and discomfort about Zionism to the next generation - and, of course, the next generation will convert that ambivalence into antipathy.

This is a profoundly saddening article. Ingalls was prompted to write it after reading Peter Beinart's controversial piece that I responded to last week, and it proves that my analysis was pretty accurate: Ingalls, along with way too many American Jews, simply do not understand what Zionism is. They do not understand that Jews are a people/nation (Hebrew "am", עם)  and that Zionism is their movement for self-determination, a right that liberals would fight for the death for in the case of Tibetans or Kurds or whatever the current oppressed-people-of-the-week are. And, given that Ingalls wrote an earlier column where she defended her choice to send her kids to public school rather than a Jewish school - because teaching diversity to her children is apparently more important to her than teaching her own heritage - it appears that Ingall's own attachment to Judaism does not extend much beyond coming up with props for seders.

She is like a "tinok shenishba", a term that I have no doubt that she has never heard of. It is no wonder that she is ambivalent about Israel - she doesn't have the basic knowledge about Israeli history, about Zionism, and about Judaism itself to mount a credible defense of Israel to anyone.

And she is raising a new generation of uninformed Jews.

Ingalls is very clear that she wants her children to learn all points of view. With all due respect for a person who makes a living on writing columns on Jewish parenting, this is good in theory and absolutely idiotic in practice. Children should be raised with a strong sense of identity, a sense of belonging to a people much bigger than themselves. They should be raised to have strong beliefs and have the tools to defend them. Children should  have joy and pride in their people, their neighborhood, their town, their nation, and their heritage. There is nothing wrong with bringing up children to have a strong set of values that reflects their heritage, and to teach them as it becomes appropriate how to defend those values. I am not saying to raise kids to be ignorant of other viewpoints, but it is far preferable for Jews to raise children to identify with their own people and history rather than to give Judaism and/or Zionism an equal timeslot with Buddhists, Mayans, Palestinian Arabs and Canadians. It is not evil nor is it bigoted to teach children that their own people come first. As they grow they have plenty of time to learn about everyone else and to formulate their own opinions, but a parent's job is not teach the kids how to surf the Internet and then let them learn everything themselves. It is to guide their learning to reflect the mores of the parents, their ancestors, their nation and their people. To ignore one's heritage is a disservice to the children.

Even worse - actually, almost unforgivable -  is to dismiss one's own people, who need to make agonizing life and death decisions every day, as mere bullies.

Marjorie, you have taken an important step in acknowledging your ambivalence. The question is, do you have the bravery to actually research the possibilities that Israel and Zionism are right? Are you going to rely on J-Street to teach you about Israel or are you going to actually take your children to Israel this summer? (Are you even aware that even liberal Israelis regard J-Street's politics as reprehensible?)  Are you going to trust a summer camp to teach your children a couple of Israeli songs and dances or are you going to spend the time to learn about your people's struggles first-hand - so you can be the one to teach them?

Believe it or not, Marjorie, there are many knowledgeable Jews who are proud Zionists and who can explain Israel better than NPR. The question is whether you will spend the time necessary to learn the truth about Israel, or if you will continue to lazily call Zionist Jews "bullies."

I can guarantee one thing, though: if you spend the time to learn the truth about Zionism, and if you learn how to be proud of your own people, your children - and grandchildren - will be the biggest beneficiaries.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

Loading...

Recent posts from other blogs

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

Contact

elder -at- elderofziyon dot com

translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون
This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 23,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured fisking flotilla free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive