There is a new “occupy” movement in town. It’s called “Occupy Birthright Israel” —a group of Jews who have decided Israel is “occupying,” well, Israel, and that the state of Israel should be abandoned as a “military state that oppresses Muslims” (I would say Palestinians here, but the Christian population of Palestine is being drive out by someone —must be Israel, according to the world media). They even have a video up on YouTube.
What I find most interesting about this group is the incoherence and self-hatred in their written manifesto.
We embrace diaspora, even when it causes us a great deal of pain. We are the rubble of tangled fear, the deliverance of values. We are human. We are born perfect. We assimilate, or we do not.
We remember the labor movement. We remember the camps. We remember when we aged too quickly. We remember that we are still young, and powerful.
We will not quietly witness the violation of human rights in Palestine. We refuse to become the mother who did not scream when wise King Solomon resolved to split her baby in two.
We demand daylight for our stories, for all stories. We seek breathing room and dignity for all people. We are committed to the struggle. We are the struggle. We will become mentors, elders, and radical listeners for the next generation. It is our sacred obligation. We will not stop. We exist. We are young Jews, and we get to decide what that means.
This is all supposed to be radically profound, I guess, but in the end, it’s just a mishmash of anti-Semitic nonsense.
Humans are not “born perfect,” not even the humans who made this video. If they were, there would be nothing to atone for. How can you decide not to assimilate into a the “collective identity?” If all identities are collective, what does it mean not to assimilate? There were camps in the labor movement? Of course not —these two statements pushed right up against one another are supposed to suggest the National Socialists (NAZI) labor camps were the same thing as the “oppression of labor” communists and socialists are fighting against. The National Socialists built their entire program on collective identity, as well, by the way.
Solomon offered to split the baby in half to find out who the real mother is. Clearly these “young Jews,” need a new Rabbi who teaches something about what the actual Scriptures say, rather than the pablum they’ve been fed. Being a “radical listener” simply means to take whatever I say, and twist it into a meaning you desire. This is supposed to be a good thing?
They give away the real game in the last sentence. “We get to decide what being Jewish means.” In other words, “We don’t like being Jewish, because it’s not hip, it’s not cool, and it’s not acceptable in the circles we like to frequent. So we’re going to redefine Jewishness so we can hang out with the people we like, and appear really compassionate and caring to the world.”
Sorry, you don’t get to decide what it means to be Jewish. God already did that.