Whenever Israel uses military force, there is always a cadre of self-hating Jews who feel it is their duty to undermine the Israeli government. They begin arguments by claiming moral superiority through their Judaism. In criticizing Israel’s defensive action in Lebanon last week, Fox News co-host Alan Colmes stated, “I’m Jewish. I don’t think appeasement means peace, though. Or peace means appeasement. Peace would be the desire.” British MP Gerald Kaufman asked in the July 23 edition of the Daily Mail, “As a Jew, I am grieved to ask the question, but I must: Will Israel never learn?” Then there’s Jeff Dorchen of limited Huffington Post fame, who explains, “I’d like to say, being a U.S. Jew … [the Israeli government and Israeli Defense Force] certainly don’t represent me, and I’m angry that they think they’re doing Jews all over the world some kind of big fat favor with their insane overkill response to Hezbollah’s idiotic and evil provocation.”
For Jews who oppose Israel’s right to defend herself, their Judaism is a convenient tactic utilized to silence critics. “Surely,” they imply, “if I am a Jew, I must have a deeper and more abiding love for Israel than anyone else. If you challenge my arguments, you will first have to admit that I have the moral high ground. I have a personal stake in this matter.”
In a world where identity politics dominates discussion, claiming personal involvement with an issue is an easy conversation stopper. Identity politics are almost always illegitimate — even if you have a personal stake in an issue, your ideas may be terrible. With regard to Jews who hype their Judaism in order to tear down the state of Israel, however, such a conversation stopper isn’t merely illegitimate — it’s a blatant lie.
The self-hating Jews who now attack Israel’s most basic aspect of sovereignty don’t care a whit about Judaism. They may have been born Jewish, they may enjoy matzo ball soup, they may go to a Reconstructionist synagogue once in a while to worship nothingness, but the tenets of Judaism mean nothing to them. These Jews care about Judaism the way Madonna cares about Catholicism. When it comes to the daily strictures of Judaism, these Jews are nowhere to be found. But as soon as it becomes politically advantageous to tout their Judaism, they stand front and center, birth certificate held aloft.
Identity politics is a canard when it comes to Judaism. Being born Jewish says nothing about whether you care for Israel, because being a Jew is about more than emerging from a Jewish uterus. A secular humanist, born a Jew, is still a secular humanist. Noam Chomsky is a Jew, but he is also a twisted and evil thinker who pines for Israel’s destruction. Tony Judt is a Jew, but he hopes that one day Israel will be wiped from the map. Are Chomsky and Judt immune from criticism because they are Jews?
They are not. Neither are Colmes, Kaufman and Dorchen. And none of them have the right to use their Jewish birth as a shield for their anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic views. Identity as a Jew is important in this debate only when that identity means a binding tie to the Jewish nation as a whole and to the God that bound that nation together at Sinai.
The believing Jew is tied to Israel because God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people; the believing Jew is tied to strong Israeli self-defense because God mandated such self-defense in the Torah. A Jew who believes in his religion may without question claim that his Judaism demonstrates his commitment to Israel. It is a foul and rank political convenience for those who care nothing about Judaism to flaunt their Jewish birth as some kind of defense for their cowardly and foolish surrender-first ideals.
Ben Shapiro is a columnist for Townhall.com. This article is reproduced with full credit to Creators Syndicate, 2006.