With Jewish Friends Like These….writes Isi Leibler

February 10, 2014 by Isi Leibler
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In this era of post modernism and abandonment of traditional moral values, our capacity to inflict harm on ourselves seems to be at an all-time high.

Isi Leibler

Isi Leibler

Whether in the entertainment industry, the media or the political arena, increasing numbers of “emancipated” Jews worship nihilism and vulgarity and bring the Jewish people and Israel into disrepute.

I will start with an article published in Israel last week in our illustrious “highbrow” daily newspaper Haaretz by Josh Lambert, author of the book, ‘Unclean Lips, Obscenity and Jewish Culture’. Lambert explicitly congratulates and extolls Jews for “asserting their Jewishness by glorifying obscenity”  “in order to fight antisemitism” or “rewrite traditional Jewish stories in a contemporary idiom”.

Please reread the preceding paragraph. They are direct quotations. Lambert goes further, dismissing any Jews opposed to pornography “as only comprising very marginal rabbis and other Jewish crackpots”.

His role model is the American comedienne Sarah Silverman who has risen to fame by shocking audiences with crass vulgarity and taboo language, often with Jewish connotations. She takes pride in describing herself as a “dirty Jew”. In a current video act in which she mockingly discusses reproductive rights with ‘Jesus’, Silverman has him refer to himself as “Jesus f**** Christ” and incorporates other crudities.

Vulgarity is an absolute affront to Judaism. Moreover, were such an obscene satire to  target Jews – our reaction would justly be ballistic.

As a people persecuted throughout the ages, surely we should be extra sensitive to avoid offending other religions. In this case, Silverman is targeting the evangelicals, most of whom are genuine friends of the Jewish people and deeply devoted to the welfare and security of Israel. Lambert actually praises Silverman for opposing “the nation’s most powerful socially, religiously and politically reactionary movement.” Must we mock and degrade the few friends we have?  Jews who endorse such obscene insults and are contemptuous of other people’s religious sensitivities are utterly shameful.

We are told that Silverman is a great performer and delights audiences. So what! Without bracketing or comparing her to the notorious French comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, his popularity in no manner mitigates the foul antisemitic content and offensiveness of his performances.

Needless to say, had a similar obscene satire about Mohammed been performed, global riots and bloodshed would have ensued. Ironically, the harshest condemnations of Islamophobia would probably emanate from those same people who applaud besmirching Christians.

Analogies can be made with Jews in the political world engaged in disgusting behavior who also inflict serious damage.

On January 23, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) invited newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to address a gala reception at which the media was excluded. However a recording of de Blasio’s remarks was leaked and published.

De Blasio, an ardent Democrat considered left of center is a long-standing, committed friend of Israel and made what can be regarded as a motherhood and apple pie address to the gathering.

He spoke passionately of his love of Israel and the common values that Israel shares with America such as “belief in democracy and open discourse”. Like his mayoral predecessors, he considered “part of his obligation as Mayor to be a defender of Israel… not to maintain, but to strengthen the alliance,” saying there was “no greater ally on earth for America than Israel”.

He also spoke of the dangers facing Israel from the repressive Iranian regime and suggested that Saudi Arabian Airlines be banned from US airports because of its discrimination of Israeli citizens.

De Blasio praised AIPAC and stated, “When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call, and I will answer it happily, because that’s my job”.

However his address outraged some of New York’s far left Jewish glitterati. They obtained the signatures of 58 “pro-peace pro-Israel” artists, professors, rabbis and community leaders to pen a vitriolic open letter condemning the mayor which was released to the media. Amongst the signatories was “pro-Israel” author Peter Beinart, Karen Adler, President of the Jewish Communal Fund, feminists Letty Pogrebin and Gloria Steinem, Rabbi Rolando Matalon of Congregation Simchat Torah and Burton Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

The malicious letter castigated Mayor De Blasio for supporting AIPAC. It alleged that “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hardline government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us… your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so”.

Yet, De Blasio spoke in broad terms of support for Israel and in no way related to right or left wing Israeli politics.

AIPAC is the principal organization in the United States promoting the case for Israel – irrespective of which party is heading the government – and, despite enormous challenges and obstacles, has succeeded beyond all expectations. Aside from that, AIPAC has always striven to be bipartisan and is in fact largely dominated by Democrats.  Its bona-fides were never challenged until J Street initiated a campaign to besmirch and portray it, falsely, as an extreme right wing body. However, this failed to affect AIPAC’s standing as American Jewry’s most effective supporter of Israel.

The unbridled attack against the newly-elected mayor –in effect an assault against AIPAC – at a time when Israel is under such enormous pressure from those seeking its destruction, can only be described as perfidious.

It was given prominent and enthusiastic coverage in the “liberal” media with the New York Times publishing a major anti- AIPAC article misleadingly titled “Pro-Israel Group Finds its Momentum Blunted”.

The chutzpa of these self-appointed “pro-peace pro-Israel” guardians of Israel can be attributed to the former willingness of the many Jewish leaders to welcome into the “big tent” groups hostile to Israel. This legitimized and encouraged them to portray their antagonism to Israeli policies as representing a mainstream view.

Anti-Israel bodies also sought to infiltrate other areas of the mainstream. There were debates on whether supporters of the repugnant BDS should be entitled to remain within the organized Jewish framework and even be provided platforms from which to promote their views. Similar issues are being raised by fringe groups at federations, in Hillel branches, synagogues and community centers.

Most Jewish leaders, albeit somewhat belatedly, have now recognized the need for red lines to be drawn and that there can be no “compromise” or tolerance within the mainstream for groups engaged in BDS or actively campaigning to undermine Israel.

The self-hating Jewish forces operating against the Jewish people and Israel are primarily fringe groups. But they have the enthusiastic support of the anti-Israeli media which provides them with disproportionate exposure. It is thus important that the public is made aware that these views are held in utter contempt by the vast majority of committed Jews who strongly support Israel during these difficult times.

One is tempted to ask, with Jews behaving in such a repugnant manner, who needs enemies?


2 Responses to “With Jewish Friends Like These….writes Isi Leibler”
  1. I am a Holocaust survivor (as a baby). I am also what I classify as a believer, although I know little about, and don’t follow the Jewish religion. I’ve never visited Israel, but I have a love for it, and have for a long time vehemently opposed the BDS, especially against Israel proper, though am ambivalent about trade with the settlements (I consider religious fundamentalist settlers and politicians a huge threat to Israel’s existence. However, I try to argue against all of the BDS, as 1. It seems Israel needs that exchange for its survival, and 2. I see some unsavoury elements trying to use the BDS to destroy Israel. I have always regarded Leftists who support the BDS as naïve victims of their own “underdogism”.

    I was shocked and saddened watching Four Corners last night showing the apparently brutal treatment of Palestinians, especially children by Israeli police and the army. This, according to the program, includes night raids just to “map” people, kidnappings, holding children for long periods without notifying their parents and even beatings, torture and threats of sexual and physical violence against these children and their relatives unless the children turn collaborators and informers against their own communities, thereby callously endangering the children’s safety, and scarring them psychologically for life.

    No amount of security concerns can justify such treatment of children (and innocent adults) to my mind. I can’t understand how anyone can think this sort of behaviour can benefit Israel. I am at a loss now – how can I continue to unequivocally stand up for an independent Jewish homeland as I would love to?

    • Isi Leibler expresses very eloquently what I could never do in his article With Jewish Friends like These…… and oh how I so humbly agree with him.

      Also with the sentiments expressed by George Baumann, who as a Holocaust survivor writes so well. It is so vital for these survivors of such horrors write and tell the young what transpired between 1939 and 1945 and as we age, once my generation has gone, and may they have long years yet, who will be there to bear witness as to when the World went mad and millions died so needlessly.

      As with most Jews, we have the ability to argue and delve into many matters, probably stemming from the time when our forebears debated moral values and such in the Yeshivas.

      Since seeing the film Yentl many years ago, I have always had the desire to argue and debate many aspects of our faith, and close to my heart is the fact that with friends like some of us have, I cringe when they behave which draws attention to the way in which they spend money. Such displays of money spent on weddings and barmitzvahs shows a degree of ostentation which personally I find very objectionable. For me, the more low key the simcha the better it is and more enjoyable, and some of the biggest and most extravagant functions we have been to, I don’t feel comfortable.

      However, who am I to judge those with a great deal of money who wish to celebrate a simcha. The caterers and staff all earn money and most families have a day to remember it is simply a question of degree. I suppose they could make a donation instead to some Jewish cause, such as Jewish Care, both here and in the UK, but maybe a less expensive celebration, and I think now the trend is moving in that direction. It does not detract from the fact that the hosts and guests still celebrate and enjoy a great simcha.

      I detract and return to Mr. Leibler’s original ethos and what does puzzle me is the total and absolute support for the State of Israel, without seeing facts for themselves and how reliant some are on the Jewish media.

      Can it be that those of us who speak out are risking a great deal. In my case back in the UK I did not wish to offend my friends or certain members of the family. Then human nature comes into play, we all want to be part of a group and by expressing our true feelings in print, or at some social event with friends, we risk an outpouring of anger. No, it is easy to be quiet and keep your opinions to yourself, and you certainly don’t express such opinions to non Jews, with an inbuilt sense that you are betraying your fellow Jews.
      Now at this stage of my life, I really don’t care what others think, I might argue with them as I have done recently, in JWire columns but it is a sense of utter relief that I can express what has been welling up inside of me for so many years.
      The State of Israel has so many wonderful achievements, they made the desert bloom! However on the other side they have allowed the ultra Right wing to take over the political aspects and thereby creating a very dangerous powder keg in the Middle East.
      It is in the hands of the Almighty where this will end, who knows what will happen and it would be a terrible tragedy for the world if the last battle of the world were fought on ‘the plains of Armageddon’. However as the guide who was with us in Israel back in the 70s commented, that is only in the New Testament, I rest my case.

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