I’m still pondering whether our relationship should continue. I’m unsettled. Did you really miss me?
Did you even know I’ve been away for the last couple of months? Strike that. Too needy.
I’ve been in Chile, land of empanadas, earthquakes, reverse seasons, and people who refuse to accept that English is their universal language.
But that was only for a week. I have no good excuses for the other seven weeks, although it was nice to get away from offering opinions on B.D.S., Gaza, Bibi’s re-election, J Street, Caroline Glick, Palestinians, two-state solutions that aren’t, settlements that are, racism, sexism, and lots of other isms that we all learn are objectionable once we get the anti-ism fundraising letters. Strike all of that. Just get on with it…
And I even managed to avoid Chilean fruit-ism. Chilean Customs’ officials have obviously worked hard to overcome their native prejudices since I was detained by their fruit police a little over a year ago. Signs now alert arriving fruit holders that they must declare their personal fruits. So this time I did. A year ago the signs said “should declare,” obviously an optional invitation. The Chileans didn’t agree with my English to Jeff interpretation so I was forced to spend a few hours navigating Chilean fruit bureaucracy.
Even though I suffered fruit confiscation both times, at least my last confiscation was more dignified. I maintained my right to return and Chile maintained its status as a democratic, Catholic country. That’s certainly a lesson for Israelis and Palestinians to learn from sometime in their next half century of strategic non-negotiations.
Actually, my absence has been less South American locus than U.S. psychosis, primarily due to my undisclosed semi-retirement from Wells Fargo. (Since there’s no semi- on my paycheck, at least yet, let’s keep the retirement our little secret. Or you just mind find your next ATM withdrawal to be my little surprise.)
My excuse for the column pause? I couldn’t quite figure out what to say about the Middle East or Judaism that hasn’t already been said before. And that’s kind of a problem when that’s your blog’s focus.
Still, I should have squeezed out a few original thoughts. Considering the multitudes of pro-this and anti-that people who happily say the same repackaged and reformulated things over and over — creating new generations of fundraising targets — the bar isn’t set that high.
My ideas come without fundraising appeals.
The most robust Israel-related fundraising is now more and more dependent on Sheldon Adelson-acolytes who traffic in creating enemies in the Jewish community and fighting both real and imagined external Israeli threats. Internal threats to Israel’s core Jewish and democratic nature are ignored Strike all of that. Why needlessly antagonize our Jewish tea partiers and their fans? Or maybe I can just add “well-intentioned Republicans” somewhere? I’ll get back to Sheldon later.
There are threats to Israel. But the threat Jews fear most isn’t an Iranian nuke. It certainly isn’t the Israeli elections, Israeli leadership, or, frankly anything Israel-related. Jews likely don’t even fear the end of this blog, although I have no poll results to support that.
Most Jews have domestic economic threats as their priority. Israel barely makes into the top ten as a voting issue.
So what does this say?
In my next blog (
okay, so this won’t be my last blog) I’ll explore the threat I fear most — our organizational and institutional failures to act on (we’re far better at creating committees) what’s needed to maintain a vibrant Jewish community, and — dare I say homeland? — in the U.S.
Make no mistake.
Or make a few. What do I care? Israel should be supported by American Jewry. Strongly. That doesn’t mean we must agree or support every Israeli decision or action. Having an expectation like that — something we would never apply to our support for the United States — only risks distancing Jews. We can advocate both for Israel and our beliefs and still take pride in contemplating what Jewish people have done to build a country where over half of us now reside. But if we don’t place more focus to the complexities of the U.S. Jewish community, who will be left in a few generations to offer Israel that support?