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?

 

 

Benjamin Netanyahu: The Best Republican Candidate?

by Jeff Pozmantier April 13, 2015

The Republican candidate field is an embarrassment of richness. And surnames. It features politicians mouthing poll-tested and PAC-bought positions against this and that today and that and this tomorrow — until the polls or PAC funding changes. What else should we expect when we don’t have laws that apply China’s one child policy to Republican families? Any natural born U.S. citizen can run […]

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A New Plan: Behead The Opposition

by Jeff Pozmantier March 9, 2015

Springtime signals its entrance as  temperatures warm and leaves and flowers reliably return. Election time in Israel signals its entrance as politicians emerge from their hibernation and their embarrassing proposals reliably return. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s secular mullah, recently awoke. His proposal?  Behead Palestinians. What makes Lieberman’s plan so unique is he doesn’t limit it to terrorists or criminals. His focus is on  Israeli […]

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Et Tu, Bibi? Netanyahu Made His “Bad Deal” Worse

by Jeff Pozmantier March 5, 2015

Supporters of Israel sometimes disagree about tactics, threats and how to best insult the person they feel isn’t really pro-Israel or pro-Israel enough. Two Jews. Check. Three opinions. Check. Four Kapo insults. Doublecheck. Some of us with nothing better to do also disagree about how, when, and where to express support for what is still the Middle East’s only democracy and nuclear power, and also its uncontested […]

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Why Netanyahu’s Speech To Congress Is An Existential Threat To Israel

by Jeff Pozmantier March 2, 2015

I’ve held my tongue (and typing finger). Until now. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election Congressional field trip is more likely to result in long-lasting damage to the U.S.-Israeli relationship than result in some sudden reversal of the U.S. effort to reach a nuclear agreement between Iran and key world powers. Today is not the day  to debate the fine points of an […]

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My War Zone Experiences (And Brian Williams’ and Bill O’ Reilly’s)

by Jeff Pozmantier February 25, 2015

Like Brian Williams, I braved enemy combat. I somehow managed to survive the  2014 Israeli destruction of Gaza and Hamas tunneling into  Israeli border towns. In the height of the conflict I was but a mile away in the underground Sderot command center. And I listened to the shelling and watched a security camera tape showing  a missile that exploded two […]

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One Question Israel Needs To Ask

by Jeff Pozmantier February 1, 2015

Before we get to the question, a caveat: You may have your own question. That’s OK. Or so I’ll say to keep the Middle East blogging peace. Group-think isn’t necessarily a good thing. Although when it comes to Israeli or Palestinian issues, it would certainly help to at least occasionally have alignment, if only to model behavior for our protagonists and reduce […]

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Israel: A Country Seen Through Different Eyes

by Jeff Pozmantier December 18, 2014

I recently traveled to Israel and the West Bank with a group of Jews and Presbyterians. Although I had already written roughly 1500 words about our  trip, I decided to stop with my description of our first day. (I gave up with probably another five or six thousand words to go. Brevity and I have a kind of Walt and Jesse meth-making relationship. Some days […]

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I Was A Temporary Palestinian: Seven Hours Was Rough — Imagine Seven Decades

by Jeff Pozmantier November 21, 2014

You, too, can become a temporary Palestinian: Step 1 —  In preparation for a security check as you enter Israel-controlled areas, place your passport on the seat of your “Arab” bus taking you from Ramallah, Palestine In Waiting’s seat of government. Step 2 — When the Israeli soldiers board your bus, flash your best Texas grin (actually any non-Palestinian grin will do) and proudly hold up that passport  for […]

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Netanyahu Intends To Keep Intending

by Jeff Pozmantier October 20, 2014

I intend to wear my seat belt and drive the speed limit. I intend to pick up my dog’s yard contributions in a nice baggy. I intend to (one day) organize my desk drawers. The Cubs intend to (one century)  win the…oh never mind — some things will just never happen. Intent and fulfillment don’t have to be strangers. In the […]

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