Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Significant Point of Difference between the Elder of Ziyon and Abu Yehuda

Michael L.

There is a distinct point of disagreement between the Elder of Ziyon and Vic Rosenthal of Abu Yehuda that seems worthy of discussion.

I follow both of these writers for the obvious reason that both write for the EoZ, as do I.

Rosenthal has a piece from Monday, July 4, entitled, "How to talk to Jews about Israel."

In reference to the overall pro-Israel discussion, Rosenthal writes:
Quite a few years ago, I went to a meeting in San Francisco about Israel advocacy, sponsored by the ADL (when the ADL was still interested in Israel advocacy). One of the speakers suggested a form of triage: there are those that are strongly against us, those that are strongly with us and those that haven’t decided. Talk to the ones that are undecided, he said. {My emphases - ML.}
Four points.

There are:

1) Those that are strongly against us.

2) Those that are strongly with us.

3) Those who haven't decided.


4) Talk to the ones who haven't decided.

This is precisely what the Elder and Michael Burd of J-AIR's Nothing Left radio broadcast concluded if you click through onto about the 22 minute mark.

However, in his recent piece Rosenthal believes that he was mistaken to try to convince the "undecideds."

He writes:
My personal approaches were, if anything, more frustrating. People were polite, but noncommittal. As time went on, I realized that they weren’t uninterested; rather, they sensed that my position wasn’t shared by many Democratic politicians, NPR and the New York Times. They suspected that I was influenced by Republican ideas or even becoming a Republican myself. I realized, in 1960s slang, that they were shining me on
Anything I said was tainted and could be ignored.
"Shining me on"?

That's a phrase that was not used when I was coming up, but the point is well-taken.

Rosenthal directly contradicts the Elder and Michael Burd because believes that few such creatures known as the "undecided" exist via the conflict.
It soon became clear that there weren’t very many ‘undecideds’. There were those that were pro-Israel, those that were against us, and those that would not listen because being pro-Israel was out of their political comfort zone.
Therefore, Rosenthal concludes that pro-Israel / pro-Jewish advocates should de-emphasize - at least somewhat - the Jewish tendency to reason with unreasonable people.

He writes:
The best thing that pro-Israel American Jews can do is to exemplify Jewish pride, self-respect and self-reliance (like the Jewish state itself). Trying to be ‘Americans of the Mosaic persuasion’ is not a good strategy, as Jewish students are discovering. They should act like Jews, representatives of the people whose roots are in ancient Judea.
So, the question is, do we as pro-Israel / pro-Jewish advocates seek to convince the "undecideds" or do we stiffen our spines and exemplify Jewish pride?

Or is that a false dichotomy?

Thesis > Anti-Thesis > Synthesis.

I say we do both.


  1. Mike,
    I agree we need to do both, but I think that there is a deficit on the Jewish pride part of the equation IMV. Especially today where identity plays such a large role in perceptions of authenticity. I'm not talking so much about religious Jews, i.e., Jews who are connected to a synagogue and local JCC. I'm mostly talking about secular Jews like myself.
    If the amount of religious training I received as a boy were blood, if I got a paper cut I'd be out of the tribe.
    People like you and I will not sell our souls to a political party or trendy movement.
    I believe that too many diaspora Jews still have a ghetto mentality. Those who are constantly downplaying their Jewishness must have some shame lurking somewhere inside. Don't get me wrong. Telling people that I'm Jewish isn't something I typically use as a conversation starter or even as a topic of conversation unless it happens to come up. I just don't run away from it. I have met many Jews who have told me that they don't identify as Jews. I always ask "what in the world are you ashamed of." They never have a good answer. We need to break the habit of Jewish "guilt." There is nothing to feel guilty about.
    Although I am not observant or religious, I would recommend David Mamet's "The Wicked Son." I'd like to know what you think about it.

  2. What just happened in Nice is what will sway undecideds.

    The time will come when to be anti-Israel is to be anti-humanity. Sympathy for the "oppressed" will be seen more accurately as support for the aggressors.

    After undecideds come to see that they, too, are targets, internal reality and morality checks might occur, and Israeli leadership in fighting this conflict will become a positive, especially in Europe, where the seeds of this were planted long ago.

    1. I don't know, School.

      I have to tell ya, I was a little surprised after Orlando to see highly intelligent friends of mine insisting that it was not a Jihadi attack but an attack due to general American homophobia.

      So, at this point, I can't imagine what it is going to take to get thru to people.

      We cannot say for certain, at this moment, that Nice was a Jihadi attack... but I would take that bet any day.

    2. If you saw Greenfield's recent video talk, as it gets worse, then it take away the choice not to confront it.

      Even the people who are misled by their media to believe that guns are the main issue, or some phobia, will not be able to ignore.

      Look at Clinton's email thing. They can pretend it away, but most people know just what occurred, and know they have been lied to once again, by people using an increasingly Orwellian mentality to mask reality and their own failure and stupidity. Ironic after all the claims of others being low info or deluded.

      As Europe turns, the progressives here, too, will end up on the defensive, and maybe some good old liberalism can take hold.

    3. I wouldn't count on people not distinguishing between attacks on Jews and attacks on anyone else. It happens so much that I can't expect anything else.

  3. You fight a war from within the milieu you imagine you're living. The problem is that we know this is a war, our opponents know this is a war. The undecideds don't know we're in a war. They think it's little more than academic squabbling between two so called equally legitimate narratives.

    How do you convince people that they're in a war if they don't believe it? Is it possible? Do young people just not get it? Are they so inured of it that they don't notice? Is it an acceptable level of atrocities they're willing to submit other people to? And I don't mean the crazies who blame mass shootings on global warming and a latent self hating fake gay homophobe. Those people have a specific agenda they know they're lying about. They are hopeless. But the big middle, what do they know? Do understand what war is? Likely they don't.