Israel “a pretext for setting loose emotions that may originate somewhere else”
I have had a Times of Israel column bookmarked since last June.
It’s a column that spoke to the phenomenon of “progressive” Jews obsessed with proving how much they hate Israel, so much so that hating Israel becomes their every reason for being and their identity.
We see that type around campuses, sometimes faculty, sometimes students, sometimes community. They are the Jews who cannot sleep at night knowing that Sabra hummus — made in Virginia but partially owned by Pepsi and an Israeli company — is served in the student dining hall or local supermarket.
There is more to it than hummus. It’s not about the hummus. Or even the conflict.
Now back to that Times of Israel column, Meet the Finklers:
In his acclaimed, Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Finkler Question, British writer Howard Jacobson named a phenomenon which has become familiar to all of us engaged against the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement. It is the phenomenon of select Jews speaking out against Israel as “ASHamed Jews,” who seek to distance themselves from Israeli actions against Palestinians and to imagine through their heartfelt public displays that they are participating in the creation of a better, more peaceful, post-occupation world
These progressive Jews, in the United States mostly aligned with Jewish Voice for Peace, openly lend themselves to the passage of campus motions to boycott Israel and to efforts in the liberal Protestant churches to enact divestment from companies supplying Israel….
What is the gambit in pressing for boycott and divestment? What do such progressives truly seek? Jacobson wrote knowingly how, for some Jews, Israel is a figure of speech, a pretext for setting loose emotions that may originate somewhere else….
Among such progressives, however, only a brazen few say that all in Israel/Palestine is completely Israel’s fault or offer keynotes stating that they feel comfortable and unashamed only in the company of the Palestinian solidarity movement.
I think that’s very insightful.
It’s not about the hummus on the shelf, but the void inside those anti-Israel progressive Jews who have given their identity over to being anti-Israel progressive Jews.
That’s why it’s so hard to reason with them. It’s not about Israel. It’s about their own inadequacies and insecurities, and emotional void that we can’t fill for them.
Not even with locally-produced, Israeli-free hummus.
Israel is just a pretext for setting loose emotions that originate elsewhere.
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