I can’t count the number of times that non-Jews have asked me why Jews remain liberals, why they vote Liberal (or further left) in Canada, and Democrat in America.
My answer is always the same.
There are Jews for whom liberalism is their primary identity, the “church” so to speak, in which they worship. They are liberals first-and Jews second or third, if at all.
Liberal beliefs are what animate them, more so than any other understanding of, or commitment to Jewish principles and ideas. They happened to have been born Jewish, that's all.
I was reminded of this yet again when I read some articles that started circulating this week.
Here is a press release from Official Canadian Jewry celebrating the election of the new leader of our furthest left party, the “New Democratic Party”.
Did they not notice that one of his first actions was to have Libby Davis as a number two in the party? Doesn’t that mean anything to them? Such short memories.
I’m not the only person thinking that establishment Jewry is somewhat obtuse.
In fact, I see very little evidence that any conservative or right-of-centre positions are incorporated into any official stances and programming.
Who are these Jewish PR mavens that keep getting it wrong? And how much are they getting paid?
There is an old story about the Jew who got stranded on a desert island. Finally, after many years, he gets rescued. His rescuers note that for one Jew, on one island, there are two synagogues-lovingly hand-built by the same castaway Jew.
“Why do you have two synagogues for one Jew,” they ask.
“Eh,” he says, pointing to one synagogue.
“That’s the shul I will never set foot in!”
Jews have strong convictions-we are “stiff-necked” and actually proud of it. We can be stubborn. That’s not always bad. It really bothers the Jew-haters of the world that after the Holocaust, we were stubborn enough to found our own state, so that a second Holocaust couldn't ever happen again.
We are stubborn enough to have weapons now and nukes, and an army! We are stubborn enough to not surrender our national security to the fetid putrid United Nations. We are so uppity and stubborn that we continue to refuse to just die, or enjoy being killed! The nerve!
Jews are supposed to nurture many opinions and question our faith and decisions. Jews are supposed to wrestle with G-d (see Jacob-Israel) and wrestle with text (Talmud) and philosophy.
How did we get to the point where there is no diversity of opinion within Jewish officialdom, where dissent is considered troublesome at best and ignorant at worst?
Why is there an absolute dearth of debate? What are people afraid of?
How is it that Stephen Harper, our incredible Prime Minister and Jason Kenney, his official badass dude are more publicly, and apologetically Zionist than our own “leadership”?
Are we lacking brains?
Or is that our lay leadership is being led by a tired, increasingly annoying and repetitious cadre of elite, liberal “mavens” who are simply unable to place facts as community priorities above their own liberal convictions?
By that, I mean identifying actual existential threats (terrorism) versus imaginary ones (white, Christian, with magic markers or black spray paint) to our communities and to Israel-and by extension- to the entire Western world.
How can we stop the rot that has infected our communities?
How can it be that there is not a singular forum to discuss these issues publicly, to debate the merits of the official Canadian Jewish opinions on any given issue?
For example, there was never a forum to discuss the merits of the Canadian Jewish Congress’ stance on Section 13 and the entire approach to “hate” speech and censorship. And although the CJC has morphed another kind of relatively ineffectual kind of wishy-washy advocacy organization (see NDP official Mazel Tov message), there is still a need for debate.
Three Jews, four opinions or more-isn’t that the way it used to be?
Isn’t that the way it ought to be?
Is anybody listening?
Care to debate?