~ It has amazed me that some would choose recently to elevate Glenn Beck by "comparing" him with George Soros. Soros, who seems to wear his antipathy to Israel on his sleeve, but still a Holocaust survivor; Beck, because he voices unequivocal support for Israel (and for whom some of his best friends are Jewish), it is argued, deserves the Jewish polity's support even while he otherwise preaches a screed that "validates" the most extreme among the Tea Party. Men and women for whom I otherwise have the greatest respect now choose those they support based on one criterion -- unequivocal support for Israel. Nothing more and nothing less. Now, if you want those you support to stand for Jewish values, you are condemned as some sort of "liberal." When I hear or read this stuff, I cringe for my parents of blessed memory, for my family, liberals all, and fervent supporters of our Jewish State.
Soros deserves our scorn -- he deserves it for the positions he has espoused, for his constant demonization of Israel, but he deservesneither because some will compare him to Glenn Beck nor, certainly, because Beck has attacked him in Beck's "someof my best friends" way. For the definitive response to the Beck-Soros matter, read Hendrik Hertzberg's superb piece in the November 29 New Yorker. Amazing that in their zeal to find support for Israel, some correspondents and writers have almost...almost...made Soros a figure of sympathy.
And, please don't write to challenge my pro-Israel credentials. I will match them with anyone's -- even Glenn Beck's.
~ In the newvoices.org Blog Post pre-Thanksgiving, students who attended the General Assembly commented on their attendance at the New Orleans General Assembly. Their Comments are illustrative of what happens when our organizations stress numbers over content -- "[W]e heard a lot about how we're the future...but then we're left to our own devices;" there was a failure "...to let us feel more involved;" "[I]t didn't seem that the follow-through was well thought-out;" and similar. Can't say I am surprised.
Now there we heard the CEO pander to applause that "we had 600 students here and at the next GA we'll have1,000..." And, maybe...just maybe...by next November someone on the JFNA staff will be tasked with creating a sense of engagement and involvement for these students who appear to have been viewed in New Orleans as nothing more than a cheering section -- something our leaders clearly love.
~ The Forward's Gal Beckerman has written the definitive history of the Soviet Jewry Movement: When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry. In an incredibly well-researched book Beckerman describes in vivid detail these heroes of modern Jewish history in the then Soviet Union and across the continents. There is frustration in these pages...and, of course, inspiration as well. For the definitive review, read Yossi Klein Halevi's Glory in the Thanksgiving edition of The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com/). As a participant in the Student Struggle and as an "activist" at age 17 with the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, Halevi's commentary is further enlightening. I recommend Beckerman's book as a wonderful Chanukah present.
~ On a "what not to read" note...There are those bloggers and e-mailers out there, joined by Commentators to this Blog, who stridently criticize those North Americans who "criticize" policies of the Government of Israel. As all of us know, there are literally 100's of Israeli writers who do so daily or weekly. Let's take the Michele Bachmann of Israeli columnists, the Jerusalem Post's unhappy Caroline Glick, as an example. She has published numerous columns condemning the Israeli government and IDF leaders for any policy that "smells like a peace move" but she saves her special venom for the Obama Administration. Her oopinion pieces only infrequently cite any sources, but are sent around by her followers as if she utters a special brand of "truth." Now the question: if you, who demand total support for the policies of Israel republish a Glickscreed aren't you violating your very strict unyielding limitations?