Friday, January 16, 2009

More on Israel, Gaza, antisemitism and Armageddon

Although I have written before about having a "black" first name, I have never before written about having a Jewish last name, as I did for over 6 years.

I loved the combination, which made everybody just stare at me... and this was before Whoopi Goldberg became famous, using a similar fun name.

As I have written here, my father and I never got along, and I was therefore happy for the opportunity to dump his name. At age 19, I married a Jewish man, and decided it was my golden opportunity. I changed it as fast as I could. I didn't think twice. Good riddance, I thought, and I have never regretted it. [1]

I liked the double takes I got, from my African-American-associated first name, coupled with the Jewish last name. People would just *blink*--and it was fun and exotic to me.

At first, anyway.

I won't give the name here, but I will say the kind of name it is: Steinberg, Seinfeld, Silverman, Goldstein, Rosenthal. There isn't any question what kind of name it is. [2]

I like to think I catch on quick; it took me no time at all to figure out that there was significant negative fallout from having a Jewish surname. And I was totally unprepared for it. After all, I didn't grow up with the name. Who knew?

In school; on the job; in the Philadelphia airport or the Pittsburgh Greyhound depot; in a doctor or dentist's office; in an argument with some activists in D.C.... and countless other instances I have undoubtedly forgotten. The name would get exaggerated for effect: STEIN-BERG, dragged-out, an unexpected emphasis on the syllables, a certain weird facial expression... showing unmistakable surprise, quickly followed with barely-disguised contempt. A narrowing of the eyes, an unexpected glare or coldness from one who had been friendly only seconds before hearing the surname. In one instance, a superior who engaged in an ongoing, deliberate mispronouncing of the name in endless variations, virtually daring me to correct him.

I learned.

Therefore, let me assure you, I would never argue, in a million years, that antisemitism isn't real or is not a force to be reckoned with. In fact, over the years, I have repeatedly had to argue with skeptical, enlightened-liberal gentiles that YES, IT IS.

And so, in the giant monster thread over at Feministe (the first of a several-part series), I was more than willing to listen to David Schraub's analysis of how Israel's attack on Gaza, of which I have been very critical, must include an analysis of antisemitism.

Unfortunately, I don't think he made the case very well. Which isn't to say he isn't right.[3]

~*~

I moved south in 1987, where there are far fewer Jews than there are in the north, apart from certain long-standing enclaves in the cities (Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta)[4] and retirement areas (Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head). As in the movie Norma Rae (wherein Sally Field suddenly blurts out "You a Jew?"), there can be a free-floating hostility to Jews for reasons nobody can really explain. (In Norma Rae, she adds "I never met a Jew before! I thought yall had HORNS!") Since there has been so little previous interaction, the antisemitism is mixed with general xenophobia. Jews are regarded as weird strangers with strange ideas, and usually liberals.

But not always.

In moving to Greenville, South Carolina, I learned I was moving to a smallish southern town that had elected a Jewish mayor back in the 70s. (Max Heller)

You say what?! I was stunned; certainly, there are plenty of northern towns and cities that can't make that claim. At my first area gig, I learned that wasn't odd at all... local Baptists often regard Jews as special and 'chosen'...after all, they are Jesus Christ's own relatives. And from then on, I discovered a whole fundamentalist Christian cult around Jews and Jewishness, that I had not known existed.

This cultish devotion permeates modern Protestant evangelical theology today. It is most obvious in the whole LEFT BEHIND [5] cult, but is also apparent in the feverish obsession with eschatology in general.

And let me be very clear: this theology prizes the state of Israel, almost as much as it does the USA.

Israel is the crucial cornerstone of this theology. Without Israel, Christian end-times prophecies simply can not happen. Making sure these events DO happen, is regarded as one of the charges to fundamentalist and evangelical Christians; something they have literally conflated with The Great Commission.

Conservative writer Rod Dreher, back in 2002:

It may sound strange, but it's true: Aside from Jews, the strongest American supporters of Israel are Evangelical Christians, many of whom fervently believe God has granted the Jewish people a divine right to rule over historic Palestine. At times like the present, when the Jewish state is largely friendless in a hostile world, the Israelis depends on the backing of this politically potent bloc of American voters to exhort Washington to look favorably upon its interests.

"I think it would be fair to say that Evangelical support for Israel and its legitimate security interests has been paramount to Israel's support in Congress and in many administrations, second only to the Jewish Committee itself," says Republican political consultant Ralph Reed. "The Jewish community has played a strong role in keeping the Democratic party strongly pro-Israel, and Evangelicals have played a similar role among Republicans."

In 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then prime minister of Israel, was not falsely flattering an Evangelical audience in Washington when he said to them: "We have no greater friends and allies than the people sitting in this room." Indeed, as Columbia University religion scholar Randall Balmer puts it: "Evangelicals have been very charitable, to say the least, toward Israel, because they believe the Jews are the Chosen People of God, even though they failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah. They believe that God's promises to Israel are still good, and that any nation that doesn't line up with Israel is against God."

In this climate, to hold the opinion that Israel is out of line to attack Gaza, is to attack Christianity itself. (As one who took that position a couple of weeks ago, my subsequent emails are a testament to that very strong conviction.)

Thus, when I criticize Israel, I criticize the wedding of Christian theology to government... the unholy union of Church and State, which I think is unfailingly catastrophic for both Church and State, as history has repeatedly shown us.

I am very, very disappointed in David Schraub and other liberal apologists for Israel, who look the other way when this is pointed out to them.

My comments directed to Schraub (blogger at The Debate Link) during the Feministe brawl, echo my exasperation that the conversation remains focused on Israelis vs. Palestinians, overlooking that sticky issue of WHERE THE MONEY TO MAKE WAR COMES FROM in the first place. I was pretty much ignored by people (including Schraub) who don't want to look at that... and having just had a long and convoluted conversation with a fundamentalist Christian who wears a Star of David (really), I am then astounded to go to a thread wherein people say things like "Jews are hated by most"... say what?!?

The juxtaposition of these world-views (my daily-existence here in hyper-Baptist upstate SC/the version of reality reflected in the thread) makes me dizzy. Erasure does that to people. I finally get it: This is New York, the East coast, the West coast, people with highfalutin educations talking. They have no idea what's going on out here. Clueless as hell. They don't even know the lyrics to "Our God is an awesome God"--I should not be surprised. These were the people who were slack-jawed at Sarah Palin's rise; these are the people who argue about Gaza at elite cocktail parties, not with people of faith.

But you know, when you count the votes, they start to add up. There are a lot of us that don't live on the coasts. There are a lot of us who don't even go to fundamentalist churches, yet can give you the 1-2-3 of apocalyptic events, right after the Rapture. It's just osmosis. Of course we know. We know what the Book of Revelation says, what the antichrist is supposed to do, what the Tribulation will involve. This is second-nature if you live in certain corners of the south; how do you avoid hearing about it? I am Catholic, and I was officially told that the End of Days would be, you know (dismissive wave of the hand) a long time from now. I have never heard a single Catholic sermon on the End Times, unless it's to warn you to stop obsessing about it. (My priest, whom I have criticized here before, actually told people in our parish to stop reading the dopey Left Behind books, unless they properly understood it was all fiction.) Everything I know about the Rapture, was communicated to me via Bible tracts, personal conversation, radio, TV, emails, and numerous intense sermons delivered face-to-face.

And as I attempted to tell the intrepid David Schraub: These people are all 100% pro-Israel. Schraub talks about "gentile privilege"--and then refuses to see that the backing of Israel by these Christians, is part and parcel of that privilege.

On the tumultuous thread in question, I wrote:
And I believe an understanding of fundamentalist Christian prophecy, (The Book of Revelation, Armageddon, The Rapture and Tribulation, the antichrist, false prophets, et. al.) is necessary to understand exactly why many Christians will gladly pay any amount of money necessary to do what they believe is crucial to Israel’s survival, which of course means mowing down the heathens and infidels that surround it. No questions asked… I mean, that IS part of the prophecy…you know that, right?

I’m amazed at how many people don’t.

The Southern Baptist Convention (to name only the largest denomination that subscribes to these prophecies) has over 16 million members and more than 42,000 churches. And this isn’t counting the Sarah Palin Pentecostals and countless other fellow-traveler denominations. Now, imagine all those votes, from very politically active people, deciding where the money goes.

Do you see now?
And then David replied:
Daisy: I’ll be talking somewhat about the role Christians have been playing in constructing the norms of philo-Zionist discourse in America a little bit in parts III and IV (short answer, I think what they’re doing is horrific), but the better discussion would be found in my post Can Zionism Be Defended by Proxies?
And if you go to that linked post, you basically get David saying, Wow, we wish the wacko Christians wouldn't use us like that...

You sure?

Rod Dreher again:
...tens of millions of Protestant Christians (though not all Evangelicals) [believe in the Rapture], and they tend to back Israel with an uncritical fervor that exceeds that of even some American Jews. The Israeli government tapped this deep, unlikely vein of support in the 1970s, and has assiduously courted these Christians for a generation — especially because many self-described "Christian Zionists" back Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as part of God's prophetic plan. One of the leading Christian Zionist organizations is the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a nondenominational Protestant group (without diplomatic standing) which established a presence in the Israeli capital in 1980.

"We're trying daily to encourage the Israeli people," says Susan Michael, director of ICEJ's Washington office. "The Israelis are very depressed. We want to let them know that they have friends who understand the battle they're in."

Esther Levens is a Jew and a Kansas Republican who founded an ecumenical group called National Unity Coalition for Israel, a network of over 200 Jewish and Christian congregations who pray for, donate to and lobby on behalf of the Jewish state. She chides American Jews for being "a little short-sighted" in not properly valuing the efforts Christian conservatives make for Israel.
What is David Schraub saying to Esther Levens and her friends? Anything?

I replied, in part:
David–no offense, but I found a lot lacking in that post you linked to. I’ll be writing more about this myself, because I think it’s a major paradox that needs illuminating when we discuss these issues.

If you want to discuss “gentile privilege”–then understanding that the present agenda has little to do with you, and everything to do with the gentiles, is a necessary first step. You don’t seem ready to do that, since this discomfiting reality disturbs you. Of course, the gentiles will use Israel as the gentiles see fit. That’s what privilege is.

FACT: Zionists are actively collaborating with hard-line fundamentalist Christians, who seek to bring about the conditions necessary for the Second Coming. Period. You don’t get to tell them to back off. They have the privilege, remember? They are calling the shots; you have helped to create a monster. What are you going to do about that, besides pointing at Rick Warren and Mike Huckabee and going “Ew!” –? (PS: They don’t care what you think, they have a prophecy to fulfill.)

You have reminded me of the joke about the southern Baptist preacher who was asked if he believed in infant Baptism.

“Are you kidding?” he said, “I’ve SEEN it done!”



“Can Zionism be defended by Proxies?”

“Are you kidding? I’ve SEEN it done!”
Of course, this whole discussion is far from over, and Part II up already, titled Anti-Semitism and Subordination Part II: The Myth of Jewish Hyper-Power...in which Schraub writes:
Folks talk about the way the Christian Evangelical community defends Israel. But as far as I’m concerned, their defenses are anti-Semitic too – the glee they hold at the prospect of Israel being the front-line of the “clash of civilizations” is taking pleasure in Jews dying for their cause.
No, their defenses are not textbook antisemitism... again, Schraub doesn't live here, and has obviously never spoken to these people he thinks he knows.

It is IDEALIZATION of Jews that marks the Evangelical approach, the idea that they are the Chosen People and can therefore do no wrong. [6]
The dominance of the Christian narratives amongst the defenses of Israel considered acceptable in the global sphere isn’t proof of Jewish power, but Jewish irrelevancy. Our voice gets superseded by Christian speakers who claim to be speaking on our behalf, but in fact are articulating a vision of “pro-Israel” that is very hostile to Jewish interests (this is one of the reasons I find groups like AIPAC allying with such speakers to be utterly unforgivable).
How is supporting Israel hostile to Jewish interests? In my humble opinion, that appears to be THE major Jewish interest right now, as evidenced by Schraub's whole series.

~*~


By coincidence, I wrote some of this when I was exhausted from cleaning up a huge mess of Acai berry juice, cheerfully flung across the floor of the store where I toil... by a 3-year-old ball of energy, a human pinball he was, bouncing off the walls and into the produce bins.

"Zion!" his mama kept calling, sternly, "Zion!"

Zion's beleaguered mama was wearing Quiverfull clothes and had five or six other energetic children to tend to.

In short, I very much doubt his name was a reference to THE MATRIX.




~*~



[1] I have been married three times, and I have had three last names. This, of course, echoes my mother, married four times, with four names. She always told me, if you want to be cool, you have the right to use all of them together, just as the Hollywood media has sometimes referred to my idol as Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Warner Fortensky. Sometimes, I like to put them all together like that, just to see how it sounds. It makes me sound either like a floozy or worldly, can't decide which.

(Since Liz was married to Richard Burton twice, does that mean we should repeat "Burton" twice? Do any of you Miss Manners fans know the answer to that one?)

[2] Lots of jolly fun at THIS WEBSITE... where you can find out the ethnic derivation of names, and where in the world they are concentrated. My maiden name, for instance, is most concentrated in Waimate District, New Zealand and Leeds in the UK.

This website is as addicting as Hershey's Kisses and you will eventually end up entering every name you know.

[3] Other participants in the thread asked why we had to talk about antisemitism, specifically. What about the concurrent hatred of the people under attack? Are we discussing hatred of Palestinians also? I think this is an excellent point, never sufficiently addressed by Schraub. In any event, I am putting this question on the back-burner for now, to better address my subject. But I do want to acknowledge the importance of this point, and underscore it here.

[4] For those who don't know about the lynching of Jewish factory-owner Leo Frank in Atlanta in 1915, educate yourselves.

[5] The co-author of these billion-selling books, Tim LaHaye, is a famous alumni of Bob Jones University, frequent subject of this blog.

[6] I find this whole sentiment to be reminiscent of the ancient claims about the Merovingian monarchs, recently popularized by the novel, The Da Vinci Code. The concept was that the Merovingian kings of France were actual descendants from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. If this were true, of course, overthrowing them would have been 'blasphemous' and impossible. (This is likely one reason that the royal family never debunked the rumors, even as they regarded themselves as devout Catholics.)

The Evangelical concept that Jews are "Jesus' family" and (as I once heard a local preacher say) have "His actual blood running through their veins"--seems based on the mystical idea that Jews are holy simply by virtue of being related to God Himself. And if Israel is their ancestral home, then Israel is holy, too, and must be defended at all costs.

44 comments:

David Schraub said...

You ask: "What is David Schraub saying to Esther Levens and her friends? Anything?"

Well, yeah:

Folks talk about the way the Christian Evangelical community defends Israel. But as far as I’m concerned, their defenses are anti-Semitic too – the glee they hold at the prospect of Israel being the front-line of the “clash of civilizations” is taking pleasure in Jews dying for their cause. ... Our voice gets superseded by Christian speakers who claim to be speaking on our behalf, but in fact are articulating a vision of “pro-Israel” that is very hostile to Jewish interests (this is one of the reasons I find groups like AIPAC allying with such speakers to be utterly unforgivable).

Your riposte seems to be that these defenses that I detest aren't anti-Semitic because the Christians who pronounce them outwardly love Jews. But my rejoinder is that doesn't make them any less anti-Semitic insofar as the effect is to mask actual Jewish voices and render us sideshows in our play.

As you say, that's what privilege is. So fighting against privilege means, not accepting the Christian definition of concepts like "pro-Israel" and "Zionist" just because Christian's are empowered, but wrenching the narrative away from bogus Christianist frames, and back to actual Jewish people telling their tale. I totally support crashing the Christianist "pro-Israel" party, but if it isn't paired with an effort to get the Jewish voice back on the platform, it's not breaking Gentile privilege, it's just redirecting it.

Most Jews don't think it's a good thing for Jews or for Israel for the state to be perpetually in a hyper-militaristic posture, or that it's an occupying power. We want an Israel at peace with it's neighbors and at peace with a sovereign Palestinian state. That vision of pro-Israel is incompatible with that of the Christian Zionists (who express their supposed pro-Israelnes, among other ways, by saying Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine justice for "dividing God's land". These people don't "support Israel", they support a particular apocalyptic vision of Israel which Jews, for obvious reasons, don't find appealing), which is precisely the point: Our terms, not Christian terms (hence the creation of J Street, because we're the one's who ought to have the right to say what is and isn't "pro-Israel." Just because Christians assert they are, doesn't make it so.

RamoneSmith said...

When I started reading this, I thought, wow, I'm going to leave a comment. But after reading it a couple times, I have no idea what to say. The ratios of dead and wounded really say everything there is to know about the situation, I think.

John Powers said...

I have family in the South and sometimes while riding in the car I can't get to the radio dial fast enough to change it. I don't think many of my family really agree with the political viewpoints espoused on Christian radio, but none of them seems to have the need within a second or two to scream, "It's them!" and have to change the channel.

Okay, so I'm admitting that I don't listen too well Daisy, still I think your presentation of Fundamentalist Christians vis a vis Jews seems a bit off to me.

I think you would admit that Fundamentalist Christians can be at once pro-Israel and anti-Semitic. President Bush is easy to point to here. In '93 Bush found it politic to say that the Jews were going to hell. By '98 Barbara Bush opined on the subject suggesting a bigger tent and the younger Bush sought out Billy Graham who essentially sided with his mother.

What was politic for Bush in '93 is still pretty good politics in many places in the South.

There are so many old fights over the Second Coming between denominations it's hard to keep straight. Dispensationalism is fairly modern. While you don't say that Southern Baptists are Dispensationalist, it sort of seems you do. This does not reflect Southern Baptist theology, although it maybe widely accepted among Baptists church goers.

I would predict that a good poll would reveal more Southern Christians affirm the view that all Jews are condemned to hell than would agree "any nation that doesn't line up with Israel is against God."

There are deep historical strains of anti-Semitism in the American South as there are all over the land.

I may be oblivious, but the idea of "gentile privilege" seems too broad to be useful for analysis. Jewish minorities in the South were not on the black side of the white/black divide.

Southern Baptists were rather explicit about a theology of slavery, rather essential fact of the denomination. While defending slave holding was not so essential to Jewish theology in the South, that is part of the tradition.

Sometimes when it comes to religion and politics I worry about donning tin foil caps, in much the same way take pause to wonder about whether critical statements reveal anti-Semitism. I do think that some Southern elites love secret organizations with at least literary associations to the Crusades and Fascistic politics. There's a strong stench of anti-Semitism in this.

My point is that there are many stories going on in re Southern religiosity and Jews. Some of these stories feed into support for Israel, but the thinking doesn't seem to me as simple as you suggest.

sheila said...

I'll just simply say that the world has gone wacko. The way that certain groups stick up for Israel no matter what is disturbing. And anyone who says that it's because of the prophecies is absolutely correct, however distorted and warped that is.

And to say that someone is antisemetic because you believe in the prophecies and want them fulfilled...I'm not sure about that...only because I think these people ARE so distorted that they aren't thinking along those lines.

I won't go on and on, but don't you find it ironic, that so many people of so many faiths kill, want to kill and destroy...all in the name of the SAME God? You cannot tell me that God isn't sitting up there shaking his head saying.....'No, no, no, you are not interpreting this right!'.

Seems like people should be learning to live together and not for a chunk of land.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Your riposte seems to be that these defenses that I detest aren't anti-Semitic because the Christians who pronounce them outwardly love Jews.

I am talking about the idealization of Jews and its accompanying political manifestations. Are you saying this isn't genuine? Of course it is. Actions speak louder than words.

The prophecy is that all Jews, at the time of the Second Coming, will recognize Jesus as Messiah at last. Some will convert on the spot, and some will be too stubborn, and will go the way of the rest of the world who doesn't get it.

But according to Rapture theology, Jews get a specific second chance, which most Evangelicals believe they will take.

How is that hateful?

Muslims get no chance at all, you realize?

Kristin said...

Great post, Daisy. And, yes, THIS:

"It is IDEALIZATION of Jews that marks the Evangelical approach, the idea that they are the Chosen People and can therefore do no wrong."

Exactly, yes. As you know, I grew up not all that far from there, and this is exactly what it is. It is nothing like textbook antisemitism. It is *because* of my adolescent exposure to these people that I think of myself as anti-Zionist. I feel like what I'm arguing is more anti-Dominionist than anything else, and you're right. People who have not experienced this do not get it. You should post this over at feministe. I know Lauren is looking for other people to write about these things.

Kristin said...

By the way, true story. I had this experience after 9/11 that was pretty telling in what I thought was a fairly politically moderate evangelical setting after 9/11. The pastor stated the following: "Anytime anyone stands in the way of the people of God, it's gonna be bloody." This rhetoric is all over the South, and it's part of the reason why I keep critiquing David's use of essentialist Jewish tropes because... While I do see Evangelical Christianity as boosting the security of the state of Israel, I don't actually see it being good for anyone--including Jews--in the end. And, yeah, I wouldn't want my "homeland" to facilitate someone else's Armageddon. Just saying.

And oh my god, that's hilarious about the kid named Zion. I mean, I ran into crazy Bible names among Quiverfull people all the time, but they mostly stuck to the Old Testament. Yes, indeed, I've met white Christian kids named Jedidiah, Zebadiah, and pretty much everything else. Never did hear "Zion," though I'm sure it's caught on among those folks too. The weird names happens because they exhaust what we think of as "normal" Bible names after the first five kids or so: You know, Deborah, David, Isaac, etc. Then they have to stretch and start making use of the prophets, and well... There's a little toddler named Zion running around now, eh? Sheesh... Poor kid.

David Schraub said...

I don't want to be "idealized" from a Christian perspective, because I'm not a huge fan of their "ideals". If Jews bought into Christian ideal-ogy, we'd be Christians, not Jews. I want to be judged on my own terms -- insofar as Christians are forcing the metric of "good for Jews" to be what they imagine to be good for us, rather than what we imagine to be good for us, that's harmful.

I can accept that they think they're doing me a favor, I just don't think they actually are (again, if I believed we were actually going to get to the stage of Christian eschatology, then I would be Christian right now -- I wouldn't need the "second chance"). It's not an intent-based critique, it's an effects-based one.

Tfb said...

It's a privilege that fundamentalist Christians think that Jews will get a second chance, under a knife, to reject our Jewishness and accept Jesus, and they think we will?

Philo-semitism isn't a historic phenomenon with negative consequences for Jews? (people who express love and admiration for stereotyped, generalized, and idealized versions of women are NEVER sexist and have never harmed women's lives?)

The fact that a majority Jewish government in Israel is inflicting many more casualties on Palestinians than are being inflicted on them says everything there is to say about anti-Jewish bigotry around the world?

This THREAD is in bizarro world.

Je

DaisyDeadhead said...

TFB: (Too fucking bad?)

It's a privilege

I was quoting David Schraub on "gentile privilege"--I did not initially use the word.

Do you believe there is, or not?
(If not, take it up with him.)

that fundamentalist Christians think that Jews will get a second chance, under a knife, to reject our Jewishness and accept Jesus, and they think we will?

Do you think a second chance is better than burning in hell for all eternity? Obviously, YMMV.

You do realize that believers of no other religion get another chance?

Philo-semitism isn't a historic phenomenon with negative consequences for Jews?

Where did you read THAT? (((reads back))) I didn't say that. Quote, please?

(I think I even gave a direct example in footnote #4, didn't I?)

(people who express love and admiration for stereotyped, generalized, and idealized versions of women are NEVER sexist and have never harmed women's lives?)

Again, I said this WHERE? (((reads back))) Where are you getting this?

Are you incapable of holding two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time?

The fact that a majority Jewish government in Israel is inflicting many more casualties on Palestinians than are being inflicted on them says everything there is to say about anti-Jewish bigotry around the world?

And I said this where??!???!?? Quote please?

Where are you getting this? You are assigning me all sorts of meanings that I didn't say...then showing amazement that I said these things you have decided I said, that I didn't say.

This THREAD is in bizarro world.

Perhaps, but far worse than that is behaving like an arrogant, condescending, patronizing, elitist asshole. Your privilege, BTW, radiates with every word.

Learn to interact respectfully or fuck off.

~*~

David Schraub: I don't want to be "idealized" from a Christian perspective, because I'm not a huge fan of their "ideals".

You do realize you are talking to a Christian, right? I do not demand you be "a fan of my ideals", but it is nice to be taken seriously, as I have taken your ideals seriously here.

YOU made the argument regarding "gentile privilege." If such privilege exists, it means you don't get the right to decide when you are idealized OR hated... just as women don't get the right to decide what men will say/do about our appearance. That is out of our hands, we simply have to deal with the end result.

That is what privilege is.

I'm taking your idea seriously, and now you seem to want to back away from it.

If Jews bought into Christian ideal-ogy, we'd be Christians, not Jews.

Then why are the Jews in my post, such as Benjamin Netanyahu and Esther Levens, buying into it?

How do they differ from you in what they feel Israel should do? Are you ready to say no more military aid to Israel--since it comes from these very Christians, you realize?

I want to be judged on my own terms -- insofar as Christians are forcing the metric of "good for Jews" to be what they imagine to be good for us, rather than what we imagine to be good for us, that's harmful.

But why are they taking the guns and bombs and grenades and jets from American Christian politicians, then?

I can accept that they think they're doing me a favor, I just don't think they actually are (again, if I believed we were actually going to get to the stage of Christian eschatology, then I would be Christian right now -- I wouldn't need the "second chance"). It's not an intent-based critique, it's an effects-based one.

Right... I am talking about the EFFECTS... the effects are that Israel is getting tons of military hardware and directly benefits from the idealization I am talking about. Otherwise, as I said on that thread, they'd be reduced to throwing Molotov cocktails just like their opposition is.

Where do you think all that military aid came from? Jewish politicians? Or American Christian politicians?

Why this utter refusal to look at the BOTTOM LINE? If you want to disassociate from the fundamentalists, how about advocating that Israel REFUSE money from the USA?

Do you see any contradiction here--wholeheartedly accepting the Christian weaponry while simultaneously sneering at the Christians?

Tfb said...

Daisy: I am talking about the idealization of Jews and its accompanying political manifestations. Are you saying this isn't genuine? Of course it is. Actions speak louder than words.

Kristin: I grew up not all that far from there, and this is exactly what it is. It is nothing like textbook antisemitism.

RamoneSmith: The ratios of dead and wounded really say everything there is to know about the situation,

Daisydeadhead,

I didn't direct my response to you personally and I didn't mean to imply that you personally were saying all of these things. It was a response to different comments on the thread and I should have been less sloppy.

No, I don't think them believing that we'll have a second chance to convert is a privilege, any more than:

I don't think that the belief that everyone born before Jesus or that never heard of Jesus won't automatically go to hell for not believing him is a privilege for pre-Jesus or never-evangelized people

I don't think the belief that if we get written down in their genealogical books we might not automatically go to Mormon hell is a privilege

I don't think the belief that we need to be kept around as an exiled and wandering people (and not be completely wiped out) in order to serve as a living proof that God has rejected the Jewish people a privilege.

The idea that Christians and Jews can live as dhimmis in a Muslim state, that I can see as a 'privilege' vis-a-vis non Abrahamic faiths. But please don't wave it in my face as proof of lack of bigotry.

but far worse than that is behaving like an arrogant, condescending, patronizing, elitist asshole. Your privilege, BTW, radiates with every word.

My privilege as a Jew that if I happen to be alive at the return I'll get a second chance to repent?

I promise NOT to USE my privilege to repent?

Yes, that was snarky but I don't really get what you're talking about. If I'm reading all the above comments wrong, then I'm ignorant, but not an asshole. Nor was it my intent to be condescending.

DaisyDeadhead said...

No, I don't think them believing that we'll have a second chance to convert is a privilege, any more than

You don't see that compared to all other non-Christians, you are getting treated differently by Christian theology?

Jews have been singled out as being somehow better, somehow worthy of a second chance.

Just start WITH THAT FACT and stop getting bogged down in the word "privilege"--which BTW, is David's word from his original post. I am not sure the word is accurate (as John Powers also said), but I am addressing HIS POST.

We are discussing Evangelical Christian theology, in particular. The religious right, as its called here in the USA.

According to THEM, you are more likely to go to heaven than I am, since I am Catholic and John Calvin decided we were idolatrous heretics.

You get another chance, that I don't even get, that no other religious group gets. You don't think that is regarded as a good thing by them?

Of course, if you think it's bullshit, you think it's bullshit... but if it were REAL, would you want that second chance or NOT?

I don't think that the belief that everyone born before Jesus or that never heard of Jesus won't automatically go to hell for not believing him is a privilege for pre-Jesus or never-evangelized people

We aren't talking about them... we are talking about the second chance given to Jews specifically. Why are you changing the subject?

You are saying: this theology is bullshit.., However, it doesn't matter if you regard it as bullshit or not, it is the whole reason for the blank check given to the Israeli military by people like my senator, Lindsay Graham. Period.

If it is bullshit, then maybe you should try to get them to stop taking the weaponry, since you think it is NOT in Jews' interests.

If it isn't, as I asked David, then why are they taking it?

Is there (ahem) a bit of a contradiction here?

I don't think the belief that if we get written down in their genealogical books we might not automatically go to Mormon hell is a privilege

Even if hell is real?

See, you have that flip attitude of the agnostic. Fine, be as flip as you like, but understand, that this theology you are sneering at is the whole basis for the Evangelicals' POLITICAL SUPPORT of Israel. POLITICAL SUPPORT: their religious belief is the reason for the POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

If you hate the theology, then of course, you want to end this support, yes?

If not, why not? Because I see this as a contradiction.

I don't think the belief that we need to be kept around as an exiled and wandering people (and not be completely wiped out) in order to serve as a living proof that God has rejected the Jewish people a privilege.

The word "privilege" was David's--as I said, take it up with him.

If you believe this, then of course, you want Israel to refuse the military aid, yes?

Because as I said, to sneer at the Christians, while taking their guns, is damned hypocritical.

The idea that Christians and Jews can live as dhimmis in a Muslim state, that I can see as a 'privilege' vis-a-vis non Abrahamic faiths. But please don't wave it in my face as proof of lack of bigotry.

I do not understand what you mean here. (?) Sorry.

My privilege as a Jew that if I happen to be alive at the return I'll get a second chance to repent?

Well, that's more than I'll get.

And you know, I'd actually LIKE another chance, too! :P

I promise NOT to USE my privilege to repent?

Yes, that was snarky but I don't really get what you're talking about. If I'm reading all the above comments wrong, then I'm ignorant, but not an asshole. Nor was it my intent to be condescending.


I wrote a whole post, about how the fundies adore the Jews (and as I said in my last footnote, I believe some of this is a mystical fixation on "sacred blood")--so much that they give them money and bombs and armor and whatever else, intended to make sure all of Israel's enemies are destroyed.

Now, you don't see that as privilege compared to the people getting the shit nuked out of them in the Gaza right now?

Because if you don't get that, I really can't help you.

John Powers said...

In one of the threads at Feministe David said that he'd been close to tears all day. Do I ever relate to that! For whatever reasons I'm a news junkie and the news very often brings me to tears. I know that not everyone is like this, but I like to talk when there's trouble.

My first response here seemed a bit off on a tangent. At least I didn't make explicit that the issue that Daisy is making in re the discussion around David's post is important.

Like most everyone else following this thread, I've been reading lots of comment threads where the issues that David raises about anti-Semitism are right on the surface. I read an exchange between Bill Moyers and Abe Foxman about Moyers' recent essay about Gaza.Plenty of comments there calling Moyers an anti-Semite. The thing about Moyers is that much of his work is accessible, so there's a context.

Working backward I found this discussion between Moyers, Rabbi Michael Lerner and Dr. Timothy Weber.

Weber is an Evangelical Christian and theologian. He wrote the book "On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend."

I loved the discussion. First because Weber makes the point I was trying to make about the various wellsprings of Evangelical Christianty so much better than I. Second because Rabbi Lerner's optimism about people creating different world views encourage me--Weber too.

Among the reading about Gaza recently Seyla Benhabib's "What Is Israel's End-Game" stood out. She wrote: "Military power, freed from subordination to political goals, is blind and brutal."

That hits home. I mean what are American political goals in this GWOT? "Blind and brutal" seem appropriate adjectives for the results on the ground.

The construct of white privilege has the advantage of pealing away the veneer of "I'm not racist!" by showing there are elaborate systems which are largely invisible that confer dominance of white people as a group. The purpose of the notion of "gentile privilege" is supposed to reveal similar systems of domination. But it seems that David puts the construct of gentile dominance to work in service of asserting the nessessity of Israel where Jews can dominate.

There's plenty of tears caused by leftist dictatorships. Still among those on the left it seems a widely held political goal is less domination and greater cooperation.

David aligns himself with the left calling for a "Two-State Solution." But many on the left doubt the possibility and utility of such a solution.

Tfb says this thread is in bizarro world. Yeah, and we're living in it and acting out politics in it. 38% of the Jewish population of Israel want Israel to be run under religious law. That's an important factor in Israeli politics. Just as end-times Christianity in American politics. The stories we tell ourselves are bumping up against each other. It's bizarre oftentimes but that's our political landscape.

Daisy is certainly right in pointing out that if politics is to proceed towards clear goals we can't dismiss what's clearly before us.

DaisyDeadhead said...

I read an exchange between Bill Moyers and Abe Foxman about Moyers' recent essay about Gaza.Plenty of comments there calling Moyers an anti-Semite.

I wonder what Judith Davidson Moyers, who is Jewish, thinks of that? (Does she know she's been married to an antisemite for 54 years?)

Great link--reading it now!

The repugnant fact that this bombing started on the last day of Hanukkah, "The Festival of Lights"--is as nakedly offensive as the "Christmas bombing" of Hanoi.

Tfb said...

I see a bit more what you're getting at now.

You're right, I do sneer at this second chance thing. You're also right that I'm making a distinction between theological beliefs and the practical consequences of those beliefs. But not quite where you think I'm making it.

If you really cared about Christian theology, you wouldn't want a second chance, you'd want them to just be wrong. Or you'd think they were right, and instead of being sad about getting a second chance, you'd convert. So no, I don't think I'm privileged according to where I fall in someone else's eschatology.

Where there are practical consequences, such as: military aid (because Israel has to stick around) or disenfranchisement (because Jews can't be citizens because that would undermine God's plans for us to live in a permanent state of exile (which is a traditional Catholic position, and why the (previous) Pope's visit to Israel was such a huge deal, that's different.

If you hate the theology, then of course, you want to end this support, yes?

If not, why not?


Because I'm a pragmatist and not an idealist, I guess. I don't feel that we have an obligation to decline the positive effects of a bullshit theology (even if it were in our power to do so). (also, nb, I'm saying this generally, not with regards to whether any one specific manifestation of a theology is good or bad). If there were a way to decline the positive impact that made other future potential negative ones less likely, that would be one thing. But that's not the case.

I guess I should also add that I mean this to say that I would NOT blame someone or call them an uncle tom or whatever for accepting this kind of benefit, no that I think it's the best thing to do or that it's the course of action I'd desire in myself. It IS a form of privilege to decline any benefit that doesn't come from laudable and pure motives.

I wrote a whole post, about how the fundies adore the Jews (and as I said in my last footnote, I believe some of this is a mystical fixation on "sacred blood")--so much that they give them money and bombs and armor and whatever else, intended to make sure all of Israel's enemies are destroyed.

Actually what this looks like to me is making the Jews tax collectors. Yes, they may get a bit more wealthy, but in the end they're doing the job of the masters without the benefits and with the hatred/resentment, etc. They are making Israel the proxy for their own work, instead of, say, launching attack on Israel's 'enemies' under their own banner, risking not only their own wealth but their own people, security, etc. And they're succeeding, since the wrath of the world is once again (and as easily as ever) directed against the Jews and not against them, and the very existence of anti-Jewish bigotry is called into question. The biggest trick the devil ever played, etc etc.

(Incidentally, I think the Palestinians are also being used as a proxy for fundamentalist Muslim interests. Great! (that was sarcastic, I don't really think it's great. I think it's terrible and ironic ).

Now, you don't see that as privilege compared to the people getting the shit nuked out of them in the Gaza right now?

Yes. Presumable most of us, out of self preservation if nothing else, would prefer to be the bomber than the bombed. But this is the privilege of the 'wife' over the 'mistress,' of the 'legitimate child' over the 'bastard,' of the 'young hot thing' over the 'old/ugly/fat/grown-up woman.'

It's not nothing, especially for a pragmatist. But I think it's easy to overstate.

DaisyDeadhead said...

If you really cared about Christian theology, you wouldn't want a second chance, you'd want them to just be wrong.

You are now pronouncing on my faith? You declare I don't really care about Christian theology unless I act in the manner you say I should?

I care passionately about it, which is why I know so much about it and have to explain it to people who obviously don't care and don't know.

I don't assume anyone is wrong in their faith; I just don't. I CAN say that the worldly manifestations of their faith is good or bad: "By their fruits shall ye know them." (I do not judge a person's soul; I can and do judge whether the acts they commit are good or bad.) The Evangelicals have some rotten fruit. I see the unconditional support of Israel 'right or wrong'--as one of those rotten fruits.

Or you'd think they were right, and instead of being sad about getting a second chance, you'd convert.

Now, why would I do that?
I have no idea what you are talking about.

Again, sounds like an agnostic talking... faith is not like voting for someone on American Idol. Faith is something that happens as a result of spiritual experiences and revelation. It is not a rational choice. ACTIONS AS A RESULT of faith can be (should be) rational, but faith itself is not rational.

1) Faith and 2) actions BASED ON faith, are two different things... time for TS Eliot:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow.


So no, I don't think I'm privileged according to where I fall in someone else's eschatology.

So, the people in Gaza are just as privileged as the people who have bombed them?

Because the difference is the GREAT BIG GIANT HIGH-TECH GUNS one side has, that the other does not have, because of where they fall in someone else's eschatology.

Do you see that?

Where there are practical consequences, such as: military aid (because Israel has to stick around) or disenfranchisement (because Jews can't be citizens because that would undermine God's plans for us to live in a permanent state of exile (which is a traditional Catholic position, and why the (previous) Pope's visit to Israel was such a huge deal, that's different.

No... that is where you keep getting the matter of FAITH and the MANIFESTATIONS OF FAITH confused. Faith can be entirely private and never even acted upon in any appreciable way that anyone would notice. Or, it can be this big noisy thing. I am talking about the big noisy thing. THE EFFECTS OF THIS FAITH, the outcome. The outcome has been that Israel is powerful enough to destroy Gaza.

Because I'm a pragmatist and not an idealist, I guess. I don't feel that we have an obligation to decline the positive effects of a bullshit theology (even if it were in our power to do so).

(((sigh))

I admit that I am damn tired of agnostics and atheists getting on their high horses about the Christian right, yet being cynical enough to use them whenever it suits them, like now. They don't seem to understand that such "using" cuts both ways, and helps to consolidate the religious right's political power, like when Rick Warren gets to deliver an inaugural invocation or (more pointedly) when Ted Haggard was invited to Israel as a special guest.

(also, nb, I'm saying this generally, not with regards to whether any one specific manifestation of a theology is good or bad). If there were a way to decline the positive impact that made other future potential negative ones less likely, that would be one thing. But that's not the case.

It is disingenuous to kiss fundie Christian ass when it's friendly to your cause, then howl when they are powerful enough to, say, deny certain people the right to get married.

With one goes the other... power is power.

Actually what this looks like to me is making the Jews tax collectors. Yes, they may get a bit more wealthy, but in the end they're doing the job of the masters without the benefits and with the hatred/resentment, etc. They are making Israel the proxy for their own work, instead of, say, launching attack on Israel's 'enemies' under their own banner, risking not only their own wealth but their own people, security, etc. And they're succeeding, since the wrath of the world is once again (and as easily as ever) directed against the Jews and not against them, and the very existence of anti-Jewish bigotry is called into question. The biggest trick the devil ever played, etc etc.

That was my whole point.

Are you telling me what my point was, or did you just get it?

Tfb said...

Hi Daisy,

I'm not sure what happened since you started out calling me an ignorant condescending patronizing asshole who doesn't respect your faith and made assumptions about my own (wrong ones, irrelevant however) when it seems like you actually don't disagree with me at all.

I think you read me the worst possible light, made a lot of uncalled for assumptions, called me names, spoke disparagingly towards me, and didn't actually try to read me with good faith for the purposes of comprehension.

Too bad, it could have saved a lot of angst.

DaisyDeadhead said...

TFB, I assumed the comment "This THREAD is in bizarro world," was a reference to my writing and subject, so yes, I did take offense. I assumed offense was intended.

Read your first post again, and understand how it sounded like an attack on me for being too stupid to know what I was "really" saying. That's how I took it.

If that was not intended, maybe you should concentrate on asking people what they mean, rather than haughtily informing them.

When I get pissed off about a post, I have found "Are you saying---?" to be a far superior response than "You are saying---!" It implies that you WANT dialogue, not that you already know what this person believes.

And all it takes is changing the placement of two words.

Kristin said...

Daisy: Absolutely, THIS, yes:

"I admit that I am damn tired of agnostics and atheists getting on their high horses about the Christian right, yet being cynical enough to use them whenever it suits them, like now. They don't seem to understand that such "using" cuts both ways, and helps to consolidate the religious right's political power, like when Rick Warren gets to deliver an inaugural invocation or (more pointedly) when Ted Haggard was invited to Israel as a special guest."

Also, I think most everyone is misreading Daisy here--and assuming that she's sympathetic to the Christian Right or something. She isn't. Just take a cursory glance at her blog. She *is* drawing a connection between the political power of the Christian Right in the United States and its blanket support for the actions of the state of Israel.

Now... David, are you still reading? You haven't signed on to this "pragmatist" view yet, but in any case... So, would you support an emboldened Christian Right in this country simply because you think it would be good for Israel? Tfb, you admit that you are okay with the Christian Right for pragmatic reasons. I mean, you *don't particularly like them as people,* but as long as they shore up US support for Israel, why... It's all worth it then.

And I would just level a very hearty "fuck you" in your direction since, as a queer woman in this country, the Christian Right is why many of my basic human rights are either non-existent--or at risk--around here. They are, in addition, the reason that thousands of gay couples in California just had their marriage licences annulled. So, you know, a "pragmatic" move for one person means another loses her most basic human rights and shit. You really do give those "one-issue" anti-abortion voters a run for their money. Intersectionality: Learn you some.

Sorry, Daisy. I'm just... Ugh... This makes me angry.

Tfb said...

Kristin,
I am a pragmatist in general about accepting useful support even from 'impure' sources. I was explicit that I was not addressing the utility/desirability of American Christian fundamentalist support for Israeli military aid. Thanks for reading.

Let's see, if Jews somehow managed to undermine Christian political support for Israeli aid (I'm not sure exactly how you're suggesting that the American Jewish community achieve this considering the size/power differential between us and them), then somehow the Christian fundamentalists would reinstate gay marriage in California? And maybe turn around and tell the Jews that we're fine just as we are and don't need to be a religious game piece in their theology?

Well, you're definitely not a pragmatist.

I think that if you tried to think of me as a full and complete person with a complex history with integrity in my aspirations to understand the world and respond to it, you might talk to me a little differently. And your assumptions about me are about as messed up as one would expect baseless assumptions to be.

In the mean time maybe you can elaborate on how your political purity tests play out for you in practice? Are women who go into policing or soldiering to support themselves and their families traitors? Are minorities who accept to be in tokenized positions sell outs? For what purposes *should* we be willing to accept the money, tax dollars, and political influence of people who disagree with us on important things? The last Pride festival I participated in accepted plenty of support from American Apparel. Should I have boycotted?

Meowser said...

And you know, I'd actually LIKE another chance, too! :P

Okay, now I've got a stupid question to ask. Maybe more than one.

But the one that I keep wanting to ask is: If you were to be offered that "second chance," would you say yes? Would you renounce your own beliefs and everything you stand for now, and be "saved"?

Subquestions: If the answer is "yes, I would," then why haven't you already done it? Because it would suck to have to live life the fundie way? Then why would anyone who feels that way choose that for an eternity?

And if the answer is "no," what difference does it make if they ask you a second time? Doesn't one "no" mean the same thing as two "no"s, if the question is the same both times?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Okay, now I've got a stupid question to ask. Maybe more than one.

But the one that I keep wanting to ask is: If you were to be offered that "second chance," would you say yes? Would you renounce your own beliefs and everything you stand for now, and be "saved"?


If their version were proven true and it all shakes out the way they say? Well, sure. Wouldn't you?

Are you saying that if Krishna or whoever turns out to be
The One who saves the world, you wouldn't start singing Hare Krishna? Like, yesterday?!

The difference is between which version is proven correct.

Subquestions: If the answer is "yes, I would," then why haven't you already done it?

Um, because I don't believe their version, as things stand now. I have no proof of that. But you are saying that I would face the reality of the Rapture and Armageddon and still be stubborn and not see that their version was coming true? Lord, I hope I wouldn't be THAT dumb.

Obviously, we don't know if they are right, and I operate on faith that they are not. But I suppose they could be, just as I could be.

Of course, no way to know that now. I proceed according to my beliefs as they proceed according to theirs.

Because it would suck to have to live life the fundie way? Then why would anyone who feels that way choose that for an eternity?

You are comparing that to eternal hellfire? I guess I don't think there is any comparison.

You think heaven is run by some fundie rules? I guess if the fundamentalists are correct, I'd see it more as the Calvinist concept of "perfection" rather than like some fundie neighborhood. (The fundies do not live up to there own ideals of perfection, you realize?)

And if the answer is "no," what difference does it make if they ask you a second time?

If they ask me now, I have no proof they are right, and believe they are mistaken... you are asking if I would believe them once the Tribulation has begun? Well, duh, I just might!

You are asking the difference between believing NOW, with no proof, and believing once the End of Days has begun according to their forecast?

If their version is incontrovertibly proven, I would have the good grace to admit that they were right and I was wrong.
And then, I would ask for mercy rather than being thrown in the lake of fire for all eternity. (Are you saying you wouldn't change your mind, as they threatened you with that thing?)

Doesn't one "no" mean the same thing as two "no"s, if the question is the same both times?

You are asking as if the answer is already proven... and it isn't. Don't the facts matter to you, once they are known? You are asking like you already know the answers, which I find strange.

On the last Battlestar Galactica, President Roslin was burning up her holy book. :( I could relate.

If your faith in your deity or moral system was shaken or destroyed, what would you do?

DaisyDeadhead said...

James Joyce was asked, if he was so pissed off at the Catholic Church, why he didn't convert to Protestant then? His famous answer was, "I've lost my faith, not my mind."

Snotty answer, but it always flits through my mind during conversations like this... :D

Kristin said...

Tfb: Who *are* you? I am *routinely* rude to people spouting asinine opinions on the internets. It ain't about you *personally* or about any doubts about your "full humanity." You *are* owed an understanding of your full humanity. You are *not* owed respect for your...wrongheaded political beliefs.

To answer your question: I was not suggesting that American Jews are *responsible* for undermining the Christian Right's support for the state of Israel.

To clarify: I *do* think that the Christian Right poses maybe the greatest existing threat to the rule of law and the protection of basic human rights *here in this country* right now. And I think we (all Americans) ignore their ascendancy in American politics and/or accept it for "pragmatic" reasons at the peril of pretty much everyone. And it infuriates me to hear someone suggest that political alliances with the Christian Right are justifiable...ever. It also suggests to me that you don't quite understand the threat that they pose right now.

Growing up in the South is pretty instructive. To be clear, the only Zionists I knew until I turned 18 and went to college were evangelical Christians. These people *do* monopolize the meaning of what it means to be a Zionist in this country (at least for the general public), and I dunno... Despite the blank check to Israel, I dunno if I'd want them speaking for me. Hell, as a nominally Christian person, I *definitely* don't want them speaking for me. I sorta think we're all obligated to speak out against these folks, but you know, to each hir own Let me recommend two books:

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg.

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges.

The former in particular helps to clarify their stranglehold on some facets of American politics. It is also written by a Jewish American woman who beautifully explains the dangers that these people pose to Jewish Americans--and to all non-Christians (hell, all non-evangelical Christians, even) in this country.

In any case, you are right. I am not really a pragmatist in politics. Well, mostly not. And while I don't demand complete and utter purity, I do think that complacency about the threat of the Christian Right here and elsewhere in in-fucking-excusable. And I probably wouldn't have gone to a pride parade with extensive support from American Apparel either, ftr.

John Powers said...

I can't stop thinking about this thread. LOL I'll spare everyone anymore stabs at it. A tangentially related link I read today A Portrait of the Jews Through Chinese Eyes

Meowser said...

Damn, I just wrote a lovely little comment, and it got eaten. Then I rewrote it, and it got eaten a second time. (This time I saved at least some of what I wrote before I crashed, argh.)

Anyway, here's where I'm getting stuck. It's not that I personally believe that the fundies are right about what the afterlife is like, as far as the rigid sex roles and xenophobia are concerned. (And I also must give you the caveat here that I'm not just a Jew, but a witch also, so I'm really only trying to understand this narrative in terms of internal consistency, not personal Christian belief.)

But even in the terms they've laid out, it seems to me that they are only guessing who Jesus would allow a "second chance" to, should he return; they don't actually know. (And if they are relying on a particular translation of the Bible as the basis for that vision, their beliefs are also filtered again through that particular translator's viewpoint. From that PBS link you provided, that would seem to be a particularly thorny issue with Revelations, which in its original form was highly complex almost to the point of being unintelligible, and dense with a particular type of symbolism that would be difficult for modern readers to grasp.)

But it does seem to me that if you buy the first part of their story (exactly who gets saved and who doesn't), you also buy the other part of it (what the afterlife is like). And vice versa, of course, because that view of the afterlife is so strongly rooted in who is "good enough" to be saved.

It also seems to me that if your vision of the afterlife is different from theirs, but you believe in the basic concept of Jesus's return, you also might have a different understanding of who gets saved -- or more to the point, who could possibly get saved, since, again, nobody really knows for sure until it actually happens.

Which brings me to why I'm not exactly thrilled to death about the idea of my people being fetishized by fundies. Not only does it create a truly nasty caste system, but fetishism isn't respect or understanding even if you call it "love," and I don't see any evidence that they respect American Jews and want to let us live freely on our terms, only that they need Israel for their Armageddon concept to happen and they've gotten stuck on the dubious idee fixe Jews=Israel. Except for when Jews=evil secular humanists, of course. (Like Cynthia Heimel, whenever I hear them palavering about the "cultural elite" or somesuch, I can't help but think they really mean "Jews.")

The vibe I get from fundies is that if Israel were to fall into the ocean tomorrow, Jewish people would become just as dead to them as everyone else is, maybe even more so. Maybe -- maybe -- they could work up some feeling for the Chasidim and create some new scenario that would involve Christ showing up in Williamsburg. (Although I think the Chasidim would have some pretty choice syllables for them.) But the rest of us? That "blood of Jesus" we used to have? Oh, that was last week. Now we're back to horns again, not that that ever really went away.

And if their "love" for us is based upon the assumption that we will one day either convert to their way of thinking or be condemned to eternal hellfire on the spot, I think they might be shocked to find out how few of us would actually be interested, given that most of us really don't grasp the eternal-hellfire thing all that well, by design. (Or maybe they secretly know that, and therefore they don't think there's any chance they'll have to encounter us post-Rapture? I dunno.)

And I do completely agree that the Jewish people who are all too happy to take the fundies' support and money and weapons are really not helping.

Kristin said...

Meowser: Yes, EXACTLY. To everything you said.

chingona said...

I ended up over there via It's All Connected via the Feministe thread, and I know this thread is pretty much over, but I feel pretty strongly on this issue, so I wanted to add my comments.

I feel that I maybe have more perspective on this than many Jewish people because I married into a family of very conservative evangelical Christians, including several who are Christian Zionists, though obviously my perspective will be different than someone who is actually a Christian.

I, personally, and many Jews I know, including many who identify as Zionists, see Christian Zionism as actively hostile to Jewish safety and Jewish lives. They claim to "love" us, but they are loving us to death. They claim to support a "secure Israel," but really they want an Israel that fulfills certain prophecies, regardless of how many people from whichever side die. A lot of Jews, including many who identify as Zionists, believe that persuing Greater Israel type policies pushed by the Christian Zionists not only is morally wrong, but also, ultimately endangers the existence of Israel.

I'm going to use an analogy with feminism, not because it is perfectly parallel, but because it's the framework with which I am most fluent, and one with which I'll assume most commenters here are familiar.

If a non-feminist man comes into a feminist community and makes an argument that most of the feminists there believe denies the basic humanity of women and they accuse him of being sexist or misogynistic (depending on how you define, distinguish and deploy those terms), it is not unusual for the man to respond: "How can I be sexist/misogynistic? I love women. I have a mother, a wife and three daughters. I want what's best for women." Feminists would not consider this statement a remotely credible defense, and the fact that you could go into any bookstore and find a shelf full of books, many written by women, supporting his positions and opposing the feminist position, would not be considered a credible defense either.

That AIPAC and successive Israeli governments and some U.S. Jewish organizations are willing to ally with Christian Zionists or that Christian Zionists claim to "love" Jews is not, to my mind, a credible defense against the charge of antisemitism. Indeed, I believe those Jewish organizations who ally with Christian Zionists are, dare I say, lethally misguided.

I find it strange that you seem to be defining antisemitism based on the intent of the Christian Zionist as opposed to how it is perceived by many Jews. This seems to me to be the opposite of how we consider these issues with almost any other group. That we are considered better than Muslims or other groups or would be offered additional "opportunities" to change our minds is not, to me, a credible defense against the accusation of antisemitism.

This is different than the most widely acknowledged types of antisemitism, but I don't think it's actually a "new" kind of antisemitism. I believe Martin Luther was very critical of previous anti-Jewish activity by the Catholic Church, but he thought that by reaching out to and being nice to Jews, they would change their minds and accept Jesus. When the Jews preferred to keep being Jews, he felt very betrayed and became virulently antisemitic. Christians of this type believe that Jews will come to Jesus in very large numbers as we move toward the end of the world. I have little faith that they won't turn on us if we fail to live up to their "idealization," and that is not, in my mind, "love."

I got into a very nasty fight with my father-in-law over Christmas on Israel, Gaza and what Jews should believe and are allowed to believe about Israel. Generally speaking, we try to be civil with each other and avoid topics that will lead to fights like this. I let a lot of very "idealizing" and just plain wrong ideas he has about Jews slide in the interest of avoiding a fight, especially if I feel that he is not intending to be offensive. But the things he said that night were so offensive to me that I felt I had to contradict him. And the hostility he showed to me when I, as a Jewish person, did not accept his vision of what I should be and should believe, was very palpable. Does he "hate" me? No. I'm his son's wife, the mother of his only grandson. I'm sure he prays for me every night and twice on Sunday. But someone doesn't have to "hate" blacks to hold racist ideas or "hate" women to hold misogynistic ideas. And his ideas about Jews as a group go far beyond "idealization" in my mind, and into something that I, as the person on the receving end of it, consider antisemitic.

I'm not asking you to change your mind, but I hope that you'll consider there might be different viewpoints on this that don't stem just from lack of contact with Christians but from a the different perspective Jews bring to this topic.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Chingona, I understand your arguments and agree with them...my point then: if Jews feel this way about Christians... ISRAEL SHOULD STOP ACCEPTING ALL US MILITARY AID, period.

Because that is who it is from.

Do you agree with that? Yes or no? That is the bottom line, and I don't see it addressed in your post.

Otherwise, they are hypocrites, and I don't want anyone who takes this political position to self-righteously preach to me about theocracy since they are 1) supporting a theocracy in Israel that advocates giving people of one faith certain rights that people of another faith are not allowed, and 2) they are actively helping to consolidate the power of the religious right at home, by conceding their political power and bolstering it.

I am sick of the double standard. As a Christian, I have put up with anti-Christian viciousness from atheists (some Jews and some not, but most/many have been supporters of military aid to Israel) and with a few exceptions, I have let it go... due to my own guilt and complicity. Therefore, don't expect me to say Jewish complicity is okay, when many of these people are the same ones holding ME to account.

I find it strange that you seem to be defining antisemitism based on the intent of the Christian Zionist as opposed to how it is perceived by many Jews.

(((sigh)))
I am not DEFINING anti-semitism. I am talking about REAL WORLD RESULTS. Analogy: Just as sex workers say, yes, we realize in a so-called perfect world, women might not want to sell sex for a living, but we are a loooooong way from that. In the meantime, let's have some safety and rights for sex workers.

I am talking about HOW THESE POLITICS PLAY OUT in the REAL WORLD... how many millions of dollars is this Evangelical "idealization" of Jews, that I speak of, actually WORTH. Billions?

How much money and weaponry does the USA give Israel?

THAT is the bottom line, not a lot of high-minded talk about how people don't understand Evangelical antisemitism. Meanwhile, Palestinians die. DEATH, BARBARISM, DESTRUCTION, while people argue over WORDS, and it just INFURIATES ME.

I would cut off ALL MILITARY AID.... and doubtless that would also be called antisemitic, yes?

If you resolutely cling to the religiously-inspired military policies advocated by the Lindsey Grahams and Mike Huckabees... then take full responsibility for your theocratic politics... and do not point at me as a Christian or Catholic and tell me how fucked up I am because I believe in a "sky fairy"--particularly if you advocate military aid, voted on by politicians who believe in those very same sky fairies, for sky-fairy reasons.

If a non-feminist man comes into a feminist community and makes an argument that most of the feminists there believe denies the basic humanity of women and they accuse him of being sexist or misogynistic (depending on how you define, distinguish and deploy those terms), it is not unusual for the man to respond: "How can I be sexist/misogynistic? I love women. I have a mother, a wife and three daughters. I want what's best for women." Feminists would not consider this statement a remotely credible defense, and the fact that you could go into any bookstore and find a shelf full of books, many written by women, supporting his positions and opposing the feminist position, would not be considered a credible defense either.

Good point. And in the second-wave of feminism, of which I was an active part, what were WOMEN asked to do with such men? Reform them, and failing that, DIVORCE THEM OR DUMP THEM. A woman with an actively sexist partner was OSTRACIZED and not considered a good feminist. And indeed, it is reasonable to ask how serious she was about feminism, if she didn't mind a lover or boyfriend who blithely referred to other women in her collective as hysterical, fat, bitchy, etc. (Eventually, since ALL men are sexists to some degree, some feminists thought separation from ALL men was the solution, as some feminist separatists still counsel women to do.)

If you are a feminist, what are you doing with this guy? Some self-analysis is expected, at the very least.

If you are concerned with Evangelical Christian antisemitism, while are you taking money and guns from Christian antisemites?

Some self-analysis is expected, at the very least.

chingona said...

I am not taking money from Christian Zionists. I am not taking money from the U.S. government. I am not resolutely clinging to religiously-inspired military policies advocated by the Lindsey Grahams and Mike Huckabees or theocratic politics. I never talked about the "sky fairy." I called Jews associating with these people - presumably because they think it's "pragmatic" - "lethally misguided." But it's not that "Jews" see it the way I see it. Many Jews see it the way I do, and many Jews think the Christian Zionists are nutjobs but since none of that stuff they're prophesying is ever going to happen anyway, might as well get them for what they're worth. But it's not the same Jews arguing both positions. They are different Jews, with different views of the situation. And when Jews who want U.S. policy to change tell you they reject Christian Zionism and consider it antisemitic, you ask them why don't "they" stop associating with Christian Zionists. They can't stop because they aren't associating with the m now. Yes, if you advocate a cut-off of U.S. military aid to Israel, some people would call you antisemitic. I'm not one of them, but neither can I wave my magic Jew wand and make them stop. You're taking every person who could disagree with you from any angle and with any kind of rhetoric and mushing them all together as if we were the same person. I can't argue with what you're saying because the position you are arguing against isn't the position I'm arguing from.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Chingona, I didn't say YOU think these things, I am giving the reasons I have arrived at the conclusions I have arrived at, and why. I thought that was what you were asking me, but apparently not.

And you still didn't answer this very direct question. Here it is again:

Chingona, I understand your arguments and agree with them...my point then: if Jews feel this way about Christians... ISRAEL SHOULD STOP ACCEPTING ALL US MILITARY AID, period.

Because that is who it is from.

Do you agree with that? Yes or no? That is the bottom line, and I don't see it addressed in your post.


Are you for cutting it off, then? You didn't give me a direct answer. Yes or no?

Chingona: I am not taking money from Christian Zionists.

Are you in favor of Israel continuing to do so? Yes or no?

Chingona: I am not taking money from the U.S. government. I am not resolutely clinging to religiously-inspired military policies advocated by the Lindsey Grahams and Mike Huckabees or theocratic politics.

Then, are you in favor of Israel continuing to do so?

Chingona: I never talked about the "sky fairy." I called Jews associating with these people - presumably because they think it's "pragmatic" - "lethally misguided." But it's not that "Jews" see it the way I see it.

Actually, I think you are mistaken...some obviously do. David Schraub, the person who inspired this post, clearly wants to have his cake and eat it too... he wants the freedom to be trendy and sneer at the Christian right, yet he also wants Israel to keep taking their money. THIS IS THE CONTRADICTORY POSITION I AM CRITICIZING WITH THIS POST.

Are you coming here to tell me I am arguing the wrong thing?

(I think this is where I finally say "get your own damn blog" isn't it? I've never said it before, but I knew eventually it would come to that, since every other blogger usually gets to that point sometime.)

Chingona: Many Jews see it the way I do, and many Jews think the Christian Zionists are nutjobs but since none of that stuff they're prophesying is ever going to happen anyway, might as well get them for what they're worth.

Who's zooming who?

Another good expression: he who pays the piper calls the tune.

See, as TFB said, they have Jews doing their dirty work for them. But Jews think they are using THEM.

This is the paradox, as I see it.

Chingona: But it's not the same Jews arguing both positions. They are different Jews, with different views of the situation.

I am arguing with David Schraub and the liberal, progressive Jews who agreed with him at Feministe. I do not expect Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol to agree with me.

Chingona: And when Jews who want U.S. policy to change tell you they reject Christian Zionism and consider it antisemitic, you ask them why don't "they" stop associating with Christian Zionists.

Yes, you bet I do.

It's the same question that has been asked of ME, as a progressive Christian.

Chingona: They can't stop because they aren't associating with them now.

Ummmm, excuse me, if you defend military aid to Israel, then you ARE associating with them, by definition. You are arguing in favor of continuing the current US policy. Lindsay Graham, et. al.

Chingona: Yes, if you advocate a cut-off of U.S. military aid to Israel, some people would call you antisemitic. I'm not one of them, but neither can I wave my magic Jew wand and make them stop.

Then what are you here arguing with me for, if you agree with me?

Cut off the aid, yes or no?

Chingona: You're taking every person who could disagree with you from any angle and with any kind of rhetoric and mushing them all together as if we were the same person.

As I said, I was giving the reasons I have arrived at MY conclusions. I thought that is what you were asking... if you weren't, then never mind.

Chingona: I can't argue with what you're saying because the position you are arguing against isn't the position I'm arguing from.

Then what are you doing here? Am I supposed to change my opinion to suit the position you want to argue from?

It all comes down to whether you want the military aid cut or not. I am tired to listening to progressives, Jews or not, grant Israel exceptional status. TIRED OF IT. I explained why.

And bottom line, if you are in favor of cutting off the aid, we are in fundamental agreement. If you aren't, you are making excuses, just like David Schraub and the others I am arguing with. And I will call that position what it is: hypocrisy.

Kristin said...

Daisy: chingona actually has been very critical of Israeli state policy over on the feministe thread. She's not (at all) coming from the same place as Tfb or David Schraub.

As far as military aid... I do think you're making it the responsibility of "the Jews" to end the US aid to Israel, when I don't think it would end *even if* the majority of the US Jewish community opposed it. Evangelical Christians will ensure that it happens anyway.

I think it's fair to make this rhetorical move with David Schraub and Tfb (who have suggested that they're "pragmatists" wrt this stuff--and will take the Christian Zionists if they're needed to shore up US military aid to Israel.). I think it's fair because they're suggesting that it's okay to be in collusion with the Christian Right, and... Well, having grown up in very close proximity to the Christian Right, I think that's a dangerous move. "Lethally dangerous," as chignona says. She seems to agree.

chingona: I'm not unequivocally claiming that this cannot be considered antisemitic (that is, the Christian Right idealization of Jews. The CR also "idealizes" women as "mothers" and "homemakers," and we'd never call this "non-sexist." I do think it's clear that it's not what we have been referring to over on feministe (and on Richard's blog) as "traditional" antisemitism (it's none of these "traditional" tropes having to do with greed, money, banks, etc.). It is...prejudice of some kind, but I don't feel that I'm qualified to determine whether or not its antisemitic. Definitely problematic.

I don't necessarily feel defensive about people condemning the Christian Right (I don't identify with them--and haven't since long even I even left organized religion several years ago), but I agree with Daisy to an extent. I'd like to see us united in fighting the Christian Right (and less "pragmatic" support for them wrt Israeli military aid, tbh).

The two books I list in this thread are...really enlightening, to say the least. This is interesting. I have to say... Having discontinued contact with everyone I know on the evangelical Right by choice (I get *very* tired of hearing that people "will pray for me."), I can't say I envy your position...*at all.* But I suspect you would have an interesting perspective on this as well. Have you got a post coming on too?

chingona said...

Sure, cut off aid.

I think it's a little weird that you keep asking me if Israel should stop accepting it. The Israeli government is doing a lot of stuff I don't agree with, stuff I find appalling, but what I think Israel should do is stop doing that shit. And my country should stop facilitating it. But if their intent is to keep doing it, I can't really see why they would stop taking U.S. aid. Yeah, each side thinks its gaming the other. It's fucked up.

I didn't see David making any argument about American aid one way or the other in the Feministe thread. Maybe he's made that argument elsewhere. I have seen him make an argument that the types of policies the Christian Zionists want Israel to pursue (Greater Israel, etc.) are not the policies he wants Israel to pursue.

If you're having a fight with him that extends back to earlier posts and other stuff he's written, well, all I can say is nothing I'm writing is in response to any of that.

I'm not telling you you're blogging about the wrong thing. I'm disagreeing with your analysis.

Sorry for crashing your blog.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Chingona, I asked since you didn't answer the first time. And I want to make it clear, THAT is my criticism: my country's involvement ($$), and the reasons for that.

Otherwise, I would feel no complicity. As it is, as I wrote in Dead Air Church post, I feel guilty for what my govt does in my name.

Do not apologize, I like to argue or I wouldn't have a blog... I thought you were trying to tell me what I should be saying instead. If you were not doing that, my apologies.

Kristin: As far as military aid... I do think you're making it the responsibility of "the Jews" to end the US aid to Israel, when I don't think it would end *even if* the majority of the US Jewish community opposed it.

My task here is highlighting what I see as the general hypocrisy... starting a meme, if you will. I intend this criticism to apply to anyone who holds these positions, regardless of religion or background. This is why I mentioned atheists. On a message board I used to go to, there was a very nasty atheist (not Jewish, dunno how he was raised) who liked to go on and on about the pernicious influence of ALL Christians--he didn't differentiate between us and was very insulting. Then, I found out he had pro-Israel politics, and I ate him for dinner. But I was amazed he didn't seem to see any connection at all. I realized, lots of anti-religious-right liberals, don't necessarily get the connection.

So I am making it.

Kristin said...

"I realized, lots of anti-religious-right liberals, don't necessarily get the connection."

Okay, understood. I don't tend to feel as defensive about Christianity because... Well, let's be honest, I'm only "nominally" Christian, haven't set foot in a church in years, and don't feel welcome in most. And because I have pretty intimate experiences (good experiences and also abusive ones) with it, yeah, I understand the problems better than some. And I think it's a crucial issue to grapple with wrt US Israel policy.

Anyway, I *do* relate to what you say here insofar as my relationship to the South. I am Southern, and I'll fight anyone who *isn't* Southern who tries to talk to me about the South's "provincialism" or assumes that sie can safely unload racist opinions on me because I'm Southern. Or, well, any number of things I come up against a lot, a *lot* living in the North. The people in PA who think racism *is only* a structural problem in the South make me want to scream. 'Cause, see, down there, we had the Civil Rights movement, and at least there are, um, legal protections against discriminatory housing practices. Here, not so much. Also, epicenter of KKK activity is right where I live. But, "oh no, racism is a *Southern* thing, and we in the North are *superior.*" That makes me furious. I *do* feel defensive when I meet that stereotype. Seriously, one of my students said last semester: "Wow, you're from the South? You don't even have an accent, and you seem so smart..." Gah...

Anonymous said...

PRETRIB RAPTURE - HIDDEN FACTS !

How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the trib! Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) (which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening - Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who would be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54)! (Will death be ended before or during the trib?) If anyone wonders how long pretrib rapturism has been taught, he or she can Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 it was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen - the height of desperation!). Other Google articles throwing light on long-covered-up facts about the 178-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Revisers of Pretrib Rapture History,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Desperados” and “Deceiving and Being Deceived” - all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at Armageddon Books online. Just my two cents’ worth.
Todd

Sarah J said...

Hey Daisy. I've missed you, and can't figure out why I haven't been here.

Anyway, I agree with most of what you're saying here, but this paragraph struck me as problematic:

How is supporting Israel hostile to Jewish interests? In my humble opinion, that appears to be THE major Jewish interest right now, as evidenced by Schraub's whole series.

Because it still reduces Jews to a monolith. We aren't. Supporting Israel is not in my interest. Honestly, I don't know what my interest is in the situation, other than innocent people NOT dying.

Still, your larger points about Christianity and Judaism are definitely on the money. I simply don't think that being idealized and placed upon a pedestal is necessarily "better" than being written off as going to hell.

belledame222 said...

! to the kid named Zion, and yes, exactly.

I've always been sort of morbidly fascinated by the British Israelites (and the remnants of it utilized by their toxic descendants, Christian Identity). How to have your antisemitism and Old Testament at the same time, I guess; but it's also a weird testament to how powerful people find the "we are the CHOSEN ones, we are special" narrative even as they resent the fuck out of anyone ELSE using it. "No, WE are the Chosen Ones! You're just...Khazars! Yeah, that's it!" 'k, get on with your bad self, then...

belledame222 said...

38% of the Jewish population of Israel want Israel to be run under religious law. That's an important factor in Israeli politics. Just as end-times Christianity in American politics. The stories we tell ourselves are bumping up against each other. It's bizarre oftentimes but that's our political landscape.

Yes, THIS. And the radical Islam that's Teh Enemy--those dudes are just doing the same fucking thing; the only difference is that they've made further incursions in various countries/governments toward -actually- turning the whole shindig into a theocracy than have any Jewish or Christian states in modern times. (We will put aside the role of the Church in medieval Europe and Oliver Cromwell and his charming descendants over here in New England; modern day fundamentalism is its own beastie in any case, I think).

And the reasons for that aren't something I feel qualified to get into, but I do know just enough that the apparent widespread belief that the "radicalism" is due to something inherent in the Koran as opposed to either/any of the other Books, and nothing to do with o I don't know neo-colonialism and endless terriorial wars and Machiavellian politicking and so on and so forth, is, well...stupid. Look, most people just want to live their damn lives; the majority of people turn to/submit to radical zealots of -any- stripe, basically, when they're desperate and there's no better alternative. Whose fault is that? Can we really say, not ours at all? And how much better would we -actually- be if our very own theocratic extremists had the same sort of clout here that the equivalents did Over There?

Because THAT'S what infuriates me about the complacency of various right-wingers: yeah, yeah, we don't like the Christian fundamentalists either, or even the Orthodox fanatics in Israel for that matter; but c'mon, it's better than the alternative. For whom, exactly, and for how long? And can we add one more time how much easier it is to take that POV if you're a straight dude?

As far as I'm concerned, it's a bunch of foaming fanatics playing Theocratic Battlebots with the rest of our lives, and I didn't sign up for -any- of it, thank YOU. My People are secular, by and large; and BY the way, if you want to talk about continuing antisemitism in the U.S.? It -generally- takes the same old form as a few decades ago, before Israel was our very bestest friend evar and radical Islam was the devil du jour, only more coded: "Hollywood elites," "cultural elite," "urban"...

belledame222 said...


Because it still reduces Jews to a monolith. We aren't. Supporting Israel is not in my interest. Honestly, I don't know what my interest is in the situation, other than innocent people NOT dying.

Still, your larger points about Christianity and Judaism are definitely on the money. I simply don't think that being idealized and placed upon a pedestal is necessarily "better" than being written off as going to hell.


This. Also, we ARE still going to hell, if we don't convert, at the end of the day; it's just, some of us get an extra chance for redemption, or summat.

(Anyone else remember how it was dealt with in "The Handmaid's Tale?" The Jews get the option to convert, or go to Israel. The richer ones take the planes; the poorer ones get on boats, and, in the epilogue where some academic is commenting on all this 200 years later, apparently at least one boat was simply dumped into the ocean for expedience. This scenario does not in fact seem too implausible to moi).

belledame222 said...

it'd probably be more accurate to say "Jewish Zionists" or just "Zionists" wrt people who either need to shit or get off the pot wrt Israel accepting aid from a Christian-Right-dominated U.S. I realize Schraub is conflating "Jews" (or at least the ones who know what's best for is) with "Zionists," but, well, point is a lot of us don't agree with him on that score either.

mind you, a lot of the neocons are Jewish and/or at least deeply secular themselves; the relationship between neocons and theocons--I am talking at the level of people who actually have/had the power in the Bush admin--is complex and strained at best. I think part of the reason it all went down in flames was because it -was- such a weird alliance to begin with.

That said, we're still probably going to keep pumping money into Israel because even if the Powers That Be are not neocon -or- theocon, there are too many strategic reasons from the U.S. pov not to do so. But, maybe it might become a little saner and humanitarian and long-view; signs aren't terrific, but time will tell, I guess.

belledame222 said...

I also think you might well start to hear more neo-isolationism/nativism rippling up the right-wing hierarchy as the Obama years continue; i.e. people like Pat Buchanan (what -is- his position on Israel and aid thereto, anyway?) who still are clear that Public Enemy #1 is Teh Islam, but are more blatant about, well, first of all, not giving any foreign aid period, (insofar as that'd actually be realistic, but the ideology, at least); and yep, good old-fashioned Zionist Internationalist Conspiracy/let's link the (EV0L!) UN back to (EV0L!) Israel itself, as little sense as it makes in the reality-based community; and so on and so forth.

I doubt any one clear position will emerge on whatever becomes of the U.S. Right any time soon, but at minimum I expect it to be less monolithic rah-rah Israel, precisely because Bush=neocon and the neocons are a pile of smoking rubble, even if, again, our strategic support for Israel predates and outlasts them.

belledame222 said...

--oh hay, look what I just stumbled across while poking through "Birther"/Conspiracy blogs, via an (approving) link:

"Yid With Lid"

http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/

Lord who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers, Whose kingdom is a kingdom spanning all eternities; Who places a road in the sea and a path in the mighty waters - may you bless the President, the Vice President, and all the constituted officers of government of this land. May they execute their responsibilities with intelligence, honor and compassion. And may these United States continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave

Proud member of "Zionist Internationalist Bloggers" as well as (gag) Pajamas Media. --oh, look, there's a site called "Israpundit," too, I can barely wait. What an embarrassment.

kristin.rawls said...

"mind you, a lot of the neocons are Jewish and/or at least deeply secular themselves; the relationship between neocons and theocons--I am talking at the level of people who actually have/had the power in the Bush admin--is complex and strained at best."

Yeah, Wendy Brown wrote an interesting article on this--and why some relatively strange historical circumstances led to this alliance. I forget what it's called...