Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Real Lesson - Pollard - 1987

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The Real Lesson
Written March, 1987

The flood of articles and statements by various American Jews in the wake of the Pollard affair constitutes a morbidly fascinating exhibit of the deep insecurity afflicting a community that so publicly boasts of its feelings of political and civic security.  The unrestrained attacks by Jewish leaders and columnists on Pollard, the blistering criticism of Israel, the exaggerated charges and reactions that are so patently an effort to distance themselves from the Jewish state, all reveal the unpalatable reality of the Jewish Establishment that never could and never will overcome its basic fears of the ghosts of anti-Semitism past.  In the deepest recess of the consciousness, it suspects that “it” could happen in America too.

Surely the most complex and pitiful of the attempts to flee the Pollard-loosed perception of anti-Semitism is that of Jacob Neusner, a Conservative rabbi and Hillel director at Brown University, whose “Ode to America” in the Washington Post must surely rank as the best example of fearful protestation before the non-Jewish minority since similar lamentable efforts to prove “loyalty” on the part of pre-Hitler German Jewry

One can only shake his head sadly as he watches Neusner genuflect and slavishly exclaim that if ever there was a Promised Land the American Jew lives in it and that it is better to be a Jew in the United States than in Jerusalem.  Here is the very essence of the Jew of the Diaspora, so terrified of the gentile and so frantically seeking to prove that he is more American than the American, just as his Hebraic predecessor in Weimar labored to prove to the Aryan he was not so much a Jew as a “German of Mosaic persuasion.”  And here, of course, is the real lesson of the Pollard case.

The American Jew, as part of the neurotic need of a people, persecuted for centuries, to believe that, finally, they had found a gentile haven, created the self-deluding myth that “it” could never happen in America.  To bolster this castle in America, every possible statistic of economic and social progress is trotted out.  Every poll “proving” that the people asked claimed to be against anti-Semitism is happily waved on high.  Every Jewish appointment or election to office is headlined as proof that the Jew, as Neusner trumpets, has, indeed, reached the Promised Land.

How fragile the myth!  How vulnerable to the slightest shock and vibration of reality!  The self-proclaimed assurance is shaken to the core by every Ivan Boesky case, by every Kennedy-type assassination (when not more than five million American Jews turned privately pale and whispered: “let it not have been a Jew who did it . . . “).  The very structure totters as Pollard marches across the American living room as headline news.

The pathetic truth is that an overwhelming sector of the American Jewish community never really believed its own self-deception.  It is the insecurity of centuries that has become part of the Diaspora Jewish psyche, which leads people like Neusner to write patently exaggerated and embarrassing paeans of praise, not so much to America, but to the feared American gentile.  Neusner’s article is an almost humiliating form of  “Uriah Heepism,” a throwback to the French Jewish leader Lippman Cerf-Berr who, upon hearing that the French National Assembly had granted Jews citizenship, wept and exclaimed:  G-d chose this noble French nation to bring us a new birth . . . This (French) nation asks no thanks except that we show ourselves worthy citizens.

I do not believe that Neusner really believed the nonsense he wrote.  But if he really is part of that blissfully ignorant minority of American Jews that does, I suggest that he leave the Ivy-covered walls of Brown University for a few nights and get himself to a bar.  Not a trendy Ivy-League bar but a neighborhood one, where America really drinks, where he can hear the American singing.  Let him sit quietly and listen to the conversations as the schnapps goes in.  Let him hear what comes out.  The incredible jealousy.  The Jews who control America, the Jews, the Jews, the Jews . . .

It is a hatred that is real and almost palpable, a hatred that owes so much to the very thing that made the American Jew believe in the “Promised Land.”  Jewish progress.

The reality is that the most bitter winds of anti-Semitism are blowing today in America and only the past few decades of economic well-being have prevented them raging into a terrible conflagration.  But that is all ending.  The West and the United States face an all-too-real threat of economic crisis and collapse which will lead to the unraveling of the social fabric and the loosening of the wild beasts of Jew-hatred.

The real lesson of the Pollard affair is not to write painfully embarrassing articles of self-delusion and libations to the non-Jew.  The really lesson for the American Jew is that it is time to come home.  Home to Israel.

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