Friday, September 04, 2009

Israel's Outrageous Message to Diaspora Jews

While I am a Zionist, this latest campaign to in-gather the exiles is (as Dana Goldstein points out) outrageous, arrogant garbage to which every American Jew, intermarried or otherwise, should take offense. But don't hold your breath waiting for the organized American Jewish community to denounce it. These well-meaning folks believe the tail wags the dog and accept largely on faith that 'reconnecting' with Israel leads young Jews to embrace their ancestral faith and become mega-donors to the local Federation... and they seem not to notice when ham-handed (no blaspheme intended) campaigns like this MASA outrage lead to alienation from both Israel AND religion. Perhaps only the URJ will have the balls to speak out publicly (I have heard plenty of behind-the-scenes grumbling, but that is not enough), which of course would be in its own self-interest as a standard-bearer for pluralism... but in an age of fear (assimilation, Hamas, Iran) one feels it is impossible to be too timid.

UPDATE: J.J. Goldberg calls it "one of the most spectacularly knuckle-headed advertising campaigns in modern Jewish history."