Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Letter in The Jewish Star

David Nesenoff is the new publisher of The Jewish Star, and like most people associated with the Star, he appears to be somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.  A couple of weeks ago, he wrote a piece about being a former liberal that can be found here.  It was called Liberals Anonymous, like Alcoholics Anonymous.

So I responded with the following:

To the editor:

"Hi, my name is Heshy.  I'm a Republiholic.  For years now, I've thought being Republican is synonomous with being Orthodox.  For years, I thought supporting Republicans who outdid each other to make the most right-wing political statements on Israel was the only thing that mattered for Orthodox Jews in American politics, whether their rhetoric provided any real benefit for Israelis or not.  While doing so, I helped turn Israel into a partisan issue in America by claiming, falsely, that the Democratic Party was not pro-Israel.
 
I spouted mantra about fiscal responsibility while supporting tax cuts for the wealthy most economists opposed as irresponsible.  I voted for people who opposed luxuries like clean water.  And when it came to social justice, an American value that has parallels in my own tradition, I stood up with Glenn Beck and called it communism.  I called lots of things communism - any attempt to provide a health care option to those who couldn't afford it, any legislation with the word "environmental" in it, and of course, any attempt by government to increase taxes.  And when non-partisan bodies like the Congressional Budget Office said that the health care reform would save the country money, I simply told bald-faced lies about death panels, confusing the public and creating unnecessary panic.  My party lied so often that by the time the bill came up for a vote, the American people could not tell the lies from the truth.  Some celebrate the disputatious nature of Judaism and call themselves free-thinkers; I celebrated the bombast of Rush Limbaugh and called myself "dittohead."
 
When it came to military issues, I defamed my fellow Americans who disagreed with me on controversial policies like the war in Iraq by accusing them of being insufficiently patriotic.  
 
When it came to abortion issues, I became an honorary Southern Baptist by adopting their stance on abortion, even though the legislation they favor conflicts with my own tradition that favors the life of the mother over the life of the unborn child should the mother's life be in danger.  
 
When it came to the right of Americans to worship freely, I favored it, unless, of course, they were Muslims in New York.
 
In the American Orthodox world, being politically right-wing is often confused with being Jewish.  And support for Israel is often confused with validating each and every stupid thing Israel does, from celebrating whackjobs in Hebron who have a habit of throwing rocks at Arab kids on their way to school to promoting the philosophy of Avigdor Lieberman, a crude boor of a man whom most of the Israeli government tries hard to ignore.  Being pro-Israel is not enough; we have to be substantially to the right of Israel, because right is right and anything else requires brainpower. 
 
Someone, please, help me."
 
This is what they published:
 
"To the editor:
[RE Liberals anonymous, Feb. 18] “Hi, my name is Heshy.  I’m a Republiholic.  For years now, I’ve thought being Republican is synonomous with being Orthodox.  I thought supporting Republicans, who outdid each other to make the most right-wing political statements on Israel, was the only thing that mattered for Orthodox Jews, whether their rhetoric provided any real benefit for Israelis or not.  While doing so, I helped turn Israel into a partisan issue in America by claiming, falsely, that the Democratic Party was not pro-Israel.
In the American Orthodox world, being politically right-wing is often confused with being Jewish.  Being pro-Israel is not enough; we have to be substantially to the right of Israel, because right is right and anything else requires brainpower.
 Someone, please, help me.”
 
Gotta say, I'm not thrilled with the cuts.  I think the original is way better.  

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