The Jewish Federation has been running a poll to recognize “Jewish heroes.” My friend and colleague, Cecilie Surasky, had been doing rather well in the voting. And then, suddenly, she was simply deleted.
She disappeared without a word, without notice and without explanation. The deletion came the day after San Francisco’s major Jewish weekly, J, published an article remarking on Cecilie’s being in the running and in the top 10 in polling in her category. And then, in classic Orwellian fashion, Cecilie became an unperson in the poll.
Obviously as a former JVP staffer I’m outraged. But one can’t help laughing at the stupidity of the Fed here. I mean, on Yom Kippur eve, no less, they give the absolute definitive example of muzzling to none other than the founder and driving force behind Muzzlewatch, the blog which describes its purpose as “Tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy.”
And they wonder why they’re losing the new generation of Jews?
On one level, it was of some interest that the Fed allowed Cecilie into the competition in the first place. But when she was demonstrating that she has significant support within the Jewish community, and was acknowledged in that by a mainstream Jewish newspaper, well, that just carries open debate and exchange of opinions too far for the Fed.
On the other hand, as Cecilie points out, they have no problem with the presence in their poll of a rabbi, one Manis Friedman, who characterizes Torah values as justifying killing women and children, and advocates Israel doing just that. As Cecilie put it:
When asked by Moment Magazine a few years ago, “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?”, this was Friedman’s response as reported in the Forward:
“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle),” Friedman wrote in response to the question posed by Moment Magazine for its “Ask the Rabbis” feature.
Friedman argued that if Israel followed this wisdom, there would be “no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war.”
“I don’t believe in Western morality,” he wrote. “Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.”
The reality is that Cecilie Surasky is reclaiming the definition of Jewish identity from people like Manis Friedman. And that is not only good for the Jews, it’s good for everyone.
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[…] and extrudes dissenters. Mitchell Plitnick at The Third Way: Finding Balance In Mideast Analysis reports: The Jewish Federation has been running a poll to recognize “Jewish heroes.” My friend and […]
Thanks for this, Mitchell. It’s not just a new generation of Jews that’s being lost because of this kind of nonsense. Cecilie’s work has enlightened thousands and has helped to cultivate a healthy skepticism about all claims made by the American branch of Likud.
Young people have their own way of seeing things. The old ways were that of threats and demonetization. If you are not pro Israel you are not considered Jewish enough. Enough young people have seen what happens to those who do not tow the pro Israel agenda. If dare I say one of them questions the details of the Holocaust, you may have your life threatened or that of your family. Many youths have questions and have every right to ask them, but they are afraid too. Fear does not help to recruit people it does the opposite you loose them. Many young people cannot in their opinion even talk to their parents with out fear of reprisal. If Jewish youth are not joining groups such as ADL, JDL or other organizations that is their choice and should be respected. Maybe the younger generation have new ideas on how things should be instead of what they have had driven into their minds over the years by the older generation. The old ways are outworn and yes, irrelevant. They do not apply to today’s world. Maybe the younger Generation will do better and have more passive peaceful ways of doing things. Fear is not a useful tool. It is the tool of fools. When you are afraid of your parents or a group of people, the usual, logical, method of handling such things is to stay away from them. Far away as possible. We as adults have to respect the choices of our children. Better to support their choices or we may loose them forever. They like everyone have the right to believe what they want not what we want. You can make anyone read a book, but that does not mean they will believe what is in said book. You cannot force your beliefs on anyone. If a Rabbi condones murdering women, children and men. A young Jewish person does not have to believe this. They have the right to choose a better way. If the youth of today believe murder/killing of this type is wrong, I have to agree with their opinion. Sorry the Killing is out worn, barbaric, callous and does not fit into today’s society as a whole. .In the other light such statement made by Rabbi’s reflects badly on the Jewish communities as a whole. It is no wonder there are people out their who think Jews are evil. It is self inflicted and foolish. The younger generation know these types of statements does not help the Jewish cause or the Jewish people as a whole. Yes our youth are walking away.
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