Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goldberg Just Doesn't Get It

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg complained today about a recent Israeli ad campaign attempting to scare Israelis to return to Israel. Among other things he writes,
The idea, communicated in these ads, that America is no place for a proper Jew, and that a Jew who is concerned about the Jewish future should live in Israel, is archaic, and also chutzpadik (if you don't mind me resorting to the vernacular).
First, a nitpick: Why is the piece titled, "Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews"? Granted, you're not the biggest Bibi fan, but do you really think that the Prime Minister of Israel gives a personal stamp of approval to every government program? But, I digress...
Actually, Jeff (my name for you), the ads have very little to do with whether America is the place for a proper Jew. Rather, they're all about whether America is the place for a proper Israeli. They're all about culture - and the subtle nuance of innately feeling a sense of belonging to a place and a people due to shared values and experiences.



And there's the real irony. An American Jew, who doesn't understand Israelis at all (and yet somehow considers himself an expert on Israel) complains about an ad campaign he doesn't like, but actually doesn't understand, thereby proving the point. In complaining about the tone of an ad which states that American's can't understand the nuances of Israeli culture, Goldberg only reemphasizes just how true the ads really are.
Finally, his off the cuff comments about intermarriage - "But let me just say that intermarriage can also be understood as an opportunity" - (Jeff, save yourself some time, and don't write that intermarriage book.) - only demonstrate just how much he really doesn't understand and the threat of intermarriage not to Israel, but to the Jewish people in America.
For my part, while the ads don't say anything about whether America is a place of a proper Jew, I couldn't have said it better than he did. So I'll just quote him:
"America is no place for a proper Jew, and...a Jew who is concerned about the Jewish future should live in Israel."
Right on Jeff.