Friday, December 9, 2011

What's so funny about peace, love, and Zionism?

The two major types of podcasts I listen to are (1) those that bore me and (2) those that anger me. So: NPR's Science Friday--boring; On the Media--aggravating.

CBC's Ideas usually bores me (and, to be fair, has some occasionally interesting things to say), but recently--and how jealous is Science Friday now!--made that coveted jump to aggravating me with their two-parter on Zionism.

I don't mean that I was angry with the show, which ultimately falls into that safe spot of saying "it would be better if we could just talk openly about this." (Bleh, but sure, let's.) I was more aggravated by the people who were interviewed, almost all of whom were professors. ("Man on the street" reporting may be unrepresentative, but "man in the ivory tower" is by definition unrepresentative.)

So you know what time of year it is: bells are ringing and angels are heralding--it's beginning to look a lot like time to discuss Israel and the position of Jews in America.

It doesn't help that the Republican Jewish Coalition hosted the GOP fail parade presidential hopefuls falling over themselves in declaring undying allegiance to Israel--and then going out to say that it's a shame that Americans can't say "Merry Christmas" to each other. (Seriously, did no one at the RJC want to discuss Rick Perry's ridiculous ad that avers that there's a war on religion? Especially because it's clear that for Perry, "religion" = "Christianity.")

Can we talk about that now? Republican support of Israel has a few motivations--and none of them is "self-determination of a religion or ethnic group." There's the enjoyment of seeing brown people be oppressed and there's the eschatological aim of the religious right. (Remember: the end-times Christian support of Israel has as its goal a Judenfrei world. That's how Perry can say that he supports Israel as a Christian: in that religious worldview, the Jews are pawns meant to fulfill a specific role before exiting stage left--assuming stage left leads to Hell.)

But let's put aside the self-serving and anti-Jewish support of Israel from the Christian right/Republicans. How should the rest of us feel about Israel, those of us who care about Jews? More on that tomorrow.

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