Eretz Yisrael Time

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Sunday, March 11, 2007
You know, people are always attacking armchair Zionists. I mean, even I (deservingly) make fun of the Kachnikim in America with their big talk of, well you know what, from 6000 miles away.

But the reality is that everyone has an opinion on Israel and wants to influence what goes on here.

This Shabbos I read a really tacky piece in the Jerusalem Post by Samuel Freedman, a Columbia University professor who spent some time visiting Israel at some point in his life.

He throws the idiotic argument that American (rightwing) Jews have no right to push their beliefs onto Israelis from the safety of their Manhattan apartments while they and their children aren’t on the front lines (as if the majority of Israelis actually served in combat units and might face an enemy themselves – a common myth).

What brought down the wrath of Freedman is that Amana, an organization for helping Jewish families move into Settlements, is running a rather creative program to help fund their wonderful operation.

Their plan is to help young families who want to move into settlements (and there are many), but can’t afford to (unfortunately there are many of those too).

The idea is to find Jews in America who would be willing to buy homes, and rent them out. Thus the Jews in America would own property in Israel, would make money back from rent, and would do something positive for Israel and for us Settlers.

An excellent idea (though I would have had them buy the homes for the young Settlers and instead of rent have them pay it off as an affordable mortgage, but then again the idea is that they get to own a home in Israel too).

Freedman found this idea to be horrific. What right do these American Jews have from the comfort of their home to interfere with what he clearly considers a politically evil action (I don’t see him railing against Jews buying homes and renting them out in other locations - just in parts of Israel).

Freedman finds it offensive that Zionism for these Jews includes the areas that are Biblically central to the Jewish identity.

He is concerned that “Zionism will become tantamount to Eretz Yisrael rather than Medinat Yisrael”. Which in reality it is. He doesn’t like that these “recalcitrant Jews” (sic) are using their money to define Zionism in a way he disagrees with.

Personally, I'm not here for the Medinah.

But that isn’t my real problem with a leftist like Freedman.

No, you see my real problem is that organizations like Peace Now, Yesh Gvul, and Gush Shalom openly receive money from foreign governments and organizations (and private individuals) that do not have Israel’s best interests at heart. My problem is that organizations like Machsom Watch and Peace Now distort and supply (political) ammunition that is used by Jew haters worldwide.

My problem is that Freedman is rather one-sided.

He doesn’t come out and say that all Israeli organizations should not accept funding and support for their one-sided, not across the board supported activities. Freedman doesn’t say that left-wing Liberal Jews or Arab governments shouldn’t use their money to influence and define Israel according to their definition of Zionism.

He doesn’t say that it is wrong of American Friends of Peace Now to run campaigns and fundraising from their well-known supporters in California, even though Peace Now is hardly within the general consensus and there are many who would even view their activities as subversive and dangerous.

No, Freedman rails against Right-wing Jews giving money to a cause they believe in (that he doesn’t).

Last time I checked, we settlers want more Jews living in Eretz Yisrael, and we settlers want to strengthen the connection of American Jews to their biblical homeland. (And if not for the Torah, then what the hell are we doing here?)

So from where I am sitting, when we settlers have the opportunity to strengthen the bonds of American Jews with our homeland, and perhaps counter the destructive efforts of the fanatic left (be they in Hollywood, Columbia University, or North Tel Aviv) then I say go for it.

From the safety of his chair in Columbia University I would expect Freedman to not interfere with our local politics and definition of Zionism if he’s not prepared to offer that same right to everyone.
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