Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Jim Shipley
Shipley Speaks 

Good for the Jews?


There is an old Jewish joke (are there any new Jewish jokes?) about a young man rushing in to his grandmother’s kitchen in 1969 and exclaiming “Bubbe! We just landed a man on the moon!” The grandmother stopped chopping liver and looked up. She asked “Is that good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?”

There was a time for us as a people where everything was measured against that standard. Supposedly, less than a century after the Holocaust, a little less than 70 years after the founding of the Third Jewish Commonwealth in Israel, that should no longer be necessary. Don’t you believe it.

We are at a time in our history where supposedly we live anywhere we desire, pursue any dream we have and never have to look over our shoulder. Don’t you believe it. There are forces in the world today every bit as dangerous in their own way as the Stalin government, the Klan and yes, even Adolf Hitler.

Hitler was more organized and determined than today’s enemies. The Nazis were overt and made clear their intentions. Today, so do Hamas and Hezbollah. For that matter, as long as Iran sends up ballistic missile tests with death to Israel written on them, count them in.

Iran, who funds any Shite group with deadly ideas, has the secretary of state of the United States currently touting them to international bankers as a “good place to do business.” Ah, if only the old canard of the “International Jewish Bankers” were true!

Unfortunately there are more subtle threats right under our noses. BDS? It is a threat to every Jew. Never forget the first thing Hitler did was to tell his people to boycott Jewish businesses, get rid of their Jewish investments and then sanction them by banning Jews from playing in the Berlin Philharmonic or attending schools and universities.

Bernie Sanders has selected a BDS representative for his nominating committee at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this year. If you want, you can forgive him the J Street representative he also selected (I won’t). The most aggravating of all? James Zogby, former head of CAIR and totally anti-Jew. The Progressive wing of the Democratic Party used to be the standard bearer for Jewish causes. Not any more.

The Republicans? Donald Trump, like Bernie, wants the U.S. to display a more “even hand” vis a vis the Palestinians and the Jewish State. The recognized “government” of the Palestinian people includes Hamas. Need we say more?

There was a time when the Jewish Community in the U.S. was for the most part quiet when it came to problems for the Jews. The generation when the Nazis came to power was known as the “Sha Still” generation. You know what that got us.

The next generation—the generation in which I participated was different. We spoke out, we used the power of the press and the ballot. We demonstrated, we knew that if one Jew was in trouble anywhere in the world, every Jew everywhere was in trouble. Not so much anymore.

Can you identify “The Jewish Community” today? Is it in the synagogues? In the shrinking “Jewish neighborhoods”? Yes, there is Birthright and the March of the Living. But overall, guys, we have pretty well lost our clout. There was a time that no way was anybody from an outfit like J Street or BDS going to get a voice at a national political convention.

There was a time when Jewish voices in political parties had meaning. Now? We’ve got Sheldon Adelson. Yes, Jewish money was always part of the equation—but we meant something more.

Jewish money in politics is supposed to mean Jewish values. To help each other, to take care of each other. To make sure there is justice in our nation. Not just for Jews but for everyone. Jews have been at the forefront of almost every struggle for human rights since the founding of the Republic. If the Jewish Community, whatever its makeup, does not stand strongly for Jewish Values, it is not needed.

“A Proud Jew.” “A Standup Jew.” These are expressions that cannot die. We must have strong organizations around which to rally. We must support them. BUT—they cannot be totally “politically correct.” A division among Jews about Israel? Unthinkable! Unbelievable!

Not happy with the present political party in charge in the Jewish State? That I get. BUT we do not vote there, we do not pay the taxes, we are not subject to being stabbed or shot simply because we are Jews.

We Jews in America support America. We complain, we vote because we do pay the taxes and we vote our principles (hopefully). Israel? As you would for any member of your family, you make suggestions, you help, you support.

Any attempt to harm Israel, to weaken its economy or its people - that is not good for the Jews.


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