Friday, November 13th, 2009
Even more than the Evangelicals, and far more unconvincingly, the Jewish religious far left is remarkably shameless in their firm conviction that their entire set of personal political beliefs are — surprise! — exactly the same as God’s. Just listen to most “progressive” rabbis who are OK with sharing a political party with Al Sharpton but who are indignant about the New York Mets renting a room to the Hebron Fund’s dinner. (These Jewish progressives didn’t ask anyone to cancel, or Jesse Jackson not to speak at, the recent dinner by CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, linked by the Justice Department to fundraising for Hamas.) These “progressives” will tell you that halacha doesn’t apply to you because you’re such an ethical person, you don’t have to keep kashrut (you can take your kids to McDonald’s, you can eat anywhere you want, as long as you demand Heksher Tzedek for those unethical Orthodox), but you better support Obama or you’re either a bad Jew or a racist. Pick your poison. And if there’s ever a conflict between the Torah and the latest Democratic talking points, well, you know already who’s wrong and better shape up, and we’re not talking the Jews who think all talking donkeys are as brilliant as Balaam’s.
The latest example is writer Dan Baum, who doesn’t have much of a Jewish paper trail but who is nevertheless urging his fellow Jews to whack Joe Lieberman, who is Orthodox and studies Jewish texts, for not being aware that the only Jewish position on health care legislation is exactly the same as — surprise! — Harry Reid’s.
The best take was by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. In his words:
“Dan Baum, late of The New Yorker, has sent around an e-mail to every Jew on his list (yes, you read that correctly), asking his fellow tribesmen to write to their wayward brother, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, in order to let him know he’s a raving schmuck for threatening to filibuster health care reform legislation. I reprint the e-mail below — trust me, you have to read this:
From: Dan Baum
I’m the last guy in the world to try to organize people by religion, but we Jews may be the only people to whom Senator Joseph Lieberman might listen. He is threatening to filibuster the health-care bill to remove the public option. He has been an obvious problem for years, but this time he can do genuine damage, and it’s possible a deluge of calls and emails from Jews nationwide will give him pause. Please take a minute and either call his office — (fair warning, the mailbox was full) or (860) 549-8463, or send him an email… This is the text of the message I used, but you could compose your own: ‘As a fellow Jew, I am appalled by your threat to filibuster the health care bill now working its way through the Senate. I appeal to your conscience. Do not block access to affordable health care for millions of Americans. Please support the bill.’
This will take only a minute to do. Once you’ve sent a message to Sen. Lieberman, please forward this email to all the Jews you know. We could make something happen.
Goldberg: “Baum may have revealed himself to be an “As-a-Jew,” a particular Semitical sub-type. As-a-Jews are people who invoke their heritage only when they feel a need to dump on another Jew, or a Jewish organization, or the Jewish state. The classic formulation is, “As a Jew, I want to tell you how embarrassed I am by (fill-in-the-blank).” It’s a low practice, particularly from a person who begins his message by overtly distancing himself from the idea of Jewish peoplehood, and religion in general. At least one person who received the e-mail has responded to Baum (and everyone else on his list) already, dismantling him for this crude appeal:
Hey Dan Baum!
Honored to be on The Jew List and your missive is being forwarded onward! We are all in favor of your decision to organize people by religion as a way to influence politics and public opinion. It’s a beautiful and under-exploited stereotype, and if there is anything we can do to help, please let us know…. Please note that in the spirit of being the last guys in the world to organize people by religion, we have made note of all your hebraic contacts and will have them assimilated into our Kosher SPAM list at the soonest convenience….
“You’ll notice — those of you who pay attention to these things — that I come out for a single-payer system. But I’m not arguing that there’s a ‘Jewish’ position in the health-care debate. The general Jewish proposition is that the poor should be clothed, the hungry fed and the sick healed — but I believe that there are many possible paths one could follow to achieve those goals. It diminishes Judaism to suggest that a specific political party, or a specific political ideology, is the truly Jewish ideal. One of Dan Baum’s sins is to suggest that Joe Lieberman’s filibuster threat is somehow anti-Jewish. If Baum could prove to me that Lieberman has no interest in helping the sick get well, then I would agree that the senator is standing in opposition to a basic tenet of Judaism. But he can’t prove that. I don’t agree with Lieberman at all — I would like to see the profit motive completely removed from health care in this country — but I don’t think Lieberman is betraying his religion by taking the position he takes.”