Postmortem From The Latest Israel-Diaspora Jewhaha

Postmortem From The Latest Israel-Diaspora Jewhaha

So, as you no doubt have already heard, Netanyahu, in response to complaints from major American Jewish groups, has pulled the controversial “Come Home Quick, Before You Assimilate Into Nothingness” commercials (which are apparently, according to a representative from Israel’s Ministry of Absorption, part of an only $300,000 campaign; I apologize for misstating this, based on information I perhaps misinterpreted on The Jewish Channel’s report).

The Israeli prime minister also affirmed, via a statement from Ambassador Michael Oren, that he “deeply values the American Jewish community and is committed to deepening ties between it and the State of Israel.”

Even the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman weighed in on the commercials, telling the Associated Press that the ads were “unsubtle, crude and heavy-handed.”

Echoing the ad campaign’s assertion that American spouses will never understand Israelis, Foxman said, “Most Israelis don’t understand how American Jewish life works.”

How dare you Israelis accuse us of not understanding you, when clearly it is you who don’t understand us! The Israeli-diaspora relationship is starting to feel as dizzying as “Alice in Wonderland.”

One interesting thing about this whole Jewhaha (a brouhaha involving Jews — not sure if I coined this or if someone else has already laid claim to it) is that it has gotten a ton of media attention, and not just in the Jewish media: the Associated Press’s article has gotten picked up around the world, the Christian Science Monitor wrote about it, and several columnists then used the incident to argue that American Jews should parlay their obvious clout into combating other Israeli policies, ranging from allowing the ultra-Orthodox virtual monopoly on religion to not getting along with President Barack Obama to building settlements to enacting legislation deemed undemocratic.

None of this has anything to do with my “In the Mix” mandate of nonstop intermarriage talk, so apologies.

For that, you can read my article today about UJA-Federation of New York’s foray into the world of outreach.

And, never fear, I’ll be blogging later this week about everyone’s favorite interfaith family issue: the so-called “December Dilemma.”

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