Monday, July 02, 2012

The Jewish Press has posted a silly Zionist tzitzis check

The Jewish Press has posted a silly Zionist tzitzis check, written by Tzvi Fishman. Among other things, it suggests that there is something wrong with you, Jewishly speaking, if you prefer burgers to falafel or the Star Spangled Banner to Hativkva.

The piece's whole approach is founded on an error. Here's where that error is best expressed:
His offspring can be in America 500 years and they will still be, first and foremost, Jews
As I answered on FaceBook: people have the right to establish their own identities. And the Zionists, like the Hasidim and like the Haredim have no standing to tell the rest of us how we must think or feel, or to decide for us what we are "first and foremost".

A Jewish person is perfectly within his or her rights to prefer the poetry of Francis Scott Key to the poetry of Naftali Herz Imber or to prefer the Federalist architecture of the US Capital building to the Lord What Were They Thinking style of the Knesset. Continuing in this vein, it is perfectly legitimate for a Jewish person to say that he or she identifies first, or exclusively, as an American.

To object to this is to object to a person's right to say that she thinks chocolate ice cream is tastiest. Its unseemly and unfair and echoes of totalitarianism to make personal identity choices on behalf of other people.

Now, some personal identity choices may offend you and in some cases perhaps you're entitled to feel offense. But it doesn't follow from the fact you feel offended that there is something illegitimate about the other fellow's choice.

Moreover, and most importantly, nothing about such choices is remotely threatening to Judaism.

All that is threatened is the self-regard of people like Tzvi Fishman who are no different from Hasidim, in their attempt to impose one way of thinking and being onto the whole of the House of Israel. What Isaiah Berlin said about the house of history applies also to our House:  It contains many mansions, all of them valid, all of them authentic.

AFTER THE JUMP: I've secured a video of a Cardasian Zionist of the 24th century attempting to persuade Captain Jean Luc Picard that Hatikva is the best song ever.

Search for more information about the ways in which Zionism and Hasidism like all isms are idential


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