Monday, January 10, 2011

Jeffrey Goldberg, Please Stop Inciting Against Russian-Speaking Jews

Last week, I documented how Jeffrey Goldberg, a respected journalist, a proud Jew and a Zionist friend of Israel lent his considerable credibility to affirm "the long-held narrative held by enemies of the Jewish people, that Israel is not now and never has been a democracy, and is increasingly incapable of concealing its true racist, Jewish-supremacist nature." He did this by questioning the fundamental commitment of Russian-speaking, Oriental and Observant Jews to democratic norms. I further wrote that his perspective was being shaped "by left-wing, English speaking Israeli pundits and media", for whom "the haredim, the Jews of Russian and Middle Eastern descent, the settlers and Israeli Arabs... represent a somewhat dystopic, unintegrated, illiberal otherness", " an uncomfortable, if not an embarrassing element that is better left infantilised, politically trivialized, strawmanned, suppressed or at least meaningfully unacknowledged". Finally, I explained how " the basic principles of tolerant intellectual pluralism are ingrained in Jewish history, culture and identity, and form the basis of a social contract among the different groupings within Jewish Israeli society. There is no indication that this basic adherence to democratic norms is headed for change."

It was harsh rhetoric on my part, but as I've now learned, perhaps not harsh enough. At a time when we in the United States are in the wake of a national tragedy surrounding the attempted murder of a Congresswoman, and the successful murder of six others, including a child, a similar and dangerous environment has developed in Israel, fed by the type of rhetoric now becoming more common on Jefferey Goldberg's blog.

Today, Ynet has reported that a Russian-speaking member of the Israeli Knesset, Faina Kirshenbaum, received the following letter, among others:
"Dear Madam," it said, "An inquiry commission should be established to look into how so many drunks arrived to Israel from Russia, as well as so many whores, thieves and hooligans. This should be examined. As they say, a good Russian is a dead Russian."
Let me tell you, as a Jew of Moldovan descent, there is little as grating in this world as being pejoratively downgraded as a human being for being Russian, a country whose government suppressed my people for seven decades (just in the modern era), WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUSSIAN! As Faina responded, "I'm not even Russian. I'm Jewish and I came here from the Ukraine."

But really, that's beside the point. G-d forbid something were to happen, and an Israeli extremist, deeply concerned about "the erosion of Israel democracy", and having had his fill of incitement against the Russian-speaking Jewish community on
Jeffrey Goldberg's blog, took matters into his own hands. So, please, Jeffrey, with all due respect, stop contributing to a climate of hatred being generated by elements of Israel's radical left against our fellow Jews. Yes, even we the unwashed, uneducated, un-elite Russian-speaking, Middle-Eastern, "Ultra-Orthodox" and settler Jewish masses get a say in the future of our people, without having to submit our democratic credentials for your, or anyone else's inspection.

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