Friday, May 20, 2011

I Support Israel, and as an American I Never Thought I'd Have to Emphasize That


I Support Israel, and as an American I Never Thought I'd Have to Emphasize That: My headline for this blog entry was going to be, "Obama to Israel: Drop Dead," but I googled the phrase and discovered that thousands of websites have gotten there before me.

I grew up with veterans of WW II. My dad was a combat sergeant in the Pacific Theater. Several of my friends had parents who were concentration camp survivors: Polish Catholics, Polish Jews, Ukrainian Orthodox. That post-WWII-America recognized that Israel was a miracle, a good thing, a tiny state, an American ally in a very bad neighborhood, an honorable democracy, the appropriate home of millions of people who, we now know genetics show, go back in that Holy Land for thousands of years, and who suffered, but survived, under domination by hostile, genocidal neighbors: Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, and invading Jihadis from the Saudi peninsula, using a text that identifies Jews and Christians as monkeys and pigs as their ethical guide. Jews from Yemen, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco left dhimmitude and made aliyah and the world looked on and glowed.

Now the world is turned upside down. Christians burn in Egypt and Obama talks about the peaceful unity of Muslim and Copt, and, in the same speech, talks in cozy vocabulary more appropriate to a church basement of Jews and Arabs holding a "swap" meet to bargain land for peace. Yeah, that worked really well in Gaza. But the ministry of politically correct truths says so so it must be true.

Simpleminded people see Polish-Jewish relations as two opposing teams: Polish Catholics v. Polish Jews. Those people are stupid and worth listening to only as case studies in bigotry. In fact those worth listening to realize that Poles and Jews are essential to each other.

Further, those worth listening to realize that the Brute Polak stereotype can be disseminated by anyone, not just Jews. Examples on this blog include a book by a Liberal German-American Presbyterian Elder. And Jews have been among those in the forefront of fighting against the Brute Polak stereotype.

Similarly, simpleminded people may think that anti-Polish prejudice and anti-Jewish prejudice would not co-exist. Au contraire.

In a previous post I detailed some of my own experiences as a Bohunk in the Ivory Tower. I described a graduate school classroom where I was asked to apologize for being Polish. In fact that same professor made anti-Semitic, anti-Israel statements. That will not make sense to anyone who, mistakenly, sees Polish-Jewish relations through the failed "Poles v. Jews" paradigm.

In fact the world is far more complex. Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype is beloved of a certain kind of mindset that has come to dominate in elite circles in recent years. An exemplar of this mindset: the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Tony Kushner, who has made anti-Catholic – "Pope John Paul II endorses murder" – and anti-Israel statements. An example of this mindset at work is NPR's recent firing of Juan Williams. This post explains why, for elites of this mindset, Muslims trump blacks.

So, yes, me, Polish-Slovak-Catholic American, author of a book critical of stereotypes of Poles, I support Israel. And I never thought I'd have to emphasize that publicly. I never thought my country would become a place where I'd have to.

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