A Self-Hating Jews Double-Header

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A sentence was handed out in the case of eight Israeli teenagers, members of a neo-Nazi gang, who beat up ultra-Orthodox Jews, gay people, and the elderly while shouting “Heil Hitler!”

While it’s true that a lot of neo-Nazi activity in Israel, especially in the Russian community, is a result of non-Jews passing themselves off as Jews and getting a free ride to Israel, at least one of those convicted is legitimately Jewish. “I’m going to live with this my whole life,” that person was quoted as saying. “My grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. She just doesn’t believe it.”

jailed neo-nazis, one of whose grandmothers was a Holocaust survivor

A world away, in Westhampton Beach, NY, a group is protesting the building of an eruv, which would allow observant Jews to carry food, babies, and other things on Shabbat. More neo-Nazi activity, right? Nope. Well, maybe, but the organization is calling itself “Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv.”

The JPOE are petitioning the Westhampton Village Board to turn down the plan, saying that it will “forever alter the character of our village, change its economy and challenge the religious tolerance that has long been integral to Westhampton Beach.”

Please, somebody, explain to me how forbidding a religious group to erect a nearly invisible string in order to take their babies outside “challenge[s] religious tolerance.” Maybe it’s meant to imply that Orthodox Jews are inherently intolerant, and they’ll see people of other religions and won’t be able to contain themselves?

Or, perhaps, because the presence of Orthodox Jews in a town will force these people to confront their own unacknowledged religious intolerance?

Posted on November 25, 2008

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4 thoughts on “A Self-Hating Jews Double-Header

  1. tarfon

    You may dislike and disagree with their position, but is it really so hard to understand it? The presence of an eruv makes a neighborhood much more attractive to very traditionally observant Jews, and the resulting influx of such persons itself makes the neighborhood even more attractive to the same kind of person. In other words, this is a phenomenon that inherently tends to accelerate, and it has no (or very slight) balancing countervailing pressures.

    Many people value a certain demographic mix in their neighborhood. This is true not only of classic racists and anti-Semites, who do not want to live in a neighborhood where any blacks, or any Jews, live. It’s also true of classic liberals, who affirmatively want to live in a neighborhood that has a broad diversity of population. You may be willing to say that the latter group, like the former, is guilty of “unacknowledged religious intolerance.” But if not, you ought to come up with a more sophisticated and nuanced analysis of the problem.

  2. clara1

    Mat,

    Obama is bi-racial: half white and half black from a father from Africa. I am tired of people calling him black. I’m white and want to claim him too. By the way, Harold Ford of Tn is bi-racial and I have the hots for him; if he ever runs for Prez, I’d vote for him.

    It’s not the color, its the desire to help America–like Bush LOL. And it’s not the religion, if Obama was a Msualum, I’d still have voted for him. I’ve worked with all kinds of peoples as a computer contractor and have met a lot of nice people and we discussed our religions without rancor. The fundamentalist xians are the only one who can’t discuss without trying to convert. All religions have radicals.

    clara

  3. matthue Post author

    I understand the ebb and flow of ethnic presence in a neighborhood. In other words — once you let one family of Orthodox Jews in, you won’t be able to hold them back. It’s just like when Bill Cosby bought a property in a wealthy area of suburban Philadelphia, and became the first black homeowner in the voting district.

    Geez, you can only imagine what would happen when ethnic gentrification occurs in other traditionally-white neighborhoods. Like, say, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue….

  4. toni3

    all expressions of hatred and violence motivated by prejudice should be taken seriously. israeli, neo-nazi gangs i’m sure are not that common, but of course should not taken lightly.

    something to be given even more attention is the issue of jews expressing hatred and intolerance of each other. not the neo-nazis, but non-orthodox vs. ultra/orthodox.

    as a conservative jew with traditional leanings, i know that my conservative conversion would not be recognized by some branches of orthodoxy (or maybe all, i’m not sure), nor would many eat in my kosher kitchen or worship in my shul. inspite of all of that, i will continue to learn and be inspired by their strict observance.

    i apologize for any generalizations made or explanations that i did not include.

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