Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wait, Judas WAS Jewish!

Usually I can work up a nice lather thinking about the interminable presidential campaign. Look, there's Clinton deluding herself that she's still got a shot! McCain wears extra-baggy trousers so no one can see his Depends! Obama's already getting snookered into a manly man contest by McCain ("Oh, I'll go to Iraq. You don't think I've got the guts to go there? You don't know the B.O., little old white man!")!

Recently, though, I'm fatigued. I've got nothing. McCain releases his medical records, and lo and behold he's not as healthy as he claims to be? How is that surprising? I can't freak out about that. Obama goes to a black church? Whaddayaknow! Bill Clinton insists there's a conspiracy against Hillary's winning the nomination? Wait - this one is actually true. But instead of it being limited to the right wing, as Bill claims, it's actually the entire voting body of the Democratic party. Who knew the sinister plot was so elaborate that the entire electorate was involved?

But really, none of this is novel. We've been hearing about it now for about a month. I was looking forward to focusing for a while on something else, like Israel's awfully talky non-talks with Syria and Hamas. And then I saw this.

Blacks have race traitors, the French have...the French, WASPs have liberals, and we the Jews have the Honorable Independent Senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman.

It's one thing for Joe to sell out the Democrats. Reasonable men can differ about policies, and certainly he can't support the party after it chose to back a guy named Ned in the last election. But we in the Tribe thought we knew him differently. We thought he was the grumpy guy in shul who was a little too aggressive about telling people to shut up during the rabbi's speech. Now it turns out he's the crazy guy in shul who crosses himself before he opens the ark.

The only appeal of the Rev. Hagee to Jews seems to be his influence over the flow of many millions of dollars. Can't we for once overcome this destructive stereotype? Can't our Jewish leaders, just this one time, ignore the aroma, the glorious texture and taste, of sweaty, dirty cash (5 commas? Really? Was that appropriate?)? No doubt Joey has the extra burden of being a politician, so his attraction to the "Green Devil" is worse than your typical old Jewish man. But can't we take a broader look at this issue? Here, I'll lay it out as best I can:

What if the Saudi royal family, taking time out of their busy schedule of oppressing women and swimming in their olympic-sized pool of money, started offering Jews around the world all kinds of money on the condition they make aliyah? "Here's $500,000. Move back to Israel."

First, who wouldn't take that deal? Second, wouldn't that give you reason to pause and consider what their ultimate aim is? Why Saudi Arabia, traditionally and presently no friend of Israel or Jews in general, seems to be so generous and helpful all of a sudden? Wouldn't you want to ask "what's with the change of heart?" And when, with a huge grin, they said "no reason. We just love the Jews!" Wouldn't that sort of nonanswer make you even more suspicious?

And here's Senator Lieberman, politically the highest-ranked Jew in America, boasting of his support for a man and a movement whose final aim is the destruction of the Jewish people, either by apocalyptic conflagration or divine retribution.

Ahhh, there's the frustrated rage I was missing. Thanks, Joe. You've helped me to hate again.

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