Friday, June 03, 2005

Make Aliyah, Not Parades

I am actively opposed to the Salute to Israel Parade.

There, I've said it.

Now, I'm not trying to start trouble, nor am I an anti-Zionist. But every year, when June rolls around and the buzz for the parade begins to grow, with ads appearing in Jewish periodicals and announcements being made by Jewish organizations, my usual warm 'n fuzzy self begins to fade and I feel my ire start to pique.

I do not like this parade one bit. There are two reasons for this.

First, it is wrong to fly the flag of a sovereign nation on United States soil. Let me say that again: It is wrong to fly the flag of any country other than the U.S. here in the U.S. State flags are fine; so are the flags of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and even the little-known Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The flag of an organization or trade group may fly with pride anywhere in our land. So may the ubiquitous black flag proclaiming allegiance to American soldiers supposedly Missing-in-Action.

But not the Israeli flag, not the Czech flag, not the Australian flag, not even the Canadian flag should fly in front of one's home or inside one's synagogue.

These United States of America have been a land of religious freedom, a haven for many Jews for centuries, and home for many Jews today. The same is true of all immigrant groups. No, this country doesn't have a perfect record in accepting immigrants, both before and after they land on these shores, but the U.S. has the best record of any nation in the history of mankind when it comes to accepting foreigners.

Jews, who adhere to Jewish standards, must respect the blessing they have received in being allowed to be a part of this great country, and it is a slap in the face to this country—and a chillul Hashem to boot—to wave the flag of another. Root for Israel in the Olympics if you so desire. Dye your hair blue and white. But the flag you wave in public better be the Star Spangled Banner.

Don't misunderstand—I'm not saying it's illegal to do so; I'm not even saying that it should be illegal. I'm just saying that it's wrong.

Plain wrong.

I used to work on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan and often I would work on Sundays. It seemed that every weekend there was another parade. One Sunday, I was trying to get to my office and I had to wade through the crowd assembled along the sidewalk for the Polish Day Parade. Throngs of young Poles, presumably Polish-Americans, were waving the Polish flag and screaming "Polska!" at one another.

And what did I, a man with nary a xenophobic sinew in his system, say to myself? "If you love Poland so much, why don't you go back?!"

Because, dear friends, they don't love Poland. They love Polish culture; they love the stories their grandmothers tell; they love the nostalgia. They, too, may even root for Poland in the Olympics. But the political entity of Poland they don't love as much as that of the United States. That's why they are here and not there.

And that's why you are here.

Which brings me to my second point: The Salute to Israel Parade is an exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

Can someone really claim to be "supporting" Israel by marching in Central Park? Does wearing a t-shirt and carrying a banner fulfill the mitzvah of making Aliyah?

Proponents argue that the parade shows our support for Israel and shows the world that the Jewish State is not the monster that many in the foreign media portray her to be. I find this argument weak. If AIPAC, the O.U., Agudath Israel, and CAMERA can't do that job effectively, I really can't see how hanging out in Central Park is going to do it.

And I don't thnk I'm alone. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ariel Sharon, sitting in his Knesset office, watching footage of the parade on Israeli television, snickers. "You call this support?" he thinks. "My life has been on the line for decades in the service of my country, and you guys are listening to Soulfarm on the Great Lawn?"

Let's face it. Jewish Americans who don't take Zionism seriously come to the parade the same way that Jews who don't take Judaism seriously show up to shul on Yom Kippur. It's a once-a-year guilt-off-my-chest event. And then we can go back to doing whatever it was we were doing with the lazy, comfortable knowledge that we’ve done our share for the Holy Land.

Well.

You haven't done your share. Not even close.

I have never marched in the parade here in New York (though growing up out-of-town, I did march in our city’s version), but I am sorely tempted to go. I would carry my own signs and pass out my own t-shirts. They would say:

MAKE ALIYAH, NOT PARADES

IF YOU’RE SUCH A ZIONIST, WHY ARE YOU HERE?

I'M SORRY, DID YOU THINK "WEST SIDE" AND "WEST BANK" WERE THE SAME THING?

PUT YOUR BODY WHERE YOUR HEART IS. MOVE TO ISRAEL

and my personal favorite,
MY CHAREIDI BROTHER-IN-LAW LEARNING IN KOLLEL IN YERUSHALAYIM IS A BIGGER ZIONIST THAN YOU

For those of us stuck here in America for reasons real or imagined, there are many things you can do to support Israel. You can buy Israeli products. You can visit Israel. You can learn and daven for the welfare of the chayalim.

But don’t think that showing up to the parade on Sunday earns you your stripes.

40 Comments:

Blogger Moishe Q. Public said...

"... to American soldiers supposedly Missing-in-Action." Please explain. Do you think there are no soldiers missing in action?

Sat Jun 04, 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

ClooJew, I must say that I disagree with you on both points.

First, I don't think it is wrong at all to fly the flag of another country on US soil, as long as it is flown together with the US flag. In fact, I think it is one of the crowning glories of life in this country to be able to do such a thing, and that to display the two flags (US and that of wherever your other heritage or loyalty lies) together shows an appreciation of the freedom of identification granted here. The same goes for having a parade in celebration of that identification. (As a related side note, I did get extremely annoyed with a Zionist summer camp for refusing to make any public mention of July 4 at all, and not even having the stars & stripes aloft.)

Second, I just think you're looking at the parade with too narrow a view, and not giving the benefit of doubt. You're assuming that the majority of parade marchers and attendees are comparable to "Yom Kippur Jews," and that all of the other 364 days of the year, they do nothing at all for Medinat Yisrael. That may be true of some, but it is by far not true of most. Marching in the parade is just one more way to identify and show support, both for one's own sake and for the sake of the nation, to be combined with many or all of the commendable actions you recommend (and others besides) for "those of us stuck here in America for reasons real or imagined."

Sat Jun 04, 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger tinablue87 said...

I am also very much against this parade. The theme is year is something I just can't support. It's something along the lines of "Saluting Israel, Celebrating America...Two Golden Lands". A parade that is apparently for Israel is also celebrating America???? That is just ridiculous!! It just shows me that we are truly in galus. I feel like this would have been the same theme of a parade held during the times of Ezra. Everyone was happy not living in Israel, there was no reason that everyone had to move there-so why not celebrate both lands?

Sun Jun 05, 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Alisha, Thank you for your feedback, but your arguments only prove my point.

One, "it is one of the crowning glories of life in this country to be able to do such a thing." Absolutely. It's called freedom of speech. That freedom also gives me the right to call an African American the n-word, take my change from the cashier without saying thank you, and burn the American flag. I support the RIGHT to do all those things. But everyone of them is wrong and immoral. (Okay. maybe forgetting to say "thank you" isn't quite immoral.)

Yours is an American attitude, not a Jewish one. I fully appreciate that the U.S. and the State and City of New York allow such a parade. That doesn't make it correct from a Torah standpoint. To celebrate, in your words, "wherever your other heritage or loyalty lies" is precisely what's wrong with the parade--it is disrespectful to our host country. Want to make a parade celebrating Jewish values and the growth our nation has achieved in this land? Sign me up. Heck, I'd love to be the grand marshal.

Two, your claim that "marching in the parade is just one more way to identify and show support" is hollow. Attendees are left with nothing but false feelings of accomplishment. Worse, as Sara wisely pointed out, it serves as an excuse to remain comfortable here in galus without having to make any sort of commitment. Ezra would not be pleased!

Sun Jun 05, 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Attendees are left with nothing but false feelings of accomplishment" Can you back this up? Or are you talking for just yourself? I don't know any marchers that feel that way. You keep using grandiose statements without backing them up. Talk for yourself, not as an imagined spokesperson for the masses.

Sun Jun 05, 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Moishe Q. Public said...

You missed a great parade. Alas, some of us are proud to be Jewish Americans who support Israel and want our American government know our feelings. Too bad, Cloojew, lulei demistafina, you are sooo wrong on this one.

Sun Jun 05, 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chai18 said...

"Saluting Israel, Celebrating America...Two Golden Lands"
just shows how messed up American Jewry really is, yes America is a great land and we should all be extremely thankful for the freedoms we have been allowed here, but that does not mean America is in any way on the same level as Israel. "Saluting Israel, Celebrating America...Two Golden Lands" so American jews should salute Israel, say how much we love Israel, but should stay content with their lives in America, in galus. American jews should feel as if it is OK that they live in America, as if living in Israel is not the ideal? as if both countries are the place a Jew is supposed to live? what does this say about the American Jewish community? have we been so tricked into thinking that we have found a Jerusalem here? is New York our new Jerusalem? has America truly become a golden land, a holy land?
have we learned nothing-"If a Jew thinks that Berlin is Jerusalem...then a raging stormwind will uproot him by his trunk...a tempest will arise and spread its roaring waves, and swallow and destroy, and flood forth without pity. " Meshech Chochmah, by the Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Meir Simcha HaCohen from Dvinsk, pg.171-2

Sun Jun 05, 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

ClooJew, I think there are several problems with your response. I'll try to address each of them:

- You list several actions that are permitted by U.S. law although they are wrong and/or immoral, but that doesn't help to explain at all why you seem to put the parade into this category.

- It is rather odd to say that my attitude is American but not Jewish. Granted, it is very American to feel comfortable with and take advantage of the freedom to express and identify oneself in whatever manner one chooses. But what is particularly not Jewish about such behavior? Do you think that the mentality of the shtetl Jew, who had to hide his or her religion/ethnicity for fear of bodily harm, should be perpetually endemic to the nation?

- If you feel such a display of dual national allegiance is incorrect from a Torah standpoint, as you imply, would you care to back up your assertion with sources?

- On this point we may need to agree to disagree, but I firmly believe that proudly celebrating one's heritage and a second national affiliation in the U.S., if done in a civil and courteous manner, is not only not disrespectful, it's a demonstration of appreciation for the freedom to do so. In Jewish parlance, this is referred to as "hakarat hatov" -- acknowledgment of good received. (See the next bit for further explanation.)

- Since you admit you have never attended the parade (or have you attended but just not marched?), you might not realize that a large component of the theme every year is indeed an explicit recognition of the amazing opportunities granted to us by the United States. For example, this year many of the school groups carried banners that something like, "Opened in 19__, such-and-such (tiny) location, 9 students; today, such-and-such (large & modern) location, 409 students." Every year there are groups carrying signs indicating countries from which their families immigrated to the U.S., and others hoisting pictures and names of famous American Jews. In short, although it is called the Salute to Israel parade, it is in fact a combination of that and the celebration of "Jewish values and the growth our nation has achieved in this land" in which you seem to be so eager to participate.

- Refer to the anonymous commenter above, and to my original response. I can't imagine where you get the idea that all or even most of the people who participate in the parade think that's all they need to do to support Israel, and don't make any other commitment. Besides the many communal Jewish leaders who were there today who spend their lives advocating for Jews in both countries, and besides the many "regular" individuals who give tzedakah, travel to Israel often, vote and petition for U.S. support of Israel, daven regularly, buy Israeli products, etc, there were also families wearing Nefesh B'Nefesh shirts, who, unless they were hugely misrepresenting themselves, will soon be making aliyah. I'm not saying that everyone there is a model Zionist Jew -- of course not. But (in case you didn't get the message in English), dan l'kaf zchut!!!

And Chai18, I think ClooJew answered you himself when he made reference to "those of us stuck here in America for reasons real or imagined." We can express appreciation for our situation here in the U.S. without dismissing our ideal of being in Israel, the same way we can salute Israel without disrespecting the U.S. It is a huge personal decision to leave the country of one's birth, to leave one's family and a large part of one's way of life in order to realize religious and idealistic beliefs. Each person must make that decision for his or her self. And in the meantime, we should indeed "celebrate America." Furthermore, one might wonder how you come to be lamenting the possibility that anyone should feel justified in staying here...since you seem to be here yourself.

Sun Jun 05, 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Chana said...

R' Soloveitchik wrote/ stated that R' Chaim, his grandfather, the supposed anti-Zionist, was far more Zionist in his true love for the state of Israel than many others. The quote came from the Rav's 5 speeches; I will try to look it up.

However, I personally believe that at the very least, to choose to support a parade is better than simply to let the matter drop and to be uninvolved with the state of Israel. Yes, I live in America. I speak better English than Hebrew. But that is not a crime- only fact. To limit Zionism only to those who live in the state is, for some, the same as claiming that to be a Jew can only be kept in one state. Obviously Judaism is a religion; Zionism is not. But I fervently believe that my grandfather, who loved and supported the state of Israel, especially after surviving the Holocaust, had every right to stand up with his hand over his heart when hearing HaTikvah, even though he did not live in Israel. To him, Zionism and the state of Israel represented the flaming beacon of hope, of the rebuilding, of a nation who could not be destroyed. And I say, for such a man, whether or not he lived in the state...he was a Zionist.

For the rest of us? For those who choose lip-service over duty? Fine, then denounce us...but not the Holocaust survivors. Not the ones who fly the flags in America in their memory. No, they have the right...they have the right that no one can take from them. And for them, I say, there will always be Zionism...no matter where they are.

Sun Jun 05, 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chai18 said...

"Furthermore, one might wonder how you come to be lamenting the possibility that anyone should feel justified in staying here...since you seem to be here yourself."

Alisha please note the name of my blog www.toearlyforaliyah.blogspot.com read some of my posts, realize that i am making aliyah, that in a few months i will be leaving America for Israel, that i am only 18 years old so it would be kind of hard to leave America when i was still legally a minor. please do your homework next time before going of on a rant. and i do recognize that aliyah is an extremely hard decision and i do not expect all of American Jewry to just pick up and leave. my problem is not with the parade per se, but rather with this years theme "Saluting Israel, Celebrating America...Two Golden Lands" as if it is just enough to salute Israel and march while we celebrate the good life in this golden country of America, i am extremely grateful to America for all it has done, but that does not mean i think of it on par with Israel. Israel is our home and while we may be living in America now, this is only a temporary resting stop on our journey back to our true home, Israel. i feel this years theme represents the confusion that is American Jewry, America and Israel are in no way comparable they are not the two golden countries, we cannot salute Israel and celebrate America, i feel the parade should be devoted solely to Israel, it needs our support much more then America does. perhaps i am making too much out of this years theme perhaps i am not.

Mon Jun 06, 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

OK, I'm not really going to comment on this post. If you read my blog, I write about my feelings of seeing Americans celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut. However, I really really need to know. What in the world does lulei demistafina mean?!? Thanks.
-OC

Mon Jun 06, 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic X said...

Cloojew.

Does this mean that I'll see you walking the streets of Jerusalem soon?

OC,
"Lulei demistafina" means "Were it not that I am afraid." Used a lot in rabbinic literature when the writer is going to disagree with a great rabbi.

Mon Jun 06, 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Hmmm...interesting. Cool. Thanks, Cosmic, but that is a very good question. Are you planning on making Aliyah, Cloojew?
-OC

Mon Jun 06, 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Chana, calm down. No one is denouncing anyone, not on my blog. I do have some very strong feelings on what is and what is not Zionism, and hope to express them more fully in a future post.

Mon Jun 06, 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Lulei demistafina means "Were I not afraid." It's a phrase used by many of the Biblical, Talmudic and halachic commentators when they want to say something controversial. They say, "If I were not afraid, I would say..." and then they say it. Its a signal of humility, as if to say, who am I to propose such an original idea.

Mon Jun 06, 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Chana said...

"Chana, calm down."

Hehe.

Actually, I wasn't angry at/with you. I tend to be very passionate about what I write, but not angry. No calming necessary, but thanks anyway.

Mon Jun 06, 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

CJ,

To echo the previous comments. Pot. Kettle. Black.

GO.

Mon Jun 06, 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cloo: We missed you at the parade. We were all on the blog float waiting for you ... DovBear, Amshinover (you know they are siamese twins), Shifra, RenReb, Kiki, aNYj, Malka, everyone. YOU missed the party, and the boat!

Mon Jun 06, 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Wow, you certainly did open up a can of worms now didn't you?

Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I am sure that I will be back to yours.

Mon Jun 06, 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Chai18, I did not "go off on a rant" at you. Most of what I said was in response to ClooJew, and most of the paragraph directed at you was in disagreement with your opinion that celebration of Jewish life in America as manifested in the parade is equivalent to stating that the U.S. is just as good as Israel. I still disagree. The one sentence you quoted back at me was a question, nothing more, and I admit to having asked it without attempting to research your identity. I apologize, and I wish you hatzlacha raba on your move.

Mon Jun 06, 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Chai18 said...

thank you Alisha and i am sorry if i took what you said out of context.

Mon Jun 06, 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

Good thing you're so handsome; you can get away with saying stuff like this. I'm thousands of miles away from NYC, but if my town had a parade to support Israel, I would go in a heartbeat.

Tue Jun 07, 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger Zoe Strickman said...

I like the way you think, ClooJew. Plus, I am very very impressed by your smart audience. Where did you get such intelligent and yet highly opinionated frum people?

I used to go to the parade in NYC every year because it was a nice event and a good excuse to meet everyone I knew and to visit the park. I never thought about these things regarding Israel, politics, parading a foreign flag, etc., and I fully feel stupid for not doing so, especially because I believe that people should think rather than just walking around like zombies.

On a personal note, I read your blog articles and the comments and I wish I had the capacity to think like you do. You haven't been writing for long, but your blog entries are powerful. My thoughts are so simple and stupid compared to the mindblowing concepts I've been reading on your site. You'd make a good lawyer, and better yet, a good Torah Scholar.

I'd enjoy being your friend.

Tue Jun 07, 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

OK, wait. Question still hasn't been answered. Cloo, are YOU planning on making Aliyah?

Tue Jun 07, 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

CJ,

I think you got a groupie - mazeltov. Shame Zoe is A GUY!!!

When are we coming to your Aliyah party, mr. armchair zionist?

Tue Jun 07, 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Zoe,

I am humbled by your compliments; consider yourself a friend already. But I have to disagree with your self-assessment; you shouldn't put yourself down like that.

TRK, Why is it ALWAYS about the women with you. As for the Aliyah question, since it's been raised a few times...nah, I think I'll make you guys wait till after my post on Zionism appears.

Okay, Olah?

Tue Jun 07, 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Moishe Q. Public said...

Well, in that post will you explain "... to American soldiers supposedly Missing-in-Action"?

Tue Jun 07, 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger ptjew said...

Sorry I had to skim read 27 commens.

"Lulei demistafina" I agree with you on everything related to Israel. And I like how you back up your points with a Jewish / Torah perspective.

I would hopefully do our Rabbi proud who I see infrequently to paraphrase "we are Americans first and Jews second"

Tue Jun 07, 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...


For those of us stuck here in America for reasons real or imagined, there are many things you can do to support Israel. You can buy Israeli products. You can visit Israel. You can learn and daven for the welfare of the chayalim.

But don’t think that showing up to the parade on Sunday earns you your stripes.


It doesn't have to be an either/or situation. You can do both without being a hypocritical.

Wed Jun 08, 02:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Couldn't disagree more with you on this. There. I've said THAT. I fly both the Israeli and American flags outside my house, as does my father. In his case, he flies the flag of the Israeli Air Force. He's a machalnik, and a veteran of the IAF 101 Squadron during the War of Independence in 1948. But he, like me, is an American first, and always will be. He put his life on the line for the US in WWII and, subsequently, for the fledgling state of Israel when THIS COUNTRY, (AND MOST OTHERS)REFUSED TO SELL ARMS TO THE NEW STATE.
We have lived around the globe, including Muslim countries, and traveled to more foreign locales than states of the union. The one thing I have learned is that there is no other place like the US, at least for me. But I am a staunch Zionist, and a member of the Jewish Diaspora, and for anyone to call my support for Israel into question because I refuse to make aliyah is absurd.
My wife (not Jewish) asked me once if I would ever live in Israel. I told her that as I was fortunate enough to be born a US citizen, I would never live anywhere else. However, as a Jew, I support the state of Israel and will do all I must to help the survival of that state so that Jews in the Diaspora, less fortunate than I, will always have a free and democratic state to turn to for help, including aliyah.
Hey, I like your blog, I respect your POV, but I felt this post deserved a counterpoint from a proud American Jew and staunch Zionist supporter of Israel.

Tue Jun 28, 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

As they say, put two Jews in a room together and you'll have three opinions......shalom.

Tue Jun 28, 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Mark,

That goes double for blogs!

Tue Jun 28, 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Oy vey! Jews are very interesting to read about....as are Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Protestants of all shapes and sizes. I admire you though, cloojew. You seem to have a tendency to make your Jewish Community THINK and form rebuttals, and then you give them feedback. Apparantly alot of you have pride, but you seem to have an underlying....sort of fondness for each other. I find it interesting to read the banter that passes between you...

Tue Jun 28, 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Also....oddly enough....you look like George Clooney. Makes me wonder, cloojew. Well, at least that picture makes you look like him.

Tue Jun 28, 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Apparantly alot of you have pride, but you seem to have an underlying....sort of fondness for each other. I find it interesting to read the banter that passes between you...


Good observation, Stephanie.

I suspect that ClooJew's photo IS actually of George Clooney. Am I right, CJ?

Tue Jun 28, 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Stephanie, thanks very much for your feedback; I am humbled.

As for the picture...nah, keep guessing!

Wed Jun 29, 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

I wish I had the time (maybe I'll try tomorrow) to read all the comments but I wanted to at least comment --hopefully I'm not repeating...

Can someone really claim to be "supporting" Israel by marching in Central Park? Does wearing a t-shirt and carrying a banner fulfill the mitzvah of making Aliyah?

You gotta start somewhere though, don't you? Why must it be all or nothing? And who's to say that those walking in the parade (like I did last year, since I was in town) don't buy Israeli products or even volunteer for three weeks on an IDF base. You do what you can.

Wed Jun 29, 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger Rolling hills of green said...

I would disagree with your first point for a number of reasons. One being that as a jew judaism comes first and yes 'Israel' is not the essence of judaism, but a love for eretz Yisrael is. And secondly, also connected to one, is that We teach our children alot by waving flags and other such seemingly useless acts. One of my friends grew up with a flag in her front window. Years later when she was making aliyah her parents didn't understand why she was leaving.
Even if one generation cannot make aliya for some reason, it is important to pass on that hope and/or desire to then next generation. Both my parents and Inlaws did not succeed in making aliya, but they were very supportive when we did so and alot of the reason we did is due to our parents.

Thu Jun 30, 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Yael K said...

Alisha has already said much of what I think and much better than I could ever dream. I do have a couple of things to note, however.

First, I think it is incredibly important that this parade be held and be well-attended, especially in light of increasing anti-semetism. Anti-Israel feelings are nearly going through the roof in much of Europe and the rest of the world. As a left-leaning democrat I have been absolutely shocked at the increasing anti-Israel drivel that comes from the mouths of friends and colleagues who share many of my other views and who are generally thinking, intelligent individuals. Not so of late when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

A large turn-out makes it quite clear to the American government that there are many many voters who support Israel and who would not be best-pleased should the U.S. follow suit with the views of the majority of European countries when it comes to Israel.

Paying tribute to both America and to Israel also provides a strong (in this case visual) statement against the all-too-frequently heard accusation that Jews are not 'real citizens' of any country because they feel more allegiance to Israel than to the country in which they are making their home. If it were solely a "support Israel" parade this charge could certainly be leveled.

Finally, not all Jews want to make aliya or, even if they do, ever will make aliya. But that does not mean that they cannot provide and show support for Israel. Playing the devils advocate here I'll note that there is an incredibly large Israeli population here in NY --Israelis who don't want to live in Israel and who would rather be in the States. I'm making aliya this summer and the most negative reactions I've gotten are from friends (and strangers) in Israel --"what are you crazy, why would you give up living in the U.S. to come here?!" Well, because for me my allegiance _is_ more to Israel and so I am putting my mouth along with the rest of my body there. For those whose allegiance is stronger to the U.S., well, they will most likely stay right here and rightly so.

Sat Jul 02, 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger Manny said...

Its true that you pointed at the hypocrisy of those in the Israeli day parade, but look at the parade as education.
Just like many kids in high school learn gemara for the wrong reasons (grades, status, to please their parents), they get into it, and learn it for the right reasons eventually.
I know many kids who profess a profoundly zionistic passion, but in truth, its just their latest fad. But they end up growing into it, and for the right reasons. Its a good way for the community to connect.
Ive learned that the world isnt black and white, unfortunately, we're forced to accept stages in between. So these people who are intellectually dishonest, can still hold onto a lifesaver and have the door open if they want to step through and be real.

On the topic of things being wrong to do in Americna soil? I wish people would step out of the structures we have created for ourselves. We are just humans on this Earth. We love the land we are in, but we love the land of Israel. Whats the big deal of flying a flag for Israel? America has prided itself as being defined by the people who live there. I dont think anybody really minds the waving of the French, Canadian, British or Israeli flags, except people who hate those countries. I dont think its a problem at all! Its just totally American, land of the immigrants. We all have nationalities we are pround of. Being American isnt being pround of the land we are in, it is being proud of our diverisity and willingness to put aside cultural silliness, in favor of doing what is right and true. Now if only things really worked that way ;-)

Kudos on the observation, though you coulda cushioned it better... heh.

Tue Aug 09, 07:16:00 PM  

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