Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Names withheld to protect the obstinate

For some reason I am included in an e-mail argument that I dropped out of a while ago. I don't see a point in debating with people when they have decided that I am wrong before I open my mouth. I think understanding should proceed agreement or disagreement. They think ideology should.

Also because I tend to respond snippily and sarcastically. Which isn't so nice.

Don't believe me? Just look at the snarky response I would have sent to the latest back and forth. It's down at the bottom. I changed the names, as the title implied. Just to give you a head's up, I usually agree with Mr. Z, not Misters X & Y.

This particular exchange deals with the Flotilla business. I make my case of sticking with Daniel Gordis in my response as well.

Anyway, enjoy. (?)

Forwarded conversation
Subject: Todays events in Israel

From: Mr. X
Everyone please take a moment to look at coverage of the latest Israel news on the respective flagship sites of the Right and the Left,http://www.nationalreview.com/ (Right) andhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/ (Left).

From:   Mr. Z
הן עם לבדד ישכן ובגוים לא יתחשב
הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל

From: Mr. Y
Mr. Z, they are great psukim and I am sure the second one is great comfort to holocaust survivors - but they are a non sequitur to Mr. X's email.  One side of the political spectrum are much better friend's to Israel And her interests.  But precisely because shomer yisrael allows bechira among our enemies (i.e see Jewish history) - we should want our close friends in power rather than those that tend to sympathize with those that destroy us

From:   Mr. Z
Ouch. Sorry, Mr. Y. I guess I was trying to express an apoltical feeling I was having. I'm not sure why you had to bring up the Holocaust. (A little bit unfair, in my opinion) Do you raise the holocaust anytime Tehillim are recited in shul? I know we usually debate political views here, but I was just taking a moment to step back and express something I thought we could all agree on.

From: Mr. Y
Sorry - I think about he holocaust all the time (really) wasnt meant to be a cheap shot -Or personal -  but yes, I do think about when saying tehillim.   and rather than (only) pray to our shomer - we need to be astute politically - and that means siding with our friends and effectively combating our enemies - and those that support and give comfort to our enemIes.

The first pasuk is also somewhat of a non sequitur bordering on the incorrect - because there are plenty of goyim who are siding with us - see Mr. X's first link.

Why arent we siding with them?

From:   Mr. Z
Fair enough. Of course we need hishtadlut, I just wasnt addressing it in that email. Re: the pasuk: even back then there were friends of the Jewish people (Yitro for example) but there are times when you feel to a greater degree that there are many nations of the world that hate us. That was all I was trying to say. Of course it is great to know that the right has our back in this situation, but debating which sort of strategy is a better one for Israel's long term future is a different question that reasonable minds can debate.
As usual, I'm not saying I am a card carrying member of the left, (by any means!) just saying that you were intimating that because the NRO supports ISrael, we should all vote Republican (in every election, I guess?).
Anyways, my email was not an attempt to communicate anything political, and indeed was not a response to Mr. X's email. I didn't think it needed to be in order to be a valid comment.
Lets hope today's news is encouraging.

From: Mr. Y
From: Mr. X
Mr. Z,
I do find comfort in the sentiments/psukim you expressed.

My point was not necessarily telling you who to vote for. It’s far simpler. More like, there are two guys at work. One of them has been telling me what a great guy you are, and how much he likes you. The other guy says nasty things about your mother. I’m simply trying to tell you (metaphorical you) which one of these guys is your friend.

From: Michael Unterberg

Yeah, Mr. Z. I can't believe you are being so simplistic, obtuse, reactionary and predictable.

First of all, calling Republicans Conservative is generalizing. Few Republican politicians are true Conservatives. You could be cynical and say that blog punditry may retain ideological coherence, but its not practical in the real world. That would be wrong. You can be ideologically consistent as a leader. Just look at  Rand Paul , he clearly has nothing but a successful political career ahead of him. Well, maybe not, because he's not a true Conservative. As a Libertarian he supports gay rights and is pro-choice. So he will fail. But trust me, politicians can be as consistent as pundits. The proof? I'm right. Side with the pundits.

Second, how has this flotilla business not proven that all Liberals are wrong about everything? The two most clear headed and fair responses that I've read about it were Daniel Gordis, and also  The Washington Post. Just pick which side they are on and vote for it every time. (wait, they're Conservative, right? What am I saying? They were fair to Israel, they can only be Conservative!) Just remember, in every election your choice is between Daniel Pipes and Arianna Huffington. Why would you vote for your enemy over your friend? What is wrong with you? Stop being so reductionist by saying that each election should be voted on its own merits. Look at the big picture and vote for either your friend or your enemy!

Lastly, I don't know where you are coming off with that Tehillim business. How do you have the hubris to ask for God to back you up? Are you so conceited that you think the the Lord of the Universe should help you? Where do you get this arrogant notion? A humble Jew understands that since he has a complete grasp of the truth of any geo-political/ military situation, as long as he holds consistently to Conservative values he will succeed. That's what Bar-Kochba's troops did when they told God to neither help or hurt them. And they held of the Romans for three years! By what standard could you call them a failure? Or how about the patriots that ignored Yirmiyahu or killed Gedaliah? Surely their ideological consistency and pragmatism are better role models for you than mumbling hebrew words with Holocaust survivors in a shul!

Why can't you be a forthright, militant pragmatist like King David? I'm sure he held little stock in the tehillim stuff. It sounds like it was written by some guy hiding in a cave where he was chased by his enemies. Would David do that? Do you think geula will come from people like that? No. Only from people like David, who relied on their own pragmatic judgement, and did not busy themselves with tehillim.

When you stop reducing all of these problems to your pietistic, Rabbinic "Let's take a step back" attitude, and understand and embrace the complex truth that everything that happens in the world is a battle between Liberals and Conservatives, you will be on your way to a great Truth.

By the way, its people like who who would attribute the Security Council's condemnation of generic "actions" that led to this disaster, and not blaming Israel outright as they usually do, to this administration's diplomatic approach to foreign policy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This seeming even handedness is only an obvious set up to get Israel to participate in the investigation that they are recommending. I hope they do not. They didn't participate in Goldstone, after all, and we get the moral high ground for that, right?

You would probably also have listened to advice from the left like this: "Einat Wilf, a Labor Party member of Parliament who sits on the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that she had warned Mr. Barak and others well in advance that the flotilla was a public relations issue and should not be dealt with by military means." Why not just surrender the State and get it over with? Supporting compromise with aid Flottilas is like not supporting the settlements. It means definitionally that you do not support Israel, and are on the wrong side of the battle of the Sons of Light vs. the Sons of Darkness. (guess which is which)

May God have mercy on your soul. On second thought, I will pragmatically get Him to do that, so forget I asked.

Oh, and think about the Holocaust more often, won't you?

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