Diaspora Jews. What do we want? Leaders!

OPINION | Alan Simons

“Popularized by the American sociologist Barry Glassner, the culture of fear is the concept that people may incite fear in the general public to achieve political or workplace goals through emotional bias.”

“Non-Jews do not care a damn about our achievements!”

     by Alan Simons

Egged on by Trumptwits International (2016) Inc., the culture of fear is proliferating world-wide at a frightening rate. And for a great majority of diaspora Jews steeped in their historical obsession that at last resort now there’s always Israel to flee to, are becoming more inward-looking and hell-bent on building their own protective wall against antisemitism. In addition, promoting the never-ending old joke such as, “When does a Jewish fetus become viable? When it graduates from medical school.” Or, the study that Jews are the world’s most-educated religious group or  22.5% of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Jews, not only isolates us more than ever from the society we live in, but our non-Jewish neighbours couldn’t care less and for the most part are sick to death of us continually asserting ourselves, ploughing a knife into them on these subjects. In essence, non-Jews do not care a damn about our achievements!

Encouraged by the rhetoric of Mr T, who just hours ago in a political speech referred to himself as a “Nationalist”, for many a frightening euphemism for white nationalism, we are experiencing a terrifying political infectious disease containing no international borders. White nationalism and Nazism is rampant today and Trumptwit is a language common to many people, irrespective of the country one lives in.

Today, we are experiencing an upsurge from politicians, the antisemites, the hate mongers, and tenured university bigots, who publicly vilify and delegitimize diaspora Jews.

Diaspora Jews have become fearful of the political consequences now taking place in many of their respective countries, a trait not particularly acknowledged by many of them before Trumptwits International was incorporated in 2016. Yet, it’s always been there, hasn’t, hovering in the background, waiting for the Trumptwits to ignite the fire.

J.J. Rousseau, the 18th century French philosopher said, “The Jews in Dispersion have not the possibility of proclaiming their own truth to humankind; but I believe that when they once have a free Commonwealth, with schools and universities of their own where they can speak out safely, we shall be able to learn what it is that the Jewish people have to say to us.”

To which I might add, today we Jews are still trying to communicate, to coexist with each other, let alone trying to figure out what we have to say to all the billions of non-Jews!

Communication is about giving-taking, asking-answering, sending-receiving. It’s not something we Jews are known to be good at. Yes, I recognize in many countries Jews sit on various inter-faith committees that encourage dialogue and cooperation. And the work they are doing in their field is mind-boggling, until the name of Israel is asserted by them!

As Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster has pointed out, “Why do Jews make such lousy communicators? For hundreds of years, we used the great art of language development to entertain as well as educate. It is no coincidence that so many of the great intellectuals, academics, writers and performers come from our ranks.”

He adds, “The ability of Jews to understand and connect with people transcends international boundaries. It is in our culture and in our blood. But over the years, we have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend. We assert when we should inform. We reject when we should interject. We push people away when we should pull them in.” As he remarked, “Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

We need a leader to bring us together, a leader amongst the diaspora ranks, each in our own particular country we can point to, who stands head and shoulders above us, to communicate to non-Jews on our behalf. Sadly, no one in Canada, or the USA or the UK is there such a person willing to come forward on our behalf, unless they see an Israel component to the message.

So, what do we want?

“You Jewish people. What exactly do you want?” How many times have we heard this question from non-Jews? Well actually, we don’t know what we want, do we? Which is abysmal, since as Jews we’ve had more time than anyone else to come up with the answer. Perhaps we will never reach an answer. Perhaps there isn’t one. Perhaps we don’t want to. Perhaps we are so ingrained in believing no one really cares about who we are. And after so many centuries of us having to endure pograms and genocides, we have turned to indifference as many Jews now have in the USA. For many, being a Jew is simply down to going out on an early Sunday morning to purchase a dozen bagels, lox and cream cheese. And as for Israel? Well, they wish it would just go away!

What this all boils down to is this: Trumptwits International (2016) Inc. and its ever-increasing mob mentality, has become unable not only to differentiate between ignorance and conscientious stupidity but the ability to make intelligent decisions. And coupled with Nationalism, we diaspora Jews, are in for a rough time if we don’t get our act together and communicate as one.

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who was overheard to say that in politics, stupidity is not a handicap, a statement Trumptwit subordinates in their eagerness to please their leaders are making every effort to accept.

It’s been said Trumptwits are analogous to the zebra mussel, a species originally native to the lakes of southern Russia and accidentally introduced to numerous other areas. It has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide, including the USA and Canada.

To quote Elie Wiesel: “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” As diaspora Jews, our alarming silence and our indifference to the nationalists and their cronies will be our demise. Our willingness, as diaspora Jews, to openly declare our achievements in the fields of arts and letters with non-Jews and at the same time use them instinctively for self-preservation, no longer works in today’s society. 

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