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Jewish World Review Sept. 4, 2002 / 27 Elul, 5762

Julia Gorin

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Jew-Bushing | Economy shmeconomy! Jews are still kvelling over what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said recently when he referred to the "so-called occupied territories" and reminded everyone how all the Arab countries jumped on Israel in 1967 and lost real estate.

"Could you plotz!? I knew Rumsfeld was a Jewish last name!"

"You? What about me? I always said he had Yiddishe eyes."

"Hey, don't forget about our boy Georgie-calling for Arafat's removal like that. I knew what I was doing when I punched the wrong hole in Palm Beach!"

"Why did we retire to Florida, anyway? Texas sounds like a lovely place. And at least it would be a dry heat."

Well, it only took 55 years plus another two into the next Holocaust for Jews to figure out why it's called the "Right." And now that they're realizing they've got few friends outside it, they're having a love fest with the GOP.

I think back to 1992, when two of my worldly, literary, art-savvy, older Jewish New York friends tried to scare me out of voting for the elder Bush over Bill Clinton, because I was obviously too naEFve to understand that "those people don't want us in this country."

It was something like the paranoia FDR was trying to instill when he told Rabbi Steven Wise to keep quiet about the Holocaust and not start "crying for the Jews" because it would foster anti-Semitism here. Since then the Democratic Party has had amazing success in duping be-shticked Jews into thinking their worst fears would be realized at the hands of their Anglo-Saxon liberators. Keep 'em thinking they're not wanted, and that'll keep them voting how you want. When George W. Bush won the last election, the irrational Jewish reaction was much like the one when Roosevelt died: "Oh no! What will become of the Jews?"

Meanwhile, the alliances Jews thought they were forging over the years by standing with every last group against American traditionalism-whether a group was genuinely marginalized in American society or not--turned out to be sand castles. They made other people's problems their problems, and gave 110% percent to fighting for everyone and everything at the risk of alienating American hospitality. But when things recently started getting rocky for the Jews, they found themselves standing alone-alone, that is, except for the truth-telling support coming from members of the traditionalists they so often stood against.

Note the now famous experience of San Francisco State University Hillel Director Lauri Zoloth last May, when Jewish students at a peace rally were physically intimidated by a pro-Palestinian mob: ".the scene recalled for me many moments in the Civil Rights movement, or the United Farm Workers movement when, as a student, I stood with Black and Latino colleagues, surrounded by hateful mobs. Then, as now, I sang peace songs, and then, as now, the hateful crowd screamed at me, 'Go back to Russia, Jew!' How ironic that it all took place under the picture of Cesar Chavez, who led the very demonstrations that I took part in as a student."

And now, to hear them dote on Donald Rumsfeld who, back in December 2000, they couldn't forget served under that "anti-Semite" Nixon. That anti-Semite, who made Israel the biggest U.S. aid recipient, set the precedent for uncapped weapons sales to Israel and put the U.S. on a worldwide nuclear alert when Moscow threatened to send in Soviet troops during the Yom Kippur War.

Even Oliver North has been drudged up in a flattering light, via a hoax email circulating Jew to Jew, heaping praise on the man for something that he didn't actually do--namely, "predicting the future" at an Iran-Contra hearing in 1987:

"There was Ollie in front of G-d and country, getting the third degree, but what he said was stunning! He was being drilled by some senator: 'Did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?' 'Yes I did, Sir.because the lives of my family and I were a terrorist.His name is Osama bin Laden.' 'Why are you so afraid of this man,' the senator asked. 'Because, Sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of,' Ollie answered. 'And what do you recommend that we do with him? asked the senator. 'Well, Sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.' The senator disagreed with this approach. Tthe senator turned out to be none other than Al Gore."

Note the uncharacteristic placement of the words "G-d" and "country" in the same phrase. Also note the affectionate reference to North as "Ollie"--in this snippet from the formerly unforgivable Iran-Contra episode. It finishes with the Jewish choice for president in 2000 playing the dunce. Such are the dimensions of American Jews' newfound love for Republicans, and the lengths to which they've been going to express it.

But why does it always have to be after some betrayal by the other party? How many betrayals by the Left did it take before they realized that there's more than one major party on the ballot? How many more betrayals will it take before this shift will have some staying power? There are still too many Jews paying money to attend Clinton dinners, hopelessly unable to see beyond their circumcisions. I even have friends who still insist that Clinton was pro-Israel. (Do they mean in a Dr. Kevorkian sort of way?)

And how many good turns by Republicans will it take? Amazingly, Jews were caught off-guard when conservatives didn't sell them down the river, despite the Republican Party's precedents for not doing so-and despite the other party's precedents for doing so. They seem as dazed and shocked today as the Holocaust survivors were after liberation, when en route to a new life every European cursed their survival until they got to Italy, where they were greeted with food, clothes and how-ya-doin's from American G.I.s.

It's also come as a big surprise that news stations down south, where folks aren't as easily duped, are fairer to Israel than are those in the north. And that folks toward the middle of the country take kindlier to the Israeli flag than do those on the coasts. Obviously, it isn't called the heartland for nothing.

Let's hope that after almost 60 years, Jews have finally learned who their friends are, and won't betray them at the polls post-crisis, when their hides aren't on the line. Who knows-if things continue on the same course, maybe one day it might even occur to Jews to protect their homes and families by purchasing and learning how to handle guns. Picture it: Jews trading in their ACLU cards for NRA cards.

"That nice Tom DeLay--saying Israel should hold on to every inch of the West Bank and Gaza. Could DeLay be short for Delayevitz?"

"Who can think about that? I'm still sick over that gorgeous Condoleezza Rice not having a husband yet. We ought to find her a nice Jewish boy. What's your son the doctor doing for the next 40 years?"

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2002, Julia Gorin