A conspicuous case in point is provided by the example of Alan Dershowitz, a brilliant lawyer and polemicist who has written eloquently and forcefully in defense of Israel (though not the “settlements”), but is simultaneously an ardent supporter of Barack Obama. Such radical discordance seems inexplicable—until one remembers who we Jews are. And as Andrew Klavan remarks, “Smart Jews know that Israel is important not just for their own survival but for the freedom of the world…Jews who vote for Barack Obama are dumb Jews.”
Not long ago I found myself in earnest discussion of these issues with the host of a Jewish convention where I was scheduled to deliver the keynote address. My host, a man of stalwart convictions, a student of Jewish history and a passionate champion of Israel, was no less perplexed than I by the phenomenon of Jewish tergiversation and self-betrayal. He had pondered this enigma for most of his adult life and could arrive at only one conclusion, namely, that there was something amiss in its genetic pool that pre-disposed the Jewish people to self-destructive behavior. He could see no other explanation apart from a toxic flaw in the “Jewish gene” to account for so irrational and perpetual a disposition to amnesia, ignorance, self-deception, and communal rupture and dismemberment. I must admit that his analysis, at least initially, seemed to me rather farfetched, but on further reflection I had to admit that he had a point. For the lessons of history, as they apply to a comparatively small and always beleaguered ethnicity which its enemies tend to regard as homogeneous, proliferate from generation to generation and cannot be dismissed except by kind of constitutional incapacity to see things as they are.
Whether this incapacity can be explained, as my host grew convinced, by a kind of genetic defectiveness, or, say, as a tendency acquired by the evolutionary experience of submissiveness, or as a common human frailty historically condensed in the activities and thought-patterns of a small but distinctive human community, must remain moot. But there can be little doubt that it exists and that it threatens to lead, despite temporary periods of abatement, to continual dislocation and suffering.
As a Jew, I must confess that I do not know what to make of my own people. Studies show that this tiny cohort is disproportionately ranked among the most innovative and accomplished people on the planet. At the same time, given its proneness to what I can only call cognicide, I cannot help but regard ourselves, by and large, as possibly the most stupid people on the face of the earth.
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