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July 27, 2006

BDS goes to shul

Anyone who's visited Pillage Idiot more than a couple of times has probably run into my posts articulating at excessive length what I think is messed up with the Jewish vote. (If not, you can read them here, here, here, and here.)

With that background, you can understand why I've been more than a little miffed by an incident that took place at shul last Shabbat. There's a place in the service where a prayer is said for the State of Israel, a second one for oppressed Jews, and a third for our country. (The prayer for our country is problematic in some ways, because it reads as if it were written with a medieval king in mind, but we know what it means. It's a prayer for our nation's leaders.)

A friend of mine, with whom I don't agree politically, led these prayers. The prayer for Israel and the prayer for oppressed Jews were unremarkable. Then, suddenly, when he reached the prayer for our country, he started mumbling, and the recitation with the congregation (a small secondary minyan at our shul) fell apart. He was supposed to be leading it, after all. My wife, sitting with her friends, noticed that they were giggling.

Am I sure this was deliberate? No. Did I ask him about it afterwards? No. But I'm fairly confident in assuming that it was deliberate, and that he didn't want to pronounce the prayer, because he can't stand Bush. (We also say a prayer for the American and Israeli armed forces, and I once overheard another left-wing friend complain about the prayer for the American forces, because he thought the policies they were carrying out were morally wrong.)

My wife was really irritated by this and complained that afternoon that she can't understand why our liberal friends refuse to recognize how supportive Bush is of Israel. Can't they even acknowledge it? I told her I thought that they probably thought he has some ulterior motive for his support and doesn't deserve credit, or else they simply despised him too much to give him credit. Whatever the rationalization, they were comfortable with explaining it away.

I noticed in this week's Weekly Standard that David Gelernter has written a piece called "When Will They Ever Learn... Why do so many American Jews hate the president who stands by Israel?" I'm generally a big fan of Gelernter's, but I didn't find this piece terribly enlightening. It did, however, report one amusing comment from an anti-Bush Jew: "I think Bush is doing great on Israel. Naturally, I still hate his guts."

I'd feel a lot better if my liberal friends were willing to say just that.

UPDATE: I heard Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) speak at shul tonight. To his credit he said the first part, supporting what Bush has done, and he tactfully avoided the second part.