Earlier this week, Boaz Yakin wrote about his father’s stories growing up in British Mandate Palestine and empathy and conflict. He has been blogging here all week for JBC and MJL. Editor’s Note: The views expressed by Visiting Scribes are their own.
How weird is it that here in America the very people who used to hate on the Jews something fierce now love us the way PETA loves animals? And that even more than Jews in general, they love them some Israel? How fast did it go from you can’t get into the country club — or in my case, heading home from school past the tough goy boys on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (it was the 70’s, there were still tough goys out there) and having a rock whipped at me along with an accompanying snort of “Jewboy” if I had somehow forgotten to take off my yarmulka — to turning on the news every day to the spectacle of some good ol’ boy politician on his knees desperately fellating anything circumcised that might fall within his purview? It’s been a strange confluence of events and ideology and who knows what else. Like, what exactly was it?
First the Christian Millennialists can’t get over the fact that there are Jews running the show in Judea again, which means the battle of Armageddon is approaching, and their Boy (ours originally, but whatever) will soon be riding down from the clouds with a flaming sword in his mouth and all that special effects meshugas that they can hardly wait for for a single minute longer. It also means as a result of those hopes that they are even more opposed to a two-state solution in Israel, or Judea, or Palestine, or whatever you want to call it, than the most rabid Zionist, as it runs contrary to Biblical prophecy and will cock-block the whole thing. Meanwhile the Cold War ends, and we get dragged into the Gulf War by our fearless leaders, and the Twin Towers are destroyed, and more war in the Middle East and a new awareness amongst our generally myopic populace of Islam spreading like a thought-virus all over the world, and — BANG — Muslims, who since the rise of the Israeli State tend to hate Jews almost as much (but not quite as much) as the Christians used to, are suddenly Public Enemy Number One; so it follows that the Jews they hated must now be America’s new best Pals. And let’s not forget all the old Yids who have been migrating to the Deep Southern state of Florida for the warmth and the waters, and now find themselves in the enviable position of being able to swing a national election this way or that…
So, the attitude shift kind of makes sense when you break it down, connect the dots and all that, but to a Jew with some years on him and some sense of history it still feels weird, is all I can say. And so many Jews both in America and Israel are like — whatever — I don’t give a shit why they’re kissing my ass all day all of a sudden, I just know it feels good, better than, say, being shoved into a ghetto or fleeing a pogrom or a Holocaust or whatever other fun we’ve been subjected to for the last 2000 years, so don’t ask too many questions, lean back and enjoy the lap dance. And I understand that sentiment well, and sympathize with it — I mean, we live in the moment, not in “history” — and the moment feels nice.
But for those inclined to think about the future, whatever that means, you know, the kind of people who worry about a rainy day coming, what they’re leaving their kids and all that kind of thing, it might be a good idea to remember that Jesus ain’t never coming back, ever, and that at some point our new pals are going to start getting antsy about it, and then the term “fair weather friend” will take on a whole new meaning. Or not. Who knows? Certainly not me.
Boaz Yakin is a screenwriter and film director based in New York City. Yakin studied filmmaking at New York City College and New York University.