Of Grease Monkeys and Birthers

Learning About Intolerance in the Auto-Body Shop

Intolerance Everywhere: You never know when you will learn a stern lesson about the opinions held by many fellow Americans.
getty images
Intolerance Everywhere: You never know when you will learn a stern lesson about the opinions held by many fellow Americans.

By Leonard Fein

Published August 04, 2012, issue of August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Here, I might have launched into yet another sermon on civility, but as it happens, such a sermon was preached by someone with whom I’ve had major differences in the past. I am referring to Rabbi Daniel Gordis, who was among the 41 people gathered by the Israel Policy Forum to express their vehement opposition to the conclusions of the Levy Commission report, the report that insisted on Israel’s sovereignty from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river. Gordis, writing in Tablet magazine on July 26, says, “[W]hat has genuinely shocked me has been the level of vitriol, blatant intellectual dishonesty, and expectations of conformity.” And his illustrations are more chilling than my examples:

“I have realized for several years that Daniel Gordis is just a weasel whose antagonism toward Israel is hidden under a patina of faux religiosity…. Gordis is a sick and twisted affront to the Jewish People, the worst kind of hypocrite, and a two-faced human mistake.

Or, as Giulio Meotti an Italian journalist, declared:

Unfortunately, the settler public has been marked with the scarlet letter of murder and expulsion and now, their ethnic cleansing has also received the imprimatur of influential Jewish rabbis and Israeli personalities like you.”

Or: [A] widely read blogger taken seriously by some people I take seriously, Tweeted, “Daniel Gordis loses all credibility by signing on to pro-Hamas group Israel Policy Forum’s letter.”

And then Gordis goes on to observe, “Even if we ignore the absurdity and incitement of calling the IPF ‘pro-Hamas,’ there’s an important issue here: If a person makes one move with which you disagree, must they immediately ‘lose all credibility’? For some, apparently so.”

Why had Gordis signed the letter in the first place? “I saw no reason to breed further hemorrhaging of American Jewish support for Israel or an international outcry by adopting a report that many would see as cementing the current status quo, leading to rampant accusations that Israel is becoming an apartheid society. Israel does not need that.”

And he concludes, “[A]s Tisha B’Av looms, we would do well, I think, to ask ourselves what kind of a Jewish world we’re defending and whether, even if we’re successful at preserving the Jewish State, those whose loyalty we desperately need will want to have anything to do with us.”

Bravo, Daniel Gordis. Birthers and those who maliciously or simply sloppily accuse others of “self-hatred” or “hypocrisy” pollute discourse. If they are too dense to be ashamed of themselves, the rest of us should resolutely shame them.

Contact Leonard Fein at feedback@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.