13 December 2012

Pay Attention

Imagine an American or European leader denying the very existence of Jewish nationalism; decrying homosexuality; saying degrading things about Jewish feminism and the advance of women; and wrapping it all in the veneer of Christian or Muslim religiosity and God's will.

Chances are you'd find Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and David Harris at the American Jewish Committee demanding retractions and apologies for this affront to democratic values and civil society.  And they'd be right to do so!

So why the troubling silence over the rants of the Likud Party's ascendent renegade, Moshe Feiglin, whose well-documented vituperations against women, liberals, Arabs and homosexuals (not to mention his weird and deeply disturbing rhetorical nods to Adolf Hitler)?

He wants to expel Palestinians to Arab countries; build the Third Temple and re-institute the Priesthood; he regularly disdains homosexuality; but seems to get a "pass" because he claims to favor civil unions and the legalization of cannabis.  That Feiglin is now a voice in the Likud Party practically ensured of a seat in the Knesset, representing a party headed by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, should cause people to pay attention.  Has the Prime Minister allowed a fox into the chicken coop or will he expel him (or at the very least undercut him) with the same singular focus that he publicly opposed the Obama Administration for the past four years?  (An administration that everyone agrees "had Bibi's back" in the latest Gaza conflict.)

In either case, I would expect that national Jewish leadership say something out loud in clear terms:  that Feiglin's views, coming from a place close to the top of the Likud Party list for January elections, are anathema to Jewish nationalism and Zionist aspirations for a Jewish, secular democratic in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

A former student named Gabriel Fisher, studying in Israel this year, recently had an encounter with Feiglin that is worth a look.  Thank God the young leaders are speaking up--I would expect the old guys would say something, too.

1 comment:

Yitzel said...

Feiglin has been the subject of scrutiny of the influential Israeli blogger Tomer Persico. A post of his, to which Feiglin responded in the comments, was recently translated into English and published by the good folks over at +972: http://972mag.com/a-truly-jewish-democracy-on-the-ideology-of-likuds-moshe-feiglin/62170/.