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Not All Intelligent People Are Smart

One of the most amazing things I learned as a student at Columbia University more than 35 years ago, is that not all intelligent people are smart. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s actually one of those great and liberating truths that you learn to carry with you through life.

hasia dinerCase in point: Hasia Diner.

Diner is a Professor of American Jewish History, wrote a bunch of books and has a bunch of degrees from  University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago, which I guess are different, and from the University of Wisconsin, where she got her B.A.

Diner, one can assume, is intelligent. She has a Ph.D. which she got 40 years ago. Forty years…the Israelites were lost for 40 years in the wilderness before finding their way home. Just a few years ago (yes, very late considering the importance of this information),  I learned the startling fact that all the Israelites didn’t leave Egypt. Literally 80% didn’t have the courage, the faith, to leave and so were lost. From the moment I learned this, I began to understand that in many ways, this is what is happening now. From all over the world, tens of thousands of Jews are coming home to Israel, or planning to come home, or, at very least, dreaming of coming home. But 80% probably won’t. Certainly not from America where Jews don’t live under the threat of death…really, death…like they do in France, Brussels, and elsewhere…yet. I should say, physical death because the spiritual death of the Jews in America has been slowly happening for years and years.

So, I find it interesting that Hasia Diner proudly proclaims her hatred of Israel…oh, I’m sorry, she doesn’t. She helps proliferate the erroneous concept that you can hate Zionism and love Israel. I assure you, and her, that you can’t. You really can’t. Because built into the definition of Israel is the need to flourish and grow as a Jewish State. That’s what Israel is. That’s what Zionism is and OMG, does she hate it.

Recently, she made a mistake. She opened her mouth and what came out, was this: “The death of vast numbers of Jewish communities as a result of Zionist activity has impoverished the Jewish people, robbing us of these many cultures that have fallen into the maw of Israeli homogenization.”

I guess she never celebrated Mimouna, which Wikipedia describes as a “traditional North African Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marking the return to eating chametz (leavened foods).” The Prime Minister of the State of Israel, whose father came from Poland, whose mother was born in Petach Tikvah (British Mandated Palestine, now Israel), regularly attends this celebration, as do hundreds of thousands of non-North African Jews. Mimouna has become part of a blended culture in Israel, not that Diner knows of such things. She is, after all, a Professor of AMERICAN Jewish History.

I guess she has been so busy studying AMERICAN Jewish history (all, like what, 200 years of it) that she’s forgotten that long before there was AMERICAN Jewish history, and likely long after there won’t be any more American Jewish history to be learned, there was, there is, there will be, Jewish history.

If anything has “impoverished” the Jewish people, it is the well-meaning life of the American Jewish community and its endless attempts to suggest that the future of the Jewish people was ever in their hands. Robbing the Jewish people of its many cultures? Is that what you think Israel does, Hasia Diner? Really? Tell me, when was the last time you observed Jewish culture? Judaism as it is meant to be celebrated? When was the last time you planted a tree on Tu b’Shevat (if you even know what that holiday celebrates)…and by planting a tree, I mean putting your hands in the soil of this land, not putting a few coins in a blue box (if you even do that).

When was the last time you asked someone how old a tree was before tasting its fruits? Do you happen to know what Shmitta is? So many of our laws, our culture, are irreversibly tied to the land of Israel, to the Zionism you despise. And if that one statement were not enough to prove the depth of her ignorance, Diner also came up with this one: “The ideal of a religiously neutral state worked amazingly well for the millions of Jews who came to America.”

Amazingly well for the millions of Jews in America. Which one of my intermarried cousins would you like to meet? Do you want to meet the one who attends church services but hasn’t stepped foot in a synagogue for years? Do you want to speak to several who have never visited Israel? Would you like to see how many of them have Christmas trees (not even Chanukah bushes for them), in their homes and are raising children that are anything but Jewish?

You refused to sign a statement that recognizes “the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem as capital” to the Jewish people. You hate visiting Israel. You won’t buy Israeli products. You won’t enter a synagogue that supports Israel and you don’t like Jewish settings.

Given all those self-declared facts of yours, Diner, I have just one question, why…why in God’s name did you waste your life studying “American Jewish history” when you clearly understand nothing of Judaism or Jewish history at all? That you are featured in Haaretz is no surprise; that journalists, including myself, waste our time wondering at your hypocrisy, your narrow-minded vision of the world, supports the notion that you are a danger to the very people you claim to have made your life’s study. You are, in reality, the greatest of frauds because you know nothing about Israel or Jews. You have flunked, in a fundamental way, to understand that which drives this people, that which has sustained this people. All that we are, all that we believe has nothing to do with you.

Like Bernie Sanders, the fact that you have a Jewish mother is an accident of birth which gratefully time will rectify. For your own peace of mind and to out the incredible hatred that lives inside of you, I encourage you to look elsewhere. Perhaps you should consider helping Hank Johnson learn more about Guam?

What you should not do is worry about Israel and the Jewish people. We will go from strength to strength, always in the Hands and Heart of God. We will walk with Him, protected by Him and we will survive, even you, Hasia Diner, even you. You, however, will not outlive Israel. With the blessings of God and our devotion to all that He has given us, this land, Jerusalem, our faith, our traditions, we have survived the likes of Hitler, Haman, Amalek. Do you really think your ignorance, your hatred, will defeat us?

Yeah…not.

About the author

Picture of Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.
Picture of Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.
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