WITH FRIENDS LIKE YOU: What Israelis Really Think About American Jews by Matti Golan

WITH FRIENDS LIKE YOU: What Israelis Really Think About American Jews

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Scathing attack on American Jews by the former editor-in-chief of Globes, Israel's leading business newspaper. Golan's inspiration here comes from a tête-à-tête that he had in Jerusalem with Elie Wiesel, whom he calls ""a worse enemy of mine and of Israel than Yasser Ararat."" What gives rise to this astonishing proclamation? Golan casts his explanation in the form of an imaginary dialogue between an Israeli and an American Jew. As Golan admits, his Israeli is given the best cards--but, then again, Golan's point is that American Jews have dealt Israel a shabby hand in a stacked deck. He rejects all claims that American Jews have forged a ""partnership"" with Israel through financial and moral support, arguing that the money is peanuts, often goes to the wrong people (such as Israeli ÉmigrÉs to the US), and requires Israeli officials to become ""trained bears on a chain"" begging for coins. Golan excoriates American Jews for selling leadership positions to the highest bidder; for promoting Reform Judaism, which he calls ""irrelevant to Israel""; for censuring Israel policy without a thorough understanding of the situation; and for embracing Israel when it is a helpless victim (Gulf War) or a shining hero (Six-Day War) but shunning it during its daily agonies. But the greatest danger posed by American Jews to Israel, says Golan, is their penchant for assimilation (""being just like other Americans for a Jew is like being half-pregnant for a woman""). The only hope? Emigration of US Jews to Israel, where they can lay their bodies and their wallets on the line. Some of the slashing draws blood--obviously, Israel resents American interference in its internal affairs--but Golan falls by the same sword with which he cuts. He seems to know little about American Jews and nothing about a pluralistic society, yet he presumes to pass judgment. Admirable passion, then, but screwy logic.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1992
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan