Each year at Passover, my family reads the story of the Four Sons–the wise son, the contrary son, the simple son, and the son who is too young to know how to formulate a question. Every year, we read:
The contrary son asks: “What is the meaning of this service to you?” Saying you, he excludes himself, and because he excludes himself from the group, he denies a basic principle. You may therefore tell him plainly: “Because of what the Eternal did for me when I came forth from Egypt” I do this. For me and not for him; had he been there, he would not have been redeemed.
There have always been Jews who feel like the contrary son. There will probably always be Jews who feel that way. But they’re not so easy to identify these days, because they don’t separate themselves from their Jewishness–at least, not publicly. Publicly, they proclaim their Jewishness and their Judaism from the mountaintops, while decrying the “misdeeds” (or even “crimes”) of their fellow Jews.
We have all seen them, the anti-Zionist Jews. They’re the ones marching against Israel in every “peace” march held across the planet. They’re the ones that do not get barred from speaking at ANSWER-organized marches because they are not against Israel’s policies enough for the taste of the organizers. (One would think this would be enough to stop these Jews from trying to work with organizations like ANSWER. One would be wrong.)
We’ve all read them, the anti-Zionist Jews. They’re the ones putting their drivel in New York Times op-ed pieces. They’re the ones writing the outraged (always against Israeli actions, never against terrorist attacks) letters to the editor. They show up in comments threads, proudly announcing themselves as anti-Zionist Jews.
I am tired of them, these so-called Jews. I am tired of reading their words, I am tired of seeing their names, and I am tired of their insistence that because they were born Jews, that gives them some kind of defense against being known as one of the cadre who hates us. The term “self-hating Jew” has always been a difficult phrase to define or explain. It is a label that is now used against the person who presents it, and the reasons for its use become clouded in the obscurity of the indignation of the person to whom the label was applied. And now that I think about it, I don’t believe it is applicable to most of these people. These Jews, you may be sure, do not hate themselves. They have divorced themselves from their Jewishness. There is nothing left in their own selves to hate.
I am proposing a new term for these people. If a Jew says, and truly believes, that the State of Israel today should not exist, that person is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew. If a person calling herself a Jew thinks that Zionism–the founding and establishment of a state for Jews in our ancestral homeland of Israel–is an evil idea that should never have been acted upon, that is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew. If someone stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Yasser Arafat or his brothers-in-blood, the PA, marching against Israel–that is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew.
These people are Jews who have decided to abandon the major tenets of their faith yet still insist they be known as Jews. These people are Jews who allow themselves to be used by the enemies of Jews and turn a blind eye to the poison they are inflicting upon their people. These people are Jews who actively work against their fellow Jews, and turn a deaf ear to the tales of the harm they and their cohorts are doing to the Jews.
These are not Jews. They are ex-Jews. They have exiled themselves from our Tribe.
These are the Adam Shapiros. If you are actively working for the palestinian cause without requiring them to stop completely all terrorism, you are an ex-Jew. If you are blindly adhering to the palestinian calls for statehood while walking past the victims of suicide bombings, you are an ex-Jew. If you are raising money for palestinian organizations, knowing full well that some of that money will be funneled off to pay for terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel, you are an ex-Jew.
These are the Norman Finkelsteins. If you write books minimizing the Holocaust and deriding Jewish organizations for not wanting to do so, you are an ex-Jew. If you write books filled with lies about other Jews who are trying to clear the air of the horrific anti-Israel and anti-Jewish lies, you are an ex-Jew. If your work is touted by the likes of Jew-hater David Duke and appears on the pages of the Arab News, you are an ex-Jew.
These are the Noam Chomskys. If you spend your entire career demonizing Israel, standing with her enemies against her, magnifying all of her flaws while minimizing the atrocities committed against her by her enemies, you are an ex-Jew. If you think that the state of Israel cannot, must not exist as a Jewish state, you are an ex-Jew.
These are the Stanley Cohens. If you defend Hamas–if you defend the terrorists that murdered your own cousin; if you accepted a sympathy call from the leader of Hamas over the death of said cousin, if you have been doing this for over a decade, you are an ex-Jew. If you represent the palestinians who firebombed a synagogue in New York, you are an ex-Jew.
I won’t be using the term “self-hating Jew” again. And though there are anti-Semitic Jews, I won’t be calling too many Jews anti-Semites. Instead, I will simply use my new name for them: Ex-Jews. They have chosen to remove themselves from our midst. That is their choice. I wish they would simply stop being Jewish and not bother the rest of us by actively working with our enemies to do us harm, but I can’t do much about that.
I will, however, consider them, now and forever, ex-Jews.