Dear Emily Hauser, Please Stop Lying About The Jews

Daily Beast Writer Claims Her Fellow Jews Make Her Shut Up

The progressive Daily Beast on Monday had a post from their resident writer on Jewish Issues Emily Hauser. The article written in the form of an open letter called, "Dear fellow Jews—I implore you: Please, please stop trying to make people shut up." 

In a passive-aggressive manner, Ms. Hauser contends that the majority of Jews speak in one voice and don't want to listen to the Jew/ Christian /Muslim/ Palestinian / Israeli/American/human with whom they disagree. She then implies that Jews rely too heavy on the post-Holocaust saying "never again."  

Whatever it might mean to any given individual, you know that you’re nervous, whether genetically, by training, or by hard experience, and you want to make sure that “never again” means never again. You take one look at tiny Israel, and you worry—you don’t know what to do, but you do know you’re worried. You think that Jews in general and Israel in particular would not just be better off, but genuinely safer if no one ever heard the nasty things that the aforementioned Jew/Christian/Muslim/Palestinian/Israeli/American/human wants to say. So you want to do your best to make sure that no one ever does.

Then Ms. Hauser claims that she occasionally is the person Jews want to shut up. Obviously, it isn't working as she has a regular writing slot at the Daily Beast. She continues

First of all, when the people you don’t want to hear are fellow Jews, you’re ignoring a rich, millennia-long tradition of argument. We are a people that is famous for its disagreements— “two Jews, three opinions,” right? We disagree so much, and about such fundamental issues, that we recorded some of the most important disagreements in our holy texts—the Talmud, after all, is nothing if not a record of how fervently Jews disagree. For Pete’s sake, our greatest figures argued with God Himself—first Abraham, then Moses. And God not only let them argue, He let Himself be persuaded.

The above paragraph seems contradictory to her claims. If Jews are a people who like to argue, why would they tell people to shut up? She goes on to claim that all political discourse is based on the principal that “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." To paraphrase Jonah Goldberg from his book Tyranny of Cliche's "the kid is almost surely lying. She’ll take a bullet for me? Really?"

Then after talking about how educated Jews are, she gets to her point talking about some who use social media to stop people from speaking. She intersperses a "bissle mamaloshen" (a little Yiddish) to make herself sound more Jewish as she speaks of her concern that Jews don't allow other Jews to state their opinions regarding Israel.

A shanda fur die yidden [an embarrassment for the Jews] because, aside from anything else, there are plenty of Jews who want nothing to do with such nonsense, and you’re not only embarrassing them (us), you’re scaring a fair number of folks away. Ask around—ask at shul, ask your family, ask any Jewish college kids you know. Ask how they feel when the topic of Israel comes up—do they want to engage in the conversation, or would they really rather just stay quiet? Ask if they’ve ever had a phenomenally awkward, bordering on painful exchange, in which voicing a concern about Israel or the Jewish people has led to being hectored, lectured, hounded into silence, or possibly hounded out of their community. Go ahead: Ask.

Trying to force the entire world, Jews and Gentiles alike, to hew to an ever-narrowing notion of what one is allowed say about Israel is, in short, not good for the Jews. It is bad for us. It denies our heritage, dilutes our democratic spirit, shrinks our capacity for intellectual growth, frightens people away—and looks really, really bad. You don’t have to agree with everybody. Lord knows I don’t. But they get to talk anyway.

Ms. Hauser is correct about one thing; the stereotype of "two Jews, three opinions" is generally true, but her contention that there is a cabal of Jews (who she does not identify) shutting people up is ridiculous. First because she was correct when she said arguing has been part of the Jewish culture since Abraham. Jews don’t tell people to shut up; they are too busy trying to change minds.

The second point is that Judaism is not monolithic; it is a true "grass roots" religion. There is no standard Jewish opinion. The Rabbi of each congregation is the ultimate arbiter of religious issues for that Synagogue (it is even in their contracts). So her contention of a mysterious Jewish-wide force telling her to shut up is simply a product of her progressive imagination. And the fact that she gets to express her opinion in the Daily Beast on a regular basis is proof of her freedom to bloviate. 

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