It’s the story of Allison Benedikt, a film editor at the Village Voice. She was raised by her American Jewish parents living in Youngstown (Ohio) to love Israel more than her country of birth. She tells her shocking experience in her recent article entitled Life After Zionist Summer Camp. Her experience, though, is not as bad as the experience of another American Jew, Jack Bernstein, who made Aliya to Holy Land and married an Israel Sephardim Jewess.
Interestingly, sociologists Stephen Cohen and Ari Kelman in a survey had confirmed that more than half of American Jews under 35 would not view the destruction of Israel as a personal tragedy.
“The implications of Cohen and Kelman’s findings for American Jewry are great. The historic bargain linking American Jewry and Israel since the founding of the State is coming to an end. The terms of the deal were unspoken, but clear: Israel would provide American Jews with a sense of pride and identity as Jews, and they, in turn, would shower upon Israel their financial and political support. But Israel is no longer a source of pride for many Jews, and the identity it provides is not one which they wish to share,” wrote Jonathan Rosenblum in Jerusalem Post.
Benedikt, like the great majority of Jews around the world, is confused about her loyalty to her motherland. “The adjustment back to America is not easy. No one in Ohio understands me. Am I an American Jew or a Jewish American? If, hypothetically, America and Israel were to go to war, who would I fight for? I ask these questions”.
Benedikt tells her two love affairs before she married her husband John Cook. All of them happened to be Goyim (non-Jewish). Sadly, none of them had a good ‘Zionist view’ of Israel.
“John fills my head with allllllllllllll kinds of bullshit. Stuff about the Israelis being occupiers, about Israel not being a real democracy, about the dangers of ethnic nationalism—a term I really hadn’t heard applied to Israel before. (Okay, fine, I hadn’t heard it at all.) My parents worry that I’m being brainwashed. We get in huge fights on the same topic over and over again and have terribly awkward dinners where John insists on bringing up Israel and pissing off my Mom. I act as moderator and it is the worst. John buys every book about Israel that’s ever been published, and then reads them all so he can win any argument with my family. What he doesn’t realize is that my parents don’t do facts on this issue. They do feelings. Israel is who they are. Gradually, and then also all of a sudden, it’s no longer who I am—and I am angry,” says Benedikt.
“A week before our trip (to Israel), the Israeli military assassinates Ahmed Yassin, a founder of Hamas. Israel is on high alert. We read that Jerusalem’s mayor is telling citizens to carry their guns on them at all times. John is freaked out, but I am sure that once we get there and he sees what it’s really like, he’ll be fine,” says Benedikt.
“Obama runs for president. I canvass for him in Baltimore and my Mom does the same in Youngstown. My sister (an Israeli citizen) talks about how Israeli leaders need an American president to be tough on them for anything to change. And what Israelis call “the situation” continues to devolve,” says Benedikt.
And here is the final blow which the Atlantic‘s Mr. Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg, could not swallow: “John and I have two kids of our own and are raising them as Jews. Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique. My best memories from childhood are from camp, and I will never, ever send my kids there”.
In a typical humiliated professional Israeli propagandist – Goldberg labeled Benedikt “a wicked child” in his June 22 article.
Allison in Zionist Wonderland | Rehmat's World