Once there was the Old Jew: the ghetto Jew that didn’t know how to fight or farm, pale, cut off from the land, too weak to protect himself against the antisemites, who depended on non-Jewish rulers and often waited for help to come from the heavens until it was too late.
Then we got the New Jew, tough, the one that ‘made the desert bloom’, a fearsome fighter who gave up Yiddish for tzabarit, and traded the Old Jew’s traditional Judaism for a religion of hard work and (often excessive) self-confidence. The New Jew told the non-Jewish rulers to go hell and created the state of Israel. The New Jew wasn’t as easy to push around as the Old Jew, but his ideology didn’t have the staying power that the Old Jew’s religion had, which gave rise to…
The Newer Jew: these are the Jews for whom the highest ideal is universal justice, the maximum amount of freedom and self-determination for everyone, and end to limitations, to borders, to oppression for all humankind. These are the Peter Beinarts and the Richard Jacobses. Although they may profess a form of Judaism, its ethics hold no special place for the Jewish people or the land of Israel. Unfortunately, the Newer Jew — who usually has only a tenuous grasp of history and often a specious post-modern left-wing ideology — sometimes has trouble telling the difference between friends and enemies.
This is where you get absurdities like “Rabbis for Human Rights” and others who today are actually helping Hamas by trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, an act which serves no humanitarian purpose but only facilitates Hamas obtaining weapons to use against Israel!
But the pendulum never stops swinging, and there is a reaction to the Newer Jew as well: groups like hashomer hachadash and im tirtzu, who seem to combine the respect for Judaism and the Land of Israel of the Old Jew with the toughness of the New Jew. Do we call them the Newest Jew?
Im tirtzu recently sailed their own little ‘flotilla’ among the boats of the pro-Hamas activists waiting to leave for Gaza from Piraeus, Greece. Their message was that the real victimes of oppression were not the genocidal antisemites of Hamas, but rather the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and the Syrian dissidents who are being murdered on a daily basis by Bashar al-Assad: