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For the Jews in Israel, Money Trumps All?



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I know it’s commonplace to read in the latest issue of Time or Newsweek that Obama is a god, that Islamophobic Americans are collectively prejudiced against Muslims, that the response after 9/11 was overblown and unnecessary (over 30 subsequent terrorist plots have been foiled, and, for some reason, renditions, tribunals, Guantanamo, Predators, intercepts, etc., have all been embraced by the Obama administration), but the recent Time piece on Israel by a Karl Vick is probably the most anti-Semitic essay I have ever read in a mainstream publication. 

Among Vick’s interviewees is Heli Itach, a modern-day Shylock who brags about the money to be made selling condos in Jerusalem (“‘Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell!’ says Heli Itach, slapping a palm on the office desk”). The accompanying photo shows carefree Israelis on the beach.

In fact, Vick argues, the Jews are so obsessed with making money that they don’t much care what happens in the future: “The truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”

You see, Vick has discovered that the rather worldly Israelis, after stealing their land from Arabs, don’t much care for the hard negotiations that the Obama administration is now engaged in (“big elemental thoughts”), not when it is a matter of — yes, making money: “With souls a trifle weary of having to handle big elemental thoughts, the Israeli public prefers to explore such satisfactions as might be available from the private sphere, in a land first imagined as a utopia.”

And this near-suicidal, clueless Jewish preoccupation with money-grubbing has got Vick pretty upset: “But wait. Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don’t Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity? Well, not exactly.”

Finally, at the end of Vick’s piece, we discover why this is all so. Jews, we are told by interviewee “Eli,” can’t help it; it’s in their DNA. They like making money at the expense of everything else, from peace to justice:  ”Another whack for the desk. ‘The people,’ Heli says, ‘don’t believe.’ Eli searches for a word. ‘People in Israel are indifferent,’ he decides. ‘They don’t care if there’s going to be war. They don’t care if there’s going to be peace. They don’t care. They live in the day.’”



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