I’ll say one thing for the Guardian’s favourite anti-Zionist Theobald Jew. He never misses a chance to vilify Israel, safe in the knowledge that by doing so, he will open the spigot of hatred in the thread beneath.
A Yiddish poet dies and his obituary in The Guardian is penned by Lawrence Joffe, a member of the UK offshoot of Meretz (the far Left Party in Israel which failed miserably in the 2009 elections, winning only three seats despite merging with The New Movement). Joffe wrote “Official Zionism .. dismissed Yiddish as a defeatist diaspora argot.” The truth is that Eliezer Ben Yehuda had revived Hebrew and at the time of the founding of the Jewish State, there was naturally a keenness for everyone to learn Hebrew. It is the language more than anything else which has bound the otherwise amazingly disparate Israeli population together. And of course the Sefardi Jews who came to Israel from places like Iraq spoke Arabic, not Yiddish. But the notion that “official Zionism dismissed Yiddish as a defeatist diaspora argot” is fiction – fiction for all except Lerman, that is.
Lerman – who possibly for the first time admits “I no longer regard myself as a Zionist” – jumps on that half-lie by Joffe and embellishes it and dresses it up so that it becomes a lethal weapon of deceit in the hands of a twisted, bitter man.
the Zionist drive to stigmatise Yiddish has collapsed and the revival has spread to Israel. ……. It proves that Zionism failed to consign other forms of Jewish life to oblivion. It challenges hegemonic and defensive Jewish leadership.
One, there is no “Zionist drive to stigmatise Yiddish”. As SantaMoniker says in the thread, “Just walk around Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, and you will hear the orthodox speaking Yiddish, and even their Hebrew is often with the old Ashkenazi pronunciation rather than the modern Hebrew. There was a Yiddish theater for years in Tel Aviv.” And he also points out that the demise of Yiddish had a lot more to do with the murder by the Nazis of the millions of people who spoke mainly Yiddish in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, etc. than Zionism ever did.
Two, the notion that Zionism ever tried to “consign other forms of Jewish life to oblivion” is absolute defamatory rubbish which amply demonstrates Lerman’s malevolence against Israel. The practice of Judaism in Israel is no different from that anywhere else in the world, with the minor difference that some Festivals have an extra day in the diaspora. Why would it be otherwise? And ‘Zionism’ is not some kind of esoteric alternative to diaspora Jewish life. It is simply about the existence of Israel as a Jewish State where any Jew can live.
Three, Jewish leadership is not by definition ‘hegemonic and defensive’ and even if it were it is utterly ridiculous to say that Yiddish “challenges it”. There are very few Jews for whom Yiddish is a first language, maybe a million or so Charedim – so how can Yiddish challenge anything?
But the Guardian’s antisemitic attack dogs are only too pleased to feed off the bone Lerman throws them. Here’s RaymondDelauney: “It’s such a shame that the conceit of modern Hebrew championed by Israel – puts at risk the whole European diaspora identity and history of Jews.”
I’ll leave the last word to Lipschitz: “Speak for yourself Anthony Lerman. Personally, I’m only bitter when faced with an article that masquearades as a homage to Yiddish, when its real purpose is to have a dig at Zionism for the amusement of CiF readers. Why not tell us about the role of Israeli institutes in teaching Yiddish? Why not tell us about all of the Yiddish speakers who would have survived the Holocaust if Zionism had achieved its goals by 1939??”