jewin' the fat


Middle East middle ground
June 25, 2009, 1:40 AM
Filed under: Jewish Community, Zionism | Tags: , , ,

As per usual, ‘Jewish time’ has left the Australian JC trailing behind, wondering where the months went, and why no one told them they were so far behind on this crazy new trend all the kids are getting into – blogging.

In the wake of recent newpaper coverage of The Sensible Jew blog in The Age, I feel the need to address this overhyped, underwhelming example of a bunch of relatively intelligent people logging on (just like the rest of the world) and writing to no one and everyone about the things that only matter to them (just like every other blogger in the world – including this one).  In this particular example, the topic is all things Australian (or rather, Victorian/Melbourne) Jewish community.

In an effort to be all things to everyone a la Abraham Lincoln, (who was quoted on the desire and inability to please everyone all of the time), The Sensible Jew has stretched itself too far:

a) who exactly do they purport to represent? In their attempts to disassociate themselves from anyone with a principled opinion derived from religious or traditional political rhetoric, they have alienated the left, the right, the observant and organised, and their remaining demographic lies in the aetheist/agnostic, centrist, humanist, unaffiliated camp. Very far-reaching (and not at all stereotypical) I must say …

b) why the moniker ‘Sensible’? Are they implying that everyone else is not? That somehow religious fervour is ‘unstable’, or that a political perspective is ‘irresponsible’ in some way? I would venture to argue that those for whom ideology is a meaningful connection would feel deeply offended by the insinuation that their faith or perspective manipulates their sense of what is right or wrong to the exclusion of ‘rightness’.

c) And what about what makes us tick? The things that make our blood boil may leave us open to irrationality, and I know my Mum always told me to be a lady, but surely being ‘sensible’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Where is the sense of adventure? The spontaneity? The instinct that reminds you that it’s all worth it, damn the risk?

Living on the thin edge of the wedge might be risque for some – the same people that cling to their ideological centrism with a veracity that makes me sure underneath their humanist tendencies is a little neo-con or green-fascist struggling to get out.

I’m not saying all people who claim to be middle of the road are pretending to be, or trying to invalidate their position. With specific regard to those self-described pacifists, humanists, and centrists – it is very easy to sit on the fence and proscribe solutions to a conflict that you have little or no connection to.

Unfortunately, those keen for those overused words ‘dialogue’, ‘engagement’ and other arm-chair political style rhetoric have never had 15 seconds to run for a bomb shelter, been asked to send their children to war, come face to face with death in the name of ideology.

So until these so-called ‘sensible’ types recognise the disingenuous nature of their refusal to take a side, their perspective will represent the position they have chosen to take – that of an outlier or bystander. Until they involve themselves, and get their hands and minds dirty,  their voice will remain marginalised in any debate because they have left themselves on the outside looking in.

Welcome to jewin’ the fat.  Taking a stand, making a point. It doesn’t matter what you have to say, as long as your mouth is full.

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