Of all the reactions to the Max Blumenthal-Joseph Dana "Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem" video (see below), the one I understand the least is, "What do you want? These are drunk kids six thousand miles away from home." Excuse me? Max already made the obvious comment that lots of people, including college kids on spring break, get drunk without spouting racist hate and death threats. The better comparison would be with drunken bigots. Maybe gang members in Brooklyn. But leave college kids out of it. I teach at a state university with a reputation as a party campus. There is a lot of (illegal) binge drinking, but little hate crime.
Shouldn't this video be bothering folks in the US who don't want their nice Jewish kids acting like neo-Nazis at a skinhead convention? Don't tell me who these kids don't represent. Tell me what you are going to do about them and the other kids you send to this country.
Something inside me says that if the students on the video started to take off their shirts and pants and make vulgar motions with their lower bodies, that would bother their orthodox parents more than their shouting racial epithets. Am I wrong here?
A piece by Ron Kampeas in JTA was predictably bad. Jeffrey "I-Can-Criticize-Israel-But-You-Can't" Goldberg made the obligatory comment that Max Blumental "doesn't seem to like Israel that much" (which would explain why Max has spent time and money going around interviewing Israelis he admires and respects, like David Grossman and the Ta'ayush folks). But at least Goldberg, unlike Kampeas, showed moral decency by being offended by the behavior of the kids in the video.
I am waiting for a sensitive editor like Gary Rosenblatt of the New York Jewish Week to pick up the story, which is not about how folks in Israel feel towards Obama, but about how some American Jewish kids come to Israel on Birthright and yeshiva programs, and desecrate God's name in public.
How public? Well, close to half a million people have seen the video.
How's that for giving food to the anti-Semites.