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That’s Jihad…Not Jewhad

I had been tweaking a substack piece about my misreading of popular culture, and my struggle to finally understand it, before I left the country two weeks ago, trying and failing to make it coalesce before I booked for an overseas show.  I came home on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon, in a jet lag endowed daze, I finally figured out what the problem with the post was, and was about to dive in and solve it…

…When I found myself distracted, surfeited as I was by a series of articles, headlines and subheads which applied the word “genocide” in regard to the current conflict in the middle east.

The word is, of course, a calumny aimed at the Israelis who are counter attacking those who attacked them a month ago.  Nothing says “Demand for a ceasefire” like the very idea of Jews defending themselves, because, after all, an unfortunate part of civilization, a mindset uniting both extremes, will always believe that Jews had and have it coming.

And when Jews do defend themselves, against what in this case was an assault that included the gleefully video’ed murder and decapitation of infants and children, enabled by what seems to be a shameful lapse in intelligence on the part of the Israeli government, of course the response just has to be called genocide by the doyennes of victim culture, whose hurt feelings over microaggressions far outweigh a murder in which it’s a Jew—or thousands of Jews in this case, for that matter—who wind up dead.

It’s just a thing on which all those not of the Tribe, of all races, colors and creeds, as they used to say, can agree on.

To paraphrase another, now dead old Jew, who, like so many before and after him has become the target of often dismissive scorn in death, a weeding process that will certainly continue and will likely include me (I should be so lucky), I am an American, Newark born.

As so many who share my background, my mindset, my experiences, my sensibilities have been forced to acknowledge, I am no fan of the surviving Netanyahu brother.  I have never been to Israel, and have no desire to visit there or any part of the Middle East—and certainly, as an old Jew, the only place in the Middle East where I could possibly exist without a target on my back is Israel…or, at least a target shared with every other Jew of all ages in the vicinity.

As noted, I am old, and a Jew, a member of a club from which I can never resign, whether I chose to or not.  I am also an atheist, with no belief in an anthropomorphic God—which I choose to spell without a—. I eat pork, and occasionally shellfish.  This sort of thing discomfits and confuses so many non-Jews, as well as a number of Jews as well.  I regret any confusion, and that only out of innate politeness.

So, yes, I am an old Jew; thus, I am a picture perfect dual representative of the only two varieties of prejudice approved by the progressive wing of the aforementioned and acknowledged victim/identity culture, to whit, ageism, and antisemitism.

Ageism marginalizes me, enforcing the comforting perspective endorsed by so many of you, of the irrelevance of my opinions, dismissing the informed knowledge that in turn informs those opinions.

“Such a curmudgeon!”  Lawn. Cloud. OK, Boomer.

Get it straight.

I am a contrarian.

I don’t have a lawn, and I don’t care about clouds.

I am, for better or worse a product of the Boomer generation.

Antisemitism allows the many of you who practice this to use your own identitarian predilections to reduce me to a series of time honored cliches, to support a dismally wretched and banal world view.

“That New York sense of humor.” Cliquish. Neurotic. Shrewd.

I am, despite living more than half my life in California, a New Yorker on permanent leave.

My sense of humor is evident—and too cruel to be banally self -deprecatory, as identitarianism would insist.

I am too indifferent to most people to ever be cliquish.

Whatever neuroses I possess don’t fit into the Woody Allen/David Schwimmer keyhole of banal self-loathing, as noted above.

And if I were actually shrewd, I’d alternate between keeping my mouth shut and telling you exactly what you want to hear.

All that said, fuck any and all of you who embrace any and all of these canards, thank you very much.

As a Jew, and a lifelong liberal, with a frisson, as contradictory as it may sound, of both socialism and libertarianism to complicate the mix, I’ve spent my entire life fending off Jew baiting from the troglodytic supernaturalists on the right.  That Northern European Caucasian Protestant cadre which regards itself as the human default, the eugenics-based racism of this crowd makes them the original archetype the very model of modern identitarianism.

I am ashamed to cop to how late in the game I was in recognizing the inspiration this reductive bullshit provided in the transformation of the class based progressive politics that have informed my entire experience into the narrative of oppressed and oppressor, with, in lieu of the Triumph of the Will based bromosexuality of the right, we have the universally aggrieved sad sack weaponizing of hurt feelings fragility of what now calls itself the left.

Of course, to anyone paying any attention, the goal for both of these identity-based cohorts is the acquisition and maintenance of power.   Fascism has its seductions for all too many, left and right, and the horseshoe bends in as many ways.

And yes, of course, antizionism isn’t antisemitism.

Except, of course, when it is.

For all the accusations of genocide from those progressive avatars of progressive victim culture, it is worth noting that those who attacked in October 7 use the words “Israel” and “Jews” interchangeably.

Those attacks on Jews and Jewish businesses in Europe and the United States, geographically and politically removed from Israel and, you know, Zionism, that have metastasized exponentially in recent years, confirm this as a reality.

The call to Jihad threatens Jews in general, not Israelis in the specific, with extermination.  Not to put too fine a point on it, this would definitely include me, and my family.

And, just as I believe that a discomfiting number of the mass murder by automatic weapons to which we have become inured in the United States represents the shooting phase of the second American Civil War, so do I believe that those armed attacks on Jews are Jihadis bring their holy war far from the holy land—not bothering to distinguish between Zionists and Jews.

So, spare me your semantic rush to differentiate between antizionism and antisemitism.  Those who look forward to the extermination of Jews don’t make the distinction, and perhaps you shouldn’t, either.

Now, those of you familiar with my stuff might recall that I often point to a favorite Eldridge Cleaver quote, “Too much agreement spoils a chat.”

Well, fine.

This is not a chat.

Rather it is a declaration. A position paper. A fiat.

I’m not interested in a discussion, spirited or otherwise.

If you agree with me, wholeheartedly, fine.

If you agree with me, with caveats, keep them to yourself.  Or leave, removing me from your friends list.

If you feel the need to cherry pick your way through this, please don’t.  I will remove you from my friends list and block you.

If you heartily disagree with me, you have three choices.

One, keep your opinion to yourself, and keep shtum.  This will grant you the opportunity to potentially ambush me at a later date, or not.

Two, remove me from your friends list and block me.

Three, post your disagreement.  I will then remove you from my friends list, and block you as well, as noted above.

As ever, I thank you for reading.

And, again as ever, I remain,

Howard Victor Chaykin…a Prince…whose mezuzah remains posted for all the world to see.


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