Breitbart not only carved out a new mixture of investigative journalism, combining the mediums of video and the microblogging website Twitter with huge scoops, he was slated to start a Big Jerusalem website to fight the seemingly endless mainstream media distortions of the Jewish state.
Adopted by a Jewish family in Los Angeles, Breitbart equated the preservation of liberty and freedom in the US with safeguarding liberties and security in the Jewish state. “Israel is in the right” and “If Israel goes, so will America,” he said during a lively speech last year at a meeting of Republican Jewish Coalition in Beverly Hills.
In this speech, Breitbart said of Israelis: “I just don’t understand how an inherently decent and free people could be the bad guy… This doesn’t make sense to me…
I’m glad I’ve become a journalist because I’d like to fight on behalf on the Israeli people…I’ve been there. And the Israeli people, I adore and I love.”
I asked Breitbart’s colleague Joel B. Pollak – editor- in-chief and general counsel for Breitbart’s online media empire, which publishes the websites Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood and Big Peace – to tell me about Breitbart and his relationship with Israel and Judaism. He emailed me on Friday: “Andrew only visited Israel once, a few years ago, but instantly fell in love with the country and its people.”
“He was the best kind of Jew and human being you could ever meet, one who created opportunities for people in whom he saw a spark – which Maimonides called the highest form of charity,” Pollak wrote. “He carried his faith as he carried all his convictions: with a lighthearted touch but a deep commitment.”
Pollak wrote about how that life and fire extended to Judaism: “Andrew was proudly, and playfully, Jewish. In the last days of his life he wondered openly about observing Shabbat, even as he continued to tease me about not eating bacon and shrimp cocktails. More than once he burst into a Hebrew school song or parts of his bar mitzva portion while working at his desk across from mine – partly to amuse me and partly to entertain himself.”
“He often told an amusing story about meeting Idan Raichel [an Israeli singer-songwriter] in a restaurant where he had been dining with fellow conservative bloggers, and how surprised and inspired they were that the lanky, dreadlocked musician was an ardent and natural patriot,” he said.
“Andrew rejected the knee-jerk liberalism of the Jewish community in which he had been raised but never felt distant from his fellow Jews, no matter what background, and two of his closest colleagues were both Orthodox Jews whose levels of observance both amused and intrigued him.”
“We had a common Jewish kinship even though we lived our lives rather differently and I can say confidently that I’ve never met a finer soul, Jewish or otherwise,” Pollak continued.
Pollak, who ran for Congress in Illinois against J Street Jan Shakowsky in 2010, is one of the Orthodox Jews. I don’t know who the other one is. I hope someone is making sure that Breitbart’s kids get a Jewish education and that someone is taking any sons to shul to say Kaddish.
Here’s a video tribute to Breitbart. Let’s go to the videotape
#ThinkProgress: Virginia Poised To Enact ‘State-Sponsored Rape’ Law Forcing Women To Be Vaginally Probed Before AbortionsFebruary 18, 2012
served with that special sauce!
…mmm mmm good
I suppose this was supposed to offend people and make them scream racist… politicians should listen up. The people in the U.S. no longer think Islam is a race. make a note of that “Think Progress”. …a lot of us (like me) don’t think Islam is a religion either.
Not exactly what Yglesias is talking about. I don’t think Yglesias knows WTF Yglesias is talking about.
The existence of Christian Zionists is, of course, not new. But what is new is that Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. At the same time, Christian Zionist sentiment has boomed in America and the Palestinian cause has never been less popular among America’s overwhelmingly non-Jewish population.
This is all part of what I’ve called the trend toward post-Jewish Zionism. That’s not to say that there are no Jewish Zionists in the United States (or Canada, etc.) but merely to observe that Jews as such are decreasingly relevant to the politics of Israel. In Europe, too, we’re seeing a boom of far-right parties (True Finns, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party) with strong pro-Israel stands.
But look at whom he is defining as ‘post-Jewish.’
Daniel Levy’s article on Israeli demographics is also relevant to this. If you’re a typical Jewish American, this is quite literally not your father’s Israel. The Palestinian, Haredi, “national Orthodox,” and Russian immigrant shares of the population have all grown substantially.
While it’s true that the Haredi, national Orthodox (by which I assume he means National Religious) and Russian immigrant (by the way, most of whom are not religious and many of whom are not Jewish at all) populations have grown, that does not explain why Israelis have become what Yglesias calls ‘hawkish right,’ nor does it explain why fewer and fewer Israelis are sympathetic to the ‘Palestinian’ cause.
The Likud gets very few Haredi votes and probably not a whole lot of National Religious votes or Russian immigrant votes either. What’s driven Israel to the right is not changing demographics but changing perceptions of the possibility of peace (without scare quotes) with the ‘Palestinians.’ Most Israelis have realized the truth over the last 6-11 years (look up those dates): That it’s not peace or a state that the ‘Palestinians’ want. It’s that they want to destroy the Jewish state. We won’t roll over and play dead for them.
Some people would call that kind of shift democracy.
And by the way, those Haredim and National Religious Jews are more Jewish (in practice) than Yglesias will ever be. I would definitely not call them ‘post Jewish.’ That’s absurd.
Matt Yglesias, at Think Progress, writes about the Daily Caller op-ed in which Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Gevalt) castigates American Jews for not being his kind of American Jew. (Next up: Joe Walsh wishes wimmin were still ladies!)
I won’t pile more on Walsh — it seems gratuitous at this stage — but Yglesias seems to have contracted Walsh’s unseemly “they’re all alike” affect in this passage:
Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population.
Say what? Ashkenazim have a genetic predisposition toward liberal democracy?
Let me put it this way: Vus?