Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin

Communication breakdown, it's always the same...

Another piece in the mainstream press, this time from TIME, about why younger (disaffected) Jews do not share the views of their parents on … drum roll please… ISRAEL.

Choice quote:

“This is so emotional,” she says as we cautiously discuss our difference of opinion. “It makes me feel absolutely terrible when you stridently voice criticisms of Israel.”

Here, as they say in Hebrew, is where the dog is buried.

If you recall Alison Benedikt’s impassioned broadside about the Zionist summer camp she attended yet would never send her kids to, she, too, spoke about this phenomenon:

John buys every book about Israel that’s ever been published, and then reads them all so he can win any argument with my family. What he doesn’t realize is that my parents don’t do facts on this issue. They do feelings. Israel is who they are. Gradually, and then also all of a sudden, it’s no longer who I am—and I am angry.

Now you can say that Dana Goldstein far too esconced in the mainstream (her perspective on critique extends as far left as J Street… the folks further to the left do not even merit a name…)  or you can call Benedikt naive (she is intermarried after all! a shonde!) but the instances about which they report (and probably thousands of others) testify that that the generations will have little success communicating about this issue because they are not even speaking the same language.  Parents parlay in emotions, deep-seated feelings that are often ineffable and irrational.  Their kids are immersed in facts and values.  Hence, the communication breakdown (and the Zeppelin reference) …

But I wonder… do these (i.e., ineffable feelings, “facts on the ground”) necessarily have to clash?   Is the gap between the affective and the cognitive insurmountable?  Generally no.


I have some thoughts but I will hold back… These days, even talking about talking about Israel is radioactive… and I do not want to glow too brightly this early in the year.

Perhaps by mid-Cheshvan, after I have done my penance and asked the requisite forgivenesses, I might venture forth…


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