Too Orthodox Even for the NY GOP


Back in the good old days, it used to be easy to pick somebody to do outreach to the Jewish community.  Just find a Jew who gave a lot of money to your campaign, or a community leader (preferably from a Conservative congregation–right in the middle), and you could  be pretty confident that they would support the only positions that mattered to the Jewish community–support for Israel, and making sure that Jewish kids didn’t have to pray in their cushy suburban public schools.  As the results of the recent Jewish population survey in NYC suggest, however, the Jews–and hence, Jewish outreach–are in a brave new world, and, as NY State’s GOP recently learned, the old rules don’t apply.  On paper, of course, the choice of Yossi Gestetner to become their new Jewish outreach director seemed like a masterstroke–reflecting the growth of New York’s socially conservative black-hat population, they would tap a young, Hasidic PR maven to present the public face of GOP Jews.  I mean, look at that punim,

who could possibly object to him?  He’s like Tevye, with a blog!  It was a move celebrated by many within the black-hat world as a sign of their growing influence.


The love affair would be short lived, however, and Gestetner would be dropped within days, as FOJ Steven I. Weiss at The Jewish Channel (we’re still waiting for our own TV show, Steven) uncovered some bits about their new goldeneh yingl that the GOP was doubtlessly unaware of.  It seems that Gestetner had done work as a mouthpiece for a rally in support of an accused child molester in Williamsburg.  While he could make some insipid excuse that he was supporting the rights of the accused, innocent until proven guilty, and so on, it seems Gestetner also did work for a group called Torah True Jews Against Zionism, and when confronted by Weiss, couldn’t seem to voice any actual support for Israel.    Defending child molesters is one thing, but advocating for Israel’s critics?  Not in this political world.

And so the GOP bid Yossi shalom. As for the GOP’s next choice for outreach director, might we suggest somebody whose inclination is to march in the Celebrate Israel Parade, rather than protest on the side?

What do you think?

About The Author


The Tel Aviv-born, Milwaukee-bred Jewdar has a bachelors' from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters from NYU, and an Honorable Discharge from the US Army, where he spent two years as an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division. He's the co-author of "The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies", the Humor Editor of Heeb Magazine, and a watcher of TV. Smarter than most funny people, funnier than most smart people, he lives on the Lower East Side with his wife and two sons.

4 Responses

  1. Yuli Kornblum

    Stupidity or religion?
    The hatred of some of ultra-orthodox Jews to Zionism and Israel is, according to their teaching, because the Messiah riding on a white donkey suppose to recreate the Jewish kingdom and not just ordinary people will do it. They claim that it is against the world’s nations and it will bring war. Of course they forget that the world’s nations in their League of Nations resolution created the Jewish home land so I am not sure how it is against world’s nations. Further even if God said that he will help the Jews, nowhere did God forbid the Jews for helping themselves. The way I see it here and in Israel, these ultra-orthodox Jews are just pagans.

  2. jewdar

    1. League of Nations Mandate for Palestine called for the establishment of a “Jewish national home,” whatever that may be. UN called for the creation of a Jewish state.
    2. The Oath in question states that the Jews will not attempt to force an end to the exile; while I like your reasoning, the argument may be made that the UN resolution itself was simply a result of the Zionists’ efforts to force an end to the exile.

  3. Yuli Kornblum

    Jeadar, again it sounds as you adopted the propaganda of all those who want to destroy the state of Israel and this is very bad. It clear that in the resolution of the league of nation meant to have a Jewish country there and they gave the British the mandate to create the state of Israel. The British betray their mandate and instead created Jordan on land that belongs to the Jews and prevented Jews from coming to Israel. Start talking about that and ask yourself why Jordan is accepted but Israel is not (I will give you a hint, Jordan is a Moslem state.) How do you interpret “Jewish national home” as you write? Would it be Jews living under Moslem government or maybe under Chinese Government? It is clear that the idea was to have Jewish government. As for the prophecy of bringing the all the Jews from the Diaspora how many are we talking about? Is there a number of Jews leaving in the Diaspora that is included in this prophecy? Do you know if this means 1 or two or maybe million? Does this prophecy specifically say that Jews can’t be living in Israel? And if so what is that number of Jews that are allowed to live in Israel that is associated with this prophecy? So you can see that the whole thing is a big Bla Bla intending to confuse all kind of religious pagans to listen to their Rabbi.

    As for the notion that the state of Israel will be forcing the Jews of world to come to Israel this is also extremely stupid. Jews can come and go as they wish; no one forces them to live in Israel.

    So again, try to tame you enthusiasm regarding the propaganda against that state of Israel.

    I also noticed that you are the humor editor so if you reply meant to be funny it is not.

  4. jewdar

    Yuli, Jewdar is getting the most awful feeling of déjà vu (for those interested in reading this argument the first time around, see the comments section here ).

    As pointless as this is, however, Jewdar has some free time on our hands, so here we go.

    1. Jewdar, we should remind you, is pro-Israel, so once, again, we’d suggest that if you’re looking to tilt at Israel’s enemies, there are plenty of better targets out there. As for my supposed “propaganda,” being pro-Israel doesn’t change history. What happened, happened.
    2. Let us accept the premise that the League of Nations did have the authority to give the British, or the French, or the South Africans, or anyone else, the right to rule over a group of people who were not consulted in the matter, gave no approval in the matter, and in some cases, were clearly opposed in the matter. That said, what exactly was enacted by the League of Nations mandate, and that’s not quite so clear.
    3. The preamble to the mandatory document, echoing the Balfour Declaration, says the following: “…Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…”
    Without question, the people responsible for issuing the Declaration, and the first generation of Mandatory officials, saw their task as preparing for statehood. But the Declaration itself was a masterpiece of diplomatic language, which left much to the discretion of the British. A “national home” may be a state, but it doesn’t have to be. What else could it be? In general terms, it would be fair to say that in 1922, Slovakia was the “national home” of the Slovaks, but was merely a part of the state of Czechoslovakia. Wales was the “national home” of the Welsh, but part of the UK. Croatia was the “national home” of the Croats, but part of Yugoslavia, and so on. There was, therefore, absolutely no contradiction between the notion of the Jews having a national home in Palestine while not having a state. More specific to the Zionists, of course, is that there were competing visions of what “Zionism” was supposed to achieve. For Cultural Zionists like Achad Ha’am, statehood was less important than the development of Palestine as a Hebrew cultural center. For at least some Practical Zionists, statehood was important, but ultimately not any more important than working the land in the Land of Israel. Had you asked AD Gordon which would be better, a bourgeois Jewish state where Jews worked as urban merchants, or a Jewish autonomous zone where Jews worked the soil, he’d probably have chosen the latter. There were, therefore, a variety of competing definitions of what a “national home” might be, both in general terms, and specifically in the Zionist context. And, in fact, this ambiguity is precisely what the British used in 1939 when they issued the Macdonald White Paper, declaring that insofar as Palestine had a Jewish population numbering in the hundreds of thousands, using Hebrew, and having developed numerous institutions, their task of establishing “in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” had been fulfilled.
    4. The phrase “in Palestine” is particularly important. Nowhere does it state that it has to be all of Palestine. In theory, the “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine(which, as demonstrated, didn’t have to be an independent state) could be all of Palestine, or half of Palestine, or a third of Palestine. This is particularly the case because, of course, there was little clear definition of what “Palestine” was. Prior to 1918, Palestine didn’t exist except in the imaginations of Europeans. There was no “Palestine” in the political framework of the Ottoman Empire, nor in the identification of local Arabs and Jews. The borders of “Palestine” in 1922 were solely those drawn up by the British in the first place. What became Transjordan could have just as easily been part of Iraq, or Syria, or a completely different entity, had the British and French drawn the borders in a different place, just like parts of what are today Lebanon and Syria could have been part of Palestine. Ultimately, though, all this is irrelevant because whatever the boundaries of “Palestine” may have been in 1918, the area to the east of the Jordan river was excluded by the final form of the Mandate in 1922.
    5. Article 25 of the Mandatory documented as it was drafted in July 1922 allowed the British to exclude the territory to the east of the river from most of the terms of the Mandate. In August they sent a memo to the League of Nations establishing Transjordan. That memo was adopted by the League and “Transjordan” was therefore excluded from Palestine when the Mandate went into effect in September 1922. Consequently, the same legal authority which established the Mandate, established it without Transjordan.
    6. The actions of the League of Nations are irrelevant today. It is a defunct organization. You might as well argue that the Congo should belong to Belgium because the Berlin Conference gave it to them. Even if you want to say that the League of Nations had the authority to “give” Palestine (or Syria, or Namibia) or anything else to some other country, who cares, it doesn’t exist anymore. If you’re looking for an international organization on which to base Israel’s right to exist, try the UN, since in 1947, the British gave the matter up to them to decide.
    7. Ultimately though, why do that at all? Your whole line of argumentation seems closer to what we’d expect from someone who was anti-Israel. Israel’s right to exist doesn’t stem from the League of Nations or the UN. Like any other country in the world, it’s right to exists isn’t due to any historical legalities—it has a right to exist simply because it exists, and millions of Israelis want it to exist. Arguments based on this or that international organization play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, by suggesting that Israel is different from all other countries in the world, that Israel is unnatural. Israel’s birth, like many countries, was the product of immigration and conflict. Like every country, its current existence depends simply on the desires of its people to maintain a separate existence.

    As for forcing an end to the Exile, you misunderstand their point–the Talmud doesn’t mean forcing all Jews to move to Israel, they mean forcing an end to “the Exile,” the loss of Jewish independence.

    Keep in mind, Yuli, I’m not advocating the position of Neturei Karta, I’m just explaining it.

    As for my other comments, could we try and do something reasonable, and actually focus on the details? Meaning that if you have some salient facts or corrections, great, let’s have a discussion of history. Accusing me of embracing anti-Israel propaganda is far less relevant, interesting and worthwhile. I’m happy to admit I’m wrong, just present the facts (e.g., relevant citations from the relevant texts) to demonstrate it.


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