Iconic Jewish comedian Jackie Mason wears his no-holds-barred politically conservative opinions on his sleeve. Last week he penned an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post which, true to Mason's style, praised Republican evangelicals for their pro-Israel stand, while trashing what he termed the insanity of liberal Jews.
Perhaps it's because Mason is a non- believer in global warming that the very possibility of any change in political climate, or signs of a warming trend among certain liberal Jews for the state of Israel, are simply off of his radar.
What Mason is unfortunately missing is that the relentless rocket attacks and abominable acts by Hamas have set off a surprising firestorm of protest and activity on behalf of Israel by a number of notable liberal Jews - from Hollywood no less. And a number of those personalities are at the zenith of their careers and have gone out on a limb in voicing support for the Jewish State at this particular time.
It would be a missed opportunity for Mason and other diehard Jewish conservatives if they did not take note of a possible awakening, and take time out from the tea party and their twisted affair with evangelicals in order to embrace a moment of commonality with their own people.
What started off as a very public pro-Israel rant by iconic comedienne Joan Rivers, at the onset of Operation Protective Edge, has grown into a full-fledged movement coined "the Creative Community for Peace". And it's no joke, as headlines are proclaiming, "More Than 190 Hollywood Notables Sign Pro-Israel Statement Criticizing Hamas".
Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher is as liberal as they come and is an outspoken opponent of organized religion. Yet he has recently gone to bat for the Jewish state in a big way. On HBO's Real Time, host Bill Maher found himself in agreement with conservative editor and political pundit Jamie Weinstein, while on the same show former Congresswoman and Democrat Jane Harman admitted to agreeing with Charles Krauthammer. The episode is worth a watch. It raises a glimmer of hope for those lamenting the seemingly unbridgeable political and cultural divide.
Perhaps even more surprising is the support Israel has garnered from those provocative, politically Left, and unrestrained comediennes such as Sarah Silverman and Roseanne Barr (back in 2009, Barr referred to Israel as Nazi State, but has since changed her tune in a very big way). And then there is "shock jock" Howard Stern who didn't mince curses when voicing his opinions on Hamas and support of Israel.
The very funny and thoughtful Mayim Bialik, star of the hottest show on American television, The Big Bang Theory, went out on limb and lost a number of fans when she blogged her support for Judaism, Israel and the IDF.
A Word About Righteous and Not-so Righteous Gentiles
When it comes to gentiles, actor Jon Voight remains the most eloquent and respectful pro-Israel advocate in Hollywood. JewishIsrael is a long-time fan of Jon Voight's approach towards Israel and the Jewish people. We note that Voight has been studying the Noahide laws and learning with rabbis for many years now.
In addition to rockets and terror tunnels from hell emanating from Muslim fundamentalists, the Jewish people remain fair spiritual game for fundamentalist Christian forces, many of whom have been especially active and exploitative throughout the last several weeks, due to Israel's perceived vulnerability. This will be the subject of JewishIsrael’s upcoming report.
It is worth noting that both Joan Rivers' and Jackie Mason's policies of zero tolerance for missionary deception made headlines in the past after Jews for Jesus exploited both entertainers. In 1999 Joan Rivers blasted Jews for Jesus after their commercial ad aired on her radio show. The New York Post reported it like this (excerpt):
“Do not proselytize on my show, you a-holes!” Rivers ranted after coming back from a commercial break where the ad was played.
“I am going to say right now that I am against this. I find this disgusting to put on my show!” she said.
“I am a Jew, I was born a Jew and I plan to die a Jew,” Rivers said. “How dare you. How dare you advertise on my show! And every time you advertise on my show, I will come out and say I find this disgusting, I find this offensive and I find this ridiculous!”
To say the least, it is rare for a radio personality to denounce an advertiser on the air – and the ferocity of Rivers’ attack made the incident all the more remarkable…"
Back in 2006, Jackie Mason sued Jews for Jesus after the organization published and distributed pamphlets featuring an image of Mason next to the words “Jackie Mason ... A Jew for Jesus!?” The inside of the publication reportedly had information describing the similarities between Jews and Christians. Mason responded in an affidavit:
“The pamphlet uses my name, my likeness, my ‘shtick’ (if you will), and my very act, which is derived from my personality, to attract attention and converts.”
Man Plans and God Laughs
Redemption can come from the strangest and most unexpected of places. Perhaps it will be the role of the liberal Jewish comic to shed some light on the truth during these dark times. Humor remains an effective way for a Jew to smash idols, crush political correctness, and get the truth out in a civil society.
It was the patriarch Abraham who, according to Jewish tradition, used common sense and humor when, as a young boy, he smashed all of his father’s idols except for one, and when asked what transpired replied, “The idols all got into a fight and the biggest idol won." At the time, little Avram must have appeared as a very disrespectful and rebellious blasphemer.
As the story in the Babylonian Talmud relates:
"…Eliyahu then pointed out two men [in the marketplace] who were assured a place in the World-to-Come. Rabbi Beroka Hoza'a approached them and asked what their profession was. They told him that they were professional jesters, who entertained people who appeared to be sad or depressed…" (Ta'anit 22a-b)