I recently saw a “Jewish” professor speaking at an anti-Israel rally. I’ll spare you the details of what he said, but you can see some of his statements on Youtube to get the sense of his sentiments toward Jewish people and Israel. When I voiced my disgust to a friend who knew him as a child, I learned that his parents converted to Catholicism back in Europe, he never had a circumcision or a bar mitzvah, and he is married to a non-Jewish woman. He claims in his speeches that he is a Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor. He may be the son of a survivor, but can we say once and for all that he is not Jewish?
I share your disgust. But I also have to marvel at such a person. He is a vivid illustration of the indestructibility of the Jewish soul.
Here is a guy who could easily identify as a non-Jew, and has every reason to. His parents converted to another religion, he married out, he reviles everything Jewish, and he sides with the enemy of the Jewish people.
So why doesn’t he just drop the whole Jewish thing altogether?
Because he can’t. Being Jewish can’t be dropped. It is a Jew’s deepest identity. Whether you love it or hate it, it will always be there. No conversion can change that.
And so, in a twisted way, he expresses his Jewishness by being the anti-Jewish Jew.
Yes, he is using his Jewishness as a weapon against Jews.
No, he should not be invited to speak at any Jewish event.
But yes, he is a Jew.
People like that can do a huge amount of damage. But the biggest damage is to themselves. Here is a Jewish soul yearning to connect to Jewishness, who has blocked his own path. Here is someone whose primary preoccupation, whose main claim to fame, is his Jewishness, but a tormented Jewishness. Rather than embrace it, he fights it. He is an accomplice in his own persecution.