I doubt it. But one of the main media memes is that all stories are part of a trend. Crime is going up! Crime is going down! More Jews are buying guns! No one wants to hear that things are pretty much staying the same, even though, let’s face it, that’s pretty much how it is for most human activities. Anyway, as a Jew, I can say that Haaretz.com writer Natasha Mozgovaya has found a nice place to upon which to hang her reportorial yarmulke: a latecomer to guns who wants to talk about firearms to his fellow Jews. No, I don’t mean me; my pistol-packing proselytizing is non-denominational. I mean Rabbi Dovid Bendory, an authorized shooting instructor who’s giving shooting lessons to members of the Orthodox community. Great quotes. But a big swing and a miss on the nexus between Jews and gun rights.
“I think that in view of our history, every Jew who is physically and psychologically capable of carrying a gun should do so,” the Rabbi tells Haaretz. “We must be ready to defend ourselves, and God will make sure we will never need to do so. I am not a supporter of [assassinated ultra-nationalist Jewish organizer Meir] Kahane, but I also do not want to find myself on the wrong side of a gun.”
Who would? While the reporter does a fairly good job of portraying Bendory’s “conversion” to firearm-based self-defense, she ignores the organization that steered the Rabbi on the road to Jerusalem. No wait. Different conversion. Anyway, Mozgovaya spoke to the man behind the man: Aaron Zelman, founder and president of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. But she somehow forgot to quote him.
Big mistake. Zelman’s 6500 member organization calls itself “America’s Most Aggressive Defender of Firearms Ownership.” If anyone knows if American Jews are tooling-up, it’s Zelman. And he doesn’t know. “You don’t have to put your religion on the form when you buy a gun,” he told TTAG. “So there’s no information on how many Jews own guns, or whether that number’s increasing. The last time we had any indication was when Bush was running against Dukakis. The Times Mirror did a study that said 96 percent of Jews support gun control.”
And that’s it. That’s all we know about Jewish gun ownership in the United States—other than the fact that all the powerful Jewish members of Congress are pro-gun control, dissed and dismissed by Zelman as “lapdogs for the Democratic Party.
Needless to say, Zelman sees things a lot differently. “The girl from Haaretz left out the connection between gun control and genocide. The day after Kristallnacht, the Nazis declared that Jews couldn’t owns gun, knives or other weapons . . . From a biblical poin-of-view, we are commanded by God to defend ourselves. As an American, I’m commanded by the founders to preserve the tools of freedom.”
So why don’t more American Jews own guns? On this point I could almost hear Zelman shaking his head. “A lot of American Jews are thinking about it,” he offers. “Most of them will just think about it until they die.”