And then it came to me. Who was the man who inspired me when I was fighting these same BDS heels in Somerville? Who was the man who defeated 173 gigantic 200-400 lb. opponents in succession? Who is now deservedly being inducted into The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame? The WCW professional wrestling demi-god, the all-time and always heavyweight champion of the world (at least in my heart), one name is all that’s needed: Goldberg!
Bill Goldberg (now, simply “Goldberg”), once a linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, later became one of the few Jews to obtain superstardom in the pro wrestling circuit (yes, I know Dean Malenko was a lansman, but who cares).
Joining the WCW (Ted Turner’s aborted attempt to take on the World Wide Wrestling Federation dynasty of the McMahon family), Goldberg became not just a champion, but a phenomenon. “The Streak,” still spoken about in hush whispers among wrestling fans, was Goldberg’s uninterrupted string of 173 victories between 1997 and 1999.
Each victory unfurled with the predictability of a Japanese Noh drama: some poor sap would enter the ring, land a few ineffective punches on the Hebrew behemoth, only to end up flattened by Goldberg’s trademark closing moves, “The Spear” (in which the 285 pound former linebacker would nail his foe in the midsection with a high-velocity head butt) followed by the Jackhammer (don’t ask). After that, the three count was just a formality, with Goldberg once again victorious.
Caught up in the frenzy of Goldbergmania, I began to understand how my father must have felt watching Jewish baseball champions like Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. Different perhaps, since he was a fan of sports heroes, and I a fanatic for a champion of “Sports Entertainment.” But there was also something unique to the nation’s Goldberg fascination.
For there on display, week after week, emerging from a shower of sparks with neck muscles resembling a dorsal fin was the rawest example of Jewish strength any of us had ever seen. And fans from across the nation, from around the world, loved it. Nothing exemplified this more than a bout in Alabama when Goldberg single handedly took apart a now-forgotten team of hillbilly-themed wrestlers, with the hillbillies in the audience screaming their heads off… for Goldberg!
And now to the point.
When the usual suspects try to blame each of their endless BDS defeats on “organized Jewish power” this is only partly because they need to salve their wounded pride with fantasies of an all-powerful enemy as conspiratorial as themselves. But another reason for this storyline is their sly understanding of historic Jewish discomfort with power.
When American blacks transformed themselves from a disenfranchised minority to a major political force, effective enough to lobby against domestic racism, and for aid and assistance to black Africa, this accumulation of power through organization is rightly hailed as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. Yet American Jews, who spend 95% of their philanthropy and political energy on causes that benefit others (including blacks and other minorities) are frequently vilified for the efforts we expend on our own behalf, even efforts to turn back attempts to smear the Jewish nation we hold dear.
Well Goldberg taught me how to deal with such attacks by a tag-team of ruthless hypocrites: The Spear, followed by the Jackhammer (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Defending the honor of the Jewish state against attack from some of the greatest human rights violators on the planet (and their apologists), fighting for our right to spread the truth against their lies is not just our right, it is our responsibility. As Mark Twain once said when writing to a man bewildered by mob attacks on a supposedly powerless Jewish community in Vienna in the 19th century:
“Who gives the Jew the right, who gives any race the right, to sit still, in a free country, and let someone else look after his safety?”
Over the last few weeks, Berkeley has delivered “The Spear” to BDS trying to muscle its way into college campus politics. Let’s hope tonight that UCSD delivers The Jackhammer.