Not In Our Name, With Emphasis On “Our Name”
Daily Kos has, for the last few days, been on a roll with its Israel/“Palestine” diaries.
A new anti-Semite named James Risser (yes, James, you are an anti-Semite—anti-Zionism is all you need in order to be one, and “spending several months” of your life “in group-study of the Book of Tanya with a Hassidic Rabbi in New York” doesn’t make the tiniest difference in the matter) posted an angry diary on Daily Kos (from which that quote comes), on December 30, 2006, in which he suggested banning all I/“P” diaries from Daily Kos because, says he, pro-“Palestinian” posters were being subjected to abuse by the “AIPAC shills, GIYUS trolls and Right-Wing Likudniks” (not Risser’s words, but his ilk on the DKos I/“P” diaries use these labels to those Zionists who dare to defend themselves on the battlefield of public opinion).
The accusation cuts both ways, but that’s not the issue. As I already posted before, I had participated on the I/“P” diaries on Daily Kos myself and left. I left DKos not so much because of the verbal abuse as because of having my comments deleted, which effectively meant I’d wasted all the time I’d taken to write them. All appellations and political framings, I contend, are legitimate tools of rhetoric as long as they don’t have a serious real-world effect on the discourse. I wouldn’t mind the appellation of “Islamophobe” if that didn’t mean, for many people, having to take back their words, erase them and apologize. Similarly, when I call someone an anti-Semite, I have no intent of shutting him up in any way; my only intent is to voice my thoughts upon him, and he can continue voicing his, in my opinion anti-Semitic, thoughts. Military secrets and death threats are just about the only sort of words I support censoring (I say, “just about” because there may be more sorts of life-critical words I haven’t thought of right now. You get the gist). James Risser, having been unable to take the heat, decided to dismantle the whole kitchen.
Risser’s poll, however, proved unsupportive of his complaint. The result as of the time of writing, 73% of 648 votes against banning the subject, showed a majority of people who favored a debate no matter how much mud were slung (I still wouldn’t come back to DKos, because the lack of guarantee that my posts wouldn’t be deleted still stands). Risser posted a new diary the following day, Anti-Israel ≠ Anti-Semitic, in which he explains, as an answer to those (even on Daily Kos!) who pointed out to the proliferation of Israel/“Palestine” diaries, why the subject is of such importance for a site that has the stated purpose of getting USA Democrats elected.
It’s a diary of the sort I like: full of statements revealing what makes the anti-Israel crowd tick, and also, more importantly, it also shows the natural reasons for the same. For, as I have already explained (on September 7, 2006), the supernatural decree and the natural occurrence work hand in hand, so that behind the fact of the divine institution of Jew-hatred there is the seemingly natural way the charges are levied, the excuses every Jew-hater believes in. I will not fisk the entire diary, for it is too long and my time for that unfortunately short.
What if the day comes when our political leaders follow the priorities of another country when doing so weakens ours?
As some of the commenters below said, countries rarely do the wish of other countries unless their benefit is consonant with theirs. The possibility that the USA’s support of Israel may be entirely on account of lobbying (as if Israel and the Jews were the only ones making lobbying efforts—that, the singling out of Israel, is the fundamental flaw of Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper) exists, but it’s the less ordinary claim in comparison to the possibility that the policymakers in the USA really think it’s in America’s interest to support Israel, and, as we all know, the less ordinary the claim, the more extraordinary proof it needs. Though, it should be pointed out that the USA has not always supported Israel to the best outcome, beginning from Eisenhower’s intervention in the Suez Crisis in 1956 and up to Bush’s pressure on Olmert to accept a UN “solution” to the Lebanon Conflict 50 years later. Such actions could just as easily be attributed to an Arab or “Palestinian” or Muslim lobby or, more ordinarily, to people in the USA Administration (particularly the State Department) who think the USA’s interests and Israel’s aren’t the same, just like Risser does.
What if the only benefit our country receives is a negative one: The hatred of the world.
So here, for those who might complain to me, “You would chalk up all opposition of Israel’s policies to anti-Semitism?”, is one of the natural (i.e. non-supernatural) answers to what can be called, The Israel/“Palestine” Obsession: fear, appeasement, dhimmitude.
Let me rehash it for those who don’t remember: one fine day, the two towers in New York came crashing down, with a toll of nearly 3,000 civilians. A few days after that, Osama bin Laden came out with a tape saying the USA’s one-sided support of Israel against “Palestine” was to blame. The A-Q’ers have since updated their tapes to blame it all on the US intervention in Bosnia (intervention for the Muslims, by the way; other examples of such gratitude are available), but of course we all know the real reason was the Rushdie Affair. No, I mean the 1953 coup against Mossadegh in Iran. No, I mean the Cru… never mind. Anyway, people the whole Western world over have been only too glad to swallow the linking of Islamic terrorism with the issue of “Palestine”, and ever since, they have not ceased holding to their magical, magical belief that, as soon as that were solved, terrorism would be history.
This magical theory has fallen on the fertile ground of the “What did we do to make them hate us?” constituency in the West, a.k.a. the Dhimmis. It is little different from the thought that the Sudetenland was the one issue which, once solved, would halt any prospect of another war. And Czechoslovokia wasn’t a Jewish state, so here is a natural explanation of those who say they don’t want to hear the accusation of anti-Semitism anymore. Of course, the stakes are infinitely higher for Israel than they were for Czechoslovakia, for Hitler wanted merely to take the land, while the Muslims mean to do unto its people what the latter did to the Jews of Europe (G-d forbid).
NEWS FLASH: ISRAEL IS A SOVEREIGN STATE AND HAS A SET OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC POLICIES (All-caps original. —ZY)
We are none to shy to comment on the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese, the Iraqis, and the Afghans. But we may have carved out a special sacred cow exception for Israel. (Emphasis original. —ZY)
I agree Israel is being singled out, but not in the sense Risser thinks. Israel’s policies attract no controversy, much less condemnation, when carried out by any other state; are thought to be absolutely reasonable, and it is needless to mention that the circumstances of the birth of any other state about, say, 50 years ago are no longer debated. So Spain is allowed to build a wall to prevent illegal immigrants from Morocco, and Saudi Arabia can do the same to prevent an influx of Shi’a Muslims, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem to have so bleeding a heart and so fluttering a conscience. Russia deservedly levels Grozny after Chechen Muslim terrorists massacre schoolchildren in Beslan, with the silence of all the world, but when Israel dares to strike as surgically as possible at Beirut in order to remove the missile threat on its north, the cries of “Disproportionate response!” are heard all around. And no one on the Left ever brings up the issue of Pakistan, a nuclear power, being situated entirely on stolen Hindu lands (the Indus valley, for which India is named), having been birthed for the sole purpose of being a state for Muslims (in addition to the other dozens they had already), involving the dispossession of countless Hindus living there for generations.
But we did not hear Osama say of those things that they were the reason for 9/11, so we don’t need to care about them.
How does one voice an opinion in the matter when when debate is stifled by referring to the speaker as a hateful anti-Semite?
The debate is alive and well, Mr. Risser. In fact, you were the one who proposed a universal ban on the subject on Daily Kos. You’re whining because it’s you who can’t get your way silencing those who call you what you are. As Ann Coulter said: “‘McCarthyism’ is what Leftists cry when their treason is exposed”.
It is crystal clear that the State of Israel will have the support of the United States and its right to exist is assured by the Americans, regardless of party.
However, states do more than exist. They have domestic and international policies that go beyond its existence as a State. Americans have a right to decide what is in America's interest, and has a right to decide how far America will support the policies of Israel; especially so when those decisions have a direct impact on our soldiers and the impact following a position of Israel has on our own national security. (First emphasis original, second mine. —ZY)
And while there is agreement within both parties for the right of Israel to exist, we do not blindly extend that right to immunize any and all policies of Israel. An honest debate on those issues, in this democratic forum, where, I believe some of those leaders visit and post, is essential in bringing to light arguments that they may not have heard against these policies that so many around the world find criminal, against basic international human rights law, and harmful to this nation's standing in the international community by having so many silent to these blatant abuses. (Emphasis mine. —ZY)
My added emphases are crucial: they are the sole natural reason why Israel is singled out, why other states with a much worse track record are given carte blanche by anti-Zionists like James Risser.
We keep hearing that meme, “Not In My Name”. They keep saying that having “Palestinians” or Iraqis gunned down by American weapons is tantamount to making an exclamation of, “Uncle Sam supports that action”. In other words: it’s not the action, the “human rights abuse”, the “violation of international law” that’s so distressing to them, it’s the fact that it was done by means of American-supplied weapons, the fear that it would bring another terrorist attack upon the USA (G-d forbid). Sugar-coat it any way you like, dress it up even as an academic paper, it’s still nothing but that old, Chamberlainian spirit of appeasement. Or, when applied to the current world war between Islam and the non-Muslim world: Dhimmitude.
Prettify it all you want with your vaunted “compassion”, Risser, that compassion that doesn’t extend to Buddhist teachers and monks in Thailand or to rape victims sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, but those who have eyes to see know the truth: you and your sort only fear for yourselves, wanting to buy you some time with a few peace-offerings. Compassion has nothing to do with it.
A meme has developed that to speak against Israel, by definition, is anti-Semitic.
It is (by way of example) anti-Dutch to say Dutch people do not have the right to inhabit all of the Netherlands; in like manner, it is anti-Jewish (called “anti-Semitic”) to say the Jews do not have the right to inhabit all of their land (which is what G-d has promised them in His book, the Torah). Is that clear now?
Silence against their war-crimes, silence against their colonial occupation of Palestine.
I rest my case. “War-crimes” is just the usual anti-war (pro-terrorism) libel, but “their colonial occupation of Palestine” is the reason why you really are deserving of being called an anti-Semite. There is no “Palestine” and no “Palestinian nation”, there is only the Land of Israel and its people, the Jews. Or to quote their own (hat tip: Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch):
The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism."
[Zuheir Mohsen, head of As Saiqa, one of the "Palestinian" terrorist groups, in a 1977 interview in the Dutch newspaper "Trouw"]
"Palestine does not interest us. It is a drop in the Arab sea from the Atlantic to the Gulf, and beyond."
[Yassir Arafat, 1972]
Continuing with the diary:
Silence in all matters Palestinian. How much discussion was there in 1991 when Kuwait ethnically-cleansed its Palestinian population of over 600,000? Have their been screaming headlines about the Palestinian refugees created in Iraq?
Hmmmmm, very interesting! Risser points this out as an example of anti-“Palestinian” bias, but I see it as a graphic demonstration of singling Israel out: let any other state do unto the “Palestinians” what Israel has done, or even worse, and all you hear from the world is… crickets.
Have you considered that we, as a Nation, have lost the moral authority to question human rights violations? That because of our silence of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians gives us no moral authority to question abuses elsewhere?
Keeping our conscience clean, keeping our moral high ground, our right to preach to others, that’s what it’s all about. So human rights abuses in Iran and Venezuela can be glossed over, if even mentioned at all, because they’re not “by our complicity”, therefore not a stain on our white angel clothes.
Our old friends drop away. We must go begging to have countries support our policies. Our UN voting block is limited to the laughable cadre of 'the usual suspects'.
And now Risser has sealed the coffin of his pretensions to morality by bringing up the true reason, the totally pragmatic, utilitarian, self-serving reason: [his belief that] the USA’s support of Israel has cost it its standing in the world.
Mr. Risser: it’s your right to think that way (and my right to correct you on that); but you cannot both think that way and say questions of morality are uppermost in your mind. You care only about the international standing of your country. Which is legitimate, but if you really cared about morality and not just about the international standing of your country, you’d write with at least the same concentration of effort, if not more so, on other “human rights issues” in addition to the Israel/“Palestine” one. Your fixation on it belies you.
Here end the points I considered worthy of comments in James Risser’s diary. I would now like to end with an anecdote on the Jewish situation. As anyone just a little versed in recent Jewish history knows, from the 19th century to World War II the anti-Semites hollered that Jews should get out of Europe and go back to the Land of Israel (“Juden nach Palästina!” was the refrain in Nazi outlets just before the war), while now the anti-Semites are saying we have no business here (“You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism”, said Cindy Sheehan). We instinctively say, “Why can’t you make up your minds?!” Later we write, as Rabbi Meir Kahane of blessed memory did, “In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less”. I introduce a variation on that theme, a Jewish joke my dad told me, probably quite old:
A passenger takes a long ride in a bus on a winter day. He opens the window to let in some air, and then the lady sitting on the chair behind him shouts, “Close the window! I’m dying from cold!” He closes the window, but a few minutes later the lady sitting on the chair in front of him shouts, “Open the window! I can’t breathe!” The passenger is left dumbfounded. Then another passenger, seeing his plight, says, “I have a suggestion for you”. The first passenger is all ears, and the suggestion comes: “Open the window and then the first lady will die from cold; after that, close the window and the second lady will choke to death; then we’ll have peace and quiet from them both!”
The likes of Charles Lindbergh and James Risser both had their reasons, their natural reasons, to pick at us, and us alone. Leon Pinsker of blessed memory remarked, in his foreword to Autoemancipation (the first major statement of modern, secular Zionism), that Jews were blamed both for being capitalists and for being communists. The supernatural cause of Jew-hatred means that the natural reasons are but excuses, and that an excuse will always be found, even if it contradicts another one. We Jews, therefore, should (unlike Risser here) cease trying to be good in the sight of all people. For world opinion, as Dennis Prager says, is worthless.