A Bed of Your Own Making
It all started out for me from a post on Elder of Ziyon, on how Uri Avnery was berated by his fellow “progressives” for not being anti-Israel enough. In amazing synchronicity (ZionistJungster believes this is co-ordinated from the One On High rather than being a natural phenomenon, but the term is still valid), three such Jews have been lately under attack for the same reason: Avnery as I said, “rabbi” Michael Lerner and blogger Richard Silverstein. By no means do I gloat; there is in me this bittersweet feeling of how people who (as evidenced by their stances that won such criticism) still have that Jewish point shining within, but are now being confronted with a monster of their own making, more Frankensteinian than they could ever have imagined.
Avnery’s article The Bed of Sodom, Lerner’s warning that the insistence on the one-state solution would actually perpetuate the status quo and Silverstein’s tiff with a commenter who thinks the very founding of the state of Israel in 1948 was a crime that should be punished—all are manifestations of Jews who are not beyond the pale. Unlike some of their Jewish detractors—Roger Tucker and Ilan Pappe, for example—they still know the bitter truth, that the issues of 1947–9, as opposed to that of 1967, form an Israeli Jewish concensus, and that the insistence on those issues would do nothing but drive an otherwise “progressive” Jew “into the arms of the extreme Right” (to quote Avnery’s article). While Tucker, Gilad Atzmon, Pappe and the non-Jewish left-wing anti-Zionists are evil-hearted as well as wrong-headed, Avnery, Lerner and Silverstein are just wrong-headed, their hearts still throbbing with the knowledge of how the Israeli Jewish public thinks and feels.
Elder of Ziyon brings the links to the responses to Avnery. “Vituperative and borderline psychotic” (Elder’s words on them) is apt, except for Spritzler’s article, which is in a class by itself. I tried to read it without falling asleep—the effort to keep my eyelids apart was just excruciating. Paragraph after paragraph of squeezing the Israel/“Palestine” conflict into the Marxist, class-struggle Bed of Sodom, all with a disconnect from reality that is the best proof I could ask of the proposition that Marxism is irrelevant to the real world in front of us. Tucker’s response is an exercise in necromancy, conjuring the ghosts of 70 years ago with sentences like this:
This is not a sideshow. The Zionist disease drives the American lust for empire that imperils the whole world, both its people and the planet itself.
It is tempting to wave it away as an extremist opinion. Such temptation should be resisted: it is the unspoken thought of very many in the West that the entire threat of Islamic terrorism is all because of Israel. Europe especially is now back to drinking its 1938 vintage wine, and the fact that this wine is contained in the shiny, brand new bottle of anti-Zionism makes no real-world difference. Tucker closes with this sentence:
Sometimes the truth hurts, as in an operation to remove a cancer. But it is the way to health. Some people say to me “But you want to wipe Israel off the map.” My answer is always the same. “Please, someone, just give me the eraser.”
Complete synchronism with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is it any wonder Avnery wrote his article? If Israeli Jews only knew this was the face (or soon going to be) of the “Peace Left”, Moshe Feiglin would now be Prime Minister.
Academic quisling Ilan Pappe, who, just like Azmi Bisharah, spat into the well from which he had drunk and then complained the water no longer left a good taste in his mouth (“forced” to leave the University of Haifa because of the shunning he got after calling for the boycott of his own university—oh, the inhumanity!), responds (on the atrocity-site Electronic Intifada, where else?), saying the one-state solution is necessary because the two-state solution was tried and failed for so many times. He is factually right about that, but he neglects to mention who made it fail, both the first time in 1947 and the second time from 1993 to this day. Of the entire state of Israel, and Avnery’s truthful mention that the Israeli Jewish public insists on being the majority in it, he has this to say:
Avnery is right when he asserts that ‘there is no doubt that 99.99 percent of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders’. A successful boycott campaign will not change this position in a day, but will send a clear message to this public that these positions are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century. Without the cultural and economical oxygen lines the West provides to Israel, it would be difficult for the silent majority there to continue and believe that it is possible both to be a racist and a legitimate state in the eyes of the world. They would have to choose, and hopefully like De Klerk they will make the right decision.
For a man who had lived in Israel for a length of time, Pappe’s disconnect with its reality is astounding. If you have lived in this country for some time, you know the call of “alte zachen” and the stark reality behind it. Yiddish for “old things”, it was the town-seller’s call in the East European Disapora. In Israel, it was carried over with the comical effect that most such sellers are Arabs. Toward noon you can hear it from the window in any major Israeli city: “alte zachen” blaring out from a loudspeaker in an Arabic accent. Their cars roam freely in the streets, and sometimes (but much less so than in the past, mainly because of words that raise certain doubts) the Israeli Jews buy their wares. No such equivalent exists on the true apartheid side of the “Apartheid Wall”: the fate of any Jew who should be so careless as to wander there by mistake is well-known (and for the wise, a hint suffices). The Israeli Jews know, in fact it looks as if even Avnery knows, why the Jewish majority must stay so—and it has nothing to do with racism. More later.
Avnery, bad as he may be (because of his wrong views—the mind), knows this truth. Pappe, if he knows it, chooses to ignore it, for so eaten by his hatred for Zionism is he (the heart). Avnery can be dialogued with; for Pappe, prayer is the only thing that could possibly work a change.
Lerner got a response by Josh Ruebner and Leslie Cagan. The sentences with which their response could be summarized are the following:
We are concerned that a leader of a progressive spiritual movement would choose to interpret these broadly supported political demands as a call for the “dissolution of the State of Israel”. It is particularly ironic because powerful organizations on the pro-Israeli right—those organizations which actually are working to perpetuate Israel’s military occupation—do not even go so far in their condemnations of this mobilization. For example, the “Anti-Defamation League” states only that they are concerned that we will not provide a “balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” during the mobilization. Why you feel the need to outdo the ADL in your condemnation of our effort is beyond our understanding. [Emphasis original. —ZY]
Or in other words: fall back into the party line, heretic! In their response, Ruebner and Cagan say what the goals are. Among them is: “[…] and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions”. This means, in all likelihood, also the UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which calls for Israel to permit all the “Palestinian refugees” to return to where they were before 1947. And, since that would mean making the Jews a minority in their own land, and since we know how life for Jews under Islamic rule goes, Lerner’s contention that the “Peace Left” is becoming united around the “dissolution of the State of Israel” is nothing but a statement of fact. But this should never be allowed to stand in the way of proposed reality-based solution to this conflict.
Finally, Richard Silverstein, in his post Olmert Must Go (I agree with the title…), has an old friend, Amin Nusseibeh, come for a visit. Nusseibeh’s comments have not changed in substance, only gotten more virulent in form. He begins:
It is no surprise that real estate lawyers cannot lead war. However, the incompetence of Ormert is symptomatic of a leader of a nation built on ethnic cleansing, with no history of its own,only myths, and defended by a holocaust forcefield. The world is waiting for a leader who will recognize that “israel” is a failed experiment which threatens the peace of the world. Only then can the Jews exercise their right of return and we can exercise ours.
Amin’s comment is full of sloganeering and light on insight. Israel is NOT a failed experiment any more than Palestinian nationalism is. Israeli hardliners talk about Palestinians in precisely the same dismissive, hateful tones that Amin uses. It’s wrong on both counts.
Amin responds with a hefty dose of Leftspeak:
What is hateful about my comments? I am merely speaking truth to power. A generation ago, our cause was under the radar screen, but today, the cause of the Palestinians is the leading human rights issue of its time. The legitimacy of the zionist entity is now a topic for polite conversation. Even Jews like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Richard Cohen admit that the concept of Jewish nationality is a mistake that threatens world peace. One day, the leaders of Israel will be tried in a symbolic place like Nuremberg, and true progresives who are not blinded by tribal loyalty will hand ALL of Palestine back to its legitimate owners
Of Richard’s response to that, here is what held my interest most:
When those Israelis are tried they will be sitting in the dock with Khaled Meshal, Hassan Nasrallah and all others who ordered terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
And I see that your wish to hand all of Palestine back to its “legitimate owners” has nothing to do with “tribal loyalty” does it?
Nusseibeh’s last comment so far (I skipped one) is perhaps the most indicative of them all:
Sorry, Tutu agrees with me
see quote below “People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”
The occupation did not begin in 1967, it began in 1948, and until it is reversed, there will be no peace. You can ban me if you want, but we are not so far apart. All you have to do is acknowledge that the concept of a Jewish state is racist and you can join the tent of progressives internationally [Emphasis mine. —ZY]
To the part I emphasized, Silverstein replies thus:
What, are you the circus ringmaster in this progressive tent? You get to decide who’s kosher & who’s not? Heaven forfend. I will never share a tent or anything else with you (except unfortunately this comment thread).
From the standpoint of principles, I’m with Silverstein on that one. But, the heart that is in the right place is disserviced by a mind that has as yet failed to perceive the awful reality.
The position that Avnery, Lerner and Silverstein are protesting is either mainstream (in the Muslim world it most surely is) or in the speedy process of becoming so. Positions that, just a little over a decade ago, would cause their originator to be shunned from polite society are now bon-ton; in fact, the three’s fellow Leftists are ready to shun them for keeping to the position that Zionism is legitimate. And it is bolstered by quoting Jews who enlisted to the cause. “No, I’m not an anti-Semite! Moshe Cohen says that, and he’s a Jew, therefore my position can’t be considered anti-Semitic”. At the end of all these years of service of a bad cause, this is the rotten fruit. Frankenstein can now finally see he has created a monster. Now the decision is his, whether to pull the plug on that whole monster or to try, against all odds, to make a human being out of that monster. Whichever they choose, the screws on the side of the neck of the “Peace Left” cannot be denied. The Maharal of Prague knew when to do away with his Golem; can the left-wing, peacenik Jews muster the strength to do the same?
The non-Jewish diarists on Daily Kos are already doing some (not much, but still…) soul-searching over the fact that their website has become a venue for sentiments from darker times. Let the Jewish Leftists just spare a little—really a little—thought to the fact that their cause is now the platform, the welcoming home, for thoughts, feelings and desires that were commonplace 70 years ago.
Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Arabic on the same window of a bookstore in Amman, Jordan. Hat tip: Solomonia. What does it say that those two books are together? Think about it.
Finally, let me quote and comment on something from Avnery’s article:
There is no doubt that the real disease is not the 40-year long occupation. The occupation is a symptom of a more profound disease, which is connected with the official ideology of the state. The aim of ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a Jewish State from the sea to the river is dear to the hearts of many Israelis, and perhaps Rabbi Meir Kahane was right when he asserted that this is everybody's unspoken desire.
This is where Avnery and his ilk get me mad again. This borders on blood libel. It’s a disconnect from the reality of life in Israel again: I know, because I was there, that that was neither “dear to the hearts” nor “everybody’s unspoken desire” for at the very least the years 1992–2000. Rabin was elected in a landslide in 1992 because the majority believed in a two-state solution, and it held out, despite many obstacles, until October 2000—until Arafat turned down Barak’s concessions with violence, and the riots over the Al Aksa mosque spread over the Arabs of Israel (i.e. within the 1949 Armistice Line) as well.
I cannot say whether now, in May 2007, Kahane’s assertion is already true; what I do know for certain, however, is that now, in proportion to the acceptability of saying the entire state of Israel, including that which is within the 1949 Armistice Line, is a mistake that should be corrected, a crime that should be punished (and so on), the acceptability of Kahane’s vision has risen among the Jews of Israel. As it was once shameful to call Israel “a racist state to the very core” but now it is not so, so it was once shameful to advocate the expulsion of all the Muslims (or Arabs—I for one hope the non-Muslim Arabs will be able to stay, but their siding with the Muslim cause may make that impossible) but now is much less so. The recent documents of Israeli Arabs demanding to do away with the Jewish character of the state, and calling Zionism “a colonial enterprise from the start”, are trying the patience of even the Leftists here. Of the document, “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel”, Meretz leader Elazar Granot said, “I read it and boiled with rage”. And Meretz is one of the more left-wing of the Israeli Left parties!
I, former Leftist peacenik, never imagined I would come to where I am now. I had thought, as most did then, Kahane’s vision indefensible. It certainly is when construed in the framework of “racism”. But now we can see how race, just like Spritzler’s notions of class struggle, has become of such little relevance, and the question of culture has come to the fore as the major issue of our day.
Imagine that a group of cannibals immigrated to your neighborhood. They have customs of which the lips shudder to speak. You fear for the safety of your own as well. What do you do? You give them the choice: to abandon the practice of cannibalism, or to leave your neighborhood. Is it not sensible? Is it not the thing to do? Of course it is. But there are those, bien-pensants, do-gooders, bleeding hearts, who in their open-mindedness opt to ignore the “dietary habits” of the immigrants, instead focusing on their skin color. You try to protest, “It has nothing to do with skin color, I’d take the same steps if their skins were as white as snow; it’s about the fact that they eat other humans!” But to no avail: “Racist! Imperialist! Colonialist! Oppressor!”, and all the rest. You’re not advocating the genocide of those immigrants, just acts of forcing them to get right with the rest of humanity. No, no good: “How dare you decide what’s good for others!” Never mind that this is not a question of artistic taste, it’s a real-world, factual issue in which lives are at stake.
2,000 suspected jihadists monitored by Britain’s MI5, and growing. How high the cost, and how low, in comparison, what the states get in return! Any realistic cost/value analysis would reach an unequivocal verdict: they’re not worth all this trouble, all these expenses. But no. “Racism!” Again and again. Never mind that (at least on paper) Islam transcends color. Let them blow up our office towers and subway trains (G-d forbid), just to prove we’re not racists. Never mind that it’s about culture and ideology—not what people are (which is unchangeable) but what they believe and, accordingly, do.
The voices of “compassion” will rage strongly, of course. But they can easily be shown to be misguided:
From the demonstration at the Jimmy Carter appearance in Berkeley, by zombie.
“Peace”, they say? “Peace”?! That child, or the ones he represents, does not even have bread, and you say he should have cake?! Or to the reality behind the metaphor: those children, by being raised to be suicide terrorists, by being used as human shields for their propaganda value, are not even given the opportunity of life, and you talk about peace?!
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) But how can we know which way leads to life and which to death? Surely that requires knowledge of the future? Yes. So go by the word of the only One who knows the future, all of the future, and you will never fail. Go with HaShem, and you will never sleep on a troubled bed of your own making.