Our Children Are The Guarantors

Defending Zionism from its detractors. Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. Let the other side apologize for a change.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hello, Life-Chooser

A Jew who posts on Daily Kos has realized the forum is brimming with people who are willfully, obstinately ignorant of his vital concerns. Eyal Rosenberg begins his reasons for leaving DKos thus:

Reading these past months on dkos has led me to believe that people here, under the "progressive" banner, support views that end up in one place: Me dead.

He points out the hypocrisy involved:

Barely a word for Darfur - Israel has been in a diary on dkos over 5000 times in the past year, Darfur less then 1000. How many thousands continue to be killed there by Muslims? If I did not know better I would think that on dkos bashing Israel was more important than saving lives. But what has gone in Sudan? Only 2 million dead versus the circa 7 thousand in the I/P conflict in the same period.

And, near the close of the diary, he voices the exact feeling I felt a few years ago, when I watched with consternation as my interest-group, an environmental activism forum, heaped vitriol on Israel with insane passion:

That is why I am upset. People here are advancing ideology that leads directly to Israel being destroyed as a Jewish and democratic, and me dying - since the two are one and the same. […]


I came to this site with Leftist Zionist Environmentalist Pro-Peace ideology (Meretz style).

I leave it with a heavy doubt of the entire "Progressive" ideology, morals and goals.

I don’t think, and more importantly, I don’t even wish it to happen, that Eyal is turning right-wing. As I said myself, in September last year, it was with no happiness that I abandoned the Left. I still have a soft spot for a lot of its ideas and goals, and the main reason I’ve left it is that it has long turned its back on those same ideas and goals (or, as Ronald Reagan said, “I never left the Democratic Party, the Party left me”).

No, I commend Eyal’s move not as a change of political orientation, but as a fulfillment, whether he is aware of it or not, of G-d’s mitzvah, “Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). He has acknowledged the issue, and seen beyond all the high-sounding words, and come to the realization that, to quote one of the pro-Israel counter-protest signs, “Free Palestine” is code for “Kill the Jews”, even if some are sincere in believing it is possible to be pro-Israel and pro-“Palestine” at the same time—the truth need not agree with our feelings.

Are all the Daily Kos Israel-bashers anti-Semitic? I can’t determine that. It’s an internal matter, and what’s more important, my religious Jewish view has it that Jew-hatred does not come inwardly from the person, but is inspired on him outwardly by G-d, for Jew-hatred is His institution for the purpose of keeping His people close to Him and praying for His help and deliverance and salvation. Because G-d works through natural means, the anti-Israel rhetoric on Daily Kos and other Leftist sites has such a well-meaning ring to it. So much so that many Jews do not pause to think as Eyal Rosenberg did, and keep lending their hand to that ill-ending cause.

They say it’s just criticism of Israel’s policies. They say it’s about empathy, about caring for the oppressed and the downtrodden. And from those points, they delve into a multitude of particulars (the “Apartheid Wall”, the Jewish Law of Return, the “ethnic cleansing of 1947–9”, the “persecution of Azmi Bisharah”, and so on). And I call rubbish on all those particulars, and tell you what the two underlying generalities driving them are:

  1. The opinion that this land is stolen—that it does not belong to the Jews.
  2. The belief that this conflict fuels the hatred of the Arab and Islamic worlds, therefore its defusion is necessary in order to bring us back to at least pre-9/11 levels of tranquility.

There are really no other issues than those. All the particulars stem from those two generalities. Both are erroneous, and the second is selfish as well—selfish as in, “Giving the lie to the statements about caring for the oppressed and the downtrodden”.

The first generality means we are not on this land by right. It means we are thieves, with all that that status entails. People would agree that the blood of the thief who breaks into someone’s house is free for the taking; therefore, if the entirety of the Jewish population is on “Palestine” wrongly and not rightly, it follows that their blood is free for the taking (G-d forbid). Oh no, I’m not suggesting the “Progressives” actually call for spilling Israeli Jewish blood—no, that’s inhumane; instead, they “only” show understanding and sympathy (“What do you expect after brutally occupying the natives for nearly 60 years?”) when the “Palestinians” do just that.

There is no other root issue than this: the question whether this land is stolen or not. Rashi, through G-d’s direction, nailed it down nearly a thousand years ago, and in his commentary for Genesis 1:1 no less: that the nations will say to us, “Ye are robbers”. This accusation is without any qualifier: not a particular piece of the Land of Israel, not a limited space taken at some period (like 1967), but everything.

On this note, it is worthy to mention that even their worship of the United Nations is dampened by their passion for the accusation of us as thieves. If you say, “The British provided for this land as our homeland beginning with the Balfour Declaration of 1917”, they will reply, “The British colonials had no right to promise the land of a nation to another”. That is not surprising. But the reaction is similar if you say, “The UN partitioned the land between Jews and Arabs in 1947”; here too I have seen, more than once, more than twice, a response on the lines of, “The UN had no right to take any part of this land away from its indigenous inhabitants and give it to another nation”. So powerful is this passion for the accusation, “Ye are robbers” that even the UN, that shining light of all Progressive values, is not exempted from criticism.

It is about moral right, even though that sounds so “primitive”, so far removed from reality-based discussion. The answer to the question whether we Jews have stolen this land or inhabit it by right colors the entire view of this conflict. If we have stolen it, then the accusations of racism, apartheid, oppression, brutality and imperialism inevitably follow; if we are on this land by right, then support for us, for our democratic, Western state, for our material achievements, for our spiritual fortitude in the face of all adversity and for our standing at the forefront of the war against Islamic imperialism inevitably follow. I have seen this correlation far too many times to regard it as a coincidence. The question of moral right is the root, the only substantial matter, and all the rest are just by-products. Tackle the question of moral right and all the other issues will fall into place like dominoes.

The second generality is the erroneous belief that this conflict is at the core of, or is the principal fuel for, the clash of cultures now taking place in the world—the misnamed “War on Terror” (should be, “War against Islam”). It is that old sentiment, “How horrible, fantastic it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” (Neville Chamberlain in 1938, not on Israel, which didn’t exist yet).

One could say, “And if so, so what? What’s wrong about self-interest?” In their own self-interest, Israeli Jews have the right to resist being sacrificed for an unproved (and that’s being very charitable—“disproved” would be more like it) idea of bringing world peace. And, as I said, it belies the many statements that this is all about empathy and support for the underdog. Eyal has observed well: over 5,000 Daily Kos diaries a year about Israel and less than 1,000 about Darfur, given more than 2,000,000 dead in Sudan as against about 7,000 here in about the same extent of time, does not bear good witness of empathy and support for the underdog. Only the belief, the untested, uncritically accepted, unchallenged belief, that the Israel/“Palestine” conflict fuels the hatred of the Arabs and Muslims can explain the passion for this topic.

I don’t know where Eyal’s journey (his “heavy doubt of the entire ‘Progressive’ ideology, morals and goals”) will lead. Again, I cannot praise him enough for seeing the truth behind the façade; but my post goes beyond congratulations, and into suggestions as to the way forward. In counterpoint to the two generalities that underpin the anti-Israel line, here are what I can call the two general arguments of resurgent Zionism (or “post-post-Zionism”):

  1. None of this land is stolen; all belongs to the Jews by right.
  2. The global threat of Islamic imperialism was not caused by Israel; rather, Israel was just the first to suffer from it in modern times.

From there, Eyal, Resurgent Zionist, I recommend you go. HaShem be your helper!

Photo: Flag of Israel raised at pro-Israel parade
Raise the flag! From the Salute to Israel Parade in New York, May 2007, taken by Urban Infidel.

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Blogger southfield_2001 said...

all "left-wing progressive" roads end with the death of the Jewish people. The ideology is sick with anti-semitism and no self-respecting Jew for vote for or take part in left-wing politics (even within Israel itself). Sad but true since Jews were originally front and centre in the progressive movement and played a key role in its early achievements for civil rights and equality. And, what did that get us? People like Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton...

May 10, 2007 4:13 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I still have a soft spot for a lot of its ideas and goals,

I understand (and empathize) completely on this, ZY. The moral confusion of left-politics made voting hard for me the last few years I was in the States.

Southfield is right about Farrakhan et al; we created a monster, and now we have to deal with it.

May 10, 2007 1:01 PM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...


I don't think anti-Semitism is inherent to the Left; it's just that the Left is its principal vector in our day and age. Jew-hatred finds a new form to manifest itself in at every period. It was demographic concern in Ancient Egypt (as described in the book of Exodus), philosophical objections in Hellenistic times, the "Christ-killer" accusation in Europe until about the 18th century, racial theory from then to 1945 (the term, "anti-Semitism" dates from then), and now it's the Marxist Post-Colonial narrative, a.k.a. anti-Zionism.


I'm reminded of an ad run by the Republican Jewish Committee, with a picture of John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office, and under it the caption, "This isn't your grandfather's Democratic Party". That's the whole thing: American Jews still think we're in the days of FDR, HST and Kennedy, when anti-Semitism was still a more right-wing than left-wing phenomenon. These days are long over: following the Six-Day War, the torch of Jew-hatred has passed to the Left, with right-wing anti-Semites only a remnant, condemned by all (including the Kossacks, ironically). Jew-hatred is dangerous when it's voiced in an acceptable form. That's why the condemned right-wing holdovers like Pat Buchanan aren't worth paying much attention to, while left-wing anti-Zionism and the Protocols-like depiction of AIPAC are a clear threat, because one can voice them in polite society and be greeted with enthusiastic applause, and commended for "championing justice, equality and peace on earth".

Like Dennis Prager, I've gotten allergic to those words. I shouldn't be, because standing up for justice and equality and the downtrodden really are Jewish values; but the Marxists have hijacked them and contaminated them with their subversive aims.

May 10, 2007 1:50 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

I also share a lot of left-wing values, yet am by instinct pro-Zionist.

I don't think that we should accept the Leftists' view that pro-Zionism and liberal/progressive political views can't go hand-in-hand. There are many of us who support the welfare state, are for women's and minority rights, for universal health insurance, pro-choice, suspicious of multi-nationals, and so on...and want to see Israel survive.

Why should we deny our leftish views on a host of other issues just because the culture of the left today is anti-Israel? Why should we let the anti-Zionists define us, and take away from us the right to call ourselves progressives?

So much of what used to define the left concerned meat-and-potato issues like racial and economic inequality. Now the left seems to focus on secondary issues, like identity and gender politics and, of course, "Palestine." So it is easy to find oneself outside the leftwing mainstream even if one is fairly or very leftwing in one's mindset.

Values or opinions don't have to come in pre-assembled sets, where it's all or nothing. You might disagree with most liberals or leftwingers on certain issues and still be liberal or leftwing.

It's kind of lonely being progressive and pro-Israel. In a sense, we're political orphans, at home on neither the left nor right. But my view is that pro-Zionism and leftwing political values have become disassociated only by convention, not by some inner logic.

Maybe it's time to form some kind of independent Jewish (or pro-Zionist) left, if only informally. There must be a lot of us out there who could use the moral support.

May 13, 2007 1:44 AM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

Hi Joanne,

As I said, I don't fit so neatly into the "right-wing" paradigm. I have a post from January, Left, Right: What Really Matters, where I show how these labels are too broad catch-alls. My views on economy, for example, are centrist: free market during fair weather, government intervention (à la Keynes) in hard times (G-d forbid), like the New Deal was when the invisible hand of the market didn't straighten out the Great Depression.

I'm religious. I see it as very unfortunate that religiosity is now seen as "right-wing". People talk of the "Religous Left", but by that, they usually refer to watered-down strains of religion that are universalized and often atheologized, and most importantly, advocate delegating the religious obligation of charity to the government. This is something I strongly object to, because it depersonalizes and despiritualizes this important aspect of religion.

The obsession with "Palestine" has not escaped the denizens of Daily Kos themselves. I recorded two comments to that effect on April 18, 2007:

Commenter "MBNYC" says: "One of these days, hopefully, people will realize that the multiple daily diaries on I/P, especially the kind that wind up getting frontpaged on LGF, don't help with that electing Democrats business. It's happened twice now in as many weeks."

Commenter "Bouwerie Boy" says: "[...] The discussion of Israel and the Palestinians has become a toxic form of overkill at this site which IMO threatens the mission of our community."

It remains to be seen whether they let sanity prevail.

Take a look at the Euston Manifesto: it's an attempt at revivalism, at bringing back the Western Left to what it was before the 1960's, before it was hijacked by the Marxists. That's the voice of the Old Left of the FDR days. I have no problem with those people, although I don't agree with all opinions.

As for the compatibility of Zionism and left-wing ideology, one need only recall that the Zionism of the 19th century founders was a Socialist ideology, and that the kibbutzim were the longest successful implementation of Communism (they failed in the end because Communism failed). There are those on the Left who object to Zionism being a nationalistic ideology. But that's hypocrisy on their part, because they seem to have no objections to "Palestinian" nationalism. Were it for common sense, left-wingers would support Israel, as the only free state in the Middle East; but the betrayal of the principles of true liberalism has become endemic. Presidents Roosevelt and Truman (which latter signed his agreement to the state of Israel) would never recognize their party today.

Thank you for the comment. HaShem bless you.

May 13, 2007 2:44 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Thanks, Zionist Youngster,

That was very true about the origins of Zionism being socialist in its origins. I hope that those origins don't disappear completely, even if it survives as a moderate social democracy. In fact, it may be better that way.

As for the fact of being religious equaling being right-wing, there were a few movements within religious groups that were leftwing. I'm not too up on my history, but I remember learning that, in the early part of the last century, Solidarism was the Catholic version of a worker's or worker-oriented philosophy. And there was the Catholic workers movement of Dorothy Day, and Liberation Theology. But, of course, the religious are not totally at home on the left. That's a holdover of the "religion is the opiate of the people" days.

The odd thing is that, with the alliance between Islamists and the far left, we're seeing some interesting intellectual acrobatics by Western leftists when they defend radical Islam, which really should be considered far right. But...if you're Third World and against Zionism and the USA and Western Imperialism...then the Western left will be very forgiving.

As far a nationalism being on the right or left, it depends on the context. If the nationalists were busy fighting Western colonialists, then they took on a left-wing cast, even if the content of their ideas were not necessarily leftwing. Just being against Western colonialism was enough. If a particular nationalism was not founded in a fight for independence from a Western power, it could be on the right.

It also depended on the philosophy of the nationalists themselves. It's interesting, though, how even that matter could be fudged. Quebequoi nationalism, I understand, started as a right-wing movement whose leaders in the 1930s flirted with fascism and anti-Semitism. Yet in the late 1960s, when Charles de Gaulle was shouting "Vivre Quebec libre," it was seen as a left-wing movement, its right-wing origins never referred to.

I think that, broadly speaking, nationalist movements could be defined right-wing or left-wing according to the following measures: first, whether they adhere to a free-market versus socialist or social democratic ideology; second, whether their social views (equality for women and minorities, etc.) are more liberal than conservative; third, whether they are just interested in their own independence and sovereignty or are interested in conquest, as well. Funny, but Islamic "nationalism" (yes, I've seen it referred to as that) counts as right-wing by all three measures.

May 13, 2007 6:12 AM  

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