Archive for the 'Israel' Category

You’ll turn us against our brothers?

Jul 06, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Israel

Just how little Republican Zionism has to do with Jews at all:

In any event, Republican Zionism is not aimed at the Upper West Side. Its intention is to solidify and animate the Christian right, attract Reagan Democrats, and appeal to the broad swath of Middle America that instinctively sees Israel as a friend and ally. The Gallup poll found that 60 percent of independents prefer Israel to the Palestinians. Democratic Jews may, too, but they aren’t going anywhere. If and when the Obama administration seriously clashes with Israel—over the “peace process,” recognition of Hamas, Iranian nukes, or outreach to Islamist enemies of Israel like the Muslim Brotherhood—the president will have nothing to fear from his Jewish base. Hell, a lot of them would rather join the Muslim Brotherhood than vote for a Republican.

It can never be stressed enough just how much contempt for Jews lurks on the right. Their fandom for Israel has little substance beyond service to their hatred for Muslims. The enemy of their enemy, etc.

I am somewhat a product of indoctrination by the American Jewish community, what with my skin steeped in Hollywood liberalism and the principles espoused by “elitist” Jews who permeate the highest echelons of intellectual achievement that have so inspired my awe and loyalty. Wherever I point to for leadership, one finds Jews. And so when it comes to Israel, I have always loved everything I see within their borders; as one could always expect, within Israel among Israelis exist the highest of man’s aspirations, and a model for all to follow as Western liberal democracy springs up out of desert soil. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

I never felt an inch of space existed between myself and the Jewish people until I met a Jewish right-winger, who could not hesitate a moment to drive a wedge between us if I advocated the slightest measure of fair play between Jews and Palestinians. And yet, despite the noxious year I spent as a roommate with this individual, he never swayed my faith in the greater wisdom of the wider Jewish community. I recognized that my antagonistic relationship with this person had nothing to do with his Jewishness, and everything to do with his rightwing, black/white absolutist nature that ruled out, as he readily confessed to me, many or most Jews as well.

All you have to do is look at the vehement hatred Republicans will quickly deliver towards Jews they dislike to see the illusion broken. Glenn Beck, with his rabid slobbering over Saul Alinsky, and the visceral hatred he and other members of the GOP elite sputter over George Soros, has made sure this paradigm isn’t going anywhere, as one can hardly visit a thread on a rightwing blog without somebody blathering about Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” is nothing less than the template for the Tea Party.

-hw

Jewish blood is pretty cheap nowadays.

May 21, 2011 in Beltway-itis, Israel

On the transparent fake outrage over Obama saying absolutely nothing new about Israel/Palestine using the ’67 borders as a starting basis:

As an Israeli citizen…You should know that many Israelis actually do understand that we should go back to 67′ borders, but the environment here is so toxic – Not unlike what the far right has done in America – that you just can’t say anything out loud or you’ll be denounce as almost Antisemitic. What’s going on here is awful, Bibi is taking us straight to hell.

Charges of anti-Semitism have lost their market value. Notice, this is from a citizen in Israel, and even there, among Jewish people, dissent gets one called a Jew-hater (just that you’re a self-hating Jew). Obviously, all borders of decency and shame have been erased. One must simply resign oneself to the inevitable: To speak about Israel in any terms other than that of the most belligerently rightwing guarantees that the label anti-Semite will be applied. Nothing you do will prove your bona fides. Nothing you can say will make them stop, except complete capitulation. It doesn’t matter if you think the Likud/American right is pushing Israel on a path towards destruction, your desire to save Israel will not be regarded seriously. You may only take one position: Israel takes what it wants, and Palestinians agree to settle for what’s left, and none of it matters because it’s all Israel anyway. Otherwise, put on your showercap, because the Jewish blood is going to get dumped on your head.

BTW, this is what passes for Palestine nowadays:

Obama didn’t say anything that hadn’t been U.S. policy for decades, but as Andrew Sullivan has been chronicling, the standard is that one adheres to what Israel wants, when it wants it, and right now, with Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, this subservience must be offered to the most uncompromising, rigid, unashamedly imperialist prime minister Israel has seen since…the last time Netanyahu was prime minister. Except this time he’s gotten much worse. And this standard doesn’t come from Israel alone, but rather the Republican right and the neocon Beltway elites at the WaPo and NYT. It has become startlingly apparent that, in these people’s eyes, the president of the United States is expected to take his orders from Israel’s prime minister. Thus, Republicans in Congress with no hesitation actively rub shoulders with Netanyahu and seek to undermine their own president. Obama’s speech is a grave affront to Israel, in their eyes, but no face-slap from Netanyahu is questioned.

Anti-Semitism is a real force for evil in the world, but no slur can be allowed to become so feared that one’s actions are dictated by the aversion of ever having it applied to oneself. People will call names. Let them. It’s called ad hominem, and it only matters as much as it is true. So one must return to the arguments. And, as far as my arguments go, I’m quite sure I’ve never said a single thing about Israel that connotes a scrap of anti-Semitism. Nobody has ever offered me a serious challenge to cause me to suspect otherwise. The world is full of assertions. Me, I know myself well enough to know how much love I have for the Jewish people and how much I do wish they had a genuine sanctuary free from worry, and I make the effort to see that all my positions on Israel flow from that foundation.

No matter how great a country Israel is, and no matter how good their people are, they’re just like anybody else: They have rightwingers. Radical ones, religious ones. And, much like in our country, they’re doing everything they can to drive the truck off the cliff. At least here it’s openly known that our rightwingers look forward to Israel’s conversion to Christianity or condemnation to Hell, yet sadly Israeli rightwingers are all too happy to take whatever help they can get for what they believe are their current interests. Their own radical delusions are imagined as trumping whatever silly fantasies their American counterparts have.

-hw

How fares Israel?

May 03, 2010 in Israel

I’m just gonna check out for forty years and see what happens with Israel when I’m so old that I won’t even want Viagra.

Unless somebody out there has an idea how Israel’s story will end well. It seems to me that in our era of surrendering to irrationality, this sullen prognostication will win. Human beings who mix religion and geopolitics simply don’t inspire me to feel optimistic.

-hw

Caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

Mar 13, 2010 in Israel

Every day another scale falls from Andrew Sullivan’s eyes. I don’t know if he just learned this stuff, but he seems to have a new understanding of Israeli/Palestinian history:

He seems to think that Netenyahu is escalating the land grab moreso than before, but I really don’t see anything different from historical trends.

I mean, if Israel really does plan on going all the way, I wish they’d just get to the point and deport all Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza and just get it over with. Of course, that would be sloppy and likely very bloody, so they do it this way instead.

Look, if you want to make a state have a particular religious and ethnic identity, Western-style democracy and rights has its limits. To remain a Jewish state, Israel must act in ways that are theocratic and racist.

Perhaps the Gaza and West Bank will be all condos and parks in fifty years time, but in the meantime, if Israel is going down this road, we have to get the fuck out of the car. Discontinue all aid and military subsidization, try to maintain a non-hostile and relatively friendly face towards them, and wash our hands of this slow burn. Evidently Israel feels it can handle this shit without our input anymore, so to hell with it. We can’t stop them, but we can stop taking part in it all.

I don’t think Andrew Sullivan is saying any more than that. Of course it isn’t anti-Semitic, and he’s done a good job of challenging this old trope of shutting down debate by throwing out that accusation like confetti. It worked for a long time, but these are new times. Israel isn’t really doing anything different, but the steady rate of progression keeps adding grains to the scale. And now it has tipped.

-hw

Hot, isn’t it?

Feb 27, 2010 in Israel

Andrew Sullivan, who’s spent his whole life lovingly defending the right of Israel to exist, realizes what happens when you start disagreeing with Israel hawks. And he’s getting the flak from The New Republic.

Just when I was thinking Jonathan Chait was a pretty impressive guy, he goes and provides some cover for Leon Wieseltier’s baseless and almost campy accusation, suggesting there’s some actual substance there.

I think it’s like music sometimes. I used to listen to almost 75% rap…back in 1990. Not after 1993, when “hot” albums turned out to be lacking. The innovation had mostly transpired. Rap had stagnated. Like anybody who listened to 2 Live Crew, lowest common denominator wasn’t the issue, it was the music. Somewhere along the line the rap community had gone off in a different direction. Whereas I wanted awesome samples and dope-ass rhymin’, rap became about studio-produced pap with unmemorable rhymes and rhythms.

(Detractors: talk all the smack you want, then go back and listen to Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing or Straight Outta Compton, then realize you are wrong)

Andrew likes old school conservatives and can’t stand the racket these rightwingers are making nowadays. Obviously the racket will have its defenders, but he always has the upper hand in debate.

So they call him an anti-Semite. I’m pretty sure the “emotional” and “feelings as ideas” critiques are thinly veiled queer remarks, although Leon Wieseltier and Jonathan Chait would surely resent such an implication…

I’ve always engaged Israel hawks and come out just fine. Sometimes the anti-semite card has been played against me, but I shamed my accusers. I confound them, and leave them sputtering, because the truth is I’m a pretty big fan of Jewish people and I’m quite sure Israel would be an oasis in the desert if it weren’t for those pesky Palestinians living there. Really, if Hamas were building schools instead of bombing, life would probably improve. If Palestinians didn’t hate Jewish people so much, they’d start selling them property in their cities and provide goods and luxuries, get them to move in among them, assimilate, then claim their equal rights. Seriously, folks, Israel’s a western Democracy (for now), they can’t resist a real pursuit for equality.

So that position simply cannot be reconciled with any anti-Semitism. There isn’t an ounce of it in my bones. And my philosophy seeks to assiduously scrub every trace of bias, whether Palestinian or Israeli, which leaves me pissing off both sides at times. I’m so zoned out on it all, just approaching it like an alien observing one group of humans interacting with another.

Andrew will be fine. The good thing about reason is that you can feel confidence in your ideas, a sense of security. “It’s okay, I’m covered by Logic.” His positions are purely centrist, in a good way, and virtually everybody except TNR and the rightwingers they’re enabling who knows Andrew knows it’s a laughable claim. Most American Jews, especially, understand and would hardly disagree with much of what Andrew says. On top of that, most Israelis who aren’t Likudniks know it too. And those who aren’t quietly dreaming of ethnic cleansing.

-hw