Anger, not Apathy

The media say that Israeli voters are apathetic. They aren’t – they are furious.

About a third of them aren’t expected to vote at all in the March 2 election, an unprecedented third in 11 months. And polls show that those who will vote will divide up between the two major blocs in almost precisely the same way as they did in the previous two elections, which did not produce a government. This time too, neither bloc appears to have the 61 seats in the Knesset needed. One wants to say that a fourth election is unthinkable, but we said that about the third one.

Recently there have been revelations about possible illegalities involving a bankrupt company called “Fifth Dimension” connected to Benny Gantz, the opposition Blue and White party’s standard-bearer against PM Netanyahu. We’ve also heard about tapes of possibly improper conversations between Gabi Ashkenazi, one of Blue and White’s four leaders, and Avichai Mandelblit, the attorney general who indicted Netanyahu (conversations related to an entirely different ugly scandal around Ashenazi). None of this has even slightly moved the needle of the polls.

The right wing is certain that only a right-wing government will not do something stupid, like agreeing to a sovereign Palestinian state in the territories. It knows that only a right-wing government can be trusted to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley or Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It is more or less correct in this, although even a Netanyahu government is likely to bend to the winds blowing from Washington, in whichever direction they blow.

The left wing is certain that Netanyahu is destroying democracy in the country, but more importantly they are disgusted by everything about him, especially his greedy wife Sara and loose-cannon son Yair. They think he is a horribly corrupt criminal, an anti-Arab racist, and an embarrassment to the kind of state they would like Israel to be. They are hoping that his trial, which will begin the week after the election, will result in his conviction and a prison sentence.

And here are some facts that almost every Israeli knows:

  • With only a few exceptions, the top leadership of both blocs is both corrupt and untrustworthy.
  • Benny Gantz is a bumbler who is not competent to be Prime Minister, and he and his three partners agree about nothing except that they want Netanyahu out. It’s hard to imagine them governing if they were to attain power.
  • Netanyahu is brilliant and competent (although many hate him). A recent poll showed 45% of those polled saying that he was most suited to be PM, compared to 35% who chose Gantz. Netanyahu is not as bad as the indictments say he is, but he’s not averse to accepting “gifts” from “friends” who are rich people expecting something from the government.
  • All of them prioritize their own wants ahead of the needs of the country.

Polls say that Netanyahu’s Likud will get slightly fewer votes than Gantz’s Blue and White party, but will be unlikely to put together a coalition of 61, just like in the two previous elections. Gantz’s party may get two or three more seats than the Likud, but it will be even farther from the needed 61. The only ways for Gantz to form a government will either be for him to make a coalition with the Arab Joint List – which he will not do, because almost all Arab MKs are outspokenly anti-Zionist – or to create a minority coalition which will stay in power as long as the Arabs agree not to vote against it in a vote of confidence. This would give the Arab bloc a veto over any government actions.

Netanyahu campaigns by talking about his accomplishments, especially those that have come about from his relationship with US President Trump. He continues to remind voters that a Gantz government would need Arab support. Lately he has been talking about Fifth Dimension. Nobody cares.

Gantz campaigns by talking about Netanyahu’s indictments. A recent radio interview with a spokesperson for Gantz went like this:

Interviewer: Isn’t it true that you have no way to get 61 Knesset seats and that the only way you can form a government is with support from the Arab Joint List?

Gantz spokesperson: Maybe, but Netanyahu has three indictments and is going on trial soon.

Nobody cares about this either.

I haven’t mentioned Avigdor Lieberman yet. He could have put Netanyahu (but not Gantz) over the top, but he chose not to. His party leans rightward, and has been part of previous right-wing coalitions. But he found an issue that resonates with his constituents – Haredi draft-dodging – and his stubbornness on this has both helped him get votes and served as an excuse to avoid helping Netanyahu, with whom he is feuding.

The villains are multiple. There is Lieberman, of course. There are the Arab MKs, who do not represent moderate Arab citizens, but insist on espousing Palestinian nationalism, which is perhaps why only about half of Arab Israelis bother to vote. There is Netanyahu, who resisted any attempts to get him to step down in favor of other members of his party, and who has consistently crushed any possible challengers to his domination of the Likud. There are the people who suffer from Bibi Derangement Syndrome, who would rather see a nonfunctional government than one under Netanyahu. There are the right-wing voters who insist on voting for several small parties which are not expected to pass the 3.25% threshold, and therefore whose votes will not be counted at all.

Personally, I believe that a right-wing government under Netanyahu is the best outcome, although I would have preferred that he pass the baton to a successor. Nevertheless, it’s clear that he is extremely competent and able to carry out his duties to a reasonable degree despite the interference of his legal problems. Gantz and the zoo that he leads would be worse. Everything now depends on how effective the parties are in stimulating their voters to turn out, whether the small right-wing parties drop out, and so on.

We are sick of politicians. We are sick of the way their selfishness has prevented us from getting a government that could deal with the many issues facing the nation today, including the most important strategic ones. We are sick of having money removed from programs that actually help people, in order to fund the extremely expensive elections. If there were a button to push that would remove all of our politicians, we would push it.

Israelis aren’t “apathetic,” as the media – which loves the craziness of elections – says. We are furious. We just haven’t found that button.

Posted in Israeli Politics | 3 Comments

Seminary of Fools

I belong to a Masorti (Conservative) congregation in Israel. Although most Israelis don’t believe this, the movement is theologically much closer to Modern Orthodoxy than to Reform Judaism. There is a commitment to halacha, albeit somewhat more lenient than in Orthodoxy (but not so much as Orthodox Jews tend to think). The biggest difference is the equal role granted to women and men in every respect, including participation in ritual.

Our rabbi leans a little leftward, at least compared to me, but he is capable of distinguishing politics from religion, and I like him.

Having said that, I am absolutely appalled by the anti-Israel politics rampant in the Conservative seminaries in the US, where most of our rabbis, American and Israeli, are educated.

Recently, a group of 36 rabbinical students from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies – about half of the student body – signed an open letter opposing Trump’s “deal of the century” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The letter opposes Trump’s plan and PM Netanyahu’s intention to extend Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and to annex the Jordan valley:

Each of these proposals flies in the face of decades of diplomatic efforts to achieve a just and peaceful future: Trump’s plan would leave Palestinians with a handful of discontiguous territories surrounded by settlements, and Netanyahu’s would make permanent the status quo in which millions of Palestinians live under Israeli military control without civil rights. Trump’s irresponsible vision and Netanyahu’s objective of annexation will move the region closer to catastrophe and even further from peace.

One would expect rabbinical students to have enough grasp of the facts to know that everything in the paragraph above is wrong. Millions of Palestinians do not live under Israeli military control; they live under the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, or in Gaza under Hamas. To the extent that their civil rights are circumscribed, it is by the PA and Hamas. Only a small number of them live in Area C, where they are under the Israeli military government (and probably have more rights than those under the PA).

The Trump proposal, in fact, “flies in the face” of decades of diplomatic failure to end the conflict based on unrealistic formulas that try to satisfy the insatiable demands of the Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, we should be thankful that none of the previous proposals went far enough to make them happy, because in every case the proposed agreements would not have adequately protected Israel from the terrorism and war that the Palestinians believe they have the inalienable right to wage. Trump’s proposal is the first that recognizes the realities of geography, and the everlasting Palestinian aspiration to end the Jewish state.

The letter continues,

As emerging Jewish leaders, we wish to make clear that any political decision that strips Palestinians of their rights is antithetical to our belief in human dignity. We dream of a democratic Israel that affirms the humanity and agency of all who dwell there, and of a government that honors the shared history of Jews and Palestinians in the land.

The Palestinians do not automatically have a right to a fully sovereign state, or a right of return to Israel for the descendants of 1948 refugees. These are not human rights, and the granting of these wishes would be inconsistent with right of Israeli Jews to live in peace – a real human right.

The reference to the “shared history” of the Jews and Palestinians in the land is most likely a nod to the tendentious Palestinian narrative of an indigenous people dispossessed by non-native colonialist settlers, the awful injustice of the nakba.

The letter continues for several paragraphs of nauseating virtue-signaling. Hashem help future congregants who will be forced to listen to the sermons of these pompous fools! More importantly, it shows an alarming lack of identification with the Jewish Israelis that would suffer the consequences of their desired “vision of a shared destiny with our Palestinian siblings.”

The students suggest that their universalist ethic, in which “human rights for all people,” including people whose greatest desire is to conquer our country and kill or disperse its Jewish residents, represents the “values of Jewish tradition.” But surely personal and collective survival, pikuach nefesh, has a higher priority in Jewish tradition than the aspirations of our enemies.

In addition to their divergence from traditional Jewish ethical principles, these future rabbis fail to understand, or they deny, the importance of the relationship between Hashem, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel that I see as the single most important theme in the Torah.

This is not the first time Conservative rabbinical students have displayed their ignorance and arrogance. In 2017, thirteen students (some whose names also appear on the more recent letter), wrote a similar letter opposing the historic decision of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I won’t bother to quote it, but it is based on the same virtue-signaling misapprehension of Jewish values.

This phenomenon is partially a result of the attitude that “anything Trump or Bibi likes must be bad,” but it is a lot more than that. Their un-Jewish, I would even say anti-Jewish, morality is identical with the Tikkunism that has become the official philosophy of the Reform movement. Indeed, the Masorti movement in Israel seems to have developed close connections with the Israeli Reform movement, sharing many of its political goals (although not its approach to Judaism). In my opinion, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the Masorti movement, which will have to differentiate itself from Reform if it ever wants to have a hope of attracting native Israelis.

This is painful to me, as someone who finds the misogyny inherent in Orthodox Judaism troubling – and no, I don’t intend to get into an argument about this. I would like to see a truly conservative Conservative Judaism in Israel as well as the US, for that matter. But that is never going to happen if these are the future rabbis that can be expected to carry the flag.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Society | 5 Comments

Donald Trump and Ice Nine

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” is an interesting book in many ways, but what stuck in my scientifically-oriented and disaster-fascinated mind was what he called “Ice Nine.”  Ice Nine is a form of water that is solid at room temperature.* The thing about Ice Nine is that when it comes into contact with ordinary water, it immediately causes it to crystallize into Ice Nine. So when a living creature containing water touches even a tiny quantity of Ice Nine, it immediately freezes solid, killing it. And if Ice Nine were to escape into the environment…well, you can imagine what would happen (in the book, it does).

So why do I bring this up? Because it reminds me of the reaction of American liberals and progressives – including most of the Democratic presidential candidates – to the “Deal of the Century” offered to Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump is Ice Nine to them. They are afraid that they will freeze solid if they touch anything that he has had a hand in. So even though the deal promises to cut the Gordian Knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the knot that Clinton, Bush, and Obama failed to untie (Obama pulled it tighter), they won’t touch it.

J Street called it a “sham” and attacked it vehemently. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar signed a letter opposing it along with other Democratic senators. Joe Biden called it “counterproductive” and Pete Buttigieg referred to it as “a political green light to the leader of one [side] for unilateral annexation.”

And these are the relative moderates. I won’t bother to quote the more Palestinized sectors of the Left.

The main thing they all hate about it is that it unashamedly lays down conditions – primarily that the Palestinian “state” that will be created will not be sovereign in all respects – that are required to insure Israel’s security. In addition, it follows UNSC resolution 242 and establishes “secure borders,” as opposed to reversing the outcome of the 1967 war that was demanded by the PLO and (essentially) by President Obama. The stated objection that there has been no Palestinian participation in the plan is somewhat vitiated by the fact that the Palestinians have refused to participate from the beginning, and still do.

But this is precisely why this plan might bring peace. The idea that the PLO, with its unrealistic demands, should be an equal partner, is ridiculous. This process is actually the final settlement of the dispute marked by the hot wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973, as well as the simmering conflict between them which has continued until today. It should be noted that Israel was victorious in those major wars, and in suppressing the interbellum terrorism and mini-wars. Trump’s plan must be viewed as the terms of surrender which the Palestinians and Arab states have no choice but to accept. It is in fact quite generous in allowing them any input at all (on the condition that they agree to provide it). Those who sputter about the unfairness of it all should consider the Nazi-style “settlement” that would certainly have been imposed upon the Jews had the Arabs won any of those wars.

Previous “peace” plans, like the Clinton Parameters, the Road Map, the Arab Peace Plan, and the attempts by Olmert and Obama to reach an agreement, have all implicitly or explicitly accepted the Arab/Palestinian narrative, in which the result of the 1967 war must be reversed. The PLO, in its demand for a right of return for those with “Palestinian refugee” status, in effect also calls for the reversal of the 1948 war and the creation of the State of Israel.

President Trump’s actions from the beginning have been based on the idea that the US should face reality in the region: Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, she is sovereign in the Golan Heights, the Palestinians do not have a “right to resist” by terrorism, stateless refugee status for the descendants of 1948 refugees cannot continue forever, and Jewish communities in the territories are not illegal. With this plan, the US completes the process of recognizing the realities of the region since 1948, and especially since 1967.

Naturally, the PLO is outraged, because they have convinced themselves – with the help of their friends in antisemitic Europe and elsewhere – that their tendentious narrative (I was going to write “fairy tale”) of dispossession by settler-colonialists was accepted by the international community and that community was on the verge of forcing the Jews to surrender and present their necks for slaughter. Fortunately, this so-called community, which is nothing more than the bloc of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation plus some guilt-obsessed European officials, does not have the power to do more than pass resolutions in the UN, which it does, regularly.

The US, on the other hand, has a great deal of economic and military power if it chooses to use it, and by finally recognizing reality, can terminate the conflict and make it possible for Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to have a chance to live normal lives.

I would like to close with a message to American liberals and progressives: I know you hate Trump and would do anything to get rid of him. I know you believe him to be incompetent and dishonest, and that nothing he could do could possibly come out right. But here he is doing precisely the right thing to solve a problem that has been causing pain to millions of people for about a hundred years (I am going back to al-Husseini’s pogroms of the 1920s). Please attack him about something else, and let him finish this job.

All of Israel will be grateful. And although the Palestinian Arabs don’t know it, they should be too.

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*Actually, there really is such a substance, but it only exists under conditions of very high pressure. There are a total of 17 known different crystalline phases of ice and there may be more.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, American Jews, American politics, Israel and Palestinian Arabs | Leave a comment

Take the Deal

There is something practical that can be done to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that is to grant limited autonomy to a limited Palestinian entity in Judea and Samaria. In other words, to adopt something like the Trump plan.

It is not a “solution” in the sense that it guarantees a complete end to terrorism. It does not produce the warm feeling that would come from the knowledge that the entire Land of Israel, from the river to the sea, was in Jewish hands. Nor does it satisfy “Palestinian aspirations.” But it’s something we can do today, or at least in a few months. And although I can’t say for certain how much better it will make things for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, I  am relatively sure it will not make them worse. And it does not preclude additional positive developments in the future.

I said “something like” the Trump plan. Trump’s map needs adjustments, and the “secure route” between the Palestinian entity in the east and Gaza is a non-starter. Indeed, Gaza requires an entirely different approach. But in outline, it is a plan that will improve Israel’s security and can provide a better life for the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, if they can repress their desire to kill us long enough to take advantage of what they will be given. And we don’t need their agreement to begin.

The status quo is unacceptable. It is expensive, it prevents the development of Judea and Samaria – despite what the Left says, there is almost no actual Jewish construction across the Green Line – and it leaves us vulnerable to terrorism. And no other proposed “solution” is practical.

I have favored incentivized emigration as proposed by Martin Sherman, and I still think that in the case of Gaza, it must be at least part of the solution – along with regime change there. But is hard to imagine that we can afford to pay all the Arab residents of the land to leave, that there are enough countries that would both be attractive to them and would want to take them, and that the reaction from the rest of the world would be positive.

The Obama-style sovereign “Palestine” in almost all of Judea and Samaria is also unacceptable. I don’t have to discuss the reasons in detail; most of my readers are aware of them. Promises of demilitarization are ludicrous; we would have mortar fire on Ben-Gurion airport, short-range rockets striking Tel Aviv, and Iranian-controlled militias in the Jordan Valley. International security guarantees are worth as much as the UNEF that fled from the Sinai in 1967, or the UNIFIL that was charged with preventing Hezbollah from rearming in 2006. Only Israeli security control of the entire area – as proposed in the Trump plan – can guarantee our security.

On the other hand, wholesale annexation of Judea and Samaria and absorption of the entire Arab population into Israel would be dangerous in another way. Although we would still have a Jewish majority (barely), and even supposing we could find a way to keep from granting citizenship to all of those Arabs who wanted it, we would most likely be facing a continuing insurgency. Either we would move in the direction of a binational state – and such a state would make Lebanon look relatively stable and peaceful – or we would have to take draconian measures to suppress the Arab population, which would be in a permanent state of unrest and conflict.

Various Jordan-is-Palestine plans have been suggested. But surely Palestinians would not accept the  Hashemite dynasty, and a change in regime would be massively destabilizing for the entire region. Israel’s security would not permit contiguity between a “West Bank” and the rest of Jordan. A movement of a large part of the Arab population of Judea and Samaria to Jordan is also impractical and unlikely. Perhaps this could have been accomplished in 1967, perhaps not. But not today.

The Trump plan has been rejected by the Palestinian leadership, both the PLO and Hamas. And that is not surprising, since it fails to accommodate their true aspiration, which is to replace the Jewish state with an Arab one. It acknowledges that the only way to ensure that the Jewish state will continue to exist is for it to have security control of all of the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. It takes into account that the state that (at least the PLO) say they want, when they speak in English, is not what they really want. It recognizes that they have rejected all previous offers, including offers of sovereignty over almost all the territories, because they thought that holding out long enough would ultimately get them a package that included the tools for the destruction of Israel.

If the Trump plan is implemented, probably the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas will both have to disappear. The PA was established by the Oslo Accords as a temporary government for the Palestinian Arabs. It is essentially identical with the PLO, with whom Oslo was negotiated. The PLO was admittedly a terrorist organization until the Oslo Accords, in which they pledged to abandon terrorism. They didn’t, but most of the world – including the government of Israel – pretends that they did. The PLO is an umbrella organization, made up of various factions of the Palestinian movement. The largest, which dominates the PLO, is Fatah, the movement formerly led by Yasser Arafat and now by Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah is and has always been committed to the violent destruction of Israel. It has vehemently rejected the Trump plan.

I suspect that nobody would be happier to see the PA/PLO and Hamas ride into the sunset than every Palestinian not on their payroll. Both regimes are corrupt, stealing huge amounts of aid and tax money from their citizens; both are oppressive, violently crushing dissidents and not allowing a free press; both engage in torture of their citizens. As long as they are in power, it’s doubtful that the promise of the Trump plan to provide a better life for Arab residents of the territories can be fulfilled. However, it will still be possible for Israel to obtain the security benefits from the plan. At the end of the day, it will be up to the Arabs take advantage of the financial and other incentives provided by the plan.

The European Union and apparently most of the Democratic candidates for the US presidency oppose the plan. The objections from the candidates seem to boil down to “the Palestinians don’t agree” and “anything Trump does is bad.” I suppose the second objection was unavoidable, but in regard to the first, we should note that so far the Palestinians have never agreed to anything. This implies that the candidates think that more concessions from Israel are necessary to get them to agree; but even previous plans (e.g., Clinton, Olmert, Obama/Kerry) would have presented unacceptable security concerns had they been implemented. So now they want to go even farther? Either they are ignorant of the true objectives of the PLO/Hamas, or they don’t care about Israel’s security, or they just wanted talking points.

The European Union is, I think, another kettle of fish. In a recent document describing the EU’s positions and activities in the territories, it was made clear that the EU position is that any Israeli presence in the areas controlled by Egypt and Jordan from 1949-1967 is illegal under international law, and all Israeli communities there should be dismantled and their residents expelled. The entire 133-page document makes only two references to terrorism, one in connection with Israel’s cutting off revenue transfer in response to the PA’s “pay for slay” system, and another saying “The EU firmly condemns the terror attacks and violence from all sides and in any circumstances, including the death of children.” I should hope so.

It’s clear that if the EU’s recommendations were carried out, the Jewish state would cease to exist. I am convinced that this is the desired outcome for policymakers in the EU and several European countries, and that they would prefer that the Jewish state had never been created. But there is no reason that the Jewish people – which learned about the imperative of self-defense from its history in Europe during the last century – should respect, or indeed pay any attention at all, to the views of these successors to the Nazis.

The Trump  program represents a break with the conventional wisdom of the last decades which held that a reversal of the results of the 1967 war would bring peace. It should be clear that what has prevented peace has been the struggle by the losers of that war (as well as the war of 1948) to try to ignore its clear outcome. UNSC resolution 242 correctly asserted that secure borders for Israel were required for peace. For the first time since then, a serious proposal that recognizes this has been put on the table, backed by the greatest world power.

Everyone should put aside their issues, whether they come from simple partisanship or more complicated psychological problems, and grasp this historical moment to work to implement Trump’s plan – before it’s too late.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, Europe and Israel, Israel and Palestinian Arabs | Leave a comment

What is it about Jews?

Is there anything worse than European misoziony?*

How about the Jewish version?

I dislike the expression “self-hating Jew” because Jewish antisemites and misozionists generally think a great deal of themselves. They see their own Jew-hatred as a moral position, made even more admirable because despite their own Jewishness, they have the courage to speak out against what they believe is the evil enterprise of Zionism and the Jewish state. They believe this will endear them to non-Jewish antisemites, who will appreciate their principled commitment (and kill them last).

There are several subtypes of antisemitic Jew. One is the Israeli extreme leftist or anarchist, often the descendant of the founders of the state, who takes all Palestinian complaints about Israel seriously, feels agonizing guilt over the actions of his people in creating and protecting the Jewish state, and whose misoziony spills over into pure Jew-hatred (“Israel is evil because Jews have made it so,” he might say).

A perfect example is Ha’aretz writer Gideon Levy, who each time he writes a column tries to top his previous vituperation against his country and (especially) its soldiers. Levy is well paid, but you can tell he doesn’t do it for the money. His heart is in it, and his pain at being a part of it, albeit against his will, is evident. Israeli media and academia are loaded with these, although the average Jewish Israeli holds them in contempt.

Gideon Levy has an ugly and warped perspective, but he is actually somewhat familiar with the Jewish state, since he lives in it. The next kind of misozionist Jew, the progressive American activist, knows less than nothing about Israeli reality, although they may have visited the country (perhaps on a tour that included the “West Bank”). These young men or women learned the terrible “truth” about Israel and how they had been “lied to” in religious school from their teachers and peers in college, where they joined J Street U, If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, or countless other organizations dedicated to Israel’s destruction. There they were indoctrinated with the Palestinian counter-narrative against Zionism. And there they received their payback, in the form of a sense of belonging, being a part of a righteous struggle, and meeting attractive students of the opposite sex. They are spared the cognitive dissonance suffered by the Gideon Levys, because unlike them, they have no idea of the reality of the Jewish state.

Once indoctrinated, they act. Recently an If Not Now activist suggested to Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren that AIPAC was “an unholy alliance” of “Islamophobes,” “anti-semites, and white nationalists” that perpetuates “bigotry” (and received a positive response from the candidate): (video here). AIPAC has been the most centrist of all pro-Israel groups, going out of its way to avoid partisanship, even when the issue of Israel is becoming one of the most partisan in American politics. Indeed, when recent AIPAC ads in Facebook mentioned “radicals in the Democratic Party” – a reference to fiercely anti-Israel Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Betty McCollum – AIPAC issued an abject apology. But apparently for If Not Now any expression of pro-Israel sentiment constitutes “bigotry” (I haven’t figured out yet how it can be antisemitic).

Speaking of candidates, front-running as-a-Jew Bernie Sanders called PM Binyamin Netanyahu a racist, wrote an article on “How to Fight Antisemitism” which only discusses the Jew-hatred of the extreme Right, blames Donald Trump for it, and does not mention left-wing or Islamic Jew-hatred. He even advocated the US returning to the viciously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Commission as a step in opposing antisemitism. Bernie thinks Israel was “disproportionate” in its reaction to rocket and tunnel attacks from Gaza, and would like to see Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria razed and the residents expelled. And he appointed Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour as his surrogate.

Then there are those, both in the diaspora or Israel, who simply see a profit in signing up with the forces of misoziony. There are progressive writers like Peter Beinart, who wrote a piece critical of the Jewish establishment for its right-wing Zionism, later expanded it into a book, and became the darling of the media as a young, progressive, Jewish – he calls himself an Orthodox Jew – intellectual who always has a bad word for the Jewish state. Here in Israel, anti-state activists go to work for NGOs like B’Tselem where they are paid to subvert the state with money coming from Europe.

But possibly I’ve been unfair. I’ve only discussed liberal or progressive Jews. Here in Israel we have some very non-progressive folks, who are firmly in the misozionist camp. The so-called Jerusalem Faction of Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox”) Jews opposes not only the requirement for young people to serve in the military or do alternative national service, but even to apply at the draft board for an exemption (which they will receive). Whenever someone is arrested for a particularly egregious act of refusal, they block roads and rail lines. Their refusal is supposedly based on the non-observant nature of army life – the army does make a great effort to allow observant soldiers to obey the commandments, but of course it will never be enough for this group – but the fact that they refuse to even request exemptions illustrates that they don’t recognize the authority of the Zionist government.

It is ironic that these extremists, if they chose to live in Brooklyn, London, or Paris, would be exposed to the violent antisemitism that has recently been targeting anyone who is visibly Jewish. This does not happen to them in Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, thanks to the protection they receive from the IDF which defends the nation, and the police and Border Patrol officers that they throw rocks at. And yet they believe that they are perfectly justified in hating the state and the people that protect them.

So here you have it: the anti-state Ha’aretz writers, the American If Not Now-niks, the front-running Jewish candidate for US President, the “as-a-Jew” intellectuals, and the Haredi draft opponents. I didn’t bother to mention the countless academics, both in Israel and America, who see their jobs as teachers to indoctrinate students with the misozionist Palestinian narrative. Nor did I mention Israeli filmmakers, whose products (subsidized by European investors), if they have any political content at all, are always sharply critical of our country.

Yes, there are a few ex-Muslims who have the courage to publicly criticize Islam. There are some Arab writers who talk about how their nations have been damaged by the obsession with Israel, and to even suggest that they should move in the direction of normalization. But the idea that a large number of Arabs would side with their enemies is ludicrous.

What is it about Jews?

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* Misoziony (pronounced mis-OZ-yoni) is the extreme and irrational hatred of the Jewish state. It is antisemitism raised up one level of abstraction, although almost all misozionists are antisemites as well.

Posted in American Jews, Israeli Society, Jew Hatred, Post-Zionism | 1 Comment