|HOME||July-August 2010 Featured Stories||Background Information||News On The Web|
The new moral and ethical litmus test is how one views Israel.
There seems to be a pervasive confusion about the difference between victim and aggressor, criminal and innocent, in the West and certainly in sectors where such confusion is both difficult to countenance and critically unfortunate.
Ignorance about Israel, Islam and jihad is a component of this ethical failure in our country to identify and support victims rather than the aggressor. This ignorance and confusion has catastrophic effects including our support and prosecution of two costly wars to prop up two Islamic states, Iraq and Afghanistan, whose foundational law, Islamic Sharia law, is diametrically opposed to our Constitution and our concepts of freedom, justice, and tolerance.
While the growing abandonment of Israel due to Leftist Utopian confusions and inverted concepts of right and wrong is unfortunate but understandable, the anti-Zionist position so common in the American Jewish community is particularly alarming and bizarre. A recent article in the New York Times Review of Books (June 10, 2010) by Mr. Peter Beinart is a case in point. Mr. Beinart's convolutions, avoidance of context, moral and ethical inversions, and general confusion about the issues he purports to discuss demand a response.
In "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment", Mr. Beinart criticizes establishment American Jewish leadership for their lack of liberalism and for their firm support of the state of Israel. This is the crux of his criticism and, while it is ethically and factually upside down and suggests a more meretricious approach to liberalism than to the existence of the Jewish state itself, his argument is based on a misunderstanding of the issues at hand.
He suggests that more sensitivity to Palestinian grievances, recognition of their "capability for peace", less vigorous Israeli self-defense (which is characterized as aggression), and a more self-referential approach to American Jewish youth are all required if the leftist non-Zionist (or ambivalent) Jewish youth of America are to be re-engaged by establishment leaders.
Beinart's ahistorical approach, which includes deep criticism of Israel and which requires a confusion about and an almost total removal of context from the discussion, is necessary because, according to Beinart, American leftist non-Zionist Jewish youth no longer identify with the Jewish experience of the Holocaust, Warsaw, 1967, and 1973 because these things do not accord with their "lived experience". The crux of Beinart's criticism of American Jewish leaders is that it is their support of Israel itself which alienates them from their more liberal youthful American Jewish co-religionists.
These are disturbing allegations and made all the more unpleasant because Mr. Beinart does not criticize the youth he cites for abandoning Zionism, or for their lack of ability to rise above the limits of their necessarily limited "personal experience" but rather the criticism is entirely for the vigorous support of Israel by "establishment leadership".
Mr. Beinart employs many of the methods of decontructionism in removing context from his article so that he can build a foundation for his heavily biased argument. In fact, many of his statements are impossible to substantiate not only because they are mere opinion but because they are unfounded. While this approach is neither good history nor cultural/political analysis it is, however, acceptable post-modern "academic investigation".
For example, Mr. Beinart criticizes what he sees as a shift to the right in domestic Israeli politics. It is suggested that this shift is due to Jewish racism and bigotry against Arabs. But what Mr. Beinart neglects to mention in the entire article is terrorism which is the reason why the right has expanded in Israeli domestic politics.
There is no mention of the innumerable jihad terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis and what those attacks might do to a democratic society such as Israel, (or any other for that matter) which could tend to explain this claimed shift to the right in Israeli domestic politics.
As terrorism and jihad against Israel are the central issues in Israeli society and politics, with the added pressure of the leadership of Iran promising repeatedly to use nuclear weapons against Israel (while Iranian nuclear weapons development continues rapidly), lack of mention of this issue in Mr. Beinart's article raises unpleasant questions. Most particularly, why would Mr. Beinart purposefully neglect to mention the central context of the issue he is discussing, and why would any editor at a publication with the reputation such as that of the New York Times Review of Books allow such a piece, devoid of context, to be published in its pages?
For accuracy's sake, I should state that political/religious violence was indeed mentioned in the article - the case of a settler setting off a pipe bomb at the home of an Israeli professor. There is no mention of Islamic terror against Israelis or Jews elsewhere, nor any mention of the term "jihad". When an author deliberately withholds evidence so as to bolster his/her own position a careful reader must accept that any conclusions proffered are likely to be erroneous.
In deconstructionist analysis it is important to remove context and suggest strongly that opinion, cultural bias, and the limits of language itself prevent any definitive understanding of most anything. When context is provided, that also must be deconstructed so that nothing of history, motives, or subsequent actions can be truly understood. This absurd post-modernist idea that nothing can be definitively known undermines and delegitimizes any discussion on any subject.
In fact, in the deconstructionist world it is believed that there really is no truth whatever because everything is devolved to simply a matter of disagreement about the meaning of words and the motives of speakers/writers. Deconstruction is a profound skepticism which attacks the fundamental idea in both logic and learning that something, anything can be definitively known. This anti-intellectual attack on understanding makes for quaint yet annoying academic discussions in teacher's lounges and seminars, but in the real world our enemies laugh at our self-imposed intellectual confusions and moral and ethical weakness that results from acceptance of the absurd notion that there is no truth only opinion. Our determined enemies have no such confusions.
Intellectual convolutions are part of this process of deconstructing; cogent analysis is to be avoided. Essentially, clarity of argument is considered by many in the Utopian left to be a political tool rather than an intellectual tool of effective exposition and learning.
Convolutions and the inversions that go with them then are the order of the day; what remains is a kind of confusion of equivalence which posits that nothing can be definitively known. Acceptance of this anti-intellectual approach to knowledge must mean then that all points of view then are equivalent (because that's all the learning essentially is, points of view).
This approach removes and/or turns upside down the ethical and moral components of situations so that people who attempt to understand them become confused. The result is that what was once evil can be good, and what was always seen as wrong can suddenly be right.
A confusion of morals and ethics that leaves both reader and writer unable to discuss issues in an intellectually legitimate way is the result of deconstructionist thinking. The only conclusion to such a discussion must be an agreement to disagree because since nothing can be shown to be true then everything devolves only to a matter of opposing views or opinions. Essentially, such a course is the antithesis of learning. Consider Keith Windschuttle's book, "The Killing of History" (1996). Windschuttle cites a defender of deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida who dismisses a critic of Derrida in the 1982 "Journal of Aesthetics and Art History". According to the Derrida defender, the critic should be dismissed because of:
'his unproblematic prose and the clarity of his presentation, which are the conceptual tools of conservatism.' -- (Windshuttle, "The Killing of History," (Free Press, NY), 1986, p.6.)
While mainly devoid of clarity and certainly problematic, Mr. Beinart's essay furthers the purposes of authoritarian reasoning while devaluing critical thought. The reader is to follow Mr. Beinart's opinions as if they are fact no opposing views are offered and no argument is made to legitimize his strong Utopian leftist anger at an American Jewish establishment leadership that he believes has failed because it is not liberal enough. Instead, false comparisons are included and context is not.
A 2003 study by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, whose purpose was to determine American Jewish youth's feelings about Israel, leads off Mr. Beinart's article. The disturbing findings of the poll that apparently a majority of young American Jews (except Orthodox) do not feel connected to Israel and are in fact often very critical of the state and its policies especially how it relates to the Palestinians is cited by Mr. Beinart as proof that American Jewish leadership (with their strong support of Israel) have lost the Jewish youth demographic because they are not as liberal as the poll respondents.
This is described as the great failing of the American Jewish establishment leadership and one that Mr. Beinart says must be rectified if "liberal Zionism" is to be saved. It does not register to Mr. Beinart somehow that this is the wrong lesson of the poll and of current political/cultural realities in the United States and in the West.
It is no secret that 78% of the American Jewish electorate voted for Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, and not a supporter of Israel. Mr. Obama's pro-Palestinian and anti-Jewish associations were known during the campaign but made no difference to the Jewish electorate that supported him. They voted for Mr. Obama because Mr. Obama is a liberal Utopian just as they are. The massive Jewish vote for Mr. Obama is evidence that liberalism trumps Zionism among a majority of American Jewish voters.
The truth that is ignored in Mr. Beinart's article and its fundamental weakness is that American liberalism in its present form is not compatible with Zionism; they are mutually exclusive.
Mr. Beinart employs numerous moral and ethical inversions and obfuscations that support his liberal biases; such are required because the facts do not support his position. For example, he writes, relative to the American Jewish youth who responded to the Luntz poll,
"The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs."
The implication is that the Israeli government does not believe that Palestinians are deserving of dignity and capable of peace. The unfortunate truth is that the Palestinians prefer to fight which nullifies the assertion that they are capable of peace.
Endless attacks from one side in a conflict against the other does nothing to validate the capacity for peace on the attacking side. Only when their attacks cease can it be known if they are capable of peace; there is no question that they are capable of war.
There is a great confusion in the leftist Utopian world about Palestinian motivations.
"A new Islamic group associated with Hamas called Jaysh al-Umma (Islam's army) stated clearly, 'Muslims all over the world are obliged to fight the Israelis and the infidels until only Islam rules the earth.' Realizing their slip, they quickly clarified: 'We say that the world will not live in peace as long as the blood of Muslims continues to be shed.' Which is it until Muslim blood stops being shed in Israel or 'until only Islam rules the earth'"?
-- Raymond Ibrahim, "War and Peace and Deceit in Islam", Middle East Forum, 2/12/09.
Yassir Arafat, Nobel Peace Prize winner and noted Palestinian terrorist, professed to work for peace with Israel when speaking in English to Western audiences, but spoke of war and jihad to his constituents and fellow adherents of Islam in Arabic (and, occasionally, in English). Arafat spoke in South Africa prior to refusing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's almost total concessions to Arafat's demands during the Oslo negotiations.
Addressing Muslims at a mosque in South Africa, where he had attended the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela, the P.L.O. leader said in English, "You have to come and to fight a jihad to liberate Jerusalem, your precious shrine." He added that Mr. Rabin had written a letter promising to negotiate the future of Jerusalem, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their capital.
A tape recording of his speech was played this week on Israel Radio, causing an uproar and touching off Government demands that Mr. Arafat explain himself. The United States, too, called the remarks "inconsistent" with Mr. Arafat's pledge last September to renounce violence.
(New York Times, 5/20/94)
It was clear that there were two paths to the same goal being employed by Mr. Arafat at the time, both negotiations and war (terror/violence) for the destruction of Israel. Until these last Orwellian decades peace and war have always been polar opposites; not so now.
When Hamas (the rulers of Gaza now that Israel no longer "occupies" that place) speaks of "peace" with Israel, they do so in the context of Islamic doctrine; Koran, Sira, and Hadith. The leftist Utopians of the West pretend that this is not so, and that discussion of such things is bigotry.
In prior decades, understanding the motivations of our enemies (and friends) was considered both a reasonable and fundamental approach during periods of peace and wartime; not so now.
Even when jihadists use Islamic doctrinal terminology prior to, during and after their jihad atrocities against civilians in Israel or America (Europe or elsewhere), many in our political leadership and in the leftist Utopian community deny that jihad has occurred at all. But there is significant evidence in the doctrine of Islam that jihad is real, and is a fundamental characteristic of Islamic ideology.
"Let those who would sell the life of this world for the world to come fight for Allah's cause. Whoever fights for Allah's cause, whether he is killed or is victorious, We will grant him a great reward. How could you not fight for Allah's cause?" (Koran, 4:74)
"The believers fight for Allah's cause, and the unbelievers fight for Satan. Therefore, fight against the friends of Satan. Truly Satan's strategy is weak." (Koran, 4:76)
"Oh, believer, do not take the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another's friends. If any one of you take them for his friends, he surely is one of them. Allah will not guide the evil doers." (Koran, 5:51)
In light of 9/11 and thousands of successful and interdicted attacks since, the denial of our leadership and leftist Utopians around the world as to the doctrinal nature of Islamic violence is impossible to defend.
SPIEGEL: Madame Secretary, in your first testimony to the US Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word "terrorism." Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?
Napolitano: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.
-- Janet Napolitano, Der Spiegel interview, 3/16/2009
The unpleasant truth that Mr. Beinart ignores (or purposefully obscures) is the real reason that Palestinians kill Jews and commit acts of Jihad terror; they do these things because they are commanded to do so by Allah and their prophet Mohammed. Jihad against the Jews and all non-Muslims is an obligation that all adherents of Islam are required to fulfill.
You are commanded to fight although you may dislike it. You may hate something that is good for you, and love something that is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not. (Koran, 2:216)
Why does the author omit the constant attacks on Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists? Why does he not mention the ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier illegally kidnapped and now held for years by Hamas in Gaza in total contravention to the laws of war and nations? Why is there no mention of the Hamas Charter which contains hatred of Jews and stipulates that Hamas's purpose is the destruction of Israel, much of it justified by Islamic doctrine?
The Nazism of the Jews... (Hamas Charter)
It joins its efforts to all those who are active on the Palestinian scene, but more steps need to be taken by the Arab and Islamic peoples and Islamic associations throughout the Arab and Islamic world in order to make possible the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war. "We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loves not corrupters." Sura V (Al-Ma'idah the Table spread), verse 64. (Hamas Charter)
The moral inversion in which Jews are described as Nazis is a popular one in the Islamic world and is now a growing meme in the ethically upside down liberal Utopian West. This suggestion that Jews are akin to their WW2 killers is disturbing for a number of reasons most particularly because it further delegitimizes Israel and the Jewish people.
What can be said then when American leftist Utopians engage in the same delegitimization of Israel in the name of "saving Israeli liberalism"? Do we then say that such people are delegitimizing the state in order to save it? The moral inversions of leftist Utopianism is clear to many, but not at all is it to them.
Why are these fundamental motives of Hamas to destroy Israel and the Jewish people not mentioned by Mr. Beinart, but one incident of a settler who sent a pipe-bomb to a leftist Israeli professor is considered pertinent? Beinart's suggestion that the Israeli government and American establishment Jewish leaders deny Palestinian capabilities for peaceful co-existence is absurd when one knows that their self-professed preference is for war and jihad.
There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game. (Hamas Charter)
In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters. (Hamas Charter)
One can only speculate as to why Mr. Beinart does not mention these points of motivation and the Islamic doctrinal basis of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis (and all non-Muslims). Ignoring these points certainly tends to (unfairly and inaccurately) skew the debate in favor of Mr. Beinart's liberal Utopian biases, but it does not bring the careful reader any closer to the truth.
No mention of the numerous concessions given (and offered but refused) to the Palestinians for peace by Israel? No mention of the transfer of Gaza itself from Israel to the Palestinians? These things are not mentioned because they do not support Mr. Beinart's world view of a brutal, cruel "hegemonic" Israel. The Israel that is constantly attacked that finally defends itself after years of rocket attacks; that negotiates and offers land for peace again and again is the Israel of reality, but not of Mr. Beinart's world view.
The confusions and inversions in Mr. Beinart's article that obscure the truth are too many to reference in this rebuttal. It is important though to deconstruct the article's deconstructionist approach to get at the truth.
The demonization of Israel is a growing and dangerous trend across the West. There are standards applied to Israel that are applied to no other countries, and the false moral attacks made upon it are neither founded in reality nor in analysis. There are many reasons why this is so, and they are all disturbing and dangerous. They are dangerous for Americans and for Israel.
They are dangerous for us because Israel is the front line in the Islamic global jihad against the West and if Israel falls, surely our fate will be little better. As our own domestic culture wars ramp up and confusion and deconstruction continues to overtake intellectual investigation, reason, and rational discourse our cultural, moral and intellectual life are degraded.
Deconstructionism helps to deconstruct our culture. Observe the following false dichotomy from Mr. Beinart's article.
"Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct."
Beinart is presenting a dichotomy between Zionists and their love for Israel, and American liberals and their devotion to human rights. He says that these groups are increasingly distinct. The suggestion is that Zionism and devotion to human rights, particularly regarding the Palestinians, are mutually exclusive concepts; they are not except to Mr. Beinart and his fellow travelers.
In the midst of ongoing war against Israel by the Palestinians by what standard should Israel be measured where the Palestinians are concerned? It is known that Israel delivers tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. What nation other than Israel would ship supplies to an existential enemy for no other reason but humanitarian purposes? What "hegemon" would supply its self-declared existential enemies with aid even while the existential enemy continues attacks?
"Morally," Mr. Beinart writes, "American Zionism is in a downward spiral." No evidence is presented that any decline whatever has occurred in "American Zionism" other than the fact that fewer leftist anti-Zionist Jewish youth are heeding the messages of not-leftist-enough American Zionist establishment leaders to support Israel. This could be seen as a "moral" failure, but this is not what Mr. Beinart means.
What he means is that the lack of liberalism in American establishment Jewish leadership, which results in a rejection of them and their messages of support for Israel by liberal American Jewish youth is the cause of this "moral downward spiral". The problem with this convolution is that American liberalism and Zionism are not complimentary, they are now antithetical.
For Mr. Beinart's "moral downward spiral" to be corrected, the leadership of the American Jewish establishment would be required to embrace liberalism in order to attract the attentions and support of liberal American Jewish youth; to do so would imperil the purpose of Zionism which is the existence of the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.
Mr. Beinart suggests self-destruction as a resolution to this non-existent "moral downward spiral". No Zionist would choose liberalism over the existence of the state of Israel. Mr. Beinart does not apparently recognize the flaw in his argument.
What could be the nature of the "moral downward spiral" that Mr. Beinart describes? What is immoral about support of Israel? If, as Mr. Beinart believes, Israel is a "hegemon" and "occupier" then support of such a state would be morally indefensible and the term "moral downward spiral" would be understandable. Such support would be seen by Mr. Beinart as morally dubious.
But Mr. Beinart suggests that this "moral" crisis in American Zionism is in actuality its failure to embrace anti-Israeli shibboleths and liberal utopian criticism that is based not in fact but in the effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. Mr. Beinart writes,
If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled.
Because "terrorism" and "jihad" are not mentioned by Mr. Beinart, the above argument (based on fear of the Jewish religious right) can be included. With the inclusion of the context of the issue at hand the argument collapses upon itself because it is absurd.
Mr. Beinart has removed cause and effect from his discussion; good for him, but bad for the reader. He has done this because context and facts are not complimentary to his argument.
Indeed, American establishment Zionism leadership is failing not because it is not liberal enough, but because the majority of American Jews are themselves too liberal.
Liberalism is not the solution to low rates of support for Israel among leftist Utopian American Jewish youth as Beinart argues. Rather, it encourages the delegitimization of Israel which undermines the purpose of Zionism which is to have and hold Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Here is Mr. Beinart's plea. His plea is for a more liberal American Zionism because he believes that only through more liberalism can Zionism in the US be reinvigorated. The unpleasant truth is that it is liberalism itself which is destroying the Zionist idea within American Jewry. The fact that this is not clear to so many American Jews, otherwise intelligent people, is an astounding thing.
"Saving liberal Zionism in the United States so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel is the great American Jewish challenge of our age."
The survival of Israel is the great American Jewish challenge of our age, not the saving of "liberal Zionism".
In truth, there is no "liberal Zionism" at all. Zionism and liberalism in its present form are mutually exclusive.
Beinart states that American children of Zionists "have grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power." Hegemons expand their national holdings and power generally through aggressive war. How can Israel be described as a "hegemon" when the territory of Israel has shrunk rather than expanded? Only a country incredibly bad at hegemony would return conquered territory (Gaza to Fatah/PA now Hamas; Sinai Peninsula to Egypt; West Bank to PA) in exchange for peace.
Every war Israel has fought has been defensive. Lands that expanded Israel's territory were acquired in defensive wars, wars that Israel happened to win. "Hegemon" is a negative word, as is "occupier". Why does Beinart not discuss the fact that there is no longer any occupation? Gaza is run by Hamas, the West Bank by Fatah/PA. Israeli incursions into either place occur to stop rocket attacks and terror murders by the people (Palestinian adherents of Islam) who live there; there is no occupation. Countries that capture territory in defensive wars then return them cannot accurately be described as "hegemonic".
The author states that "because their (anti-Zionist liberal Jewish American youth) liberalism is real, they can see that the liberalism of the American Jewish establishment is fake." Beinart is wrong entirely here; what the liberal anti-Zionist Jewish youth see is not a false liberalism in establishment Jewish leadership, they see instead support for Israel and an absence of liberalism.
The bias for liberalism and against support of Israel when the two are in conflict is clear evidence that the Zionism of Beinart and the liberal American Jewish youth that he claims to revere is a failure, liberalism having been victorious over it.
Bizarre rhetorical constructions are required to advance the cause of liberalism at the expense of the truth. Mr. Beinart writes,
"Yes, Israelis understandably worry about a nuclear Iran. But the dilemmas you face when you possess dozens or hundreds of nuclear weapons, and your adversary, however despicable, may acquire one, are not the dilemmas of the Warsaw Ghetto. The year 2010 is not, as Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, 1938. The drama of Jewish victimhood a drama that feels natural to many Jews who lived through 1938, 1948, or even 1967 strikes most of today's young American Jews as farce."
Why is it "farce" for Israelis to be concerned about Iran's threats to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons? It isn't at all a farce; it is a fundamental fact of daily life in Israel. Being concerned about threatened nuclear destruction by an ideologically driven intractable enemy is not farcical, it is an existential imperative.
Is it also a farce to be concerned about terror attacks that occur almost daily from the Palestinian side, the very people that leftist Utopians claim are "capable of peace" and "deserving of dignity"? Is it the same moral and ethical scenario for Iran to have one nuclear weapon and Israel ten or twenty or fifty as Beinart suggests?
Why does Beinart find it equivalent for Iran to have one bomb, which it promises to use to destroy Israel versus Israel's bomb(s) which the Jewish state has never used, and has never made claim to want to use?
There is a serious difference between a nuclear armed enemy who promises killing millions with their weapons and a country threatened by that state (even if the threatened state has nuclear weapons of their own, but has never expressed any desire whatever to use them). This inability to tell the difference between aggressor and victim, innocent and guilty marks a profound moral and intellectual failure across the left Utopian political spectrum.
Utopian leftists and rejectionist Zionists deny that there are differences between cultures and countries; that Iran has promised to use its nuclear weapons against Israel (described as "Little Satan" by Iranian leaders) and then later against other countries including the United States (described as "Great Satan" by Iranian leadership). If Israel does possess nuclear weapons they are for defensive purposes alone, else they would have been likely already deployed. However, if one sees Israel as a "hegemon" and "occupier" as Beinart does, then Iran and Israel are equivalent and neither is any better or worse than the other.
The foundations of the failure of Zionism among American leftist Jewish youth is not due to a lack of "real liberalism" on the part of American Jewish establishment leaders but an excess of it in the population of American leftist Jewish youth.
The lessons of the Holocaust which begin and end with "Never Again" come under attack by Mr. Beinert's critical pen. In this case however, there is an ugly bias shown by Mr. Beinart which pulls away the façade of his plea for a renewed leftist Zionism and replaces it with something altogether unpleasant and bizarre.
Beinart writes that,
"In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves."
This bizarre reference to the Holocaust that condemns both American Jewish establishment leadership (AIPAC) and, indirectly, all Jews is disturbing. The suggestion that the Holocaust gives "Jews" license to be concerned only about themselves can neither be substantiated nor defended. This statement is pure bias and ought to have been excised prior to publication by the author himself or his editor(s).
Where is the evidence with which Mr. Beinart can substantiate this revolting accusation of extreme self-interest against "Jews"? Can he produce AIPAC's "message" in which this claim is made?
The fact that the Jewish people have long been one of the most charitable of peoples is not discussed by Mr. Beinart because that would overturn his non-existent argument and challenge this repellent and offensive concept that "Jews" are concerned "only about themselves". Where is the editor at the New York Times Review of Books who should have said, "this sentence must be removed as it neither advances 'the argument' nor does it advance the reputation of the author or of the publication?" There is no such editor because such language of delegitimization and unsubstantiated stereotyping that has long been condemned in American society is not now condemned when "Jews" or "Israel" are the subject of discussion.
Mr. Beinart continues,
"This obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America's secular Jewish young. It simply bears no relationship to their lived experience, or what they have seen of Israel's."
Beinart pretends that Israel and Jews are not victims, that they are simply "obsessed" with victimhood. Daily terror attacks against Israelis, threats of nuclear attack by Iran and ongoing delegitimization of Israel and of Jews around the liberal West and across the world, most certainly in the Islamic world - do indeed make Israel and Jews victims.
The Holocaust is the modern model of societal cruelty toward a specific group, Jews - this was the most horrific victimization of a people in modern history. When the leadership of Iran states again and again in public that they are determined to perpetuate a 2nd Holocaust this cannot be construed by any reasonable observer as "an obsession with victimhood" on the part of Israelis and Jews but is rather a deep concern for continued survival. It is not then incorrect to say that Jews have been, and are, victims.
The Holocaust was accomplished because the Jewish people were delegitimized and demonized in Nazi Germany and across Axis and conquered Europe, just as they are again now. It is not "obsession" to remind the world that the ringing promise heard around the world after the Holocaust by almost every country on the planet was "never again".
It is not "obsession" to remind the world of the origins of the Holocaust and to demonstrate through analysis that the same delegitimizations of Jews that allowed the Holocaust to happen are occurring once again.
Mr. Beinart suggests that since liberal American Jewish youth have no direct experience with the Holocaust they are therefore unable to relate it to Israel's continuing existence because "it bears no relationship to their lived experience".
Intelligent people are not supposed to be limited in their understanding of the world, history and of others to only their "personal experiences" which must, by necessity, be limited.
We are all limited in how much "experience" we can experience. We are supposed to overcome this limitation with compassion, understanding, knowledge and a deep sensitivity to the experiences of others. The suggestion that young American Jews are unable to do this is bizarre and impossible to defend.
Mr. Beinart suggests that the Luntz survey should have included another question.
"What if the students in Luntz's focus group had been told that their generation faces a challenge as momentous as any in Jewish history: to save liberal democracy in the only Jewish state on earth?"
Beinart desires the victory of liberalism in Israel just as he is seeing it today in the United States, but he is missing the point entirely.
The context of the discussion is not one of Israeli domestic politics or even of American Jewry and its attitudes towards Israel the issue at hand is the survival of Israel. The rise of liberalism among American Jewish youth has contributed to the dangers that Israel faces, not to its support and succor.
American liberalism and Zionism are mutually exclusive. American Jews supported Barack Obama with their votes and money in 2008. While this support is beginning to wane, the damage is done. American liberalism now includes a dangerous thread of both statism and Utopianism both of which undermine our democratic system and which stand in opposition to the existence of Israel.
All statists are not liberal Utopians, but all liberal Utopians involved in politics are statists. The EU model, globalization and diminishment of the nation-state are concepts foundational to liberal Utopians. It is believed in much of the liberal Utopian world that the existence of nation states must then mean that war must be perpetual (because nation-states fight each other). Only a supranational body, they believe, that is superior in authority to nations can forever end war.
The end of war and universal equality, they believe, can only be brought about by deconstruction of the nation-state and its replacement by a supranational organization, currently embodied by the UN and the EU. The existence of a tiny Jewish nation-state in the heart of the Arab world is seen by many liberal Utopians as a colossal historical error and a permanent impediment to peace in the region if not the world.
This ideal Supra-state then is the key to universal satisfaction, the end of poverty and war, and is thought by those who advance these ideas to be the only means by which human equality and universal peace can be achieved. World War One and Two and, ironically, the Holocaust, are seen as illustrations of the failure of humanity under the nation-state system and justify, to liberal Utopians, the supra-nationalist solution.
Having thus identified the means by which human equality and happiness can finally be achieved, those who oppose these concepts are seen by liberal Utopians as impeding the implementation of a more perfect planet earth; such people who oppose Utopia then must be evil. How could there be any other motivation but evil in those who oppose this Utopian vision?
The moral and ethical confusion so common in leftist Utopian circles across the world which misidentifies victim for aggressor and criminal for innocent is a facilitator of the wars against Israel (in addition to the Islamic world's hatred of Jews), and of the West's failure to support Israel against these aggressions.
A dearth of liberalism in the American Jewish establishment is not the cause of its failure, as posited by Mr. Beinart, but rather its failure is seen by leftist Utopian anti-Zionists as involving too much support of Israel.
Support of Israel is considered a failure by leftist Utopians because they are unable to differentiate between victim and aggressor, and good and evil. In their deeply confused worldview conflict is inherently wrong, and no distinction is made between innocent defenders responding to aggression and attackers who are guilty, wonton killers.
Our crisis of inverted and corrupted morals, ethics, and intellectual capabilities is a domestic one with catastrophic consequences for us and for our friends abroad; Israel, and how we view it, is at the center of the storm.
Our liberal Utopian "friends" condemn Israel for defending itself even as they excuse, and even defend, those who attack Israel and maim and murder its civilians.
A great failure has occurred across our culture in not acknowledging the Islamic doctrinal nature of jihad attacks against Israelis, Americans, and Jews across the world.
The unpleasant truth is that the doctrine of Islam commands Jihad. Israel is the front line of this conflict of ideologies and civilizations.
Those in the American leftist Utopian community who condemn Israel may well be aware of the motivations of those who attack Israel and Americans, but oppose Israel nevertheless; such people are on the wrong side.
The leaders of the American Jewish establishment have not failed in the way that Mr. Beinart so strongly suggests; rather, the culture in which they operate has failed.
 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/ jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment
 http://www.amazon.com/KILLING-HISTORY- Keith-Windschuttle/dp/0684844451
 http://www.meforum.org/2066/war-and-peace- and-deceit-in-islam
 http://www.meforum.org/2066/war-and-peace- and-deceit-in-islam
 http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/20/world/ rabin-says-arafat-s-jihad-remark-set-back-peace-effort.html
 http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/ 0,1518,613330,00.html
 http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/ documents/charter.html
The Readers Comments to the initial publication are instructive. Rather than moronic invective asserting fantastic notions, these were thoughtful responses to several points made in Mr. Adams's essay. In a morality play, the first and last commentators might have been named Liberal Leftist 1 and 2. They periodically raised Beinart-style arguments asserting the goodness of all beings and attributing Arab rocket-throwing to the Jews. The responders brought up many of the facts that the Bein-nuts continue to ignore. The irony is that the Liberal Leftists denialists have Jewish names. The others, who see Islam much more clearly, including one whose grandfather was a nazi, are more likely not Jewish.
Your response, while well written, fails to take into account several key points. The majority of Hamas, Fatah, and other organizations do no represent the majority of Muslim or Islamic groups. They represent the extreme anger and resentment over conflicts that have spanned 60 years since the "artificial" implamentation of a Jewish settlement in 1949, a history fact for you:) In any case, I am a FULL supporter of Jews but I have empathy and compassion for all human souls. The formation of the PLO and leaders such as Abbas, who is trying to quell this anger against Jews. What Palestinians and Jews ideally want is a state similar to the U.S. where church and state are separate but recognized facets in society. Both sides of this conflict have grown up being raised in a constant state of war, children of both sides have lost parents and friends on both sides. That "crazy" Islamic person you say continues this war may have had all his friends and family killed by a stray rocket, with only the Koran and anger to guide him he becomes resentful and hateful of any other religion and eventually joins an organization where he can find friendship, compassion, and a family he lost. Your arguement fails to distinguish individualism among the Islam and Muslim community and therefore is bias to extent not worth mentioning. There can be peace in Isreal just like there can be peace in the U.S. "Utopianism" as you define it connates an absurd idealism that can only be achieved by such narrow means. However, utopianism could be achieved if an acceptance of perspective and balance and love of one's neighbor was the defining focus of a person's ideas. The Jewish community is starting to realize that notion which is why they did vote for Obama. A person is made up three/four things: experience, learning( history and context), family and friends, and a will or soul. By failing to address all four key points of the individual perspective and then overgeneralizing both Jewish and Muslim arguements you make fatally flawed assertations on the situation in the Middle East, particularly Isreal.
posted by : Nathan Tinter Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 07:13 AM
"Your arguement fails to distinguish individualism among the Islam and Muslim community and therefore is bias to extent not worth mentioning." from the comment by Nathan Tinter.
There is no individualism in Islam. It is a complete way of life, a religion, a culture, a theocratic political system where there are no individual rights. There is only the collective who abide by what is permitted and what is not according to the Sunna and the Sharia law.
If you knew Islamic doctrine, you would understand this important point. However, like many others, you refuse to read the foundational texts of Islam, which spew Jew hatred everywhere. Allah hated the Jews, Mohammed, Allah's perfect man, hated the Jews (check out the battle of Khaibar) and all Muslims are required to follow the example of their prophet, the perfect man. If there no Jews in Israel, Islam would still have the DNA of Jew hatred in its core.
posted by : Heloise Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM
Nathan's comment is indicative of the Utopian views Mr. Adams refers to in his well-written article.
It's definitely disconcerting to see that a certain population of Liberal Utopians cannot understand the larger argument. The article itself refutes Nathan's points since his points are the points of Peter Beinert's, too -- yet he is bringing them up here as if they weren't discussed. They were discussed and refuted and dismissed for cause.
posted by : kbm Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:39 AM
Saudi oil money finances gobs of anti-Israel propaganda to the effect that the Jews are like Nazis occupying a prior Arab Muslim nation of Palestine, when all Arabs actually are part of the Umma or Borg Hive that they have spread outward from Mecca since 632 C.E., and can't stand even a tiny breach in it, with Allah promising them paradise for martyrdom, making them beyond negotation. Study Jerusalem's history free online with the Historyscoper to see why Jews will always have the historical claim to it and environs, not Arabs:
posted by : Historyscoper Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:52 AM
Please read and comprehend the entirety of what I wrote. There are around 1 billion muslims and islamists in the world and the MINORITY of them are violent. I would ask that you do your research before telling me my points are wrong. Turkey is a perfect example of how secular arab state can exist peacefully. By the way, I do know the Islamic doctrine, and the sixth pillar, or "jihadist" movement is the minority, and no my points weren't refuted, especially the 4 points that i made that make a persons individualism.
posted by : Nathan Tinter Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM
Mr. Tinter's example of Turkey is ludicrous since it's obvious that Turkey is leaving secularism behind and doing so quickly. And, even if Turkey was comfortably secular with no concern of losing its secularism, what of this? Do we wait until the other groups and countries and sympathizers just decide to be more like Turkey?
Also, there are an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Out of this 1.5 billion, it is generally accepted that 10% are true Muslims, following the sunna of Mohamet. While even that is too large a number to dismiss, it's really much higher than this. In every country where Muslims have been polled, a large minority or even a large majority state they wish to live under sharia law. 40% in the UK, for instance, up to 81% in Detroit, etc. Even a higher number state that they believe suicide bombers and jihadists are justified.
The author of this piece doesn't state that there are no non-violent Muslims. However, it's Islam itself that is faulty. Even if we go with the accepted 10% being what Tinter calls "extreme", 10% of 1.5 billion is an awful lot of people. You don't need a MAJORITY. You need an active minority who is willing to agitate for changes and you need an active minority who are willing to do jihad while the larger minority either support them silently or don't support them still silently. This is what we have and we are dealing with what we have; how the world really is. We cannot afford to deal with how you wish the world was or how you wish it could be.
Regardless, your points are not the main points of this article.
posted by : Hans Reinhold Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 12:54 AM
There is an active minority in every religion; radical sects exist in almost every religion. There are wars started by many other countries that you fail to mention. Doesn' t that also lead to violence and atrocities. Just because something has a different label does not mean it is any different. What you call justice or jusstified war may be murder to someone else. Have you met people that live in these countries in order to gain a more broad perspective, because I have. Many of them want to learn English, want to have freedoms, and are good people.
posted by : Nathan Tinter Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 01:57 PM
Your points are no good. Of course there are "radical sects" and an "active minority" in every religion. Who would dispute this? The only ones we are concerned about, however, is Islam. This active minority of jihadists and their supporters (which may not even be a minority, as I posted earlier- they may, in fact, be a majority) are the ONLY ones murdering innocent people in the cause of furthering Islam. They are the ONLY group who states that what they are doing is because of their ideology over and over again and, yet, people such as yourself and Mr. Beinart refuse to heed their call. What is it about this that makes you blind and deaf when it comes to this specific fact? Do you not take them seriously? Are you so condescending as to think they couldn't possibly succeed at their plans because they aren't smart enough? Driven enough?
Stop comparing other religions' "active minority" and "radical sects" to Islam since nobody cares that Islam is a religion. Nobody cares about the prayer portion of this religion. We all care about their ideology- the political ideology that drives them to commit these atrocities all over the world. Those who follow the path of Mohamet are committing the same crimes Mohamet did and this is why they are justified to do this.
Of course many Muslims want freedom, want to learn English, and are good people. I didn't see anything in Mr. Adams' article to suggest otherwise. Of course these people want to be liberated from tyranny. Isn't this the point? I also believe that there are many who are so brainwashed with Islamic jihadist indoctrination from their earliest age, they don't even miss what they have. They, too, have to be made aware of individualism and liberty. Right now, they give up the idea of individual rights for the good of the Umma (look it up).
You state that "there are wars started by many other countries that you fail to mention". What is your point here? Of course there are wars. this article, however, is a refutation to Peter Beinart's incomprehensible piece of tripe that contradicts itself at every turn. The point of this article has nothing to do with the wars started elsewhere except that the world in general ignores those wars and, instead, focuses its energies on demonizing Israel which fights defensively for its survival.
Here's some irony for you. My grandfather was a member of the Nazi party. Your grandparents might have suffered at their hands. Yet it seems you cannot even see what is happening to you and yours and Israel today, so steeped are you in irrationality and Leftist deconstructionism.
posted by : Hans Reinhold Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 07:04 PM
Mr. Tinter indicates the majority of the Muslim terrorist organizations do not represent the majority of Muslims. Perhaps the majority of the Germans did not represent the majority of the Nazis. Nevertheless, even if the unknown percentage was inactive, there was enough death and destruction and devastation to the entire world, to Jews, Gypsies, other religious groups, other countries, and those who fought. Therefore, this unknown group is irrelevant; it is the known who are actively destroying our world as we know it, and they are Muslim. Muslims have converted, enslaved, tortured and slaughtered 270 million non-Muslims over 1400 years unparalleled when compared with any other group.
The last stronghold of the Jewish people is not the final resentment of Islam, for Islam's goal is to continue north and spread Islam throughout the world. Muslims will not stop at Israel, and would not become peaceful if they conquered the balance of the Middle East, because they also want Europe and the Americas. Islam has 1.57 billion adherents, 23% of the world population. They are the predominant religion in the Middle East, northern Africa, parts of Asia, and found in large communities in China, the Balkans, Russia, as well as Western Europe. Fifty countries are Muslim-majority; 62% of the world's Muslims live in Asia Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries, with Africa, Egypt and Nigeria having the most populous communities. And this is not just moving in, because they do not assimilate. They require that the host country bend to their Islamic needs; this is jihad - this is another kind of conquering.
England already has areas of Sharia law; no-go zones exist in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan. Islam bombed New York's World Trade Center with the specific intent to set up a caliphate Mosque on Ground Zero. What Tinton does not grasp is that Israel (just 1/800th of the Middle East land mass) is merely a distraction for the ignorant, a focus for the bigoted, a diversion to keep the world occupied while Islam continues its expansionism. The world was up in arms about the flotilla but quiet when North Korea sunk a South Korea ship... Israel distracts very well from everything.
Last year alone, Muslims waged 2,117 jihad attacks against five religions in 38 countries, thousands killed and injured. This is the average way to spread Islam, but stealth tactics are also implemented from within - building communities, demanding that the host accommodate, demanding sharia law, demanding their food requirements, their clothing requirements, and finally there are enough Muslim population to do what they did in the Middle East. The countries become Islamic.
Tinter is quite imaginative, thinking that Palestinians want a state like the US. If that were so, the replacement theocracy would never have covered the 4000-yr-old Jewish Temple with their own Mosque (when Jews recaptured Jerusalem, they did not destroy the mosque but left it for the Muslims). Islam has destroyed houses of worship wherever they settled, so that they no longer continue to be proof of their original existence. They would not have demanded Jews leave Gaza, just as Israel never demanded the Arabs leave Israel one million Arabs live in freedom and peace in Israel.
As long as "the peaceful" Muslims do not remove the killing directives from their Qu'ran, they are also complicit in teaching their children to hate and kill the infidels, the homosexuals, the adulterers, the outspoken. Their individualism is squelched from early childhood; there is no creative thinking, innovations, medical or scientific advancements. The only thing that Islam brings to society is Islam.
There is a test to which Mr. Tinter should apply. It is a question: Given the choice of living in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestinian territories, or Israel, where would you choose to spend the rest of your life?
If you're truthful, then "aha."
posted by : Tabitha Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 09:55 PM
Mr. Tinter, 1949 was the end of the Israel War for Independence, forced upon her after the neighboring Arab nations attacked in an effort to destroy the fledgling state. Disregarding the HISTORICAL claims to the land by the Jewish people - the greater state of Israel was promised to the Jews by the British Empire in 1917 (Baufour Declaration), Ratified by the Allies in the twenties, and finally certified by the United Nations in 1947 (partition plan - which "took away" 80% of what was originally promised). Even so, Israel gratefully accepted this sliver, yet was required to fight to survive. The world hates Jews & Israel for not losing and disappearing into the night quietly. Even the Koran (Sura 10, Jonah) states that the Jews were promised the land - so in essence, the Islamists today are going AGAINST THE WORD OF ALLAH! (go argue that point!)
posted by : Stumpwhistle Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 04:19 AM
love the holocaust picture. way to use a tragedy for your own agenda.
israel is getting bad press cause its a race based colony. people dont like those sorts of things anymore
posted by : avi Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 02:55 PM
|HOME||July-August 2010 Featured Stories||Background Information||News On The Web|