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Jews, Israel, and the Left

With the recent goings-on in Israel, a number of conservatives are wondering why many American Jews still retain sympathy for leftists who unfairly chastise the lone Jewish state. And it's a good question: From "easterling" at the Daily Kos to James Zogby at The Huffington Post, one can see plenty of outrageously unjust carping at Israel from our friends on the Left. In their telling, Israel is positively overjoyed that its citizens have been abducted and its territory bombed--because this offers the "pretext" for an Israeli military response.

Well, we suppose one terrorist supporter's "pretext" is a moral man's "cause."

We're sure that the loony Michael Scheuer, with his conspiratorial views of the American Holocaust Museum as a "Zionist plot," will soon reiterate his hope that the US abandon Israel to Iran and Syria. That ought to stave off the forces of darkness for a few minutes.

With such obtuse arguments aimed at the Jewish state, one may reasonably wonder why so many American Jews still feel a passionate attachment to the political Left. Although we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," don't have an authoritative answer to this question, we think that we can suggest a few possibilities.

First, however, we must be fair and mention that not all organs of the political Left unfairly target Israel. Furthermore, the Old Right has its share of anti-Zionist loons: Pat Buchanan and the folks at The American Conservative, for instance.

But surely leftist critics of Israel are more numerous and more populous than their right-wing counterparts. And they're more respected too. After all, Messrs. Walt and Meirsheimer can attack the "Jewish Lobby" and still be labeled "realists." At least Buchanan's loopy anti-Semitism is well known and well publicized.

So, there must be some reason numerous Jews feel more comfortable in a political movement that often vilifies Israel. Sure, most Jews appear more at home with many views associated with the Left. Yet this can't account for some Jews' eerie lack of concern for much of the Left's anti-Israeli cant.

In his interesting book The Oslo Syndrome, Kenneth Levin discusses the long history of pusillanimity and "internalizing the oppressor" in Jewish history. Whereas many Jews have acted nobly in the face of anti-Semitism, others have reacted to such vile prejudice as if it were true. According to Levin, numerous leaders of the American Jewish community during World War II--including, importantly, the publisher at The New York Times--refused to make a big deal about Holocaust, for fear that an example of Jewish concern for Jews would help perpetuate anti-Semitism.

Today, perhaps we see an example of the same phenomenon. Many leftists charge Zionist Jews of harboring dual loyalties and, thus, of being un-American. As far as they're concerned, America has been duped by the deceased Leo Strauss into fighting "a Jew war." Although this is a truly outrageous charge, lots of American Jews, afraid of such taunts, resolutely refuse to stand up for themselves. Rather, they go out of their way to demonstrate that they have no particular regard for Israel, and thus they are not guilty of this purported Jewish sin.

If some in the American Jewish community were willing to keep their mouths shut about the Holocaust for fear of stoking anti-Semitism, they're not bloody well likely to stand up for Israel in the face of terrorist aggression. Other Jews must unjustifiably think that, if they allow Israel to be destroyed, people will leave the Jews alone. They won't, of course, but the delusioned can have their dreams.

But we suppose that this interest in anti-Zionist Jews obscures a more general phenomenon. After all, many homosexual activists blithely support repressive, anti-gay regimes at the expense of the United States and Israel. Feminists champion the Taliban, provided it wages war with an "imperialist" America. And sundry Christians defend the actions of Muslim terrorists, who aim to rid the world of "the crusaders." Aren't these all examples of the same thing?

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently contemplating a "pretext" to smack James Zogby in the face for his anti-Israeli apologias for terrorism.)


Comments (18)

Many leftists charge Zio... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Many leftists charge Zionist Jews of harboring dual loyalties and, thus, of being un-American.

Your description is entirely dishonest. Nowhere does Greenwald accuse anyone of dual loyalties or being un-American. You created that out of whole cloth.

After all, many homosexual activists blithely support repressive, anti-gay regimes at the expense of the United States and Israel. Feminists champion the Taliban, provided it wages war with an "imperialist" America.

Care to point to any of these homosexuals or feminists? Ah, screw it, you're whole post is bullshit. Why bother?

Oh, by the way, what do you... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Oh, by the way, what do you think the Shia in Iraq would do if we entered a war against Lebanon? You think it's bad there now? Oh wait, you probably think things are great in Iraq. Nevermind.

mantis:1) I dunno ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

mantis:

1) I dunno if you'll consider CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) played the "dual loyalties" card on Friday. See http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21556_CAIR_Plays_the_Dual_Loyalty_Card&only for the link.

2) Google up "Queers For Palestine." They're out there -- in more ways than one. And look into how gays are treated in Israel versus in the Palestine Territories -- there, they're often killed and called "collaborators" to avoid the whole icky gay thing.

J.

Just more of those moronic ... (Below threshold)
Skip:

Just more of those moronic Log Cabin Republicans I suspect. You know, those idiots who shoot themselves in the foot every time they vote right............ kind of the same as the poor, minority, and uneducated religious hillbilly republicans.

A wise man once said the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals can think for themselves. Isn't it funny how all these conservative talk shows flourish on the radio? Someone has to tell the right what points to argue today.

Your patheticism, though ridiculous, is in some manner entertaining.

Jay, I think your explanati... (Below threshold)
dulce:

Jay, I think your explanation is incomplete, if not altogether wrong. I've never encountered another Jewish person who would be afraid of anti-semitic backlash if he were to stand up for Israel, although I'd admit that there might be some in my parents' generation--who lived through WWII and the Holocaust--who might have that fear. I think this has more to do with Jews' long sympathy with and action on behalf of the underdog, historically connected with socialist thought and the labor movement. The Palestinians fit the description of underdog to a t, of course, regardless of the fact that they brought their current miserable state upon themselves. So it follows that their misery must be caused by SOMEONE, and the Israelis--who are seen as rich, powerful, and arrogant--must be the perpetrators, by this logic.

Many leftists char... (Below threshold)
Dale:
Many leftists charge Zionist Jews of harboring dual loyalties and, thus, of being un-American.

Your description is entirely dishonest. Nowhere does Greenwald accuse anyone of dual loyalties or being un-American. You created that out of whole cloth.

This doesn't make sense. The Hatemongers say many and you reply that one person I haven't heard of doesn't do it. This Greenwald person is just one person, not many.

"kind of the same as the po... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

"kind of the same as the poor, minority, and uneducated religious hillbilly republicans"

Actually the poor in the south tend to vote democratic.

Minority? Seems we won the house, senate and WH.

Religious? This is a bad thing?

Uneducated? After thirty years of teachers unions, it's no wonder.

Hillbilly? The term you are looking for is "redneck".

Republicans, and proud of it.

P.S.Looser!... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

P.S.

Looser!

"mantis" as in praying mant... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"mantis" as in praying mantis--something to be stepped on.
"skip" as in skippy--someting to spread as you do horse manure.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come... (Below threshold)
br:

An Idea Whose Time Has Come?-- Buchanan

Have the attacks and the US halted in favor of eliminating the Israel threat (grounding air force and missiles) with the hope that this republicans would outst the pro Israel lobby in their party and dismantle the ACLU and like nonprofit? These actions would show Islam the US is trying to get away from the Hollywood media, Israel Lobby, and Wall Street money which have always been rumeor under US jewish (whether true or not). Since the arab league led by Saudia Arabia and backed by Egypt and Jordan (and the US puppet government of Iraq) refuse to back the war against Israel this path way is block. Before Islamic fighters resume attacks on the US targets perhaps there is something you can do. I believe the left is trying to oust VP Cheney over some bogus charge but they were successful in booting Delay and Lott.

An absolutely absurd post f... (Below threshold)

An absolutely absurd post from the crew known as "Hatemongers Quarterly". Your logic is more twisted than a Philly pretzel. FYI, Jews not only stand up for themselves, but they marched with many people of color during the civil rights movement, and stood up for blacks to face down things like poll taxes-bussing people down South to teach adults how to read- and jim crow laws.

Has it ever occured to you, that maybe, just maybe, Jews are more comfortable with those on the left because the left is more tolerant. Also, Jews tend to live in blue states-can't say I blame them- where local politics are more in sync with a left leaning agenda.

I co-sign with dulce and Skip who made some good points. Not surprisingly, they are being attacked personally by those with no logic to support the original post. But who think partisan politics always trumps common sense and truth.

I'll sign on that dulce has... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

I'll sign on that dulce has a point, if not one that I entirely agree with. It seems a little too simple, but I think it covers a not insignifigant part of the issue.
I'll also by into the notion that living in blue states and blue enclaves would also predispose Jews (and others) to lean left.
I won't, however, go with the notion that the left is the more tolerant end of the political spectrum.
When I was a democrat working for the party (salaried, not volunteer), I heard more racial, religious and sexual slurs in one year than I had in my previous 21. When I came out of the closet and admitted I was not in favor of "on demand" abortion, I was marginalized and all but chased out of the party. My donations were still welcome, but my voice surely was not.
Finally, Dulce has not been attacked, personally or otherwise. Skip, however, fired the first salvo, and it would seem to me that USMC Pilot answered in kind.

Sir,A conspiratori... (Below threshold)
MIchael Scheuer:

Sir,

A conspiratorial mindset is not rerquired to see that the United States has absolutely no national interest at stake in the endless, infantile, and brutal war between Israel and its neighbors. If Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria all disappeared from the face of the earth tommorrow morning, the security and well-being of the United States and Americans would be entirely undisturbed. As things stand, U.S. security and the U.S. economy are held hostage by unwise bipartisan policies that bind us tight to brutal theocracies in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

Respectfully,

Michael Scheuer

Scheuer,Israel is no... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Scheuer,
Israel is not a theocracy.
All of the middle east won't disapear. Just one side might. And if we withdraw our support, it will likely be Israel.
While I doubt you are the real Michael Sheuer, him that sees a Jooo under every bed waiting to strike, and that the islamofascist would love us if only we would let them push the Jooos into the sea.
Odd, how Scheuer rhymes with Fuhrer...

Sir,As always, a c... (Below threshold)
Michael Scheuer:

Sir,

As always, a clever, insightful, and who-cares what-happens-to-America response.

Respectfully,

Michael Scheuer

Abondoning Israel won't mak... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Abondoning Israel won't make the islamofacists ignore us. It will only check one target off their list, so they can focus on the remainder. Being on that list, I think it is in America's interest to support Israel and the other targets.

To get back to JT's origina... (Below threshold)

To get back to JT's original topic:

I surfing links in of all places Scienceblogs, I found a link
http://untrue_madhouse.blogspot.com/
to this Philadelphia Hebrew, a virulent opponent of holocaust deniers, mention in one post his shouting defiantly at the TV at the Lebanese President, and in the same post explaining how the horribly unjust Iraq war, Bush lied, etc. He has a little trouble "justifying" Israel invading Lebanon [attacking Hezbollah], but apparently finally finds for Israel in the preceding post 17 July "jus ad bellum."

It is an excellent example that showcases how these folks imagine their justifications and conclusions in an illogical manner.

You hit the bullseye in you... (Below threshold)
Dave Lipof:

You hit the bullseye in your thoughtful analysis. I note that the lefties countered your arguments with their usual rant of ad hominem attack (this is all they're left with to support their side, absent the facts). You ought to write a book on this subject yourself.




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