One of the hardest things about writing a blog is thinking of something even halfway original to write about every day, especially since there are far better writers, journalists and even scholars doing the same thing.
So I was excited this morning when one of my commenters handed me a topic on a silver platter, as it were. Here’s part of what he said:
I cannot speak as well for J Street as I can for Brit Tzedek. I have spoken with the Executive Director and am good friends with several of the local chapter leaders. I also know myself. Our goal is not to weaken Israel but to strengthen it. We simply don’t believe that strength lies in the barrel of a gun and in the constant war of words that this blog represents so well. Strength lies in peace, equality and justice. And more than anything else in mutual respect, very little of which is in evidence here…
So yes, perhaps we are “aging baby-boomer (leftist)[s]” …committed to worn out ideologies from a bygone era.
Then why are you so fearful of us? Simply because Obama seems to agree with our position and he is after all President of the United States of America, Israel’s one and only true ally in this cruel and unpredictable world where Nazism is not only yesterday’s nightmare, but also today’s constant threat waiting to blossom with the next desert rains?
I suspect the fear and bitterness (second only to that which you have for Palestinians and other Arabs … and anyone else who says anything critical about Israel, including Israelis) goes beyond mere political disagreement.
The fact that we continue to hope and work for peace stands directly in the way of your campaign for hopelessness. It bugs you to see people, especially fellow Jews, that can maintain a sense of the possible and don’t confirm your grim view of the deadly nature of life, especially for the Jewish People.
The writer makes several serious mistakes here, mistakes which can be deadly if they become the basis of policy.
One is that the admirable concepts of peace, equality, justice and respect can strengthen a nation when applied unilaterally in a world where the other actors don’t share the same values. For example, the Palestinians will happily agree that they want justice, but ‘justice’ for them will be when the state of Israel has been replaced by an Arab state. And respect in the Arab world is not given to the one who compromises, but rather to the one who is most uncompromising.
Another is thinking that the geographic and historical bubble in which American Jews have been living since WWII is somehow normal, and what the Jews in other places and other times — since the Roman conquest of Jerusalem — have experienced is abnormal. How irrational to assume that the change is permanent and applies world-wide!
The blindness displayed by the writer in the face of even recent history is astonishing. Did he not see how the wishful attribution of Western liberal values to the Palestinians lead to the disastrous failure of Oslo and the rise of Hamas? Did he not notice how the Palestinians responded to Israel’s attempt to end the occupation by withdrawing from Gaza?
Does he not listen to the statements that come from Meshaal, Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and even the supposed ‘moderate’ Mahmoud Abbas and every media outlet of the PA? Does he think it’s all ‘rhetoric’? Could it be that — like Hitler — they mean what they say?
‘Campaign of hopelessness’? Rather a campaign to realistically see the world — especially the Middle East — as it is.
But despite the admitted fact that the world is “cruel and unpredictable”, the writer maintains his optimism that if he and his friends continue to ‘work for peace’ — I presume that by this he means ‘demand Israeli concessions’ because that is the platform of Brit Tzedek and J Street — the Arabs will wake up one day thinking that the Jews can be allowed to live in Palestine after all.
Finally, I want to turn to the ad hominem part of his comment.
Speaking for myself, I’m not a bitter or fearful person. I don’t fear the ‘useful idiots‘ of the Jewish anti-Zionist Left (JAZL), although I worry about Ahmadinejad, et al, who threaten to kill my children.
To the JAZL I say: what ‘bugs’ me isn’t envy of your naive self-delusions.
Rather, it’s the way you use your Jewishness to render your Israel-hatred kosher.
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