Once in a while the Reality Inversion phenomenon is so wrenching that I’m (almost) at a loss for words. So I’ll just quote from the speech Dr. John Mearsheimer gave at the Palestine Center in Washington DC, and wonder if anyone can possibly think of another bit of rhetoric quite as twisted:
American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories. The first two are what I call “righteous Jews” and the “new Afrikaners,” which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways. The third and largest group is comprised of those Jews who care a lot about Israel, but do not have clear-cut views on how to think about Greater Israel and apartheid. Let us call this group the “great ambivalent middle…”
To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.
This is insulting on several levels. First, his use of the term ‘righteous Jews’. Of course he is familiar with the Righteous Gentiles, honored for protecting Jews threatened by the Nazi Holocaust; his use of the term is intended to suggest that Israel is guilty of a Nazi-like Holocaust against the Palestinians. Not only is this obscenely false, it is close to the precise opposite of the truth, which is that the Palestinian Arabs have been waging war against the Jews in the land of Israel with the intent of wiping them out since before the state was declared (they haven’t succeeded, but not through lack of trying).
Nothing is more revealing than his list of the ‘righteous’. What distinguishes most of them is that they are haters. Weiss, Finkelstein, Chomsky, Roy and Falk positively drip hatred for Israel in a way which is — yes — antisemitic, sometimes to the point of lunacy. They are literally deranged by hatred, and yet they are the ones that Mearsheimer calls righteous!
This is not surprising, given that their objects of love and pity, the ‘Palestinian people’, have built an entire culture on a foundation of hate. Don’t believe me? Palestinian Media Watch documents it here. Note that they are mostly talking about the Palestinian Authority (PA), the ‘legitimate’ Palestinian representatives with whom Israel is expected to make peace, and not radical Islamists of Hamas. The main difference between these groups in this connection seems to be that the PA broadcasts its hate mostly in Arabic, while Hamas is not ashamed to do it in English as well.
I do appreciate that “many of the individuals associated with J Street” were included among the Righteous along with Finkelstein, etc. This validates my contention that J Street belongs with those who want to destroy the Jewish state.
Mearsheimer’s “new Afrikaners” are “individuals who will back Israel no matter what it does, because they have blind loyalty to the Jewish state.” It’s ironic that this man who has made a career of parroting traditional antisemitic themes and Arab propaganda accuses his opponents of being robots. What does characterize them is that they are Zionists: that is, that they believe that the Jewish people, like other peoples — including the recently created ‘Palestinian people’ — have a right to self-determination, and that the Jewish state is wholly legitimate and has a right to exist. This is quite different from supporting any actions the state might take!
Mearsheimer’s arguments show an appalling ignorance of the historical facts about the founding of Israel and the conflict that it has been embroiled in ever since. He says that in 1948 “the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes;” but in truth the total number of refugees was significantly smaller, and only a small fraction of those were forced to flee by the Jews.
In fact, Ephraim Karsh has recently published a book called Palestine Betrayed which would be a good antidote for Mearsheimer’s ignorance (see Daniel Pipes’ review of it here), particularly in connection with the flight of the Arab refugees and the reasons that they did not return. Indeed, Karsh’s book was necessitated in part by the misinformation promulgated by ‘righteous’ Jewish revisionist historians like Ilan Pappé, Avi Shlaim and (until recently) Benny Morris.
So I’ve decided that Mearsheimer, a ‘distinguished’ professor at the University of Chicago and co-author of the antisemitic article and book “The Israel Lobby,” will get FresnoZionism’s first reality inversion award. There’s no prize associated with it, just the feeling of a job well done.