BREAKING: Is Hagel Jewish?

So two Jewish academics, one American and one Israeli, co-author a report with a Palestinian professor, paid for by the US State Department, claiming that Palestinian textbooks don’t really incite hatred against Jews and Israelis, that Israeli books are biased too, and it’s just a question of different ‘narratives’. It turns out (are you surprised?) that it is a bunch of nonsense.

Dangerous nonsense, though, because the issue of ‘incitement’ is critical — that is, if the Palestinians teach their children that

Zionism is “a colonialist political movement founded by the Jews of Europe in the second half of the 19th century… [intent on] displacing the Palestinian people in Palestine from their land.”

and far worse, then it calls into question their desire to live peacefully alongside a Jewish state, as well as the advisability of Israeli concessions in order to reach an agreement with them.

In all, this is a small skirmish in one of many battles in the larger information war which is a major theater in the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. Despite being nonsense, it is an effective gambit due to the academic credentials of the authors and the ‘scientific’ pretensions of the report, even though the whole enterprise is based on faulty premises (read this for the ugly details). The State Department certainly got full value for its money.

Now I want to switch gears, because it isn’t the question of textbooks and incitement that I really want to talk about (check Palestinian Media Watch for more examples than you wanted to see).

Note that the two non-Arab co-authors happen to be Jewish.

I used to write ‘man-bites-dog’ stories about Jewish anti-Zionism. I would write, “with Jews like these, who needs antisemites?” I spent a lot of time trying to understand their apparently inconsistent behavior, given the importance of the Jewish state to the cultural and physical survival of the Jewish people. I wrote literally tens of articles on the subject of J Street, the phony pro-Israel organization, and about the recently-elected head of the Reform Movement, who was an activist in J Street and the New Israel Fund.

I have stopped being surprised at this. It no longer appears remarkable to me when I notice that the leaders of anti-Zionist groups are Jews, sometimes rabbis. I am beginning to sympathize with whoever it was who said that whenever he or she sees a Jewish name at the bottom of a letter to the editor, there’s no need to read it. I can only shrug when I note the overwhelming Jewish support for the most anti-Israel US administration since 1948. I don’t dislike Max Blumenthal as much as I disliked Yasser Arafat any more.

There are reasons for all of these things, in psychology and politics. I am no longer interested in them. I have always thought that my mission was, above all, to educate my Jewish friends about Zionism and why it is important for Jews to be Zionists. I am no longer sure that this is possible.

No, now there is only one overriding issue for me:

How do we get Chuck Hagel a Bar Mitzvah?

Note: No, I don’t really think Chuck Hagel is Jewish. There is no evidence for that, unless you count his over-the-top anti-Zionism.

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3 Responses to “BREAKING: Is Hagel Jewish?”

  1. Zachary says:

    Vic: You are educating many Jews to be Zionists or supporters of Zionism. The anti-Israel Jews you mention have big mouths and small audiences. Sometimes I believe they are not even real people, but robots or walking tape recorders fighting 100-year old battles between Bundists, Zionists, Marxists, American Council for Judaism and other antique loser groups. The cover (racism, anti-colonialism, etc.) may change but the contents are the same. Although it is often difficult, try and ignore their neurotic assertive venom.

    Rather focus on the overwhelming number of American Jews either sympathetic or at worst ignorant of events in Israel and the Middle East. Explain the facts to them and encourage these people to do their own research and reading (books such as The Oslo Syndrome and John Lennon and the Jews) are fantastic and helped me. I also liked Jews and Power by Ruth Wisse.

    Also be sure non-Jewish Americans, the majority of whom are sympathetic to Israel, get the facts. Israel is a success story; the American Jewish community is a success story. Both have made many positive achievements for Jews and all other people. They and you are doing good work.

  2. Zachary says:

    Correct sentence to “100 year old battles where Bundists, Marxists, American Council for Judaism and other antique loser groups were fighting Zionists.”

  3. Robman says:

    I agree with Zachary, with a few caveats.

    First, the good news. I’ve been involved with Israel advocacy at the grassroots level for about a decade now. I know for a fact that the solid majority – I’d guess around 70% – of American Jews care about Israel, and don’t buy the anti-Zionist crap put out by “judenrat” types.

    The problem we have is that most of that 70% – I’d say around roughly two thirds to three quarters – are too scared and/or uninformed to have the confidence to speak up and speak out in favor of Israel.

    I wouldn’t even characterize most of the 30% I exclude here as being “anti-Israel”. Of these, most just don’t care one way or the other. The anti-Israel types really are a pretty small minority.

    The most important goal of Israel advocacy, I’ve said for some time, is to get that two thirds/three quarters of pro-Israel Jews who are hiding under their beds to come out and step up to the plate. I think people like us do good work in this regard, and we have to keep swinging. What else can we do?

    Now, for the bad news.

    So, why does the small minority of Jews who like to bash Israel get so much attention?

    There are two elements to this, and both add up to a rather grim picture.

    First, there is a basic dynamic of mass psycho-social behavior among “occupied” peoples. Take any country that has been under occupation – say, France during WW2 – and you will find a certain segment that if perfectly willing to collaborate with their occupiers at the expense of their national brethren. The longer the occupation lasts, the more people will turn up like this. It is a survival mechanism, which appears to “work” – and thus attracts people to such behavior – the longer the occupation lasts.

    Now, consider the situation of Jewish populations for most of the last 2000 years. Until the establishment of modern Israel – which happened practically just last week in historical perspective – Jews lived in a constant state of “occupation” century after century, always outgunned and outnumbered. So, the “collaboration” reflex has been built into our national-ethnic polity as a survival mechanism to a much greater degree than other populations.

    Start with this larger than average base of potential sellouts, and add to this a very well-funded, well-organized anti-Israel coalition. It entices prospects with “love” and “acceptance” and “security” and “status” and of course, financial rewards, if they cooperate.

    This is hard to fight. Not impossible, but hard.

    The cure for many would be going to Israel. I read somwhere recently that only 10% of American Jews have ever actually been to Israel. Just experiencing the Jewish country for real could well “inoculate” them against the siren song of the anti-Zionists. Won’t work every time, but it should a lot. That’s why programs like Birthright are sooooo important. Whoever thought that up was using their noodle.

    For my part, I simply ignore the anti-Zionist Jews, write them off as contemptible traitors, and refuse to waste any time or energy on them.

    I concentrate on educating the well-intentioned and/or timid among us, and partnering with our Gentile friends. With patience and persistence, we have a fighting chance with these.

    I confess, however, with the re-election of Obama, I define “fighting chance” as about 40% at best. The Bad Guys may not succeed in destroying Israel – as long as Iran is stopped from getting nukes, I’m confident the Bad Guys will fail in this – but I give them a 60% chance of destroying the U.S.-Israeli alliance. On that front, I am afraid we are more than likely screwed. The incredible scope and depth of control Islamist interests have in the media, academia, and the government here at the national level, as now represented by their crowning achievement in Obama, likely spells the end of the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S.

    I expect Israel to ultimately align with China at the expense of the U.S. I recognize that there are a lot of potential problems and risks with this, but at least the Chinese are not anti-Semitic at all, which is a huge advantage right there.

    Some here might object and say that “…but China is not a democracy”.

    I’d counter that neither is the U.S., under Obama.