Monday, July 11, 2011

The Jews and Israel Are One: An Open Letter

One of the primary assumptions on the anti-Zionist Left is that Israel and the Jewish people have virtually nothing to do with one another and, therefore, no matter what horrible things you say about the Jewish state, this is not meant to convey anything negative toward the Jewish people.

Of the various "big lies" that inform I-P discourse, this is among the most prominent and least discussed. It represents a general background which is so pervasive it just fades into the wallpaper.

The problem, of course, is that it is a "lie." The notion is entirely false. The fact of the matter is that Israeli Jews and diaspora Jews are brothers and sisters. We stand together, even in disagreement, and we do so under the name of Israel. We, as a people, are Israel. Israel is the Jewish state and it is the Jewish people. We may agree or disagree with the policies of the Jewish state, but almost to a person we support Israel, stand with Israel, and stand with our fellow Jews.

I know, of course, that there are any number of Jewish anti-Zionists or Israel Haters that "progressives" can point to in order to justify their malice, but the vast majority of Jews, both Israeli and diaspora, feel more or less like I do.

We support one another, particularly when we perceive ourselves as under siege and make no mistake, Israel is very clearly under siege. In the modern Middle East Jews have been under siege for one hundred years. The Long War Against the Jews began in the 1920s when the Mufti instigated Arab riots against us and it continues to this day.

For this reason we need very much not to demonize one another based on our varied political positions. I often criticize, and even berate, the Jewish liberal left, but I come out of the Jewish liberal left. In fact, to be more accurate, I would say that I just come out of the Left, because "Jewish" was not so important to me until I realized the extent of the challenge that we continue to face as a people.

Therefore, we need to understand that pro-Israel Jewish conservatives, such as, say, Netanyahu or David Horowitz, or whoever, are not our enemies. They are friends that we may disagree with on policy, but they want essentially what Jewish liberals want. They want peace. The problem, obviously, is that they disagree with Jewish liberals on how to get there. But let that disagreement be a disagreement among friends. Let us encourage the Jewish Right to understand the good intentions of the Jewish Left, but let the Jewish Left also understand the good intentions of the Jewish Right and let us reach out to one another during a period of rising danger.

Finally, we also must understand who our non-Jewish friends are and who they are not. This is a very important point because many, many people on the progressive-left are trying their hardest to sell us on the idea that our friends are our enemies and our enemies are our friends.

Do not buy into this.

Keep it relatively simple. If they speak nicely toward the Jews and the Jewish state then they are friends. If they defame the Jewish state, and by extension the Jewish people, then they are not our friends.

It's not particularly complex, nor should it be. Our friends will criticize, but our enemies will demonize. That's the difference. And if our friends fail to criticize, you can be sure that we will do a fine and dandy job of criticizing ourselves, thank you very much. Jews are probably the most self-critical people on the entire planet. (Too much so, in my opinion.)

One striking example of unrequited friendship toward us, of course, is the Evangelical community. Those people are NOT our enemy. They simply are not. We may disagree with them about a woman's right to choose an abortion or about the right of marriage for Gay people, but this does not change the fact that the Evangelical community is probably the best non-Jewish friends that Israel has anywhere in the world.

I know that most of you think that the Evangelicals only care about Israel out of some malicious and crazed End of Days theological framework, but if you believe this then you simply do not understand the Evangelicals.

Maybe I will write more on them at some later date.

Peace to you, please.

Mike Lumish (Karam)

By the way, here is a link to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It's a video of him speaking about his work with Evangelicals with Rabbi Mark Golub, the wise and friendly host of Shalom TV, and runs about 45 minutes.

If you can take the time you should check it out, because his insights are important... despite Rabbi Golub's too lengthy introduction.

6 comments:

  1. The difficulty progressive Jews have with the Anti-Zionist left (Jew haters) are progressive Jews are 'progressives' or 'liberal's' or 'Democrats' or 'pro-choice', etc, before they are Jews. They prioritize wrong.

    We come from an environment in the US where we don't feel threatened about being Jewish. In the US, being Jewish is safe and OK, by and large. For the politically active left-wing Jew, accepting that Jew hatred finds its home among the left is painful. So the Jew ignores it. Rationalizes it. Attempts to moderate it. All of this eventually fails.

    The leftest Jew believes that without the left there is no place to go. Certainly the right is the 'enemy'. But many leftist Jews are freeing their minds and fleeing the Democratic party. Coming to a place where it's OK to leave the left (even if one doesn't head to the right). They continue to be pro-choice, pro environment, anti-gun, etc, but they also choose to Jews first and understand that the Democrats are guilty for opening their 'Big Tent' to Jew haters.

    Once the liberal Jew realizes that they don't have to be a Republican when the leave the Democratic party, leave they will.

    The truth will set them free (does that sound Christian?).

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  2. when "racist right winger" are the epithets of the left, a lot of people shake in their boots because liberals often see people with different views as less of people. I have liberal views on social issues and support social safety nets, but the archetypical liberal has more than just views, but an attitude, a smug one at that.

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  3. Kumar,

    it is always a pleasure.

    One thing that I have really learned over the last few years is the religious-like nature of ideology and it is this that accounts for the smug attitude that you mention.

    The people that bother me the most, I suppose, particularly on this issue, are the ones for whom opinion pops out like Pez dispenser candy.

    It's all predetermined.

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  4. Anyone who hasn't followed the Mondofront hoax should do so and pay close attention to the bizarre beliefs outlined in this article. My question is how many dKos defenders of Mondofront share these beliefs? It's a diary I'd write were I still a member of dKosfront.

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  5. http://adamholland.blogspot.com/2011/07/mondoweiss-fundraising-hoax.html

    my bad, here's the link

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  6. Heh, and the Mondofront label gets more appropriate


    "But the most remarkable revelation is that one of Mondoweiss’s bloggers, Alec Kinnear– an obsessive Israel-basher– paid a handsome tribute on his own blog to the far-Right, anti-immigrant Austrian politician Jörg Haider after he died in 2008 (Farewell Jörg).

    Haider’s voice was resonant and clear, the structure of his sentences as well tailored as his suit. Little acquainted with the German language at that time, I was only able to follow the phonetic balance of Haider’s rhetoric.

    The audience was as rapt as I’d ever seen at the speech of a politician. From Haider’s end there appeared to be little grandstanding – none of the whipping up of the crowd that so cheapens many politician’s public speaking. Just an engaging speech.

    Not a word about Haider’s hateful views.

    From The Washington Post obituary of Haider:

    At times, Mr. Haider’s followers would start singing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” an anthem from the musical “Cabaret” that symbolized the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.
    …..
    As a young man, he practiced fencing with a straw dummy labeled with the name of Simon Wiesenthal, the Vienna-based hunter of Nazi war criminals.
    …..
    To great applause, Mr. Haider lauded a group of Waffen SS veterans at a 1995 reunion as “decent men of character who remained faithful to their ideals.”
    …..
    Mr. Haider lived on a 38,000-acre estate that provided a generous income from inherited forestlands. An uncle had bought the property at a bargain price after its Jewish owners were forced to flee in 1938.

    The BBC reported from Haider’s funeral:

    International guests included Sayf Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, who was a close friend of Mr Haider, and a delegation from Italy’s right-wing Northern League."

    http://hurryupharry.org/

    I love it when I'm right. I have been pointed out the far left/far right alliances for years under the label red/green alliance.

    Now when will "progressives," get it all through their thick heads?

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