I like to think of Israel Thrives as simply a way to think aloud about a topic that is very important to Jewish people and to those who care about the well-being of the Jewish state of Israel. I like it when people present alternative viewpoints here if they do so in a manner that is not insulting or nasty because it helps me to clarify ideas in my own mind.
In a recent comment to Stuart, I wrote this:
What we've been seeing since the anti-Jewish pogroms of the 1920s is a continuation of anti-Jewish racist policies that goes back to the time of Muhammed.
When we stand up for Israel, therefore, we are standing up for our civil liberties.
This strikes me as a key point and one that we would do well to bear in mind.
Those on the left who oppose Israel, or who think that Israel is unjust to the Palestinians, do not understand this. They think of tiny Israel as some sort of western behemoth in the Middle East.
The whole Zionist project was about securing our freedom and our human rights after 2,000 years of persecution and 1,300 years of dhimmitude under the boot of Islamic imperialism. In this sense, all Jews, both Israeli and diaspora, owe the Zionists a tremendous debt. The redemption of the Jewish people came at the expense of their blood, after all.
The reason that Israel does what it does is because it lives within the crucible of continuing Arab-Muslim hostility, a hostility that goes back to the days of Muhammad. The Jews of the Middle East are, and have been, a tiny persecuted minority doing whatever they can do to protect themselves and their children from the murderous hostility of the region's majority.
Perhaps this is too obvious to even express, but it seems to me that we need to keep it in mind. All Israel wants is to be left the hell alone. The Jews of the Middle East have no desire to oppress anyone. The reason that there are checkpoints in Judea and Samaria (and, yes, we should give up the Jordanian term "West Bank") and the reason that Israel maintains a blockade of Gaza is because the Arab majority in that part of the world absolutely refuses to leave those Jews in peace. Were it not for ongoing Arab and Muslim hostility toward Jews there would be no "occupation." What we think of as the occupation is nothing more than Jewish efforts at Jewish self-defense from a hostile population that outnumbers us 50 or 60 to 1 in that part of the world and 100 to 1 worldwide.
We need to remind ourselves, and to remind others, that when we stand up for Israel we are standing up for our human rights. There was a time when the progressive-left respected that. They certainly respected it when Black people stood up for their own rights during the Civil Rights Movement and the movement for Black Power. They respected it when Latinos stood up for themselves in the Brown Power movement and when women and gay people stood up for themselves in Second Wave Feminism and the contemporary LGBT movement.
If the progressive-left refuses to stand with us in our movement for national liberation, despite the fact that we always stood with them, then they throw their own values in the gutter. They also, consequently, should lose our support.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the Jewish people will stand up for our rights to self-determination and self-defense.
And that, to my mind at least, is precisely what Israel (G-d love it) is all about.
Happy Rosh Hashanah.