Monday, November 7, 2011

Reuven Has Some Words

Reuven said...

I do not believe that the left is more tolerant of antisemitism than the right. Yes, there is an element of the "left," and I use that term here because of how the people self-identify, that engage in it and tolerate it in the name of what they consider "The Cause." However, that is not representative of the left as a whole, nor should it be presented that way. There are elements on both the self-identified left and the self-identified right that engage in antisemitism or tolerate or look the other way when it arises because it suits their political interests to do so. I am simply criticizing your broad brush against the entirety of the left and your continual glossing over or ignoring it when it occurs on the right.

If you criticized both the marginal elements of the left AND the right for their tolerance of antisemitism, then my criticisms, if existent, would be considerably different. However, you do not criticize the right, and while not considering yourself a member of it, do them a service through that. You consider yourself an independent with no allegiance to left or right, then act as one. Call out the antisemitism wherever and whenever it occurs, instead of simply focusing on the left.

November 7, 2011 1:00 PM


I want to thank Reuven for his ongoing and fair-minded criticisms, because those criticisms are helpful to me as I build and modify my argument.

I agree, as I have often said, that anti-Semitism "is not representative of the left as a whole." That has been my position all the way through. The problem with the left is not that it is anti-Semitic, but that it turns a blind eye. A perfect example is in the nice lady from My Left Wing (not the thoughtful owner of that blog) who doesn't mind participating on another blog wherein the Star of David is kicked around, and torn, on the front page. I found that detestable, but she did not because, as a typical progressive, she did not mind even blatant expressions of anti-Semitism.

This is not because she, herself, is anti-Semitic, but merely that she does not care one way or the other.

There are elements on both the self-identified left and the self-identified right that engage in antisemitism or tolerate or look the other way...

Sure, but the difference is that the American right-wing has not legitimized anti-Semitism by bringing an anti-Semitic political movement under their umbrella. The right has random bigots of every way, shape, and form, as do we, but they have marginalized their anti-Semites. The American left, and I am left by any measure on the actual issues, has institutionalized its bigotry by accepting the anti-Semitic BDS movement... the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction... the Jews of the Middle East.

The right has anti-Semitism, but the left promotes anti-Semitism by giving anti-Semitic anti-Zionism and the BDS movement venues and a voice.

That's the difference, Reuven.

And, believe me, I do not like it any better than you do, but we have to face the political environment as it is now, not how it was twenty years ago.

The right has bigots, but the left has institutionalized their anti-Semitism.

It is for this reason that I recommend that American Jews boycott the progressive-left, while making our displeasure known to the Democratic Party by giving them a vacation, at least for this cycle.

Finally, if I focus on the left, it is because I come from the left.

From the American right I expect nothing.

This is me from just a few years ago:

I must have marched at least a dozen times against those wars.

Nonetheless, I know that the right is far friendlier to Israel than is the American left.

Sad, but true.

And the European left? Fuggedaboutit.

We have been betrayed... for reasons that we can discuss.


  1. Another dimension is that the Left is generally anti-Israel and this criticism can have the tendency to spill into antisemitism.

    There is no question in my mind that the Left is more tolerant of anti-Israel voices, not to mention more hesitant to speak out in fear of being stigmatized.

  2. Take a look at Pat Buchanan. He's of the right and he's still tolerated in the GOP. His prime has past, but he still's still around. Then take a look at one of the conservative darlings these days, Ron Paul, who just suggested that we cozy up to Iran, the same country that wants to commit genocide and employs groups such as Hezbollah and the genocide-advocating Hamas as their proxies. That's just on the established right. It says nothing of the kooks.

    As for the left, the antisemites and those that are enemies of the Jewish People, are not institutionalized. Yes, at sites like Daily Kos there is toleration and support for the antisemites. However, even within the context of the grassroots, Daily Kos is but a small player. If you took a survey of the grassroots, I'm willing to bet that a significant majority would have never heard of Daily Kos. With respect to The Huffington Post, it portrays a diversity of opinion, and, I must say, I am sorely disappointed with the Israel hatred that is allowed to flourish there. That said, defenders of Israel also post there.

    My own personal view is that the world, itself, is largely antisemitic. Most of the world, left and center and right, hates us simply for existing and being ourselves. That's something that's been the case for centuries, and, unfortunately, I do not see changing anytime soon. Remember, during the 1930s governments left and right closed their doors to our fellow Jews fleeing Europe. I have no doubt that if such a situation were to once again arise, history would repeat itself.

    Thank G-d we have Israel, because it means that if that situation ever were to arise again there would at least be one country where we could go. Whenever I think on this, I can never escape thinking how 6 million would have been saved had Israel existed 10 years earlier or if the world's countries had opened their doors or if Britain had opened the doors of their Palestine Mandate or the Arabs had decided to welcome their Jewish cousins with open arms instead of fighting tooth and nail against it and many of their leaders, including the Mufti of Jerusalem, openly allying with the Nazis.

  3. "Thank G-d we have Israel,"

    Amen to that.

  4. I think both your argument that the left promotes anti-semitism and institutionalizes it are exaggerations. I wish I had more time to elaborate, I've spent hours thinking through this when I'm not sitting at a computer and when I am, I don't have the time to type out the words.

    I'll try to give you a short version.

    Particularly as it pertains to dkos....I/P is poison. No one that isn't involved emotionally likes going in there. They don't understand it. They don't like the hate, which they perceive as coming from both sides. They may not be wrong in that perception, though it takes a focused and trained eye to realize that it is not coming evenly from both sides, and is probably closer to 90% from one side and 10% from the other. It takes the most careful reader to catch the nuances, and most that aren't emotionally involved won't do that.

    Just my conclusion as a reader there for many years, Markos is torn between free speech and hate speech. And would rather that I/P just go away so he doesn't have to be bothered with it. It's not his issue. He has neither the time nor the inclination to learn enough to take sides. He'll step in on occasion, or have others step in on his behalf, and he'll kick out those that appear to be at the center of the problems, whether their arguments are valid or not. Get rid of Karma, get rid of the acrimony. Doesn't matter if Karma is right or wrong. There is some logic there.

    And on a larger point, which I probably should have put first...

    As I mentioned, many of your arguments are nuanced. You copy and paste quotes from others, and without your commentary, even I don't see the problems with the comments. I'll be the last one to ever tell anyone else that they shouldn't be offended by another's words. But there are times when you see things that I don't. And I am emotionally involved. Even after your explanations I sometimes don't see it.

    BDS for example. You are convinced that it is a racist movement. I'm not. I'm not saying it's not bad for Israel. But I don't see things that are bad for Israel as inherently racist. Nor do I think that because some people who have adopted it as a cause ARE racist, that everyone who supports it should be shunned. I'm not telling you that you're wrong. Just that I'm not convinced. And if I don't see it even after you outline your argument in detail, I think it's unfair for you to expect everyone else to understand it.

    And finally, your argument that Jews should flee the democratic party because there is an element of the left that is welcomed into the progressive-left movement. For one thing, as our friend Curmudgette would point out, the argument begs the question. There is no organized "progressive-left" movement. There are only a tiny handful of the 537 federally elected officials that could be identified as "progressive-left" anyway. (I know he's not a Democrat, but are you really going to argue that Jews shouldn't support Bernie Sanders because he's progressive left?) Main stream democrats ignore the progressive left agendas. They are not the base. Never have been the base. Nobody panders to them, even in secrecy.

    And even if there was such a thing...I would propose the following analogy. And it fits perfectly because of your new geographic surroundings. For as long as I can remember (and this goes back literally, since before you were born), there has been a element within Oakland Raider fans that were just thugs. When the Raiders came to town, hundreds, maybe thousands of fans stayed away from the games because of that element. It followed them from Oakland to LA and back to Oakland again. Your argument would hold that no law abiding decent person should be an Oakland Raider fan because of that element. There are bad Raider fans, and therefore there should be no good Raider fans. I'm sorry Karma, but that just makes no sense to me. None whatsoever.

  5. Reuven, that is a great comment!

    Karma, he's right. The problem here is that the world is antisemitic. The Paulbots are antisemites. Pat Buchannon is an antisemite. The far left loons are antisemites. And so on. You might as well say that as the Party that is home to the Paulbots and their antisemitism/antizionism, we should never, ever vote Republican.

    Why should we abandon the Democratic Party at this point when every Democratic elected official is pro-Israel and a friend to the Jewish people, as is the Democratic Party platform?? They are doing everything right.

    To the extent that far-left antisemite/antizionist loons are even involved with the Democratic party, they are so powerless as to not even matter, at least at this point.

    I still don't see how your argument holds up. It would be one thing to say that Jews should abandon the far left because of its embrace of antisemitism/antizionism, which I basically agree with you on. But to abandon the Democratic party, which displays no such embrace, makes no sense.

  6. I would take it one step further fizziks. I am pretty far left. There is nothing for me to abandon. Which club should I end my membership? Abandon websites who actively promote anti-semitism? Sure, that's easy. But I'm certainly not going to suddenly decide that Herman Cain is my man.

  7. That does not mean that people should not expose what is going on with Leftist activists, and the way they are poisoning things.

    Just take a look at the situation with Europe's intelligentsia and one can easily see where this is headed.

  8. I think the antisemitism should be exposed, no matter where it comes from. Additionally, I agree that it must be said, even until we are blue in the face, about how "anti-Zionism" is almost always used as window dressing for underlying antisemitism. That is something universal, whether it is coming from the left, right or center.

    As for Europe, Europe has always been a problem, so that is nothing new. It's simply that the far-right there, for the time being, has decided that being Islamophobic is more important than antisemitism. Make no mistake about it, for all their professing "love" for Israel, they're generally still the same antisemitic bastards they've always been.

  9. European antisemitism is much more characteristic of the European left than the right.

    It's not Islamophobic to raise issues that are occurring on the ground. The governments in the EU have usurped authority and created a democracy deficit, using multiculturalism excessively, in my opinion.

    I believe that Islamophobia is used as a sword to stifle what are real problems, and the right to expression is under challenge.

  10. Here is a link to a video that is uncomfortable, but not so off either, in terms of those who partake in antisemitism.

  11. Regardless of position this debate is great stuff! Glad to see it. (sorry if I sound all Rusty Pipeish but you know........)