Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Weakness and Irresponsibility of "Progressive Zionism" (Updated)


In a recent comment to a so-called "progressive Zionist," I said the following:

You are telling us, essentially, that

1) the rise of radical Islam throughout the Middle East represents the flowering of democracy... and who are we to quibble merely because that political movement is motivated by genocidal anti-Semitism.

And 2) Jews need to trust in Barack Obama, rather than in Israel, for the protection of the Jewish state.

It's foolishness, VB.

It's as if the twentieth century never happened.

I draw these conclusions because progressives, in general, and "progressive Zionists," in particular, virtually never discuss the rise of the radical Islam throughout the Middle East and often claim that supporting the so-called "Arab Spring" is to support the "flowering of democracy" in that part of the world.

The level of ideological blinkeredness that it takes to describe the emergence of radical Islam as a good thing is beyond comprehension. They honestly believe that merely because Arabs voted for theocratic fascist parties throughout the region that we are thus obligated to turn a blind eye or even to applaud.

Furthermore, "progressive Zionists" seem to want to hand over Israeli security concerns, viz-a-viz Iran, to Barack Obama rather than to Israel, itself. This is not surprising given the fact that organizations such as J Street want Americans to decide Israeli behavior, rather than Israelis, themselves.

In this way, so-called "progressive Zionists" have lost touch with the lessons of World War II and of the rise of fascism in Europe. They think that the rise of Islamist fascism in the Middle East is a good thing because they think of it, foolishly enough, as the rise of democracy there.  They do so because they have elected to remain willfully ignorant about just what radical Islam is.  And there are reasons for this, as well.

For my part, I will trust Israelis, not Americans and not Barack Obama, to decide for themselves how to deal with Iran. In the mean time, the very last people on the planet that we should listen to in regards Jewish security in the Middle East are people who are incapable of distinguishing friends from enemies or who fail to understand that the rise of radical Islam throughout the region is not the emergence of democracy there, but the emergence of a type of fascism there.

Furthermore, Barack Obama quite literally helped usher this fascist movement into power through calling for the ouster of Mubarak in Egypt, thereby paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that Obama met with in secret during the spring of 2009.


Yossi Klein Halevi writes in The New Republic:

Israeli leaders believe that their window of opportunity in launching a preemptive strike will be closing in the coming months. America, though, with its vastly superior firepower, could retain a military option even after Israel’s lapses. In other words: An Israeli decision not to strike this year will mean that it effectively ceded its self-defense—against a potentially existential threat—to America. When Obama tells Israel to give sanctions time, what he is really saying is: Trust me to stop Iran militarily when you no longer can.

By deferring to Barack Obama, rather than to the Israelis, this is precisely what "progressive Zionists" are asking us to accept.

The whole point of Zionism is to insure that Jews will no longer live or die according to the whims, or considerations, of others. If I am correct that "progressive Zionists" tend to want Israel to defer to Obama then they are, in fact, undermining one of the central meanings of what Zionism is, i.e., Jewish agency on the question of Jewish security.

Update 2:

Amos Yadlin in the New York Times:

Asking Israel’s leaders to abide by America’s timetable, and hence allowing Israel’s window of opportunity to be closed, is to make Washington a de facto proxy for Israel’s security — a tremendous leap of faith for Israelis faced with a looming Iranian bomb.

Are "progressive Zionists" asking the Jewish state to defer Jewish security to Barack Obama?

So it seems.


  1. Clearly there seems a hesitancy to look at the Islamist aspect of hatred for Jews and the Western way of life, as if our values are somehow worth less or that we are responsible for their hatred.

    Interestingly, there is plenty of wrath for Christian supporters of Israel because they need it for their Armageddon.

    On the other hand, one is called a hater of Muslims if he/she conveys that the doctrine of Shi’a Islam establishes a duty for faithful Muslims to bring on the End Times and expedite the appearance of the Twelfth Imam. One recommended way to hasten this apocalypse is to cause widespread destruction in the world by whatever means available.

    I am more concerned about the latter. I do not see the Christians actually engaged in trying to bring about the end by any means available.

    Why is discussing this version of Islam, that many don't know about, so taboo among some Progressives that they ignore the reality of this eschatological doctrine?

    Yes, the Iranians are rational actors. And that should be greater cause for concern than dumping on Christians who I may not agree with, but do not feel they constitute a threat.

    1. One of the things that "progressives" constantly tell one another is that Evangelical Christians, for all of their alleged love of the Jewish state, actually have malicious intentions toward Jews in some crazed eschatological, End of Days scenario.

      From what I can tell there is very little to suggest that most conservative Christians feel that way more than they see the Hebrew Bible as part of their scripture and identify the characters in that scripture with Jews... for reasons that should be entirely obvious.

      Personally, I think that we have been terrible friends to the Evangelical community, who represent another whole classification of people that "progressives" would encourage us to hate.

      Why do "progressives," present company accepted, tend to have so much hatred for so many people?

      Anyway, Rabbi Eckstein, of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, seems to be the go-to guy for Jewish / Christian relations.

    2. Christians may believe all this, but their ideas are passive, matters of pure faith. They do not engage in aggression that seeks to cause the result.

      Interestingly, it seems that there is more concern about the faith than the aggression.

    3. Is it your impression that we are to understand from "progressive Zionists" that Christians (or, even, Mormons) are of greater concern than Islamists?

      It seems to me that critiquing "progressive Zionism" is a good exercise because, really, what it is is critiquing a trend within diaspora liberal Jewry.

      I wondered what happened to the instinct for Jewish self-preservation with VB, a self-described "progressive Zionist," because it seems that progressives honestly think that Christians are a greater threat to Jews than are the Islamists that scream for genocide and that shoot rockets at Israelis.

      It makes no sense.

  2. Well, by the quantum of the complaints, one can surmise there is more concern about the Mormons and Christian persecution from old as if they are on the same scale as what goes on now from the Iranians and MB.

    Yes, there are anti-Israel Christians that are virulent, such as the World Council of Churches, but these differ from the Christians against whom they call out.,7340,L-4090528,00.html

    1. In that case, we have a problem.

      We're not doing sociology here, but it seems pretty clear that neither progressives nor "progressive Zionists" acknowledge their own enemies.

      It should be obvious by now that political Islam is a far, far greater threat to the Jewish state and the Jewish people than is any form of Christianity.

      Taken as a whole, I consider Christians to be our friends. There are some concerns about the Vatican and the high liturgical Protestantism, like the Episcopalians, but for the most part western Christians, particularly American western Christians, are friendly to Israel.

      So, we are facing a situation in which liberal Jewish activists, that is, "progressive Zionists" honestly believe that our friends are our enemies and our enemies are to be ignored.

      Is that a fair characterization?

    2. I don't want to overgeneralize, but it seems this is the case when one looks at the substance offered.

      You know, Mormon baptism of dead Jews is offensive, but is it a threat?

      And Christians that deal with the persecution from Muslims, from Egypt to Iraq to Nigeria, are ridiculed as haters whose concern for Israel is limited to salvation. But how is this a threat?

  3. The left in general which worries about the end times Christians very much welcome the World Council of Churches types who hate Israel and love the bunny like Palestinians. It's all very odd.