Friday, June 22, 2012

Freedom from "the Group"

Mike L.

Demanding partisan and ideological loyalty is a funny thing.

It is also very often an ugly thing. What I want, though, for Israel Thrives moving forward is to simply rethink the terms of discussion around the Long Arab War against the Jews of the Middle East.

That's the main point.

Although I am highly critical of the progressive-left, my purpose is not to promote the conservative right. What "progressive Zionists" need to understand, and what progressives, in general, need to understand, is that any and all criticism of them cannot be simply dismissed as "right-wing." In fact, no criticism of anything can simply be dismissed by slapping a defamatory label on that criticism. If you want to discuss intellectual laziness, it gets no more intellectually lazy than the ad hominem smear.

This is, in fact, one of the most pernicious aspects of political criticism. The notion that if one criticizes the Left one must automatically be dismissed as coming from the Right. Or, conversely, the notion that if one criticizes the Right one must automatically be dismissed as coming from the Left.

The challenge is to think about what we care about in a manner that is as honest as possible. This is exceedingly difficult if one also cares about the approval of "the group." Politics, obviously, is not just about political ideas or ideals, but also about the social. To be a political apostate carries a social burden... although not nearly the social burden of being an Islamic religious apostate which sometimes results in murder.

This particular political moment cries out for apostates, however. We need Jewish people, and friends of Jewish people, to stand up and say, "NO." We need Jewish people, and friends of Jewish people, to not allow themselves to be intimidated by "the group," by the mob of ideological zombies.

Because the Arabs and the Palestinians absolutely refuse a negotiated end of hostilities in a two-state solution we must think about the conflict in ways that are post-Oslo and certainly post-Obama. We have got to move on, but we cannot do so if we remain stuck in the ideological past. The current moment, this specific year, is a crux. Political sands are shifting and we need flexibility of thought so that we can adapt to changing political circumstances.

The first best way to do that is to throw away old and useless categories. "Right Wing" and "Left Wing" are almost entirely meaningless at this point. The only thing that matters is the survival of the Jewish people via the survival of the Jewish state. If Israel is to survive, which I am confident that it will, it must counter aggression against it. In the past this aggression... an aggression that has come from the Arab and Muslim communities... has taken the form of riots and pogroms during the years of the Mufti, conventional war during the middle of the twentieth century, terrorism since the rise of the PLO and Hamas, and delegitimization at the current moment.

The effort to eventually liquidate Israel via delegitimization before the world community should not be underestimated. It is the foremost challenge of the Jewish people at this time. The only way to counter the international effort to delegitimize Israel, which is in fact an effort coming out of the progressive-left in an alliance with the Islamist right, is to present our case within the larger historical context.

Acknowledging the larger historical context means recognizing the long centuries of Jewish dhimmitude under the boot of Arab and Muslim imperial rule in the Middle East. Acknowledging this obvious truth does not constitute hatred. It constitutes a recognition of the history of the conflict without which no understanding of the conflict is possible. Just as one cannot understand the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States without understanding the history of Jim Crow and African slavery in America, so one cannot understand the war against the Jews in the Middle East without reference to centuries of Jewish dhimmitude.

What we need to do, if we honestly care about the well-being of the Jewish people, is to rid ourselves of the Oslo Delusion and to think about the situation in a fresh manner.

That's all I want and no one should be persecuted or ostracized, particularly by other Jews, for understanding this.

Nevertheless, Israel thrives and for that I am very grateful. Some call me a conservative, but the truth is that I am a hippie at heart. If anyone cares to honestly disagree then I welcome them to show some guts and do so, here, in a public way and in a respectful manner.

There is only one person banned from this blog... and he was banned for exceeding nastiness... but I welcome any of those lurking in his shadow to tell me how I am wrong.


  1. From a newly-declared apostate, thanks. Great essay. I'm sure from here on out, I'm going to be smeared as a "right winger," even though I am politically about as far left as mainstream left in the US goes (I do sympathize with socialists, personally, but I don't call for the end of capitalism and private property or anything; and in addition to being pro-choice and pro-equality and a long-time local food and sustainability advocate, I am also pro-gun, pro-police and pro-law and order).

    But whatever.

    I don't hate people who disagree with me, and I am tolerant of different views. Even if those views are essentially anti-tolerance. I won't agree with them, and I'll fight them, but I'll still always have that ultra-tolerant leftist streak in me. The left, my home, sadly needs to work on this just as much, if not more so, than the right.

    Now back to our regular-scheduled programming, where you and oldschool and I and so many others are called Republicans, just to dismiss us... ;)

  2. I also must concur in what is presented here. It is a sad and sorry state we are in, and it extends into so many other issues as well. Too many choose to reside in echo chambers, and use personal attacks to stifle ideas that do not resonate with the echo. In the end we all lose, and our common adversaries gain.

    1. This.

      "Too many choose to reside in echo chambers, and use personal attacks to stifle ideas that do not resonate with the echo. In the end we all lose, and our common adversaries gain."

  3. This, too.

    "but I welcome any of those lurking in his shadow to tell me how I am wrong."

    Me, as well. I'd love to see someone make 'the case' against me in public. That is, if there is one...

    1. Is it a matter of showing how one is wrong, as compared to giving a different view so readers can best make their own decision?

      I have no need or desire to prove who I am to people who are prejudiced. I would prefer not to see such ignorance, but a more accepting disposition instead. This may be impossible for activists, who are interested solely in their truth and seek to impose it on others.

    2. Yeah, in there lies the ultimate point, school. I don't care what others say about me now, either. But it would at least be nice to see them say something (anything!), once in a while, to perhaps at least get me to think.

    3. My mind, as always, is open. Would that this were the case with certain others...

    4. Yes, there is nothing much to think about when someone is calling you a this or that.

    5. Indeed. I once tried to build a website where tolerance was the ultimate virtue, and upon doing so was assailed with endless "but not the right, not Republicans, not anyone who disagrees with us; not even those on the Left who we call "purity trolls," because we simply don't want to deal with any of that!" crap.

      So from here on out I know what I'll be called. Do I ultimately care, though? Nope.

  4. They won't even admit that they want the destruction of Israel and that the two state solution is not even on the agenda.

    1. For some, perhaps, but the real problem is that there are many who actually agree with us on the issues, but yet are shit afraid to say so (and G-d forbid they should do so here at an unapproved source like Israel Thrives!) for fear of being cast out by the 'enforcers' amongst them.

      Well, I was cast out. And I have to admit, it was, indeed, quite freeeing to no longer care what pseudo-left 'enforcers' have to say about me. They can have at it. At least now I no longer have to pretend that conservatives are our greatest enemies, while all the while carefully ignoring Jihad Incorporated.

    2. No offense, but I would not presume that at all.

      I tend to think that many are conflicted by competing notions of what should be and this is often manifested in negative means of behavior.

      This may be more prevalent when people treat aspiration as reality, something I have been guilty of, too.

  5. Jay,

    Who cares?

    I've learned through my own experiences in life, to do and say what is in my heart and what I think is the right thing to do.

    That won't steer you wrong. Some people don't like the fact I am so honest, open upfront, call it what you will. Tough luck!

    1. Ah, but actually... to answer your question, though?

      I do still care.

      Posting here eventually cost me about a dozen friends, and the worst part is that none of them even had the gall to come to me directly about it. But in the end, it doesn't matter any more, and if any of them have the nerve to say anything to me (they don't), they still know exactly how and where to find me.

      So, that's that I guess... ;)

    2. Jay,

      a number of those people, if my experience is any indication, will continue to associate with you... just not in any way that is public to the others.

      This is what it means to be an apostate.

  6. Sad when politics leads to stuff like this, especially when friendships are involved. I know I was initially very hurt to learn I was suddenly an evil hate site dweller. I always thought I was a pretty nice guy!

  7. Jay

    If posting here cost you friends, sorry to say they weren't friends in the beginning!

    I've had run-ins lately with a few people, because I don't agree with them on everything they say.

    What makes them right and me wrong? One is high up and knowledgeable with the Community hierarchy. He couldn't understand why I didn't agree with everything he said. I was taking a course he was running. During the last two sessions almost every statement he made, he prefaced with "That is of course if Shirlee agrees with it" I don’t think he has quite got over it, but at least now we discuss things. It’s not a case of him telling me everything now.

    ………. To fall out over a difference in thought,?? Sorry I have no time for people like that.

    On rare occasions my thoughts run slightly to the left. Hope I haven’t committed a mortal sin by admitting that. I was raised very much on the left. My father was an elected member of government in England for 25 years as a Communist. I grew up on rallies, speeches, electioneering and protests , which are in my blood , that’s what I still enjoy and really get stuck into, albeit on the opposite side of politics.

    Don’t faint by that admission.

    Communism in Britain, I now realise after reading and researching, was a very different brand of Communism to that in the US and Australia. It wasn’t militant and anti everything that opens and closes. It was very much defending the rights of the working class. I’m telling you this, because I was upset by something I felt whilst in Israel and a guy took me to task over it. You’d have thought I’d committed a murder “Have you told so-and-so how you feel? You’ve been brainwashed. It’s the Left upbringing you had” It appears that only those on the left are supposed to have compassion for their fellow men.

    He said he wouldn’t speak to me again and told me that he wished me well and goodbye. I worked hard to get that relationship back on track, so Jay, if you feel these people are important in your life, work on re-building that relationship. If it doesn’t work don’t be downcast. They obviously they are not worthy of your friendship.

  8. I can't help but notice that not a single individual who is welcome to challenge me here, has done so.

    Some call this a "hate site" but who has the gonads to justify that malicious charge?

    Hey, fizziks,

    why don't you come here and explain it to us?

    1. You might want to move on from fizziks and his lame ideas. Fighting clowns one at a time may not get us anywhere.

    2. I presume 'fizziks' is a person of sorts !!

    3. I thought fizziks was more open-minded than some others.

      Although some rhetoric here may on occasion go past what I would prefer, it is ridiculous to call this a hate site, especially when it's done in a hateful way, as "the Group" is wont to do.

      That said, I agree that fighting clowns is not productive.

  9. The whole dynamic of the overall discussion on the left is set up in a way that prevents people from even discussing, or acknowledging, radical Islam.

    If you so much as even notice that there are imams throughout the Muslim world screaming for Jewish blood it makes you an "Islamaphobe."

    In order to be a good Jew within "the group" one must be silent about the genocidal Jew Hatred emanating from within the Muslim Middle East.

    It is for this reason that some on the left can literally ally themselves with Hamas and still think of themselves as rational progressives.

    We have been intimidated into silence concerning those who would do us harm and it is people, such as those who comprise "the group," who do much to encourage that intimidation and shaming.

    We cannot resolve the problem of radical Islam, however, without discussing it, but we cannot even discuss it without being smeared as racist.

    How's that for a sick and evil game?

    And, yes, it is a sick and evil game coming from the political left, not the political right.

    1. On this issue, yes, many on the political left behave badly and ignore events and the obvious, constructing a environment that chills discussion of ideas and encourages demonization.

      Many on the political right, however, play similar games if one does not subscribe to "the Group" and "groupthink" as they practice it, oblivious to the realities of others, and no less prone to acts of demonization.

  10. Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi named Egypt's President

    MB Leader: "Allah Imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish Them" "Next Time...[by] the Believers"

    MB Leaders Calling for Killing of the Jews, quoting Bukhari, at Rally, Nov. 2011

    Muslim Brotherhood speaker - "The Capital of the Caliphate...will be Jerusalem", May 1, 2012

    Tarek Fatah: Islamism; Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood

    Barack Obama and Islam - Spencer, Ibrahim, Gaffney respond to a question

    A primer on Islam and the contemporary Islamic supremacist political movement:

    Raymond Ibrahim: The Muslim Perspective


    Jews Failed to Spot Hitler's Menace



    LA Jewish group capitulates to Hamas-linked CAIR, cancels Geller event

    Tragically Chilling Forgotten News: Nazi Party Representatives Attend 1933 Berlin Jewish Community Winter Relief Gathering

  11. Former Leftist Eric Allen Bell: What is right about Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

  12. Dan,

    thank you for the MB links.

    This material is very important and I will front page it.

  13. And imagine that, Mike. Unlike certain folks out there, you actually managed to redefine / clarify the point of your blog without stealing the words and work of others!