Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Response to Jon Haber

Mike L.

(Cross-Posted at Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.)

Those of you who follow Israel Thrives will recall that I recently had something of a dispute with pro-Israel "progressives" on Jon Haber's DivestThis! blog.

There are some Jews on the progressive-left who simply refuse to acknowledge that which is before their very eyes, i.e., that BDS / anti-Zionism is a toxic political sub-movement coming out of the left. It is not coming out of the right, nor does it somehow float above normal politics.


It is primarily a left-wing phenomenon and we need to acknowledge that because it could not be more obvious. We must stop playing ostrich.

In any case, I have responded to Jon Haber's piece, "Israel Left and Right" at my new Times of Israel blog, here:

"Anti-Zionism and the Left: A Response to Jon Haber"

Feel free to drop in and tell me why I am wrong.


  1. Generally, almost ALL anti-Israel activism and rhetoric comes out of the left IMO.

    1. Yup.

      I feel a little foolish even bothering to make the argument and on the Times of Israel, no less, but a willful failure to acknowledge the obvious, particularly on a matter so important to the Jewish people, is exceedingly annoying and foolish.

      Why are people so afraid to acknowledge obvious truths??

      In any case, go over there and please leave a comment. That's my debut post as a Times of Israel blogger.

  2. Congrats on the new gig, Mike. Great piece. I'm not sure why, or how, this point you bring up is considered a controversial one...

    1. Jay, I suppose the idea that BDS / anti-Zionism comes primarily from the progressive-left is, for some, controversial for a number of reasons. One reason has to do with strategy. Let's call it The Dershowitz Gambit.


      I like that.

      The idea behind this is that because most Americans prefer Israel to her enemies, including both Republicans and Democrats, that it makes strategic sense not to antagonize progressives who make up a large and active part of the Democratic party base.

      In other words, don't rock the boat. Let's not encourage the possibility of Israel becoming a partisan issue. Strategery, if you will.

      I am not unsympathetic to this view, but when "progressive Zionists" lie, or refuse to acknowledge that which is undeniable, it becomes disingenuous, false, counterproductive, and just plain dumb.

      Of course, BDS / anti-Zionism derives mainly from the progressive-left. Any half-bright Jew who follows this issue and denies it is either a liar or so ideologically blinkered as to not know which direction is up.

    2. The problem with that theory, of course, is that BDS isn't going to go away on its own, and we need to fight them where they are. The first step is acknowledgment. And we don't find them on the pages of the National Review or RedState.

      And just my luck. Today's probably (hopefully!) gonna be the last 90-plus degree day of the year (94 is the call, with 7000% humidity), and I have to work outside, clearing a vacant lot of a jungle of weeds (and being Kensington, dozens of beer bottles and cans, and likely a used needle or five, and maybe even a body!), some with 2-plus-inch stems and about 10-feet tall, with just a pair of gloves and a bypass lopper. A machete would be awesome, but we don't have one. Heh. Anyway. Should be fun, as long as I don't end up with heat stroke! ;)

    3. Precisely, Jay.

      The first step is acknowledgment and that's all I ask, acknowledgment of obvious truths.

      The primary source of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism in the west today is the progressive-left. It's simply unquestionable and I therefore find it rather disgusting that allegedly intelligent progressive Jews furiously deny it.

      The question is what to do about it.

      It seems to me that we can either reform the progressive movement, ignore the problem (a popular option), or leave the movement.

      I have chosen to leave the movement and the political party (the Democratic party) that contains the movement. That is my choice because I do not see where countering anti-Zionism is working. On the contrary.

      But even if, like you, one makes other choices this should not mean that we stick our heads in the sand and pretend that the problem is not really out of the progressive-left.

      Of course, it is.

      What we do about this is up to each of us, but let us not pretend it isn't happening.