Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Israel Thrives in Political Diversity

Mike L.

In a recent comment JayinPhiladelphia noted the following:

And as for diversity, you've nailed it 'school. We have not only an Obama voter on the front page, but also an international roster here.

We very much encourage diversity of opinion on Israel Thrives. We also want diversity of subject matter within the obvious limits of Jewish concerns and we want opinions from people in other parts of the world. While I find myself in opposition to the Obama administration, I certainly do not expect everyone who participates here to agree with me and, in fact, would consider this experiment a terrible failure if group-think prevailed.

One of the things that I am beginning to find more and more compelling, after reading our friends from Britain and Australia, in these recent months, is how much our concerns align and, yet, are distinct. I find that Geoffff and Shirl and Daphne are focused on some things while me and School and Doodad are focused on others. This, of course, is as it should be. We're all tending our home fires while keeping an eye on our mutual horizon. This has also made me very aware of how much responsibility American Jews have for criticizing the Obama administration. Those guys cannot do it as effectively as we can for the obvious reason that he's our guy, not theirs.

Those of us who regularly participate here, however, understand that our disagreements are not meant to be blood-sports in which we seek to ruin the reputations of those who may disagree on this issue or that. We welcome diversity of opinion so long as that diversity is expressed in a generally collegial manner.

As someone whose politics has evolved beyond political parties I find it liberating to be able to consider left, right, and center without the typical animus or pathos that defines partisanship. It is one of the great things about being free of political partisanship that we can look at the views of political heretics with an open mind. For example, is Pamela Geller someone to be entirely dismissed or should she be fairly considered? Should Daniel Pipes be fairly considered or are we under some partisan obligation to spit poison and hatred toward political opponents?

As someone who comes out of the progressive-left it took an awful lot of soul-searching before I could begin to consider widely alternative points of view. The training in partisan hatred (which is a pretty good definition of the role of places like Daily Kos) was strong in me. I had an automatic, knee-jerk dislike and disinterest in the views of people defamed by the left. It is the constant drawing of these lines concerning who is "in" and who is "out" that came to fascinate me, even as I rejected the premises behind those assumptions.

What are the boundaries of acceptable hatred within whatever political movement that you may think of yourself as belonging to? Are Evangelical Christians, for example, really so evil that they must be spat upon and demeaned and dismissed? I do not think so.

The conclusion that I have drawn is that one political perspective that is entirely unwelcome on Israel Thrives is anti-Zionism. There are plenty of venues on the progressive-left wherein anti-Semitic anti-Zionism is perfectly acceptable. One of the questions that this blog asks, to the discomfort of some, is just why it is that we find the rise of western anti-Semitic anti-Zionism to be primarily on the progressive-left?

I have been demonized and demeaned for asking that question persistently and in public. And, I am sorry, but asking that question does not automatically docket someone onto the political right. On the contrary. Liberalism is a political tradition that goes to John Locke and the Enlightenment and that is concerned with the rights of man, but it is also an orientation in how we relate to others. Liberalism is theory, but it is also personal practice. The authoritarian tendency is not liberal from either perspective.

An interesting question came up the other day when I claimed that defining someone else's political identity for them against their will is distinctly illiberal because it is, in fact, authoritarian. It was pointed out to me by several individuals that if this is so how could I call another person a "racist"? Wouldn't doing so be equally illiberal?

I think that is a terrific question and one that we might give some thought to, but it's precisely because I am a liberal that I can say that I do not have a pat answer to that good question. I am open-minded to the consideration of it. And it is precisely open-mindedness that is the hallmark of liberalism as we understand it as a personal orientation in the world.

There is theory and there is practice. There is the shifting historical political tradition of liberalism and then there are people who engage the world in a liberal manner. And while no one is perfect, it is unclear to me how one can revere the former while acting upon others, against their well-being, in a way entirely contradictory to the latter.

For example, not to put too fine a point on it, but accusing another person of threatening oneself and one's children in an effort to ruin that person's reputation for political reasons is simply not liberal.

It is vile, in fact.

And it is not welcome here, nor quickly forgotten.


  1. I plead guilty to having spit much poison over the years, but I have now retired from that harmful endeavor. Which is not to say that I will not stand up for myself against those who besmirch my good name, no fucking way on that. But I am retired from the extreme partisan game. I have finally made it to a place where I am comfortable, to my ideal place of residence, and I now no longer see half the country as my enemy.

    I still think a lot of people are wrong, but then again maybe I am too?

    I guess, in the end, we'll surely see either way. All I know is that it's been very freeing of late, to not have to worry about what people like, say, the Daily Qos Brigades think about me, what I say or where I say it. I'm comfortable and confident enough in who and what I am, and I simply don't care to play the "omg, you're posting with right wingerzzz!!1!" game. Even though some of them (like you) aren't even "right wingers," but still.

    There is clearly more diversity of opinion and more tolerance here than at a certain other blog, where numerous people have been declared "ban on sight," and where the comment section is largely limited to "yeah, me too! suck on that, people we don't like!"

    "The training in partisan hatred (which is a pretty good definition of the role of places like Daily Kos) was strong in me."

    Great description. And same here, unfortunately. I'm very glad I've moved past that.

  2. You state that the only opinion not welcome here is anti-Zionism. Does that therefore mean that those who are Zionist for anti-Semitic reasons (for example that we need to be ingathered in order to facilitate the apocalypse, at which we point we will convert or be killed and burn in hell) are welcome here?

    1. Also, what Mike said is -

      "The conclusion that I have drawn is that one political perspective that is entirely unwelcome on Israel Thrives is anti-Zionism."

      So no, he did not state, as Reuven claims, that "the only opinion not welcome here" is that. In addition to what oldschool says, Reuven is also clearly wrong and only here to start trouble.

      And yet, nobody's deleting his post. And make no mistake, deletion is what would have immediately happened were I, School or Milke to make a similar comment at his blog.

      Thanks for playing, Reuven. Better luck next time.

    2. Reuven,

      I know that you are a good-hearted man.

      However pissed off you might be at me, I still respect your obvious kindness. It is clear as day to me.

      I do think that you make a mistake if you despise the Evangelicals. It is wrong to think that they only like Israel because of some eschatological apocalyptic scenario.

      They like Israel because their religious tradition is grounded in Israel.

  3. Nice post! It's really a shame that the world seems too poisoned to understand.

    We spoke of this recently, that there are different dimensions of liberalism.

    I happen to stress the behavioral aspect, as the theoretical from Locke is contradictory in relation to individual and collective rights, but how a state and people act is measurable against a norm.

    1. Perhaps it isn't the whole world, but it's definitely us.

      Barack Obama is not gathering a communist mass of Black Panthers to kill all the white grandmothers in America via death panels presided over by Huey Newton's ghost, and Mitt Romney is not planning to do, well, whatever nefarious scheme Daily Kos and Co. claim he's up to these days. I don't pay attention anymore.

      Good luck convincing large numbers of folks on both sides that neither of those things are true, however.

    2. There is contradiction embedded within classic liberal political ideology as expressed directly in the preamble to the Constitution.

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      The core struggle in American politics from the beginning has been the tension between promoting the general welfare versus promoting the blessings of liberty.

      This is a foundational liberal document and right there, embedded directly within it, is the core contradiction that we continue to try to work through.

    3. This is key. To get people to understand and agree that each is legitimate and the tension is not static.

  4. And yeah, this too -

    "It is one of the great things about being free of political partisanship that we can look at the views of political heretics with an open mind."

    As someone whose introduction to I-P at a certain Orange blog involved being repeatedly harassed, stalked and tortured, for months, over an 'uprate' of one comment containing a term that certain antisemites objected to, and which I spent a considerable amount of time backpedalling over (I didn't know these people at first), I want to say two things.

    1. I would 'uprate' "Palbagger" again today, right now. Because in the context it was used, it was and still is absolutely true. So kiss my ass, unspeakable and friends.

    And 2. Yeah, I've spent some time recently looking into some people I was trained to dislike for a long time, and I'm realizing they're not even close to what I was told they were. I'll take a look now and draw my own conclusions. This heretic shit surely has its positive points, eh? :)

    1. Ah, the perpetually offended "Unspeakable."

      A few years ago I made some comment like, "Well, they need to come to the table in order to discuss final status issues like borders and Jerusalem and to exchange falafel recipes."

      The next thing that I knew the guy was screeching at me, "Falafel! FALAFEL?! What kind of racist shit is this?! What do you mean falafel?!"

      It was very, very weird.

      I mean, I'm pretty sure that Jewish people cook and eat falafel, too.

    2. Yeah, talk about a tired hack with no scruples. And he wasn't even close to the worst of the bunch.

    3. In a certain kind of way I would say that Soysauce was my least favorite of them.

      The reason for that is because, y'know, I would see where Palestinian leaders, religious or otherwise, were screaming for Jewish blood in the most upfront ways... in the most grotesque and brutal manner... and then we get, say, the Fogel murders and then I would look on dkos and there would be Soysauce writing these lyrical pieces about the peacefulness of the Palestinian people and how they wanted nothing more than to tend their Sacred Olive Groves without being stomped on by the militaristic, fascistic Israelis.

      The disconnect from reality is grotesque and, what's worse, encourages even further violence against the Jewish minority in the Middle East.

    4. Yeah, there's another one who haunted a progressive-left site, and never had anything to say besides that Jews are bad.

      Yet in the end, many of my friends and I (lifelong Democrats, volunteers and donors, all) ended up being banned or run off of that site, for the 'crime' of standing up for Israel and against the crowd of antisemites there; while she and her buddies still have free reign at that place. A place where diaries supportive of BDS receive over 400 'recommends.'

      There's a reason they do this on progressive-left sites, and that reason is not that they're aiding some right-wing conspiracy. No. That reason is because that is where they can easily dupe hundreds of gullible morons to their cause. They're not doing this at RedState. They're dong it at Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.

      This is what I feel I have to stand up against these days. I have to clean my house.

      Anyway. I just got back from Port Richmond, with two dozen fresh pierogi. Life is good, and dinners over the next few days will be fantastic. :)

    5. "The next thing that I knew the guy was screeching at me, "Falafel! FALAFEL?! What kind of racist shit is this?! What do you mean falafel?!""

      This sums up the contemporary "Leftist" variety of anti-Jewish racism.

      O The utter ignorance of -- and, moreover, bigoted refusal to acknowledge -- the fact that Jewish people (including Ashkenazi Jewish people) are of Middle Eastern descent, and that approximately fifty percent of the Jewish population of Israel are Mizrahi -- still living members of, and descendants of, the approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jewish refugees from Muslim states in the Middle East

      O The vague conscious / subconscious belief in the ancient traditional continuously propagated, now hugely-propagated, culturally Christian-European false belief / libel that Jewish people are malevolent and powerful -- a libel hugely propagated in Western countries approximately ninety years ago by "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" -- a libel hugely propagated by the Nazi regime of Germany approximately eighty years ago -- a libel which caused the murder of almost all of the Jewish people in Europe approximately seventy years ago

      O The resultant / "co-involved" sympathetic condescending racism toward ethnically non-Jewish Middle Eastern people

      This is a large part of the reason why the true factual history (specifically the currently approximately ninety-year history), and current reality, of the situation that Israel is in needs to be communicated. Vigorously effectively communicated.

    6. "This sums up the contemporary "Leftist" variety of anti-Jewish racism."

      ...and I think that this sums up also the non-religious aspect of contemporary Arab and Muslim anti-Jewish racism ("Protocols of the Elders of Zion"-ideology-influenced anti-Jewish racism; and minus the third listed factor that I listed of the contemporary "Leftist" variety of anti-Jewish racism). However, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" aspect of contemporary Arab and Muslim anti-Jewish racism is much more conscious and blatant and overt and intense than is the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" aspect of the contemporary "Leftist" variety of anti-Jewish racism. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is currently the second most widely sold book in the Arab and Muslim worlds -- second to the Qur'an.

    7. Rather:

      Either the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" or "Mein Kampf" (which, I think, references "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and which expresses the ideology propagated by "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion") is currently the second most widely sold book in the Arab and Muslim worlds. I'm not sure which one of those two books is currently the second most widely sold book in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

    8. And I think that many of the members of the contemporary political "Left" would refuse to acknowledge, and would vociferously deny, the fact that one of those two books is currently the second most widely sold book in the Arab and Muslim worlds. And the doing of that by such members of the contemporary political "Left" would be a manifestation of the anti-Jewish racism of the contemporary political "Left".

      "I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new Nazism. A fascism, a Nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth."

      -- Orianna Falaci, Italian journalist who opposed fascism, and who fought against fascism, and who fought, as a partisan, against the Nazi-German-allied Fascist regime of Italy during World War II, and who, in the late 1960's, in being, at that time, a trendy Leftist, supported "the 'Palestinian' cause"; Sull Antisemitismo - Io trovo vergognoso (Vergognosi gli attacchi a Israele) (On Antisemitism - I find it shameful (Shameful attacks on Israel)), by Orianna Falaci, 2002 (Text: ; Audio recording (Video): Part 1 of 2: , Part 2 of 2: )

    9. Again,

      What needs to be done is to communicate -- vigorously effectively communicate -- the true factual history (specifically the currently approximately ninety-year history), and current reality, of the situation that Israel is in.

      And also what needs to be done is to communicate the actual reality of the society and culture of Israel -- the newly re-founded, continuously intendedly genocidally besieged, unanimously libeled, liberal democratic, vibrant, culturally diverse, globally exceedingly beneficent, very small sole country of the Jewish people.

      What the Western mass media presents about the society and culture of Israel, and about the situation that Israel is in, is a perverse grotesque racist anti-Jewish lie.

    10. Videos of actual Israeli life and culture

      Israeli life and culture, & ...

  5. Hi, Mike and everyone. I'm just popping in to communicate the following things.

    The following videos are crucial to watch.

    Videos of a round table discussion with Andrew McCarthy, Stephen Coughlin, and other well-informed intelligent morally decent national security experts.

    GBTV: Failure in leadership?

    GBTV: Muslim Brotherhood PART 1

    GBTV: Muslim Brotherhood PART 2

    Also, involved with what is presented in these videos, it is important to understand the following facts that are presented in the following books.

    The Secret War Against the Jews, by John Loftus and Mark Aarons

    "The authors demonstrate that numerous Western countries, especially the United States and Great Britain, have conducted repeated and willful spying missions on Palestine and later Israel over many decades. While on the surface these two countries and others profess to be ardent allies of Israel, they work, in fact, through their intelligence services to betray Israel's secrets to the Arabs. Their motive: oil and multinational profits, which must be attained at any price through international covert policies. To understand the duplicitous nature of the West's diplomatic relations with Israel, the authors contend that one must understand the history that begins after the end of World War I with the sordid Mideast exploits of a British diplomat, Jack Philby. They then proceed into a detailed discussion of the boardrooms of American and English bankers and lawyers who had strong connections with Nazi leaders and Arab oil tycoons in the 1930s prior to the outbreak of World War II. Particularly intriguing is the information that the writers present to suggest an all-too-cozy financial relationship that existed between the Allied intelligence community and German banks even during the war."

    America's Nazi Secret: An Insider's History, by John Loftus

    "Fully revised and expanded, this stirring account reveals how the U.S. government permitted the illegal entry of Nazis into North America in the years following World War II. This extraordinary investigation exposes the secret section of the State Department that began, starting in 1948 and unbeknownst to Congress and the public until recently, to hire members of the puppet wartime government of Byelorussia—a region of the Soviet Union occupied by Nazi Germany. A former Justice Department investigator uncovered this stunning story in the files of several government agencies, and it is now available with a chapter previously banned from release by authorities and a foreword and afterword with recently declassified materials."

    John Loftus was a U.S. Justice Department federal prosecutor and had above Top Secret security clearance in the U.S. government.

    Also, it is important to understand the following facts.

    The founding membership of the CIA was constituted largely by several thousand German former Nazi officials who, soon after World War II, were recruited into the CIA by the founder of the CIA, Allen Dulles, who, with his friend Jack Philby, during the 1930's, provided, and profited from providing, petroleum from petroleum-producing Muslim Arab states to the Nazi regime of Germany. Jack Philby was a British official, and was a self-professed Socialist, and was one of the main administrators of the British Mandate of Palestine, and converted to Islam in 1930, and was a vocal supporter of the Nazi regime of Germany.

    1. This is what is important to understand. And this is what is important to communicate -- especially to the contemporary political so-called "Left".

      Alas, so many Jewish people (including, most detrimentally, the Jewish leaders of the government of Israel) are so naive, and so non-understanding, and so imperceptive -- and so arrogant. Childish "self-involved" "nerds". People who are "nerds" in high-school are ridiculed and are given "swirleys". A people who are "nerds" in the world are libeled and mass-murdered (and, involved with that, as the most important part of that, cause (allow and enable) their own people to be libeled and mass-murdered).

      And the irony is that the contemporary political "Left" has adopted a narrative -- a racist intendedly genocidal anti-Jewish false narrative -- which was developed by, and which is being largely propagated by, people who they think they are opposing -- the actual-Nazi-supporting so-called "Right-Wing" (but now, in many cases, "Left-Wing"*), governing class of the United States of America.

      Note: * I saw a video, or heard an audio recording, in which I heard someone who apparently is an acquaintance of a prominent member of the Rockefeller family say that that prominent member of the Rockefeller family told him that he -- that prominent member of the Rockefeller family -- is a Socialist; and, BTW, and more apropos, think of the now so-called "Progressive" Ford Foundation -- an organization founded by Henry "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" Ford.

      The terms "Right" and "Left", in reference to political affiliation, do not have any meaning of essence at this time. Whether or not one either believes and propagates libels against, and feels antipathy toward, the Jewish people (at this time: libels against, and antipathy toward, the nation of the Jewish people, Israel), or defends, and stands up for, the Jewish people (at this time: defends, and stands up for, the nation of the Jewish people, Israel), is what means something -- is what matters -- at least at the current time in the world -- and at least as to how Jewish people should discern whether or not a person is a friend to the Jewish people, and, therein, to the nation of the Jewish people, Israel (and, involved with that, as to how Jewish people should discern whether a person (including themselves) supports evil or supports what's good).


      The Glazov Gang - Not For Conservatives Only (Hosted by Josh Brewster)

      Josh Brewster
      Dwight Schultz
      Susan Olsen
      Eric Allen Bell

      Part 1 of 3:
      Part 2 of 3:
      Part 3 of 3:

  6. Hey Daniel, thanks for dropping by. And thanks for the links!