(This started out as a comment to the posting: The Flaccidity of Progressive Zionist Push Back... but there is a 4096 character limit so I posted it stand alone.)
As I've said before we live in a post-factual world. Things 'appear' to have the smell and feel of truth and reality and that's all that's needed. A lie? Well let's propose that the media exists along a continuum, a spectrum, between entirely true and entirely false. And into that spectrum you drop opinions, spin, lies, factoids, bias, history, un-attributed quotes, op-ed, paid propaganda, and such. This is how the far left and the far right 'media' lives and breathes.
Today Peter Beinart's "Open Zion" published a piece that's outright lies. It's simply made up nonsense about events which did not occur. But one need only flip to the Huffington Post to read a steady diet of Palestinian propaganda - 3 or 4 articles every day to more or less the same effect. Or if you prefer, the insane nonsense of John "Juan" Cole, Glenn Greenwald or the BBC. Or - and here's where it gets tricky - publications of which The Forward are a great example. Long the stalwart of the socialist Trotskyist left, long the purported champion of small z Zionism (Zionism in spirit not in deed) they've adopted, or perhaps they never didn't adopt, a position that perhaps Israel really is something that needs to be radically altered, even done away with. They're a bit coy on the point since you're left to draw your own conclusions, but the blurry edges of The Forward bleed into the Peace Now camp if for no other reason than the people who represent Peace Now claim to be far far left radicals themselves.
The Forward-ethos and the Peace Now-ethos don't have much in common except that they're made up by the same groups of old ex red urbanites who never saw an extreme point of view they didn't like. Some of it valid a hundred years ago, like The Forward advocating justice in labor laws, and some of it not so much like their position on the Palestinians today. The problem with this "I'm so open minded my brain fell out" world view is that it opens the door for the violent crazies who are truly extreme, dangerously extreme, and openly supportive of genocidal loons.
Look at the NYT or WaPo op-ed pages. Many blogs today compile month by month list of their pro-anti Israel tallies. It's about 7:1 against on average. And they're scribbled by not only the PLO's Abbas and worse but by so called 'moderate liberal' academics like this week's Dr. Levine who put pen to paper and wrote about how Israel should never have existed at all because it is a horror, an abortion by definition.
It's bad enough what Huffington Post does, linking to such 'radicals' as David Duke or David Irving. So while they all clink their wine glasses, toasting each other about how awful the Jews are, lurking behind them are out-and-out holocaust denier Nazis.
If it were childishly furious tantrums by immature people who just like being outrageous, I'd rarely worry about it. Or I'd read Salon or Alternet or Jezebel. But it's not. It's something in our post-factual world that looks and smells real. And right behind it is the midnight Nuremberg Torchlit Rally with the 'liberal press' happily commenting on their fashions and the latest trendy places to eat in Nuremberg.
The danger is we pretend we don't know what the danger is.
But a few decades ago there was a muscular leftist tradition in the mold of Henry Jackson, Daniel Moynihan and JFK which managed to stand for progressive values while at the same time recognizing our enemies as enemies and not worrying about being liked by them. Standing on values and goals and not silly childlike 'love' of our enemies in the hope that murderers who say they are murderers and whom often murder us will come to their own Amazing Grace moment, the scales will fall from their eyes and Hamas will legalize gay marriage, hand out free medical marijuana and start building solar energy farms with unionized illegal Mexican labor.
No - the time has come for a new progressive ethos, one that is progressive, one that can appreciate that Teddy Roosevelt enacted the first child labor laws even though he was a Republican. One that can admit that its own embrace of stupid-crazy was...stupid-crazy. One that understands that not everyone with a flag and an AK is right, no matter how loud they yell or how many Jews they butcher. Not everyone 'gets' a nation because not everyone has the courage to fight back. Because what will happen is that all the well wishers will get pushed aside by the professional revolutionaries, like the Mensheviks did, like the liberals in Cuba did, like the Egyptian 'seculars' did. And by pushed aside I mean mass executed. Leaving the 'revolution' for the darkest toughest most violent psychopaths of them all. We need a new leftist tradition like the leftists in the US in the '50's who were ALSO anticommunists - people with their heads screwed on straight.
Since we have a new Pope: Francis of Argentina, I was thinking of the very old Catholic doctrine 'extra Ecclesiam nulla salus', or, 'outside of The Church, there is no salvation.' This alludes to the doctrine that there is only one way to heaven, one Church to get you there, and one and only one hierarchy, clericy and order which controls that. An all or nothing proposition. The Church or Hell. This is largely what progressive thought has become, a laundry list of hates and protests one must universally ascribe to. One which leaves no latitude for new ideas or internal differences of any kind.
Progressivism has become a kind of top down rigid (big C) Catholic realm, fixed and frozen. But what is needed now is precisely the same kind of reformation that allows for an explosive divergence of thought. A Zionist progressivism that allows for gay rights AND capitalism. A liberal ethos that believes in good works where they are due and drone strikes where they also due.
*The title of this short piece "Roma Locuta, Causa Finita" is another old Church doctrine, one the Church would use to stamp out all argument and dissent as a matter of Church law:
Rome Says, Case Closed!