Thursday, May 9, 2013

Their Hatred is Not Your Fault

Mike L.

{Originally published at the Times of Israel.}

Every once in awhile I wonder why I bother maintaining this blog. I have no doubt that all blog owners, particularly political blog owners, come face-to-face with this question all the time. I certainly have no doubt that Maryscott O'Connor, the proprietor of My Left Wing - a blog that I was associated with for years under a pseudonym - faced this question continually and probably still does.
Those of us who continue to march forward do so because we have enough of an ego to honestly believe that we have a point of view that needs to be articulated. This blog - my little bit of home turf - is a niche of a niche. It is always going to be a rather small place with a rather small readership. My Left Wing was at one time a rather active progressive-left blog, but it was a political blog with a broad focus.
Israel Thrives does not have a broad political focus.
Our specific focus is the Arab-Israel conflict. That, in itself, immediately chops off almost all of our potential readership. Most people, in truth, do not care about the Arab-Israel conflict and for the life of me I do not know why they should? I do not go around fretting over the fate of the Czech Republic, so how can we expect non-Jews to care about Israel?
Nonetheless, the Jews of the Middle East are a people under siege and that is something that I do care about.  It is six million Jews with their backs to the Mediterranean on a tiny slice of land that has been the home for the Jewish people for around four thousand years. Those six million Jews are surrounded by around four hundred million Arabs who, for the most part, do not want them there.
And the reason that they do not want them there, or cannot abide Jewish autonomy on Jewish land, is because of the deep anti-Jewish racism that pervades Arab-Muslim cultures as derived from the Koran and the hadiths. That's the main reason. That's the real reason. If this conflict had something to do with Arab rights then the Arab countries would have integrated their brothers and sisters from Jewish land into their own societies, but they did not. If the Arab governments and peoples honestly wanted to create a Palestinian-Arab state they could have done so between 1948 and 1967, yet somehow nobody even raised the question. The great majority of Arab residents in Israel at the time did not even consider themselves "Palestinian" and thus there was no effort to create a Palestinian-Arab state.
What we can do now, however, is simply stand up for ourselves. We can stand up for the Jewish people in the Middle East because they should be stood up for. We have both morality and history on our side and we should not be ashamed to say so. We should not be ashamed to stand up for Israel because Israel is a beacon within the darkness. That may sound a little hokey, but it also happens to be the truth. Whatever that country's problems and flaws, they amount to virtually nothing compared to the raw barbarism that characterizes much of the rest of the world.
But if we are to stand up for the Jews of the Middle East we must stop blaming the conflict on those Jews.
One of the main theses of Israel Thrives is that the progressive-left, and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party, has betrayed its Jewish constituency through the acceptance of anti-Semitic anti-Zionists as part of the larger coalition. So long as the BDS movement is a left-wing movement - which of course it is - then progressive-left Jews will always get hammered by the very movement that we did more than most to create.
So what Jewish person who cares about Israel could possibly feel at home in the progressive-left or the Democratic party? They made me feel damn uncomfortable, which is why I left. And one of the main reasons that I became exceedingly uncomfortable with the progressive-left and the Democratic party is because it is lousy with Jews who blame other Jews for the Arab majority hatred toward our own people.
Jewish anti-Jewish racism on the left takes the form of either toxic anti-Zionism or the bigoted demand that Jews not be allowed to build on historically Jewish land, land that Jordan dubbed the "West Bank" in order to erase Jewish history there. For thousands of years non-Jews have told Jewish people where we may or may not be allowed to live. To see Jewish people do that today because Mahmoud Abbas insists that any future state for himself and his people must be Judenrein is very sad, indeed.
Jews are going to live and build in Judea and Samaria whether Barack Obama or the Jewish anti-Jewish left likes it or not. Arab Koranically-based bigotry toward Jews is not the fault of those Jews, not even of those who choose to live in Judea or Samaria.


  1. The one thing that got my goat in Obama's speech to students in Israel was his call to "put yourselves in the Palestinians' shoes." This is a constant refrain on the part of people, whether well-meaning or not, that assumes we've never stepped outside our box.

    The truth is Israeli Jewish mainstream writers have stepped outside the box ever since the 1970s, at least—the self-critical play Bath Queen from 1970 was the first, followed by the novels of Amos Oz and S. Yizhar that often border on self-flagellation. The change that took place in Israeli Jewish society in the 2000s, especially following the October 2000 Intifada, was that we started walking in our own shoes.

    When do the Arabs get to step outside their box and put themselves in our shoes? The most I ever saw them go is to acknowledge the Holocaust only to subsequently say "it had nothing to do with us, the Jews should have been compensated with a state on land cut out from vanquished Germany." Israeli Jews have considered the idea that the Arabs have a rightful claim to the land, sometimes even fully embracing it to the point of autodemonization; the idea that the Jews might have such a claim is, in contrast, something that has never even begun to cross the Arabs' minds.

    The reflection and introspection demanded of the Jews should be made by the other side for a change. Of course, if you suggest such a thing on the Progressive-Left sites, the response will be, "You're the ones with power, they're the powerless party, so the burden is on you." Quite apart from the fact that the Arabs are the Goliath here, this is a "Plight Makes Right" stance that excuses anything our enemies do. It is contemptible, not only because of the way it relates to us, but also because it exhibits a bigotry of low expectations toward the Arabs.

    1. should be made *of* the other side for a change