Monday, December 15, 2014

Standing Up to the Left: An Argument with Jon Haber

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Divest This Logo New 300x80As many of you know, Jon Haber of divestthis! and I are having an ongoing discussion around the relationship between the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the western-left.

The heart of my argument is that the progressive-left, and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic Party, has forsaken its Jewish constituency through accepting and encouraging anti-Semitic anti-Zionism as part of its larger constituency.

I fail to understand why this should be acceptable to any self-respecting Jewish person, most particularly any self-respecting Jewish liberal... which I proudly count myself as one.

Jon argues that just as the mid-twentieth-century Marxist-Leninist "Hard-Left" sought to impose itself on the broader American Left through ideological bullying - and the more blunt kind - so today's BDSers insist that opposition to Israel - which is, in effect, opposition to the well-being of the Jewish people - is a prerequisite for admittance into the progressive-left knitting circle.  In this way we both agree that the Left represents the political ground upon which the fight against anti-Semitic anti-Zionists takes place in the west today.

Jon writes:
So if this is the nature of the battle being fought, are we doing ourselves a disservice for condemning a Left that might include the inheritors of an anti-Communist tradition (my emphasis) that is trying to find a way to apply lessons learned in the 20th century fight against Marxism to our current conflict...
My response to Jon's question is this:
Should we not acknowledge the obvious due to fear of offending allies who are already behaving less and less like allies?  The implication of Jon's question if answered in the affirmative - that, yes, we do ourselves a disservice by condemning the Left - is that we must be careful not to offend. 
In Jon's most recent criticisms at Divestthis!, What’s Left? – Arguing with Mike, he takes two issues with my recent argument.  The first is with my usage of Barack Obama's 2011 United Nations speech to illustrate the President's overall hostility - whether conscious or not - to Jewish nationalism through his embrace of political Islam and thus, by logical necessity, of Islamic anti-Zionism.  In that speech Obama compared anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic Islamists - raping and rampaging their way through the "Arab Spring" - to the Sons of Liberty and to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s.

I understand that this was not the President's intention, merely the case.

Jon agreed that Barack Obama's comparisons were foolish, but argues:
this was just one of many daft things said during the heyday of Arab Spring fantasies.  And while I admit that the invocation of a sacred civil rights icon to describe what was happening in the Middle East seemed inappropriate even then, I’m hesitant to use such a statement as the basis of a critique of even the Obama administration, much less “The Left” that the Obama administration is supposed to be representing in Mike’s argument.

For there are all kinds of indictments one can bring to the current President’s foreign policy...
Indeed, there are any number of indictments a person can bring, but for the moment, I am only bringing this one.

My central indictment of the western Left in the United States is that it supported an American president who not only claimed a profound respect for the "Arab Spring" but went about providing US tax dollars and heavy weaponry, such F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

To do what with, I wonder?  Defend against Libya?

For those of you who may not know, the Brotherhood has been around in Cairo since the 1920s and is the parent organization of both Qaeda and Hamas.  The Brotherhood sided with the Hitler during World War II and helped Nazi refugees, including the murderous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, to escape Europe after the war.   Al-Husseini promised Hitler that once the Nazis crossed into Palestine he would implement The Final Solution to the Jewish Question on Jewish soil.

Furthermore, during the 2012 election campaign of Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood held a rally in Tahrir Square, with Morsi in attendance, in which tens of thousands of people, if not more, screamed for the bloody conquest of Jerusalem.

And, yet, still Barack Obama stood behind the Brotherhood.

And, yet, still American Jewry stood behind Barack Obama.

So, yes, there are any number of indictments or complaints or grievances that someone can level against Obama's foreign policy, but the one that primarily interests me, at this moment, is the fact that he literally supported political Islam and we let him get away with it.  Remember, I write this as someone who was a life-long Democrat - if that concept makes any sense - and who voted for Obama on the first go-round.

Jon's second point is this:
The other point Mike made that I take issue with is the notion that we must decide between criticizing the Left for the fact that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism dwells within its ranks (which it obviously does) or staying mum out of fear of offending potential allies within that end of the spectrum.
Jon argued that perhaps we do "ourselves a disservice for condemning a Left that might include the inheritors of an anti-Communist tradition..."

All I am saying is that we should not be afraid to criticize.

I do not "condemn" the Left.  Hell, I come out of the Left and my positions, if you go down the list, are still largely on the Left.  What I have for the Left is not condemnation, but criticism which they mainly refuse to address or consider.  The progressive-left and the Democratic Party in the United States are indifferent to the interests of its Jewish constituency.  The reason this is so is precisely because we fail to strongly criticize them when we should.  One obvious example was voting Barack Obama a second time even after he stood with the Muslim Brotherhood.

We can no longer afford to allow the Democratic Party to take American Jewry for granted.

Every generation of American Jews has given the Democratic Party its wholehearted support since FDR and FDR was not even a friend to the Jewish people.  Vice President Henry Wallace noted in his diary that FDR thought that Jews needed to be scattered around the globe so that we might be assimilated into the larger world demographic and thereby made to go away, i.e., "to spread the Jews thin all over the world."

When the Democratic delegates to the 2012 National Convention cannot even bring themselves to affirm a voice-vote recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, you know that it is at least time to stop kissing Democratic feet.


  1. Every community always has some sliver of a population of people who both embrace and leverage their membership and loathe and dispose their membership in that community. Todd Gitlin, Norman Finkelstein, Glenn Greenwald, Jon Stewart, Amos Oz, Judith Butler and on and on and on and on and on and on unto forever. On the one hand they use their own self anointed 'special status' as a stool up to the moral highground and at the same time find their own membership in that group despicable.

    But the problem is really with US not with them. Just because they say they are 'Post - Jews who hate Zionism' (BTW 'post' and 'open' are euphemisms for 'anti') or whatever nonsense is en vogue doesn't mean that we have to accept that, that we have to actually believe them. Which is to say they're Jews like I'm Beylorussian, that is, I'm not but I have Beylorussian ancestry. My moral leverage about anything Beylorussian is of course worthless nonsense. I may have an opinion about such things but my opinion isn't worth any more than anyone else be they Chinese or from Uruguay. Once you understand that then so called Jewish Democrats who sit with the other Democrats squawking about Jew this and Israel that are no more interesting or valid than anyone's view of anything. And in some ways adopting this kind of genetic biological spin on moral privilege is really quite Nazi in and of itself. They've adopted the Nazi narrative that 'biologically a "Jew", always a "Jew'. All they've done is convinced themselves they can use that to their advantage.


    1. Perhaps, Trudy, but my criticism is not of that "sliver of the population."

      My primary criticism is of western-left Jews as a whole - which is to say, the majority of diaspora Jews - who have come to accept the so-called "Palestinian narrative" to such a degree that they are willing to throw away the history of their own people.

      My secondary criticism is with the "racism" of the larger western-left toward non-European peoples, who they perpetually condescend to in the name of multiculturalism and political-correctness.

      We defeated right-wing racism, but I wonder if we have the will to confront the left-wing variety?

      Somehow I doubt it.

    2. And my point is that the 'Jew' part of left-Jew is a non sequitur. For almost 200 years the left, as shaped by whatever events were occurring at the time has been opposed to Jews HOWEVER they could be identified at the time. The Decembrist Revolt of 1825 called for all the Russian Jews to be deported to Turkey. The revolutions of 1848 across Europe were fueled in part by Marxist sentiment that somehow the 'Jews' were the enemy. The unification of Germany lead in a straight line directly to the rise of left wing antisemitism. The French left in the 1870's started antisemitism as a POLITICAL IDEAL, as a movement. This propagated back into Germany where it became race based and if was the German far left, the anarchist left that picked it up, und so weiter. It was the left that fomented the pogroms in western Russia in the wake of Russia's withdrawal from WW1 - the largest pogroms in history up to that time. It was the Bolsheviks, some of them nominally Jews themselves that invented political antisemitism and proto antizionism in the Soviet Union in order to hold power for the next 80 years. It was the left in the West which mounted furious anti'zionism' following the 1956 Suez crisis. And it was the left and fellow travellers in the US who picked up on Soviet antisemitism and used it to bludgeon the anti Soviets who were not far far right in the US in the 1950's.

  2. to clarify your remarks about the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini. He met Hitler in 1941 and hitler promised him that when German forces crossed the Caucasus mountainsl, they would extend the Holocaust to the Jews in Arab lands. See link:


      Is that the same Ziontruth that used to publish here?

  3. Here is a question:

    Is is true that western-leftists generally believe that Arabs have every right to seek to kill Jews as a matter of "resistance"?

    The evidence seems to suggest that, in general, they do.

    And, yet, we still support them.

    There is something deeply fucked up in the American Jewish mindset that would go along with such a thing.

    We are the only people on the planet who tend to believe that violence against us is generally justified or who support a movement that does so.

  4. Well the EU decreed yesterday that Hamas isn't a terrorist organization. So the left's got that going for them.

    1. In truth, it is fairly remarkable that anyone stands up for us.

      Why the hell should they when we cannot bring ourselves to stand up for our own selves?

      The vast majority of diaspora Jews are liberal-left, including myself.

      Yet the Left is the very source of hatred toward us in its comtemporary anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist iteration.

      But, nonetheless, we continue to support the very movement that fosters hatred toward us.

      Why would anyone expect sympathy for a group of people that supports their own enemies?

  5. Modern Jew hate has gone well beyond reasoned debate about Israel. As an example, listen to and watch this new cut by Canadian rock band Nickelback: Edge of a Revolution.

    The main chorus, repeated several times, is despicable:

    No, we won't give up, we won't go away
    'Cause we're not about to live in this mass delusion
    No, we don't wanna hear another word you say
    'Cause we know you're all depending on mass confusion
    No, we can't turn back, we can't turn away
    'Cause it's time we all relied on the last solution
    No, we won't lay down and accept this fate
    'Cause we're standing on the edge of a revolution

    I tried to convince myself the bolded phrase was just an innocent mistake, but I just can't do it. I don't think any amount of reasoned debate about Israel is going to reach some people,

    1. I honestly do not know what the writer intended, Randall.

      And I find myself reluctant to leap to conclusions.