Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Brass Tacks

Michael L.

brassFor some reason within the American idiom the term "brass tacks" means down to basics.

I am not certain that the term is used much any more, but there was a time when people would sometimes say, in the midst of a dispute, something like, "OK, let's get down to brass tacks."

Here is a brass tack for you:

The small bit of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is Israel, the Land of the Jews, and has been for thousands of years.  

Just because western-left racists politically join with bigoted anti-Jewish Arabs does not make it otherwise.

There are no people on this planet - unless someone can drag up a Jebusite - who have greater objective and moral claims to their own home than do the Jews of that small part of the Middle East.

As the Elder notes, Jews are from Judea and Arabs are from Arabia.

Period.  End of story.

Just because Muslims stomped out of their enormous peninsula in the seventh century, conquered the entirety of the Middle East, and almost conquered Europe, does not mean that they have some Allah-given right to the tiny Jewish home.

All of Israel, small as it is, is the land of the Jews and former conquerors gain no special dispensation due to their previous aggression and imperial rule.

This is particularly true given the unfortunate facts of Jewish history which are characterized by conquest, dispersion, persecution, and genocide.

These are the brass tacks.

The Jewish people will not be denied sovereignty within our traditional homeland and anyone who thinks otherwise, including fellow western-left Jews, can go screw.

The Day of the Dhimmi is Done.

That used to be a sort-of motto of mine.

Perhaps it needs to be resurrected.

Maybe it should have been the very name of this blog.


  1. Do you think that the attitude of western-left Jews is more due to ignorance or fearfulness of losing their position? And what other factors do you see?
    I am always amazed at the ignorance passed through people's lips concerning this issue, and sometimes it seems to be sheer ignorance, whereas other times I sense an almost panicked defensiveness.

    1. I think that most "pro-Palestinian" advocates would snear at this, but Jewish people are generally raised with fairplay as an essential value.

      From the time we were young many of us were earnestly told that Israel is persecuting the indiginous population and since we were told this by people within the Democratic party or the progressive-left we came to believe them. We thereby incorporated the so-called "Palestinian narrative" into our understanding of the conflict and the "Palestinian narrative" is grounded in ruthless Jewish guilt.

      This is why Jewish people within left-leaning venues always play defense on Israel. They honestly believe that Israel is occupying other people's land and, thus, they have no case.

      What is there for them to say?

      "Yes, well, we're occupiers, but..."?

    2. I was around in 1967, and we were not told that Israel was an evil occupier persecuting anyone. It was obvious from the rhetoric and actions of that time to all that the Arab countries simply wanted to annihilate Israel. Everyone knew it, even the President of the United States.
      I often see the western left's animosity toward Israel as the last battle of the Cold War.

    3. In 1967 they would not have been saying that.

      It was in the aftermath that the notion got play on the western left.

      I am a bit younger than you and, in a sense, I caught both ends.

      In fact, it really wasn't until I got to college in the 1980s that I saw the "Palestinian narrative" up-close and personal.

      But the generations coming behind were instilled with it, whether they like it or not.

    4. "I think that most "pro-Palestinian" advocates would snear at this, but Jewish people are generally raised with FairPlay as an essential value."

      Yes, we know that Jewish people are raised with FairPlay as an essential value, just as know that truth is the first thing to suffer in war.

    5. Jeff is right.
      You can't understand the animosity towards Israel unless you understand the history of the Cold War.
      From the West and from the East.
      It's vital.

  2. Jeff,
    I know your questions were directed towards Mike, but hope it is all right to throw in a few thoughts.
    It seems that most western-left Jews, when asked, prefer the idea of living as a minority culture in a wider cultural landscape.
    That is, in Europe, they prefer to stay in European cultures - even when things are quite hostile - rather than leave to live in Israel. Maybe, after so many generations, they have become accustomed to living like that and anything else seems foreign to them. I would guess most American Jews would prefer to live in America, as, for example, most British Jews would prefer to live in Britain. I think that probably means that if they are honest - and some have been - that, for the most part, they do not feel attracted to living in a culture - Israel - that is predominantly Jewish in nature. That is possibly difficult to confront. Consequently, it becomes easier for them to feel detached from people who actively desire to live in a predominantly Jewish culture, people who have chosen to go to make their lives in Israel. European Jews have spent many generations trying to find a role in European society, and ideas like 'assimilation' have been very influential.
    American Jews came up through the extraordinary experience of the American immigration system and the American belief in being American first and anything else second.
    One of the most complex problems arising from all this is that the more Jews live by choice in other countries, the more difficult it becomes for them to properly justify the existence of Israel. Or to put it bluntly: If 'we' are doing fine in America, Britain, France etc, why do they need to go over there?
    They are like two separate ideas pulling each other in opposite directions. It creates a fissure. When Israel was very young, it was easier for Jews in the Diaspora to be behind it, almost in an abstract way. Now that time has moved on, and the politics are increasingly difficult, it is easier perhaps for many western-left Jews to feel that Israel - and particularly Israeli Jews ( although they never consider the Mizrahi Jews ) are in some way engaged in a project that is not entirely necessary. And not one that they can empathize with.
    There is a great deal of ignorance, not surprisingly given the atrocious media coverage, and revisionist history lessons which pervade the western culture. But also, I think, there is a defensiveness about their own position. In some ways, we all share that. We are concerned about Israel but not enough to get up and live there. We shouldn't have to, that is not something that is held against any other groups who wish to support countries they have historical and cultural connections to. But Jews are always going to be treated differently, so we are stuck with it.
    We are left having to defend everything at the same time as many people like us would rather the whole issue ' disappeared ' as it has become both psychologically and politically difficult.
    If I am honest, I would have to admit that even though I am greatly concerned about rising anti- Semitism in the UK, I feel British and that this is the culture I belong in. I know that Israel is there, and that potentially one day I could need it, but I feel like I would be in a strange land there. A foreigner. Not because Jews don't belong in Israel, but because my own personal history has not prepared me for that life.
    It is all very complicated.

    1. k,
      I know you are analyzing a problem, let me address one or two of your points with my own take on things.
      People of many different nationalities live by choice in different countries. Americans of Italian descent certainly would never be challenged on whether Italy is "necessary." Nor would Americans of British, Lithuanian, or Lebanese descent. Each of those countries of their descent is necessary to those nationals who live there. Therefore, for anyone to question the necessity of Israel for its own citizens is engaging in a moral obscenity. How many countries of old or recent vintage have discussions swirling around them questioning whether or not they are necessary? Would anyone argue that Britain is unnecessary because Britons thrive in other countries and cultures? Something entirely different is at work here.
      In addition to that, Israel, the state, is a refuge for Jews from lands where Jews are not so welcome. As we can see by the ever more coarse rhetoric and even violence employed by those forces at work to undermine Zionism, they only reaffirm its necessity.
      Whether a Jewish person chooses to make Israel her/his home or not, the land of Israel by right belongs to the Jews. It is a place where Jews, if they choose to, can live a Jewish life, in a predominantly Jewish culture without the need to explain themselves to others. That is actually a good thing, i.e., a new and liberating experience for Jews. If someone thinks there is something wrong with THAT, then it is that person that has a problem, and the rest of us become morally and ethically bound to vociferously let them know just how illiberal and unprogressive their shtick is.

    2. Jeff,
      I absolutely agree with that.
      I think it is a moral obscenity to question the necessity of Israel's existence for its own citizens, and for all Jewish people who might wish ( or need) to make it their home. What I am trying to do ( as you say) is analyze what is happening.
      There is no other country that is demanded to justify its existence. Or that is up against a worldwide attempt to delegitimize it.
      I think there are two elements which are interesting. One is the extraordinary coalition of countries and groups which are engaged in this process. The other, is that so many people who are from a Jewish background are either joining in with this or are displaying a kind of indifference, as though it has nothing really to do with them.
      Unfortunately, the fact that there are Jews who are part of the delegitimization project, is making it so much easier for everyone to pretend that this is, in no way, racism at work. As soon as prominent Jewish voices are added to the BDS movement, for example, everyone can say it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. I can think of no parallel anywhere in the world. And no other group of people for whom the stakes are so high and still are being gambled with.
      Many people have tried to address the complex psychology that seems to be going on here, asking why are these organizations, J-street, Jewish voices for peace etc., doing what they do. And why are so many Jewish people drawn to them. It used to be said that these people were ' self-hating Jews ', but now that is becoming more debated. Some people have suggested that prominent anti- Israel Jews are not so much ' self-hating' but more people who have a good opinion of themselves while projecting their hate onto many other Jews. I would still think that comes from a pretty unpleasant psychological place. However, what we might be seeing, are people who define themselves as the ' good ' and ' acceptable ' Jew, at the expense of the ' bad' and ' unacceptable ' Jew. This has now, in the contemporary scene, turned into defining the ' good' Jews as the ones who live in America, Europe etc., and the 'bad' Jews as the ones who live in Israel. And the bad/good division is also used to separate the Jews who are pro- Israel from those who are not.
      You suggest that this may be due to 'fear of losing their position ' which is entirely possible. One of the problems with fully 'paid-up' membership of the group of the progressive - left, is how terrifying it must be, particularly in a time when any departure from the progressive-left groupthink is punished so severely, to not go along with the herd. Maybe that is partly what is happening. And, maybe, some Jewish people have internalized anti-Semitic beliefs.
      Whatever it is, it is astonishingly powerful, and very difficult to counteract. The BDS movement is stunning in its venom, and in its true ambitions. I would like to think it can be fought, but it is looking more and more difficult to work out how that can be done.
      It does seem that the more the rest of the Middle-East is on fire, ISIS, Syria etc.,the more, rather than the less, the campaign against Israel steps up.
      We seem to be looking at the very traditional use of Jews ( Jewish State) as the scapegoats for everything wrong in the world. And an extraordinary unfettered hatred. The fact that the mainstream progressive-left is at the forefront of this is frightening and very depressing.

    3. Kate,

      "the American belief in being American first and anything else second."

      That's right... or, at least, it conforms to my experience.

      When I was growing up most of my friends were Euro-American mutts.

      Y'know, one guy down the street was of mainly of Italian descent and another primarily Irish, but first and foremost we were all American kids.

      We were obviously aware of differences in heritage or background, but I don't think that we cared all that much.

  3. It's got a really nice ring to it, but all things considered, Israel Thrives is a brand name. If you start another blog though, The Day of the Dhimmi is Done, would be an excellent choice.

    1. Y'know, Yosef, I have occassionally regreted the name for this blog.

      When I first started this thing I initially called it "Lord of the Karmafishes" because I was operating under the nom de blog Karmafish.

      When I started writing on Israel in earnest I realized that I needed to change the name so that it would convey a sense of the content, thus, Israel Thrives.

      In any case, yes, the day of the dhimmi is done and the sooner that people understand that the better off we will all be and that goes double for the Arabs.

    2. ISRAEL THRIVES is brilliant and I've told you that before Mike.

    3. Shirlee,

      I find it difficult to disagree with anyone who tells me that anything that I ever did was "brilliant."

      What I want is for more people to think so as much as possible.