Monday, February 1, 2016

Podcast # 11 - the Iowa Caucuses and the Failures of Progressive-Left Zionism

Michael L.

This one is about 10 minutes long and is concerned with today's US presidential caucuses in Iowa and a few thoughts on the mistakes of the pro-Israel Jewish Left.


  1. Mike,
    I think you're wrong in saying the progressive-left are not really anti-Semitic. As a 'movement' they are. That might be more obvious in Europe than in America, but look at the Obama administration. He is the closest thing to a European progressive as America can get. And I think he shares their obsessions. And their obsessions are deeply concerning. Hatred for America, and hatred for Israel. And the two are inextricably combined. America = power, capitalism, and Jews.
    Recent polling on the Corbynite left show they believe the world is run by a "shadowy elite." A secret cabal who pull all the strings. Well.. guess who? This is not just the mutterings of the far-left, it is much greater than that. Of course there are decent people on the left who call this stuff out and utterly reject it; but they are losing.
    As the Democratic party moves into a more and more anti-Capitalist position, that is the inevitable result. ( See the Amir Pars video I linked to on a previous thread.)
    You really think places like the Guardian aren't anti-Semitic? I've been reading the Guardian my whole life and it has become utterly dripping with the kind of hatred and disgust for Jews, and the conspiracy theories that you used to find only on the far-right. There are numerous other venues exactly the same. Here in Europe and in the States.
    Europe, of course, has its own history, but as the American left - driven by the universities and the intelligentsia, etc - has shifted further and further left, it has mirrored the European left more and more. I think it was Nick Cohen, not actually Jewish himself, who pointed out to Dave Rubin that you in America are about 4/5 years behind us. That is, before Americans with Jewish names start getting the same treatment that people do over here. American Jews, particularly liberal ones, think it's fine to pile on criticism and hostility to Israel because none of it can ever affect their 'safety' in American society. That sort of complacency is understandable given their experience. Unfortunately, it's not true. And a lot of people are going to get a very nasty shock. Sadly.
    None of the things they think give them immunity will work. It doesn't over here. And it comes from all sides. There are good people on the left, but they're not the ones driving the present American administration, and it is almost impossible that they will be driving the next Democratic administration under Clinton or Sanders. As for anyone who thinks Sanders will be able to support Israel or stand against anti-Semitism at home as the first Jewish president, they need to look at Europe and wake up. The last thing any European Jew wants is a fellow Jew as their elected representative; they know that that politician will have to bend over backwards to prove they are not influenced by their Jewishness. I think Bernie Sanders is a decent man, but in some ways, he is hopelessly naive. And with the rising tide of anti-Semitism everywhere, I think - with great sadness - that if he managed to win the nomination things could become far more unpleasant than you might think. It is unfortunate that such.things should matter, but they do. They can't not matter.

    Sorry to be so negative, but it seems necessary to be realistic.

    Am up late trying to stay awake to see the Iowa results. It will be interesting.

    1. Kate,

      "I think you're wrong in saying the progressive-left are not really anti-Semitic."

      I believe that you are correct when you say that "as a movement" they are. The primary reason for this, imo, is because they provide venues for Jew Haters to exercise their Jew Hating privileges. This is my grievance with my old alma mater, San Francisco State University, wherein they proudly display a mural of that old anti-Semite, Edward Said.

      However, and this is simply my personal experience, most American leftists do not repeat anti-Semitic canards.

      I mean, look, most of my friends are on the Left, including my Jewish friends, and they are not anti-Semitic.

      What they often tend to believe, however, because the Big Lie has been repeated in their ears over and over and over again as they were coming into political awareness, is that "Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land."

      Does that make a person an anti-Semite or does it make them dangerously mistaken?

    2. Mike,
      I don't know your friends, obviously, and am pleased to hear that they are not anti-Semitic. However- and I do think this is more difficult in the context of America versus Europe - it would be interesting to know why they are so preoccupied with the notion of Israel occupying Palestinian land. Of course it is true that certain "big lies" have been repeated relentlessly over the years ( you and I might differ as to the understandings of some of them- but I would wonder whether your friends object to much of the demonization of Israel that is now normalized in progressive circles. Do they object in equal measure to other occupations, for example? Do they object to the kind of racism against Jews which is now an everyday occurrence on campuses? Do they object to the writings and comments in the Daily Kos, Guardian etc? Do they show as much concern for the anti-Semitism in American public discourse as they do for other forms of racism? Or not? Have they ever spoken up about the horrors of "Israel apartheid week."?
      You tend, I think, to believe anti-Semitism on the left comes out of beliefs that are based in political/academic theories. I tend to think, as do many on this side of the pond, that the political /academic theories provide a cover for already existing feelings. That the relentless concentration on Israel /Palestine is not entirely to do with the actual situation, but more a welcome peg to hang your somewhat darker and more irrational views on.
      There is a great danger in presuming rationality - misplaced or otherwise - lies behind everything. It doesn't.


      I completely agree that for many people Bernie Sanders provides a cover for them to hide behind.
      It's an interesting phenomenon. And one that deserves revisiting. Sadly.

    3. Please excuse typos in previous comment.

  2. Ah, you're a current, or former, denizen of Daily Kos, I see.

    Y'know, once upon a time there was a fairly robust pro-Jewish / pro-Israel contingent over there, but most of us were eventually banned or simply gave up and went away.

    The big problem with the pro-Israel people on dkos is that they were trying to justify the unjustifiable.

    They honestly believe that Israeli Jews are illegally occupying the traditional Jewish homeland.

    If that is one's starting position there is no place to go but down.

    The typical pro-Israel Kossack would say, "Yes, the Occupation is horrendous, but..."

    That is simply not going to cut it.

    We need to start from the premise that Judea and Samaria have been Jewish land for almost 4,000 years and, thus, to deny Jewish rights to real property there - i.e., real estate - is bigoted on its face.

    The Arabs have stolen almost the entire Middle East, with the current exception of Israel, and they are not willing to share any of it. The Jews, on the other hand, are willing to cut out a mighty chunk of our tiny historical homeland to make for a 23rd Arab-Muslim state right smack in the heart of the Jewish homeland if the Arabs would let us live in peace.

    Unfortunately, they won't.

    And in seeking to deny us our millennia-long home, they end up throwing away any possibility for a Palestinian-Arab state.

    The Palestinian-Arabs are all-or-nothing kind-of folk and, you know what they say... if you can't get it all, you get nothing.

    But there is no reason why an Arab cannot live a free and useful life in the one and only democracy in the Middle East, if they would simply give up on the Jew Killing Policy. So long as the 1,400 year long Jew Killing Policy remains in effect, the Palestinian-Arabs deserve no particular consideration.

    They should count their lucky stars that the Jewish people are a highly ethical folk, because if they behaved in China or Russia the way that they behave in Israel the conflict would be long over because they would be long gone.