Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Big O (Updated)

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

big oJeffwithaJ mentioned The Big O over at Israel Thrives in reference to a Tablet article written by Daniel May, a doctoral candidate in Religion, Ethics and Politics at Princeton University and a former director of J Street U entitled, "The Problem Isn’t Black Lives Matter. It’s the Occupation."

I responded as follows:

"The Occupation with the Big O.
What is the significance of the Big O?

It is the Big Daddy of all Occupations.

It is the means by which some Jews, particularly in diaspora, make themselves feel superior to Arabs and Muslims.

After all, if 6 million Jews in the Middle East can defeat the Palestinian-Arabs, via the Big O, despite the serious objections of 400 million Arabs and 1.5 billion Muslims, what does that say about Jewish strength?

It says that, # 1, Jews kick ass and, # 2, we're humble enough to regret it. 
It's a means by which goodhearted and intellectually-inclined Jewish boys and girls get, on the one hand, to feel powerful even while, on the other hand, they burnish moral credentials. There is a kind-of arrogance to the use of the Big O by Jews when discussing those few of us who choose to live in the lands of our heritage. 
It raises us and diminishes us, both, at the same time."
The first time that I came across the term was in a children's book by Shel Silverstein called The Missing Piece Meets the Big O... which, although it has been awhile since I read it, I am pretty sure had something to do with sex.

(Update: According to a highly respected reader the above claim, that the book has something to do with sexuality, is false. I suspect he may be reading this little book a bit too narrowly, but certainly anyone unfamiliar with Shel Silverstein should know that his work is perfectly innocent. )

Today, however, when I think of The Big O, sadly, I tend to think of the capitalized word "Occupation."

As any linguist - including Noam Chomsky - will tell you, the terminology within which we discuss any topic, particularly highly charged topics, like political topics, gives away our biases. When people use "The Big O" to discuss the presence of Jewish people in Judea (and Samaria) it indicates something more than disdain for Jews.

It indicates an off-handed contempt for the Arabs, who are wrongly thought of as weak, and a true dislike for the Jews of Israel who are thought of as racist imperialists.

The very first thing that must be acknowledged is that Jews cannot "illegally occupy" the very land where Jews come from. It is as if they want to bring us back to Medieval wandering status. The Wandering Jew. 

Jews occupy the Land of Israel in the ways that the French occupy France or the ways in which Czech's occupy the Czech Republic.

Arabs, and many Muslims, may despise Jews for traditional religious reasons - embedded in fourteen centuries of hostile Islamic theocratic doctrine and dogma - but that does not mean that we are going to surrender the only small place that we have, as our own, on this planet.

The problem, however, is not just the Arabs.

It is the Jews who swing around The Big O.

Progressive-left, Democratic-Party-Leaning, navel-gazing, guilt-ridden, white-western, upwardly-mobile, American and European Jews, are so riddled with humanitarian racism that they cannot even begin to imagine that non-Jews "of color" have agency. It seldom occurs to them that non-white people should not be reduced to mere victims of the progressive-left imagination. It seldom occurs to them that by insisting that people "of color" are merely victims of Whitey that they are robbing these people of their dignity.

In the meantime, many will point the trembling finger of blame toward their fellow Jews on the other side of the planet and accuse them of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and The Big O.

11 comments:

  1. Of course the problem is Black Lives Matter. It is a radical Marxist front using the mask of blacks getting killed to further its political agenda. Its latest platform leaves no doubt what it's really all about. Anyone who can't see that truth is moronic or a fellow traveler.

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  2. "The very first thing that must be acknowledged is that Jews cannot "illegally occupy" the very land where Jews come from."

    Nor is it illegal under international law. That's the kind of law Israel haters know so little about, yet turns them all into law and order advocates, i.e., the very type of people they would never vote for on a local, state, or national level.

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  3. It is the means by which some Jews, particularly in diaspora, make themselves feel superior to Arabs and Muslims.

    Don't get this sense, but that it's more that they actually care about these "dispossessed" more than their Jewishness. In the process they ignore the agency issue, that it excuses people poor behavior because they are incapable.

    Progressive-left, Democratic-Party-Leaning, navel-gazing, guilt-ridden, white-western, upwardly-mobile, American and European Jews, are so riddled with humanitarian racism that they cannot even begin to imagine that non-Jews "of color" have agency. It seldom occurs to them that non-white people should not be reduced to mere victims of the progressive-left imagination. It seldom occurs to them that by insisting that people "of color" are merely victims of Whitey that they are robbing these people of their dignity.

    There ARE differences in levels of human development. Guess it depends on whether you want to openly say or do so through constructs such as It humanitarian racism. It is also unrealistic to expect POC to live up to our norms, based on the stage of development involved.

    To address the overall issue, perhaps it's advisable to distinguish the intention of the anti-Israel argument.

    To lay it at the foot of white privilege morphs the smaller conflict into the larger realm of a Marxist construct, and it becomes a proxy war where the particulars no longer matter.

    I guess, but for white people, POC would have exceeded the highest ideals of utopia. Without white people there would no violations of human rights. It has me wondering who the smart people really are.

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    Replies
    1. It is the means by which some Jews, particularly in diaspora, make themselves feel superior to Arabs and Muslims.

      Y'know, what?

      I think that you are right, School. That comment was a stretch.

      To lay it at the foot of white privilege morphs the smaller conflict into the larger realm of a Marxist construct, and it becomes a proxy war where the particulars no longer matter.

      That's a very concise way of expressing a central point of the conflict.

      And to extend your point, it suggests that there is an interest - generally unacknowledged, or even self-acknowledged - in keeping the conflict alive.

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    2. One interest is not to allow a Jewish state.

      One is not to allow Enlightenment principles to prevail.

      Both will keep the conflict alive until events cause each to hopefully and finally be rejected.

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    3. I don't think it's too much of a stretch. Some Jews and others certainly do use it to flag themselves as superior intellectual and moral beings.

      Proxy wars of power politics that pit Jews (the "villains") against a "native peasantry" (the "innocent') is certainly nothing new. This was antisemitism even before it was given a name.

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    4. The self-superiority of these people is evident, but not to compare themselves to Arabs. It is directed against most anyone that does not wear their moral shaded designer glasses.

      In the proxy war mentioned, the Arab-Israel conflict is secondary, perhaps irrelevant, to the larger one between Marxist and capitalistic ideologies that have occurred in many theaters across the planet.

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  4. The term we're struggling with is 'supernal'. In this sense it means a transcendent hatred where Jews exist outside of history, outside or time or place. They are a supernal evil, an enemy like Satan. Who, if even if the peaceful peace loving palestinians of peace were given 150% of everything they ever dreamed of, the Jews would still be punished.

    It's a paranoid hatred that holds the Jews, even Jews who do not exist, as uniquely responsible for every bad thing that has ever, happens or will happen in the world. It's not sloganeering it's how they think. I think Evelyn Gordon touched on this when she wrote that if there are 3 groups of people; those who hate Israel those who support Israel and those who are on the proverbial fence, there's little to upside to worry about the fence sitters. Daniel Greenfield makes a similar argument - the middle of the road-ers are the moderates who will not fight against the fanatics and so will eventually embrace them. The liberal progressive Jews, the reform Jews who tell me 'oh no one's right or wrong we have to credence to everyone.' are with 100% certainty NEVER going to give the benefit of the doubt to Israel no matter what. What they mean is 'you Jews go 90% over to the Arab view and wait for your next tongue lashing.' They talk a story about fairness and moderation but it's a lie. They never said 'end the "occupation" except for Jerusalem', do they? They never say 'some' Israeli military responses are legitimate, do they? But they do claim that some/many/most Hamas rockets are 'understandable'.

    There is no point in agreeing with them even 0.001% because their tolerance only goes one way and that's 0.001% you'll never get back. Ever.

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  5. OT
    This relates to Mike's column for ElderofZiyon from the previous week, but also to Tablet, the media, and the Clinton campaign. Where I live we were treated to a Clinton ad a few weeks back which showed children supposedly watching Trump on TV. The ad showed Trump making awkward gestures and then would cut to small children sitting in front of the television watching. It was probably one of the lowest campaign ads I had ever seen, and it brings me to mention an article I had seen in Tablet a few months before about the negative impact Donald Trump has on...you guessed it...small children. I just thought I'd share that little story before introducing the following video by Canadian conservative and Jew, Ezra Levant about his take on Trump, Hillary, and Jewish voters in our upcoming presidential election.

    https://youtu.be/U2G9MR1n7Es

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