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Old 03-14-2019, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I'm sure there are some Zionists who believe this (and this quote is different than what you said). But you're still tarring all Zionists, or Zionism in general, as having this belief, and this is false.
I think some aspects of this discussion depend on one's operational definition of "Zionism" and "Zionist". As with all things, there are degrees and shades. I fully acknowledge that there are liberal Zionists who vehemently disagree with Likudism. I'm not saying all Jews or even all Zionists buy into the " 'Palestine' (in quotes) was an empty desert' trope, but clearly many do, and many of those who do are influential. After all, the Likud has power - real power. They also have powerful allies in the United States congress. This isn't my imagination, iiandyiii. It's not my imagination that the United States moved its diplomatic post to Jerusalem.

Nor is it my imagination that the US has always been much more reticent than our other Western allies in condemning Israel's aggressive and, in many cases, outright inhumane treatment of Palestinians, and that's because there is a very strong pro-Israel lobby in this country, and it's just naive and ignorant to pretend otherwise. That "making the desert bloom" myth isn't confined to Israel either; it has also been picked up and retold in American intellectual circles as well. Such as when American author Joan Peters (who was Jewish) wrote what influential book titled "From Time Immemorial." Peters' work hypothesized essentially that there was no Palestine, putting Palestine in quotes, as if to debase the authenticity of the people who were born there and had unbroken ancestral ties dating back centuries. Her scholarship essentially tried to advance the notion that there were no Palestinians, and that Arabs migrated to Israel from Egypt and other places around the Middle East.

Fortunately, there were left wing Jewish scholars like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein who tore it to pieces. As I said, I acknowledge that Jews don't all march in lock step, and not even all Zionists do. I get that.

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Here's my main point -- those Jews fleeing Europe were truly desperate people. That truly desperate people sometimes do truly desperate things for their own safety and survival shouldn't be surprising. Some of those truly desperate people had a vision to create a Jewish state. You seem to be saying this like it's a shocking or terrible thing, but it's not. It doesn't justify everything that occurred, but the desire to create a state for a stateless people who have been hounded and brutalized for centuries is a pretty damn reasonable desire.
I don't really disagree with this; there is a certain degree of 'It is what it is' to this discussion. But that's my point as well: as I see it, what Ilhan Omar did was to unintentionally stumble into anti-Jewish tropes, with which she has limited or no cultural background to draw from. She has been called out and disciplined, and I don't necessarily disagree with that. But at the same time, let's consider what Omar was attempting to do, not just what we find fault with. Omar was attempting to re-frame our discussion on Israel, and it badly - really badly - needs to be re-framed, because it's biased as hell - and also very dangerous.

In one of my previous posts, I italicized (meant to underline it actually) the part where I emphasize the breakdown of liberalism in 19th Century Europe. There's a reason I did so. I emphasized the breakdown of liberalism in Europe because I see liberalism breaking down now, giving way to tribalism, corrupting truth, and breeding toxic forms of competition. Liberal values are eroding and being replaced with the values of traditionalism and clannishness. That's dangerous for everyone - especially Jews. In 2019 America, I don't think we're really all that far away from our own Dreyfus affair. We're not that far away from a sharp right turn toward vicious antisemitism in this country. Supporting fervent nationalism has never worked out that well for Jews, and it probably won't work out well the next time, either. The ideology of the Likud isn't carving out a safe space for Jews; it's putting the world's Jews in danger. Jews are safer when the side with the values of pluralism, inclusion, justice, democracy, which is not what right wing Zionism has become. Again, I get that many, many Jews and modern moderate Zionists reject this ideology, fortunately.