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Old 03-14-2019, 08:43 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
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.

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.
Okay, I don't think there's anything in here I disagree with. It looks different than some of what you were saying earlier, but this appears to be a reasonable analysis, and close to my own position.